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Is Branded SEM Worth It?

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branded searchBack when I was client side our SEM agency looooved branded paid search terms.  They did wonders for the overall CPA of our search campaigns.  But for the very generic phrases (e.g. no specific product mentioned) I questioned if there was any additive lift to the overall leads the site was generating – especially given the expanded search results that Google started to show on the SERPs.

We did a couple of on/off tests with the paid search campaigns’ top 3 phrases and compared leads generated from SEM and leads generated from the organic listings in Google.  What we found is that there was lift – but not much.  We found that only about 5% of the leads were actually incremental.  In other words, for every 20 leads generated we would have landed 19 of them.  So if our original CPA for generic branded search phrases was $7, the true CPA ballooned to $140.  Subsequently we used our funds for terms with under $100 CPA that had little to no SEO traffic – the result was an overall lift in total leads generated by the site.

If you’re spending a lot on generic branded search campaigns, try some on/off testing to try and determine your true ROI – you’re online marketing funds may be better used elsewhere.

To pick up some other search marketing tips try reading Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company’s Web Site (2nd Edition)search engine marketing inc


Written by Greg M

August 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Tips

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Day Parting Can Boost Your SEM Efficiency

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red arrowA few years back I was experimenting with day parting for one of my paid search campaigns with Google and came across something totally unexpected.  Normally the idea behind day parting is that people are more apt to convert for your product or service so pull the ads during the low points and heavy up the ad spend during your prime time.  However, we found that the later in the day we started our SEM spend the more efficient (lower CPA) the campaign became.

Why?  I theorized that most campaigns have daily budgets and at 12:01 AM most campaigns come back online.  It turns out that the wee hours of the morning are the most competitive of the day.  Gradually advertisers deplete their daily search budget – meaning less competition later in the day.  As a result cost per click for search marketing is much lower, generally speaking, at the end of the day than in the late evening.  In other words, if you’re the last advertiser with money you’ll get the cheapest clicks.

There are several different ways to experiment with this SEM technique but if you haven’t started to work with day parting yet give it a try!  The results weren’t staggering but the reduction in CPA was typically in the 5%-10% range.

You can learn more about search marketing by reading Winning Results with Google AdWords, Second Edition

winning results with google ad words

Written by Greg M

August 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

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