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August 18, 2009

Don’t Gamble with Your PPC Campaigns! Save It For The Casinos.

By Account Deleted

Gamble-ppc In the lyrics of one of my favorite songs by Kenny Roger’s “the Gambler” which states that “you gotta know when to hold em…., Know when to fold em… No when to walk away…… Know when to run….  And it is those lyrics which reminded me of how easy it is to gamble with your PPC Campaigns, when "rash" decisions can really screw-up your bottom-line. (BTW - What the hell happened to Kenny Roger's Face? It looks like he gambled and lost with his plastic surgeon - See photo below) In this post, I will discuss why it’s important to “know when hold certain keywords and also “when to fold ‘em” or pause them. Just because a keyword may be under-performing, does not mean it’s a bad keyword. It just may bring attention to other areas of the PPC optimization experience (Landing Page, website usability or even the Text Ad). Let’s discuss

Not all keywords are the same for everyone. In my experience, I have seen other PPC Marketers and even myself at times, be guilty of not giving keyword a 2nd chance at life it deserves and it's very much like gambling with real money where the only difference is that your not bidding with Chips, your gambling with your business.

Kenny-roger-face In my humble opinion, the best approach to managing keywords in the PPC Campaigns is to create  a small group of 10-20 “tightly” relevant Head Terms and Long Tail Phrases about that specific product or service. Depending on your analytics package, it is sometimes a good idea to identify a few head terms and leave them in either Broad or Phrase Match and let the user find the long-tail work for you. Once you have that setup, I would then monitor them closely a few times a day for a week at a time just to see the behavior.

A Few Behaviors would be:

  • Click Thru Rate (CTR%)
  • Avg Position Fluctuation
  • Competitive saturation
  • Eventually CPL/CPA.

Once you have a good idea of the winners and “non winners” – (Notice I did not say “LOSERS” because the under-performers may just have the wrong “intent” factor which is perfectly ok), segment them and start working on the ones that need a little more attention. The beauty of Paid Search is the ability for the search marketer to try all types of "last resorts" and test new things. Moreover, finding the ultimate “gold-mine” keywords are not always instant. It could take months to truly get a handle on how to continue the ROAS Success. So in comparing PPC to Gambling at the Casino, you are in effect,

  1. Looking at your cards
  2. Looking at the others players
  3. Looking at the dealer’s cards
  4. Deciding to FOLD'em or HOLD'em

The benefit of PPC is that you do not have to fold right away, you can try different tactics to truly determine if it’s a lost cause and/or stop the bleeding before the credit card company knocks on your door.

So what are some examples of Rehabilitation Tactics?
Certainly, there are many tools to utilize when you are forced to give these keywords a second and third chance at life in your campaigns.

  1. Step #1: Look at all of the RAW search queries (through analytics) and see if there is a gap in the long tail searches. An example maybe adding a FEW MORE negative keywords to filter out unqualified visitors to keep the cost down and improve CTR to get your ROAS at the level it needs to be.
  2. Step #2: Look at the keywords position. Perhaps the “quality score” effect is just not there, so you may want to drop a few cents of the maximum CPC.
  3. Step #3: Look at your Landing Page and Website and looking for problems in your Conversion process. This could also be an issue with price, lack of information, shipping costs (if applicable) as well as anything else which may be affecting your ROAS.
  4. Step #4: If on the Content or Site Placement Networks, run a referring sites report and add those sites that are driving up add spend and not converting to the Site Exclusion section within Google Adwords.

In Conclusion:
The bottom-line of this post is to highlight on the fact that PPC does not have to be a game of High Stakes BlackJack. The PPC Marketer has many options on the table and just needs to be conscious of the surroundings of the user experience to make a better decision. Many great PPC experts in the industry  have also been evangelizing on these similar tactics, techniques and strategies mentioned in this post. However, this SemGeek’s thought process is using all of these best practices and simply relating them to other types of behavior, whether you are gambling at the Casinos, or Fishing (That’s another analogy to write about) it’s all relative.

Rocky-vs-clubber-lang PPC marketing is dynamic in that sometimes you can “win by Knockout" in the first 30 seconds, but if you get knocked down more that 3 times in the same round, as a PPC Marketer you can still continue to analyze your opponent (client) and fight your way back to a successful campaign.

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