Larry Kim's blog
It was just about a year ago that we reported Clickable Inc. was acquired by Syncapse. It was a bit of a surprise at the time, since Clickable used to be primarily a provider of SEM software for SMBs (and therefore a direct competitor of WordStream), while Syncapse is a social media management tool company.
I was even more surprised this morning to read the news that Syncapse is restructuring and laying off most of their employees.According to CBC News:In the past five years, the company had been expanding aggressively, employing 110 people at offices in Toronto, New York, London and Gurgaon, India.On Monday, the majority of staff at the company were told they were being laid off."Despite our best efforts, the organization lacks the resources to move forward successfully and as such must en... > Read more
There’s been a ton of grumbling and conspiracy theories in the search engine marketing community about how new enhanced campaigns - the biggest and most disruptive upgrade to the AdWords advertising platform in the last 10 years - are just a ploy to raise CPCs. Various vendors including Adobe, Kenshoo, Covario and others have recently released studies claiming that CPCs are already rising by 6% this quarter.
So I was surprised to hear that the exact opposite happened in Thursday evening’s Google Earnings conference call. AdWords CPC was down. Here’s an excerpt from the call:Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 23% over the second quarter of 2012 and increased... > Read more
Many advertisers we work with at WordStream have already upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns. I’ve been bullish on the changes since they were announced in February – though Enhanced Campaigns do come with some loss of control, I believe the benefits greatly outweigh the costs for most advertisers. Namely, those benefits include:Easier management of mobile campaigns and better measurement of mobile ROIMore powerful bidding tools for local ads and display banner adsFewer campaigns to manage overall – a big timesaverIf you’ve been happily chugging along with your legacy campaigns, I’ve got bad news for you.
On July 22, this coming Monday, upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns will no longer be an option. Basically, in about five days it’s sink or swim. Any campaigns that you have not alread... > Read more
Quality Score: Is it the be-all-end-all of AdWords metrics, or no big deal? You’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. Proponents believe Quality Score is a good measure of the health of your account – high scores tend to correlate with lower costs and better results across the board.
Detractors will say QS is a distraction and all that really matters is your cost per conversion, because that’s how you determine your ROI.So who’s right? What should you focus on in your PPC reporting?What Is Quality Score?As a quick refresher, Quality Score is a metric Google uses to determine where advertisers rank on the SERP and how much they pay. Although AdWords functions as a kind of auction, if the system was purely determined by bids, spammy companies with lousy, irrelevant ads ... > Read more
Google has today made it easier than ever to get new bigger and better Google Sitelinks for your ads, which help people find information deeper in your site so they can get to where they want to go faster. Previously it was already possible to specify clickable anchor text for all of your Google Sitelinks.
And with today's update, AdWords is going even further by enabling you to designate specific text for your Google Sitelink descriptions from within your AdWords account. This will enable more granular control over the descriptions that display when your Google sitelink is shown to searchers.What Do Google Sitelink Ads Look Like?We're glad you asked. Here’s what the new super-sized Google Sitelinks ad look like:These huge new sitelinks are like the AdWords equivalent of the T-Rex ... > Read more
If you’ve ever done a Google search, you know already that Google ads are occupying more and more space on the SERP. What you might not know is that the fancy Product Listing Ads you see are commercial intent-sucking monsters and are stealing all the conversions from both the organic and non-PLA search results.
Today, when someone searches for anything related to a product name, Google automatically populates most of the above-the-fold space on the SERP with PLAs and other blinged-out ads:When I search on “keurig coffee maker,” about 80% of the screen is devoted to sponsored results featuring keurig products– I have to scroll below the fold to see more than two organic listings. All the ads you can see here make use of extensions (such as offer extensions, location extensions, etc.)... > Read more
What is Inbound Marketing? The Story of How PPC Became "In"The industry is all a-buzz today with Rand Fishkin’s announcement that SEOmoz is relaunching and rebranding as simply Moz. They are distancing themselves from their history as an SEO company and positioning themselves as a provider of more general marketing tools, with a focus on “inbound marketing,” the phrase that local Boston company HubSpot and others made (relatively) famous.
I couldn’t help but notice that Rand’s blog post explaining the change included a revision of a diagram he had previously used when discussing inbound marketing. Here’s the new diagram, which distinguishes between inbound marketing and “interruption marketing”:And here’s the old diagram, from Rand’s March 2011 blog post:Notice anything ... > Read more
Over the past six months or so, I’ve been conducting an informal survey before all of my PPC webinars. I ask attendees to tell me how much time they spend doing PPC every week, as well as which task is the biggest time sink in PPC management. For the first question, answers vary from less than an hour up to 40 hours a week.
