Paid Search and The Honest Date
Paid search is a lot like dating. Think of each individual keyword as a type of girl. And just like dating in real life, you have to play the field and find the strongest matches possible (keeping in mind that this analogy is for dating, not necessarily a monogamous relationship). There are a few points of advice that I would give in both worlds: be yourself, be honest, and you might just find your match. Otherwise, you end up being that guy in the bar that never takes his beer goggles off (never optimizing your PPC campaign). You can pretend all you want, but eventually you will realize that the one night stand (someone who visits your site once and leaves without performing the goal action) never pays off.
With that in mind, there are a few things that all of these keywords/girls have in common:
- They all think that they are the most attractive girl in the room. They almost always have at least a handful of guys hitting on them at the same time. You won’t usually get a chance to give them your pickup line (Text Ad) all alone, so it better be impressive. Only a few years ago, an advertiser in Google or Yahoo! had little or no competition for most keywords.
- Years ago, there were a bunch of girls at the bar and only a few guys. As web-sales grow at an exponential rate, however, so does advertiser competition. Now, the proportion of girls to guys in the room has changed. One might call it a sausage fest. It is more important than ever to bring your “A Game” to the bar.
- They all have better things to do than hear your lines. These girls are very busy, and are looking to find a match as quickly as possible. They have lives just like the rest of us, and probably don’t want to hang out at all night every night. When someone goes online to search for a product or service, they are typically doing it on their lunch hour, or even right before they go to bed. They are only going to give your text ad a glance at best.
The steps taken to find the right girl are like finding the right keyword; it takes time. But here is some advice Uncle Alex:
You have to play the field to find your type: Be open minded; what you think is your type might not actually be your type, and vise versa. Until you find the one that you have a lot in common with, you never know what your perfect fit might be. In the world of PPC, you must start with a diverse list of keywords and do some testing before you can properly shave back the campaign. Then let the market data dictate your next move.
Your text ad is your pick up line: You should never use the same pickup line on girls, so why have the same text ad for all your keywords? You have to do some testing to find the magic words. Keep in mind that each keyword is essentially its own market (or type of girl). Also remember the magic rules, be honest and be yourself. If I was at a sports bar with a soccer game on TV, I might mention that I used to play soccer in middle school. That was a long time ago, though, so I definitely would not mention that to every girl I meet at every bar. At the same time, if I was at a sports bar but I hated sports, I should probably find another bar to go to. So, I would suggest not bidding on those inappropriate keywords in the first place.
Try a few different pick up lines:
Can you guess which one is going to work more times than not?
“Awwww, I bet you say that to all the girls” The number one rule in ad text creation is so make her feel like you’re talking to her and only her. So, make your copy as relevant as possible.
Your pickup line will be evaluated by meeting the parents: Google and Yahoo! are like the girl’s parents – they will judge the quality of your character before you ever get a chance to give her your best pickup line. That’s right, they are going to judge your intent based on whether you mention something relevant to their daughter. Google and Yahoo! give you a quality score based on what text ad you group to each keyword. They are going to make it very expensive to get keywords that you don’t really have business in bidding on. On the other hand, they are going to give you a competitive price and position advantage if you have a really relevant text ad for each group of keywords, just like a girl’s parents can give you an advantage if they like you.
Guess What? Dates aren’t free! If a girl listens to your pickup line and decides to go on a date with you, you’re picking up the check. In the world of PPC, each click costs money! The funny thing is that some of my clients pay as much per click as they would for a real-life first date. You obviously don’t want to take everyone you have ever met on a date; you would go broke in a second. Even more specifically, you don’t want to take every girl at the sports bar out on a date, either.
Make sure your pickup isn’t attracting the wrong crowd: Ever heard the phrase, “I just attract all the crazies?” Well, the same goes for the world of PPC. Don’t claim you’re a doctor unless you are one. If you sell expensive vases, don’t put the word “cheap” in your ad text. You are breaking the rules of being honest and being yourself; and you will pay dearly for it by attracting the wrong girls/visitors.
Your landing page is the first date: So you got her there; all of those pickup lines/text ads impressed her. Now what? If you promised her flowers, you had better have them sitting at eye level when she first walks into the room. Otherwise, you will have wasted the money on the date/click. The relationship between the pickup line and the date should be as simple as this: Make a simple promise (in the pickup line) and keep it (on the first date). You can’t tell her your life story in a pickup line, though, and you don’t have to tell her too much on the first date, either.
Here’s where the listening comes in: If you are a girl reading this article, you might have been thinking that I was perhaps missing the most important part of dating - listening. It also happens to be one of the most important parts of paid search. Ever heard of Google analytics? Once you have spent the money to take a girl out on a date, you had better take the time to listen to her and learn from the date. The same goes with Pay Per Click; track the performance of keywords, ad texts, and everything else you could possibly think of (trade secrets).
Don’t be that guy: You know the old, fat, bald guy at the end of the bar who still talks about his days in college. Once you’ve matured, stop acting like the juvenile. Learn from your mistakes and don’t keep going after the girls that you already know are not a good fit. Once you get a big enough chunk of data in paid search, its time to optimize your account. Stop even wasting your time spitting game on the girls who just aren’t right for you.
Some girls just aren’t right for you: No matter how attractive she is, time and time again, she proves to be a heart breaker. I help a lot of my clients cope with this situation based on some of their beloved keywords. Some business owners couldn’t conceive of not bidding on a keyword that they think is the lifeblood of their business. My advice is always the same - let the data speak for itself. You can chase a girl till the end of time, but if it’s not going to work, she will bleed you dry (and bleed your PPC budget).
So, when it all comes down to it, this is both a lesson in dating and in Paid Search. I find myself wondering if my dating experience is influencing my paid search tactics or visa versa. Either way, I feel that honesty is a great approach to just about every thing we do in life. Unfortunately, businesses often optimize their paid search campaigns about as often as your (five times divorced) uncle Larry optimizes his dating approach. Stay tuned and I’ll try and build out this analogy even more!November 20, 2007 3:35 pm Paid Search