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Old 10-25-2007   #1
creatunity
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How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

I've only been involved in the PPC arena for a few months. Due to some extremely promising results while testing and learning I have been focusing exclusively on Adwords and gaining as much knowledge as possible.

I have put together a campaign(s) and I know the market/products being offered (one particular offer) are worthy of my time and efforts. My question is, what are some key items I need to look at to begin optimizing my campaign?

Here's a snapshot of what I've done/doing:

1.I allow for an adequate amount of statistical data to accumulate before making any changes.
2.Currently using a direct to merchant method while developing a site around this prodcut/niche.
3.I run split test constantly, trying to improve CTR which is steadily ranging from 2.6-3.2% CTR for the whole campaign.
4.Adgroups, keywords and Ad Copy are all tightly grouped and focused, providing a solid CTR on most all Adgroups.
5.Conversion tracking is in effect, so I know down to the keywords, which is converting.

The campaign is currently not profitable, I usually just come shy of breaking even. Though I know there is big money in this market and have seen good results.

My conversion rate is low, usually ranging from 0.5%-1.2%. I know if I was able to double my CR it would become profitable. I feel that developing a site with custom landing pages will help increase my CR.

I am looking for additional strategies and advice from already knowledgable and successful Affiliate Marketers or Internet Marketers that would help me make this campaign profitable.

Thanks in Advance,
Andrew Payne
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Old 10-25-2007   #2
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

You have a superb grasp of the PPC business for someone who has only been in it for a few months. I would focus on landing pages and increasing your conversion rate. Sounds like there is much you could do in that area.
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Old 10-25-2007   #3
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

Welcome to the forums, Andrew. Glad to have you with us! And yes, that is an excellent post - you'll go far!

Added:

Quote:
The campaign is currently not profitable, I usually just come shy of breaking even. Though I know there is big money in this market and have seen good results.

My conversion rate is low, usually ranging from 0.5%-1.2%. I know if I was able to double my CR it would become profitable.
There are definitely people making very big money, and from what I hear conversion rates are considerably higher than that.
Quote:
I feel that developing a site with custom landing pages will help increase my CR.
It should, and the basis of either is the same: tons of keyword research.

Quote:
I am looking for additional strategies and advice from already knowledgable and successful Affiliate Marketers or Internet Marketers that would help me make this campaign profitable.
I don't do PPC but I've read advice by savvy people who do, and what I've gathered is that they find under-tapped "niches" within lucrative markets.

That's exactly the same type of strategy for doing SEO on websites for affiliate marketing: it's finding those high demand, less competitive keyword phrases that are more specific, and consequently have a higher conversion rate.

Last edited by Marcia : 10-25-2007 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 10-25-2007   #4
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

You can work your ads as well.... sometimes they are too tight and get good conversion but looser ads can get more cheap traffic and convert less but more numbers overall
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Old 10-26-2007   #5
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

I know of some programs that have an 8% - 15% avg rate, and I also know of one individual who made over $100K in commission last year on just one of those particular programs alone.

A lot depends on your inclinations and interests in choosing programs you can be effective in promoting; and to a pretty good extent, it can also depend on hooking up with OPMs who manage programs that are consistently profitable for their affiliates.

Then it takes drilling down to find those niche keyword phrases within the vertical with lower cost and higher conversion, which is not too much different from the kind of keyword research needed for organic SEO.

Last edited by Marcia : 10-26-2007 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 10-26-2007   #6
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster View Post
You can work your ads as well.... sometimes they are too tight and get good conversion but looser ads can get more cheap traffic and convert less but more numbers overall
Could you elaborate on that concept for us? What do you mean by "looser?"
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Old 10-26-2007   #7
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

Looser I mean not as drill down specific as a tight ad - the broad approach gets more clicks thus higher CTR thus lower bid.... price drop increases clicks per dollar (or whatever amount) so even though they ultimately convert less the drop in cost and the increase in volume makes up for the overall profit the keyword can get you.
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Old 10-26-2007   #8
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

Be careful not to let CTR guide you in the wrong direction. High CTR is not always a good thing. It is very easy to drive a up CTR with the wrong traffic. Be sure to balance your data by cross sectioning your CTR data with your analytics funnel reports.

If you feel you are in deed driving the right people to your site, then now its time to pinpoint why they left your store without buying. Start testing new pages/text/images in your sales funnel process.

Conversions poor?
Don't be afraid to pull a "Costanza". Remember when George went into opposite world, everything he did was exactly opposite of his true nature, and he was hugely successful? Once I had this campaign that was a dog, I went through it time and again thinking, I would absolutely buy from this campaign, why isnt it working?! Then I pulled a costanza, I created a landing page that I personally would want to puke on. It was loaded with come on lines that would make a used car salesman blush and imagery as tacky as his pure white smile.

