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Back to doing it the old way



4:41 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've done this experiment a few times in the past for short term but this time, I've let it go for about a month now.

I've been spending money on Overture for about two years now. I spent around $1600 in June and let my account run out in July. I wound up spending around $600 (first week or more still advertising) and had a record month. Still offline from Overture now a month later, my sales are at least even to slightly up. So it appears that Overture wasn't making much of a difference to my sales. I know it was helping in some areas because of tracking yet my bottom line is better not advertising with them at the moment.

Overall gross is down but PROFIT is up....so I guess that's what counts in the end. Anyone else ever see this?


7:06 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Yes, of course. People should look at Overture as advertising to reach new clients. Generally breaking even or losing some $$ on acquiring new customers is quite acceptable and very, very common.

The goal is to be able to have increased your customer base and profit after your ad campaign is done in relation to where you stood before your campaign started. Sounds like it all worked out for you!

When sales and profit start to dip a bit, crank up overture for some new customer acquisition and repeat the whole process!


7:35 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

All due respect to everyone I'm about to offend....but...

As an seo MOST of the sites I see in PPC are poor and wont rank well, thus, they pay for position.

It seems the spirit behind the Wall Street tech bubble lives on in the form of PPC bidders paying ridiculous prices per click...in the name of "acquisition" and "branding". Personally I like numbers to the left of the decimal in the checking account much better and acquiring those means keeping costs under control [webmasterworld.com].

The bottom line is the bottom line. I've seen some effective uses of PPC...but very few. By and large it is used as a wreckless "scattergun" approach to web marketing in the abscence of true skill and know how in ecom.


7:42 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I must agree. I also think that all the energy spent on PPC could instead be spent on gaining experience in free SEO which in effect is much more than an investment in your business, it's an investment in yourself. The more control you have over your business/company, the more you can direct it's success.


7:53 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

In the travel category, I used to see quite a few bidding on just the town name. Even at 5c/click, you can't make enough at $3 commission for a booking when most of their traffic is really looking for real estate, schools, or newspapers. Nope, I'll keep my $3.


7:58 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

One place I love PPC is in a campaign that is time sensitive. You can get in and get out on a dime.

Another advantage is that it lets you design a landing page for marketing your wares with no concern for SEO to limit the headlines, copy, or use of media. Most of my PPC campaigns include pages that are dedicated specifically to that campaign, not just sending traffic to the regular production site.


8:05 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah, I see people bidding on my city name - it's crazy. I guess they're happy because they get lots of traffic. The fact that they lose money on every visitor seems to escape them.

But just because lots of people don't know how to calculate ROI doesn't mean PPC can't be a useful tool.

Any advertising - whether PPC, newspaper, or broadcast - conducted without thought for return on investment, is bad business. That's not the fault of PPC!


8:20 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

No, it's not the fault of PPC, but how many of those sites paying for the top slots do you run across in the top 30 of the free serps? Not many, and that's tool's point, I guess.


8:24 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think it really depends on your keywords. Overture really works for me - I meet my customer numbers and easily stay beneath my target customer acquisition cost with Overture.

They bring in a fair percentage of my overall traffic. I wouldn't be dead in the water without them, but they sure do help me.


9:04 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It seems like since the bottom line is better without PPC for me, I'll try to stay that way as much as possible. I do show up in free listings in Google & worldwide versions, aol, msn, yahoo, alta vista, etc so I like the fact I can earn a decent living without spending hard cash out to PPC all the time. I could see how a new site would have more use for it however. Since they don't have any other sources and it takes a long time to get going. I do have a newer site running Google adwords since it's not listed anywhere yet.

"One place I love PPC is in a campaign that is time sensitive. You can get in and get out on a dime."

I would like to pop in and out, but is there a way to turn your listings on and off on a dime in Overture? If there is I miss it. I have to deposit money and wait for it to run out. And with there minimum click dollar amounts, you have to do three days at a time, which for me is like $150 or more. I'd like to run it for a day here and there, $20 or $30 here and there, like the weekends when my other traffic drops.


