Turbocharging Your Paid Search Program, Part 3

By Adam Figueira

February 16, 2012

The third and final installment in the “Turbocharging Your Paid Search” series focuses on objection handling. Of the tactics I mentioned yesterday, you’re most likely to encounter stiff resistance to my recommendation that you pause keywords whose Quality Score—after all other efforts—still remains outside the seven-to-10 range.

This resistance will take the form of a statement such as the following: “Keywords whose Quality Score was six or below drove 107 conversions last year. We wouldn’t have gotten any of those if the keywords had been turned off.”

Such resistance ultimately misses a larger point: Your dollars invested yield dollars returned, whether that’s positive, zero, or even negative. Because Google penalizes keywords whose Quality Score is six or below (in the form of higher cost per click, as illustrated in the chart below), the cost of traffic from these keywords is woefully inefficient and prevents your campaigns from achieving maximum ROI.

Source: ClickEquations.com

Counter with the following: The economics of paid search aren’t achieved through the inefficient acquisition of ever-increasing amounts of traffic. Rather, the cost of low Quality Score keywords is better invested in on-site tactics that improve the conversion rate of your more relevant paid search traffic. In other words, shift budget away from tactics designed to widen the top of the funnel (i.e., traffic acquisition) to those designed to increase bottom-funnel conversions.

Real channel optimization doesn’t end on the landing page, and neither should your paid search. As a result of a more on-site approach to optimization, you’ll not only demonstrate better performance figures for your paid search program (e.g., more conversions, a higher conversion rate, and lower cost per acquisition), but you’ll have finally achieved as much control over the on-site experience as you have over the ads themselves.

Adam Figueira is a former product marketing director at Monetate.

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