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Google gave me $100 Adword Coupon. Here's what I did...

Today morning, I found following surprising little message in my Google Webmaster message box:

What did I do to deserve a free coupon?
I don't know. Maybe they realized how seriously I took their product surveys. So a freebie. Interestingly, I also got my first $100 Adsense check, a check two years in the making, at the start of this month. So maybe the algo thought I was ready for the next level.

In any case, "$100 in free advertising" seemed too good to be true, I did have a 'nothing is completely free' feeling but then I now had a good reason to play around with Adword. I read in the message that there is a one time activation fee (depending on country, but usually around $ 5-10) for using the Adword services. But then the message seemed to imply that the fee is covered by the coupon money.

So I followed the instruction. Set up an Adword account. Filled in Billing details. Prepay. Entered the coupon no. Save and Done.
This was the easy bit. Next comes setting up an Ad Campaign.
The Interface of Adword actually makes setting up a campaign quite easy.It's simple, great and effective. I saw some message about billing and payment. Confusing. Ignored and went ahead.
Choose URL of targeted site (I created the campaign for my Kashmir Blog.) Picked up some (auto-generated) Keywords and selected some manually. (Because of the nature of blog, also excluded some keywords. And then chose the option that in-validates clicks from kids, actually there are many more option that you can try out based on your need). Bidding set at automated. Set maximum CPC (I set it at modest Rs. 10). Set up the daily budget (I set it to modest Rs.200). I had something over Rs.4800 to spend. These limits can be changed later based on performance. Saved. Everything done.
But the campaign went into 'suspended' mode and the interface showed a message about some billing problem. I looked in their help and support forum. But the procedure and message didn't seem clear enough. The thought of 'nothing is completely free' popped up again. This time with a greater, compelling 'I told you so' thought.

So the basic question should have been - "Does Adword Coupon cover activation charge?"

And the simple answer should have been no. Here's how it works. After you set up the account, to show your good intent, you are supposed to make a minimum payment (of Rs500 for India), an actual payment with money going to Google, even if you have the free coupon.the one time activation fee is not covered by the coupon.So until you make that payment, your Ad Campaign does not go live.

The good thing is that the procedure for payment is quite simple (in India, you can even use your Debit card if you remember the IPIN). No point in backing out now. So, I made the payment. The transaction (simple enough) took about 3-5 hours to competently reflect in the billing section. After the transaction got completely reflected in billing section,the Billing Summary showed

In credit: Rs. 4,878.50 and Rs.500.00
Activation fee: Rs. 250.00

Service tax (out of 500.00): Rs. 46.69

Balance just over Rs. 5000

and going down slowly with 'clicks' as the Ad Campaign is now on.[check cap below]

And the image ad [cap below]

I may later do a post on effectiveness of such Online Ad campaign for small community targeted blogs that just want to increase their readers base using Adwords.


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