Joanna will be speaking about “Advanced PPC” at SearchFest 2011, which will take place on February 23rd at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available now. To purchase, please click the following link.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living (w/ links).

I’m currently the Director of Acquisition & Engagement at SEOmoz, a little start up you may have heard of out of Seattle J I spend my days collaborating with an amazing group of passionate SEOs, marketers, engineers, and industry thought leaders…not to mention one of the web’s coolest robots. Specifically I spend my hours creating, managing and fine-tuning a variety of acquisition channels like paid search, affiliate marketing, Facebook marketing, sponsorship & more. To sum it up—I live in excel, and I love it.

My background lies heavily in paid search where I have worked for a number of companies in the travel, beauty, software, and retail industries both as an in-house specialist, and as a freelance consultant. I have spent the last six years expanding my knowledge base to include other pieces of the marketing pie like SEO, social acquisition, retention marketing, and content development. I now enjoy wandering and speaking to other digital marketing lovers at conferences like PubCon, SMX, SearchFest, SearchExchange, and the SEOmoz PRO Seminar.

2) What are the top metrics that paid search marketers ignore but should pay attention to?

This question is one that can get me going for hours, but for our purposes here let me just say I think far too many paid search marketers fail to see PPC as a performance marketing channel in general. There should be checks and balances on your PPC spend, and far too often marketers are using it as a brand awareness opportunity or testing platform, rather than a true acquisition channel.

For those PPC marketers that do have conversion tracking in place and are running profitable paid search channels, I have seen a number of approaches to measurement and metrics. Some of which, in my opinion, simply aren’t as affective as others.

For example I get asked all the time about quality score. We get it. Quality score is important obviously, but there is so much more we should be evaluating daily.  PPC is not a stand-alone piece of the pie. You should know the usual metrics to help gauge the health of your campaigns, but PPC marketers should be expected to know a variety of performance metrics as they relate to the portion of traffic coming from their PPC efforts.

Just because you buy someone from Google for less this week than you did last week, and they have a successful goal completion does NOT mean you are doing your job to the best of your ability. You need to make sure you are converting the right type of people for your company.

While I believe bounce rates and quality scores will always be important. I find myself more interested in cost per PPC visit separated by geo area and network, LTV of PPC visit, PPC visit retention metrics, and depth of PPC visit, and related engagement metrics. I am also increasingly more excited about metrics made visible through the search funnel reporting added this past year. True attribution has been somewhat illusive in the past, and paid marketers have a lot to gain from things like assisted conversions and awareness goal completions.

I guess in general I would tell PPC-ers to get their heads out of the Editor and search engine interfaces and get deeper into your CRM and analytics. #forrealz

3) What is the current state of the Google Content Network and when should someone consider using it?

I have been a Google Content Network fan since way before people could really track and grow their campaigns easily. Ha, it was a hot mess of unaccountable marketing spend. I remember back in 2008 I started saying at conferences that Google is starting to really invest in their Google Content Network with more features and resources. I think this past June’s announcement from Google was their way of beating us over the heads and letting us know that the new and improved Display Network (I mean it got a whole new name and everything!) simply can’t be ignored.

Not too long ago the Display Network (at the time called the Content Network) left advertisers with nothing but headaches in my opinion. We had few options for targeting, fewer reports, and basically no resources made available to us to help us succeed in ramping up our campaigns.  

The new Display Network allows advertisers to build more integrated campaigns. Google is calling it their “Internet-Based Advertising Program,” which was nothing more than a branding move to drop preconceived notions advertisers had, and opening the floodgates. We now have amazingly targeted options available to us in a number of less competitive locations.

Remarketing alone has been so successful for advertisers, and for those of you not utilizing it, I highly suggest checking it out. In addition to that we have seen leaderboard buys open up under Google Image search, which is giving out 100% share of voice right now…uhmm what?!

Google sees what is going on people. They know that with the social sharing phenomenon and sheer volume of sites out there doing cool things, users are overwhelmed. Our attention span is down to milliseconds and moving at an unparalleled pace. Search is now woven into a variety of “experiences” we have throughout the day, and is no longer such a standalone venture. Their Display Network is what they are banking on to take the place of sacrifices they must make on the search network with local search growing at the rate it is.

Trust me when I say the state of the Google Display Network is an important one. It is a tidal wave that will continue to gain momentum as we carry on through 2011 and into the future. As for the part “when should someone consider using it?” I can honestly say there is no advertiser out there that shouldn’t be considering it. If you are spending money on the search network and you have it oiled up to return profitably, your next venture should be into the Display network space. While I still believe you should have your search efforts in place first, I will not be surprised if my opinion on that changes by the end of this year.

It’s the year of the Display Network train people, its time to jump on. <jump>

2 thoughts on “SearchFest 2011 Mini-Interview: Joanna Lord

  1. The Google Display Network has come a long way and though it is still a little daunting for PPC novices, I feel that virtually every PPC advertiser can benefit from using it. However, they need to commit some time to monitoring reports (which can now be done right in the interface) and making the necessary tweaks to weed out the junk and turn up the volume on the good stuff.

  2. great interview, thanks!
    It’ll be very interesting to see how the display network benefits from changes to Local. On a different note I’m surprised Facebook aren’t expanding their ad platform across other sites, those featuring the Like button etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.