A look into an search engine marketer’s life

Ever buy an ad on Google/Yahoo/or Microsoft’s search engine? Here I talk with a guy who buys MILLIONS of keywords for his clients. Get some insight into how advertisers look at search engines by listening to Jeff Figueiredo, senior strategist at PointIt, a search engine marketing agency based in Seattle.

Trend he is seeing?

“There’s more dollars in play and Google is getting more of those dollars.” Hear why and why Yahoo and Microsoft are struggling in the search advertising marketplace and his take on the acquisitions that Microsoft and Google have made in the advertising marketplace.

Oh, and he doesn’t have good things to say about Google ads on blogs and other content sites. He advises his clients not to advertise on content sites, only on Google’s search engine.

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Comments

  1. Your interview is already too old. Google opened up its content network last week or so. Before that, advertisers knew how many hits they had, but did not have the list of actual sites. Now they have this as well.

  2. Your interview is already too old. Google opened up its content network last week or so. Before that, advertisers knew how many hits they had, but did not have the list of actual sites. Now they have this as well.

  3. The part I found really useful…

    Why is Google doing so well?

    Jeff: There’s a couple of reasons
    a. they [Google] have the greatest market share It’s quoted as 55% but most people believe it’s closer to 70-80% [I’m seeing closer to 90% of search referral to ResearchTalk coming from Google]

    b.it converts better…that cost of conversion [cost of converting a user’s click into a meaningful action for the advertiser, be it a purchase etc.] is lower on Google than it is on Yahoo or MSN [i.e. more independent evidence how much more efficient Google’s technology is]

  4. The part I found really useful…

    Why is Google doing so well?

    Jeff: There’s a couple of reasons
    a. they [Google] have the greatest market share It’s quoted as 55% but most people believe it’s closer to 70-80% [I’m seeing closer to 90% of search referral to ResearchTalk coming from Google]

    b.it converts better…that cost of conversion [cost of converting a user’s click into a meaningful action for the advertiser, be it a purchase etc.] is lower on Google than it is on Yahoo or MSN [i.e. more independent evidence how much more efficient Google’s technology is]

  5. Very good video. I have used Adwords myself and find it really easy to use. But I dont think I have fully utilized it the way Jeff said in the video.

  6. Very good video. I have used Adwords myself and find it really easy to use. But I dont think I have fully utilized it the way Jeff said in the video.

  7. Google automatically disables bad keywords that don’t work for your product. It’s that easy. When we were on Yahoo overture, they never did that. Banner Central was HORRIBLE. It’s clear MS had a bunch of 5th graders working over at Banner Central. You had to buy ads in $50 blocks even if you didn’t use them?

    BCentral.com was a horrible joke. Yahoo’s overture was not very good hence the clickfraud class action lawsuit.

    I only know what it was like when I was still their customer at MS and Yahoo, but why did they never disable keywords that didn’t convert automatically?
    Because they THINK that by putting that on the shoulders of advertisers that they will forget about it and hence MS and Yahoo will make money on ads that will never convert.
    They were totally wrong, and that’s how they lost all their customers. When I make our search engine ad module, you better bet it will do automatic keyword disabling as well.

  8. Google automatically disables bad keywords that don’t work for your product. It’s that easy. When we were on Yahoo overture, they never did that. Banner Central was HORRIBLE. It’s clear MS had a bunch of 5th graders working over at Banner Central. You had to buy ads in $50 blocks even if you didn’t use them?

    BCentral.com was a horrible joke. Yahoo’s overture was not very good hence the clickfraud class action lawsuit.

    I only know what it was like when I was still their customer at MS and Yahoo, but why did they never disable keywords that didn’t convert automatically?
    Because they THINK that by putting that on the shoulders of advertisers that they will forget about it and hence MS and Yahoo will make money on ads that will never convert.
    They were totally wrong, and that’s how they lost all their customers. When I make our search engine ad module, you better bet it will do automatic keyword disabling as well.

  9. Also on the shoulders of MS, every single one of their services requires that you call in to terminate or stop it. They do as much as they can in the hopes that it will be to hard to cancel or that you will simply forget. I believe that the others do NOT optimize on purpose in the effort to get you to pay for as much unprofitable and unnecessary product as humanly possible, thinking that it will drive up profits.

