Sailing to PPC Success

Many search marketers have become overwhelmed by the flood of new tools -- or new functionalities within existing tools -- that have been popping up in the marketplace that promise to more effectively manage the bidding on pay-per-click campaigns. As a result, marketers are having trouble understanding the value of the various automated functions that these tools offer. But as you consider different PPC bidding tools and solutions, do not forget one of the golden rules of business today:

Technology without human expertise is a waste of technology.

Think of it this way: You or I could have the fastest sailboat in the world, and still not be able to win the America's Cup, but put Dennis Connors at the helm, and the results would be very different. Let's face it, in business, results are what matter most, and that's why it takes more than just technology to run a successful pay-per-click campaign.

Before you start thinking I've been hitting the cough medicine this morning, let me be clear -- I am not saying that technology does not matter. It does. Very much so. But technology alone cannot help you run an effective pay-per-click campaign.

The other day, I was asked to review a pay-per-click proposal from a large agency. The proposal suggested that this company spend over $5 million from now until the end of the year. I was asked if this seemed like a reasonable amount. My first response was, it depends. It depends on what the business objectives are. If the primary goal is to drive revenue at the expense of profit, then maybe that $5 million is reasonable. However, if you are held to profit objectives as most of us are, then that spend might be extreme.

The real answer to this question lies in what your business objectives are, and technology cannot help you with that. While technology can help you monitor a bid landscape or change bid prices automatically, it operates on the business goals and performance constraints given to it by the individual running the campaign.

So if you're trying to understand the nuances of various tools and technology solutions out there, don't get fooled by the hype and glamour of the technology alone. There's more to it, and human expertise plays a big part.

If you want to be successful and generate optimal results, here are some things you should take into consideration:

How long have the people managing your PPC campaign been managing campaigns for other clients?

How long have they been working with their particular solution or tool?

Do they have an understanding of your business objectives, and can they help you create an effective strategy?

Do they understand the impact on your campaign of: choosing the right keywords, developing effective landing pages, developing the right creative, and the effect your Web site's conversion rate has on your PPC campaign?

The answers to these questions are as important as the technology itself to help you build and manage effective PPC campaigns.

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