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Automatic Placement Ads

[ Edited ]
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# 1
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   I am wondering whether anyone has had a similar experience that I've just had in regards to discovering Automatic Placements.

   By way of introduction, I own a small toy business and cannot afford to hire any sort of professional manager for my online advertising. As such, I've been learning on the fly, and basically changing and improving things as time allows. But the past couple of days I've started spending more time looking at my keywords and my account in general. And the biggest discovery I've had is that over the past seven years I've spent over $1500 on clicks on sites that my ads were placed through this Automatic Placement.

 

   Now I must digress a bit. In numerous conversations I've had over the past couple of days with agents at Google about keywords and relevancy, I kept hearing over and over that they must be relevant not only to the search term used (with an almost built-in assumption that Google has devised a method to know what exactly the searcher wants to see in the way of ads) but also that they must be relevant to my ads (they are). BUT with placed ads that whole concept is much more generalized, as one agent used as an example: "if you have "comic paper toys" as a broad match, in placed ads, if someone is just searching for comics, there's a chance your ad will show. As far as I can understand, the "relevancy" for placed ads is alot less stringent.

 

   But also apparently how Google decides what sites are relevant for the ad to show up on is very loose as well. I publish a variety of paper toys, yet in a cursory glance at some of the sites my ad has been placed on showed that they included a repository site for legal documents, an aggregate site for links to casinos around the world, numerous software and shareware sites, and many sites about puppies. When I ask an agent how this is relevant she managed to say that a person going to those sites might very well be looking for toys. I dropped the matter.

 

   Anyway, what I discovered is that over seven years all these Auto. Placed sites have had my ad clicked on 12,860 times (the managed placements were 310). I suppose I should be happy that anyone sees, let alone clicks on my ads. But consider please the fact that yesterday I was warned by a Google Agent about guarding against "idle clicks" which he said could and would happen if my ads showed up in irrelevant situations. At the time he was referring to search engine ads, and it is telling (to me at least) that he never mentioned, nor has anyone else over the years, about how Automatic Placement ads could, even potentially, drasitcally increase your click rate through placement on irrelevant sites.

 

   My conclusion is that this is a big cash cow for Google. I won't go as far as saying it's some sort of design, but it's odd that even when it comes to a customer (me) asking for help, this particular aspect of my ads has never come up, especially given the fact that those 12,860 Auto Placed ads are about 10 times more than the measly 1200 ads that I've been able to have clicked on during actual searchs that relate to my keywords.

 

   So, I'm wondering if anyone else has had the same sort of surprise about this.

2 Expert replyverified_user

Contextual Targeting on Google Display Network (GDN)

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello Jiminy and Welcome;

 

My understanding is that you are asking on Google display Network (GDN) .

You are right! The contextual targeting in AdWords determines the relevancy between your ad and the content of a given site on GDN.  This relevancy - based on contextual correlation, between a list of keywords and site content - is very broad, That can take your ad to places, you would never think your ad would show in. (As in the example you provided, on a "repository site for legal documents" )


It happens to many advertisers. I recommend two steps to avoid that:

  1. Running a report (from the reporting section) that shows the sites your ads appear on GDN, and exclude those that are irrelevant
  2. Or, the better solution, in my view, is to check " Show ads only on pages that match all my targeting methods" in campaign settings. Using this method, you need to provide AdWords a list of sites you want to target (yes,.. it's a tedious part of setting a campaign) AND a list of keywords for contextual targeting.
    The outcome would be: your ads would appear only on the sites you "picked" (known as placement targeting ) AND only on in pages on those sites, that match the contextual targeting, based on keywords given. (It's a Boolean "and " condition)

-Moshe

 

Edited: I ROFL'd when read:   "...When I ask an agent how this is relevant she managed to say that a person going to those sites might very well be looking for toys."... Smiley Very Happy

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Thank you!

[ Edited ]
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# 3
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Moshe! You're my man! Thank you for this. I think it is very helpful.... or at least sounds helpful  Smiley Very Happy

 

For the time being, I have already disabled the Auto Placement and have started working on the Managed Placement side of it, which I think is what you're mainly suggesting I do.

 

Part of the reason for this post is that I might find reasons why I would even want Auto Placement. In theory I suppose having a "robot" choose sites for me offers the possibility of advertising on sites I'd never think of, but it does seem to be more of a "sorcerer's apprentice" and putting ads on places that would invite more idle clicking than interest (and thus a goldmine for Google). (Editorially speaking I find it "interesting" to say the least it is an automatically chosen option that you have to Opt out of than first choose to Opt into).

 

I suppose in the end it's all something of a gamble. I mean with advertising, say, in a newspaper, you're saying "I have no idea who is going to read this ad other than the fact that they live in X-ville and are readers of the paper". Idle clicks, like idle views of a newspaper ad, could theoretically result in an actual interest. But I have a strong feeling that I threw $1500 worth of clicks down the virtual drain.

 

Does anyone wonder why Google stock is at 646?

 

 

Jiminy; As if, you and Google engineers were thinking alo...

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Jiminy;

As if, you and Google engineers were thinking along the same lines,  and working on the same problem:

Google has just released, a new a revised version of the Display Network contextual engine.

The best would be to quote an extract from AdWords blog, But, do read it in full:

 

  • "The contextual engine, which matches ads to pages based on keywords, is at the heart of display-buying through AdWords. We’ve been hard at work behind-the-scenes to give this engine its biggest enhancement ever, the ability to combine the reach of display with the precision of search, using Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting. This means that you can fine-tune the performance of your contextual campaigns down to individual keyword level, which will help you take the performance of your marketing campaign to a completely new level. "

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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You either flatter me, or insult me

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
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I'm not sure whether you either flatter me  or insult me in comparing me to software engineers! And it is interesting to see this change. Perhaps it will make things a bit clearer as to what is going on in the background for any neophyte that first starts an account. But I think what would really be an act of thinking along the lines of my thinking would be to have the WHOLE display network as an option to turn on, rather than something you have to turn off, and as such are likely to discover it late, after spending unnecessary money.

 

I plan to write Google about this, in the spirit of their "do no evil" slogan. Wish me luck! I'm afraid my cynicism about this company in general is rather irreparable, and that slogan is one of the more interesting paradoxes of our time. "Who us? Do evil? But haven't you seen our slogan suggesting otherwise?"

 

 

 

Display Network is currently part of the default settings...

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Display Network is currently part of the default settings and we have encountered quite a few complaints in this regard in the Official AdWords Forum. I tend to agree with the idea that it should rather be an option.

Isn't this the "official" adwords forum? If not where is it?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Isn't this the "official" adwords forum? If not where is it?

This is the latest incarnation of the "official" forum. I...

Top Contributor Alumni
# 8
Top Contributor Alumni
This is the latest incarnation of the "official" forum. I think Lakatos is indicating that we have heard similar complaints for years.

Yep, that's what I meant to indicate. The former official...

Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor

Yep, that's what I meant to indicate. The former official forums that have retired by now.