Episode 94: David Szetela and the PPC 10 Cylinder Engine

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This episode focuses on the major components of a Pay Per Click campaign. From the strategic to the tactical minutiae, David gets you organized for a program using the latest intelligence, tools and best-practices.

He likens the process of executing a PPC campaign to a 10 cylinder engine -- if one spark plug is bad, the car doesn't run well. Let's get the timing down! (No fouled fuel injectors for YOUR PPC campaign!)

“Ten Cylinder Engine” Components:

  1. Customers Segmentation/Personas; Keywords as an expression of needs
  2. Keywords research Excel and intuition; Nouns and root words that create a need or desire, cancatonization "The Permutator"
  3. Architecture: Campaign settings and architecture
  4. Ad Groups: Aggregating keywords into tight groups
  5. Budgets and Bids management
  6. Zero to 60, but slowly: Start the campaign in stages, quality score, google slap
  7. Ad excellence: Display ads and Search Ads Best Practices
  8. Landing Pages: Optimization Best Practices
  9. Reporting and interpreting data
  10. Testing and refinement


This program is brought to you by PersonalLifeMedia.com

Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. Hey, how are you today? I’m glad you’re here because today you’re going to get to meet David Szetela.  David is the owner and CEO of an agency called Clix Marketing. And it’s one of the few agencies that specializes exclusively in pay-per -click. And we’ve worked ahead of time to do a show for you today, on of course David Szetela, but also on pay-per-click.  We’ve made up this thing, David and I, called the Ten Cylinder Engine. The idea that a pay-per-click campaign can’t run if you only do one or two or three or four things.  There are actually ten things that you need to know to have a very effective PPC campaign. That includes customer segmentation, keyword research, the architecture of the campaign, aggregating things into ad groups, how to manage budgets and bids, coming up to speed slowly in a campaign, advertising excellence itself, landing page optimization best practices, reporting and interpreting the data and testing and refinement.  And we’re going to cover some of those in detail and some of those at a pretty high level just so you get a sense of the inter-connectedness.  Now the interesting thing about David as well is that he has, in his agency Clix Marketing, he runs it completely by the performance model. So he takes a percentage of the profits or commission per sales lead generated, that’s how his agency gets paid. So you can be sure David knows how to run pay-per-click campaigns. He’s also active in the SEMPO organization, Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization.  That’s how we connected.  He’s also an author of one of SEMPO’s advanced search advertising courses. So he’s really good at explaining how things work in the search world. He also writes a really good column that I’ve discovered in getting to know David, called the Profitable PPC Column and it’s on Search Engine Watch. And I started reading it and it was one of those things where time was just sucked away because I wanted to go back and read more and more and more of his articles.  It’s a really good resource.  Profitable PPC.  And he does on a weekly radio show as well called PPC Rock Stars on Webmaster Radio. You can also find it in iTunes; just look up PPC Rock Stars. So we have somebody really fantastic.  I think you’re going to learn a lot and I’m kind of in love with him. I read...I do a lot of pre-work to get to know the people that I’m interviewing. And we have some really fun, get-to-know-David kinds of things at the end of the show that you’ll have to stay tuned for too. He’s super fun. So, that being said, let’s get him on. Welcome David!

David Szetela: Wow, Susan. What very nice things to say. And I can only return the favour by saying that I just got off the phone with my other. She’s 82 years old and she said that she thinks I’ve finally arrived because I’m being interviewed by you.  She literally said, “I can die now.”

Susan Bratton: You are too funny! I love being an interviewer.  I take it very seriously. You and I did a lot of prep for this show.  And one of the things that I’m actually working on is an eBook that I’m going to launch in the next month or so that is, essentially, all my master interviewing techniques for preparation, for the in-interview process and what I do and how I approach it. As well as how I radiate my show. Because there are so many people who give me good compliments and I feel like I’ve kind of tried to master the idea of being a great interviewer. So anybody who wants to get on that mailing list for my announcement of the eBook, my interviewing techniques, master techniques eBook, I encourage anyone who’s listening just send an email to me, [email protected] and I’ll make sure you know when it comes out.  So you and I, David, we’re going to do the Ten Cylinder Engine of pay-per-click.  Let’s get rolling on that.

David Szetela: Okay.

Susan Bratton: First thing that...You were really teaching me about PPC.  I’m a newbie. I’ve been running a few campaigns and I realize that it’s an overwhelming process, even for people who have hired this out or for people who are doing it themselves, I absolutely know that you’re going to lay out some great gems for us today.  So I want to start with the thing you think is the very first step in putting together a PPC campaign and that’s customers.  Tell us about your segmentation or your persona process.

