Testing effectiveness of sponsored links

My company makes custom bobblehead dolls, and we currently hold the number one position for organic search under the terms bobbleheads, bobble heads, custom bobbleheads, custom bobble heads for all major search engines.  Many other friends who own ecommerce companies have encouraged me to pay for sponsored links under these terms as well.  I'm not sure if it works or not, and I want to test it somehow. Here are the complications:

1. Our customers do not buy immediately, they look around the website and then come back 3 or 4 months later and buy (its an occassion driven gift, so they wait until someone they know has a birthday). For that reason using the tracking code in google adwords to see if they converted seems not reliable.

2. I do not know if they would have clicked my website anyways if I did not have the adwords ad up, just using the organic search.

What I really need to know is how many additional customers I get by having the adwords terms up for these terms. Any good suggestions on how to do this?  Keep in mind I do have three or four other competitors (they don't have as high organic search positioning though they are on the first page, and they do pay for adwords).


Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.


To test whether or not your campaigns are converting to dollars, you need to have metrics in place that capture the source from "click" and follow it through to "a successful checkout" page.  

Without this, you will find it difficult to get a clear picture of your dollars spent vs. dollars earned.

     See Google Analytics (free)
     See WebTrends (paid)

Otherwise, you can spend the money and look at your earnings after 90 days.  If its substantially larger, then "maybe" it worked.  But I wouldn't advise just pissing money away.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
If you put an effective AdWords campaign together you will get more sales. A percentage of people may have clicked your organic result anyway. But as for putting a figure on that percentage, it's a big 'what if' that is very difficult to answer.

I would focus on putting a good AdWords campaign together and determining the return on investment you get from it. If it's good it's worth keeping, if it's not it isn't - simple as that. Put together a test budget and run ads for a few weeks and then keep checking your measurement system to see the benefit over a longer period.

The major issue here is determining the return on your investment due to your long sales cycle. There is no way around this, you will be able to do some measurement but it is not going to be 100% accurate due to your long sales cycle.

The measurement system you use depends on your needs and almost all of them will be cookie based and thus will introduce inaccuracies as a result of the sales cycle (people will inevitably clear cookies/ change computers after a certain time frame). Google Analytics is free and should be fine to get started with.

So in summary the first issue you mentioned is going to raise inaccuracies and may hide some of the benefits of ads you run. The second you won't know until you run a test and you will find it difficult to pinpoint in after doing so. The most important thing you can to increase conversions on your site is to test and measure results.

"If you put an effective AdWords campaign together you will get more sales. A percentage of people may have clicked your organic result anyway. But as for putting a figure on that percentage, it's a big 'what if' that is very difficult to answer."

I've been doing PPC for sometime now, particularly with GA, and in my humble experience, I've never seen a case where the advertiser made more in sales than what he ended up spending on GA to subsidize their account.

I guess what I am getting at is... if you plan on doing PPC (Adwords) then understand that it's a tool to immediately gain exposure and to align your company name against your biggest competitors.  I like to consider it more an exposure tool than a sale tool.

The "sale" is done as a result of your websites ability to close the deal.  Not the ad campaign.

@BobbleMe: If you do open an Adwords account, set a low monthly budget that's affordable to you... I can state with confidence that you will probably not get that money back.

It would be great if (since so much time has elapsed since this message was created) that if you did create an Adwords account that you post back your ROI.

Good Luck-
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Internet Marketing

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.