The Truth About 'Quality Score' & 'Brand Awareness'
You'll never figure out why your QS numbers are bad and why AdWords never works for the little guy/gal, because everyone is missing the psychology of internet surfers and the power of "Brand Awareness"... something that will eat up your money (the little guy) until you leave AdWords with your tail between your legs.
Which ad would you click on for buying a "BBQ Grill"?
Joe's BBQ Grills
Jim's BBQ Grills
Jane's BBQ Grills
Which ad would you click on for buying a dress?
eBay.c*m / Dresses
Linda & Jane Clothing
...the answers are obvious. And this is happening on an astronomical basis. Take it from a guy (me) with a 6502 computer chip hanging around his neck. I'm guilty myself. Every time I do Google Shopping searches I click on Sears, K-Mart, etc., etc., because I don't TRUST anyone else... viruses being only one reason.
Need more proof? Here it is...
My web site deals with day trading. The words "day trading" were highly recommended by Google's own keyword tool that scanned my landing page. The words are in my ad. The words are on my landing page. I have the max bid set to $10.00, and I can tell you for CERTAIN that ANYONE typing those words would LOVE to see my web site and probably become a subscriber.
So go type "day trading" into a Google search. You'll see eTrade on the right side around the second one down. However, both words aren't IN their ad, and the words do not appear together ANYWHERE on the landing page...
w w w . e t r a d e . c o m / P r o E l i t e T r a d i n g
So how could they have a high quality score? The answer is above. It's 'Brand Awareness.' We've already lost against the big corporations before we even START AdWords. It's DECADES of "Brand Awareness" that will cause 9 out of 10 Google searchers to click on a major company's ad before yours/ours... ESPECIALLY if your ad triggers "eBay" results. EVERYONE will click on an eBay result before your jennysclothing.c*m address.
The AdWords system is set up to fail for small businesses from the get-go, and Google will never tell us the truth. (What I have written above) And it's not their fault. They aren't guilty of 'Doing' anything wrong. They just won't tell us why it isn't working for most people... "People," not corporations.
I still pop in every now and then and blow $100 on AdWords just to see if things have changed... like I'm doing right now. But I guess some things never change... never change. My "Day trading" keyword just died while I was writing this because of everything above about Brand Awareness. My last two survivors as of posting this are "etf trading" and
"how to invest in stocks"... BOTH suggested by Google's supposedly genius AI brain, and BOTH will fail before the sun goes down.
Edward ("Chip") Slayton
Re: The Truth About 'Quality Score' & 'Brand Awareness'
[long message ahead, a cup of coffee / tea is recommended]
Allow me to start with a hard to believe story. But try to filter the apparent cockiness in it, and concentrate on the facts. Which are based on my recent experience.
I created a new account for a brand of "something" (less than a month ago). It was under review for a few days. While under review, I studied who my competition was. I counted 15 or 16 different websites, all advertising for my brand and my main keywords. There are ads even on page 10 of the search results. I was impressed. And somewhat terrified that I won't be able to make it. One of the companies who was (and still is) advertising for the terms I have to advertise is the company doing +30% of all online shopping across US. Odds are you've bought from them as well. I sure have, many times.
So I had to roll up my sleeves and get to some serious work. I read all those ads, and decided that mine had to stand out if I was to have any chance. I put my USPs (unique selling propositions) in those ads, the things that made me different.
And I put to work every single recommendation Google has, regarding relevance and best practices. I used every possible (documented) way of getting my ads to the top. I did have to bid pretty high at the beginning, but once my ads got shown, they got clicks. And slowly, but surely, their good CTR history was built. I started with three keywords in one campaign, and one ad group. Two ads. My quality score was not 10 to begin with. It was 5 to 7, if I remember correctly. Even 4 to 6, in the short period after adding them to the ad group and while the account was under review.
Two days after running that first campaign, I managed to have my ads shown in the top three positions. By the end of the second day, I was showing above the big company. In two more days, I was still showing on top, but my CTR history was better, my QS rised, and my CPC was almost half of the initial one.
For this month, my average position for that keyword is 1, and the CTR is 45%. I am currently paying about 5 times less, per click, than I was paying when I started.
Why is it way cheaper now than it was at the beginning? Because of the CTR. Regardless of anything else, if your ads stand out, if you get high CTR, then you are Google's money maker for that keyword. And you are the preferred ad for the people who search for the search term matching that keyword. The perfect, win-win situation. Searchers are shown a relevant ad (because the previous CTR history is the best measure of relevance), Google gets the clicks money, everybody's happy.
Now, back to your situation. It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be fast. On the old AdWords forum, which has been replaced with this one, one of the very experienced Googlers (AdWordsPro) has said the following (and I want to quote it here, and have it here, for future reference, as the old forum seems to be de-indexed):
AdWords is in fact a great way to send targetted traffic to your site, there are no real shortcuts.
To set reasonable expectations, it is rare first time advertiser who starts making a profit from their advertising immediately. Usually, this will take some time, and some money invested. How much time and money it will take is largely dependent upon how much attention is given to both learning the AdWords program and them managing the account once it's running.
If I were to summarize how well AdWords will work for a new advertiser in a very straightforward way, it would be like so:
* Advertisers who expect to very quickly set up their account and then forget about it - and who do not have either the time or interest to really learn how AdWords works - will almost certainly be disappointed in their success.
* Advertisers who make only a moderate effort will likely see moderate success at best.
