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The Changing Faces of Google Adwords and Overture

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PPC market leaders change look

Recently Google Adwords and Overture, leaders of the PPC market with a total of 90% of the market, changed their interfaces and upgraded their systems. This article will discuss these new changes, why there was a need for change, and will also analyze what this means for the PPC customer.

In the past, Google Adwords and Overture had different solutions to running and managing their PPC ads and interfaces. Both had advantages and disadvantages but we can see from the new features that they have introduced, that these 2 leaders are become more similar than ever.

Google Adwords vs. Overture – head to head with new features

Both Google Adwords and Overture realized that each of them had features that were lacking in their systems, and perhaps the other competitor had this feature. Therefore a change and improvement of their systems was needed.

Google Adwords were quicker than Overture in bringing their interface to a live status. Although Google introduced their new interface quickly, a nice gesture exists when one still has the option of using the old
interface. Overture’s site was down a few days, leaving customers frustrated as they could not see nor manage their accounts daily during that period.

Nevertheless, both Google Adwords and Overture have many new and exciting features.

Google Adwords new features:

  • Easier management and customization of campaigns and ad groups
  • Keyword management made easier (ability to add keywords without bringing the whole list; easy filtering system)
  • Much easier “Power Posting” management
  • Customization of each ad group name
  • Personalized reports with statistics and graphs (helpful to agencies running many campaigns)
  • Search function within campaigns
  • Overture’s new features:

  • Easier management of campaigns
  • Account summary with detailed information
  • New match types including:
    • o Exact Match – displays listing exactly as submitted plus plural and misspellings.

      o Phrase Match – displays the exact match results plus any other keywords before and/or after the keyword phrase.

      o Broad Match – displays the phrase match results plus any other keywords before, after or between the selected keywords.

      o Keywords Exclusion – The ability to add “stop words”

      o Conversion Counter (an important feature that allows you to track your Overture listings that lead to conversions. This will be reviewed separately)

      o Campaign status – online/offline modes (great feature allowing the user to switch campaigns online and offline. This is good for campaigns that work better at certain times of the day, days of
      week etc. – day part bidding)

    Overture’s Conversion Counter – will it convert well?

    According to Overture, “Conversion Counter lets you see how well Overture listings are performing by measuring the number of clicks that lead to conversions on your site”. A conversion could be a sale, newsletter subscription, download or any other type of action that leads to results. The main advantage of this feature is that we can gain much more insight into campaigns and how effective they are. We can understand which keywords bring quality traffic and sales, and which just cost money and don’t convert to actions. The Conversion Counter allows you to view information by multiple periods – day, week or month. This feature, which Google Adwords is lacking, puts Overture one step ahead with customers who want to actually track results and ROI.

    Similar yet different – what does this mean for the PPC customer?

    Both Google Adwords and Overture want to keep their clients, and attract new ones. The change in their interfaces shows this, and one might think that Overture is trying to be more like Google, and Google trying to be more like Overture. Both Google Adwords and Overture took good features from the other, and implemented them. Although they are becoming similar within their management systems, there are key differences that still remain. Their bidding models are different and in Overture, in order to be at the top, you need to bid the highest. In Google, your position is measured by your bid, as well as the CTR of your ad (Relevancy, according to Google). Overture has a minimum CPC of $0.10, whilst Google’s is $0.05. Their destination sites are different (Overture together with Yahoo! etc., whilst Google with AOL etc.) making both Google and Overture hot contenders when creating your PPC campaigns (if you have top listings in both, your listings are seen within 90% of the search market).

    Conclusion

    Google Adwords and Overture’s both realized that the other leader had great features, and implemented them within their own system. Google Adwords and Overture’s management strategies are becoming more and more alike, but there are still key differences between them. These changes show that each of them is willing to fight and strive to be the best. The question still remains, which is better for the PPC market today? The answer is both. Even though their management systems have improved, they represent a huge percentage of the market and one cannot exclude either when running a successful PPC campaign. Even though it is best to use both, circumstances do not always allow this. In these cases, decide which of the two is the “correct” for your campaign. Both Google Adwords and Overture have quality assurance mechanisms and time will tell whether they will learn more from each other – will Overture’s Conversion Counter turn into successful conversions, or will Google learn from Overture, and include their own “Conversion Counter. In short, a successful ROI and conversion is what you should ultimately want to see from your campaign. Let’s wait and see if Overture’s Conversion Counter will convert into a good ROI for Overture, and if Google will follow.

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    Ilana Grunberg is a SEM consultant for Compucall Search Marketing Ltd. Ilana has experience in the SEO world, and participates in forums, chats and has written articles for the search engine marketing world.

    The Changing Faces of Google Adwords and Overture
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