Pay-per-click ads produce results you can measure. No one
contests that. The project I’ve been
working on for Shiftboard,
the leading online scheduling (web-based) platform, has allowed my company to
assist in testing a variety of ppc methods.
This project has become a live case study with and for the
client. We are testing the value proposition of major search engine
pay-per-click versus what I call Vertical Pay-Per-Click to see which one pulls
better. Simultaneously, we are looking at Healthcare staffing to police department scheduling, with a range of terms and keywords, which is normal. But, I’ve always wondered about long tail keywords, like Healthcare staffing online scheduling solution versus just healthcare staffing and which would pull better, so this is another way to test.
Web-based scheduling is a competitive arena, I was a bit
surprised to find, and the companies that provide for it range from direct
competitors to what I call “noise” competitors. Noise competitors are companies
that are similar enough to distract and confuse, unintentionally, but their
presence gives you one more obstacle to overcome in presenting your solution to
We are in the midst of doing this work for several clients
and I’m going to present some mixed results in early 2009, I hope, to show the
importance of having a multi-pronged approach to paid search versus vertical
As you might imagine, nearly every company that plays in
pay-per-click uses Google(tm) as their primary paid search channel, followed by
Yahoo ™ and Live ™. A few use
aggregators who place ads in many of the smaller search engines and this can be
useful for small budgets.
The place where we see little activity is in vertical
marketplaces. I’m not at liberty to say in this post which verticals, but when
I present more results in 2009 so that the client’s privacy is maintained it
will be easy to understand.
You could do a bit of research on your own and probably find
many of the correct vertical websites that fit your needs, in your niche,
without too much difficulty, so I didn’t feel too bad in not revealing all the
details in this post. All it takes is thinking a bit more specialized in terms
of where pay-per-click ads hit your direct target markets. The additional
beauty of this method is if you use Google Analytics(tm) you can also track the
non-Adwords campaigns you run, although I have not found that super-intuitive.
I’d love to hear about what’s working for you in your paid
search campaigns. Email me by clicking the form Connect above or posting a
comment and sharing your email. Thanks.
Also, I’ve been compiling research studies and reports
on this topic for both my work with Shiftboard and my editorial
responsibilities over at SmallBizTrends.
You may want to take a look at some of those if you’re involved in social media,
pay-per-click, and other marketing methods online.