Archives for "PPC industry"

Posted by James Lee on 27th December 2014

Google: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

There’s no denying that Google’s rise to power has been impressive. As someone who has been involved in online marketing for the past 10 years and has viewed the industry from different perspectives, I’ve watched them closely. I’ve seen them from the perspective of search advertiser, marketing agency and search ad application developer.  I think it is interesting to look at their performance and how they use their power from these different perspectives.

Google started as a socially responsible company. In their beginning, Google offered organic search results that were unbiased and informative. While organic search has evolved over the years, with many improvements and some drawbacks, it still remains essentially unbiased. As we all know, organic search results are critical to most businesses and with the rise of organic search unethical SEO tactics followed. Google has done a good job at detecting and mitigating these unethical practices.

In the area of paid search ads, Google was a boon to advertisers in the early days offering cost effective advertising with analytics and flexibility to make changes quickly. The not so good, more recently Google’s ad costs have been on the rise and flexibility and customization have decreased while there are more features.

From an agency perspective, Google has provided a significant opportunity for revenue generation as agencies manage Google advertising for their clients. In the beginning Google’s support for agencies was minimal but over the years this has expanded and improved to the point that it is pretty good.

Last but not least is my view of Google as an application tool vendor. In the early days there was a significant opportunity for third party tool vendors as Google’s tool offering was minimal. But, not surprising, as the market for third party tool vendors increased, Google saw this as an opportunity and another revenue stream for them. Google’s tool offering has been a win for consumers so even though it took business away from third party tool vendors, I cannot be too critical of this move.

Then there is Google’s RMF (required minimum functionality) policy. This is where I see the Ugly. Google’s RMF stipulates the requirements that application vendors must meet to gain API access and it has become extremely burdensome for application developers. In the beginning the RMF requirements were manageable but they have increased to the point that they now represent more than 50% of Google’s ad management features. This is placing a heavy burden on both small and large tool vendors. Making matters worse, many requirements are not based on consumer needs. Developers are forced to meet requirements that the end user has no use for.

I think this policy has become tantamount to unfair business practices for the following reasons.

  1. The requirements are not there to meet customer needs, wants or desires since customers use software tools as an alternative to what Google offers.
  2. The requirements hurt agencies and marketers as there are fewer alternatives to choose from and the alternatives that are available are more expensive.
  3. The requirements add significant risk to small business software vendors as they have to allocate their resources to keep up with Google’s demands and have less time to improve their core features that ARE based on customer needs.

I am glad Google has been a socially responsible company in many areas and it is very important for Google to remain as one in the future.  To do it, we, the industry insiders need to express our view to companies like Google.  Let us know how you would rate Google.

Posted by admin on 13th March 2014

How to Safeguard Rank Driven Bidding

ClickSweeper introduces Target Ranks 1.5 and 2.5 for more accurate placement at lower costs

As an online marketer that depends on rank (ad position on search result pages), there are times when you want to bid aggressively to get the maximum exposure, but want to avoid paying premium to be at the top. That’s why ClickSweeper has developed target ranks of 1.5 and 2.5 in hopes that this small enhancement will give you the comfort you need in setting and reaching your target goals.

In the ideal scenario, you would achieve the highest rank at the lowest cost. Unfortunately, this is unlikely. A target rank of one (1) may motivate competitors to aggressively raise their bid prices, thus increasing target bid prices higher and higher. In this case it would be helpful to bid between rank 1 and rank 2. This was not an option, until now.

Now with ClickSweeper you can target rank 1.5 or 2.5.  With this selection, you will lower the risk of bidding a premium bid price while still achieving top 3 ad positions.

ClickSweeper’s Rank Based bidding strategy offers two ways to safeguard bid price besides rank goal. Bid price is bounded by a max rank bid that you’re willing to pay, and one allows the target rank to be set based on one of keyword performance factor such as cost per conversion, CTR, quality score or conversion count.

With this new feature, ClickSweeper offers customizable automation to achieve your marketing goals at an affordable cost without demanding all your time.

For more information, visit us at www.ClickSweeper.com.

Posted by admin on 24th February 2014

Digital Marketing based on Signup Quality

There are many options when it comes to ad channel selection. While I am certain that you already utilize some form of ad performance tracking, your current method falls short if it does not measure marketing ROI.

One of the most commonly used key performance indicators or KPI for search marketing is cost per conversion (CPC) or cost per acquisition (CPA).  Below is an example of a typical search marketing KPI.

