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From the Trenches Series: Lies, Damned Lies, and Internet Experts

‎"There are three types of lies:  Lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Disraeli (or possibly Courtney), Circa 1890

"There are three types of lies:  Lies, damned lies, and Internet Experts." - Keith Shetterly, 2011


From the Trenches:  PPC.  This multi-part blog series will be one about PPC campaigns.  The promise of conversion, the delivery of clicks, and the reality of sales.


So, this time, it's The Promise of Conversion.  We have two PPC vendors for different campaigns.  The first one tried to tell me that landing on our main website was a good idea and that the campaign needed to start immediately.  The second one worked with me and the landing/conversion pages we created.  Two PPC companies worlds apart.


I checked around the dealerships in my market and looked at their PPC landing efforts.  Interesting how many dealers land PPC campaigns on not only generic inventory pages but also on home pages!  That's just increased bounces and leaks, to me.  And then the PPC company wants to proxy in order to "track" the landings and also to substitute the text for the trackable phone numbers.  Which messes up our Google Analytics.  It's all a fight for clicks that might convert to calls, etc.


Except I've learned a different idea:  I want to fight for conversions instead of just clicks.  A horde of clicks that cost us $ but don't convert is not my campaign.  Taking a look at another vertical market, if the text offer is correct and relevant for folks searching for 54" flatscreen TVs, they'll click to see the offer and convert more often--such as "54" Flatscreens $800!".  Anyway, I have no right to treat this as a revelation, as it's been true of advertising since the first hawker sold kitchen knives (actually much earlier), but it seems to really be a revelation for some in our vertical:  If we put up a text ad with a compelling offer to fight for the click, more people interested in the offer will click.  If our ad says "0% on 2011 GMC Sierra!", it is more compelling than "New GMC!".  Just like "Sharpest knives in the world!" is more compelling for the hawker than "New Knives!"


So, no revelation, just a realization that a lot of our PPC vendors and campaigns aren't chasing conversions.  They're chasing how they get paid:  "clicks".  How many of us buy PPC just that way?  How many of us treat PPC like a radio spot buy, disregarding all the promise of the Internet for targeting customers?


Let's see what happens next when we turn these targeted campaigns on!


By the way:  Many thanks to our team helping to get this done!


(Part 1 of ? from the series "From the Trenches")


Keith Shetterly
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Views: 296


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Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 7, 2011 at 12:21pm
Sounds good Mike!
Comment by Mike Elmore on August 7, 2011 at 12:00pm
Exactly. I like your thinking. I am out of the office till Tuesday I will email you then at your gmail account
Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 7, 2011 at 11:43am
Mike, no problem.  I know that what we're doing is right, but I thought we'd talk the details so you could know.  Anyway, my opinion is simple:  Yes, you can do a lot with PPC without a lot of $ if you focus on programs to present what you have:  The gong idea of many is to get as many clicks as they can.  I don't agree with that.  I think tailoring a PPC effort for conversion is the way to go.
Comment by Mike Elmore on August 7, 2011 at 11:40am
Thanks Keith I was just asking your opinion without really getting into details. Sorry for the inconvenience
Comment by Tom Gorham on August 7, 2011 at 7:29am
@Mike Elmore - Keith is right that many dealers look at PPC as a "carpet bombing".  But it doesn't have to be.  You can pinpoint smaller segments with greater conversion for less money.  And I'm sure Keith can help you there.  He's a smart guy. Much of your precious advertising dollars may be going to less profitable places right now anyway and can improve conversion by putting some of it into PPC.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 6, 2011 at 7:37pm
Mike, that's interesting, because it seems that PPC has become sort of a "carpet bombing" high $ effort.  eMail me some of your details please  Thanks!
Comment by Mike Elmore on August 6, 2011 at 6:49pm
Thanks for your interesting post.  Do you think it wise to "jump" into a PPC campaign if a dealer has a limited inventory count of vehicles?  Would we really benefit with this type of marketing?  Or are we just throwing away precious advertising $?  Thanks for your input.

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on August 6, 2011 at 2:38am

Keep digging Keith!.....Great post. Larry Bruce has a ton of insight on getting past the clicks and down to conversions.

Kinda like NASCAR qualifying motors in the recent past, a lot of money spent on a motor designed to only put you in a position, not to win.

Ric's comments about most agencies is accurate.

"There are three types of lies:  Lies, damned lies, and Internet Experts." - Keith Shetterly, 2011

I like it!


Comment by Jae Chang on August 5, 2011 at 9:04pm
the dealer we spoke of a few months back; top ranked on organic and PPC on same search, nuff said.  No Sale No Return.  Big Spend Little Sale.

Comment by Ric McCoy on August 5, 2011 at 5:03pm
Well said Keith. I couldn't agree more. Most agencies tell you they always look out for #1. They just forget to mention that the agency is #1. Do we fault the agency or does the blame rest on us. Like a good SP that works their pay plan, the agency works theirs too. Hello... They get paid for clicks! I couldn't imagine running a PPC campaign and sending them to my home page, or to my inventory page for that matter. If your landing page is not "exactly" what your ad said it was, they will bounce in the blink of an eye. Thanks Keith... How many sets of knives do you own?

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