Google Adwords Big Change Coming?

Upcoming Adword Format Bad for SMBsWhile catching up on the latest SEO articles, a disturbing post showed up today. It appears that Google is testing the effects of showing how many clicks an Ad or Advertiser has previously gotten.

While we promote Google Adwords to many of our small business clients, there are various aspects that are real disadvantages to them. The overall complexity and several default settings are definitely an issue for SMB and independents without some type of Search Engine Marking (SEM) resource.

Well, Google is trying an Adwords experiment that may indeed be another major problem for small businesses. There are apparently two types of displays being tested, one that just says “Clicks”. The other one says “clicks from this advertiser”. In this image, notice the difference between the two almost identical Ads for the same basic product/brand:Google Adwords Click Display Experiment

Showing “Clicks for this Advertiser” in the Ad will create a very unfair advantage for large brands, big Ad budgets and National Ad agencies.

Notice that the top Ad has 156,000 previous clicks and the one below it has 59,000,000. Which would you click?

We’ve been very successful pitching SMB Ads against major brands with deep pockets. We rely on niche targets, whether time spots, longer tail keywords, more refined and selective demographics or sites. If successful, our Ad typically shows higher than the wider casting net of the big check books.

Think of it another way. A big budget allows for less granular keyword bids, less related Ad text to keywords they are bidding on and finally, paying a bit higher due to a lower quality score. If we are able to place our SMB Ad alongside the more generic text from one of their Ads, we stand a better chance of getting the click due to our more relevant copy and keywords.

Unless that other Ad has 59,000,000 clicks displayed and we only have 156,000.

The real shame? All 156,000 of our visitors could have bought a product, while 200,000 of those other clickers could have bounced away from that site’s competing product immediately without buying anything. If that Advertiser’s 58,800,000 of those clicks are for Ads that send them to another page, not that related to our client’s product, then they won’t even be penalized much. And the users that might have clicked and bought, will instead gravitate towards the Ad with more clicks due to the Lemming Effect.

This also means longer running Ads and Advertisers could have better click through rate (CTR) advantage.


5 thoughts on “Google Adwords Big Change Coming?

  1. This is absolutely shocking and I certainly hope this does not go into general release. This will penalise small advertisers like a little fish in a big pond and your point about bounce rates is crucial. Where did you see this ad – was it in the US?

    • Yes, the article came from an affiliate marketer who lives in Atlanta, I believe. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t testing another country’s Google search results, as that is easily done, but at a glance I would say it’s in the US.

  2. Pingback: Shocking new info in some Adword ads – number of clicks « Big PPC Geek

  3. Hmm – very disturbing. I’d call it “popularity” rather than “lemming”, though – there’s good psychology behind picking a popular choice. It reduces the users’ need to consider further factors, so it is a great shortcut for finding stuff you’ll probably find acceptable. However, that does tilt the playing field a lot… And Google has never gone for conversions as a measurement (too easy for the advertiser to manipulate). CTR would give too much detail about the bidding system… So as a popularity measure, about the only signal easily visible is clicks.

    As you say, well known brands (and usually larger players) will tend to accumulate more clicks. So… what other popularity signals *could* Google show, that weren’t subject to advertiser deception (conversions) but could signal the popularity that you’re suggesting? For example, if Google Checkout was used, that *could* provide an end-to-end conversion rate, a signal of popularity?

  4. While Google Adwords is important for SMB, especially just starting out to get on the map and receive traffic. All websites need to be implementing all possible SEO tools at their disposal to increase their search engine placement gradually and eventually gain the benefits of free traffic. Dedication and hard work is a must in the world of online marketing. The ideal result is to slowly climb the search engine rankings with an established and noticeable website while maintaining a profitable PPC campaign simultaneously.

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