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Pay-Per-Click Isn’t a Dirty Phrase, It’s a Tool

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pay-per-click google ad campaigns


A Confession

Hello – My name is Kelley, and I use pay-per-click to help drive my business.  And I’m okay with that.

I was also banned by Google, although I no longer wear the scarlet G.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ve plans to talk a bit about my pay-per-click strategy on Google, using a system called AdWords, but I wanted to make a brief introduction and business case for using this kind of advertising before we dive into some of that content.

I don’t hear a lot of people in this industry talking about pay-per-click (PPC) as a marketing tool.  Everyone wants you to work on your organic search engine rankings, optimize for natural results and whatnot – and this is a fabulous goal.  But it can take some time.  And if you’re new online, or were taken out of the Google index like I was, you’ve got mouths to feed in the meantime, yes?

Keeping Business Afloat

Having a clue what we were doing with AdWords is what kept my business afloat while we overhauled Housechick, resubmitted to the search engines, begged forgiveness, and waited to be reindexed.  Because I do – and only want to do – a non-traditional business, spending money on paid search engine advertising is part of my business plan, it’s in my budget.  The return on my investment is sufficient for me.

Here’s the part that most people don’t get: you can used AdWords in shorter term campaigns as part of testing your site to know what really works and doesn’t work, for your market and your desired audience.

Seriously, You Can See What Works

Can I repeat that?  You can find out for sure what works and what doesn’t.

Not sure if adding a phone number to your registration form decreases registrations or not?  You can drive focused traffic to registration pages with and without the phone number via AdWords and find out for sure.

Is your target audience more likely to click through your site or application if you lead with the fear of loss headline, or the warm and fuzzy one?  Drive some traffic there, test the headlines with ad variations and two different landing pages, know for sure.

Or how about this – before you spend a bunch of time trying to optimize your site for keywords that you aren’t sure will drive visitors, how about running an AdWords campaign using variations of those words and phrases to see which keywords actually are used often and make visitors want to click?  And then go optimize your site naturally for those words?

Next time – some vocabulary, account setup, and understanding how to pay less for the same clicks.

Kelley Koehler, aka the Housechick, is usually found focused on her Tucson, Arizona, real estate business. You may also find her on Twitter, where she doubles as a super hero, at Social Media Training Camp, where she trains and coaches people on how to integrate social media into successful business practices, or at KelleyKoehler.com, a collection of all things housechick-ish. Despite her engineering background, Kelley enjoys translating complex technical concepts into understandable and clear ideas that are practical and useful to the striving real estate agent.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    October 2, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    According to CREST’s most recent survey, so few RE bloggers are using PPC (less than 10%), it stands to reason that there’s vast untapped potential out there.

  2. Kim Wood

    October 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Way to use another resource while waiting for Google to get you back and coming, Kelley! I have not ventured into even really thinking about Adwords, but as always – know that AgentGenius is a good resource to look with people like you writing here !!!

  3. Lisa Sanderson

    October 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I know nothing about AdWords and look forward to you learnin’ me. Thanks for sharing your secrets! And, uh, hurry up with the next article. Pls.

  4. Jay Thompson

    October 2, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Kelley, I’m not sure where PPC got to be a four-letter word. As you mention, it is *fantastic* for “split testing” and identifying key words/phrases.

    And there is nothing wrong, at all, with using it as a main traffic source. It becomes problematic if it is the only way you drive traffic to your site. Problematic in that the moment you shut it off, your traffic stops. The nice thing about organic search is it sticks around despite your budget.

    PPC can also be very expensive for certain key words. But used right, with good landing pages and the right terms, it can drive very focused traffic.

    Really looking forward to learning more about it as I am definitely weak in this area. Curious as to what led to the banishment too if you’re willing to share, or if you know.

  5. Paula Henry

    October 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Kelley – I use PPC, strictly in relation to driving traffic to my Property Search. I find the use of different landing pages interesting, since I have often wondered if asking for the phone number makes a difference in whether people are willing to sign up.

    Looking forward to more info on this topic.

  6. Jason Sandquist

    October 2, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I had a landing web page through a certain website provider, not going to name names or anything but was screwed royally. They wanted so much $$$ and promised to deliver so many leads. They had it set up on a per month fee. Well the a-holes blew my budget within the first week and it brought nothing. I sound mad about it but it is water under the bridge.

    Definitely will try it again, no way a bad thing and a great tool. Looking for the great advice for the DIY people, I can have more control over it.

  7. Matt Stigliano

    October 2, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Kelley – Can’t wait for this thread of posts! I’ve looked into Google a few times, just poking about and seeing what was there, but never really got too into it. Interested to see where you lead us and what advice you’ve got from being the guinea pig to forge ahead.

    Jason – I got a call for the same idea (maybe same company) – they wanted a lot of cash on a monthly basis. My question to them…how do I know the “leads” aren’t generated by your staff and its not just you clicking through? He stuttered when answering that one. I hung up.

  8. Vicki Moore

    October 2, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one doesn’t know how to use PPC. Bring it on, woman!

  9. Mariana Wagner

    October 2, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    HouseChick … Will you reference “wiffle bats” in your series?

  10. Jack Leblond

    October 2, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    PPC is a great tool for generating traffic while working on your organic rankings, and for doing testing. Oddly enough, many people think then when you reach the first page in the listings you should drop your PPC. Actually, some studies have shown that PPC combined with strong organic rankings increases the click-though of the organic listing by about 60%.

  11. Mark Eckenrode

    October 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    woot! ppc is a marketer’s dream for so many different reasons. can not wait for what you got to share.

  12. Ruthmarie Hicks

    October 3, 2008 at 12:41 am

    I think it can be useful – HOWEVER, you can’t let yourself get addicted. I know someone who is paying over $600 a month on PPC. That’s nuts – Sure he’s at the top of the search engines, but his organic search results have been stagnant for a couple of years.

  13. Tim Baur

    October 3, 2008 at 5:45 am

    PPC is great but you have to have many systems in place to be profitable. It’s all about ROI. For every dollar we spend the return is $10 and there is definitely room for improvement……looking forward to hearing more of your ideas Kelley.

  14. Julie Anne

    October 3, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I am up in the air about it. I used ppc and had great traffic, but poor quality leads. I think I need to redifine the key words as you say. My website is producing more and more leads as we work on it, but a little boost would be great about now.

  15. Missy Caulk

    October 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Kelly, I use it too so will probably do some piggy backing off this post. I was at a meeting this week at the Chamber. One of my past clients spoke from Google. He said, and I have done of flip on it on youtube and AR.

    70% more people click organic

    30% Pay per click

    Conversion rate is much higher even with 30% clicking.

    It works and I am doing good in a terrible MI economy, and market. I think most people are just afraid of what they don’t understand. IMHO

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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