Helping Win Hearts & Minds on
the Battlefields of Online Media

Search Marketing

    Google and Bing
    want you to believe
    PPC is easy. It ain't.


    We've been doing pay-pay-click advertising (PPC) for 15 years, since when Overture was an independent company (eventually bought and absorbed by Yahoo!). Today the major player is Google AdWords, followed by Bing Search as a distant second. But there are also other programs that reach niche audiences.

    We're adept at squeezing maximum value out of PPC programs.

    We know most of the many costly pitfalls, which are continuously being added. We know how to set up programs that are flexible and get the coverage we want, while being cost-effective in delivering a positive ROI. We take the same manual approach to PPC as we do with organic SEO. We actually look at the program data, and adjust bids, rather than rely on software to do it.

    You don't read about it in the trades, but promotions in PPC can be effective, as we've discovered. We've created innovative programs with time-sensitive promotions. We know how to set up campaigns that can be fairly easily updated to reflect different promotions, with different discounts and run dates.

    We like to track and measure as much as possible—even if it's just tracking the visitation of a key page—so we can qualify the site visitors you pay for in some way. We prefer to use phone call conversion tracking, especially when you sell services and do not use a shopping cart. To improve ROI, we also like to have special landing pages and to be constantly running A/B testing.

    Case Study
    Google and Bing want businesses to believe that their programs are intuitive and easy to use. Not true. Here's a case study that is dramatic, but illustrates the point.

    A long-time client we'll call sells equipment and apparel for triathletes. The company's in-house marketing manager set-up and ran an AdWords program. After spending $41K, the program had generated 619 sales, yielding an average CPC spend of $66 per sale. The owner wasn't happy about that, and wanted to abandon PPC. We then set up an AdWords program, and after running it about four months, we had generated 722 sales at a cost of only $12.5K, for an average cost per sale of $17.41. (The average sale is over $200.)

    Our point of view is that the most rational compensation model for PPC is for you to pay us a direct fixed cost like any service. Any other approach creates an incentive that hurts the you, the client. If the agency takes a cut of the ad spend, for example, then there's an incentive to spend recklessly. If the agency is paid a fixed cost per clickthrough, you get bad clickthroughs.

    We ask clients to pay Google and Bing directly with a credit card on file. We set up and run the programs from our account, but link to your Analytics so you get direct access to all data.