About 3 years ago (a lifetime in Internet Marketing) I did an experiment testing 13 PPC sources. So much has changed since then. Many of the services have dropped away, while new sources of social display ads like Facebook have exploded on to the scene. The big 3, Google, Yahoo, and Bing have all streamlined their systems and become much easier to use. But there is still a need for smaller traffic sources in certain cases.
Do any of the smaller 2nd tier PPC networks still work in 2010? Yes, but only a select few will actually produce positive ROIs in our testing. These are the 3 that I am still using to this day for certain campaigns, both network CPA stuff and local. The traffic volume is lower so these will never be a primary traffic source for a campaign, but if the traffic is good, every little bit helps with the bottom line.
7search traffic converts very well in my experience. The volume is low, but on a ROI basis, I actually see a better return on 7 search traffic than Google Adwords or even Bing. Setup is simple and there are no quality score concerns. Targeting is country based, not down to the city level, so its not suitable for local campaigns. I’ve had 7 search campaigns running continuously for years now.
Miva can generate a decent volume of clicks and their network has a large reach. The interface is good and conversions are solid for some niches. You can get an account rep that will take care of a lot of the setup for you and even let you do “run of the network” campaigns.
Ask has almost all the features that Yahoo or Bing have including bulk uploads, conversion tracking, dayparting, and local targeting down to the zip code. The traffic is relatively cheap and does convert for certain niches. Geo-targeting is effective and can be used for national or local lead gen campaigns.
That’s about it, those are the only 2nd tier PPC services that I can recommend these days. If you have others that are currently working well, please let me know!
In case you missed it, earlier in the week I wrote a guest post on John Chow’s site. The post was about testing on 2nd tier PPC networks.
Before I started in internet marketing, I ran experiments in a Biology lab. I think applying the scientific method to PPC marketing has really helped me become a successful affiliate. I am always running several tests of one thing or another. I thought it would be interesting to start sharing some of results on the blog. (without giving out the actual niche).
This quick test was designed to compare 4 PPC networks to find the conversion rates. All other variables were kept constant, including keywords, ad copy, and landing pages, and domain. I ran the test for 24 hours on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and 7 Search. Offer is in financial services area.
I expected MSN to be the conversion leader of the big 3, and with a 11.35% CR they were. The big surprise of the test was 7 Search, with a whopping 17.39% rate. Of course the volume on 7 search was much lower, as you expect with any 2nd tier network. It’s also important to note that these amounts of clicks aren’t enough to be statistically valid, but they are enough to start seeing trends and making decisions about what direction you want to start heading with the campaign. At this click rate, I would probably need to run this test for a week to get >500 clicks for statistical validity. Based on this short test, I would definitely push forward with full scale campaigns on MSN, Yahoo, and 7 search. The Google conversion rate was very close to the break even point.
Are these results what you would expect from those 4 PPC engines?
Ask.com is being ordered in a class action settlement to refund some click charges. Apparently they didn’t provide adequate click fraud protection. There is a website setup to get your chunk of an $820,000 settlement fund. So if you have advertised on Ask since August 1, 2005, you may be eligible for some cash!
Thanks for all the great feedback and emails about the 13 PPC network challenge. If you wanted to try out the #4 service on our list, here is a coupon code for $50 in free advertising at Looksmart. It’s valid only for new advertisers, but you probably needed that second account anyways right? wink wink
Coupon code: CTGN50
I think every affiliate marketer has come to Adbrite and been really excited at the possibilities. “You mean I can get a flat rate 1 week text ad for $1,750 that will bring me 28,000 clicks?!?! With the 5% conversion rate on my landing page that will be 1,400 conversions and at $15 a conversion that’s $19,250 pure profit!! Woohoo, I’m gonna be rich!” Unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way. You have many strikes working against you with these ads.
Of course, as with everything in affiliate marketing, you should always test it yourself to see what works and what doesn’t. Adrite’s flat rate ads may work for some purposes, like to increase brand awareness. But for the cut-throat world of driving traffic to CPA type offers we have found Adbrite ineffective.
It seems everyone and their brother has a content network now. After MSN’s launch a few weeks ago, now Ask.com is about to join in the context game. Here is what they have to say about it:
“On May 14th, The Ask Sponsored Listings Team will roll-out an exciting new feature – contextual targeting. With contextual targeting, you can seamlessly extend your pay-per-click search campaigns to sites in our content network.
Reaching over 34 million unique users each month, the ASL content network includes premium content sites such as Match.com, Citysearch, Evite, and Ticketmaster and more. Ads are targeted to publishers’ web pages by matching ad content and keywords to page content so the ads displayed are highly targeted to the reader’s interests.”
It should be interesting to see how these sites convert for affiliates. I’m willing to test anything once. Look for a review in the future from me….