They showed spending overall on online
advertising to be up more than 60% in 2004 over 2003. Paid Search
Advertising accounted for 39.5% of that figure and was itself up more
than 87% over the previous year.
"We've always viewed local advertisers as fairly conservative in that
they don't have that much to spend," Borrell told Clickz Network
reporter Rob McGann. "Typically you expect them to funnel most of their
ad spend into direct mail and yellow pages, with only a small percentage
for online, but that is not the case at all this year.”
WSI Internet Consultant Ron Adelman
wasn’t surprised at all. He believes that local advertisers are behaving
conservatively when they choose to participate in paid online
advertising. In fact, he says 80% of these local business people jump at
the chance to do Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns when he shows them how
many people locally are searching on keywords related to their business.
He also reports that every single one of his current clients is engaged
in some level of PPC ad campaign, targeting either a local, national, or
“Pay-Per-Click is the best way for any
company to reduce their advertising risk. Because even if your campaign
isn’t that good, you only pay when you get results – when you get
someone to click through to your site” he shares.
The other risk Adelman believes these
businesses are reducing is the overall financial risk posed by the high
bid prices many generic but popular search terms can pose. Very
competitive keywords like “mortgages” or “Web design” could easily
command a bid price of $10, $15, or even $30 per click. However, when
you add a regional term such as “St. Louis” or “London” to the keyword
“mortgages” and use a tool like Overture or Wordtracker you’ll see that
the number of searches done on that phrase may be dramatically lower –
30 - 40 searches as opposed to 4,000 to 400,000. Through effective
keyword research a business can identify more specific keywords which
cost substantially less, oftentimes just pennies a click.
One of the major benefits of running a
local PPC campaign is that it provides flexibility in reaching local
customers within a given geographic area. For example, a florist
operating in Edinburgh, Scotland can set-up their ad so that it only
appears to users within the Greater Edinburgh area.
'Few industry experts recommend that a
small or medium sized business attempt to track their own campaigns and
Adelman reports his typical clients
happily spend between $300 and $1,000 USD on their clicks each month.
His St. Louis, Illinois WSI office charges a very affordable fee to set
up PPC campaigns and manage them each month on behalf of their clients.
Adelman and his team provide the expertise and careful management that
each PPC campaign requires making sure clients get the optimal return
for their PPC advertising investment.
While the major search engines
themselves offer advertisers a variety of free tools to help them manage
and track the results of their PPC campaigns, few industry experts
recommend that a small or medium sized business attempt to track their
own campaigns and results. They note that while most can track which
keywords convert the best, many do not look deeper into their numbers to
know whether what they are doing is at the best possible price.
Management of a PPC campaign goes
beyond setting up an account, keyword research, writing ads and setting
a daily advertising budget. It also entails measuring your results and
tweaking your ads and placements to improve on those results. Tracking
which words convert the best is only the first step across the surface
data available. Which search engines or networks return the best
conversion results for each keyword, or whether they’re doing so in your
targeted cost range are just two more of the many other variables you’ll
want to keep an eye on. You’ll also need to know, and use, your average
cost-per-sales, average customer acquisition costs, and average lifetime
customer value calculation to determine the actual Return on Investment
for each phrase, ad, campaign, engine, search network, or local search
While managing a successful ongoing PPC
campaign can be extremely tedious and time consuming, even a poorly run
campaign can begin to increase a company’s search visibility within days
“I can literally walk in to any
business with a document in my hand that shows them how many people
searched for their type of business, product or service online last
month, and say the one thing that every businessman wants to hear – I
can guarantee to put them on top of all those searches within hours of
launching a brand new website. I can guarantee that they will be found”