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Old 04-12-2005   #1
Heidi9771
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How many imps does a keyword get to run before it is "disabled?"

Hello,
I am puzzled as some of my keywords get disabled after just getting a little under a few hundred impressions (or less). As a media buyer for many years, it is well known you have to give many more impressions to the creative than that before the performance becomes statisticaly significant. Concerned that my keywords are not getting adequate chances, how many impressions do keywords get before they are deemed disabled, and what are the other factors (beyond the min CTR)? It also seems random as keywords that seem to have a proven record of low CTR get to run.

In addition, over the weekend, we lost a ton of traffic as some of our good performing keywords were put on hold. To me, it just seems that Googles "rating" system is not very solid and has a lot of bugs in the algorithem.
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Old 04-12-2005   #2
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individual vs. aggregate history?

I seem to recall reading that when a keyword is disabled although impressions are very low, it is because the overall history of that keyword is being used. For example, if the keyword "glass" has a history of having a very low clickthrough rate across many AdWords accounts, when you create a new keyword "glass" it can immmediately be disabled based on the performance of that keyword in the past in other advertisers' accounts.

The idea is that AdWords can be "smarter" based on the aggregate experience of many advertisers, so you don't waste your budget on irrelevant or underperforming keywords. However, it can seem unfair to the individual advertiser. (What if my ad is more well-written than past ads for the same keyword?)

However, I can't find this specific explanation in the AdWords support page... anyone able to confirm this?
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Old 04-12-2005   #3
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Interesting. If the above is true, the system would not take into account conversion stats, or much else beyond CTR. I will post the response I get from Google, as I have written them about this. They keywords that we have disabled are very targeted, and it just doesn't make any sort of sense at all.
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Old 04-12-2005   #4
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wwi is correct - at least that is the way our Adwords rep explained it. I agree with you, Heidi - just because other advertisers didn't have good CTR on a particular keyword doesn't mean that I won't. But being Google, they think their algorithm is smarter than the rest of us.

I don't like the new keyword rating system at all. It takes away one of the biggest advantages of Adwords, and that is the ability to test different creatives. Kinda hard to do if your keywords are immediately put on hold. They are really leaving money on the table in my opinion.

Melissa
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Old 04-12-2005   #5
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This type of "canned" response fromm Google is not very helpful at all, but here it is. Did they even read my email?
Hello Heidi,

Thank you for your email. I understand that you are concerned about your keywords being disabled quickly. I also understand that you are concerned that a number of your keywords are currently on hold. I will address each of your concerns below.

As you know, Google strives to direct targeted leads to our advertisers' sites and to serve relevant advertising for users. Your keyword has been disabled because it has gained a high number of impressions but few clicks. This suggests that your ad is not as targeted as it could be and is not relevant to a number of users viewing it.

It is not possible to re-enable a disabled keyword. Keyword disabling is a system generated change and it is not possible to reverse this. AdWords Specialists are unable to make exceptions for the minimum CTR requirement to allow a disabled keyword to run.

Please note that if you re-use a disabled keyword, or re-enter a disabled keyword in another keyword matching format, you may notice that it is disabled again. This is because our system recognizes that this word has not performed well for you in the past. Therefore, our system is more rigorous in its evaluation of that keyword.

For another chance to run your ads on similar keywords, you can try the
following:

In the same or different Ad Group, combine your keyword with 2-3 other words to create a more specific keyword phrase. This will result in better targeting, and potentially, better performance.
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Old 04-12-2005   #6
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A few thoughts & more later...

Quote:
How many imps does a keyword get to run before it is "disabled?"
There is not really a fixed answer to this question, Heidi9771. It will actually be different for each keyword.

A very brief answer is that a keyword will be disabled when the AdWords system has gathered enough information to be certain that it will not meet the minimum performance standard over time. This can happen in a very few impressions, or in can happen over the course of many thousands of impressions.

A more complete answer requires that I go and collect the pertinent links from the AdWords Help Center - which include a couple of flow charts, and etc.

I'll do that either later tonight, if I am able to - or (more likely) tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, there are lots of answers to on-hold/in-trial/disabled keyword type questions in the links found on this page:

https://adwords.google.com/support/b...eywords&type=f

As soon as I can, I'll compile the info I have in mind as being especially useful, and post again.

AWR
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Old 04-13-2005   #7
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Specific Links

Quote:
A very brief answer is that a keyword will be disabled when the AdWords system has gathered enough information to be certain that it will not meet the minimum performance standard over time. This can happen in a very few impressions, or in can happen over the course of many thousands of impressions.