9:09 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We have several ecommerce stores and in some markets the competition is bidding just rediculiously high. Their sites are horrible for the most part, and I know my exact conversion rates through overture and if they are anywhere near mine they are paying more in advertising then the revenue from an average sale! But then again in other markets I'm bidding no more than $.10 per click to be top 3. The taffic is huge and the ROI is great. I will say it just depends on your competition and market.


9:36 pm on Aug 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Customer acquistion comes at a cost. For products and services where the lifetime of a client can be quite long and very profitable, the cost to acquire that client will usually exceed the first sale.

Nobody understands this more than large companies like cable companies, long distance companies (ya, not the best time to mention LD), local phone, etc. Think of all the free stuff and money they spend to acquire a customer! SO, people bidding based on customer acquisition and long term client retention can bid extravagant amounts and still win. It also helps to have a big wallet to keep cash flow going....


You can always drop all your bids to a nickel when you don't want to spend much. THats very easy and quick.. Sticky mail me and I'll help you with a function we use where you can set times of day where you want to lower your bids to the minimum and then raise them back up at other times of day..Works great for biz's that need to talk to prospective clients..


1:01 am on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You can get in and get out on a dime.

A dime will only get you 2 clicks at most on Goverture. ;)

PPCBT_guy: I could see your point for long-term, monthly subscription customers. However, I sell a product, not a service. I see people come in, buy that one item they looked for, and leave. Some of them buy other things, or come back later to buy more things, but most buy that one item.

Don't get me wrong. I like PPCSEs. They have their place. They are an easy way to get to the top of many search engines. However, the problem I have with them is that anybody with a little money to spend can easily come along and do the same. Good SEO is better in the long run, but there is no reason why you can't do both PPC and SEO.


We have several ecommerce stores and in some markets the competition is bidding just rediculiously high.

I think everyone has that problem on some terms. I know some of my competitors cannot be making money. My question is, when will it stop? How long can they go on losing money? Maybe this would be a good topic for a new thread [webmasterworld.com]...


3:18 am on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

IMHO, if you have an online ad agency that does media buys, they don't do too well with PPC. There are substantial opportunities to do much more extensive testing with PPC (can be much easier and faster to change keywords and listings than to negotiate new media buys and endure everyoones .02 on banner designs), and media buyers (no offense to intended) may tend to treat PPC as a media buy, set it up, let it run for six months and then make a decision as to whether or not to continue with the whole thing.


3:28 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've got a handful of sites for which PPC have been very successful.

One example is a static site for a high dollar software product. The client gets as many leads from $50/month on Overture as they do from spending about $1000 on their typical trade show.

Second is a service related client. Their main keywords are dominated by some well established sites on Google, so it's somewhat slow moving up the free SERP's. But the keywords are underpriced on PPC.

It's just another tool in my bag.

Good luck,


3:41 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I agree about optimizing to rank rather than paying for it. If I'm going to pay, I'd rather target customers with a well aimed magazine ad.

No offense intended, but for me personally and in my case only, I'd sooner wear a sandwich board in Times Square than do ppc.

I will allow that perhaps for some businesses, ppc makes sense as far as get in and get out.


6:50 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Apples to oranges (or maybe 'potatoes')...and sounds like an emotional decision to me.

Depends totally on the product (or service). I use targeted magazine ads for my clients also...it's great reinforcement among other things. But any advertising professional who rules out PPC across the board is doing his client a disservice.

