Since September 2007, I have been watching the cost per click escalate in Google AdWords. I have seen nearly a 20% increase in this period in the cost per click to achieve the same position on the page. Part of the increase in click cost is due to the number of advertisers moving into Google AdWords and part is due to the philosophy that many business owners have that they want to own the number one spot in sponsored search. Both have created a market where for some white collar business sectors we have seen clicks move from $6.50 to over $10.00.
As the cost per click increases, the budget needs to increase or the number of clicks per day and month shrinks. For many of the accounts we work on, the budget cannot be increased, so what can you do? I have found that by dropping the cost per click and lowering the expectation of ad position on the page we can double or triple the number of impressions and in many, but not all cases, we can increase the number of clicks from 10 to 30%. For many businesses this increase in activity can generate more selling opportunities, micro conversions, and be a very savvy strategy, but it requires owner buy-in and careful account monitoring.
Most people will agree that more clicks are better than less clicks in the top positions. Not always do ads higher on the page in Google convert better than those lower on the page. For some businesses, it is all a numbers game, more clicks means more sales. But I have found from experience that this strategy does not fly on Yahoo and is not valid for every business, every client, and every market sector.
If you are tired of escalating click cost, now is the time to take a careful look and test dropping your CPC to see if you can squeeze out more activity for your program.
If you are thinking about using pay per click advertising, then you’ll want to read our eight page in-depth whitepaper comparing Google AdWords to Yahoo Sponsored Search. You’ll have to share your email with us to download our free whitepaper, but we’ll never spam you and you can subscribe from our monthly newsletter easily anytime.
This whitepaper gives real world click and impression examples in a variety of business areas, discusses the ease of use and control panel. Our whitepaper will help you to decide where you want to start and what to expect. Visit the download page for more information.
You must guard your Google account login especially if you are using AdWords as if it is your bank login ID. It is a good idea to even change your password every month in Google to protect yourself.
Personally I feel that after having a previous client have their AdWords account hijacked several weeks ago that Google is wrong to force users to have one master Google login. If someone gets a hold of your Google master account, they can wreak havoc in so many areas now that Google has required it’s use across it applications.
If there was one thing that I could tell Google, I would say let AdWords have it’s own login and even if the user email is the same allow for AdWords to have its own password different from the Google account login.
The client who we know who had been hijacked had been fooled into revealing their login and password from a phishing email sent as a Google AdWords correspondence. It is so very important to know that for PayPal and now Google AdWords that you must never login by clicking a link in an email or send your password plus login together in an email. I say PayPal as well as it has long been known that PayPal has been a target for phishing campaigns. As for AdWords, phishing is new for them, just this last week I have received over 15 emails supposedly from Google to login from a link in an email. So my suggestion is to very carefully guard your login and change your password for Google with a degree of regularity. You must actively work to keep yourself safe from AdWords bandits.
Just how could someone hijack your Google AdWords account without you knowing? How can they get your Google account email address and then password in order to change the password to lock you out? It appears that visiting a website with a virus or responding to one of the AdWords phishing emails that has gone out recently may allow bandits to compromise your system and your account.
First and foremost, don’t ever click links you get in emails from Google AdWords or even PayPal. Take any action requested by logging into your account with your browser to assure that you are really going to the site you intend to be visiting.
Second, make sure that you are using Internet Explorer 7 and have the phishing filter enabled. This will let your browser help you to know when a website is pretending to be a site that it is not.
Third, periodically change your passwords and look to use a secure password of a combination of numbers and letters.
Fourth, be careful of the sites you visit and routinely check your computer for malware. It appears that there is a bug out there that is downloaded from a malware site masquerading as a legitimate website and the bug seeks out your AdWords information and mails it to a bot for fraudulent use. It will keep you locked out of Google properties so you cannot access www.Google.com or even AdWords to check on your account.
Don’t think it could happen to you? Well it just happened to one of our previous clients and they got hit in one day for $10,000 of clicks to their American Express. Google is investigating and shut down their account in one day, but the absolute aggravation of communication of the issue, concerns about charges, not being able to get into your account, shutting down their legitimate business account for the period to resolve the issue, and why it would happen to you, is just something you simply do not want to experience.
The Google AdWords Quality Score just added another criteria for you to be concerned with. Read the full post at Google AdWords: Inside AdWords: Landing page load time now available on the Keyword Analysis Page
This is important for some AdWords sellers who love to have landing pages without end – you’ve seen them the wealth or get rich schemes with the landing page that acts like a website. Who knew you could scroll so much on one page :0)
You can view this important new information to check out your worst offending clients to help them make the changes now, by mousing over the spyglass to the right of the keywords on the ad group summary page, then click the more information and you will be able to see the landing page load information.
AdWords is working to try to provide the best experience for users and actually I appreciate it that very much as an account manager and advertiser both. But now we need to work on transparency on how much clicks cost, not guessing!
I had a client on let me know on Sunday night that they would be bringing their Google AdWords account management in-house. I disabled my access to their account Monday morning. On Wednesday, they let me know that they could not log into their account.
It appears that in three days their account was hijacked and someone installed two campaigns on their account and ran up a bill of over $9,956.00 in clicks. Some of the clicks were over $28 each. I contacted Google for them today as soon as I was told they could not login and got Google working on a click fraud and account hijack issue. I reported to the client to advise his credit card company to put a fraud alert on his account. I can still not get into their AdWords account, but have access to Google Analytics and can see that new campaigns were set up and nearly $10,000 spent in just two or three days.
I have to say as I am on my Google AdWords accounts daily through My Client Center, that it would probably not have happened on my watch!
This is just one of the values of an account manager, identifying strange behavior that could be fraudulent, finding new campaigns or keywords, and catching a spike in activity. If you are not monitoring your Google AdWords account on a regular basis, you really should start. I never thought that this would ever happen to anyone I knew but yet here it is. Fraud happens!