CAT | Rants



Zager & Evans: Account Management Philosophy

The main questions we hear with any social media campaign reporting are, “What is the value?” and “Was it profitable?”.  Since attribution analytics are still evolving and the number of visits prior to a conversion is increasing, providing a concrete value for any social media campaign becomes more important.

The PPC advantage to Social Media Marketing:

In the CPC model we can see exactly what the cost of a visit is and the end value of the cumulative visits are.  We can definitively say that there is a minimum ROI of x percent and this is (or in some cases is not) profitable.  There are a few visitors who’s conversions may not be tracked accurately due to a few factors:

1. Call in sales (if call tracking isn’t utilized)

2. Purchase from a separate IP address

3.  Return customers that experienced a sales cycle which is longer than the duration of the PPC cookie.

4. Wrongful attribution.  Attributing a conversion that started with a sponsored click, to a different “last click” referrer.

Aside from these, there are not many questions in regards to where a PPC conversion came from.  Call Tracking is a solution for this first issue and some analytics software such as Yahoo web analytics (was Index tools) can show the behavior of past visits leading up to the final click and can answer many questions about keyword and referrer attribution.

However, in the case of social media a different set of questions go unanswered.  The main issues that exist in tracking social media efforts are:

1. What is the value of a visit driven by any social media source? This does not mean visitors or mentions.  It means actual value.

2. How do my visitor’s interact with my site, movie’s, apps or events?  Does this interaction correlate to conversions and sales?

3. Is my social media marketing driving direct sales or is it even assisting future sales?

4. What social media channel’s drive’s sales?

5. Are the behaviors of visitors from different channels unique?

6. What content works and what content fails?  How do we determine success and failure?

7. How are visitors reacting to this content away from the site?

Google Analytics is taking a shot to assist marketers in answering these questions by rolling out a Social Reporting platform.  With this platform you will be able to compare social behavior and it’s correlation to conversions to make inferences on the effect on the bottom line.  You will also be able to use a referrer string to find whether there are direct sales and assisted sales coming from your social media efforts.  The key to this reporting is the social report referral code from a particular social media channel, event tracking and the value of the conversion which is associated with the given goal.

While this report will not be available to everyone for another few weeks in Google’s estimation, you can get a head start by making sure all of your event tracking codes, social interaction analytics codes, goals and goal values are set up. It’s also important to recognize that this will not provide a complete detailed view of profit generated but should bring Social Media one step closer to having detailed profit and analytic reporting.  It’s no wonder that this was rolled out after Google+ has had a chance to grow a bit and we expect it to increase the ability for marketers to place a value on Social efforts.

Have you been placing a value on your social media efforts and results?  If so how did you determine success and failure of a given campaign?

Please let us know with your comments and give us a like, +1, RT or follow to help us test the new reports!

A quick announcement of our meetup tonight 9-25-12 at Analog bar in the Gaslamp of San Diego tonight.  Jamie Smith will be speaking on Actionable analytics and social media metrics.

Other guest speakers include Jill Addison who will be speaking on video optimization for search. Learn how to leverage video in the changing search climate.  Be sure to make the most out of your video content and learn how to turn it into a valuable lead generation tool.

We also want to extend a thank you to John Bertino for setting this event up and selecting Jamie as the Keynote.

The Meetup page has additional information available here: San Diego SEO Meetup 

San Diego SEO meetup

There are many PPC account managers out there who are so tied to their original campaign structures that their account performance remains stagnant or even falters in the ever changing landscape of search engine marketing.

Whether it be out of fear or pride, we cannot expect a campaign which was created a year or more ago to still be relevant today.  Trendy strategies which were developed under different rules (such as Quality Score), under different economic conditions and under different webpage designs may now be inhibiting the goal of continued growth within a PPC account.

When an account starts to slip, strategies no longer work, CPA & CPC increases – You need to ask yourself… When is enough, enough?

I chose a late verse out of the song ‘In the Year 2525′– By Zager & Evans, to illustrate the concept:

In the year 8510
God’s gonna shake his mighty head
He’ll either say I’m pleased where man has been
Or tear it down and start again

The song has to do with the evolution of man from his original ‘design’ and how, overtime, that design lost relevance.  Ultimately towards the end of the song man is wiped away. The last verse begins with the same lyrics as the 1st verse – Thus restarting the cycle.

