I've been hearing of more and more situations where Google reps are telling 5 to 6-figure per month SEM advertisers that their Conversion Optimizer tool is capable of delivering double-digit lift in campaign performance. Just today on the Inside AdWords Google group
I read the following:
"We've just completed a new analysis on the performance of campaigns
which have adopted Conversion Optimizer. We found that on average,
these campaigns achieved a 21% increase in conversions while at the
same time decreasing their CPA by 14%. The analysis compares the
performance of Conversion Optimizer campaigns with a control set of
campaigns and represents the average impact of Conversion Optimizer.
The actual impact will vary from campaign to campaign (and a small
number of advertisers could conceivably perform better without
Conversion Optimizer). If you would like to learn more about Conversion
Optimizer, the results we've seen, and how it can help you get more
conversions and lower CPA, join us for one of the three webinars we are
hosting March 18-19th. Posted by Amanda Kelly, Inside AdWords crew."
Yet, the clear majority of anecdotes on the web point to Conversion Optimizer actually hurting campaign ROI, as I detailed on this Webmasterworld thread
. [The WMW thread includes links to C.O. ROI anecdotes.]
For those of you who may never have used SEM tools before but are realizing that you need to move from manual & infrequent SEM management to a more instrumented, calculated approach, I'd suggest strongly that you consider the motivations behind the paid vendors, as well as for Google with their free Conversion Optimizer. The paid vendors have to actually drive lift in ROI, or people won't pay for their product. Google just has to get you to hand over the controls to your bank account, at which point they're able to spend your money however they see fit.
Think about that.
You don't get what you don't pay for, people.