The Noisy Little Monkey Blog


PPC – Google AdWords – How To Spend Less and Get More

Posted in Digital Gaggle, Posted in Talks by Sammy Payne on 14-Jul-2014 12:07:46

Top PPC tips with Dan Fallon of Search Star. He has a team who are in charge of millions pounds worth of PPC spend and is full of neat ideas.


Good. OK, well its a bit of a struggle to talk about what we do in just 20 minutes, so I will skate over some bits of it, I won't cover nearly enough depth in which case, come and talk to me afterwards.
And other bits will probably be slightly over covered but we will try and do it in roughly the right balance. Ultra Swift, invitation to us, we're a team of 18 and basically, we're a bit of a one trick pony. All we do is buy digital advertising, so we buy online ads on behalf of our clients. The bulk of that is what's called pay-per-click, Google adwords. Because that's kind of where the cash is in most people's online ad-spend. But we also get involved with buying sort of pretty much any other type of online advertising there is. But we do like a bit of pay-per-clicks. It's kind of what works for the vast majority of people.

We don't do many other things, we don't do a SEO, we don't do affiliates, we don't do email, we don't do web design. We probably know a lot of the other agencies who are here, because a lot of them don’t really like pay per click, they think is a bit grubby and a bit sort of complex when you get under the bonnet. And, they tend to hand it over to us because we’re nice and unthreatening and all we do is pay per click. And we're not going to knick their website design business or anything like that we're not interested and we don't do SEO because really it's too complicated and it's a bit of a nightmare to manage client expectations and it's bit of a relationship killer. The client phones you up everyday and asks you why they don't come top for the word loan and you have to explain yet again how many hundred pounds a month they're paying you it's never going to happen. But we do work for some nice clients. We're sort of qualified as you can be in our very sharky business. Search has not got the best reputation. There are many, many people who will phone you up day and night telling you they'll get you to number one on Google and we try and shy away from them. We don't actually have a sales team; we get our business from referral and talking to people. So if anyone wants to talk to us, please do.

Okay, money and I don't think anyone else here's this afternoon's talking about advertising, are they? We're the sort of advertising end of it and really, what people forget about something like Google is that Google is an advertising company. They realized about 12 years ago that their business model was advertising. They are media company that makes 99 %of its cash out of ads, and last year, I think they made slightly over 50 billion dollars, that was their advertising take. The majority made by running advertising on their own websites, but also they run an increasingly large advertising network so where they don't own the medium, like they own YouTube, they own Gmail, they own Google, they are increasingly trying to put the technology, and they're trying to put Android in, they're trying to create the self driving cars. They're trying to be the people who understand the software that's going into glasses, which I am taking a pair of, delivery of tomorrow. I had intended to bring them today, but I haven't got them, they’re arriving tomorrow. And they make pots of cash off this stuff and there are people spending remarkably large amounts of money. There are advertisers in the UK who would be spending 50, 60, and 70 million a year with Google.

Google largest advertiser in the world spends 200 million a year with them and that's the University of Phoenix. Which is basically the U.S. equivalent of the Open University. But it's private and they flog courses and basically it doesn't cost them a bean to deliver a digital course online, to have one extra student. And so they're willing to pay an absolute fortune to get an extra student, and they have over one million students in the U.S. paying sort of however many thousand dollars a year. And they are a whopping so if anyone searches you search for art history courses in the US up comes up a little Google ad. In the UK where does it make it from and if you're wondering what that advertising looks like and apologies if I'm teaching some of you to suck eggs it's kind of those ugly little things up at the top. Those ugly little pay per click ads that's were the bulk of the cash is for Google.
They make bits of it off banners and other stuff, but the bulk of it is those text ads that of course nobody in this room would ever be stupid enough to click upon. But a lot of people do, those chaps are for the top money supermarket. Last I heard they're spending about 50 million a year with Google, in the U.K is their sort of ad bill. Which will be probably 50 times more than their TV bill. Because essentially, as far as they're concerned, when people search for cheap credit cards, cheap loans, cheap travel insurance, cheap car insurance, whatever it is, money supermarket wants to come top.

