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Monitoring Search Engine Ad Campaigns

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-10-11

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Most businesses investing in pay-for-placement advertising on search engines know if their campaigns are making or losing money. But most know little more. According to one Internet expert, a deeper understanding of available data can make or save a company a lot of money.

A new book, "Search Engine Advertising, Buying Your Way to the Top to Increase Sales" (New Riders Publishing 2004), covers several tracking solutions advertisers can use to monitor their search engine ad campaigns and improve their profitability. E-Commerce solutions, affiliate programs, web analytics and bid management tools can track the return on investment from paid listings at a deep level.

Author Catherine Seda writes, "You spend a notable amount of time researching keywords, writing titles and descriptions, plus designing landing pages. Each component independently impacts your bottom line. As such, it's important to evaluate the performance of each piece of your paid listing campaign."

Seda points out that seeing $15,000 in new orders from a $5,000 advertising investment isn't good enough.

"Perhaps the $15,000 in sales resulted from five keywords that equaled $3,000 of the total ad cost," writes Seda. "The remaining 10 keywords used $2,000 of the budget and delivered zero sales. What would you do? Cut those 10 keywords and save $2,000 of waste."

When tracking search engine results, companies also need to address deferred and offline conversions. A deferred conversion means a consumer clicks an ad, but returns later to the web site to make a purchase. An offline conversion refers to a sale made by phone, mail or in-person. Seda points out tracking solutions need to be adjusted to properly credit these kinds of sales to search engine campaigns.

Seda says, "Without addressing deferred and offline conversions, advertisers could make snap judgments to kill part or all of an ad campaign that's actually lucrative."

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