Feeds

Google AdWords: 11 herbs and spices revealed

Bidding on ignorance

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Google likes its secrets. But there's one secret it likes more than any other. We don't mean Goobuntu. Or the GDrive. Or those Juniper-killing GRouters. We mean the secret that makes the millions, the secret at the heart of the Mountain View money machine.

It's not much of a secret, really. It's right there for all to see. But it's something Google refuses to admit - whether the question comes from from a nagging reporter or a loyal customer. If Google keeps its loyal customers ignorant, Google makes more money. Much more.

Almost all of Google's revenues arrive via AdWords, its flagship advertising program. Billed as an auction, AdWords serves up text ads in response to Google keyword searches. You bid for a particular keyword or group of keywords - "whips and chains," for instance, or "free Adobe Acrobat" - and if you bid high enough, your ad may appear when some unsuspecting web surfer searches on those terms. Then, if they actually click on your ad, you pay Google a fee somewhere south of what you bid (depending on what your competitors are bidding - and Mountain View's mystery algorithms).

Even among seasoned AdWords advertisers, the assumption is that you're bidding for the right to post an ad every time someone searches on your keyword. Or at least most of the time. The wisest advertisers are well aware that Google may tweak ad placements based on the surfer's location. And many speculate that Google is targeting ads based on the surfer's surfing habits. But almost no one - including some of the cleverest search engine marketers we've spoken to - realizes the truth. And that's because Google won't acknowledge it.

The truth is that Mountain View carefully controls the number of impressions each ad receives - presumably as a means of maximizing its own revenue. To wit, if you bid on the keywords "pork dumplings," your ad will likely appear on only a small fraction of "pork dumpling" searches. And you have no way of knowing how small that fraction is.

Drawing on the ad hoc research of a longtime Google advertiser, we made this claim back in July of last year. And it's confirmed by AdGooRoo, an independent outfit that tracks Google ad placements from servers installed across the globe.

"Google is going to display the ads that make them the most total revenue," Rich Stokes, AdGooRoo founder and CEO, tells us. "Every single ad campaign I've seen has at least a handful of keywords - sometimes far more - that are only getting three to five per cent of the coverage [impressions]."

In other words, advertisers aren't bidding for what they think they're bidding for. And Google has rigged its ad system so that it's dominated by only a handful of advertisers. According to the latest numbers from AdGooRoo, three per cent of Google's advertisers receive 80 per cent of all ad impressions.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Microsoft adds video offering to Office 365. Oh NOES, you'll need Adobe Flash
Lovely presentations... but not on your Flash-hating mobe
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.