GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 8 - April 2009

68 GPWA Times | Looking at AdWords? Be mindful of the caveats. By Nicky Senyard N ow that Google has opened Ad- Words to affiliates (and not just operators), PPC will likely be- come an increasingly important part of an affiliate’s acquisition strategy. Although AdWords is an incredibly powerful acqui- sition channel, gambling affiliates should take some measures to ensure that they generate actual referrals and not just clicks. Consequently, there are a few things that the gambling affiliate should be aware of before investing in AdWords. First, Google requires that gambling af- filiates apply to be white-listed. Second, the higher the quality of your PPC ads, the lower your average cost-per-click (CPC) will be. Finally, optimizing your PPC efforts will require conversion data that goes beyond mere clicks and through to the entire life-cycle of the player. By working with an affiliate program or net- work that provides PPC support, such as Income Access, affiliates can (1) have their application fast tracked, (2) bolster the Quality Score of their PPC ads, and (3) obtain tracking reports on revenues gen- erated by each AdWords ad, and on which types of players are coming through on which keywords. Getting white-listed Google requires that gambling campaigns in AdWords be set up under their own ac- counts. Consequently, affiliates need to apply for an account for their gambling ads, and then have that application ap- proved. By working with a network or program that offers PPC support, affili- ates can fast track that application pro- cess. There are two caveats in setting up a gam- bling AdWords account. First, Google only allows you to promote operators who are white-listed in the U.K. Second, you can only target U.K. traffic with your PPC ads. By working with a certified SEM agency, the approval of your application is fast tracked because Google is reassured that (1) the operators you are promoting are white-listed in the U.K., and (2) you will have access to resources that let you ef- fectively target U.K. players. Partnering with a PPC-enabled program or network can also help affiliates adapt more quickly to any future changes in Ad- Words policies. For instance, although af- filiates can only bid on gaming keywords that direct traffic to white-listed proper- ties in the U.K., as AdWords becomes profitable in the U.K. Google will likely in- clude additional jurisdictions. By already being partnered with a PPC-enabled af- filiate program or network, affiliates will be able to easily take advantage of these new market opportunities. Once your application is approved, more- over, getting the most out of AdWords will be more about bidding strategically than just bidding high. It’s important that your PPC campaigns are managed by someone who understands both AdWords and the iGaming industry. Affiliates will want to partner with networks and programs that can provide them with adequate support so that they can actually produce results rather than just clicks. Quality Score: Optimizing costs Like any other marketing channel, the performance of your AdWords campaigns depends largely on how well you target your promotions. This is why having your PPC ads rank well on Google is more nu- anced than simply bidding the maximum CPC. Basically, the more targeted your AdWords ads are, the less you have to bid to have them rank well. Since Google has built a reputation as the premier search engine based on its abil- ity to display the most relevant search re- sults (on both organic and paid/PPC list- ing), it rewards campaigns that are most relevant to the keywords they are target- ed at. To measure how targeted your ads are, Google gives every PPC ad a “Qual- ity Score.” The higher the Quality Score of your ad, the less you have to spend to have it ranked for a given position. There are three major factors that impact your Quality Score: (1) relevance of the ad content to the keyword you bid on, (2) relevance of the landing page to your ad, and (3) the click-through rate (CTR) that your ad receives. All ads on AdWords contain several ele- ments that affect relevancy: title, text, and display URL. The more relevant that the title, text, and display URL are to the search query, the better the Quality Score your ad will receive. Since Google wants its users to find the most relevant pages, it will also gauge the relevancy of the ad’s designated land- ing page. For instance, most homepages PPC Strategies for Affiliates Nicky Senyard launched Income Access in 2002 as owner and CEO, and has overseen notable enterprise growth and profitability every year since. Her solution-focused philosophy is the motivation behind the In- come Access software platform and its affiliate management services. PPC Strategies for Affiliates