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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Observations of a PPC Newbie.
    My friend suggested I try the PPC game. Well, he's not getting a Christmas gift next year. Actually, I should buy him something through one of my links so I can see what a 3rd sale looks like..now I know why that analyst the other day predicted that GOOG was going to $2,000..I now say that's conservative!
    It's going on 3 weeks and I don't see this thing turning around all of a sudden. I'm trying different Clickbank and CJ campaigns..and nada..
    And at an average of $18/day....well you get my drift..
    The thing of it is my CTR's on the keywords that Google even shows aren't bad(3-8%). It seems like none of my merchants convert. Any rule of thumb on when to move on to another? I also noticed that most of you have website/s. Is that the only viable method of PPC these days? I would appreciate any "turning the corner" input or suggestions.
    tia,
    J.

  2. #2
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jono
    My friend suggested I try the PPC game. Well, he's not getting a Christmas gift next year. Actually, I should buy him something through one of my links so I can see what a 3rd sale looks like..now I know why that analyst the other day predicted that GOOG was going to $2,000..I now say that's conservative!
    It's going on 3 weeks and I don't see this thing turning around all of a sudden. I'm trying different Clickbank and CJ campaigns..and nada..
    And at an average of $18/day....well you get my drift..
    The thing of it is my CTR's on the keywords that Google even shows aren't bad(3-8%). It seems like none of my merchants convert. Any rule of thumb on when to move on to another? I also noticed that most of you have website/s. Is that the only viable method of PPC these days? I would appreciate any "turning the corner" input or suggestions.
    tia,
    J.
    may we assume you don't have a web site? some time ago, someone said here that he didn't, and he worked with lead programs for the most part.

  3. #3
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    nope, I don't have a site. I bid on keywords, write Ads and pay Google

  4. #4
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    "Any rule of thumb on when to move on to another?"

    Many people who do "PPC" use the rule of 100 or even 200 clicks and no sales -- then ditch the campaign or merchant and replace them with another that could possibly use the same keywords.

    Some use the rule of advertising cost equilvalent to 1 sale or lead commission or even 2 sales or leads commission. Meaning if the commission is $20 and if you've spent $20 on clicks and have no sales, then ditch the merchant or replace them.

    Don't give up on PPC right away. The "specialists" also say it can take 7 to 10 failed campaigns to find 1 winner. I've even read of one person who had 45 failed campaigns, and then found a winner (it was a good one too).

    Your keywords may be too broad. That may be why your CTR is okay but no conversions.

    Try narrowing them down to being very specific and not having too many in an ad group -- using the keyword or keyword phrase in the Title and if possible in the ad itself.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    I appreciate your response and tomorrow will calculate how many of these campaigns have overstayed their welcome..and by all means, let me know if anything else comes to mind. I think my keywords are pretty specific, however I use a software to pop out keyword phrases and the like. Perhaps I have too many in my Ad group. I sense that I need to get a better feel for whether I'm wasting my resources on a poorly converting merchant. It seems like that is the most important variable of all.
    Thanks again,
    J.

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettnthar
    Your keywords may be too broad. That may be why your CTR is okay but no conversions.

    Try narrowing them down to being very specific and not having too many in an ad group -- using the keyword or keyword phrase in the Title and if possible in the ad itself.
    This bears repeating.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    This is long, but it should demystify this a lot.

    One thing I don't see mentioned in this thread is bid price.

    It's easy to get carried away and keep bidding up, either out of trying to "beat" the other bidders, or just from trying to get the traffic coming faster.

    This is the way to shirt loss.
    BID CHEAP, or at least pretty cheap.

    $18/day may not mean anything more than you paying too much. If you pay $1/click, that'd only be 18 clicks/day, and at most commission rates, you'd end up solidly in the red once the average conversion ratio is considered. If you paid 50c, that'd be 36 clicks/day for the $18--still not enough to make money from many, if any, merchants.

    Dump that bid down to 20c, and you get 90 clicks for the $18. Now you're in the ballpark of possibly getting a sale most days. But, it still cost you $18 for the sale! So, make sure you're promoting something where the commission is more than $18, or you lose! At 10% commish, you'd have to be pushing a $180 item just to break even in this scenario...pretty hard to sell one of those every 90 clicks, with most merchants. And remember, sometimes people click through to the expensive item, decide they really can't afford that--and buy something that cost 1/3 of what you expected them to buy. When that happens, you lose.

    So bid cheaper yet, 15c, better yet, 10c...

    $18/10c = 180 clicks. Much better. Now you're going to average more than a sale/day if the merchant converts at 1% (but it'll be SPIKEY, some days 2 sales, some with none, etc.!). At that rate, you aren't limited to hoping someone drops $180 just to break even. And you have "room" to test more merchants and products without ending up wearing a barrel right away.

