Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Performance Based Advertising With PPC - WSI Local AdWorks

Recently, I launched a paid-search marketing campaign (also called PPC for "pay per click") for an attorney in a larger metropolitan area with WSI's Local AdWorks solution and wanted to share the results. To keep the campaign statistics "clean" I'm not going to reveal the location or legal focus of this attorney's advertisements, but suffice to say we've been getting some good results and even though I'm "in the business", I'm still amazed at how detailed the tracking reports are for my client.

One of the most interesting parts of this service is our ability to dynamically replace a business's phone number with a call-forwarding number that we provide for free. This gives us the ability to track if a phone call results from a click on the advertisement, since that's important to the overall ROI determination and knowing if the campaign is successful. Just last week my client's reporting system showed one phone call as a result of his campaign - but unfortunately for him it was someone looking for a job, not to hire him for her services. The good news, however, is that the call activity was captured and we knew exactly where it came from.

The other "standard" features of any paid search marketing campaign are also included with WSI Local AdWorks program. We track things like number of times the advertisement is displayed (sometimes referred to as "impressions"). Because this is truly performance-based, this number is important, but does not have an impact on the client's budget since the only time ad money is spent is when someone actually CLICKS on the advertisement and visits the client's website. Compare that to an ad in the newspaper and you pay regardless of whether someone reads your ad or it goes in their bird cage!

As you can imagine, we track the number of "clicks" that take place and can compare that to the impressions and get a click through rate (CTR) that gives us an idea of how successful (and relevant) the ad is doing. I often get asked "what's a good CTR" and that really depends on the industry and competition. If you can get in the 1-5% range, you're doing good, but the most important factor in all of this is if you are generating any sales ("conversions") out of your clicks. Think about it, wouldn't you much rather have a .5% click-through rate but know that everyone who visits your site is buying than a 10% click-through rate and not make a sale? Remember, you pay when someone clicks, so it's important that yo do your best to get them to do something when they visit your site (like sign up for your free newsletter).

Once someone is on your site as a result of the "click" (which you paid for), our system also tracks what key pages they visit. So, if you want to know if someone visits your "About Us" page, we can tell you. If you want to know if someone fills out your "Contact Us" form, we can tell you that too. Not every time will someone take action when they are on your site, but it's also nice to know what they look at when they visit. This can also give us some ideas on ways that we can make improvements to your pages and help increase the chance someone will interact with you in the future.

If you're interested in learning more, I'd suggest you check out our instructional video that helps explain WSI Local AdWorks in more detail. If you're interested in learning more or seeing how this can be a good solution for your business, give me a ring at (269) 841-5007 and let's chat. I'd love to help get you more customers and introduce you to performance-based advertising!

Eric
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