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Google Adwords is King of PPC--Isn't It?

Google Adwords is a huge success; their little ads appear right beside the free search results. But are they the best (or only) value for your advertising dollar?

Google is widely publicized as the most popular search engine ever. The company has recently held their Initial Public Offering, and the stock has hit $200 a share. The founders are rolling in money. Google Adwords is a huge success; their little ads appear right beside the free search results. And then there's Google content advertising--you can pay Google to put your ads on other people's sites! And we all know that Google content advertising works and works well.

So we tend to head toward Google as our first thought, and we tend to use Google Adwords.

The other alternative, Overture, has recently been bought by Yahoo. Yahoo has weakened Overture's position as their pay per click service by charging per click to be in Yahoo's database. So Overture seems to be obscured these days.

Is there any circumstance when Overture pay per click should even be considered? You betcha!

In advertising, we are dealing with the vagaries of human preferences, and we humans are very unpredictable. It's important that when we market, we not make assumptions. Remember Dave's Laws of Marketing:

  1. Keep trying new things
  2. Measure their effectiveness
  3. Do more of the ones that work
  4. Stop doing the ones that don't work
For a new client, I recently analyzed his site log to see where he was getting his customers. He was spending with Google Adwords and with Overture. After a good bit of measurement work, I learned that he was getting some customers from Google free search, but nothing at all from Google Adwords, not search or content. But Overture was consistently delivering higher quality search, and delivered a significant number of customers.

In about a month of measurement, Google Adwords delivered a total of zero customers. Of course, it's possible that some Adwords visitors came back to the site later and then became customers; but it's significant that a number of Overture visitors became customers on the first visit. In addition, Overture visitors on the average spent much longer on the site than the Adwords visitors.

We can't draw any general conclusions about Adwords vs. Overture from this one case or this one month of measurement. But what we can learn is the importance of measuring systematically and then following Rule 3 and Rule 4. Do more of what works. And, also very very important, be willing to give up our assumptions in the face of data, and stop doing what the data tells us does not work.

The Bottom Line: Try lots of things; measure them; then do what works and stop doing what doesn't work. Instead of making assumptions, measure.


Dave Roberts provides expert Web marketing services to help you meet your business goals. Visit his Web site at: DaveDoesItAll.com

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