When Keeping It Relevant Goes Wrong

April 24th, 2012 by Search Influence Alumni

Brenda Johnson Knows What's Up

I’ve been actively creating and managing Google AdWords campaigns for over five years. In that time, I’ve made a lot of mistakes with everything from keyword selection to match type to ad content. It happens — if no one ever made a mistake on AdWords, we would all be PPC success stories, and that’s certainly not the case. So when I typically see mistakes with sponsored ads, I take a screenshot, write a short heads-up email to the advertiser explaining their mistake, and keep it rollin’. However, over the weekend I came across what could possibly be the worst targeting and most confusing landing page I’ve ever seen on AdWords.

While I was searching for “delaware county oh plastic surgery” (before you start reading too much into this, no, I was not looking for a plastic surgeon. I am quite comfortable with my stout lil’ man-child body), I came across this gem of an ad…

Find the Bad Ad


Is that seriously an ad for a Korean plastic surgery clinic showing ads in Middle of Nowhere, Ohio?

You're Doing It Wrong.

Of course, I am not a guy who just assumes people are doing it wrong <cough> bull$#1+</cough>. There could be a large Korean population in the area, with the advertiser attempting to generate business for those who may be travelling overseas. But according to Wikipedia (THE MOST ACCURATE REFERENCE SOURCE ON THE WEB!), Delaware County, OH only has a 0.03% Asian population in the WHOLE FRICKIN’ COUNTY.

So why is BK DongYang Clinic in Korea advertising there? Are they offering ridiculously low surgical and procedure costs? Even if they are (and I doubt it if they really are “Korea’s largest plastic surgery clinic”), what person is willing to pay $3,000 for a 21-hour trip to Korea from Ohio? Add hotel/food and you are looking at around $9,000 for upper and lower abdomen lipo in a foreign country, when you could have similar results for ~$3,000 in practically any city in U.S. Medical tourism is definitely a thing, but hordes of Ohioans sweeping the Korean hospital scene seems too far-off to justify such obscurely-targeted advertisements.

Source: http://ppcmemes.tumblr.com/

Oh, and you know I clicked on the ad. I’ll say this: they deserved whatever the cost per click was for running this thing. Not only was I hit with the most insanely designed page EVER, but they are advertising LITERALLY EVERYTHING on it. I’ve heard of “stack on stacks” but when did “ads on ads” become a part of the search marketing game? Answer: never.

If you are going to spend money on PPC, at least do yo’ research, playa. You need landing pages with clear calls-to-action, not blog tickers, sliding images, blinking icons, pop-ups, and just about every other attention-grabbing web feature under the sun. Seriously, where they do that at?

So why am I upset about this? 

Well, other than terrible ads being terrible, this type of advertising negatively impacts us all. When you have an advertiser who doesn’t understand how match types and geo-targeting work, they can possibly inflate cost-per-clicks in the search auction (yes, I know my click to their ad possibly helped their QS).

Even if CPC doesn’t increase in the auction, fake sponsored ads sow seeds of distrust in searchers. Think about it: if you saw a bunch of terrible ads appear with your search results, you would be less likely to click any ads at all, right? This is ESPECIALLY true for ads that appear on the side. These ads have to compete with highlighted top ads, scrolling map listings, and the unfortunate circumstance of not having an adrank better than their competitors.

So BK DongYang (and anyone else): if you are really “branching out around the world,” hire someone who is AdWords certified! It may cost a little more, but at least you’ll know your campaign is in skilled hands and you should be able to quantifiably see a ROI on your adspend — rather than a blog post by professionals making fun of your campaign.