This week we look at the advertising phenomena that’s captured over 80 percent of the Pay Per Click market and pinpoint the AdWords’ pitfalls that are driving B2B marketers to seek professional guidance.
“Google AdWords can be dangerous in its simplicity”
Callum Bridgeford is director at online health and wellness business Energise For Life. Typical of many online retailers, Google AdWords has become a cornerstone of the business’ advertising initiative. With a professional background in consultancy and keenly honed online marketing skills, Callum was better prepared than most when the Google AdWords phenomena first hit the web. Now, five years on and with conversion rates via AdWords more than double the national average, Callum is ready to turn responsibility over to a third party Pay Per Click consultancy.
“Google AdWords can be dangerous in its simplicity,” says Callum. “While setting up a campaign may take less than half an hour, even the most conservative budget can be wasted if these campaigns are not consistently monitored and revised. Typically these days, we have hundreds of campaigns running at the same time and all of them demand constant care and attention. It’s an activity that has grown with our business and we need to be confident that it continues to receive adequate care and attention as we upscale and develop.” Mindful of AdWords’ role in building the Energise business into one of the UK’s most successful health retailers, Callum is now outsourcing Pay Per Click requirement as part of the business’ next phase of development.
The Energise For Life example is typical: SME’s are adopting the tactic early in-house then outsourcing once it’s helped them generate market share and establish their business. Routinely, the switch comes as understanding of AdWords (and the hidden complexities within) deepens. Driving quality prospects to a site requires much more intensive management than building quantity: As AdWords become more expensive and the tools that support the campaigns become more difficult to administer, outsourcing starts to look like the natural next step for many AdWords advocates.
One of the main concerns for businesses as they seek to outsource campaigns is charging. Clearly classic commission based fee structures can never work within the AdWords principle of quality rather than quantity. Consequently most management services these days have adopted very simple and transparent billing. When shopping around, it’s not uncommon to find consultancy and management fees set at between £500- £1000 per month with additional click through costs passed on directly to the client. And while the tech complexities of the pay-per-click business look more bamboozling every day the propositions from the pay-per-click specialists are actually looking more simple. Essentially, if you’re in the habit of spending anything from £1000 per month on AdWords any qualified PPC consultant should be able to review your activity, pinpoint weak spots quickly and implement lead generation boosting campaign improvements within days.
Getting started with AdWords
The key to success with AdWords is to select highly specified key words for campaigns that direct people to equally specific product or service areas of your web site. Start by making some common sense decisions about the key words you are going to use to drive people to your offers, then make sure that click throughs point prospects directly to specific product pages. Common errors at this stage are to think too generically about the keywords you pick. As a major player in the health and well-being, Callum at Energise knows that choosing a key word like “detox” will drive hundreds of new visits to his site, but these visits are more likely to come from random surfers than customers with real buying intent. Conversely, many AdWords users take great care to construct highly granular campaigns only to find they fall flat because interested prospects are pointed simply to the home pages of a website rather then carefully selected product or “landing” pages” specific to the campaign.”
Typically, AdWord users should be working towards achieving click through rates of about five percent (ie: For every 100 people presented with the opportunity to click through to your site, five of them do). But getting your offer in front of the right people is only half the story. The real challenge is to make sure the information you present them with motivates them to purchase.
Constantly researching effectiveness and modifying campaigns is what takes time and effort. Typically Callum’s Energise for Life business will launch up to 100 campaigns at one time and expect about 20 percent of them to really work well. By carefully tracking traffic and identifying the campaigns that are working quickly, funds can be speedily redeployed to support the best campaigns that are delivering the most traffic. One good idea is to carry out split testing, where you run two, or more, campaigns for the same product at once, watching closely to see which set of vocabulary is working best to drive surfers to the product you want them to buy. Anyone with a Google Analytics account can do this using Google Analytics Content Experiments (ACE).
Callum estimates that a good AdWords campaign should cost approximately five percent of a product’s selling price (ie: if a product costs £80 then an expenditure of about £4 per product should be anticipated when constructing the campaign). Moreover the system acts as an effective barometer for interest in the products and services you have on offer. In many cases when conversion rates remain low after a number of campaigns, a business may even choose to stop stocking the product altogether.
But what about the other search engines: Yahoo, Bing, that other one whose name you can’t remember? Shouldn’t we be touting our keyword business about all the major players for the the best deal? Not according to the Pay Per Click experts: With no sign of Google’s mighty 80% + stranglehold on the search market loosening, researching the options and offers with the search marketing wannabees isn’t likely to be a viable option for many of us anytime soon.