11 Sep 2007

Google Pay Per Action Ads – Fooled me!

I was just at a website where I saw an ad that blended in so well, that it appeared to be a nav bar.

It was actually a banner that was the size of an adsense ad…but it did not state "Ads By Google".

Adsense has always included  the tag "Ads by Google" – (and Google says, you should clearly state it’s an ad).

But here, the "Ads by Google" was missing…so I didn’t think it was a Google ad.

Upon further inspection, when reviewing the page’s code, I found that is was an ad….in fact, it was actually an ad by Google.

After further research I found that it was a Google Pay Per Action ad.

So here is what Google says about 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. They can’t, however, alter the text of the link.

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."

(Note that mousing over the link displays "Ads by Google" to identify these as pay-per-action ads.)

Shorter links tend to perform better, because they allow the publisher use the link in more places on their 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.

There’s a few interesting points in here, I’ll touch on one.

It’s interesting that Google say it’s ok to not state it’s an ad on the page (unless you mouse over it) – (Google says "that mousing over the link displays "Ads by Google" to identify these as pay-per-action ads").

Also, FYI, I also don’t get the mouse over "Ads by Google" when viewing a live CPA ad, nor on this page where Google gives the example (mouse over "Buy a high-quality widget today"). I tried on one version of firefox, and IE6.0 and 7.0 and on 2 computers, and still no "Ads by Google" mouse over.

It also seems some of these recommendations contradict some of the recommended advertising techniques that Google tells SEO’s to do in their linking practices.

What do you think?