Should Google Display Click Counts on Ads?

Google tests new AdWords feature

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Google is testing an AdWords feature that displays how many clicks an ad has received for a particular advertiser. It’s unclear how widespread the testing is, and whether or not Google will actually turn this into an available feature on a broad scale.

Nor do we know, if Google does make this widely available, whether it will be standard or optional for the advertiser. Affiliate marketer Vinny O’Hare was able to capture a screenshot (hat tip: Search Engine Land):

Ads Display click counts

“I was up late watching tv when I saw a commercial for the Oreck air purifier and since I didn’t want to sit there for a half hour to learn the price I went to Google to see what they are going for,” writes O’Hare. “I was surprised to see the amount of clicks the advertisers has mixed in with the PPC ads on the results page. Knowing this can’t be a normal thing I took a screen shot of it. Click on the image to see it in full size. I am not sure Google wants to put out this info to everyone. I did a few more searches and it was on a few other searches but not many.  It does help people doing ppc to see what their competition is actually doing.”

David Iwanow, co-author of O’Reilly’s Google Advertising Tools, commented, “The issue with any of this is that what is based on… is it local data, is it search data, is it ppc data, is it data from the beginning of time or just this month? The problem with any deployment like this is that it’s another black box that you have to try and explain to a client or deal with as an advertiser because you started a new campaign and people aren’t clicking on your ads because it shows you only have ever had 10 clicks…It’s another element that is going to potentially put advertisers in a box and make them weigh up the options of chasing a higher number again…. ie PageRank v3.”

There’s some interesting discussion going on about the feature in the WebmasterWorld forum. User “Tropical Island” writes:

I don’t know that I want my competitors knowing how many clicks I’ve been getting or how many I’ve paid for over the years.

I definitely think that it would encourage buyers to click on heavily clicked on ads. There is a reliability factor there as well.

LucidSW wonders if this could be some sort of extension to the +1 button. Google is using the +1 button on ads. While not the same as clicks, it would have a similar (perhaps not entirely the same) impact on ad clickability, one would think. If a large number of clicks are registered, some users might be more inclined to check it out for themselves.

LucidSW also makes the point that competitors knowing the number of clicks might be a “small price to pay” for getting more clicks.

In the thread, there is also a running theme that some users don’t understand that these ads are actually ads, and may assume that they’re regular search results, making the regular results appear less valuable, because they don’t display large numbers of clicks. Everybody in the thread so far seems to be in agreement on this, though personally, I have a hard time believing that this is the case for too many users, especially considering that they’re clearly marked with the word “ads.” Furthermore, the display in the new ads reads, “x clicks for this advertiser.”

O’Hare noted that he saw different things for the same keyword in Firefox and Chrome.

What do you think of the feature? Should Google make this widely available? Mandatory or optional? Tell us what you think.

Should Google Display Click Counts on Ads?
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  • http://www.simplyclicks.com Simply Clicks

    I’m not a fan of this development. There is a risk – as with YouTube – that searchers will click on the most clicked-on ads. Higher clicks means higher CTR which means higher Quality Score, which means lower CPC etc. This favours the bigger advertisers with the bigger budgets. It could be a particular problem in B2C markets where some monster retailers have entered previously profitable niches for smaller businesses.

  • http://www.wonderworxs.com Krish Purnawarman

    As long as the other info can be provided (such as when ad campaign started), it might not be such a bad idea.

  • http://bottomlineibc.com/ Dave Baldwin

    I would definitely vote “optional,” if anything at all. This is the kind of feature that looks cool – but does it really serve the intended purpose of helping online merchants sell more stuff?

  • Roger

    Google is getting desperate, since real people are not clicking the ads, so they are trying every trick in the book to make real people clicki on the adword links.

    If real buyers are not clicking, then who was clicking on the ads all these years – paid clickers?s

  • http://www.walkin-wardrobes.com walkin wardrobes

    i think showing the click count would intrigue me to click on the add more so. but i would rather not see them.

  • http://www.blissseo.com.au SEO

    Very, very bad idea. Totally agree with Simply Click and while I don’t totally agree with Roger, I’ve seen enough evidence real people click AdWords, it does make you wonder what the motives and intent behind this are.

  • http://www.ar-voice.com/ فويس
  • http://www.nationwidestrippersconnection.com/ Lauren

    I am not sure if I would like this, hopefully we have the option to hide it.

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