Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

CPA Marketing Series – Page Sniping Google Placements

This can be one of the easiest ways to get cheap clicks in Google. However with Placement Targeted Campaigns thru Adwords, this can also be one of the most frustrating campaigns you may ever put up. There is just not a lot of information out there to help with questions on Placement Targeting. Personally, I have a three ring binder that looks like it’s been thrown in a swimming pool 3 or 4 times. This notebook contains successes and TONS of failures. Most of the stories you here are of people totally getting their asses handed to them with Placement Targeting. I know I have. With that though, I’ve become better educated and learned to speed up the research process to test out pages to specifically advertise on.

Placement Targeted Campaigns were originally created by Google to allow you to advertise specifically on sites in the content network. It gave you full power to pick where you wanted to advertise. It also charged you on a CPM basis (per 1000 impressions). Since then, the placement targeted campaigns haveevolved into something even better. You can now target individual webpages on sites as well as pay cost per click instead of CPM.

My Tips

  1. I hardly ever advertise on sites specifically. I have only found a few rare instances where this worked. There are just too many variables to consider. Some of these sites may receive 100K uniques a day, and if your paying on a CPM basis, you can burn thru your budget quick.
  2. I never paid cost per click. I always paid on a CPM basis. I have tried paying on a cost per click basis and never have I gotten my ads to run. I have no idea why. I’ve spent countless phone calls with Adwords Reps and never once got a solid answer or even enough information to help me in any way.

With those two tips comes knowledge that I learned. It’s IMPERATIVE that you bid enough to take over the entire ad block of where you want to advertise. If you were overtaking a top left position for a 336×250 ad block then you need to bid enough to knock out the 4 advertisers in it. Doing this allows you to completely own this space with just your ad. Now you’re probably thinking how the hell can I do this right? I can’t give you a straight answer because Google makes it very tough on even me to try and figure this out. All I can say is test and tweak yourself. Placement targeting is a beast that can make or break you.

For one, I cannot see any type of position of where placement ad is positioned? This sucks right off the bat. If I had any clue of what position or situation my placement ads were in, I could keep an eye on my bids and adjust accordingly. Another irritating thing is that I cannot edit bids on individual sites/pages thru my adgroups. This is horrible. Much like you can set individual keyword prices, shouldn’t we be able to set individual placement prices as well? Maybe I’ve overlooked that but I have stared and searched for quite awhile now and even called about it only to get back to square one. The only thing I can really think of to do in this situation is to make 1 adgroup per placement. Ugghh…

Remembering that ads are served dynamically thru the content network due to budgets, how many placement AND keyword targeted campaigns are targeting each site, the damn quality score of your ads, and probably a few other hidden factors that Google cares to not discuss, the reasons your ads may not show with placement targeted campaigns could be a multitude of reasons.

Research, Research, Research

This is one of the most labor intensive types of campaigns you may ever put up. However if you find your self paying 1 to 2 cents per click then you will know it’s worth it (granted you are converting). The idea is to completely research what the product is you’re going to be promoting. This is the single most important aspect of this type of advertising. If the product is no good and you dont have a demand, then you dont have a campaign. This is not like Content Network Campaigns, or setting up ads in Yahoo or MSN for quick testing. When you are dealing with a placement campaign on Google, it can often take half a day to get your ads to stop running. I’ve personally seen it take almost 24 hours before. If your paying $5 per 1000 impressions and the total of your placements is about 200,000 uniques a day and you have a shitty product/offer that wont convert….you see what I am saying here? It can be a runaway train.

So starting off you should communicate with your affiliate managers or at least get an idea of products/offers that have good EPC’s (earnings per click) on Search. Sometimes this information is hard to obtain in specifics, especially if you are just starting out. If you get shutdown on this type of information, at least ask your manager their top performing offers on search and go from there. If you’re skilled in the delicate arts of already having profitable niches then your already steps ahead of 99% of Placement Targeted campaign placers.

Let’s back up for a second…

With placement targeted campaigns we’re targeting specific PAGES (not sites) to advertise on. Our goal is to bid high enough to knock all other advertisers out of the advertising block PER page. If we cannot bid high enough to knock out these advertisers per block, then our ads will not show. HOWEVER, often times after you go to sleep, you may wake up to find that your ad did show overnight (or anytime really). Like I said, ads are served on a variety of factors, one that includes the budget across all advertisers going for placements and keyword content campaigns for the specific page your going for. You need to keep that in mind.

It is an absolute MUST to achieve the highest CTR as possible. This is an absolute must. I have had campaigns that made my gut wrench before because I shut them down out of fear. Literally, some of the campaigns require a watchful eye every half day or so. If you get a lot of them, it can get really time consuming and keep you from doing anything productive. If your paying CPM like I do then it does not matter if you get 2 clicks or 2000, your still going to pay whatever price you set for the *per 1000 impressions*. This involves incredible risk on your part, especially if you never done a placement campaign before. This is why it’s so imperative that you know of a product or offer that converts with search traffic. If you dont then you’re just going in there with no real plan in mind which can be expensive.

