Google Adwords has given them problems recently. Particularly the Content Network has been refusing to show many ads in the diet and fitness industry. Since this is the most common affiliate product out there, I think it’s important that we address it.
This also applies to people marketing “Make Money” products.
Oddly enough, so far my own ads have not been affected in the same “Make Money” market. So obviously you too should be able to get your ads going.
I had a theory that the problem was that Google didn’t like regular affiliates any more. And after much back and forth, we finally got to the bottom of the problem. Here’s what happened…
Google starts off giving impressions on Content Network ads and then after a few hours would kill off the ads. So we got in touch with support to find out what the deal is.
First, the staff made obvious suggestions like “bid higher”, “check your daily budget”, and “target more countries”.
At one stage we were bidding $2 per click on keywords that should NOT have been that competitive. We had a daily budget of $500. And we targeted 65 countries. I did this just to prove to the Google staff that their suggestions are bogus.
So we got in touch with Google again, who seem to have eliminated their “live chat” feature for whatever reason.
After multiple messages, and persistence on our part, support forwarded our complaint to their technical team.
The technical staff suggested that we do not promote diet and fitness products as they are currently being prevented from syndicating on their networks. And upon further prompting from us, we discovered that this will soon become a permenant part of their policy. (Although I highly doubt the truth of this since the Acai Berry ban was never publicised in their rules and policies).
To be honest, I find this hard to believe.
We’re talking about two of the very largest industries and biggest money makers for Google. And it would make little business sense for them to eliminate relevant ads from showing up in Adsense blogs and sites that feature related content.
To top it off, I was seeing ads both on content and search that DID feature weight loss, diet, and fitness products. So some marketers were getting impressions.
Also, I was surprised that NONE of Google’s support staff were aware of what the technical team told us. It was only after the complaint reached the Adwords technical staff that we were told such ads are not allowed on the content network any more.
So rather than bend over for Google support staff (who seem to be as illiterate as non-marketers), I started to do a series of experiments with my students.
The first was to address the harsh reality that affiliate pages are AWFUL duplicate content. ÃÂ Thousands of affiliates are running ads to the SAME page competing on the same words. We built our own landing pages with an optin box and “bribe”. Yes, the bribe had to be original too to pass manual review.
We ran a small test ad on my students’ account. And after almost an entire day, the ads failed to get any impressions.
So I tested a related set of keywords but avoided anything that says “weight loss” in both the ad and keywords.
I raised the bids. And still nothing.
I then took the exact ad group into one of my own accounts and tested it. Within a few hours I had 6,000 impressions!
Yeah, obviously Google didn’t mind my account which spends thousands a day. But on my students’ accounts there were issues. I believed that somehow the previous accounts had been flagged as bad users of Google and their content network.
So I instructed one of my students to open a brand new Adwords account and write a small ad on the Google Search Network only.
Once more, many hours later, the ad received NO impressions.
This time, I edited the ad myself. I noticed that it used the words “lose weight fast”. I thought that it could be interpretted to be a promise of a “miracle cure”. Google specifically prohibits this in their policies.
I removed references to fast weight loss in the ad copy and ran it again.
Within a few minutes, we were seeing impressions on the ad!
What’s more, even though the keyword was very competitive, we were able to get clicks for only 25 cents a click for the #1 position! The quality score was also high.
A few more tests later, we were able to establish a few rules of thumb that some of you doing weight loss ads should be aware of.
They will help you get your ads back in business 🙂
- If you’ve already been flagged for duplicate-offer marketing by Google, start a new account. It’s likely that if you’ve been noticing that no matter what your ad it won’t get impressions, you’ve been flagged. You can use the Google MCC (My Client Center) to manage more than one account with a single login.
- Use my Capture Page Generator to build your own self-hosted landing pages and become a value-added affiliate. You can check the resources section for recommended web hosts, autoresponders, and domain authorities.
- Phase your keywords in ONE at a time in order to establish which of your keywords might be the source of your original problem that got your account flagged earlier. That means you only add ONE keyword with one ad and wait a day or so.
- Do not advertise on the content network until you have estbalished your credibility as an advertiser with good quality scores and well-behaved campaigns. This could be a matter of several weeks.
- Avoid trigger words in your ad copy that might be interpretted as miracle cures like “make quick money” or “lose weight fast”. Test out different alternative wording until you find something that Google accepts. Allow at least 15 minutes between tests.
- Run your ads on the content network only after you’ve got successful search campaigns.
In the next few days, I’m going to bring in one of my students as a guest blogger here to keep you all posted about what works in affiliate marketing with Google Adwords. Implement these suggestions, and stay tuned for specifics in the meantime 🙂