David Szetela: Well, first of all, the Ten Cylinder concept that I have to give you credit for is... pays tribute to the fact that in a PPC campaign that produces exceptional results, everything has to be running, finely tuned, up and running in parallel with excellence in each segment.  Too many advertisers believe that if they get one thing right, like they pick the right keywords, then everything’s going to be just fine. There’s a big myth that bid management can be automated and everything will be just fine and that’s just not the case.  And then the other overview thing I wanted to say is this is really just advertising.  It’s not mysterious. It’s not overly technical. A lot of it is Advertising and Marketing 101.   And on my blog I have a couple of good  resources that I always recommend that beginners read first; like Scientific Advertising,  which is a book that was written by Claude Hopkins in 1913 that really lays out the basics of any kind of direct response advertising. So in light of that, one of the things that we do with our clients, and everything I’m about to describe assumes that we’re creating a brand new campaign from scratch. But then goes into the steps that we go through to refine over time.  So the first step that we go through with our clients is the same thing any advertising agency would do and that is get to know the customers. Get to know the customers of the client. And usually, and almost always, that customer set breaks down into smaller subsets.  So we create what are called “personas” which just says, “Let’s identify the customer subsets and actually give them names.” Because what we’re really after is, how would they express their needs or desires that would result in a sale or a sales lead for our client.  So we actually just sit down, we identify different customer segments, we give them names and then we say, “Let’s imagine the words they would use if they were doing a search that would ultimately result in a sale or a sales lead for our client?”  So we actually just sit down Lets imagine the world

Susan Bratton: So whether this is soccer moms or this is chief household officers or this is married women or whatever it is, each one of them, depending on the product, might have a very different need or reason for desiring a solution.

David Szetela: Exactly. Another example is the one I used when I wrote one of the lessons in SEMPO’s Paid Search certification course. It’s a helicopter skiing school.  And there are some clients who are young snowboarders.  And then there are other clients that are older people that are learning how to ski for the first time. And obviously, they’re going to use completely different words “I want to go down the hill as fast as I can on one single plank” versus “Start me out on the bunny slope.” That kind of thing.

Susan Bratton: So once you have your customer segmentation then you can begin the keyword research or the brainstorming sessions that you do. Tell us about that.

David Szetela: There’s another misconception, among especially new advertisers, and that is there are some great keyword tools out there and creating  keywords lists is just a matter of plugging in some root words into these keyword tools and the tools do the rest.   I think they’re used more as a crutch than as a augmentation. We start out with intuition. We basically use our knowledge of the customers that we have just defined, the words they would use, and then we start to string together words and phrases using the kinds of modifier words, like adjectives and adverbs and prepositions and things, to round out the keyword set. And once we do that and we’ve got lists of anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of words, then we go back to the keyword research tools.  Mainly as a way of verifying that we haven’t missed anything important; which happens every now and then. But I would say that the keyword research tools, like the ones that are built into Google Adwords for example...basically, we probably come up with 5% of additional keywords to add to the mix. Whereas, again, there’s a misconception that one, an advertiser should start with 5% and then rely on the keyword research tool to supply the rest. And they’re just not as smart as humans.

Susan Bratton: So you’re collecting everything in an Excel spreadsheet.  You’re brainstorming all these words. You’re grouping them.  Is every tab on the spreadsheet a different group of keywords for each persona?

David Szetela: Frequently, yes.  That’s exactly how it works. We have probably six to eight columns where the root words, usually nouns describing the product or service, or the activity that the searcher might be looking for. And then the columns to the left and right of the root words are the modifying words.

Susan Bratton: Got it. Wow. It’s a lot of work to get started.  So David, you were telling me about something else.  That when you’re doing keyword research you use this thing that’s a concatenasation tool.  You use something called the Permutator. What’s concatenasation? How does it work and tell us about this tool.

David Szetela: So the Permutator is a software tool from Boxer Software. I think it’s 49.95, but worth much more than that in the amount of time it saves us.  It literally lets us paste in up to five columns of words or phrases and then it delivers, of course, you push a button, and it delivers literally every combination of those five columns of words. So that’s how you get to the hundreds of thousands of keywords. Hopefully, including all of the different ways that people express their need or desire in their search.

Susan Bratton: Okay. You’ve got your big list. You’re still in a spreadsheet. Now, architecture. You’re telling me that you’ve got the words you want to now figure out your campaign settings.  Explain that at a really high level.