And they've got a team of eight, last I heard. An economist, and then a team of eight advertising people, who manage that 50 million pounds and try and get the best out of their cash. And really a lot of what we do is a combination of advertising and economics. Nobody of course would ever click on that stuff because, frankly, no one is affected by advertising. But, people do click on the ads. And the SEO people will say, quite correctly, because I don't like SEO people, I will admit it; I will admit I don't like SEO people. 94% of people click on the organic results. Which is entirely correct, but I would argue that 94% of the searches are for, what time is my train from Bristol to Bath; how do I get to the Arnolfini Theatre; when was the War in 1812; pictures of Britney Spears. Whatever it is, the weather in Bristol, and for all of that stuff, Google says fine this is kind of fact of life that I have to service this stuff, but there's no money in it for me. So, I will do it, I will do it very efficiently and very well and I'll give a great result but I'm not going to make any money out of it.

But where there is cash involved, where Google thinks there is a commercial intent behind this search Google is absolutely ruthless at extracting the cash. By designing the best possible advertising eco system to put highly relevant commercial results in front of people and make those results as relevant, as interesting as possible so actually the person thinks Ooh, I was looking for somebody who did laser skin care, or whatever it is, in Bristol. And actually, Google has helpfully arranged some fabulous laser skin care providers in Bristol on this thing, and there will be six or seven fabulous people where you can get your IPL or whatever it's called done. And it just so happens there might well be 15 other people who provide it who will be buried a little bit further down the page but the guys who paid the cash get the best spaces. And that's the way Google do it and so if you look at high commercial intent searches about 65% of them go to the sort of page results. That's the way it works and so if you search a Kenwood food mixers, personal injuries whatever it is they'll be ads. If you search for something non-commercial, there won't be. So I have a question for you, what was the largest search phrase in the UK last year? And I will give you a clue.
It's somebody who died at the back end of last year, a famous person, sort of internationally famous person.
Did someone say Nelson Mandela? Some happy Guardian reading person. Sadly, you're a Guardian reader. There are more Sun and Daily Mail readers, and the largest dead person of last year was Paul Walker. Who died about a week apart from Nelson Mandela, and beat him by a factor of about four to one. I think that's particularly depressing, well, it's not depressing it is just an interesting statistic. Anyway, the interesting thing about that is that is the largest search phrase of last year, and there are no ads on that page.

Cause essentially, there's no cash in it for Google. Nobody wants to advertise Paul Walker, you can't buy anything with Paul Walker. You can buy a bit of media, but there's not really that much, most people rip it off for free. They don't pay for the stuff so that's the biggest thing and Google is doing it free. However, were I to search for a Kenwood food mixer, which is something that I am looking to purchase, then there are two, three ads up at the top, all perfectly done ads. From great answers, I could buy it from Amazon; I could buy it from Curry's, John Lewis, thank you very much. All great results, or I could it buy it from Google shopping stuff, Argos, Amazon all those places, Littlewood possibly there's some sort of comparison thing electric shopping Debenhams. You can't argue with the fact they're giving me the result I want they're telling me those are the people I probably want to buy Kenwood mixer but they've all paid for the privilege to be there.

That shopping thing, Google about 12, 13, 15 months ago, Google made it, once upon a time it was a product called Froogle and it was free and you supplied your stuff and it was all very nice.15 months ago, Google said, no we're not doing that anymore, you've got to pay to be in shopping.
So shopping is the first or one of the first products that Google is saying, actually, given that this is purely commercial, why should we do any of it for free? Why don't we just make it purely paid to get included? And so now, 99.9% of the results are now paid. There are a couple of freebies where it can't fully populate the result but basically it's getting rid of anything that's not paid. And Google will do that if it can fully populate it with paid stuff, that's what it will do.

