Paid Search

Challenge

A global electronics retailer had several keywords in its paid search program that Bing considered “normalized”—or duplicate—keywords.   Normalization is the process of finding unnecessary variations of a keyword or phrase.  For example, Bing considers “key and board” and “the keyboard” to be duplicates of “keyboard.” 

As a best practice, Microsoft AdCenter suggested that the retailer pause the duplicates.  The expected result was that traffic would shift from the duplicate keyword (i.e. “key and board”) to the keyword left live (i.e. “keyboard.”)  Cost-per-clicks (CPCs) would then drop.  Performics attempted to “normalize” several of the retailer’s high-volume brand keywords in 2009—prior to the Bing/Yahoo! migration—but this did not result in the expected traffic shift or reduction in CPCs.

Solution

Once the Bing/Yahoo! migration was complete and several of Bing’s algorithms had been updated, Performics decided to test pausing the same duplicate keywords that we paused in 2009:

  • In February 2011, the high-volume brand keyword duplicates were paused and monitored closely for two weeks
  • Close attention was paid to the traffic shift between the duplicate keywords and the keywords left live
  • CPCs of the live keywords were also closely monitored

Results

Overall, traffic did shift to the live keywords and CPCs did decrease.  ROI also increased:

  • CPCs decreased an average of 59%
  • Click-through rate (CTR) increased an average of 18%
  • ROI increased by 90%

Performics found—with this group of high-volume brand keywords—that while traffic did not shift and CPCs did not fall in 2009, traffic did shift and CPCs did fall after the Bing/Yahoo! migration.  We have used these findings to test pausing duplicates on Bing for our other clients.

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April 20, 2011

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