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An Hour With My Friendly Google Pal At Adwords-->Its All About The Money


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#1 earlpearl

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 06:30 PM

So I just got off the phone with one of our friendly (helpful) adwords pals.  For him its ultimately all about the $$$.   They couch it in google friendly speak.  But folks who like organic traffic...beware.   Google....like all other big web sites....its all about the money.

 

For this client, (local small business) we've been running adwords for about a decade.  I know it fairly well.   Currently we are spending about 35-60% more per month EVERY month than we spent same time last year;  about twice what we spent 4 years ago.

 

Results month after month are sort of the same in volumes of clicks.   What has changed are PRICES, OUR COSTS, our CPC (cost per click) and strangely our conversion rate (conversions per impression) has dropped dropped dropped ....like a rock.  But absolute clicks are JUST ABOUT the same.

 

What is going on?????    Why did costs skyrocket this year?    They've been inching up.  This year they skyrocketed.   

 

So when I got on the phone w/ the little old "best google buddy" for the month....while he had his agenda of suggesting changes that in google speak....would lead to "better results"   I had an agenda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I want to lower costs.

 

The campaign in question has only changed around the edges for years.  We worked our way into visibility and presence years ago.  But now costs HURT.  

 

This is an old business.  It was around pre web days.   We used to get the majority of business through advertising locally;  newspapers and hard cover yellow pages were the best sources.  

 

Then search engines appeared and we got a lot of free traffic and leads from organic and LOCAL/maps traffic.  We threw in paid adwords to get more coverage...but organic was the godsend.  Lots of traffic...no direct advertising costs.

 

Now month by month, google is working to kill that free traffic  and turn it into paid.  Its tough, insidious and expensive and it eats away at your foundation like termites gnawing at the wood in your house.

 

We worked through this campaign(s) piece by piece.  The guy told me to BID LESS.   son of a gun.....there is no other way to beat down these costs.  I've got most of the other areas covered.

 

Bit by bit...google kills organic traffic.  All that whiz bang google knowledge box cr@p is simply a way to divert free/organic traffic.   Kill Author tags....why?   it generates TOO much organic traffic.  Keep changing the algo's to adjust traffic.   KILL organic traffic!!!!

 

By the way, in the US with its most recent changes in showing restaurants, its nothing but a scheme to give out crummier lousier, less informative organic results and goose restaurants to start ponying up with ads.  

 

Meanwhile while we were speaking the guy at google....got a free breakfast, a free lunch, terrific food...and somebody passed out some google holiday gift to him (google swag).   

 

*%&($)*_&   ...sceeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww that.  I'm paying for all that.  My costs have shot up by 50% from last year.  

 

Oh well.  Rant over!!!!!!!!!! :angry2:  :angry2: 



#2 tam

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 06:51 PM

I imagine part of the issue is adwords involves bidding for keywords and as times gone on more companies are using the internet for advertising and that means there is more competition to drive up the price of a bid. Plus there are a lot of people out there using it badly so half the time you are competing with people that wouldn't/shouldn't even want the ad slot they are bidding on, not just competitors.



#3 earlpearl

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 07:10 PM

I imagine part of the issue is adwords involves bidding for keywords and as times gone on more companies are using the internet for advertising and that means there is more competition to drive up the price of a bid. Plus there are a lot of people out there using it badly so half the time you are competing with people that wouldn't/shouldn't even want the ad slot they are bidding on, not just competitors.

Its clearly because of more competition.  You are correct.  Whether others use it well or not, is not for me to judge or comment upon.   But google is ever encouraging more to jump into adwords.  Its their essence.



#4 gabs

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 05:06 AM

"LOCAL"  that's the problem in bidding imho.. 

 

soap box time sorry.. :) 

 

About 5-6 years ago the pricing/bid factor moved towards traditional media. 

 

Before the more targeted you could make it the better performance you got out of it and the lower CPC due to High CTR = Rewards.

Google then put a buffer in targeting, if you pick a location the bids will rocket up, why? the pool is small and google added the size of the pool as a factor of bids.

 

From what I've seen over the years its moved towards the simple maths of factor values.

keyword x is worth y,  if you half the pool of the keyword you value only half the pool, that pool has more value and the bids increase. 

Pick at town or area and the pool is tiny vs a nation OR world, again the pool value increases and its factored in. 

 

Rinse and repeat and location bidding CPC grow like crazy and out ways the performance rewards.

 

Google's inventory is based on Impressions and sold to us as clicks hence the pool factor of low targeted impression = high cost.

 

--- the end --- 



#5 earlpearl

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 10:51 AM

"LOCAL"  that's the problem in bidding imho.. 

