Once you venture into the world of Pay Per Click advertising, you'll soon discover that the marketplace is sharply divided between tier 1 Search Engines (Google and Overture), and everyone else. While it's difficult to imagine a comprehensive, successful Pay Per Click Advertising campaign that doesn't include the major players, companies that limit themselves to Google and Overture may be missing out on profitable traffic.
Defining Tier 1 And Tier 2 Search Engines:
Two things separate Google and Overture from the rest of the Pay Per Click Search Engines. The big players deliver more traffic, and the quality of the clicks is often better. Simply put, if you advertise on Google and Overture your ad will be seen by more people, and these people are more likely going to buy from you. This is why its difficult to ignore the big players when crafting your Pay Per Click Advertising strategy. However, if you're willing to put in the effort, you'll often discover it's the smaller, lesser known, Search Engines that ultimately deliver the most profitable traffic to your site.
The Downside Of Being Big:
Ironically, the same factors that make Google and Overture essential to any Pay Per Click Advertising campaign are also the reasons it's becoming increasingly difficult for small and medium size companies to generate profitable traffic from the top tier Search Engines.
Nearly every company doing Pay Per Click Advertising is using Google and Overture, meaning you're competing against virtually every company remotely connected with your industry for your keywords. As competition for your keywords increases your prices rise, and your profits fall. Both Google and Overture have hundreds of thousands of advertisers, causing keywords in some competitive industries to sell for over $10.00 per click! As this trend continues small and medium size companies will be forced to explore alternative sources of traffic if they hope to maintain their profit margins on their Pay Per Click Advertising campaigns.
The other downside of working with the big Search Engines is they tend to focus their customer support resources on their big customers. This can make it difficult for smaller companies to get help optimizing their campaigns, generating lists of keywords or creating compelling ad copy.
Thankfully, there are several smaller Search Engines who can fill the void by delivering high quality Search traffic at an affordable price.
The Best Of The Rest:
Once you expand your horizons beyond Google and Overture, and begin running tests on some smaller Search Engines, you'll find wide discrepancies in traffic quality and volume, software functionality and customer support. When deciding which smaller Search Engines to work with we recommend focusing on traffic quality as the key criteria. If your clicks convert into customers, it's easier to put up with the challenges that come with working with the smaller Search Engines.
Lycos AdBuyer consistently delivers high quality traffic, but you may have difficulty generating the volume you need for some of your keywords. Their customer support is top notch, but their software isn't as user friendly as Google or Overture's. We recommend Lycos as a good source of incremental Search traffic at competitive rates.
FindWhat.Com does a better job generating traffic volume (they are the third largest Pay Per Click Search Engine), and their overall traffic quality is decent. They do a good job supporting their customers, but their software lacks some key features to help users easily manage their campaigns, and track the ROI for each ad and keyword. We highly recommend testing FindWhat. They are the largest of the second tier players, and can be an important contributor to the success of your Pay Per Click Advertising strategy.
Enhance Interactive and Search123 are two other smaller Search Engines we recommend based on a combination of traffic volume and quality. Both are still building their networks, and continually improving their software. You can still find good bargains for your keywords on these Search Engines as they are still relatively unknown.
In todays vast World Wide Web your potential customers could be searching for your products on hundreds of different sites. In a perfect world you would serve up an ad whenever, and wherever somebody was looking for what you sell. Using a combination of Google, Overture, and as many smaller Search Engines as you can test, you will increase the chances that your ad will be there when your prospects are ready to buy.
Smaller Search Engines generally offer cheaper cost per clicks, and better customer support than Google and Overture. As with many aspects of Pay Per Click Advertising, the only way to tell if these smaller Engines will work for you is to give them a test. A small investment in your time and money may ultimately uncover a great new source of profitable traffic, and improve the overall metrics of your Pay Per Click Advertising campaigns.
February 23, 2005
Expert in all aspects of online advertising with a particular emphasis in Pay Per Click Advertising. Over seven years of experience directing advertising sales efforts at a top 10 Media Metrix property, and the creator of http://www.pay-per-click-advertising-guide.com