Archive for the ‘Pay Per Click’ Category

The Google Adwords Ad Auction and Quality Score Explained

July 12, 2010

Who better to explain the Google Ad Auction and the Google Adwords Quality Score than Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian?

In this video, Varian explains the AdWords Ad Auction and how an advertisers max CPC bid and quality score determine how much is paid for a click on

In summary: Max CPC bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank.

Advertisers actual costs per click are calculated by dividing the next advertiser’s ad rank by the given advertiser’s quality score + $0.01.


Microsoft adCenter Spring Update

May 27, 2009

Microsoft adCenter has added several new features this spring to help advertisers: 1).  Save time managing their campaigns, 2). Give them more control over content ads distribution, and 3). Efficiently maintain their accounts to help improve performance.

Specifically the Microsoft adCenter Spring Upgrade gives advertisers the ability to:

•    Apply customer targets and incremental bids at the campaign level.

•    Generate new keywords with improved research and refinement tools.

•    Set and monitor bids with the improved default bid feature.

•    Exclude up to 500 websites where you do not want your content ads to appear.

Microsoft adCenter believes these new feature will help advertisers’ supercharge their ROI.

and Microsoft Wanted To Buy Yahoo’s Search Business…

November 13, 2008

I have recently had some issues with a client’s account in Microsoft’s adCenter.

When Microsoft first launched adCenter – their search advertising system, I signed up and called in for some reason and realized at the time “customer support” was being handled by a call center.

During my call, I asked the CSR if they were an employee of Microsoft and she replied she wasn’t.

I thought maybe they had outsourced customer support initially because they were just launching their service.

I hadn’t called them since.

Yesterday I called in to investigate why my client’s ads were not being displayed under search queries for their brand name.

After a series of questions about the account from the adCenter customer support representative, I told her all I did was load two new text ads – over a week ago.

The entire account hasn’t generated any impressions let alone clicks since.

I then heard some additional voices on my call at which point I asked “is this call being monitored?”

She said “all calls may be monitored.”

I then asked are you in a call center offsite? Yes.

Are you a Microsoft employee? No.

If you have some free time on your hands, call adCenter’s customer support telephone number to discuss the nuances of pay per click advertising with “Microsoft’s” “customer support” staff.

You might be glad Microsoft hasn’t bought Yahoo’s search marketing business.

Microsoft adCenter Customer Support Telephone Number

Microsoft adCenter Customer Support Telephone Number

Pay Per Click Friction

October 4, 2008

There are many tactics search engine advertisers can use by design to either induce searchers to click or not click on their ads until after the ad viewer has self qualified their interest in the advertisers’ message.

Placing an offer’s price in the ad is one tactic often discussed.

Placing a lower price than other visible or known offers can reduce pay per click ad friction with its audience and tends to increase an ads click through rate. However, placing low prices in a pay per click ad doesn’t necessarily translate into more qualified searchers or buyers nor will it translate into high transaction volume.

Another tactic not mentioned as often is placing high price points in the pay per click ad which increases click friction. High price points within pay per click ads purportedly dissuades dis-interested and the budget conscious from clicking through to view the advertiser’s offer.

Today, I came across the most extraordinary example of an advertiser’s use of premium pricing to qualify search traffic I ever recall ever seeing.

Pay Per Click Friction

Pay Per Click Friction

Theoretically, in this example placing their minimum annual fee requirements of $150,000 in the ad would create click friction and cause searchers unwilling to spend $150,000 a year to pass the ad over – thus sparing the advertiser unwanted clicks and costs from disinterested searchers.

However, by placing such a high barrier into their ad this particular advertiser will more than likely experience extremely low click through rates which in turn will create the ultimate form of pay per click advertising friction for instead – the advertiser… lower click through rates, lower ad quality score and ultimately an ad that requires higher bids just to be shown at all.

Will the above example prove to be a successful marketing strategy for the advertiser or will their ad’s premium pricing cause fewer clicks and lower click through rates – ultimately bringing their pay per click advertising campaign to a screeching halt?

Yahoo Search Marketing: Searching for the Smart Start Guide

September 2, 2008

I went to the Yahoo Search Marketing blog for refresher tips on how to optimize Yahoo search marketing pay per click accounts.

Their most recent blog post gave some general ideas on how to improve an ads quality index.

From the Yahoo Search Marketing blog:

“Improve your ad quality by grouping related keywords
If you group your keywords the right way (by themes, such as product or service type, or special offers) and achieve high quality, you could receive a better rank in search results and/or a lower bid.”

These tips along with many others come from Yahoo’s Smart Start Guide.

The Smart Start Guide according to Yahoo, “is a guidebook geared especially toward the beginning search marketer, but it also offers tips for the more advanced Yahoo! Search Marketing advertiser.”

The Yahoo Smart Start Guide chapters include:

  • Getting to know your Yahoo account
  • Building a foundation with strong keywords
  • Organizing ad groups for success
  • Writing effective Yahoo ads
  • Making sure your Yahoo ads are high quality
  • Matching keywords to your customers’ searches
  • Determining effective bids
  • Targeting your Yahoo ads geographically
  • Advertising on content sites other than
  • Tracking your Yahoo results

The Yahoo Search Marketing blog then provides a link to download a pdf version of the Smart Start Guide.

Unfortunately numerous attempts to download the Smart Start Guide to Yahoo’s pay per click advertising system, I ended up with an unreadable pdf document.



I don’t know why the pdf failed, but I don’t think the download error occurred on my end.

Hopefully the Yahoo Search Marketing blog team will receive news of this blog post ping and fix their Smart Start Guide pdf download.