    TRAFFIC LEVELS.

    At such cheap bids, you run up against the fact that your ad doesn't show very prominently. So it can be hard to actually *get* the 180 clicks. How you get by this, is NOT to bid up! You run MORE CHEAP ADS so all the onesy twosy responses add up to the 180 clicks.

    It is better to run 100 cheaply bidded ads that get (averaged out) 1.8 clicks each, or 300 that get .7 of a click each (about 1 click every 36 or so hours), than it is to run 1 expensive one and get 18 clicks/day.

    What you do NOT want happening, is a flood of expensive clicks banging in there quick. PATIENCE grasshopper as the saying goes.

    FINANCIALS

    Make sure to only do PPC to items/merchants whose products and commission are high enough to reasonably expect a profit, considering their conversion ratio. The sweet spot is a decently-expensive item--but that's not so expensive that people will bother with comparison shopping!

    Comparison shoppers ARE THE ENEMY! The enemy of PPC bidders. They click, click, click, like mad, jacking up your costs. And they may even click between your ad, and other ads, causing a NEW CLICK for each comparison they do! Not only that, they may never actually buy the thing online, or at least, not from your link!

    Those infernal people are only good for the PPC engine, which watches all of this with great Ebenezerish delight as your account is drained dry!

    So AVOID bidding on any comparison-drawing type of thing. And AVOID any verbiage in your title or description that would encourage price-checking. If the merchant's site encourages people to check and see how expensive the rest of the place is--AVOID sending paid traffic there!

    You want the people to BUY! IMMEDIATELY! With a site and free traffic, that's just "preferable." With PPC, IT'S ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that people do not use your ad as a jumpoff for comparisons!

    Monopolies are the best. That is, where no other merchant has The Item. That way, the clickers can't comparison shop, because there's nobody to compare with. Plus, if they want the item, they HAVE TO buy it from the one merchant who's got it. If that's YOUR merchant, you've got a huge advantage: the only competition will be their other affiliates.

    The above is why small merchants are King. Some of them have dud items, but if they've got a good item and few affiliates bidding against you, You Win, as long as you keep your bid amounts right.

    STEALTH NUKES!
    You may find yourself nuked by stealth. That is, things that cause you to lose your shirt that you wouldn't expect until you have it happen!

    This is a way to describe what happens if you hit a DEADBEAT merchant. A deadbeat is the worst kind of nuke, because their reports SAY you're doing great and cause you to keep bidding. But then, the check doesn't come! Leaving you not just out the commish, but out the PPC money as well. NUKED!

    So do your due diligence before bidding. Never mind how big the name is--some of them are the slowest payers and nonpayers. SEARCH ABW for posts about a merchant before bidding. If they have complaints, see what kind. If the complaint is that they don't communicate, etc. ("social issues") no biggie--you still Win if they know how to cut checks and leave their tracking code on. If the complaint is that they don't pay, or reverse a lot--RUN! Deadbeats are death!

    I already gave comparison shoppers a righteous flaming earlier. They will nuke your PPC account and wreck your conversion ratio and network-reported EPC while they're at it.

    Undesireable items that people are curious about (the "who's selling THAT!?" effect). This is another Stealth Nuke. Avoid things that people hear about, maybe from blogs or TV--that are generating the WRONG KIND of interest. Sometimes, people just want to SEE the WEIRDNESS rather than actually buy any. *(Better to make a web page for those "weirdness" items--get free SE traffic to it--and then put AdSense on it, so you earn PPC money, rather than spending it.)

    This post is overlong already, so I'll stop now. But, keep in mind that there is always more to learn than what can be put in one post!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  8. #8
    Advocate mellie's Avatar
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    Wow Leader what a great post, thanks. I know I am going to reevaluate my campaigns today.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    Leader, Excellent suggestions. This is the kind of advice that makes us proud of ABW!

    cheers!
    -nishith

  10. #10
    All Around Web Guy Cursal's Avatar
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    What nish said.

    "bows"
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  11. #11
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
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    Leader

    great post PPC 101 for newbies


    One addition...if the ads are tanking, limit the distribution to google only as the "search partners" include AOL(with aol and google together hopefully the same soon), Nextag, Shopping.com and others. Don't even get me started on the "content" network.

  12. #12
    Member Proverb's Avatar
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    Dang. Great post from Leader.

    I'm relatively new to PPC but am turning into a believer. I came to AM in general via content websites. Luckily, they were labors of love because the amount of time and effort it took to get them to the point where they generated enough free traffic that converted into a reasonable amount of affiliate income was so high that I'd avoid a content site from scratch like the plague if I could do things over.

    You don't have a content site - so hats off to you.

