Google's Testing Pay Per Action (PPA) Model

So, I have heard arguments going both ways regarding using Google's conversion code and URL tracking. After all, why would you want to the let the company 'determining' how much a click is worth know which keywords are converting and boosting your bottom line? I happen to like being able to log into my accounts, quickly determine which ads are converting, which keywords are converting and how the overall Campaign is functioning - and it is a free tool!

I am hoping Google's new cost model will provide a further way to keep ROI in check!

Google has been working on a pay-per-action (PPA) model by which, instead of paying per impression or per click on served ads, advertisers only make payment when users complete a predefined action. Such activities can include making a purchase or registering for a newsletter, reports MediaPost.

Today Google expands its PPA beta to a number of advertisers on AdWords.

Beginning today, advertisers with conversion tracking and over 500 conversions from CPC- or CPM-based campaigns in the past month will be added to the PPA beta on a rolling basis. Options to build campaigns and set the parameters for conversions will appear in their AdWords accounts.

Some marketers perceive PPA as a new attempt by Google to reignite business from advertisers who may feel burned by ever-escalating PPC costs and a paltry ROI.

The global beta, released in March, launched in 24 languages.

MySpace in exchange for Yahoo! shares?

News Corp, the empire presided-upon by Rupert Murdoch, has proposed a curious exchange: MySpace in exchange for 25 percent of Yahoo, according to The Times.

Murdoch purchased MySpace for $580 million in 2005.

Ongoing talks were interrupted recently by the departure of former CEO Terry Semel of Yahoo.

With Yahoo's recent advertising agreement with E-bay this partnership could provide a serious boost to the advertising bottom line!

eBay Pulls AdWords Advertising Dollars!

Well, it isn't often that Google gets a slap in the face ... hardly ever actually ... sure, there are teh impending lawsuits here and there but usually whoever has the most expensive lawyer wins that battle ... and we all know how deep Google's pockets are!

So, now eBay has signed an exclusive advertiser deal with Yahoo! Could Yahoo be making a move to take back some market share?

Read below:

Report: eBay Pulls AdWords; Google Protest Crumbles

eBay has discontinued its advertising through Google's AdWords platform in the U.S., reports InfoWorld.

The move comes as the latest in the equivalent of a corporate chess match between Google and eBay. The two have been circling each other for a while, largely over eBay's decision to disallow use of Google's Checkout system for auctions on the site.

eBay owns PayPal, one of the biggest online payment services, and a direct competitor to Google Checkout. The camel's back may have been broken over Google throwing a protest party on the same night eBay held a merchant's conference dubbed eBay Live.

Officials within eBay deny the decision to divorce AdWords is tied to the party plans but the company also admitted it isn't thrilled that Google was making such a move.

Yahoo signed a deal with eBay making it the sole provider of search and display ads on the auction site, something that also might be playing into making this decision. The move affects only US AdWords campaigns and was labeled by eBay as simply an experiment in ad dollar relocation.

UPDATE: Google apparently canceled the party, reports TechCrunch. You can read Google's statement on the cancellation here.

48% of Users Polled Plan To Increased Spend with Yahoo!

So, for those who I interact with on a regular basis throughout the week, you already know my feelings toward Yahoo's Search Marketing Platform - before and after the 'Panama Project'.

That being said, the survey below completely shocked me because most folks that I speak with usually have the same feelings ... low ROI, not very user friendly, awkward Dashboard, horrendous editorial review, the list goes on and on.

I'm curious to speak with someone who would agree with the survey. Is there something they know about Panama that I don't? Is it the products they are selling / promoting?

If you have had success with Panama and plan on increasing your advertising spend as a result, please take time to share with me.

Enjoy the read!

Resolution Media reveals that not only did surveyed marketers rate Panama highly, 48 percent of them plan to increase spending with Yahoo! because of it.

Since the release of Panama, the announcements of its less-than-stellar Q1 profits and Google's acquisition of DoubleClick have many analysts giving Yahoo! a skeptical outlook. In light of Google's ever-growing empire and Yahoo's disappointing Q1 earnings, can Yahoo still succeed? The results of a recent survey conducted by Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA) in conjunction with William Blair & Company may make you wonder.

