I’m not in favor of ruthlessness when it comes to customers, employees, or competitors.  Business is business, but a little bit of humanity goes a long way.  However, investments, on the other hand, have neither feelings nor moral standing.

Over the last two weeks I have watched my CPA (cost per action = what I pay to generate one additional trial download) go from $.40 to $.60+.  And, not being that involved with AdWords for a variety of reasons (“other affairs in other planes”, as we would have said in my RPG days), I didn’t see the culprit.  Until yesterday.

The culprit was one single keyword which I had added two weeks ago on a lark and forgotten about.   (printable BC, where BC are the first two letters of my program).  This keyword is pricey relative to a lot of my keywords, at $.12.  But I make good money off of a lot of $.12 keywords, such as, *cough*.  The difference was that this keyword was converting at about 9%, and getting clicked a lot.  I had a very effective ad for it, and the very effective ad was very effective at getting people to click to my site, and then most clicked right out again.  Averaging those abyssmal results with another ~50 keywords all performing as well as ever increased my advertising costs to the tune of 50%.

So I had two choices… make a better landing page or get out of that market.  I decided against the landing page, figuring that most people were looking for cards to print and just didn’t want to get invested in software to print cards.  And they were probably looking for traditional numeric cards, a gambling tool which my software rather deliberately does not support.  So I killed the ads.

In other news, folks have been asking recently on JoS “Does anyone get their money’s worth out of AdWords?”  I’m actually not sure I am yet.  I get enough sales from all sources to cover my costs, but I have not traced any of my completed sales directly to AdWords as of yet.  I think there might be a wee misconfiguration somewhere, because AdWords also doesn’t get nearly as much credit for conversion #3 (clicking the update button within the program, which verifies for me that the program was installed successfully) as it theoretically should be.  I’m wondering if it happening in different sessions is nuking the results?  But it should be cookied…

Bah, I’ll have to look into that later.  As it is, I took two days off this week and have some “real” work to take care of.