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August 19, 2008

Search Advertising 101

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Before we load into the shuttle to this evening’s Google Dance (dude, Glow in the Dark!), there’s one more session to soak up.

Moderator Rebecca Lieb says this is search engine advertising for newbies, so need to hold back any questions.

Dana Todd, CMO of Newsforce and Board of Directors of SEMPO, starts us off.

Before you spend one more dollar take time to review all the training materials available free from the engines. If you love data, you’ll love PPC. The most successful PPC managers are highly analytical. MSExcel is your friend. Take a class. The linear progression is to start small, test, measure, adjust, test it again, and expand on successes.

Vertical and specialty search
• Business.com
• Bitpipe.com

Shopping engines are mostly paid! While the clicks might cost more, it might be worth it because people on shopping engines are usually close to a purchase.

How do you buy search?
• Flat cost-per click
• Yahoo Search Submit (paid inclusion)
• Directory programs
• Ad auctions

Understanding hybrid auctions
• Blind auction – you can’t see other max bids
• Ad rank is determined by a number of factors
• What you’re willing to pay per click
• Competitive landscape
• Learn what a Quality Score is

How to build a campaign
• Good tracking software
• KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
• Set values
• Establish baselines
• Strategy (goals)
• Money
• Rules

Setting base values and goals
• “Conversion” can mean many different things
• Absolutely required homework
• What are your target goals?
• What are the actions you value?
• What dollar values can you set?
• It’s OK to guess – use your gut if you’re not sure. You can always modify your assumptions.

It’s easy math!
1. Target cost per conversion: Budget / Desired conversion events
2. Required clicks: Target conversions / Site conversion rate
3. Average CPC: Budget / Required clicks

Another way to estimate average max bids:
Gross margin x Conversion rate = Breakeven CPC

Where to look for keywords
• Your site, your competitors, trade literature, search suggestion tools
• Brand names are typically the best performs (if you have a known brand)
• Find negative keywords during this phase as well. Use lots of negative words to filter out random impressions which hurt your quality score. If you have nothing else, start out with “free”, “cheap”, and “naked”.

How many keywords
• If you have a low budget, don’t spread yourself too thinly across a zillion “tail terms”. (Start with 50 and expand from there.)
• 80/20 rule – 20 percent of your keywords will drive 80 percent of your traffic.

Some tools available
• Microsft AdLabs Upstream/Downstream tool (http://adlab.microsoft.com/) lets you drill down to see where people’s brains are going.
• Google’s Keyword Tool: She recommends starting with phrase match or exact match first. Other people will suggest the opposite and tell you to start with a small group of keywords with broad match.

Building the ads
• Because CTR can affect your position and your ROI equation, creative ad text is critical.
• Use the keyword in Title and/or Description
• Must pass editorial review
• Choose appropriate landing page URLs (usually not the home page – but A/B test because you can’t know for sure until you test.)
• Cool tip! Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion. It’s a little complicated to explain here so check out the tutorials on each site. Usage ids different between engines.

In terms of scheduling
• Don’t just set it and forget it
• Map out a calendar in terms of:
• Campaign rollout
• Reporting/analysis
• Testing period
• Other promotions (offline, online)
• Budget changes
• Schedule promotional and seasonal messaging
• Dayparting – time of day, days of week
• Overlay any expected seasonality
• Schedule quarterly housecleaning – Code decay occurs.

Managing your budget
• Daily budgeting technology isn’t perfect, so engines usually under-deliver or over-deliver
• Put your high-traffic or high-dollar words in their own campaign with their own budget
• Start out with a bang so you can lock in high CTR which will help your Quality Score – then pull back.
• Google has different ways to manage budgets
• Conversion Optimizer (average CPA)
• Budget Optimizer (most clicks for a defined budget)
• Preferred Cost Bidding (set average CPC preferred)
• Manual bidding (you control it)

How often should you manage ads/bids? Daily management for 20 percent of ads/bids, and the rest can be weekly or monthly.

Managing bids
• Bid management software helps
• Popular tools: Atlas, Keyword BidMax, Omniture, Search Rev, Performics, Clickable, Adapt
• Low volume keywords won’t have much data to optimize automatically against ROI or other projected values.
• People are still required
• Delete low performing keywords, or pause/isolate them so they don’t bring down the overall campaign

Final Thoughts
• Don’t be afraid to start small and grow your success.
• Build a risk portfolio for yourself – set aside some budget for experiments and branding
• Reinvest a portion of “profits” back into the budget.
• Leverage the engines for knowledge, but don’t believe everything they tell you.
• Provide enough resources to support the campaign.
• Strive for integrated strategy across all media.

Matt Van Wagner, President of Find Me Faster, is going to keep the paid search party rolling. He’ll be starting off with a case study. BeBop Baby Shop in V

Why he loves PPC
• Investment in PPC ads is measureable
• PPC and SEO are complementary
• Get going quickly
• Discover what words convert
• Reduce risks of major algorithm changes
• Predictable, dependable flow of traffic
• PPC allows you more control over messaging
• You can control messaging through text ads

Mat Van Wagner just put a crazy red wig on his head. I reached for my camera but he took it off before I could get the photo. I’m sorry you missed it!

“Let’s get jiggy with keywords!” – Matt Van Wagner

Broad match (Google)
• Queries in any order
• Likely plurals
• Likely equivalents, including misspellings

Phrase match (Google)
• Exact query order

Exact matches (Google)
• Only if the query matches keyword exactly

Standard matches (Yahoo)
• Exact query order
• Picks up common misspellings
• Singular or plural forms
• Picks up words in your ad

Advanced matches (Yahoo)
• Queries in any order
• Common misspellings
• Singular or plural forms
• Picks up words in ad text or Web site

For keyword review
• Use broad match / advanced match to generate traffic and discover new terms.
• Stick to 2 and 3 word terms
• Use one word keywords only very rarely
• Use phrase and exact match to hone in on important high-traffic terms
• Negative match keywords are excluded keywords that will reduce the number of ad impressions you’ll get. This, in turn, brings your CTR up and, therefore, your Quality Score goes up. Look at your Web logs once a month/week and find the negative terms.

Where do your ads show? The two places are SERPs and content sites (Web sites that accept ads).

Search vs. Content:

Search ads
• More directly relevant visitors
• More control on placement

Content ads
• Less control over where your ads are placed
• Can be “spikey”, good or bad

PPC ads serve two purposes:

1. Ads designed to draw clicks
• Relevant to keyword
• Ad includes the keyword
• Good, strong offer
• Local campaigns may get a fifth line (or in Google, a sixth line)

2. Ads are designed to filter clicks
• Ambiguous keywords like “home care” need ads that clearly identify purpose
• Impacts Quality Score, unfortunately

You must write great ads. Note the variety of copy styles:
• First-person story
• Trusted authority – uses quotes
• Price appeal
• Convenience – call 800 number
• Get information
• We’re different than “Them”

Hybrid approach for relevancy and profits: Ad Rank = Quality Score x Max bid

During the presentation, last year’s BC charity contest, winner Keri Morgret, answered a question that Matt asked. For it, she was given an organic washie monster (a wash cloth that’s been sewn into shape you can slip over your hand, with little ears, spider web-like eyes and a zig zaggy smile). Hee! What a great way to wrap up day two.

See you back on the blog tomorrow, and be sure to tune into WebmasterRadio.fm at noon PST to check out SEM Synergy live from SES!





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