What PPC Engine to Start With

Most of the time I post about PPC, I’m mentioning Google Adwords. Mainly it’s because it’s what gives most people the hardest time – myself included. I’d say it has the most risk, but also the most reward, as Google is the king of traffic when it comes to PPC engines. But what engines should you start with? What about Yahoo and MSN? Here are two open facts :

  • Most of my PPC traffic comes from Google Adwords, and I make good money off it. I do have Yahoo and MSN accounts as well, but I’m getting the most traffic from Google.
  • I know people who are making $3,000-5,000 day using Yahoo and MSN, with minimal Google. That’s definitely possible as well.

Don’t be tranced into thinking Google is the only way to a lot of money. There is plenty of money to be made in Yahoo and MSN – and generally it’s cheaper. So where I may spend $2,000 in Google to make $3,000, my buddy in Yahoo may spend $1,000 and make $3,000. Where did I start affiliate marketing? Yahoo Search Marketing. So when then do I focus most of my efforts into Google? Mainly because I’m a pretty impatient (scratch that – very impatient) person and I want the most possible traffic in the shortest amount of time. So I usually just go pretty guns and glory in Google and most of the times end up losing a buck or two (or three thousand two days ago – lol).

If you’re starting or having a rough time with Google, take a step back and work in Yahoo a bit. They’re a bit more confusing at times because some things in their system are just whack, but it’s cheaper traffic, lower volume so you’ll spend less, and not as overwhelming or upsetting as Google (because looking and seeing 2/5 bars in Yahoo for quality score just isn’t as rough as seeing “Poor – Please Bid $10.00”). MSN has been hailed as cool by some people because you can get nickel clicks on random keywords…this was cool in the days of ‘ole but I don’t really do anything like that any more. Once you get your campaign optimized and running in Yahoo, just export it and import it straight into MSN and let it run. Track it and make sure it’s profiting, but it should if you keep everything the same.

What about the even smaller guys like Ask and LookSmart. I’ve had a little success with Ask in the past and the traffic is really cheap, but I wouldn’t recommend LookSmart. I got a bunch of terrible traffic and lost a couple thousand, thankfully they refunded it all for me as I set up terms beforehand to “test” the traffic. In either case, I wouldn’t start your campaign testing with Ask or LookSmart, I’d just use them as a possible supplement to your already strong campaign.

So let’s answer the title – which PPC engine should you start with? Ready for the uber surprising answer – it’s up to you. If you’re more conservative, get things going on in Yahoo and MSN. If you’re impatient like me and don’t care about losing a few bucks, try and hit Google hard. There is one fact that I will tell you is the 100% truth though :

There is money to be made in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. All of them.


  1. February 6, 2008

    I think you are exactly right. If you have little budget, but do have time, try out MSN first. MSN is a great training ground to feel out affiliate marketing. Honestly, I went to Google first and it ate my lunch.

  2. February 6, 2008

    I recently signed up with Yahoo and though i think there interface sucks compared to yahoo, its still can generate traffic to a site.
    I was wondering if optimizing keywords “” [] works the same way as in google?

  3. February 6, 2008

    There’s no match types in Yahoo yet.

  4. February 6, 2008

    Looking and seeing 2/5 bars in Yahoo for quality score just isn’t as rough as seeing “Poor – Please Bid $10.00?

    Amen. I’ll drink a beer to that.

  5. February 6, 2008

    Google is a great place to burn cash if you don’t know what your doing.. Or, is that investing in data? Hmm..

  6. February 6, 2008

    I find Yahoo’s interface more confusing for some reason. Maybe its because I started in Adwords and got used to it. And MSNs interface just doesn’t work half the time in firefox. The little ajax loading gifs just sit there and rotate, and i end up loosing all my work.

    Other than that though, the traffic does convert slightly better from what i have seen.

  7. February 6, 2008

    Great article

  8. February 6, 2008

    Nice post, I was wondering if you used Yahoo and MSN much. I know you stated a little while back when you revealed your Diet Pills niche that you had done some testing in Yahoo before you ever bothered with Google. I had planned to do the same, I can’t stand to make a stupid mistake and lose a lot of money.

  9. February 6, 2008

    I lost quickly on google. Yahoo is working well for me and I am on path to make more than I do from my full time job this month (my second real month of AM).

    I personally think LookSmart is crap from experience. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

  10. February 6, 2008

    I’m very enjoy to read this content.
    Thank you for good information :)
    I ‘m coming back to read more content.

