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I have been in online marketing for several years and amjust recently having to shift to CPC campaigns since that is the way it seems the industry is moving at this time.
I have played with several CPC companies and am somewhat dissatisfied. AH-Ha traffic is awful, Kanoodle is unproductive, and Google is too expensive to get an effective ROI. Just breaking even is not what this is all about :-)
In any event, I am satisfied (somedays happy) with Looksmart. Their .15 CPC system seems to work the best of any I have used and it does produce a healthy return. However, I have yet to discover the reason why one day my stats will be wonderful and the next day, nothing or almost nothing. Overall though, I am happy with them.
That being the case, I am looking for your help. Is there any similar systems or search engine brokers that work similar or that can produce effective results for this pricing? I have found that at .15 CPC I can generate a profit. Much over that kills my campaigns.
I look forward to your help.
Hello glenv, thanks for sharing your PPC/CPC experiences. In my experience, I think you're situation is more the exception than the rule.
While the cost per click on some competitive terms can be extremely high on Overture and Google, the average click through price for many campaigns is actually lower than Looksmart. The trick it to do extensive keyword research to find as many related terms for your site as possible for use in Pay Per Click advertising.
With Google, make sure to list terms in the singular and plural. Also, if you plan on "wildcarding" your terms, you'll want to seriously consider adding some negative search phrases to your account so you don't end up paying for some ROI killing traffic.
<<I have found that at .15 CPC I can generate a profit. Much over that kills my campaigns.>>
Are you currently tracking your close rates on sales or other metric to the search phrase level? If not, this is something worth considering. Close rates can very considerably from one term to the next, so knowing which terms are really working for you is key to spending your money wisely.
Unfortunately, LookSmart is fairly limited in allowing you to target specific terms, or avoid paying for traffic on terms which may be a bit too general.
You didn't mention Overture in your post, which seems a bit strange. Don't waste time with the minor PPC programs until you've set up an effective campaign with the largest player in this industry. Pretty much regardless of the industry you're in you can find a ton of cheap traffic on Overture, especially if the bar you've set is LookSmart's $0.15 CPC.
1) findwhat - www.findwhat.com. Far superior to kanoodle or Ah-ha.
2) Breaking even is not necessarily so bad. Obviously your avg return has to be above breakeven, but your most expensive doesn't. Pushing breakeven revenue can help if you get repeat or word of mouth customers, or if you have upsell opportunities. Plus sometimes it is just fun to deny your competition a sale.
3) You should also try refing your adwords (and overture?) campaigns. Try to prequalify better so you increase your conversion rate. Try to find more specific, lower cost terms.
hbarry30 - looksmart US is flat rate $0.15
Yes - FindWhat is very good and is not as expensive as Overture. You may also want to give Lycos Insite Select a try (http://insite.lycos.com).
Since you already know what you can afford to pay per click (15 cents), working with Overture and Google will be a lot easier.
At Overture, make sure you bid for 15 cents per click for all your keywords. Just forget about the position of your listing. Some of us here have got good quality clicks even at position 18! If you are not getting enough clicks, then spend some more time on keyword research and bid for more keywords. WordTracker.com and Google keyword suggestion tools are quite useful in keyword research.
At Google, you can get some serious amount of traffic for 15 cents per click. Again, since you already know what you can afford to pay, just select $0.15 under "Maximum CPC" when you are setting up your campaigns. Even if some of the keywords have a higher minimum CPC for US, include them into your list (in case your business is international).
Since the position of listing at Google partly depends on your ad CTR, you can get some heavy traffic for 15 cents per click (for most keywords). Just concentrate on improving the CTR of your ads. Browse through our Google AdWords forum for tips to improve your CTR.
Hope this helps! :)
Their system does not allow me to set flat .15 does it?
I read their system as this:
"Maximum cost-per-click: "USD Maximum cost-per-click: USD $"
So if I put 0.15 as the max cpc, it obviously kicks me out of several words/terms being listed. Is this the only way to set the cost for my terms?
Also re: Kanoodle. - When I set up an account yesterday as a test, I believe I selected their option that says something like "allow us to keep you placed in our top 5....etc" . In any event today I looked and it had eaten up $100 and I do not see where it went since Kanoodle is not real time ( I really feel they need up to the minute stats since you can get burned fast)
Since I checked that option "allow us to keep you placed in our top 5....etc" do you feel it is the culprit of eating up the $100? I went in and set all bids to flat 0.15 but am concerned that system or option is overriding...
>I have found that at .15 CPC I can generate a profit.
This sentence should read:
I have found that at .15 CPC I can generate a profit on Look$mart.
Nothing else is known. Other than AH-Ha traffic is awful, Kanoodle is unproductive for YOU.
When you consider using Overture, FindWhat and adwords start low and test them for conversions.
Start at #10 for Overture & FindWhat and start at #8 on adwords.
Then work your way up to whatever you find makes sense for you.
You will need to be able to track sales by source.
Conversion rates will vary due to the demographic of each source [partners are different].
Ads will vary do to the different character limitations of each PPC.
After testing say 1000 unique visitors from each source you may find that $0.10 is all you can afford on one PPC but $0.30 will turn a profit on another.
Overture and FindWhat are true PPCs
adwords is different when it comes to determining the amount you pay.
L$ - that is another story........
You have a few options here -
1) Ignore those ugly red warnings and go ahead and submit the keywords. Note that your ads will not be shown in US only. If your business is not restricted to the US market, you can use this option.
Note: Sometimes, Google will show the ads even if your selected CPC is less than the minimum.
2) Segregate your high cost and 15 cents per click keywords into seperate AdGroups. This way, your overall average CPC will not be way above 15 cents. To explain with an example, lets assume that you have the following keywords with their minimum CPCs -
Blue Widgets - 15 cents
Red Widgets - 20 cents
Green Widgets - 15 cents
Grey Widgets - 18 cents
and so on..
In the above example, you can save significant amount by grouping Blue and Green widgets (minimum 15 cents) into the first adgroup. For the first adgroup, select the minimum CPC as 15 cents. Now create a second Adgroup and insert the keywords Red and Grey widgets and select the minimum CPC as 20 cents.
That is, group similar priced keywords into individual AdGroups.
You may get lots of keywords for 5 cents per click. If you do, then you can afford a few high cost keywords too - since your average CPC can be reduced.
There is a much easier way to add the listings. When you log into your account on Overture, click add listings and there is a link that says something like "for your convenience upload using the template." You can download this template as excel, fill it out at your convenience and then upload it directly from where you saved it on your hard drive.
This should be a lot better than doing it manually :)