PPC Advertising and Google Ad Words: A Case Study…
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
It was 2007 when I started phasing out my “regular” clients and began working exclusively with pool builders. The plan was to become an expert on “Marketing for Pool Builders,” so I started working with a small team of similar-minded marketing experts, trying to “crack the code” on what it would take to help one pool builder “monopolize the marketplace” over all his competition.
I vividly remember not knowing much about websites at the time, but nonetheless knowing it would be an important part of the overall marketing equation. I told the team “Every pool builder website needs to have certain things. We need to figure out what that is.” And lo and behold, after few a years of testing, we’d learned a lot and figured it out.
I feel the exact same way right now,
when it comes to Google Ad Words and PPC.
Five years ago, we barely had a handle on PPC advertising. We knew it was important, but we really weren’t sure how best to manage it. So my advice was simply “Hire an Expert.” Those “experts” fell neatly into one of these three categories:
- 99.9% of all PPC companies – You tell them how much money you want to spend, and they will spend it.
- “Conversion-Oriented” PPC companies – They will actually track and analyze what’s working, and make adjustments accordingly. Originally, Reach Local and Yodle were the only ones doing this. Dozens more have sprung up since then.
- Pool Industry PPC Specialists – You can count these companies on one hand. They understand not only the importance of conversion tracking and ROI, but also other subtleties of our industry, such as the use of “negative keywords.” (For example, if you are an inground pool builder, then “above ground pool” should be used as a negative keyword, to keep those people from seeing your ads.)
Now back to my point – With more than 5 years of experience, we now know what’s important, and we know how to compare the performance of different PPC companies.
If you’re working with a PPC company, or THINKING about working with a PPC company, here are the key metrics you’ll want to keep an eye on every month:
Impressions – How many times was your ad presented to someone? (This is a great big number that looks impressive and means a lot to the PPC expert, but should mean almost nothing to you. Who cares how many impressions you get if no one clicks?)
Clicks – How many times did someone actually click your ad and go to your website? (This is important, but not as important as you might think. That’s because anyone can throw more money at your ads and get more clicks.)
Click Through Ratio – What percentage of the impressions is getting clicked? (This is a direct measure of the quality of your ads. Well-written ads will get a better click-through ratio, which means for the same money, you will get more leads.)
CPC / Cost per Click – How much did it cost you for that click? (Now we’re getting into a number that will help compare one PPC expert against another. This is the third most important number.)
Leads – “Leads” are “clicks” that took a positive action on your website, such as (1) filled out a form, (2) sent you an email, or (3) picked up the phone and called you. (This is probably your favorite number, but the second most important number when it comes to comparing PPC experts.)
Cost per Lead – How much did it cost you to get this person to call you, email you or fill out your form? (This is the most important number of all when it comes to comparing PPC experts. The lower the cost per lead, the more you should love your PPC expert.)
We recently did a side-by-side comparison of two different PPC experts for the same pool builder.
We had five months of data from the first PPC expert, and then three months of data from the second one. And I must say, the results were rather shocking.
I was stunned to see that the average # of impressions per month was within 1/10 of 1%. But that’s great news, because it means this is a true apples-to-apples comparison of two different PPC experts. To summarize, here’s what we found:
- Our new expert was better at writing ads, and getting a 56% increase in clicks as a result.
- More clicks for the same amount of money means a lower cost per click – in this case, by 38%.
- Better landing pages resulted in an 84% increase in the total number of leads. (THAT made my client VERY happy.)
My client nearly doubled the number of leads he was getting, without spending any more money – simply by changing PPC providers.
I’ll have another little secret to share with you next week, which I call “How to spy on your PPC Guy.”