Elisa Gabbert's blog
Are you a small business using Google AdWords to market your offerings? That’s great!The bad news is, you’re probably wasting about a fourth of your budget.We recently did a survey of 500 small business AdWords accounts, and found that the average account owner is wasting over 25% of his or her AdWords budget.
Since the typical small business spends $1200 per month on PPC, that means $300 is going in the trash every month – adding up to $3600 a year. And that’s just the average – many companies are wasting closer to half their total spend.That’s not all we found. There is plenty of room for improvement in the typical SMB AdWords account.We identified the top five areas where small business marketers need to renovate their accounts. Learn about the opportunities you’... > Read more
Recently, I shared some great examples of e-commerce content marketing – three companies that are using content to promote their online product sales. It was a hit, so let’s do it again – but this time, let’s look at some service professionals that are doing great content marketing work.As ever, the goal of content marketing is primarily to build authority, trust, and interest in your brand.
By positioning yourself as an authority on a topic related to your business, you’re greatly increasing the chances that people will turn to you when they need your services. In other words, content marketing is a great method of lead gen for service professionals.Here are three service professionals putting out awesome blogs and other content to inspire your marketing ideas.Brand New: Addicti... > Read more
While compiling the “Best of September” post this month, I happened across this, on Tumblr:Seasonal Babysitters Club covers are the best way to celebrate any holiday or change of season. Print this out on a sweatshirt and wear it while sipping your pumpkin-flavored whatever.Wow, I wish I had known about this before! Please tell me I’m not the only person in the search marketing industry who read every Babysitters Club book.
(Then sold the whole collection at a garage sale for less than $20, sob.)Now for some reading to enjoy as you sip that pumpkin latte. Here are our 10 most popular blog posts from past 30 days. Read ‘em, know ‘em, love ‘em.The Best Keyword Research Tools (For Experienced Fishermen & Fisherwomen Only) - The AdWords Keyword Tool's reign has come to an ... > Read more
As a content marketer here at WordStream, I see great examples of content marketing almost every week – but most of them are coming from lead gen and B2B companies. It makes sense – if you offer a service or some kind of software that helps people do something, content marketing helps you position yourself in the customer’s eyes as an expert in that area.
When people step up and show interest in your educational content, they’re letting you know that they might need other stuff you offer.But what about e-commerce marketing?The same principle works for e-commerce companies, but the tactics need to be a little different. I think attention is even scarcer in the B2C e-commerce space, so content marketing in those verticals needs to be truly awesome – beautiful, exceptional, and all ... > Read more
Following a night of fitful sleep, I got some happy news in my inbox this morning – we’ve been shortlisted in three categories for the 2013 US Search Awards! According to the email we received, “The number and standard of entries has been extremely high, so well done on making the shortlist, which is an amazing achievement in itself.
” Go WordStream!We were shortlisted in three categories:Best PPC Management Software – WordStream Advisor, our PPC management platform, was one of five platforms shortlisted in the Best PPC Management Software category. Fellow finalists in this category including Acquisio, IgnitionOne, Kenshoo Search and Marin Software. We think this is impressive company – we’re pretty excited to be shortlisted with these older, more established platforms.Innovat... > Read more
September is just around the corner! It’s back to school time once again. We’re about to enter into that period when it’s still technically summer but everyone starts calling it fall anyway. It’s not even really a season – it’s an interim period.In the spirit of Back to School, why not catch up on all the great reading material you might have missed this month, while on vacation or what have you? Here are the top 10 most popular posts from the WordStream blog this month:What is Mobile Marketing and Why Does it Matter? (So So Much!) – Meg explains why you need a mobile strategy, STAT, and the different types of mobile marketing available.
