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PPC to Merchant

How many of you still do this?

     
4:03 am on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just curious. How many of you out there still send PPC traffic direct to merchant (Using Google Adwords)? I know the rules are different now in that only the merchant and one affiliate ad show for a specific search term, but success can still be had. Just out of curiosity I tried it for a couple of products and after just a few days I've attained a 100% ROI and am receiving a good number of clicks even though I'm competing with other affiliates for the same keywords. I think the key is to just come up with a huge list of related keywords and test the heck out of your ad copy?

Now, I realise just producing a landing page would probably fetch me more clicks because I wouldn't be competing with other affiliates for the merchant URL, but that takes time and work...is the effort worth it to produce a landing page? Will I decrease my CPC by enough to make it worthwhile in terms of ROI? Thanks in advance for your comments/suggestions...

Dave.

4:55 am on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How many of you still do this?

About 5% of the keywords. Traffics keep dropping.

only the merchant and one affiliate ad show for a specific search term

Actually, one ad with the same URL (either from the merchant or from its affilliate) will be shown at any given time for each search querry.

7:17 am on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Dave:

I've switched from direct to merchant to a landing page, largely because of the changed AdWords rules. In my situation, I think this actually increases my return given the higher likelihood of a link bonus and the short cookie duration of the site I link to. A growing portion of my traffic seems to be return visitors, most likely ones that I would not be getting credit for if I sent them directly to the merchant (again, due to the short cookie duration). If your landing page is designed well, there is no reason it can't increase your return.

My case may be a unique circumstance, though. Lots of variables, so your mileage may vary.

8:09 am on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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By using a landing page, or more specifically by sending the traffic to a different URL which is displayed in your adwords ads, you get displayed for all searches and not just when you happen to be the lucky guy whose ad qualifies for inclusion as one of the "chosen" ads with the merchant's URL. This in iteslf will certianly increase your traffic, if not your conversions - if the site converts well then more trafic should equal more conversions, but this is not always a given!

I have seen some people running simply a different display URL and still sending the traffic direct to the merchant, which also seems to have the same effect as genuinely sending them to a different URL in terms of ad display frequency. Whilst I find it had to beleive that such a simple tactic as adding a non-existent suffix (e.g merchant.net, when the real URL is merchant.com) gets around G's new rules, my experience and competitor research seem to show that this definitely IS the case.

2:30 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I also switched to a landing page after Google changed the rule for affiliates, and I'm glad I did. By seeing what they're coming in on, I increased my negative keywords and lowered my PPC cost.

Most everyone clicks through my landing page anyway, which is what I was worried about when I switched.

8:06 pm on May 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Changing the display URL has been done...I've tried it and it seems to work. Thus, why go through all of the effort of building a landing page? Instead of one click to the sales copy you then need two. Wouldn't that mean less chance of converting?

Another way to get around the "one" URL per affiliate plus merchant is to just promote a program that isn't well known yet, or even better, brand new. Sure, the competition will catch on in due time, but hopefully in the time you have complete "control" over that new URL (campaign) you can make hay in a big way! What do you guys think...

Dave.

1:31 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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landing page

If anyone has the time a quick definition of this term would be appreciated.:)

2:11 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Landing page
If anyone has the time a quick definition of this term would be appreciated.:)

Definitions of Landing Page [google.ca]

4:14 am on May 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that. I have got to start using those search operators. I'm printing the "cheat sheet".
3:16 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Dave, I just wanted to thank you for starting this topic, and to everyone else who replied. I was doing some straight-to-merchant PPC with AdWords, but it didn't seem to be converting very well, about one sale a week.

So, I built 7 very specific landing pages, each one dealing with a different product, and pointed AdWords there instead. I don't get a lot of clicks, so it's really too soon to tell how it'll go, but I did get two sales yesterday, which has never happened before. Yippee!

Thanks again for all of the tips and encouragement.

3:25 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Congratulations Rachel. You'll find that it's cheaper for you to do it with landing pages since you can now filter out all those negative keywords you didn't realize were being used.
6:51 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Here's a question:

Let's say you have created "Campaign 1" that points directly to the merchant. Everything seems to be going well, except for one thing...

You want more clicks.

You then create a landing page and a new "Campaign 2" that is an exact replica of "Campaign 1" except for the destination URL, which points to your landing page.

So you have two campaigns running with the exact same keywords and ad copy, only different destination URLs.

Would Google Adwords allow this, I assume it would be a clear violation of their Double Serving Policy.

7:50 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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deepestblue, I tried that to compare conversion rates. Google let me get away with it just long enough to make a comparison. Landing page out performed the direct to merchant about 3 to 1. Your miliage may vary.

Also. I'm getting sales on discontinued campaignes from people who've bookmarked my landing pages. I tell them to do that.

I my opinion the landing page is the way to go.

8:03 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Good idea about telling them to bookmark, Poppy! I hadn't thought about that.
 

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