David Szetela: Well one way to conceptualize a pay-per-click campaign is it’s really just an outline of words and there are buckets, ultimate buckets, called ad groups. That’s what the keywords are poured into. And I’ll talk more about ad groups in a second.  But basically, the pay-per-click advertiser has to arrange these buckets underneath an outline that literally looks like an outline. There’s an account and then underneath the account there are campaigns and each campaign includes a series of ad groups. And coming up with the structure, the correct structure, takes some planning.  It doesn’t really affect the performance of the campaign as much as it does allow the advertiser to keep track of where everything is sitting.  Where the ads are,  where the key words are and then anticipates being able to generate reports based on the structure that are easy to read and interpret and act upon. The more important part of this step, though, is the campaign settings. Each of the search engines allow the advertiser to say, “I want overall these things to happen”.  And those include geographic targeting.  Includes things like day parting where you say, “I only want my ads to appear during certain times of the day and days of the week.” So these are overall settings that the advertiser really just sets once but are very important for the performance of the campaign.

Susan Bratton: So I have my account: my helicopter skiing. I have campaigns.  I’ve got a spring skiing, balls to the wall skiing and Grandma and Grandpa skiing.  And those are my campaigns.  And then within that I have ad groups?  Is that right?

David Szetela: That’s correct.

Susan Bratton: And what would an example of an ad group be for Grandma and Grandpa skiing?

David Szetela:        Okay. Very good example. It could be underneath that there’s an ad group for Grandma and Grandpa beginning skiing. Grandma and Grandpa intermediate skiing. Grandma and Grandpa cross-country skiing. So the smaller units are more granular such that, and we’re starting to get into the next cylinder here, such that the keywords in the list are very tightly associated with the ad copy. That’s one of the biggest keys to success.  And that is, the effect you want on the human being is they do a search, any word that is associated with a product or service  of the advertiser is anticipated, such that the ad comes up when the search is done.  And the ad should really nail the desire or need that the searcher was expressing in their search.

Susan Bratton: So if it says “cross country skiing” in the text of the ad, it better say that when they land?

David Szetela: Well, we’re getting ahead of ourselves a little bit.

Susan Bratton: That’s the landing page. 

David Szetela: The landing page. That’s a little bit downstream.

Susan Bratton:        So that’s our ad groups. That’s the tight groups of keywords around the verticalization of the personas. Okay. Now let’s go to budgets and bid management. Tell us how we pay for the stuff. How we manage not over-paying.

David Szetela:        Right. You just expressed it the correct way.  In the campaign settings, one of the settings is how much do I want to spend as an advertiser for each of these campaigns within the overall account, it’s called; which is really the biggest picture.  So how much do I want to spend per day?  Unfortunately, Google doesn’t explain this very well and many advertisers assume that that means literally this is exactly how much I want to spend every day. When really, it’s more like a governor mechanism that says if something goes crazy I don’t want to spend over this amount.  So it’s really just a break for overspending rather than an expression of exactly what I want to spend.

Susan Bratton: It’s a governor rather than a limit. Or not a limit but a...

David Szetela: Target.

Susan Bratton: A target. Right. So a lot of times you’re not hitting the limit.

David Szetela: That’s correct.

Susan Bratton: That’s probably the biggest problem.  You’re not getting all the revenue you could on a daily...It’s a perishable good and the time slips by and you didn’t make your numbers  because you’re not hitting your limits.

David Szetela: Sure.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

David Szetela: And in fact many advertisers spend... they don’t get as many clicks per day as they could and they don’t even know it because they’ve set their budgets too low.

Susan Bratton: So how do you manage that?  Do you set a really high limit and see how many you can get and then kind of get a sense on a monthly basis for where the top level is for the traffic?

David Szetela: It really depends.  When I write about it, I say that there are really two end points in spending philosophy. And all of this relates to the real world; it’s basically prudent and aggressive.  If you’re prudent, you start out slow and you build over time.  You start out spending a smaller amount, a smaller budget per day, and you’re getting the results back every day, and we’ll talk more about interpreting results. But you’re seeing what works and what doesn’t and you’re increasing the spend on the portions of the campaign that are working. You have data proving that it’s working. Then the aggressive philosophy or strategy is we need to hit the ground running, we’ve got a big budget, we need to splash the world with our ads. And we can afford a little bit of, not waste, but think of it as testing money. We can afford some testing money to get the results back faster and therefore optimize faster so we hit the ground running and then we get to the point of assured ROI faster. So, to answer your question how do you set the budgets, how do you decide what to spend, it really depends on what your strategy and philosophy are within those endpoints.

Susan Bratton: I would assume that for the most part that people are more conservative and they want to do things slowly.  There’s another reason that you’ve explained to me to do a campaign very slowly. And that’s the Google slap. Take us there.

