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Web News & Tips - Issue #258

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Web News & Tips
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Cheaper Alternatives to Google Adwords

By Rick Hendershot

We've been experimenting with Google adwords for quite some time now. Actually experimenting is not the right word. In some cases we've been able to build some pretty decent on-going business around Google Adwords. 

But many high traffic ads are starting to get too expensive. It costs an average of almost $2 per click thru for some of the keywords we are using. That means to get just 500 targeted click thrus we have to pay our friends at Google more than $1000 a month!

Fortunately this cost can sometimes be absorbed. But the products being sold need a high profit margin, and the conversion rate of these clicks must be fairly high. Otherwise it would be very difficult to justify such a high CPC (Cost Per Click).

Alternatives to Google Overture vs. "2nd Tier" At the same time as running extensive Google programs, we have been experimenting with alternatives. Overture claims they can deliver even better numbers than Google, but our experience to date has not been good. From what we can tell, Overture is more difficult to set up and maintain, more expensive (higher CPC), and you get less traffic.

On the other hand, there are some viable lower volume PPC companies that have actually been delivering click thrus for us. These are often referred to as "2nd Tier" services. I must admit, I have been skeptical. This industry has been rapidly evolving over the last couple of years. You may not realize it, but Google was just a grad student's experiment in 1998! So who know where "Pay Per Click" is going next.

But the numbers don't lie. One of these 2nd tier sites delivered 90+ click thrus in 7 days from just one ad using only three keywords. In the same time period, for roughly the same key words, Google delivered less than 50 click thrus. And Google cost more than 10 times as much!.

Yes. That's right. Google and Overture charge and their major advertisers routinely pay much, much more than the 2nd tier guys.

The down side is in the maintenance The down side with the 2nd tier guys is that, unlike with Google, you will probably not get enough click thrus from just one of them. The best program involves setting up a contract with 5 or 6 (or more) of them. And that will take a fair bit of work on your part.

Yes, running five or six campaigns with different "suppliers" takes constant maintenance, tweaking, and account "topping up" (you have to pay these guys in advance). And who has time to oversee a bunch of online ads on a day to day basis? 

What's the solution? Set Up an Ad Program At SBO we provide a solution called the SBO Click Thru Program. This is based on (surprise!) a traditional ad agency model. You give us a budget of, say, $300/month, and we get you the best deal possible for some guaranteed number of click thrus. Right now, with this program, $300 will get you around 1500 click thrus. The same number with Google or Overture would cost you somewhere between $1500 and $5000. At least 5 times as much, and often 20 x!!!

Who would have thought that online advertising would evolve to the point where the ad agency approach made sense again?

Well, here we are. And it certainly does in this case.

Author's URL:
Rick Hendershot is based in Conestogo, Ontario, Canada. He spent many years as an advertising consultant, and small business owner, and currently publishes several golf, travel, and small business websites and ezines. He can be reached at 

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Ah, Valentine's Day! The time of year when romantics ignite their desire According to a study that BIGresearch conducted for the National Retail Federation (NRF), love will spark $12.79 billion in spending, resulting in an average of $99.24 per consumer in 2004 an almost $19 increase over 2003 

The holiday spirit was apparent on the Internet, as lovers navigated their way around flower, gift, and greeting card sites, spending money and sending traffic soaring in the days leading up to Valentine's Day. comScore Networks, Inc. found that 24 percent of holiday- minded shoppers would be buying their gifts online, spending 49 percent more in the most popular categories than the year before. 

Just over half of surveyed consumers discontinued doing business with a company because they were uncomfortable with their privacy protection, a report from Accenture found. The November 2003 survey of 570 individuals that mixed business marketing executives, privacy officers and customer relationship management executives with consumer respondents revealed that each group often has a different perception of privacy policies and trust issues. 

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