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Old 06-04-2007   #1
Gooner151078
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Firefox hides top ranking sponsored links.

Hi,

Strangely when searching in Google, my results are not showing in the first page of results unless I click on more sponsored links when they are top. Frustrating as my client wants me to push these keywords at the moment.

I have reported this to my Adwords Rep but they claimed everything was OK their end. The obvious then occurred, it's our old friend Firefox playing tricks with Google.

Needless to say I am on the case once again. Anyone else been affected by the same problem?
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Old 06-04-2007   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooner151078
Hi,

Strangely when searching in Google, my results are not showing in the first page of results unless I click on more sponsored links when they are top. Frustrating as my client wants me to push these keywords at the moment.

I have reported this to my Adwords Rep but they claimed everything was OK their end. The obvious then occurred, it's our old friend Firefox playing tricks with Google.

Needless to say I am on the case once again. Anyone else been affected by the same problem?
You might also just want to check in your Google account see what impressions you are getting and the CTR...

also how is your max spend... I usually go over what Google recommends just to make sure I am there for everything.
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Old 06-04-2007   #3
Gooner151078
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Impressions are down considering the volume I am expecting but Firefox is still a minority share here in the UK.

I know what you mean about spend levels, mine are set way over Google's predictions. I don't find that tool the most helpful.

This is definitely another Google/Firefox glitch. There is no reason why ads would be shown in more sponsored links in position 1, page 1 every time, but never on SERP1.

I shall let you know how I get on tomorrow.
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Old 06-05-2007   #4
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Hi Gooner151078,

This is the first (and only) time I have heard of this, at least so far - and I keep my ear pretty close to the ground on forums, blogs, and in emails from our advertisers. So, at least as of this moment, I don't have an indication that what you are experiencing is widespread.

That said, I don't doubt that you are seeing it, and I will certainly run this past the tech folks, and see what I can learn.

AWR
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Old 06-05-2007   #5
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Hi again,

Gooner151078, having read your post again a couple of more times, I actually think I know what you are seeing. First time thru, I didn't cllearly understand what you were describing.

Below is some info I posted yesterday in another forum, in response to a member who had noticed an unexpected drop in their ad's apparent position - which seems to be what you are also describing:

Quote:
The AdWords ads system is dynamic and you may well see 'different' behavior from time to time. Sometimes we run experiments that can cause some users to see different behavior from everyone else. In some cases individual serving behavior may be different due to the location of that user or other factors.

In any case, in my opinion, it's best to focus on overall stats to gauge ad performance - rather than on the answer to the rather limited question of "where do I see my ad right now?"

Also, I think advertisers would benefit from using the 'ad preview' tool to look at their ad placement - since it allows you to see what most other users see, and also does not cause you to accrue an impression while looking.

More info on the ad preview tool (which I think is under-utilized by most advertisers) may be found here:

What is an ad preview page?
http://adwords.google.com/support/bi...y?answer=46454

Since I think that the ads preview tool is not as well known as it could be, I'll also excerpt much of the info from that page:

An ad preview page enables you to view ads and search results as they would appear on a regular Google search results page, without accruing extra impressions for your ad.

To perform a test search, follow these steps:

1. Go to www.google.com/adpreview.
2. Enter your search term. Click Go or hit Enter on your keyboard.
3. The search results and ads appear as they would on Google, except the links on the preview page aren't clickable.

You can also use the ad preview page to see if your ad is appearing in other geographical locations...
Bottom line: I'd suggest relying on your account stats, and using the 'ad preview' page to see your ads position - rather than looking for your ad on Google by searching on your keywords.

I hope that'll help.

AWR
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Old 06-05-2007   #6
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Hi AWR,

Thanks for showing an interest. I have not heard back from the tech team at Google UK yet. My ads show in Adpreview, I had checked this previously. everything works well on Google.com as well.

When I click on more sponsored links my ad is showing, no.1 position everytime. Yet it is never there on the initial search. I cannot see why this would be tested? Surely Google are throwing away money here. The problem affects me both at home and at work. (London and S. England). I run Firefox 2.0.0.4 at home and 2.0.0.1 at work. Everything works fine in all active versions levels of IE.

I have concerns for deteriorating CTR if Google is counting my first showing as an impression. More importantly, my client wants really to push these terms at the moment that should be averaging 1,000's of clicks per day. They can't see the term, I can't see the term but the stats prove that we are still getting a lot of clicks. The question is, given the seasonal growth in this particular market, could this figure be higher. More clicks, more sales for my client.

Thanks for taking an interest, bizarrely you have been more helpful than your transatlantic colleagues have so far.

Many thanks

Gooner
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Old 06-05-2007   #7
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what setting as far as country do you have in the system? I know it is obvious but could be something
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Old 06-08-2007   #8
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Gooner, my client has noticed the same thing, but it doesn't appear to be Firefox related in his case - he is using IE7.

Whenever he searches for one of his products, he often cannot see an ad showing, but when he clicks on "more sponsored links" he is number 1. It seems to happen always with 1 or 2 computers he has access to, yet with others the ads are always showing, and when i search myself using Firefox or IE7 the ads are always showing in the top few positions.

strange one...but annoying because he often cannot see his ads showing and is worried he is missing out on business...
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Old 06-08-2007   #9
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Update:

OK,

Response from Google UK so far.

"Due to the dynamic nature of our ads system, you may be unable to see your ad, even though your ad is serving normally to most users."

Am I deemed an impression for this? Is my CTR affected?

