Adwords putting the squeeze on Adsense
00:00 on Fri, 20 Feb 2009 | PPC | 1 Comment
Having experience as an Adsense publisher as well as managing multiple PPC accounts, you get a view from both sites of the fence. There's no doubt that the Adwords game has got a lot harder over the last few years, with many new competitors flooding into the market as the search marketing channel matures. Unfortunately, the same can be said for Adsense publishers.
This year, I found myself in the 70% of Adsense publishers reporting lower earnings in January 09. Despite, my overall traffic being up a healthy amount, more coming from Google (higher quality you'd assume?) and more clicks, I'm getting a lower cost per click.
While I would be cautious as this survey only covers 119 respondents, it certainly seems to be in-line with other webmasters I've been talking to.
Interestingly enough, this month's issue of NMA had an interesting graph (can't find it on your site guys?), demonstrating the increase in average cost per click on the Adwords platform over the last few years, while delivered traffic decreased. In a nutshell, less traffic for more money.
Many marketers have found that after separating the Search and Content distribution channels on Adwords, they get a much better ROI with just Search. If you combine a this trend with Adsense still being one of the top choices for monetizing spam sites (MFA = Made For Adsense site, for the uninitiated), you can understand why Google may be paying out less per click to publishers while demand is lower and perceived (and perhaps actual) quality is lower than search.
What does this mean for my business?
While increasing Adwords costs and lower publisher costs may be the trend at the moment, it certainly doesn't mean you're going to run campaigns at a loss. Sure, it's not easy to set up a flat affiliate arbitrage campaign anymore (I see lots of these on Facebook now), it's still possible to return good profits.
If you've got somebody (hopefully qualified!) doing your Adwords management, they should at very least be doing the very basics of:
1) Making sure your landing page quality is high and meets Google standards
2) Doing detailed keyphrase research (misspellings and looking at intent - not just volume!)
3) Splitting your key phrases into specific AdGroups
4) Writing specific adverts, targeted at the adverts within that AdGroup (the more specific the better!)
5) Creating multiple variations of these adverts to A-B test them
6) Proper usage of broad, phrase and exact match targeting on key phrases
7) sing negative keywords when needed to avoid bidding on unwanted terms
8) Monitoring and controlling the position your ad is shown in
All of these factors will impact your quality score, which a campaign will love or die by. The higher your quality score, the lower cost you're going to pay per click and the higher your advert will show.
This would mean that two people with identical budgets and websites could have a polar experience of Adwords, with one losing money hand over fist and the other making a healthy profit.
If you're struggling with an Adwords campaign, then why not drop us a question in tour knowledge centre?
It's free, there's no strings attached and of course, no obligation. We'd just like to give you a push in the right direction with your search marketing. Or if you're pulling your hair out, why not see what we can do with our paid search management?