For the second, they’re a bit more consistent. I averaged the answers from the past several webinars and found that PPC managers find keyword research to be the single biggest time sink in PPC (wow, you guys really spend a lot of time on keyword research). This was followed closely by reporting and analysis:Why do advertisers spend so much time on PPC reporting? Because the available PPC reporting tools are often too complex. You go into AdWords or Analytics to chec... > Read more
There’s been a lot of negative stuff in the press so far about how Yahoo is making a big blunder with its recent acquisition of Tumblr.In this article, I’ll explain why I think they’re all wrong.But first, let’s address the critics, who in general, seem to be focused on two main points:1. Yahoo Sucks at Integrating Companies (See Flickr)In 2005, photo sharing site Flickr was at the forefront of the social media revolution.
But, as some critics have pointed out, Yahoo’s reign has brought with it a complete lack of innovation, and as a result the company failed to do anything interesting with the huge audience Flickr had.All this is true – however, it happened under Yahoo’s previous management, before Marissa Mayer took over the helm. This is backwards-looking, not forwards-loo... > Read more
AdWords has just rolled out AdWords Keyword Planner, a new tool that combines two of the most popular existing AdWords tools, the Google Keyword Tool and the AdWords Traffic Estimator, and adds to it a wizard-like integrated workflow to guide users through the process of finding keywords for creating new Ad Groups and/or Campaigns.
I’m guessing that at some point in the future, the AdWords Keyword Planner may replace the Google Keyword Tool and AdWords Traffic Estimator – tools which have been in service for over 10 years and are widely used for both PPC and SEO. So if you’ve used either tool in the past, take note here – your process is probably about to change!Getting Started With AdWords Keyword PlannerThe AdWords Keyword Planner supports three key use cases:Search for keyword an... > Read more
Last week was a tragic week. And Friday was an exciting day, in that it's not every day that the entire city gets shut down and there's a massive manhunt going on in your own backyard!On Friday morning the FBI found out that the bombers lived on Norfolk street in Cambridge, which is just 3 blocks from my place, so I walked outside and snapped a few pictures.
Here's what it looked like:These bad-ass FBI agents were planning a "controlled explosion." I counted over 50 agents.There were about 20 news trucks parked outside, pretty much every news network!Cambridge Police and the FBI asked residents to evacuate and closed off the street.Bomb sniffing dogs checking out the getaway-car.I usually watch the runners at the finish line on Boylston Street but this year I was stuck at Beth Israel... > Read more
Earlier this week Google announced some upcoming changes to Enhanced Campaigns. Soon, advertisers will be able to set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level:To provide more control and precision over bids in an enhanced campaign, advertisers will soon be able to set a mobile bid adjustment at the ad group level.
This functionality will be available to all advertisers in mid-May. We think this may be useful if you’ve been operating large scale campaigns and found that your optimal bids for some keywords would require significantly different mobile bid adjustments within an enhanced campaign.When Google originally announced the shift to Enhanced Campaigns, mobile bid adjustments were only available at the campaign level, a detail that AdWords power users were especially unhappy about... > Read more
Over 10 years ago I fell in love with PPC because it was the most measurable and optimizable marketing channel.If a keyword wasn’t working out, no problem! I could change the ad, or optimize the bids, or chose entirely different keywords. I could measure and optimize anything and everything, which enabled me to create very sophisticated and profitable paid search campaigns.
Yet as PPC has become more and powerful and thus more optimizable, sadly, the average AdWords account manager is optimizing less stuff in their account – to the point where I believe that today, most AdWords accounts are dying of neglect.Very low PPC account optimization activity means that many advertisers are missing out on what I believe to be the best part of PPC. Should you be concerned?Exhibit A: Self-Reported ... > Read more
In a bid to capitalize on widespread discontent and outrage in the SEM community over Google AdWords enhanced campaigns, Bing today reiterated their view that EC’s are essentially a bad move and indicated that they will not be following Google’s lead as far as their product development efforts are concerned.
Bing Champions “Advertiser Choice,” Implies that Google Doesn’t CareWhile Bing’s announcement itself is pretty straightforward, they used a 1200-word blog post to indict Google of not providing “advertiser choice.”The blog post enumerates a litany of complaints that have been leveled against Google in recent months, including the notion that:Bundling of tablet and desktop advertising as a single target is worrisome given that there is research that shows tablets convert ... > Read more
Just over 4 years ago, Craig Danuloff at Click Equations wrote an article called “The Economics of Quality Score” that provided a simple model to determine the value of Google Quality Score in your AdWords account.We all know the value of Google's Quality Score in a high-level sense – Quality Score plays an important role in determining your Ad Rank, which is how Google determines the position in which your ad appears, which in turn determines the amount of exposure and clicks your ads will receive.
