Managing PPC and Affiliates – A Win Win Situation

PPC and Affiliates aren’t always the best of friends, but when they work together the results can be outstanding.  Whilst sometimes competing in the same search space, there are always opportunities where each can complement the other.  For large businesses with complex multichannel strategies it’s essential that overlaps are managed closely and efficiently.

For a key client of ours, PPC Affiliates are used as a way to protect ‘brand and generic’ terms, ensuring that competitors are forced further down the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The purpose of this is to allow the advertiser the chance to own as much real estate as possible. Whilst this can ensure that sales aren’t lost, it doesn’t always guarantee that each advertiser is being as efficient as possible. Consequently, this can result in driving up the overall marketplace, resulting in an increased Cost Per Click (CPC) for all.

Previously, bids for this particular client were managed manually across channels, without a collaborative approach. It was for this reason we were seeing significant volatility within auctions, which was resulting in a gradual increase of CPCs for all.

With iProspect’s background in custom scripts we decided to adapt some of our

Award Winning work

to try and solve another problem; how to pay as little as possible to protect brand terms.

We amended a custom script and distributed it to two affiliates that were sat in positions two and three, protecting the brand. The scripts added were variations of the ‘bid to position’ code that we’ve seen work successfully elsewhere.  The main advantage of this approach was that it required minimal ongoing effort to manage from all parties. With the scripts added to the affiliate accounts and our own client accounts we saw some outstanding results.

Consequently, by using the scripts, positions stabilised meaning that all parties were seated in their agreed positions rather than pushing for a higher place; manually changing bids had previously made this difficult to control.

Further, this resulted in CPCs instantly reducing as the overall auction became less aggressive.  There were still others in the auction, but by following the ‘control the controllables’ mantra adopted by other campaigns we helped to save all parties money.

The client saw CPC reductions in excess of 50% from the peak cost, making significant savings on one of their top brand terms in the account.  The Affiliate in position two saw savings of around 20% while maintaining a better average position, and the Affiliate in position three saw a small decrease in CPCs with no negative impact.  These savings are now being reinvested into incremental generic coverage, helping to drive further growth for the account.

We continue to make changes to the script, improving on its already strong performance and ensuring that we adapt it to take into account further changes in the auction dynamic.

Overall, the new approach of managing this activity collaboratively has helped to improve efficiencies by driving down costs without increasing manual management of bids. Furthermore, this has enabled us to reinvest these cost savings into acquiring new customers.

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