Google and Pay Per Action

Pay Per Action is coming to the content network and will be a huge boon for mortgage and real estate professionals if only Google can make it work.

Pay per action is where the Google AdWords advertiser only pays when an action is completed not when someone clicks on their ad. The advertiser determines a set payout for the action. When the action is completed the publisher in the Google AdSense network makes the fee.

Pay per action is available only as beta testing in the US for certain advertisers and for certain publishers, but I see this as a real opportunity for mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and marketeers of rather obscure products that have not hit the market yet.

For real estate agents and mortgage brokers, many would be glad to pay $15 for someone actually completing their online form for more information versus paying $5 to $18 per click for looky-loos.

It will be interesting how Google will play this out in the AdWords arena in the months to come. Stay tuned, pay per action may be part of your new marketing plan.

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Google TV Ads

Click our post title and you can read this article about Google moving into TV. Well I for one am filing this under “not going to happen”. Remember click to call, Google Radio? Well there was a big ballyhoo about click to call when it was first announced. Then only a few people got into the beta.

We had one client in the click to call and it was a miserable failure. We were paying $1.50 for text ad clicks. To show our ads in click to call we had to escalate our CPC to over $10 and that is where our clicks when we got them came in. We had so few clicks and so few impressions, that we turned off the program.

Remember Google Radio, that one is still in a state of flux. Lots of talk, much posturing, and no action. And now we have talk of Google TV. Well, don’t hold your breath on that one either I say.

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Google Local or Google Maps

A great way to get free advertising exposure is to register your site in your hometown with Google Maps. Use this link to read about the new features that Google has added to their local interface.

Now you can add a photo, more information, and even properly position your map marker if it is wrong. However your listing only shows in your local area. You can not fool Google and try to show your listings in another location. Google will snail mail you a postcard with a PIN to verify your correct location for your listing. But it is still great exposure.

Not only do you get free advertising, but in some local searches on www.Google.com, your listing and map image will even appear above all of the organic listings regardless of where your real site placement is when a reader does a local query. That is reason alone for making sure that you are listed in Google Local!

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AdWords Keyword Tool Under Revision

Years ago, the keyword tool in Google AdWords actually was okay. Then Google decided to sanitize it maybe afraid of legal implications and they introduced these silly green bars showing search amounts. This effectively made the tool ineffective. We’ve limped along with this “new” tool for months now.

Just today in one of the forums I saw a link, click my post title and you can see the image too. This resource is seeing figures – as in the old days – next to their keyword research.

I don’t see it in my accounts yet or using the online keyword tool, but maybe this means that I will soon. I am hopeful as the way the keyword tool is now, it is good for identifying other possible words, but to try to isolate top performing or hot words, it is woefully pathetic.

While I’m on my rant, I will mention how bogus the estimate click cost is using this same keyword tool. Here is a specific example, reverse mortgage California. The tool three days ago said that a click cost of $7.22 would get the advertiser in the top three positions. Well guess what, the auction bid for my client is now at $14 and the last measly click came in at $11.89 and it was in position 10. The keyword tool needs some serious adjustment. I tell clients not to trust the cost per click figures there, they are way low and do not reflect the current marketing mix that they will be competing with to get their ads to show and for current click cost expectations.

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Yacking About Click Fraud

Are you sick of it yet in the professionals forums; all the yacking about click fraud. I for one have simply accepted that some degree of click fraud is just part of the online business landscape. Do I believe that click fraud is rampant – no. Is it .02% like Google claims that it is? No, I think that the .02% number is bogus and Google should really be more forthcoming over the figures that they really believe.

Personally, from the accounts that I manage, and sites that I webmaster, I have not seen in the log files huge volumes of traffic that I would have ever considered fraudulent. That being said, what I have seen, I believe the truth on click fraud is somewhere between 5 to 10% of all clicks are fakes. I consider this simply a cost of doing business. I am not worried by the numbers and feel that the benefits that my own business and the businesses of my clients receives far out weighs the minor problems in regard to click fraud.

I still believe however that Google, Yahoo, and MSN should still invest heavily in proprietary tools to weed out bad clicks, but does all this mean that I am moving my budget dollars out of the pay for performance arena. No, not me, I am really able to get a bang for my buck there and even with a 5 to 10% possible fraud figure the returns for my business and for my clients have been tremendous.

I guess the bottom line is that click fraud exists, accept it, pressure the engines to address it, and then shut up about it and move on. I for one am sick of the incessant yacking and redux about it.

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February Trends

I thought that I would write today about February’s business. I have found that for most businesses that we work with, February was very flat. Not only were results depressed in Google AdWords, but sales and traffic for many customers were lacking for February.

I have had a number of clients express concern about February and if we had not seen the broader trend, I may have been concerned, but February just seems to have been a poor month for nearly everyone.

Here’s to hoping that March will be better!

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