Aug
28
2007

Google AdSense and AdWords Minimum CPC Rate Setting

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Google has been making improvements and additions left and right to AdWords and AdSense. Recently it seems like most of these “features” have helped to gain them profits rather then releasing something just for the benefit of the publishers and advertisers. How about handing us some control?

I really like the improvements they’ve made so far this year. In one of their most recent announcements Google explains how they’re going to use cookies to track previous user searches and display ads related to those searches on publisher sites. However, I really hope people aren’t searching for a certain blue pill or “naughty” pictures and then coming to my site. I think that would break some TOS agreements with a few hosting services. Sorry Google, but some publishers are concerned about what they’re advertising on their site. I guess you could argue the visitor would not be offended if they were searching for that kind of content in the first place. But what if its a shared computer? Cached results of keywords showing in ads when your baby sister jumps on a favorite kids site with AdSense might be more then PG rated, and do we really want them accidentally clicking on those?

If you’re an AdSense user purely interested in money and profits, well, I can see how you might like this. Theoretically if Google does this right its a great idea if top paying ads from a range of keywords will fill more ad space on a website. Essentially this could knock out those “bottom feeders” that pay 2 or 3 cents a click on your lower ad positions. More opportunities for publishers to increase profits from clicks on bottom ads in there site. However Google will be benefiting too. Gee wiz, what a shocker that one is. Anyone else feel like Google is starting to get greedy with less concern of what’s showing up where?

What I’d really like to see Google add is an ability for publishers to set an minimum CPC for all ad spots the same way we specify a hex value in the code for ad colors. So for your top ad, you might set the CPC rate for 20 cents. If a click on an available ad isn’t potentially valuable enough to fill that spot then either nothing would show or a user set default ad would be displayed (One that you know performs at 20 cents a click). A bottom ad might be set for 15 cents, ect. If publishers are not seeing ads on their site it will be clear to them that they need to make some adjustments. Somewhere it will equal out, but that might mean Google has to give up some power (god forbid). Equally they could create another option in AdWords which would specify a CPC minimum. In this scenario their CPC max might be above what a publisher has their CPC Minimum Profit Rate at and still not show due to lack of competition to get the price up (MPR – write that down ;) ). Perhaps their was enough competition if the publisher had their minimum set to 17 cent profit and that ad would have shown. In this case an advertisers CPC minimum being set to 50 cents would allow their ad to be displayed there at a cost of 40 cents to them (this is assuming Google takes 50% profits). This would meet the publishers guideline of wanting 20 cents per click from that position. Essentially its price bargaining without ever speaking with the person. Eventually the two will come to an optimized solution and everyone’s happy unless the site is underperforming. Then the AdWords user can put the kibosh on the site at his or her discretion.

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