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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

Search Ads: Taming the Beast

Andrew Goodman

Page Zero Media

i don t want to change the world
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
a search marketing story in the making toronto transit commission ttc souvenirs
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.”
groovy baby
Groovy, Baby?

2005 Revenues: $50,000 

why not find out
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
hey wait a minute i ve got data on this
Hey, Wait a Minute! I’ve Got Data on This!
  • (< $5.00 cost per order on paid search campaigns)
what s a big account example 1
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
niche success example 2 the lightbulb company www thelightbulb co uk 5 000 mo
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!
adwords example 4 google baiting big disaster anecdote
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)
quality score formula
Quality Score Formula
  • 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?
google search principles
Google Search principles
  • 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
analytics convenience cost vs privacy
Analytics: Convenience & Cost vs. Privacy
  • Should you use Google’s (free) conversion tracking? Or Google Analytics?
leveraging agency relationships are you getting your due
Leveraging Agency Relationships: Are You Getting Your Due?
  • 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?
ad position roi click fraud suspicions speculation advanced
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?
Quick Quiz: Which ad returns higher ROI?What are some pitfalls in testing? (Other variables, wasting money on tests of “contender” ads)
ads what to test
Ads: What to test?



Creative ‘feel’

click fraud handy heuristics
Click Fraud: Handy Heuristics
  • Time spent on page, if less than 5 seconds 60%+ of the time… high probability of systematic fraud
did i mention i wrote a book

Did I mention I wrote a book?

Andrew Goodman

Page Zero Media