Tim Mayer will be speaking about “Advanced PPC” at SearchFest 2012, which will be held February 24, 2012 at The Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living?

Tim is in the early stages of starting up a new business called Heddle in the Internet Marketing Arena based in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2011, Tim worked for Trada, a crowdsourced PPC marketplace, as its Chief Strategy Officer leading product management, engineering, marketing and sales. Tim grew revenue over 700%, increased customer retention, significantly grew the engineering and sales teams and solidified the company infrastructure throughout the course of 2011.

Prior to Trada, Tim held a variety of senior leadership roles at Yahoo during his seven year tenure. Tim’s most recent role at Yahoo (2010) was leading a cross company initiative at Yahoo in which he grew search query volume by 210 basis points following thirteen consecutive months of query share decline by Yahoo Search.

Tim was previously Vice President, North American Audience at Yahoo in 2009 responsible for the programming of the Yahoo.com home page as well as leadership of the listings properties (Yahoo! Shopping, Travel, Personals, Local, Real Estate, Autos, Health and Tech).

Prior to the Audience role, Tim was responsible for leading the Yahoo Search Business in 2008 including monetizing the search page as well as leading initiatives to drive additional search traffic from on network and off network sources. Tim developed new enhancements for paid search including “Rich Ads in Search” which led to >$50M in incremental revenue and greenfield distribution initiatives which led to 2 billion additional search queries for Yahoo in 2008.

Between 2003 and 2007, Tim was doing product management leading the product direction of Yahoo! Search.

Tim has over 15 years of search experience with previous roles at Overture, FAST Search & Transfer/Alltheweb.com, Inktomi and Thomson/Reuters.

Tim has been a successful speaker and keynoter at search and marketing conferences for many years including Search Engine Strategies, Blueglass, SMX, OMMA, Pubcon and SXSW.

2) How can a business determine the “technical competence” of a prospective PPC Agency?

1. The first thing I would ask about is the level of transparency the agency will provide me with. In other words, is the agency going to allow me to access the AdWords account directly that they are managing for me. This will let me see if the account is being actively managed on an regular basis as well as allowing me to figure out if the account is being managed competently.

2. Secondly, I would ask about what tools they use to manage my PPC account and if they are proprietary or commercial tools. This would help me understand how portable the account data would be if I decide to leave the agency in the future. Will they provide the data (Keywords, ad copy and bids etc) to me on separation and will I have the data in an easily usable format that I can migrate to another agency or bring in house.

3. Thirdly, I would then ask the agency if they have a person who is completely dedicated to working on PPC campaigns and if that person has experience in my vertical or at least category (B2B, B2C etc.). If the agency has someone that meets this criteria I would ask to have a discussion with that person who will be managing my account on a day to day basis. Some of the things that I would discuss with this PPC focused person to get an idea of their technical competency would be:

• What strategy will you pursue on my account in terms of long tail versus head Keywords?
• What is your bidding strategy? How do you start bidding and how does this bidding strategy evolve over time? How do you go about determining initial bids?
• What percentage of your accounts use negative keywords, day parting, AdWords extensions, Search Alliance in addition to AdWords, the Content Network? Which of these would you definitely use and which would you test in my account – Why or why not?
• Is the agency thinking about the PPC campaign holistically? Are they going to work with me on landing page optimization and/or create dynamic landing pages? Is the agency thinking about how the PPC campaign is going to work in tandem with my SEO efforts?

3) What is the state of the “Search Alliance” (in regards to PPC) and how do you think it will evolve over the next couple years?

Bing evolved their product strategy with adCenter in 2011. They have now improved their traffic quality on the O&O sites and have decent volume. There is still a lot of friction, however, in advertisers taking their AdWords account data and moving it over to Bing. There are also a lot of features that Google has that are desired/needed by advertisers on the Search Alliance that are not currently there that are table stakes to being in the PPC business. The addition of quality score was a big step in the right direction and will incent the right behavior in the ecosystem and increase the quality and CTR of the ads. There are still features like modified broad match that Google has had for some time now that Bing has resisted embracing. Bing has a lot to do in the coming quarters maintaining a balance of playing catch up in features as well as simultaneously onboarding Yahoo traffic onto adCenter on a global basis.

Much of the Search alliance’s relevance to the advertiser is based on its overall PPC click market share. Many people use search market share to look at this which is a rough indicator but overestimates the share of the Search Alliance. Google is far in the lead in US search market share with 66% of searches conducted. Paid Click (number of ad clicks) share is even more favorable to Google than their 66% search market share number. Advertisers rely on this metric to determine if they spend the effort to advertise on another PPC marketplace in addition to Google AdWords. Bing has been gaining in market share which is great for them and for competition in the search marketplace in general. The Overall Search Alliance market share, however, continues to hover around 30%. Yahoo is losing market share in a pretty dramatic fashion and the momentum is on Google’s side with the browser market share gains of Chrome Browser and the decline of Internet Explorer browser market share. The slow down of PC purchases where Microsoft has a strength in search distribution deals and the dramatic rise in the purchase of mobile and tablet PCs which are dominated by the IOS and Android platforms, which both have Google Search by default, is a trend that foreshadows continued Google gains in search market share in the future.

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