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PPC Strategy During The Current Financial Crisis

We're living through historically bad financial times. Wall Street is in crisis. Consumer confidence is plummeting. Many retailers are projecting weak Q4 sales and revising earnings estimates downward.

The chaos on Wall Street has broad implications for our economy. Considering here only the narrow perspective of paid search advertising, how should online advertisers respond?

  1. Have clear economic targets. This is not the time for hazy goals. Determine how aggressively or how conservatively you should be advertising, and stick to your numbers. If your SPCs (sales-per-click) decline, so should your bids. This is not the time to change your overall strategy each week.
  2. Use strong bid management tools. Consumer sentiment and shopping trends can shift rapidly. This is not the time for coarse bidding at the adgroup level, for inaccurate algorithms, or for infrequent manual bid adjustments.
  3. Shift ad dollars to stronger channels. This may mean moving more money into paid search. This may mean moving more money out of paid search. Now isn't the time to maintain historic channel budget allocation simple because "that's the way we've always done it."
  4. Seek capped agency or technology fees. At RKG, we cap our fees, so for our large clients our management fees become an increasingly smaller percentage of their advertising effort. Anything that scales without limit with ad spend or with sales places a heavy burden on your margins.
  5. Protect your bottom line first. Don’t let revenue targets established a year ago drive decisions you’re making now. Trying to hit growth goals will lead some retailers into ruin.
  6. Stay calm. The world hasn't ended for retail. This is not the time to over react. Strong retailers will gain market share through this period, even with top line weakness.

For all of us and our nation, may we reach some stability soon.

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