Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Using GoogleAdwords for market research?


Has anyone tried using Google Adwords scientifically, to do market research?

E.g., you can use Google Adwords to compare add effectiveness. You could create 2 ads with only one difference (say, the title) and then compare the results.

My click thru ratios vary from .7% to 13.7% for different keywords and betwen about 1.8% to 2.4% for different ads, after elminating poor performing ads.

This info can help you with both Google Adwords and other advertising.

Any thoughts?

Mr. Analogy  (formerly The real Entrepreneur)
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Yes, actually I've written software to do a number of different types of analysis of these kinds of advertising campaigns and automatically adjust bids accordingly.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Hook a brotha up on said software.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I've been thinking about selling it.  It works with Overture ad campaigns too, but Google won't formally allow me to automate the use of their service, and Overture wants $2000/month for the 'honor'.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Here's an existing product that does something very similar.

Analyzes the costs and clickthru ratios and a hypothetical income/sale to tell you what might be a "good market" for a new product.

(Note: the preexistence of a competing product is not necessarily a reason not to release your product)

Perhaps you can access the google/overture data an a manner similar to these folks.

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with above nor do I have any financial interest in your use of it. Just thought it looked like a neat ida)

Mr. Analogy  (formerly The real Entrepreneur)
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Mr. Analogy, thanks for the link, that looks like a nice little tool.  Actually my program targets a different need, and it's a rather larger program than that one.  My program assumes that you've already found all of the search phrases that you want to bid on.  It analyzes past performance to deduce (essentially) a few numbers similar to those measures referenced in that web page on a day-to-day basis.  From projections of this data, it generates priorities for search phrases (these can be set manually also).  The phrase budgets are derived from these priorities and the daily budget allocated for the whole campaign.  Then it sorts the phrases in ascending order of priority and carries out the following process for each search phrase P:

- Get the list of competing bids on P
- Bid as high as necessary on P to achieve the position closest to a preconfigured ideal for P, unless a bid price difference satisfies some threshold value (in which case, you take the better deal).  If the business overtaken by the bid on P is in the user's configured cooperative bidding ring, overtake said business only if the user currently has higher priority in the ring.
- Take the difference between the actual bid placed on P and the amount that the user was willing to spend, and distribute it through the remaining search phrases in a way proportional to their computed priorities.

That's about the core of it, though there's a ton of code in there for other less critical tasks (logging, display/email notifications for important bidding events, a script interpreter for remote control of the bidding process, etc).

About a year ago, Overture put up one of those scrambled image things to keep people from running automated bidding software against their service (though unfortunately it was just to get rid of the people who hit the site 100 times every 10 minutes -- I was only running my process 3 or 4 times per day).  I added support to my program for reading the contents of Overture's scrambled images, but at that point I knew that I couldn't distribute the program to other people, even if it could function (the images were just a pretense for legal action, I'm sure).

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"- Get the list of competing bids on P"

How did you get that info?
Sounds pretty valuable just by itself.

"I added support to my program for reading the contents of Overture's scrambled images"

Now, THAT is something you could sell for a lot to the spammers ! <g> . But, please do NOT :-)

Mr. Analogy
Thursday, March 18, 2004

PS - one thing you might be able to do: sell this as a service that you personally provide.  You could build a small marketing/consulting practice around that.

So, you'd use the software yourself, but give the info to your clients. 

Mr. Analogy
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Overture publishes bid distribution information (at least for the top 40 bids), so there's no value added by my program there.

I made the program to automate advertising campaigns with these services, so my friends could pay attention to more important things.  I was experimenting with a number of different learning/experimentation techniques before I got shut down.

It's really too bad they've got their services locked down so much.  People already pay an arm and a leg for those advertisements and they generally have a marginal payoff, but then they ask for another $2000/month just to automate your bidding strategy.

I'd rather find a different way to make money, although I hate to let a useful program go to waste.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

You could always Open Source the program and then sell yourself as a consulting service to those bigger shops with the money for it.

Ken Klose
Friday, March 19, 2004


He doesn't have to open source it to sell his services.

In fact, I'd argue that giving the program away to someone then charging to teach them how to use it is MUCH less efficient than charging them for doing the work yourself.

With the latter option, you'd have RECURRING revenue and not have to spend time answering the same questions over and over again. You could automate much of the internal work. AND, the more efficient you get at your job, the less you work, but the work remains constant.

With consulting on sw you've oss'd, there's a disincentive to become more efficient. The more efficient your consulting gets, the less you make.

I'll lower your CPC and split what I save with you.

Mr. Analogy
Saturday, March 20, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home