Is adwords ever “not cost effective”?

I was talking to the owner of Sunspel, a website selling luxury menswear both online and offline, who came out with the statement “Adwords is not cost effective for us” (not for product-related keywords, only for brand-related keywords).

My main experience with Adwords was for where my adwords campaigns generated 50% of sales at a cost per conversion of around 10% of the average order value – so very cost effective, in fact the most cost effective marketing channel in that particular case.

Of course an adwords campaign will not be particularly cost effective if the keywords chosen are not relevant, if ads are poorly written, and landing pages are poor. But the point made by Sunspel was that there were too many competitors bidding on keywords like “T Shirt” or “mens clothes”, and with so much competition it’s difficult to push a luxury message vs. a price-based message.

To some extent I had it easy running campaigns for a site selling mostly cutlery, where the majority of traffic came for a handful of “cutlery”-related keywords. And there are fewer Adwords competitors in the world of cutlery than T shirts. But to a much bigger extent Adwords was cost effective due to constant optimization; stopping keywords and ads which were not cost effective, refining keywords and ads which were more cost effective; constantly looking for trends and opportunities in the long tail of search terms.

Mar 15, 2010 | Posted by in Ecommerce strategy, SEO | 0 comments

Stop designing websites, start designing posters

This is an unusual use of .gif product images on a patterned background in an online shop – perhaps inspired this trend for web design inspired by poster design.

I also like how the price (and all product text) is only shown when you mouse over the product. Not very search engine friendly, but a bold attempt to make the product the hero, and sell the sizzle not the steak.

Mar 12, 2010 | Posted by in Ecommerce design, SEO | 0 comments

I Like: (the biggest online retailer of footwear in the US, now owned by Amazon) has this nice widget to encourage you to “blog about this item”.

I Like:

Ramona by Lassen at
Ramona by - Powered by Service

It’s a great example of building engagement with the brand AND helping SEO by building links to their site. Apparently Zappos has been doing social media well for a while, as this chart of inbound links since they embraced Twitter shows:

Mar 5, 2010 | Posted by in SEO, Social media | 0 comments
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