Visit the following links for the YouTube Video and Song Lyrics: Lyrics / Video

How does this relate? – Don’t be afraid to take your account, tear it down, and start again. Reevaluate the structure keywords, negatives, ad creative, grouping and overall account structure and begin it all over again.  You have learned many things over the past year, now re-apply that to a structure more conducive to those strategies.

Google allows you to undelete any/all campaigns which made it into an account; don’t allow fear to be the reason inhibiting you from making drastic changes.  Don’t fear that your historical data will start from scratch, if you need it, you can still run a manual.  Don’t allow your pride to get the best of you.  That masterpiece you constructed in Google over so many countless hours may now be at time in which to say goodbye to.  “Pride is a personal commitment. It is an attitude which separates excellence from mediocrity.” – Unknown

I can affirm to you – Your beloved keyword history/click-discount WILL translate into your new campaigns.  Of the dozen or so times I have used this strategy, it has been effective for me 100% of the time.  Below are the performance changes of my last rebuild. An ever increasing average CPC was our main challenge to overcome.  We rebuilt it, started our keywords at a much lower CPC, and adjusted it up form there based on its new performance starting on July 22nd, 2009.

July 1st to 21st

July 22nd to 27th

Conversion Rate



Cost Per Click



Cost Per Action



This is the 3rd rebirth of this account.  It is built to address the world of today, not of yesterday.




The Perfect PPC Advertiser Platform

One of my favorite movies growing up was Weird Science. I recall watching the film for the first time with my babysitter back in the 80s. Thanks to Netflix, I was reminded of this classic a few days ago and, as strange as it sounds, thoughts about the movie have popped into my head since. “What is the name of the actress who played the female lead?” “I was way too young to be watching a rated PG-13 movie” “I wonder if the premise of building a perfect woman from a computer infuriated 1980s feminists” and sitting at my desk today at work “what if I could build the perfect something”. And that last thought brought me to today’s posting idea: the perfect PPC Advertiser Platform.


Obviously there are other things I would like to make first if I could, such as my dream home or an amazing car, but an awesome PPC advertiser platform would diminish a lot of frustrations as far as my work is concerned.

A powerful Account Editor with Real-Time Stats

Don’t get me wrong, the Google Adwords editor is pretty great. Editing keywords, creating ad text, and just plain account organization is easy and efficient thanks to this desktop application. It is one of the main reasons I enjoy working with my Google accounts over other pay per click accounts. Although the Google editor is a huge time saver, what is the deal with the “Choose Stats Interval” feature? I hate it that I can only go back 30 days and the data hardly ever loads anyways. Basically, it’s a waste of space. In my perfect creation of an account editor, I would be able to pull live statistics for any date range.

As you already know, if your daily budget in any of your AdWords campaigns is less than Google’s recommended daily budget, Google will deliver your ads when the demand is greatest, and may not show them every time your keyword phrase is searched.
And you’re probably aware that on any one day, Google may deliver up to 20% more ads than your daily budget allots. Google calls this “over delivery”.

Now Google ensures that you will not be charged more in a month than the number of days in that month multiplied by your daily budget.

So what’s the problem?

Consider this example:

You’ve set your daily budget to $100/day, or $3,000/month. However, Google recommends a daily budget of $1,000. Since you can’t afford the recommendation, you’re okay knowing that your ads will not show every time someone searches on your keywords.

And, since your daily budget is less than recommended, AdWords can “over deliver” your ads and charge you up to 20% more per day than your daily budget. In this case, your daily charge could be $120.

So, what eventually happens when you’re charged $120/day on a $100/day budget? You’ll run out of budget before the end of the month. In fact, in our example, you’d expend your monthly computed budget by the 25th day of the month, leaving your ads on the sidelines during the 26th through the 30th of the month.

Transparent Bidding

I remember the devastation that my colleagues and I felt the day transparent bidding died in Yahoo. That was always one thing we could all agree on: Yahoo’s bidding model exemplified a market that was reflected supply and demand principals. It was nice to know why my ad moved down in position and having the option of outbidding someone in order to get that position again. And unlike Quality Score, at least ad positioning and keyword pricing was straight forward. As long as Quality Score is determined in part by “other relevance factors”, I would prefer transparent bidding because at least I know exactly what is determining my minimum bid and ad position.

