Larry Kim's blog
A few weeks ago, Google announced major changes and updates to the AdWords platform, several of them designed to improve efficiency and scale for enterprise-class search marketers.Google wants to make life easier for companies with massive campaigns – for those who are spending hundreds of millions or even a billion dollars on AdWords.
Enterprise-level PPC marketers face unique challenges, given the complexity and sheer size of their campaigns.These new AdWords features were designed to increase efficiency, help brands scale their campaigns and make insights more accessible and useful. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the new tools available to enterprise AdWords clients.Bulk Actions: Making AdWords Less "Complicated"In the new features announcement a few weeks back, VP of P... > Read more
I recently had the opportunity to be the subject of an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at Inbound.org and was blown away by the response. Not only were there a ton of questions, but they were really, really good!These questions led to a lot of great discussion and advice on PPC and AdWords, in particular. But in case you don’t want to dig through the whole thing, here are my top 10 best PPC tips from the Q&A.
1. What's the greatest, but most underused, opportunity in AdWords?Q. Kyle Petzinger asked, "What would you say is the single largest, mostly unused opportunity that AdWords advertisers can take advantage of? I realize this is pretty open-ended, but feel free to just spit out the first 'OMG DO THIS. WHY IS NO ONE DOING THIS' thought that comes to mind. Thanks a ton in advance! Love your wo... > Read more
Keyword research is a critical component in every successful paid search strategy. In fact, our internal data shows that search marketers spend nearly 25% of their time on keyword research.Google has quietly rolled out a number of significant changes and updates to Keyword Planner that should not only reduce the amount of time spent in the tool, but make it exponentially more useful, as well.
The updates rolled out this week make it highly visual and more powerful, with a definite mobile focus. It's the first major refresh since the tool was introduced about a year ago.(Warning: the new version is way more fun – you might actually spend MORE time in Keyword Planner. Try not to get distracted by the pretty shiny things.)So what's new? Check out the new Keyword Planner features:Visualize S... > Read more
Today's the day: Google finally spilled the beans about the new features that are coming to AdWords. (Protip: sign up for our webinar tomorrow for an in-depth look at the changes and how they'll affect you!) Now we can finally tell you what they actually announced. Here’s our take on this exciting news.
New AdWords Features OverviewBefore we get into the specifics of the new AdWords features, I wanted to provide you with an overview of the key points about these planned improvements. I recently spoke with Aaron Stein, Google’s Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager, who told me that:These features will be entirely optional, unlike last year’s mandatory (read: “destructive”) Enhanced Campaigns update.Also, unlike last year’s EC update, no existing features are being ret... > Read more
Google is making a big announcement on Tuesday, April 22 (yep, that's TOMORROW). They will announce 10+ new AdWords products, features, and research studies that they have been working on for the past year.Last year, we were the first to bring you complete coverage of Enhanced Campaigns, the biggest change to the AdWords ecosystem in the last decade.
This Wednesday, we’ll be holding a free, live webinar to clue you in on this new announcement and what it means for your AdWords campaigns.The moment the embargo is lifted, we’ll start bringing live coverage of the announcement plus actionable advice on how it will affect your account and how to take advantage of the changes.There’s been plenty of speculation so far on what those changes might entail. We’ve seen what people are saying,... > Read more
It’s no secret that there’s little love lost between Google and Facebook, even to those outside the Valley. Google proved this once again today by announcing it has expanded access to +Post ads to all advertisers and that these ads will support Google Hangouts on Air.What Are Google +Post Ads?Google first announced +Post ads in December, billing them as a new format of ad that brands can use to drive engagement across multiple platforms.
Simply put, +Post ads are pieces of content from brands’ Google Plus profiles, such as videos and photos, which are repurposed into ads to be served across the Google Display Network.What’s the Big Deal?In the official blog post announcing the rollout, Google highlighted some examples of how advertisers have used +Post ads to drive user engagement.... > Read more
All sorts of silly rumors were circulating earlier week suggesting that Google is going kill off all search query data from paid search and that third party tools providers like WordStream are going to be slammed. Unfortunately the reporting on this issue has been light on facts and heavy on speculation.
