Most search advertising works, but it can be helpful too examples of it doesn’t work. Below are two examples of where companies have totally missed the boat with paid search advertising. They perhaps did their keyword research or had a known product, but failed to follow thorough and make the connection to the searcher.
Companies that are complaining that they are not getting the performance out of their paid search campaigns should take a look at their keywords, ads, and landing pages to see if they are even remotely connected to what the searcher is actually looking for.
Wasted Opportunity #1
In this first case I was searching for a “salary comparison” calculator to calculate the difference in pay for an employee in the Bend office to the New York office. It is rare that my attention is captured by a paid search ad since most of the copy is crap but in this case they got me.
The ad references a salary center and a magical calculator to compare local and regional services right in the ad exactly what I am looking for – brilliant! So I clicked through to this page:
Sigh. Where is my calculator? They did the keyword research and wrote ad copy for the salary calculator. Why in the world would they send me to this page? I hit the back button, resulting in a totally wasted click and exposure opportunity–and a blog post on how bad my experience was.
Wasted Opportunity #2
I was doing some research on “web analytics”–specifically for various vendors for a client. I put that simple phrase into Google and saw this paid search ad from Forrester.
I have always found a lot of great comparative information in their Wave Reports.
When I clicked on the link to go to the report I landed on a page that looked like it was a search results page with “web analytics” preloaded. This is a great way to create a unique landing page as long as the document you send people to use is on the page.
As you can imagine, the “New Wave Report” was NOT listed on the page. I did look around the page but wanted the Wave report. Since I did not find what was promised and none of the other documents were really what I was looking for I just left the page. That is very unfortunate, since the ad caught my attention and delivered me to the page. The net result was a frustrated visitor, potential loss of a sale, and paying for a totally wasted click.
I came back a few weeks later to find that Forrester did add the Q3 Wave Report later, so it is there now. My guess is that the content team was not as fast as the search team in getting the content on the web.
Best Practice: If you do take Forrester’s approach to leverage their website search with PPC as a landing page, make sure that the documents you want to be returned are either optimized to be a the top or add them to the “boost list”. The boost list is a manually manipulated list of URLs that you can load into most site search engines to ensure that the right pages are returned. in addition, make sure the description is compelling and action oriented.
Best Practice: When you launch a campaign that refers to a specific document, ensure that the document you are sending people to is actually available when they come or you will be wasting a click and, in this case, an expensive click.
Mini Rant: While I am happy with the quality of the data in Forrester’s Wave Reports, I was never happy that GSI was viewed as “too small” to be considered in their Search Marketing Wave even tough we had more F100 brands than any of the companies they reviewed. But hey, as long as our clients thought we were the best and made referrals to their F100 buddies that was all we needed but still – a little respect for what we were doing would have been nice.