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Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I have a small account which has been in place since the early adsense days and has been virtually static at $100 and month in traffic for many years. In the past 3.5 months it massively ramped up to over $17,000 in charges from traffic. We missed that this was happening because it was a small account and there was no change in conversions. Only picked up from credit card charges.

 

I have no knowledge of being informed about apps being the centre piece of the display network traffic. Could you please explain why the sudden change in traffic and why none of this massive traffic spike converted on our end?

 

 

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
# 2
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆

At the beginning of reading your question I thought you are taking about adsense, but after reading the whole question it turns out you mean adwords. Here are some of the most common examples that can cause spike in traffic:-

 

External Factors

Sometimes you’ll notice fluctuations in traffic, even though you haven’t made any changes to a campaign. However, these might be caused by external factors. The most common ones are:

  • Ads are showing on new Display Network sites
    If your ad campaign uses automatic placements and has enough daily budget, the ads’ traffic can significantly increase if it starts showing on a new publisher site or if the sites the ads are serving on receive more traffic due to the next reason:

  • Seasonal trends or news events
    Sometimes it’s a sudden increase in interest in a specific topic that causes increased traffic, for example, celebrity endorsements of specific products, news events, Valentine’s Day.

  • Changes in the competitive landscape
    If a competitor stops advertising or makes changes to their campaigns, this could affect your campaigns as well and your ads might see an increase in impressions and clicks due to reduced competition.

Changes in the Account

Campaign changes can have a significant impact on the performance of a campaign. The most common ones to keep in mind are:

  • Changes in daily budget
    If you raise the daily budget for your campaigns, it will allow the ads to receive more impressions and - naturally - more clicks.

  • Changes in maximum CPC for keywords
    Raising the maximum CPC for one or more of your keywords might allow your ads to show more often. It might also allow the ads to show in a higher position than before. Ads with a higher position typically receive more clicks than those in a lower position. That is also true for ads that show on the Display Network - a higher CPC can result in a higher position and therefore more impressions and clicks.

  • Adding new keywords
    Adding new keywords to your campaign, especially if the keywords are quite general or correspond to popular search queries, can increase the number of impressions and clicks as well.

  • Changes to country or language targeting
    Adding new countries or languages to a campaign’s targets can significantly increase the number of impressions and clicks.

  • Changes to the network settings
    If you target new placements or switch from automatic placements to managed placements or the other way round, it can also influence your campaign’s traffic.

 

In terms of why this massive traffic doesn't convert, this probably for two reasons; you are acquiring the wrong type of traffic or there's something wrong in your landing page that prevent the conversion cycle. So, you have to do some analysis and tests to figure out what's wrong; the traffic, the website, the offer you proving or what.


Recommended resources:-

http://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/advertisers/valid-reasons-for-increases-in-traffic.html

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2633227?hl=en

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
This was an account focused on Google's adsense network rather than search, and was set up with the original guidance of a Google specialist. It was created with their assistance in themes. The network, now the Display Network, had been providing minimal traffic for years. Within 3 months Google ramped up the traffic 60 fold through its App network. As other have found this traffic was poorly matched and did not convert. I ended up with a bill for over $17,000 (from the usual $300-400 for the period) and no conversions to speak of. It is ridiculous to jam through App traffic when this account was set up prior to apps being around and have the response of "your setting are the problem". They weren't changed since their people advised how to set it up in the first place.
Google staff assume that business men and women have nothing better to do than watch their Google accounts every day and read all the blogs to make sure they don't get blindsided by Google's changes to their processes.

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Simon,

Try negative keyword exclusions and Campaign placement exclusions.

Also try Site category Options and exclude categories not relevant for you.

These should significantly reduce irrelevant traffic.

Also use lower max cpc, or have a specific daily budget for the campaigns in question.

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello Simon H,

 

To get a bill for 17.000 $ you had to have at least one setting  set this way : daily budget of over 560 USD.

 

Why did you set your daily budget so high when your monthly traffic was only costing you 300 USD ? You should have had a daily budget cap at 10 USD and all this would have been avoided.