So, I think this talk is meant to be about how to get more for less and getting more for less in PPC, in the sort of straight way, is about being fussy because essentially when we are asked to look at bad PPC, it's normally where the client is just chucking money at Google. And not being that fussy, because essentially if people like us are doing a good job for the classy clients, we will be very fussy. We will bid very heavily to the very commercial search that is likely to buy and if you're not fussy, you'll get the stuff that we don't want. That's the way it works and you'll get the stuff that Google can't sell to anybody else. And all the good stuff will get sort of swept up. So, and this is a little bit techy in our world. But, we've picked apart - I don't think, it's a Bristol agency who are handling it for us but they're not here so I can, I won't name them. But, anyway, this is this is clinical negligence solicitor who spent about 30 thousand quid over about a year and came to us saying the results weren't really what they wanted. We looked through on what they'd spent their cash on and the majority of their cash had gone for things like Cauda equina syndrome, third degree tears, lovely stuff, misdiagnosis of cancer, cancer misdiagnosis, birth injuries, MRSA infections, claims for negligence all stuff about clinical negligence. All stuff related to clinical negligence and all great. And then we looked at actually of the leads they got, where did the leads actually come from? The leads had come from people who search for claim against the NHS, Cauda equina syndrome Bristol, solicitors dealing in misdiagnosis Bradford, medical negligence solicitors, there's a sort of subtle difference between the searches.
They're all about medical negligence, but some of the searches, or the searches that worked, are where the searches have worked are the searches where the person is very explicitly shopping. But very explicitly using Google in the way that you used to use the yellow pages where you're flipping through it going, I'm going to somebody a ring in the next five minutes. I've just got to work out whom it is. As opposed to, I'm doing my school project on clinical negligence or I am a solicitor researching the competition or I'm wonder whether I should maybe do something but I'm not really sure yet.

And these clicks are not cheap, we will pay, 20 or so pounds a click for a medical negligence click, because the cases are worth thousands to the solicitors, the solicitors are willing to pay us up to you know a thousand, two thousand pounds for a decent bit of clinical negligence because they'll make more than that in fees. So, if we pay, say ten pounds a click, and there's a 1 in 20 chance that the person will fill in the forms that's 200 pounds a form there's a 1 in five that form will turn out to be quality that's 1,000 pounds a case. So as far as the solicitors are concerned, us paying ten pounds a click is fine it may sound a lot but that’s fine. But similarly we also buy clicks for two pence for stuff that is completely uninteresting to do with you know, Star Wars and stuff where there's no money in it, but there's very high volumes. And, so be very fussy and then track, track everything, and I think the thing that we’re or for serious clients, the thing that we're most excited about at the moment is the increasing ability to load data, back, into the media providers, so if you look very carefully when you click on an ad, there is something called a GCLID, so where you type in Searchstar later on today, because you wanted to come and see us, and you wanted to come buy us then, you would see that if you clicked on our and, then the actual URL you go to is searchstarGCLID or whatever it is, and that huge string, that is a unique bit of code. That is unique to that particular click if you then pass that through the contact form so that when the lead arrives on the desk of that person that it comes through and said Bob wants you to give him a ring they're very interested in your services and here's the bit of tracking code and that's a little string. And that string then gets dumped into your, CRM system, into sales force or whatever it is. And then at the end of the month you send the file back to us saying all of these GCLIDs actually went from being a lead to actually a piece of business. Then we can go back into our system and we can say, okay, well let's load all of that into the system.
We go, okay, interesting, the people who inquire on Sundays actually become customers, actually we were doing this for a web design company recently we actually saw something we long suspected, that all of those leads they got on Sundays and over the weekends were trash. They were the people who never responded, they were the people who didn't have decent budgets. The people who had decent budgets were the people who made their inquiries between nine and five Monday through Friday. And so actually, the conclusion was, fine, let's just run the ads nine to five, Monday, Friday. We'll bin the stuff at the weekends, the stuff at the weekend does appear to have decent traffic, and they spend lots of time looking round the site, and they fill in the forms, all very nice. But they don't, they don't convert and you can track that, and load it all back, and for any type of lead generation client. And we deal with people flogging walk in baths, loans, personal injury solicitors, anything nice like that we're very happy to do. But that stuff, any type of lead generation, you track it. So, if you're trying to spend less, and get more, and you want to be fussy with what you buy, then you need to track to make sure what is good.

