It’s been public knowledge for a while now that BP has been using to Google AdWords to get their public relations message out in response to the gulf oil spill. Now, it has been revealed that some of these ads have been violating Google’s display URL guidelines by sending users to a different URL which is not displayed in their ads.
You may have seen BPs various ads targeting “oil spill” related keywords on Google such as the one below which appears to be sending users to a page on the BP.com website,
However when clicking on this ad, users are instead taken to BPs YouTube page which shows some videos related to the cleanup,
This type of misdirection is in violation of Google’s display URL guidelines which states,
Your display URL must accurately reflect the landing page URL of the website you’re advertising. It should match the domain of your landing page so that users will know which site they’ll be taken to when they click on your ad.
According to a response from Google, a combination of human and system errors allowed this problem to occur, which has now been corrected. While it’s a relatively minor error, its interesting to note that Google didn’t pick up this problem sooner, given that BP are reportedly spending more than $10,000 per day on the campaign.