David Szetela: This is a strange thing. Google’s got all of these really great algorithms that regulate whose ad gets to appear on the search page and which ad might be higher than another ad.  And they try to...it’s partially an auction model.  But it’s also partially rewarding good behaviour.  In other words, Google’s overall philosophy for the natural search results, as well as the ads, is the relevant results should be rewarded. Because Google wants the searcher to have the most relevant possible results that will really nail their intent when they were doing the search.  So I won’t go into a lot of detail about why this happens but here’s what happens.  When a brand new account is opened, let’s say an advertiser has never done pay-per-click advertising before. The account is, to some extent, proven guilty before it earns its innocence.  In other words, Google wants to make sure that the advertiser is not a spammer or a scammer, that they tell the truth and they offer good results.  So they start out an account with a little bit of a handicap.  And that’s especially true for any keywords for which Google doesn’t have any history across its system. Those would be keywords that are proper names or keywords that are not in general use. Or what are called long tail terms that are five or six words in length that are searched on very infrequently. So basically Google says, “this entire account, this advertiser, in essence, needs to prove that it’s worthy of...”we call it Google love juice. And I’m going to use a word that I haven’t used yet because I don’t think it’s as mysterious as it’s made out to be.  It’s called quality score. So, the account or the advertiser is assumed to deserve a low quality score until it proves that it can attain a better one.  To make this already too long story short, the best practice is to, with a new account, turn it on gradually and turn on the parts of the account that should get the best quality score.  And that’s the parts of the account that have the most common search terms and the most relevance to the ad and the landing page and the products and services of the advertiser. So really, just turn it on slowly. Lead with your best, highest volume portions of the account. Let it run for X weeks, sometimes it takes months. And then turn it on full bore. And then that avoids what some people call the Google PPC slap.

Susan Bratton:        That makes sense. How long do you think it takes, at a minimum, to get that Google quality score?

David Szetela: Well, it depends entirely on the velocity of the campaign.  That is how many clicks are coming in per day. It’s going to be at least a week. Could be up to two months.

Susan Bratton: Wow.  That’s a long time.  I want to take a break now. But when we come back, I want to go back to the prices people are paying for clicks.  I’m interested in actual numbers.  And then we’re going finish off our Ten Cylinder Engine by covering advertising excellence. How you write a good ad. What makes a good ad?  Landing pages. So how you connect the ads and the landing pages. Of course, that affects your quality score, right?  Reporting and interpreting the data. And then testing and refinement and some recommendations you have for that. Some things that work that are very effective for these campaigns. So we’ll take a break. I want to thank my sponsors.  They let me have this fun and educate the world with all your knowledge. You are getting to know David Szetela.  He’s the owner and CEO of Clix Marketing.  That’s C-L-I-X marketing. And he has offices in Louisville, Kentucky, Chicago and New York.  And I’m your host, Susan Bratton. Stay tuned. We’ll be back to learn more about pay-per-click campaign excellence.

Susan Bratton: We’re back. And we’re with David Szetela. He’s the owner and CEO of Clix Marketing and we’re talking about this idea of the Ten Cylinder Engine. That if they’re not all running and not all working and not all firing, your car’s not going to go forward. So David, before we get onto the next cylinder of ad excellence, go back to the bid and bid management.  What’s the cheapest I can get clicks for? What’s the average for what people are paying? How does all that work? Give us numbers.

David Szetela: Well, theoretically the lowest price that an advertiser could pay-per-click is one cent. That rarely happens. Let me cover, very briefly, a topic that’s related and very important. That is when advertisers are deciding how much they want to pay for keywords, they should pay less attention to what the competition is paying and more attention to what’s the price that’s going to yield them an acceptable to great return on their ad spend.  Or return on investment.

Susan Bratton: How do you find out what a competitor is paying? Is there a way to look that up?

David Szetela: There are research tools within the search engines themselves, and outside the search engines, that give the advertiser a pretty good idea.

Susan Bratton: What are they? Give us a name for Google.

David Szetela: Keyword Research Tool.

Susan Bratton: And it tells you how much other people are paying?

David Szetela: It tells you what the range is.

Susan Bratton: Oh, right.  I know where that is.

David Szetela: And that’s a pretty good indicator. It certainly will tell you whether the key word that you’re planning on including in your campaign is getting an average of five cents, forty cents, $10 or $100.  That’s certainly important to know. But the point I’m trying to make is too many advertisers start out believing that they need to be guided by what everyone else is doing. And the point they should really start at is what’s the acceptable price to pay in order to reach a target or maximum cost per sale. And to do that they have to be tracking conversions.  That’s a whole other topic, and very important. Every advertiser should be tracking using the search engine conversions –

Susan Bratton: What is the search engine’s native conversion?  How do I tell which keywords are converting for me? I can tell when I get a sale. How do I track that back to the keyword that got clicked on?