Clicks And Conversions

I’ve stated earlier that I like to completely tell people in my ads what I want them to do. This is so I (hopefully) get a better conversion ratio. Well, this is the part where I do a 180 on you and tell you to write ads that are compelling and to go for clicks! It’s vital to get as many clicks as possible with placement targeting. Like I said, your still only going to pay your set limit per 1000 impressions. You could very well get 600 clicks, (not likely) but you get the point. You’re main focus is to CONVERT traffic but in the sense of a placement campaign your main goal should be to get the traffic on your page in the first place. Do we understand the differences here? Paying on a CPM basis does give us an advantage but it takes a tremendous amount of research on our products/offers, target market and pages with which we want to advertise on. If your headlines and ads are not compelling and force people to click on them, then CPM will turn its ugly head on you and pretty much bite you on the ass.

How Do We Find Placements?

This is actually easier than finding a good product or offer. If you want the free version which I still use even though I also use paid tools it’s simply this:

Go to Google, Yahoo and MSN. Whatever keywords your product is related to, you should have built a list. Not just one keyword either. You know in keyword targeted campaigns where you test keywords to see which ones convert? The same applies here really also. By having yourself a list of keywords, we will run each keyword into ALL 3 search engines. This is where the time consuming part comes in. This is also the reason I use tools to help speed this process. You dont need to buy anything but you should know doing this manually is going to take you a long time and bore the hell out of you.

Take EACH keyword into all 3 engines and basically start searching each free search placement listing AND each paid listing. (Note)…Do not be an ahole and click on other advertisers ads. As much as we all hate competition, this is unethical and immoral. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just right click the headlines and open in another window. Your already going to soak up their traffic cheaper than they are (if you do your homework) so there is no reason to cost them anymore money by being lazy and clicking their ads. You should look at every free search placement and every paid placement for Adsense Ads. I personally like the 336×250 blocks on the left or right of content. However, I dont rule any sites out when I am initially starting out. There are just to many variables to NOT try this. You have to make your own judgement here.

Note – MSN And Yahoo Can Screw You

I guess I should say Google can possibly screw you too. This is another spot where you have to use your own judgement. It’s widely known that Yahoo and MSN are REALLY far behind in terms of quality ads and sites they allow to get ranked in freely in their search engines and paid placements. This is just another reason why your research is so important. Even today arbitrage is still alive and even today I see the same shitty pages filled with ads that I seen 3 years ago. These pages are what I consider angels or demons. If you happen to be advertising on one of these pages for a highly searched keyword AND you bid enough to completely overtake the Adsense block to allow your ad to be shown, then chances are your probably going to get a decent CTR and fair amount of traffic. How this traffic converts is solely dependant on your testing and research. If it’s crap traffic with a high CTR and low conversion ratio then it could be a demon. If it’s converting traffic with a good CTR then it’s an angel. Simple as that.

Just know that in the more competitive niches such as financial, debt, dating, credit cards etc….Yahoo and MSN are often times fill with complete shit for pages in their search engines and paid placements. It’s still worth a test but I personally do not like to advertise on Arbitrage pages. With that being said, I have no quarrel with arbitrage or the people doing it. More power to them. I do know however that these types of people seem to pay more attention to their pages than a regular nice content page with a good ad block. A page filled with ads means that someone is obviously watching it like a hawk and often times are pushing other traffic sources to that page that you may not even know about. God forbid they are sending some of that shitty traffic from 2nd or even 3rd tier search engines. This can be a budget killer.

What are my tools?

For the sake of this post and how highly I respect and use these tools there are no affiliate links here. I use 3 tools and one of them is free for you to test out.

  1. Site Sniper Pro (Paid)
  2. Adwords180 CPM Scanner (Paid but cheaper than Site Sniper)
  3. Adsense Finder (Free)

These can speed the process of finding Adsense placements very quickly. I still suggest looking at each one that they return to you though. Getting a good feel for Adsense blocks that are placed to get a good CTR is vital when paying on a CPM basis. Personally if the blocks are below the fold, I tend to not even bother. If they are at the bottom, I refuse to advertise down there. With this scenario I am just asking Google to take my money.

Direct Linking Or Landing Page?

Everything I have ever done with placement targeting has been thru a direct link, frame or cloak. With that said, I strongly believe you could build some great email lists with using a landing page. I however have not done this so I can only report that all the money I have ever made with placement targeted campaigns is straight to the offer or having it hosted/mirrored on my own domain.

There have been many questions on the setup process for a placement campaign. In the next post I would likely to quickly cover how I set one up. For more ongoing discussions over PPC and CPA, feel free to visit the forum.

Category: CPA Marketing
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6 Responses

April 2, 2008

To set individual bids, click on edit placements:

placement.com ** .1
or placement.com ** .1 ** dest.url

April 3, 2008

Konrad is correct about how you specify a bid for an individual site.

Here is the AdWords Help Center article that explains it (go to section II)


April 3, 2008

“Do not be an ahole and click on other advertisers ads. As much as we all hate competition, this is unethical and immoral”

Totally agree…!!! You’re such a good hearted and ethical guy Ruck….it’s an honour to learn from you!

The page sniping tools: why do you use 3 different tools? Isn’t 1 enough? What can the other 2 do that the 1 can’t? Do you mind listing the pros and cons of each of the 3 tools?


June 10, 2009

Excellent material. I just started testing Google placements and wasn’t to sure about what I was doing. This information helped a lot, Thanks.