In this article I'll explain exactly what is is changing here -- the short answer is: not a heck of a lot.Are The Rumors True? Is Paid Search Query Dead?No. not even close. If you used paid search query data to do campaign optimizations, you can still access all of that data from within the Search Terms Report in AdWords just as you have done in the past. Not convinced? The easiest way to disprove this rumor is to log into your AdWords account and view your search query data for yourself. ... > Read more
What would it do for your business if you were able to crawl inside my brain and wallow in crazy-effective PPC knowledge, gained over more than ten years working in paid search every single day?The insane insights and experience you would take away would become your ultimate PPC secret weapon, giving you the power to slay the competition and squeeze every last drop of ROI out of your AdWords campaigns.
For one day only, you have the opportunity to do just that. In our next free webinar, I'll share mind-blowing PPC secrets and unconventional wisdom gleaned over my 10+ year career in PPC.Our Ultimate Introduction to Pay-Per-Click Advertising webinar is designed to help you kick-start your PPC campaigns or invigorate your existing ones.There's no denying that AdWords ads are a highly effective... > Read more
By late August, Google will retire their regular PLA campaign type and switch all product listing ads users to Shopping campaigns. Beta launched in October 2013 and fully rolled out in February, Shopping campaigns have a number of unique features that make them particularly attractive to e-tailers:The ability to browse inventory within the AdWords platform and create product groups using attributes from your data feed.
Custom labels, a way to tag products in your data feed with personalized attributes.Advanced performance measurement, with data segmentation by product or attribute.Aggregate competitive performance data, including the average CTRs and Max CPCs of your competitors.Create and edit with the AdWords API and bulk edit product groups at scale.If you’re selling products, you shou... > Read more
Hi, I'm Larry Kim and I've analyzed over $10 billion in paid search spend.Wondering how to give your Quality Scores a lift, or what Quality Score even is? Curious about how WordStream works, and how I bootstrapped my way to the top? Looking for growth hacking tips to build your business? Or maybe you're curious how we churn out such awesome content here at the WordStream blog, driving over half a million page views per month? I can help!This coming Monday, March 31, I'm hunkering down at the keyboard for what I hope is a fun and informative Ask Me Anything with Inbound.
org. What is an Ask Me Anything? It's basically an opportunity for the Internet at large to pick the brain of one person – and this time, it's me! AMAs started on Reddit but since Inbound started hosting them, they've gene... > Read more
Google has been using some pretty effective scare tactics to warn marketers off link building lately. Scalable link building – even tactics that used to be seen as white-hat, like guest blogging – are steadily coming to be seen as black-hat. Instead of focusing on links, Google says, just build your brand by creating great content!The problem is, everyone and their best friend has already jumped on the content marketing bandwagon.
This noisy space is getting even noisier! Over 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing – for obvious reasons:Two-thirds of consumers say they feel better about and are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content.Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media.So when everyone is doing it, how do you stand out... > Read more
What would it do for your business if you had the chance to pick the brains of two renowned PPC industry experts about your specific AdWords needs? Would you discover budget-saving bidding and creative strategies, tactics to maximize your conversion and ROI, or targeting functions and features to get you in front of the most relevant audience possible?All of the above!This spring, one lucky marketer has the opportunity to supercharge their AdWords strategy with expert insight and guidance from two industry experts.