"In our ongoing effort to provide an optimal user and advertiser experience, our system may sometimes show your ads in a lower or higher position for different users. For this reason, what you see may sometimes not be representative of what most other users are seeing."

My ad is not in a lower position, it is in the same position but only when I click on more sponsored links.

"If you have trouble seeing your ad, we recommend searching for your ad using Google's ad preview page. This page will show your ads the way most users see them."

The problem persists on the adpreview page. However, I have found that by deleting your cookies, the problems disappears temporarily. The worrying thing is, it did not take that long for it to start happening again. Ie. If this is a frequency problem, the number of searches needed for Google to restrict adverts is few, at least in my case. Therefore, my fear is that this could have an increasing effect on real customers, not just SEO's and clients

This is apparantly something google has done, not a glitch in the system.

The quest continues....
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Old 06-08-2007   #10
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Very interesting. Not the standard scripted spiel from Google but the fact that clearing your cookies seems to reset things.

Could this be some measure implemented by Google to reduce impression fraud? Though I don't know why this would only affect some ads. So probably not.
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Old 06-08-2007   #11
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Sounds to me like Google is doing some testing.

Right now, if I search for my terms in Google while I am logged in (under my Google Adwords login), my ads appear lower in the rankings than if I do the same search from a seperate PC or if I clear my cookies. So obviously, this is due to some sort of test on Google's part.

Or maybe its just a way for Google to get me to up my bids. Just kidding (maybe).
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Old 06-11-2007   #12
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A wild suggestion

Let me suggest something wild:
Gooner, could it be that you are checking your adwords campaign regularly by entering the keywords into the search box? But you never click on your advertisement when you see it? (Well, who would do that.)
Could it be that Google notices that you never click on the top adwords result and Google says: Okay, he never clicks on the ads shown, let's show him some other results?

My other theory would be that Google checks that you are the one who created the adwords campaign (by reading a cookie or maybe checking the IP) and says that showing you your ad will not generate any clicks.

Please take into consideration that I'm no Adwords expert at all.
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Old 06-11-2007   #13
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Veddy, veddy interesting.
The same thing happened to us. We were is a severe price war with a competitor (actually still are) and so we were viewing and changing our ads constantly. Sometime last week, I noticed that we were ranking about 7th for some of our biggest keywords, which was horrifying. After some urgent calls to our Adwords rep, we determined exactly what you did, Gooner.

Since we searching for terms that displayed our ad but never clicking on it, Google decided to serve us 'more relevant' ads (i.e., one's we were clicking on) Our rep assured us that this wouldn't happen to a customer, but its still pretty scary. You may want to try searching from a different IP to see what your customers see.

All in all it's pretty off-putting though. At what point does Google begin artificially ranking those ads based on usage? I mean as much as personalized search scares everybody, at least customers have to sign up for it before their rankings get shuffled, ya know? This just seems out of the blue.

Just offering some commiseration!
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Old 06-11-2007   #14
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Yes, we've just heard the same from our Google rep, so mystery solved really.

This has nothing to do with Firefox - the same happens with IE. If you carry out lots of searches and never click on certain ads, Google will begin to lower positions for that ad until they are not showed on P1. But, a normal searcher should still see your ad in high positions. If you click on "more sponsored listings" your ad is often at the top (where it was nowhere on the regular search page). The "more sponsored lsitings" page is obviously not affected.

So, if you clear your cookies or search from a different IP/computer, things return to normal.

Hence, Google advise using the ad preview tool to view your current ad positions (this will not count as an impression).
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Old 06-17-2007   #15
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Update

Quick Update on this.

- The problem indeed occurs in any browser, not exclusively Firefox.
- It is cookie dependent, if you delete the Google PREF cookie things will return to normal.
- It still occurs in Adpreview. This is not a solution.
- It is a Google test , not a glitch.

Now here for the outstanding issues?

- Is my ad served an impression, even if it is not initially viewable? How is this affecting my preciously healthy CTR?

- Does this affect all advertisers? This is my real issue. EG. If I do the same search to check my position. Then I do not click on any advert. So why show me any of them? Google seems to be punishing those wishing to pay the most , in Robin Hood fashion. As a result, I have now dropped posiiton to 4/5.

- From a customer service point of view, it would be nice if Google knew this was happening, let alone given us some warning before clients were on the phone wondering what was going on.
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Old 06-17-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooner151078
- From a customer service point of view, it would be nice if Google knew this was happening, let alone given us some warning before clients were on the phone wondering what was going on.
I have to agree with this one
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Old 06-18-2007   #17
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Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
I have to agree with this one

As do I! However, Gooner, it seems you're experiencing a different problem than we are, though I can't speak for everyone. The AdPreview tool fixed the crazy results that we were seeing (a drop from 2 to 7-8).
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Old 06-25-2007   #18
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Hi Dr Sledge,

Yes, I am experiencing a different problem. My results are not showing at all unless clicking on More Sponsored Links. Whereby they feature in their rightful position.

This problem is becoming more commonplace in the UK now, having spoken to others that are affected.
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Old 06-25-2007   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooner151078
Hi Dr Sledge,

Yes, I am experiencing a different problem. My results are not showing at all unless clicking on More Sponsored Links. Whereby they feature in their rightful position.

This problem is becoming more commonplace in the UK now, having spoken to others that are affected.
Thanks for your input...we also have a UK site, and though we don't have any problems, there's nothing that says we won't have them in the future. Please keep us posted. Thanks!
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