Unintentional AdWords Evil

  • Post category:AdWords

A bit of an exaggeration maybe, especially from a staunch Google advocate such as myself. But I am concerned.

When I first discovered Google AdWords it was love at first sight. Advertising for the masses, highly targeted, priority on relevance. Sounded like my kind of environment. I have often distilled the AdWords creed as I held it down to something like this, “Getting quality products and services in front of those that want them via truthful and relevant advertising”.

All fine and good, in theory.

Here is the concern.

I have a growing hunch that because the threshold for using AdWords is so low, it is being overwhelmed by inexperienced users. I am increasingly amazed how many AdWords accounts I come across that do not utilize analytics and do not have a metrics conversion strategy.

AdWords is an auction. Many if not most AdWords users are bidding without knowing if they are bidding on a leaky rowboat or a pristine yacht. In other words they have no way to valuate individual words, matching options, position, distribution method, etc. As a result they are bidding blindly, often wildly, and screwing up the machinery.

Market forces eventually come to play. Inexperienced bidders go broke or give up. Problem is the pool of AdWords neophytes may be growing more rapidly than they go away. The results we are seeing, I fear, are an increasing number of washouts that are pulling on the rest of us as they go down the drain.

To top it off, Google’s attempts at bringing order to the Auction House with things like Quality Score are roundly reviled by the AdWords mob of “I’m not rich yet and it is your fault!!!” wannabes.

Sound like a grouchy rant? It is.

I’ll regret it no doubt.

And I certainly am not offering a constructive solution, just bellyaching, that’s all.

But I do wish I could shake this growing feeling that “Do no Evil” may not be the same as “Cause no Evil”.

To give some credibility to my whining I cite the most concise piece I have yet to read on Pay-per-Click. Comes from Kent Lewis and his crew over at Anvil Media.


Note the opening:
“The good news: you can setup and manage a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising program on Google, Yahoo! or MSN within minutes. The bad news: you can setup and manage a PPC advertising program within minutes. That means anyone can set up a PPC program, which has led to higher overall cost, lower click-through rates and conversions. There is hope, however.”

There IS hope. That is what I provide to my clients as well. Give it my best shot anyway.

But this post is about the bad news. ’nuff said.


Tom Hale
AdWords Specialist

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