In times past, your choices as to how to promote and drive traffic to your web site were pretty limited: you could buy 468 x 60 banner ads (no rich media allowed) on a niche site, or have the ads triggered by a keyword on search engines. Webmasters discovered quickly that another great route to high quality traffic was to optimize their sites for the search engines — and achieve page one ranking for popular search phrases related to their businesses.
Fast-forward to today, and there are many more banner ad sizes, rich media abounds, text links are everywhere (both paid and traded), SEO thrives, and of course there is now the ubiquitous Google AdWords product and similar products offered by Yahoo! and others.
Until recently, if you were interested in setting up an AdWords-type campaign, you would have to undertake the following activities yourself:
- Research which keywords gained the best conversions for your business.
- Research the number of searches that each keyword or phrase received.
- Get out your credit card and go to the search engine site to set up your account.
- Determine the list of keywords or search phrases that would trigger your ad.
- Develop advertising creatives to best sell your product.
- Analyze how much you should bid on each keyword to maximize your ROI.
- Maintain your account budget and monitor your bids.
Of course you could hire an advertising agency to do these activities for you, but a full-blown agency is usually too costly for the average small online business. Recently, a new breed of "we-do-it-for-you" traffic driving products has been introduced, heralding a low-cost, turnkey approach to pay per click search engine marketing. The two leaders in this product area launched their product offerings within days of each other. This article will compare and contrast these two search marketing products: Affinity Internet’s ‘ValueTraffic’ and Interland’s ‘MyEZClicks’.
Affinity Internet and ValueTraffic
Affinity Internet describes itself as follows:
Affinity Internet Inc. is a leading provider of web hosting solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. Affinity’s next-generation hosting infrastructure and core systems deliver the industry’s most reliable solutions, backed by a dedicated team of technical experts providing unrivaled customer service.
Affinity offers multiple hosting brands, each catering to the specific needs and preferences of different customers. Our solutions are designed to grow with businesses, so it is easy to move up to the next level as the needs of your company change.
ValueTraffic is a turnkey search engine pay per click marketing product that comes in 2 configurations and price options:
The $100 per month version guarantees that your ads will be viewed at least 10,000 times, or you’ll receive a minimum of 50 new visitors to your web site per month.
A $500 per month package guarantees that your ads will be viewed at least 50,000 times, or you’ll receive a minimum of 250 new visitors to your web site per month.
Either package can be configured to ‘local’ search or ‘global’ search. The local option will target online advertisements by a specific city or region. It’s also possible to customize geographic targeting for marketing to customers beyond the boundaries limited by a specific city. Your ad can be targeted based on:
- a specified number of miles from your business address
- latitude and longitude points
- three or more latitude and longitude points, creating a wider, targeted campaign
The global search reaches an international audience.
Upon signing up, each client is directed to a ‘client liaison’ who is responsible for learning about the client’s business, selecting the keyword lists, developing the creatives to use, and managing the campaign. According to the company, the initial call with the client liaison lasts an average of 30 minutes.
Once the campaign has begun, the results are reported in a weekly email, and are also available to users online via a control panel. View an example of the weekly reporting email — click on the ‘Reporting Email’ tab.
Affinity Vice President of Marketing, Mr. John Enright, explained who is best suited to the service, "The best candidate for ValueTraffic is a business that generates sales or leads from their website. It really doesn’t matter what type of product the business sells, or even how large the business itself is, just as long as they have a product or service that can be promoted via the web."
In regard to the product offering and any modifications to the ValueTraffic service, Mr. Enright added, "We recently announced ValueTraffic Local — a new service that allows businesses to target specific geographic regions, right down to latitude and longitude coordinates. This opens online advertising up to an even broader range of business types, such as a retail stores that have a limited delivery area.
"What’s more, many regional businesses are not yet advertising online, even though more consumers are clearly searching for their services rather than going through the phone book. Online advertising is therefore not only feasible for these businesses, but also very effective due to the low cost per click.
"The challenge is that few regional businesses are experts on search engine marketing, nor have the time to manage their own campaigns. With ValueTraffic Local, the campaign is setup and managed for them by a dedicated account manager."
Interland and MyEzClicks
According to the Interland web site,
Interland will be the leading supplier of online solutions to small and medium businesses, bringing them the innovative products and support they need to realize the power of the Internet to drive business growth.
The MyEzClicks product shares many similarities with Affinity’s ValueTraffic. The MyEzClicks product is guaranteed to drive prospective customers to the client’s web site.
MyEzClicks offers a much broader selection of price ranges and traffic driving than ValueTraffic. MyEzClicks comes in 7 configurations: from 20 average monthly clicks for $39.95 per month up to 500 average monthly clicks for $749.95 per month. Each plan carries a modest setup fee. Check out the complete range of offerings.
In contrast to the Affinity product, MyEzClicks does not offer a separate local search product, but simply targets local searches using keyword targeting. As with similar products, the sign up process involves collaboration with the customer. Mr. Ced Simpson, Director of Product Management with Interland describes the sign up process, "We review the web site, and develop keywords and text ads and email that back over to the customer in a welcome email. The customer can then update the keywords or the text ad.
We’ve also recently added a marketing services team here, which is specifically focused on the MyEzClicks and search products. They are much more proactively engaging the MyEzClicks customers in an account services fashion.
Reporting is similar to that provided by the ValueTraffic product in that MyEzClicks offers online reporting for all accounts. The reports are updated daily and accessible to customers through a control panel. The MyEzClicks reports contain information on clicks per month, clicks on the campaign to date, and which keywords and text ads are being used.
With regard to the delivery of traffic, Interland specifies guarantees based exclusively on clicks, not as "either clicks or impressions". As explained by Mr. Simpson, this difference is important: "One of the key differences between out program and some of the other programs out there is true pay per click. This relates to the guarantee itself: MyEzClicks guarantees clicks. Others are guaranteeing impressions or clicks. In other words, competitive products will guarantee 50 clicks or 50,000 impressions. Ours is a different approach.
"We see the money being spent on a ‘pay for performance’ model, not on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions)."
One more piece of good news regarding the MyEzClicks product is that Interland feels that the customer usually gets more than they pay for. According to Ced Simpson, "Due to the pacing on the accounts we have a tendency to over-deliver. We usually ramp up — we’ll run just a little bit behind in terms of pace — in that first month. Month two is generally evening out, to be on pace for the duration of the campaign, and then remains steady going forward. Our guarantee is an annual guarantee, so there may be some fluctuation from month to month."
Both ValueTraffic and MyEzClicks offer "we-do-it-for-you" convenience and low pricing for a turnkey pay-per-click search engine marketing campaign. While Affinity offers a short monthly commitment, MyEzClicks offers a wider variety of pricing and packages. MyEzClicks offers a guarantee based on clicks, while ValueTraffic commits to a hybrid guarantee of either clicks or impressions.
Both companies also offer a reseller program for these products that may be attractive to larger search engine optimization companies that would like to outsource smaller accounts.
The best approach to these products may be to conduct a test with each company, and place the bulk of your accounts with the top performer.