SEO

Google AdWords Domain Ads Exclusion : But Think Before You Block

Google AdWords is running limited testing of a feature which lets its advertisers block domain parking sites which their AdWords ads will be served on; specifically ‘Domain Ads’ and ‘Error Page Ads.

If Google rolls out full force with this blocking of the serving of advertiser AdWords ads on domain parking sites, this could potentially be a real blow to domain registration and parking companies, leading to deals with other paid search engines to fill the void.

Before advertisers begin blocking Domain Ads however, put some thought into the source of this traffic, which may be type in URL traffic or organic search traffic, and may convert quite well for you. Just because a user comes from a domain parking page does not mean that user will not buy on your site.

I’m sure one fear Google has with a widespread rollout of Domain Ads blocking is that advertisers will begin blocking these ad distributions without taking into account that they could be cutting off a valuable lead and business generation vehicle.

According to a thread in DigitalPoint (hattip Barry), not all advertisers will be blocking their domain parked ads:

Domain Ads and error pages have ALWAYS performed best through ALL accounts that we manage so there is no way they will be excluded.

So, again, before blocking the serving of your AdWords advertisements in Domain Ads, be sure that those ads do not convert for you, because if they do, you’ll be losing customers for your company.

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Google AdWords Domain Ads Exclusion : But Think Before You Block
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Google AdWords Domain Ads Exclusion : But Think Before You Block

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20 thoughts on “Google AdWords Domain Ads Exclusion : But Think Before You Block

  1. I have blocked sites on a case by case basis. The new report in the adwords interface allows you to see where your ads are placed and how they perform there…

    run it…and just remove the sites that are not converting for you.

  2. “Domain Ads and error pages have ALWAYS performed best through ALL accounts that we manage so there is no way they will be excluded.”

    Well Duh!… The consumer has your URL memorized!
    It’s just easier to click the ad than it is to retype the URL into the address bar.

    These people are going to your website anyway – With or without the ad.
    Why would you want to pay someone for squatting on misspellings of your domain name?

  3. Hi Hawaii SEO,
    A case study is already in the works, the tool was only released yesterday.

    I just completed a blog post on the tool though with screenshots. I wont post the link, but it’s our latest blog post.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

  4. Thanks David,

    As far as I can tell, there is still zero transparency with the domain ads and error pages. (No list of URL’s to exclude on an individual basis) It seems like you are taking a leap of faith that the URL’s hidden in the domain ads and error pages are something other than typo squatters. (Parasites)

    I don’t see anything that would convince me that the people clicking on the domain ads and error pages would not visit the client’s website and convert… with or without the ad.

    (It’s quicker and easier to click on the ad than it is to retype the URL and fix the typo.)

    It would be different if you could show some transparency into the domain ads and error pages. Then you could prove the earlier example where a person types in a high quality, generic keyword, domain name (Kids.com) and then clicks over to your client.

    Some of that may or may not be happening but I won’t believe that the vast majority of the activity is like that until I see 100% transparency on exactly what URL’s are driving the conversions. Until then, I believe it’s safer to assume it’s a very expensive “False Positive” result caused by domain squatting parasites.

  5. Hi Hawaii SEO,
    Many thanks for the detailed response. Just to respond to your individual points:

    “As far as I can tell, there is still zero transparency with the domain ads and error pages. (No list of URL’s to exclude on an individual basis) It seems like you are taking a leap of faith that the URL’s hidden in the domain ads and error pages are something other than typo squatters. (Parasites)”

    I both agree and disagree. Perhaps transparency is not a word I should have used when referring to the post by diorex 9and I am sure he would agree) but I think my point here is that Google are offering more options to segment the traffic and in a way, that makes the cleanlieness of the traffic a little more transparent.

    “I don’t see anything that would convince me that the people clicking on the domain ads and error pages would not visit the client’s website and convert… with or without the ad.”

    My first comment addresses this. If the error page or domain ad was for a completely different domain, then this is targeted and is traffic that was destined for another site. Probably a competitor site.

    “It would be different if you could show some transparency into the domain ads and error pages. Then you could prove the earlier example where a person types in a high quality, generic keyword, domain name (Kids.com) and then clicks over to your client.”