In just a few days, we'll draw the winner of a two-hour paid search consultation with my good friend, AdWords guru Perry Marshall and me, Larry Kim.Marshall, the world's most quoted Google AdWords consultant, authored The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, the most popular PPC ... > Read more
It's fair to say Google's Amit Singhal shocked the audience at SMX West last week when he told Danny Sullivan a solution to the not-provided keywords issue will be announced "in the coming weeks or months."Wow .@theamitsinghal announced that google is working on solution for keyword (not provided) situation #SMXWest #smx pic.
twitter.com/taQEMTYv9m— Larry Kim (@larrykim) March 12, 2014Google hasn't given an inch on the keyword data lost to site owners and marketers when secure search was fully implemented in September 2013. It was a change two years in the making; SEOs and site owners saw keyword data gradually disappearing to the "not provided" dark side from September 2011 on. Throughout, panic ensued as site owners were no longer able to track users by the keywords that brought them to... > Read more
Conversion is a key element in your paid search strategy; after all, if you're not actually turning lookers into buyers at a high rate, what are you advertising for? Conversion rate optimization enables you to maximize every cent of your PPC spend by finding that sweet spot that convinces the maximum percentage of your prospects to take action.
But what is a good conversion rate? If you're already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you're going to go?We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry?Through our ... > Read more
In just a few days, I'll be heading to New Orleans, home to Mardi Gras, the Saints and of course, Pubcon Spring New Orleans 2014! I'm speaking at two sessions, so if you're planning to attend the conference, make sure you stop in and see me!Hacking AdWords – There's Nothing Lucky About Being the Top DogOn Wednesday March 19, join me in Salon B at 10:10 am for Hacking AdWords: Quality Score Insights, where we'll get our PPC hacking game face on and learn how to lower your cost per click and cost per conversion with an advanced understanding of AdWords Quality Score.
The key to AdWords mastery lies in understanding that everything Google offers runs on an algorithm – once you understand the math behind ad ranking and pricing, you can optimize to the algorithm. This isn't black magic or di... > Read more
We recently held a massively popular webinar packed with techniques guaranteed to triple your AdWords click-through rates, and we got a lot of people asking for help with the next logical step: boosting conversions. Once you've earned the click and have a visitor on your site, how do you most effectively convince them to sign up for your offer or purchase your product? Raising CTR’s is great, but raising conversions is even better.
Our next free webinar (THIS THURSDAY, March 6) will teach you just that: amazing – yet perfectly achievable – strategies to increase your conversion rates by three times or more. In Unbelievable Discoveries to 3x Your Conversion Rates, we're going to dive deep into tactics and features of the best converting campaigns in the market, with a replicable proces... > Read more
When Matt Cutts speaks, people listen. As one of Google’s most influential figures, Cutts has a loyal following that hangs on his every word. Unfortunately for him, this doesn’t always work out so well, as a recent tweet demonstrated. Cutts took to Twitter yesterday to announce the launch of a new reporting tool designed to make it easier for site and content owners to flag instances when scraped material is ranking higher than the content’s source.
For many site owners and content producers, this was welcomed as a step in the right direction. However, for Cutts, the backlash was swift.Dan Barker was quick to point out that Google’s own Knowledge Graph is the biggest content scraper on the web. To add insult to injury, Barker included an image of a Google Knowledge Graph SERP ... > Read more
What’s the average click-through rate for a Google AdWords ad? When people ask this question, it’s often because they want to benchmark their own ad CTR’s. Unfortunately, way too many advertisers are content to reach an average click-through rate and leave it at that.We recently held a well-attended webinar packed with crazy techniques you can use to triple your AdWords click-through rate.
Sounds unbelievable, right? It’s not at all – in fact, we walked step-by-step through a process that helps marketers improve their ads to the point they’re performing in the top 1% of all ads across the platform.We’ve had a number of requests for more information on this webinar, so here we go! This post is a monster – use this handy guide to help you get around:What Is a Good CTR?Why Uni... > Read more
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land on SMX West 2014: More Search & Social, New Marketing Land Summit
Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land's founding editor (not that he needs any introduction in search marketing circles) is getting geared up for SMX West, the next in his series of search marketing conferences spanning North America, Europe and Australia. SMX is known as one of the best conferences to marketers to learn the latest trends and tactics to improve their marketing performance.