A more complete answer requires that I go and collect the pertinent links from the AdWords Help Center - which include a couple of flow charts, and etc.

I'll do that either later tonight, if I am able to - or (more likely) tomorrow morning.
OK, I'm back with the more specific links.

These first three links below will give you a good overview of the various keywords statuses, and how keywords are placed in each status:

Keyword status labels and definitions
https://adwords.google.com/select/status.html

Keyword Evaluation Flow Chart
https://adwords.google.com/select/ke...eval_flow.html

Three Keyword Evaluation Examples
https://adwords.google.com/select/ke..._examples.html


More detail:

When does a keyword enter normal status?
https://adwords.google.com/support/b...topic=0&type=f

When does a keyword enter in trial status?
https://adwords.google.com/support/b...topic=0&type=f

When does a keyword enter on hold status?
https://adwords.google.com/support/b...topic=0&type=f

As you read the information at the links above, it's important to recall that it is the CTR of the keyword on Google.com that is evaluated in terms of keyword status - and that partner site stats are not included.

So, it is possible to have keywords which have a 'good' CTR as shown in one's account stats (which include parnter sites stats), but which are put on-hold, or which become disabled. This occurs when the keyword has done well on partner sites, but has performed poorly on Google.

At the bottom line, the reason behind this is that it is extremely important to Google to show ads to your users which they judge to be relevant - so that, over time, they'll trust the AdWords ads, and continue to click on them. This outcome is good for advertisers (and good for Google too, of course), because it will lead to long-term success.

One last note: the minimum standard that keywords must meet to be marked as 'normal' is not particularly high. In fact is well below the average.

AWR
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Old 04-14-2005   #8
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Inconsistent and confusing

My experience is that there is NO rhyme or reason to the keyword status.

Real life example:
Client one: a set of keywords and creative delivers tons of traffic and excellent conversions.

Client two: competing industry; set up similar campaign and creative. 5 of the top producing keywords in this campaign are the same as in client one's campaign.

Day 1: receive plenty of traffic and convert at an astounding percentage, we are very pleased and so is the client.

Day two: Top 5 keywords disabled.

Day three: Little traffic, few conversions, client not pleased

Day four: client talking refund.

Excellent click to impression ratio (over 18%) Excellent traffic, excellent conversions. So tell me what was so wrong that these keywords were disabled?

Sure our competitors may have had even better stats, but obviously ours were good enough to be deemed relevant, no?

A mystery.
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Old 04-14-2005   #9
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Here here Discovery. We have run into the exact same problem. Click to conversion %'s in the 15-20% (or more) range, yet keywords continue to get put on hold or disabled. How is it possible that these keywords are irrelevant when they're converting at that kind of rate???

Yet competitors, with the same product and virtually the same ad, stay running for some reason. I don't understand it.

Melissa
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Old 04-14-2005   #10
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Discovery, and Mel, thanks for sharing your experience. It is somewhat comforting that I am not the only one who is beginning to notice that this IS a mystery.

I am aware of the guidelines that Google advises it's customers on, which with all due respect AdWordsRep, are very basic and not helpful when they contradict any sort of reality of what is happening in my account.

My main frustration is that when contacting customer support they can offer little help as they redirect me to the help section on the site, or read off the info on the site.

Last edited by Heidi9771 : 04-14-2005 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 04-14-2005   #11
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Discovery, Mel66, and Heidi9771 -

I'll make sure that the right folks see your feedback - by linking to this entire thread in today's Advertiser Feedback Report.

AWR
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Old 04-14-2005   #12
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Thanks AWR!
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Old 04-15-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel66
Here here Discovery. We have run into the exact same problem. Click to conversion %'s in the 15-20% (or more) range, yet keywords continue to get put on hold or disabled. How is it possible that these keywords are irrelevant when they're converting at that kind of rate???

Yet competitors, with the same product and virtually the same ad, stay running for some reason. I don't understand it.

Melissa
What is also "intresting" is that even when you use almost the same adtext copy as the #1 ad you still get placed on hold. I believe getting disabled has a lot more to do with bid amounts than CTR. Several of my ads have low CTRs, but high bids, and they do not get disabled.
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Old 04-15-2005   #14
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Google playing God?

