Bidding on Matt Cutts as a Keyword

A few weeks ago Matt Cuts noticed someone was bidding on his name. Being the snarky wise-ass fun loving jovial type I decided to have a little fun. While it wasn’t an especially nice thing to do hopefully I can make up for that by turning this into a learning experience and showing some stats.

First let’s talk about why you would want to bid on a keyword that doesn’t have a direct purchase associated with it. The primary reason is to build branding. Many moons ago I remember reading that your average consumer has to see your name between 8 and 12 times before they start to remember you. But wait aren’t I person and not a brand? Well actually I’m both, and so is Matt. See Matt’s brand that lots of people want to be associated with either in pictures or by claiming they are best friends foreva’. So by bidding on Matt’s name I associated myself with his brand and got noticed (more about this at the end of the post). For more on branding check out Zefrank.

Ok so lets get down to the numbers

Matt Cutts Adwords

So for the campaign I was running three different ads, not something you should usually do, but I was short on time so I had to accelerate the testing. We can see the ads served up approximately an equal number of times but received a different rate of click throughs. The first and third ads are the same except for “Michael Gray” being used in place of “Graywolf”. The first ad had just over a 2.5% higher click through rate, which is important. Why is 2.5% important? Over a long period of time that 2.5% could add up. For example if my add was shown to 10,000 people and 5% clicked through that’s 500 people. However if 7.5% clicked through that’s 750 or 250 extra people who made it one step further closer to conversion. Why did one ad get more clicks? Possibly the Graywolf brand is stronger than the Michael Gray brand and people knew one and not the other. The second ad was an effort to try and be more compelling. While not amazing lets remember I did write it over a bowl of frosted mini wheats while trying to get to kids out the door to school, so it’s not the pinnacle of SEM efforts. Basically I tried to create that sense of urgency the “if you see only one movie this summer see this movie” feel to it.

Now the one thing that I did completely wrong is a classic adwords mistake. I didn’t bring them to a proper landing page, I just dumped them off in the SEO category of the blog. What I should have is “best SEO posts” page like Todd does. Highlighting my best posts and encouraging people to subscribe to my blog or contact me as a consultant. Taking it one step further I should have made it possible to see not only what ad got me the most click-throughs but got me the most blog subscribers or consulting inquiries (conversions).

How would I do that? Using parameters and redirects is quick and easy way like this:

Landing page for ad 1 – http://graywolfseo.com/ppc/page1/?ad=google&ver=1
Landing page for ad 2 – http://graywolfseo.com/ppc/page1/?ad=google&ver=2
Landing page for ad 3 – http://graywolfseo.com/ppc/page1/?ad=google&ver=3

Everyone sees the same content then I track conversions like this:

http://graywolfseo.com/jump/?ver=X&url=destinationpage.html

On the landing page I just get the value for version in the parameter and use it to build the destination link. There are lots of other ways to get this data this just happens to be a quick, easy, down and dirty way.

Lastly lets revisit the issue of bidding on someone else’s name. In lots of cases I’d say it’s acceptable to do for example I don’t see a problem with Allstate bidding on Geico as longs they don’t use it the ad (ignoring the mess that trademark bidding is in the legal system). Bidding on an actual person’s name who’s not you is shaky ground and really depends on your intent. For me to bid on Aaron Wall, Greg Boser or Jim Boykin would just be bad form. In this case I will agree bidding on Matt’s name was probably very close to the line, and it’s not something I encourage people to go out and do.

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