Call Metrics: How to Measure the Quality of Your Call-In Leads

As you know, if you’re a customer or a regular reader of the WordStream blog, we’ve recently added call tracking features to our PPC management software. Call tracking is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to accurate measurement of return on ad spend, since many prospects and customers choose to pick up the phone and call your business when they see your PPC ads, rather than visiting your landing page and filling out a form.

If you’re not using call tracking software, you won’t know to attribute those leads to your PPC campaigns, and you’ll underestimate your ROI. You also won’t know which keywords and ads are driving calls and which aren’t.I recently had the opportunity to interview Chen Zhao, an expert on call tracking data and analytics, and ask her some question... > Read more

September 16, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Analytics   |   Comments: 0

9 Reasons Why LinkedIn Friendship Is the Mightiest of Magics

Take it from My Little Pony – friendship is magic! And guess what? You can harness that magic and wield the mighty power of friendship on LinkedIn to become a social media socialite! You can become a unicorn in a sea of donkeys.Most people on LinkedIn tend to play it safe when it comes to adding connections.

While sites like Twitter openly advocate adding strangers, most LinkedIn users hesitate to add someone to their network that they haven’t at least met in some vague capacity.However, loosening up the definition of “friendship” can have some serious benefits, especially on LinkedIn. Today we’re discussing how connection-bingeing can greatly improve your LinkedIn street cred. So forget about stranger danger; go ahead add those randos!     Advantages of Binge... > Read more

September 15, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 3

Google Extends Product Listing Ads to the Google Search Network

Good news for advertisers using Shopping Campaigns: Google is now allowing you to opt into displaying your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on retail and e-commerce search partner sites.Displaying your shopping campaign ads across Google's search partners network helps you reach motivated consumers outside of the google.

com and Google Shopping environments.Where Will Your PLAs Appear?Google said the network includes "a small set of retail and commerce publishers." The example they used in their announcement was Walmart; in this case, an advertiser selling tailgate grills could have their ads trigger on the Walmart site when someone searches for a tailgating grill.It begs the obvious question: doesn't this potentially take sales away from the partner sites?Like any and everything Google does, thi... > Read more

September 12, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Teach Before You Sell with Educational Lead Generation Offers

Does this situation sound familiar?Your AdWords campaign is live, but it is as effective at driving sales as Kanye West is at letting people finish award acceptance speeches.Users type in your keywords and click the ads, but when they are taken to your landing page they don’t convert. It’s not a matter of having a product or service that people want – you have customers who have purchased offline and rave about your solution.

However, when you try to advertise your product or service via AdWords the orders dry up.Instead of the sales you imagined, you are now paying for users to view the landing page and leave. You have a poor conversion rate, an expensive cost per acquisition and your user’s time on site is minimal. You adjust your keywords, put new images on your landing page, an... > Read more

September 12, 2014     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Voice of the Customer: The Secret Weapon For Great Landing Page Copy

Most digital marketers agree that landing pages can make or break any campaign, be it PPC, social media, email, or display ads. Once you get people to click, the landing page has to convince your visitor to complete the conversion.To assist in the goal of landing page success, a number of software platforms exist to help marketers test landing page elements.

Visuals, calls-to-action (CTAs), layouts, offers, buttons, and many more elements can be tested. Software can help you conduct A/B tests and create new landing pages on the fly. Just a tweak with the placement of a key visual element might lead to a significant increase in landing page performance.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the actual words on the landing page, marketers tend to rush the process, going with a combination of... > Read more

September 11, 2014     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 6

Comedy in Content Marketing: To Be Memorable, Make ‘Em Laugh

Do you want your content to be unforgettable? Do you want parents to pass on your blog posts to their children, and your white papers to their grandchildren? Of course you do! And the solution is simple – make your content hilariously, milk-exploding-from-nostrils funny. All right, maybe your creations won’t earn a place in the family hope chest, but a touch of comedy will greatly improve any content piece’s shelf life.

 News bloggers can write as many as six articles a day, and while those articles may generate tons of views, they tend to go in one ear and out the other. Most readers won’t remember that article next week, never mind who wrote it.The truth is, if you want to be memorable, you need to be funny. You gotta make ‘em laugh! A Spoonful of Comedy Makes Dry Cont... > Read more

September 10, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 2

How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile as a Recent College Grad

It has been about four months since the class of 2014 received their congratulatory ceremonies in what is often considered as a milestone in their lives. It is also a time where countless seniors are entering their final year of eternal sunshine.The reality of the situation is that many students leave college with a naïve conception of what post-graduate life will be like.

This can be attributed to their minimal work experience and the abundance of not-so-friendly advice regarding how royally screwed they are in finding work. (Oh, and WordStream is hiring, by the way.)What many students don’t realize is that whether you’re currently in school or were recently tossed into the job market, networking is still one of the most important techniques you will need to master in order to maximi... > Read more

September 09, 2014     |   Written by: Brett McHale   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 12

New Google AdWords Callout Extensions How-To: Highlight Offers in Your Ads

Offers can be an incredibly effective conversion tool, and within the next few weeks, all Google AdWords advertisers will be able to highlight them in their search ads. Google is rolling out a new ad extension called Callouts that enables you to add more text to your ad to spotlight free shipping, discounts, price matching and more.

Callout extensions are similar to sitelinks, but without the links. Google recommends that advertisers use callout extensions to draw attention to unique selling points and important product details and benefits. You can feature up to four callouts in your ad, each limited to 25 characters each, and must have at least two callouts for them to display.Callout extensions can be used with other ad formats, like sitelinks, and are created, scheduled and managed with... > Read more

September 08, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

PPC Power Users Share Their Best Keyword Strategies [Webinar]

Today’s post is by Brad Geddes, founder of Certified Knowledge and well-known expert and speaker in SEO, PPC, social, display, and affiliate marketing. Learn more about Brad here.How important is keyword strategy to your PPC campaigns?It’s crucial! Keywords are the basis of any campaign, but use them to their full potential and they become a powerful weapon in your search marketing arsenal.

Keyword strategy drives the success of your campaign and affects impression volume, Quality Score and the cost you'll pay for each click. If there's only one place you can afford to focus your efforts, it's here.Next week, on Tuesday, September 9, three PPC power users – Jaclyn Jordan, an experienced PPC account manager from WordStream, competitive intelligence expert Mike Roberts from SpyFu, and ... > Read more

September 05, 2014     |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Meet the WordStream Team at PubCon Las Vegas (and Save 20%)!

When you think of Vegas, images of smoky casinos, glitzed-up showgirls and wild pool parties probably come to mind, not necessarily paid search. However, come October, the Las Vegas Convention Center will actually be the home base for one of the biggest, most popular digital marketing conferences in the world, PubCon.

Larry Kim and I will both be presenting at this year’s conference and we would love for you to join us!If the prospect of a “The Hangover”-style business trip with Larry Kim hasn’t won you over already, let me entice you with the lustrous PubCon line-up. The event kicks off on October 6 with the exclusive, Masters Group Training program, where participants can focus on one of three tracks (SEO, Social Media Marketing or Google and Facebook Advertising) and get to do i... > Read more

September 04, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Perfect Timing: The Very Best Time to Send Email Newsletters

Timing is everything – right? It may not be everything, but it certainly matters, especially when it comes to getting subscribers to notice and open your emails.So when is the best time to send newsletter emails? We have some advice and we’re eager to share.Best Email Send Time: General AdviceThese general email send time tips are widely accepted by the email marketing community.

They are great when you’re starting off, but be sure to read on and see why they won’t always work.Daytime vs. Nighttime. While this one may be obvious, it’s usually better to send out your email campaigns during the daytime. You know, when people are awake. Not asleep.Mad Mondays. The general consensus is that should avoid sending out email blasts on Mondays. Why? People are already bummed out about the... > Read more

September 04, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 4

Storytelling in Content Marketing: What It Is, What It Isn’t, & How to Do it Right

I recently came across this video, in which renowned Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister tackles the stubbornly enduring buzzword “storytelling.” In refreshingly candid and colorful language (some of which is NSFW, by the way), Sagmeister dismisses those who claim to be storytellers, because the majority of people who apply this label to their work simply aren’t storytellers.

