“Google AdWords steals from me” and other complaints about the company that invented SEM

Written by

Gerard Hoogeveen González

SEM · 21 / 06 / 2016

In Digital Menta, as an agency specializing in online media and a birth focused on the management Of AdWords, we hear many types of COMPLAINTS about SEM, AdWords and Google in general. And although it is true that Google as a company is no saint, it is also true that they have solved (in this first phase of technological evolution) one of the most thorny problems of the digital age: the practical and scalable search of online content (and this Without going into more technical issues like your global network of servers and things of the kind.

Therefore, we will dedicate this article to informal presentation of the bases on which Google’s search functionality was built, how it affected the platform that intended to monetize it through advertising (AdWords), and finally some cases of “burglaries” and “lies” on which they are typically accused. As a whole, I hope to show the causes and motivations behind some of their successes and their manipulations, and the occasions in which, in my opinion, the general public has been mistaken in criticizing the company.

The importance of AdWords and Google

The Google search engine operating mechanism It is well known and it is not my turn to review, but to summarize as fast as possible suffice to say that is based on 3 phases:

    1. Systematically track all websites online.
    2. Indexing The results through the content and technological configuration of the Web.
    3. Correlation, through the algorithm, between the search carried out and the webs ‘ out there ‘ that share similar attributes.

From the hand of this process is AdWords, the platform responsible for determining which ads will appear next to the organic results (which means ‘ no payment ‘).

AdWords is, has been and will continue to be one of the great Internet business generators. Even today, in spite of the great diversity in the sector and the constant emergence of new platforms (Facebook), Technologies (Real Time Bidding) and complementary services (trolleys optimisers, bid adjustment automats), while Google continues Maintaining a significant percentage of online AdWords searches will remain fundamental in most digital commercial communication strategies.

Here are some of the reasons why AdWords stands out in the world of advertising:

    • The user wants an answer so he is willing at that time to absorb information. This aspect is difficult to underestimate, but the truth is that many other advertising channels suffer a lot to ensure that they will be seen and observed.
    • As the ad is directed by a reference keyword , The Advertiser can tailor your message to your audience.
    • Google-generated purchases tend to have more value. There are Several immediate reasons: it brings us closer to really interested customers so it is not a compulsive purchase, many business transactions arise from an online research of suppliers (especially new products or services), the business Generated tends to have a higher customer lifetime value, and ultimately provides a relatively constant sales flow.
    • It is the reference platform in case of doubt. This makes within the ecosystem of advertising channels AdWords metrics are like the canary in the mine, if there is a funny advertisement on television or an offer that we have forgotten we are going to Google to find answers and this generates a peak in the impressions of advertisement that are often palpable.

The difficulty of using AdWords and the origin of many of these ills

However, despite all these positive attributes AdWords presents a series of difficulties that other online platforms do not suffer (or not so much), as:

    • It has a really complex interface with hidden settings and default configurations that can be considered counterproductive (for example, do you still desactiváis the improved CPC of your new campaigns?).
    • It Has poorly explained reports, difficult to generate or even understand, so each advertiser has to DeShell and contextualize them to the ecosystem from which they come to get the most out of them.
    • It Requires construction and management strategies that you can only determine to practice (that is, paying clicks) because the Google indications on the subject are most general and generic.
    • Works under a Bidding system That makes there is no (higher) cost limit and is essentially inflationary. This is explained by several factors, here are the 3 most important for me: The participants do not have complete information about the auctions of other advertisers, there is a minimum level of knowledge when entering the auction so the inefficiencies of Those who do not know the tool distort the performance of those who do know what they do, and that knowing that you will pay less than you write in ‘ Maximum CPC ‘ makes it easier psychologically to raise a little more the bid.

But what is it? Why did Google decide to make things so complicated? Just because it suits them and they can ‘ take away ‘ more money? This is where it comes in which, in my opinion, is one of the great misunderstandings about Google and its proceeding.

The vast majority of offline and online advertising platforms have a pretty clear idea of who their audience is, how it varies and what advertising spaces are available to know how and how much to sell them (think of magazines, television or banners on a website).

But AdWords is located outside of this reality. When I entered Google, during the learning period, a teacher asked us “Of all the searches that Google processes every day, how many are completely new? That is, how many have a combination of characters that Google has never received before? ” The answer is impressive, 7%. Every Day, humanity as a whole looks for so many combinations of words and letters so far unknown that they represent 7% of the total.

I think it underestimates the difficulty of creating a multi-language and multi-segment advertising system, reliable and relevant, completely adaptable to user searches. The main data entry of AdWords depends on logical, linguistic, social and commercial networks of very high complexity (in Google are searched from products, data or historical facts, to current news) and I find it very admirable that they have built a Practicable and robust system that adapts to all these variables. But of course, it’s not a very practical system.

So why is there a black shadow that follows Google and all the changes it makes in AdWords?

It must be recognized that despite everything is true that Google ‘ hides ‘ features that suit you and that can harm The advertiser. There are minor cases where it is possible for Google to think about the benefit of its advertisers, such as when they pre-select the ‘ Enhanced CPC ‘ (which modifies the CPCs up to 15% depending on the probability of generating conversions). But there are other cases where suspicions are shot, like when a few years ago when creating search campaigns came pre-selected with Display. With this mechanism I have seen several people squander money on a type of publicity they didn’t even know. And your favorite triquiñuela at the moment, pre-select the box “optimization of segmentation” in any new group of Display ads, basically giving Google permission to exit the segment that you have defined to “find more customers.”

Google and its pre-selected Optimization Segmentation

In AdWords comes pre-selected the option of Segmentation Optimization for new Display campaigns.

Overall there is a pretty broad gray area between what Google believes will help most of its advertisers to perform better and what interests them because it will generate more revenue. These two territories are overlapping very often and if you approach the problem thinking that they are stealing it is very easy to validate your perception, which sometimes blinds you from what is really happening. Usually Google has (minimally) valid reasons to do what it does, although of course, we will never see them lose an opportunity to defend their interests.

This is especially palpable when you wonder why AdWords tools are so bad when it comes to doing things as basic as: measuring budgets and creating detailed media plans or calculating CPCs and anticipating quality notes. Personally, I am more annoyed by these ‘ voluntary opacity ‘ decisions in which we realize that Google makes very little effort to give reliable data and that simply make us planning and work more difficult.


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