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SMX West – Avoiding PPC Pitfalls – Amplify Overview

I had the opportunity to go to the Search Marketing Expo (SMX West) in Santa Clara, California last week. Here are some notes I jotted down during the session: Avoiding PPC Pitfalls. For further reading, I’ve found other resources covering this topic here and here.

SMX West: Avoiding PPC Pitfalls

Speakers:
Addie Connor, Director of Search Marketing, Course Advisor Inc.
Amy Konefal, Director of Search Marketing, Closed Loop Marketing
David Szetela

First up is Amy. She’s going to talk about match types. You should be very concerned with match types (as we’ve detailed with our blog post about Target bidding for, well, just about everything). Did a case study on a client they audited that wasted 109k on “untargeted” keyword phrases in four months. Wow! Broad match not only expands on a keyword… but it also contracts a keyword. So not tightening up your PPC campaigns can lead to a lot of wasted $$$.

Match Type Guidelines:

1) Take the time to build a comprehensive keyword list for strategic terms – including all plurals, relevant stems, reversals, etc.

2) Avoid broad/advanced matching on general terms

3) Build out an extensive negative list

4) Monitor and analyze your Search Query Performance reports and/or log files to add more negative keywords

Potential solution for small budgets – eliminate borad & advanced match altogether. Advertisers have reported higher CTR, conversions, conversion rate, etc.

Addie was up next to talk about architectural & account structure. Think of it as being your PPC campaign’s skeleton – without a strong foundation, your campaign will crumble. Also an organized account structure makes you more efficient. Apparently, MSN’s PPC platform treats your newly created account as having the highest quality score possible then knocks it down as time goes on. This is something Google or Yahoo do not do. So whenever creating new PPC campaigns on MSN, it might be beneficial to start a new account altogether if the account you inherited or have been working on for some time is in the dumps.

David was last and talked about contextual advertising. Basically, he wanted us to keep in mind:

a) readers are not searching for you
b) readers are generally not in any sort of “buying” phase if they do see your contextual ad

He went on to say that the primary problem of the Content Network is that they just show your ad on the wrong page. It’s not your fault either – this guy really had a bone to pick against Google’s Content Network and how it’s pretty much a big failure. Was pretty funny to sit through really.

Had a QnA section that followed but had some somewhat interesting questions. Overall, I’d have to say with the exception being David, this session was one of the weakest. It just seemed a little too… amateur’ish for a SMX West crowd. That and Addie’s presentation with a purple background with blue font text and some yellow thrown in there for good measure wasn’t the easiest to read.

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