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Search Ads: Taming the Beast. Andrew Goodman Page Zero Media. I Don’t Want to Change the World!. The Hedgehog Concept vs. Changing the World “I Want to Give You a Lobotomy About Change” Jim Collins, “Good to Great,” Fast Company, Oct. 2001.

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Search ads taming the beast l.jpg

Search Ads: Taming the Beast

Andrew Goodman

Page Zero Media

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I Don’t Want to Change the World!

  • The Hedgehog Concept vs. Changing the World

  • “I Want to Give You a Lobotomy About Change”

    • Jim Collins, “Good to Great,” Fast Company, Oct. 2001

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A Search Marketing Story in the Making?Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) Souvenirs

  • Pundit: “The TTC is an ‘underdog brand’ that suffers from a variety of perceived shortcomings”

  • “Wouldn’t it be great if Sam Roberts went on stage wearing a TTC driver’s shirt. People would be scrambling to get their hands on one.”

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Groovy, Baby?

2005 Revenues: $50,000 

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Why Not Find Out?

  • Taxi ad firm partner: “Who would want this stuff?” [sic]

  • London Underground “stuff” – successful?

  • NY Transit Authority: $1.5 million in 2005

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Hey, Wait a Minute! I’ve Got Data on This!

  • (< $5.00 cost per order on paid search campaigns)

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What’s a “big” account? Example 1

  • Leading vertical: job search

  • Spend: High (£80k/mo) but wants more

  • Key tactics employed: keyword expansion, performance metrics, granularity

  • Client interested in traffic acquisition, not “brand”

  • Success defined by: cost-effective EOI, high volumes

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Niche Success: Example 2, The Lightbulb Company( - £5,000/mo.

Success defined by: high ROAS; subsequent phone contact from institutions, corporations

  • AdWords spend: less than six figures per year

  • It’s not what you spend… it’s what you earn!

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AdWords Example #4: Google-Baiting (Big Disaster – anecdote)

  • Quality Score plummets suddenly?

  • Cause?

    • Inaccessible landing page?

    • Poor site navigation?

    • Panic: $100 bids!

    • Reality: (1) pop-up on landing page; (2) Pop-up advises users to stop using search engines!

    • Is it all automated? (Probably not)

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Quality Score Formula anecdote)

  • Ad rank = QS X Max Bid

  • QS: Primarily CTR, but major flaws can sink QS anyway

  • Predictive (accounts with histories do better)

  • Consistency from kw’s – ads – landing pages

  • Way to penalize “evil” by algorithm:

    • Data collection sites

    • Products Google doesn’t like

    • Abusers of system, affiliates, multiple account holders

    • Keyword arbitrage

    • Deceptive redirects, cloaking, no content, tricks, lies

    • Pop-ups

    • Variegated evil

    • Search engine spam techniques?

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Google Search principles anecdote)

  • User testing, behavior

  • Clarity

  • Cues for quality & relevance

  • Apply to *both* paid & unpaid listings

  • How Google knows?

    • Time on site, etc.

    • Conversion rates?

    • CTR is still paramount!

    • Yes, CTR is still paramount!

    • Means a difficult tradeoff for advertisers

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Analytics: Convenience & Cost vs. Privacy Then Debate It

  • Should you use Google’s (free) conversion tracking? Or Google Analytics?

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Leveraging Agency Relationships: Are You Getting Your Due? Then Debate It

  • Accreditation programs, tiers, “trust rank”

    • Search scientists approach all relationships as a measurement issue?

      • Confidence scores in web pages

      • Quality scores on ad accounts

      • Agency accounts – size, influence, fit

  • “Help” vs. interference? Striking a balance

  • Differences between Google, Yahoo, MSN

  • The value added by 3rd party agencies or in-house marketers, analysts, developers: full user experience and customer relationship cycle

  • Can SE’s credibly rep. all clients in same vertical?

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Ad Position ROI & Click Fraud Suspicions – Speculation (Advanced)

  • Received wisdom is that a lot of clicks in ad position one are “compulsive” or “fraud”.

  • So why is conversion and ROI often lower in ad positions 4-10?

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Quick Quiz: Which ad returns higher ROI? (Advanced)What are some pitfalls in testing? (Other variables, wasting money on tests of “contender” ads)

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Ads: What to test? (Advanced)



Creative ‘feel’

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Click Fraud: Handy Heuristics (Advanced)

  • Time spent on page, if less than 5 seconds 60%+ of the time… high probability of systematic fraud

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Did I mention I wrote a book? (Advanced)

Andrew Goodman

Page Zero Media