David Szetela: Well, the search engines provide, for free, very valuable conversion tracking.  Which means that advertiser does a onetime operation on their site. They take a little chunk of Java script and put it on the thank you page of their site. And from then on, Google accumulates statistics every time someone does a sale that started out with a pay-per-click ad. So at any given time, the advertiser, and we’re starting to get into reporting thing here, the, and which keywords those conversions are related to?  And exactly how much did I spend? How much did I spend per click? How much did I spend per conversion? What the conversion rate was. Just fantastic data.

Susan Bratton: Got it. Okay.  I took you off course. I just want a number. Just like what are typical things that your clients are paying on the low end, the mid-end and the high end?

David Szetela: Boy. Okay. On the low end, 11 to 25 cents.

Susan Bratton: And are those for really esoteric, long phrases?

David Szetela:  Not necessarily. It really depends on several different factors.  One is the competitive landscape.  There are some keywords for which over 500 hundred words are triggered.  Very, very competitive industries like financial services, loans, beauty products. Things where there are literally hundreds of competitors.  Those are the key words where the minimum cost per click, just to show your ad on a page, is relatively high.
Susan Bratton:                    What’s relatively high? Number wise?

David Szetela: The most extreme example I think is the word mesothelioma which is a cancer condition that’s caused by asbestos poisoning or something. And the top competitors that are bidding on that term are paying $100 per click. Because even if they have the 1% conversion rate, it’s very likely that they would recover that investment because the payoff in the suit will be very high.

Susan Bratton: It’s personal injury attorneys.  But your clients...what are your clients paying on average for a converted click?  Someone who ends up buying their product.

David Szetela: It really depends.  I mean, we have clients all over the map whose profitability is all over the map. We have clients in the retail space where their margins are razor thin. And then we have some in the software space where their margins are huge.  I guess I would have to say the ranges are 25 cents to $7 or so per click.

Susan Bratton:                   Okay. All right. That’s reasonable. Thank you. You know I wasn’t going to stop asking you till I got some numbers.

David Szetela: Tenacity.

Susan Bratton: Tenacity.  That’s me. I got to go look at my license plate! I’ll be right back! Oh! Here I am! So ad excellence. How do I write a good ad? You just had one thing you wrote about.  Was it on Search Engine Watch where you had the little characters, like the extra characters? That was a new thing I learned about from you. Tell me how I write a really good ad that people click on.

David Szetela: This is one of the most misunderstand areas because, especially on my blog, I have a couple of blog posts that offer these free resources.  And it basically, kind of tongue in cheek, says “Hey all of you young Turks and Turkettes, you just got your MBA. You’re in a new ad agency. You think you know it all. You probably don’t. Just go back and do some fundamental homework.” And that’s where I offer this Scientific Advertising book for free. And another one I offer for free, actually two books I think, is all about writing classified ads. You remember classified ads?

Susan Bratton: Yes. The oldie days.

David Szetela: Exactly. There was a body of knowledge built up over years about the art and science of writing tiny ads.  And there are fundamentals that should not be ignored and are ignored by people that just don’t get the advertising part of all this. So a great ad contains, as much as possible, benefits rather than features. Because benefits resonate with a person more so than features do. So benefits means how is a person going to feel?  How is the potential customer going to feel, once they have bought or availed themselves of the product or service? So, for example, a feature in a beauty product would be “Goes on smoothly”.  But the benefit is “You will be stared at by thousands of men.”  So that’s feature versus benefit. And that’s one of the most neglected best practices.  Typically, the ads we see that are amateurish are just basically, “We sell widgets. Come and get our widgets.”  Or not even the “come and get” part. “We sell widgets. Blue ones, red ones, green ones.”  Obviously, there’s no benefit there and there’s also no call to action. Basically, most advertisers don’t realize that people will more likely take the action you want them to take if you tell them exactly what they should do.  So if you are directing the ad to a site that asks for the visitor to fill out a lead sheet.  Fill in their email address and their name, then tell them that in the ad. “Fill out the form for a free quote now!” Exclamation point. And that ad is much more likely to attract a click and to get the conversion than one that sits there and says, “We have this to offer.” Period.

Susan Bratton         :           Okay. So benefit oriented. And tell them what you want them to do. Not just a call to action but more like instructional. What else? Any other thing that’s really important for an ad?

