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Notes From Amazing PPC Tactics Session From SMX Advanced 2009
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Amazing PPC Tactics

by on 06/15/09 at 3:17 am

We had the opportunity to attend SMX Advanced 2009 and this video and post to share with you from the Amazing PPC Tactics session in the paid search track. Below are notes from the session. Enjoy!

Top Takeaways from Amazing PPC Tactics

Dan Thies, Stompernet

Dan Thies of Stompernet kicked off the round of insight with a very aggressive approach toward PPC. I may be way off, but my take on his methodology is to simply outbid and out optimize your competition. Understanding the importance of CTR to Quality Score, Thies says to secure that top position, get the highest CTR and eventually the cost will stablize.

Thies says not to fear day-parting, but to take advantage of it based on conversion rates and value per click data. To figure out the amount you should be paying per click, Thies says to calculate conversion rate by average order value to get revenue per visit, then multiply that number by the percentage of net profit you make to get the max amount you should be paying per click.


3.31 conversion rate X $61.49 average order = $2.03
30% profit X $2.03 = 61 cents per click

Thies says to run one campaign based on “Best Times” and one campaign for “Night Owl” searchers (after hours). Got the next step by offering a Midnight Special coupon offer and of course using different ad creative and bids.

As mentioned above, Thies says to always test at the top and you’re sure to see more sales, traffic and profit. You’ll also gain market dominance by being omnipresent. Another reminder was presented to use exact and phrase matching and to put the entire ad in the landing page, verbatim.

Ryan Lash, Founder and VP Search, ymarketing, LLC

Lash says when it comes to optimizing bids, you have three options:

  1. Use the Conversion Optimizer (AdWords) if you have 30 days of conversion history
  2. Use a 3rd party bid management system (such as Atlas, Search Center, SEM Director, etc)
  3. Or optimize yourself without software

Calculate ideal cost per click (CPC) by looking at existing spend by keyword. Ideal cost can be found by multiplying conversions by target cost per conversion. Ideal CPC should be ideal costs divided by clicks. Based on actual performance, the CPC Sweet Spot will be closer to or effectively half net margin.

Lash says to start with a keyword report every 7, 14 or 30 days and to do some Excel-based calculations (which I’ll have the columns for you for shortly) to optimize bids.

Dan Soha, Founder & SEM Specialist Five Mill, Inc

Dan’s presentation was so fast and furious that I’m going to have come back to this post after I have the deck. However, here are a few bullet points I took down:

For Yahoo!:

  • Try using dynamic keyword insertion using all caps in the title (gray hat)
  • Because Quality Indexed is measured at the ad group level, optimize at the ad group level
  • Analyze CTR within an ad group, pausing low CTR keywords then moving the entire ad group
  • Delete the paused keywords in a moved ad group, then activate the ad group

For Google:

There’s always that one advertiser who owns the top spot with an ad title that kills. Even if you use that title, the advertiser will still win because they have CTR history. To gain control of that spot, you can create a second ad with a different headline, then optimize ad serving in campaign settings and bid above the advertiser. If the advertiser is using bid management software, their automated bid management program will notice a hike in cost and reduce the position, thereby allowing your ad to move up. Once in the top spot, simply change the title to one that the advertiser was using to own the top position for the best title.

Addie Conner, Director of Search Marketing, Course Advisor Inc.

By far my favorite presenter on the topic of PPC, Addie truly defined the “amazing” in Amazing PPC Tactics with real data and statistics. Of course most of that data was presented in the Quality Score Under the Microscope session. Here are some bullet points from Amazing PPC Tactics from Addie’s presentation:

  • It is possible to build sites and double serve ads
  • Higher initial CTR results in higher long term Quality Score
  • Start with an inflated bid
  • Run creative that may be a little more aggressive
  • Start with high quality high traffic keywords
  • Once those kyeowrds achieve desired quality level, relaunch

Summary of Amazing PPC Tactics

Unless you have a nice and fat budget to inflate initial CPC on high quality keywords, you may want to babystep your PPC campaign and grow it over time with a limited number of starting point keywords. If your account has an overall poor Quality Score, it might be time to start over with a new account, considering the fact that the experts have confirmed that there is such a thing as Account-Level Quality Score.

Once you’ve got that 10 Quality Score, choose your max CPC with intelligence and bid during hours where you get the best conversions. I’ll have some more data to add to this post shortly. Hopefully you found the notes useful.

One Comment

Steve G

Dec 22nd, 2009

That is great advice. I've been engaged in IM over the last 3+ years, with some short but very profitable breakthroughs. Am currently seeking a trainee role in SEO or PPC just to see how the corporate monsters do it all. Afterwards, starting my own online venture seems like a good idea. Anything that can help me get a great foothold in an interview is gold dust, so thanks for your insightful comments.

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