Otherwise, I will have to keep searching for answers to my Yahoo pay per click advertising questions elsewhere.

Update: Jeff the Yahoo Search Marketing blog editor contacted me and suggested I use Adobe Acrobat to open their Smart Start Guide which I did – successfully.

Apparently, my Apple Reader has some compatibility issues with viewing that particular Yahoo pdf.

Thanks Jeff…

Search Engine Marketing Communications Survey

February 29, 2008

The following are some initial questions I ask potential clients when evaluating the search engine marketing potential of their business.

This multiple-choice Search Engine Marketing Communications Survey takes about two minutes to complete.

Download your copy of the Search Engine Marketing Communications Survey PDF.

What is your primary business?

A. Store-based merchant
B. Catalog
C. Virtual merchant
D. Consumer brand manufacturer

Which type of search engine marketing do you use the most?

A. More pay-per-click than organic
B. More organic than paid
C. Both equally

How does search engine marketing perform compared with your other marketing programs?

A. Better
B. Much better
C. Same
D. Worse
E. Much worse

How large is your keyword inventory?

A. Less than 50 words
B. 51 words to 100 words
C. 101 words to 200 words
D. 251 words to 500 words
E. 501 words to 750 words
F. 751 words to 1,000 words
G. 1,001 words to 5,000 words
H. 5,001 words to 10,000 words
I. More than 10,000 words

What percent of your online sales are attributable to search engine marketing?

A. 5% or less
B. 5.1% to 10%
C. 10.1% to 15%
D. 15.1% to 20%
E. 20.1% to 25%
F. 25.1% to 30%
G. 30.1% to 40%
H. 40.1% to 50%
I. More than 50%

What percent of shoppers who come to your site through your paid search program make a purchase?

A. 0.5% to 1%
B. 1.1% to 2%
C. 2.1% to 3%
D. 3.1% to 4%
E. 4.1% to 5%
F. 5.1% to 6%
G. 6.1% to 7%
H. 7.1% to 8%
I. 8.1% to 9%
J. 9.1% to 10%
K. 10.1% TO 15%
L. More than 15%

In the past year your pay-per-click conversion rate:

A. Went up
B. Went down
C. Stayed the same

By what percent did your pay-per-click conversion rate increase?
A. 2% or less
B. 2.1% to 5%
C. 5.1% to 6%
D. 6.1% to 7%
E. 7.1% to 8%
F. 8.1% to 9%
G. 9.1% to 10%
H. 10.1% to 12%
I. 12.1% to 15%
J. More than 15%

How much do you spend in a typical month on all types of search engine marketing (pay-per-click and search engine optimization)?

A. Less than $1,000
B. $1,001 to $2,000
C. $2,001 to $4,000
D. $4,001 to $6,000
E. $6,001 to $10,000
F. $10,001 to $20,000
G. $20,001 to $30,000
H. $30,001 to $40,000
I. $40,001 to $50,000
J. $50,001 to $60,000
K. $60,001 to $75,000
L. $75,001 to $100,000
M. More than $100,000

What percent of your online marketing budget is spent on search engine marketing?

A. 5% or less
B. 5.1% to 10%
C. 10.1% to 15%
D. 15.1% to 20%
E. 20.1% to 30%
F. 30.1% to 40%
G. 40.1% to 50%
H. 50.1% to 60%
I. 60.1% to 75%
J. More than 75%

What is the average amount you pay per click?
A. 5 cents or less
B. 6 to 10 cents
C. 11 to 15 cents
D. 16 to 20 cents
E. 21 to 25 cents
F. 26 to 40 cents
G. 41 to 50 cents
H. 51 to 75 cents
I. 76 to $1
J. More than $1

Will you increase your amount of pay-per click advertising this year?

A. Yes
B. No.

Do you manage your search engine marketing program in-house?

A. Yes
B. No

Do you plan to outsource your search engine marketing program?

A. Yes, within six months
B. Yes, within one year
C. Yes, within two years
D. No plans

Which search engine produces the best web sales results?

A. Google
B. Yahoo
E. LookSmart
F. Other

Which of the following programs or strategies are you using to improve your paid search program? (Check all that apply)

A. Adding more multiple word phrases to keyword inventory
B. Writing more descriptive ad copy
C. Testing keywords and phrases to land on appropriate home or product pages
D. Monitoring competitors’ use of keywords and phrases
E. Syncing keywords and phrases with product availability
F. Testing keyword inventory effectiveness using cluster analysis, data modeling and other tools
G. Other

Which of the following programs or strategies are you using to improve your organic search engine optimization? (Check all that apply)

A. Rewriting keyword descriptions on the home and product pages
B. Including the actual phrases commonly used by searchers on product pages
C. Including common product keywords in the image file names and in image display captions
D. Designing customized landing pages and creating exclusive merchandising sections
E. Enhancing site navigation
F. Increasing the use of header tags in content on the home page and product pages
G. Better use of web analytics
H. Other

What benchmarks do you use to measure the effectiveness of your search engine marketing program? (Check up to 3)

A. Site traffic
B. Sales
C. Conversions
D. Average order size
E. New customers
F. Click-throughs
G. Cost-per-clicks
H. Rank on main search engine page
I. Other

Did you allow your affiliates or other third-party resellers to bid on your brand name?

A. Yes
B. No

Do you bid on the brand names of your competitors?

A. Yes
B. No

What is the annual sales range of your online retail business?

A. Less than $1 million
B. $1 million to $4.9 million
C. $5 million to $9.9 million
D. $10 million to $24.9 million
E. $25 million to $50 million
F. More than $50 million

Thanks for taking the Search Engine Marketing Communications Survey.