David Szetela: I’ve written about dozens of little tricks. The advertiser should test different capitalization, different wording of the same concepts. Definitely the keyword in the ad will get a better response than if the keyword is not in the ad.  So very obviously, intuitively obviously, if the searcher does a search on helicopter skiing in Colorado, if the ad says a search on “Come see our wide selection of dates for helicopter skiing in Colorado” it’s much more likely to get the click.

Susan Bratton: That’s a good one. Okay. Any other big things before we move on? Any other big things for ad excellence?

David Szetela         :           One whole category pertains to a section of pay-per-click advertising that is under-utilised because it seems to be very scary. And that’s content advertising.  Where ads appear, not on the search results page, but on website pages where the website owner has chosen to try to make some money by displaying advertising.

Susan Bratton: And you can go in and actually pick the websites you want. People aren’t doing that? Everyone’s not doing that?

David Szetela: Unfortunately, the search engines have never done a good job of helping advertisers understand how very different that the strategies and tactics are for advertising on the content network compared to the search network.  In fact, they make it difficult to even distinguish between the two, because every campaign, every new campaign’s that is created, lumps the two together when they should never be lumped together.

Susan Bratton: So you have a campaign. But then in your ad group you might have an ad group that’s Grandma Grandpa Beginner for search.  And then Grandma and Grandpa Beginner for display. What do call those things? Like what do you call it when you’re on Google versus on their display ad network?

David Szetela: Contextual advertising or advertising on the content network.

Susan Bratton: Content network.  Okay. So you’d even have groups for that?

David Szetela: Definitely.

Susan Bratton: So how do you write the ad for the content network?

David Szetela: I did a 33-week column on Search Engine Watch just about content ad advertising.  And there were at least three columns just on writing ads and designing ads because you can do display ads and video ads as well. The major point though is the ads have to be very different because the person seeing the ad is not looking at it in response to starting out some research using a search engine. So basically, the ad has to jump off the page away and distract attention away from the content of the web pages, which is why they came in the first place.  And then it has to be much more loud, much more flashy.  I mean, within boundaries of good taste of course. It depends on the context. But it has to be much more noticeable and much more direct than a search ad can afford to be.

Susan Bratton: What makes it more noticeable and direct? How would you write it?

David Szetela: Well, if it’s a text ad, then loud words work well.  Any imperatives work well. “Get.  Buy. See.” With an exclamation point. Those tend to jump off the page.  Gut level, emotional, what I call in the articles,”Malthusian messages” work well. “Your neighbours will salivate with greed over your new outdoor furniture.” So really hitting at the gut level.

Susan Bratton: Still a benefit! I ask you too many questions. We have to get to landing pages. And you know, we did Tim Ash. You said he’s one of your top three people that you look up to in the industry. So we did a whole landing pages thing.  Is there anything that you want to say about landing pages in context of our conversation today?

David Szetela: Sure. I mean Tim’s book, which is the bible, Landing Page Optimization, goes into a lot of detail that I believe every advertiser, every site owner should read.  But there are a couple of main points that are easily understood.  One of them is, in the context of the PPC campaign, the landing page had better reflect or match the keywords and the ad text.  The way Tim puts it is, “You’re making a promise with the ad. You need to fulfil that promise on the landing page.”  Too many advertisers neglect this and a person does a search, puts in an ad, they get to a page and they’re lost in the wilderness. They get to the homepage or they get to a page that basically says, “You’ve got to start your search all over again because we’re not going to point you at what you were looking for.” So, in the perfect world, the landing page immediately lets the visitor immediately draw the conclusion, “This is exactly where I wanted to be. It’s what I expected and it’s what I wanted when I did the search.”

Susan Bratton: “Helicopter in for cross-country skiing in Colorado.”

David Szetela: Exactly.  And not just the words but those words...that millisecond of time it should take for the person to make the conclusion they’ve come to the right place,  that’s got to happen in the upper left hand corner of the page.  Because that’s where the eye starts to read the page. And if it doesn’t happen in the upper left hand corner of the page then it’s going to take some time to find it somewhere on the page. So that even if it’s included somewhere on the page but not the upper left hand corner, the telephone rings, the baby cries, the boss walks in the office and the person leaves the site forever.

Susan Bratton: Okay. And what about reporting? How do we sift through all this crap that we’ve created and know where we are?

David Szetela: This is one of the biggest strengths of pay-per-click advertising.  Basically, the advertiser can slice and dice the data very, very easily and see exactly what’s happening. Day to day, week-to-week, month-to-month, hour-to-hour even. And standard reports show the advertiser at the keyword level or at the ad level, o rat the ad group level, any level, the number of impressions, the number of clicks, the click through rate, the clicks over the impressions, the price that’s being paid per click, average, maximum, the number of conversions that have resulted, the cost per conversion, the conversion percentage. All this fantastic data that informs the advertiser exactly what has happened and especially guides them to, “Okay. What can I do to make this better?”