  11. February 6, 2008

    Paul –
    I’ve found that the opposite is true in terms of ad prices in Yahoo vs Google. This is usually why you see arbitrage on some high valued terms from Google to Yahoo. About 75% of my ‘Yahoo Search’ traffic actually comes from Arbitrage pages on Google, ecspecially on competitive terms. Have you seen anything like this as well?

  12. joe
    February 6, 2008

    3-5k per day, Is that net or gross?

  13. JL
    February 6, 2008

    What to start with?

    None of them.

    Spend your money on mass traffic.

  14. Ross
    February 6, 2008

    I just started PPC about a month ago. My best campaign is only on Yahoo and MSN now. I’m netting $100-$150 a day with an ROI of 75%-110%. it’s a $1.50 payout. I plan to do to google once i get my LP done. But yahoo and MSN are treating me nice!

  15. Ross
    February 6, 2008

    agreed, especially when you have to have content network on or off on all these different campaign levels. And adding negative keywords and setting “advanced” vs. “standard”, all can be a bitch with so many places to set them…

  16. February 6, 2008

    That’s a nice tip. Most of the newbies start it with Adwords which is more complex. They end up not understanding it very well, and losing money.

  17. February 7, 2008

    “There are no failures. Only lessons to be learnt.” I heard someone saying that.

  18. February 7, 2008

    I always tell people to start with Adwords. If you can master Adwords, landing pages, etc… you can make bank. There is a reason why Google is a $150 million dollar corporation.

  19. February 7, 2008

    I must be doing something badly wrong, whenever I try PPC I don’t get sales.

    I assume you need a landing page that reviews a product/service?

    What kind of product? Is it insurance, medical cure, dating?

    If people are going to post about making 1,000’s per day with PPC they could maybe give us a hint about what markets to avoid and which one’s make these incredible ROI’s.

    I know you guys owe us nothing but it would be nice to avoid getting burned following the wrong paths.


  20. February 7, 2008

    Thanks uber but I am wondering about ppc engines like clicksense can that traffic be coonverted

  21. February 7, 2008

    You have a make money online blog – surely you should be telling us how it all works?

    (PS try viagra and diet pills – you want a recurring expensive item)

  22. February 7, 2008

    Q: What PPC Engine to Start With?

    A: All of them


  23. jimm
    February 7, 2008

    I nearly pee’d my pants reading this post.


  24. February 7, 2008

    I’ve made good money on all of them. Although, Google has had a better success rate in my book.

  25. February 7, 2008

    The others suck in my experience. Click Fraud runs wild. They will suck your toenails off right through your shoes if you let them.

  26. February 8, 2008

    I have produced my own products and sold them online, generated income from Adsense and affiliate sales via free organic search engine traffic.

    My blog is not about teaching people anything I don’t feel qualified to talk about.

    I just had no success with PPC. I mean zero profit since my click costs quickly wiped out the chance of profits. So I wanted some guidance on how to generate $1000’s per day.

    The main stumbling block seems to be identifying a lucrative affiliate program.

    OK I think the best approach is to make a high quality score landing page. And once the profits appear, scale up the range of keywords and bids to increase traffic.

    That’s what SUP3RNOVA taught here, which I am thankful for.

  27. February 8, 2008

    Don’t use Ask or Looksmart or Adbrite or any of the other 3rd tier programs. Crap traffic and tons of clickfraud. Stick with the 3 mentioned here.

  28. February 8, 2008

    You are missing 3 orders of magnitude. GOOG is a $150 BILLION company.

  29. February 8, 2008

    Make sure you check out the vouchers when your making accounts with any PPC company. You can often get a fair amount of free credit.

  30. February 27, 2008

    My opinion is also that MSN Adcenter and YSM are best to start with regarding PPC. Also YSM is easy to make money online, especially when you are new to the whole game of pay-per-click advertising. Though we shouldn’t forget that Google Adwords give us more traffic then YSM. And more traffic means, more leads, more money… Personally, I will only move to Adwords for a certain campaign when it’s doing well with Adcenter & YSM.

  31. June 18, 2008

    I wish I found this site about a year ago :)
    Great content!

  32. Ricardo
    June 28, 2008

    Is this information accurate to date?
    The reason I ask is because I was told (in advice form) directly by a known affiliate that “Yahoo is too expensive “. Also, he told me MIVA is junk. What do you think about this?

  33. October 6, 2008

    Thanks. I haven’t jumped into MSN or Yahoo yet, so your post came at a good time. I look forward to checking those out.

  34. January 8, 2009

    I’m an seo guy, but I’m getting slowly into ppc, and as you said, I started with YSM and MSN.

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