 

soap box time sorry.. :)

 

About 5-6 years ago the pricing/bid factor moved towards traditional media. 

 

Before the more targeted you could make it the better performance you got out of it and the lower CPC due to High CTR = Rewards.

Google then put a buffer in targeting, if you pick a location the bids will rocket up, why? the pool is small and google added the size of the pool as a factor of bids.

 

From what I've seen over the years its moved towards the simple maths of factor values.

keyword x is worth y,  if you half the pool of the keyword you value only half the pool, that pool has more value and the bids increase. 

Pick at town or area and the pool is tiny vs a nation OR world, again the pool value increases and its factored in. 

 

Rinse and repeat and location bidding CPC grow like crazy and out ways the performance rewards.

 

Google's inventory is based on Impressions and sold to us as clicks hence the pool factor of low targeted impression = high cost.

 

--- the end --- 

You are probably correct.   There was a great piece on this from a year ago by Marta Turek with regard to an effort and an experiment her group did with a client as described here.   Its not exactly as you described, but she noted significant differences between targeting a campaign statewide in Colorado while "opting out" of outlying areas, versus just targeting Denver Colorado.   Her target was Denver.

 

She got better results targeting all of Colorado and opting out of outlying areas than targeting just Denver:  Lower cpc's, more impressions,more clicks.  Higher CTR's.

 

Her experiment compared statewide results versus city rather than world wide or national versus local....but the results were similar to what you described above, Gabs.   

 

We've run our campaigns on "largish" regional bases.  They expand to and slightly exceed regions wherein we get customers.  In some cases they've expanded into more than one regional base as we can attract customers from far flung areas. (rare but possible).

 

More than that its primarily a function of competition.   Hey, local clicks are very valuable to local businesses.  Our highish cpc costs are "PRIMARILY" based on geography.   In some areas where our competition is thin, the cpc costs are low.   Where we are all competing for the same competitors the cpc costs have skyrocketed.   OUCH!!!

 

Google is systematically chasing more and more and more smb's and all types of businesses to use adwords.  

 

Its a tough tough business and tough tough world.  Business is tough.



#6 glyn

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 02:54 PM

This is what fb does. You pay more for more targeted campaigns. I often zoom out geographically to lower the bid but sometimes not possible.

#7 earlpearl

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 06:07 PM

For the referenced smb I've been looking at this every way.  Our issue is that adwords jumped roughly 50% in costs from last year.  

 

What are all the causes?

 

The biggest one is simply competition as TAM suggested above.  We scrutinize this.  We've broken it down by regions and I'm looking at it in smaller regional areas.  I'm looking for ways to make it better.  Its granular time consuming...and I'm not finding answers.   Its interesting though when I break it down in 3 relative "mega regions" we pay dramatically more in cpc than a third region.  Likewise the "obvious competitors" don't advertise with as much visibility or gusto in the third region.    

 

Google is relentlessly yet quietly going after more businesses to spend on ppc.  On the local side there reminders, references, and most efforts focus on advertise, advertise, etc.   And more businesses are advertising.  I can't blame them.

 

Google changes its front page view.  In so many ways.  Knowledge Graphs that populate the top of the web page real estate have gained a lot of publicity.   Disregard all the google-speak about them.   What they do is reduce traffic to websites.  hey...less organic traffic...and you have a strong urge to advertise.  Over time I've seen the impact of Other algo changes accompanied by google-speak.  From our perspective they have simply sucked out organic traffic.  I don't buy into the google-speak.

 

Gabs comments above are on target I believe.   I referenced a terrific finding on that topic from 2013.  Great finding.  Our campaigns for our smb's that are usually regional  don't suffer from that, but it makes sense.  

 

I'm just whining I suppose.  Costs are up 50%.  That is 50% too damn high!!!!!!  I don't have a great or effective way to drive them down without losing our best visibility.



#8 iamlost

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Posted 13 December 2014 - 06:48 PM

I'm just whining I suppose.  Costs are up 50%.  That is 50% too damn high!!!!!!  I don't have a great or effective way to drive them down without losing our best visibility.

 

So you have the visibility you desire. That's good.

So costs have gone up. How are returns on those ads?

If returns have also gone up 50% (or more) then yes you are whining. :)

If returns have not then you have a valid concern. And you need to test some new/revised ads, new/revised landing pages, etc. And you are legitimately complaining but not whining. :D



#9 EGOL

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 10:19 AM

I started running PPC ads back in the days of Overture when they were colored boxes on the right side of the SERPs.  I loved those colored boxes.

 

I could make easy money back then with PPC.

 

Over time, more bidders arrived and that pushed up the average cost per click. 

 

Over time, more bidders arrived who had enormous advantages over me in inventory costs, shipping costs, supplies costs and more.  These companies also have a horrible reputation for paying their employees poorly and being weasels with their suppliers.

 

Futhermore, these companies often have expertise in ad writing, landing page design, conversion rate optimization and A/B testing.  They have people who do PPC all day, every day and they have been trained by the expert of experts in the PPC field.  They know all of their expenses and how those relate to their profits and the average lifetime value of their customers.  They also know how all of those allow them to bid as agressively as possible.  

 

Keep in mind that venture capital companies often back the vendors and their inital business plan is to do anything possible to damage the competition and some of them are able to sustain that plan for many consecutive years.

 

Also, some of the bidders on PPC, bid like drunks at an auction and have no idea if they are making money or if they are not making money.   Other bidders are SEOs doing wild donkey bidding without any regard about their client making money.  They don't even know his costs or his average profit per sale.   Other PPC bidders are just mightly freeking smart and have computers crunching the math for them.

 

I know that there are many things that I am unable to make money on using PPC.   I can't complete with the goliaths, the weasels, the dumbasses, the people spending client's money with no regard, and the people who are simply freeking brilliant with a constellation of business advantages over me.

 

PPC has been dangerous for a long time, and in many places today it is impossible. 

 

Anybody doing PPC today needs to keep one eye on his spreadsheet and the other eye behind him watching for the alligator that is ready to bite.

 

Also, anybody doing PPC has to be ready to walk away from it at a moment's notice to avoid bankruptcy. 



#10 iamlost

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 11:42 AM

PPC has been dangerous for a long time, and in many places today it is impossible. 

 

Anybody doing PPC today needs to keep one eye on his spreadsheet and the other eye behind him watching for the alligator that is ready to bite.

 

Also, anybody doing PPC has to be ready to walk away from it at a moment's notice to avoid bankruptcy. 

Remember the early wild days of AdWords arbitrage? when everyone was telling of the five figure AdSense cheques they were receiving? and one person built a quasi-rep empire on the pic of such a cheque? and absolutely no one not a single one shared their AdWords costs?

 

PPC has always been dangerous.

And EGOLs words were just as applicable back then as now.

If not as catchy as

..."If you're gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right"

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealing's done

...

'Cause every hand's a winner and every hand's a loser



#11 EGOL

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Posted 14 December 2014 - 11:54 AM

Remember the early wild days of AdWords arbitrage? when everyone was telling of the five figure AdSense cheques they were receiving? and one person built a quasi-rep empire on the pic of such a cheque? and absolutely no one not a single one shared their AdWords costs?

 

Yep, I remember those days.   I have a site that runs adsense ads and I saw a lot of arbitrageurs running ads on my site.

 

I remember the six digit Kilroy check too.  :-)

 

 

It's amazing how Kenny Rogers has a relevant message here......  "The Gambler"    :)



#12 earlpearl

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 11:31 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, above.  Thank you for your comments.  Two heads are better than one and many Cre8 heads are better than mine alone. :D

 

I'll report back with updates.

 

....ah.   "The Gambler"  "Every hand's a winner, every hand's a loser"   Aint that a fact!!!  



#13 earlpearl

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 08:52 PM

More Exploratory Work on Google Adwords

 

With costs having increased this year over last year by about 50% for one particular local small business I'm taking a hard look at our adwords spend and seeing what we can do to fix this in one form or another.

 

By explanation, this is an adwords campaign for a local/regional business in a relatively well populated metropolitan region, the Washington DC area.  We run quite a few campaigns that are regional and/or they expand into the neighboring metro regions  --Baltimore to the North and Richmond to the South.  The business does get customers from those areas.   Its a niche business.  Its services might be of some interest to about 10% of the population, give or take some significant but indeterminate percentage.  We've been running this business for years.  We are invested in several very different verticals, this being one of them with other businesses of this ilk in some other regions.  We have ample experience.  All things being considered there are certain "market conditions that drive interest in the business niche.  They vary year to year.

 

Over the past 11 months this year google has reported somewhat over 340,000 impressions in our adwords campaign;  roughly about 30,000/month.   That is somewhat deceptive and subject to change all at google's will, discretion, and how they operate.

 

For instance, during the 11 months of 2010 google reported about 160,000 impressions and in 2008 about 116,000 impressions.   Click totals for the 3 different years are about the same.  The campaigns haven't changed much.  Interestingly we got roughly the same number of clicks each year.  What gives???

 

As referenced elsewhere, google takes broad term phrases, and virtually all your phrases and runs them into endlessly more queries.  Meanwhile for our core money phrases, google takes the ads from other businesses, and irrelevant businesses and shows them in our core phrases.  

 

So our ads with our bid prices are showing in irrelevant phrases.  I suspect in those cases our "quality scores" STINK...But you know what, our bid prices are in there and they push up the competition.  It forces higher costs.   Likewise in our competitive phrases the ads from other businesses are PUSHING UP our bid prices.   That has to account for part of the significant jump in prices.

 

Of the 340,000 impressions that google is telling us about, I can drill down, into some level of specifics by looking at Specific Keywords.  When doing that google gives specifics on some 80-90,000 impressions.  It also gives us the detail on almost all of our clicks...some 10-12,000...BUT NOT ALL OF THEM.   So if I look at the details of what Google chooses to show us in its DETAIL report...I'm seeing click and impression data suggesting we have about a 12-13% click through rate...versus the 3% rate on all impressions.   Far Higher.

 

But that isn't a necessarily helpful piece of data.  I filtered the data looking at roughly 1 impression every other day as a minimum or about 150 minimum impressions for the past 11 months.  That seems reasonable as a minimum.  I checked all the phrases that showed...and they were all relevant and money phrases to at least some degree.  I'm going to play with that minimum, adjusting it to a level that feels comfortable..but I liked that data for this year.

 

Of that data it showed about 70,000 total impressions and about a 7% ctr.   That also suggests that google's DETAIL report includes about 18-20, thousand impressions with anywhere from 1-140/150 impressions and an INCREDIBLY HIGH CTR of about 30%.   There are a lot of long tail phrases in there, but very rarely queried...and some of them click on our ads. 

 

Anyway when I download the detail with a filter wherein I'm looking at an impression every other day, I'm looking at about 80 search phrases;  I'm seeing slightly less than half the clicks for the year...

 

When I look at the detail for =<  (equal and less than the filter number) I see A TON of clicks and a rediculously high ctr of about 30% or more.  Dang.  There is a lot of long tail on the ppc side of things for this business...and its expensive.   Google shows me almost all those clicks..but not all of them.  It has decided NOT to show us all the search phrases for which its running the ads. 

 

Lesson learned so far is that independent of google's data is that one must use a FILTER to get relevant data, and one needs to understand the business to apply a filter # that is relevant and telling.  That takes judgement.  I'll have to continue to play with it.

 

A couple of side notes:

 

In its adwords forums when questioned why it doesn't show DETAIL on all those impressions, Google reps revert to the "privacy" defense that it used as its reason for not showing organic keywords.   I believe that is HOGWASH.  Google doesn't want the ad payers to know how many irrelevant phrases are carrying their ads.  

 

When I look at the DETAIL with adwords clicks on long tail...and see that there are THOUSANDS of clicks on long tail...-> OH lordie, I do miss organic keyword detail.   Just a reminder.  I can't get over that.

 

This smb site gets about 2/3, 3/4, or maybe 80% of its google traffic from organic/maps and about 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5 from ppc.   Dang...I don't see that organic volume in any context anymore.  Dang those Google b@stards.  They have the data and I don't.   (Okay I see some of it in webmaster tools data....but I don't trust that data for accuracy in any context whatsoever)

 

This business is paying a ton more than last year.  Competition is hitting us up.  One thing is we bid A LOT for keywords and top position.  Of the 80 search phrases with more than 140/150 impressions for the 11 months...our average rank in ppc is about 1.3 and only 13 of them are at a rank of 2 or higher.      HEY ---one reason we are paying a lot is because we are bidding very competitively.  I'll be working on those bid prices and see what it does.

 

 

Anyway there is a LOT of detail to all this "STUFF".  I'll continue to work on it and give reports...and am always open to your great suggestions.  Meanwhile...I'm sure google will continue to make tons and tons of money.  Google is Big...we are all small.  Unless we are China or Europe-->   ;)



#14 gabs

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 08:27 AM

ep are you only looking at search? partners included? display select? 

 

Also device? 

 

Sorry If I've missed the above, but 30%CTR is in general high unless the segmentation is so narrow it inflates (I of course don't know your k/w or copy but people do explore more now).  I used to see in App clicks at crazy level with 0% ROI and for me blocked them straight away.

 

If it is just search then the thing that I worry about is the bid for top?  A noob with a voucher comes along and says "I want to be top". Tries out adwords for 2 months and makes no return and gives up, this hurts you far more than them.  

 

On the 2 month trial idea you'd only need 6 competitors "giving adwords a go" per year to screw over your campaign.



#15 earlpearl

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 09:11 AM

ep are you only looking at search? partners included? display select? 

 

Also device? 

 

Sorry If I've missed the above, but 30%CTR is in general high unless the segmentation is so narrow it inflates (I of course don't know your k/w or copy but people do explore more now).  I used to see in App clicks at crazy level with 0% ROI and for me blocked them straight away.