* Advertisers who take advertising with AdWords very seriously, who spend a substantial amount of time learning the nuances of how it works, and who spend a lot of time managing their account, experimenting, learning from the results of those experiments and then updating their account, tracking their Return on Investment (ROI) using the free tools available from AdWords, etc can find AdWords to be an exceptionally effective way to send highly qualified potential customers to their site.
A useful overview of tips may be found on the page linked to just below, which is one of my favorite resources on how to think about AdWords, and how set up an AdWords account for success:
* Tips for success
The topics covered on this page - which are essential to using AdWords effectively:
1. Identify your advertising goals.
2. Organize your account for maximum effectiveness.
3. Choose relevant keywords and placements.
4. Create straightforward, targeted ads.
5. Optimize your website for conversions.
6. Track your account performance.
7. Test and modify your campaigns to get the results you want.
A great many additional lessons (in both text or multi-media formats) may be found in the Learning Center, referenced below.
All that said, if you do decide to give AdWords a try, I wish you the best of success.
For you, and anyone facing fierce competition and rich opponents, one thing is clear: it won't be easy, and it won't be fast. It won't work if you spend some money now and then. But it may work if you use every single shot you have, and use it like it's the last one. It may work if you wake up with your goals in your head, and if you go to sleep with your goals in your head. If you write them on paper, then write them backwards, and turn the paper around to see if they don't make more sense like that.
When your ad goes to "battle", the metric which is used it the Ad Rank for that keyword. And Ad Rank = QS x Bid. A large part of QS is CTR. It has nothing to do with the big brands per se, or the keyword text being present in the ad or on the landing page, it has to do with the CTR those big brands have accumulated, and the bids they can afford to pay. And that's because at the end of the day, all things being equal (quality scores, mostly through their CTR), the one with the deepest pockets wins.
However, the ones with deep pockets rarely have the time to go into so much detail, because they don't just battle you and your keywords, but many others, and their keywords and goals as well. Most likely, they use automated tools, which do the greatest part of the work needed to put those ads online. And those tools cannot automate everything there is to automate, and cannot tweak those ads, those keywords and those sitelinks the way a (trained) human can. What they can do is carpet bomb, and they're happy with carpet bombing, because it brings them enough benefits. But when they carpet bomb, you have to dig deep and snipe. Or have a sniper at your side if you're not willing to go through all the training.
Let them win all their big scale battles, apart from one. Your battle.
A gifted runner from a place not far from where one of our forum members lives , has once said "I'd like to work it out so that at the end, it's a pure guts race. If it is, I'm the only one who can win it". Do that. Make your battle be a pure guts race. And if you lose it, if you'll face another racer living by the same principles, then train more, and come back stronger.
Any advertiser can be beaten, no matter how big and no matter how long he's been in the business. Sometimes it may take a lot of time and a fantastic effort, other times, when he's putting a lot of effort as well, it may take a lot of money. But the only certain thing is that no current #1 can stay #1 forever.
For you, you may have to rewrite your website, make sure it's fast, well structured, and that you have absolutely no issues with your landing pages (when you hover over a keyword). You may have to write 5, 10, 100 different ads until you find one that works. You may have to identify 2-3-5 keywords (which might not be the ones you're currently bidding on), which can put you on top and keep you there, and then bring you business. You may have to read a few hundreds of pages (thousands if you count forum threads as well), spend many months, fail, retry, rinse and repeat until you'll start winning.
Because, as AdWordsPro said, and I fully support his statement
Advertisers who take advertising with AdWords very seriously, who spend a substantial amount of time learning the nuances of how it works, and who spend a lot of time managing their account, experimenting, learning from the results of those experiments and then updating their account, tracking their Return on Investment (ROI) using the free tools available from AdWords, etc can find AdWords to be an exceptionally effective way to send highly qualified potential customers to their site.
Best of luck, and if you're willing to go down that (rocky)
road trail, by all means, get back to us whenever you need some guidance. We won't be able to look at your account, but if you describe it accurately enough, we might help.
[that's the end of my rather large cup of tea]
Re: The Truth About 'Quality Score' & 'Brand Awareness'[ Edited ]
March 2012 - last edited March 2012 by Zee
Re: The Truth About 'Quality Score' & 'Brand Awareness'
Re: The Truth About 'Quality Score' & 'Brand Awareness'
I too would like to hop on the pro Calin bandwagon here,...[ Edited ]
March 2012 - last edited March 2012
I too would like to hop on the pro Calin bandwagon here, fantastic post! We all appreciate the time and effort you put in here. BTW, who lived next to Pre?
I finally saw Moneyball recently, if you haven't yet Chip, I think you would like it! This is the exact same theme of the film. How do the little guy's compete with the big bosses? The moral I took from the stroy (spoiler alert!), is - Don't! There's always something they are going to miss, that you can take advantage of.
AdWords is an algorithim based acution system, but at the end of the day, it's marketing. You are trying to connect with people, one unique individual at a time. The big guy's think they know what people want. That's their weak point!
Use the data you have gathered to know what your audience finds engaging.
Thanks, Tom. As for the answer to your question, it's the...
As for the answer to your question, it's the same answer given in a game of cards. It's always the guy asking "who's turn is (to shuffle the cards)?" that is supposed to shuffle them .
Coos Bay sure looks great in pictures; one day I'd like to jog a little on the sea shore there, hopefully sooner rather than later .