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Finding A Decent Deal With Pay-Per-Click in 2004

By Nathan Anderson
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The days of penny-per-click quality targeted traffic are gone, as we all know. There's just too many people wise in the ways of PPC (Pay-Per-Click) search engines these days. So how are we supposed to find the best bang for the buck in a highly competitive PPC marketplace?

Testing: plain and simple.

If you're buying traffic from pay-per-click search engines, you need to be carefully tracking your traffic from each one, and keeping track of what the end result of these visitors are; to your bottom line.

The tools you'll need to accomplish this task are a decent head on your shoulders and a good traffic tracking software package. For the most complete tracking, I recommend higher-end packages like ClickTracks.

Once you have a decent method in place for tracking your visitors and what they do when they get to your site, you need to sign up for a number of different sources of highly targeted pay-per-click traffic. A great resource for managing many different PPC search engine campaigns is GoToast - give them a look.

I recently performed a test of three different sources of pay-per-click traffic. First, I evaluated and streamlined my Overture PPC campaign for some very specific, highly targeted keywords for my sales site.

Next I set up and managed/tweaked a PPC campaign at Google's AdWords. This is a bit more difficult to grasp than a normal "highest bidder gets the spot" PPC search engine, but I feel like I've gotten a very good grasp on the challenges of AdWords by reading/listening to the Google AdSecrets program offered by John Gorecki - I highly recommend it.

For a third source - and sort of as a control for the test - I signed up for pay-per-click traffic from This isn't a PPC search engine, it's a network of targeted Directories and sites focused on specific topics. I signed up for both their 10 cents per click and 5 cents per click packages. The difference between the two is in how targeted the visitors are, and how much traffic you can achieve with each type.

For the purposes of this test, I will use the 10 cent traffic, as that campaign is complete. After pulling the numbers apart on the two offerings, the conversion rate to visitor cost was fairly close - so you really get about the same value from either package.

Okay, let's get to the numbers.

First, for the Overture traffic, my average cost per click was 88 cents for the range of different keywords I was bidding on. Yes, that's fairly high per click, but I'm bidding on some fairly valuable traffic.

Out of 240 clicks, I got 3 orders; which is about 1.25% conversion rate; which is acceptable when considering the industry and cost of the product involved. The larger question is: How much did those three orders cost? Answer: $211.20.

Google AdWords fared considerably better. My average cost per click was only 47 cents. Out of 320 clicks, I got 8 orders; which is a 2.5% conversion rate. Very nice! So those 8 orders cost a total of $150.40 - a dramatic difference in result.

MarketingBlaster was a very different story.

Out of 1000 clicks, I got 42 order completions. That's an amazing 4.2% conversion rate! Not only that, but the clicks only cost 10 cents each; for a total of $100. Really an amazing value.

Just for a bit of a disclaimer: I'm dealing with traffic that is interested in SEO or Search Engine Optimization. This is a VERY jaded group of people, and a group that is highly web-savvy. This makes them very tough to sell to. Perhaps these results are indicative of how the traffic came through to my site - from Overture and AdWords through an advertisement, and from MarketingBlaster as a recommended resource.

However you try to explain it - MarketingBlaster just blasted the competition! I will continue to use them, and dump one of the other two... I'll let you guess which one!

Happy Clicking!


About the Author
Nathan Anderson is an internet marketing consultant and SEO expert. He is author of Search Engine Optimization Tactics and co-owner of the SEO Club, which can be found at (


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