Happy 2nd Birthday To PPC Ian

Oct. 31

I can’t believe it. It feels like I just wrote about PPC Ian’s First Anniversary yesterday. Today, it’s the second anniversary of PPC Ian! (Actually, it was on 10/29, but I’m a few days late to blog about it.) I wanted to take a moment today to reflect on the last two years, and of course thank you, my loyal readers.

Some Cool PPC Ian Statistics

PPC Ian 2nd Anniversary

I’m a paid search guy, so I can’t get enough statistics. Here are some cool ones about PPC Ian:

  • 171 posts (including this one), that’s an average of 1.64 per week
  • 1,698 valued comments from my awesome readers, that’s an average of 16.33 per week
  • 73,693 spam comments deleted thanks to Akismet
  • 1,302 average visitors per day (last 30 days)
  • My top referring keyword: "sem software"
  • My most popular post: Bluehost Add-On Domains and htaccess

I’m really thrilled with how far PPC Ian has come. My goal for the next year: Push my posts per week and get that 1.64 average up to 2. PPC Ian is just getting started.

Thank You For Reading

I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for reading PPC Ian. It takes a lot of persistence and dedication to keep blogging for two years. I truly love this stuff. I’m obsessed with pay per click and online marketing. That said, PPC Ian wouldn’t be at the level it is without my amazing readers. Thank you so much for your questions, comments, emails, and support. If you have a specific idea or wish list, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, a huge thank you to my amazing wife and my blog sponsors for your support. Here’s to an amazing third year and beyond!

Image of Birthday Cake © iStockPhoto – aluxum

Acquisio’s Building An Attribution Model That Works

Oct. 25

If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of Acquisio’s whitepapers, eBooks, and webinars. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you Acquisio’s latest eBook: Building An Attribution Model That Works. This free eBook totally rocks, and I highly recommend downloading it.

What Are Attribution Models?

Building An Attribution Model That Works

If you’re in the corporate world of online marketing, I’m sure you’ve heard all about attribution models. It has been a really hot topic lately, and a confusing one too. What is an attribution model? First, it involves understanding that the various marketing channels – both online and offline – work together. Rarely is a single marketing channel responsible for a conversion or sale. Rather, the various marketing channels work together, nurturing the consumer towards the sale.

Given that background, an attribution model allows marketers to take the lifetime revenue (or margin) from a sale and attribute it back to the marketing channels involved in the sales funnel. With most traditional models, the channel at the end of the funnel gets most (or all) credit. However, with a modern-day attribution model you can attribute credit back to all channels involved in a sophisticated manner. A fraction of the revenue or margin from the sale gets attributed to each channel involved in the funnel. The end result: You attribute appropriate financial credit to marketing channels so you know exactly what they’re worth (and how much to spend on them).

Acquisio’s eBook Demystifies Attribution Models

Sound confusing? It certainly can be! However, that’s where Acquisio’s Building An Attribution Model That Works comes into play. This 9-page eBook covers it all. I’m talking about diverse subjects such as:

  • Online vs. offline conversions and tying them togther
  • Pitfalls of last click attribution models
  • Multi-touch attribution models and how to build them
  • Eight easy steps to start thinking about attribution models
  • Formulating your appropriate attribution ratio
  • Seven metrics to leverage in measuring the impact of PPC on offline conversions
  • And, so much more!

I highly recommend giving this eBook a read. Attribution models are such a hot topic and whether you’re an affiliate marketer, own your own business, or manage campaigns at a direct advertiser/agency, you will want to master these concepts. They will definitely get you thinking at a strategic level and moreover empower you to optimize like never before. After downloading and reading Building An Attribution Model That Works, you may also want to check out Acquisio’s other eBooks, whitepapers, and webinars (my favorites highlighted below). Best of all, they are all free!

Image In This Post © Acquisio

Protecting Your Brand Name From Link Hijacking

Oct. 18

Do you run large PPC campaigns at a brand name company? Do you drive a lot of conversions from your brand name keywords (at really low CPA)? Do you also have an affiliate program on a popular affiliate network such as Commission Junction? If you answered “yes” to these questions, today’s paid search tip is definitely for you! I’m going to share some quick tips on protecting yourself from affiliate link hijacking.

First, What Is Affiliate Link Hijacking?


For the purpose of this post, affiliate link hijacking is when one of your affiliates buys your trademark keywords on Google AdWords or Microsoft adCenter and intentionally copies your ad word for word, character for character, and even sends the traffic to the same landing pages that you do (on your website, not their own website). The only difference between the affiliate’s ad and yours? The affiliate injects their own affiliate tracking code (versus the tracking parameters you user for your internal paid search program). It’s extremely hard to detect because the ad looks just like your own ad, from your internal campaign.

