Monday, 23 June 2008

Free Clicks

Google's Adpreview tool can be used to check the position and creative of PPC adverts, within Google. We all know that there are plenty of anomalies that can be found within sizable Adwords campaigns, so Adpreview can be used to understand campaigns from a users point of view.

Adpreview also allows users to conduct a search from a particular region, so that advertisers can understand local competition and evaluate geographic targeting opportunities.

One of the frustrations of this tool is that you are unable to click on an advert and check that it deeplinks to the correct landing page. This can only be checked from the standard Google search results. i recently discovered however, that there is a method that can be used so that advertisers can check creative and landing pages within the Google search results, at no cost.

Whenever a user views a SERP that features a number of sponsored links in the right hand rail, a link stating More Sponsored Links is located beneath the final paid advert. Clicking on this link takes users to Google's Ad Search feature. Ad Search only displays paid adverts. Advertisers can again use this feature to understand which advert is showing on a particular key term and the appropriate creative that is showing. The difference with Ad Search is that links can be clicked on, at no cost.

To explain further, the adverts displayed in Ad Search sit outside the traditional AdWords algorithm. Clicks and impressions are not accrued within Ad Search and consequently advertisers are not charged for clicks. Adverts are shown, even when they have met their daily budget allowing additional exposure for those with small budgets wishing to compete on expensive high volume terms.

Google of course will not be drawn on the volume of clicks that take place within the Ad Search feature but these are essentially free paid clicks that are contributing towards paid search objectives.

For the past couple of weeks however, this feature has not been functioning correctly. When clicking on more sponsored links, the results are quite erratic.
Looking closer at some of the adverts, it would appear that there is a database error with the matching of correct advert titles. As far as I can see advert descriptions, display URL's and landing pages are all correct.

It is important for search marketers not to over-rely on the statistical information generated by adwords. Adwords metrics are all displayed in averages, making it difficult to glean any really meaningful information. The best piece of information anyone has ever told me to deter me from relying on averages is that the average person has less than two arms.

By using Adpreview and More Sponsored Links, advertisers and agencies can gain an understanding of how a user views at search results. This qualitative information should always be used in conjunction with statistical data in order to make meaningful search marketing decisions.

No comments: