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Old 06-29-2007   #1
amarquis
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Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

We're a moderate SEM spender with Google, Yahoo!, and MSN, five digits annual, and I believe we're reaching the limit as to how much return we can eek out of them. Our campaigns are not perfect, but at this point the question has to be asked "If we invest more time into optimizing our campaigns, will the return be worth it?" At this point, I'd rather seek alternative venues.

That brings me to my question, where do we go from here? Our SEM efforts are split, about 90% going to driving direct online sales, 10% going to generating leads for the B2B side of our business. Do we seek out lesser search players? I'd be willing to try this, but even the low end player we deal with now (MSN) does not drive us that much traffic (or many sales).

Or, should we go elsewhere? I tried AdBrite's network but their audience didn't match what we were looking for very well, and we couldn't drive non-negligible traffic to our site. This week we'll be starting our shopping comparison site efforts (with Nextag), and I hope that that turns out well.

I'm open to pretty much any direction, but keep in mind that we're a relatively small marketing department here and would prefer solutions that we could test out with minimum time investment.

Thanks!
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Old 06-29-2007   #2
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My advice is to invest in expanding your knowledge and reach in the Top 3.

I would not suggest 2nd tier networks that endores "contextual" ads until you have fully exploited G, MSN and YSM. Of course keep your eyes open on new ad models such as Pay Per Acquisition like Turn.com and old affiliate stand bys like commissionjunction.com.

Google is rolling out audio/radio ads and Video ads which will ultimately migrate into the realm of internet TV/ possibly Cable TV in the future. Keeping up with how to use these advertising channels is important for any small or large business.

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Old 07-06-2007   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarquis
Our campaigns are not perfect, but at this point the question has to be asked "If we invest more time into optimizing our campaigns, will the return be worth it?" At this point, I'd rather seek alternative venues.
Donald Trump says "I HATE quitters!"

I dont see why you would quit though. Money doesn't seem to be an obstacle. Why NOT spend TIME to optimize?

Keep this in mind. Search engines are not "just search engines". They are MEDIA portals. We're not in the "wild west" days of the Internet. That was the 1990's.

In the 2000's the Internet has matured. Search engine companies are now media companies (Google owns YouTube - NOT a search engine but a media portal).

Search engines are not tools anymore. They are destinations. People say "google it" to mean search. That's tough to ignore.
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Old 07-06-2007   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cryptblade
I dont see why you would quit though. Money doesn't seem to be an obstacle. Why NOT spend TIME to optimize?
It's not that we want to dump the search engines or even let them stay stagnant, but that our campaigns overall seem to have reached a level where getting a big return on lots of time invested seems unlikely. I'm still committing the man-hours and funding to the big names of SEM because they've always performed great for us. And there are always things to do to improve our campaigns' performance.

Do I want to burn all my department's extra resources on them, though? I don't think so. At this point we've the manpower and budget to start exploring other internet marketing avenues (Whereas in the past we've really spent the vast, vast majority of our time with Google and Yahoo!), and I think that by exploring other options we'll be capturing sales opportunities we are currently missing.
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Old 07-06-2007   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarquis
It's not that we want to dump the search engines or even let them stay stagnant, but that our campaigns overall seem to have reached a level where getting a big return on lots of time invested seems unlikely. I'm still committing the man-hours and funding to the big names of SEM because they've always performed great for us. And there are always things to do to improve our campaigns' performance.

Do I want to burn all my department's extra resources on them, though? I don't think so. At this point we've the manpower and budget to start exploring other internet marketing avenues (Whereas in the past we've really spent the vast, vast majority of our time with Google and Yahoo!), and I think that by exploring other options we'll be capturing sales opportunities we are currently missing.
Invest in SEO and increase your ROI!
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Old 07-06-2007   #6
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. . .

This makes interesting reading

searchengineland.com/070612-093020.php
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Old 07-06-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarquis
It's not that we want to dump the search engines or even let them stay stagnant, but that our campaigns overall seem to have reached a level where getting a big return on lots of time invested seems unlikely. I'm still committing the man-hours and funding to the big names of SEM because they've always performed great for us. And there are always things to do to improve our campaigns' performance.

Do I want to burn all my department's extra resources on them, though? I don't think so. At this point we've the manpower and budget to start exploring other internet marketing avenues (Whereas in the past we've really spent the vast, vast majority of our time with Google and Yahoo!), and I think that by exploring other options we'll be capturing sales opportunities we are currently missing.
"Ah, soo desu ka. wakarimasu!" well "sheet" "nay gro" that's all you had to say.
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Old 07-11-2007   #8
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This makes interesting reading

searchengineland.com/070612-093020.php
\

Interesting article RM, thanks for sharing..........
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Old 07-11-2007   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckfastMonk
This makes interesting reading
searchengineland.com/070612-093020.php
That was an interesting read, thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cryptblade
"Ah, soo desu ka. wakarimasu!" well "sheet" "nay gro" that's all you had to say.
I'm sorry, I honestly don't know what you are trying to say here.
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Old 07-17-2007   #10
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try LookSmart

I'd recommend keeping the majority of your $ in Google and Yahoo, but I do agree its worthwhile to have campaigns on alternative engines in addition. If you'd like to expand your search marketing footprint beyond what the bigger engines can provide--you can try LookSmart risk free. They have an offer for $50 in free clicks on one of their sites...<snip>. Worth a shot if you are looking to try something new.

