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How Paid Search Ad Creatives Can Be Overrated

Now, I know I will have "nay-sayers" on this topic and I want to be clear that all Ad/Creatives and Ad Testing Solutions and Software to enhance performance of Ads are obviously very important to any SEM campaign or client strategy. Implementing relevant and quality score friendly Ad/Creatives from the beginning of the launch phase to the optimization phase is a MUST tactic.  However, I do tend to disagree with all of the hype coming from others in the industry who are over-emphasizing the importance of Ad/Creatives as the premier area of focus that will drive the best results.

Personally, I feel this is a little too short sighted and I just can’t be persuaded to believe that this is the all-empowered secret sauce (aka. answer) to SEM. It’s an obvious and necessary player in the paid search game, but I often think about an old quote from my favorite comedian Robin Williams who stated the phrase "Uh uh sista! You can’t make butter with a toothpick." For those who are familiar with this phrase, my analogy is referring to the idea that there is a bigger picture to worry about and those areas are keyword selection and "after the click" conversion-based elements such as landing pages, carts and user experience rather than the over-complication of creating complex Ad testing methodologies filled with all sorts of data and analysis which honestly may not make the slightest difference in turning the Revenue Dial (… which is why the client hired you in the first place, right?)

Let me explain.

I like to compare Paid Search to our older, more mature and seasoned marketing channels such as Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radio, etc… If you have a product or service that people want, it will sell. It’s much easier to sell ice in a desert than at the north pole. However, here are some warning signs that the big picture is more important to focus on than putting all of your efforts into creating intense Ad testing Matrix(s)

  • Selling a product/service in a highly competitive and saturated market.
  • Your product/service it not considered a necessity.
  • The margins on your product are very low to support the costs of SEM
  • Inventory issues
  • Reputation mgmt & Branding related issues.
  • Conversion/Cart related problems.

In Paid Search, it’s easy to think you’re winning the Game when driving qualified visitors. But if they do not convert, everything you do "before the click" is irrelevant, especially the Ad/Creatives.

Over complicating SEM:
In a previous  post, I talked about how it is a bad thing to over-complicate paid search. Spending time trying to increase your Ads CTR% will result in costing you more money and even though it may help your quality score, it will not guarantee more "cha-chings" of your cash register.

Consumer Demand & The Bigger Picture:
If you have something people
want and your cost/margin infrastructure is healthy, you will most likely WIN the game. It’s the
bigger picture that is often overlooked. Almost all SEM campaigns that
I have reviewed and/or optimized had a conversion issue. No matter how
many times I tweaked the Ads to achieve double or triple CTR%, I was still
faced with keeping up with the overall ROAS and CPA goals.

Ads don’t move the
Revenue Needle. Keywords, landing pages, carts, user experience and most importantly DEMAND for your products/services are
what does it.

~ A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated
with a bad one. – Henry Ford.

Filed under: Online Strategy, Paid Search in General

One Response to "How Paid Search Ad Creatives Can Be Overrated"

  1. SearchCap: The Day In Search, November 20, 2007

    Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web….

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