July 2013 Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
As advertisers in the pay-per-click industry, we’ve recently been exposed to a lot of new changes. Everyone is aware by now that Google began transitioning all accounts over to Enhanced Campaigns last week, whether you wanted to or not. Despite the overall mixed feelings on Enhanced Campaigns so far, there are a few features we can all be excited about.
One of the features that excited me the most was the changes to Ad Extensions, specifically Sitelinks. This post looks to explore some of the recent changes to Sitelinks, and how you can better understand your sitelinks’ performance.I performed a couple of case studies to identify if the sitelinks themselves were responsible for improving performance, or if simply taking up more SERP space is all that matters.Topics covered:Recap of chan... > Read more
This is Part 1 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherGetting Return on Investment from PPC“Return on Investment” (ROI).
It is a business school basic and a fact of life. If you get less out your efforts than you put into them, you’re going backwards, not forward – and, eventually, you will be bankrupt.One investor takes a chance on a start-up company and makes millions. Another puts her life savings into a “sure deal” and loses everything. Return on investment can make or break any operation – and it is a primary consider... > 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
Those new to SEO might be wondering what all the hullabaloo is about follow links vs. no follow links. Confused? Not to worry, we’re going to clear it all up.What is a Follow Link?To really understand what is going on with follow vs. no follow links, we need to provide a bit of background about how links work in the realm of SEO.
When a site page gets an inbound link, which is a hyperlink pointing to that page, the page gets a small SEO boost. Think of a link as a point, and the more links you have, the more points. More Points = Winning, like Charlie Sheen.Google takes note of these points, watching how many inbound links a page has and from what sites. Google figures, hey, if a lot of people are linking to a certain page, it must be a really good page! Let’s give preference in our se... > Read more
If you’ve had an eye on the AdWords Blog lately, you may have noticed that Google is on a roll when it comes to new features, particularly in the form of ad extensions—for example, see the new image extensions and enhanced, extra-large Google sitelinks.In the past, these “bells and whistles” were often utilized by only the savviest PPC experts.
Nowadays, ad extensions are a fundamental aspect of paid search accounts. If you’re not using them, hop on the bandwagon before you’re left in its dust. Not only do ad extensions require minimal setup time, they are also displayed at no additional cost—a win-win for most advertisers.Google’s latest brainchild is Review Extensions. As you can see in the example below, these extensions give you the opportunity to share positive reviews... > Read more
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
This is a guest post. The author's views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of WordStream.I was a typical silicon valley engineer, doing the boring old routine.Wake up after pressing snooze 7 times, fight traffic on 101, sit in a really BORING meeting with a technically inept manager who thinks the programming language Java is a caffeinated product, pretend to "work" (note: surfing on eBay is not a waste of time, but a valuable contribution to eBay's crowdsourced website quality assurance), go to lunch and bitch/complain/moan about our crappy jobs, then take an hour long nap in the conference room underneath the table so no one would see me.
When 3 PM rolled around, I would actually work for about an hour right before my manager showed up to ask how I'm doing, then punch out... > Read more
Yelp has become the most popular Internet rating and review site since its initial inception in 2004. Yelp founders saw that word-of-mouth was a powerful purveyor of new customers, but with the classic local community structure breaking apart in an online era, how could individuals know which businesses to trust? Yelp was the answer – an online review site in which customers shared their experiences, helping others make informed decisions about restaurants, auto-repair shops, and more.
Many review sites have come and gone, but Yelp has continued to be the most trusted source for local business reviews and ratings. Why? Yelp noticed that other review sites are far too cluttered with spam and ads, so they’ve kept theirs to a minimum. Yelp also focuses on long-form reviews rather than... > 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
Quick: What do ground-penetrating radar, hydraulic tie-rod cylinders, and third-party PPC software platforms have in common? Not much, really—but all three are examples of B2B (business-to-business) products that B2B companies can sell via PPC advertising.PPC is a system that offers B2B companies the ability to capture leads fast and efficiently.
