DoubleClick, in conjunction with its Performics subsidiary, has released a new Search Campaign Considerations white paper (link is to PDF file). Based on data from analyzing thousands of terms managed on behalf of more than 100 clients that Performics handles, the white paper seems to promise some actionable data that marketers can use to do the right thing in their own campaigns.
Seems to. Digging into it, there's no particular "right" answer but rather stuff that feels more like obvious wisdom. For example, low volume terms are deemed important because even if they don't individually produce a lot of traffic, collectively, they add up. That's no surprise. That's obvious to anyone who has reviewed basic data as provided by Overture's search term suggestion tool.
One interesting nugget is the idea that conversion rates diminish if CPC cost exceeds 50 cents. Interesting, but also a scary conclusion. Why does that rule of thumb emerge, when each particular client might have a completely different cost structure? It implies that if you spend more than 50 cents per click, you're on the path to failure. In reality, that might be perfectly fine, for your particular situation. Only your own metrics will give you the right answer.
More nuggets. A few high volume terms drive most conversion. More than half of "active" keywords in a campaign (those that get at least one click per month) generate less than 10 clicks per month. And high position is NOT seen as equating to high traffic. In other words, you can be lower in the results and still get plenty of traffic.
That contradicts the findings of a report from DoubleClick-rival Atlas DMT, released earlier this year. The Atlas "How Search Engine Rank Impacts Traffic" report (link is to PDF file) found high position should equal to higher traffic.
I did a long write-up of that report for our Search Engine Watch members: New Data On How Paid Ranking Translates Into Traffic. I came away scratching my head about some of the predictions on impressions were formed.
With this latest DoubleClick report, at least now I can see a trend. Expect more companies with lots of aggregate data to release further white papers. There will be lots of stats, some headlines but likely still no clear solution to how you should run your particular campaign.
Kevin Ryan takes a longer look at the report here: DoubleClick on Pay-for-Play.