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Does PPC still work?
My introduction to Affiliate Marketing was through the Google Cash ebook that was selling through Clickbank. Back then, using Google Adwords as your only affiliate marketing traffic tool was effective. You could easily purchase good keywords for what was then Google's minimum bid of .05 (five cents). I remember paying ,000.00 a day for clicks at .05 a piece and doubling my money. Others did much better, I'm sure.
Things have changed, and not for the better. Perhaps it would take a smarter person than me to understand, but the Google Adwords system has become convoluted, illogical and just plain selfish.
Why is it that I can find a word with No competition and for which I use the keywords I'm bidding on in the ads title and Google won't even start displaying the ads until I've hit .00, .00 or more? This makes no sense to me what-so-ever.
Their propaganda talks about the bid price being determined by competition, relavency and other factors, but they are so vaguely explained that I can only guess at what Google is doing.
Frankly, I can no longer make money using Adwords PPC to drive traffic to my affiliate links. At .05 or .10 per click, I make money. At .20 or more, the margins are so thin, or completely eaten up by click costs, that it's impossible to make a profit.
Google seems to be willing to break the backs of all of us who have made it successful. So I've decided to take my business elsewhere.
So, back to the title of this article, "Is PPC still a viable Affiliate Marketing strategy?". I think the answer is yes, but not with the same ease of use that we've accustomed to with the OLD Google.
That leaves two big boys to work with and they are showing signs of desiring to work with Affiliate Marketers. Those two alternatives are MSN Adcenter and Overture / Yahoo.
Even together, they won't provide as many impressions and clicks as Google. But I think than through the yen/yang of change, Google is going to loose business and these two PPC engines will gain.
MSN Adcenter: I have been playing with this PPC engine for a little while now and it's good. The interface is uncomplicated and it provides excellent estimates of where your ad will be positioned and how many times it will be clicked upon based upon different bid prices. Google's impression / click estimates have been garbage. This really makes picking bid prices for MSN easy. No more guess work. On my first few ads, it took over 24 hours for them to start playing. I don't know if this will improve with time, but it's kind of a pain now. Also, Adcenter only runs within Internet Explorer because of ActiveX code that it runs on your box. This probably makes things faster, but it's a pain for me because I use Firefox.
Yahoo / Overture: I used Overture a bit about a year ago and just found it too hard to work with. It was slow, adding words was difficult and it took them forever to enable the ads. The good news is that Yahoo is totally revamping Overture and I bet they've learned from the success of Google. The new Overture should be much better. I don't know if a beta is being run or not, but it would be nice to get in on it.
So I'm going to turn off all Google Adwords campaigns and work with AdCenter and Yahoo for a while to see what happens. I think PPC is still a good strategy. It just makes sense! But it will only work for us if we can accurately gauge how much we have to pay for traffic and we can test campaigns quickly. 24 hour delays in testing will make it too difficult to work with.
About the Author: Charles Waters jumped into the world of Internet Affiliate Marketing in 2003 and has never looked back. Today, his flagship website is http://www.affiliate-home.com, a meeting place for other Internet affiliate marketers.