When does PPC Become Mainstream?

12 comments

Is it when you hear an advert during the breakfast show on a commercial London radio station for a PPC management company?

I don't know if this is worthy of TW news per se, but I do have some thoughts on it so decided to "blog it" rather than submit a thread.

I listen to the radio pretty much all day long. My station of choice isn't music based but a news and talk show based format. Whilst this is common in North America it is rare in the UK. There was a try at starting up the talk radio genre in Blighty by Talk Radio a few years ago, but even they changed their format and became sports focussed, now calling themselves Talk Sport.

Anyway, I listen to LBC and during the breakfast show, with the wannabe shock jock Nick Ferrari over the last few days I have heard an advert for Top Position a PPC management company that his this to say about itself.

Quote:
Top Position specialise in helping businesses of all sizes to increase the effectiveness of their Google AdWords campaigns by improving click-through rates while reducing costs. This is achieved using an approach based around developed, highly targeted campaigns which provide Google users with the results they need more easily, while clients reduce overspend and improve conversion rates.

Now my thoughts aren't whether Top Position are a great or not PPC company but has SEM hit the mainstream. I have never heard an advert on the radio nor seen an advert on the TV before promoting SEM.

I would be VERY curious to hear from someone at Top Position about the effectiveness of their radio advertising campaign and why they, rather than their competitors had the big balls it took to make the decision to utilise this route to the business execs stuck in the London traffic jams.

Comments

Cowboys

>> probably we should just go and argue with the charletans, whatever they label themselves, and not beat up each other ;)

Good point Gurtie, didn't mean to offend. As I said, I use marketing agencies and offline marketing myself and I do understand the importance of branding. Let's just face fact that there are cowboys on both sides of the fence!

Yes, thread was going off-track somewhat. Back to the original issue. Yes, the use of radio advertising by TP is definitely symptomatic of a general increase in mainstream acceptance of SEM. Have a look at this New Media Age article http://www.nma.co.uk/Document.aspx?did=dcc904cd-6549-4e39-a867-7b3e54e2d8f2 Internet marketing budgets received the highest number of increases compared to all other media in Q4 2004

I do 90 something % of my mar

I do 90 something % of my marketing efforts online but I do undertake some very basic offline marketing.

The reason I say basic is that I am an online marketing guy. I think I, and my team, are pretty good at what we do, but definately more experienced and knowledgeable at working with search engines and ensuring a positive ROI through them, than by using the print, radio, tv or other offline marketing avenues.

That isn't to say that I can't do the basics offline and show a positive ROI for my or my client's investment.

On that same basis I think that there are many traditional marketing companies that can do the basics online extremely well. Effective PPC account management does require skills that traditional marketing companies may not have and understanding the algos in place, across a multitude of engines and an evern greater number of markets requires skillsets and knowledge that even many SEM/O companies would like to have more of.

I am not a proffesional driver but I can find my way to pretty much anywhere I want to go using tools such as an A to Z If I wanted to get there quickly, efficiently, without getting stuck in the traffic james you'd find on the main roads then a professional black cab would be sensible choice. I'd pay more for the priveledge but when all is said and done you pay for the expertise, the experience and knowledge.

Marketing on or offline is no different.

We can manage without the experience but it may not be the best way to get most benefit.

Taking the thread back on track :) I want to once again doff my proverbial hat to the execs at Top Position for being (as far as I am aware) being the 1st SEM company that is using traditional media to market their services. We all owe them a debt of gratitude as well as by them investing in this advertising the general awareness (at least in London) of Search related issues is increased.

I have asked Top Position to comment but as of yet have received no reply. To Messrs Top Position execs, I welcome your points of view :D

trackable advertising campaigns;

each ad has a nice code printed on it (press will even increment the code to your specification automatically if you buy a run). TV you can try and put a code in there but it won't get picked up so much Interactive TV is presumably easy (don't work for agencies any more so haven't done that I confess). Radio see below.

Then when you get a response you get the ad code (if you have decent people on the phone this can be quite easy, or if you plan the campaign properly even if people don't have the ad in front of them or are replying to a TV or radio slot a couple of questions like "what part of the ad caught your attention" can normally get you the campaign and at least approx date).

If you're aiming for online responses you can ask them to use an unique url (rarely works) or you can target the homepage so that respondees are most likely to click on a specific link which you can then track. Obviously you can request info on online order. It isn't perfect but nor is PPC in terms of actual source if they visit more than once.....

I honestly find a lot more SEO/SEM companies don't track 'properly' than ones who've evolved from offline marketing agencies (who, in my experience, nearly always track media because it's drummed in from the first day on the job).

