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Astronomical increase in non-relevant impressions and clicks ... after 7 years of steady numbers

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# 1
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Over the past month two of my companies that have used Adwords quite effectively since 2005 have experienced an astronomical increase in impressions ... from the 5,000 daily range to, over the past month a mind-boggling 458,000 with no changes in our campaigns, but a quadrupling of costs with virtually zero increase in sales, meaning Google suddenly is delivery our ads to the wrong audience. What gives? There seems to be something terribly wrong, but when we contacted Google, they robotically give no explanation but insist fraud is not involved. I think the fraud, quite frankly, might be something Google is doing, not outright fraud, but a disingenuous change of algorithm - or something - that they can defend but know full well will increase their revenues without much attention being paid to whether it increases our revenues. Advice? 

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Accepted by Aislinn (Google Employee)
September 2015

Re: Astronomical increase in non-relevant impressions and clicks ... after 7 years of steady numbers

Top Contributor Alumni
# 4
Top Contributor Alumni

As Tom said, you need to research this a bit more before anyone here will be able to help you.  First, is the spike in impressions from search or display?  Once you know that, you'll be able to start diagnosing the problem.  Otherwise, everyone will just be speculating.

 

For instance, we've seen questions in the past about spikes in traffic from AdSense for Mobile Apps.  Those would show up after spikes in impressions on the display network (if you're opted into mobile devices).

 

Also, we've seen spikes in traffic from AdSense for Domains (on either the search or display networks).

 

On the search side, anytime Google has made changes to the keyword matching algorithms, we've seen spikes in search ad impressions.

 

You might also find that a keyword in your account was featured in the news recently, so there's been a genuine spike in searches for that keyword and/or more content created in the display network related to the keyword.

 

So, dig a bit more and let us know what you find.

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Re: Astronomical increase in non-relevant impressions and clicks ... after 7 years of steady numbers

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Naturestrust,

 

Tough to say exactly what is happening but I have one thought given your timeline.  Were you aware of the recent changes in match type behavior for phrase and exact match keywords?  I have a hard time believing that this could cause such an increase of impressions but it matches your timeline almost perfectly.

 

Are these accounts only on Search Networks or both search and display?  What is your account telling you?  Are these impressions consistent across all campaigns and accounts?  What do the search terms reports tell you?  I would also start segmenting some reports to find out as much as you can about the current account activity.  I think with a little digging, you can find out where these excessive new impressions are coming from and which KW are triggering the clicks etc...

 

I guess this is just a start for you but it would be helpful to know a little more.

 

What do you know so far?

 

-Tom

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: Astronomical increase in non-relevant impressions and clicks ... after 7 years of steady numbers

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# 3
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You may want to check your campaign settings. Google started adding broad related elements to exact and phrase. You can see the blog post here:

http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/04/new-matching-behavior-for-phrase-and.html

You can turn that off under the "Keyword Matching Options" in settings.

Let us know if that helps...
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by Aislinn (Google Employee)
September 2015

Re: Astronomical increase in non-relevant impressions and clicks ... after 7 years of steady numbers

Top Contributor Alumni
# 4
Top Contributor Alumni

As Tom said, you need to research this a bit more before anyone here will be able to help you.  First, is the spike in impressions from search or display?  Once you know that, you'll be able to start diagnosing the problem.  Otherwise, everyone will just be speculating.

 

For instance, we've seen questions in the past about spikes in traffic from AdSense for Mobile Apps.  Those would show up after spikes in impressions on the display network (if you're opted into mobile devices).

 

Also, we've seen spikes in traffic from AdSense for Domains (on either the search or display networks).

 

On the search side, anytime Google has made changes to the keyword matching algorithms, we've seen spikes in search ad impressions.

 

You might also find that a keyword in your account was featured in the news recently, so there's been a genuine spike in searches for that keyword and/or more content created in the display network related to the keyword.

 

So, dig a bit more and let us know what you find.