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Low CTR because of automated software?

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# 1
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I have a seen a few cases with combinations of narrow keywords and geographical areas where impressions are suspiciously high and CTR suspiciously low.

I am thinking this could be due to automated software (i.e. scraping) where robots trigger ads to show but clicks are nor performed.

What do you think, is that a plausible explanation?

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Low CTR because of automated software?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi David,


That would have to be some fairly sophisticated software. Most bots do not load or run Javascript that appears on the page.


Do you think a competitor is deliberately trying to sabotage your CTR by running up your impressions? I could possibly write a program that would do something like this and have it target specific keywords by scripting a browser. Google generally blocks that kind of activity if multiple requests come from a single IP address in a short period of time. I would need to throttle the "bot" (or spoof IP addresses) or it would get a captcha and stop working.


What are the match types of these keywords? Is something else going on? Perhaps regional slang gives the keyword a different meaning?


Best of Luck!




petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

Re: Low CTR because of automated software?

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# 3
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Hi Pete


Do you think a competitor is deliberately trying to sabotage your CTR by running up your impressions?


Don´t think so, doesn´t seem like a smart use of time to bother about that. But I guessed they were running scraping software to keep track of their and their competitors ranking.


There is a 3 words keyword with exact match targeting a city with a population less than 1 million. The city name is in the keyword.

I´ve got  ave. posi. 1.0 and the ad is a very good match for the keyword, which has less than 100 impressions over 6 months. But there are some similar, related keywords with the same stats.

Taken together it just seems odd.

Especially since there is a another keyword, the same except for the the city name, targeting a much bigger city, but has much fewer impressions and my CTR is much better. That doesn´t make sense.



Re: Low CTR because of automated software?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
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Look at the Search Terms report (Keyword Details button just above your stats in the online interface, 3rd one from left). This tells you the actual search terms used by those seeing and clicking your ads. It might give you a clue.


What I'm thinking is something that happened to me once. I had a client selling clothes, one brand was named Charlie Rocket. Just a handful of searches per day normally. One day, I notice thousands of searches. Why? Because some actor named Charlie Rocket that I've never heard of died. People search his name and since the ad is not relevant, click rates suddenly become very low. It was a bit late but I added some negatives. Goes to show you to be careful and that anything can happen the less words your keyword has.


There's always an explanation and I've yet to hear one where it's a competitor with some trick to put you out of business. Yet, most people immediately jump to that conclusion.