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5 more reasons to hate Google

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A wrong turn; session-based broad match clicks

It would be easy enough to cite 10 wonderful things about Google. As I mentioned in my first installment of this article, "5 things to hate about Google," the company develops amazing products that we all get to use for free. However, somewhere along the way, the company got lost and grew up too fast. Somehow the Googleplex became an island. Somewhere the magic that was Google got tainted by lots of little missteps. Like the banks, I fear Google has become too big to fail -- and I'd rather not have any companies that pose such a risk to the economy.

In this article, I'll examine five more company traits or practices that give marketers cause for concern over the path that our once-beloved Google has followed. 

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Session-based broad match clicks
Unless you know what you are doing in search, this will make no sense to you. But trust me, it sucks. The concept of session-based clicks has to do with "commercial intent." It's an attempt to try to predict whether a searcher is interested in a company that is listed in a search results page. In theory, this is great because it tries to match users with advertisers, and advertisers with keywords and consumers. In reality, it can be much more insidious. With hundreds of thousands of advertisers, session-based clicks artificially game the market and over-present advertisers on keywords for which there would normally be very few relevant advertisers, if any.

When Google runs session-based search advertising, advertisers get clicks they might not have wanted. In addition, based on observation, it most likely raises prices for all the other bidders in a keyword auction for a completely different keyword.

By introducing a session-based service, Google greatly expands the impressions of advertisers across the keyword universe, but attempting to predict "intent" really just results in a search universe in which more advertisers are getting more unwanted clicks on keywords they do not want.

The result? Google makes more money.

The issue? You can't disable it. I hate Google for that.

 

Comments

Jim Peake
Jim Peake April 16, 2011 at 8:28 AM

Excellent article Sean, all the more reason to move budgets to alternatives like Facebook for PPC and move more media offline then back online with things like variable data postcards and personalized URL's or pURL's. I expect a big shift in PPC dollars moving from Google to Facebook before the end of 2011, kind of like a giant sucking sound as Ross Perot would say.

Jim Peake
Jim Peake April 16, 2011 at 8:27 AM

Excellent article Sean, all the more reason to move budgets to alternatives like Facebook for PPC and move more media offline then back online with things like variable data postcards and personalized URL's or pURL's. I expect a big shift in PPC dollars moving from Google to Facebook before the end of 2011, kind of like a giant sucking sound as Ross Perot would say.