Poor Google has more to worry about than its reputation, recently tarnished by layoffs. The advertising giant just can’t seem to get its act together with its signature adwords program, and meanwhile, a deft competitor is getting set to eat its lunch.
The layoffs in and of themselves are not alarming in light of the recession and tightened online advertising budgets, but for a company that used viral video clips to extol its employee-friendly policies like free haute cuisine, even a hint of layoff comes across as degoutant.
Meanwhile, the Google adword program suffers from ongoing bugs and miscommunications, with an optional beta feature called “automatic matching” intended to help advertisers automatically fill out their keyword lists by using a semantic matching algorithm. This feature, now molded into “expanded broad match,” left unsuspecting clients with their adword budgets used up by the algorithm’s faulty logic.
Further poor communication about a change in its “broad match” algorithm caused consternation among Google’s most ardent loyalists, search engine marketers (SEMs). Originally, broad match allowed your ads to score a hit in flexible ways. For example, “staffing software” would get a hit for “software solution needed for staffing company.”
But Google bungled its way to an “upgraded” version of “broad match” called “automatic match,” which caused hits on search terms totally unrelated and unintended. For example, my company got stung for a couple hundred dollars when our time and attendance ads for “online timeclocks” got dozens of paid clicks for “time” and “online time.”
OK, not a fortune, but hey, a “We’re sorry” and “Here’s a discount off your bill” would be nice. Monopolists like Google, however, see no such need for customer service.
Fortunately, monopoly-busting help is on its way, and thank God it’s not coming from the Sherman Antitrust Act. For aggressive adword buyers like TempWorks, it’s called Twitter. If you haven’t checked out the Twitter search screen lately, you might be astounded at how closely it resembles the Google search screen:
Here at TempWorks, we’ve adopted a policy of heavily encouraging Twitter use and making sure that every press release and blog post gets tweeted as well. For now, we only get the benefit of the free tweet and subsequent hits from searchers, but soon Twitter will have its own adword program.
Sweet news for the advertising budget!