I can’t find the bit of nonsense I ran across in an article the other day, but there’s a sea of it online if you search for “ad position sweet spot.” Nonsense articles like this from Seer Interactive with nonsense paragraphs like this:
“Contrary to what you might have heard, optimizing average positions does not always mean gunning for the top spot. Optimal positions will greatly vary among clients, industries, goals and engines.”
Balderdash. Despite whatever evidence you think you’ve seen, there is no “optimal position.”
Declining ROI is the mark of a successful ad campaign
Sometimes our digital marketing efforts fail. Despite our best efforts, we just can’t get a positive ROI. All too often when that happens I hear that same pernicious claim: it failed because the client wasn’t willing to spend enough money.
That is the kind of marketing myth that can only persist
because most marketers actually believe it. You may even believe it yourself.
If so, my goal is to convince you to never again tell a client they have to
spend more money in order to see results.
But before exposing the lie, let me acknowledge the limited
ways in which it can be true.
Using the Quality Score report in Google Ads to measure progress and show value
So you’re a PPC specialist trying to appease a skeptical
client who sees little value in exotic metrics like CPC, CTR, and CVR. Worse
still, they want you to drive traffic to a website with poor conversion value
and no lead tracking. What can you offer to show your worth?
In another blog post I explained why you should provide your clients with a search terms report that proves you are sending highly relevant traffic to their website. But getting clients the right web traffic is only half of what we do as PPC specialists. The other half is getting that traffic at the lowest possible cost – and that’s something you can demonstrate with a Quality Score report.
When I received my PPC training, there was a prevailing belief that bigger was better. We would make gigantic keyword lists divided into zillions of ad groups, all in an effort to be hyper-targeted, hyper-specific, and hyper-relevant. The more important the client, the bigger the campaign we built them.
There is a clear downside to bigness, which is that it spreads your search traffic thin across too many variables. You end up diluting the very data you must accumulate in order to optimize your campaign.
What about the upside? The bigger-is-better philosophy hinges on the belief that you will get a steeper discount on each click the more precisely your keyword and ad text match the query. The assumed mechanism for that discount is the auction-time ad quality (wrongly called “quality score”), something that is poorly understood even by most experts.
In this post I will demonstrate why that assumption is wrong, and why most campaigns should be much, much smaller.
The fact that you are reading this now means you found this
blog title compelling enough to click on. It’s provocative, it’s coy, it may
even be clever.
But it would make a terrible PPC headline.
The key distinction between paid search and organic search is
marginal cost. Every additional visitor to my blog comes at zero additional
cost, so I can afford to be cute with my blog headlines if I think it will
increase my clickthrough rate. I want as much traffic as possible.
The incentive to lure in visitors with sexy or even misleading headlines is so great that there’s even a name for it: clickbait. How many of us have fallen prey to those headlines promising to tell us why Hollywood won’t hire that celebrity anymore, only to find ourselves clicking “next” through a series one-sentence breadcrumbs only to discover that we do not, in fact, care?
When the marginal cost per additional eyeball is zero, by all
means be as compelling as possible. But when you have to pay for each click,
you want to be very selective about who is compelled to click – and who is
When to call it quits with your paid media campaign
As I discuss in my post on declining ROI in a PPC campaign, a well-run campaign should experience diminishing marginal returns. But this post is not about squeezing every last drop out of a successful campaign. This post is about how to know when your campaign is a dud.
My rule of thumb is if the client has spent three times the Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) without a single qualified lead, that means further optimizations are unlikely to improve things enough to make the campaign profitable.