Before we go any further, watch the video. It’s only two minutes long. Go ahead, I’ll wait.WARNING: Again, this video contains some NSFW language. If you’re in the office, wear headphones.Although Sagmeister is referring to the concept of the self-styled storyteller within the context of design, his remarks are equally applicable to content marketing. We keep hearing about the importance of storytel... > Read more

September 03, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 1

Google Gives AdWords MCC Users the Gift of Consolidated Billing

Google AdWords My Client Center (MCC) users have one more accounts management feature to love. Over the weekend, Google announced the rollout of AdWords Consolidated Billing, enabling agencies to combine multiple account invoices into a single one.Consolidated billing will also allow account managers to create, fund and manage AdWords budgets for new or existing accounts in the interface, without having to contact support.

New invoice structuring options enable you to combine everything in one invoice, or create multiple invoices based on segmentation by brand, location, division, etc.Another improvement is the addition of email delivery for invoices. Users can now choose to have invoices emailed, or download them at the beginning of the month. Previously, download and regular mail were th... > Read more

September 02, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

13 Ways to Beat the Facebook Algorithm

Over the past year, Facebook has been rolling out algorithm updates that have resulted in decreased visibility for business’s organic page posts – in March, it looked like organic reach on Facebook was rapidly approaching zero.So how do you beat the odds? In my article today, I'll cover 12 tactics to beat the Facebook algorithm and help you get your fan engagement back!1.

Share Great ContentThe old adage remains true - (quality) content is king. (Sorry about the cliché, Elisa.) If you post awesome content, your chances of being liked and shared increases, boosting your presence in Facebook news feeds. Many of Facebook’s algorithm tweaks are aimed at weeding out what Facebook deems “low quality content,” like memes. For greater reach, opt instead for quality content from news sit... > Read more

September 02, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 11

WordStream’s Best of the Month: August

Summer is fast approaching its end. Pumpkin-flavored drinks and snacks have already begun to appear in coffee shops and liquor stores across the country, and before long, everyone will be sporting tasteful sweater/scarf combos and taking leisurely walks through the beautiful autumnal foliage of local parks.

Pretty soon, there will be nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. Just as Don Henley promised in his 1984 hit single “Boys of Summer,” our love for you will still be strong after the posts of summer have gone. However, contrary to Mr. Henley’s assertions, we can indeed look back. Here’s a round-up of the most popular posts from the WordStream blog in August.And yes, in case you were wondering, I am listening to Don Henley as I write this post.1. RIP Exact and Phrase Match in Ad... > Read more

August 29, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

WordStream Call Tracking vs. AdWords Call Extensions & Call Forwarding

WordStream recently launched a call tracking initiative and naturally we have been asked tons of questions about how our new service offering compares to Google AdWords’ existing Call Extensions and Call Forwarding features. (These services are different from Google’s new Website Call Conversions feature; learn more about that here.

) It is easy to be confused since all these offerings focus on tracking potential leads, so it is important to understand the differences and benefits of each service.First, let’s break down what each of these service offerings do and how they work.WordStream Call TrackingWordStream Call Tracking allows you to see through the software which campaigns, ad groups, ads, match types and keywords are driving leads to call your business. How it works is:Customer... > Read more

August 29, 2014     |   Written by: Francine Rodriguez   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Review: New Twitter Analytics Serves Up Sweet Tweet Data

Calling all tweeters – Twitter’s new and improved analytics is a major upgrade that provides rich Twitter data you could only dream about before. And as of yesterday, it's available to everyone, not just advertisers!How to Access Twitter AnalyticsTwitter analytics hasn't been getting a ton of attention, likely due to the fact that the analytics were hidden away within the ad platform.

Now you can find this new analytics data by visiting https://analytics.twitter.com/. Then prepare to be amazed.New & Improved Twitter Web Analytics: Sweet Tweet Data!Upon first logging into the new Twitter analytics, you’ll feel like a fat kid at an ice cream factory. Sorry, I mean big boned kid in an ice cream factory. We can only hope you aren’t lactose intolerant, because it’s time to gorge.T... > Read more

August 28, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 1

The State of Mobile PPC: Past, Present, and Future [Data]

My fellow paid search advertisers, our world is always changing. It seems like we can’t go a month without a new ground-shaking announcement in this industry. Whether it’s policy changes, sitelink changes, changes to what impacts your Quality Score, new demographic targeting options – the paid search environment never sits still.

