21 Mar eBay questions the value of Google ads
Google advertising value questioned by eBay
The BBC published an article in March 2013 about a report created by eBay about the value of Google ads. The report found that paying for advertising in the form of keywords on search engines has little effect on sales. This was interesting for two reasons:
1. The fact that eBay was funding studies like this
The reason this was interesting is that it showed that eBay was actively trying to prove to businesses/sellers that they should have been spending their money (through commission) on eBay rather than advertising via Google. I’m sure this has come about because Google was really trying hard to combat the trend of online shoppers going straight to eBay and Amazon to search for products rather than use Google.
Why did Google feel so threatened by the likes of eBay and Amazon?
Forrester Research found that a third of online users started their product searches on Amazon compared to 13% who started their search from a traditional search site such as Google.
2. The results of the study
The results seemed to show that most people who clicked through using the paid Google advertising (PPC) as a result of this service were loyal customers who would have come to the site anyway.
I, however, feel that this is the fault of the advertisers (not google) as I still see too many businesses sponsoring/paying for the search terms containing their own company name even though their site comes number one in Google organically.
When eBay removed their adverts they found that users still clicked through as the results appeared on the search engine anyway.
“Shutting paid search advertisements closed one (costly) path to a firm’s website but diverted traffic to the next easiest path (natural search), which is free to the advertiser.”
Google said that its own research suggested there was a significant increase in clicks as a result of search advertising.
But a company representative added: “Since outcomes differ so much among advertisers and are influenced by many different factors, we encourage advertisers to experiment with their own campaigns.”
My suggested best practice when using google ads (ppc) would be:
1. Use PPC when your site doesn’t appear in the natural listings
2. Be very careful with the choice of search terms by ensuring they are specific and relevant
3. Use exact match for your search terms. Google will have a default setting of board match which will place your advert for any search vaguely similar to your chosen search term and therefore waste your money
4. Use PPC when you need instant traffic due to new product launch, event etc
5. you can use PPC when you need traffic to test a particular pages/section of your site.
The world of Google ads has changed significantly almost 5 years after the eBay study was conducted and paid adverts are now earning almost the same percentage of clickthroughs as organic results. However, organic results are still more relevant than ever. While Google ads are enjoying a period of success among users, first page results remain the most trustworthy and often relevant websites, as they achieved their position through great content, user-friendly design and external links.