NY Times: Google AdWords Advertiser Shares His Problems

Oct 26, 2012 • 8:29 am | comments (19) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

AdWords Debacle StoryThe guy in the picture is Paul Downs, he is a normal small business owner who makes most of his money selling conference tables from his web site. He advertisers his website mostly through Google AdWords.

In short, he was doing great and then all of a sudden his sales started to drop off.

He is telling his five part story on the NY Times web site and the last story is set to come out next week about how he fixed his issue.

The stories that are currently out can all be seen over here but here are the titles:

  1. My AdWords Debacle: Dumb and Happy
  2. My AdWords Debacle: A New Product
  3. My AdWords Debacle: Statistics and Stories
  4. My AdWords Debacle: A Wake Up and a Fix
  5. Last one coming soon...

Now, it seems when you are reading the story that he added some new ad groups and keywords that dried up his AdWords budget and led to less profitable and actionable leads. But I am waiting for a surprise in the fifth installment of this set of stories.

What do you think this AdWords advertiser's issue is?

Forum discussion at Google AdWords Help.

Previous story: Should You Trust Google Debt Collectors?



10/26/2012 01:09 pm

The introduction is so long, that there are no options left - final part must be read ) Like soap opera )


10/26/2012 02:17 pm

I've been reading this and have been fascinated by this in-depth, transparent record of a business owner (I'm an SEO for small business owners at SpaceCraft, a web publishing software company). I was trying to guess what the ending would be and since he calls it a "debacle," I'm wondering if it might have to do with his keywords being "Broad match" and receiving very low-quality clicks from even the most expensive keywords. Not sure!


10/26/2012 04:57 pm

Adwords, like every aspect of Google is rigged to rip people off. Simple as that, especially the "quality score." Google is no longer planning long term, they just want to scam people to make money for this quarter.


10/26/2012 05:22 pm

So, here is the real store from the real small business owner. Q: Business was in trouble, but was it because of Google ? A: No. Q: Can so called SEO help small business owners to increase online sales ? A: No, in most cases. Q: Do small business owners need to hire someone to fix their online sales problems ? A: No, in most cases. Q: Can small business owners run their online marketing campaigns by themselves ? A: Yes, they can and must. Happy end )

Kim Clinkunbroomer

10/26/2012 05:22 pm

Great articles, and very telling on how if you do not understand your audience and how they behave online it can result in disaster. Glad to hear he was able to make corrections to set him back on the right path.


10/26/2012 05:24 pm

I try not to click on ads period. I don't like the way they start to show up on everything else I look at. I resent it when ads are presented as useful links when they aren't. I also find that Google is often at fault because they put in things that are irrelevant to the search. I miss the card catalogues I used to find information on books. Searches inside them led somewhere rather than the circular journeys I take on line now.


10/26/2012 05:28 pm

There's a theory floating around out there is that Google is continually devaluing their search results and driving more business toward their revenue-generating products like Adwords. Small business sites appear to be especially hard hit and must either turn to Adwords or some other form of paid traffic, thus driving up ad costs. In fact, one can see a marked increase in the cost per click for Adwords following each Google algorithm change. This makes good business sense even if it generates a poor user experience; Google makes no money if businesses can find plenty of customers through their organic search results. Subjectively, Google's search results have been going downhill for some time and it's a mystery why some sites rank so highly for certain queries. Their competitors like Bing are actually delivering a much better search result with far more relevant websites, though Bing has yet to become a verb. Many of us who have websites can see that we enjoy drammatically different rankings between search engines for the same search query. Unless Bing and Yahoo get more popular as Google gets worse, more of us may have to find other means of generating traffic.

Lilia Tovbin

10/26/2012 05:31 pm

I have been using AdWords for my small business for 4 years now and saw bids for some keywords go up 5 times from where they were. I still manage to find new keywords and phrases that result in positive ROI, but I have no idea how some competitors pay $1 per click for phrases that contain "free" in them - that can't result in positive ROI as people who search for free don't have intentions to pay, especially in highly competitive markets. I think there are a lot of people using AdWords who don't know what they are doing and end up overspending and not getting good results out of it. Lets also not forget that Google favors advertisers in SERP (I had seen a 20% boost in organic traffic when paused campaigns were restarted), which is probably one reason why many small businesses even bother setting up AdWords campaigns.


10/26/2012 05:33 pm

I would suspect, that your problems are mostly related to your age rather than to IT. It calls nostalgie (fr))


10/26/2012 05:39 pm

Great series! I think it takes serious guts to use AdWords for anything beyond the usual shopping-cart e-commerce stuff, because measuring ROI becomes much more complicated.

trudy harrison

10/26/2012 05:42 pm

I don't click on the ads at the top of the search results, for two reasons: 1.I got sucked in once too often by companies just trying to pull in people to their sites when they don't actually have anything like the product I'm looking for. Big retailers are the worse offenders with that. 2. I am annoyed at google for using a background color almost indistinguishable from the regular background to distinguish ads from real results. Hey, google, that's crooked. I am actually more likely to click on one of the sidebar ads, but even those I trust less to lead me to pertinent results than I do the search results. (I would have preferred to read this article all at once, not chopped up and metered out in five pieces.)

Josh Stein

10/26/2012 08:09 pm

Did anyone read the user comments on the NYT articles? Absolutely negative on Google and their disgraceful tactics, no wonder Google-cheerleading sites like Barry's have lost all credibility. The cat is out of the bag, people are turning on Google, more and more. A tsunami will follow soon enough


10/27/2012 03:08 am

Dave very well said and unusually for this site a comment that is well considered and even handed. I have often let off steam here on Barry's site by attacking Google, Matt the bratt, Danny Sullivan and other Google loving fan boys and girls. However you have succinctly voiced most of my thoughts well done.

Rich Hargrave

10/28/2012 07:27 pm

Don't be the next Paul Downs! Allocate your budget across multiple search engines, optimize your landing pages, and above all; get help from a good third-party agency or individual and get back to running your business!


10/29/2012 04:05 pm

story N0 - ads very expensive and not convert due for top5 adwords cheat in google (and other search engines) organic search serp.


10/29/2012 04:09 pm

2. that is clear cheat and violation with good web practices and own google webmaster guidelines.


10/29/2012 04:27 pm

1. Yes, definitively because google 2. Yes, at lot of cases (until google not started anticompetition updates), but seo still helps. 3. Up to level of their webmaster. 4. Up to level of their webmaster. this is real-world answers, but it looks different then your answers.


10/29/2012 04:28 pm

anti-seo guy at seoroundtable it real soap opera here.


04/24/2014 11:26 am

i want to know about Google advertise. If i do Google advertise, i can find my website on the Google page ? I am doing it but no body finds my website on google pages.

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