Google’s PPC algorithms are messing with our brand


I have recently been tasked with managing a project for a very important client.

The project: Create new SEM landing pages. The client: d.trio marketing group.

After a few good internal meetings and a plan in hand, I set out to get the work done. Lucky for me, we have great writers and designers, so this was going to be a breeze.

I started with the usual steps of creating a copy outline and gathering key search words to ensure our copy speaks to the audience in a relevant way. Then I looked at our current ads to see what was being served up in the GoogleSphere.

I immediately noticed a few red flags. The first was that our brand standards weren’t being followed. Our name appears as “D Trio” in all the ads. But, according to our brand standards and every single piece of communication we’ve put out in the world over the past 18 years, our name is “d.trio” (all lowercase with a period).

Not only does our name look weird, much of the copy has initial caps, which, in my opinion, looks amateurish. When I ran these issues past our digital director who created the ads, he explained how the Google algorithm doesn’t like punctuation or lowercase letters.

In other words, by following our own brand standards and best practices, our ad position would be less favorable and could decrease our click through rate by up to 50% and cost us up to 20% more. This also holds true for our clients whose AdWords campaigns we manage.

This news did not sit well with me, but what could I do? Call Google and complain? Can you imagine how far that would get me? This isn’t a dis on Google (mostly). I get that algorithms run the digital world (especially the digital marketing world), but I don’t have to like it.

So I, and other marketers in the same position, wrestle with the conundrum of presenting our brand in the proper way, or allowing some leeway to get the best PPC pricing and ad position. It seems the latter has won for now. But Google has a reputation for changing the rules. And I hope it does soon in favor of  brand integrity. Because I miss the days of creating an ad constrained only by dimensions and a designer’s creativity.

Author Danette Knickmeier

Danette is an account executive at d.trio.

More posts by Danette Knickmeier

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