November 27, 2007
Dave Davis is the Managing Director of RedFly Marketing, a search engine marketing firm based out of Dublin, Ireland. Dave oversees search engine marketing, search engine optimization and pay per click management. According to Dave’s Bio, he attended DIT with a Computer Science Degree where he learned almost all the facts of life. He apparently loves to travel and also thinks he can dance. Dave is a premiere blogger in the blogosphere. He is a recognized name within the search engine marketing fields, especially Pay-Per-Click. Dave was nice enough to take time and answer a few of my questions regarding his personal expertise and pay-per-click management.
What motivated you to begin Pay-Per-Click services for clients?
We started offering SEO and PPC services as part of our web design service as a result of seeing so many web designers having absolutely no clue about search engine friendly design. I also did a lot of affiliate marketing at the time. One client (who we still have to this day) asked us to take over their PPC management and it went from there. We found that we could help clients a lot more by advising on their PPC marketing strategy rather than just build them a website and let them fend for themselves. Last year we had so many clients that we separated our design and marketing services into two different companies and it went from there.
Some advertisers are overly dramatic about SEO being the better method of search engine marketing over pay-per-click. Some people also say that once you get your SEO rankings in a place you’d like, you no longer need to do pay-per-click. What are some of your thoughts on this subject? Do you agree that you only need one over the other?
In my opinion, this is a mistake. SEO and Paid search should be part of an online marketing strategy TOGETHER. There is so much crossover, those that even have a small PPC budget would be crazy to ignore it. The data you can get from your PPC campaigns is invaluable (live and seasonal keyword data) as well as the fact that you know almost instantly what keywords convert. Why launch an SEO campaign blind when you can launch an SEO campaign to organically optimize for keywords you KNOW convert?
Advertisers constantly want to know how to get their campaigns to perform better. Do you have any high level tips that could get someone to think differently about their strategy?
While most campaigns can always be tweaked and more can always be gained from them, 99% of the time the bottleneck is the sales funnel itself. Many businesses seem to have the “set and forget” attitude when this is rarely a good idea. Getting targeted traffic is only the first step. Optimizing your site for those visitors is far more important. Testing is key here. Test, test, test.
Like most people, I tend to learn from my mistakes. There are definitely a few things that I wish I had of known before starting out in PPC. Do you have any advice for beginner PPC advertisers?
Set up tracking from the very start. Have a defined sales funnel and defined goals before you start. This is by far the most important. Also, conversion tracking. This is always missing on new accounts we get, even accounts we win from other agencies. If you’re not tracking you’re throwing your money away. Finally, with e-commerce tracking I have found it best to track PROFIT rather than sales with conversion value tracking. It gives a better idea of your return and how much you should be spending on a granular level.
Recently Google has come up with enhancements regarding campaign optimizations and ad text writing tools within the user interface. Do you use any of these tools, and if so, do you find them helpful? If not, are they’re any tools that you do find helpful in enhancing your account?
None of the recent Google tools/enhancements have boded well for us except for conversion optimizer, however we have had mixed results with this too. The best tool is a good 4 hour manual review of an account and don’t do it alone. Ask someone to review your findings and changes.
Can you give us a success story of an account and what you did to make it successful?
While contractual obligations don’t allow me to go into details, we worked with a very large hotel chain who came to us with a paid search account that was set up in house. Their return was about 100%. We optimized their account and diverted about half their PPC spend into other channels. Within 3 months, their ROAS was a little over 800%. While season certainly played a factor here, the results speak for themselves.
What advice would you give to companies debating on whether to outsource their pay-per-click advertising rather than doing it in-house?
If your return is less than 100% with paid search, outsource. Simple as that. Make sure the company you choose has references and make sure they have worked in your industry before (This may not always be possible). Ask are they willing to work on a revenue share or percentage of ad spend tiered by performance. If they have faith in what they can do, this will not be an issue. Finally, always make sure that the fees that you pay the agency are covered by the additional revenue they generate. In general, if your agency is generating you 40K profit more per month, then their monthly management fees should be less than 40k.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the pay-per-click industry today?
The biggest challenge I think is the amount of new savvy advertisers realizing that paid search works. Also, the fast pace in which the PPC networks change their systems and ranking methods. Using a PPC agency usually insures that any major changes or problems are noticed immediately and are actioned immediately.