ROTS: Return on Time Spent

  |  November 4, 2011   |  Comments

Ad technology tools can help marketers improve results and save time.

Marketers are always losing battles to time. Time is all you need to get everything done and to be the most effective marketer possible. Marketing operations are more complex than ever before and the demands on our resources are constantly increasing. We need to identify solutions that help us get the most bang for the buck, because we aren't about to get 25-hour days any time soon.

Marketers who were lazy and had poor corporate metabolisms were the ones most heavily impacted by Google's Panda update because their SEO efforts were based on shortcuts but not on the fundamentals of producing high quality, unique content. So much content gets created on a lowest-bid basis that it looks like a race to the bottom of the quality pile.

So like many businesses that found themselves in a hole and losing as much as 40 percent or more of their revenue when the Google Panda algorithm update hit, they scrambled to figure out what to do next. However, retailers like got fed up and decided to put their heads down and go to work.

Ahead of the site were thousands of product descriptions that needed to be rewritten and hundreds of product-related videos were going to be produced.

Not that its product descriptions were the worse offenders I've seen, but it certainly didn't provide the visitor with much value. Here is an example of a before description:

This colorful all-cloth doll makes a great "first friend." She has a cheerful painted face framed with a fleece cap and a soft scarf. 13 inches tall. Ages birth and up. Closed gift box. NOTE: If you have never purchased a Corolle doll, you are in for something special. We guarantee the recipient of this doll will have a new fast, favorite friend.

Why our Child-Experts Love It

We love almost every doll we've seen from Corolle (hey, nobody's perfect). This pink doll (that your child will name) is adorable and super soft for a baby's delicate hands to hold and play with! She is the perfect first doll for a baby (or a toddler)!

Versus the new after description:


Great Core Training (and super fun) for the little ones!
The Rody Horse is soft and easy to ride. It is made of super-strong, latex-free vinyl, and inflates according to the size and weight of the child with a hand or foot pump. And it is a very cute toy.

Why our Child-Experts Love It

Our physical therapist, Deanie, loves the Rody because it's great at strengthening the core (stomach), helping with balance and getting kids to be more aware of their surroundings as they bounce around.

Overall, we tested lots of bouncing toys & rocking horses and Rody is the best...because it's an attractive, well-made blow-up horse that is totally unique and great for a child's physical development.

Use it with the base, and it's a new spin on the rocking horse! Without the base it is a super fun bouncing toy great for balancing and outdoor play. Parents love Rody too because hey, he's not too bad to look at when not in use! knew it needed a more time-efficient way to rewrite several thousand product descriptions if it was going to be OK for the critical holiday season. On my advice, the company agreed to participate in a business impact research study that I conducted with Jay Baer and Pelin Thorogood. During the time of the study, eBeanstalk boosted search engine traffic by 27 percent and conversion to sale by 17 percent on product pages that were optimized with search data leveraging a new tool called InboundWriter. InboundWriter brought the search and social research of the valuable customer words into the writing workflow and saved them time from doing keyword research for each product before they began to write. Bottom line: it produced great SEO results with minimum time commitment. Anything that can product results and save you time is critical.

The company's effort also impacted its PPC as well. Paid search impressions, meanwhile, rose 45 percent without any confirmed additional increases in spend, which the study authors attributed to a higher Google Adwords Quality Score because of Google's increased factoring of landing page quality.

Have you had enough time to test and improve all your landing pages?

Why don't people test? Some don't believe in it but I think the majority do even if they don't follow through. However, I think it is the same reason many of us know what we should do to be healthy but still eat fast food and don't find the time to exercise. It's all about convenience.

Sure, the tools are out there to test (many free and low cost ones) but we are resistant because of how long it takes to create and set up the test and then to wait until the test runs and produces a statistically significant result. So I'll often ask people: Are you doing at least some PPC ad testing? Unfortunately, many are not even doing that.

Shane Quigley, CEO at Epiphany Solutions said this past week:

Advert testing is critical to the continuous improvement of an Adwords campaign. It's a reasonable bet that many of your competitors are testing new adverts, and hence improving their click through rates and conversion volumes over time.

Where do you think those clicks and sales are coming from?

If your competitors are steadily increasing their click through rate, and you aren't, your own CTRs are likely to drop steadily over time, even if your adverts remain the same.

And with that is likely to come a gradually reducing Quality Score, leading to higher cost per clicks or lower positions. It's like standing on a down-escalator: the only way to stay in the same place is to keep trying to move up.

So find tools like Omniture's Search Center, Acquisio, or for small businesses, WordWatch and automate as much as you can of your PPC management efforts. Then get some help from a crowdsourcing company like BoostCTR, that uses its network to write and test ads against your existing ads (and you only pay if its new ads beat yours). Because no one has enough time to continuously rewrite and test their ads.

Then go and work on those landing pages to get the most return on your time spent. Or are your pages starting to show some rot and spoilage?

Disclosure: I am an adviser for InboundWriter and BoostCTR.

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Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) of IdealSpot. He is co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times best-selling books Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?, and Always Be Testing, and Buyer Legends. Bryan is a keynote speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as Gultaggen,, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others for the past 10 years. Bryan was named a winner of the Marketing Edge's Rising Stars Awards, recognized by eConsultancy members as one of the top 10 User Experience Gurus, selected as one of the inaugural iMedia Top 25 Marketers, and has been recognized as most influential in PPC, Social Selling, OmniChannel Retail. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of several venture capital backed companies such as Sightly, UserTesting, Monetate, ChatID, Nomi, and BazaarVoice. He works with his co-author and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at

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