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Where Have All The Advertisers Gone?


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15 replies to this topic

#1 Scottie

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:19 AM

As an Adsense publisher, I have noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of quality ads available to publishers.

Is anyone besides Groupon, Social Living and the crazy lose-your-belly-fat people even using Adwords anymore? I've noticed it on my own sites so I did a quick survey across a number of different topical websites. It's all the same. Same crappy ads everywhere.

I realize Facebook has had an impact on the whole internet marketing thing, but the ads I see on Facebook are no different. I rarely see good targeted or local ads there either.

Do you think the small to mid size business owner has given up on Internet advertising?

#2 Jill

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:35 AM

Tons are doing Adwords, but I think they're being a lot more selective with the content network. You can target more exactly the sites you want to allow your ads to appear on rather than just spraying and praying.

#3 Ron Carnell

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 02:17 PM

Quality ads? Some would say that's an oxymoron, Scottie. smile.gif

Honestly, I generally don't monitor quality unless I get a complaint from a visitor or member of the community. I can, however, tell you that revenue is still good. It's not quite the highest I've ever seen it, but it's not far off that mark, either.

Anecdotally, I have a local friend who owns a magic store and spends a fairly small portion of his advertising budget on AdWords. Rick has seen results, but he's also seen how much money he can burn through in a very short amount of time. I've given him books. I've sent him links. I've offered very specific advice. But doing AdWords right is apparently very, very complicated for business owners who perhaps lack a deeper understanding of how search (and searchers) work. Like many, I think, Rick started out bidding on generic keywords and sending all of his clicks to his home page. He's better now, but his campaigns are still far from optimum and his AdWords budget reflects it. So, to try to answer your deeper question, Scottie, I'm not sure the small- to mid-size business owner has given up . . . but I'm beginning to see where they soon might.




#4 Jill

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 04:45 PM

Yes, doing Adwords correctly is definitely getting more difficult.

In fact, we're having a good discussion on that over at Sphinn as it's the Discussion Thread of the Week:

Has AdWords/PPC Become Too Complicated for the Average Person/Small Business Owner?

#5 Ron Carnell

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 07:42 PM

Thanks for that link, Jill. I'll send it (yet another) to Rick so he at least knows he not alone.




#6 Mikl

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 07:30 AM

I'm not an expert, but I do have a couple of sites that depend on AdSense for their revenue. Over the last year, I've seen a slow but steady increase in earnings. Of course, there might other factors at work, other than the quality of the ads. I don't know.

That said, one of the sites is about luxury desserts - things made with lots of chocolate and cream. When Google introduced the ability to ban entire advertising sectors, I lost no time in banning weight-loss products (the lose-your-belly-fat ads that you mentioned, Scottie). The last thing I wanted was to remind visitors of the effect of my desserts on their waistlines.

As soon as I had done that, I saw a noticeable jump both in traffic and click-throughs. Maybe a coincidence. Who knows.




#7 Scottie

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 08:52 AM

Interesting. Maybe it's just the niches I am working in where people have lost faith.

I went out of town this weekend and ran some more tests, hoping to see different ads touting local businesses but mostly got the same junk ads...

Ron, I do believe in quality advertising! I believe in Santa Claus too... mf_rudolph.gif

To me, quality advertising is related products to the topic of the page. Stuff you'd be interested in! If we're discussing say, personalized Christmas ornaments, for example, it would seem logical to see ads promoting personalized Christmas ornaments. You'd think. Well, I would. That's what I used to see. Now I see 3 different Groupon ads and car insurance. Maybe a public service ad or two. Poor targeting.

I run a couple of service directories and used to see a wide range of local related services being advertised on them... real businesses. Now I see junky national ads that are kinda sorta related. I run some locally-focused sites, but it seems the local companies just aren't advertising the way they used to.

I have checked related sites in these fields, wondering if - like Jill suggests - the advertisers are out there but only targeting "branded" or bigger sites... but I see the same ads. I was hoping to find all those ads for the good stuff and figure out why they aren't showing up but I just can't find them. There's not much in the ads that appear with the direct search results either, so I don't think it's completely content network related.

I suspected Facebook might have stolen the advertisers but it seems to be a lot of crap ads there too. With all the bazillion details they know about me, obviously their data only tells them that my teeth need whitening and my belly fat needs to be eliminated with some weird old tip.

