Wow. Jeremy Chatfield is one of the few search engine marketers (SEM) bloggers who still publishes substantive research on Google Adwords, and today he rips Google for using search history and personalization in determining which ads to show.
Google’s success was built on delivering search results that matched user expectation. Once again, we see Google acting to enhance revenue, without any concern for advertisers. This time, however, they have screwed the pooch. Users see less relevant results, too. This is not a good idea, as it will decrease the value of the search results page *for users*, and that will inevitably weaken interest in using Google.
Pretty strong words - I mean if it came from Aaron Wall, well, we all know how he loves to hate on Google, but coming from Jeremy, it's pretty sobering. Jeremy also provides a detailed example of the decrease in ad relevance based on recent searches.
And perhaps its one of the hidden factors in Google's recent CTR drops (on the search side - the content side is easily explainable).
I think that the examples above make it clear why keyword search performance has dipped recently, reducing average CTR, reducing conversion rates and making the behaviour closer to that for content match. This is not the precision marketing tool that I was using last year. This is a weaker, more expensive and less precise tool that brings in a wider range of less interested users.
Overall, it's good to have Jeremy still posting real info. Most other SEMs have given up sharing any real info as the industry has become more efficient.