We also know that Quality Score plays a very important role in determining how much you’re charged per click. A now famous video by Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, helped clarify this point – that your cost per click is calculated using the formula: Ad Rank of the ad below your... > Read more
I recently spoke with an analyst who had asked me how content marketing is different from traditional PR (public relations). I think this is a question that all marketers and SEOs are having to grapple with as SEO evolves. On the one hand, it’s getting harder and harder to rank in the SERPs with low-quality content and spammy links, making real content marketing much more important; on the other hand, the value of the link as we know it is slowly being devalued relative to social currency and co-citation, which owe a lot to word of mouth and good PR.
So what’s the difference between PR and content marketing? Is there any? The short answer is yes. Here are some thoughts on how these marketing strategies differ.Content Marketing & PR Evolved from Different TacticsI see content m... > Read more
Does Google AdWords work? There’s a story making the news this week about how eBay supposedly wasn’t able to make paid search work for them so they stopped using Google AdWords. Ray Fisman, who wrote up the study for Harvard Business Review, said “Their findings suggest that many paid ads generate virtually no increase in sales, and even for ones that do, the sales benefits are far eclipsed by the cost of the ads themselves.
”I couldn’t help but laugh when I read this, and I’m sure many of you did as well, because it’s pretty well-known within the search engine marketing community that eBay is the butt of many jokes when it comes to adopting advertising best practices.eBay is probably the world’s biggest abuser of an ad writing tactic in AdWords known as Dynamic Keywor... > Read more
The mobile search market is experiencing out-of-control growth. Mobile searches have increased 200% year over year in 2012, and it’s predicted that within the next year, mobile will become the primary way people access Google’s services. But despite early reports, Google isn’t doomed from a sudden shift to mobile.
Far from it – the opposite in fact! Google has managed to transform itself into a “mobile first” company. Currently, the majority of Google’s $8B run-rate mobile revenue derives from advertising (excluding Motorola). That’s why the company is totally restructuring the way its pay-per-click advertising platform, AdWords, works – Google wants more businesses advertising on mobile, so it’s making mobile PPC radically simpler with the introduction of enhanced campa... > Read more
Google has rolled out a new ad App Promotion Ad that allows users to download your app from iTunes or the Google Play Store, adding to their already impressive line-up of mobile innovations.They've also rolled out a new mobile app promotion ad template for advertisers to easily create the new App Promotion ads.
The New App promotion ads are like the next version of click-to-download ads which have existed for several years now.The new App Promotion Ads are only available if you’ve upgraded to enhanced campaigns. Google recommends that advertisers create new new app promotion ads to replace the older, existing click-to-download ads, in order to take advantage of new built-in, smarter ad-targeting capabilities of the App Promotion Ad.Both the new ad-creation template and upgraded click-to-d... > Read more
The announcement of Google’s new Enhanced Campaigns – coming to an AdWords account near you very soon – made a pretty big splash in the PPC community last week. We think the new campaigns present an exciting opportunity for marketers, especially when it comes to mobile advertising, because the previous system was too time-consuming and complicated.
Enhanced Campaigns should make mobile advertising much easier – but a lot of advertisers voiced concern that the shift will reduce control.Recently, I had the chance to chat with Surojit Chatterjee, the head of global mobile search ads product at Google. Surojit was one of the key product leaders behind the recently released Enhanced Campaigns. In this interview, we discuss the upcoming changes in detail, including what trends and behavi... > Read more
Google Offer Extensions are the latest and greatest AdWords advertising extension, enabling advertisers to make some powerful adjustments to their standard-issue Google ads. Offer Extensions integrate offers with search, allowing you to attach a clickable coupon, rebate, or discount offer to any standard Google Search ad.
Previously, Google Offer Extensions were available in a private beta for select AdWords advertisers. The feature is now on track to be rolled out to all advertisers along with a ton other changes by the end of February. We're excited to introduce to you how Google Offers for mobile could look like.Here’s what an AdWords Offer Extension looks like in the wild:How Do AdWords Offer Extensions Work?Advertisers can attach a redeemable offer to their regular Google search ad. ... > Read more
Hey WordStream fans!As you may know, the discount for signing up for the Hero Conference ended in January. If you didn’t get a chance to sign up yet, you’re actually in luck – for a limited time there’s a special offer going on for friends of WordStream!What is the Hero Conference? It’s a conference hosted by the knowledgeable folks at PPC Hero, and will be packed with 45 in-depth PPC management presentations and speakers.
The conference takes place in Austin, TX on April 8-10.Sign up now for the Super Early Bird Extension – Days 1 & 2 for just $1,100! The lowest price EVER!This special WordStream pricing ends on February 15. Just use the code “wordstream_hc” at checkout.To learn more about Hero Conf, check out:Interview with HeroConf Founder Pat EastWhy I’m Excited t... > Read more
What’s better than learning the latest search marketing strategies and insider tips on WordStream’s online blog? Hearing it all live, in person! If you’re getting goose bumps at the thought, it’s time to book your plane ticket.I’ll be speaking at the Search Marketing Expo West in San Jose, CA.
