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
We’re very happy to announce that we made the short list of finalists in the 2013 MITX Innovation Awards! Last year, our AdWords Performance Grader won the award for the “Best Customer Engagement Driver” category. This year, the 20-Minute PPC Work Week is among the finalists for “Best B2B Innovation”:Otherwise known as “innovative online tools that make employees whistle while they work” (well, not literally).
In all reality, innovative technologies have made it easier for the business to do business, making our work lives easier and more effective and our customers happier. This category recognizes innovative B2B web, social and mobile technologies that are fundamentally improving how organizations get it done.”The 20-Minute PPC Work Week is workflow tool inside our WordSt... > Read more
Why is Social Media Management Important?With so many different social media sites to post, share articles, and track engagement on, finding a reliable social media management tool to help streamline your social media tasks is pretty essential.Social media managing tools can help marketers save time, stay organized, and optimize their efficiency.
Today we’re looking at some of the top contenders for social media management systems. While some overlap, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. This guide should help you determine which tool is the best fit for your business.Social Media Management Tool ReviewsThe pricing design of these social tools is fairly consistent – there’s usually a set of plans ranging from the cheapest and most basic, to the more expensive and advanced. C... > 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
Dear companies that market to women: Stop trying to sell me stuff that has nothing to do with fashion by fashion-washing your ads. I hate this marketing trend! Much in the way that toy companies think little girls will only be interested if it’s pink, brands that sell everything from house paint to yogurt have decided that the only way to market products to women is via association with makeup and clothes.
It’s sexist, it’s cynical, and it just doesn’t make sense.Here are a few of the more egregious examples of this marketing trend I’ve seen in the past year.The Fage Lipstick AdMmm, creamy luxury! What a great ad for lipstick!Wait, what? This is an ad for yogurt?We don’t even need to get into the irrationality of yogurt being marketed solely to women – my husband eats 10 time... > Read more
We all know social media is a hugely valuable element of online marketing when it comes to building a customer base, search engine rankings, and brand recognition. As a major player, Twitter is one of the most important and popular social media networks frequented by users around the globe.Obtaining a high number of followers is a landmark goal of many Twitter users.
Getting those followers isn’t always easy though, which leads some innocent businesses to wander down the shady path towards the ominous castle black-hat, wherein lies the dark tactic of buying Twitter followers.With a simple swipe of a credit card, you can obtain legions of your own mindless Twitter drones! To buy or not to buy? Let’s review the reasons for and against buying Twitter followers.In this post, we'll be looki... > Read more
Whether or not it’s fair to classify WordStream as a startup, we certainly still think of ourselves that way. And one of the challenges of startup life is the rapid growth – meaning our needs often outpace our hiring.[More: 50 Things Every Content Marketer Should Know]Lately, that’s the case with content creation, so we’re looking for a few good freelance writers to help us out.
So if you love writing, Internet marketing, and extra money, we want to hear from you! Specifically, I’m looking for someone(s) who:Has hands-on experience with search marketing – WordStream is very meta in that we market about marketing, do SEO on pages about SEO, create PPC ads for our PPC software and so on. So if you’re going to write for us, you need to have experience with the world of search ma... > Read more
There is an age-old argument about structuring your account based on the match type of the keywords in each ad group. Should you add all keywords on exact, phrase, and broad (and don’t forget modified broad)? What is the right way to do it? If there are so many ways to structure, how do you choose? These are all questions that, so far, I haven’t seen definitive answers to.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to structure an account – do this, don’t do that, add this, follow this best practice, etc. But who is right?Hard evidence seems to be lacking for one view or another, but is adding all these match types ever necessary? If you have a keyword on a broad match type, why do you need phrase and exact? Aren’t you already getting enough traffic? And this is where the problem l... > Read more
Enhanced Campaigns Are Here! Wait … Am I Making More Money?When switching to Enhanced Campaigns – which will be required for all AdWords users within the next few months – I would advise all advertisers and managers to remember that any drastic changes that happen quickly and suddenly are most likely to go poorly.
