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My Dangerous Google Conversion Optimizer Experiment...


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8 replies to this topic

#1 DJKay

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:01 AM

Hi Gang,

Well after much shifting and manipulating my ppc campaigns, I finally was able to qualify for conversion optimizer and I went ahead and tried it.

Let me tell you its super scary first because we have very high PPC click costs and (2) the Maximum CPA bid would make your heart stop.

Since I started the test, we are down in conversions but not down in traffic. (if you have looked at conversion optimizer, its suppose to be the opposite) I have been working with my google account rep to try to diagnose the problem, but I am getting a good dose of stock answers from their answer manuals/support notes. I did what they recommended, took a great big breath, and selected the recommended Max CPA.

So...any one out there have any thoughts...

DJKay

#2 DJKay

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 12:11 PM

Okay, well here is an update. So far, I have spent more money to get the same amount of conversions. Not good, but I realize that I have to test things, so I am letting the experiment run. I am running over the weeks in the month that generally produce the most conversions.

So so far, Conversion Optimizer is a bust for us...very sad..smile.gif..but I will keep you posted.


DJKay

#3 nethy

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 07:58 PM

I have tried this on several campaigns.

Mostly, on finely tuned campaign, conversion otimiser has not been a win for us. In the cases where there was some improvement, it was not a clear victory and I felt that I could achieve better results over time by turning it off.
Also, campaigns optimised by Google's own 'cpc experts' (people, presumably) have not outperformed our own campaigns. I have never tried 3rd party optimisation tools.

My conclusion is that for the time being the best way to run campaign is manually.

The cases where it would make sense to use automated or Google-designed campaigns is when the management overhead is a large part of the budget. That's pretty rare since the former requires a minimum number of weekly conversions and the latter requires a minimum spend (they never say how much, and it does not seem to be a consistent sum).

#4 DJKay

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 09:16 AM

Yes, I do have a finely tuned ppc campaign, plus, we are not managing a ton of kwps [key word phrases].

The reasons are that my kwps are very expensive. We only buy the ones that we know we convert highly on [ROI meets our bench marks and results in sales]. We optimize & have a highly developed content syndication program for link building and driving traffic through long tail phrases. Obviously, it keeps our cost down in many ways.

But...my big old bad experiment is not over yet. We will see. Am doing some reading today on conversion optimizer best practices (read it before, but one more time), to see if I missed anything or if there is anything more I can do..I may pull the plug on the test early if it just seems to bomb totally.

DJKay

#5 Randy

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 04:15 PM

I've not used Google's Conversion Optimizer much myself (I've had another Installed solution I've used to long before they ever offered GCO that I'm used to) so I'm afraid I can't offer much advice on how that specific tool works. Especially with PPC ads.

Does it try to tweak your ads automatically for you? Or does it leave them alone and simply report on how many people clicked through and how many converted?

If you're getting plenty of clicks but no sales, as a very general rule the thing I see people mess up most, specifically with PPC since this can be controlled more there, but with organic search too to some degree, is that what's showing up in the ad doesn't really match up very well with what's shown on the landing page. Or more specifically on the above the fold portion of the landing page. The way I've always viewed (and taught) this sort of thing is that your PPC ad is more than just an ad, so needs to do more than simply collect click-thru's. What it says and how it says it also sets visitor expectations. And if you set an expectation or ask a question in your PPC ad you'd better darned well meet that expectation or answer that question immediately when they hit your landing page.

If you want or need more info on the subject of setting visitor expectations I should have a paper laying around somewhere I wrote that gives some examples, with analysis. It was actually written other reasons, but its core is about visitor expectations, and in fact I used PPC ads to show good and bad examples. Of both ads and landing pages. I'd have to dig up the paper, but I'm sure I have it around here somewhere.

If on the other hand your click-thru rate has fallen off, but your ad placement is pretty much the same as before, it's probably going to come down more to the ad simply not being as enticing to searchers. As you well know from having constructed ads that attract clicks and sales before, there are several things that go into writing ads that get high response rates and convert.

On the larger issue of the best methodology to use when testing, I'm pretty old school. I don't like to turn over too much control to some mindless program so that it can switch this, that or the other in and out or move stuff around. Do I use something like multivariate/Taguchi tests? Yes I do. But I place some limits on what exactly is getting swapped in and out in an effort to try to limit any potential damage. And I only do it with web pages where I want to test four or more page elements. Otherwise, I simply prefer good old fashioned multiple version split tests where I test one element at a time, then will run another multiple version split test on another element, etc.

#6 DJKay

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 03:08 PM

Hi Randy,

It supposedly tweaks the cost of the ad/PPC/CPA -- if you believe their press, taking out the clicks that don't convert as highly. Its suppose to increase our conversions, but they have stayed the same and I am spending more, for the same amount of conversions.

To answer your questions...over the years I have done pretty rigorous A/B split testing and improvements to our landing pages...people know what they are, or as you put it, know what to expect, they see it immediately, its all above the fold, but thanks for mentioning it.

As far as testing goes, I myself do not use multivariate tests for this site, only A/B splits..the reason is that we don't really get enough traffic to do larger multivariate tests so that the data is statistically sound.

I have received conflicting advise from Google. My Google account person suggested I try it but one day when I called to talk with someone, they said that the way my campaigns looked and were optimized, I probably would not get much of any improvement/lift in response.

We will see, today is the end of one of our intervals, so I will report the results. Surely is a crazy experiment..Mary Kay



#7 DJKay

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:58 PM

Alright, here is the skinny. Over two similar month to month time intervals, I have experienced the same amount of conversions and an 18% increase in my costs. Very sad...smile.gif

I am not sure how much longer I am going to continue this experiment..I want to think about it some. See if I am missing something...I don't think so..but..want to be thorough...DJKay

#8 DJKay

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:53 AM

Epitaph...Pulled the plug at the end of July....Well, looks like Conversion Optimizer does not work for us...I am sure its working for someone somewhere...DJKay

#9 kynduvme

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 12:21 PM

DJKay,

What industry are you in? What are you selling? I am in the furniture business and qualified for the conversion optimizer. I am looking for advice.




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