Monthly Archives: August 2009

A Different Form of PPC Advertising You Should Consider, Soon

Yesterday, I had a call with a company that has only been around for about 9 months. I walked through a demo on how to use their search engine, in which they claim MSN stole their algorithm.  I was surprisingly impressed with this search engine that I honestly had never used before.  It’s called LeapFish.  And no, they’re not paying me to blog about them.

I feel LeapFish is an up-and-coming search engine that may truly find itself competing with the big dogs.  What’s cool about them is that you can search for a keyword in Google, and with a click of a mouse you can search in Yahoo and MSN for the same keyword. It’s fast, really fast and very user friendly.

If you type in a city name with a space, then the state, sometimes in the right hand navigation they’ll give you local results for real estate, or restaurants if you type in ‘pizza san Francisco CA’.

local reviews

You can also click to see different kinds of results for your keyword search like information on the web, news, answers which are powered by Yahoo, videos, images, shopping and even blogs.

One other thing the rep told me, was that if you type in your company url into their search, again off to the right hand side it will give you domain information for that company including how much their domain is appraised at, how many unique visitors, traffic ranking and a graph that shows peaks and valleys of traffic. Very cool.

A different kind of PPC advertising:

Now, about their paid search program which I found to be of most important and very useful for advertisers.  When the internet began to get popular, people started buying popular domain names of companies who could later sell those domains to the companies and make a large profit. The same thing could and is going on here at LeapFish.  People are buying keywords off Leapfish now, and plan to sell them later when Leapfish gets bigger. As Leapfish gets bigger, and as the keywords become more competitive, the keywords will increase in value, and can sell for a much higher price than what you’ll be paying for now.

Their PPC advertising program is not like Google, Yahoo or MSN.  You don’t pay for each click or pay any monthly fees. You buy keywords permanently.  LeapFish offers 3 paid positions for each keyword search result.  You can buy to be in position 1, 2 or 3 and each have a different price for that particular keyword.  When you buy these keywords, they’re yours for life, at least until you sell them off to another company willing to pay you premium cash for them. You also maintain your number 1, 2 or 3 positions in the SERPs for that keyword for life.  This will never go away until you sell your keyword.  The paid ads are located at the top of each SERP and at the very bottom of each page.

I will say that some competitive keywords are not cheap.  Looking up some keywords for a client of mine I found position 1 to charge around $5,000. But if you think about it, this is really all you have to pay for a paid ad in that keywords SERP.  Sort of.  In addition to the one-time purchase of the keyword, you are also charged a yearly 5% fee of your keyword spend. So if you buy just one keyword and pay $5,000 for it, you’ll be charged $250 annually.  Not bad when you think about it long term.  Just to give you an idea of their pricing structure I’ve typed in a few keywords to get estimates on. See screen shot below on the range you could be paying to have permanent placement on Leapfish.com

pricing structure

This brings me to my next point. This is a long-term strategy.  This is not for small business’s wanting to teach themselves PPC advertising for a month to see how it works.  As far as reporting, you can add in add tracking to your destination URLs and \ track Leapfish visits and leads via Google Analytics.

Another good thing LeapFish is doing to get the word out about themselves is sponsoring many national search engine strategy conferences.  They’ve been featured in several high profile websites. Their CEO, who is only 29, by the way, and has been recognized as one in the top 40 Silicon Valley innovators.

I think this is something every company big or small should be looking into right now. Leapfish is still in Beta, but I believe it will be officially live in October 2009.

Is anyone currently buying keywords from Leapfish? If so, is it working for you? What are the positives and negatives?

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You Can Now See Google Subdomains in Your Content Network Reporting

My obsession with the Google AdWords Content Network continues! Actually, developments keep popping up about the Content Network and I like to keep you informed. Recently Google announced a change to the content network reporting: now you can view Google subdomain properties within your placement performance report.

