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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Microsoft adCenter Content Ads

Word on the street is that (ok, word in the e-mail) Microsoft's Content Ad product will start testing with a select group of adCenter users early this fall.

What are adCenter content ads you ask? According to the e-mail I received;

"Content Ads is Microsoft’s next product that allows advertisers to place content-targeted, text-based advertisements primarily on Microsoft-owned properties including MSN Money, Real Estate, and many others within the portal. Like our search advertising product, it will also utilize our demographic targeting, geo-targeting and incremental bidding tools to help our advertisers reach the audience they want. Our Content Ads pilot will start as an invitation-only pilot, limited to selected current adCenter advertisers."

Looking forward to taking it for a spin. Some of the sites mentioned in the above quote should be great locations to advertise.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lifetime Value of PPC Customers

I received this question from "Anonymous" late last night;

"I was able to find out what a competitor was bidding on a keyword. I know the market pretty well and there is no way they can be making money paying that much per click. Why would someone bid 90% or more of the sale price of a product?"


I won't even ask how you know how much a competitor is bidding;-)

Anyway, it's not uncommon for savvy advertisers to bid amounts that at first glance appear to be ridiculous. You know, people who pay $15 a click for products that sell for $20. I actually see this quite a bit and my hunch is it will become more common over time. Here's why - lifetime value. If you're not familiar with that term and want to be a serious player in the PPC market over the next few years you should be.

Lifetime value is simply the value to you/your company over a customer's "lifetime" with you. How much $$$ do you make from your customers over time?

I'll put it in perspective using a former client (retired) of mine as an example. When I first met the client they had been out of the PPC game for a little over a year. They were working with another PPC management firm for about 15 months and dropped them when it was no longer "profitable" for them to continue. To them, profitable meant spending $x to make $x+ on the first sale. If they spent $10 they wanted to make $15. They were able to pull it off for about 14 months. During that last month things started changing in the PPC market and they were no longer able - at least consistently - to get that immediate return.

I sat down and started analyzing their sales data and was able to determine what the lifetime value of a customer acquired via PPC. What they didn't realize is that their average PPC acquired customer made 3.2 purchases over the first 12 months after the initial sale. What I was able to show them is that while they may have spent $10,000 to make $8,000 in sales over the course of the month the customers they acquired during that month made an additional $44,000 worth of purchases over the next 12 months. Not only was PPC marketing profitable for them, it was more profitable than they had ever given it credit for in the past.

Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that savvy marketers don't care if they make an immediate return. They know the lifetime value of their customers acquired via PPC programs and use that number to determine what they are willing to spend (bid) to acquire a customer.

What's a customer worth to you? That information can change the way you play in the PPC arena.

New! Run text ads on mobile devices

Noticed the following message when I logged into AdWords this morning:

"New! Run text ads on mobile devices, and give customers the option to view your mobile website or call your business after clicking your ad."

Cool...except for that the help page says:

"At this time, mobile ads are only available to advertisers with a billing address in Japan, and are only displayed on Japanese mobile networks."

I guess I'll just read for now and get started when it's available in the US. Kind of surprised Google would even show me that message...they have my billing address and know I'm not in Japan.

More on Google Mobile Ads.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New! Sign up for MCC alerts.

I was greeted with a new message this morning when I logged into my AdWords Client Center:

New! Sign up for MCC alerts.
Stay on top of important issues that impact your client accounts.

I clicked through and see that you can now receive notifications about a number of events that may be important to you if you're managing AdWords clients. The available notifications include:

Ad delivery stopped
Credit card declined
Campaign end dates nearing
Account budget end dates nearing
Budget is 80% completed

Pretty cool. I signed up for a few of them this morning.

More Info.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

MSN/Yahoo Traffic Estimation

Today's question is from Gary. Gary asks:

"Does MSN have a traffic estimator like Google, and if so, where is it located? If not, how does one estimate traffic on MSN and Yahoo as well?"

There are two MSN traffic tools I'm aware of, one "internal" and one "external". Internal meaning you have to have an adCenter account to access the tool and external meaning it's available to anyone.

