Keyword Search Pros has had a lot of inquiry to why Google Adwords revenues have changed this year. It is probably no surprise most inquires come in the form of complaints ranging from the new interface change to Google removing the additional Sponsored results on other pages to minimum first page bid requirement.
Though advertisers will typically maneuver around the new interface until they can navigate comfortably, most are not enthusiastically diving into routine account management. The result is less time being spend optimizing these campaigns in a time when it is most critical to do so. With less attention being spent in the advertiser accounts, that bigger problems are likely to go unnoticed.
It has gone without much discussion that Google has made changes that remove the “More Sponsored Listings” link at the bottom of the first page of Google search results. Actually, without the link itself, there is not much difference in the way ads are served (or not served.) How many people really go looking for Sponsored Results on Page 2 anyway? The link missing really serves as an calling that there is a much greater movement taking place in the background. It goes back to an earlier change made last year when we saw “minimum first page bids” for the first time.
What happened is Google had implemented visible “minimum first page bids” next to keyword data inside Adwords accounts. They were introduced as an alert for advertisers to increase their bid should they want to remain visible to Google users. Active Adwords advertisers were quick to put these bids in line with first page visibility but some others just let it go by neglect.
The real alert came when ads stopped appearing for Google searches. “Many of your ads may not be showing because they don’t meet the minimum first page bid requirement.” Now that sounds more important, right? If you care anything about your Adwords positioning, you will most likely make the bid jump. These notifications did not cause a huge panic. They were subtle. And most advertisers that noticed them made the bid adjustments paying no concern to what their competitors were doing.
So what has really happened? Google has neatly and quietly ushered all Adwords advertisers to compete for a placement on Page 1. That is of course, that you have noticed and are willing to bid for that necessity.
What happens when you put everyone on Page 1? It’s the same thing that occurs when you put a residential property on the market way below market value; hyper competition drives the bidding prices far above market value. The sellers make out like crazy and the buyers pay more than the property is worth. Advertisers have to pay more for each lead or sale they receive and Google’s stock goes up again.
So what can be done to combat this new competitive arena we are advertising in? After all, Google is unlikely to change it back in the future. It should be noted that these changes put a new burden on us to find out more about how profitable are products and services are.
Things that were profitable before may be less now and we don’t have the luxury of neglecting such data. Unprofitable keywords and adgroups don’t need to be deleted, but they do need to be scrutinized then optimized so that they do maximize the ROI. Making sure your dollars are spent in the most effective way will keep wasted dollars from leaking out the back.
The key is active management in some form. Whether advertisers do it themselves or if we do it, some PPC management is better than none. Keyword Search Pros has the sustained track record of keeping advertiser conversion costs down and in most cases, showing advertisers better performance than they have ever seen before in Adwords.