As you know, any additional level of granularity in regards to performance visibility is a welcome change! This means Gmail will appear as mail.google.com, Google Books will appear as books.google.com, Google Finance will appear as finance.google.com (the list goes on and on) and if your ads appear within any of these subdomains, they’ll be listed in your placement performance report. You’ll be able to manage your individual site bids for these Google properties. Therefore, enhancing your overall performance on the Content Network.

If you want to know what Google properties are out there, check out a list of popular Google sub domains.

The Google Content Network can be a beast to conquer but we’ll master this unruly monster together. Here is a quick list of what we’ve been discussing recently to help you optimize your Content Network performance:

Utilizing category exclusions to enhance your peformance

Restructuring your content campaigns can increase your exposure

How placement performance reports can help you create targeted campaigns

Now, get out there and start optimizing!

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How To Geo-Target a National PPC Campaign

Typically pay-per-click managers who promote a nationally available product or service only run a nationally-targeted campaign. But they are missing a huge opportunity to serve relevant ads for local search queries.

With increasing competition in the SEM industry, advertisers are looking for more ways to optimize their campaign. By implementing geo-targeting for a National campaign, you can get ahead of the competition, become more relevant to your audience, and also take your advertising dollars further. It is time to dig deeper into your pay-per-click campaign!

How Do You Geo-Target a National PPC Campaign?

It’s easiest to start with an example. Say you are a company that provides phone service for most areas in the US. Your PPC account is setup at a national level allowing for your ads to appear for the following:

  • When people search phone service, your ads appear along with many competitors.
  • If someone searches for phone service in Denver, national ads also appear along with many competitors.

In the case of search query #2, the ad is not as relevant and targeted as it could be. For higher click-through rates and conversions, your ad text should be targeted using geographic modified keywords. In this case, you can create a campaign that has IP and keyword targeting set for Denver. Then when someone searches for ‘phone service in Denver’, your highly relevant ad text appears. Makes sense, right? But what happens if a customer is moving to Denver from another state?

In this case, you need to setup a national geo-targeted campaign. This will allow you to serve relevant ads for geographically targeted search queries at the National level. See the example below.

To setup a geo-targeted nation campaign, follow these easy steps:

  1. Open a new campaign that is targeted at the National level.
  2. Copy your highest volume ad group (i.e. Branded) into the new campaign
  3. Add geographic modifiers (at the city or state level) to each of the keywords. For example phone service becomes Denver phone service or phone service in Denver. Note: We recommend only including phrase and exact match types in this kind of targeting. Broad match keywords risk competing for National searches.
  4. Write targeted ad text utilizing your geographic modifiers.
  5. Add Denver as a negative to the original campaign. This will prevent your National ads from appearing for the local search.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for the additional geographic locations. To keep ad text targeted, only one geographic location should be assigned per ad group.

Spend your money wisely

Do your research before setting up any geographic targeted campaigns. Start with a Geographic Performance Report in Adwords. The Geographic Performance report will provide you with geo-targeted performance statistics for your ads by approximated geographic origin. With this report you can identify both high and low performing locations.

  • High Performing Locations: Focus your keyword targeting and budgets on the higher-performing locations for a geographic strategy. Adjust budgets and bids to maximize ROI.
  • Low performing Locations: Depending on your advertising objectives, I recommend you bid lower with smaller daily budgets, or exclude these areas completely. When it comes to the bottom line, minimizing your spend on lower performing areas can really help your ROI.

While the click volume generated through these campaigns will be smaller, you will be attracting highly qualified clicks, and you most likely will see increased conversions. Not to mention that you will stand out from your competitors with highly targeted, geographically relevant ad text. By focusing on high performing locations and decreasing resources on the underperformers, this geographic keyword strategy can take your pay-per-click advertising budgets a lot further.

