As part of my new self-teaching, getting involved to figure out what works initiative, I decided to try out an advertising engine that I never heard of before, 7Search.com. Now despite providing amazing Internet marketing tips, I’m struggling like the rest of America. I’m not going to front and pretend I have loads of money that I can toss around on advertising for online experiments. But seeing as I just put together a free Internet marketing tools bundle with landing page, I decided to take bust open my piggy bank a crack at it.
7Search.com is a self proclaimed “leading pay per click search engine advertising and affiliate network” that helps advertisers gain more traffic to their websites. This traffic supposedly results in increased revenue and a larger brand reach.
7Search.com offers three main advertising programs which are as follows:
- 7Search PPC Ad Network: Allows advertisers the option of running their ads through 7Search’s search engines, niche “portals”, and other third party websites.
- 7Search AccessoryAds: Permits advertisers the ability to push text-based advertisements to category specific websites where the ad is only shown in a specific area.
- Click-Free™ Direct Navigation: Gives advertisers the ability to bid for keyword specific direct traffic that will redirect ad clickers to a landing page that is being promoted.
The 7Search.com Review
I decided to see how far I could get with my whopping $25.00. I know this is chump change. However, if 7Search.com didn’t work, I don’t think it would really matter if I spent $25.00 or $500.00. So I dove into the 7Search PPC Ad Network and the 7Search AccessoryAds for my experiment.
7Search.com Advertising Campaign Set Up
My campaign was based around the following broad phrases: social media, Internet marketing, search engine optimization, PPC, and entrepreneurship. This amounted in a campaign focused on 500 keywords that were selected using their “broad match” keyword tool. I created my advertisement (seen below), set my daily budget to $5.00, and then I was good to go.
So my $25.00 got me the following:
- Campaign lasted 9 days (5/1/13-5/9/13)
- Total of 114,299 impressions
- 539 clicks
- $.05 cost per click
- 1st position (if there even is one)
- Average daily impressions 12,699
- Average daily clicks 59
- Average daily click through rate .49%
That is how the results of my $25.00 looked on the 7Search side. Now let me take the time to analyze the performance of my site according to Google Analytics.
7Search Vs. Google Analytics Metrics
When looking over the Google Analytics for my site during the given 9 day time frame between 5/1 and 5/9, there were a few interesting pieces of data that are worth pointing out.
#1- Clicks Vs. Actual Visits
7Search.com claims to have referred me 539 visitors where Google Analytics only registered 398. That is a 35.4% error! Now obviously I don’t expect the numbers to be 100% exact, but I’d like to think Google is much more capable of measuring traffic to my site. In fact, others have reported that you will see more visits than clicks from time to time in Google Analytics.
#2- Bounce Rate
The average bounce rate for those 398 registered visitors was 95.44%. This is extremely high, especially for paid advertisements as they are supposed to be more targeted. Comparing this rate to campaigns I’ve run using Google Adwords and the bounce rates don’t even compare. I’m aware there are many differences between Google and 7Search, but it still can create a bench mark for expectations. I’ve seen many clients record an average bounce rate on paid campaigns between 60-70%.
#3- Pages Per Visit
The pages per visit metric varies depending on the traffic source. Visitors coming from the 7Search campaigns only visited an average of 1.3 pages per visit whereas visitors coming from organic traffic saw a rate of 1.4 and direct traffic was much higher at 2.4.
#4- Landing Page Vs. Actual Visits Vs. Click
When I created the campaign on 7Search, the had all of my advertisements pointing to one URL. So naturally one would think that if there were 398 visitors to the site from 7Search.com, then the landing page that all of the traffic was directed to should register 398 (or close to it). Well according to GA, the landing page received 376 visits from the 7Search network so this isn’t too far off. However, 7Search.com is claiming to have sent 539 so this number shows a much larger divide.
#5- Referring Site Quality (The Good Shit)
Okay so this is where it gets good. I mean when I was doing this final bit of conclusive research I felt like Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes. So let me get after it.
I decide to analyze the top 25 websites that referred traffic to my website. These sites roughly accounted for 50% of all the registered visitors within Google Analytics. Of these 25 websites, 6 websites had the the exact same content and website template. The only difference was the logo:
Another 7 out of the 25 websites from 7Search.com network were educational based websites with almost identical content that had absolutely nothing to do with the keywords I was bidding on.
I even looked at the inner pages of the websites to see if the content was related to the keywords I was bidding on and…nope! Also, while checking out these pages, after about 10 seconds on a page I would be bombarded with a bunch of floating ads taking over my screen.
Given the nature of these ads, I believe it is safe to assume these are the advertisements that people like me are bidding on. If that is the case, it isn’t setting an advertiser up for success within the 7Search.com network of sites. The reason being, 72% of my top 25 traffic referrers, are from junk sites with content that is no way related to the keywords I was bidding on. If these sites were to increase search engine ranking well that would possibly be a different story seeing as the average PA was 23 and the average DA was 21 (all relevancy aside).
#6- Conversions from 7Search.com Campaign
So how many conversions did I receive from my $25.00, 9 days, 114,299 impressions, and 539 clicks?
Now I would have expected at least one conversion to be the result of the activity associated with my campaign, especially since the landing page is fairly decent. But nope, my dreams were crushed like kids finding out about Santa Clause’s non-existence.
Conclusions About 7Search.com Advertising
A few conclusions can be drawn that all point to me never using the 7Search.com network again:
- This is simple: the network provided absolutely no return on investment.
- Based on my analysis of the sites that drove traffic to my landing page, they are all junk sites. I mean a few of them even returned 403 and 404 errors.
- Despite the claims of “target specific” websites and advertisement areas, there appeared to be very little targeting of where the ads were displayed. A handful of my advertisements were on humor websites that had videos and a ton of duplicate content that was in no way related to my site.
- The metrics provided by 7Search.com are inaccurate compared to the tracking capabilities of a more advanced system like Google Adwords. This should have been expected (the UI sucks) but since they claim to be a “leader” who has been around since 1999, I had higher expectations.
- They have an aggressive sales team. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing because a business has to make money, but I received multiple calls about my campaign and the processing of my card. Eventually, they did stop calling but just know if you sign up, they will be calling.
Disclaimer: The point of this post isn’t to bad mouth or put down 7Search.com. It is simply to explain my experience with the campaigns I decided to run through their network. There are a number of factors that could contribute to the results of my campaign such as keywords targeted, the title I choose for my ad, the description I used, the landing page, and the amount of money spent. However, I am confident my experience with 7Search.com is similar to what other advertisers trying out their network have seen.
I’d love to hear about your experience and if you’ve had a better one, please share it so readers can hear both sides of the spectrum.