I am soooo glad you are all posting on this topic. The Smart Keyword Evaluation Tool has been a thorn in my side since it's implementation. I have spoken numerous times with my Google rep with basically the same explanation that AdwordsRep has contributed here. Besides the problems you have both spoken about previously, I have two addition points. First, I understand that Google 'decides' what keywords work and what don't based only on searches actually done on Google and not the partner sites....but WHY?! I lost many very good converting keywords from these sites because searches on the Google site weren't coverting. Google does offer partner sites as part of it's adwords program, surely they should take it into account when making these 'judgement' calls on keywords. Secondly, Google may be the largest search engine with the most highly saught after advertising space, but does that mean that they know more than the actual marketer and their adwords accounts?! Nobody knows more about my accounts than I do before and after the Smart Keyword Evalution tool came out. What is important about this is that my accounts were fending better before the keyword evaluations began. Google is telling me that it is better for my results but my weblogs are telling me it is not. How do I win here? Without choice I have been conforming to the Google God.

Sorry for the rant but I just wanted to contribute something in case GoogleRep, you do get the thread past on.
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Old 04-15-2005   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jogrady
Several of my ads have low CTRs, but high bids, and they do not get disabled.
I wonder how high one has to bid for this to happen. I'm in a relatively low average-order industry, where bids over $1/click are considered pretty high. I've set some max CPCs on Adwords at over $5/click, and the ads STILL get disabled. Even at a max of $15 (!) I've gotten disabled. Pretty ridiculous when the cost of a click is more than the product itself costs! Obviously I can't afford to pay $15 for a click, but there is no way my competitors can afford that either unless they are making money in some other industry (which is possible, but not the case for some competitors whose ads somehow stay running when mine don't).

I agree - the new keyword evaluation system is the pits. I wish they'd go back to the old one where we at least get 1,000 impressions before going down.

Melissa
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Old 04-15-2005   #16
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I was told by my rep that google evaluates the keywords CTR on Google.com only. The numbers that you see in the google interface is not only from Google but all their search partners as well..AOL, AskJeeves etc. So even though your overall CTR may be 5.00% but if on Google.com it is 1.00%(for instance) Google will take actions against that keyword.
Furthermore...sometimes even before the keyword gets any impression they get slowed down...this happens when google compares the keyword with competitors and other people bidding on the same word and seeing their historical performance.
This is what I have understood so far. I was in the same boat at several of you.
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Old 04-15-2005   #17
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Question My 2 Cents

One thing that I have noticed, that many people tend to overlook is the fact that keywords are relevant to who or what they are relevant to.

Meaning, that on keyword can be relevant across many venues and more or less relevant to you and your industry. Let me give an example to explain:

I have a keyword called "Magic Bullet" , it is the name of a suppository that is used by many people with specific medical conditions. This keyword has always done very well for us in the past because it is the name brand of the product. Recently, a company came out with, and marketed very well I might add, a totally different product with the same name. This new product is called the "magic bullet blender", which is a cooking blender.

Now, my keywords have been disabled from Google, Overture, and many shopping sites because, as a percentage, it was deemed to be no longer relevant to the term "magic bullet". This is an issue that nobody in the industry has dealt with. I think it is because you cannot automate a differentiation between the content based on a user's intention.

90% of the people may now be searching for the blender, but as a whole number, the same people that used to make up 100% of the searches for magic blender (the suppository) now only make up 10% of the searchers.

I have tried to get my contacts at various companies to look at this and manage my issues by exception, but some just don’t have the resources to implement such a request.

It's the same Utilitarianistic principle of basing results on Quantitative data rather than a combination of Qualitative & Quantitative findings. I think it all falls back on resources and how much more resources the latter takes.

What do you think?
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Old 04-15-2005   #18
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I think it is worked out on an overall basis.

Just to add a piece into the mix you might find interesting.

I recently set up an account with 1000 odd phrases, some would be very low click through, but relevant all the same. There was no money in the account, as I had not put in a credit card, so there were no click throughs at all.

Brand new acc. No history.

So why were some phrases on hold? It can only be from data collected on other accounts. I had 3 adverts set up, all with the phrase matched etc, so I think it very unlikely the on hold was caused by anything in my account.

Anyone else had this experience? Set up a new acc and try it .

So the answer is zero.
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Old 04-15-2005   #19
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Brad I dont see why you should be having this issue with Oveture . At overture all you need to do is get pass their editorial and your keyword should never get disabled. As far as i know Overture doesnt judge the keyword on its performance, all that matters to them is relevancy.
Please correct me if i am wrong.
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Old 04-15-2005   #20
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Actually Overture does have a "click index" which is basically a minimum CTR, and if your keyword falls below that for a period of time, it will get disabled (deleted, really). This has happened to us for 2-3 keywords in their network. However, only one of them is for a top-selling product - unlike Google, where most of our best keywords on our top sellers have been disabled time and again.

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