Google have slowly been introducing a new feature in AdWords called Ad suggestions. In this they introduce variants to your ads in an effort to optimise them for you. Originally it was suggested that they might swap the two heading lines around for example. But now they have gone further than that. Way way further than that.

I have recently been optimising some client accounts where Google has been making it’s suggestions and I am shocked by what I’ve seen. The idea was that they would tweak the text in the ad very slightly, then allow the well established AdWords optimisation system to pick the best performing ad – pretty much bound to be the one with the best click through rate. But what I have seen that is completely shocking, is where their automated system has removed THE KEY WORD from the ad altogether and replaced it with something else. It seems to be using sitelink or callout extensions to grab that text. The result is either pathetic or – worse – not what we were originally selling.

Just one example was selling Finance courses for non-financial managers. We used the phrase non-financial in the heading – of course we did, that’s what we were selling. But Google AdWords, in it’s infinite wisdom, decided to pull out the fact that we sold online courses (as well as classroom and in-company) and remove “non-financial” and replaced it with “online courses” instead. Our ad was therefore selling not what we intended, and – worse – because it was selling something general now, the Click Through Rate went up so the optimiser preferred that version of the advert.

The solution:

  1. Go through all your ads and where you find Google has added in stupid variations, pause them;
  2. Find a way to turn them off altogether (good luck with that, I couldn’t find one and resorted to a Beta form at some weird location to ask them to stop making AdWords Ad suggestions for all my customer linked accounts).

Honestly, I have had my fill of Google AdWords’ tactics of squeezing more and money out it’s hard working customers; making the tax that they charge for people conducting business on the internet ever higher. AdWords is a great system but I am tired of fighting against Google, not working with them. If you are in the small group of self-advertisers on AdWords be very very careful what you do – more than ever, you might easily end up paying Google a lot of money for nothing in return.