  10. Also on the shoulders of MS, every single one of their services requires that you call in to terminate or stop it. They do as much as they can in the hopes that it will be to hard to cancel or that you will simply forget. I believe that the others do NOT optimize on purpose in the effort to get you to pay for as much unprofitable and unnecessary product as humanly possible, thinking that it will drive up profits.

  11. Thanks for the candid interview in such a secretive industry (I say this as a media planner). Search engine marketing is indeed a manual process, even with third-party solutions. I agree with Jeff that AdWords is the superior platform, that Google’s market share may be higher than the 55% often cited, and that search engine marketers should be wary of content networks.

  12. Thanks for the candid interview in such a secretive industry (I say this as a media planner). Search engine marketing is indeed a manual process, even with third-party solutions. I agree with Jeff that AdWords is the superior platform, that Google’s market share may be higher than the 55% often cited, and that search engine marketers should be wary of content networks.

  13. The reasons why Google is better than Yahoo or MSN:

    1. Gives the user the ability to display Ads on Google Search Engine ONLY and the option to display to partner sites
    2. Has a block list feature that prevents Ads from being displayed in “dubious” sites if I choose to advertise on their partner site
    3. Has a scheduling feature that allows me to schedule when I want to dsplay my ads during the week.
    4. Introduced a feature to easily tell if my Ad is showing on the first page of search results simply by hovering my mouse over an icon
    5. Can specify the list of Countries to display my Google search engine Ads
    6. Their UI design is so simplistic that it displays statistics of my Ads in a tabular form and I can view today, yesterday, this month, last month, year, entire time just by clicking a combo box instead of having to specify a date range.
    7. Lastly, the Google Adwords website is very fast especially running Reports. Have you ever used MS AdCentral??

    – An Advertiser

  14. The reasons why Google is better than Yahoo or MSN:

    1. Gives the user the ability to display Ads on Google Search Engine ONLY and the option to display to partner sites
    2. Has a block list feature that prevents Ads from being displayed in “dubious” sites if I choose to advertise on their partner site
    3. Has a scheduling feature that allows me to schedule when I want to dsplay my ads during the week.
    4. Introduced a feature to easily tell if my Ad is showing on the first page of search results simply by hovering my mouse over an icon
    5. Can specify the list of Countries to display my Google search engine Ads
    6. Their UI design is so simplistic that it displays statistics of my Ads in a tabular form and I can view today, yesterday, this month, last month, year, entire time just by clicking a combo box instead of having to specify a date range.
    7. Lastly, the Google Adwords website is very fast especially running Reports. Have you ever used MS AdCentral??

    – An Advertiser

  15. Thanks for posting this interview – this guy is right on point, especially with regard to content network and matching options. Ultimate success is measured by ROI and CPA, not how much the magic dartboard told you that you should set your max CPCs to.

  16. Thanks for posting this interview – this guy is right on point, especially with regard to content network and matching options. Ultimate success is measured by ROI and CPA, not how much the magic dartboard told you that you should set your max CPCs to.

  17. Jeff Figueiredo,

    You were talking about 2k a month. If you mention our outsourcing services across Silicon Valley where ever you go and hand out our business cards to just about everyone you meet, we can get you 2k per month.

    I’m more interested in paying for person to person marketing than Internet marketing. As was mentioned anybody with average intelligence can use Google Analytics effectively.

    Get a hold of me if this interests you. We are also not interested in paying setup fees. We also want full accountability and reports. 24k/y is good money for handing out cards and leisurely getting people aboard. Get a hold of me.

  18. Jeff Figueiredo,

    You were talking about 2k a month. If you mention our outsourcing services across Silicon Valley where ever you go and hand out our business cards to just about everyone you meet, we can get you 2k per month.

    I’m more interested in paying for person to person marketing than Internet marketing. As was mentioned anybody with average intelligence can use Google Analytics effectively.

    Get a hold of me if this interests you. We are also not interested in paying setup fees. We also want full accountability and reports. 24k/y is good money for handing out cards and leisurely getting people aboard. Get a hold of me.

  19. Companies that buy One Million Keywords – it would have been helpful to ask what placements are they getting

    Are they spending for the highest positions or are they spending on the lowest PPC bid allowable.

    It would have been interesting to also ask how much are they spending for SEO or organic rankings

    and which is giving them the best overall return??????

  20. Companies that buy One Million Keywords – it would have been helpful to ask what placements are they getting

    Are they spending for the highest positions or are they spending on the lowest PPC bid allowable.