You need ad copy that cuts through so I've back into my world of personal injury I'm afraid so, whenever a client comes to us you normally end up sitting there thinking what's so special about you? Why should I buy your product well why am I going to take a loan from you why am I going to ask you to make a short film about me? Why am I going to ask you to do my social media what's interesting about you. Come on - and I've written millions of personal injury ads in my life, and the number that I've written that go 100% no win no fee compensation guaranteed, you know, PPI, call me now, or have you lost out to the Halifax, or whatever I've written, where as actually what you want to come up with is are you Wales' leading personal injury firm? In which case, fine, we'll just run the ads in Wales. Again Welsh people like buying from Welsh people you know and it's a thing that goes on so actually tell them if your Wales then advertise certainly if you know the person then tell them your in Wales too. In clinical negligence it's quite interesting market it's slightly different from the normal personal injury market in that they’re not quite so money grabberish and they're actually after a really quality service and you distinguish yourself by actually taking client quotes and put client quotes in the ad to try and cut through Or if you're National accident helpline who are the big beast of personal injury, you just write a really slick ad that has reviews in it, you A-B test the hell out of it, you flesh out your ad, you do everything you can to make your ads good.

And Google provides all sorts of ways that you can make your ad better than the average and they're constantly experimenting with different formats and they're running beaters where we can play around we can test because what Google wants to do is Google doesn't want it's ads to basically be 25 characters at the title then two lines of 35 characters and then a URL because that's boring. Google wants to experiment and play and come up with ads that are more relevant. Because relevance is the magic word, what Google wants is you to search for flights to Paris and then you to look at one of the ads and go, brilliant, that's exactly what I was looking for. That type of person looking at that ad, that's exactly me I'm going to click on that. Because then, Google is happy, Google's got its cash, and ideally, Google then actually wants the person to buy from the customer, because then the customer will back and advertise again. And what it doesn't want them to do is think; actually, none of those ads are really what I'm after. I'm going to head down the page and find the organic stuff. So Google gives you lots of toys to play with your ads, reviews, +oneing, loading your prices, putting these site links in, collection to newsletters, signing up for special offers, all sorts of things. And some of these, and things go in out of beta as to what, what's available and when their proven they come through.

I like the quote it's a very Google quote. Sorry it's a bit dense and it takes a bit of reading.
But, one of the most interesting things that's going on from Google, is when I started off in the world of paid search, it was pretty much ads on PCs. And they were kind of text ads, and that was the way life worked. And now there's so many different, you know, you get this Internet of things thing, and Google is determined that it is going to have ads on every single one of those things. Whatever this Internet of things thing is, Google's going to have ads on them. And they're all going to have to be slightly different. And Google's just gone through a huge problem with mobile where it didn't get its ad format right. And no one was clicking on the ads and this was terrifying for Google because mobiles are very clearly exploding in popularity. And Google was having all these quarterly earnings calls of analysts where they were all asking quite pointed questions about why nobody was clicking on the ads even though the searches were going up. And ‘so we're seeing tremendous innovation in advertising, which will help us monetize mobile queries more effective than desktop. Mobile monetization, this is the way Google thinks. Google thinks about monetization per query, monetization per image. That's what goes on in their minds, that's their agenda, that's, you know, nothing really goes on in Google's mind unless it has to do with money. And how it can make cash from it.’ And they are coming up with these new formats so that they can then put ads on them. And I'm sure when I get my Google glasses tomorrow I will start, I'm very interested to see when one day I'm going to wear the things or somebody in my office is going to wear the things and suddenly they're going to say I saw an ad. And it's going to be oh, what was it? A person of interest.

