How Google steals your contextual advertising budget!

Automation must be automated.

Well, friends, did not expect this kind of article? Well, neither did we, because it’s GOOGLE, what could be wrong with that. But it turns out that it can. So we have to write so that people can also see! And yes, let the HUNGER GAMES begin!

Once (keeping our finger on the pulse, and Google Ads accounts are constantly open) we decided to analyze the advertising activity and budget in contextual advertising of one of our “top” clients for previous periods and found unconfirmed spending on campaigns.

Campaign “1” Search for:

  • expenses for the day 24.10 – 1 192,60 UAH.
  • other search queries – 511 UAH.
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Of course, we immediately checked the campaign settings, and what do you think? It is set up for the search network:

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And then the questions begin to arise, what are these “other search queries” and where does the advertising budget go. But this will seem to you like flowers, then even cooler.

We took a small period from 01.10 to 24.10, and here, attention players, let’s spin the wheel of fortune – 10 782,44 UAH was spent on “Other queries“. This is more than on confirmed search and key queries during the month.

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Almost 11 thousand UAH, Karl, where did this money go? The question to which, unfortunately, the support of such a huge corporation as Alphabet did not give us an answer.

Moving on. Company “2” Search:

  • expenses for the day 24.10 – 622.87 UAH
  • other search queries – 534.32 UAH.
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Of course, we checked the settings again and what you think is right is the search network.

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During the period from 01.10 to 24.10, UAH 7,170.30 was spent on other search queries. This is about 2.5 times more than on search queries. Well, how does it happen?

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For you to understand, for all campaigns of the search network for the period from 01.10 to 24.10 on other search queries spent – 109 177,73 UAH. This is half of the spent advertising budget of the client.

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And here began our “productive” dialogue with a very “experienced” Google Ads support that will give you answers “fast, clear and to the point”. If only it were so.

Now we can describe our conversation for a long time, but we had enough, thanks, we will just write the answers we received:

  • I can say that the column “other search queries” includes data about user queries that were not recognized by the system as corresponding to your keywords (for example, due to too few similar queries in the network), but which led to the display of your advertisement and click on it.

In answer to our question – That is, there are more requests that are not recognized by the system than those that are recognized?

  • The system recognized all requests. It’s just that the system did not consider some of them to be sufficiently relevant to your campaign settings to include them in the statistics. To reduce the number of impressions/clicks on search queries, you can change the keyword settings. For example, by specifying exact match for some of them instead of phrase match. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the display of ads for “other” search queries. You can only try to minimize them.
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That is, do what you want, we do not know where the money goes, there are no statistics, I can not provide anything, just no data… And here is the question that we will also tell the client – “we will try to minimize them, but get ready for the fact that we will not“.
For the entire time of launching campaigns, the budget drain on Other search queries was 385 494 UAH. Not bad, right?

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Now is the time to just brazenly steal money, but at the same time to say that there were other requests, just their system can not identify and show, but they were relevant (then no, the support itself was constantly confused), just very rarely used.

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And just for you, the ending of all the above:

  • WeAccording to the rules of business, and we are guided by them now, everything that is not confirmed by transparent statistics is considered to be spent not for its intended purpose. In our case, it is a drain of money on what you call “relevant but rare” requests, which you cannot show so that we understand which requests should be excluded?
  • SupportI fully understand that the inability to track all searches is frustrating for you. It is assumed that all searches included in this category are relevant and match the keywords you have added, as those that the system recognizes as irrelevant are not charged for clicks on them, as the system classifies such clicks as invalid. Queries included in the category of other are not displayed in separate statistics due to their small number.
  • WeIf you think they are relevant – show them, if you don’t show them, you are stealing customers’ money.
  • SupportUnfortunately, this is how the statistics of this report work and the support team has no influence on this. You can provide feedback on this functionality by clicking on the question mark in your account.
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The moral of this tale is this:

The client has allocated money for advertising, and half of it has merged somewhere, though it is not clear where. And here immediately comes to mind a golden quote – “we do not know what it is, if we knew what it is, but we do not know what it is”. This is approximately the answer we received from Google Ads support.

We very much hope that this situation will be publicized, because this is only a small crumb of what was found and recorded in the advertising account of one client and will be unreasonably deducted from your advertising budgets!

Google’s monopoly of the advertising market is gaining not qualitative, but quantitative momentum. It is no longer interested in relevance, quality, its main goal is the quarterly profit of Alphabet and the lack of competition in the Ukrainian contextual advertising market. As the saying goes, “Who wants war, and who wants his mother”.