    It would have been interesting to also ask how much are they spending for SEO or organic rankings

    and which is giving them the best overall return??????

  21. Great interview – this guy knows his stuff.

    Try a tripod next time to make the picture more stable – but you got the lighting right!

  22. “are they spending on the lowest PPC bid allowable.”

    My guess would be this. There’s no way you can do $5 Google bids at 1M keywords. That would bankrupt even the biggest companies.

    Jeff didn’t take us up on the offer. If anybody in Silicon Valley wants to wear our ball cap or tshirts to all events they attend and would hand out our cards at said events, please contact me and we can work something out. I need somebody over in that area to work for us. By tomorrow you will be competing for this position with everybody on craigslist. SEO only does so much, you NEED humans out there.

    There should be an online service for human marketing the same way Google did print advertising. Where the marketers would swarm the valley and attend events to pimp products. Make THAT into a low cost online service.

  23. “are they spending on the lowest PPC bid allowable.”

    My guess would be this. There’s no way you can do $5 Google bids at 1M keywords. That would bankrupt even the biggest companies.

    Jeff didn’t take us up on the offer. If anybody in Silicon Valley wants to wear our ball cap or tshirts to all events they attend and would hand out our cards at said events, please contact me and we can work something out. I need somebody over in that area to work for us. By tomorrow you will be competing for this position with everybody on craigslist. SEO only does so much, you NEED humans out there.

    There should be an online service for human marketing the same way Google did print advertising. Where the marketers would swarm the valley and attend events to pimp products. Make THAT into a low cost online service.

  24. Say it costs you $3000 to fly X person to an IT event to promote your company. You not only lose the 3000 dollars gross, but you lose the work that person does during the week they are gone, which could be 2-3k.
    If an online service paid local people even $1000 through an online service to familiarize themselves with a company and go market it up at conferences and events on their behalves, it would already be 6 times cheaper than the alternative.
    Google print could extend into Google HR Marketing, where bidders and auctioners could converge. I know there is a market for this. It’s a lot more effective to pay for single events than year round employees.

    I know this post is about search, but in reality Scoble already hit the nail on the head when he said people can use these online tools effectively themselves internally in the company. Outsourcing that is like outsourcing secretarial services. It’s not worth it.

  25. Say it costs you $3000 to fly X person to an IT event to promote your company. You not only lose the 3000 dollars gross, but you lose the work that person does during the week they are gone, which could be 2-3k.
    If an online service paid local people even $1000 through an online service to familiarize themselves with a company and go market it up at conferences and events on their behalves, it would already be 6 times cheaper than the alternative.
    Google print could extend into Google HR Marketing, where bidders and auctioners could converge. I know there is a market for this. It’s a lot more effective to pay for single events than year round employees.

    I know this post is about search, but in reality Scoble already hit the nail on the head when he said people can use these online tools effectively themselves internally in the company. Outsourcing that is like outsourcing secretarial services. It’s not worth it.

  26. This is a nice interview which covered the basics quite well for the allotted time. What needs to be stressed to business owners is the value brought to the table by a competent SEM consultant or PPC management firm versus inhouse management. Whether in-house or contracted out there is a direct cost for someone’s time. This leaves the question of skill and intuitive ability to maximize ROI which is where the SEM/PPC pro has the edge. This is particularly true when working with smaller clients who commonly delegate the SEM/PPC “task” to the person in the office that “understands computers and that stuff”.

    We routinely acquire clients that have tried it themselves and within months of switching to us they remark about the improvement in results. They quickly understand the importance of the experience and knowledge gained from managing multiple clients and in having the proper tools and software.

    Another advantage that an SEM pro should have is the ability to redesign the client’s website to improve on-site conversions. If you truly care about your clients you must pay attention to increasing both traffic and conversions to impact ROI. A full service firm is the only way to go.

    SEM is a specialization which impacts the life blood of a business – increasing sales. Hiring a competent SEM/PPC firm is a critical success factor. This podcast should help business owners to better qualify potential outsource firms. Again, nice job.

  27. This is a nice interview which covered the basics quite well for the allotted time. What needs to be stressed to business owners is the value brought to the table by a competent SEM consultant or PPC management firm versus inhouse management. Whether in-house or contracted out there is a direct cost for someone’s time. This leaves the question of skill and intuitive ability to maximize ROI which is where the SEM/PPC pro has the edge. This is particularly true when working with smaller clients who commonly delegate the SEM/PPC “task” to the person in the office that “understands computers and that stuff”.

