High tech public relations: high CPC/low search volume mystery solved


In my recent post on Do Tech and Digital PR firms eat their own dog food?, I was curious as to why certain search terms had a high Cost Per Click level and very low search volumes.

I’d spent a while searching for an explanation – Google’s own help pages didn’t shed any light. However, the answer now appears in a post today on Google’s official blog from their Chief Economist Hal Varian:

“Search engines often apply a “disabling rule” that inhibits ads with very low clickthrough rates for a given query from being shown. Or they might set a relatively high minimum cost per click for ads that don’t attract much interest from users as a way to discourage advertisers from showing ads that annoy users and deliver few clicks. A high cost per click can easily be consistent with a low cost per impression when clickthrough rates are low.”

So now you know.

More generally it shows that it is usually a mistake to assume that your potential prospects and customers will automatically use certain keyword terms to find information. Investing time, money and effort in really getting to understand how and what your target audiences are talking about should pay dividends further down the line.

PS This is also an excuse to try out the new instant poll feature in WordPress (see above). Vote away!

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