I've had problems with SEO companies charging clients minimum amounts when it could be done better for half the price - so probably we should just go and argue with the charletans, whatever they label themselves, and not beat up each other ;)

Tracking press ads

OK, using those methods, how many times can you say we spent £50k and made £100k?

In my experience, if you compare ACTUAL spend with ACTUAL TRACKABLE sales then advertising looks like it loses money almost everytime. However, people do it because they understand the importance of branding, etc. eg. someone may see ad for holiday firm in Dec but not buy off them until May.

Tracking press ads

Unique urls, unique 0800s/# nos, offer codes, unique addresses (xxx dept or PO box), prior and post market research, etc etc etc

BTW...

BTW, I'm not slagging off all advertising/marketing agencies. I use some myself and they do they good-quality, inspired work. But, some of these agencies that are now turning their hand to PPC are not doing a good job.

Example. I had a look at the Adwords account for a big agency working for a financial services client. Their whole campaign consisted of about 10 keywords. They were broad-matching on terms like 'insurance'!! Consequently, they were probably paying about 70% more for the traffic than they should have been. They were charging about £4000 a month management fee and that whole campaign probably took about 1 hour a month to manage.

Trackable advertising campaign??

>> bollocks. Why would an advertising campaign be untrackable?

Can you please explain how you can track a press advertising campaign?

In my experience

Not all client companies can track lead or sale source effectively without a lot of effort so not all companies can or want to pay using a profit share or equivelant. It then comes down to flat retainer, billed hourly rate or % of advertising spend. I work for a "mainstream advertising and marketing agency" and "handle accounts of big PLCs" so I guess if I was more sensitive I ought to get offended ;O)

easy tiger....

>>deflect the conversation back to something they feel comfortable with (like ripping a client off for an exorbitantly expensive, untrackable advertising campaign with no guarantee of results).

bollocks. Why would an advertising campaign be untrackable? And I've seen some pretty crappy results on ppc campaigns conducted by so called SEM companies as I'm sure have you. Contrary to popular belief people who work in marketing have a pretty good interest in keeping their clients business healthy. Its symbiotic not parasetic.

>> There are PPC agencies that are true SEO/SEM companies and consequently are, by nature, imbued with the mentality that campaigns must give ROI. Then, there are the above advertising/marketing agencies that are now declaring themselves as PPC agencies. They get paid a % of the monthly spend. This means the more they spend, the more they get paid as a fee.

There are good and bad in SEO and traditional advertising/marketing. There's a difference between advertising and marketing and also (IMO) one between SEO and SEM. Just because you can get someone to the top of the organic SERPS doesn't mean you can write targeted PPC copy and vice versa. There's nothing inherently wrong in getting paid on a commission basis as long as you do the work properly for it (no I don't get paid like that but it's no less fair than charging by the hour if the results are equally good).

No Surprise

Doesn't surprise me in the slightest, due to the fact that PPC is now being sold by mainstream advertising and marketing agencies. These companies handle the accounts of big PLCs, etc. They inevitably get asked by their clients for 'Search Engine Marketing' services along with their advertising campaigns. The agencies know nothing about SEO and are, quite frankly, scared of it. Therefore, in the past they have shied away from their clients requests and quickly deflect the conversation back to something they feel comfortable with (like ripping a client off for an exorbitantly expensive, untrackable advertising campaign with no guarantee of results). Now, they are increasingly turning to PPC to fulfill their client's requirements. They like PPC because it is transparent and easily manageable. They like it because it is a more marketable commodity and they don't have to deal with us geeks.

PPC Management agencies tend to fall into two categories in my opinion. There are PPC agencies that are true SEO/SEM companies and consequently are, by nature, imbued with the mentality that campaigns must give ROI. Then, there are the above advertising/marketing agencies that are now declaring themselves as PPC agencies. They get paid a % of the monthly spend. This means the more they spend, the more they get paid as a fee. Which would you use to give best ROI on your campaigns?

From my knowledge Google themselves

From my knowledge Google themselves don't promote on mass-media
channels, except the internent of course.
I never saw or heard of an SEM advertisement on tv/radio before so this is interesting.
I can only assume that fast/overture have had previous experience with wider media tracks, but generraly speaking IMHO PPC is still far from mainstream.

LBC

I have memories of crying with laughter listening to their afternoon call in show where people 'discussed' topical issues of the day. Almost makes me nostalgic for London. Almost.

I'd say that's a very very clever move to be honest. And pretty cheap. Lets face it they need to promote the idea to people who haven't thought about it, not just appear top themselves....