of a PPC Bid Manager
In past issues, I've discussed the pro's and con's of advertising
on PPC engines like Overture, FindWhat, Sprinks, and others. I've
mentioned how Overture has the advantage of offering you the most
traffic for your positions. However, you'll often pay more for the
same keyword position on Overture than you will on nearly any of
its competitors. In some cases, you will pay two or three fold more
on Overture versus the same positions on less popular PPC's like
Sprinks or Ah-Ha.com.
So why do people continue bidding on Overture when you can buy
the same position elsewhere for less? Part of it comes down to the
hidden cost of PPC's: The time to manage your listings versus the
traffic they can bring you. Some PPC's offer only a fraction of
the traffic that Overture commands. However, if you combine the
half dozen or more "second-tier" PPC's, they can drive
even more traffic to your site than Overture does. However, you
may have to spend six times more work to secure and manage those
listings since each PPC has their own bid manager interface.
What makes matters worse is that the most popular keywords tend
to cost the most and produce the least targeted audience. You'll
convert a higher percentage of visitors to sales when you bid on
keyword phrases that are very specific to your Web site. Unfortunately,
the more specific you are, the fewer people who search for that
particular keyword. This problem can be counter-acted by bidding
on large numbers of focused phrases that people search for. As I've
mentioned in the past, the WordTracker service (http://www.wordtracker.com/freetrial.htm)
can help you in finding the best words and phrases to target.
You can make the most money per visitor by bidding on higher numbers
of FOCUSED keyword phrases on the half dozen or more smaller PPC's.
The problem comes from trying to allocate the time to manage all
these extra placements. For example, you could bid 20 cents to secure
a top position on a certain keyword currently topping out at 19
cents. Quite often the bid below you will eventually drop out leaving
what is called a bid gap. If this gap is more than 1 cent, you are
paying too much for that position!
Often times the bid gap can be significant, particularly if you
don't notice it for a while. Ideally the PPC engine itself would
inform you of the gap and automatically lower your bid to be one
cent above the bid below you. That would save you money, but it
would cost the engine money. Consequently, most PPC engines are
reluctant to offer a feature that costs them money.
The professionals, and increasingly, new search engine marketers
are taking advantage of one of the many PPC bid management services
available. Nearly all of these services will report bid gaps to
you. In fact, WebPosition will track your rankings and by reviewing
the Detail reports, you can spot bid gaps. A few bid management
services will not only report bid gaps, but will automatically reduce
your bid the same day the gap occurs, saving you money.
Some of these PPC managers allow you to setup a link to your accounts
at all the major PPC's like Overture, Sprinks, FindWhat, etc. You
can then control all your bids through a single integrated interface.
That way if you decide that a certain keyword phrase is not working
for you, press a single button and eliminate it on ten or more PPC
engines. In the same way, rather than manually adding a new keyword
to ten different PPC's, you can enter it just once in the PPC manager.
The PPC manager will log into each account you have at each PPC
engine and update your settings as needed.
If you manage more than a handful of keywords, a good PPC manager
can pay for itself quickly in time-saved and in the money saved
through automated bid gap management. We spent the last few months
trying different PPC managers. We found that many offer bid gap
reporting only. Bid gap reporting is nice, but we found that it
quickly becomes tedious and impractical to log on and lower your
bid by a few cents in dozens of different places each day. We all
have better ways to spend our time.
The PPC managers that include fully automated bid management often
support only a few of the major PPC's. Since the greatest value
comes from efficiently combining bids across an array of less popular,
yet far less expensive PPC's, we eliminated these PPC managers from
our consideration. We reviewed the remaining candidates and eventually
chose ClickPatrol for offering the best quality and feature-rich
service for the money.
We now use ClickPatrol for our own PPC management. In addition,
after choosing the service we liked the best, we approached ClickPatrol
and negotiated a 10% perpetual discount for all WebPosition customers
and MarketPosition subscribers. Ten-percent may not sound like a
huge discount, but since ClickPatrol is a monthly subscription service,
it can certainly add up over time.
ClickPatrol offers a free trial so you can decide for yourself
if they are worth the money. To receive the 10% discount when you
purchase, you'll need to sign-up through the link below:
(Note: The pricing on their site reflects their regular pricing
before the discount is applied).
Let us know what you think about ClickPatrol, good or bad! Our
ongoing goal is to pass on tips, techniques, and advice to improve
your visibility on the search engines. We want to review and recommend
only the best tools and services available to help you succeed.
If we learn of a great new service or optimization technique, we
want to pass that on to you through this newsletter, or through
WebPosition. On the flip side, we aren't afraid to give it to you
straight if something is not a good deal (i.e., LookSmart's recent
"draconian" business practices).
About the Author
Robin Nobles is the
Director of Training of the Academy of Web Specialists, which teaches
online training in search engine marketing. She is also a trainer
with Search Engine Workshops, which presents on location workshops
in search engine marketing at various locations across the country.
Please visit our site for more information about online
training and other resources.