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Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Management involves effort and risk. For large corporations like Ebay, PPC costs probably represent just a tiny dent in the operating budget. For small businesses with limited budgets, the stakes can be much higher. Businesses that take Costs and ROI (Return of Investment) critically must consider these Tips for a Cost Effective PPC Campaign. These tips have been designed to help businesses minimize risks, maximize opportunities, and get the most value per dollar spent.

1. Keep track of the ROI.

A PPC campaign is worth the investment only if it brings conversions. Getting a high Click Through Rate (CTR) in a PPC Search Engine only means that a large number of users click and visit the site. But if these clicks don''t lead to sales, then mean almost nothing. ROI Tracking is your most reliable gauge to know how profitable and cost effective a PPC Campaign is.

The first step in tracking a conversion, is determining exactly what a conversion means on your website. On an ecommerce site, this is often pretty obvious; it means that a product was purchased. In other cases, the definition of a conversion can be a bit less clear. A conversion could mean signing up for a mailing list, downloading a PDF whitepaper, or requesting an information package.

How to Track a Conversion

It''s not enough to guess which ads are converting. In order to make meaningful campaign adjustments, hard data is required. Some PPC Search Engines provide the numbers regarding conversions for free. Because of this, there is no excuse not to track conversions and ROI when using Overture or Google Adwords.

There are also third party ROI programs and ROI tracking systems available that can give you more comprehensive information. IndexTools is one of such programs. It is web-based and provides in-depth web traffic, visitor and buyer analysis. Another ROI analysis program is ProfitBuilder by GoToast. It gives the Conversion Percentage, Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) and Total Visitors among others. Both ROI tracking programs are available with fee.

Remember, logical and important decisions are based on knowing which keywords and ads convert.

2. In bidding for keywords, invest in less popular ones.

Popular keywords don''t only mean a higher number of impressions; they mean a higher number of competitors. This presents a challenge in achieving a good CTR, and more importantly in achieving a reasonable CPC. Bidding on related keywords may not give the same amount of impressions but it will often produce a better position at a better price.

Also, a good idea to add is bidding on more specific keywords. If you''re selling surgical supplies, also bid for keywords like surgical gloves and syringe. Be sure to make specific ads or creatives for these keywords as well. Make a separate Adgroup for these specific keywords in Google Adwords, or a separate category in Overture. When matched together with the other ads that seem broad, this more specific ad will seem more relevant to the search query.

In Google, these keywords found in your ads or creatives are in bold characters which make them more visible. With this, there''s a higher chance of not just getting clicks, but also conversions since the ad is now laser targeted.

Bonus Tip:

When selecting keywords, use all of the resources that are available to you. Key to success often depends on the ability to put yourself in the mind of your target audience. Make liberal use of language tools like a dictionary or a thesaurus to understand the language of your market better. In addition, Wordtracker and the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool can be very useful in looking for related keywords.

3. Bid strategically.

In other words, think before bidding for keywords or before adjusting bid amount. Don''t increase the maximum CPC (Cost per Click) simply to outbid a competition and get a higher position.

Consider this: if the highest bidder pays $1 per click, and there are only 2 or 3 players bidding for the same keyword/phrase, is it really worth to get the top spot? In most cases, the top three positions will be visible on search results without scrolling. In many cases, the top three positions will produce equal returns.

A better idea would be to optimize your creatives, make it better than the others, and include the very keywords in the text. Many of the users don''t read from beginning to end, but rather scan the page. The right relevant keywords and creative text get these users, not necessarily the position.

Finally, consider the bid cost factors. If the top bidder is $1.00 per click, and you attempt to over take him, your cost will be $1.01 per click. However, if there is no other competition, take the high road, under bid the competitor, and rake in clicks for $.05.

4. Don''t lose faith in keywords/phrases that get a very high number of impressions without conversions.

If the cost is low, and the CTR is high enough to remain active, these ads are still assets. Hold on to these ads. Consider it as FREE or low cost advertising and exposure. It''s a bonus. Use this opportunity to experiment with the creatives. Editing the title or the text may be enough to rake in some sales.

Also, people who search for a product might not buy it right away. Rather they may bookmark the site and return when they are ready to buy. This is an especially important lesson for new stores. It may take some time to build confidence in a store and it''s products. That''s why it is important for you to keep your ads appealing.

Bonus Tip:

Google Adwords also offers content targeting along with the usual keyword searching. Popular sites that participate in the Google Adsense program can drive a large number of content targeting impressions. Don''t get scared off by this. These represent strong conversion opportunities; new customers that might not be reached through simple searches alone.

If you get a lot of impressions here, even if you get a small number of clicks, you get added value for your keywords. Ads reach more people this way. However, be sharp in monitoring the cost from this as well. Over time, the average CPC might be slightly higher due to how Google matches advertisments to content. Content targeting can be deactivated at anytime using the Adwords campaign management tools.

5. Finally, know your numbers. Or more specifically, ensure that the cost per conversion is an acceptable customer acquisition cost.

For instance, if the cost for making or buying the item for sale is $10, and the selling price is $15, then the cost for advertising this item through PPC should not be greater than or equal to $5 dollars.

There are other intangible factors that can be considered. For instance, if a customer is happy with the service and products that are purchased, it is likely that they will purchase again in the future. Some companies are willing to take a slight loss in aquiring a customer, since the future potential value is very high.

Remember, all these tips in PPC Bid Management require frequent monitoring of a campaign. Analyze the numbers well and PPC will prove to be a good investment for your business.

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Copyright 2003 - Eversun Internet Marketing Team
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