AdWords Kicks Me In The Shins

After finally achieving 30 cents per download (where AdWords is actually profitable) and keeping it there for a week my CPA creeped up again to 37 cents. Since I hadn’t made any big changes to my campaign and my market is pretty stable this time of the year I investigated what was up. It turns out that Google turned off half of my words in the vocabulary campaign, requiring a minimum bid of 15 cents for what used to cost 7-9.

This leaves me less than happy.

Some of the words were pretty borderline when it came to click-through rates, in the 1-2% region. Of course, they were also getting 3rd/4th position so I’d consider that decent. The other words were nothing like borderline: I got my cost doubled on “Dolch sight word bingo”, of all things, which is a) 6% CTR on a bad day and b) my landing page for that is human-generated and about as responsive to the query as you can possibly get.

It could possibly be eBay et al upping their CPC prices across the board (my only competition for AdWords is people bidding on gigantic portfolios, ranging probably in the millions of search strings), which means I just got priced out of the market, but unless their computers really like increments of 5 cents I’m guessing it was Google assessing the low-quality penalty rate. Which is indescribably irksome. I’ve sunk dozens of hours into optimizing that campaign to get it where it is, and I don’t think its even mathematically possible to make it have positive returns at the new-and-improved CPC rate.

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Explore posts in the same categories: advertising, AdWords

6 Comments on “AdWords Kicks Me In The Shins”

  1. Ali Says:

    How about you increase the price of the bingo card creator by 2-5 dollars to make up for this?

  2. Patrick Says:

    What I’m actually doing is giving AdWords a few weeks to see if its still profitable and, at the same time, auditioning other advertising strategies. I broke down and paid Tucows today for expedited submission (download sites seem to send me boatloats of customers, might as well be on the big ones), and have signed up with Amigo. (Newsletter CPC advertising)

  3. Ali Says:

    Nice move Patrick. Best of luck! (Is amigo any good at all?)


  4. What have you don’t in the way of press releases? That might be a good way to generate some more traffic and interest.

  5. Patrick Says:

    I have done absolutely nothing in the way of press releases, and am probably going to keep it that way. I just can’t see them providing positive ROI.

  6. Elisha Klein Says:

    Adwords need to improve their “squeze” algorithm. They will not profit at all if you don’t profit. The again maybe they just use the working assumption that so many won’t be profitable anyway and won’t even track it.


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