Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Google making the web safe for ads

Jerry Stratton, September 19, 2007

Back when I still listened to the radio in the car, I occasionally wondered if radio advertisers and radio stations cared that an insulting or just annoying ad often caused me to turn my radio off and listen to a cassette tape. For an advertiser, it must suck that the ad in front of them made someone miss their ad.

Google apparently does care: they've got quality guidelines for AdWords landing pages, and they enforce those guidelines with ranking penalties. Choose a user-friendly ad format, and your ad will show up for less money and better targeting. Why do they do this?

Users develop a trust in the positive experience provided after clicking on AdWords ads.

In other words, Google doesn’t want a few crappily designed, misleading pages lowering Google’s ad revenue overall. The more people who trust AdWords, the more money Google can charge for it.

What makes for a positive experience?

Users should be able to easily find what your ad promises.

Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. Sites that end up costing you more for poorer placement include:

Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

This beats the hell out of television which, when faced with people actively avoiding annoying ads will instead call Congress asking them to force customers to watch the ads. That’s the attitude that, on the web, has me regularly turning javascript and plugins off whenever web pages start talking to me, opening up extra windows, and resizing the browser window. After I turn them off, it takes me a long time to turn them back on. (And seeing a page that says “you can’t view this site unless you turn Javascript or Flash on” only reminds me that I had a good reason for turning them off.)

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