I typed in “worldcup” in Google, hit the search button, and got what I was looking for: a quick snapshot of the most recent scores, as well as the starting times of the upcoming matches.
Then I also glanced over the paid search results and saw one that was completely out of context:
So, they are bidding for a highly popular keyword (this post is being written during FIFA’s World Cup 2010), geo-targeting to serve the ad just to the geographical area of their interest (the Washington DC metro area), and also paying good money to rank fairly high on the list of other auctions for the same keyword.
“What a waste of money!” was my first reaction, and I tweeted about it too.
Every paid search marketer knows that mispositioned PPC ads are a waste of money. Back 7 years ago a ClickZ author advised:
Eliminate “Mispositioned” Ads
When compiling your client’s keyword list, the objective is to ensure all terms are highly relevant to the advertiser’s site and business. It’s also essential to remove all possibility your ads will appear in association with unrelated keywords or term groupings.
On the surface, it looks like the advertiser highlighted above is wasting their money by doing only half of their homework (geo-targeting), but absolutely forgetting about the importance of “eliminating mispositioned ads” and bidding on terms “highly relevant to [their] site and business.” But only on the surface!
As I thought more of this, it occurred to me that their approach may be:
a) I’ll get an enormous brand exposure (which won’t cost me a penny unless there’s a click)
b) Only those who are interested in charter buses and limos will click through (and I’m happy to pay for the real leads)
Is this then the new form of branding/advertising, but with significantly more precise targeting attached to it?
The approach may not be as silly as I first thought, after all.