Friday, March 30, 2007

The Big Emphasis on Bid Management

When you talk to various search engine marketing firms, they all talk about their toolset. Same with potential investors, "What are you using for a tool?" if you are going to manage 1000s of keywords, how can you do it without an amazing automated tool. People expect all kinds of things out of these tools - they dance, they sing, they do all kinds of things. They have this mysterious black box quality seeing patterns no human can see. what's reality?

Well, most tools simply automate a set of rules that are established like: stay within position 1-3 as long as cost is not great than $1. They do not look at portfolio vs. volume. There's only a few that do that. None of these tools write ads, tune landing pages or improve quality score. I can show you the math, but trust me, there are more ways to improve your cost of acquisition then bid management.

Quality score, you ask, what's that? Well, the big search engine folks at Google, Yahoo and MSN don't just take your bid prices and show your ad based on what you're willing to pay. No they are looking for the most they can get per search engine result. That means they care about how many clicks you actually get. They also have their long term interest in mind, so they also evaluate how well your keywords, ads and landing pages match. They also look at how sets of keywords are organized in ad groups. There are even time delay factors. We think there over 50 of these factors. A lot of this has to do with how your campaigns are organized and managed.

So a simple automated tool doesn't completely do the trick. Even a great one does not work if you don't have enough data. This is where processes and highly trained personnel come in that work in a holistic way from strategy to keyword to click to lead to revenue. Bid management is important, but it's only one part of the elephant. Beware of those that seek to rope you in with fancy sounding technology, because this stuff is a lot of detailed effort that only works when there's a lot of focus on the campaign.

And yeah, we do have one of those more advanced ROI based portfolio optimization tools...

Cool Pitch Slide Show

You have to complement the Boston Globe for putting together an excellent slide show on Matsusaka's pitching repetoire. Shows how he holds & throws, velocity, breaks, and how the catcher sees it. The net is so cool in this way. Just makes baseball more fun to watch. Can't wait till they one day add video to all this.

This is why being a Red Sox fan is so cool. You just don't get stuff like this in less passionate sports towns.

Oh yeah, in addition to the view of the famous gyroball in the link, go here to see a cool Japanese cartoon on it.

New Travel Client: ezeego1

We just signed up ezeego1, a new travel bazaar focused on India set up by the well-established UK travel operator, Cox & Kings. This agreement has us a their exclusive digital marketing agency providing our full suite of services + strategic guidance. We expect great growth to occur for them in India and around the world.

Congrats to the team for putting together a win-win for both sides!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Client: ResponseLINK

We have already started work with a great new client - ResponseLINK. They have a personal emergency alert service specifically designed for seniors who want to live in their own home yet still have some monitoring. It is a excellent service for caregivers like family and friends who can know that their loved one is doing OK. ResponseLINK's SafetyLINK offering is a personal emergency service, so that if something happens, help can arrive at the touch of a button. Their WellnessLINK and RxLINK services allow for wakeup calls, wellness checks and reminders to take meds. The CompleteLINK service puts it all together for as little as $55/month.

We really like this kind of client because it has tremendous benefit for seniors who want the freedom of living independently yet have care that is unobtrusive. For family and doctors and nurses there is comfort in knowing that the beloved patient has some form of monitoring. For the healthcare system, this can dramatically reduces the cost of care for the growing senior population. It's a win all around.

At Position2, we are very excited about growing this business to take full advantage of the web and search engine marketing so that more people can hear about them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cracking the Code

I haven't blogged in a while because we've been knee deep in cracking the code for our clients. Part of the game in PPC is in optimizing according to a given goal, whether it's clicks, leads or revenue - that's right revenue. When clients give us access to actual revenue data, we can change our optimization process. That's more than simply adjusting bids - we adjust ads, budgets and landing pages as well.

One finance client gave us a goal to get them a 1000s of mortgage leads and do it quickly. Once we got to the right thresholds, we then managed the costs to actual revenue. This enabled our client to get to the right volume for various lead buyers, then by hitting profitability. The key to this is creating the right search engine account and messaging structure from the beginning. Initially, progress is slow until it just explodes. Once it explodes bringing costs under control is relatively straightforward.

Because we work across multiple industries those same tools and processes can be adapted to each other. For example for an internet dating client, we grew their ad spend 10x while keeping their cost per trial constant. Because they earn a certain proft per trial, this is like getting 10x greater profits - not counting the network effects of having more members. More members mean more revenue opportunities. There are so many examples of this with our clients and others who truly "get" search engine marketing.

It's a blast when the team cracks the code, because now a client can see the true benefits of rapid growth through search engine marketing. PPC becomes a profit engine.