Larry Kim Speaking at 2013 Interactivity Digital Conference

Guess what WordStream readers?Our own Larry Kim is scheduled to speak at the upcoming 2013 Interactivity Digital Conference in South Beach, Florida! Larry’s session, “Reeling Customers in with Remarketing,” will cover the advantages of remarketing and top techniques for conducting a stellar remarking campaign.

(Check out the full agenda here.)The Interactivity Digital Conference 2013 runs through May 15 & 16, hosted at The James Royal Palm luxury hotel in downtown South Beach, Florida. The conference features 14 sessions with over 25 industry-leading speakers covering a range of marketing topics, such as SEO, analytics, PPC, email marketing, social media, and more.Tickets are on sale now, and for a limited time, WordStream readers get a special discount – just use Discount Code... > Read more

April 17, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

How to Create the Best Landing Pages for Your Google AdWords Account

Creating Quality PPC Landing PagesYou can have an SEM account with hundreds of thousands of keywords that each have fantastic click-through rates (CTR) but without quality landing pages, you will never fully optimize your CPA and never reach your true money-making potential.Landing Page Layout via UnbounceI have put together some guidelines to help you create the best PPC landing pages for your AdWords account.

New! Try WordStream's FREE Landing Page Grader1. Establish your goals.The first step in creating quality landing pages is to establish your marketing goals to decide what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want sales, form fills, mailing list registrations, sign ups, etc.?Once you have established what you are trying to accomplish with your campaigns and ad-groups, do some competit... > Read more

April 17, 2013     |   Written by: Ben Cohen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 25

7 Ways to Use Facebook for Marketing

Facebook continues to be the reigning champ of social media sites, as the #1 spot where friends connect and share online. More than just a meeting place for friends, Facebook has grown into a venue for businesses to market themselves through interaction with customers and self-promotion.In this post we will be looking at seven ways you can use Facebook for marketing.

Whether you’re a big corporation or a small local biz, Facebook is a powerful marketing tool – it’s a great space to keep customers informed, develop brand identity, and broaden your reach.1. Making the Most of Your Facebook Business PageA Facebook page is a great free marketing tool for businesses. These pages let businesses identify themselves – not just through listing product offerings and services, but also by shar... > Read more

April 15, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 45

Google Caves on Ad Group–Level Mobile Bids

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

April 12, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

What PPC Account Managers Say They Do vs. What They Really Do

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

April 11, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

What's the Best Ad Position in PPC? (Hint: Not Always #1)

#1 Is the Best Ad Position! … Or Is It?A common assumption about paid search is that position #1 is the ultimate goal. Advertisers clamber over each other to ensure their ads make it into the top position, because they think that’s what’s necessary to be successful for their campaigns.However, I’d like to go on the record and make a bold statement: Position #1 isn’t always going to be the best ad position for your business.

Yes, while position #1 certainly can’t hurt from an impression/visibility standpoint, it might not be the optimal position from a conversion/ROI standpoint. Google’s bid auction ensures that the higher you bid, the more likely you are to appear in a higher position. (Notice I said more likely, not guaranteed – the Quality Score system offers discounts fo... > Read more

April 10, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Bid Adjustments: How Do They Work? The Math Behind Combined Bid Adjustments

Google’s Enhanced Campaigns are here, and with them came new bid adjustments. While they may seem straightforward at first, bid adjustments can get a bit tricky when they are applied together. For example let’s say you have three bid adjustments set at -60%, +20%, +30%. Google combines those to reach an overall adjustment of -38%.

What’s the math behind how Google comes up with that final adjustment? Is it a miracle?Google does provide a calculator that allows you to select your adjustments from a drop-down menu to see how they are applied together, as shown below (click the image to enlarge):But being a PPC nerd, I wanted to understand the math myself. Let’s break it down.One Bid AdjustmentWhen one bid adjustment is set, that’s the amount the bid will be adjusted when the condit... > Read more

April 09, 2013     |   Written by: Phil Kowalski   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 6

Bing Says AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Not in Customer's Best Interest

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

April 05, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Don’t Read the Comments: 10 Logical Fallacies in the Comment Stream

There’s a brilliant Twitter feed called @AvoidComments whose sole purpose is to remind us not to read comments on the Internet:This is excellent advice when it comes to newsy sites like Salon, which seems to be where repressed rage goes to die seethe indefinitely. And even Justin Bieber knows not to read the comments on YouTube: “I don't read YouTube comments because those can get you sad.

