14/10/2010

By Cedric Chambaz, Marketing Manager Search & SMB, Microsoft Advertising

Devoting extra attention to your search marketing campaigns now can pay off during the year-end period, one of the busiest times of year.

There is no doubt about the critical impact of Christmas and Boxing Day on any business bottom line. And in the heat of the cold winter, things are getting so hectic that marketing basics may be overlooked. So get ready today to maximize your business opportunity when snowflakes will bring you a white and successful Christmas.

Remember, a key part of your search marketing results relates to your historical performance.

Search marketing is also referred to as Pay-per-click advertising, as you will only pay when a searcher clicks on your ad. How much will you pay? It is an auction where you set your own bid, in light of your business model, profit margin, conversion rate… Search marketing beginners may assume that the higher you bid on a given keyword, the more likely you are to be listed at the top of the search listings. That is only partially true.

Search engine algorithms take into consideration a complementary variable, often referred to as “quality score”. It is a complex combination of variables that aim at evaluating the quality or the relevancy of an ad. The exact details of that scoring system are a well-kept secret, but some variables are simply common sense: the relevancy between the keyword, the ad copy and the landing page for instance, or the historical performance of the ad. As a matter of fact, if an ad ranked third by its financial bid has historically outperformed those in higher positions, the algorithm will interpret that as a sign of greater consumer appeal and might upgrade the ad to better meet the consumer needs at no extra cost for the advertiser.

This historical performance requires time to build… So the bottom line is that if you want to hit the ground running at a given date, you need to anticipate it and build your history the weeks and months before. So where do you begin? Whether you want to optimise a successful campaign or improve an underperformer, our pay-per-click optimisation tips can help you achieve your goals. Microsoft Advertising has compiled a series expert advice to help improve ad position, Click-Through-Rates, conversation rates, and overall Return On Investment.

By making incremental changes and monitoring campaign performance, you can easily maximise success in the coming weeks. Discover more tips relevant to your sector or industry in the following articles. Oh, and merry (early) Christmas !

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