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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Google Adwords Sandbox

When a new search campaign starts out, many clients are totally impressed by how well it works and what a great regurne then are getting. The search campaign seems like the best thing they have done so far--it drives traffic and leads, it doesn't cost too much, and their ad is possiitioned right at the top fo the search page just as they always imagined. things are great.

Then, two weeks later, the drop happens. Their costs go up, they get less visitors, and their amazing search ad does not appear every time they search for it in Google. "What happened?!" they ask.

What happened was that they reached the end of the Adwords testing period. The honeymoon is over, and google has collected its data and made its judgements. Your ad moves down 2 positions, your CTR goes with it, your CPC goes up, and your traffic slows down. This kind of shift in behavior is normal, but an unpleasant surprise to most clients. What they frequently don't understand is that Google has been super-charging their account for the past two weeks in order to see how it will perform. During this time, they get lots of impressions and strong ranking. Google is watching the Click through rates. Measuring the landing page relevance. Making judgements.

A less dramatic example:

In accounts where a lot of changes are going on in the first couple weeks, this pattern may not be as evident. But that does not mean that Google is not doing the same type of testing in the background. Consequently, changes made in the first 2 weeks of a paid search campaign may be premature. Unless you are trying to correct an obvious miscalculation, it may be better to wait for the dust to settle and the humps to start before you start reconfiguring your SEM plans.

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