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Session-based clicks occur when ads are placed next to search results for unrelated queries or content. This is a major issue that Google Adwords needs to tackle according to a WSJ article on session-based clicks. I think we should not pretend that these are legitimate concerns from advertisers who are the driving engine for the pay per click business model. Although chances are that this is one of a few complaints about the Google Adwords program, Google should address the matter soonest to prevent its becoming widespread and damaging its core business competence.
The advertisers, including high-end medical professionals, said their ads for services such as cosmetic dentistry or plastic surgery are showing up even when Google users search for unrelated topics such as haircuts or limo services.
A internet query for the keyword “cosmetic dentist nyc” yields results for “buy flowers” or some other unrelated result. The issue here could be triggered by multiple searches which result in ads being displayed several times during a search engine.
As a marketer, I know the value attached by Google in addressing situations whereby users execute multiple search queries in a session. This poses a dilemma to the algorithms over the exact location of the user which leads to displaying of ads from a previous context. This is where Google needs to work harder to refine its session-based search queries for better targeting.
Although the scope of the problem is still unknown, one advertiser claims that 10% of his ad spend from 2009 was wasted through session-based clicks. In extreme cases, one advertiser has halted his Adwords account while another has reduced the scope of their ad campaigns. Imo advertisers should not take this drastic measures without digging deeper to root out the key cause of the problem. I would suggest that advertisers contact their Adword account managers (if they have outsourced their account management) or raise the matter directly with Google. Let us hope that Google is taking the right measures to address the matter.
On another note Google has posted on its Google Adsense blog that auto generate content will hold no place in the future of the company’s strategy.
Fact: We don’t allow sites with auto-generated or otherwise unoriginal content to participate in the AdSense program. This is to ensure that our users are benefiting from a unique online experience and that our advertisers are partnering with useful and relevant sites.
I think this measure has come at the right time as the company steps up its game to deliver quality clicks for advertisers. It seems to me like Google is fighting two wars on different fronts: one to prevent talent flight to competitors like Facebook and another one to defend its core business model.