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I have had a bit of a "practice what you preach" time over the last few days and I thought I would share.

As a consultant, I always tell our customers to PAY ATTENTION to where they are spending their marketing money and MEASURE their ROI.   As a boutique company, much of the PPC advertising falls to me.  I check our accounts every few days and make sure there is room on my credit card when the payments come due.  I have been doing it pretty much like this since, oh, the industry was invented by GoTo (which became Overture, which became Yahoo! which is now Bing).  The thing is, our costs were getting higher and higher and the results were not impressive.  Don't get me wrong, we are spending half of what we once spent on Yellow Pages ads (remember those?) and get better quality leads, but I have had nagging doubts that we should/could be doing better.

The key for me was looking at the average time spent on our site for visitors coming in from our AdWords campaigns.  We were getting lots of click-throughs but average time on our site was 0 seconds and average pages viewed was less than one.  Hmmmmm.

So Saturday morning, after my first latte, I sat down on the sofa and did some pruning.

1) I set up conversion tracking for our lead forms.  We use SiteCM CMS for our web site and it took me all of 60 seconds to get the code from Google and drop it onto the completion page of my forms.

2) I took a look at what Networks our ads were showing on.  Wow!  Some of those sites have suspiciously high CTR's considering their content has nothing to do with our prospects.  I excluded over 100 domains.

3) I blocked smartphones for all of our ads and created a new group just for smart phones.

So far, our impressions and spending are way down.  On the flip side though, our CTR's are up because we have improved our targeting.  Visitors are also spending more time on our site which indicates that the traffic is more legitimate and engaged.  I am keeping an eye on Networks and have cut another dozen or so sites as they appear in our reports.  With the better targeting and fewer bogus visits, I have been able to increase our bids on some terms to keep us at the top of the ads.

This weekend I will put some effort into our landing pages and start some A/B tests.
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