Different Search Marketing Tactics Require Different Success Metrics
The art of search engine marketing requires at least one spreadsheet addict. That addict creates reams & reams of data showing cost-per-click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) and other minutia too numerous to mention here. We have spoiled the upper class of management by providing them with edible data that blows all other marketing campaign numbers out of the water.
But..there is only so much pure search inventory available. In order to expand lead generation campaigns we need to move into the next set of search engines' advertising offerings - contextual or content-based ads - specifically by Yahoo and Google (and MSN has just launched). It is still based on keyword groups, it is still CPC, and it is still text-based BUT it doesn't convert at the same rate as pure search. We have addicted our clients to the high returns of the 'real' search visitors and, after all, they say, it is all coming from the same agency and the same budget and the numbers are telling a different story. Oops!
So, education must ensue. Clients need to be trained that not all traffic from Google advertising #2 (ie AdSense) will convert to bottom line sales as Google advertising #1 (ie AdWords) does. A different success metric needs to be put in place. Best of luck to other agencies to get this one across. I haven't been able to retrain many of my clients.