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Trying out Google AdWords

It’s interesting, so far. If you’re not familiar with AdWords, it’s a service that lets you advertise on Google & other sites. Basically you create keyword lists, create ads, and enter bids. Google then holds an automated online auction to determine whether one of your ads will show, and in what position.

So Scarecrow is a bit hard to advertise for, because we have this notion that its goal is to make business owners’ lives easier. That means uptime monitoring, plus backups, plus access to a quick PageRank lookup tool, and…well, whatever else we add in the future. Ad copy has to be fairly short. It’s yet another fascinating new challenge. We definitely needed another one of those around here, though, so it’s all good.

And the bidding gets interesting. For some reason, uptime & site monitoring bids are generally higher than bids for backup software. This strikes me as counterintuitive, to say the least. I guess it’s true that Scarecrow’s uptime checking did require some more sophisticated system design than the backups did…but once you factor in the alerts from Scarecrow’s “content monitor” & the online restores, it’s not so clear.

Just to add to the mix, Google provides various tools to help you figure out how your keywords are likely to perform. Guess what? Their results don’t match. Hmm!

So it’s a new game for us today. We’ll see how it goes, and let you know. Main takeaway so far: Google is clearly in charge here. Pricing (through their “Quality Score” magic) on seldom-performed search queries with few competing bids is somehow magically higher than you’d think. My feeling? Google has to store a lot of data & do a lot of computing to serve their ads, and they don’t want mostly-unused data lying around. Makes Long Tail advertising a bit pricey.


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