Susan Bratton: Are there any other reporting tools you use than the ones you use from Google or from the other search engines themselves?

David Szetela: Sure.  I think every professional advertiser uses at least two tools. One is the reporting that’s available through the search engine and then the other is a separate analytics package, web analytics package, that goes into more depth, more detail about what happens when visitors get to the site. Which pages do they visit, how many different pages do they visit before they make a sale.  Probably the most common one is Google Analytics which is a free package that I’m going to guess 80% of all site owners use. And then there are packages that are third party and often much more expensive that have capabilities that go far beyond Google Analytics.

Susan Bratton: So that’s a good indication if you’re having conversion problems. That people are landing and bouncing. They’re not going anywhere.  You’re not delivering against it.  All right.  Last one is testing and refinement. What do you want to tell us about that?

David Szetela: Well first of all, testing and refinement is something that is completely foreign to many advertisers, especially ones that didn’t come up through the ranks of direct response advertising.  Because the non-direct response or branding advertiser thinks about their campaign in terms of, “I placed in the magazine. I’m onto the next year’s planning.” They don’t really stop to say, or measure, what were the results of that advertisement and how can that guide my next action.  Whereas a direct response advertiser constantly looks at the results of the most recent campaign and says, “Okay.  What can I change to improve the results next time I run a campaign?”  In the direct mail world, this is a process that happens in fits and starts over a very long period of time. You get data for the last mailing a month later and then you make changes to the envelope copy, the color of the hero shots and the number and style of the fields in the coupon. Whereas in pay-per-click advertising it’s like direct response on steroids. So you’re constantly getting a flow of data that’s telling you, for example, this advertisement is performing better than this advertisement. So one of the best practices, in every ad group, always be running two advertisements.  One which is the control, the most recent winner, and one is a variation, or brand new ad, that is being tested against the control.  We do the same thing with landing pages. We’re constantly testing landing pages to see – well, I’ll give you an example.  Google has a great free tool within Google Adwords, called Website Optimizer that basically lets you set up 25 to 35 variations of the landing page. Google runs them all simultaneously and comes back and says not only which page produced the best results but which combination of elements, headline, hero shot, button color, which combination of elements will produce the best results.

Susan Bratton: Yeah. That’s great. It’s amazing that they have so many interconnected and excellent tools that they offer. Well, they’re so successful.  And thank you for going through the Ten Cylinders.  It’s such a huge thing. It’s like a black hole. It could suck you in and this could be the only thing that you do. Thank God, there’s companies like Clix Marketing that you can outsource it too. And you’re growing. You’ve just opened another couple offices

David Szetela: We’re coming to a town near you.

Susan Bratton: I’m glad. You just wrote a book. It’s coming out...it’ll be about the time that this episode debuts for the Dishy Mix listeners.  Tell us about the book.

David Szetela: The book is exclusively about the part of PPC advertising that I mentioned a second ago which is little understood, and that’s contextual advertising.

Susan Bratton: Now, describe what contextual advertising is as compared to other things. 

David Szetela: It’s simply ads that appear not on the search results page but on the pages of sites where the site owner wants to make some money with advertising. So that can be text ads, it can be static display ads; it could be animated flash ads, everything all the way through full motion video ads.  

Susan Bratton: And it doesn’t have to be text ads. It can be display or it can be video ads? And is there a thing in Google that lets you create video ads now?

David Szetela: Google just came out with a really powerful tool within Adwords It’s called “Display Ad builder”. These guys are so smart. It lets the advertiser create some static ads, but mostly flash ads and video ads. So basically if the advertiser has a up to 30 second video clip they can create an ad that has a very high quality, high production value, start, finish, call to action, all the little controls within the ad to let the viewer start and stop and pause it.  And, you know, it takes 15 seconds to upload the ad and start running a professional video ad.

Susan Bratton: That is so fantastic; I’m going to go check that out today. So your book is called Customers Now?  And you were kind enough to give us two free copies, personally autographed, for Dishy Mix fans.

David Szetela: That’s right.

Susan Bratton: I love that. Thank you so much for that. All you have to do to get one of David’s books, Customers Now:  All about Contextual Advertising is to go to dishymixfan.com, which is my Facebook fan club, and join the fan club and post that you would like to be one of the people that gets a free copy of Customers Now: All about Contextual Advertising, written by David.  And I and David will choose two lucky winners and he’ll personally autograph it and mail it to you. So even if you don’t want the book, join the Dishy Mix Fan Club because we’ve got schwagalicious, deliciousness 24-7.

