Tuesday at WebmasterWorld PubCon Vegas was a loooong day. After working well into the night to finish up the last presenttion that was to be given first on Tuesday, I enjoyed a nice walk from Treasure Island Hotel & Casino over to the Las Vegas convention center. It was a beautiful day and I made it over there in time to get everything ready to go. The crowd for this particular track was moderate as there were six sessions going on simultaneously.
The gist of the gist track was on balancing income from affiliates, contextual marketing programs and PPC search. As with all things Internet related, the amount of money you allocate to those or any other programs should be dependent on the returns you are getting and that will only be known after you have some data from running the campaigns. Then to prepare to juice up your returns you need to get your site in order.
Make sure you can present information the way consumers want to see it.
Be able to put people on landing pages that show sort orders in the way conusmers want to see the products displayed.
Get the page load times as fast as you possibly can.
Do all the basics of SEO so that your site reflects the way people search for and think of whatever it is you are selling.
Once you have all those things in place, then you are ready to put the contextual, PPC and affiliate programs in place.
Other speakers on the panel included Jim Banks of Global Direct Media and Jon Kelly of SureHits
The second track was on PPC issues & Affiliates. Essentially, what does it make sense to do from the merchant and affiliate points of view as far as PPC direct to the merchant site. Should you as a merchant open up the use of your display URL to your afilliates?
The answer is, of course, it depends. Can your in-house or agency search team do better than affiliates? Affiliates can be virtually guaranteed to improve the search program IF your affiliate payout is high enough to make PPC direct possible. You should keep direct links with your display URL for your own in-house search team but open up bidding on all other search terms to your affiliates.
The key to making all your PPC programs work much better is to treat the whole PPC process as a converstion and use your ads to answer the question the person is mot likely to be asking when they type a query into a search box. 99.9999% of what you read about PPC on the Internet is garbage especially when it comes to setting up ad groups and writing ad copy. The advertisers who realize this (very few of them, but NexTag seems to REALLY get it) can crush the competition while those that don’t will continue to run bad campaigns and not be anywhere near as profitable as they could be.
The last track of the day was affiliate site reviews. This was kind of a challenging one and it always is w/o looking at any performance data. You can give some general “best practices” advice but its hard to get really specific advice. Put title and description tags in there. Match the titles to the headers on the page. Put keywords in the meta description tag that are actually on the webpage in the content.
There were a few small sites put up for review and some rather large very sucessful sites where we didn’t have a whole lot of feedback. Overall it was a good session but not great.
The PPC & Affiliates session was far and away the best of the three. The one on balancing affiliate, PPC and contextual ad revenue was second and the site review came up last.
The next PubCon will be a two day event in Austin, Texas later this year and then there will be Vegas 2009 next fall/winter. It is hard to believe PubCon has been around for 6 or so years in its current format.