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WSJ: Advertisers Complain of AdWords Session-Based Clicks Causing Wasted Ad Spend

The Wall Street Journal reporting that the advertisers are complaining about Google’s practice of delivering ads within a user’s search session, beside results unrelated to an advertiser’s purchased keywords. Some of the advertisers said when their ads were placed next to search results for unrelated topics, Google users were much less likely to purchase their product or service after clicking on the ads. Advertisers pay Google each time a user clicks on a search ad.

Jeff Dorfman, a cosmetic dentist in New York, said the issue–known in industry parlance as “session-based clicks”–has cost him approximately $3,000 in wasted ad spend of the total $40,000 spent on AdWords ads since late 2009. Dorfman, wanted to show his ads when people searched for things like “cosmetic dentist nyc” or “orthodontist.” But, he was charged between $5.36 and $7.26 per click when Google users clicked on his dental ad after searching for “penis enlargement” and “[Chinese characters] in nyc Chinatown,” respectively.

The session-based feature also has troubled some AdWords consultants. Stephen Murphy, whose Australia-based firm PayPerClick manages AdWords accounts for more than 130 clients, said he believes the feature causes advertisers to waste between 12% and 14% of their budget unless their account settings are adjusted.

A Google spokesman said: “Although performance will vary from advertiser to advertiser, session-based clicks in the broad match category perform comparably to non-session-based clicks.”


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