About 10 days ago, Google announced the release of their new feature: IP Address Exclusion. As I am a big proponent of the search engines giving more control to their advertisers over their campaigns (as I indicated in my last post), I got pretty damn excited about it. However, I wanted to hold off on covering it for a bit as I wanted to see the reactions of advertisers and the blogosphere to this announcement, as well as get a better grip on how this feature works.
The way it functions is actually quite simple:
You login to your account, go to Tools -> IP Exclusion and you can enter up to 20 IP addresses (or ranges of IPs) to prevent from ever seeing your ad.
Why 20? While the number may be somewhat arbitrary, I think it was a wise idea to start the advertisers off with a relatively low allowance. It still gives them control, but prevents them from going overboard and blocking everything left and right. This way, they have to be more selective about which IPs they block.
It may also be a good idea to block your own IPs. This way, when you or somebody from your company researches your keywords and the competition (and let’s face it – we all do it daily), the additional impressions won’t bring down your CTR. And if you ever want to check your ad’s position, simply remove your IP from the list.
According to the discussions on the forums and among our clients (from our click fraud detection and prevention firm), many advertisers are planning to experiment with blocking IPs that click their ads over a certain number of times. As one WebmasterWorld forum member wrote:
“… I’d like to stop showing the ad to someone who has clicked on it more than 5 times. It would be interesting to measure the impact on sales… ”
It will certainly be interesting to see how this pans out.
Overall, the reaction to this feature has been pretty positive. A lot of bloggers and experts were expecting this feature to come out, as Google did promise to release this and a few other features earlier this year. If they continue with this trend, we can expect to see the following features being rolled out in the coming months:
Invalid Revenue & Enhanced Reporting – Hopefully, that will provide advertisers with detailed breakdowns of what they are being charged for. A billing summary telling the advertiser that they were charged $500 for 200 clicks may have been enough in the past, but advertisers certainly need more data and information about it now.
Invalid Clicks Resource Center – Google already has some information regarding this, but it’s scattered all over the place. It’d be nice to have a resource area dedicated just to that, where Google wouldn’t simply brush off the subject, but rather offer constructive suggestions on what to look for and how to deal with the problem.
Standardized Inquiry Reporting – that’s the biggest issue we currently face with our own clients. There is no standard way to report suspicious or invalid activity to Google. No specific format, no specific email address to send it to; no specific course of action we can take to follow up on the reports. Once they tell advertisers and 3rd party monitoring tools how to submit the data to them for investigation, it will make everybody’s jobs – including the Click Quality Team – a whole lot easier.
These features, along with some due diligence on behalf of the advertisers and other 3rd party tools, could actually prove to be quite effective.