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PPC News Roundup for Friday 8/14/2009

  • Holy cow that is cool! Google is testing the use of images in PPC advertisements! There’s no description but who needs one when there is a picture? The only information present is the picture, price, brand and link. Very cool for click-through rates.
  • A study over at Bing.com says they’re seeing a 23% increase in ROI in Bing.com over Live search. They claim that Bing’s user interface is likely to be responsible for the lift. However keep in mind this was only a 2 week study. So don’t go shifting your PPC budgets around too soon.
  • Who would have guessed that Google would expand on their product offerings yet again? Actually, I think everyone would have guessed that, but this is just too cool to not mention here. Inside AdWords crew member, Dan Friedman, posted about the new, high quality display ads with display ad builder. The ability to create professional, cohesive display advertising just became easy!
  • As awareness and use of PPC advertising grows, is PPC becoming more like Wal-Mart vs. The Little Guy? I can see the truth in what George Michie is saying; and it’s important to consider your audience and niche when making decisions about your ad messages and if PPC will work for you.
  • Does your ROI for a time period always look better weeks after the fact? For reporting purposes, and for the sake of your clients’ satisfaction, you should understand the importance of using comparable metrics from month to month: otherwise your data won’t make any sense in relation to previous results.
  • It may not always seem like it, but when working with PPC, we kind of have it easy – we can monitor the metrics of our success almost right away. Considering this, there can be a little room for experimentation sometimes – and here are five calculated risks that might help you strengthen your returns from PPC investments.
  • Google AdWords has just put together a resource that’s sure to be very useful: the Search Ads Quality Guide. It features guidance and insight on how quality score affects your ad ranking, how to improve the quality of your ads, and much more.
  • I’m a huge cookie fan, especially chocolate chip, but what about those cookies on your computer? Erik Hanson of Microsoft tells us what publishers and advertisers can learn from cookie records.

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5 Tips to Managing Compliance Teams in Your PPC Accounts

Several of our clients have compliance teams that must approve each and every word the company uses to promote its services and/or products. According to Wikipedia, compliance is defined as:  “the goal that corporations or public agencies aspire to in their efforts to ensure that personnel are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws and regulations.”

It’s quite a tedious process to submit each and every PPC ad text to a team that will pick and poke at each word you use.  But what is more important than anything is representing the company in the best, safest way possible.

In this post I’ll give you five tips that we use that has made this approval process a little smoother:

  1. Be sure to ask your client before hand for words you shouldn’t or can’t say.  I would steer away from asking your clients about what you should say – then you’re really limited to testing capabilities.  But if you ask what you shouldn’t say in an ad text then hopefully you’ll only have a few restrictions that you’ll know to stay away from.  By requesting words you can’t say before hand this will save you time having to go back and make changes to your PPC ads and having to re-submit them again to your client for approval.
  2. Start working proactively.  Typically I would say most companies work within 24 to 48 hours in getting back with you on an ad text approval. Some companies even work in a week timeframe which is a really long time to get an approval for an ad text.  So start working in advance. Plan out your month ahead of time and know when you need to submit new ad text to the compliance team in order to make them live on time.
  3. Another tip that has worked for us in the past is to take notes on feedback your client gives you when writing your ad text.  If you take notes and keep those notes out when writing your next batch of ads you’ll be more likely to get approval the first round. This again will make your approvals go faster and you will sustain much less frustration sending your ads back and forth to be approved.
  4. A general practice for most companies is to NOT promote any guarantees or claims. For medical companies you typically cannot say ‘cure’, as this states there is a cure for a disease when their may not be. Also guaranteeing any kind of specific results or making any promises in an ad text can get you in trouble as well.  For example, a search engine marketing company should never say, ‘Page 1 Rankings Guaranteed’, or a weight loss dietary supplement company should never guarantee that you will lose weight using their product since everyone can react differently.
  5. And finally, we have found it’s much easier to make ad text changes in an excel spreadsheet over making them in AdWords editor. It’s much quicker to make changes via the spreadsheet rather than having to go back into editor and make the changes there.

I think the biggest tip I can give you on having to work with a compliance team is to just have patience. Don’t write you ads too quickly and think about them thoroughly before sending them off to be reviewed and approved.  Even if you’re not currently working with a compliance team for one of your clients, if any new client comes on board they’ll be happy to know that you are aware of how to manage a PPC account with a compliance team just from reading this post!

If anyone else has any tips on working with a compliance team feel free to let us all know!

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