We are making a big push around here in 2009 to automate as many things as possible and make life easier. To that end, we have been testing a lot of new tools lately. Not sales letter page things, but actual tools that I think show some promise. Although most end up not working as advertised, some are actually turning out to be worth using.
With all the emphasis we are putting on building our landing sites for SEO as well as PPC, we needed a fast way to build up links. This technique helps with quality score, bid prices, and eventually free traffic to affiliate sites. One tool we tested that does work as promised is Social Submitter. The software automates the submitting of links to social bookmarking sites. It can submit to 160 social bookmarking sites and is a very advanced program. You can create filters for your submissions, use proxies, and see the status of your bookmark submissions all within the program.
I almost hesitate to blog about this one, because I think its a great advantage to have. This could be used to promote straight affiliate sites, or just bookmark your blog entries to get more exposure for your site. But with a price tag of $150, most people will pass this one up. As far as I’m concerned though, any tool that helps make money is always worth the price. They have a demo you can use to try the program to a limited number of sites for 3 days, if you want to test drive it. Is anyone else using this software to boost affiliate sites yet?
This post is written more from the perspective of web users and advertisers, rather than publishers. I do run contextual ads on a few sites, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking they suck.
Everyone knows that contextual ads are an easy way to monetize a website. But if you step back for a second and look at the big picture, you may realize why the whole concept sucks. Here are my 2 main reasons:
1. The whole premise of contextual advertising is based on mistakes. I’d say 90% of all publishers are using the content networks to advertise by mistake. Either it was clicked by default when they set up their campaign, or they just don’t know what it means, either way most people are clueless that they are using it. Those who have actually tested running ads on content networks usually find the results to be terrible and switch it off immediately.
From the users end perspective, most of the time they are clicking on ads by mistake. These hapless web surfers click on well “blended” ads, totally unaware what they are doing. This leads to wasted clicks and bad ROI for the advertiser. It’s pretty obvious that someone actively searching for your keywords on a search network is going to yield a better return for advertisers than someone accidentally clicking on your ads in content.
Are there exceptions to all this? Of course. Some advertisers do OK on the content networks, and some users purposely click ads. But for the most part, I’d say these figures are pretty close.
2. By my estimates 90% of all the websites that contain contextual ads exists only because of the contextual ads. They serve no purpose in life other than enticing unsuspecting users into clicking on crappy ads. There was a time when people actually created sites with content or at least to promote a real business, but those are far outnumbered today by pointless junk sites. Overall contextual advertising has been led to a huge decrease in quality of the internet overall.
Is contextual advertising going anywhere? It’s hard to say. MSN is still going full speed ahead with their network. Google and Yahoo make huge profits off theirs. But with all the fraud running rampant and advertisers bailing out like rats from a sinking ship something is bound to happen. I foresee a big class action lawsuit shaking up the industry one of these days. Stay tuned.
Greetings from Vegas! I can tell I am going to need a vacation by the time this week is over! One of the more interesting sessions I attended today was on PPC tracking and reconciliation. One of Goggle’s senior Adwords dudes talked about the 5 biggest myths about the Adwords quality score. Since everyone was asking tons of questions about quality score, it was good to put some of the misconceptions to rest.
Myth 1: There is only one quality score in your account.
Truth: There are many different quality scores for different aspects of your account.
Myth 2: Using all 3 match types increases your quality score.
Truth: False. Match types are not a factor.
Myth 3: Increasing your spend can increase your score.
Truth: Nope, you can’t buy your way to better listings.
Myth 4: High CTR = High quality score
Truth: This is not always the case. It depends on where your ad is being shown.
Myth 5: Optimizing your account deletes your quality score history.
Truth: Restructuring you account and changing adgroups around do not affect quality score as your history used for score calculations are saved.