Max out your Dropbox referrals using Google Adwords

I love Dropbox.

It’s a giant USB drive you can use from anywhere, it’s a great way to keep backups, it’s a great way to share files and it’s free. After spending two hours and 15 minutes on the latest Dropbox promotion for 1 GB of extra space ( I was the 343rd finisher, which was about 15 minutes behind the winner), I thought there has to be a better way.  There is – Google Adwords.

Here’s how to max out your Dropbox referrals using Google Adwords.

  1. Get a coupon for free Google Adwords credit.  Google for “google adwords promotional code.”  Under search tools, set your search to the last month or the last week. It might take a few searches, but eventually you’ll find it. Whatever you do, DO NOT PAY FOR A PROMOTIONAL CODE.  Finding the code was the hardest part, but eventually you’ll find one.
  2. Once you have the voucher (it may take a few days), create your Google Adwords account.
  3. Create your Ad Campaign.  I created one Campaign, with two different Ad Groups.  The most important step is to make sure you use your referral link (found here) instead of just putting in dropbox.com.  That’s where the magic happens.  When someone clicks on the dropbox.com link, they are clicking on on your referral link, which sends them to the dropbox signup page.
    The first, using just the keyword of “Dropbox”, was quite a bit more expensive and had a lower return. The CPC (Cost Per Click) of $.24, with 124 clicks out of 11,500 impressions (which means it was served on 11,500 pages, and clicked 124 times.) Not all of the clicks resulted in people actually signing up. The second ad was using the keyword of “Get Dropbox”, which had a CPC of $.13, but I got 64 clicks out of 1,418 impressions. The total cost for this ad was between 1/3rd and 1/4 the cost of the first ad.
  4. Now all you need to do is sit back and watch the referrals roll in. Not all clicks go on to sign up, and not everybody that signs up installs the software, which is a necessary step in the process. Of the 188 clicks, 35 joined Dropbox, and 30 installed the software. If you were starting from zero, you’d need 32 people to sign up in order to get the complete 8GB.

There were a couple of things I would do differently. I set up a relatively low budget for the ads per day, which means they will only run a few times per day (for instance, if you have a $5 a day budget, and your ad is estimated to cost $.25 per click, it will only get, at max, 20 clicks a day.) The time those ads run will be spread out over the course of the day. It’s not bad, but there really wasn’t any reason to not just use your estimated budget at once. Be careful to not go over your budget, because those cost come out of your pocket.