    As to running campaigns that yield a decent ROI, for what it's worth here's what I've learned.

    1. Know your product(s).
    2. Know your target market(s).
    3. Do your homework as to who the players are with respect to the products and markets you want to sell to. In other words, know the competition.

    BIG LESSON (for me): The Internet's a BIG place with both a tremendous number of sellers and a tremendous number of potential buyers. Bigger than we can imagine. This means that at any given moment there are potential buyers looking for what your merchant has to sell. Point is, you can set your parameters and find product that fit if you do the leg work.

    4. As Leader so aptly stated, find products that pay a decent commission and bid low. If you have one product it may take forever to make a sale, but the investment/return should out. To make sales sooner, find more products that fit the profile. Don't chase a couple of products, run more campaigns that target different products. Pay less for more.

    It took 200+ clicks before I made my first PPC sale - and earned a $131 commission, but those 200+ clicks cost me slightly less than $40.

    I took the slow road. One product at a time, adding another product campaign frequently as I saw how previous campaigns were doing.

    One thing I have to say though is I really knew my products and market before joining the PPC game. I think that's where my real competitive edge lies. I can tell by what products other PPC players are going for in my chosen category that they don't really know this particular marketplace. I'm getting close to the point where I want to start campaigns for products that I'm not as familiar with and it will require effort, discipline and patience to start working with a new category, but I'm not too happy about having all my eggs in a one category basket.

    I guess I could summarize this into: bid low, sell high, run a good number of campaigns with this approach - but really do your homework with respect to the market.

  13. #13
    Crazy like a fox suzigeek's Avatar
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    Bookmarked this thread in my PPC Tools Favorites Folder.

    When I get back into ppc I'll be studying this. Thanks everyone

    This is why I love this board!
    Suz~~GearGirl~~

  14. #14
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    Not sure it's good a timing to work with PPC or not.

    One of my merchants, before 20 clicks /sale
    now,one day 150 clicks got one small sale. and sometimes 200 clicks one small sale.
    another day better, 200 clicks got 6 sales,but most of them really small.

    seems like one day limit only one guy buy something, one day, everybody free to buy.

    I have one advice, don't try to bid too high, especially for content.
    I try one merchant, put it for content bid, first I tried it for 1 dollar/ 1000impression
    no impression at all
    then after few days I bid it up 2dollars/1000 impression, after few days, no impression at all.
    one week later, I am not patient, bid it for 3 dollars/ 1000 impression. after few days, still no impression.
    so I just leave it, and forget about it.
    don't know why, suddently one day morning I get up, I found that campaign's cost is $98,my god,and only got 18 clicks.no sales at all,I paused it right away.
    look into it.it's only few hours, this campaign shows 59,769 times,it's not 3 dollars/1000 impression. but My money burned so fast.
    I sent mails to Google for that,they said,it's really show on many content side.it's no fault.

    After that,I never try content bid any more.

  15. #15
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    Hey thanks everybody..I really appreciate the input! I can see already that I'm not adequately investigating the Merchant side of the equation..I'm loading up the Keywords Software and copying and pasting my way to the poorhouse at Google.
    No more..Gonna revamp the campaigns and cut the dead wood out. Thanks again for the replies..
    J.

  16. #16
    Life is Supposed to be Fun! Rexanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proverb
    Dang. Great post from Leader.

    I'm relatively new to PPC but am turning into a believer. I came to AM in general via content websites. Luckily, they were labors of love because the amount of time and effort it took to get them to the point where they generated enough free traffic that converted into a reasonable amount of affiliate income was so high that I'd avoid a content site from scratch like the plague if I could do things over.
    LOL LOL Proverb. I hear you 100 and 10 percent! I could have written the above statement, too and MEANT it.

    And great info on PPC Leader, et al. I will be diving into PPC at some point this year and this will help a lot. Thank you!
    Peace,

    Rexanne

    Rexanne.com
    Loving Everyone's Child Creates Magic


  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Nice summary of the technique and pitfalls of PPCSE Leader. I personally have never used any PPCSE to drive traffic to my site as no merchant is willing to stand by their ability to convert targeted traffic. If they could, then the traffic has to run through the carefully laid out merchant diversion traps, coupon point of sale attack dogs and the BHO interlopers.

    Now my merchant clients all know their PPCSE conversion ratios and would panic if they did worse then a 1 sale per 40 click rate. ROI and conversions are even higher for them if I find targeted traffic sites they can place CPM or slotting fee placements. Only Google's adsense performance justifies any involvement in the content side of keyword placement. Syndication to site scrapers, template expired domain traffic, BHO search bar hijackers and the get-paid-to wanks makes every PPCSE from Yahoo down to the sewer just a keyword account draining con-job.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

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