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Old 28th October 2004, 12:10 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Virginia
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Default Little details

Okay, because it is a lower startup cost, I have chosen to use PPC advertising to start selling my product.

This brings to mind some questions that, in reality, apply to many different types of advertising.

How do you know if it's working? And I mean beyond actually making a sale or two

I know it seems a bit odd, and perhaps the answer really is as simple as it seams, but are there ways to determine if a lack of sales per click has to do with your product, or the PPC system?

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Old 28th October 2004, 07:43 AM   #2
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You just have to test, track and pay attention, LPS. You can get really fancy with your tracking and purchase tracking software that will pretty much record every move any visitor to your site makes (where they came from, where they go, when they leave, etc.). Or, if money is a concern, you can make subtle changes and document the consequences (good or bad).

Most PPC campaigns will give you a minimum stat of click through rates on a daily basis. Some others give a little more information. Many of them will allow you to add tracker strings on the end of your URL's, too.

For example, while your PPC ad will show the URL of www.mydomain.com, it will actually point to www.mydomain.com?adwords=keyword (or whatever you choose to put after the ? so you know how to track the clicks from the ads).

Then you can visit your website stats program that comes with your control panel and see how many referers came from that PPC ad on any given day. Check your sales logs and you'll be able to relate the total sales that day to the PPC ad clicks.

Make a MINOR change to your ad and track it again. Did sales go up? Did they go down? Did they stay the same? Never make lots of changes at once. You'll never figure out which change made the difference

As for knowing whether it's the ad, the site copy, etc. you have to experiment and track. There is a free split tester tool you can use that helps a lot. Let me see if I can find it real quick. Yeah! Here it is:


This is another good resource. It's an ebook called Test and Track. VERY easy to understand. Only $37US.


Good luck!

Read Karon's Copywriting Blog or learn online & SEO Copywriting with the Step-by-Step Copywriting Course
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Old 28th October 2004, 04:35 PM   #3
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I moved Valerie's question to its own thread in the SEO forum. It can be found here:

SEO Working, But Sales Decreasing

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Old 28th October 2004, 11:24 PM   #4

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Thumbs up Thanks Robert


Thanks for putting me in the right place...

I am learning so much from the folks in this forum


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Old 29th October 2004, 03:39 PM   #5
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As Karon said, tracking and evaluating the tracking data is the only way to tell whether any promotional/advertising program is benefiting you.

As she indicated, many folks use "tracking URLs" or they add a little bit of unique code to the "destination URL" in their PPC program(s) to be able to figure out which visitors were driven to the site by PPC ads.

Here's (a simulation of) how we do it:

In the examples, you can see both "tracking URLs" ('fudge.html' for all fudge-related PPC search terms and 'nuts.html' for all nut-related terms) and "source IDs" (GGL=came from Google, FDG=fudge term, CAR=caramel).

Using this combination, you can examine your log files, or use a program to do the same, and quickly see (a) how many people came to your site as a result of a topical search (fudge,nuts) and (b) exactly which term they searched for to find your ad (caramel fudge,basic nuts).

Now that you can sort your visitors out, your next step is to figure out if they purchased anything while visiting, or whether the visit led to a potential sales contact of some kind.

Most tracking/statistics programs use the visitor's IP address to sort out the complete visit "path". It's not perfect, but it gives you a good idea of where these visitors went and how long they stayed on any particular page. There are much more precise means of identifying a visitor, but that can get pretty technical and code-y.

Once you can see the path each PPC visitor took through your site, you can see (a) how many of them went to your sales channels (shopping cart, contact form, etc.), (b) and how many completed the sales channel (by requesting your "thanks for the contact/sale" page).

You can also see which pages most people "landed" on, and which pages most people "exited" your site from. Very valuable information. (If everyone is landing on your index page, and 80% of the visitors are exiting from your index page ... then there's some work to do on the index page to bring that exit number down!)

Just like any advertising program, you are looking to determine your Return On Investment (ROI), where you add up how much you spent on PPC to make so many sales from PPC visitors. Spending more than you're taking in? Not a good ROI. Taking in 300% more than you're spending from PPC visitors? Good ROI (depending on your overhead).

So, build your PPC program to include tracking URLs and source IDs, learn to or grab one of the many free programs that analyse your log files, investigate the analysis, check your income, adjust your PPC spend to suit the result.

There are lots of factors in what drives a visitor to produce, including ad copy, page content, page layout, color choices, and even the position of your PPC ad in the results display. Tinker with your formula by making ONE change to ONE element (as suggested by Karon), so when you see a changed result you can more easily pinpoint WHY the result changed.

Also keep in mind that web traffic is not a constant stream. It is more like a series of waves. There will always be the deepest valley and the highest peak in your traffic rate, so try to find a range of traffic rate that you feel is a reasonably accurate expression of how your changes are affecting your traffic, and then go for it. It's only a little bit scientific.

It's fun AND crazy-making!

James Butler - "Do no weevils"

Last edited by StupidScript; 29th October 2004 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 31st October 2004, 05:10 PM   #6
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Cool. Thanks for the info.

I think a lot of that will be much simpler because I'm only selling one product.

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