 

If it is just search then the thing that I worry about is the bid for top?  A noob with a voucher comes along and says "I want to be top". Tries out adwords for 2 months and makes no return and gives up, this hurts you far more than them.  

 

On the 2 month trial idea you'd only need 6 competitors "giving adwords a go" per year to screw over your campaign.

@ Gabs:  Thanks for the perspective.  I'm looking (asking) for wider/ greater perspective.   

 

What is the ctr?   I think that was my rough question above, in part, as I looked at data over different spectrums....and the ctr differed depending on how one looked at it.   

 

While in the latest 11 months google overall suggests a ctr of between 3-4%....that is a ctr based on a majority of clicks that don't mean anything.  They run the ads on irrelevant search phrases.  (Incidentally, that is the rough equivalent of suggesting that humans don't see the ads, a point IamLost made about ads impression in general).

 

I calculated it at about 7-8% on relevant phrases that show reasonably often.   Alternatively its that high ctr of about 30% on "mostly relevant phrases that show less frequently, are more long tailish...including a LOT of very long tail phrases.

 

Forget CTR, for the moment.  We get more leads, clicks and traffic from organic and Maps/Local (which is essentially organic).

 

So we have vulnerability on the "click game" if someone decides to outbid us.  But our strength is the organic.  That also means we are vulnerable there.

 

In terms of search...its all keywords, all partners all devices.  I'll need to look at that with more specificity.    

 

I'm adding content, with specific targets.  I'm also working on adwords, looking ever more closely at the data.  I'm soliciting advice and insights.  

 

...and I have my fingers crossed.  ;)

 

thanks for the insights.



#16 EGOL

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 09:27 AM

Earl, I never cease to be amazed at how much you have to share about SMB promotion. 



#17 earlpearl

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 09:47 AM

Always looking for help, insights, and advice, EGOL.  Always searching for answers.

 

Hey, we've owned some little businesses for over 20 years.  Conditions change.  We've had some winners and we've had some losers.  We do some things well and we mess up on others.  Always learning.

 

The above situation is relevant to only one smb and doesn't apply across the board, excepting that some of the phenomena may apply.

 

btw:   While digging through all the "stuff" google provides I noticed for the first time, a section applying to organic keywords.  You have to tie into webmaster tools to access it in analytics.

 

What a crock.  WMT is not in any way thorough.  Moreover nobody knows how much google filters from website owners.    Unfortunately seo operators will and do "sell" this to customers.  Its weasly BS data. 

 

Man, I hate how google jerks the rest of us around.

 

We are small.  Google is enormous. 


Edited by earlpearl, 16 December 2014 - 09:48 AM.


#18 gabs

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 11:47 AM

 earl, for me the landscape this year is completely different to last year let alone 6 years ago. 

 

The device is the issue now. A search will cross device so you are basically paying up to 3 times for the same click as you got 6+ years ago hence google is very happy ;) 

 

One clients is 80% sessions via tablet with 70% rev this year vs 40% 20% last year. 

 

The niche and the device is a fascinating study too, fashion are so willing to buy via phone and tablets, home & garden (old peeps) are still strong on desktop but tablet the growth is amazing  still. 

 

Another thing with niche I've really noticed is if you site is responsive and competitors (keywords) aren't you can get amazing ROI by being below these crap sites even in ppc (no need to pay to be top as the bounce on mobile is massive for competitors)  

 

2nd with a site that works always wins over being first! 



#19 earlpearl

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 12:17 PM

 earl, for me the landscape this year is completely different to last year let alone 6 years ago. 

 

The device is the issue now. A search will cross device so you are basically paying up to 3 times for the same click as you got 6+ years ago hence google is very happy ;)

 

One clients is 80% sessions via tablet with 70% rev this year vs 40% 20% last year. 

 

The niche and the device is a fascinating study too, fashion are so willing to buy via phone and tablets, home & garden (old peeps) are still strong on desktop but tablet the growth is amazing  still. 

 

Another thing with niche I've really noticed is if you site is responsive and competitors (keywords) aren't you can get amazing ROI by being below these crap sites even in ppc (no need to pay to be top as the bounce on mobile is massive for competitors)  

 

2nd with a site that works always wins over being first! 

Gabs:   Great "stuff".  I appreciate your comments, and I'm familiar with your experience and depth.  Thanks.

 

I haven't spent much time breaking down this data by device yet.  I will.  Its definitely impacted us.  Its far far more mobile than in the past and its dramatically more mobile than tablet.

 

We are focused on geography for a variety of reasons.  Competition has always had a locational perspective.  Customers will choose a closer competitor all things considered.  There are some other general considerations with location.   

