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Google AdWords – Click Fraud Rate

Google believes the click fraud rate is less than 2%. The facts support the opposite and click fraud is running rampage on Google’s networks, including their search sites. For us, we only leave about 5% impressions/clicks on AdSense, which has a much lower quality than Google-operated sites.

Clicks: 314
Invalid: 67
Click Fraud Rate: 17.59%

Click fraud is a big problem for any advertiser. We’ll have to be more careful in monitoring and allocating our advertising budget.

Frustrations with Google AdWords

Google withholds lots of data for their own data-mining purposes. The stated level of click frauds is definitely questionable from our own experience. Don’t forget to check your own click logs and adjust your account promptly or Google and their affiliates are wasting your budget.

Their customer service representative often replies with a very long answer, but use default or template responses. Many times, the answers does not even make any sense or irrelevant to the original issues. They always blame the problems on the clients. They believe their back-end system is the most accurate and should be obeyed at all times. With this kind of quality, I strongly there is a demand for a more human and better ad service.

Writing a persuasive message with AIDA

Writing a persuasive message needs 4 components:

  1. Attention = What? You must get audience attention
  2. Interest = Okay, then what? You continue to build their interest in the subject
  3. Desire = Why? Why should they care, what is in it for them?
  4. Action = How? Okay, I’m sold, what’s next?

Characteristics of a good persuasive message:

  • Visual – use story telling, put them into your shoe, your vision
  • Personal – talk to them directly, not as a group but as an individual, one-to-one
  • Creative – use fresh ideas instead of some cliche, which is boring. And this is the hard part because the longer people get exposed to media, the more likely they’ve seen it before and learn to ignore/skip/forget about it

Google Ad Manager

98% of Google’s revenue is from advertising so it’s not surprising that Google just released a hosted ad server solution after recent acquisition of DoubleClick. They now have 2 solutions, one developed in-house for the small/medium publishers, one from DoubleClick for larger publishers. It’ll be just a matter of time before Yahoo or Microsoft either acquire or release their own version of ad servers. Since they’re all big companies, they cannot offer an independent ad serving solution. They must tie in with their own ad network(s) or there would be no revenue source. Publishers probably need to share data, lose some control in exchange for the free ad serving benefits. Additionally, it would be also difficult for them to offer certain complex features like real-time stats because it’s a resource hog and would raise their costs per user significantly.

Google Ad Manager’s TOS

“You agree that Google may aggregate Program Data with data collected from other Program users, and use such aggregated data, provided that Google will only aggregate data in a manner such that no third party could identify which users’ data contributed to the aggregated set.”

Source: https://www.google.com/admanager/terms/US/Terms.html

Copycat ad servers

We are flattered to know that our ad serving solution, AdSpeed, got several copycats. It seems like requests to clone certain site are quite normal these days and you can find them easily on the job/project boards for freelancers. Examples: Digg, Youtube all have copycats and that’s simply not the end of the world. Now even big guys are copying features from each other (Digg vs. Yahoo Buzz, Yahoo Publisher vs. Google AdWords, etc.) and we’re no exception, learn the best practices, avoid the bad moves. It’s a natural learning process (think “baby”). However, it’s definitely distinctive from doing exactly the same, without any adaptation or credit, like plagiarism.

I just found out this hosted ad server, they copy our processes, even some content with some modifications. For now, it seems they’re not forming a serious business and we have not considered taking any legal action yet. Additionally, there is a significant complexity of the front-end and a huge amount of knowledge, experience in the back-end infrastructure and our application platform that is very hard, if not impossible, to replicate.

Ad serving consolidation

Microsoft is buying Aquantive, Yahoo bought RightMedia, Google bought DoubleClick, 24/7 also got acquired. This last month is definitely a crazy one for the ad serving/network industry. Lots of buzz and projected future, huge premium paid for acquisitions.

Pay-Per-Click Services

Recently we got a few promotion coupons to try out a few new PPC services from LookSmart, Ask.com and Microsoft’s AdCenter and together with Yahoo! Search Marketing (what a bad name for a product, Overture would be much better) found that none has the same level of sophistication or put enough thought into designing a usable user-interface as Google AdWords. Kudo to Google!