The verdict of CIMA's research
Overall, the state of our interactive marketing industry is strong with 2007 growth predictions near 19 percent and our industry's health rated a virile 4.13 out of five by CIMA members. So what does this mean for the Goliaths that propel our industry's search dollars?

In 2004, Google accounted for 51 percent of searches through its own site and AOL, whereas Yahoo accounted for 43 percent of searches on its own property and MSN. This gap widened drastically in the following years with Google now controlling 64 percent of all search activity. In this year's CIMA study, only 16 percent of respondents characterized Yahoo as the best-positioned portal or search engine, versus 30 percent last year. Google was considered best-positioned by 56 percent of respondents. However, with its release of Panama, Yahoo is shaping up to give Google a run for its ad dollars.

The CIMA survey revealed that 71 percent of participants rate Panama's new user interface as "similar or better than Google's." Why? When asked, "What new feature in the Panama system will have the most positive impact on your business?" the more than 100 CIMA members who participated in the survey responded with: Campaign Grouping, Fast Activation, Keyword Insertion in ad units, and Graphical Forecasting and Bidding Tools. As a result, the CIMA study also revealed that 48 percent of surveyed members indicated they would increase their spending with Yahoo.

Panama and the triangle of benefit
Another reason for the positive peer review of Panama could be Yahoo's realization that in order to move ahead of other search engines, it needs to serve more than just its marketing/agency clients. Truly effective media models create unique advantages for each of the three core media constituencies: marketers, publishers and consumers. Yahoo seems to have recognized this by outfitting Panama with new features that integrate each media constituency while appealing to each individually.

Panama offers marketers the ability to test multiple ad versions to determine which message generates increased CTR and impressions. In addition to the features highlighted in the CIMA research, Panama provides an interface that enables marketers to clone Google campaigns and seamlessly import and apply learnings.

For publishers, Panama's ability to provide increased relevance means higher clickthrough rates. Thus, it will yield more revenue. Publishers are already starting to realize the revenue potential, as evident by the recent exclusive agreement between Viacom and Yahoo for sponsored search and contextual ads.

And lastly, consumers experience faster, more relevant search results due to marketers being better able to manage their creative messaging. Additionally, some of Panama's geo-targeting search capabilities will provide for a better user experience.

The right move
With the purchase of Right Media Exchange, Yahoo provides further opportunity for advertisers, publishers and advertising networks to generate more value from the online marketplace. Right Media will allow Yahoo advertisers greater inventory and audience options as well as increased transparency into the buying process. Publishers will have the ability to immediately capitalize on increased marketplace demand and enable optimal returns on each ad placed by marrying their ad inventory with the exchange's and Yahoo's. Advertising networks will enjoy the same advantages as advertisers and publishers while also giving them a chance to compete with top players due to decreased friction and increased transparency.

What does this all mean for our industry? For starters, it means that -- despite the fact that Googling has become a recognized verb synonymous with web searching -- Google's stronghold on search advertising hasn't taken the fight out of its key competitors. With Panama, marketers can now meaningfully test their message efficacy on Yahoo and shape their online spots toward their consumers' preferences. Publishers will generate more revenue from each page view. Consumers can find what they are looking for with greater speed and accuracy, and with results that are more targeted to their queries.

Yahoo has given the marketplace and consumers a worthy complement to Google. Today, I'm betting that Panama will help Yahoo close the gap with Google in the coming months; and not only because 71 percent of CIMA participants rated the Panama user interface as similar or better than Google's. Yahoo will overtake other smaller competitors that have been grabbing share by appealing to one or all of the three key constituencies. At the end of the day, Panama creates competition, and that's good news for the entire industry.

Matt Spiegel is the managing director and founder of Resolution Media. Read full bio.

Ads across Multiple Sites Yield Higher Conversions

Advertising overlap on multiple sites has a significant impact on consumer conversions, according to "How Overlap Impacts Reach, Frequency and Conversions," a study by aQuantive's Atlas Institute, writes MarketingCharts.