Your target market is basically raising its hand and saying it’s interested in your product or service, and it does so by typing in search keywords on Google or Bing. The beauty of it is, they’re looking for you – instead of you standing around a trade-show booth for ten hours at a time asking people what their biggest business challenges are and hoping their needs match up with what you offer. That’s what makes PPC a form of inbound mar... > 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
Promoting products and services while trying to compete with mega-giants like Amazon and Walmart is often a daunting task for small business owners. The good news is that Google AdWords has created a way for advertisers to do just that. Bigger brands may have an advantage when it comes to PPC, but they don’t hold all the cards.
Even with a small budget, you can get impressions and clicks on Google with a smart account structure and the right targeting options.Having consulted hundreds of small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners and marketing managers, my eyes have been opened to the struggles they face every day.The ProblemLet me take a second to set the stage. Anyone who tells you that AdWords is easy or that they can guarantee you numbers is lying to you. AdWords is complica... > 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
Your bids are competitive, your ads are laser targeted, and you've tested and tweaked your landing page to get the highest possible conversion rate. Ever.You feel like Leonardo DiCaprio stand-spooning Kate Winslet on the Titanic, breathing in that fresh scent of saltwater greenbacks while your sales and leads keep pouring in.
You're a marketing genius (and you've earned the right to call yourself that).But then you wake up. Realizing that your 1997 GeoCities hosted landing page hasn't seen an improvement since, well, 1997. And your potential profits are like a leaking ship. Slowly. Dripping. Away. While you’re staying profitable (for now), your competitors are figuring out ways to improve, enhance, and build trust and relationships with clients that could have been yours. All b... > Read more
As the deadline to migrate to Enhanced Campaigns looms ahead (it's in 12 days!), advertisers are becoming increasingly anxious about how these new features will impact their paid search accounts. Here are the answers to some of my clients’ top five most frequently asked questions about Enhanced Campaigns:Q: How do I determine my bid modifier for mobile?A: If you’ve advertised on mobile devices in the past, take some time to segment your performance by device and assess your mobile success.
Consider how you are performing at your current CPCs and set your bid modifiers accordingly. If you are new to the mobile space, Google recommends using this formula to calculate an appropriate bid adjustment: 100% x ((value per mobile click/value per desktop click) – 1)). Regardless of which metho... > Read more
No search marketing campaign can guarantee a 100% purchase rate. Simply put, many visitors just aren't ready to buy... yet. Marketing automation technology and best practices close that gap, turning every website visitor into a lead to be loved and nurtured. As marketing best practices have evolved over the years, so has modern marketing automation.
Today, consumers make decisions on their own terms and expect marketing messages to be relevant both to their interests and where they are in the buying process. Delivering the wrong message at the wrong time is both annoying and a waste of $$.The marketing climate has been moving in this direction for many years. From the dawn of radio and television, consumer choice has increased and marketers have been forced to continually refine their... > 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
Here at WordStream, I am not only a Customer Success Specialist, but I am also a Premier Consultant. As a Premier Consultant I meet with clients every two to four weeks to discuss the state of their account and what they should be doing to improve it. On these calls we can really dig into what our advertisers need to be doing to improve their account, whether that’s setting up brand new remarketing campaigns, digging into how to improve quality score, or helping to analyze advanced metrics in Google Analytics.
Part of my usual process when I get a brand new Premier Consulting client is to first run through a checklist of items to determine what shape the account is in and what areas we can target to work on first together. I focus on the basic structural aspects in an account first, and t... > Read more
Banner ads are largely seen these days as fossils from the internet’s dinosaur period, back when blinking text was cool and Angelfire sites were all the rage.Such online billboard ads have long been considered deceased, dead, and buried, with few mourners grieving the demise of web banner ads. However, a new breed of banner ad has evolved and is on the rise thanks to Google, and they’re hungry for blood (or clicks.
Whichever is easier).Today we’re looking at the horrific past of banner ads, their new and improved counterpart, and how you can make banner ads work for you!Everyone’s (Least) Favorite Ad: Why Most Banner Ads Stink Just like the Iraq War, slavery, and parachute pants, banner ads are an ugly part of our history. They’ve generally been seen as a public nuisance and... > Read more