I have one client with a new company selling health care products online, who was well represented (in the top 10) with the major search engines, but not as well with two specific keywords and several minor ones. Although I've since optimized with emphasis on those keywords and resubmitted, in the meantime I opened an Ov account for him, bidding those keywords into premium position. In two months (and directly from Ov clickthrus) his online sales went from an average of $100 a day to just under $2,000. a day, the same total cost for a month on Ov,...and since, with dramatic improvement with non-paid SE rankings, he's gone up only an additional $700. a month in sales. So tell him PPCs don't work.

jeremy goodrich

7:12 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jeremy_goodrich is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Having never done a lot of PPC, I've always been curious to see the effects of a massive campaign.

Now that I'm managing a few different ones, it's interesting to see the number of clicks to sales (though I don't track as closely as I could).

And then I pulled the plug on a few of the more expensive campaigns, and found out that none of the sales I was getting was from all those clicks I got.

Honestly, it does depend on the industy, etc. For a few things, it's worth it, but I think a lot of the people that click know it's an ad any more, so are only 'window shopping' and the sales pitch might have less impact.


7:34 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have a client who makes a nice living doing only PPC and other paid advertising - Overture is probably 80% of her business and allowed her to start making money virtually the day the site went live (okay, it took a few days for OV to approve the listings).

The keys are:

1) Targeting your potential market precisely
2) Effectively converting clicks to sales
3) Understanding -and tracking - ROI and revenue per click
4) Not spending $1.00 to make $.50. That last one seems to stump a lot of people.

I heard a lot when I first started using PPC about the beneifts of getting the second or third position. In my industries, second and third are usually only a penny cheaper each and seem to deliver volumes less traffic. I guess that is not the case for everyone.


9:23 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If it's only a matter of a penny or two for premium rankings there's no question I'll go for the higher/highest position. My 1st place rankings usually net me over 20% CTR and sometimes a lot greater, whereas I lose on average about 5-7% with 2nd and 3d places respectively.

With OV's autobid system, however, I find I can often get 2nd or 3d position for considerably less, with my max bid the same or a penny less than the next position, to take advantage of the gap. And I'm still surprised that so few bidders on my better keywords are using autobid or a 3d party script.


10:30 pm on Aug 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As a company that does both PPC and SEO we are always amazed at how many companies think they can jump the great divide and go pure PPC only to find that in the course of time their profit gets eaten away.

Whatever industry you operate in, the lifetime value of an unpaid visitor, regardless of whether you pay an SEO or do it yourself, will be far higher than a paid for one on a like for like comparison. The difficulty with that is that there is no like for like comparison.

Comparing the two is a bit like comparing red and white wine, sure the end result may be the same (you get drunk you fall over), but I know people who get nausea from red wine but love white. Similarly there are those that will get great results from PPC and those that won't. All I will say is if you don't get good results from PPC then there was something wrong with the way you implemented the campaign, no question.

Some of the likely reasons :

1. Wrong landing page
2. Bid too high
3. Bid too low
4. Title sucks
5. Description sucks
6. Too competitive a keyword
7. Not enough searches (collectively)
8. Too generic a phrase
9. Too specific a phrase
10. Trying to go toe to toe with the big guns
11. Don't track every click through to a conclusion
12. Massive bid gaps
13. Lose position by not reacting proactively
14. Continue to run campaigns long after the usefulness is gone
15. Not being ready to capitalise on the seasonal aspect of PPC
16. Lousy hosting make for waste of money
17. Not scrutinising the traffic for click spamming (although most PPC providers are pretty good you still need to undertake some due diligence of your own)

Just on point 10. I see a lot of huge blue chip companies on PPC and whether they run the ads in-house or use a media house to run the campaigns, you guys need shooting. If I was a shareholder in these companies I'd be attending the AGM asking why they were throwing the marketing budget away. They are consistently the biggest offenders in all of the categories above, which does mean that often a #2 or #3 bid will deliver far better traffic than trying to compete with the monoliths. Small scale bidders should not fear these companies, tactically they are clueless. There is still a massive amount of virgin inventory with high search volume, in every industry, most of which can be picked up sub 20 cents (20p), so dig deep, do your research and if you can't find it, hire an expert.


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