Google Personalized PPC/CPC Results – Hurts Advertisers

I have been noticing something over the last couple of weeks in regards to rankings of paid search listings in Google and their odd propensity to show up differently in different browsers. Odd you say? Yes I say. Thinking of why this might be, the only logical conclusion I could come up with was cookies. So I decided to test it out. I took a screen shot before I deleted my Google based cookies and then one after. Here are the before and after screen shots. (Obviously this is anecdotal at this point!)

Paid Search listings before Google cookies cleared

Before Cookies Cleared
Paid Search results after Google cookies cleared

After Cookies Cleared

So Google is personalizing Paid Search results, thanks for the heads up Google.

Good for advertisers? Not really. By doing this Google eliminates some listings all together, or pushes them to never-never land, thereby reducing a chance at a sale. And even “worse” if the ad is pushed to the lower half of the first page by this Google methodology the CTR hits the floor and thereby damages the over all quality score of the keyword, which in turn may drive up the cost of that keyword for that unlucky advertiser. Is this another user-based functionality improvement that just happens to potentially make Google some more money from advertisers or is it a darn good way to turn quality assurance into profitable income?

Tough to say.

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1 Comment

  1. Bill Hartzer
    Jul 5, 2007

    I’ve heard of Google doing some personalization when it comes to AdWords, but haven’t seen it actually shown like this, Jeff.

    I am not sure if personalizing AdWords is a bad thing, though, as Google definitely wants to make more money, and whatever they can do to show my ad to someone who is more likely to click on it and visit my site is better, right?

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