WordPress’ growing market share is fueling a continued influx of new users, but also a higher level of oversight around advertising. Businesses with large ad budgets target this segment of consumers, as many new to WordPress need help hosting and building their websites.
Last week, Bluehost released an ad that abused the WordPress brand. The company’s public relations department did not respond to our request for comment, but viewers noted that this was not the first time Bluehost had shown questionable ads. Multiple Facebook campaigns, dating back several years, include brand abuse, as well as active YouTube campaigns in various markets.
In another area of ââadvertising, Elementor, a popular page builder used by more than five million websites, recently gained attention for its Google ads that target “full site edition.” Birgit Pauli-Haack, editor of the Gutenberg Times, reported the ads last week in the Post Status Slack community.
âI have no problem if Elementor and Beaver Builder go head-to-head on Google Ads,â said Pauli-Haack. âIt’s definitely a fair game. Why do I think this is fishy when it comes to WordPress? This is the intention of the researcher diverted, in a deceptive way. 30% of Google searchers don’t know that top results are paid ads and are misled. People are already worried about the information about the full edition of the site. It doesn’t help if someone hijacks the keyword for the new feature. WordPress is also an easy target as the Foundation certainly doesn’t have any money to spend on the problem of bidding higher on keywords.
At first glance, keyword targeting may seem like it sidesteps the ethical advertising line, but Elementor rep Ben Pines says the company is simply advertising a feature set of the same name. It allows clients to edit header, footer, archive and unique templates, as well as page or post content on the same screen.
âOur Google ads vary to provide the most value to users in search,â Pines said. âThis one is no different. This does not represent any new strategy. We published the full edition of the site in March 2020. â
Pines referred to a beta article dated March 1, 2020, which referred to Elementor’s ârevolutionary full site editing featureâ. The WordPress Full Site Editing Project predates this release by at least a year.
âFull Site Editing is a very generic name in the industry and is a foundational capability in website building tools that is sought after by many users,â Pines said.
When asked if Elementor was considering changing the name to avoid confusion with the core WordPress project, Pines said, âWe don’t see any potential confusion. Elementor’s capabilities and advertisements are clear.
Other people involved in the conversation on Post Status Slack said that this type of advertising seems to be standard practice in the ad buying world because they buy based on relevant keywords. Competitors also regularly buy each other’s keywords.
âInstead of supporting, it undermines the project,â Pauli-Haack said.
She and other participants in the ad conversation found it hard to believe the strategy was unintentional. Some have also been upset by other Elementor ads running on Google and Facebook that attempt to capitalize on user frustration with WordPress.
Elementor’s advertising appears to be a self-preservation strategy, as Gutenberg’s comprehensive site editing capabilities will inevitably spell the end of page builders who don’t rely on the base standard. Third-party page builders will need to overcome serious performance gaps in order to stay competitive.
Understanding where full site editing is heading is essential for WordPress site owners embracing new tools and workflows that will stand the test of time with basic changes. During this transition, many will likely search Google for solutions that will put them in the field when core introduces its Full Site Editing MVP in WordPress 5.8.
Conversation participants noted that the Elementor team is not very involved in contributing to the open source project. Perhaps this is why the team says they see no confusion in targeting Google ads to users looking for ‘full site change’.
âWe actively contribute to WP and its ecosystem by sponsoring events, translations, accessibility tools and more,â Pines said. âWe are looking to increase our contribution even further this year and are looking for a dedicated member of the team. “