Welcome to Curious Business
Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Friday, March 11, 2016
Meet the New Code, Same As the Old Code
Microsoft AdCenter, a.k.a. Bing Ads (formerly Yahoo), is identical to Google AdWords in every way except cost and effectiveness. Bing's keywords are slightly cheaper because there's less bidding competition, but since I get fewer conversions each one costs a little more than a Google conversion. Consequently I only turn on my Bing ads when search traffic is abnormally high, as before a major holiday, and then I turn them off again when the holiday passes. They have been dormant since Christmas.
A Bing representative told me in a phone consultation a few weeks ago that they had changed their tracking code. If the old code had stopped working while my ads were running last December I might have missed some conversions that would have improved Bing's performance statistics. The new script is harder to implement than the old one and I didn't get the help that I needed from Turnkey's forums until this week, but it's finally in place and I didn't break anything. I turned my Switchables ads back on in hopes of getting a conversion or two to verify that it's really working. (Switchables are the only thing that's selling right now.) But after racking up $12 worth of clicks with no reported conversions, I decided that the test was getting too expensive and pulled the plug again. I'll take Microsoft's word that the code is working.
Now I can explore some of the other things we talked about. Their new "shopping campaign" is so identical to Google Shopping that it accepts the same product feed; since that's my most profitable section of Google, it's worth trying on Bing. I'm going to try to set that up this afternoon. I'm not sure what "native ads" might be but I wrote that down twice, so I need to find out why. I probably won't do "remarketing" at all because it's just too creepy. "Remarketing" makes a company's ads follow you around the Internet and re-display whenever you go to a related website. It's said to be very effective, but it's too much like stalking so I won't do it. I don't need more ways to spend money anyway. As you know if you've been following along, buying more advertising is the last thing I want to do unless it's more cost-effective than it used to be...and it's going to cost me some money to find out.
I finally paid my CPA and cleared the tax hurdle for another year. I hate to say it, because he's been my accountant from the beginning and he does fine work...but I don't think I can afford him anymore. His fee has gradually crept up even as my revenue has crept slowly downward over the years. Much as I'd rather not, I'm going to have to shop around next year. I strongly suspect that I could find someone to prepare the return for my little nanobusiness for half of what I'm paying now and the savings would go directly to my bottom line.
Now I can start whittling down debt. I don't expect to claw my way back up to zero until July.
March 2015 was the third-best March in my 10-year history, and this week was the high point of that strong month. This year March is running on the weak side of average and this week was weak. Adding this week's expected shortfall to last week's sets me back by $1,000 versus LY in just two weeks. And the week after next sets another high bar. It will take an Easter miracle to keep March's numbers from bleeding copious red ink...and miracles only happen in fairy tales.