”Seriously though. I have a love-hate relationship with comment streams. The quality can vary so widely and it usually depends on what kind of atmosphere and community the blog owners cultivate. I love sites with upvoting systems that allow the best comments to rise to the top and which encourage regular commenting and conversation – see SEOmoz, Reddit, and XOJane, where I’ve lost hours of my li... > Read more

April 04, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 31

Mobile Ad Format Pros and Cons: Where to Invest a Limited Ad Budget

As new digital ad formats surface in the industry, advertisers must adapt to the trends and evaluate new media channels to work into their budgets. The biggest issue with this is, what if there is no increase in budget quarter over quarter, year over year? Is there a way to still capture profitable traffic without breaking the bank?Mobile ads already have a handful of ad formats that can be tested out, but can they be optimized? How will mobile search ads perform over mobile display ads? Mobile in-app ad inventory is widely available, but will they work for your audience? How will mobile run video ad networks? How will an offer wall perform compared to an in-app banner ad?With so many mobile ad options to choose from, this blog post will focus on which mobile ad formats are best used for l... > Read more

April 03, 2013     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Dynamic Remarketing Ads: The Future of Google Remarketing

Google’s new dynamic remarketing feature – currently in beta – is hands down the best release from Google I’ve seen in a long time. As far as I’m concerned, this will be a MUST DO for all e-commerce websites that are advertising with Google.I’ve recently had the opportunity to try out the new dynamic remarketing ads, and in this post, I’ll explain how they work, why they’re better than traditional remarketing, and why you should care.

Google Remarketing: The Old WayFor any e-commerce website, it is becoming more and more important to have a Google Merchant Account set up. Merchant accounts are becoming extremely valuable within AdWords, as they feed your PLAs (Product Listing Ads, soon to be replaced with Google Shopping Campaigns), Product Extensions, and now your remarketi... > Read more

April 01, 2013     |   Written by: Tony Testaverde   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 33

As March Goes Out Like a Lamb, Let's Review WordStream’s Best of the Month

So, I’ve had a stressful couple of weeks, and we’ve entered the eye twitching stage of stress. It feels kind of like this:But it probably doesn't look like I'm trying to wink badly ... right? Guys?Anyway. Today marks the last weekday in March, which means it’s time to review our top 10 blog posts of the month.

ICYMT (In case you missed them), check out the awesome:Dear eBay, Your Ads Don't Work Because They Suck – Far and away our most popular post this month – this year, actually! – in which Larry takes eBay to task for saying paid search doesn’t work, when eBay has always been the laughing stock of the PPC community.How Google Makes Money from Mobile – This infographic illustrates Google’s mobile play in terms of apps, advertising, devices and content – and we’re ju... > Read more

March 29, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 4

The Mystery of Quality Score

Quality score can be confusing, there’s no doubt about it. Many different factors can affect it, and it can be difficult to determine how to influence it. It’s also in a state of constant evolution, so every time you think you have it down pat, think again. There’s no need to pull your hair out though – I am going to show you what you need to focus on to start seeing more 10’s in your account!(More: Revisiting the Economics of Quality Score: Why QS Is Up to 200% More Valuable in 2013)Google defines its Quality Score using the following components:Past click-through rate (CTR) of a keywordPast CTR of a display URLAccount history (overall CTR for ads and keywords)Landing page qualityRelevance of keywords to adsRelevance of keywords to search queriesGeographic performancePerformance... > Read more

March 29, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Revisiting the Economics of Google Quality Score: Why QS Is Up to 200% More Valuable in 2013

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

March 26, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 10

The PPC Toolbox, Part 2: Competitive Research, Landing Page Creation, & Other Helpful Tools

Yesterday, I shared a number of different PPC tools that will help with building and tracking performance in your account. This time around, I have a few new tools and sites that will help you check some performance statistics of your competition and see how you compare to them. I am also sharing a few tools that I have found myself needing quite a bit when managing my accounts and working with various clients.