    We routinely acquire clients that have tried it themselves and within months of switching to us they remark about the improvement in results. They quickly understand the importance of the experience and knowledge gained from managing multiple clients and in having the proper tools and software.

    Another advantage that an SEM pro should have is the ability to redesign the client’s website to improve on-site conversions. If you truly care about your clients you must pay attention to increasing both traffic and conversions to impact ROI. A full service firm is the only way to go.

    SEM is a specialization which impacts the life blood of a business – increasing sales. Hiring a competent SEM/PPC firm is a critical success factor. This podcast should help business owners to better qualify potential outsource firms. Again, nice job.

  28. Having these SEO Pros manage your online advertising is no different than hiring a driver to drive you around in your car. It’s not that they could do a better job. Common now..Google Adwords is not that hard to learn. Who knows your business better than you? Don’t tell me these SEO Pros do. All they (SEOs) do is allow you to use your time in more productive areas of your business. If the cost is not worth it, then DIY.

    DS

  29. Having these SEO Pros manage your online advertising is no different than hiring a driver to drive you around in your car. It’s not that they could do a better job. Common now..Google Adwords is not that hard to learn. Who knows your business better than you? Don’t tell me these SEO Pros do. All they (SEOs) do is allow you to use your time in more productive areas of your business. If the cost is not worth it, then DIY.

    DS

  30. In my previous position, I managed the e-commerce, call center, and direct operations for a wireless company, and we hired Jeff’s team to run our PPC efforts. I have a few comments:
    * It is never easy to run PPC or SEO in-house. Absolutely, you can, but Pros as Jeff take that hassle off of your hands, have the built-in competence that is very hard to master (can be done, sure, mastered … very hard), and are generally cost-effective.
    * Dan makes a very good point about using your time in more productive areas of your business. In addition to the basics, their efforts allow your firm to concentrate on other innovative initiatives that will drive your company in the future, as blogs, social networking, video, etc.
    * The long tail is very time-consuming to create yet where a significant amount of the profits arise, and firms as Jeff’s take that time off of your hands.
    * Their efforts paid off huge. They turned a losing program into a big winner and a huge driver of sales for the company. CPA went down by as much as 75%, and sales went up by well over 10x. Not only did they maximize the standard opportunities, but they also learned enough about wireless to capitalize on a shift in the marketplace.
    * I would recommend Jeff and his team wholeheartedly. Great service and great results.

  31. In my previous position, I managed the e-commerce, call center, and direct operations for a wireless company, and we hired Jeff’s team to run our PPC efforts. I have a few comments:
    * It is never easy to run PPC or SEO in-house. Absolutely, you can, but Pros as Jeff take that hassle off of your hands, have the built-in competence that is very hard to master (can be done, sure, mastered … very hard), and are generally cost-effective.
    * Dan makes a very good point about using your time in more productive areas of your business. In addition to the basics, their efforts allow your firm to concentrate on other innovative initiatives that will drive your company in the future, as blogs, social networking, video, etc.
    * The long tail is very time-consuming to create yet where a significant amount of the profits arise, and firms as Jeff’s take that time off of your hands.
    * Their efforts paid off huge. They turned a losing program into a big winner and a huge driver of sales for the company. CPA went down by as much as 75%, and sales went up by well over 10x. Not only did they maximize the standard opportunities, but they also learned enough about wireless to capitalize on a shift in the marketplace.
    * I would recommend Jeff and his team wholeheartedly. Great service and great results.

  32. Great comments and feedback. Let me try to tackle some of the points that were made.

    Stephanie – Content has been opened up for a while and we’ve been running performance placements reports for months on certain clients (sidenote is that all this data has been reset). I want to clarify what I said about content. Most people should not be on content. A lot people should be on the Google network only running exact match phrases since their budgets are so small relative to available traffic. Basically, we approach search by identifying points diminishing returns based on keywords (&match types), networks (Google, search, content), day of week, time of day etc… Basically, we should have a 20 roundtable on content… hope this helps.

    searchengines – the companies that buy one million keywords have a variety of placements and manage everything to very strict ROI (not “spending for the highest positions or are they spending on the lowest PPC bid allowable”). They take organic very seriously and see significant negative affect on organic when they turn off search. I can’t share which is giving the best overall return.