Quality Score Hacks: 3 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your Quality Score – These are the three easiest ways to improve your Quality Scores that we... > Read more
The following is an excerpt from a new white paper co-created with Hanapin Marketing. Download the complete white paper here.In pay-per-click marketing, as with so many things in life, you have to spend money to make money. But how do you figure out what you should spend?Your monthly and annual budget is a huge part of your PPC strategy, so whether you’re new to PPC or have been doing it for years, it’s worth taking a step back to figure out if you’re making the most of your spend.
The most important consideration for budget planning is your lead needs. You’ll need to sit down and figure out some characteristics of your leads, such as:Lead qualityTarget cost per lead (CPL)Buying cycleVisitor frequencyGeographic locationIf you’re not sure what your target lead looks like, start by ... > Read more
Don’t you just love how we can call almost anything a “hack” these days?Most of the “hacks” I see on the Internet are just tips, but calling them hacks makes it feel like you’re getting away with something. And whatever makes work more fun, I’m all for it.So let’s talk Quality Score. We’ve harped on and on about the importance of Quality Score.
It can save you up to 50% on cost per click (CPC), and those savings at the level of the click translate into savings of up to 80% on CPA, or cost per conversion. In other words, optimizing for Quality Score is basically a way to optimize for costs.So how do you actually increase your Quality Scores? Google’s exact formula for calculating Quality Score is famously mysterious, like the recipe for Coke. But we do know that click-th... > Read more
Our #1 post of the month (see below) included a tip about adding a progress bar to long forms on your landing page, so visitors can see how much they’ve completed, similar to what you sometimes see while taking a survey:I visualize this same kind of “progress bar” in my mind as the year goes by – and as of late July, we’re just about 60% done with 2013.
It’s more than half over! But is that a good thing or a bad thing? (I’m glad I don’t see a progress bar for my whole life – I don’t want to know.)In the words of the great Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias: “Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it’s marching across your face.” Before we lose any more of the year to that great black hole of the past, let’s take a moment to revisit our greatest hits fro... > Read more
I know y’all are sick of hearing that “content is king.”“Content is king” is one of the major web marketing clichés of our time, right up there with “SEO is dead.”Following close behind, I think, is the recommendation to “create great content.” Want tons of Google traffic, hot leads, record sales? Don’t worry about SEO, conversion rate optimization, any of that, just create great content!But what does that really mean? What makes content great, and what exactly is “content” anyway?Here’s my definition: “Content” is really just information – really, simple as that! When you create content, you’re putting information on your site.
Some of it is intended to teach, some of it is intended to persuade, some of it is intended to entertain. And great content is i... > Read more
Recently, we did our best to put the lie to the myth that PPC is outbound marketing. There’s a persistent idea that cost is the determining factor that separates inbound and outbound marketing. But we believe that all marketing has costs – since no channel is free, what matters is ROI. So inbound marketing isn't free marketing, but rather is defined by context and intention.
Like organic content marketing, PPC ads are driven by context and user intent – in other words, the ads are only triggered when they’re relevant to what people are already searching for. And with increasingly more effective and blinged out ad types, PPC is more and more likely to meet a searcher’s needs just as well, if not better, than an organic result. (We believe that for commercial searches, PPC is better... > Read more
Note: A version of this mobile marketing case study appears on the AdWords blog (PDF version).The rundown WordStream client Colombo Hurd upgraded its largest AdWords campaign to Enhanced Campaigns in April. Because mobile traffic has tended to be more valuable to the law firm, they decided to ramp up their local mobile marketing investment and increased mobile bids by +25%.
As of early May, Colombo Hurd had increased customer conversion rate on mobile ads by a factor of three and reduced the cost of a new customer acquisition by 149% with the new mobile marketing campaign.The Goals Increase conversionsGenerate phone calls to schedule in-person consultationsImprove sophistication of mobile-targeted advertisingThe Approach Upgraded largest campaign to EC and monitored resultsAdjusted CPC bid... > Read more
Happy late solstice and early Independence Day, y’all! Clap your hands if summer is your favorite month.These early days of summer are my favorite, before it gets too stiflingly hot to sleep and before my feet get too irreparably disgusting from walking around in flip-flops. While we’re all still in a good mood (right?) let’s review our hottest blog posts from the month of June!The Top 10 Best AdWords Features You're Not Using – Our new contributor Johnathan Dane put together this list of the most awesome AdWords features that too few people are making use of.