 

We've looked into 3 larger "regions".   ppc costs are significantly higher in 2 of the 3 areas.  Its because of the competition.   Local visibility is impacted by location.  Our LOCAL/Maps visibility is better in some areas and worse in others b/c of proximity of competitors.  We CONVERT better with regard to certain areas.   So its why I'm focused on that.

 

Also I'm parsing the adwords impressions and clicks by locations.  Its a lot of granular detail.  Relevant towns and cities could total more than 100, though I don't have to study them all.  Just looking at one that is in a "competitive area"  I noted that our revenues from that community were about 12-13 times our adwords spend.  I don't have bench marks for this granular detail yet, but on gut that is pretty good in my perspective.

 

I could make adjustments on target and spend by locations.  Again that is gut at this point.  We are going to make some sales efforts changes focused on "location" to see how that impacts things.   I'm also doing this research to look at impressions totals for our key phrases....and then I'll attack some of this with organic content focused on locations.  

 

We've done some of that in the past.  If we can get some pages that combine the vertical industry reference with specific town names we can get some reasonably good "very local/very granular" visibility.   It helps.  Its focused, its directed, and it captures some "smallish but potentially valuable" groups of potential customers.   (Also...and ;)   it makes life more difficult for our geographic competitors.   :D  ).

 

I will look at other "stuff".  Devices are on my agenda, for sure.   Thanks.

 

(an hour later).  Just reviewed another "town" in play.  Revenues were almost 20 times our adwords spend per the dimensions Geographic break down.   Jeez.  I'd take that every day of the week!!


Edited by earlpearl, 16 December 2014 - 01:10 PM.


#20 gabs

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 02:09 PM

(an hour later).  Just reviewed another "town" in play.  Revenues were almost 20 times our adwords spend per the dimensions Geographic break down.   Jeez.  I'd take that every day of the week!!

 

Great news.... 

 

 

Double check how much apps are hitting you. It's the first thing I get rid of.. Some touch app had 70%+ CTR and 99% bounce rate.. Was crazy, was eating up about 15% of the mobile budget.. :) 

 

I exclude gmail and adsenseformobileapps.com from all main camps and test them on there own.. .

 

Great topic btw.. Always fun to discuss and share.



#21 earlpearl

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 01:36 PM

Really nice suggestions, Gabs.  I still haven't gotten there yet.   I'm focused on geography and also on the volume of long tail phrases that click on our ads.

 

By explanation (again) this local business bids aggressively.   Our adwords rank overall is below 2.  On the major phrases its closer to 1 than 2.  The fact that we are spending a lot is a function of the following in my mind:

  1. Overall competition has increased as Tam suggested above
  2. We are bidding a lot...and with those high bids with more competition we are seeing our actual costs rising faster.
  3. We cover a LOT of territory with extensive usage of broad phrase terms.  

Boy oh boy.  Looking at the volume of clicks on long tail phrases is revealing.  Similarly, what is very revealing is using a filter wherein we can break this data down.  We are filtering on impressions and filtering on clicks.  I get a lot out of the filter by impressions.

 

For instance, I filtered by 150 impressions for a year.  That is about 1 impression every other day.  Cripes I don't think that is much...but over the course of a year its reasonably repetitive.

 

Really stunning for this smb is that significantly less than 1/2 the ppc clicks came from impressions greater than 150.  Then we dropped the filter to 140, 120, 60, 30 etc.  Even at 30 impressions....that is 2.5/month...less than half the total adwords clicks.   CRIPES.  

 

Then we looked at a filter = to <20.   Less than 20 impressions a year.  Again that seems to me to be not much.   But it turns up a TON of clicks.  BOY....does that SCREAM long tail.

 

When I go back to PRE NOT PROVIDED days.....this adwords data MIRRORS....old organic data.  Even with a DEEPLY strong position on the major terms the LONG TAIL just dominates!!!!   Its so important.  Its a lesson relearned.

 

At this stage use of filters by impressions and secondarily by clicks is at least highlighting some repetitive search phrases I know aren't relative money terms.  I'll add those terms to negative keywords.   I don't want to pay for them.   That is a small positive knowledge gain and a small positive gain on controlling a wee bit of expenses.

 

Using filters enables us to do a dang good job on measuring what I like to call demand in our market place.  This smb is very reliant on search.  Measuring the demand for year to year for the most significant phrases gives me a feel for demand through google search.  Are there more searches or less searches for a wide number of relevant terms in our market.   Man I like knowing DEMAND AND SUPPLY.

