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Old 08-16-2005   #1
Mel66
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AdWords Smart Keyword Evaluation Is Live

...at least it is for our account! I didn't get an announcement or warning from Google, but instead discovered it when I logged in to my account this morning. No matter - it's pretty interesting to see how it works. Some previously in-trial or disabled keywords are surprisingly affordable under the Smart Pricing, and others are ridiculously expensive. Pretty much what I expected, so far. I've been having fun re-enabling some high-converting keywords this morning.

One interesting observation, and I think we were told about this ahead of time: Keywords that are in trial or on hold will show in your account with the minimum bid needed for them to go live; but disabled keywords stay disabled. If you want see the minimum bid needed to re-enable a disabled keyword, you need to delete it, then add it - at which point you'll see the minimum bid. Takes a bit of time, but is worth it if the keywords are important to you.

Is everyone seeing this now, or is G rolling it out in waves? What does everyone think of the new system? Time will tell what this does for ROI, but so far, I like it!

Melissa

Last edited by Mel66 : 08-16-2005 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 08-16-2005   #2
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Looks like I spoke too soon....

I just logged in to my account again after lunch, and the smart keyword system is gone! It's back to the old on-hold / in-trial / disabled stuff. So, all the keywords I spent 2 hours re-enabling this morning are back on hold. Argh!

What gives? Was this some sort of test of the system?

Melissa
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Old 08-16-2005   #3
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http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/6086.htm has more information, I believe. AdWordsAdvisor commented there.
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Old 08-16-2005   #4
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This stinks

How I see this,

If you had an irrelevant keyword you couldn't use it...but NOW...you have to PAY the google empire big bucks to have that keyword back...

so how does that make the search relevant for the user if a keyword that was previously inactive now becomes ACTIVE because an adwords advertiser paid more?

This is BULL!!!!!
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Old 08-16-2005   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustybrick
http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum81/6086.htm has more information, I believe. AdWordsAdvisor commented there.
Thanks, some good info in that thread. Interesting - I was told by an Adwords rep (not my rep, but someone else) that the changes I made in the new system would NOT be saved and I'd need to redo all of them (which didn't thrill me, to say the least). But AWA said in the WMW thread that your changes WOULD be saved. Which is it? AWR, can you comment?

I'll reserve judgement on the value / benefit of the new system until it's been live for a while. For us, anyway, I think it will be a good thing overall - but I didn't get enough time to play around with it during the short-lived "test" to know for sure. However from what I did see, and from what I've been told, I'm very optimistic. YMMV, of course. We're not bidding on "mesothelioma."

Melissa
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Old 08-16-2005   #6
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Hi Mel66.

Per the alerts thread elsewhere on this forum, (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ad.php?t=6699) I just wanted to confirm that that the keyword status changes and quality-based minimum bids are being launched today - and that the launch should be completed shortly.
Quote:
I'll reserve judgment on the value / benefit of the new system until it's been live for a while....
I've always known you to be a wise one.

And I also know that I can count on you for honest and carefully considered feedback, whether you are pleased or not. That is a very good thing.

AWR
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Old 08-16-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mel66
ridiculously expensive
that's what you think when you are asked to set the minimum bid of a keyword to $5.00 to activate it, where you used to pay $0.50 to rank no 1 for that same keyword. really crazy.
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Old 08-16-2005   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyearth
How I see this,

If you had an irrelevant keyword you couldn't use it...but NOW...you have to PAY the google empire big bucks to have that keyword back...

so how does that make the search relevant for the user if a keyword that was previously inactive now becomes ACTIVE because an adwords advertiser paid more?

This is BULL!!!!!
This, I submit, is an oversimplification.

In trying to achieve any outcome, it is not good enough just to state the outcome itself. "Speeding is not allowed" is not the end of the conversation. We then use policy instruments from a toolkit of potential ways of influencing human behavior (posted signage, frequent tickets, photo radar, speed bumps, etc.), and test to see which instruments balances reasonable performance in achieving the outcome with the available resources for implementation, and various social goals.

Google's top-level policy has always been to encourage relevant, quality ads. They had done so with a mix of editorial policies, a relevancy formula, and strict quality-based thresholds that left low-CTR or low-quality keywords inactive. They are now doing so with a mix of editorial policies, a relevancy formula, and a system that leaves low-CTR or low-quality keywords inactive, but which allows them to be made active with a higher bid.

Incremental change, it appears.

You would swear that in addition to those engineers, Google employs economists and policy scientists who advise them on how to design a pricing system to achieve certain outcomes.

At the end of the day, though, it appears that the outcomes remain unchanged, and that instead of speedbumps we are dealing with a fine system. Just a shift in policy instruments.