You can get a ton of keyword related information at adCenter Labs. It's an external tool that anyone is free to use.

You can get more specific keyword counts from within adCenter itself.

1. Log into adCenter
2. Click the "Research" tab at the top of the page.
3. Type in a keyword and select the region you want estimates for.
4. Check out the results.

You'll see last month and current month results for the keyword you typed as well as results for similar words and phrases.

Regarding Yahoo...there are a number of tools out there for Yahoo data...I normally just use the DP keyword suggestion tool since it shows wordtracker keyword data as well.

Monday, August 07, 2006

You have 24 hours from receiving this mail to remove your ads.

Now I didn't get this e-mail but it appears a bunch of adCenter users did.

Seems kind of back assward to me. adCenter reps approve ads before they go live so if there was a problem with ads/keywords why not just deny them up front? If you (you being adCenter reps) missed them the first time around why not just go into individual accounts and cancel the questionable ads/keywords and notify the publishers that are impacted?

As I said I didn't get this e-mail but if I did I would have been pissed. I can't stand generic e-mails that basically tell me to "fix everything". adCenter folks...if you happen to read this remember that customers like being treated like individuals, not cattle. Don't just lump them all together and prod them until you get the desired result. Be personal, be specific - it goes a long way in building customer loyalty. Let's be honest was your fault for letting the "bad" ads through in the first place.

All that aside - a 24 hour timeline is ridiculous. Be reasonable.

"Dear Microsoft adCenter Advertiser,

It's a top priority for us to ensure that the MSN Search audience
receives the highest quality and most relevant results for their
searches. This means that ads need to be applicable to the keywords
that support them. Unfortunately, the ads you are currently running
do not follow this principle, and in fact run counter to our

As a result, we request that you remove all keywords with low/no
relevance from your campaigns immediately.

You have 24 hours from receiving this mail to remove your ads.
After 24 hours, your account will be suspended. This may or may not
include the suspension of both relevant and irrelevant traffic.
This situation is unfortunate; however, it's imperative to the
credibility of Microsoft adCenter in the search engine marketplace.

If you have any specific questions, please contact adCenter Support.


Microsoft adCenter Team

Please do not reply to this e-mail. It is automated and your
response will not be received by live person. For assistance,
contact Microsoft adCenter customer support.

Microsoft respects your privacy. To learn more, please read our
online Privacy Statement.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Most Common AdWords Mistake

Today's question is about AdWords campaign management and was e-mailed to me by Jimmy, last name withheld by request.

"i'm new to adwords and was wondering what is the most common mistake you see adwords newbies making?"


It's so hard to just pick one:-)

In all seriousness I would have to say the most common AdWords mistake I see people making is the use of broad and or phrase matching options. There are some situations where using broad or phrase match makes sense but in most cases exact match is the way to go. Whenever I'm asked I almost always advise that people start with exact match and roll into broad and phrase matching options after they have a chance to see how exact match is performing. Set your benchmark with exact match then test the other options. And when you get ready to use the other matching options make sure to read up on negative keyword matching options before you start that first broad or phrase matched campaign.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What's an Average CTR?

Today's question was posted by anonymous to PPC Discussions on August 1st.

"In your experience what CTR would you consider as average for a keyword? (Just curious)

Also, in dealing with businesses who are advertising very technical and quite specific content, does it make more sense to use exact match, phrase match or broad match with negative match keywords?"

In terms of CTR, there's not really an "average". I see CTRs ranging from under 1% for competitive terms to 70%+ for longer, lesser searched phrases. CTR really varies from campaign to campaign and market to market. Rather than focusing on an "average" I always suggest that people benchmark their initial CTR and constantly take steps to try and improve on their own numbers. That's measurable and brings real value - trying to determine an "average" CTR is really an exercise in futility that brings no real benefit.

In regards to your second question, I'm a huge fan of exact match. I usually start with exact match - measure the results - then test phrase/broad match based on the success (or failure) of the exact match phrase. I've seen great success in technical markets using exact match and my own experience has shown poorer ROI in those same markets when using phrase or broad match.

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