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What’s your paid search personality?

Do you have a paid placement bidding strategy? Yes, you do, even if you’re not aware of it. Find yourself (and others) in this list of common personality types so that you become aware of your natural tendencies. Then you can learn to rise above those traits to become a more effective paid placement marketer.

Focusing on the Upside

Some personality types are always looking at the possibilities, undaunted by the challenges. This can be good, as long as it is not overdone. See if you fall into one of these types:

  • Top dogs. If you want to be number one at all costs, you’re a top dog. Your competitiveness is healthy, but you need to apply it properly. Remember that the #1 ranking does not necessarily get you any visits to your site, or any sales, so focus on what’s more important.
  • Traffic reporters. Are you obsessed with more and more traffic to your site? You are right that traffic is crucial, but it’s not an end in itself. Keep in mind that visitors that do not buy anything lead to the worst possible situation—you pay for each click with nothing in return.
  • Peddlers. Sales! Sales! Sales! Sales is the name of the game, right? Well. no. Profit is the name of the game. You might be bidding so much per click that your sales are not profitable.
  • Marketers. Do you focus on Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)? While good, that’s not the optimal metric—you can net a high return on spending but still be falling short of the optimum profit.
  • Financiers. Is profit margin your favorite measurement? That’s a good one to pick, for sure, but just remember that you might optimize your total profit if you make more sales at a lower margin.

But maybe you didn’t identify with any of those types. Maybe you are more focused on risk than reward.

Focusing on Risk

You may be the voice of reason at your company—the one who always points out the danger to be avoided in any situation. If so, you may find yourself here:

  • Skinflints. If you fixate on staying within the budget, you’re skinflint. Avoiding overspending is fine, but you need to balance that with getting value from what you do spend.
  • Bottom feeders. Are you dying for a bargain? If you find yourself avoiding keywords with higher fees, you may be avoiding higher profits, too. Often, low-priced keywords have low returns.
  • Efficiency experts. If you focus on clickthrough rates, you may be looking for efficiency when you should be looking for return. Switch to focusing on conversions, rather than clicks.
  • Accountants. Do you focus on Cost Per Action (CPA)? While good, that’s not the optimal metric—the lowest cost per sales is not the same as the most profit from sales.

If you still didn’t find your personality, that’s good, because the two ideal personalities are coming up.

The Sweet Spot

If you work at balancing upside and risk, then you’re in the sweet spot. Check out the two personalities that we should all strive to emulate in our paid placement marketing:

  • Go getters. Focused on total profit, go getters will keep spending as long as their profit is increasing. The most clever kinds of go-getters actually focus on the lifetime value of each customer acquired, not just the profit from the first sale.
  • Executives. While it would be nice to be a go-getter, most of us have to stay within a budget, so we can aspire to be executives. Executives optimize for total profit (possible expressed as lifetime value) within their budget constraints. Next year, they’ll be given an even higher budget.

It’s not easy to stay in the sweet spot. Those essential bid management tools make it easy for you to optimize on a lesser metric, such as ROAS, CPA, or profit margin. It’s OK to accept the benefits of automated bid management—it’s even OK to optimize on a less-than-optimal metric—but you do need to check yourself now and then. Don’t let the tool run you—you run the tool. Check periodically to see what would happen with a certain keyword. You may discover more profits when you don’t optimize on another metric.

Did you take the paid search personality test? Download the complete set of slides for this talk, called What’s Your Paid Search Personality?. For even more ideas, check out the book Search Engine Marketing, Inc.

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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