My business model relies on giving advertisers relevant and real sites to promote to specific audiences but if they've abandoned online ads, well, I guess it's time for some new plans. Yeah, it still pays OK at the moment but the long term health is not looking good.

#8 Jill

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 11:15 AM

Scottie, it might also be that the adwords advertisers have not been able to make the content network work for them, so they simply turn it off.

#9 Say Yebo

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE(Scottie @ Dec 13 2010, 08:52 AM) View Post
If we're discussing say, personalized Christmas ornaments, for example, it would seem logical to see ads promoting personalized Christmas ornaments. You'd think. Well, I would. That's what I used to see. Now I see 3 different Groupon ads and car insurance. Maybe a public service ad or two. Poor targeting.


I suspect many small business owners are disillusioned because Google moves the goal posts, and also fails to reward you for following their instructions carefully.

I have a client who sell products comparable to your Christmas ornament example (except they are not just for Christmas). His ads are set up in small groups with relevant keywords, as suggested by Google.

The products range in price from $20 each to $45 each. Google has been raising the bid for a first page position constantly! A word that was 51 cents a month ago has rapidly gone up to $2.25. Who the heck bids $2.25 for a word when your product is worth $20?

They also don't warn you that image ad impressions only go to the highest bidders. But they don't take into account that certain products have a point at which Google's bid suggestion outweighs the value of the product.

I wasted a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and why the image ads were not showing. Google should have said "Bid more!" as their first trouble-shooting step, not the last one. Judging by the forums, it would save a lot of people a lot of time.

QUOTE(Jill @ Dec 9 2010, 04:45 PM) View Post
In fact, we're having a good discussion on that over at Sphinn as it's the Discussion Thread of the Week:

Has AdWords/PPC Become Too Complicated for the Average Person/Small Business Owner?


That's an interesting discussion Jill...definitely worth reading.

#10 Jill

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 09:27 PM

QUOTE
A word that was 51 cents a month ago has rapidly gone up to $2.25. Who the heck bids $2.25 for a word when your product is worth $20?


It's possible that he's not doing things exactly right and has a low quality score. You typically pay more if you have a low quality score. That score is based on a whole bunch of factors, but one of the biggies (as I understand it) is making sure that the landing page and ad and keywords all really match up.

Is he landing everyone on his home page?

#11 Mhoram

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 10:43 AM

I haven't used AdWords yet, but I got one of those $100 gift cards, so I suppose I should understand this problem. Why is it so complicated? Does it have to be?

Say I want to use it to promote my Learn Latin Online site, so I create some ads with the title "Learn Latin" (after researching to choose that keyword) and a description that makes it clear that the site offers online Latin lessons. If my ad gets placed on unrelated sites where no one clicks on it, I'm not out any money, right? As long as my ad clearly states the purpose of the site, it seems anyone who actually clicks on it will be well-targeted. Of course, I'll still lose money if my site doesn't sell my product well, but that's not AdWords's fault.

Sounds like I'd better do some more research before burning through that $100.

#12 Jill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 11:39 AM

What makes it complicated (one of the things) are the different match types for keywords. You may think you're just bidding on "learn latin" but in reality if you aren't sure what you're doing, you might be bidding on all kinds of other phrases that have the word "learn" in them or "latin" in them. There's tons to do to make sure you only target the correct phrases. And they've made that much more complicated over the past few years as it's in Google's favor to do so.

#13 Darryl Payne

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 12:26 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Dec 13 2010, 12:15 PM) View Post
Scottie, it might also be that the adwords advertisers have not been able to make the content network work for them, so they simply turn it off.


This is exactly the case for me. I gave up on the content network a long time ago. I only do Google Search network. It just didn't provide qualified traffic.

#14 Say Yebo

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 12:43 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Dec 15 2010, 09:27 PM) View Post
Is he landing everyone on his home page?


No, there's a landing page for each category of products, with matching keywords. His quality score for most words is 7/10 which is not too shabby?

QUOTE(Darryl Payne @ Dec 16 2010, 12:26 PM) View Post
This is exactly the case for me. I gave up on the content network a long time ago. I only do Google Search network. It just didn't provide qualified traffic.


I have a client who sells home decor stuff and the content network really worked for him. We set lower bids for his content/display network ads.

Have to tried the managed option...where you get to pick which sites your ads appear on?

#15 Jill

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Posted 16 December 2010 - 01:35 PM

QUOTE
His quality score for most words is 7/10 which is not too shabby?


Yeah, I believe that's okay.




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