Home > General, Web 2.0 > Adwords: My First Experience (updated)

Adwords: My First Experience (updated)

I’m not a web designer or SEO expert – IT Management, Cloud Computing, Enterprise Storage &  Virtualization are my area of expertise.  However I do have a “Jack of All Trades” background and love learning new stuff.  Helping out some friends with their new website, Square One CrossFit, has exposed me to an area I don’t deal with – web advertising and specifically Google Adwords.  I used Adwords for the first time in the last few days after having received a great offer from Google on $100 credit.  Interestingly enough I was looking at Adwords a few weeks ago for the CrossFit website but never got around to doing anything with it; the offer of $100 sure changed that.  Here in starts my troubles with Adwords, and as someone who uses just about every single other Google product/service I was disappointed.

Starting off with logging into the site I was informed that my credit couldn’t be used since my account wasn’t under 15 days (I think) old.  So while I never used my account, never setup a single campaign & never provided my credit card info I couldn’t use this credit because I wasn’t considered a “new” user.  Emailing Google resulted in a canned response pretty much telling me I was SOL.  No problem, I’ve got many an email address, so I created a new account so I could use the credit.

Google insisted that before I get my $100 credit that I provide my credit card number, not the most customer friendly approach, but so be it.  New account setup I applied the code for the credit and something quite magical happend, the code was accepted but interestingly not a single penny of the $100 credit appeared in my Google Adwords account.  I tried entering the code again and was told the code was invalid.  Some Google searching later and it turns out the code requires $20 to “activate” the account.  Let’s see, $100 “Free” credit for spending $20, hrm, where did the free go?

Now I was just getting frustrated, I decided to heck with this and I’ll just cancel my account – Not so easy.  It seems to cancel one must contact support, but from what I can tell that just “deactivates” your account.  I don’t know about you but I’m no fan of deactivated accounts, particularly when my credit card is being saved.  I tried to find someway of contacting Google buy Adwords support basically never led to any kind of email address or way of contacting support – Purposely obfuscated I suspect as people who answer emails cost money.  Finally after about 45 minutes of searching I emailed Google Adwords support and asked them to close and remove the credit card associated to my account.  In the same email I referenced my other “old” Adwords account number and asked them to close that too, I wasn’t too hopeful, expecting yet another canned response.

About 90 minutes later the “new” account suddenly had a credit of $100 – Odd it suddenly started to work.  So off to work I went, defined a new campaign, chose my keywords and waited for the new customers to roll to the website.  I have to hand it to Google, Adwords is impressive once you’re in.  Setting up a campaign was dead easy.  I had everything setup in minutes and started doing test searches waiting for those customers to roll in as I’ve said – But it never happened, search after test search I didn’t see a single hit to the site.  Much poking in Google’s Adwords support site and else where led me to the conclusion that it can take hours for Ads to start showing up once added to the system – Much like the credit apparently little is “real time” with Adwords.

I waited a few hours and logged back into Adwords to check if the ad had been served and discovered that my account had been shut down.  Apparently the email I sent to support had been received – not acknowledged, but received and actioned.  My account was gone – Amazingly even the older account was deactivated – very surprising since I didn’t provide any evidence that that account even belonged to me! *tsk tsk* Google.  Unfortunately this also means my $100 “new customer” credit is also gone and I’m not holding onto hope for my $20 either.

So now I’m back at “SquareOne minus $100 credit” and I’m sorely disappointed with my entire experience with Adwords.  But it isn’t necessarily Adwords itself that I’m having a problem with but more specifically the lack of customer service from Google in getting this all going – It was and is painful.  I use MANY of Google’s other products, Google Apps for Domains, Google Reader, obviously Google Search, Google Maps, Google Docs, and I even have a Google Wave account.  I’m disappointed, Google Adwords is Google’s primary product, it’s the one that keeps the lights on, it’s how they make their money pure and simple.  Having experienced this I have to say I’m shocked that Google’s marquee product isn’t FAR easier to use, with far more customer service and attention.  My main area of complain is more to do with how the entire system isn’t “real time” yet nothing ever tells the user this is the case.  My credit took ages to show up in my account, not something I’m used to with other online purchases.  Sure I wasn’t going to spend much on Ads, but I am spending something at cents per click and “something” is how Google makes their money, one click at a time.

Now to find another coupon and try this all over again. *sigh*

If someone from Google Adwords product management wants to talk, feel free to contact me, your “usability” needs work.

Update: Received a “Customer Satisfaction” survey from Google, filled it out and provided a link to this post in the comment section.  Let’s see if I get a response.

Update #2: Ad Words just started magically working and my account apparently exists again.  Weird.

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