Looking For Credit Cards? Google Creating New Search Inventory

6 Comments Written on November 29th, 2008 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising, Google Adwords

Search monetizes so well because there is so much implied intent in a search. But some have claimed slowing search volume and lowering ad costs.

The search box is perhaps the most profitable ad unit because consumers feel some level of control as they request ads about whatever topic they search for.

To offset slowing online adverting, Google is looking to “create” more search volume by using AdSense ad units to suggest consumers search for expensive keywords – like credit cards.

In the past Google has ran ads asking the consumer to “search for ads about ______” but this is the first Google ad unit that takes searchers directly off the publisher site and directly onto a Google search result with organic search results. It is one thing if Google asks for you to search for ads because they don’t understand the theme of a page, but it is quite another for them to have pre-made ads to siphon off the visitor to a Google search result without guaranteeing publisher payments (or is the first click paid, but at a heavily discounted rate?).

How much does Google pay AdSense publishers for this ad unit, when conversion happens after 2 clicks rather than 1? What percent of the end ad spend goes to the publisher when Google arbitrages the click through Google.com? How does smart pricing come into play when Google discounts the original click and then marks up the second one?

This sort of advertising allows Google to water down their search traffic slightly, but without advertisers knowing how it got watered down, or why their conversion rates lowered slightly.

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6 comments “Looking For Credit Cards? Google Creating New Search Inventory”

If you/Aaron/your clients are in many verticals, perhaps you might document traditional volume and see what lift this brings and the relative decline in traffic quality. From Aaron’s rants on mortgage rankings, I surmise he’s involved in that vertical… might be a good place to start if indeed they’re focused on high value keywords.

Interesting find here Gio!

Also, I’m thinking that this is going to piss off advertisers who will say that they want to be able to separate their content-network buys from their search network buys. I’m not sure everyone will be happy with this blurring of the lines.
At the very least, it should be marked out as a fourth option you can opt in to along with the search, partner and content networks: the Arbitrage Network.

How is this different than my passing my traffic through third-site redirects? It’s just referrer cloaking, which helps increase measured traffic volume (artificially?) and obfuscates origin.

This reminds me of when I started managing PPC campaigns for a large online casino back in 2000 – Google wasn’t around and the world was split between GoTo (later overture, yahoo) and a host of smaller players.

Constantly these smaller players would place an array of ‘popular searches’ beneath their search box on the main page of their engine, comprised entirely of extremely expensive keywords like ‘gambling’, then use their presence there as an excuse as to why they were sending 10,000 ‘qualified searchers’ through that keyword every day…

of course they were hiding click-fraud behind a thin veil, but even if they hadn’t been, affecting the searcher intent of ‘search traffic’ means it’s no longer organic in nature, and therefore goes down in quality (substantially if you ask me) – Looks like Google is reverting to old tricks to boost margins.

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