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SES Wrap Up: Focus on PPC

by: Hung Nguyen and Susan Esparza, March 2005

Perfecting Paid Listings

Overview of strategies on how to effectively use paid listings. The main focus was looking at data on a granular level and the testing campaigns. In order to accomplish this, an advertiser must understand her business goals and key metrics, have her campaigns organized, and have proper tracking tools in place. Fulfilling these requirements will then allow for appropriate testing and analysis.

Creating Compelling Ads and Landing Pages

This session was a discussion of effective techniques on creating ads and landing pages to accommodate consumers in their appropriate buying cycle.

A few points:

  • Ads should use terms that filter out unsuitable clicks (credit cards only, ship to CA only, must be 18 and over, etc).
  • Ads should also try to grab the attention of consumers.
  • Landing pages should be relevant to the ad and should be easy to navigate.
  • Landing pages should also encourage searchers to follow the call to action in an ad.

Broad Matching and Other Ad Targeting Options

The panel first covered the pros and cons of Broad Match. Other ad options were then briefly discussed. Broad can be helpful when having to reduce the keywords in a large campaign. Key terms of overall campaign can be set on broad thereby reducing overall combinations of keywords in a campaign.

  • Pro- Broad is a good way to determine what actual phrases users are searching to get to your site. By doing log analysis, you can see what the actual phrase is that brought the user to your site from your broad match ad.

  • Con - Broad can be too broad, drawing unwanted traffic. In this case, it is then best to research for narrower phrases. These phrases should be set on phrase or exact (other targeting options).

Click Fraud: A Legal Look

Session on click fraud methods, what the search engines are doing about it, and who should be held liable.

Click fraud has recently become a hot topic in our industry. In this session, the panelists opened by discussing if this issue is a "problem or paranoia." Most agreed that it is both depending on the situation, but they did lean on the side that it is a true "problem." Some on the panel felt click fraud should be policed more aggressively by the search engines. One comparison was made to credit card firms who take fraud extremely seriously and make huge efforts to curb it. Although search engines are doing what they can to detect fraud and are crediting advertisers for potential fraud, the consensus was that they could be doing a lot more, starting with releasing some data from log files showing where clicks are coming from and how often. Liability was also discussed. Panelists stated that with this type of fraud being fairly new and hard to accurately prove it will be some time before "fraudsters" will have their day in court. In the meantime, should search engines be held accountable and obliged to take the brunt of advertisers' losses to click fraud?

Panelists also agreed that search engines should be more transparent with paid listings. Engines should disclose more distribution partners, fraud detail, etc.

Impression fraud was introduced at the end of the discussion. This type of fraud is aimed at making it more expensive for a company to stay on top by giving them false impressions without clickthroughs, affecting relevancy.

Measuring Offline Sales and Conversions

Need a few crude but useful techniques to tracking offline conversion? That's what this panel was all about.

  • Create unique landing pages with different phone numbers and/or promo codes for each ad network.
  • Use pay per call.
  • Use interactive Voice Response system to track all calls coming in (must outsource call center).
  • Track and then test these strategies.

During the Q & A part of this session, a gentleman stood up to give his firm a plug. He stated that his firm has developed software that can track offline conversions at the keyword level by dynamically generating a phone number that will follow users throughout the site. This differs, of course, because the panelists were betting on consumers dialing the number on the unique landing page and not the phone number on the other pages of a site.