AdWords Pay Per Action Hits Beta

    March 20, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The new pricing model offered by Google to its AdWords clients means those advertisers will only pay Google when a customer converts in a specified way.

Click fraud? It shouldn’t be as big an issue with pay per action. If an AdWords advertiser sets up the latest method offered by Google to kick in when a purchase takes place, it’s hard to imagine fraudsters providing their credit card numbers and addresses to the business.

The debut of pay-per-action from Google addressed the basics. A Google product manager for the new product discussed the basics of the latest service on an Inside AdWords blog post.

A new text link ad format emerged as part of that discussion. The pay-per-action FAQ described the format:

What is the text link format for pay-per-action ads?

Text links are hyperlinked brief text descriptions that take on the characteristics of a publisher’s page. Publishers can place them in line with other text to better blend the ad and promote your product.

For example, you might see the following text link embedded in a publisher’s recommendatory text: "Widgets are fun! I encourage all my friends to Buy a high-quality widget today." (Mousing over the link will display "Ads by Google" to identify these as pay-per-action ads).

Though the maximum length of a text link is 90 characters, we’ve found that shorter links perform better because they allow the publisher use the link in more places on her/his site and in different context. The maximum length is 90 characters but less than 5 words is best. Even better, just use your brand name to offer maximum flexibility to the publisher.

Google’s pay-per-action could have an impact beyond just the advertiser/Google relationship. Andy Beal suggested that the new plan is a "clear threat" for affiliate marketing networks:

Google, for all intents and purposes, has just entered the affiliate marketing arena, with the battle cry that they can do affiliate marketing better than the affiliate networks can.

Now, I feel obliged to inform you that when I posed this suggestion to Rob Kniaz, product manager for Google’s advertising products, he was very quick to deny any intention to compete in the affiliate network space. “We think this is different from the traditional affiliate marketing industry”, said Kniaz. “[It’s an] extension of the current AdWords product”. Oh really? Kind of like how Google doesn’t see itself competing with Microsoft’s office suite.

When I pushed Kniaz to explain why Google is so keen to distance itself from any associations with affiliate networks, his response was that the new PPA platform offered “more automation, more options, more control” than affiliate networks.

Did Google just slip into Commission Junction’s HQ with a silenced pistol and a license to kill? Your comments are welcome below this post.