One of my clients was recently accepted into the Google Pay Per Action beta program, so I started to set up the actions, conversion tracking and ad campaigns.
One of the biggest problems with PPA is that it’s really not really geared towards a typical ecommerce site. Most ecommerce sites have one template for the receipt page, which is where you usually place conversion tracking codes.
Now consider a store that sells a number of products from $30 to $50,000 per item. I may be willing to pay $1000/action for the $50,000 item, what if someone then buys the $30 item?
What I ended up doing was to create actions based on matching categories of product with appropriate compensation amounts, then insert some logic within the receipt page template that detects the category of product that’s just been purchased and display the appropriate PPA tracking code.
This works well, although PPA is still a little rough around the edges because you cannot set the compensation to a percentage and the compensation is given on transaction basis. So if you set a $10/action and someone buys 3 items in their cart, the publisher only gets $10 instead of $10 x 3. Taking this one step further, if the cart contains 3 different items and you want to compensate the publisher for all 3 purchases but at different amounts, there’s no clean way to do it.
Wearing Out My Keyboard
Another bit of a disappointment in this program, is that there’s no way to copy existing CPC campaigns over to PPA, so if you have 20 campaigns with 10 ad groups each and 6 ads per ad group, that’s 1,200 ads you have to re-enter. There’s no ability to do this in the AdWords Editor either.
Two Marketing Messages
When you create PPA campaigns and ad groups you enter a description, keywords and can upload a logo. The description is what the publisher sees and uses to help select your ads, so you now you have to market to two crowds, the end user and the publisher, both of whom are looking for very different messages. The publisher will want to be assured that you can actually convert the traffic they send to you, while the consumer is looking more interested in the product or service.
One other big difference between this and cpc advertising is that with cpc, you can do a search and see your competitors. But unless you happen to be accepted into the referrals beta program on the adsense side, you have no idea who you’re up against. This may change once this comes out of beta, but for now, it’s a bit of guesswork to figure out how to position yourself.
I’d really like to see the PPA product team expand this into more of an affiliate program. There’s a lot of opportunity out there to offer ecommerce sites the ability to use affiliate marketing. Many ecommerce sites either do not have the functionality built in to the cart application, or they do not utilize it to its full potential. One of the biggest challenges affiliates face is distribution, but if they were to take advantage of Google’s massive reach, I’m sure they’d only be too eager to give a small percentage of sale to Google.