$200 Profit From PPC Yesterday

Finally, I get to say I’m making a decent profit from pay per click advertising. It’s been a long journey from the post I wrote last November declaring that PPC was a scam as Google and Yahoo run it. Even before that post I had been dabbling in PPC for 3 years with not much to show for it.

Yesterday however, was different. I’ve had several days this month over $100 in profit, but yesterday’s profit was over $200 from PPC alone. There are some great blogs around the net that teach techniques about PPC, but nothing has helped me get into serious profitability like PPC Coach has.

Here are some screen shots from yesterday:

Neverblue Earnings 9-29-08

As you can see, revenue at Neverblue was $352.05 and total spend at Google Adwords was $151.21 giving me a profit of $200.84. This comes from being profitable on just 2 offers at Neverblue and running 2 campaigns with 6 adgroups total on Adwords. Oh, one additional bit of info, this is all being done on the content network, not the search network.

It looks like PPC Coach is well worth the $50 per month cost.

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Huge Keyword Research Resource

In doing some research for another post I came across a huge resource for keyword terms for your Adwords and other PPC campaigns and for content pages. Believe it or not, it comes from Mahalo.com. It was bound to happen, I’ve finally found a use for Jason Calacanis’ search-engine-thingy-whatever-you-want-to-call-it.

It’s actually the category section of Mahalo and it is extremely useful. On this page you’ll find every category listed in Mahalo and then those categories go to their specific category page listing even more keywords linking to their individual page on Mahalo. It’s awesome because categories are listed in keyword fashion such as in the toys category. When you click over there you’ll get a list of all the most popular toy search terms for the last few years. And it gets even better because the words a listed in a way that you can just put your cursor over them and then click and scroll to copy whatever words you want in the list.

With Christmas coming up you could use the toys category to do keyword research for promotions for the buying frenzy during holiday time to figure out what parents will be spending their money on for kiddies. Want a list of popular toys that won toy of the year awards, go here.  Want to make a buck off of the Hannah-Montana-I-can’t-even-go-into-Wal-Mart-without-seeing-her-freekin-picture-EVERYWHERE insanity, checkout the Hannah Montana category.

Some categories are a bit sparse such as the vintage cars category (great for maybe doing ppc for vintage car parts) and other categories are overflowing with every keyword and subject you may have forgotten about such as the Xbox 360 games category. This one has thousands of keywords. I’m sure you could find something to do with all those words.

Some of the categories are listed in a way that you can just copy and paste your keywords into Adwords campaigns (I’d still divide them up into small adgroups by hand or with a keyword tool such as in PPC Coach) or you can just check them out to get some great ideas for further keyword research.

Check out the Mahalo category page and find a ton of great keywords to ramp up your ppc efforts.

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Using Build A Niche Store As A Landing Site

I’m not usually in he habit of giving away niches, but because this one has sort of tanked, yet still provides a great example of what you can do with Build A Niche Store when you think outside the box, I’ll reveal it here.

I’ve never had a problem getting Google to give me a good quality score for any of my BANS stores as long as they had a good mixture of content and auctions on each site. So when SpoofCard teamed up with Pepperjam Network I decided I wanted to build a simple site around it and to make it easy, I used BANS as my content management system and based the page I would be sending Adwords traffic to on Zac Johnson’s free landing page template. SpoofCard is a system that allows you to change your caller id to anything you want and goof on your friends or hide your phone number from someone.

SpoofCard Header

The way I built the SpoofCard site was just use the simplest 2 column BANS template with navigation on the left, made a nice header in Photoshop, included a faq  modified from the original SpoofCard site and then added a contact us and privacy policy page. For eBay auctions I looked at the calling cards category and used Spoofcard as a keyword and added some negative words to only get Spoofcards being sold on eBay to show up and also added some auctions from the caller id box category to give the site some content. Right now as I write this post the calling card category is only showing 2 cards, but has shown as many as 20 at one time. You also want to make sure you add an H1 tag, a title, keywords, a meta description and a couple of sentences to each auction page so you’re not just showing auctions.

To make the landing page I use the layout from Zac’s template mentioned above, found a pic of a spy looking lady on a cell phone, added a few bullet points, some text and a big fat button to get visitors to click over to the merchant.

I made about $400 promoting SpoofCard, but unfortunately it just stopped converting at a level I could generate profit about a month ago or so. I’ve since stopped sending paid traffic to the site, but may try some other things in the future. That’s why I don’t mind revealing this little niche I’ve been working on.

Even though this one isn’t doing that well any longer, you can still model a landing site for just about any product or offer being run through the CPA networks on this example. If you want to try any of the weight loss offers, you can set up a site and throw in a few pages with other supplements sold on eBay. You can promote many of the forclosure offers and include real estate sold through eBay as another idea. There are nearly endless possibilities. And after a few months you should be getting some natural search engine traffic clicking through on your eBay auctions and you’ll be making a little cash there.

Give it a try if you already own Build A Niche Store and if you don’t own it yet, you can get more info on BANS here.

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MySpace Ads Review And Tutorial

Just yesterday I picked up on a tweet from lenstrom that MySpace Ads went live, at least in the beta version, so I though I’d head over there, sign up and throw $50 their way to see if I could get some action. As of this post unfortunately my ads haven’t been approved yet, even though they’ve been sitting in the que for about 22 hours. So, even though I don’t have any conversion or money making data yet, I can give you a walk through of the system and offer some opinions.

