Google AdWords, Microsoft AdCenter and Yahoo Search Marketing offer PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising. They are very competitive advertising channels and are a very expensive way to buy traffic. The traffic is also very targeted; it shows up on search engine result pages under keyword searches, and results in low bounce rates, high time on site and quality results; if the campaign is set up properly.
Google AdWords, for example, offers an exam on how to manage their advertising campaigns that takes 2 days to pass, and many don't pass it at all. The tool is quite complex and to really understand the available options and generate a reasonable return on ad spend, it's important to have someone manage your campaign that has passed this exam.
Google makes 80% of its company revenue off of AdWords, and the majority of that comes from millions of inexperienced advertisers, wasting money on small groups of high traffic, high-competition keyword sets that quickly suck up clients advertising budgets. Working with Northstar to manage your PPC advertising campaign can ensure that you don't fall into that trap.
Bidding on the Long-Tail
If we were to make a graph of all available keywords in your market space, with one axis representing monthly searches and the other representing the level of competition (popularity) we would have a graph that looks something like this:
Most PPC bidders stick to the left side of this graph, only bidding on high CPC keywords that drive most of the traffic. Our strategies focus on the right side of the graph, which consists of lower priced keywords, sometimes as cheap as $0.05 per click, that when combined, can drive as much traffic as some of the targets on the left side of the chart. This is called the “long-tail” of the curve, and bidding here maximizes your chances of success with AdWords and other extremely competitive PPC marketing tools.
Large Keyword Sets
To achieve this goal of cheap, targeted traffic, we develop extremely large keyword sets. This means lots of keyword research, and generally this keyword research can also be used for your SEO services as well. In our keyword research, we try to hit on all of the different ways that you could search for something.
Take "web design" for example. Someone searching for "web design” might also type in "web designers", "website design”, "webpage design” or a slew of other terms. We first generate a master list of all possible terms, and then only bid on the terms that are reasonably priced in your campaign. If you are located in San Diego, then we would focus our searches around the San Diego region. If you’re located in another region, we focus our searches there.
Extensive Ad Testing
When we write ad copy for our keyword sets, we typically test a large set of targeted ads. We use techniques such as dynamic keyword insertion to place the actual keywords that a searcher uses into the titles and body of the ads.
This results in a higher click-thru rate and better return on ad spend. The PPC advertising tools will automatically pick the ads with the highest click-thru rate to maximize their revenue, so there is no downside to creating a large set of ad copy to test. We use our experience with what has worked well on past client sites to help streamline this process.
Keyword Match Types
Depending on the campaign, we will use different match-type strategies. The PPC management tools allow you to pick from negative match, negative exact match and broad match. This controls what keyword a searcher has to type in to trigger your ad. We also set up 2 custom filters on AdWords campaigns to help us to see the actual term a searcher typed in to trigger your keyword.
The search term a search engine visitor types is not always the one that triggers your keyword, and this technique can help us to recognize inefficiencies in your campaign. For example, the phrase "San Diego web design” might be triggered by a searcher typing in "San Diego State web design classes.” If we saw this was a part of a large pattern, and we were spending tons of money on people searching for university web design classes rather than potential clients interested in web design, we might set up a negative match type on classes for this keyword set.
Advanced Bid Strategies
Depending on the complexity of your campaign, we will sometimes employ automated bidding tools to help us manage the bid prices on each of your keywords. This adds significant cost to the campaign, so it generally only is profitable for campaigns for which monthly spend exceeds $25k. For smaller campaigns, we manually manage bid prices, watching your competition and aiming to hit your target return on ad spend.
PPC advertising can be tracked precisely, and we employ advanced web analytics software to tell us whether or not your PPC campaigns are profitable. We can track the sale price of a product, assign a target price per lead, or track visits to particular parts of the website. We can connect these goals to particular actions in the PPC campaign, drilling down to exactly which keyword triggered which action. Actively watching and creating action plans from our analytics software enables us to make data-driven recommendations about your campaign.
Google AdWords Services
For help with setting up your Google AdWords campaign by a Google Advertising Certified Professional, please use our AdWords Setup service.
After your Google AdWords campaign is already running, you may benefit from having us conduct AdWords Optimization to fine-tune your campaign.
To continue profitability in your AdWords campaign, we recommend that you engage us for AdWords Management. We manage your bid prices, match types and respond to click-thru rates we see on your ads.
Yahoo Search Marketing Services
If you are interested in advertising in the Yahoo search marketing network, we can help you to setup and manage your Yahoo campaign.
For more information on how we can help you to increase profitability in your PPC campaign, contact us below.