Typical SEM platform  

           Conversion        Click        Cost/Click        Ad Spend        Cost/Conv

Kw1            5                    200            $2.50                $500                   $100

Kw2           10                  400            $1.25                 $500                   $50

 

In the example above, a typical search marketing platform measures cost per conversion. In this example, the data indicates that keyword2 performs better than keyword1 based on cost per conversion performance.

However, by factoring in the quality of signups from your campaign, the results are different. This is illustrated in the table below.

Varazo SEM platform

           Conversion        Qualified        Disqualified        Sales Win        Cost/Score

Kw1           5                          3                          2                             2                       $41

                                       Score= 6           Score=0              Score=6     

 

Kw2         10                         3                          7                                1                     $55

                                       Score=6             Score= 0             Score=3      

 

In the example above the quality of signup by status such as Qualified, Disqualified and Sales Win is factored into the performance analysis.  The conversion score reflects the quality of signup, and the keyword‘s performance is measured by the sum of the quality score.

With this approach keyword1 shows better performance with lower cost/score than keyword2 and it results in a very different max bid update than the bid update when this data is not available.

While the concept is simple, implementing this signup quality logic into your SEM account can be complicated. You’ll need to find a PPC bid management system and lead source tracking system where both leads and lead source are tracked.  These two systems will then need to be integrated so that signup quality can be added to the PPC management system to optimize keyword max bids.

Varazo is a SEM integration platform that now offers this solution through its existing ClickSweeper, PPC management software, and our newly released ConversionSweeper, lead source analytics. Together these two platforms provide a simple solution for digital marketers who want to improve signup quality and to accurately measure return on their digital advertising.

If you thought about it or have an experience in integrating these two systems, please share your thought or experience in the comments below.

Posted by James Lee on 28th January 2011

PPC Management Round-up 1/28

This week’s PPC round-up includes a mixture of news items and advice. The world of PPC management changes so quickly — miss one week, and you’ll miss a lot. (Case in point: as of this week, all PPC domain URLs are now shown in lowercase.)

Let’s start with an overview of terrible Google PPC ads and how to avoid making the same mistakes by Mona Elesseily over at Search Engine Land. She looks at the irrelevant, confusing, misspelled, and passive. Some of these errors are extremely easy to make. If you’re using dynamic keyword insertion, pay attention! Even Amazon has fallen prey to some of these doozies before.

Next, some surprising results from actual PPC tests done over at Search Advisory. Stacy Williams looks at custom landing pages vs. custom microsites, Facebook vs. search engine PPC, online vs. phone leads and concludes: testing is really essential to finding out if something will work for your business. Best practices don’t necessarily translate into the highest profits for everyone, so get out there and start testing.

And a quick news brief from the ever-reliable Search Engine Land: Pamela Parker reports that PPC on LinkedIn has finally become a reality. Take a look to see what the new self-service advertising platform is all about.

Finally, an article that gets into something that the PPC community doesn’t spend enough time on: pre-campaign research. The amount you do before ever running a PPC ad determines a lot about your resulting performance. Here, John Hossack from VKI Studios looks at how to use Google Analytics to identify strong landing pages, fix product or service pages with high bounce rates, and analyze visitor behavior.  In short, this post, one of a series, shows you how to design your PPC campaign around your existing strengths. Sounds like a good idea to me.

And as always, if you’re ready to take some of the pain out of PPC advertising, check out a free trial of ClickSweeper PPC management software.

Posted by James Lee on 29th December 2010

PPC vs. Social Media Advertising

PPC advertising is no longer restricted to search engines. When Facebook jumped on board, it split into two distinct sectors: the regular old search engine PPC we know and love (most of the time) and social media PPC.  Since they target different prospects and work quite differently, they’re really only in direct competition in one sense: your limited budget.

How do you decide how to allocate budget, or if social media advertising is worth it for your business? Essentially, you’re going to need to test. But if you want a little more info going in, keep reading for some of the major differences between search engine and social PPC. Continue Reading

Posted by James Lee on 22nd October 2010

How to Migrate Your Yahoo PPC Account to Bing

The end is nigh. Well, of Yahoo PPC, anyway. The date has been set: Saturday, October 30th, and all your Yahoo campaigns stop. If you want to continue your PPC advertising on a platform other than Google, you’ll need to migrate your Yahoo account over to Bing, stat.

The bad news is that we can’t do it for you. However, it’s really not hard. Here’s how to migrate your campaign, broken down into 7 easy steps. Continue Reading

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