As someone who has recently been subjected to several “brainstorming” sessions (OK, I initiated at least one of them), my interest was piqued by a recent New Yorker article title-tagged “Brainstorming Doesn’t Really Work.” Oh really!According to Jonah Lehrer, the whole brainstorming craze started in 1948, when Alex Osborn published a book called Your Creative Power.
“An amalgam of pop science and business anecdote," the book became a surprise best-seller. It was full of little tips and tricks to help people boost their creative output, and one of those tips was “How to Organize a Squad to Create Ideas”:When a group works together, he wrote, the members should engage in a “brainstorm,” which means “using the brain to storm a creative problem—and doing so in comm... > Read more
Recently we’ve created a series of guides on various parts of the AdWords interface designed to help advertisers better understand all of the features and functionality available to them within AdWords, including:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsAdWords Audiences & the Audience TabIn this post, we’ll focus on another area within the AdWords interface: the Auto Targets tab.
What Is the Google AdWords Auto Targets Tab?Many people new to AdWords wonder what this tab even is – in fact the tab is irrelevant for some AdWords advertisers. The auto targets tab is a component of Google’s product listing ads. If you sell e-commerce products, you likely (and should) have a Google Merchant account. (As ... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. If you were looking for a hotel on the beach, which ad do you think you'd click on? Better yet, which ad do you think you'd act on?While many contests conducted on the BoostCTR platform are designed to improve CTR, some are set up to improve conversions. This contest used conversions as the metric, which is why I added that second question: Which ad would you act on? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2The titles are completely different.
This is because this particular advertiser did not permit BoostCTR writers to use DKI in their ads even if the original ad used it. This was an obvious disadvantage, but the writer worked around it.The body copy is also very different. With that in mind, which one do you think outperformed the other?Made your decision?The winning ad i... > Read more
We blog a lot about the ins and outs of Google AdWords here at WordStream, for the obvious reasons – PPC is our specialty (or “speciality,” as Engywook from The Neverending Story would say), and AdWords is still #1 when it comes to PPC.Let me get this out of the way, or Larry will razz me for days – our most popular AdWords post of all time is actually a list of AdWords promotional codes.
But those codes are all good and expired now, so let’s move on to the articles that are still well worth your while, shall we? :D Yes, let’s. Here are our top 10 most popular AdWords blog posts OF ALL TIME!The Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords – I used to always wonder what the most expensive PPC keywords were, and couldn’t find a satisfactory answer. So we decided to do the resear... > Read more
In the latest move to make SEO harder and increase Google revenues, Google yesterday introduced a new ad format called Enhanced Ad Sitelinks. This new ad format has some similarities to the existing site links ad format, but instead shows related ads in your AdWords account rather than your site links.
Here's what the new super-sized adwords sitelink looks like now:In testing, Google said that "ads with enhanced sitelinks were more useful and relevant" and "clickthrough rates were significantly higher than the same ad with traditional 2- and 3-line sitelinks." Obviously (duh), this has something to do with the fact that the new ads can occupy up to 3 times as much real estate on a Google SERP. It looks like a highly effective way to dominate above-the-fold search results, and further push o... > Read more
Online businesses know that user engagement is incredibly powerful. Better than chocolates or flowers, getting users to “like” your posts or engage you in conversation through Google+ is a dream come true! But often, it can be difficult to obtain that valuable user interaction.With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought today we could evaluate Boston Globe’s online Love Letters column, a small niche of a large news site that has managed to obtain some exceptional user engagement.
I heard about Love Letters through my mother, who habitually sends me her favorite posts. Although my mother works as a computer programmer, she is the farthest thing from a techie, virtually inept at anything outside of COBOL. A once-a-month Facebooker, she’ll often call me to ask how to “send a mess... > Read more
Last month we shared two simple reports that could save you thousands in wasted AdWords spend: search partner performance and device performance. These types of reports are great for small and medium-sized businesses because (once you know they exist) they only take a few minutes to pull, and they can give you quick insight into a dimension of your campaign you may be altogether neglecting.
Today we’ll walk through two more easy to pull reports that could uncover thousands in potential savings: the placement report and the audience report.Quick Win #1: The Google AdWords Placement ReportThe AdWords search query report is frequently talked about on PPC blogs like this one (we did a whole series on search query mining, for instance), but placement reports get less coverage, and subsequently... > Read more
WordStream’s founder and CTO, Larry Kim, isn’t just a PPC veteran and secret linkbuilding addict – he’s also a world traveler and accomplished amateur photographer. Last week he traveled to Africa with his frankly gorgeous wife (who is also a surgeon!) and took some drop-dead amazing photos of the local wildlife.
Naturally, I wanted to find a way to post some of his fantastic shots on the blog, so I took a page from PPC Memes’ book and did what I could to make them relevant to search marketing. (Also, I’m back in the Boston office this week, and the combination of after-work drinks and minor jetlag has made forming full sentences more difficult than usual.)So please enjoy (and share!) these search marketing memes – the captions are mine, but the photos are all Larry. &nbs... > Read more
This is the third and final post in a series on the Google AdWords Audience tab. In the first post in the series, we walked through what an AdWords audience really is and the types of audiences you can target and in the second post we focused on the reporting options available via the audience tab and what you can do with the data.
