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pre-pay creates Google impression limitation

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# 1
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Today, I have been told something that to me is new from Google adwords support via phone call and I wanted to find out if anybody else has ever been told this:

 

We have a market-test campaign for a service industry (carpet cleaning, HVAC repair etc. etc.) setup for the Atlanta, Georgia DMA, specifically everything north of the 285 beltway through 4 counties. This is a huge market area with heavy population. Anyways, the campaign was set to pre-pay, $300 daily budget and funded with $300, accelerated display and max CPC $25.00 - we were okay if the budget only lasted as little as 1 day so long as we could guage the search volume and ad text conversion. This is the 3'rd run of this test campaign with the only major changes being to the landing page (setup as a experiment).

 

We noticed the impression level and clicks were VERY far off the expectation for the market size and industry after 2 days of running and reached out to Google support for input. They found no issues with the campaign structure, targeting, keywords, ad-text or landing page(s) HOWEVER:

 

They advised that one reason the campaign may be under performing in being served (in spite of the campaign settings) is because it is pre-pay. According to the Google rep, since the account was funded for $300 and the daily limit was $300, there are some algorythms in adwords that may intentionally slow the ad serving down for fear of the account getting more clicks than the daily budget could potentially pay for.

 

I was dumbfounded to hear that, esentially despite our account settings Googles system is applying its own AD serving rules becasue the funding is pre-paid. Has anyone else been told or found documentation indicating that Googles systems may create an AD artificial serving buffer despite account settings based on the fact that an account is prepaid?

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Accepted by topic author DMSInc
September 2015

Re: pre-pay creates Google impression limitation

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# 2
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Yes, it is true but it is also more than just the fact that the funding is pre-paid.

 

Essentially, you have a very low daily budget with a very high CPC. Because of this, the system is going to throttle your ads because it wants to ensure that you do not go over your set budget. The same would would apply even if you were NOT on pre-paid funding.

 

Essentially, with the way you have your bids and the daily budget set, if you are in market with substantial search volume you could generate 12 clicks in a matter of a minute (which would max your budget) but the system isn't going to update your data until considerably longer, which could cause you to generate 20, 30 or even 100s of clicks. Think of it as a safety mechanism to ensure you do not go over budget. If you increase your budget or lower your max CPC you will not run into these issues.

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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author DMSInc
September 2015

Re: pre-pay creates Google impression limitation

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Yes, it is true but it is also more than just the fact that the funding is pre-paid.

 

Essentially, you have a very low daily budget with a very high CPC. Because of this, the system is going to throttle your ads because it wants to ensure that you do not go over your set budget. The same would would apply even if you were NOT on pre-paid funding.

 

Essentially, with the way you have your bids and the daily budget set, if you are in market with substantial search volume you could generate 12 clicks in a matter of a minute (which would max your budget) but the system isn't going to update your data until considerably longer, which could cause you to generate 20, 30 or even 100s of clicks. Think of it as a safety mechanism to ensure you do not go over budget. If you increase your budget or lower your max CPC you will not run into these issues.

Re: pre-pay creates Google impression limitation

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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Robert, Sorry for long delay I don't typically use this account for adwords-community posting so it's not checked very often. Having said that - I get what your saying but it seems that Google gave us the power to choose that mechanism when we set up the campaigns, after all you are asked if you want the ad's shown "evenly over time" or "as fast as possible". Whats the point of asking us those questions if they are going to apply a internal rule/decision anyways?

Either way, thanks for the answer and I'll accept it as resolved.

Re: pre-pay creates Google impression limitation

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hi DMSInc, I do understand what you're saying, but Google isn't really taking away the choice between Accelerated and Standard, it's simply that your particular combination of budget, CPC and target make it difficult for the system to perform well.

 

You've said yourself you're targeting a "huge market area with heavy population" and yet you're giving AdWords the budget to deliver only 12 clicks (possibly more - you don't say what your actual average CPC is).  Imagine I gave you 10,000 flyers inviting people to a party at my house and told you to give them out, put them under windshield wipers, whatever, and do it as quickly as possible.  Then I also tell you I only have space for 12 people.  What are you going to do?

 

In AdWords, for you, this isn't a problem because Google will honour the $300 budget limit, but for Google it is a problem as they can't run a system that delivers 1000 clicks (say) and only makes the client pay for 12 of them.  The system will still be trying to honour the Accelerated setting, but it can't deliver upon every impression, for the reasons outlined by @RobertCoats.

 

As an aside, if this is a test, I do feel that neither the budget/CPC/target mix, nor the Accelerated setting is the best option for such a test.  With only 12 clicks possible per day you'd need a conversion rate of close to 10% to see even 1 conversion per day and even if over a decent period you could achieve 10%, there's a good chance you won't see any on the 2 days of your test as you're hitting such a small percentage of the available customers.  I'd really recommend picking a much smaller target, using a larger budget, lower max CPC and using Standard delivery.

 

Jon

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