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Pay-For-Placement is the fastest and easiest way for advertisers to achieve a #1 position on leading search engines. Within days, your web site listing will appear on the PFP search engine you purchase clicks from, as well as on their distribution partner sites.
When PFP search engines hit the marketing scene with cost-per-click (CPC) pricing, they introduced businesses to the precursor of performance-based marketing. Today, most marketers still can't negotiate cost-per-acquisition (CPA) deals due to the high anticipated sales volume required, so to all levels of advertisers, PFP engines guarantee the next best deliverable : traffic.
Reaching a Large Audience Is Convenient
Many Internet users have never used PFP search engines such as FindWhat.com, Overture, or Kanoodle. However, a lot of these people use AltaVista, Yahoo!, or MSN Search. Herein lies a valuable secret:
For instance, Kanoodle's advertisers appear as sponsored listings on Dogpile, MetaCrawler, WebCrawler, c/net, and Search.com, as well as 2,500 other search-enabled web sites. Advertisers pay click fees to Kanoodle, regardless of which Kanoodle partner sites deliver the traffic.
The attractiveness of PFP engines is in the search distribution partnerships they keep. In some cases, you can bypass marketing on the firsttier search engines by advertising through their sponsored listing suppliers. Bid for a top position on Overture, and your paid listing will be on Yahoo! (Figures 7.2 and 7.3). Buy text links through Google's AdWords program, and your ad will appear on AOL.com and the AOL network. These relationships change constantly, which is why it's important to advertise on multiple search engines and use a variety of programs. You never know where your listing will appear next.
Figure 7.2. Notice the advertisers' positions on Overture for the phrase "pet supplies ."
Figure 7.3. Overture's advertisers are listed in the same positions under Yahoo!'s Sponsored Results, for the same phrase, because Yahoo! is one of Overture's search distribution partners .
Optional Visibility Through Contextual Advertising
As mentioned, PFP engines offer their search results to distribution partners. This means your ad listing appears on partner sites when a search is performed for the keyword you've bid on at the PFP engine.
Contextual advertising increases the opportunities for your ad listing to appear on partner sites. A keyword search isn't actually performed on a partner site; rather your ad listing will appear if the PFP engine technology determines that the partner's web page content is relevant to your ad listing. Figure 7.4 shows where PetPlace.com allows Google to serve ad listings on their home page. PetPlace.com earns money when their site visitors click on Google's ads.
Figure 7.4. PetPlace.com is participating in Google's AdSense program, where companies that display Google's AdWords listings on their web sites are paid for resulting clicks on those ads.
This is a great revenue opportunity for contextual ad distribution partners, such as PetPlace.com, that generate significant web site traffic. Google calls this their AdSense program; Overture refers to it as Content Match; Kanoodle recently launched Context Target; and FindWhat.com and others were testing contextual advertising at the time of this publication. If you're interested, contact them about hosting contextual ads on your web site as a revenue-sharing opportunity.
PFP advertisers, on the other hand, should be wary about participating in a contextual ad program. Sure, it's greater visibility because your ad listings are displayed on a higher number of web sites and more often. However, with search-based advertising, your listings appear for the keywords you've specifically selected. With contextual advertising, your ads can appear on sites that aren't as relevant as you want. And watch out ‚ you may be automatically enrolled in the PFP engine's contextual ad program by being a keyword advertiser.
To determine if contextual advertising hurts or helps your business, track resulting sales from your contextual ad listings separately from your keyword search listings. The easiest way to do this is to set up two separate campaigns or entire accounts, depending on what the PFP engine allows. In one campaign or account, disable the contextual ad listings. In the other, disable keyword search ad listings. Figure 7.5 shows how to do this on Overture. Check the PFP search engine's Frequently Asked Questions page for instructions on how to disable either program.
Figure 7.5. Overture advertisers can isolate search from contextual advertising. "Overture Results" includes both, and is the default option.
Inexpensive setup fees and a pay-as-you-get-traffic fee structure make a Pay-For-Placement campaign affordable to initiate. You'll open an account for $5 ‚ $50 using your credit card. Each time there's a click on your listing, the click fee is debited from your account. The lowest starting bid is $.01 ‚ $.10 per click, depending on the PFP engine. One penny more than an advertiser above you bumps your listing above his. Don't get too excited yet; competitive terms are much higher than the minimum bid. However, for terms that are pennies per click, this is far less expensive than paying pennies per impression , which was the only option for paid placement several years ago.
Easy Campaign Setup and Management
Ready to launch an ad campaign today? Well, you can with Pay-For-Placement. Start on the PFP search engine's home page and look for an "Advertise" link. You'll be directed to a series of forms through the web. Within minutes you can submit the following information:
You might need a few minutes, or a few hours, to write the title and description for each keyword you wish to bid on. Plus, you'll need to determine the landing page for each keyword, or a group of words. Before you start the sign-up process, research your keywords on that PFP engine to determine what bid price you'll need to pay to get the position you want.
Type all of this campaign information into a spreadsheet so you can copy and paste it into the account forms. The new account enrollment process requires a few forms, and if you stay on one form too long, it could be rendered inactive and you'll have to start all over.
Immediate Launch of Campaigns
Whereas search engine optimization takes months to witness any improvement in your site rankings, paid placement sidesteps the waiting game. Pay-For-Placement is the fastest way to achieve a #1 position.
As soon as you submit your information on Google, for example, you'll be sent a confirmation email asking you to activate your campaign by clicking on the link provided within the email. Once your credit card information has been entered, your listings are live within minutes. Other PFP engines launch your listings within days, once they're approved by their listing editors.
Ability to Optimize Your Ad Copy
With search engine advertising, you control the copy in your ad listing. The self-service functionality of Pay-For-Placement makes it convenient to edit your listings to enhance performance. Modify your titles and descriptions daily, weekly, or monthly. Although it usually takes a few days for new listings to be approved by PFP editors once you submit them, you're able to delete nonperforming ad listings within minutes.
Google is a winner in this arena because they allow for an unlimited number of ad listings to be rotated for each keyword. Copywriters can become nearly obsessed with testing multiple listings to maximize ad copy performance. In late November, Google released an Auto-Optimization feature that automatically optimizes advertiser campaigns to improve the experience of both advertisers and users. When there are multiple ads in an Ad Group, the ad with the highest click-through rate (CTR) is shown more often.
Control Over Daypart Targeting
If you've got the time and interest, you can advertise your PFP ad listings during the most profitable times of each 24- hour period. This is referred to as daypart marketing . TV advertisers have been doing this for years; they buy commercial airtime based on the time of day they believe their target audience is watching. You can do this with PFP advertising, too.
Start by analyzing your online sales data to determine the days and hours your conversion rates are at their highest and lowest points. If you don't have this data accessible, you can use web analytics reports such as HitBox or WebTrends to at least discover the peaks and valleys of your site traffic, although this data could be misleading in defining a daypart strategy because your ultimate goal is sales, not traffic.
Jump into top positions by increasing your bids. Remember to check the minimum position you can be in to ensure your listing appears on that PFP's distribution partner sites. In periods of low site conversions, lower your PFP positions to reduce the flow of traffic to your web site. This tactic increases the profit margins of your overall campaign.
Manually making these changes across multiple search engines is time-consuming . Luckily, a few bid management services, provided by GO TOAST or Did-it.com, for example, allow you to set timed bids. Both of these services are reviewed in greater detail in Part V, "Tracking Your Return on Investment."
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