ABC Search | A Positive ROI
Elizabeth Marsten Sep 30 2008
Continuing our coverage on 2nd and 3rd tier PPC engines, we’ve come to
ABC Search. A little platform that could
out of Encino, CA.
ABC Search is a search engine themselves, but also rather a mediator and
distributor of ads to partner sites from advertisers through their
“Adentify” content network.
They claim 1billion searches a month and have been around since 1998.
From the advertiser side, I can say that this is one of the few 2nd/3rd tier
engines from which I have seen a consistent positive ROI and not just in 1:1 or 2:1, but
during seasonality highs, up to 3:1. Granted these returns weren’t the highs in
terms of revenue that I would see for the same products on Google, Yahoo or even
MSN, but the fact that there was one more niche to penetrate and come out with a
positive return made it worth the maintenance.
What’s interesting is upon visiting their site for the first time you almost
don’t realize that they are a search engine. The search box is almost lost under
the login box for advertisers. When you do search, the left hand column is filled
with related searches and on each page is a little counter in the upper right hand
corner showing their “real time dashboard.”
Back to PPC! Let’s break down the Pros and Cons, old school style. Starting
with the Cons so you leave with the Pros and a warm fuzzy feeling.
- Having to fill out a captcha every time you login.
- Depending on your industry you may not see much of those 1billion searches.
- Tracking ability through Google Analytics is limited, tag on a UTM code, but you won’t catch
all the stats you hope to. You’ll have to place their code on the conversion page
- The initial set up requires two charges to your card (very small amounts) that verify to get
you started. This is fine if it’s your credit card and you handle
the bills. Not so much if you’re an advertising agency or have to wrangle the info
from accounts payable
- In order for them to differentiate ads and to add new
campaigns, you have to name the ad at the end of the display URL. So if in one campaign
you use the display URL “www.widgetsnthings.com” you cannot use that in another campaign
it has to be something like “www.widgetsnthings.com/thingies.”
- Basic ad scheduling abilities for days of the week and hours
- Ability to opt in/out of their content network
- Dynamic keyword insertion is available
- Keyword suggestion tool with estimated searches and clicks
- Low average cost per clicks- using lowest CPC over 1 month
ABC .57 / Google .64 / Yahoo .63 / Ask .19 / MSN .84
- Bulk keyword submission option
- Global keyword editor (search, edit and export keywords)
- Auto refill options (if not selected, email will be sent when balance falls below
- Activity log (like AdWord’s Change History Tool – I wish all PPC platforms would
So as you can see, an awful lot of bells and whistles which add up to easier
campaign management and being well worth giving ABC a spin. With advertising dollar budgets
getting tighter, ABC Search could be a nice little source of revenue for your next
Vice President of Search Marketing
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO, Social Media and Analytics. If you really want to know more about her check out her bit.ly bundle. Elizabeth has written several ebooks, is a ClickZ columnist, a Lynda.com course author, a Dummies book author and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences including the SMX shows, mozCon and Hero Con. Read More