 

One other UBER key takeaway from this is to simply generate MORE CONTENT.  With so many single long tail clicks on adwords for long tail phrases it just tells us to keep adding content to pick up that traffic organically and not have to pay for it.  Unfortunately I don't have a real feel for long tail phrases except for the traffic that lands on our extra and blog pages.   I guess the lesson is....BE LIKE EGOL.  ;)

 

Happy holidays, folks.  :D
 



#22 EGOL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 01:59 PM

Lots of people have the attitude...  "The organic SERPs are too difficult, so we will just use our wallets with PPC".      How many times have you heard people say that Google is trying to force small biz into PPC because they can't compete with Goliath in the organic SERPs?

 

From my experience, and I see myself as a bit of a mathematician and wordsmith, PPC is where the competition is impossible.   It is clear black and white (and red) that I am going to lose money on mass merchant products.  

 

So, I am tossing out the idea that at least 1/2 of the people doing PPC are bidding themselves into a loss.   (That is not 1/2 of the dollars spent, but 1/2 of the people.... because the people who can win at PPC are spending fantastic amounts per month...  they understand that setting a "budget" only throttles their income.



#23 earlpearl

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 02:24 PM

EGOL:   Because of the data and reporting I've always seen a lot of value in usage of ppc.  One is reporting, information, and measurement.  We apply it across the board.  While most of our smb's bid relatively high...not every one does...and some have minimal expenditures while still getting the type of info I reported on above.   

Lots of people have the attitude...  "The organic SERPs are too difficult, so we will just use our wallets with PPC".      How many times have you heard people say that Google is trying to force small biz into PPC because they can't compete with Goliath in the organic SERPs?

 

From my experience, and I see myself as a bit of a mathematician and wordsmith, PPC is where the competition is impossible.   It is clear black and white (and red) that I am going to lose money on mass merchant products.  

 

So, I am tossing out the idea that at least 1/2 of the people doing PPC are bidding themselves into a loss.   (That is not 1/2 of the dollars spent, but 1/2 of the people.... because the people who can win at PPC are spending fantastic amounts per month...  they understand that setting a "budget" only throttles their income.

 

Specifically, the "long tail" element was stunning AGAIN.  I don't always focus on it.  It reiterates old lessons.   Content and the long tail has enormous benefit.   Google has definitely changed serps and what shows, and how things show, etc etc.   Still if one can work the long tail, and gain traffic its invaluable in many ways.   The danged thing is that its really not measurable any more.   It is via landing pages in a "broad sort of way".  If you create new content and it starts getting landing page traffic...you have a "feel" for the keywords.   

 

On the cost side...ppc is very time consuming.    Google of course changes things all the time...and then again.   One thing I like from a ppc basis is Bing.   It works differently from google in a variety of ways . If you are used to adwords you have to work it a bit to get its rhyme and rhythm to apply it well.   Of course it generates far less traffic.    What is great though...if you are going to "pay for traffic"....is simply that costs invariably come in at far lower per click than google.   And if they don't...I'd adjust bing some more to get that traffic at a lower cost per click basis.


Edited by earlpearl, 17 December 2014 - 02:26 PM.


#24 glyn

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 02:59 AM

EGOL I agree with you in the end PPC for commerce will be just like offline: tesco,wallmart,amazon,sainsbury,waitrose. It's just a question of time it takes to arrive at that point, all the stuff in between is the creation path. It is innevitable unless there is some kind of regulation that I see as practically impossible.

 

It is becoming more about non-ecommerce terms capturing the visitor and then bringing them across to your ecommerce platform.

 

g



#25 EGOL

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 05:34 AM

"On the cost side...ppc is very time consuming."

I know that you spend a lot of time and study on PPC. Do you think that you competitors understand it well enough to do that detail work?

#26 earlpearl

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:56 AM

EGOL I agree with you in the end PPC for commerce will be just like offline: tesco,wallmart,amazon,sainsbury,waitrose. It's just a question of time it takes to arrive at that point, all the stuff in between is the creation path. It is innevitable unless there is some kind of regulation that I see as practically impossible.

 

It is becoming more about non-ecommerce terms capturing the visitor and then bringing them across to your ecommerce platform.

 

g

That is interesting, Glyn.  I'm working on a project different than the smb discussed above.   On the ppc side we are seeing some opportunities for this project.  One distinctive opportunity includes capturing non-ecommerce terms wherein there is little ppc competition.  I initially dubbed it the non-intuitive opportunities.  Its more simply getting attention into areas where there isn't ppc competition--organically or via relatively inexpensive ppc.



#27 earlpearl

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 10:00 AM

"On the cost side...ppc is very time consuming."

I know that you spend a lot of time and study on PPC. Do you think that you competitors understand it well enough to do that detail work?

@ EGOL:   I don't know what the H they are doing...except that they are bidding more in certain areas.  Most of the competition is using ppc to compete at a higher level.

