Why I was wondering about YOU…(Adwords users might want to read this)

Thanks for giving me some feedback yesterday about where you all first heard about CartoonSmart. Here’s why I was wondering, and yeah obviously it has to do with $$$…

I pay Google A LOT of money for advertising. I’ve written a couple times before about my love / hate relationship with PPC ads. I love traffic. I hate paying for it. But I also don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it either. Its like a tattoo, its there if I want to look at it, but what’s the point now. I can’t exist without my tattoos and I can’t really pick up new customers without Google. But I can scale back what I pay them, and I’ve been trying to figure out if its worth dropping some of my Content Network ads. If you don’t know….

Paying for Search ads on Google means someone has to search for specific terms I place ads on. Like “Flash tutorials”. Paying for ads on the Content Network is a bit more vague. In Glengarry-Glen Ross terms, the leads are weak. Ideally, the ad should appear on a site that has content related to what I’m advertising about. So someone might write “I need Flash tutorials” on a forum and my ad could show there. They might also write “anyone got a tutorial on installing a new flash for my camera” and its possible my ad would run for that. Which is okay, because I don’t actually pay for impressions (the ad being seen), I pay for the ad being clicked on.

So here’s the question… Why not just buy as many ads as possible? Since I’m only paying for clicks, and I’m assume they are somewhat qualified leads, like the person actually reads the ad and decides “I want to know more!” . Well Google answered this question for me pretty well the other day. My assumptions were probably a bit optimistic.

I started looking in the Network tab ( which I’m pretty sure is a new feature to Adwords ) and I could see some of the sites that were running my Content ads. A lot of non-English sites, a lot of Flash gaming sites geared toward 13 year olds, and some shareware/torrent type sites (great, right). So I was not happy. It was like finding out what was in Google’s secret sauce was poison. I excluded probably 100 sites from running our ads. Basically carpet-bombed a lot of advertising. But on the flip side, some of my campaigns did have a lot of domains listed in the Network tab that I could tell just from name alone, was fine. These were sites I’m familiar with that are definitely Flash or Adobe-heavy community sites.

Anyway, I was afraid I might have bombed some of the ads that brought in YOU. And I guess its possible, because I think I did wipe out about $30 worth of daily traffic, but I’m hoping its just click-crazy kids that were looking for Flash games.

And good news for anyone considering using Adwords, there is a lot more transparency in where your money goes. Its still not perfect, but a lot has been improved since… (runs to check) ….Feb 19, 2002 when I signed up. I bought 2 clicks that day (yesterday was 2,218).

Ear muffs the kids before clicking.

Ear muffs the kids before clicking.

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8 thoughts on “Why I was wondering about YOU…(Adwords users might want to read this)

  1. Emily says:

    I and a tonne of people I know heard about your site from adobe trainers and IT professionals. I work for an IT company and even though we had training for Flash, we wanted more and the amount of people who gave me your weblink was astounding. I never google for products I want to buy as my company go by recommendations. As do I. So I guess from my point of view, your actual customers come from elsewhere out side the web. Hope that helps.

  2. Your ads run on my site like crazy and I am happy about it. My traffic is 5000 unique visitors a month, and I will be more then happy to put a banner there fixed, and neutralize the URL from my adsense account. my rate is $20 monthly for a 350×20 and $15 for a 125×125 first month free to cover for some tutorials I downloaded.

  3. I think you got a few clients from me two for sure one from Germany and one From UK, both of them thanked me for it! I don’t know if you realize how important your tutorials are for some of us including me, again I am not ashamed to say the because of CartoonSmart I learned flash and find my way in life…

  4. john says:

    It seems strange when I look at the flash forums, I never see anyone recommending CartoonSmart, also i think i saw a top twenty flash resources on smashing magazine and guess what no CS mention even in the comments nobody mentioned CS. why!

    I think you missed a great opportunity for publicity at the Michael Jackson’s memorial service, can you imagine how may hits your site would have got if you’d ran onto the stage with a CartoonSmart tee shirt on.

  5. Smashing Magazine usually just links to free stuff. I doubt Lynda.com was in that list either. I guess I’m a capitalist pig because I like making training videos for a living. =)

    And I tried to get onstage disguised as John Mayer.

  6. I believe it was google that originally brought me here. Honestly, it’s the only search tool I use on the internet. My girlfriend and myself worked at an full-marketing internet advertising company, she did PPC and I created banner ads and webpages, so I’m well-aware of that realm. Ironically enough I don’t utilize any of it for my pages, but then again my websites aren’t a source of income either. The adwords prices are ridiculous if you want to seriously compete in the market. I tried to sign up for an account to host some of your PPC banners, but things got messed up and now I have no idea what do to.

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