I has barely finished the eComXpo session and no sooner had James from the InsureMe Blog expanded (stole ) the themes of one of my upcoming blog posts that I was planning! Thanks a lot James! I’m going to write about it anyways!
Basically, James already details what I said during the show, but just to clarify what I mean by Return on Effort, here is my short and simple take on things:
The question was asked as to whether or not it is worth spending time on 2nd tier (non-Google/Yahoo/Ask/MSN) search engines and running campaigns with them.
There are a couple of key issues here, one is market growth (momentum) that Google in particular has, and the second is ROE (Return on Effort)
Let’s make the following assumptions for the US market search engine market (taken from VastPlanet):
Google Market Share = 53% (with AOL)
Yahoo Market Share = 28.1%
MSN Market Share = 10.5%
Ask Market Share = 5%
The Total for The Titans is a whopping 96.6%.
Now, until Snap, Become, Miva & all the other 2nd tier engines send traffic out of the massive :- combined 3.4% market share that they have & I can’t see the logic in advertising with them, and here is why:
If in one of our campaigns at Clicks2Customers, we have to allocate a campaign management resource to setup a campaign on a 2nd tier engine (which we don’t deal with). Now let’s assume for a decent sized researched campaign of 5,000 keywords with dedicated ad copy (as all engines are different and have differing editorial rules), it takes them 100 hours to do (and that’s quick, using our technology and existing processes).
Let’s assume that currently on Google, we are running with 50,000 keywords and generating $100k a month in sales and in our category, we’re getting 5.3m impressions (searches) per month. All things being equal, by the ratios above, the maximum searches we would get out of ALL the 2nd tier engines combined, would be 340,000 searches with 50,000 keywords. Let’s further assume that we went with the largest 2nd tier engine (not even sure who that is) and the engine had a 20% market share, then I’m going after a market of 68,000 searches related to my product/service – if you divide that further with the fact that you’re only loading 5,000 keywords – it would get scary, so I will neglect to include this in my calculations.
Again, ceteras paribus, if you just work out the back of the envelope stuff, then the absolute maximum that this traffic is worth to me if it converted even just as well as Google does is $1,283 in sales (which I highly doubt, as there are large amounts of Clicks Fraud on 2nd tiers). And that’s with a 20% market share which is not even possible in such a fragment tail-end market.
So, assuming I could spend my 100 hours on Google, and push my campaign performance up by just 10% with an extra 5,000 keywords, then I would be pushing the needle on my revenues by $10,000 (a nearly 400% increase in ROE), why would I bother with 2nd tier engines? I know the argument (from the 2nd tiers) is that it’s cheaper, etc – but at the end of the day, spending those hours improving clickthrough rates and other metrics like conversions etc, will translate into greater savings anyways on the majors like Google – so I don’t buy that argument.
Most Google PPC campaigns I have seen are not even 50% at peaking in terms of digging into traffic in the long tail, and most people are so worried being on other engines that don’t matter and waste their time there. Mine the Google keyword gold instead, and when you’re finished making triple digit gains, then go visit Yahoo and then MSN, and then finally, Ask.
Lather, rinse & repeat.
Someone today said to me that no one ever made a fortune by worrying about the numbers after the decimal. I think that this definitely holds true in this case.