 

I don't care if they know it or don't know it, or whatever.  They are doing things for themselves and so are we.         and that is a definition of "market" come to think of it.  Lots of different individuals or businesses taking individual actions.  The sum total or aggregate actions define the market.



#28 glyn

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Posted 20 December 2014 - 08:27 AM

I have a blog in a niche that captures 60% of ecom traffic share...note to self to monetize cross conversion rate for chrimbo project with a bottle of wine!

#29 earlpearl

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 01:29 PM

 earl, for me the landscape this year is completely different to last year let alone 6 years ago. 

 

The device is the issue now. A search will cross device so you are basically paying up to 3 times for the same click as you got 6+ years ago hence google is very happy ;)

 

One clients is 80% sessions via tablet with 70% rev this year vs 40% 20% last year. 

 

The niche and the device is a fascinating study too, fashion are so willing to buy via phone and tablets, home & garden (old peeps) are still strong on desktop but tablet the growth is amazing  still. 

 

Another thing with niche I've really noticed is if you site is responsive and competitors (keywords) aren't you can get amazing ROI by being below these crap sites even in ppc (no need to pay to be top as the bounce on mobile is massive for competitors)  

 

2nd with a site that works always wins over being first! 

 

 

Ooooh  oooh @Gabs:   Thanks for the heads up.   

 

Just took a quick first look:

 

PC's 57% impressions

mobile  33% impressions

tablets  about 10%

 

mobile click through rates were higher.  Okay....here is the little tidbit I forgot about.    When initially setting up mobile I had done a bid adjustment driving down bid prices by 30% on all but one campaign.

 

Mobile ctr was higher and mobile cpc was lower.   OOOOOHHHH  OOOOOHHHH   

 

Big stuff to check into further.  

 

Thanks for the heads up, Gabs!!!!!!!!!     :infinite-banana:  :infinite-banana:  :infinite-banana:  :D

 

btw:   Where do I check for those apps.  I haven't looked at this AT ALL!!!   and another btw:  I'm not running display ads, so that might not be an issue.  not sure w/ regard to mobile

 

and still another btw:  @EGOL.   you know it doesn't matter if the competitors know or don't know what they are doing.  I haven't broken down this data in a looooooooooooong time.  I had forgotten about my initial bids on mobile...which were lower than ppc.   and in some cases they still are.

 

stunningly, on mobile we have generally higher ctr' and lower costs with higher avg rankings.  It appears that there are a significantly fewer # of competitors of any sort running on mobile.  I'm fine with that...and I'm even finer with it in view of my ignorance and lack of attention--> ;)


Edited by earlpearl, 21 December 2014 - 04:01 PM.


#30 earlpearl

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 11:19 AM

Sooooooooooo.............................

 

I've studied this enough to get an MA.  I've made changes and some cut backs.

 

Not enough time to see very significant changes.   Too little time and traffic is down with the holidays. Buttttttttttttt.....I don't see much change if any...and maybe higher costs.

 

Its all about the competition.  F*ck em...even though its Christmas.  :D

 

Happy holidays to everyone else!!!!     :infinite-banana:  :infinite-banana:  :infinite-banana:



#31 glyn

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 02:05 PM

For mobile ctr higher when bids lower it would make sense because i assume that the people that are going to number 1 are looking around in more general terms thab someobe that is going through the lower adwords positions that is doing deeper reaearch or cannot find what they are looking for in the other listings

#32 earlpearl

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Posted 29 December 2014 - 12:43 PM

Dang, its a lot about competition

 

Way to early to tell, but as Tam pointed out a while back it's really about the competition and bidding.  As of today one of our core competitors isn't on adwords.  Of the clicks that have come in, they've been priced at roughly 60% of what they were in the last month and in the last couple of months.

 

.....so much for crunching this analysis every dang way.  In this example its about the competition.   Now...how do we strategise about that.  hmmmmm  ;)



#33 earlpearl

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 11:53 AM

Holy cow.  Tam nailed it above with her comments.   In this case its all about the direct competition.  Since the competitor dropped out of adwords average cpc and daily costs have dropped a lot.

 

CPC for the last couple of days is down about 1/3 since the competitor dropped out.   


Edited by earlpearl, 30 December 2014 - 12:41 PM.


#34 earlpearl

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 01:32 PM

Year to year comparison for this one smb:

 

Total adwords clicks pretty similar between 2014 and 2013 and in line with past years.

 

Costs went up about 40% from last year and CPC similarly went up about 40% for the year.  About 46% in the last 2 quarters.  Its the year google "stuck it to us" via their methodology and/or costs soared per their methodology and specifically because of increased competition.   This is going to be a pain in the neck situation going forward.  Alas.

 

Happy New Year to the rest of you fine folks.





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