Practical Ecommerce

Pay-per-click Report Card: Vxb.com

Vxb.com sells ball bearings of various types and sizes. The company is based in California and requested a review of its pay-per-click campaigns on Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Vxb.com’s monthly ad spend is around $9,000 in Google, $2,000 in Yahoo! and $150 in MSN. Average conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who click on an ad and then purchase something within 30 days) ranges from 1.5 percent to 1.9 percent. Its average cost-per-click ranges from $0.42 to $0.57.

PPC report card for Vxb.com

Account Structure

Its account is structured differently in all three engines. The Yahoo! account consists of 11 campaigns broken up by ball bearings types, such as rollerblades, bicycle, fishing and slotcar. Not all types listed on the website are present in the campaign. Additionally, there is one campaign for generic keywords (ball bearings, bearing distributor) that uses most of the budget.

Drilling down further into the Yahoo! account, I noticed an overlap of keywords in different ad groups. If you’re using the same keywords in multiple ad groups, essentially you end up competing with yourself. On top of that, such setup really interferes with the stats, making it impossible to effectively allocate funds.

The Google AdWords setup is much more effective. Vxb.com’s ten campaigns in Google are broken down by ball bearing types, product IDs, uses and the material used in the ball bearings. The structure is lacking a campaign for brand names and sizes, but, overall, it’s a good start. Just as in Yahoo! there is one campaign with generic keywords.

The MSN adCenter account consists of just a single campaign and a single ad group with some generic keywords. It has not been developed at all.

For all three search engines,Vxb.com’s account structure should be reviewed for instances of overlapping keywords. Brand and sizes campaigns should be added, and all engines should have the same structure.

Keyword Choices

Besides missing brand-related and size-related keywords, Vxb.com is also missing match types and negative keywords. Match types allow you to improve the quality of the traffic by more closely matching users’ search queries with your keyword choices. Additionally, having all three match types (Broad match, Phrase match, Exact match) in Google and MSN might help you get more clicks for the same overall price due to the quality score discount (which occurs due to ads being ordered based on multiple relevancy factors and not on the per-click bid price). In Yahoo!, running multiple match types simultaneously is not permitted. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to see if “standard match” would generate better return on investment than “advanced match.”

Negative keywords are another great way to improve the performance of your pay-per-click campaigns. Vxb.com’s accounts only have about five keywords that it has chosen to exclude. If we examine its keyword logs through either search engines directly or web analytics packages installed, we’ll find a number of other keywords that could be excluded.

Here’s the bottom line for Vxb.com’s keyword choices: Negative keywords need to be added, and all match types should be tested.

Relevancy

Quality score-friendly structure is the one with keywords, ads and landing pages all set up to match the other. Vxb.com’s relevancy is not that great. Its Google account most closely resembles Vxb.com’s optimal combination of keywords, ads and landing pages. For example, campaigns with specific account IDs all have appropriate ads with core keywords repeated in the ad. Landing pages for those ID specific keywords are pre-selected to be as specific as possible. That’s how every single campaign should be set up.

Yahoo! and MSN accounts are very different in regards to relevancy. Barely any campaigns are set up with keywords, ads and landing pages all falling into place. I know how easy it is to work with Google AdWords, but don’t forget Yahoo! and MSN could generate just as much revenue if you put the time into them.

In short, Vxb.com’s ads should be re-written to match keywords in a given ad group, and proper destination URLs need to be selected for the keywords and ads.

Landing Page

Vxb.com’s landing pages are pretty good. Even though the general design of the page is not as robust as it could be, all pages have these necessary elements on them: Reliability seals such Comodo, Google Checkout, credit card and PayPal logos, as well as search engine-friendly URLs, proper titles, links on the page and item information.

Account Settings

There are a few changes I would recommend for Vxb.com’s account settings. First, content network should be set up separately in all search engines. Advertising on contextual networks is very different from advertising on search networks. For one, you’re reaching users at a different stage of a buying cycle on contextual networks. People are not actively researching your products or services on contextual networks. Contextual advertising requires a completely different setup since content network is all about thematic relationship rather than keyword relevancy. Also, contextual advertising requires different types of ad formats like rich media, banners and text links. Therefore, make sure your search campaigns are separated from your content campaigns. Simply turn off “content distribution” in Google, Yahoo! and MSN to run on search network only.

All campaigns should have a daily or monthly cap. Imagine a spike in one of the networks – do you want to be hit with $23,000 in unexpected charges? Additionally, by manually setting daily budgets, you’re making a conscious decision on how much to spend on a specific campaign rather than leaving it up to the system.

Summary

Vxb.com’s account could do better. If more product-related keywords are added to the account, relevancy improved and content and search campaigns are separated, Vxb.com could potentially see a substantial improvement in its bottom line.

PPC Report Card
Vxb.com

Account Structure C
Keyword Choices B
Relevancy B+
Landing Pages A-
Account Settings B

OVERALL GPA B

Want your site graded? Email ppc@practicalecommerce.com.

Greg Laptevsky

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Comments ( 6 )

  1. Legacy User March 13, 2008 Reply

    Shouldn't Yahoo let the advertiser know about the keywords overlap? :)

    — *Sam*

  2. Legacy User March 14, 2008 Reply

    Why would they even care? That was the advertiser mistake, exactly like bidding twice in a car auction.

    — *Alex*

  3. Legacy User March 16, 2008 Reply

    Our report card would read about the same. It's indicative how much time is involved in managing 3 PPC engines. It also shows that people follow the money of the Google traffic and the effectiveness of the Google tools.

    How smart would the person or company be that made a front end that allowed you to manage PPC at all three companies from one dashboard? Not the scary programs out there now that want to do your bidding for you, but an interface where you could add, change, delete, pause a keyword in 3 engines at once.

    — *Ann*

  4. Legacy User March 17, 2008 Reply

    Andrew,

    Yahoo, MSN, Ask and a few other smaller engines could be EXTREMELY profitable. Test them before assuming that they are not worth it!

    — *Greg*

  5. Legacy User March 16, 2008 Reply

    Admit it! Google has better results than the rest… why the efforts

    — *Andrew EF*

  6. Legacy User March 16, 2008 Reply

    It is up to an advertiser to build up the PPC account.

    — *Greg*