06 Jul 2011

Wasted Ad Spending

July 06, 2011PPC Advertising

Did your AdWords bill come back a little high this month? Are you seeing a lower return on investment than you had been expecting, overall? Do you ever feel like you are paying for clicks that are not being seen by the right people? Sure, all of these might seem like coincidence, but unfortunately, it is also possible that you are paying for clicks you did not even know about.

There are thousands of spam websites floating out there in cyberspace, and every day, legitimate ads are being posted to their homepages. A good example of one of these spam sites is http://www.amazen.com. The creator of this site knew that by varying the URL by only one letter from Amazon.com, that it would generate a heavy flow of traffic from mistypes alone. Some other sites that operate similarly are hulo.com, yotube.com . . . you get the point. It is a struggle to keep advertising messages and spending safe when ads are being constantly funneled onto bunk websites, but there are solutions out there.

The first step to solving this problem is being aware of the spam site practice in the first place. Many users advertising on the Google Display Network are completely unaware that their ads are making appearances on these sites. It has never crossed their minds that they are wasting money on the associated meaningless clicks.

Clickthroughs coming from spam sites are not helpful to the advertiser. These spam sites tend to generate poor traffic, because people don’t actually spend time browsing them. There is no content, just space for lost AdWords links. The ads that do appear on the sites are often not relevant due to this lack of content. It’s also important to know that these clicks might not even be coming from real people surfing the web, as robots tend to be common at those domains.

So now that you know these sites are out there, how can you avoid having your ads appear there? The task can be tedious, but worthwhile. Users should visit the “Networks” tab on their AdWords account. Under this tab, the user can review all of their ads’ website placements. Users can also run a report under the “Dimensions” tab that will generate each separate domain. From here, users must do their own investigative research to find which sites are legit, and which ones are spam sites. Sometimes it’s obvious, like the aforementioned URLs, and other times not so much. Websites like time-travel.com and vision-source.com are examples of sites that might seem like real domains, but are actually spam.

Going through and individually searching each domain from these reports can seem daunting, but over time it can be very beneficial to your campaign. At Site Pro, we do this for every one of our advertisers on the display network. By cutting down on wasted ad spending, and eliminating appearances on spam sites you’re not only strengthening the message of your ad and brand, but you are ensuring for more targeted placement in the future. Being disciplined about checking for spam clicks now will increase your overall ROI later on. For now, take the time to weed through these sites, because it will pay off when you reach more of your intended audience over time.