A person of interest, that's right. It'd probably be a coffee shop or a GAP or something but it may be me wandering past something wearing them and it'll tell me ooh, GAP, ten percent off. Yeah, it's very exciting. Somebody introduced me to a new verb the other day which was great, when I started saying well I just bought these glasses somebody said, hey you're a glasshole which I thought was a nice word. But anyway, that's apparently what I'm about to become, I'm quite excited. Google is also not adverse to sort of mixing things up a bit and sort of biting the hands that feeds it. So, you can see, that is, where as it's largest advertisers are comparison sites so, Google will muck around in the bottom there. It's messing around with it's own comparison site because it kind of thinks well;
actually why, if everyone wants comparison sites, and there's a lot of money to be made in comparison sites and actually there's an extra click involved in going from Google to the comparison site. Then why don't we run a comparison site? In the same way that in the olden days, when you searched for the weather in Bristol, you then go to site called Now you don't go to because Google shows you the weather. So, increasingly, Google thinks well, why if they're searching for credit card comparison why do we then offer them a list of credit card comparison sites, why don't we just provide them with the credit card comparison.

I've got five minutes left; I'm going to speed up. Okay, so we're not averse to playing around. I've spoken about PPC, because kind of, although PPC is only 2.4% of the cash, it has a magical ability to be the most profitable bit, because it has this fabulous thing it's basically there when people are looking for stuff, so it does take most of the money. But I will now talk about other things quickly, display is growing. And so, in terms of getting more, display advertising those ugly banners that are useless and that everyone hates, they are growing. And the prediction is that they'll better, we're getting increasingly interested in display. Mobile is also growing very quickly. The, the first stop, if you're getting interested in display, is to do retargeting and I struggled to understand why anybody would not do retargeting for any business. Fundamentally you spend all this effort getting people to come to your website they look around your website for about two minutes and then 98% of them bugger off and never come back and you still think oh, where did they go and actually what you should be doing your dropping your cookie on them and then chasing them around the internet for the next 30 days saying come, come back, come back buy some stuff remember us we're really actually bigger than you though come on.

So how does it work, just for those who don’t' know, you search for John Lewis, you look at a nice Jelly Bean rug, you then go off and start rearranging your photos and well hey you say Jelly Bean rug, You then go of an actually search for rugs, and actually John Lewis chooses to show you the Jelly Bean rug you were looking at earlier, because they're clever.
So it happens, it affects your search results afterwards it affects the ads that you see when you go on and really genuinely there's not reason not to do it especially if you're business to business. It's kind of like you're a consultant you make thousands of people use you go to all these networking events and people you know, look at you and they go, oh yeah, it he’s interesting I should use him one day and then you've just let them go but, you should be following them around. If you look at our website you'll see your chased around for the next 30 days, if you really interested in display, you start to think about how you're going to buy the stuff, because buying the stuffs pretty painful. You think, oh, am I going to have to phone up all those website and do the deals and they're going to be ugly salespeople trying to sell the stuff to me at ten pounds a thousand, twenty pounds a thousand, negotiating the bad old days of media sales. Instead, there's a new thing called a demand-side, or there, basically, there are large exchanges that work, called demand-side platforms, we run a demand-side platform, and it is when you read about all this stuff to do with programmatic buying and advertising industry being taken over by data crunchers, this is kind of what it's all about. It's about huge amounts of data being thrown in computer systems to try and work out, the man on the left, by the way, is Martin Soro, you know, who is the sort of the biggest man in advertising in the world, he runs WPP. And I'll give you an example, this is a bit creepy, but this is something we're running, perhaps, for a large fashion company. We can take data from, so a credit card company will sell its data of the IP addresses of the people who log into its credit card platform, and so it notes down who you are, and it notes down, okay, you know, Martha's just logged into her account, and Martha's the woman who spends a lot of money on Prada. And it knows, it’s seen that she spends a lot of money on Prada and goes aha, Martha's just logged in. Okay, what's her IP address, writes down her IP address and then they sell that IP address along with a list of other people who buy stuff from other fashion retailers. That is the third party credit card data luxury fashion shopper list. We then overlay that with London and South East IP addresses. We then overlay that again and say we'll only have these people when they're looking at fashion content. And then we will run banner ads at them. And all of these little fashion blogs that individually struggle to sell their advertising sell it onto an ad exchange an ad exchange that auctions the space we then spot that somebody who's on that luxury shopper list IP address. Who's based in London in southeast IP address, is looking at one of those chief fashion folks that struggles to sell their ad space very much at all so we can probably pick it up for about a pound a thousand. And we nip in and buy it, and that is sort of programmatic buying and then you crunch the data, you work out whether you did it right, how people behaved on the web site, but it is essentially an, all, every single banner ad or 99 percent of them that you look at are being auctioned in that way and being bought by people using programmatic systems.

