Lessons in PPC

July 2, 2012 - ContentTransfer

Whilst improving ranking position is, by definition, a search for greater traffic numbers, it is clear that there is a difference between convertible and non-convertible traffic and for DSM, we look beyond a vanity show with increased rankings and greater footfall.  It is imperative that we improve our clients ROI and that is why we aim to drive efficiency through our analysis – identifying terms that will attract converting traffic and balancing the desire to maximise revenue with driving down cost per acquisition (CPA).

Adwords campaigns, by their nature, establish an instant route to market and this can be a blessing and a curse.  When we manage Adwords accounts, one of the most important steps is identifying (in consultation with our clients) cost/conversion levels that need to be achieved for the account to be profitable.

Often, this is not achieved sufficiently well as many Adwords campaigns lose sight of the fact that without a profit margin, all other metrics become obsolete very quickly indeed.

Keywords need to be identified that are attracting visitors that actually spend money, rather than those who are broadly researching or are not actually looking for what the client sells.  This is absolutely vital to a profitable campaign and, almost always, is the first area that needs rectification work – a lack of understanding regarding the variation in search terms and, more dramatically, the difference in impact between broad match, phrase match and exact match searches can have serious implications on a client’s cost per acquisition rate.

In concert with this, one needs to ensure that

  • Bidding levels are optimised to ensure that visitors are finding the Ads – that is, the Ads are consistently achieving the most successful position in the listings for click-through.
  • Ads are tailored to those visitors that are most likely to buy so as to ensure they are drawn to them and are convinced the website has what they want.
  • Finally, the site needs to deliver on its promises – that is, it needs to match a visitor’s expectation, given the search term they’ve used and the Ad they’ve clicked on.

Essentially, an account needs to be lean and efficient before it can afford to grow, under controlled management, to explore its broader market and maximise its reach.  Always, the CPA is the key.

Of course, there is always an exception that proves the rule.  And this comes in the form of data generation.

When a site has no organic rankings to speak of, it has no traffic data either.  And without traffic data, no-one can make strategic decisions regarding the marketplace.  This is where PPC, used intelligently, can help scaffold the development of an SEO campaign.

In medium/long term, generating traffic through organic rankings is cheaper, sustainable and, ultimately, provides a far better return on marketing investment – this is why we prefer to dovetail the management of clients PPC and SEO campaigns as we can use the data from PPC to inform our SEO campaigns and, in time, reduce their reliance on PPC and eventually focus the large majority of their search marketing efforts on natural ranking optimisation.

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