I've played around with AdWords before, just to learn about how it works so I could write about it with some first hand knowledge. But I was never a "real" AdWords advertiser - I didn't have anything to sell. Sure, my publisher (and Amazon) have purchased the "John Battelle" keyword, which is great, but I had nothing to do with that.
That all changed today, when I created an account with Google and started a campaign, for real, promoting Federated Media's new ad platform. Now, sure, it may be odd to use one ad platform to promote another, but I believe that AdWords and FM are complementary, and further, well, I'm a big believer in intent driving content, as anyone who's read this site or my book knows. Plus, the more I know about Google, the smarter I might be as we take FM into the future.
The lessons so far are really, really interesting. I'll be sharing them as I go along, but a few to start:
The AdWords experience so far is really slick. I know many of you who have used AdWords for a long time may have serious beefs, but for me, I was really blown away at how good the initial setup and UI experience is.
I had a question and got an answer via a real person using IM within five minutes. That is really impressive, in particular given the griping I uncovered a year ago when my reporting consistently turned up how difficult Google was to contact.
I thought perhaps of using IM again to ask this question, but instead, I'm wagering you all might know. My campaign has been running now for about 8 hours, and I'm starting to see clicks coming in. What strikes me as amazing is the number of impressions on "Google Content" sites (ie, AdSense) versus Google Search. It's not even an order of magnitude larger, it's several orders larger. When you think about it, this is not surprising (the market knows that search is riper pickings than content, after all.) But, Google breaks out reporting for search clicks (ie, for a particular search keyword, here are the number of clicks), but not for Google Content clicks. At least, that's how it seems to work. I wonder why? Anyone know?
So far, I've been experimenting with about 30 keyphrases, and the most interesting stuff is to see how often that phrase is actually typed into Google. From what I can tell, I have not burned through my daily limit, so I'm getting a pretty accurate reflection of how often those terms are requested each day. Even if I'm only seeing a portion of the actual number of searches, it appears I'm getting an apples to apples comparison of which of my search terms get the most impressions, which is interesting learning.
Lastly, I've read Google's AdWords TOS, and from what I can tell, I'm not in violation of them by posting this. If I am, I'm hoping some kind reader from Google or one of Google's partners will let me know how, and why.
I'm really looking forward to discovering more, and quite impressed - one day in - with the power of the service. It makes me wonder if the analysts covering GOOG from Wall Street are actually Google customers. Here I was, yapping about the company, but not actually interacting with this side of their equation. Fascinating.