This is particularly true for advertisers who value the mobile market. The mobile landscape is growing and changing rapidly and it has real consequences for advertisers.Mobile ReachIt’s not news that it seems like everyone has a smartphone these days. In 2013, smartphone users officially became the majority in the United States:US Mobile PenetrationSource: Google: Our Mobile PlanetAs these devices become better and more affordable, and their networks become... > Read more

August 27, 2014     |   Written by: Mark Irvine   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Bing Follows Google's Lead with Close Variant Matching

Not two weeks ago, Google effectively killed off the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords – pissing a lot of paid search managers off in the process – and now, Bing is following suit.Bing Ads is testing the inclusion of close variants in a portion of US exact match queries, according to an announcement on the Bing Ads blog.

Unlike Google, which removed the option to turn close variant in exact match off, Bing Ads will still give advertisers the ability to opt out of it (at least for the time being).If Bing moves this beyond testing and implements close variant in exact match across the board, it will affect all Bing advertisers, whereas Google's recent forced migration affected only about 3% of AdWords advertisers. Google took away the ability for advertisers to opt out, but... > Read more

August 26, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

How to Do a Webinar Your Audience Will Love

Good webinars can be a little like independent movies – they leave you feeling wonderful, inspired, and ready to take on the world. Bad webinars, however, are more like Michael Bay movies – after two hours, you begin to wonder how somebody could have possibly been paid to make something so unapologetically terrible.

If you’ve ever wondered how to do a webinar that people will actually want to watch, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s post, we’re going to look at whether you should even be planning a webinar, a checklist of webinar best practices, and we’ll also learn some valuable lessons from two of WordStream’s seasoned webinar pros along the way.Should You Even Produce a Webinar?Believe it or not, this is a question that most marketers fail to ask before diving he... > Read more

August 26, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 6

Stop Wasting Time With Low CTR Strategies

Paid search is one of the most effective means for businesses to gain new customers. However, the PPC playing field has changed dramatically in recent years, and strategies that might have been effective in the past simply no longer cut it.In this post, I’m going to show you why you should stop wasting time with low click-through rate PPC strategies or bidding to a particular position, and what you can do to improve the ROI of your paid search campaigns.

What is a ‘Low CTR Strategy’?Before we go any further, I’ll explain what I mean by “low CTR strategies.”There are two main types of low CTR paid search strategies. The first is the type of campaign in which you target broader keywords within your market. These keywords include both informational and navigational queries, as well... > Read more

August 25, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

WordStream Scores a Spot on the Inc. 5000!

For the second year in a row, WordStream is listed on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in America. We're incredibly proud of this honor, which speaks to the importance of successful, measurable PPC advertising for businesses across the country. This year, WordStream ranked #673 on Inc.

's annual list of the 5000 fastest-growing, privately held U.S. companies. And, as noted by BostInno, we're the 6th fastest-growing company in Massachusetts.Paid search is the advertising channel of choice for an increasing number of businesses, with advertisers spending 25% more on PPC this year over last. Our core purpose of bringing the power of search marketing to businesses of all sizes – with free grading tools for AdWords accounts and landing pages and now our free learning resourc... > Read more

August 22, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 4

Why Recent College Grads Should Consider a Career in PPC

How I Stumbled Into PPCIt was the first day of my Spring semester internship at one of the big advertising agencies here in Boston. In the application process I was asked to specify my top three choices of departments in which I’d like to work. My choices? Account Management, New Business, and Content Marketing.

The listings were handed out to the 40 interns, and most people sighed a breath of relief when they found out they were granted one of their top three choices. I breathed a sigh of anxiety when I saw the department in which I was placed. Yes, you guessed it! – Search Marketing. I had only briefly learned about SEO and SEM in a marketing class at Suffolk University. I barely knew the difference between organic and paid search results.Fast forward about 5 months, and I began to re... > Read more

August 21, 2014     |   Written by: Helen Edwards   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Google Search & YouTube App Promotion Ads Launch Globally

As of today, Google’s app promotion ads, first launched on the Display Network in June, are now available across the Google Search and YouTube networks.It’s great news for app promoters, particularly those interested in the YouTube network, where users are 2.2x more likely to download apps. Promoting an app on YouTube is as simple as linking the app’s ID to an active TrueView campaign.

