The Beginning of a Paid Search Campaign
Today is an exciting day. You gave the approval for your advertising agency to begin a paid search campaign for your company. You go to your computer and Google your brand name and don’t see your ad within the paid results. You then go to your mobile phone and Google your industry and you see your ad, but it’s ranked #3 in the search results. Your biggest competitor, the thorn in your side, has the ad that shows up at the very top.
You immediately panic and send an email to your digital buyer asking why your ad isn’t showing for all searches and why it’s running below that of your competitor. You’ve allocated your hard-earned money toward Google search and you expected better results. Your buyer responds with an email telling you both to calm down and that you shouldn’t Google yourself to see your ads.
I understand that it’s exciting to see your ads and to see proof that the dollars you’re allocating to advertising are running where they’re supposed to. I’ve been placing advertising for my clients for more than a decade and still get a little thrill of pride when I see an ad I’ve placed. However, unlike a billboard on the highway that works to grow awareness among everyone who passes it, paid search ads should only show to people who are actively in-market for information about a product or service. Paid search works because you have a self-selected audience of people who are interested in what you have to offer and are actively researching it. If you go searching for your ads, you are making your campaign less efficient, which may make you pay more per click over the life of your campaign.
How Google Paid Search Words
Google search ads are run through an auction, but it’s not a simple “highest bidder wins” kind of auction. The reason for this is that Google only makes money from a search if someone clicks on a paid ad rather than an organic listing. Therefore, it is in Google’s best interest to show the ads people are most likely to click on at the top of the page, with the ads less likely to get clicks further down the page.
Google accomplishes this by using many factors to rank the ads for each auction, such as your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including the expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance and landing page experience) and the context of the search, which includes things such as the device being used and the searcher’s location.
If you want more information about how Google determines which ads to show, and in what order, click here.
Experienced search engine marketers will look at your paid search campaigns daily, doing things such as tweaking words in ads, adjusting bids, changing landing pages and refining search terms in order to increase both the clickthrough rate as well as the quality score in the eyes of Google’s machine learning.
Why Not to Search for Your Own Ads
This all leads you to why you should stop Googling your ads – you’re not a potential customer looking to make a purchase from them.
If you have any questions about the keywords and ads being shown in your account, it’s better to ask your digital buyer to pull a sample search from AdWords with the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool than to Google it yourself.
There are few reasons for this, including:
- If you’re searching for your ads and they’re not showing, it could be because you searched too many times. Directly from Google, “if you repeatedly look for your own ad using Google search but never click on it, you might stop seeing it entirely. That’s because Google’s system stops showing you ads that it thinks you aren’t interested in.”
- Every time your ad gets an impression that doesn’t lead to a click, your clickthrough rate (CTR) is lowered. Clickthrough rate is the ratio of clicks to impressions, so the more impressions you get without clicks, the lower your CTR. Per Google, “By performing searches that trigger your ad, you’ll accumulate impressionswithout clicks, which can lower your clickthrough rate and prevent your ad from appearing as often as it should.” Lower clickthrough rates also decrease the ad quality score, which will cause you to pay more per click for the exact same ad position.
- Not only will Google stop showing your ads to your IP address or device when you repeatedly search your ads, but you will be interfering with how and when Google shows your ads to your customers. When a keyword is repeatedly searched but rarely generates a click, Google’s machine learning determines that your ad is not relevant to that search term.
If Google decides your ad is irrelevant, your quality score will decrease, and the ad will show less frequently or not at all.
If you have any further questions about how Google decides which ads to show in an auction, please reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the rest of the Coles Marketing team at 317-571-0051. In closing, please stop Googling your company so you can see your ads. You’re only hurting your digital advertising campaign in the long run when you do.
By Christy Stewart
Digital Advertising Strategist