While there is certainly cause for excitement surrounding the ability to control bids at a targeting level, I would implement any of these changes at a gradual pace as opposed to all at once. Every account is different, but don’t go nuts implementing a ton of geographic and device bidding all at once – you could quickly lose control of the account. Unless your account is totally upside down, I would try to roll out advanced bid changes throughout the summer at a slow pa... > Read more
Our friends at Hanapin Marketing and PPC Hero need your help!Pat East, the CEO of Hanapin Marketing, teaches a summer workshop at Indiana University that covers all aspects of Internet marketing, including a core module in PPC. Their grades are dependent on demonstrating their PPC knowledge by successfully creating and managing an AdWords account for a real business.
How You Can HelpHanapin is looking for eight U.S.-based companies to participate in this program and help out the students. The companies must be willing to make a $250 investment in PPC to help a student out – as well as to see if PPC is a good fit for their business!How to Get StartedIf you want to do your part in building the future of PPC, contact Hanapin's Director of Paid Search Jeff Allen directly (Jeff.Allen@hanapinma... > Read more
There aren’t too many benefits to being an English major type – extra zeroes on your paycheck sure ain’t one of them – but we take our kicks where we can get them, and being self-congratulating and superior when someone misinterprets something literary is one of them. So in this post, I’m going to shame some companies that totally missed the point when it came to using a book, poem or song in their advertising campaigns.
And as long as we’re clearing up misconceptions? “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” doesn’t mean “Where are you, Romeo,” it means “Why are you named Romeo?” Now you know.Brooks Brothers & The Great Gatsby: So MoneyWith Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D adaptation of The Great Gatsby opening this weekend, various Gatsby-themed advertising tie-ins are all over the p... > Read more
Back in April 2012 I wrote about how Google Alerts had pretty much stopped working for me. Recently, they clearly tweaked something, because Google Alerts are working better, as Danny Sullivan noted at Search Engine Land recently. However, they’re definitely not back up to the level they were at when I first signed up for a Google Alert years ago.
Why not? Apparently, Google only sends you new alerts under these circumstances:Google Alerts only sends you email if new articles, webpages or blog posts make it into the top ten Google News results, the top twenty Google Web Search results or top ten Google Blog Search results for your query. If the top results remain the same for a while, you won't receive email on your topic.Perhaps this reduces the processing power they have to devote to G... > Read more
How do you tap into the subconscious mind of your site visitors and make them click that call-to-action button? The moment you get a little salesy, you know they’ll run away before you even realize what happened.With customers getting smarter by the day, subtlety is the key to success. In simple words, you have to persuade them to complete your conversion goal by making them think that they want to do it, and not because you want them to.
Make your visitors achieve their goals first, before you bother them with your marketing goals.But how do you do that? Some of you have probably heard about the principles of persuasive copywriting, like scarcity, urgency, authority, consensus, consistency, reciprocation, and liking.Moving beyond the common wisdom of these persuasion tactics, here are s... > Read more
What’s your strategy for setting up your campaign budgets? One of our clients shared a case study with me about how he restructured his campaigns and budgeting strategy by combining the popular 80-20 Rule and the English soccer league system. Using this structure, he was able to improve his metrics across the board.
Let’s take a closer look at his account restructuring plan and execution to see what lessons we can learn.Background Info80-20 RuleThe 80-20 Rule (more formally named the Pareto principle) states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Our client was seeing a similar ratio of cause to effect with the performance of his account: 20% of keywords and ad groups were bringing in about 80% of impressions, clicks, and conversions.Soccer League TiersOur client a... > Read more
Guess what happened this weekend? My four-year hiring anniversary quietly passed. Yes, it’s true, as of April 27, I’ve been working at WordStream for four years. I know, right?! Happy anniversary to me.Nobody baked me a cake, so I had to draw one. (Don't feel bad, I'm actually allergic to cake. Wine's A-OK though.
