Ben Childs
By Ben Childs | Uncategorized | February 17, 2014

What We’re Reading: PPC

The Search community is one of the most vibrant communities on the internet. That makes sense– we search marketers spend most of our life on the internet anyways. From time to time, I like going through and collecting the best, most useful material that the community came up with and talking a little about why I think it’s so great. Unlike the last “What We’re Reading,” this one is pure PPC, so put on your AdWords caps and let’s dive in.

What if you don’t do PPC though? Maybe it’s time you started. Miranda Miller over at Wordstream writes that in Q3 of 2013, Paid Search accounted for one-third of clicks from search, but almost half the revenue. She uses data gathered from Marketlive across different verticals (some with figures provided), which found a 5% increase in Paid Search revenue-share from the same quarter in 2012.

That Paid Search revenue-share outstrips its click-share verifies not only that most paid-searchers are deeper in the buying funnel when clicking on ads, but also that advertisers are generally getting better at capitalizing on that fact. Miranda gives some great examples as to how to take advantage of this, not least of which is to focus specifically on that very buying intent (e.g., “buy off-road tires” as opposed to “tires”).

Paid Search figures increasing year-over-year is not surprising in light of Google’s history of Ad Rank updates, and is a trend that will likely continue into the future. I wrote a post last year regarding their Extensions update, but suffice it to say, paid ads won’t be getting clicked on less anytime soon, as Google is always testing new ways to take up more real estate with the product that pays their bills.

While reading her tip to focus on higher intent commercial keywords, I was reminded of this piece about PPC for small businesses with budget caps by John Lee on Clix Marketing’s blog. It rang true to me, because after seeing thousands of SMB’s AdWords accounts, the only thing more shocking than how many of them advertise too broadly is that the majority just assume they have to.

Two things are important here. The first is that AdWords success is a continuum: some things work better than others (not one thing and works and the others don’t). The second is that, given a budget constraint, anything that you cut necessarily means that what you don’t cut will receive more of your budget (and show up more often). If that sounds simple, well, you’d be surprised how many fail to remember it.

John dives into some applications using the different keywords, time-of-day and geography settings. I tend to combine these points when explaining budgets by giving the following example: imagine that you could only get one click in your entire account. There’s a certain keyword, at a certain time, in a certain region that would be the most profitable (which is why the dimensions tab is my favorite tab). Starting there, you can see how you’d work backwards to 100 clicks, then 1,000, and so on. In that way, limiting your budget doesn’t have to be a death sentence, just a commitment to only the best ROI available.

Lastly, we’re all about ad testing over here at Digital Reach, and Jason Yang wrote a great piece about ad psychology over at 3Q Digital’s blog. He differentiates between ads with emotional appeal (which is just what it sounds like) and those with rational appeal (price, benefits, etc.) What struck me about the article is that I so often get rooted in one ad’s previous appeal (be it rational or emotional) that I forget that the other type even exists.

Which reminded me: we’re always looking to break through plateaus when testing ads. There inevitably comes a point where changing the wording or punctuation don’t yield the improvement they once did. You can only say “clean up your credit in 90 days!” in so many ways. Our plan in those situations is to break away from incremental change and try something vastly different. However, what if we instead of swapping out benefits, we swapped out appeals? That seems like an extremely powerful idea.

In summary, PPC is as strong as ever. In a crowded world, it’s still direct-access to customers deep in the buying funnel, and every business can play. Additionally, we so often forget that there’s a myriad of ways to appeal to searchers. Keep an open mind and read as much as you can!  There are a lot of smart people out there trying to help your business succeed.

If you read any pieces that you liked in the last week, go ahead and share them in the comments!

 

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