The study finds that consumers are more likely to convert after viewing ads on multiple websites; therefore, it would be more accurate for marketers to attribute conversions to a full set of impressions and/or clicks rather than the current industry standard of attributing all online conversions to the last impression (or last "click"), according to Atlas.

Some key findings from the study:

  • Consumers reached across multiple publishers were twice as likely to convert as those reached solely through a single publisher.
  • 90 percent of the consumers that converted were reached by placements other than the last ad seen.
  • Two out of three consumers who eventually took a responsive action were reached by ads across multiple portal sites before converting.


A previous Atlas Institute study, "The Combined Impact of Search and Display Advertising," found that sponsored search and display advertising together provide a 22 percent higher conversion rate over search alone.

Anyone have thoughts on this article? I'm curious to here someone else's take.

Increasing Quality Score to Boost Adwords Campaign Results

I grabbed this article from ClickZ and thought it provided some excellent tips for those folks who are looking to decrease their CPC and, as a result, boost their ROI.

As we all know, Google weighs heavily on providing relevant landing pages and content for their PPC ads and rewards the advertiser accordingly with a decreased CPC based on their quality score. With Yahoo's release of Panama, they have followed suit providing a quality score index for each ad laced with relevant keywords.

(Side rant: I went to a Yahoo! sponsored seminar when Panama first came out and quickly learned the quality score had nothing to do with the landing page, however. Simply a computation based on CTR and how many times you could use the 'insert keyword' feature....but, that is a whole seperate conversation.)

Regardless, this article was written by Eric Enge. If you would like to learn more about him, you can find his bio here.


Increasing Quality Score to Boost Campaign Results

Customized landing pages can have a huge impact on a PPC campaign. This week’s By The Numbers column provides a case study that quantifies the result for one insurance Web site.

Dutch based Univé Verzekeringen had implemented a PPC campaign, but it was sending all of its PPC traffic to the Web site home page. Campaign costs were higher than anticipated, and the conversion rate was not great as well.

Put the Quality Score to Work for You

Google and Yahoo! both have systems in place that calculate a quality score. This quality score includes a measurement of the match between the keyword that you bid on, and the lading page that a user gets sent to after clicking on the ad. The quality score is a major factor in determining whether or not your ad will even be shown for a particular keyword, as well at the placement of your ad, and its cost.

One great tool that you can use to improve landing page quality is Google's Site Related Keywords tool (note the default mode for this page is the Keyword Variations tool; make sure you click on the Site Related Keywords tab). Here, you can simply enter the URL for a given page on your site, noting the terms Google suggests are related. (Side rant - one of the best keyword research tools I've found is Market Samurai. They have a free trial so you can test it out for yourself!)

This report gives you great options, like seeing Estimated Keyword Volume, Cost and Ad Position Estimates, and Search Volume Trends. Most importantly, the keywords suggested by the tool will be the ones where your landing page relevance is deemed to be quite high.

Tips to Improve Your Quality Score

Listed below are some tips you can implement to improve your quality score:
  1. Put your keywords into logical groupings. This allows you to more closely match up your ad copy with the keywords.
  2. Write creative that uses the keywords in the Ad Group, and that is relevant to the landing page.
  3. Keep in mind that click-through rate is also a factor; therefore, use relevant creative that encourages users to click through.
  4. Work on your ad copy, and test, test, and then test again. You should always be experimenting with different ad copy.
  5. Implement a separate landing page for each Ad Group.
  6. Get inbound links to your landing pages. Yes, inbound links matter in the PPC world, too.
  7. Implement related keywords in your keywords meta tag.
  8. Implement the related keywords in your landing page text.
  9. Test, test, and retest different version of your landing page. Ideally, do this in an A/B test mode to minimize the chance of other external factors being a concern when looking at your test results.
  10. Track conversion rates. If your campaign is larger, make use of a bid management tool to take care of the long tail terms.

