Google Advertisers Upset Over Landing Page Scoring

  |  July 14, 2006   |  Comments

It appears that Google's recent changes to its landing page quality assessment has many advertisers up in arms

It appears that Google's recent changes to its landing page quality assessment has many advertisers up in arms. The search-related forums are buzzing with accounts of advertisers that have had hundreds of keywords deactivated by Google without warning, with keywords that formerly fetched pennies per click are now suddenly $10 or more.

At least some of this fallout seems to be intended by Google, as a means of purging its network of "made for AdSense" (MFA) sites. According to a product marketing manager blogging on the company's Inside AdWords site, "We realize that some minimum bids may be too high to be cost-effective -- indeed, these high minimum bids are our way of motivating advertisers to either improve their landing pages or to simply stop using AdWords for those pages, while still giving some control over which keywords to advertise on. Although it is counter-intuitive to some who hear it, we'd rather show one less ad than to show an ad which leads to a poor user experience -- since long-term user trust in AdWords is of overarching importance."

The problem many advertisers have is that Google attaches a quality score with an entire site or domain, so one bad landing page can sabotage an entire campaign. Besides that, there are several reports of AdWords reps having no information and no answers for long-time advertisers whose business is being severely impacted.

Several people have been critical of the way Google went about implementing this, with little communication with advertisers. To be fair, Google announced in December that changes would be coming, but they did not enumerate the kinds of pages that the program would be targeting, and seem to have underestimated the number of advertisers impacted.

As one poster put it, Google is "using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito." While some of the affected sites are MFA sites, others use image-based or Flash-based landing pages; or other low-text UIs, which are being judged by the AdsBot as low quality and are being penalized.

Some advertisers are supporting Google's actions, saying that reducing or eliminating search arbitrage will improve the quality of AdWords for users, leading them to click on ads more. A growing number of advertisers are beginning to weigh in on the forums with reports that their eCPM, CTR and pageviews are all up since Google began implementing the changes. It's likely many of these gains will be lost once more advertisers figure out what Google's AdsBot is looking for, but that would still accomplish the company's goal of encouraging "higher quality" landing pages.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Enid Burns

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Resources

Jobs

    • Senior Paid Search & Advertising Manager
      Senior Paid Search & Advertising Manager (Smarty Had A Party) - St. LouisCompany Description: A warm, loving, [slightly wacky] startup, we view...
    • Technical Project Manager
      Technical Project Manager (Agora Inc.) - BaltimorePublishing Services, a subsidiary of Agora Publishing in Baltimore, MD is looking for a great...
    • Financial Research Associate
      Financial Research Associate (Confidential) - BaltimoreThe Financial Research Associate will be responsible for responding to research-level customer...