David Szetela: Schwag is icing on a great cake.

Susan Bratton:                    Schwagalicious!  I love that. Well congratulations. It is damn hard to write a book. I’m writing the master interviewing eBook right now. And it’s a lot of work, isn’t it?

David Szetela: It’s terrifying. I’m actually negotiating to...I may be signing a contract next week to write a huge book for a huge publisher. And the fear is palpable.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, but you should definitely do it because you are a prolific writer. I mean 33 articles on how to write a good ad.  Really, what you should do is you should take all those blog posts that you’ve done, all those articles that you’ve written and turn that into a book.  Cohesively  turn that into a book. Because it’s kind of a pain in the butt to go onto the site and click, click, click. I would like that in an eBook that I could download.

David Szetela: Well I tell you what I’m doing along those lines. I’ve become obsessed with Twitter over the past seven weeks only. So I have anointed myself the ultimate editor of high quality information about online advertising on Twitter. And I find all the best articles and I re-Tweet them.  And then I have a little piece of software, free software, that collects all of my Tweets every day and publishes them as one big blog post at the end of the day.

Susan Bratton: Oh, that’s clever.  What’s the piece of software that you use?

David Szetela: I can’t remember.

Susan Bratton: Well if you remember, let us know. I’ll post it. I’ll Tweet it. I’ll re-Tweet it for you. So how can people follow you on Twitter?

David Szetela: My Twitter handle is at S-Z-E-T-E-L-A.

Susan Bratton: Spell it again.

David Szetela:                   S-Z-E-T-E-L-A.

Susan Bratton: Great. Thanks for picking the hard one. Your name. But you’re supposed to use your name, which is good. Tell us because we’ve mentioned it a couple of times about it

David Szetela: It is clixmarketing.com/blog. And that’s C-L-I-X marketing.com/blog.

Susan Bratton: That’s excellent. If you want to follow Susan Bratton, I’m Susan Bratton at Twitter and DishyMix fan on Facebook. And I have one last little thing for you David.  You’ve been so kind to give us so much great information and to take us through the process in a linear way.  That’s been awesome. And to provide so many resources on the web for us too.  I’ll make sure that when your episode comes out that all the links to all the places that you post are there. And then if anyone, if you’ve enjoyed listening to David today you can also listen to him every week on PPC Rock Stars on webmasaterradio.fm. Or you can just go into iTunes and search on PPC Rock Stars and you’ll be able to hear him.  But this is what I wanted to leave you with today David. You told me that the animal that you would like to be if you weren’t David Szetela was a hummingbird. And I thought you would like to know what that symbolizes. What that choice symbolizes.  Would you like to know?

David Szetela: Sure.

Susan Bratton: It’s so perfect for you. I can’t believe how perfect it is for you. The hummingbird is the symbol of joy. But it’s also the symbol that means, “Lighten up.” Have you ever seen images of the laughing Buddha or the laughing Jesus? Well these spiritual masters and many others knew that life was not to be taken all that seriously.  Life is a very transitory and fleeting thing. And although we may interpret events in our life as requiring solemnity, they’re usually not that big a deal. There’s such precious little time on this beautiful planet, make every moment count. Love and then go and love some more, no matter what else is going on. The hummingbird is a symbol for flexibility, sensitivity, vibration and color. Isn’t that neat?  That’s my Power Animal Oracle Cards by Steven Farmer. He’s the power animal spirit guy dude that I love.  I’ve got all his card decks and his books and things. Because I always like to see what animal people identify with.  So yours is about fun.

David Szetela: I really appreciate that. I’m going to encapsulate that clip, what you just said, and I’m going to play it as foreplay with my wife.

Susan Bratton: There you go. Well, we’ll see. She’ll say, “Okay, little hummingbird, I’ll vibrate with you. I’ll enter my aura of colors with yours.” I love that.  Well, David, we’ve taken everyone’s time up so much today. And if they’re still with us, it’s awesome because they wanted to hear everything you had to say to make their Ten Cylinder PPC engine run.  And I really appreciate you...all the preparation that you did with me to be so smooth at telling everybody the story today.

David Szetela: My pleasure Susan. And I’m really, really grateful to you and your listeners.

Susan Bratton: Well, I am grateful to my listeners too and to you, David. So thank you so much for tuning into Dishy Mix today. You’ve gotten to know David Szetela. He’s the owner and CEO of Clix Marketing. Prolific author, has a new book. And you should follow him on Twitter, at Szetela. That’s S-Z-E-T-E-L-A.  I’m your host, Susan Bratton. I hope I’ll see you next week. Have a great day. Bye.