Google Split Testing – NOT!
Recently, while perusing the performance of a client, who shall for my own job security remain nameless, I noticed that all of a sudden quite a few of my text ads were disapproved in Google Search. What the sweet Jolly Green Giant is going on here, I thought. I hovered my cursor over the thought bubble next to my Disapproved status and it very helpfully told me that all the display URLs within the ad group must be the same.
Fair enough, I thought, and I went to look through my active ads. To my not-at-all-surprise, all my active ads had identical display URLs. I figured it probably was an older disapproval and maybe I just needed to make a small edit and resubmit it. I can always go back later and put the display URL back the way I want it, all properly capitalized and looking adorable and useful. Then I clicked on the ads tab at the campaign level, and lo and behold, ALL the ad groups had disapproved ads. Mother of Pearl! I went through and edited every single one of those suckers until after about ten minutes I realized that I have edited myself into a circle, and have started re-editing ads that within the last few minutes have been disapproved AGAIN.
This looks like a job for Annoying Girl! Annoying Girl calls Adwords Support hotline (which is 866-2-GOOGLE, for any of you that do not have the secret weapon) and complains about the hypocrisy inherent within the system at length to the (I’m sure very lovely) girl on the other end of the phone. Despite my gratitude that she spoke perfectly clear and easily understandable English, the fact remains that there are built-in flaws within the Adwords system, and if I cared half as much about politics as I do about getting Google to improve this program, I would have mastered the art of making protest signs and have an arrest record the length of my leg.
Here is what I was told by said lovely girl, and here is why I still don’t want to make friends with her: The display URL of all the ads that are paused and DELETED within an ad group will affect the approval of the active ads. Therefore, if you decided that you didn’t like the display URL you used last year, and wanted to revamp your company image, you would have to create an entirely new ad group to change it. Even so much as a change from mygreatcompany.com/rock-on to something more like MyGreatCompany.com will get your ads disapproved.
The whole rule about identical display URLs, to me, goes against the entire point of having multiple ads. Why can I split test everything under the sun, but not my display URLs? I know some of you are thinking that this really shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. No, seriously it is! How can I explain the statistical reasoning behind a “best practices” of building adwords ads to a client when I cant even show them the difference in performance between their www.reallylongandobnoxiousurl.com/subdomain and my super sweet ShortURL.com/Yea. Maybe this is the lament of just one species of marketer. But I say if I deleted something, that means I no longer own it, and like wiping a misdemeanor off a minor’s record, you should not be able to hold past performance against me.
In order to remedy this situation, I had to go through all paused ads and edit them, thus losing my historical data. To find the data that once was, I have to go through deleted ads and guess which one it was. Google, if you could possibly, I would really love it if you could make my job a little harder. Kthnx. So, I’m sorry Very Lovely Adwords girl, whose name I cannot remember, I don’t think I will be adding you as a friend on Facebook, and please tell your employer I think they smell.