Even Google Makes Mistakes

This last week I visited GoogleStore.com. Did you know that you can buy Google swag? Yep. It’s not just for employees and Adwords agencies. Just like every ecommerce site should, the Google store retargeted me with a banner ad. There I was reading from the New York Times and they showed off their swag to me again.

display ad ny times

You can see the ad there on the right. This type of online advertising can be very effective. Google knows it. Have you ever been retargeted? You may not have known that advertisers were purposely showing their ad since you had been to their site before, but now you will pay closer attention as you browse the web and you will start to notice it.

Here is an up close of the ad.

google image ad



Well, most the time I am able to ignore the ad, but this time I clicked, and what I found raised my eyebrows to say the least.

[clear]A 404 page!

I clicked on the ad! They made me come back. I was ready to buy some Google swag, and then this?! A broken page? How could this be? I thought Google’s system is set to flag ads that are being sent to 404 pages. Google Store 404

I told the @Adwords team on Twitter about the issue and they were able to resolve it. It isn’t the end of the world, and I will most likely still buy from them, but how many others might not? How many clicks did they pay for before I brought the issue to their attention.

[clear]Always double check your destination URL.

Don’t make that rookie mistake. I have an old friend that had an intern accidentally spend $20,000 in ad clicks sending visitors to a broken landing page.

Let me say it again:

Always double check your ad’s landing page destination URL.

We all mistakes. Even Google employees make mistakes, and you can be certain that they are able to recruit the best and brightest. It has been joked that they are able to recruit Harvard grads to be their janitors. Who knows, they probably demoted the person that made this mistake from ad manager to janitor!  Don’t get me wrong. A janitor position is an honorable one, but if you are aiming for something higher, be certain you don’t make this lethal landing page mistake.

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