The Viagogo storm proves how effective an Adwords campaign can be!

We’ve been watching with interest over the past few days as Viagogo hits more problems with punters and watchdog organisations.

For those of you not in the know, Viagogo is a ticketing reseller.  If you’re desperate for tickets to see your favourite performer in concert, Viagogo will invariably appear first in the search engine results, taking the top spot.  This is purely down to a well-constructed Adwords campaign, but perhaps surprisingly, the majority of web visitors have no idea that the listing is actually an advert.

Google never stands still, and the way that it presents paid-for adverts within the search results is subject to constant changes.  For a while, ads were listed down the right-hand side of the results page, which made it easy to spot the difference between organic search results and those that were paid for.  Then the Adwords results were inserted into the organic search results, with a yellow ‘AD’ box clearly showing which results were part of a PPC campaign.  In recent times, however, the ‘AD’ box has become smaller and more discrete, with more than 50% of search engine visitors reportedly failing to spot that they are adverts at all.

This inability to differentiate between organic and paid search results has played right into Viagogo’s hands, encouraging the majority of visitors to assume that the website’s top spot in the search results must mean that it is the seller of choice for all event tickets.  The coveted top spot confers a sense of authority on the company, which has apparently milked this false belief to maximum effect, allegedly charging unwitting customers a huge premium on tickets, with no guarantee that they will even be valid for the event, thanks to increased security measures governing ticket sales.

Of course, this is bad news for genuine concert-goers, who are desperate to see their chosen act perform live.  They pay their money in good faith, but the raft of complaints about the extortionate prices charged, poor refund procedures and failure to comply with watchdog recommendations has led to numerous complaints.

In an attempt to control the situation, Google has introduced a number of measures for ticketing resellers, requiring them to apply for Google certification to ensure that they abide by best practice, clearly detailing that they are secondary sellers.  They must also inform customers about price increases above the face value of the ticket, and provide a clear breakdown of any additional charges.

This may not be the internet’s finest hour regarding customer satisfaction with Viagogo’s ticketing policy, but one thing that this story clearly highlights, is the benefits of a well-thought out Adwords campaign.  Despite the fact that around 36% of people questioned for an Ofcom survey claimed that they would never click on an ad in the search results, that still leaves around 14% of respondents claiming that they would click on an ad, and combined with the remaining 50% who claim not to recognise the adverts anyway, that gives the business owner a prospective audience of around 64%, which could have a significant impact on a website’s ROI.

Here at Brookstone, a well-targeted and defined Adwords campaign is something that we excel at, so if you’d like your website to achieve high volumes of motivated visitors who are keen to make a purchase, just give us a call and see how we can make your website stand out from the crowd.