Google AdWords Ad Extensions Cheat Sheet – Thanks to Erin Sagin for this quick cheat sheet that’ll help you figure out which ad extensions to use when.News Flash: PPC Is Inbound Marketing – This one was posted too late i... > Read more
Google Products Graveyard: Mourning Google Reader and Other Discontinued Google Products and Services
Google Reader is going away on July 1, leaving its small but loyal fan based scrambling to find a replacement RSS reader. (This longtime Google Reader user has been very happy since switching to Feedly.)With Google Reader on its death bed, and iGoogle approaching the end as well, we thought it was high time we revisited some of the many other Google products that we’ve said goodbye to over the years.
Many of these products were great ideas that just never caught on with a larger audience; some had overlapping functionality with other products, forcing Google to focus development efforts on one over the other. I still mourn the old, social version of Google Reader. Which Google product still haunts you from beyond the grave?Our Google Graveyard infographic reviews some of the many great i... > Read more
It's been a busy few days in the news and many of us have been glued to our "sets" (i.e. Twitter) following the filibuster in the Texas senate and, this morning, the Supreme Court's historic decision to strike down DOMA (the defense of marriage act), the 1996 law which denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
In a cute act of apparent support for gay rights, Google has implemented a rainbow search box for searches related to gay marriage, such as "gay" and "lesbian":What do you think of Google's show of support? Should the search giant stay out of politics?You can read about the significance of the rainbow flag to the gay rights movement here.UPDATE: Though we only noticed this today, Danny Sullivan points out that the rainbow search box was already in place for Gay Pri... > Read more
Our latest white paper is now available for download. Below is an excerpt from the guide. Click here to download the full text of this new, free guide (PDF).8 Simple Things You Might Be Overlooking In Your AdWords AccountAdWords makes it incredibly easy to set up and run a pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign, but some advertisers assume that after they've written an ad, typed in some keywords, set the budget, and switched on the campaign, there's nothing more to do except sit back and watch the clicks and conversions roll in.
In reality, any account – large or small – can benefit from a few quick, simple tweaks designed to optimize the advertiser's reach, click-through rate, and return on investment (ROI). These updates don't cost anything extra, and they're simple enough that even someone ... > Read more
We’ve teamed up with Google to make our award-winning AdWords Performance Grader even easier to use and the login process more secure than ever.The new authentication process, based on OAuth2, enables you to run the free AdWords Performance Grader by signing in with your Google profile – just be sure you use the profile associated with an active Google AdWords account.
(The process is similar to using your Facebook account to comment on a blog.) WordStream will then do a one-time read of the data in your AdWords account, while Google controls a secure interaction. The new process is fast, easy and helps ensure the highest level of privacy and security.Watch this video to see how it works!To try out the new Grader for yourself, go to www.wordstream.com/google-adwords and follow these st... > Read more
Our friends at PPC Hero put together an infographic of the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2013, based on votes from readers, social influence and other influence factors (speaking engagements, books published, channels reached, etc.). We were very excited to see our own Larry Kim in the very top spot! Check out the full graphic below to see all the top experts.
Huge thanks to our buddies at Hanapin for putting this together, and congrats to all the other experts. We're honored to be in your company!You can read more about the survey's methodology here.... > Read more
I realized long ago that journalism is 75% puns. I still remember the time in high school yearbook when my best friend Marisa was putting together a spread on international travel. She couldn’t think up a good caption to go under a photo of some student at the Eiffel Tower. I suggested “Get an eye-ful.
