I’ve recently found myself in the not-so-unique position of trying to convince a client to test out keyword advertising on Adcenter (Bing & Yahoo). After over a decade running campaigns on all three of the top search engines (remember when Bing and Yahoo were two separate platforms?), I know that it works for some people some of the time. I feel it’s at least worth a test.
So how can I support this recommendation? The old “give it try!” and “don’t put all your eggs (or cherries) in Google’s basket” seem like weak arguments. I needed data!
The first thing I did was pull up the latest Comscore Share of Searches report. This is a report that’s been around for YEARS. The March 2015 report gives Google 64.5% of market share, Bing 19.8% and Yahoo 12.8% (so 32.6% for Adcenter as a single platform). Okay…*YAWN* – do these numbers ever change?
Not only have these numbers remained very similar year after year, but I suspected (correctly) that my client’s Google Analytics would tell a different story.
It was time to investigate.
I looked at the client’s Google Analytics stats, pulling organic search referrals for March 2015 to see how they stacked up (percentage wise) with the Comscore numbers. I also hoped to see what the conversion rate looked like. The findings were pretty interesting. Sixty percent of my client’s traffic in March came from Google, but 34% of that was from their PPC campaign and 31% from organic search. A mere 3% came from Yahoo and 1% from Google. The rest of it was direct traffic (this client does a lot of PR).
4% of referrals is fairly significant for this client in terms of volume and Analytics showed that the Yahoo/Bing visitors converted at a higher rate than the Google visitors (both paid and organic) – 6% versus 4%. My argument was starting to come together, but the last thing I needed to look at was CPA. Luckily, I had run a test campaign on Bing for a couple of weeks which gave me a good idea of what the client’s CPC would be on Bing, compared with Google. Now HERE is where the biggest impact can be made, particularly with a competitive market (I’ll be vague about it, but let’s just call it the beauty industry).
My client’s CPCs average roughly $8 to as high as $13 on Google – and that keeps going up as more of their competitors scramble for a premium position in the paid search results. But the Bing test we ran in December showed the CPC averaged $5.00 at the #1 position (thus it was very likely we could get that CPC even lower). Lower CPC plus higher conversion rates equal lower CPA. I plugged the data into a comparison table that looks something like this.
My recommendation was to take $1500 from the client’s $11,500 budget (not really the budget) and move it from Google to Adcenter. Using the numbers I painstakingly researched, I forecasted that this would lead to 18 more leads (conv.) at a CPA of $83, versus $212 (if you’re screaming in horror at the high CPA, don’t worry. Each lead that turns into a sale is worth ALOT).
The final row in the above table which I shaded in pink shows what kind of leads the client can expect if they keep 100% of their $11,500 in Adwords at the same conversion rate and at an $8.50 CPC (average). They end up getting less leads at the higher CPA of $212.50 for the same budget. Now I know what you’re thinking. These numbers come with lots of assumptions – conversion rate stays the same, CPC remains at $5.00 or lower, volume from Bing can be achieved, etc. etc.
But also keep in mind that this table is only tracking web leads (contact forms) and doesn’t include phone leads. The risk is low at this level of spend, and the payout is high if my predictions come true.
In conclusion: I’m right. Listen to me, and shower me with praise when the campaign becomes more efficient.