True, they are a for-profit company, with a really complicated rate card. But it's their site, and their technology. They are a publisher that has the right to set prices on ads, as with many similar media businesses over the past century. Empire, schmempire. And the major broadcast networks (etc.) aren't empires?
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Old 08-16-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyearth
How I see this,

If you had an irrelevant keyword you couldn't use it...but NOW...you have to PAY the google empire big bucks to have that keyword back...

so how does that make the search relevant for the user if a keyword that was previously inactive now becomes ACTIVE because an adwords advertiser paid more?

This is BULL!!!!!
Once you start serious AdWord campaigns and have had a bunch of very good converting terms disable for you you will appreciate this... but hey you missed all that...
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Old 08-16-2005   #10
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Angry

I have run some pretty serious PPC campaigns on Adwords and to my dismay, my TOP 5 converting keywords were disabled!!!!!

Now, since they were disabled you would assume, no, that the relevancy is the reason?...CTR was not met of 1.5% or whatever....(assuming the ad itself is as optimized as possible)...

Ohh but wait...NOW...If I pay $5 CPC instead of $1 CPC I can get the keywords back all day long...

I've proven my point. CTR which meant relevancy no longer matters. And I have to pay 5x more as per my example for an irrelevant keyword to become relevant.....
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Old 08-16-2005   #11
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Adwords Minimum Bid Now $.01?!?

Friends,

Just noticed something interesting, and possibly important...

For those of you whose campaigns are under the new "Keyword Status System."

Try this with one of your Adwords Ad Groups:

1. Click on "Edit Keywords."

2. Click on the "Estimate Traffic" button.

Notice that there's a new "Minimum Bid" column? Scan down the list, and see if you can spot any Minimum Bids that are below $.05. My lists contain minimum bids as low as $.01!

I have successfully set the bids for individual keywords to values lower than $.05, which (I think) was the previous minimum.

Is this something new (perhaps I never noticed before), or a glitch.

Interesting fact #2: you can now create a custom report that includes the minimum acceptable bid for each keyword - or at least there's a check box for that item. When I tried it, though the check box was checked, no column appeared in the report.

Can someone reality-check my observations?

Thanks,

David
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Old 08-17-2005   #12
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CTR is no more a priority for Google, by extension relevancy will suffer, those who've got the bucks can push irrelevant ads since they've got the money. Improve relevancy?
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Old 08-17-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdWordsRep
Hi Mel66.

Per the alerts thread elsewhere on this forum, (http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ad.php?t=6699) I just wanted to confirm that that the keyword status changes and quality-based minimum bids are being launched today - and that the launch should be completed shortly.
OK, good. Can you tell us if the changes we made during yesterday's test will hold or not? (I haven't logged in to my account yet this morning to see.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdWordsRep
I've always known you to be a wise one.

And I also know that I can count on you for honest and carefully considered feedback, whether you are pleased or not. That is a very good thing.
You are too kind. Just to make it clear - I'm confident I'll be pleased with the new system - in fact I'll be *very* pleased if some of our high-converting-but-long-disabled keywords can go live again! The only thing I'm not pleased with so far is the possibility that 2 hours of work might have gone down the tubes.

Gotta go. I have some work to do. LOL

Melissa
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Old 08-17-2005   #14
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Quote:
Can you tell us if the changes we made during yesterday's test will hold or not? (I haven't logged in to my account yet this morning to see.)
Oops. I failed to answer this question from your previous post, Mel66. I did see it too. I may be suffering from the dreaded tired-brain syndrome.

So, my sources tell me that, yes, your changes should have been saved - and you should see them reflected in your account now that the new system is 'live'.

I guess this will have been either confirmed or proved incorrect by now, as I am sure you have visited your account. If my info turns out to have been incorrect, please let me know - and I'll let the right folks know.

AWR
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Old 08-17-2005   #15
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Let's Call It Maximizing Revenue

I have to admire, in a way, the even-handedness with which many of you are taking this change. Given the many thousands of dollars that I spend with AdWords each year, this would appear to be nothing more than a ruthless oligopolist pouncing on a revenue opportunity.

Yes, it's a private site. Yes, they are for-profit. So, can we stop acting like they're doing us some kind of favor? So, some of you can reactivate your irrelevant keywords by paying Microsof... sorry, Google for the privilege. What if you're not selling a car or real estate, and your conversion is small? What if relevancy was never a problem?

Where 90% of our ads would have appeared immediately for small bids, and we would have eventually lost only a few due to poor relevancy (measured by CTR), we are now asked (no, told) to at least double our bids before the ads even run. And that improves relevancy how? Our campaigns will now obtain far fewer clicks for much more money, and relevancy has nothing to do with it.

Should the market not vote with their dollars (and I know that we will in a big way), Google has been given the green light to just extract as much as possible from their customers until something snaps. While that's not illegal, or even unethical I suppose, it paints a real change in the nature of that company. The bean counters have taken over. The PhDs in economics are finally getting their day in the sun. Of course, we knew it would come with going public and a soaring stock price needing support.

