Search Advertising 101

Dec 5, 2005 - 6:26 pm 0 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2005

Search Advertising 101

Moderated by Andrew Goodman, who introduces Dana Todd.

Dana Todd, SiteLab Starts with an intro to general terms. SEM does not equal PPC. PPC buys are on Search Engines, sites, networks. Pure form: search ads appeared only with related searches. Next generation: recycles PPC and places them into contextual or content networks- adds are relevant to the page’s content. Shows the difference between paid an unpaid listings. How does it work? Direct buying, ad auctions that use max bids. Bid Higher = stay higher, system corrects bid gaps: you pay a penny more than the ad below you. Ad auctions, “Google style” is more difficult to define.

Direct buy examples: Knowledgestorm, Earthweb (owned by Jupiter).

Auction model: Yahoo… mind the bid gaps, and remember that you only pay one cent more than the next highest bidder. Defines bid trapping (forcing the top bidder to pay their max bid if they are trying to “corner the market”). Auction: Google style, This is a blind auction – you do not see competitor max bids like In Yahoo. Ad rank determined by various factors: max bid, quality score, geographic targeting, behavioral targeting. What is quality score? Keyword CTR + relevance of ad text + historical keyword performance + other relevance factors. Top positions above organic must have highest “Actual” CPC, sometimes they will not appear on top, but only on the right, based on their actual CPC.

Getting started: have to have a project plan. Account organization, kw selection, control distribution, set values and goals, tracking, building the ad, and going live. In order to perform well at the contextual level, ad groups in Google should be tightly clustered together semantically. For example, keep roller skates and tennis shoes in different groups. “Buckets” are defined as keyword groups, usually grouped for reasons of data analysis Things to watch during keyword selection: competitor sites, trade literature, vertical sites, software, suggestion tools, etc... Look for both “head” and “tail” terms. Buy brand names! Consider competitor names or trademarks. Controlling ad distribution factors: Match types include Broad, expanded, phrase, and exact match. Use negative keywords to avoid unqualified visits.

Setting base values and goals: think on a business level. What actions do you value as a company? Leads? Visitors? Phone calls? What does "conversion" mean to you? What metrics to use? CPA? ROI? ROAS? Setting up tracking: Website analytics such as urchin-now Google, Omniture, etc.. Ad serving software such as Mediaplex, Doubleclick, Atlas - this works on a third party redirect, and can be good for integrating various campaigns along with search advertising such as banners, etc. Offsite tracking? How can you track this? Call (phone) tracking, coupons, promotional codes. Post click behavior…look at lifetime customer value. Building the ads: because CTR affects your position at Google ( and will soon do-so in Yahoo!), creative text is critical. Use kws in title and/or description. There are limited text requirements, which make it difficult if you are not experienced in writing search ads. Cool tip: Use the shortcut keyword insertion tool, known as dynamic keyword insertion, {keyword:default title} automatically places user keyword in the title. (this tool only in AdWords)

Searchers prefer uninterrupted logic. You should land people on specific page, such as the “pug dog” page instead o\f a general page about dogs, if “pug dog” is what they searched. Schedule: map out a calendar in terms of campaign rollout, reporting schedule, testing periods, other promotions, budget changes. Schedule promotional and seasonal messaging. Use dayparting to target best times of day or week for conversions. Overlay any expected seasonality. Schedule a quarterly “housecleaning" - Stresses this in order to clean up the account and improve performance at least once a quarter.

Goes through an “under the hood” of both major portals. Suggests not to use “bulk sheet” download at Google unless you know what you are doing. Budgeting: Google and Yahoo are setup for daily budgeting, but this doesn’t work too well. Uses prior day’s stats to try to project a spend for the next day. Tip: do not use daily budgeting feature at if you are on CC payments, because this can cause the system to not work (note: I will try to update this as soon as I speak w.Dana- I think she is speaking about YSM with a daily CC charge instead of a "different amount specified"). Most “Tier 2” engines are on a monthly budget. Managing bids: Bid management software helps. People are still required! Bid rules…don’t use too many on a particular kw as it may cause a “freak out.” Rules can include ROI values, dayparting, keyword behaviors, “bid wars,” and others.

Optimizing and maximizing: once you are doing well, you should consider expanding buy to include more kw’s or contextual, for example. Fin d the “sweet spot” for each keyword. Use Search marketing for cross-channel marketing.

Matt Van Wagner, Find Me Faster There is no “perfect campaign.” If you spend the time to build a good process, it will create a sustainable advantage. Use system-level thinking: align campaign goals with larger company goals in order to increase sales, not just visits. Track performance and make adjustments: be methodical, measure frequently, but don’t get “analysis paralysis.” Also, searchers are “informavours” – wild beast looking for information. If they lose the scent, they will leave. It is important to remember this when thinking of landing pages as well as your content.

Matt gave a few examples of how PPC Campaigns can be structured in order to perform better. A site providing “pet bereavement” products had a low budget, but needed to maximize their sales. They found that the majority of their clients were women that owned cats, so they switched their focus to related keywords and increased their overall ROI. When measuring data, it is important to measure actions, not just CTR or CPC. There are a variety of measurement tools. The portals have their own, but Matt highly recommend the use of third party independent analysis. Another sometimes forgotten performance measure is the number of phone calls a business gets. If these increase after any campaign, it is a good sign. The best measurement strategy is to use a hybrid mix of conversion tools and other methods of measuring offline conversions.

Another case study spoke about Flutter Fetti, the “Cadillac of Confetti,” as Matt described them. After Hurricane Katrina, their business was demolished. They instituted a new PPC campaign, but were spending too much on one broad keyword: “confetti.” By adding more specific keywords and some negative keywords, they greatly increased their performance. Matt goes on to recommend against using the “Ad Optimizer” because this skews the results of particular ads - eventually using only the higher CTR ad, which may not necessarily be the higher converting ad. Do your own research and manage your ads instead of letting Google do it for you.

On organizing campaign: once again, make your campaign think like your business thinks. Take the time to give your campaigns and ad groups significant names: for example “men’s sweaters” and “women’s sweaters.” Not only does it make it easier to group your keywords, but also easier to shut off particular campaigns or boost up the budget based on current inventory. Another good tactic is to organize keywords around the buying cycle. For example: in the “pre-aware” stage, use “PC printers;” then during the “aware” stage, use “laser printer;” then during the “shopping” stage, use “color laser printer;” and finally during the buying phase, target specific models such as “HP1234.”

Closes with stressing the importance of knowing your market. Some performance will vary based on position. For example, if women are more likely to look at all the top 5 listings and check each URL by waving over them, perhaps it is better to bid lower than if your target is men who may be more likely to simply click on the first listing.


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