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How do you Scale PPC Reseller Programs?

May 2, 2011

There’s plenty of good information and advice out there for how to launch a PPC reseller program and what needs to be considered. But in many cases, there will be more than one reseller taking part, or wanting to be a part of it. It’s then that you get into the discussion of who’s showing, for what words and when, what practices are fair and what are not… and lots of squabbling in between. So how do you scale programs for many resellers? And what are the options?

I’ve been looking more into this aspect recently, and found that there isn’t one silver bullet approach. These are the three main options I’ve come across — all of which have pros and cons. If you have any other ideas or approaches to this, I would love to hear from you.

Option 1. Just let the overlap happen

Prior any PPC reseller program, you and all your resellers are jockeying for position. One option with co-op is to continue to leave it as an even playing field for everyone, and just let the resellers fight it out (as they do now). The difference is that in this situation, they are getting reimbursed for half the cost and at least your company’s listing won’t be showing up in the results.  This seems to be quite a common approach for many big enterprise companies.

This option is pretty good for your company, as you are not using budget to compete but still getting lots of shelf space from all your different resellers. For resellers, it’s pretty much the same since since they still have to fight it out with each other, but at least they are getting reimbursed for half of it.

Option 2. Use bidding strategies

Another option is to look at using different bidding strategies with multiple resellers. For example:

  • Position: Making Reseller X show in a higher position that Reseller Y (and then swapping it around so they get equal share). However, this does require central management and can get very complicated as more and more resellers come on board. If you are doing this across many resellers, it also doesn’t doesn’t scale well from time/resource perspective.
  • Day/Week-Parting: Allocating certain days or weeks to different resellers. Again, this requires central management and doesn’t scale well, the more resellers you have.
  • Time-Parting: Allocating certain times of the day to different resellers is another option. But again this does not scale well and there will always be resellers who will lose out during peak periods of the day.

Option 3: Divide keywords out by product group

This approach can work well when you have different resellers looking after different product categories or areas. However, overlap between products happens more often than not, and when there is overlap, how do you decide which resellers get which product keywords? Particularly when different products may perform better than others, have a wider audience, or have better margins.

What other options are there for scaling PPC reseller programs?

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