It just surprises me how Kool-Aid is being served with this, and many otherwise thoughtful parties are gulping it down.
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Old 08-18-2005   #16
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Wow, OneWolf - such vitriol for your first post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneWolf
So, some of you can reactivate your irrelevant keywords by paying Microsof... sorry, Google for the privilege.
I resent this comment and the sweeping generalization you're making. It's been well-documented that many advertisers have had relevant (as measured by HIGH CONVERSIONS) keywords disabled under the old system, because they were high-volume or competitive or whatever. I don't measure relevancy solely by CTR - it all comes down to ROI. I don't care how many people click on my ads, as long as the ones that do, are converting. I realize this is also a generalization, but for many of us PPC advertisers, we are at least as concerned with conversions and ROI as we are with CTR. In fact I'd rather they NOT click if they're not serious about buying. The old Google system made it difficult to maximize ROI due to the disabling. Now, if you're willing to pay because your ROI allows it, you can run your ads with no problem. I happen to like that a lot.

And just to be clear, we don't sell cars or real estate. It's not just the big-ticket, high-CPC advertisers that can benefit from the new system.

Melissa
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Old 08-18-2005   #17
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It's been "all good" for us so far. Most of the campaigns we were running didn't have any disabled, but those that did are now live again, and the majority even skipped the "increase minimum bid" part since we were already willing to bid "above market value." Even terms such as "used car" on a nationwide basis are not higher than .30 (used cars: .10). The highest I have seen yet is 40 cents, and we run some very competitive/converting terms.

I am curious as to some of these $5 terms. Anyone?
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Old 08-18-2005   #18
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Guess Google has been reading my blog so much they just subliminally named the evaluation tool after it.... lol
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Old 08-18-2005   #19
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Relevancy definitions...

Was that vitriolic?

Well, I just think it's pretty creepy what's happening. I'm not saying that there won't be those who like the new system. Clearly, if you're willing to pay, the system has become "money talks" now.

What I'm saying is that it has NOTHING to do with improving relevancy as defined by users. It has strictly to do with Google increasing revenue to support a massive valuation-- enabling advertisers to simply buy their way out of irrelevancy for a given term.

You may feel that your ads are relevant because they have high conversions, but if people are not clicking on them enough for a given keyword, it's because for most people, they aren't relevant for that keyword. That's pretty much the definition.

Just because someone buys your Paris Hilton video after searching for Paris, does NOT make it a good ad. It's just noise. But, that's OK, in the new system, you can up your bid until the occasional pervert that DOES find it relevant sees it. So does everyone else, of course.

You like the new system. I do not. No vitriol intended towards you.
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Old 08-18-2005   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyearth
I have run some pretty serious PPC campaigns on Adwords and to my dismay, my TOP 5 converting keywords were disabled!!!!!

Now, since they were disabled you would assume, no, that the relevancy is the reason?...CTR was not met of 1.5% or whatever....(assuming the ad itself is as optimized as possible)...

Ohh but wait...NOW...If I pay $5 CPC instead of $1 CPC I can get the keywords back all day long...

I've proven my point. CTR which meant relevancy no longer matters. And I have to pay 5x more as per my example for an irrelevant keyword to become relevant.....
You haven't proven your point entirely, though I sympathize. The 1.5% you speak of could have been pumped up by high CTR's on partner sites like AOL, which Google doesn't count. They focus on user behavior on Google Search, but the reporting gives you the aggregate numbers. Yes, that's frustratingly non-transparent.

It is also a bit disturbing how we've slid into "quality" based on "the relevancy of your ads" and "other relevancy factors," which makes it all a very slippery slope indeed, amenable to manipulation for revenue-generation purposes or to please certain trademark holders, or who knows what else.

Whether Google is in fact manipulating the minimums for non-quality ends is impossible to know, since no one will tell you exactly what the algorithm is.

I did have one keyword that I was bidding 0.10 on that they wanted $5.00 for. I think though I was just stuffing a real shot-in-the dark keyword in there, so it was probably a warranted "disabling" situation.

One of the typical types of keywords that seems to get a low enough quality score to require a higher min. bid is those popular-keyword one-word broad matches. These were always tough to keep active anyway. So whether you do it by saying 0.1% CTR doesn't cut it, or ask for a $0.40 min bid, the principle is the same.

AussieWebmaster and I are talking about very real things that are affecting a lot of the campaigns we manage. It looks like we agree that this change looks like an incremental one to this point.

I should also note that I am seeing minimums as low as .02 now, and have indeed paid as little as .02 on a keyword because my quality score was so high I kept my ad position and got to pay the minimum even though my max bid on that keyword was sitting at .44.
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