Typically, affiliates will bid really high so they show up instead of you. Also, they will employ really sneaky tactics such as targeting states other than the one your main office is in (so you will not see what they’re doing with your normal day-to-day sanity checks). Sometimes, they will even leverage dayparting to show up at odd hours (when you may not be checking quite as frequently).

At the end of the day, your company still gets the conversions (they just come from the affiliate instead of the internal marketing team). However, depending on what you pay your affiliates, this could be less efficient for your company. Moreover, it’s just plain wrong. It’s stealing. The affiliate is taking a conversion that should be attributed to the internal PPC team for themselves. Most of the time, such practices are against the agreements you have with your affiliates.

An important point to remember: Many businesses have a path to conversion, especially if you’re in a complex purchase cycle vertical like financial services or B2B. Users will click multiple keywords before buying. The reason the CPA is so low on your TM keywords is a result of your ad spend on other keywords (and media channels). Basically, affiliates that hijack URLs are taking advantage of all your marketing spend on the more expensive keywords (and channels), enjoying the profitable TM keywords for themselves.

How Can You Prevent Affiliate Hijacking?

So, how do you prevent something like this? First and foremost, I recommend looking at technologies like The Search Monitor and AdGooroo. Such tools will help you detect (and therefore correct) such incidents in an automated fashion. That said, they do not work with 100% accuracy. Savvy affiliates will often find a way to outsmart the automated tools. Also, no tool is perfect. My best advice is to couple technology with good old fashioned manual review. Click your own links. Make sure the tracking URLs are correct. Try different states. Try different times of the day. Make sure to cover both Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter. Add it to your PPC Campaign Checks.

If you do happen to detect and affiliate breaking the rules and hijacking your URL, copy the URL (and their tracking code) immediately. Take screenshots. Then, go to your affiliate team (if it’s a different team than your own) and make the case that they contact the affiliate immediately. I’m a one strike and you’re out kind of guy on this topic. I recommend banning the affiliate from your program. However, your affiliate team probably won’t want to see their numbers go down so they may give the affiliate a warning which means they may become a repeat offender in the future. If this happens again, then you definitely need to ban them from your program.

I’m An Affiliate Marketer and Most Affiliates Are Great

I want to close out by making it really clear that I’m personally an affiliate marketer and I have so much respect for affiliates. It’s hard, painstaking work to scale an affiliate marketing operation. Most affiliates are good affiliates. In fact, most are great. These are the affiliates innovating, working hard, and making the Internet a better place. However, there are always a few bad apples (as with anything). This post is really geared towards protecting yourself from those bad apples. I just want to make it clear that most affiliates are good and affiliate marketing is a very important media channel for any business.

Image of Security © iStockPhoto – pearleye

Celebrity Endorsement Tips For Online Marketing

Oct. 05

There’s no denying it, celebrities carry amazing marketing power! The right celebrity endorsement can totally propel your business to the next level. Today, I want to share a few interesting ideas around leveraging celebrity endorsements in your online marketing efforts.

Celebrities Will Tweet About You On Sponsored Tweets

Red Carpet Celebrity

First and foremost, I recommend checking out Sponsored Tweets, by IZEA. This really cool platform allows you to pay for Tweets from celebrities with huge Twitter followings. I actually tried this out a while back and purchased a Sponsored Tweet from Jonathan Volk. The tweet cost me around $50, and the traffic ended up being very cost effective on a CPC basis. I had a great experience!

In addition to web celebrities like Jonathan, there are major entertainment industry celebrities on Sponsored Tweets as well. I’m talking about names like Kim Kardashian, Marlon Wayans, and The Fat Boys. (Side note: You may wish to check out my post about how Rap Inspires My Online Marketing, and yes I am listening to Rick Ross right now.) A big name tweeting about you will not only drive traffic, but will enhance your brand image. Moreover, you may be able to cite the tweet on your site as a recent media mention. This citation could immediately improve your site’s conversion rate, especially your PPC landing pages.

Get In On Google’s Celebrity Endorsement Beta

I had so much fun at Google’s AT&T Park Luxury Suite. In addition to taking client relationship management to the next level, Google is launching more exciting beta tests than ever before. Recently, Search Engine Land wrote a neat post about Google Testing a Celebrity Endorsement Program. This is a great opportunity, especially if you’re a larger advertiser. If you have a dedicated AdWords team, reach out to see if they can include you in the beta.

Leverage Your PR Team

As my third and final tip today, I highly recommend working closely with your PR team if you are in the corporate world of online marketing (like myself). Your PR team already holds relationships with major media channels and publications. If you’re at a large company, they also likely have relationships with celebrities and public figures who can endorse your product (or have already done so).

Research the Ts and Cs of the agreements that are in place. Run your celebrity endorsement marketing ideas by your legal team. You may find out that you can leverage these PR press mentions in your online marketing materials. If you can’t right off the bat, you may be able to negotiate with the publication or public figure and strike a deal. Your PR team is your best friend!

Image of red carpet © iStockPhoto – adventtr