A Week of Adwords Testing – Recap

Google Adwords LogoLast week I started testing some new concepts on Adwords. A week has passed and I wanted to recap what has happened and some things that I have noticed and learned so far.

First off, the strategy that I’m testing is to use the content network exclusively. As a result some of the standard SEM practices don’t really apply. Click through rates are dramatically lower than on search and it takes some time to get used to 0.1% CTRs. It takes a lot of impressions to get traffic at those levels.

Luckily the inventory of ad space with people using Adsense is monstrous and as a result there is plenty opportunities for placements. So for my limited week of testing I have had about 150,000 impressions on my ads resulting in 80 clicks.

The other thing to note is that there is comparatively nobody running ads on the content network. So the competition is almost non-existent. That makes the price per click very low. The total ad spend for the first week of testing was less than $10.

I have run into a number of problems in my testing that I never expected.

  • It’s not possible to use the Adwords API to build flash ads with the Display Ad Builder :(
  • There seems to be a bug with the Adwords Editor when trying to upload a lot of image ads.
  • It takes a long time for image ads to be approved and start running (none of my image ads have been approved yet)
  • Paying to use the Adwords API works out to be very expensive for the scale I want to use it at.
  • optimizing the price is time consuming since it can take days to see enough results.

With all those problems I’m still optimistic that I can find a way to scale things up more radically.  So far in the past week I have written a number of scripts that have helped me build out the campaigns, ad groups and ads.  It has gotten to the point where I can now upload over 1000 text ads to new campaigns, ad groups and keywords in one evening.

Since so far the testing has been inconclusive I’m going to hold off sharing the scripts I have for this strategy.  If it works out you can count on me recording some videos of the technique and the scripts to help.

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  • I’m very impressed by your post, thank you for it! The cause is that two month ago I’ve had almost the same problems while promoting our odosh.com, except writing scripts. My pure essence of that try is that it is worth to spend weeks to select thousands of 5 cent concrete key words that will increase CTR, audience targeting and decrease advertising budget.

  • We’ve never had a whole lot of success with adwords, but I think we’ve been using it differently than you. That said, I’ll be interested in what you learn. BTW, your blog and the “about the blog” page is very interesting. I just wish your NASA moon rover design venture had worked out… but then I suppose you wouldn’t have this blog! ~ Scott