Perfecting Paid Listings

Mar 1, 2005 - 10:47 am 1 by

Make it your goal to make your paid listings perfect. This session covered the aspects of ways to optimize your PPC campaigns. He opens up by asking who in the room runs Google or Overture campaigns. Matt Van Wagner from FindMeFaster was up first to talk about the various thigns you can do to create better ads, better campaigns. He mentions the process to create sustainable advantages. He says you need to approach this campaigns through system level thinking. Which means you need to align the campaign goals with the larger company goals. You should increase sales, not visitors. He also stresses that understanding random variation versus real changes. Matt next goes into many examples of some campaigns that need some help. For example, you may be in position 5, paying 40 cents a click, with a CTR of 0.4%. He goes through an Overture and Google example.

So how do you create a better campaign? He first says you need to slow down and not try to organize and manage these campaigns to fast. There is a large amount of detail and data available in large campaigns. He says first thing you do is organize you campaigns into keyword themes. This is important as you can have a real mess on your hands if you don�t. Next create measurement and reporting statistics. Define key metrics to track. You will next need a way to track conversions, because without it you will not get anywhere. Google and Overture tracking options are great to start with. He mentions an excellent way to manage search and content campaigns. Instead of lumping them together create unique ad groups for each. Label the group �S-Sports Cars� for Search campaign, and �C-Sports Cars� for Content campaign. He allows mentions in more detail about realizing why your conversions might be down. He says that one example of a simple mistake that lower conversions was the addition of a phone number on the conversion page. They found that when you removed the phone number, conversions went up. He next recommend that creating a change log is a good idea to get methodical about your campaigns. Use Excel to create these control run sheets. You can maintain what changed, when, and why you make those changes. This will make you more thoughtful about changes. You can also create rules for making changes. This helps you track causes and effects of actions taken. Matt then goes that if you first create a campaign. Don�t play with the ad copy first, he says you don�t have data to change these yet, and creating better keyword lists is the best option to start. You will increase traffic and can start getting good data on what keywords works the best.

Next up was Tim Ash from Epic Sky, who opens up asking if we had seen costs per click rise. He gives us a warning that today we will work with numbers. He is going to give us three keys to success. He first gives up a pop quiz and ask if the following is a good PPC campaign. The point he was illustrating was that you don�t know if spending $2600 is actually just causing you to loose $1000. You have to dig deeper. Next quiz, he puts up two example with one having an ROI of 100% and another 2%. The best way to determine which is better, is the one that make more money. ROI is not always reliable indicator of success in a campaign. He said you should find the highest profit point. Very good point. See how your profit varies and then adjust you highest profit margin. Key to success #1, sort your keywords by profit in the campaign. The bottom line is the bottom line. He presents an important concept. Its called Expected Value Per Click. Take your conversion rate x average value of conversion. This will allow you to compare value to CPC. You can directly compare what you are paying for the keyword and the value to you. Pop quiz number three. You have 5 visitors and 1 person buys with a 20% conversion rate. The answer is that you don�t know the expected value, as you could have 100 visitors and no sales. Next good suggestion is not to adjust bids without enough data. Set a minimum threshold for traffic. He says you also have to deal with uncertainty. He mentions you can use standard deviation to determine the variation of cost. He then asks about what we know about keywords that might get us only one click and come from those sets of keywords in very niche areas. He says they there is a very wide ranges for this, but we know it came from our portfolio of keywords. So keep it. The next key to success he says to properly handle uncertainty. Bracket standard deviation on expected value. Use �synthetic data� campaign averages for low data solutions.

Action Plan:

  • Set up a web analytics package
  • Tag all inbound traffic with keywords
  • Eliminate low traffic keywords
  • Sort by profit
  • Concentrate on the winners and losers

He then goes into a case study for a client who over airport parking. He mentions Urchin in particular as one that they used to track the campaign. Tim gave a great presentation with some very good suggestions in perfecting the use of your campaigns.


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