When I get my ads approved and get some data I’ll report back to let you know how it went.

It’s pretty easy to sign up with MySpace ads and you don’t even have to have a MySpace account to do so. Just put in all your personal data, a valid credit card and then you go and set up your ads. MySpace is different than Facebook Ads in that you have 2 choices of ad sizes, either a 300 x 250 block or a large 728 x 90 pixel banner of which you can either design right in the MySpace interface (you can add text and your own images), make your own or do what I did and just use creatives from whatever offer you are promoting.

Create A MySpace Ad

If you’d like, you can target your ad before or after you actually create it. At this point the demographic data available to do your targeting is very limited. As you can see below they’ve left out at least one important choice in the game console category. They’ve included everything but the Wii (I forgot Wii was a Nintendo product. However, you can select it seperately on Facebook. Thanks to WordVixen for pointing out the mistake):

No Wii?

Also lacking in some demographic areas I was exploring were only 8 brand name video games to choose from, no Christian category under music, only 29 authors listed in the book category and the health & fitness category only has 2 options – working out and yoga, lame. Hopefully this is just what they’re offering during beta and the category choices will be expanded. Right now Facebook Ads offers much better targeting.

Also, you will definitely want to set your age demographic appropriately to avoid maybe trying to sell car parts to 13-year-old-girls or some such market that will waste your ad budget since MySpace is notorious for worthless ad traffic. How many 13-year-old have credit cards?

After you create your ad, target it and add your destination url, you then set your campaign budget and it looks like you can set a total amount to spend on a campaign (hopefully you can change that if your campaign is doing well) and choose your bid amount, as long as it’s 25 cents or above.

MySpace Ads minimum bids

That’s another flub with MySpace Ads here is the 25 cent minimum bid. Come on guys, you can’t expect that to fly very long on an unproven ad platform with no conversion data yet. It remains to be seen if actual cost per click will be at 25 cents or lower, but that’s ridiculous, not being able to lower bids to 10 or 15 cents to get a better ROI is just crazy. This is basically a content platform and if I were paying 25 cents per click with some of my Adwords content campaigns, I’d be broke. Time to re-think that one.

Next you want to set the time frame or dates your campaign will run. Make sure you choose a campaign end date as people have left comments on other blogs doing MySpace Ads reviews that they’ve accepted the default setting which ends your campaign the day it starts. It might be a good thing if MySpace tweaks that to be out a least a couple of months.

The bottom line is that MySpace has more users than Facebook and could bring many more impressions to your ad. In picking some of the same type demographic as on Facebook Ads, MySpace is showing me millions of potential users vs Facebook’s hundreds of thousands.  However, it’s hard to tell how many clicks you’ll get or what the conversions will be like. The 25 cent minimum bid has to go and demographic targeting has to be expanded. MySpace has tons of data on its users and putting out an ad platform without including better targeting is extremely shortsighted. It’s almost as if they though maybe they’d see how much money advertisers are willing to spend before they roll out the whole package. Not good.

One other minor tweak I’d like to see MySpace make is to allow your session time to be a little longer. It must only be about 2 minutes or less because almost every time I refresh the browser, I get kicked back to the login screen.

Anyway, I though I’d at least give it a shot to see if it would produce a little income here. If you want, you can sign up for MySpace Ads here.

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Following The Rules, Or Taking Advantage Of Them?

 Sign In A Rest Stop

What about the rules, how closely should we follow them? The slaps, algorithm changes, TOS updates and constant policy changes we’re supposed to comply with as affiliates can be a bit overwhelming at times. And we know that the mother of all rules changes is the almighty (they just think they are) Google. If you don’t comply with Google, you essentially don’t get to play the game…that is unless you look at the rules a different way.

My financial advisor told me some time back that our politician friends running the show (if you want to call it that) in DC just go about their business continuing to complicate the tax code and then people like him read it and figure out ways to get around it. It’s just a game that’s been played ever since the wicked lawmakers have inhabited the halls of Congress and state capitals. My financial advisor’s job is to look at the complicated mess and figure out a way to save us money. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to Uncle Sam when they don’t have to.

I’m beginning to learn that rather than freak out about what Google throws my way, it’s a whole lot better to just absorb it and figure out how to use it best to my advantage or what to do to get around it. One thing I’ve learned to get around lately is the big freakout about lading page quality. The only thing Google wants there is your landing page to reflect what’s in your ad and they only look at your destination url. As long as your top level destination url matches your top level display url (even when it goes through a tracking link) and there aren’t any quality problems, you are good to go. You can then set your individual keyword url to whatever you want.

You can use this to your advantage if you direct link to offers and are having a hard time getting a good quality score, don’t put in your affiliate link as the destination url, use the top level url of your offer and then use your affiliate link with a tracking code as your keyword url. This works on both Google’s search and content network. Now put on your thinking caps and brainstorm on ways you can really take advantage of this little trick and you’ll never have to worry about quality score again.

Just as a warning here though, I’m not in any way condoning purposely breaking the rules or the law. If you violate Google’s terms, you will get nailed and if you break the tax laws, you may go to jail. There is a big difference in taking advantage of what’s in the rules vs walking over them and crossing the line. If you do Adsense, there are ways to optimize your ad placements so you earn the most possible, then there are idiots who ask their friends to click on their ads and can’t figure out why they get banned.

Don’t worry about the rules, adapt and take advantage of them. Oh, I was looking for my wife when we stopped at a rest stop, so I climbed up on the planter wall.

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