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Measure… measure… measure… but measure the right thing!

I flying back to San Francisco from Austin after the SEM for SMB conference and I’m thinking about how many times the word measure came up during the conference. I agree 100% with the “measuring statements” such as “you don’t get what you don’t measure” or “if you can’t measure it, better don’t do it” but what these statements assume is that you are measuring the right thing.

For example, I was really surprised when small business owners from Austin where asked the main objective of their Search Engine Campaigns. One out of eight people said “increase sales” or “increase revenue” whereas the other seven were more focused on being the number one result in Google, increase visits to the site and be found by the keywords they wanted. Yes, yes I know that some of those are good indicators, but those should not be the final variables to measure. For example:

  • What if you have 100,000 visitors per day but none of them purchased your product? Wouldn’t you rather have 100 visitors and five of them making and actual purchase? If you are selling several kinds of products then also watch for margin, you may direct demand of your product with the best margins.
  • What if you are happy because you are listed in Google with the keywords you wanted, but those keywords are seldom used by your real buyers. That would mean that despite being the number one, you are not what people are looking for; hence, you just put money and time on the garbage.

So, if you are about to start any kind of marketing campaign and you are planning how to measure it, be sure to measure what matters for you, margins, EBITDA, profit. Not only measure eyeballs on your advertisements, unless you have tons of money to throw out the window. Even if you are tracking lead-genration in your website, follow those conversions to see how many ended up in a real sale.

Have a great weekend

Negative Keywords in your Pay Per Click(PPC) SEM strategy

Pay per click (PPC) is a way to advertise your webpage through services like Google AdWords and YahooAds to reach consumer that are searching for products or services such as the ones you offer. It is also a great way to waste valuable marketing dollars if used improperly, even though search engine strive to prevent your doing so. For example, Google AdWords lets you set a daily budget, put a maximum cost per click, target your ads geographically. As if it were not enough, gives you lots of information about how the system works; however you can still manage to spend unnecessary money, most of the time without knowing so.
One of the tips for preventing this from happening is to use negative keywords when you don’t want you ad to appear or when it just doesn’t make sense. Here is an example:

– If the objective of your campaign is to sell video cards for PC then your keywords could be “video card for PC” (This is too generic by the way, but is just as an example). The problem here is that you may appear (depending on your bid for the keywords and competition) under the following search terms:
o video card for PC free
o video card for PC drivers
o sell video card for PC
o repair video card for PC
o compatibility of video card for PC
o etc..

As you may have noticed, probably none of those queries will end up as a sale of your PC cards just because the user is not looking to buy, moreover, their click on your ad will cost you some green.
To prevent this from happening, you can use negative keywords. If one of your negative keywords appears on the user’s query your ad will simply not appear. The way you set this up in your Google campaign is to use a dash “-“ before a keyword.

I recommend you to use the following keywords if the objective of your campaign is selling a product or service:
-free
-information
-“what is”
-“how to”
-definition

If the objective of your campaign is to generate leads or to get people to subscribe to a newsletter, even to drive traffic to your site, then those negative keywords should change, but I will let you guys think about it, I don’t want to ruin all the fun for you.

Latter on this blog I will write about wild cards and other search variations.

Have fun, and if you just like spending money, better buy me dinner! Google has enough already!

F.