I had a few questions for Danny Sullivan about the upcoming event and the state of the search industry in general. Here’s what he had to say about the evolution of SMX and what marketers will need to focus on this year:Danny Sullivan on Knowledge Graph, Predictive Search & Social SignalsLarry Kim: You have Google’s Amit Singhal doing a keynote on recent Google updates and the future of search, but wh... > Read more
As search marketers, we spend a lot of time analyzing crazy SEO algorithms (hello, Panda and Penguin) and constantly trying to reverse-engineer ranking factors in an attempt to increase our organic rankings.Yet when it comes to paid search, there's not nearly as much research, despite the fact that PPC, like SEO, is largely driven by an algorithm (Quality Score) which determines ad position, cost per click and many other factors.
By understanding how Quality Score works, AdWords can be cracked.In my article today, I'll quantify the impact of Quality Score on your cost per click and cost per conversion. I'll also explain to you (mathematically!) how Google calculates your Quality Score. Finally, I'll share my three best tips on how to raise your Quality Scores, all in an effort to help you h... > Read more
Internet marketing legend and conference organizer extraordinaire Brett Tabke took time from his busy schedule recently to discuss a number of issues with me, from the impact of Google search updates and upcoming trends in online marketing to the future of his popular Pubcon conference series. Read on for his fascinating insights into Google’s changing business model, the secret of content marketing and more.
Thanks for talking with me, Brett!Referral Data Losses a Game ChangerLK: Back in November, you and Joe Laratro spoke at SLC/SEM about the Year in Search Marketing. What do you think were the biggest game changers in search in 2013? BT: The Snowden revelations gave search engines cover to implement SSL connections on all searches. That has led to the loss of referral data. Not h... > Read more
This might hurt a little – apologies, but I promise it will feel better in the long run. Coming to terms with this important realization is the first step in your PPC recovery. Are you ready for it?You’re doing PPC wrong.I know that’s frustrating to hear; if you’re like most SMB marketers, you think you’re already doing everything you can to better manage your paid search campaigns.
I hate to break it to you, but if you’re following conventional wisdom and managing your account in the same way you and every one of your competitors has been for the last several years, you’re throwing money out the door.In an upcoming webinar, I’m going to show you how to break free of the mold the vast majority of PPC marketers have trapped themselves into.You’re throwing out your 1% CTR a... > Read more
January is the traditional time to take stock of your life, assess what’s missing, and set new goals. Chances are, your PPC account could use the January treatment. The holidays are over, you’re back from vacation, and your AdWords account is probably as messy as your kitchen, or as bloated as … never mind.
The point is, it’s time for a PPC audit – you need to benchmark where you’re at so you know where to focus your efforts in the new year.Two years ago, we created the AdWords Performance Grader to help advertisers audit and analyze their Google AdWords accounts. It’s basically the fastest, easiest, and by far the cheapest (you can’t get cheaper than free) way to audit your PPC account. You link the tool up to your AdWords account through a 100% secure OAuth connection (on... > Read more
Over the last year, I’ve spent about 3 hours per day reading about online marketing, and paid search in particular. It’s worked out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 780 hours of staying up to date on the latest case studies, tips, detailed how-to guides, and original research – we’re talking thousands of articles here! On the off chance you haven’t been keeping up to this extent every day, I wanted to share my picks for the best, most informative, absolute must-read PPC articles of 2013.
Some I had bookmarked, others were filed away in my mind, and others still were contributed by industry peeps including Robert Brady, Melissa Mackey, Danny Goodwin, Sam Owen at PPC Hero, Michelle Morehouse at Clix, and AJ Kohn – thank you all! (See more awesome contributions in this Twit... > Read more
If you’ve been a marketer for more than a year you’ve surely heard that SEO is changing (or, alternately, dead, dying, evolving, etc.). It’s a cliché, but it’s true: Today, SEO doesn’t mean what it used to.I recently spoke with Mike Grehan, publisher of ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, about the changing SEO landscape, why SEOs need to be generalist marketers, and his predictions for Internet marketing in 2014 and beyond.
