PPC – Guide to Google Dummies?
As I have mentioned previously, during these slow economic times people are striving to master the really transparent channels. The ones that can be tracked. The channels that produce a positive ROI.
When you think PPC, these days the majority of us think Google. Even though I have called this a dummies guide, I could have easily said a guide to Google dummies. Those marketeers that know they need to be on Google, but don’t have the first clue. So what do they do? Do they invest in learning? Do they invest in tools to make things easier? Generally no! These marketeers generally pump thousands, sometimes millions of pounds to an agency, with very little control or understanding of what is or isn’t possible.
Obviously there are some good agencies out there. Even some very good agencies that add real value. In certain sectors it also makes more sense to partner with an agency rather than invest internally. This isn’t an attack on agencies, just an expression of thought that says before employing an agency you need to understand the basics yourself.
How long do things take?
Getting a campaign live – agencies often say it takes weeks. In the main this isn’t true. The basics can be live within minutes. Obviously complex campaigns can take a period of time to set-up from scratch, but not weeks.
Getting a campaign up to full pace – agencies sometimes say it takes months to get a campaign fully up to speed. Its no denying most campaigns don’t get up to full speed within the first couple of weeks. However, there are quick wins. Don’t accept ongoing claims of missing targets due to optimisation and unrealistic objectives. A decent agency will challenge your objectives and targets it they aren’t achievable. You should be able to get close to your targets within at least the first couple of weeks
Broadcast Vs Targetted
Don’t accept any old clicks. Match type is incredibly important to quality score. Your quality score is apparently reviewed after every 1000 impressions. Broad match means your keywords and ads will be called on much less relevant content. For instance, if I was bidding on desktop computer, my ad may appear when people search for desktop diaries, computer engineers, computer assisted design. None of these keywords are related to our search term. This means that in theory our quality score could go down and if people do click, chances are we will pay and it won’t convert. Broad match is the defauly setting on adwords, great for Google to get away your budegt, not so good if you are on a tight budget or tight ROI KPIs.
I would personally recommend using broad match sparingly and concentrate primarily on Phrase and Exact match. This controls both relevancy and costs and in-turn should improve quality score. What this will obviously do is lower your potential traffic volumes, but it should all be more qualified traffic.
This isn’t asking you to be cynical of Google or PPC. This is outlining that you must use negative keywords in your campaigns. If bidding on Dixons, my negative keywords could include estate agency, this would ensure that when people are looking for Dixons.co.uk they don’t end up at Dixons Estate Agency.
Other things to look for
There are many other things the PPC beginner needs to look out for. Consider your overall budget, your daily budget, how your campaign is structures, your ad copy, bidding strategy, landing pages, URLs. I will cover these areas with tips for beginners in future posts.
Working with agencies
As I commented when I opened this post. There is no problem working with agencies. But you must adopt a challenging relationship. You must challenge them to optimise to the fullest and you must encourage them to challenge you. Above all learn yourself. Even if you learn the very basics such as the points I have highlighted. It gives you a better understanding and can help manage expectations.
There are other search engines (Yahoo, MSN and Miva) that offer PPC, although they are much smaller they also offer good traffic. It is also worth searching around if you are setting up an account from scratch, most of the major engines often run promotions for new customers giving sign-up bounties with Free credit.