The Univé Case Study

Univé sought out the help of Dutch SEO firm, Checkit. Checkit personnel recognized the problem and got to work on implementing custom landing pages for each of the Ad Groups in the campaign. Here are some of the steps they took:
  1. Landing Page titles included keywords from the ad title.
  2. Important keywords were integrated into the text of the landing page.
  3. A clear call to action was added.
  4. An attractive image was added to the page to make it more visually appealing to the user.
  5. The related navigation was improved, making it easier for the user to find what s/he was looking for.

The result of this effort was notable:

  1. The number of clicks per conversion was cut in half.
  2. The cost per sold insurance policies was lowered by 53 percent.
  3. The conversion rate went up by 261 percent.

Needless to say, Univé was quite happy with this improvement. With increased conversion rates, you can raise your bids on terms and compete more effectively in the market.

The new Quality Score world does not have to be frightening. In fact, it represents a real opportunity. Understanding where those opportunities lie and how to take advantage of them can provide great results. Excellence in execution in this new world can make a dramatic impact, providing you with a competitive advantage.

Suggested other Quality Score reading:

10 Tips To Get The Most Out of Google Analytics

With all of the analytics packages out there sometimes it is hard to choose which one to implement! Some are more user friendly but provide less data while others are hard to manipulate but provide a mountainous amount of data. The worst part? Most of these programs have a large price tag associated with the use of the program.

For those of you who would rather swim through analytics data without a large price tag attached for similar programs, here are 10 tips to get the most from Google Analytics.

  1. Documentation. Read the major links on the Google Analytics support site ( This will give you a good overall understanding of the implementation.
  2. Page Tags. Tag all your pages with the GA Tracking Code that Google gives you when you sign up. Most GA users put the tracking code into an "include" file that gets included on all your pages, like a footer. When you think you are all tagged, spend $9 to $29 for a SiteScan at Epikone ( to verify your work.
  3. Secure Pages. If you have any secure pages on your site, you need to use the secure code for them. The easiest way to do this is to use secure code on all your pages (even the insecure pages). When you sign up for GA, give your URL as, not http, and it will generate the secure code (and don’t worry: the analytics will still work just fine.)
  4. Test Profile. Create a test profile in addition to your "real" profile. That way, you can test new features. When you are sure they work, move them over into your real profile. (Under "Analytics Settings" choose "Add a Website Profile." Then choose to add a profile for an existing site. You can have up to 50 profiles in an account.)
  5. Funnels. Use sales funnels (tools that allow you to observe the online sales process) for defined movement in the site -- like through a shopping cart, or from a sign-up page to the "Thank you" page. Don’t try to make your funnels teach you about undefined motion, like pathing through the whole site -- you'll just be frustrated. And don’t forget to create those funnels; they are one of GA’s greatest strengths.
  6. Special Profiles. Create special profiles for important campaigns (like paid search or organic search). That way, you can apply all of the GA tools focusing a specific campaign. This is one of the best ways to segment in GA, but you have to think of it before you need it.
  7. E-commerce Tracking. If you have an e-commerce site, remember to set up the special e-commerce tracking code and tell GA that each profile does e-commerce.
  8. Autotag Google AdWords. If you use Google AdWords, make sure that your AdWords talk to your Analytics. Then be sure that your AdWords are autotagged (it's in the "My Account" tab of your AdWords.) Finally, go to your Google Analytics from your AdWords (you have to do it this way), choose your profile, edit the profile, edit the main website information, and choose "Apply Cost Data." Now your AdWords and your Analytics are in sync.
  9. Tag Other Campaigns. Be sure to tag all your other campaigns, too – like your Yahoo and MSN paid search, your banner ads, your email marketing. Use the Google Analytics link tagging tool, being sure to include at least a campaign name, a source and a medium.
  10. Analyze your data. Use all that hard work to figure out where you are getting your best traffic from, to learn where individuals are leaving your shopping cart, and to learn which keywords are working for you. After all, the whole point of having great analytics is to make more money.
I grabbed these tips from one of my favorite e-mail newsletters Web Marketing Today and the tips are courtesy of Robbin Steif. She is CEO of LunaMetrics, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant with clients both large and small. She serves on the board of directors for the Web Analytics Association.