    You are dead right. But in some placement reports error page ads perform well while domain ads don’t. It’s nice to have the option to opt out according to that data.

    “Some of that may or may not be happening but I won’t believe that the vast majority of the activity is like that until I see 100% transparency on exactly what URL’s are driving the conversions. Until then, I believe it’s safer to assume it’s a very expensive “False Positive” result caused by domain squatting parasites.”

    Excellent point, but I don’t think we’ll get much transparency out of Google in this regard. The tool is however a nice start (albeit not a perfect solution). I think it is important to address here that if you are still getting a positive ROI on error page ads and Domain Ads, even if there are some less than desirable domains in there, why not?

  6. If there is a positive ROI/ROAS then how can it be a false positive?

    I, and I am sure my clients will agree, that even if spending on domain ads results in some completely irrelevant traffic, the relevant, converting traffic that DOES get through more than makes up for it.

    Wouldn’t you rather spend $100 to make $500 than to spend $0 and make $0?

    I completely agree that more granular data and exclusion options are needed, but you have to admit, this is a good start.

  7. Again… I believe it’s simply quicker and easier to click on the ad than it is to retype the URL and fix the typo. The prospect likely has the URL memorized. They are likely going to the client’s website with or without the ad.

    In my opinion… You’re just paying typo squatters to create the illusion of ROI. There are lots of ways to create a false positive result.

    I know someone who was serving banner ads onto his client’s own website and reporting the click troughs as ROI. The banner ad did nothing, it was just part of the navigation. Reporting it as ROI was fraud.

    (IMO) Same with the Typo Squatter ads. They just cookie people without adding any value what so ever. The ads are used as navigation to get to where they were going anyway. At best… It’s a brief interruption, but certainly not a benefit.

    There is no transparency so neither of us can prove anything one way or the other.

    I have a personal belief and you have a different personal belief. There is no evidence.

    You should tell your client that it’s your strong personal belief that the domain ads and error pages are driving ROI and be honest that there is no way to back up your opinion with facts. Then let them decide.

    (IMO) It’s nothing more than a simple but effective illusion.

  8. Thanks Dave.
    I think you and I both have different ideas of what constituted a domain ad.

    For example, if someone types in http://www.phpvote.com expecting to get a php voting application site, there is nothing there but Domain Ads for relevant sites. Now, assume my client sells a PHP voting application, what is the problem with the ad being shown there?

    You are only taking into account typo squatters. While this DOES indeed come into play, clients SHOULD have some sort of buy-up policy for typos of their own domain.

    I FULLY agree that typo squatters are a different story. Visitors coming to http://www.mydooomain.com ARE INDEED looking for http://www.mydomain.com but that is not where domain ads come into play.

  9. “if someone types in…”

    Hmmm… To me… That’s a BIG “IF”

    “I FULLY agree that typo squatters are a different story. Visitors coming to http://www.mydooomain.com ARE INDEED looking for http://www.mydomain.com but that is not where domain ads come into play.”

    Cool… But… How can you prove it? Does Domain Ads give you a full list of each URL’s that has driven a click-through to your client?

    If not… How can you make a claim like that? What facts are you basing that statement on?

  10. No, it does NOT give a list of sites so of course I have no data to get the source URLs/Domains. But judging by the impressions and clicks, it is “highly unlikely” that much of it comes from typo squatters.

    There are only so many typos that can exist for a given domain and for this particular client, we have registered as many as we knew about.

    Another point on the phpvote.com example. If the domain is expired, then reregistered (which is the case with phpvote.com) and someone (like me) wanted the software that I KNEW existed on it many moons ago, I am given relevant alternatives.

  11. We have been requesting this feature from Google for quite some time because, for 100% of our clients, the clicks that come from domain ads have, by far, the worst conversion rates. I’d have to heartily disagree about losing valuable customers. This is a great move by Google.

  12. Thanks for the news. So there comes another aption for AdWords users, and offcourse have to be careful before deciding to stop or not to stop domain ads.

  13. Hi,

    I am new for contextual campaign it is recording godd conversions for site. But i have read many postings that exclude the domain ads and error page ads but i am getting more conversions from those ads. Please any one could explain which is better to follow and what are error page ads give with examples.

    Thanks,
    Satya