We also talked about why these changes need to be reflected in ClickZ live, the conference formerly known as SES, which has always been a must-attend conference for marketers. Read his fascinating insights below, and register for ClickZ Live in New York this coming spring!What is the thinking behind the recent rebranding of the SES Conference & Expo as Click... > Read more
Twitter will reportedly make just made a big announcement confirming the expansion of the ad retargeting program they began testing this summer. The new offering, dubbed Tailored Audiences, is a logical next step for a network that went public just months ago and now has a lot to prove to investors.
But how will Twitter Tailored Audiences work for advertisers?TechCrunch earlier this morning cited anonymous “sources” confirming the launch, but say the details were hazy. Here’s what we did know:Twitter advertisers will now have access to external data for ad targeting.It’s almost guaranteed that Promoted Tweets will be open to retargeting; whether or not Promoted Accounts are is unknown.Twitter began experimenting with retargeting in July and made it clear users were able t... > Read more
A new feature that allows marketers to undo changes in Google AdWords is welcome and probably long overdue, though it begs the question: is the AdWords Editor dead?Right now, the AdWords “Undo” button seems to be a limited test, available only in select accounts. What it does, however, is gives advertisers the ability revert to the way their campaign was before changes, or to download a fresh version of account or campaign specifics.
This should make testing much easier.With all of this functionality in the web interface, are we now hearing the death knell for the Google AdWords Editor, desktop version?Why I Used to Use AdWords EditorBack in the day, AdWords Editor had a ton of advantages, including:Offline editing, which was a real issue in and around 2005. Now, however, we have wi-fi... > Read more
The folks at Google AdWords have been busy elves over the last year – so much so that just keeping up with all of the changes is practically a full-time job. By my estimation Google has rolled out over a thousand new AdWords features and changes in the last year alone. That’s almost 20 new features or changes every week! The challenge for marketers is that we often just discover the new stuff as we make our way through our accounts; Google doesn’t even announce the vast majority of their AdWords updates.
Don’t worry – we’ve got your back! We’ve kept on top of the notable changes this year and identified the ten most impactful updates for paid search marketers. Some were great and necessary improvements and others… not so much. However, they’re all changes you should know a... > Read more
As the owner of a popular internet marketing blog (this one) that gets around a half million unique visitors / month, I’m used to getting all sorts of spam.Every week I get dozens of requests to purchase links on my site (which I ignore), and every month, and we delete hundreds, possibly thousands of spammy blog comments and link drops.
But more recently I’ve been getting a different tune of spammy emails from SEO spammers, like this one asking for help with link removal:Oh how the worm has turned…I’m guessing their back-link profile is full of anchor-text-rich, no-followed blog comments and that Mr. Penguin doesn’t like that too much.Seriously, what to do here – should I help out this SEO spammer or should he suffer?Reasons to Help This SEO SpammerWe’ve all dropped a link wit... > Read more
Twitter vs. Facebook: Comparing the Ad Performance of the World’s Largest Social NetworksTwitter’s initial public offering (IPO) is approaching, and Twitter just raised its price range to $23-$25, suggesting it’s feeling optimistic about the outcome. Investors may be a little more nervous though.
According to polls, just 35% of Americans think buying Twitter stock is a good idea, whereas 51% of Americans thought Facebook stock was a good idea before its IPO last May.As for me, I’m not planning to buy any Twitter stock. I’ve always said that Facebook makes a weak showing when it comes to ad performance for direct response marketing (lead generation), especially compared to comparable offerings from Google. But what about Facebook vs. Twitter? The fact is, Facebook ads have improve... > Read more