Welcome to Josh Baker's Practical Advice for Optimizing Your Internet Marketing blog. Here you will find internet marketing optimization and online strategy articles full of tips, tricks, discussions, and thoughts to help you take your marketing and business to the next level of success.

Optimizing In A Tough Economy – When Paid Search Costs Rise and AOV is Down


It’s a no-brainer that it is undeniably more important now so than ever before to be consistently and aggressively optimizing your websites for conversions (both macro and micro-conversions) when the economy is tough as it is right now.

For many online businesses, paid search is one of their primary acquisition sources of new customers, sales and leads. Paid search competition is equally as tough right now as the customer has less money to spend to make their purchases.

Simply and sadly put, it will cost more to acquire the customer who spends less. No one likes to hear those words, ever.

According to this press release from SearchIgnite, who reviewed trends from January 2006 to September 2008, Paid Search growth was strong in the third quarter of 2008 revealing an increase of nearly 27% compared to the same quarter in 2007. The release stated that intra-quarter retail spend showed a decline – and even with a small increase in conversion rates the AOV (average order value) showed a decline.

Two primary solutions with your paid search campaigns are to work on converting more customers that are already coming to your website via this channel or to increase AOV (or both) in your short-term and long-term plans. This is of course involves the incorporation of optimizing your paid search campaigns too.

This is where the familiar “which comes first the chicken or the egg” syndrome comes in. Do you optimize your PPC campaign first to reduce unnecessary spend going out and then optimize your website for better conversions from that traffic? Or, do you optimize your website first in attempt to maximize the conversions from the traffic you are getting and then optimize your PPC campaign from there, or do you do a combination of both at the same time?

Searching the web and depending on whom you read and what theories you subscribe to, you will read many viable reasons why each of these three starting points are the best solution. In the end, most agree the right solution is the one that fits your marketing strategy and goals. But almost all agree that if your testing and optimizing, no matter which end you start with, if results are statistically sounds and financially trustworthy, you are headed in the right direction.

In the end, this is definitely not the time to make guesses on what you think might work to improve your online results (nor was there actually ever a time to make guesses). Rather, this is the time to get proven answers via testing and optimization strategies and to use this data to make the changes needed to increase your online website performance to get closer to your goals.


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