Fixed CPA in Adwords

CPA is an acronym you may not be familiar with. It stands for Cost Per Acquisition, in effect the amount of money you have paid (or are willing to pay) to acquire a sale, quote or registration via an advertising program.

CPA is primarily used for e-commerce websites, where it is much easier to track your “customers journey” from landing page to checkout confirmation page.

At TFM&A 2010 there was some interesting new ideas surrounding the usage of CPA in AdWords. Traditionally, CPA is used in addition to a normal advertising campaign to help drive potential customers to the site and convert them. Now though, some companies have been looking at using a CPA only approach with managed campaigns.

This is normally handled through an agency who can take the time to apply their knowledge to the situation. This starts with an agreed retainer with the actual costs for the advertisements ultimately coming out of the agencies pocket and an agreed number of acquisitions within a time period. The agency can then take this information and apply it to the campaign, starting off with the AdWords recommended CPA.

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Chinese Whispers

If I told you that we were going to play a game of Chinese whispers I’m sure you would join in.
If I told you we were playing for money, I would be doubly sure that you would join in. So, here is the deal:

- Firstly, the message must not be altered
- Secondly, if the message arrives at the final person unaltered, you win cash

Sounds easy? What if I tell you that if the message isn’t letter-perfect when it arrives, you owe me cash? Not sounding so good? Sadly though it is a common scenario. So many designers and agencies don’t communicate job statuses or latest progress accurately to each other… or the client. Communication is the key. That, and knowing what levels of communication to give to which people. Some people want an email to acknowledge their email, some people want to be left alone and told when the job is done. Some people need to be told about each change that is made, some people find out themselves.

The point is this: we are constantly passing ‘messages’ to each other, status updates on projects or latest files for a job. Keeping on top of these things is crucial, one day the message might not arrive intact, and you might not win the cash!

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Do a little learn a lot… testing, testing, testing

Imagine your new website goes live. You’re ecstatic about the feel, the look, new functionalities and – even better – the increase in visits, which might (and should!) Ultimately lead to more business. And then, one year on – what do you do? Do you look at your stats? Do you know what’s going on on your website? How many people have visited, where they came from, how many referrers you have? How long they stayed and what pages they looked at?
Or you’re engaging in email marketing. How many split tests have you done recently? Do you know what your database likes? Does one part of your recipients always receive a different version of your emails or does everybody always get the same design, same message, same “from”, same everything? And how many times do you change your Google AdWords to see if you can get in those extra % clicks…
Do you know which digital mix gives you the best conversions…?
Do you constantly test and improve…?
If the answer is yes – great! You’re doing the right thing to monitor improve your communication with the customer then this is what marketing is all about. If not, it is worth considering – simply because in the fast changing digital world something that worked last week, last month, last year can be the spanner in the works now.
The magic formula is testing, testing and again testing. Everything that can be changed in your digital mix is worth testing to ensure that your marketing works. Test your website (layout, images, design, the options are endless), test your email marketing, try different ads in your Pay-per-click, play around with your banners, test different approaches in Social Media and see what works and what doesn’t.
And then go out and do something about it.

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The Future of Online marketing is….Offline!

One of the main points that has stuck in my head over a week on from the TFM&A exhibition is the line The Future of Online marketing is….Offline Marketing. I certainly didn’t expect to hear that at an online, technology based event, and especially not from one of the most influential figures in the UK digital marketing sector. How refreshing. Finally i have found someone who thinks a bit like me, perhaps it’s our age.
He explained that there was originally traditional offline marketing; you remember the old fashioned printed way, print, newspapers, direct mail etc. Then came this huge bang of digital marketing and the world went mad for it, but like all things now the fuss has died down slightly people are realising “you can learn from the good old tried and tested ways”.
Successful marketing comes from integrating the two forms, online and offline. By sharing data, strategies, success stories and failures the marketeer can now have a more informed and proven successful multi-channel approach to base their marketing strategy. Harmony of old and new.
Food for thought…

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Plan for the likelihood of uncertainty

Inspired by a keynote talk from Craig Mawdsley at the TFM&A last month, I felt compelled to share some of his/my (mainly his) thoughts on uncertainty. The Head of Planning at AMV BBDO argues that marketers should embrace uncertainty, rather than embark on the long and arduous pursuit of predictability. I agree.
There is a real danger that over thinking strategy can lead to missing the crest of your perfect wave – the one you’ve been waiting for. To add to your frustration, you had the knowledge and awareness to see it coming, but didn’t have the confidence to hop on without being certain of the outcome.
Here’s a new philosophy: Doing beats thinking. Allocate a small but fixed amount of your time and resource to experimentation with new strategies; ideas that you wouldn’t bet your budget on but are engaging and out of the ordinary. Then listen, learn, and back success. Having the confidence to embrace uncertainty should ensure that you fail small and win big.
I am certain of this – it is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.

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