PPC Competitor AnalysisSpyFu: SpyFu allows you to do in-depth research on competitors and see what keywords they are bidding on, as well as ad history, average position, and potential daily spend ranges. Whether you want to do in-depth research on a specific competitor or to see everyone that’s bidding on your top keywords, SpyFu lets you do it all. It offers a free version which a... > Read more

March 26, 2013     |   Written by: Randi Lucius   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

The PPC Toolbox, Part 1: Tracking, Bulk Editing, and Keyword Expansion

Like any good carpenter, as a PPC manager you need to have a number of tools available to you in order to get the job done and done right. Through the years, I have come to find a number of different PPC tools to help in a variety of different areas, from competitor analysis to setting up conversion and analytics tracking.

Here are some of my favorites!PPC Tools for Setting Up Analytfics and Conversion TrackingGoogle Analytics URL Builder: One of the most time exhausting tasks is setting up Bing in order to properly track it in Analytics – you have to go in and add the special coding to the ad (or even keyword) destination URLs. Google offers a simple tool that allows you to fill in a few fields and then spits out a full URL with Analytics codes added! Just change the destination URL to ... > Read more

March 25, 2013     |   Written by: Randi Lucius   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

AdWords' Trick to Click Policy: Can You Use the Words 'Click Here' in Display Ads?

Recently I had a heated argument with one of our clients about using the word “click” in Google AdWords display banner ads. There are many questions about inappropriate language on Google AdWords, especially for banner or flash ads. Most advertisers take unnecessary precautions because they are worried that the design will be disapproved by the Google Policy Team.

Google prohibits advertisers from using the word “click” or “click here” as a call to action in text ads, which is clearly stated on the Google Policy Page under “Inappropriate language”:The words “click” or “click here” could be easily replaced in these text ads by the words follow, see, check, find etc.However, as a Paid Search Strategist at WordStream, I receive a lot of questions when it comes to a ban... > Read more

March 20, 2013     |   Written by: Sergey Rusak   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Five Reasons to Bid on Branded Terms in PPC

 Anyone who manages a PPC account is perpetually on the lookout for a “secret weapon” to boost their performance. As a Customer Success Rep at WordStream, I have consulted for (what feels like) almost every type of account imaginable. Usually, my suggestions differ based on each individual client, but there is one foolproof recommendation that benefits just about everyone: bid on your branded terms.

OK, I know it sounds crazy. You’re probably thinking, why bother spending money on branded terms that are already triggering organic listings? (That’s what eBay recently decided, but we’re not sure their SEM managers are quite up to snuff...) Or you may be worried that paid search ads will cannibalize your organic traffic. However, Google has conducted studies that show this isn... > Read more

March 19, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 11

Content Marketing vs. PR: What's the Difference?

 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

March 18, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 24

Dear eBay, Your Ads Don't Work Because They Suck

 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

March 13, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 68

Why Your Click-Through Rates Suck

“Awesome! I have 300,000 impressions …. why is my CTR so low?”OK, the title of this post is a little harsh, but the importance of click-through rates to CPC campaigns has been well documented. So take a second and look at your account. Do you see that you have thousands of impressions and a few clicks with great conversion rates? I can assure you that you are not alone.

There are a few things you can do that can help you turn that frown upside down. :DSeparate Search vs. DisplayThe first thing I always look for when diagnosing why a campaign has a low CTR is network targeting. It is always a best practice to separate your campaigns by network. That means having one campaign set to search (and search partners) while having another set to target only display. I won’t go into detail o... > Read more

March 13, 2013     |   Written by: Ben Cohen   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

Five Big Ongoing/Upcoming Shifts in Paid Search for 2013

 As a paid search account manager, you try to stay as ahead of the curve as much as possible. For full-time account managers, the fast-paced environment of paid search can be exciting, but for many people it can be exhausting trying to keep up. That being said, I wanted to share with you what I believe are five big upcoming changes in paid search in the upcoming year.

Shopping FeedsGoogle Shopping, originally known as Froogle, has taken on many updates since its inception in 2002, when Google began allowing e-commerce advertisers to link their database of inventory in an online marketplace alongside other advertisers. Froogle’s rise was swift as it was the first major comparison shopping network to offer placement for free. Froogle’s growth continued alongside Google AdWords until ... > Read more

March 12, 2013     |   Written by: Nick Weidman   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Keep it Simple, Stupid Part 2: Simplifying PPC Management for Multiple Accounts

Recently Randi talked about the importance of keeping your landing pages clean and simple. She opened with a quote from her geometry teacher.I guess everyone had a high school teacher whose favorite motto was KISS, because one day in sophomore biology Mr. Burton stopped the class after not getting the answer he wanted from five consecutive students and decided to lecture us on keeping it simple.

