Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Search Results: Accelerated vs. Standard ad delivery

There are several advanced targeting options when configuring listings on Google adwords . These optimizations affect where and when ad groups are triggered. One commonly overlooked setting is the Delivery method.

Delivery method has 2 settings: Standard and Accelerated.
Google describes these as:
Standard: Show ads evenly over time. Standard delivery distributes your budget throughout the day to avoid reaching your budget early on. Your ads will show periodically throughout the day.
Accelerated: Show ads as quickly as possible. Accelerated delivery displays your ads as often as possible until your daily budget is met.
Accelerated Difference
Google touts that the main difference is that the advertiser is more likely to spend their ad budget. The functional difference is that once Google has shown a sponsored listing it will tend to not show it again to the same users. This comes into effect when a user performs another query or refreshes the page.

Why go accelerated? Usually this is necessary for a psychological affirmation. Businesses need to see their own ad listings in order to believe that their ads are working. The accelerated setting accomplishes this goal by repeatedly showing ads even when the user has already seen them. Another justification is for brand advertising when it is crucial to ensure that a brand name is placed in all relevant areas.

With Standard ad delivery; a sponsored listing may likely not be displayed upon clicking refresh.

Marketing Comparison
However more detailed analysis gives light as to the expectation of differences. Here are two identical campaigns with the exact same settings, ads, keywords and values that were run during the same time period (approximately one month). Here are the statistics:

Max CPC Clicks Impressions CTR Average CPC Total Spend Position
Accelerated $2.00 395 24,598 1.60% $0.95 $374.20 5.6
Standard $2.00 414 13,426 3.08% $0.90 $371.56 4.9

Accelerated ads are shown much more often, and shown multiple times to the same users. The click-through-rate is decreased and as a result Google is penalizing this campaigns' ads. The keyword quality score is shown to be the same across both campaigns, however we experience a 5% higher average-cost-per click with a lower average position.

Bottom Line
The benefit of an accelerated campaign is that your listings are more likely to be shown; however it will come at an increased cost and lower average ranking. Unless you have a compelling reason to display your ads, even when a user has already seen it, this setting should be set to Standard. Brand name advertisers can justify the added expense and exposure.

David Rodecker
President, RelevantAds
“getting local business online"


Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. I love how people who do not work for a particular company claim to be an expert about that company's business. There is no penalty here or anything like what you said, they are exactly the same. The reason you don't see the ad again when you refresh on standard delivery is because the Adwords system is pacing the delivery of the ads. You may need to refresh 3, 5, 50, 100 times to see the ads again depending on how much query traffic is out there for those terms and the competitive landscape. Think about it...That is what standard delivery does - paces throughout the day. If the ads served every time you refreshed then that is not pacing the ads. And if you ran these two campaigns from within the same account you were competing with yourself.

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Anonymous said...

I have a console that monitors users on my ecommerce store. Often I will see a user who sits on a single product page for hours yet registers lots of hits. Apparently their browser has been set to auto-refresh after a period of say a minute or two. This has to play havoc with advertising system - even if they don't "charge" for the same IP seeing the same ad over and over - it still must distort advertising statistics. Google lack of transparency of how they handle such situations has driven me from display advertising completely. Couple that with ad blocking software - if you are blocking at the client side - but google "thinks" the ads are presented from the server side - google is charging you for something they don't deliver.

I only do search ads with CPC and shopping feeds. Even with those I suspect google is ripping me off.