” SHE LOVED IT! And into the yearbook it went, preserved for posterity.Hence the unfortunate title of this post. I have to do these roundups once a month, guys, let me have my fun, OK?Now, on to our top 10 awesomest posts of the month, in order of awesomeness, as determined by YOU, our faithful readers!Review of Mention, a Great Alternative to Google Alerts for Brand Monitoring – Google Alerts used to be the gold standard for brand monitoring, but they’ve fallen off of late. I took ... > Read more
We’re very happy to announce that we made the short list of finalists in the 2013 MITX Innovation Awards! Last year, our AdWords Performance Grader won the award for the “Best Customer Engagement Driver” category. This year, the 20-Minute PPC Work Week is among the finalists for “Best B2B Innovation”:Otherwise known as “innovative online tools that make employees whistle while they work” (well, not literally).
In all reality, innovative technologies have made it easier for the business to do business, making our work lives easier and more effective and our customers happier. This category recognizes innovative B2B web, social and mobile technologies that are fundamentally improving how organizations get it done.”The 20-Minute PPC Work Week is workflow tool inside our WordSt... > Read more
Dear companies that market to women: Stop trying to sell me stuff that has nothing to do with fashion by fashion-washing your ads. I hate this marketing trend! Much in the way that toy companies think little girls will only be interested if it’s pink, brands that sell everything from house paint to yogurt have decided that the only way to market products to women is via association with makeup and clothes.
It’s sexist, it’s cynical, and it just doesn’t make sense.Here are a few of the more egregious examples of this marketing trend I’ve seen in the past year.The Fage Lipstick AdMmm, creamy luxury! What a great ad for lipstick!Wait, what? This is an ad for yogurt?We don’t even need to get into the irrationality of yogurt being marketed solely to women – my husband eats 10 time... > Read more
Whether or not it’s fair to classify WordStream as a startup, we certainly still think of ourselves that way. And one of the challenges of startup life is the rapid growth – meaning our needs often outpace our hiring.[More: 50 Things Every Content Marketer Should Know]Lately, that’s the case with content creation, so we’re looking for a few good freelance writers to help us out.
So if you love writing, Internet marketing, and extra money, we want to hear from you! Specifically, I’m looking for someone(s) who:Has hands-on experience with search marketing – WordStream is very meta in that we market about marketing, do SEO on pages about SEO, create PPC ads for our PPC software and so on. So if you’re going to write for us, you need to have experience with the world of search ma... > Read more
Our friends at Hanapin Marketing and PPC Hero need your help!Pat East, the CEO of Hanapin Marketing, teaches a summer workshop at Indiana University that covers all aspects of Internet marketing, including a core module in PPC. Their grades are dependent on demonstrating their PPC knowledge by successfully creating and managing an AdWords account for a real business.
How You Can HelpHanapin is looking for eight U.S.-based companies to participate in this program and help out the students. The companies must be willing to make a $250 investment in PPC to help a student out – as well as to see if PPC is a good fit for their business!How to Get StartedIf you want to do your part in building the future of PPC, contact Hanapin's Director of Paid Search Jeff Allen directly (Jeff.Allen@hanapinma... > Read more
There aren’t too many benefits to being an English major type – extra zeroes on your paycheck sure ain’t one of them – but we take our kicks where we can get them, and being self-congratulating and superior when someone misinterprets something literary is one of them. So in this post, I’m going to shame some companies that totally missed the point when it came to using a book, poem or song in their advertising campaigns.
And as long as we’re clearing up misconceptions? “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” doesn’t mean “Where are you, Romeo,” it means “Why are you named Romeo?” Now you know.Brooks Brothers & The Great Gatsby: So MoneyWith Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D adaptation of The Great Gatsby opening this weekend, various Gatsby-themed advertising tie-ins are all over the p... > Read more
Back in April 2012 I wrote about how Google Alerts had pretty much stopped working for me. Recently, they clearly tweaked something, because Google Alerts are working better, as Danny Sullivan noted at Search Engine Land recently. However, they’re definitely not back up to the level they were at when I first signed up for a Google Alert years ago.
