Monthly Archives: June 2007

Google AdWords Extends Pay Per Action to More Advertisers

Few days ago Google AdWords, extended their Pay Per Action pricing model to include more advertisers. In March they introduced Pay Per Action model and it was available to select advertisers only. Now they have extended this model to include more advertisers. So exactly which advertisers are getting these invitations and what is the criteria?

It’s available to only those advertisers who are receiving more than 500 leads per month either in their CPC (content network campaign) or CPM (site targeted campaign). And one must already have AdWords conversion tracking code installed on their website.

So if your AdWords account is showing more than 500 leads in last 30 days then you should expect an invitation from AdWords to start Pay Per Action (PPA) campaign.

Why Your Ads are not Displayed on Google

Our Pay Per Click team had a brainstorming session in which we were thinking of reasons why sometimes one cannot see ads on We tried to think of every possible reason which we can. There was once a very good link at WebmasterWorld Forums. You can Click Here to visit that link. It was originally posted by eWhisper in Jan 2004 but Google AdWords has come a long way since. There were many updates in AdWords system and I thought why not try to post a new one. We came up with following reasons. Let me know if we have missed anything:

1. Account Inactive: As long as the billing information is not submitted and the account not activated, the delivery of ads will not begin.

2. Review Process: Sometimes although the account has been activated but the ads may not be seen in Google as they are in the “Review Process”. So here the ads will be seen only after they are reviewed and approved by the AdWords specialist.

Review Process

3. Not on 1st Page: Some times the ads’ rank may be very low and so it may not appear on the 1st page. But it may appear on next page.

4. Inactive Keyword (Minimum Bid) : If the keyword required minimum bid is higher than the actual bid set, then the keyword will be inactive and not appear in search results.

5. Daily Budget Depleted: If the daily budget is depleted then the ads will not be shown for the rest of the day. Depleted

6. Ad Delivery Method (Recommended Budget More than Set Budget): There are two possibilities here.

  • Ad Delivery – Standard Method: If the recommended budget is higher then the set budget then the ads may not appear all the time throughout the day.
  • Ad Delivery – Accelerated Method: If your daily budget got used up in the morning due to accelerated method and you are searching in afternoon then you may not see your ad.

7. Disapproved Ads: If the Ads are disapproved, let’s say there are 2 ads in an Ad Group and both are disapproved due to some reason not meeting the Editorial guidelines in AdWords. So when the keywords belonging to that Ad Group are searched for, the ads will not be shown.

8. Network Selected: If you have selected only Content network and you are searching in then you won’t see your ad.

9. Ad Scheduling: If the Ad Scheduling feature is ON, then the ad may not appear at the time when it is searched for as the time may be outside the scheduled time.

10. Position Preference: If the Position Preference is enabled in the Edit Campaign Settings then the ads may not be seen if the bid is not high enough for the ad to be placed in the position that we have selected.

11. Server Delays: When new account is activated, sometimes due to server delays the ad may not appear online instantaneously.

12. Geo Targeting: If you are searching any ad outside the targeted geo graphical settings then the ad will not be seen. As an example if the geo targeted area is only set to USA and if someone is searching in UK then the ads will not be seen online. Geo Targeting

13. Sensitive keywords: There are keywords which can trigger Google’s red flag. Google content policy can give you some idea of keywords which are flagged by Google. However one cannot know exactly which keyword can trigger the red flag.

14. Billing Problem: Because of the Google billing issues or credit card problems ads stops running online.

15. Active Campaigns and Adgroups: Campaign and adgroup must be active for ads to appear online. If by accidentally someone pauses the ads or keywords or campaigns then the ads may not appear online.

16. Campaign Scheduled End Date: As an example if the campaign was scheduled to run only till June 10th and if you are searching for ads on June 11th onwards then you may not see your ads online.

17. Affiliate Policy: Due to new affiliate policy, Google displays only one ad for affiliates and parent companies sharing same display URL. The most performing ad is selected and shown on Google results. If you are an affiliate and share same display URL with the merchant and your ad is not top performing then chances are that your ad will not be seen on Google search results.

18.Negative Keywords: Sometimes when negative keywords overlap with the searched keyword then Google will not show your ad. So check again for all negative keywords inserted at campaign level and at ad group level. Remove any unnecessary keywords which can bring you potential customers.

These are the ones which we can think of. If there are any more then do feel free to inform me. I would add those reasons here.

In more Detail – Quality Score, Quality Index and more Complex Systems

Few years back managing Pay per click engines wasn’t so difficult. There were less players but bidding system wasn’t so complicated. Google AdWords at that time was ranking ads based on a combination formula of Maximum CPC (cost per click i.e. in simple word your bid) and Click Through Rate (CTR). While other players like Overture (now Yahoo! Search Marketing) had a simple system of ranking ads based on purely bids. The highest bidder was given No.#1 position.

Whether few years back or today, Google AdWords was the most complicated system and yet today it has complex rules of ranking ads. But most importantly even Yahoo! and Microsoft adCenter have started giving more relevance on performance and quality based results. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft’s Live Search are the three major search engines who have started weighing more relevance on landing page, performance and other non CPC factors to rank ads. All this rules and system which are introduced can mean one thing – to improve search results.

This may be bad news for Mr. Money Bags who had to previously only throw money (except in Google) to gain high rankings. But it may also work to your advantage if one can understand the rules & system properly and accordingly design the campaign. Let’s have a brief look at what is being introduced here:

Google AdWords

By far the most complicated and interesting system to be designed. To make it simple the ads are ranked on two factors – Quality score and maximum bid. And on what factors does the Quality score depends on? Most importantly what is Quality score? To keep things simple let’s not divulge in much details. Quality Score is a qualitity which is determined by factors like

1) Keyword click thorugh rate (Keyword CTR)
2) Ad Copy click through rate (Ad Copy CTR)
3) Account history
4) Most Recent history
5) Other Relevancy factors (there can be many other relevancy factors but advertiser can focus on the above mentioned 4 factors)

In essence what Google tells you is that if you excel and perform better in all the above mentioned factors then your overall performance would be considered better and that would work in advantage for you. This could mean that with good performance in Quality score you can gain higher position with less bid with respect to your competitor.

Yahoo! Search Marketing

Google uses the term “Quality score” then Yahoo uses the term “Quality Index”. Yahoo ranks it’s ad based on two factors – Quality Index and Bid. So what is this Quality Index? It sounds similar to what Google AdWords has been using. Is it same and complicated? No! It’s not same, but complicated? – well that depends from person to person

Let’s take a look at Quality Index. Quality index is determined by two factors:

1) Ad’s CTR (click through rate) historical performance relative to it’s competitors.
2) Ad’s expected performance which is determined by Yahoo’s ranking algorithm compared to the existing competitors displayed at same time.

To make it simple, it is the CTR and bid which determines the ad ranking in Yahoo’s Panama system.

Microsft adCenter

Well, Microsfot adCenter hasn’t used any specific terms like Quality score or Quality index but they have specified certain guidelines which affects ad ranking. Apart from bids following factors determine the ad ranking:

1) How close keyword (user search query) is relevant to Ad Copy
2) How close is the user search query relevant to the landing page
3) How close is the query relevant to both ad copy and landing page
4) How unique is ad copy as compared to other ads. In essence adCenter tries to remove duplicate ad copies from it’s search results to improve user search experience.

Overall these systems award high rankings and less cost for advertisers who give hard work. I don’t foresee smaller tier engines introducing such “Quality based” rankings in their sponsored system, but one can never know.