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Old 06-21-2008   #1
abbottsys
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AdWords: The Strangest Test

Readers of this forum will know that I enjoy testing AdWords, and pushing it to the limits. But, this is without doubt the strangest AdWords test I've ever done. I'm not sure what it proves (if anything) but I'm posting it here to see it anyone has creative ideas.

Here it is..

If you Google ivf (a top keyword for one of my clients) you'll see an ad that has www.google.com as the display URL. Of course, AdWords requires that the display URL domain match the landing page domain. And my ad does, as you'll see if you click it. The landing page is a Google SRP that contains only my client in the organic listings, and not even any ads!

So, my ad is 100% Google AdWords compliant.

Does anybody have any creative ides for using/expanding this technique?

Last edited by abbottsys : 06-21-2008 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 06-21-2008   #2
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

Neat idea, though I see another ad from your client in the sweet spot on that page, so they might wind up paying twice for that one visitor.
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Old 06-21-2008   #3
abbottsys
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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Originally Posted by jimbeetle View Post
Neat idea, though I see another ad from your client in the sweet spot on that page, so they might wind up paying twice for that one visitor.
Yes, good point, I'm working on that. But, they sure dominate the organics.
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Old 06-21-2008   #4
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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they sure dominate the organics
He, he, he. Yeah, and helped along by an AdWords nerd at that. Guess there's no future left for us SEO types.
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Old 06-23-2008   #5
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

I can't see this having any real use outside of misleading a user and leading to a low conversion rate. I don't know, but I seem to remember that it's better practice to give the user fewer clicks between the ad and the conversion, I'm not sure why you'd want to add another google SERP in there.
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Old 06-23-2008   #6
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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I can't see this having any real use outside of misleading a user and leading to a low conversion rate. I don't know, but I seem to remember that it's better practice to give the user fewer clicks between the ad and the conversion, I'm not sure why you'd want to add another google SERP in there.
I tend to agree. Still, I'm testing it in an A/B split with my regular ad. Both ads are identical except for the landing page. I'm interested in seeing exactly how conversions compare.
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Old 06-23-2008   #7
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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I tend to agree. Still, I'm testing it in an A/B split with my regular ad. Both ads are identical except for the landing page. I'm interested in seeing exactly how conversions compare.
I love quoting myself ;-)
Anyway, the new ad is blowing away my regular ad both in terms of CTR and conversions. Testing really does pay.
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Old 06-24-2008   #8
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

Update:
I just expanded the test to include Yahoo (same landing page technique I used with Google). So now I have 3 ads running. All ads are identical except for the display URLs - which are Google.com, Yahoo.com and my client's website.

Note: These ads are totally AdWords compliant, since the landing pages for the Google and Yahoo display URLs are Google and Yahoo site searches of my client's site i.e. AdWords display URL/destination URL policy is *not* violated.
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Old 06-24-2008   #9
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

Do you think it's the URL that has the major impact?
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Old 06-24-2008   #10
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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Do you think it's the URL that has the major impact?
It must be. The only visual difference between the 3 ads is the display URL. One is Google.com, the next is Yahoo.com and the last is my client's domain.

I'm a bit surprised Google allows this, because an ad that uses Google.com as the display URL makes it appear that Google is promoting the product! Still, I want to stress that absolutely no AdWords rules are being broken here. These ads are 100% AdWords compliant.

Thanks Google
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Old 06-24-2008   #11
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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I want to stress that absolutely no AdWords rules are being broken here.
Not as yet, but methinks you might have one named after you. How 'bout the "abbottsys rider" to the AdWords T&C? ;-)
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Old 06-24-2008   #12
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

LOL... holy cow Abbott... Honestly I have never heard of anyone doing this before, which as I read this completely blows me away. Pretty brilliant idea to do this... How long you think before they close this hole now that you've posted this?
Now honestly I spend about 95% of all my time with actual SEO and very little on PPC stuff, but it would seem if they didn't, the actual potential spammy abuse could get out of hand.
Is this something guys on the dark side of adwords have been doing for a while and someone that doesn't delve much into PPC don't see?
Good post on this, thanks!
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Old 06-24-2008   #13
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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... holy cow Abbott... ..How long you think before they close this hole now that you've posted this?....
I guess we'll find out. Who knows, maybe Google will like this technique.. err, but then again, perhaps not
It would be very easy for them to close it anytime they want. Until then I'm running my ads in production and enjoying the benefits that come with a Google.com display URL.

Thanks Google!
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Old 06-24-2008   #14
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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Originally Posted by abbottsys View Post
the new ad is blowing away my regular ad both in terms of CTR and conversions. Testing really does pay.
What sort of conversions are you seeing? Any changes here? (change in order size, item type, etc.) I'd be interested to understand how the consumer absorbs this information for their search - displayed by their purchasing decisions.
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Old 06-24-2008   #15
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

I think maybe the loophole has been closed?? I can't find the results on Google or Yahoo. Well, hope it generated some traffic while it lasted. Nice one.
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Old 06-24-2008   #16
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

Last I saw it was promoted to the top spot. Must be great CTR.
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Old 06-24-2008   #17
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

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Last I saw it was promoted to the top spot. Must be great CTR.
Yup, the ad is going strong. I've been fiddling with it to try and fix some technical issues, so the CRT just dropped to 10% from 16% earlier today. However, it seems to be climbing back up again now.
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Old 06-24-2008   #18
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

Yes, now I see it. Strange that I couldn't see it in either SERP previously. Maybe something with the data center associated with my IP? Do these change based on traffic volumes, or do I always get data from the same physical location based on geography?
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Old 06-25-2008   #19
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Thumbs down Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

I hate to be the one that gives you a dose of reality, but honestly, this is boarderline amateurish. In fact, if it weren't for the creativity behind it, there is no other way to describe it.

The campaign's CTR is that high only because you are capitalizing on Google's reputation/credibility - not your client's. I would say that if you had an ad (including copy/url/landing page) that better targeted the user, I bet a 16% CTR could be considered low.
The target "customer" is desperate to be a parent. They will try anything to find a solution and will spend quite a bit more time online to find a company that they feel will be able to help them out. How hard could it really be to attract them to your ad?

Overall, this tactic is more suited to an affiliate marketing program...not an actual business.

I understand that this is only a "test", but seriously...

Someone who actually needs invitro shouldn't have to deal with a SPAM result.

-Attak
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Old 06-25-2008   #20
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Re: AdWords: The Strangest Test

Maybe your click through rate shot up because everyone was reading this forum and trying it out?!

Let us know your conversion stats when you have them.
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