Now, I don’t really remember what we spoke about that day—or much biology for that matter—but after he repeatedly drilled “Keep it simple (stupid)” into our heads, it has remained a staple in all aspects of everything I do—especially paid search.Simplifying Day-to-Day PPC Task ManagementThe first thing I do every day is prioritize my task list. Whether you’re managing multiple account... > Read more

March 11, 2013     |   Written by: Rich Griffin   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 8

#Bashtag: Avoiding User Outcry in Social Media

It wasn’t the first corporate blunder in social media, but it was one of the scariest (or funniest, depending on how you look at it). In January of 2012, McDonalds created the Twitter hashtag #McDStories, inviting followers to “meet some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day.

”Rather than embracing the positive personal stories the restaurant was trying to promote, Twitter users came up with their own stories—and they weren’t so nice.While social media gives your company the chance to promote itself, as well as an outlet to give customers extra information, the downside is that users can easily turn against you like the situation with this McDonalds “bashtag.”With some self-awareness and a willingness to care about your followers ra... > Read more

March 08, 2013     |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 3

Google for Mobile: How Google Makes Money from Mobile

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

March 06, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Infographics   |   Comments: 17

3 Reasons Your Keyword Has a Low Quality Score

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first launched the Google search engine in January of 1996, no one, including the creators, realized the gold mine that they had just designed. By May 2011, Google had surpassed 1 billion unique visitors per month and had expanded to much more than just a search engine.

Now with Google+, Gmail, Maps, Drive, Chrome, Shopping, News, YouTube and perhaps a self-operating automobile in the near future, Google has revolutionized the internet and, whether we like it or not, our lives as well.Despite of the impact that Google has had on both our professional and personal lives, operating and understanding their advertising system can be a frustrating and tiresome process. As a Customer Success Specialist here at WordStream I get all sorts of questions; however the m... > Read more

March 05, 2013     |   Written by: Drew Roy   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 12

Be Certifiably Awesome at Paid Search – Tips on Getting AdWords Certified

 I swore I’d never study for anything ever again once I graduated college. That was until I started a career working in paid search. Until I got into the field, I had no idea what paid search even was. And I certainly didn’t think it was anything I’d ever understand. What is PPC? What is AdWords? I refuse to learn!However, being in a particular field requires expertise, of which I had none.

My only option was to shake off the cobwebs and put my studying hat back on. But where to start? Sure, I could do some research on my own, maybe pick up a pointer here or there. That didn’t seem sufficient enough, especially if I was planning to make a career in this field. I thought that I would need a source of substantial information, and where better to turn to than Google AdWords itsel... > Read more

March 04, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

AdWords Targets Mobile App Market with New Mobile App Promotion Ad Format

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

March 01, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 9

February's Greatest Hits: WordStream's Best of the Month

 It’s that time again! Meaning, the rent is due. Also, February is over, Daylight Saving Time and Spring at large approacheth. As we bid Feb adieu, do take a look at our very best blog posts of the month:AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: Google Announces Big Changes to Mobile Ad Campaign Management – Learn all about the AdWords’ new Enhanced Campaigns, probably the single biggest change to AdWords in the past five years.

This shift will completely change the way you do mobile advertising – making it much easier for smaller advertisers.New Google AdWords Offer Extensions Integrate Discount Offers with Search – Google has also launched a new ad extension type that allows you to place special offers in your text ads. This post explains how they make ROI more measurable and why they... > Read more

March 01, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Stop Unsubscribers in their Tracks: A Lesson from Fab

Recently I came across a creative and smart marketing strategy that I thought I'd share with you, the wonderful WordStream community. Preventing newsletter followers from unsubscribing is a goal of many marketers. The Fab marketing team has taken an innovative approach to combating unsubscribers, and today we'll be taking a look at their unique technique.

Fab is a company that specializes in design-oriented retail. The Fab website exists as a marketplace for finding unique art, jewelry, cookware, furniture, etc. They sell some pretty awesome items, and their descriptions are fun as well. Take the product below as an example: "Being human is way overrated. We’re all soft and squishy, we don’t have enough feathers or horns, and we definitely don’t roar as loud as we should. But all... > Read more

February 28, 2013     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 2
 
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