It converted like wild.

I'm not saying you'll be getting a cushy job with the Yanks anytime soon, but campaigns like this can sometimes show to you your own bias and help you find pages that convert a fat CTR.

Discovery

Last edited by Discovery : 10-26-2007 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 10-26-2007   #9
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

obviously ROI is the bottomline but volume can be better than individual CPA
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Old 10-26-2007   #10
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

- Make sure you are tracking all conversions down to the keyword level.
- Experiment with new/edited landing pages.
- Experiment with new ad copy.
- Keyword research (this includes developing comprehensive keywords lists, using negatives, learning to use the search query reports, getting rid of underperforming terms, expanding top performing terms, etc.)
- Look at top competitors (what are they doing in their ads and/or landing pages that you are not?)
- Test all targeting options (I always turn content off until I can get search working. If a campaign isn't working I opt out of the Google network and will only run it on Google until I can at least get that to work. I also will only send ads to the US, assuming its not a localized product/service.)
- Day Parting (test weekends v weekday, night vs working hours, etc.)
- Organize into manageable ad groups.
- Use the keyword in the ad title (and/or other places) if possible.

Then just keep testing!
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Old 10-26-2007   #11
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

Great advice, all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discovery View Post
Be careful not to let CTR guide you in the wrong direction. High CTR is not always a good thing. It is very easy to drive a up CTR with the wrong traffic. Be sure to balance your data by cross sectioning your CTR data with your analytics funnel reports.
I want to second this recommendation. A few years ago when we first started with Adwords, we were getting a relatively high CTR but low conversion %. We made some fairly drastic edits to our ad copy to filter out irrelevant clicks, including a strong call to action and testing of our USP. CTR went down almost 50%, but conversion increased by 500%. I think you can guess which ad we stuck with.

Bottom line, keep testing and you will hit on the magic formula.

Melissa
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Old 10-27-2007   #12
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

this is the most useful thread Ive read on PPC in over a month. Thanks for all the great advice.
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Old 11-08-2007   #13
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

(1) I find it is best to first determine your breakeven cost per click.

(2) I would look at your keywords, your conversion ratess seem low, if you narrow your keywords list, I would imagine your conversion rates would improve.

(3) Once this occurs your will find that your campaigns will become more profitable, and you can build out your keyword list based on your best converting keywords.

Last edited by caugas : 11-08-2007 at 03:39 PM. Reason: edited for fact
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Old 11-08-2007   #14
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

the content network does not impact the CTR used for determining cpc
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Old 11-20-2007   #15
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

i would also try mediaboost

Last edited by AussieWebmaster : 11-21-2007 at 09:59 AM. Reason: rest was a commercial
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Old 11-24-2007   #16
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

I was in a similar situation a while back, though my affiliate manager at Azoogle was too lazy/incompetent/forgetful/insert excuse here to actually get my conversion tracking set up.

What I did was to go read what people in the industry were saying on forums and such. Then I looked at the common nouns/keywords and what have you and made a list out of those. Despite my manager's incompetence, I succeeded in breaking even by finding cheap traffic. It sounds like you've already got the breaking even part down, so perhaps some keyword research focused on user generated content might help.

On a related note, soon after using those keywords in my campaign, other advertisers entered the space. In hindsight, they was probably using Spyfu (my display URl was the merchant's, to increase conversions) or other similar competitive KW intelligence tools. So if your domain is probably already branded in your opposition's consciousness, look at using new domains.

"What about my quality score?" I hear you. So does Mikkel. Redirect those ads through a page of your control, before they hit your landing page, bud! Then your display URL can change, but AdWords will still see the same one. You can even set up multiple levels, by having a tiny url link go to your refresh page and then finally to your landing page. Just be careful not to make the mistake - as I did - of adding your tracking parameters to the tinyurl link, cuz it'll break (or perhaps I screwed that up... no reason to do that anyways).
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Old 11-27-2007   #17
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Re: How to Properly Optimize for Profitability?

Before you can really take advantage of any optimization strategy, you must define what you want to do - increase traffic, increase conversions, increase leads, etc.

If you want to increase conversions (as I get the impression is your goal) the best way is to have ads and/or keywords link directly to specific product pages (custom landing pages). Send the visitor directly to what they're looking for. This will eliminate the 'noise' of trying to find it themselves. (enter buzzword - streamlined process)

Increase CTR - you have to get nit-picky with keywords and ad writing. Find the popular words/phrases. Tell people exactly what you have to offer in your ad - Free Shipping, 10% off, etc.

Premium optimization involves tackling both of these and finding the perfect balance. Create ads specific to the searched keyword/phrase to get clicks and send them exactly where they need WANT to go.
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