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PPC Wars – Groupon vs Living Social.  This week we go through their current pay per click marketing and see who’s doing a better job.  We walk our readers through the good, the bad and the ugly of both of the pay per click accounts.  We will also rip into each brands ppc ads. You can check out some of our previous ones here. This isn’t to tell them they are doing horrible but more to help you know what to avoid and little things to help your ads convert better.  Even the big brands make mistakes, the important thing is to learn from them and convert better online!

Groupon PPC Breakdown

Groupon PPC

When you first look at this ad it looks like they are doing a good job right.  That cause they are.  They have a strong call to action, they have sitelink extensions working and have their very weak following on Google + showing.  I find it kind of lame that both these brands as strong as they are only have 1600 people that have +1’d them on G+.

Something to note is when you dive into the individual cities, Groupon is targeting clients locally.  This is much better than it’s competitor Living Social who’s not targeting locally at all that I can see.  They have the same ads running everywhere.  I don’t know if it’s working for their campaign but for any campaign that I’ve ever run ($100’s of Millions in spend) it’s never worked to run one ad for all your cities.
groupon ppc san francisco

Something else that I think is sneaky is that they are sneaking “TM” into their sitelink ad extensions.  This is pretty clever though I think having it on there three separate times is a little overkill.  I guess they do have them trademarked (but they also have Groupon Trademarked and aren’t showing that).  I would imagine that’s getting them all sorts of clicks and trust.  I really like using the trademark and copyright symbols in my ads.  Typically I find that it improves CTR by 1-3% on average.  I’ve even seen it giving as much as a 4.3% increase in CTR for my ads.  We’ve also done tests that the customers clicking on there trust your site a lot more and convert better.  It’s not a ton but up to .8% better on conversion costs.

Something interesting to note is that Groupon doesn’t bid on keywords that are questionable…  I tried associating all the bad keywords out there and they aren’t bidding on any of those.  When you type in “Living Social Sex” you will get living socials ads pulling up.  I’m pretty sure it’s not the keywords they want to be bidding on.

When you click on a Groupon deal it will take you to their current deal.  I like this cause it only gives you one main choice as well as a few choices on the side.  But overall it only gives you one thing to focus on.  Living Social gives you 50 different things to look at and you have to decide if you want them or not.  It’s almost like there is not exclusivity to deals anymore with Living Social whereas Groupon still gives one daily deal exclusivity.

All in all, these guys are doing a pretty decent job.  They have sitelinks, are bidding on ALL branded terms


Living Social PPC Breakdown

Living Social PPC

The Living Social PPC ads look pretty decent.  I like that they have their branded name Bolded (thought Google did that automatically) but they don’t on some keywords.   They are using all six sitelink extensions very well.

Criticism for Living Social is that as far as I can see they only have 5 or 6 total ads that they are running right now.  I would imagine that they are spending large amounts of money and only have a couple ads.

One thing that they are doing very well on is bidding on the keyword “daily deals” to which none of their competitors are bidding on.

daily deals ppc

Touche Living Social, touche!  K, some of their competitors are bidding but only on the side.  They dominate the whole top section.

Another negative thing about Living Social is where they are directing people to when they get them.  They all go to the same page.  They direct you to a landing page with 20 other options.  People can only handle one option and get overwhelmed when they don’t have it.  Groupon give people one exclusive option with four side options that are much less focused upon.  I think overall this helps them convert 10x better through paid search then Living Social.

Groupon vs Living Social PPC Results

I think both companies are doing well.  I do think Groupon won this won due to the fact that they are bidding on individual cities and have 1000x more ads being tested then Living Social with their six different ads.  The one hand up and why it’s a very tough call is Living Social bidding and kicking ass on the keyword “daily deals”.  Groupon, you won this one but I don’t think by much.

John Rampton is a PPC Entrepreneur, Author, Founder at Due a finance company helping small business owners. Follow me on Twitter @johnrampton

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