Learning PPC campaigns - week 3 - cleverly avoiding success
Previously my PPC campaigns had failed due to my landing pages; through poor design, poor content or a brutal combination of the two, meaning users didn't convert. This time around I decided to link the user direct to a specific page on the vendor's website. Let me explain what I've been doing:
Not using my own landing page
To remove the weak link (my landing pages) I decided to link the user directly to a specific page on the vendor's website (with my affiliate code embedded, naturally). This would mean that users wouldn't see an unknown URL (such as www.seopher.com) but they'd see a familiar retailer (such as Dell.co.uk). It also meant that my faith was being placed in these well known vendors to close the sale - after all that's what their website is for, right? Lots of IA done on it, lots of thinking, user journeys and whatnot to ensure that users are driven to buying something.
Taking advantage of the season
It's nearly Christmas so I decided to use Gameplay as my vendor so that I could push the PlayStation3 as "the ultimate gaming console for Christmas". Gameplay had a good deal going on and are a decent UK brand so I felt that this should convert better than my previous efforts.
So I set up the PPC campaign:
I focused on the keywords surrounding the buying of the console ("buy ps3", "buy cheap ps3" and so on) in an aim to appear on the most relevent search results. I set my CPC to be a maximum of £0.07 which would be sufficient to sit around the bottom of the first page of results. Given the high popularity of this search I don't need a great CTR so it seemed best to keep spending as low as possible.
Gameplay were offering 3% on console sales as commission which is okay, considering the PS3 unit was retailing for £299.99 this would equate to a CPA of around £9.00 for me (providing users bought the basic package on offer).
How my Playstation 3 PPC campaign went
I ran the campaign for 2 days with spending limited to only £5 per day. My logic about not needing a good CTR was right because with spending limited to only £0.07 per click I managed to net 183 clicks from an astonishing 15,312 impressions (giving a CTR of only 1.19%). The campaign had a total spend of £10.63 and earnings of absolutely sod all. I had no direct sales in this period.
Granted Gameplay employ a 45 day cookie so I could see a few sales within the month but I was expecting to see at least one direct sale from the 183 users who were landed directly on the PS3 page (furnished with informaton about the console, the price and a big fat "BUY NOW" button). It is at this point that I stopped the campaign.
Why I stopped the campaign there
If the CPA becomes less than the outlay then the campaign should be stopped - that's just the general logic I apply. To make profit you need the complete opposite; good PPC affiliate marketers can turn a £5 campaign into £5 profit, breaking even is not an option. It got to the point that even with a sale I'd still be running at a loss so I stopped the campaign there.
I've not given up, I'm still looking for the right combination because it does exist. It's good that I've righted the wrongs of last time - bypassing my poor landing pages and sending users direct to the vendor. Maybe my keyword use was too broad, maybe the vendor wasn't right, maybe I'm just cursed. I'll continue documenting this learning process. *
* Isn't it funny how all the "uber affiliates" gloat about the thousands of dollars they make a month without ever explaining how they learned the ability to do it? Not me, I'm documenting the painful process of learning PPC and the continual failures I'm experiencing. I'll keep you posted.
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