The event runs from March 11-13, 2013, and will be packed with over 50 panels and discussions detailing everything you ever wanted to know about search marketing.My session will be in a debate about pay-per-click marketing, entitled: “Forget What You Know About PPC – Best Practices Debate.” Speakers will engage in lively discourse over the value of Quality Score, the legitimacy of narrowly targeted landing pages, and much more. The truth is out there. At SMX West.I’ll also be the Q&... > Read more
Google today announced a bold and sweeping set of changes to their AdWords PPC management platform in a bid to greatly simplify mobile ad campaign management – at stake is the future of Google’s advertising business itself. All of the new AdWords Enhanced Campaign features – which I believe will greatly increase both mobile advertising adoption and Google’s revenues from mobile search – will become available to customers by the end of the month.
In this article, I’ll walk through AdWords Enhanced Campaigns in detail. If you’re interested in the growing mobile search space (and you all should be!), pay close attention. These changes will affect all advertisers before the end of the year and fundamentally change the online ad landscape as we know it.Table of Contents:Enhanced C... > Read more
New keyword research from WordStream suggests that buffalo chicken dip – apparently a dip designed to taste like buffalo chicken wings – owes virtually its entire existence to Super Bowl Sunday and the NFL season.WordStream conducted extensive research into the seasonality and trends of keyword searches on Google corresponding to chicken wings and hundreds of other popular Super Bowl snacks including:GuacamoleChiliNachosPulled PorkPigs in a blanketDoritosSeven Layer DipThe astonishing results revealed a near perfect correlation between the demand for chicken wings and buffalo chicken dip with the NFL season.
The results are illustrated in graphical form, here:Note that for the last 9 consecutive years, search volume for Buffalo Chicken Dip followed a similar pattern, increasing signifi... > Read more
Join us for our next free webinar: The Top 10 Ways to Outsmart Your Competition in 2013. This webinar will take place next Wednesday, January 23 at 1 pm EST.I'll be presenting along with Amanda West-Bookwalter, Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing and writer for PPC Hero, to show you the top 10 tips, tools, and tricks to help you gain and maintain PPC success throughout the year, and stay ahead of your competition!You’ll learn how to:Improve your Quality ScoresGet through to potential customers at the end of the funnelSpend less per lead, and more!After registering you’ll receive a confirmation email with instructions to join the webinar.
Even if you can't make the live webinar at this time, sign up anyway. We'll send you the slides and recording of the webinar after the... > Read more
Tonight (January 11, 2013) at midnight is the deadline for early registration of Hanapin Marketing’s Hero Conference, a 3-day, all-PPC conference in Austin, TX, April 8-10.Three great reasons to sign up for Hero Conf todayI’ll be speaking! And I’d love to meet you. Check out the full list of speakers to see all the PPC heroes you’ll be able to learn from – including my friends and colleagues: Bryan Eisenberg, Chad Summerhill, George Michie, Elizabeth Marsten, Jeff Allen, Joe Kerschbaum, Shawn Livengood, Noran El-Shinnawy, Matt Van Wagner, and many more.
And me! :)Bang for the buck. Hero Conf has a low speaker to attendee ratio for more one-on-one time, and is less expensive than similar industry conferences. (And you get the best price if you sign up today.)Total PPC focus. A lot... > Read more
As the founder of a search marketing startup, I’ve had the opportunity to interview, hire and work with some of the most amazing SEOs on the planet. I am so proud to have worked with people like Tom Demers and Ken Lyons, who not only helped me turn wordstream.com into a website that holds its own against domains like google.
com for SERP rankings, they went on to found a successful internet marketing consultancy of their own!Because WordStream’s business is in the internet marketing industry, the competition for SEO keywords in this vertical is incredibly fierce. We’re always competing against other search agencies, or search marketing product companies who obviously know a thing or two about SEO. If you think your insurance or travel industry has fierce competition, try competi... > Read more
Struggling with PPC advertising? Do you want to take your AdWords account performance to the next level? I can help!I’ll do a complete PPC audit of your AdWords paid search account – for free. Seriously!Next week – on Wednesday, December 12 at 1:00PM EST, I’ll be doing a live webinar with my colleague, Sean Quadlin from Hanapin Marketing (the folks who run the PPC Hero blog!).
Click here to register for the Webinar.During the presentation, I’ll be holding a live PPC optimization clinic – Sean and I will review 2 AdWords accounts and point out areas of strengths, and uncover opportunities to improve your PPC account performance.A few years ago, I used to charge over $1000 for doing a custom PPC audit like this! But we’ll do it live, in-person and at no cost to you (excep... > Read more