PPC Advertising and Ego Bidding

June 25th, 2008 by Nikki Kuhlman

I have clients that are absolutely convinced that the number 1 spot is the best place to be, and no amount of data can convince them otherwise. We call that “Ego Bidding” and it can be absolutely detrimental to PPC advertising.

Now don’t get me wrong. Number 1 can be a good place to be. But counter to popular belief, it PPC Advertisingcan get you less business, not more, besides being potentially more costly and hard to maintain in a competitive marketplace.

I have one client who wants to be in number one on some very generic terms, no matter what the cost. What usually happens is this: I get a call to boost the bids to get in the number 1 position on their special terms. I raise them, they land in number 1, they spend almost two or three times what they spent for position three or four, get the same or even less conversions, and then I get a call that we spent too much money and I have to reduce the bids. Two months later, I get the call to boost the bids again, and the scenario repeats. Every time I get the call, I remind them that we’ve been down this road before, and every time they tell me to do it anyway.

I have another client who only has ego bidding issues on only one search term. This particular client is in a very specialized industry with a very specific product in a very competitive marketplace. With them, the ego bidding is driven by the board of directors. If one of the board searches on this key term and they aren’t in number 1, I hear about it immediately. It doesn’t matter that their cost per conversion could be over $200, or that CPC is over $10. As long as they are in position 1, they are happy and they deem PPC successful.

I’m not opposed to trying out the number one spot, but only if a client has conversion tracking (or some other way of tracking that keyword), so we can see without a doubt whether it gets them more business or just spends more money.

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