Julian Grainger

Head of SEO at Unique

Text links versus Google Adwords

I’ve recently been looking at ways of achieving critical mass for lead generation. The two that came through strongly were text links on publisher websites and Google Adwords on the google search engine. I want to be able to achieve critical mass relatively quickly and as cheaply as I can.  So I set about crunching some numbers to see which one would come out on top.

You may have already guessed the answer but be careful as this applies to New Zealand search and New Zealand websites. Because of our limited population this might not apply overseas.

The first thing I looked at were the top line revenues from previous campaigns and compare these to the cost of doing each. Google Adwords win this with a $ return on investment that is 15% higher.

Next I base lined the revenues over time to work out how much I’d have to spend on each for a comparable response. Text links win hands down here. They provided a response at critical mass levels 5 times faster than Google Adwords.

Ten I looked at the cost for delivery. Text links again win on cost per thousands impressions with the CPM 50 times lower than Google Adwords. You can’t look at this without the corresponding cost per click though where Google Adwords are only 20% cheaper. So that is a draw.

Advert positioning is also important – where is it on the page. Our average positioning for Google Adwords is number 3 – we pay less but we maintain very high relevance in our copy and our landing pages. Our text link is where ever we ask for it so text links win again.

But we could pay more for our adwords and that affects our positioning but negatively for the CPC and CPM. So what’s our click through rates. Google Adwords wins hands down with a click through rate clsoing on 1.5% and text links at 0.03%.

So if I want to turn on critical mass in a short time frame I also need to look at the capability of the media. In other words the use of the media or the number of impressions. Google Adwords, in New Zealand loses this. Our key words only deliver about 50,000 impressions a week. Text links on major publishing websites deliver around 7 million.

That means over 2000 leads are possible within a week from text links and only 750 from adwords. 750 aren’t going to get me critical mass over a week but 2000 will.

So if you’re in New Zealand and you want to turn on lead generation at reasonable prices in very short time frames choose a text link on www.stuff.co.nz or www.nzherald.co.nz rather than spending Google Adwords.

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