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Low quality and suspicious placements

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Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Over the last few months we've been noticing an increase in poor quality placements showing up with large amounts of impressions and clicks.

 

A lot of these websites seem to be clones of each other - they're just scraping articles and videos from other websites and presenting them in a WordPress template. A few of them are identical other than the domain and logo. They have no contact details on the websites & post no original content, yet they must be getting hundreds of thousands of visitors judging by the number of impressions and clicks we're paying for. It's amazing how high their click-through rates are as well!

 

The other concern is that some of these suspicious looking websites are US news websites. How is this a problem? Well, our ads are all targeted to Brisbane, Australia. You might expect a few people in Brisbane to look at US news websites, but when they're showing up as some of the highest impressions in our account, you can see why it looks suspicious.

 

There are also mobile apps showing up with lots of impressions and clicks on some campaigns, even though we've excluded "adsenseformobileapps.com", GMob mobile app non-interstitial and In-game. We know these aren't genuine clicks because our ads are about MBA courses etc, yet the clicks are coming from apps like Dora the Explorer kindergarten games.

 

Some of the websites don't even exist anymore when I try to go to them, but a lot are still active. Aside from checking every day/week and visiting each website to assess its suitability (and manually excluding that placement), what else can we do? New sites like these seem to pop up all the time. I can't find any easy way to report suspicious placements either.

 

I've very much lost faith in the AdWords algorithm and starting to feel like Google is happy to take piles of money without actually checking the websites that ads are being shown on.

3 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Luke;

Well.... The display network is huge... I am not sure what is the percentage of "low quality" sites... Since Google checks the quality of the sites when they apply for the Adsense program, I would assume that the percentage is negligible.
What targeting methods are you using?

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi Luke,

 

I'm not sure I'd be suspicious of any country looking at US news sites.  Bear in mind that most people browsing the web don't have any idea (or care) what the "nationality" of a site is when they're viewing it, that's the very nature of the Internet.  I can't really imagine many people saying "Oh, that's a US site, I'm not going to read that", especially before they visit the site, by which time of course, your Ad has already been displayed.

 

Placements on the Display network always need close management, for the reasons you've quoted.  There are, unfortunately, a lot of low value sites out there that have been able to maintain AdSense Accounts.  However, surprisingly, some of these sites can return positive results, so it's down to the manager to examine performance and manage the placements effectively.  

 

You have two choices; you can explicitly exclude poorly performing sites, which can be tiresome to do manually, but which is relatively easy using scripts.  More easily, you can choose sites that perform well and target your Ads with Managed (rather than automatic) placements.

 

I can't comment on why you're still seeing App clicks when you've excluded that domain, although the most common reason for this is looking at a time period that includes data from before the exclusion.  I know from my own Accounts that whenever I exclude this domain, App impressions stop.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks Jon & Moshe,

Certain campaigns we run are easy to target with specific placements - it works very well in these cases, with the users highly engaged with our website (lots of time spent on site, pages viewed etc). Unfortunately many of our campaigns target a much broader audience (or age groups such as under 18 which isn't an option on GDN) without being able to pin down specific sites/interests.

As for the US news sites, I'm not talking about anything like NY Times, Washington Post etc. Of course I would expect some visits to these sites from people in our geographic area. But some sites are showing up with unusually high impressions and clicks (and high CTR). The one that immediately comes to mind is sfglobe.com.

It's not just a few visits, either. Just in one month (November) we had 132 clicks from 5,570 impressions from sfglobe.com to our website which is higher than most other placements during the same period. Engagement with our site was absolutely terrible - people basically left as soon as they arrived! Needless to say, we've excluded this placement manually, but it's just one of MANY such sites that have popped up.

I've set up some automated rules, but I'm not aware of any way to automatically pause/exclude placements based on things like time on site, bounce rate, pages viewed etc. Is there such a thing?

For the moment we're reviewing sites and excluding manually and keeping a record of all these sites so that we exclude them in any future campaigns.

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

Could you elaborate what targeting methods are you using? Are you using keywords  as  a targeting method? I think that if you will   add another targeting method, you could narrow the  (number of) "low quality" placements.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
It really varies by what campaign we're running. Some we specify placements, some we target keywords and others we only use topics or interests.

The topics/interest targeting are the ones where we get these low quality placements, though I'm not sure how else to target these people. They are usually under 18 (which is not an age targeting option in GDN) and have a range of varied interests. We get much better results on Facebook for these campaigns as we can specify age range (e.g. 16 to 21).

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

I would not recommend interests. The system "ability" to mach interests based on user behavior is still (my opinion) far from  perfect...

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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December 2015

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

Hi Luke, there is a way to examine time on site, bounce rate and other Analytics metrics for AdWords placements, but it's only possible through Scripts, and it's not that straightforward.

 

Unfortunately, GA data isn't available within AdWords itself (for placements) so the script has to retrieve the placements from AdWords, then run a separate Analytics query on that placement combined with the specific Campaign ID.  However, once it's all done, it does work.

 

Of course, once you've retrieved the data, you can then act upon it in the script to exclude the placement if it falls outside of your specs.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Topics is our fallback, but that also seems far from perfect. I've noticed that certain real estate websites don't show up even when the "Real Estate" topic is enabled, but they do show when all topics are enabled (I haven't worked out which topic they actually sit in). Similarly, some of the viral videos websites show up when the "Science" topic is switched on. I'm guessing it's just based on whatever they select when they sign up for AdSense? Oh well, we'll keep refining I guess! Smiley Happy Thanks for the advice.

Re: Low quality and suspicious placements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks for the info, Jon. I will have to get our developers to look into that when they have time.