• Pat

    Best paid search article i’ve read in many months!

    You left off how cheap Name traffic PPC should be, it’s CPC when done right, reminding me of the early days of PPC. Ahhh, fond memories! The avoidance of diversion does have a reward – shut off the Name traffic for a week, if you’re doing it right, you’ll see it’s value go away. If you’re doing it wrong, you won’t. The only channel with an on/off switch! Actually, it has many such switches.

    “Assuming the good paid search manager has done these basics, they’ve exercised about all the control they have over brand search performance.”
    Very big assumption! Haha! Pardon my cynicism, but have seen too many ‘professional’ managers mess this up very badly. We just revised a new clients Name campaign, taking it from 32x ROAS to 431x, WHILE orders, AOV and total revenue also went up more than 100%.

    Your #4 catalog cut is also something I routinely see manifested in their Name traffic (paid + organic). It’s on the savvy paid search consultants shoulders to convey the value of various types of traffic, including revealing which ones represent the outcome of other channel activities. Ethics + know-how + proper humility = optimized outcome.

    Hallway of execs… paid search, organic, catalog, email, affiliate… not nice when Pat the PPC guy takes credit for Oscar’s work, or Chris’s, or Evelyn’s, or Alberto’s… as the annual exec bonuses are handed out, Mr. Attribution chuckles hardily.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Pat, thanks for your comments! I love your recipe: Ethics + know-how + proper humility = optimized outcome. I may have to borrow that one — with proper attribution of course :-)

  • http://www.creativelink.com Marisa Fox

    George – Great article that hopefully will encourage clients to analyze agency data more thoroughly, not just accept the high level results. I think the fact that so much is trackable in online marketing makes it easy for clients to think that the data we can track is the whole story when it’s not. But I agree that some marketers take advantage of the “unknown” and make some huge assumptions as to the impact PPC is having beyond the data while not giving proper credit to other channels driving brand search.

    I agree with almost everything you discussed, but I have to add that traffic and conversion volume on brand search is also impacted by non-brand search. Yes, offline and other marketing channels impact it greatly, but the true value of non-brand search is not just those metrics, but also the brand searches the non-brand searches generated over time from those shoppers.

    If done right, increasing your non-brand traffic should increase your non-brand revenue as well as your brand searches and revenue. I know it can be hard to measure since there can be so many things going on at a time that affect brand search, but to only judge performance based on non-brand could stifle your growth unnecessarily.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Marisa, thanks so much for your thoughtful commentary. No question that like any other channel, non-brand search and the ‘unsuccessful’ visits create some level of brand awareness that sometimes prompts a later brand search. We started reacting to the multi-touch data within paid search more than 7 years ago when we noticed a high-end well know jewelry client exhibited this pattern to a degree (engagement rings are USUALLY a considered purchase :-)). My argument is to track those multi-touch interactions and parse credit appropriately — across channels as well as within search.

    The point is that brand search and non-brand search should really be regarded as separate channels that certainly do interact with one another, but are nevertheless fundamentally different.

    While there is no question any visit to the site has some branding value that can help down the road, I don’t buy into the notion that the little text ad impressions produce any real branding value. Clicks? sure; but not many folks could name the companies that showed up on the right rail of their last search.

  • http://www.jordonmeyer.com jordonmeyer

    Smartest and most insightful PPC article I have read in a long time. This should be read by everyone working in PPC and reporting to anyone in-house, and especially in an agency setting. Clients and business owners need to understand this as well.

    I manage a BIG brand PPC account and the brand return is Huge like many other companies experience. CPC is laughable, but volume is so insanely high that it eats up budget and therefore caps out, constantly. Luckily our marketing execs are smart enough not to dump more funds towards us (PPC) because they understand a good mix. That 30, 40, or 100 ROAS on branded search will dry up if you don’t continue to mix your channels.

    I could go on, but it will begin to sound like a high-school rant on how cool your car is. Nice job putting this together and thanks.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    Jordon, thanks for your comment. It kills me when I hear big brands say “Well, my brand keywords are my most valuable keywords, of course.” I yell “No, they’re not valuable, these searchers are walking through your front door for a reason unrelated to your search ads (largely). The valuable keywords are the ones that bring you incremental business, the non-brand keywords. The whole game of paid search is played on the non-brand side.

    Sorry to preach to the choir! You get it. Try running this by your CFO — those folks get numbers. S/he will see you as a hero for saving your company millions of dollars.

  • http://www.eyewebmaster.com E.W.

    As Webmaster in our country we believe that Search is still the best way but challenging task for everyone. But with this article it give us the opportunity to be on the SERP by applying some ads in the Search Engines.

    This is a good idea especially for those who want immediate result. Thank you for sharing this review.

  • http://skillgameshq.com S.G.

    Great article, I read lots of content on PPC marketing for the last month, but this one is winner.
    EW, when you just launched your service, PPC can bring you revenue even when your site is still out of first 10 pages of google or bing. And using both SEO and SEM only makes your overall conversion higher.