Free Google Optimization Misses Target

Several months ago I got a call from the Googleplex offering to optimize one of our client’s PPC campaigns.  I expect our high spend level got their attention and the call was prompted by the results of some efficiency test.

Google’s recommendations resulted in ad impressions dropping by half, and CTR doubling. In theory this would be good, an indication the campaign had been better targeted and made more relevant to Google’s search audience.

However today I reversed all changes. Our client complained they’ve been getting fewer inbound leads and more importantly: the wrong kind of leads. They sell B2B but careful analysis of the new campaign’s performance indicated it lost some of that traffic in favor of retail traffic, individuals. The numbers were “improved” by, in effect, switching target markets.

I attribute this to Google’s PPC analysts strictly numbers-oriented approach thinking about keyword counts rather than keyword meaning, not accounting for the overlapping B2B / retail keyword spaces, and generally not developing an understanding of the clients business and target market opting instead to just “go by the numbers”.