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October 16, 2007

eMetrics: Rethink SEM/PPC Analysis by Avinash Kaushik

By Alex Cohen

In a standing room only session, Google's Analytics Evangelist, web analytics blogger and author of Web Analytics: An Hour A Day Avinash Kaushik challenged the attendees to rethink SEM and PPC analysis.  In his classic energetic, no-nonsense style, Avinash reiterated the conferences theme to "think different" and pushed analysts and paid search marketers in the room to think more like marketers.

The common thread throughout Avinash's presentation is to let the data and your customers rule the day.  An efficient and customer centric PPC management strategy has no place for ego bidding or whim based decision making; it's all about the data and testing.  To that end, Avinash recommended some key tips to remember when you're poring over the numbers:

  1. "I came, I puked, I left" - That's Avinash's colloquial definition of bounce rate, and it's probably kind for a lot of marketers.  Are your PPC visitors bouncing?  Scrutinize your bounce rate at the keyword and ad group level.  I would also add that you need to review how your use of match type, negatives and creative can be furthering or hindering your attempts to qualify and convert visitors.
  2. Are you ego bidding? - Sure, your brand terms produce a great return.  Are you so sure you are generating incremental revenue with those terms?  You could very well be eating away at organic traffic.  Consider running periods where you pause the results to see the effects.  If you are using brand words in your PPC, remember that you control the whole experience, so think about the ways you can maximize your landing page.
  3. Not Testing is Not an Option - “If you’re not leveraging testing and experimentation for your paid search campaigns, you will not be successful ... Your customers will tell you how to relate to them.”  Whether you chose Google Website Optimizer, Sitespect or one of the many other multivariate testing vendors, you must leverage testing both before and after the click.

I'm only touching on a portion of Avinash's advice.  For direct access to his presentation and words of wisdom, check out his new business MarketMotive - Internet Marketing Knowledge on Tap.

For Search Marketing Gurus, Alex Cohen of Digital Alex

Disclosure: Avinash is on the Advisory Board of my employer Commerce360.


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Avinash's book on web analytics is great!a must read.
Ego-bidding? who doesn't? Every single customer egobids at the beginning. Just untill we show them share of voce reporting and ROI per keywords reporting

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