The Recession is HELPING my SEM Campaigns

by Brook Lenox on March 4, 2009

recession-save11Most people like a SPECIAL.  Just went shopping for my wife’s birthday and earings were buy 2, get 1 free.  We would have paid top dollar of course, but we loved that deal!

The recession is helping me in one of my search engine campaigns in a BIG way. 

Here’s the background…

  • About 4 years ago I built a list of 120k real estate related keywords
  • They were organized into over 100 different categories
  • I launched them on Yahoo, MSN, and Google
  • They’ve driven > 1.6 M profitable clicks over the past 4 years

The number of advertisers was relatively small when I launched.  Since then, the number of advertisers and the bids on many keywords, has growth by leaps and bounds.  

When I started, many companies were making obvious mistakes:

  • Creating small lists of broad keywords
  • Using the same copy for all words
  • Not optimizing with different landing pages
  • Forgetting to tie everything back to ROI (return on investment)

Well as they added more words, optimized, and bid higher, my costs grew and grew and grew.  For many terms I was outbid and I no longer got any traffic.

It’s of course in Google, MSN, and Yahoo’s best interest for costs to go higher.  Every so often I’d get a notice from one of the search engines saying that minimum bids on my terms had increased and unless I bid higher I would lose out.  For the past 4 years, I’ve NEVER received a notification of a keyword bid price going down. 

And then…

About a month ago, I started noticing something really interesting.  At first, my traffic started to rise.  Didn’t make much of it at first, because Spring is upon us, and my real estate terms do better in the Spring.  But then I got this notice:






Then I got more and more and more of these notices.  Advertisers were cutting back on their bids, giving me a nice boost in traffic that I had essentially lost over the past 4 years.  It appears to me that the economy is driving keyword bids lower and for those of us who can take advantage of it, we can drive more and hopefully more profitable traffic.

Photo credit, aturkus