Hey Google: Here’s a Better Strategy Than Coupon Spam

21 Comments Written on November 29th, 2011 by
Categories: Google Adwords

Hey Google:  Instead of spamming the known universe with Adwords coupons for “new accounts only”, why don’t you let new advertisers actually run some ads for once?

There’s something completely broken with the logic of doing everything in your power to bring new businesses to Adwords, then arbitrarily making them pay a “newbie tax” combination of high bids/low Quality Score before their first ad has even had a single impression.

How many new businesses (even those who set up their campaigns according to “best practices”) decide to try out Adwords, only to find that they get an automatic 2/10 or 3/10 for their own brandname as a keyword?  What kind of message are you trying to send to these new Adwords customers?

Why bother sending coupons up the nose of every small business only to slam the door in their face before they even set foot inside?

How about this:  If anyone is brand new to Adwords, give them one week to actually see their ads run at a reasonable price.  If their CTR is too low after a week, turn off their ads and tell them to improve the relevance of their ads or find some new keywords.  If their ads perform well, just let them run.

Either that or improve the alignment of your internal business initiatives so that we can at least save some trees and postal stamps by telling the guys that mail coupons ‘there’s really no point’.


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21 comments “Hey Google: Here’s a Better Strategy Than Coupon Spam”

Couldn’t agree with you more. Now to see if Google actually listens. #fatchance

Google AdWords coupons are the AOL install discs of the 21st century.

Google spams me more then SMBs I think.  I’m in the Google Engage program and they send me emails about once a week and recently they sent me direct mail postcards that I can send to my clients.  Basically they want me to start spamming SMBs too!

Google is looking “hungry” of Money doing this. I don’t think they are “short of cash” but should implement a different way to sell their own “making-machine” program.

haha – love this post – 26 so far and counting – I even had 15 turn up in a lovely presentation box – all now in the recycle bin

Good point! However, there are some ways around this, such as being really agressive (when you launch for the very first time) with high bids and keywords (using modified broad and phrase), but only during a specific window of time (such as 8am-10am) and possibly even in just one geographical setting (e.g. Dallas, TX). For best results, it’s best to approach this test already knowing what TOD most searches happen (especially for the keywords that are best sellers online), and knowing in which geography they are most likely to search/buy. Also, you’ll need to set your campaign to accelerated delivery under the settings.

What you’re essentially doing is building a CTR and historical campaign data rapidly. It’ll also give you a good idea as to how well your campaign does within that timeframe/geography. However, this will only work on keywords/ads where you actually have a strong chance of getting a decent CTR (>3%). Because if you compete on popular keywords and don’t actually get clicked on, what you’ll have left is a lot of impressions, few clicks, an embarassing CTR, and a CPC that made you blow through your entire daily budget with just a handful of clicks…So choose your keywords carefully (preferrably long-tail and model specific keywords).

The best way to sum this up, is pick a spot and own it. If it doesn’t work, pick another and own it. And so on… eventually, you’ll have enough impressions, clicks, q-score, and impression share that you can turn the campaign on nationally and 24/7 with whatever resources you have. Just don’t expect that you’ll appear very often if you’re competing on popular keywords amongst large brands.

Good luck;)


Well said. Though of course, the vast majority of people have no idea what Quality Score is, and I guess that Google has found that a fairly large percentage of new advertisers keep advertising with them even though they are (mostly) throwing their money down the drain…

I have adword content ad placement campaign and i get 0.05 to 0.1 per click for many month but recently i get 0.3 to 0.5 per click . I go to that website to check why suddenly the bid price so expensive, i’m surprise to see google chrome and google plus ad compete to my ad causing my bid price increase. I have stop my profit campaign cause that bid price too high. See this image that prove google screw advertiser : http://content.screencast.com/users/shenjuan/folders/Jing/media/52aeda08-3806-450a-8874-a41557dcf140/2011-12-28_1414.png

Google is not really looking out for your interests when they manage the pay per click.  You need an agency to the work.

Google (as a search engine and audience aggregator for PPC) holds the dominant spot. If they act like they are going to have that spot forever, they’re going to lose it. PPC professionals and the businesses they serve would be much better off if Bing had 50% of the search engine market. Then there would be real competition, no sitting on laurels and no absurd and unexplainable quality score taxes. Quality score is important. But it feels more and more that through quality score, Google is inflating prices for no properly explainable reason. The other thing is that when a customer has trashed quality scores and come to me – Google needs to present a real way back to the “good books”, not just an endlessly scrolling punishment because some guy didn’t know how to use the system in the first place. Ultimately, I think we need to move with our mice, to make sure competition can keep both Google and its competitors from becoming complacent.

I don’t think they can tell the difference between affiliate and small business.  They hate affiliates and want stupid small business owners, but can’t figure out how to filter them.

Very good blog on adwords, quite comical!
If your interested in the facts abaout traditional online quantitive testing and how it culls big ideas, check out the blog listed below to find out why major brands are surviving, and not WINNING!

Thanks 🙂

I’ve found a rather nasty thing happening in the last 12 months as a consequence of this blanket advertising. Google have been offering to build people’s campaigns and run them; neatly getting around the problem of simultaneously being bidder and auctioneer by offering this service “for just one month”. They then proceed to whack a glut of broad match into the new account and rape the proprietors credit card. The usual result is the business sticking to the old traditional yell.com-type sites (I deal with a lot of builders etc) and completely distrusting anything to do with ppc. All good!

I totally agree with you, but it must be a strategy that makes good business since they continue. Thanks for a great post, anyway 🙂

Sounds like a great way to fill AdWords spots with spammy abusers who just rotate out accounts every week and a slap in the face to long-term established advertisers.

Couldn’t agree more on this – I have a pile of them on my desk from clients who haven’t a clue what they are for – so as a marketing exercise – thats a fail to start with

I can imagine the frustration that comes with a $75 (what gets spammed here in aus) adwords coupon. Especially with a steep learning curve, only to see very jaded results due the campaign having no history and probably a poor CTR due to it’s setup. And as a previous commenter said, I’m also in the engage program so you get lumped with 50 – 100 coupons every month with the intent you send them to all your contacts. It’s a bit much.

Couldn’t agree more with this post and can totally relate to this. I’ve seen this happen to our own clients as well. Of course google is up for money.

Geordie–LOVE your POST!!! I think you’ll definitely appreciate this similar rant if you get a chance, entitled, “How many out there think ADWORDS quality score is bogus and all that really matters is WHAT YOU SET MAX CPC!!?” found here:


and this other re Google’s new way to butcher its customers, entitled:

“WTF? Google Adwords–Is anybody ELSE miffed about the ads appearing at the BOTTOM of the pages now?” found here:


Thanks for your post. I loved it!!!! Good to see a few people still have some bolls. 🙂 Thanks.

And when the coupons – PLURAL – arrive, a few weeks or a few months after each other, and you open more than one account (not knowing any better) – BANNED! Obviously for life, without appeal, and with the fiction of a ‘specialist team’ or whatever it was looking over the account and then pressing a big button that says ‘NO’. All automated in reality.

Great article – I share your frustration and haven’t found the perfect solution yet either. The fact that everybody’s annoyed with the ability to target different devices in different campaigns gone and Google not going back to the old version suggests that it’s all about profit.

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