Interview with Google’s Frederick Vallaeys

A couple of weeks back I interviewed Frederick Vallaeys, who is a Senior Product Specialist for Google AdWords. We covered a wide range of topics, with a review of some recent product announcements, and also some tips and tricks. In this post, I will summarize the main points of the interview, but do read the full interview if you want the details.

Universal Search for AdWords: The AdWords team is actively looking at the types of things that have worked in the organic search results. Clearly the introduction of images, videos, maps, and other elements has been a great success in web search, so the AdWords team is beginning to incorporate similar elements. So if you search for a movie, you may get an associated video clip as part of an ad.

Another feature that has been ported over is Sitelinks. As an example of this, check out the search results for Orbitz. This feature will come up in particular when you do branded searchers (and the advertiser has turned it on).

Additional pricing models have been added as well. Try a search on mortgage to see an example of one of them. Google calls these “Comparison Ads”. They offer the user a simple for to fill out. Once the users fill the form out, the information is shared with a few lenders. Note though, one cool additional feature – Google anonymizes the user’s phone number and provides an alternative phone number to the lenders, and when the lenders call that number, Google redirects it to the user’s actual phone number.

Another new pricing model is called “Product Listing Ads”. This is a model for retailers to list products on Google and pay on a cost per acquisition basis. Google pulls matching vendors from the Google Affiliate Network, and given the CPA model this presents little risk to the advertiser. Pretty cool.

As we switched into “tips and tricks”, Frederick led off with the Content Network. As I noted during the interview, the Content Network got off to a bad start because it was bundled so tightly with regular web advertising. This is a problem because the usage of keywords is completely different. Keywords in web search relate to actual user queries. In the world of the Content Network, Google uses keywords to find web pages of participating publishers that have those words on their web pages. If the match is strong enough, the AdSense box with your ad in it will be displayed. A completely different algorithm with many implications.

The other truth about the content network is that the user is in a different mindset. The search user is already looking for something. Someone visiting a web site is probably looking for something else, and you are now trying to get them to look at your product or service. A pretty different mentality, and the best results are obtained if you create pretty different looking ads.

But, if you do these two things well, you can be well off to the races. Frederick reports: “we found that those using the network would typically get 20% of all their leads and conversions from the Content Network”. That is pretty significant. Also, Google has added the ability to show you View Through Conversions. This is essentially analytics data showing you how many of your buyers saw a Content Network ad prior to making a purchase. With this data you can see what sales the Content Network “assited” in getting for you.

Frederick’s next tip was about making use of Conversion Optimizer. This is a free tool that allows you to manage your keywords on a cost per acquisition basis. This is the type of thing that bid management tools do for you, but it is free. In addition, Google can leverage data it has more easily than the pay for bid management tools can, such as geographic data (where the searcher is located) and adapt the bids for your keywords on a per query basis. The tool does not allow management on an ROI basis yet, and the pay for tools offer other features, but for many advertisers, Conversion Optimizer will be enough.

Last up was the search based keyword tool. The tool identifies missed opportunities, such as cases where a company has a page getting organic search traffic related to a product, but there are no keywords being bid on for the same product. The tool presents you with both the keyword and proposed landing page, which makes acting on the suggestions really easy.

There were several other things in the interview, so check it out if you want more.

Comments

  1. This is a great collection of ideas! Question: for the Impression Share, is the percentage of Impressions calculated via the amount of total impressions on both Google and the Search network or Google only? I’ve noticed very high Exact Impression percentages but low overall IS percentages in the reports.

    Also, I like and respect the Content network more every day. Thanks!

  2. The information is very useful for me to understant more about google Search Network. Thanks to make mo know about the organic search results. I just know that the organic search resilt is actually the adwords ads.

  3. I finally have a better understanding of the content network. In particular I found the paragraph on the different mindset of the search user very informative and that someone visiting a web site is probably looking for something else, so the best results are obtained if you create different looking ads. This has given me more ideas on how to target my adds in the future

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  5. Outtanames999 says:

    Another great interview with powerful questions from Eric!

    It is clear that the Doubleclick acquisition is paying off and the integration of Doubleclick technology is increasing all the time. Adwords advertisers and Google alike will benefit from this because the “black box” technology will increase efficiency.

    It’s great to hear directly from someone at Google who has obviously given a lot of thought to how advertisers can best apply their various tools. Helps us close the loop in our understanding of which of our Adwords advertising problems Google is actively solving for.

    The continuing challenge for advertisers is the lack of scalability of search. You can only reach those who are searching for you, for what you sell, or something presumably related. Efficiency wins as it should, but sometimes it is nice to be intrusive to reach a wider audience. Other media and media outlets do not penalize the advertiser for doing this the way pay per click does. The content network can theoretically be used this way but does not appear to be optimized for it. A new blackbox algorithm, anyone?

    And it’s nice to see a recognition that search doesn’t scale in the other direction – the much vaunted “long tail.” Google gets it. Maybe one day so will the adwords “gurus”. PPC is maturing and strategies that just create more work for the PPC manager are not going to prevail in the “long tail” of time.

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