PPC Google Instant

Google Instant’s Potential Effect on PPC Advertising

I posted yesterday on the launch of Google Instant, real-time search results that appear as you query Google.  Like any change in Google, Google Instant provides new opportunity for SEOs and PPC Advertisers.  This post will focus on the potential effects of Google Instant on PPC Advertising.  If I am running PPC Campaigns on Google AdWords, here are some things to consider immediately.

Google traditionally served advertisements based on the search query.  To understand the effects of Google Instant on PPC, you should first understand how Google’s ad rank ecosystem works.  Advertisements are ranked based on the equation Max Bid X Quality Score = Ad Rank.  Quality Score is the key to reducing the cost associated with each click, ad rank and subsequently, PPC Advertisers bottom line.  The primary factor of determining the Quality Score is Click Through Rate (CTR).  CTR = Clicks / Ad Impressions.  Simply put, the higher the CTR, the higher the quality score which will result in lower Cost-per-click (CPCs).

Google Instant’s 3 Second Rule For Ad Impressions

According to Google,

  • The user begins to type a query on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
  • The user chooses a particular query by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted queries.
  • The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.

So Google will now count ad impressions if a searcher stops typing for 3 seconds and a SERP and ads are impressed upon the searcher.  Let’s take a step back and re-read the previous paragraph.  If the primary factor in determining the Quality Score is CTR, it seems like Google may have just found a way to drive up ad impressions and drive down CTR, which will drive down Quality Score and subsequently increase CPCs for PPC Advertisers.

Will Ad Impressions rise and CTR decrease over the coming months?  I don’t know.  What I do know is if I am running Google AdWords Campaigns, I am watching my Quality Scores like a hawk over the next few months and testing new strategies.  I am anxiously awaiting to hear what the RKG team and Andrew Goodman have to say on Google Instant’s effect on PPC Advertising.

PPC Strategy To Test With Google Instant

Consider purchasing all variations of your brand related search terms and grouping them into tightly formed ad groups.  For example, if I am buying keywords related to my employer “HubSpot” I will consider creating a new adgroup containing keywords: hub, hubs, hubsp, hubspo, hubspot.  The goal here is to test out ways to maximize brand exposure through Google Adwords.

Google Instant And PPC

The Future of PPC Advertising On Google: Pay Per Scroll?

Author of Web Analytics World, Manoj Jasra had a fascinating and thought provoking post on The future of PPC Advertising on Google with the release of Google Instant: Pay Per Scroll? I highly encourage you to click that link and check out this mock up of what Manoj thinks may be up Google’s sleeve.

Pay Per Scroll - Google Instant

via Manoj Jasra @WAWorld

(original mock-up photo attribution)
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  • http://twitter.com/DreMoran Andres Moran

    I’m thinking that if Quality Scores are affected for all advertisers for a query, then the relative Ad Ranks for those advertisers will remain unchanged. This, in turn, means that CPC bids shouldn’t change. I’m a novice on this subject, so please keep me honest here.

    • http://rbeale.com RBeale

      Thanks for the comment, Andres. You very well may be correct. However, I am guessing PPC experts around the world are testing new ways to improve QS (buy purchasing shortened or half keyword phrases like in my example “hub” of “hubspot”). As these PPC experts test new ways to improve QS, less sophisticated PPC Advertisers that don’t test new ways to improve QS may end up paying higher CPCs as a result of lower QS and more ad impressions.

  • http://twitter.com/DreMoran Andres Moran

    I’m thinking that if Quality Scores are affected for all advertisers for a query, then the relative Ad Ranks for those advertisers will remain unchanged. This, in turn, means that CPC bids shouldn’t change. I’m a novice on this subject, so please keep me honest here.

  • http://twitter.com/DreMoran Andres Moran

    I’m thinking that if Quality Scores are affected for all advertisers for a query, then the relative Ad Ranks for those advertisers will remain unchanged. This, in turn, means that CPC bids shouldn’t change. I’m a novice on this subject, so please keep me honest here.

    • http://rbeale.com RBeale

      Thanks for the comment, Andres. You very well may be correct. However, I am guessing PPC experts around the world are testing new ways to improve QS (buy purchasing shortened or half keyword phrases like in my example “hub” of “hubspot”). As these PPC experts test new ways to improve QS, less sophisticated PPC Advertisers that don’t test new ways to improve QS may end up paying higher CPCs as a result of lower QS and more ad impressions.

  • http://twitter.com/Purity_Rings Purity Rings Online

    I’m wondering if since everyone’s campaigns will be affected, if they will just let it go?

    • http://rbeale.com RBeale

      I’m not too sure what you mean by “just let it go.” Can you expand on that?

  • http://twitter.com/Purity_Rings Purity Rings Online

    I’m wondering if since everyone’s campaigns will be affected, if they will just let it go?

    • http://rbeale.com RBeale

      I’m not too sure what you mean by “just let it go.” Can you expand on that?

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  • http://twitter.com/bgtheory bgTheory

    Ryan,

    I’m still going to be very careful about buying short words that might be a fragment of another word just to get an ad to show up quicker. The word ‘hub’ is so generic (USB Hub?) that I would approach that very cautiously.

    However, I’m going to use ACE (http://www.bgtheory.com/ppc-news/how-to-set-up-a-google-instant-experiment-for-adwords/) to try out some more generic terms, but with a low percentage served so I can watch the dollars and just extrapolate to actual volume.

    I think we’re more likely to see a return of ads into the suggestion box (http://searchengineland.com/google-search-suggest-get-ads-links-answers-15821) than anything in the short term. However, this might really increase the PPC CTR as well.

    On a 1024×768 monitor (I believe the most used in the states at present); if you have one toolbar installed and there are 2-3 ads in the premium spots, or a single universal listing, there isn’t any organic displayed on the page. It takes at least a 1280×960 resolution to see what you’re really getting on the screen.

    One item I’m monitoring is browser resolution by SEO vs PPC CTR to see if I’m over analyzing this; or if I really do want to target certain device types differently.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • http://rbeale.com RBeale

      Thanks for weighing in, Brad. I agree that purchasing short/fragmented words may not end up being as optimal as I originally thought, but that is why I think new methods should be tested. It will be really interesting to see what happens as google instant experiments are tested.

  • http://twitter.com/bgtheory bgTheory

    Ryan,

    I’m still going to be very careful about buying short words that might be a fragment of another word just to get an ad to show up quicker. The word ‘hub’ is so generic (USB Hub?) that I would approach that very cautiously.

    However, I’m going to use ACE (http://www.bgtheory.com/ppc-news/how-to-set-up-a-google-instant-experiment-for-adwords/) to try out some more generic terms, but with a low percentage served so I can watch the dollars and just extrapolate to actual volume.

    I think we’re more likely to see a return of ads into the suggestion box (http://searchengineland.com/google-search-suggest-get-ads-links-answers-15821) than anything in the short term. However, this might really increase the PPC CTR as well.

    On a 1024×768 monitor (I believe the most used in the states at present); if you have one toolbar installed and there are 2-3 ads in the premium spots, or a single universal listing, there isn’t any organic displayed on the page. It takes at least a 1280×960 resolution to see what you’re really getting on the screen.

    One item I’m monitoring is browser resolution by SEO vs PPC CTR to see if I’m over analyzing this; or if I really do want to target certain device types differently.

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • http://rbeale.com RBeale

      Thanks for weighing in, Brad. I agree that purchasing short/fragmented words may not end up being as optimal as I originally thought, but that is why I think new methods should be tested. It will be really interesting to see what happens as google instant experiments are tested.

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