Posts Tagged ‘ppc management services’

Competitor Terms: To bid or not to bid?

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

One of the most common topics we encounter when planning a new paid search engagement is how much focus should be placed on the competitive landscape. More specifically, is it prudent to bid on competitors’ branded and/or product terms? There are a lot of considerations to make when answering this question.

ppc-bid-competitors-termsFirst off, the major paid search venues use some form of Quality Score or ranking system based on relevancy. Always keep in mind that the search venues get paid based on the click, not the conversion goal. Your profitability is secondary to theirs. As such, always consider – “Is my product/service/company more relevant for my competitors brand than they are?” If you answer “yes” than either you’ve found a utopian business or you are deluding yourself. Since your competitor will almost always be more relevant for their brand name and products, you will find yourself bidding higher just to maintain visibility. You are fighting an uphill battle with this one.

So should you even bother to bid on competitor terms? Yes, if you can commit to it. Strategy becomes crucial in this endeavor. Here are some tips to point you in the right direction:

#1 Make sure all your competitor-related terms are separated from the rest of the terms. Assign a specific budget to these competitor terms. Bear in mind that branded searches of any kind indicate that some preliminary research has been done or a familiarity exists. Because of this you are faced with the challenge of persuading someone who may be quite far down the decision making path to consider a different alternative. In order to convert these customers with a high degree of success, you likely need the perfect storm of: 1) better value 2) lower price 3) stronger call-to-action 4) and a reasonable degree of brand strength. It is not often a prospect will abandon what they are familiar with for an alternative they are not without 1, 2 and 3 being in place.

#2 Focus on what you can control. Often, when aggressively targeting competitors’ terms, you can expect lower Click Through Rates and a higher Cost Per Click than the campaign average. However, this doesn’t mean this traffic can’t or won’t convert. It does mean you need to focus on what you can control. Most prominently, your landing page and user experience. The traffic that is generated by this segment needs to be hit hard and fast with the information needed to ideally make a new buying decision, or at the very least, reset the buying process. Since the latter situation is far more likely, conversion measurement may need to be treated differently.

For instance, in the case of an e-commerce Product A and Product B: A certain percentage of the searchers for Product A will buy Product B if presented with the right value proposition. A larger percentage, which remains largely unknown or unidentified, will take a step back in their buying process and will start to consider Product B alongside Product A.

The first step is to create this audience by establishing credibility and proposing Product B as a worthy alternative to Product A. A word of warning: This cannot be done by disparaging Product A or its source, and it will take more than “Before you buy A, take a look at B.” If you do this, you will decrease your chances of converting these customers and will solidify their buying decision to purchase Product A. Give your potential customers/clients a little more credit.

This is a perfect opportunity to deploy a specifically targeted landing page, with an objective Features Matrix or some other tasteful comparison tool. It is our job as marketers to play to our strengths so definitely highlight what is better about Product B. Testimonials and third-party validation and accolades are appropriate to use here as credibility builders. Don’t be shy, but don’t be over the top either. There is plenty of research surrounding how to appropriately use testimonials, etc. and when to use them.

If you can build enough value in Product B’s strengths, then it is possible to overshadow its shortcomings. Not to point out the obvious, but if Product B has no positive comparisons to Product A, find a new job. In this day and age if you aren’t as good as your competitor, you better be cheaper, and if you aren’t cheaper you are out of business – you just may not know it yet.

Google Adwords Adds Search Query Data, so what?

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

A few months ago, Google added a new reporting feature to Adwords called Search Query Data.    We’ve created this post mostly for a reference for our clients as we have mentioned this “search query data” in our reports over the past few months.  Our PPC search engine management team wanted to make it easy for our clients to have a reference point and access a bit more detail.

So, what is this new feature?
Search query data is the actual search terms used by Google visitors that are triggering your ads.  While this analysis is nothing new, it’s much easier than going through your raw logs to see what generated search traffic. We still do however recommend looking at your raw logs for this data.

Why is it useful?
1. It makes it easier to see what keywords are performing that might not be in your list.  This allows you to augment your current keyword list by identifying additional keywords that are being used as search queries.

2. It also allows you to identify possible negative match keywords for your account.

If you’ve got questions or comments on ppc search engine management or this new feature, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.

Why aren’t my PPC ads showing?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

While this is one of the most basic concepts of PPC search engine management, it seems to be one of the least understood, and quite possibly one of the hardest to explain to folks unfamiliar with the process. The easiest way to explain this situation is mathematically.

The answer lies within the paid search venues. This includes Adwords (Google), Yahoo! Search Marketing and MSN adCenter. These are the main three so we’ll focus on these for now. When setting up a PPC campaign we go about choosing the right keywords, writing persuasive ad creative, putting the finishing touches on our landing page(s), installing and testing our tracking code, etc.

Once that laundry list of to-dos is completed you assign a budget to your campaign. Now you are ready to flip the switch and the fun part begins. The paid search venue uses its NASA math to analyze your keyword list and the CTR (Clickthrough Rate) that those keywords have received across an unknown [to us] time period. Using this historical performance data, the search volume for that term is analyzed, and then the result is applied against your budget.

For example: Assume you are running 1 keyword (nobody is doing this I hope) and your CPC (Cost Per Click) is $1 to keep it simple. If Google determines that the search volume for your keyword is 1,000 queries per day, with a historical CTR of 10%, you could receive as many as 100 clicks or spend $100. Now assume that your daily budget is $20 a day, or 20 clicks. Google will then show your ad [impression] at an interval of approximately once every 5 searches. There are a lot of other factors involved in reality, but we are keeping things simple for example purposes. Then, based on the actual CTR of YOUR campaign Google will decide how often and when to show your ad in an effort to make sure they spend your entire budget while maximizing their CPC and CTR (since this is how they get paid, and handsomely I might add). Keeping in mind that the goal of search engines is to show the searcher the most relevant results (paid and organic).

That was a simple example based on 1 keyword, now imagine that you are running 20, 50, 100, etc. keywords, using different match types across multiple search partners, you can see how complicated it can get.

So why aren’t your PPC ads showing every time you search your favorite keyword? Realize that the more often you search and don’t click on your ad the less likely you are to see it the next time. So either click on it and spend the money to support your CTR or step away from the keyboard and grab a Fresca. I recommend the latter.

If you’ve got questions or comments about ppc search engine management please contact us or comment below and we’ll be happy to respond.