Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google AdWords Ruins My Week

My firm does targeted advertising during specific holiday weekends of the year. We're not as interested in doing broad-blast ads during an entire month, but would rather place the ads to run during a specific holiday weekend.

This past Memorial Day I started our first AdWords campaign, and we started getting great placement and clicks right away. Within a day our impressions dropped substantially, the diagnostic stated that we'd exceeded our budget, which was untrue. I played with the budget
figures and noticed the ads running again.

I did change the text of the ad slightly (and this is apparently where I went wrong, according to Google) to achieve better visibility in the list.

Within a couple of hours our ads had stopped running completely. Again the diagnostic tool stated that we'd exceeded our budget (impossible). I increased the budget numbers exponentially, hoping for something to happen.

AdWords diagnostic then told me that my ads were running, "but only occasionally" but it turns out they were not running at all. We'd had plenty of money in the acct, the budget was fine, but our ads weren't running.

Following the disastrous weekend, spent attempting to make AdWords work, I finally got a hold of someone at Google. (Apparently they take the most important advertising times of the year off) and was told that my ads had gone "under review"... (and that I should run them now! Yeah... good idea. Memorial Day isn't THAT important!)

Nothing in AdWords alerted me to the fact my ads were under review, I received only a false message that I'd exceeded my budget. Doing some research in the AdWords help discussion, I found that this is a common problem. Many people have had the same thing occur.

I cannot calculate the amount of money lost this weekend because our ads failed to run. We'd scaled back our print advertising to run Google AdWords, and it failed to produce and failed to even explain what was wrong. With a $3k+ budget for this weekend alone, we spent only $200, thus both we and Google lost out.

I spent a frustrating weekend attempting to manipulate ads that weren't running with no idea that nothing I could do would make them run (and in fact, might even make them go back "under review".) I saw our competitors ads every time I attempted a search, using multiple machines, various locations, but ours failed to materialize.

Surely Google can make it possible for AdWords to alert the user when their ads have gone under review, rather than lying to them and telling them they'd exceeded their budget. Surely Google can afford to have someone on staff during peak retailer advertising times (Memorial
Day, Fourth of July, etc) to help people like me.

This has proven a most frustrating experience, and I'm certain others are having the same experience, just by doing a search of their help groups. Google must do something.


  1. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Are random internet ads really made for time specific ads? No. They're made for topic specific ads. I'm not saying that google isn't at fault for its sorry programming, but I think you overestimated internet ads. I doubt most people ever even notice them unless they search for a topic on something they plan to buy the ads correspond to that subject.

  2. This is very true, however, folks are generally using the internet as a replacement for newspapers, yellow pages and other print media. Therefore, if around the usual times they look for ads in print media (holidays, folks need beds)they look on the net, they'll see our ads.

    That said, I was able to get the adwords campaign working and doubled our traffic flow.

    We're using a more robust ad system now, which will be "always on".