Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pay attention to your Pay Per Click campaigns

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If you participate in pay per click advertising, pay attention to your links. This is what I saw when I clicked on an ad from Specialized Bicycles.

Specialized Adwords campaign: Oops

"Pay Per Click" or PPC is how the big search engines pay their bills. Google calls their program AdWords. Yahoo's is merely "Yahoo Search Marketing." MSN Search calls their PPC program adCenter.

The gist of all of these programs is you pay for placement when somebody searches using keywords you're interested in. If you search for "bicycle," bicycle-related ads appears as "Sponsored Links," "Sponsor Results," or "Sponsored Sites" for, respectively, Google, Yahoo and MSN. If you click on one of these sponsored links, the sponsor pays a few dimes and the search engine receives the money.

Companies with marketing often utilize the services of PPC campaign managers. These are, hopefully, professionals who understand the ins and outs of search marketing. In the example, here, though, the PPC manager really screwed it up.

Specialized apparently uses Reporting Center to manage their PPC advertising. Unfortunately, when I searched for a Specialized product and clicked on Specialized advertising, I got a bad link. Specialized still pays Google for the click -- after all, Google doesn't know the page is bad -- but Specialized isn't receiving any marketing value from my click. It's money badly spent on Specialized's part.

It's not just Specialized that has this problem. I was searching for information about the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge. I clicked on the Sierra Club ad that appeared and it was a bad link.

If you use PPC marketing, be absolutely certain your links are good!

Note: I participate in AdSense, in which Google's ads are shown on Cyclelicious and my other websites.

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