SEM Rolex Water
blog post | marketing

4 Reasons Why SEM & a Rolex Are the Same Thing

Josh Muskin Team Photo
Josh MuskinHead of Sales & Marketing

What on earth do a 110 year old Swiss watch company and SEM have in common? Well, probably a whole lot more than you might think.

In this post, we’ll consider what the most recognized piece of wrist-bling can teach you about managing a successful and highly profitable SEM account.

1) They cost money.

This is the obvious one.

A Rolex is not a cheap item. Watches in their lineup can range from $8,000 to well over $100,000. Anyone telling you they bought a Rolex for under $1,000 probably got duped.

Likewise, SEM can be expensive. Large corporations spend millions of dollars per month on SEM ads. This isn’t to say you need thousands of dollars for an SEM campaign, but if you want to compete with the big boys of your industry, you’re not going to be able to do it with pocket change.

2) They are incredibly complicated.

A Rolex is a watch. It’s job is simply to tell the time. But did you know the mechanism responsible for doing so contained over 500 individual moving parts? Additionally, every 3-5 years, these movements need to be taken apart, piece by piece, cleaned, oiled & reassembled to ensure it’s accuracy over the next 3-5 years.

Managing an SEM campaign is just like maintaining a Rolex. At any given time you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of keywords, ad combinations, settings, etc. all of which you have to centralize around your goal. Only instead of telling time, you’re trying to tell others about a product or service.

Once you’re able to get all of the campaign’s pieces moving in the right direction, you end up with a high performing, functional, and profitable campaign that requires only minor maintenance to keep humming along.

3) They stick to the basics.

Rolex is a company that’s been producing some of the best watches on earth for over 100 years.  During this time, they have continuously used similar styling and movement construction. Because of this, Rolex has developed the reputation of being one of the most reliable watches on earth, without ever looking like a super complicated machine.

For the most part, the Rolex Submariners of the 70s are very similar to those of today. Why? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Managers of SEM accounts can learn a lot from Rolex’s iterative approach.

Sure, every platform has it’s super advanced technical frills. For example, take AdWords Scripts , or it’s Multi-Bidder add-on for Google Docs, or it’s complex automated rules & bidding strategies. All of these features are great, but it’s the basics of each account that really drive success.

Things like:

  1. Always testing at least 2 ads in each adgroup
  2. Relentlessly adding negative keywords
  3. Limiting non-converting keywords
  4. Separating campaigns for Search vs. Display
  5. Ad scheduling

These aren’t the most advanced activities in a given SEM account. In fact, the activities listed are probably the simplest, but mastering these basics is the true key to success. Even the best automated rules in the world can’t combat poor keyword choices.

4) They’ll last forever, so pay it forward.

Ever hear stories about someone inheriting their great, great, great…. great grandfather’s Rolex? With proper maintenance and attention to performance, these watches will survive decades of abuse. James Cameron took one to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, Sir Edmund Hillary took one to the top of Mt. Everest… and for goodness sake, James Bond wore one when taking down Dr. No.

Each watch passed down has a story, a history, and has probably been through quite a bit, (just like every SEM account you’ve ever managed).
Take good care of SEM campaigns:, manage your keywords, test your ads, add negatives, etc. Keep them performing, keep them in good condition, and maybe, one day, you’ll get to pass it off to someone who, if you’re lucky, will treat it even better than you.

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