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PPC Search: Disclosure vs. Free-for-All
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PPC Search: Disclosure vs. Free-for-All


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Judicious use of additional affiliate sites to buy PPC links can increase overall sales. Uncontrolled use of affiliates to buy PPC results in bid escalation. What's the right mix?

Judicious use of additional affiliate sites to buy PPC links can increase overall sales. Uncontrolled use of affiliates to buy PPC results in bid escalation. What's the right mix?

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  • 1. PPC Search: Disclosure vs. Free-for-All Kevin Lee, Chairman and CEO, Didit
  • 2. What Does Didit Do?
    • Didit transforms clients’ businesses through the application of technology & strategy. We do PPC search better.
    • Didit’s highly regarded proprietary Maestro search campaign technology delivers unparalleled results and client growth. This earned Didit recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (#137) & a #12 position on Deloitte’s Fast 500.
  • 3. Extra Screen Real Estate Helps
    • But at what cost are you driving incremental revenue by controlling and expanding the PPC SERP?
  • 4. Objective of Today’s Discussion
    • What is the best way to maximize profitability of existing and incremental SERP visibility?
      • Every test we conducted proves that there is marginal incremental gain through having additional paid search listings, particularly if the ad (creative execution) is different.
      • How many additional placements?
      • Who should control the primary and incremental visibility?
  • 5. Affiliates & “Performance” Players
    • Supplement your in house or SEM agency’s PPC search efforts or have all search marketing done by affiliates?
      • Outsource PPC search entirely on a “performance” basis
      • Eliminate risk for PPC search campaigns and cede control of volume
      • Capture additional PPC search SERP real estate and orders with minimal bid interference and affiliate-driven CPC escalation
  • 6. Contrast the three options
    • In house PPC SEM
    • Outsourced Agency PPC SEM (fee-based)
    • Outsourced “performance-based SEM agency
    • Controlled Chaos through empowering affiliates to bid on keywords
    • Total free-for-all with affiliate bidding
  • 7. Lock in primary PPC campaign first
    • Until you are sure you’ve made the optimal decision on the team and technology to mange your primary PPC listings, you can’t even begin to analyze how best to tackle incremental listings
    • Perhaps you should review your campaign holistically, starting from the primary campaign and moving outward.
  • 8. Let’s Do the Math for the Primary
    • Question, given $100,000, deliver maximum profit. Evaluate optimal way to buy initial PPC positions for all keywords.
      • In house PPC search buying has full transparency, costs are internal (marketing and IT staff, perhaps a technology licensing fee).
      • An external agency or group must be able to deliver better TOTAL results including their fees (and factoring in your in-house costs). SEM agencies % of spend are transparent, performance shops generally are not.
  • 9. How to Decide for the Primary?
    • PPC Search Auctions magnify strengths & weaknesses, particularly non-brand terms.
      • A more efficient team and technology spends money more efficiently though.
        • Better account structures
        • Better creative
        • Smarter bidding
        • Segmentation modeling that cherry-picks the most valuable clicks by knowing the marginal net-search-profit of every click before bidding.
  • 10. Let’s Do the Math ROAS Differences
    • $100,000 to spend, optimize for profit. Ever get a boost in campaign perf?
      • In a % fee environment, change in ROAS due to technology, expertise or more staffing can make a greater impact on profit than the fee increase.
    What If You Pay… A Low Fee for Low Performance A High Fee for High Performance Media spend, gross $100,000 $100,000 Agency fee 5% 15% Agency fee per $20 spent $5,000 $15,000 Media spend, net $95,000 $85,000 Better technology, strategies and more resources lift ROAS by 20%. ROAS base = 5 5 6 Results: A better firm brings better results, even with less media to spend (given ROAS advantage) $475,000 $510,000 Your net search profit @ 40% margin all-in $ 189,980 $ 203,980
  • 11.
    • Example of data that creates a conversion segmentation model.
    Primary Placement Bid Optimization
  • 12. What are you optimizing to?
    • What are your success metrics as a merchant (single or blended)?
      • ROI (profit per dollar spent)
      • ROAS (Return on Ad Spend / Revenue)
      • CPO (Cost-Per-Order)
      • CPA (Cost Per Action, or scored lead)
      • Do you allow for any of the following as buffers?
      • Lagged orders
      • Cookie loss
      • Brand impact
  • 13. Optimize your success metric(s)
    • Optimize your success metrics across other segments too, not just time-of-day and day-of-week.
      • Geography (geo-segmentation)
      • Engines
      • Position
      • Advanced segmentation (age or gender in MSFT)
  • 14. Primary Optimized Going for Seconds
    • You and your agency learned a lot in the optimization process for the primary ads. If you have an open relationship with a vendor that information isn’t lost.
      • Empower the second player (or affiliate) with the knowledge
      • Regardless of whether they are transparent with you or not, empower them to bid more when it matters if they so choose.
      • If you are paying on a “performance basis” how is an agency making a bid decision?
  • 15. The Bid Escalation Scenario
    • Bid escalation between you and affiliates is challenging enough when you have a primary campaign that is being managed simply.
    • Evolve to a hyper-segmented real-time campaign on the primary and simple rules no longer make sense for the secondary or tertiary players
    • Your primary campaign may have thousands of segments, automated.
  • 16. The Bid Escalation Scenario
    • If your affiliates / technology managing your affiliates doesn’t know what’s going on in the primary campaign they can cause bid escalation inadvertently.
    • Set arbitrary bid caps and you don’t get full advantage of the data-driven segments.
    • What if a secondary copy and landing page experience has greater conversion than the primary?
  • 17. The Opaque Arbitrage Scenario
    • If you can’t see what an affiliate is earning you don’t know how aggressively they are bidding.
    • Bidding aggressiveness is directly correlated with conversion volume
    • Many performance-driven shops are not as aggressive as you might want.
  • 18. The Opaque Arbitrage Scenario
    • Bidding aggressiveness = profit margin for arbitrageurs (performance-based power search affiliates).
    • Small changes in bids result in large positional changes.
    bid Predicted normalized CTR (AdRank) Predicted eCPM True Rank $ 0.82 1.2 0.984 1 $ 0.98 0.9 0.882 4 $ 0.84 1.07 0.8988 2 $ 0.88 0.88 0.7744 5 $ 0.78 1.15 0.897 3
  • 19. Who is learning from your conversion data?
    • If you have a “performance deal,” who is learning from your conversion data?
    • Could you be using additional data to generate more powerful segments for your primary campaign?
    • If conversion of secondary pages or microsites is better than primary positions should be able to flip.
  • 20. You double-paying for conversions?
    • If you have a “performance deal,” and your “partner” is using their own conversion pizxels yoou may be double paying.
    • You must use a central reporting system or de-dupe by:
      • Order #
      • Timestamp/revenue binary pair
  • 21. The Full Transparency Scenario
    • Google + engines don’t share exact quality score, but with a transparent system or vendor you’ll have an opportunity to test the elasticity of the marketplace.
    • Elasticity: small changes in bid result in a permanent or temporary change in position.
    • Decide whether to fight a bit to gain position in full transparency.
  • 22. Conclusion
    • Stay Educated on best practices.
    • Pick the right partners for technology and strategy development
    • Evaluate transparent vs opaque options
    • Never stop testing / segmenting.
    • Copies of PPT?