And you can target pretty much anything you fancy, you know? If you can think of a way of targeting it, it can be done. And the list of data every time I go to our data guys and say is there a list of people who are interested in lawnmowers? And someone will go yes you can buy that. And it will be sold as an overlay cost of 50 pence a thousand, so what I can take is, I can take a, what is otherwise an unsaleable piece of space, of some unknown person rearranging their photos on the internet for hours at a time, been shown thousands and thousands of banners, and yet, I know that that person's interested in buying a lawn mower, potentially, so I'm going to show them an ad for a lawn mower, and I'm the only person interested in bidding for them so I can buy them cheap, or that's the theory. And if you do want 10 top tips, exciting, once upon a time this presentation was called 10 Top Tips. It was the 10 top tips things in the back. First one, I haven't said this, the first thing is get a great website. The number of clients I see spending huge amounts of money promoting websites that are basically a bit shoddy. You know, we have clients who spend tens of thousands of months with us, and yet they have frankly shoddy websites. And you say to them, why don't you go get yourself a nice web designer for 5 grand and sort that out. And they go, no, couldn't possibly spend 5 grand on my website, but I'll happily spend 30 grand with you guys. And you say, why don't you just take 20% of our budget a month and sort out the site and double the conversion rate?

Be fussy, get the research stuff, go granular. Really build out your adware. We run adwares campaigns with millions of keywords within them. Structures, really complex structures, work at your ad copy. Find out why you're interesting, be social and get reviews. I love ads that are reviews; I love ads with stars on them. Especially if you're dealing in something where you are pretty much the same as everyone else. Get those five little gold stars underneath your ads. Mobile experience, I haven't really spoken about mobile much but the majority of clients we talked to when we kick off talking to them, we say, yeah unfortunately your mobile site isn't really good enough is it? So we won't really advertise the mobile until you've sorted out your site. So you need to sort out your site and get the mobile site right, and then we can send in the traffic. Because otherwise, we know you'll send in the traffic and it won't perform properly. Don't forget Bing, I haven't mentioned Bing. Bing's not bad, it's not a bad search engine and it's quite cheap. Clicks were a lot cheaper than Google search, social display all clicks are not equal just as I don't like SEO I'm also bit marginal on social I think a lot of the clicks, certainly from an advertising perspective are quite poor quality, search is brilliant because people are looking for stuff, social you can kind of tempt them into having a little look but they're not really interested in buying they're actually doing something else.

Track everything and then re-marketing, honestly, give me a reason not to do it. Every time I look at a client, and I ask why aren't they doing re-marketing? And there's never a decent answer, there's never something you'd believe. That's it, thank you.

Tags: Digital Gaggle, Talks