February 20, 2008
Today's guest article is a very informative one on paid-search campaigns by my friend Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media. Mona is considered by many to be the authority on the Yahoo Search Marketing platform. She's recently completed the world's only guide to Yahoo Search Marketing, called Mastering Panama: A special report on Yahoo's new search marketing platform
If you've been struggling with Yahoo's Search Marketing Platform, I highly recommend you purchase her book! Take it away, Mona! - Jill
++PPC Campaign Tips++
By Mona Elesseily
Have you been wanting to start a PPC campaign but don’t really know how to begin? Here are a few tips to get you started (or help you tweak an existing campaign).
Plan Your Campaign Architecture
Campaigns are easier to manage if you set them up correctly from the beginning with sound campaign architecture. We like to base our campaigns/ad groups around specific themes/categories. A straightforward example would be specific brands and products for a retail PPC client. Here’s a specific example from a vacuum-retailer account we worked on. In this case, we set up broad-themed campaigns and product-related ad groups. Here’s what part of the account looked like:
Campaign 1 – Dyson
Ad Group 1 – Dyson HEPA vacuum
Ad Group 2 – Dyson Animal vacuum
Campaign 2 – Electrolux
Ad Group 1 – Eureka upright vacuum
Ad Group 2 – Harmony canister vacuum
Campaign 3 – Vacuum bags
Ad Group 1 – Dyson
Ad Group 2 – Electrolux
This structure is beneficial because it allows advertisers to gear ad copy to the specific terms in an ad group. Our statistics tell us that visitors are more likely to convert to a sale, sign-up, etc. when they see their queries in ad copy. So if someone is searching for “Dyson animal vacuum,” they should see an ad with:
1) The phrase “Dyson animal vacuum”
2) Specific information on Dyson animal vacuum products.
Avoid broader ads as they are unfocused and lead to fewer conversions. Here’s an example of an ineffective broad ad:
We offer 3000+ vacuum cleaners.
Deals on Dyson vacuums.
Test Different Ad Copy
Try testing variations of ads, as you’ll find different ads will yield different results. Here are some examples of elements you can test:
1) Ads with prices vs. ads without prices
2) Ad headlines
3) Buy-words like “try,” “get,” etc.
4) Different offers.
Be creative and test all types of elements. The key is to actively test ads and watch for trends. Wash, rinse and repeat -- often.
Select the Right Landing Pages
Select landing pages that are appropriate to the product or service you are selling. For example, in our vacuum account, the Dyson HEPA vacuum ad group used a landing page that was specific to Dyson HEPA vacuums. Avoid using the home page as a PPC landing page, as it tends to be too broad and forces people to search around for the information they need. Searchers are more likely to convert if they can easily find the information they are looking for.
Don’t Forget To Track
When setting up tracking, choose a specific metric to track. With this, you’ll be able to easily determine what specific campaigns/ad groups contributed to a conversion (a sale, a lead, a newsletter subscription, a whitepaper download or whatever).
Try tracking at the ad group level. If your campaign architecture is sound and your campaigns/ad groups are tight enough, you should be able to get a good idea of types of terms are converting for you. The search engines have free tracking tools that you can use and they are fairly simple to set up. Also, an inexpensive option is ConversionRuler.com.
With tracking, you may find that only half of your campaign is converting. In that case, it makes sense to pause what isn’t working and to move forward with what is working.
And if you’re doing SEO…
Here are some ideas for you. In your PPC campaigns, focus on:
1) Terms where you have lower rankings
2) Terms for which you’ve been unable to get organic rankings at all. For example, retailers often have a hard time getting good rankings for every single product they sell, especially if they have large catalogues.
On the flip side, PPC can be an excellent testing ground for SEO. If you find terms are converting in PPC, try to optimize for them on the organic side.
Happy PPC campaigning!
Director of Marketing Strategy