Yes, you read that title correctly. When I logged in to my company’s AdWords account (despite my personal feelings about Google, the company still uses them) today, I was welcomed with this message:
22 keyword(s) are currently inactive for search.
These keywords are marked in the Status column of the Keywords tab below. Improve their quality through optimization, delete them, or raise the keywords’ maximum CPCs to the minimum bids indicated. (Raising the bids to at least the minimum will activate the keywords.)
Now obviously I knew about Google’s planned release of the Quality Score information, however, Google has already been using this information to calculate the minimum bid. And, despite Google’s assurances that the Quality Score information release was in preparation for an update to AdWords, I was fully expecting prices to go up. I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly. So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw that the minimum bid for those 22 terms was $10.00! That’s right, 10 bucks per click!
To top it all off, those terms are all variations of our Company Name! For example, Acme, Incorporated, Acme Inc, Acme Co. etc. Before you all go pointing to the Quality Score let me explain that we mention our company name on the landing page multiple times, spell it out completely, and have the name in our ads as well. The best part of the whole thing, we’ve been given a “great” score (and low minimum bid) for a shortened version of our name (Acme Inc.) but a poor score for the spelled out version. Tell me how that makes sense?
Google, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do!
The best/worst part of the whole thing is that Google is currently causing their advertisers to miss out on millions of dollars worth of profits. Our campaigns for example lost 75% of our clicks. When I called AdWords support (1-866-2Google or 1-866-246-6453) they assured me that they knew about the issue and were working to fix it as we spoke. They of course couldn’t tell me when it would be fixed, nor could they tell me whether or not the currently inactive terms would automatically return to active status but hey, it’s Google right? They don’t do anything wrong…
As if that weren’t bad enough, Barry at SE Roundtable (I just realized that I’ve been calling it SEO Roundtable for a long long time. Sorry Barry!) has a story about Google charging advertisers for campaigns that have been paused! So, not only are they jacking up the minimum bids (even though they told the Marketing Pilgrim and Search Engine Land that those changes wouldn’t go into effect until next week) but they are also charging people even after they pause their campaigns. I guess it’s a good thing they released this Quality Score information to help keep people informed once they finally do make more changes, otherwise they would have really pissed their advertisers off…
Don’t worry, I won’t say I told you so… I’ll just leave you with the link to my previous post on this matter.