Monday, June 26, 2006

Google Adwords' Exclusion Feature

An important feature of Google's Adwords is the ability to exclude specific web sites from showing your ads. If you ads appear on inappropriate web sites it can hurt you in two ways.

1) People who have no interest in your product will be clicking on your ad. You pay for the ad, but don't get a qualified customer or lead.

For example, I'm managing an Adwords account that promotes an industrial printer used to make posters. This is not the type of machine used at home. Shortly after starting the ad I noticed in the log files that the ad was getting a lot of clicks from a Curt Kobain (Nirvana) web site. The ad offered a free sample poster and the Nirvana fans were clicking on the ad and costing the advertiser $30-$40 per day in worthless clicks. I added the site to the exclusion list and the cost of that ad dropped substantially.

My guess is that the operators of the Curt Kobain web site may have also noticed a drop in their Adsense income. It probably decreased by about $200 a week. I regularly read messages from people using Adsense who are complaining that their Adsense revenue just had a sharp decline. One possibility is that a wrongly targeted ad (or two or three), that had been earning them a lot of money, was no longer being shown on their web site.

2) Your ad will be shown to people who are not interested in your product and they will not click on your ad, this will reduce your click-thru rate if the site is being shown on the Google network. A lower click-through rate may result in your costs for the ad going up. Although Google does not count low click-thru rates against your content ads, it does hurt you for search ads... and non-Google search ads are still shown on the syndicated Google network and thus are included as a part of your search statistics.

How do you exclude web sites from showing your ad? Go to the Campaign Summary screen and click on the "edit" link for "Excluded Sites".

How do you know what sites to exclude? You need to be tracking who comes to your landing pages and where they come from. All the landing pages I use are PHP pages, and they log all the important information for each visitor.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Google Ad Scheduling Brings Automated Day Parting

Google Adwords has just added a new, very useful feature... Ad Scheduling

Ad scheduling allows you to preset the times when your ads will run on Google. Times are set on the campaign level and can be set in 15 minute incredments. I've already added scheduling to most of the campaigns I manage. The Adwords help page describes the features in ad scheduling:

"Ads are scheduled on the campaign level, from the 'Edit Campaign Settings' page. The unique ad scheduling tool lets you simply click the blocks of time when you want your campaign to run. A bulk edit feature allows you to edit all days, all weekdays, or all weekend days at once if you prefer.

Ad scheduling also includes an advanced setting which lets you adjust pricing for your ads during certain time periods. For example, if you find that your ads get the best results between 8:00 and 11:00 am, you can bid more for impressions or clicks during that period. Learn more about advanced mode."

It appears Google has been prodded by the features introduced by MSN to add this long overdue feature. Now we can automate day parting. The downside is the Ad Scheduling makes day parting so easy that my competition can start using it and I'll lose many of the advantages that day parting offered.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Returned From Russia

I've just returned from Russia and I see I have a lot of catching up to.

Russia has a lot of very smart and skilled internet people. They are very sharp, innovative and resourceful people! The biggest problem seems to be that there are no jobs. In the U.S. this would mean the unemployed programmers and designers would be starting their own businesses. But one of the results of 70 years of communism seems to be that the knowledge of how to create a money-making business needs to be restored. This is not a lack on the part of individual people. I saw an entrepreneurial spirit all over the place in the form of thousands of small shops. Everyone seems to be trying to make a ruble. That's great! What is missing is the infastructure and body of laws that supports the formation of new businesses. For example, one business owner mentioned that taxes take 90% of a business' profits. There is little incentive to be highly profitable, and a lot of incentive to cheat on your taxes. When I asked my interpretor about the different types of police in Russia, she said there were just two. Regular police and the tax police.

I met a lot of highly skilled (internet skills) people who were unemployed or under-employed. There is a resevour of talent, creativity and desire in Russia that will one day explode on the world market.