Marketing agency searches for the next level of precision
Long before “viral” was a term, Mona Elesseily got a taste of her future career.
“I don’t know if I should tell you this, but I will,” laughs the vice president of online marketing strategy for Page Zero Media, thinking back to her childhood days. “I used to play Chinese jump rope — you take stretchy elastic and tie it into a big loop, and that loop is held by your friends, around their ankles. You have two lines, and there’s all these routines and different sequences..
“One day I was doing these sequences, and I thought they were boring, so I made up my own,” she remembers. “It was this crazy thing where you’d jump in the air, then land in the opposite direction 180 degrees, on the right side, then the left, in and out with pivots..
“Before I knew it, this thing went viral. I’d go to other schools, and the kids were doing my move!” Elesseily laughs. “If that were today, and I put it on YouTube, I would be a rich woman.”.
Every time I see the Bing Ads people, I run up to them and say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’ I love the extra traffic.
— Mona Elesseily, Vice President, Online Marketing Strategy, Page Zero Media
Mona Elesseily, Vice President, Online Marketing Strategy, Page Zero Media
Nowadays, Elesseily and Andrew Goodman head up Page Zero Media, a search marketing agency that has been using its pay-per-click expertise to maximize client ROI for over a decade.
And, in some ways, she’s still trying to come up with that next great jump-rope move.
“That was the beginning of my interest in marketing,” Elesseily says of the memory. “Taking ideas and then disseminating them through various channels — back then, my channel was word-of-mouth; now, it’s online. I just love the notion of spreading ideas.”
Goodman, a true pioneer of the industry, was galvanized enough by the initial glimmers of search and e-commerce that he finally left the academic track to start up an agency in 2000. But as he was considering the move, it seemed risky at the time. "This profession wasn't already made and waiting," he says of online marketing in the late '90s. "Search engines like AltaVista typically had no clue about monetizing, and essentially folded because they failed to monetize search. Directories like Yahoo were all the rage. Yahoo also folded 'web search' results into its results pages, drawing on suppliers like Inktomi, AltaVista, and eventually, Google. "It wasn't until March 2002 that Google rolled out its PPC advertising program, so for the first couple of years in the industry, I spent most of my time without a real job! Just writing and talking to people about search. At that time, people speculated on whether new search engines like Google or Ask Jeeves would ever amount to anything. One of them did.”
In the years since, he has navigated a tricky but thrilling business landscape, growing Page Zero Media substantially. “It used to be that we looked at it like, ‘What are the other engines besides Google?’” he says. “Today, Bing is a viable number two to Google, in a tangible sense.”
Andrew Goodman, Founder & President of Page Zero Media
Bing Ads has played a key role in the success of one of Page Zero Media’s oldest and dearest clients: an independent destinations operator named CanyonTours.com that rebooted itself with help from Goodman’s company and now goes toe-to-toe with the Goliaths of the industry.
“It’s a story of a small business person challenging the bigger companies in this space and building what he wants: a growing business, a trusted reputation and predictable results,” explains Goodman, the Page Zero Media president who still handles the account personally. Ken Pontone, the founder, retired as a police officer in Michigan, moved to Las Vegas and found his way into the travel industry and a business focused on Grand Canyon tours.
“In those old days, you’d get into a cottage industry and get lucky, maybe a lot of Google traffic for free,” Goodman explains. “But at some point in time, you need volume and you need not to be reliant on just the free traffic. Along the way, we helped them rebrand their business and rebuild their website to be a responsive site for mobile and other platforms.”
As Page Zero Media navigated Pontone through the cavernous world of online marketing services, the results were a huge improvement in CanyonTours.com’s overall reach and engagement, as well as the improved conversion rates with site visitors. Building on past successes, Page Zero Media used the Bing Ads Google Import tool to bring CanyonTours.com’s Google Ads campaign into Bing Ads. This is a simple process that allows companies to run their search engine campaigns across multiple platforms.
This enabled the team to compare the results: The cost per acquisition (CPA) with Bing Ads was substantially lower than with Google Ads. And that was just the beginning of the Bing Ads difference:
“Those are the areas that I think move the needle in Bing right now,” says Goodman.
Elesseily has found similar success with other Page Zero Media accounts using Bing Ads. “Every time I see the Bing Ads people, I run up to them and say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!’” she laughs. “I love the extra traffic.”
What a lot of us love about Bing Ads is the potential to control these advanced tools.
—Andrew Goodman, Founder & President of Page Zero Media
“When Bing Ads was factored into the picture, it made me very happy; the service level from the Bing Ads team is exemplary,” marvels Goodman. “They help us understand any technical glitches in importing a fresh account … We couldn’t be happier.”
Elesseily agrees with Goodman. “The support that Bing Ads provides is phenomenal,” she says. “Recently, we launched a Bing Shopping Campaign. The Bing Ads team was very helpful, and we were able to work with our client easily and effortlessly.”
Elesseily continues, “The shopping ads have been very helpful for the bottom line for some of our clients; Bing Ads recently rolled out bidding capability on tablets, and that’s been really interesting. The way people shop on tablets is very different to how they shop on mobile devices or desktop computers.”
Goodman agrees. “In addition to the platform development accelerating rapidly over the last two years,” he says, “we’ve seen the innovation and agility of development grow tremendously.”
In the fall of 2014, Page Zero revamped CanyonTours.com’s Bing Ads campaign, hoping to take something good and make it better by targeting an ambitious CPA rate of $50. Not only did Page Zero hit that, but it exceeded expectations substantially — and with an average CPA of $40, the Bing Ads campaign was not only helping CanyonTours.com hit volume objectives, but also ensuring that each sale was profitable.
“Certainly CanyonTours is also benefitting from Sitelink Extensions,” Goodman says of the stunning results from the revamp. Sitelink Extensions are extra links in ads that take searchers to specific pages of a website.
Goodman says that for him, the reporting is a major appeal of Bing Ads. “For instance, we have seen two years of data saying people might be sleepy at night; they might search and browse after 8 p.m., but they’re not purchasing. So, we might want to shut our ads off or we might want to bid 50% lower in the evenings. If you don’t have that time accurate, then you’re bidding on nothing.”
And that’s not all. “We also like the ability to control tablet bidding, which is not available on other platforms. If you want to bid on time of day or day of week, we can do that,” he says of Bing Ads. “The time of day has to be accurate to the user, whatever time zone that user is in. Unfortunately, on other platforms, that may not be; it might just be the account holder’s fixed time zone.”