#sendwine)Who else has been at WordStream four years or longer? Just three people:Larry Kim, of course! (Employee #1)Then Peter Swanston (hired on 10/23/2008) and Phil Stefou (2/24/2009) in engineering.This photo of Peter is from an event we had back in 2009! We made a Mexican feast with help from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. We also had beer, that's why he looks so happy.And here’s Phil at our recent winter event with ex-WordStreamer Cathleen Ellis. (If Cathleen ... > 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
Measuring the success of various campaigns is a core aspect of a marketer’s job. It’s essential to see how your marketing efforts are contributing to the business’s bottom line. Yet according to Social Media Today, 70% of online businesses that utilize social media don’t bother to measure ROI.
It’s pretty shocking to discover that the majority of online businesses are conducting their social media marketing completely in the dark, with no clues as to how social media contributes to the success of their businesses. To be fair, it’s not entirely their fault – social media ROI is a difficult beast to tame, the bane of marketers around the world.Why is Measuring Social Media ROI Difficult?Some say that measuring the ROI of social media simply can’t be done! Like traditional bill... > Read more
What big brands are able to do with their enormous marketing budgets is inspiring – though sometimes it mostly inspires jealousy. The typical small business can’t sponsor the Olympics or get an ad spot during the Super Bowl. You have to tinker around with more accessible campaigns that cost less but typically have smaller reach as well.
PPC is an example of an incredibly accessible marketing channel – it’s being exploited by tiny one-man shops and huge multinational corporations alike. But how much better is a big-brand PPC ad than an SMB ad – if at all? Is it like comparing the latest Pepsi commercial to what your local furniture store puts together?Let’s look at five big-brand AdWords ads and see what they do well and what they could do better.(More: Dear eBay, Your Ads Don't ... > Read more
In the past, Erin covered how celebrity-related keywords can screw up your traffic: Help, My Search Query Report Has Bieber Fever! Now I would like to talk about new queries which can appear instantly because of new viral content and interfere with your existing PPC campaigns.Last year, a Denham Springs woman set up a “middle finger” made of Christmas lights on her roof to upset neighbors.
(NSFW?!) Of course the media attention as well as the offensive Christmas lights disappointed some residents in Denham Springs, but companies who sell Christmas lights and run PPC campaigns on Google and Bing were furious about unrelated queries popping up during the busiest time of the year.Those advertisers who worked hard on their negative keywords weren’t able to predict a query like “middle ... > Read more
On the Q1 2013 earnings call last week, Larry Page spent a lot of his time taking about the future – a future that will not be social, as Page might have had us believe in the past. He didn’t mention Google+ once on the call, and social media only came up insofar as YouTube is social. That’s a switch!So what does define the future of Google? The unifying theme just might be laziness.
Almost every Google venture that Page spent time talking about is designed to cater to our increasing laziness and impatience as a society.The web used to be a playground for tech nerds, but now it's for everybody, including people who know nothing about technology. As tech gets easier and more accessible, 5% of people mourn the loss of the control, but the rest of us lazy bums love it.Talking Is Easier ... > 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
During Google’s first quarter earnings call for 2013, Patrick Pichette – Google’s Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer – seemed to reveal the real reason behind Google Fiber, Google’s attempt to provide connection speeds “100 times faster than today’s broadband.”Google Fiber, currently active in Kansas City and coming soon to Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas, is a newer venture outside of Google’s core product stack, and the kind of “speculative product” that Larry Page said is vital to growing and surviving as a technology company.
“Companies tend to get comfortable doing what they’ve always done,” Page said on the call, but “incremental improvements are guaranteed to be obsolete over time, especially in technology.” This is why they’ve taken leaps into ne... > Read more
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
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
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
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
#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
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
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