First mover advantage in PPC

First mover advantage in PPC

14th April 2011

Last week at SMX Munich I spoke in a session called “First Mover Advantage or Living on the Edge”. The people from Rising Media asked me to update the audience on the new features in Adwords, but does that really have to do with the session’s subject? Just some thoughts about it….
When you think about PPC features and a “first mover advantage” in my opinion, there are 3 types of external influences one should divide:

1. New features, you should try out, but not necessarily as a “first mover”

Normally these type of features are new management features like the new Adwords Call Metrics in the USA, which give you the opportunity to measure the performance of your phone extensions, tracking the phone calls coming from your ads.
Another category are new tools Google releases every now and then, like the new automated rules in Adwords.

2. New features that will give you an advantage when you use them as a first mover.

These features normally are updates on Adwords which influence your CTR.

A good example of such a feature is the Google Seller Rating Extensions. I compared a bit of data of our clients and over different accounts I saw an increase of 28% on CTR, after we started using the seller rating extensions. You need just 30 reviews (4 star or more, at least 10 in the user’s language) to get these extensions, so if you have an ecommerce site I suggest to make sure you get those reviews.

3. Influence of guideline updates and algorithm changes

Also in PPC we need to stay up to date, to keep us ahead of our competitors. Guideline updates and algorithm changes can have big influence on our campaigns.

Some examples:

Change on trademark guideline: on the 14th of september 2010 Google changed the guideline on trademarks in some European countries, giving everybody the possibility to buy brand keywords. As you can see in these stats of Xamine there were a lot of first movers :

Bid management company Intelliad did a little research on the development of the CPC on brand terms.
As you can see, the CPC on brand terms increased quite a lot after the 14th of september:


Google Instant: Marin Software published a study in October 2010 about the influence of Google Instant on PPC. It showed a pretty big influence on PPC:

– Impressions went up by about 9%, clicks about 5% and costs about 2%. CPC’s and CTR’s went a bit down.

– Marin saw a bigger increase on Short search queries  compared to long search queries.

– There’s a shift from broad match to exact and phrase matches. Here you can download the whole study:

And the Panda update? Well, the Panda update will definitely have a positive impact on the content network.


Written By
Evert Veldhuijzen is consulting various international brands about different aspects of online marketing. His company Netlead is in affiliate business and develops websites for his joint-ventures.
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