How PPC is like a Haunted Hay Ride

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in PPC | 1 comment

 Linda Waterhouse is an IC and owner of WSI Web Systems in New Jersey.  Seeing as it is almost Halloween, she fittingly contributed this great post to the WSI OMS blog on the similarities between PPC and a local farm’s Haunted Hay Ride. – Francois Muscat   How PPC is like a Haunted Hay Ride As I was driving past a farm that it is the Halloween hub-spot in my town, it suddenly occurred to me that their Haunted Hay Ride was very similar to a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign.  October is a very busy month for this farm – they put up lots of signs along the road, display mums and pumpkins, and offer a huge cow “moon bounce”, all of which draw extra traffic to the farm.  Their “ads” driving “traffic” to their farm remind me of a PPC ad campaign that captures a user’s attention and drives more traffic to a website. The farm sells fruit and vegetables in the summer and they have a steady trickle of customers come during the summer and early fall. Then the first of October comes (the “start of the PPC campaign”) and overnight the trickle of customers turns into hoards and they have to clear out an additional area for parking to accommodate all of the extra cars lined up along the road.  Wouldn’t we love all of our PPC campaigns to attract so much attention and be so successful?  But then November 1st comes around and …….. there is nothing.  The parking lot is empty.  The budget for the PPC campaign has run out. Actually, this is the way November 1st used to be when I first moved here 15 years ago.  The farm didn’t have much more than a shack at that point.  As the years passed, the shack became a larger farmstand and they poured a cement floor. They cleared out a parking area and added gravel.  Instead of just selling fruit and vegetables, they now sell local honey, buffalo meat, eggs, and decorations. This increase of size, improvement of their grounds, and addition of more wares is similar to doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by increasing the number of pages, updating the content and adding more keywords to a website. Pay per click and search engine optimization These days, the farm doesn’t close on November 1st anymore.  The influx of customers encouraged them to stay open through Thanksgiving for a few years.  Later they added a Christmas light show (another PPC campaign!) and sold Christmas trees.  The farm is now open from February until New Year’s Eve.  With the extra income generated from their “PPC campaigns”, they were able to expand the Haunted Hayride to include a...

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Some Insights on WHY your landing Page Might Not Be Working

Posted by on Nov 1, 2011 in PPC |

Visitors arrive at your landing page for a specific purpose by clicking online PPC ads, links in emails and social media messages you’ve created.  But sometimes, visitors ‘bounce’ out as they get there. Why would that happen? 1. It’s different from the ad’s call to action or theme. How many times have you clicked an ad or link only to find out that the page you land on has nothing to do with the ad or link? That makes it unbelievably irritating for that person who you have probably now lost forever. 2. Your call to action is not structured or confusing. Ineffective landing pages shout at you, push you around, try to herd you, are bossy. But remember the folks who arrive at your landing page need to immediately know what to do or how to get the info they need. Remember the ‘One Click’ rule. You need to keep it simple and communicate very clearly what you want the visitor to do. 3. You are trying to show off or ore use terms only familiar to you. Avoid sounding like a snake oil salesman shouting out the miraculous power of your product or service, but then don’t go to the other extreme and end up sounding like a robot either.“Speak human,”  “Communicate your brand missions, values, and philosophy in simple terms, using the language of your customers. Speak in a conversational tone, with personality, empathy, and true emotion. Kill corporate-speak, buzzwords, and other language that makes you sound like a tool.” 4. Your content is buried. You don’t want heavy, bloated landing pages that creak under the weight of their own text. Website copy (not just landing pages) shouldn’t remind visitors of weighty Toombs. Write in crisp, snappy and focused sentences. 5. You’re rushing the goodnight kiss. Crummy landing pages are like bad first dates. Instead of just enjoying the date and spending a reasonable amount of time building up interest and trust, the bad landing page is pushing the viewer along with excessive demands, unclear goals, and just wanting the reward at the end of it all. Lead gently and make sure you’re not demanding everything as soon as the person arrives to your landing page. Please follow and like...

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What is a good PPC REPORT?

Posted by on Aug 16, 2011 in PPC |

There is usually a lot of talk on SEM news sites and forums about the type of data available from the PPC engines; the metrics seem nearly endless. Stats are available on CTR, CPC, conversion rate, conversion rate by position, data by network (display vs. search vs. retargeting vs. social PPC, etc.), Google Analytics or other web analytics data… The list goes on. But few people seem to discuss how and what data should be presented. Numbers Need Context While PPC pros know what those numbers represent, even a seasoned professional will have a hard time deciding whether the numbers are “good” or “bad” without context – What happened before this time frame? What’s typical for this time of year? What is the goal of this PPC campaign? Are the numbers up, down, or sideways? Why are the numbers up, down, or sideways? What the heck does this mean, anyway? A good PPC report relies less on the numbers themselves, and more on why the numbers are meaningful. One way to remember this is to ask yourself the question “So what?” when looking at data: What insight can be drawn from this data? Are key metrics following normal seasonal trends, or is something off the mark? If something’s off the mark, why? Did you run a particularly successful ad copy test? Was there something in the news that spiked click-throughs, but didn’t drive conversions? Numbers Should Align with Goals A surprising number of PPC campaigns are launched every day before campaign goals are defined. When I see a campaign with a mish-mash of keywords, the home page as the landing page, and no conversion tracking, I can be pretty confident the campaign has no goal. To that end, a good PPC report should include a statement defining the campaign goals, and whether they were achieved. Is there a target cost per conversion you’re trying to reach? Are there certain products on which you were trying to increase sales this month? Did you launch a campaign with new and different goals? PPC generates so much data that it’s easy to get lost in the weeds looking at “interesting” statistics. But just because something’s interesting doesn’t mean that it’s important. Numbers Should Point to Recommendations In many ways, PPC reports are kind of like looking in the rear-view mirror, reviewing what’s already happened. But that doesn’t mean the report should only reflect history. A good PPC report should include recommendations and plans forward, so the client or boss knows what will happen next. In fact, the recommendations should form the basis of any conversations that come out of the report: the dialogue should be centered on next steps in the optimisation process. Please...

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