Phone Call Tracking

In general, conversion numbers are pretty dismal when it comes to selling high ticket items online. I think consumers continue to feel uncomfortable about using a credit card online to buy expensive goods and services. They also might have questions to ask the retailer before spending their last month’s paycheck. Although many ecommerce websites are now tracking lead forms or contact form submissions as separate actions, I am not aware of many websites that are tracking call-ins generated through PPC. Tracking this piece of information is important for keyword and advertisement evaluation because decreasing a bid for a keyword that doesn’t appear to be converting may not be the best move. That particular keyword could be generating a huge number of call-ins from interested customers. Having call-in information available in reporting would allow PPC marketers to see the true value of each keyword and advertisement.

Believe me, this list could go on. Quality scores column added to reports, customized cookie length and more precise ad scheduling would be great too. Clearly, there are numerous other elements that would make up a “perfect” PPC advertising platform, but these are the main three features I would personally love to see the next time I log in to an account.


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Google: Anti-Family & Anti-Me

A few months back, Google sent me Survey request email.  Normally I ignore them, basically because Im fairly content with the current state of customer service and usability of the systems.  But this time Google offered a Free Gift. Who wouldn”t give 15 min of their time for free Google Schwag? So I participated.

3 weeks later I get a package:


Being an avid outdoors enthusiast, I was ecstatic that I got a quality product with Google plastered over it!  This will go great with my: Crank Flashlight/Radio, Frisbee, Lava Lamp, USB drive, T-shirts and various other chotchskies they”ve given me over the years.

I was however dismayed to find out that Google was in-fact trying to scramble my brain, prevent me from having children, and ultimately kill me!  You see, I just recently read a report about Bisphenol contained in polycarbonate plastics and learned that:

“BPA mimics estrogens, binding to the same receptors throughout the human body as natural female hormones. And tests have shown that the chemical can promote human breast cancer cell growth as well as decrease sperm count in rats, among other effects.”

Any plastic which you encounter with a #7 listed on the bottom should be avoided.


Normaly I would be eating my red M&M”s & washing it down with my Google bottle full of milk, but I really believe that this one is not good for you. I”m not sure why companies are making products out of this material but perhaps they could use some sort of a lead-based paint to seal the Bisphenol in and prevent it from seeping into the water.  Hmm… I”m sure they could outsourse the reconditioning to one of the many reputable manufacuring companies in Bejing for next to nothing.

Do no Evil pshaw!  I shall destroy my water bottle and save my brain cells so that I might find new and more innovating ways of lowering our clients average CPC.

Your move Google.

If we are talking about Google, let’s have a look and discuss about keywords with zero impressions.

In the quest to create a truly epic pay per click campaign, our intrepid search marketer often runs the gamut of keywords, from the obvious to the creative to the downright silly.

But no matter how stupid “paper click” might sound as a keyword, there’s at least one person out there who’s going to search that exact phrase, right?


Oftentimes, depending on how enthusiastic the search marketer might be, an account can accumulate hundreds of keywords that never get any impressions at all, leaving one to wonder: is it really worth it, keeping all these zero impression keywords?


Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to cull any non-performing keywords, especially since a large number of them make it more difficult to manage your account. For the most part, they’re really not adding anything of value, since their click through rate is technically at zero percent.

On the other hand, a CTR of zero percent doesn’t necessarily lower your Quality Score, at least according to our Google sources. While CTR plays a major role in determining a keyword’s Quality Score, it’s not the only factor, not by a long shot. The historical performance of the keyword across Google’s entire system, the past performance of your display URL, the overall performance of your account—all of these go into the equation that churns out your Quality Score.

So while it’s safe to assume that most zero impression keywords are clogging up your account, it’s the Quality Score that ultimately decides whether a keyword is worth keeping or not. If the Quality Score is less than five, or otherwise significantly lower than the rest, your best course of action is to delete the keyword.

And if the Quality Score is good? It definitely doesn’t hurt to let it hang around a little while longer. A high quality keyword is better than nothing, right?


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