s Pay-Per-Click Advertising Still The Only Alternative?

 by: Robert Hartness

Is Pay-Per-Click The Only Way to Get Traffic?

Not long ago, I relied on pay-per-click advertising to sell my products. It was very effective then because the bidding wars that have rocketed the cost of campaigns hadn't happened.

When I came across it, I decided to test it out by making a comparison test with 2 other popular pay-per-click search engines.

In addition to the steep learning curve, it can also be expensive and psychologically damaging, as shafts of regret accompany a sense of having taken oneself for a ride by the over-liberal use of broad keywords. Yes one gets a lot of clicks, but sales do depend on whether the attracted traffic is targeted to the product.

Yes, pay-per-click is a step ahead of blind blanket advertising, but the rising costs force busy web marketers to consider other ideas too. At least, that's my view. Especially when there are alternatives that have ditched keywords in favor of targeted traffic from a network of sites.

It is a form of advertising known as "contextual advertising". My ads were shown on a network of sites instead of as the result of queries on a search engine. I spent $200 on each campaign to promote my e book 'Cash From Your Camera' (http://www.cashfromyourcamera.com)

This is what happened....

First, for the Google traffic, my average cost per click was 45 cents for the range of different keywords I was bidding on. I received a total of 449 visitors and 1 order. I also received 20 sign-ups to my newsletter providing a sign-up conversion rate of around 4.4% and ROI of 43%

Kanoodles's traffic was disappointing although much cheaper. I actually received 1523 visitors for my $200 investment. This works out at less than 8 cents a visitor for the same keywords. But the campaign resulted in zero sales an only 2 sign-ups to my newsletter...not good!

Have Traffic was the real surprise package.

I received 1,000 visitors for my $200 and actually received 3 sales and 46 subscribers to my newsletter. The actual return on my investment was a 135% plus I received 46 leads with which to follow-up.

Only one of my three campaigns even broke even and that one only earned 135% ROI. I obviously need to optimize everything a bit better and then I could at least get a profitable return from both Google and Have Traffic. It really looks like Kanoodle is a bust no matter what I do. It's a shame. In the distant past, I could count on decent traffic from them.

I guess it's possible that the results may have been different if I had used different keywords for the campaigns

But overall, this test shows that it is still possible to find cost effective pay-per-click advertising. You just have to look harder (sometimes at unexpected sources) and optimize your ad copy quite a bit more than was necessary in the past for even solid known good sources of traffic like Google.

About The Author

Robert Hartness

One of a series of articles by Robert Hartness, successful freelance photographer and author of Cash From Your Camera which offers a step-by-step guide to those on the threshold of freelance photography and is illustrated with 40 published photographs. Acclaimed as a great reference source for serious freelancers. For More information please visit http://www.cashfromyourcamera.com

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