    Speedlinking – Marketing de busca – obrigado para o seu complimento… vou estar em Portugal em Julho – onde voce esta? Ilhas o continente?

    Dan Smith – I disagree that Adwords isn’t hard to learn, but I do encourage people to try it themselves. At the end of the day, anyone can put up some keywords and some ads, but will they be getting any real return. That being said, everyone should have a basic understand of how Adwords works – it will give them a better perspective if/when they hire an agency.

    Ken – Thank you. Client-side contacts and their resources are an important factor in the success of search programs. Ken and his team really were partners in the process.

    And… I did get a hold of Chris.

  33. Great comments and feedback. Let me try to tackle some of the points that were made.

    Stephanie – Content has been opened up for a while and we’ve been running performance placements reports for months on certain clients (sidenote is that all this data has been reset). I want to clarify what I said about content. Most people should not be on content. A lot people should be on the Google network only running exact match phrases since their budgets are so small relative to available traffic. Basically, we approach search by identifying points diminishing returns based on keywords (&match types), networks (Google, search, content), day of week, time of day etc… Basically, we should have a 20 roundtable on content… hope this helps.

    searchengines – the companies that buy one million keywords have a variety of placements and manage everything to very strict ROI (not “spending for the highest positions or are they spending on the lowest PPC bid allowable”). They take organic very seriously and see significant negative affect on organic when they turn off search. I can’t share which is giving the best overall return.

    Speedlinking – Marketing de busca – obrigado para o seu complimento… vou estar em Portugal em Julho – onde voce esta? Ilhas o continente?

    Dan Smith – I disagree that Adwords isn’t hard to learn, but I do encourage people to try it themselves. At the end of the day, anyone can put up some keywords and some ads, but will they be getting any real return. That being said, everyone should have a basic understand of how Adwords works – it will give them a better perspective if/when they hire an agency.

    Ken – Thank you. Client-side contacts and their resources are an important factor in the success of search programs. Ken and his team really were partners in the process.

    And… I did get a hold of Chris.

  34. In-house is an option if you have dedicated personnel who can handle ‘just the ppc campaign’ or ‘just the organic campaign’.

    But, if you are business owner and can not add an on-board specialist, then outsourcing should really be considered, provided they show a positive ROI.

    -TB

  35. In-house is an option if you have dedicated personnel who can handle ‘just the ppc campaign’ or ‘just the organic campaign’.

    But, if you are business owner and can not add an on-board specialist, then outsourcing should really be considered, provided they show a positive ROI.

    -TB

  36. Everything that was mentioned is spot on. There is one thing diffenent that I would suggest and that is instead of turning off the content network it is to just lower the bids drastically on it. This will allow you to get some exposure at a much lower CPA from my experience. Keeping the content network at the full price is generally a mistake.

  37. Everything that was mentioned is spot on. There is one thing diffenent that I would suggest and that is instead of turning off the content network it is to just lower the bids drastically on it. This will allow you to get some exposure at a much lower CPA from my experience. Keeping the content network at the full price is generally a mistake.

  38. I have to give credit to the interviewer and apparently one and the same the website blogger ( Scobleizer) , he interviews very sharp people, and asks the spot on questions, and draws out the information the interested want and need to know. Very good interview technique, with smart questioning.
    It’s so refreshing to see something done properly nowadays.
    Great job, I will hopefully take the time to watch a few more interviews and once again add to my ever expanding knowledge banks.
    Thank you Scobleizer for being a decently sentient human being without a vast deficit in common sense, a real rarity it seems nowadays.

  39. I have to give credit to the interviewer and apparently one and the same the website blogger ( Scobleizer) , he interviews very sharp people, and asks the spot on questions, and draws out the information the interested want and need to know. Very good interview technique, with smart questioning.
    It’s so refreshing to see something done properly nowadays.
    Great job, I will hopefully take the time to watch a few more interviews and once again add to my ever expanding knowledge banks.
    Thank you Scobleizer for being a decently sentient human being without a vast deficit in common sense, a real rarity it seems nowadays.

  40. […] comment on a look into an search engine marketer’s life by moxpearl – i have to give credit to the interviewer and apparently one and the same the website blogger ( scobleizer) , he interviews very sharp people, and asks the spot on questions, and draws out the information the interested want and need to … […]