PPC Analyst Dan Zuzanski and I attended this year’s System Seminar in Chicago. I’d like to share some of the most valuable insights we encountered at the conference.
1. When starting Conversion Optimizer, keep your options open
Notes from David Rothwell’s presentation
If you’re handing the success of your AdWords campaigns over to Google, give it all the options within reason to use to find conversions. Turn on search partners. Turn on mobile devices. Presenter David Rothwell of AdWords Answers has found that Google will either find conversions there or not focus on them.
We see a complement to this. At the same time, give Conversion Optimizer the best and most voluminous data you can. As Google has refined the Conversion Optimizer algorithms, it has required fewer and fewer conversions to turn on CPA bidding. However, campaigns on Conversion Optimizer perform better as Google has additional data to use to find patterns. So open up the options, but give Google a solid amount of data before trusting your bids to their algorithms.
2. Good copywriting is a matter of closing doors
Notes from Ken McCarthy’s presentation
Often we have heard that good copywriting harnesses existing forces and desires rather than trying to create demand. That’s true. But there’s a flipside that presenter and System Seminar originator Ken McCarthy brought up that’s a valuable guiding principle: Good sales copy closes doors too, by harnessing existing interest.
While it is important to have potential customers excited about your product or service, it is also important that you have a unique selling proposal. The way Ken put it, leave your reader thinking “I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’m not sure where else I would get it. “
3. Not everyone uses Google Analytics. Enter StatCounter.
Notes from Ben Moskel’s presentation
StatCounter is not new, but we have never seen significant support for it before. According to their own literature, StatCounter is “a free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats.” StatCounter doesn’t do everything Google Analytics does, but it exceeds Google Analytics in some areas. For instance, some users prefer StatCounter’s interface to Google Analytics in terms of usability, especially when reviewing referral logs. In addition, some advertisers prefer having a third party involved in traffic analytics and tracking, rather than trusting Google both as an ad platform and analytics provider. Like Google Analytics, StatCounter is free.
One benefit of StatCounter is that it allows easy and transparent access to the data from the raw website logs which in turn makes viewing IP addresses simple. This is useful in combating clickfraud. When running large pay per click campaigns, it is easier to spot click fraud when viewing these IP address lists. Also, when you spot fraud, having solid, detailed information to present to search engines increases the likelihood they will honor your click fraud refund request, according to presenter Ben Moskel.
4. Facebook and display networks have more traffic than Google
Notes from Greg Davis’ presentation
We reported in March that Facebook edged out Google for a week in terms of total traffic, but we found Google remained king for targeted advertising traffic. However at The System Seminar, there were entrepreneurs making money on mass appeal offers in areas such as business opportunities, health and diet information. For them, Facebook’s growing traffic was big news and changing where their conversions came from.
With mass appeal offers, some advertisers and affiliates bypassed AdWords altogether and went right for Facebook and display networks. One great tip from presenter Greg Davis regarding this: Negotiate with display networks on the phone, and you can often get terms or pricing better than what they post on their rate card.
5. Exclude Myspace and You Tube in Google Content campaigns
Notes from Ben Moskel’s presentation
With new Content Network campaigns, we often see an incredible amount of impressions out of the gate in two or three places. However, we hardly ever see profitable traffic from those placements, and it was satisfying to have that experience affirmed by a veteran.
What are these high impression, low value sites? Ben Moskel cited Myspace and You Tube. We would add Gmail to that list.
Solution: Ben excludes these sites at the domain level at launch time from his content campaign by listing them as negative placements. Alternatively, we suggest bid separately and lower on those specific site placements. They sometimes can be profitable at lower bid prices or with different ads.
6. Syndicate videos with TubeMogul.com
Notes from Mike Marshall’s presentation
TubeMogul.com makes SEO via valuable video content easier. Using this free service, a user can upload videos to TubeMogul’s interface to deploy it simultaneously to all video outlets and platforms or just a selected few. The site also offers impressive tracking statistics, so you can evaluate viewership and engagement. TubeMogul’s comprehensive list of potential syndication platforms exceeded what I personally knew what was available, and included some video platforms specific to humor or instructional videos. Like StatCounter, attendees reported that the TubeMogul interface is particularly easy to use.
7. Research by talking to people who sent your product back
Notes from Drayton Bird’s presentation
Do not neglect the unhappy customers when you are looking to refine your offer and the language surrounding it. That was the sentiment voiced by veteran ad man Drayton Bird.
We have had success researching people interested in a product or service using Glenn Livingston’s 80/20 survey to mine for language that resonates with your responsive customers. We’ve also talked to people enthusiastic about a product or service to see what got them to buy. However, finding what purchasers did not like about an offering is also deeply valuable. Surveying people who call in guarantees or make returns can surface what obstacles copy can overcome in the minds of potential customers.
COO & Director of Paid Search
PS: My favorite site from the conference was this urgent plea from New Orleans musicians to save a medical clinic that is losing its funding: http://www.savetheclinic.org/