The Origin of High-Resolution PPC

by Craig Danuloff

21 Secret Truths of High-Resolution PPC is our soon-to-be released ebook that shares what we think are the guiding principles for efficient and effective paid search management.

The idea for ‘High-Resolution PPC’ was hatched two or three years ago, as we looked deeper and deeper into how paid search really worked, and how large and complex paid search campaigns should be managed.

At the time we were managing accounts for a range of very large advertisers. Like anyone else we were striving to produce better results. But we were constantly frustrated by the limits of the data we could access, the inflexibility of the tools at our disposal, and the general level of transparency we felt the engines were providing into how the choices we made impacted the behavior and performance of our campaigns.

To address the first two issues, we accepted a venture capital investment, built an in-house product development team, and created ClickEquations. To address the last item, we began development of what was originally called ‘the methodology’.

The methodology was an effort to document the facts about how search worked and the process that one should follow to build and manage accounts. It started as a collection of ideas, beliefs, and habits we assumed were best practices. Over time we pulled back to look at the shape and sequence of the overall process, and dove in to examine individual elements, options, and interactions.

Eventually a framework emerged. Groups of items and options that fit together. Stages of the process that had natural breaks and measurable outcomes. The framework provided a structure around which all the steps, options, measurements, goals, interactions, and components of paid search management could be organized.

It got the name ‘High-Resolution PPC’ because one recurring theme of the exercise was the fact that everything we knew before was right, but far too over-simplified.

  • Keywords mattered, but only in the way they attracted search queries, which had a lot to do with how and when match types were assigned.
  • Bids mattered, but only due to their influence on ad rank which itself influenced CPC.
  • CTR mattered, but it (and nearly everything else) was reported as an average and if you accepted the number without really thinking hard about how it was calculated you were likely to be misled. The examples continued endlessly.
  • The list went on and one. Most of what we knew or thought was in fact true, but there was always a but. And if you know about the ‘but’ you would take different action than if you didn’t.

It seemed like the conventional wisdom was paid search at 300-dpi, but with a little effort and thought we could understand and act at 2400-dpi.

More accurate info. More precise actions. Better results. Higher resolution.

For the last 18-months or so we’ve continued to refine the High-Resolution PPC framework, and research and document the information on which it’s based. We’ve talked a bit about the process of managing paid search in this way (the original outline is presented here), and some of the posts on this blog over the past year have discussed elements of paid search in the terms we see and use them within High-Res.

But our new ebook is the first complete summary of what we’ve learned, at least in terms of the facts and philosophies we’ve come to consider the structural base of High-Resolution PPC.

To keep the book snappy, and a reasonable length, it’s written in a concise style – with just 1 page per item. Over the next month, this blog will feature a behind-the-scenes tour of the 21 truths, with expositions, examples, and with your help some conversations.

Sign up below to get your copy. And if you’ll be at SMX, SES, or OMMA in March, please visit the ClickEquations booth for a full color printed copy.

Get a free copy of ’21 Secret Truths of High-Resolution PPC’.

The ebook will be available for download later this month.

Request Your Copy Today

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