 

To exclude mobile apps from your targeting exclude the placement adsenseformobileapps.com

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
This account had run at $180 mth in 2012, $90 mth in 2013, $165 mth up to July 1st 2014. It was one of our accounts that had a history of producing a small amount of traffic no matter what the budget was. Other accounts were more active.

Then within a 3.5 mth period the account was inundated with App traffic, not the website traffic that it had received since its establishment 13 year prior. Traffic ramped up 50 fold from only 3-4 mths prior. No increase in conversions were registered.

Now I hear that Google’s technical team’s view is ‘this is a self service system’ and ‘you had your budget too high’, ‘we delivered what you wanted’. Your $17,000 in non converting traffic ($16,500 more than usual) is your problem because you didn’t change your setting to avoid this happening.

This is where the problem is. I am a multiple business owner and have used Google since adwords started. As a business owner I do not have the time to monitor accounts that are doing $100 a month in traffic to make sure the settings are right so I don’t get firehosed with App traffic (which did not exist earlier in the year).

I find it amazing that a company that prides itself on trying to do the right thing and wants small business owners to use their platform has a view that it is ok to smash an almost dormant account that has been around for 13 years with non converting App traffic and take the view, ‘they should have known this could happen and they should have had all their settings right’.

So because Google made App traffic something you need to opt out of rather than opt into, people like me have to go through the experience of tearing up thousands of dollars to realise our best interests are not shared by Google.

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
Hi Simon,

Unfortunately, there isn't much we can tell you, except for what likely happened. Ahmed and Adrian did a nice job of detailing that above. George offered good suggestions for how to improve the quality of your traffic and weed out clicks to make the most of your budget.

I'm sorry that this has happened to you and I wish there was more that we could do but, unfortunately, Google will probably require you to fulfill payment because .. and I hate to say this but... Google did do what you asked it to do. I understand where you are coming from - the campaigns hadn't spent that much before, so you didn't think that you needed to worry. Still, AdWords is a technology platform, not a person. Therefore, when it has placements available that are relevant to a campaign that has open budgets, it is going to deliver them.

My suggestion would be to set a daily report for your account so that you can keep an eye on spend even if you don't have time to be in the accounts managing them. If you don't have time to manage your accounts, you should consider looking for a freelancer of a small agency to help you.

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello ,

 

Yes, there is an amount of unfairness in what has happened to you because there were no conversions. I also experience this lack of conversions from the mobile apps segment, this is why I use this type of traffic only in branding campaigns.

 

But the keyword here is "daily budget setting". Someone was in control of establishing a reasonable daily budget limit for the campaigns, there is not campaign setting for "infinite spending", you have to input a number there.

 

Unfortunately in here you are writing to a public forum, where answers come from users just like you.

 

I hope there is someone around here who can help you to turn the situation in your favor, but it is not like google gives anyone guarantees about getting conversions from any traffic they bring, the deal is to pay for clicks not for conversions.

 

As a technical advice, you can use automated rules to check on spending , a simple rule can send you an email alert if the campaign cost in a day is above a limit you choose.

 

In here you can find more information, under "Controlling budgets and costs" :

 

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497710?hl=en

 

Good luck !

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
You miss the point. I did not ask for App traffic and certainly not a change where the majority of traffic use to come from websites and suddenly comes from Apps. Google made this change to where and when these ads showed. I didn't change a thing. If you are going to automatically opt people into new initiatives eg Apps, then get it right. Zero leads from $17000 spend is ridiculously bad targeting. Google put me into these Apps. They are not even relevant to my industry. Google has been delivering my ads for 13 years to websites - they should be able to tell it was not relevant. And if they can't then why do I pay for that?
They can't even tell me why these Apps are relevant.
By the way, your own Google colleagues think the technical teams stance on this is way off the mark. They are the business facing side of Google. Hey - what would they know.

Re: Smashed by massive ramp up in non converting traffic

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Simon,

I suppose you can approach Google with this issue.

However, I strongly suggest implementing cost controls (setting a daily budget to a more reasonable one) and traffic controls (negative keyword lists, etc.). Do this now.