Last edited by Marcia : 09-01-2007 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Removed affiliate link.
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Old 07-17-2007   #11
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If you like click fraud and unqualified traffic then go with Looksmart.

Your free $50 in charges will be gone immediately with junk clicks.

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Old 07-26-2007   #12
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

Here's an interesting article from Search Engine Watch that addresses the issue you are asking about...

http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3626502

Hope that helps!
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Old 07-27-2007   #13
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kd1978 View Post
Here's an interesting article from Search Engine Watch that addresses the issue you are asking about...

http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3626502

Hope that helps!
I did read that article with high hopes, but it reads like an advertisement for Looksmart, which has performed terribly for people I know who've tried it.
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Old 08-16-2007   #14
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Wink Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

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That brings me to my question, where do we go from here?
I am in a similar situation with a client I'm working with.

We started an extremely broad campaign initially with the big 3 - we expanded the keyword list to incorporate phrase and exact matches, continued keyword research, geo-targeting where applicable, tested day-parting all the while optimizing the overall campaign and ad copy to control ROI. So, like you, amarquis, we started asking where do we go from here?

I'm not advocating this for all businesses, obviously, but we are fortunate enough to have the budget to apply one month trials for each of the following. We will monitor our campaigns closely and stick with a campaign filled with high converting keywords from our existing campaigns in MSN, Google and Yahoo until our trial period is over.

At that point, we will make a decision on whether or not to stick with it or declare these second and third tier venues 'junk'.

As far as I'm concerned there is no way to know unless we try right?

After all, the vertical I am in is not the vertical that everyone else is in so .. just because it didn't work for them doesn't mean it will not work for me or, in this case, my client.

If you are interested in the additional advertising sources I'm considering you can see them below:

www.ask.com
www.enhance.com
www.looksmart.com
www.lycos.com
www.goclick.com
www.abcsearch.com
www.kanoodle.com
www.epilot.com
www.local.com
www.searchfeed.com
www.search123.com
www.miva.com

Last edited by J Clark : 08-16-2007 at 12:31 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 08-16-2007   #15
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

Just about 100% of informed sources advise staying with the majors and staying clear of 2nd tier PPC.
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Old 08-16-2007   #16
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

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Just about 100% of informed sources advise staying with the majors and staying clear of 2nd tier PPC.
Is that simply because of the low return on investment the inability to control click fraud or ... ??

I've always heard the same, but all the 2nd tier PPC can't be bad can it? At least Ask could return some valuable leads - I would hope!

So, Marcia, you would recommend staying away from all 2nd tier completely? Not to even test it?
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Old 09-01-2007   #17
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

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Originally Posted by J Clark View Post
Is that simply because of the low return on investment the inability to control click fraud or ... ??

I've always heard the same, but all the 2nd tier PPC can't be bad can it? At least Ask could return some valuable leads - I would hope!

So, Marcia, you would recommend staying away from all 2nd tier completely? Not to even test it?
Yes, for those reasions. Low ROI and click fraud.

However, beyond conventional wisdom gathered from those who are PPC pro's, I don't make any recommendations, since I'm not a PPC person, I'm one of those committed "organic search purists."
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Old 09-17-2007   #18
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

If you want to try the 2nd and 3rd tier search engines "risk-free", many of them offer $$ in free clicks to test out their traffic. I'm in the process of doing that now with ABCSearch, Miva, GoClick and Looksmart. If they don't return any value, just discontinue beyond the free clicks.

I've heard that 2nd & 3rd tier players work well for some people so you never know.
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Old 09-17-2007   #19
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

Please go out and test the 2nd tier engines extensively and report your findings in detail here.

Think of this logically. What kind of websites are running Kanoodle or ABCsearch ads? Why would these website owners pick to use these services over Google or Yahoo?

Simple - they can get away with Fraud.

Some people have had good results; sure, most of the second tier engines force you to have an account manager. You think, well great finally some personal service! I know this sounds sinister, but the bottom line is that many times this account manager is there only to blend in enough good with the bad to come out with a highly profitable mix for them and to try and keep you on for as long as possible.

http://www.webproworld.com/search-en...-kanoodle.html

That free $50... yep perfect bait, they give you some decent clicks but once that is spent and you deposit a chunk of your budget, on goes the click fraud machine.

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Old 09-17-2007   #20
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Re: Done with the Big Three, where am I going now?

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That free $50... yep perfect bait, they give you some decent clicks but once that is spent and you deposit a chunk of your budget, on goes the click fraud machine.

Discovery
Thanks for the warning. I'm going to keep my funding low, if prepay, and watch the traffic closely.
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