Pay Per Click March 2nd, 2009
Last week, Google introduced a new Display URL policy for all AdWords advertisers. The policy as explained on the Inside Adwords blog essentially states that advertisers may no longer use more than one display URL per ad group.
Most advertisers using Google AdWords are sending traffic to one web address, or domain. The URL is the technical term for ‘web address’. In Google AdWords, the display URL is the web address that you see in your Google Ads.
Previously, AdWords advertisers with more than one website selling the same or similar products and services could create a variety of ad groups in their campaigns and split the traffic between several websites.
If their campaign had an ad group selling “red stuff”, and both websites sold “red stuff”, one ad group could have two ads, each one sending visitors to each one of the sites. It was a way to test which ad or site was most effective for at converting.
Previously, in the “Red Stuff” campaign, within the “Canadian Red Stuff” ad group, it was perfectly acceptable to have any of the following ads:
As you can see, the top level domain (or main website address) is different in each one. The first ad directs to redstuffexample.com, while the second ad directs to canadianredstuff.com.
With the new policy, advertisers can no longer use one ad group and set of keywords to send traffic to two different websites. If you want to send traffic to two websites, then it will require advertisers to create two identical ad groups and keyword sets with unique Display URLs and landing page URLs. This is the bare minimum, of course. For some, it might make more sense to create two different AdWords accounts.
Advertisers must now have ads similar to the following, which send visitors to and display the same primary web address, or URL:
Google has stated the reason for implementing this policy is to improve quality and experience for its visitors.
They also acknowledge that despite there are several reasons why companies currently choose to display several URL’s but the general feeling is that the overall improvement outweighs those benefits.
Some blogs claimed the change came without warning to advertisers. In my opinion, the announcement from Google although sudden, was not unexpected. The plan was announced about a month ago, and Google Authorized Adwords Professionals, received warning emails from Google outlining what accounts, would be affected. The point that it was unexpected may have affected smaller advertisers, in which case I can sympathize. But that does not excuse not seeing the news announced, as it was posted across message boards and in Google News Alerts.
The news will force advertisers to test their ads and websites in a new way, either by creating separate ad groups, or by using the Google Website Optimizer tool.