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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Putting the "eeek!" in Unique

It's holiday time, and the pay-per-click bidding is competitive.

Selling a product online and think it would be a unique gift idea? Well, for a bid of about 40 cents per click, your Google AdWord can show up, on average, in about 60th ad position on the broad match for the term "unique gift idea." (60th position is approximately equivalent to "nowhere." It would be like taking out a special invisible classified ad.) That's not what Google's projections will tell you - they might say 15th, or 26th, or 30th, spot. But that's precisely the average ad position enjoyed when one advertiser actually ran an ad on that phrase with a max bid of 40 cents (in spite of being warned that this phrase wouldn't be a winner). Projections, unfortunately, can be way off when it comes to the complex Google keyword auction.

It's even harder to predict actual buyer behavior when it's being played out in a new medium where many companies are trying e-commerce experiments in earnest for the very first time... attempting to tap into a navigation process that we have only a rudimentary understanding of. You never fully grasp this until you see something like a big order for Lego coming through that originated from a keyword search done on Weather.com (fictitious example, but not completely fictitious).

In any case, well, of course you're unique. But apparently, being unique and wanting people to buy your product as a gift puts you in some pretty crowded territory. It's time to think harder about what makes your company really unique. And if there isn't much to speak of, it's high time you invented or reinvented it.

I'd tell you where your ad would show up for a bid of only five cents, but Hallowe'en is over so I don't want to frighten you!

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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