TrueView Mobile App Promotion AdsOn YouTube, the app promotion ads are an enhancement to TrueView ads and send users directly to the appropriate app store to download. You can choose an ad format optimized for app promotion that displays the app name, icon, price and ratings next to the video ad and in the ad preview.Advertisers can target YouTube audience members based on whether they've viewed content... > Read more

August 20, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

AdWords Now Lets You Measure Website Call Conversions: Learn More

You work hard to optimize your ads and either get consumers to your website or get them to call your business directly. But how can you tell when the person who calls your business did so as the result of your AdWords ads? If the number on your website and in your ads is always the same, you have no way of knowing.

Now you can measure phone calls that are triggered by your ads in AdWords. Google has just announced the launch of website call conversions, a dynamic forwarding number insertion feature that enables the measurement of calls from a website visitor who landed on the site as a result of an AdWords ad click. This is similar but not identical to WordStream’s own AdWords call tracking software (more on that later).The ability to track where your calls are coming from and how your PP... > Read more

August 19, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

26 Free Online Marketing Courses: Learn to be a Marketing Mastermind

We live in a wondrous age my friends. Knowledge and learning can be obtained with a few clicks of the mouse, opening education and intellectual stimulation to anyone with a scholarly spirit.Below is a list of our favorite online marketing courses, most of which are free or very nearly free. Let the learning begin!WordStream’s PPC UniversityPPC University.

Our new PPC University is an awesome one-stop shop for learning all the ins and outs of PPC. With easy-to-browse lessons for beginners and advanced PPC users, there’s something for everyone at the grand old PPC University. In addition, PPC 101 is available as a free marketing course download. Toga, toga, toga!Google’s Online Marketing ChallengeGoogle Online Marketing Challenge. Is there a better source to learn about online marketin... > Read more

August 19, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 7

5 Mobile Ad Strategies You Need To Be Using

If you had the chance to read my recent post on why it’s so easy to fail at mobile advertising, then you’ll remember that we discovered:Mobile search volumes have been growing exponentially the past few years.Mobile CTR drops off 45% faster in lower positions than desktop or tablet.Search CPCs have been rising dramatically for mobile over the past 12 months.

The mobile impression share penalty is more dramatic that its desktop counterparts.These trends make the mobile PPC market appreciably harder to control. Advertisers without a clear mobile strategy are almost certain to fail. So what can you do to beat the mobile curse? Our Client Success reps here at Wordstream and our loyal blog followers shared their best tips:#1: Use Mobile Bid Adjustments to Control What You Pay for on MobileMo... > Read more

August 18, 2014     |   Written by: Mark Irvine   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

RIP Exact Match and Phrase Match in AdWords!

Holy smokes! Google has today effectively killed off both the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords!While the keyword match types will still exist, starting in September, AdWords is redefining the definition of how keywords set to phrase and exact keyword match type will trigger search ads by applying close variant keyword matching – meaning your keywords will also trigger for misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents, acronyms and abbreviations of the keywords that you specify.

Close variant keyword match was introduced in 2012, and was already the default option when using exact match and phrase match – however previously you could opt out of it. Going forward, this is no longer the case. Here’s everything you need to know about this keyword match type shake-... > Read more

August 15, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 40

25 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

Ask a marketer or business owner what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll probably tell you “more customers.” What often comes after customers on a business’ wish list? More traffic to their site. There are many ways you can increase traffic on your website, and in today’s post, we’re going to look at some of them.

1. AdvertiseThis one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, social media advertising and display advertising are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before y... > Read more

August 14, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 23

The 7 Best Questions & Answers from my Reddit SEO AMA (Ask Me Anything)

A few weeks back, I took part in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) in the Big SEO community on Reddit.I love participating in AMAs – they’re a great chance to see what’s really on people’s minds right now and which issues are causing the industry grief. Each one is also an opportunity to connect with marketers of all experience levels, across a range of industries and in different types of roles.

I definitely learn a ton every time I do one!I did an AMA on Inbound.org back in April and put together a list of the top PPC questions I was asked. This time, I wanted to share some of the super smart SEO questions the Reddit group had for me, along with my answers. Enjoy! (Also check out our Mega Collection of SEO Expert Advice from other Reddit SEO AMAs.)1. What’s Your Keyword Research Secret?... > Read more

August 13, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 3
 
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