Why not? Apparently, Google only sends you new alerts under these circumstances:Google Alerts only sends you email if new articles, webpages or blog posts make it into the top ten Google News results, the top twenty Google Web Search results or top ten Google Blog Search results for your query. If the top results remain the same for a while, you won't receive email on your topic.Perhaps this reduces the processing power they have to devote to G... > Read more
Guess what happened this weekend? My four-year hiring anniversary quietly passed. Yes, it’s true, as of April 27, I’ve been working at WordStream for four years. I know, right?! Happy anniversary to me.Nobody baked me a cake, so I had to draw one. (Don't feel bad, I'm actually allergic to cake. Wine's A-OK though.
#sendwine)Who else has been at WordStream four years or longer? Just three people:Larry Kim, of course! (Employee #1)Then Peter Swanston (hired on 10/23/2008) and Phil Stefou (2/24/2009) in engineering.This photo of Peter is from an event we had back in 2009! We made a Mexican feast with help from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. We also had beer, that's why he looks so happy.And here’s Phil at our recent winter event with ex-WordStreamer Cathleen Ellis. (If Cathleen ... > Read more
What big brands are able to do with their enormous marketing budgets is inspiring – though sometimes it mostly inspires jealousy. The typical small business can’t sponsor the Olympics or get an ad spot during the Super Bowl. You have to tinker around with more accessible campaigns that cost less but typically have smaller reach as well.
PPC is an example of an incredibly accessible marketing channel – it’s being exploited by tiny one-man shops and huge multinational corporations alike. But how much better is a big-brand PPC ad than an SMB ad – if at all? Is it like comparing the latest Pepsi commercial to what your local furniture store puts together?Let’s look at five big-brand AdWords ads and see what they do well and what they could do better.(More: Dear eBay, Your Ads Don't ... > Read more
On the Q1 2013 earnings call last week, Larry Page spent a lot of his time taking about the future – a future that will not be social, as Page might have had us believe in the past. He didn’t mention Google+ once on the call, and social media only came up insofar as YouTube is social. That’s a switch!So what does define the future of Google? The unifying theme just might be laziness.
Almost every Google venture that Page spent time talking about is designed to cater to our increasing laziness and impatience as a society.The web used to be a playground for tech nerds, but now it's for everybody, including people who know nothing about technology. As tech gets easier and more accessible, 5% of people mourn the loss of the control, but the rest of us lazy bums love it.Talking Is Easier ... > Read more
During Google’s first quarter earnings call for 2013, Patrick Pichette – Google’s Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer – seemed to reveal the real reason behind Google Fiber, Google’s attempt to provide connection speeds “100 times faster than today’s broadband.”Google Fiber, currently active in Kansas City and coming soon to Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas, is a newer venture outside of Google’s core product stack, and the kind of “speculative product” that Larry Page said is vital to growing and surviving as a technology company.
“Companies tend to get comfortable doing what they’ve always done,” Page said on the call, but “incremental improvements are guaranteed to be obsolete over time, especially in technology.” This is why they’ve taken leaps into ne... > Read more
There’s a brilliant Twitter feed called @AvoidComments whose sole purpose is to remind us not to read comments on the Internet:This is excellent advice when it comes to newsy sites like Salon, which seems to be where repressed rage goes to die seethe indefinitely. And even Justin Bieber knows not to read the comments on YouTube: “I don't read YouTube comments because those can get you sad.
”Seriously though. I have a love-hate relationship with comment streams. The quality can vary so widely and it usually depends on what kind of atmosphere and community the blog owners cultivate. I love sites with upvoting systems that allow the best comments to rise to the top and which encourage regular commenting and conversation – see SEOmoz, Reddit, and XOJane, where I’ve lost hours of my li... > Read more