In this post we’ll focus on best practices for creating specific types of audiences within the AdWords interface for your Google AdWords display campaigns.What Audiences Can You Create?Before you can create strategic audiences you need to understand what characteristics can make up an AdWords audience. In creating the audiences that live within the audience tab, there are two core types of segments you can target:Specific Category InterestsThis is an option to ... > Read more
Yesterday I was walking through Boston when I came across quite an unusual scene – a huge golden heap of Butterfingers smack in the middle of Copley Square. What kind of sorcery is this? I thought as I stared in awe at the giant mound of crunchy candy. Several people stood around the pile, gingerly picking up a candy bar here and there.
But after about 30 seconds, kids swooped down in hordes, cramming piles of bars into their backpacks in sheer ecstasy. I snapped these photos to document the event:Upon closer examination, this was no glorious miracle, but actually a clever advertising ploy by Pawngo, an online pawnshop business and apparent Giants fan. Their candy bar jab gives new meaning to “bittersweet.” I wasn’t beyond cramming some into my pockets before leaving though.I... > Read more
These common pay-per-click (PPC) advertising mistakes are easily avoided, but nonetheless, we see them over. and over. and over. again. These mistakes hurt your click-through rate (CTR), Quality Score, and return on investment (ROI). Are you making these mistakes in your own PPC campaigns?Mistake #1: Not Monitoring Your Search Query ReportBroad match is the default keyword match type in AdWords, and it’s the default type for most PPC marketers, too.
Unfortunately, many advertisers don’t realize just how “broad” broad match really is. Take these ads triggered by a search for “piano bench”:It looks like The Bench Factory and JCPenney are bidding on the keyword “bench” using broad match; Lighting Universe is probably bidding on “piano lamp.” In both cases, Google thinks th... > Read more
This is the second post in a series on the Google AdWords Audience tab. In the first post in the series, we walked through what an AdWords audience really is and the types of audiences you can target. In this post we’ll focus on the reporting options available via the audience tab and what you can do with the data.
Why Wouldn’t My AdWords Audience Reports Show?Before you can determine what to do with your audience reporting data, of course, you need to actually have the data. Many accounts will show something like this:If you haven’t already created and targeted a specific audience, you’ll be presented with the message above (“There are no targets in this campaign”). Similarly, if you’ve chosen the specific targeting method within campaign settings under network setting option... > Read more
On Tuesday, Miranda Miller of Search Engine Watch published a story called “Google, Bing & Yahoo in Partnership to Sell Top Organic Local Listings?” The article outlined a new service offered through Bruce Clay Inc. – a venerable search agency – in partnership with Universal Business Listings (UBL) called Local Paid Inclusion.
Local Paid Inclusion, according to its own website (which has since been taken down, but can still be viewed in archive form; you can also view screenshots at Search News Central), was billed as a way to get your website to the top of the local listings – for a fee (emphases mine):In January of 2012 we were approached to participate in a new and exciting program: Local Paid Inclusion (LPI). We’re offering it directly to local businesses, to chai... > Read more
This is the first post in a series on the Google AdWords audience tab. In this post, we’ll focus on the topic of how Google defines an “audience” as it pertains to AdWords display campaigns, and some of the strategic ways you can make use of audiences within your display campaigns.What Constitutes an AdWords Audience?An audience within AdWords is a means of segmenting or targeting your display campaigns.
With audiences you can do either of two options:Target all audiences and adjust bids for different audience typesTarget only specific audiences and exclude others (using audiences as a targeting mechanism in the same way you would placements, keywords, or other means of targeting specific visitors or searchers)What Types of Audience Can We Target?The actual “audiences” or segment... > Read more
Recently we’ve been running a series of in-depth guides to various parts of the AdWords interface. So far, we've covered:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsIn the coming days here on the blog we’ll be continuing with this series, focusing next on the Google AdWords Audience tab.
Display ads are now an over $5 billion dollar business for Google and growing rapidly, and understanding how to leverage tools like audiences within your AdWords display campaigns can be a powerful means of driving large amounts of targeted traffic. For that reason, we’ll walk through the audience tab and cover:What is an “AdWords audience”?How can you leverage the reporting data in the audience tab to help optimize your... > Read more
Take a look at the two ads below. If you lived in Baltimore and you wanted to start training in mixed martial arts (MMA), which ad do you think you'd click on? PPC Ad #1PPC Ad #2 The titles are completely different. The body copy is mostly different (the phrase "Professional Facility" is the same in both of them).
And the URL is the same in both ads. Which one do you think outperformed the other?Made your decision?The winning ad is ad number two. It was written by BoostCTR writer "wordisborn," and it increased CTR by 70%. Where the original ad was getting 1 click, the new ad is getting 1.7 clicks, which is a significant improvement.So why did the new ad win? Let's take a look...The Original AdThe original ad is fairly good. The title "Mixed Martial Arts" is straightforward and mi... > Read more
So how is 2012 treating everyone so far? Are you sticking to your resolutions? Or crying on the couch eating potato chips out of the jumbo-size bag with both hands?That’s what I thought. Sound like you could use a distraction. How about reading or re-reading our blog’s greatest hits from January?Here are the top 10 most popular posts from last month:What Industries Contributed to Google's $37.
9 Billion in 2011 Revenues? – In this post, Larry summarized the findings of our recent research into which industries spend the most on Google AdWords, and drew some interesting conclusions about what the data says about the state of our economy.SOPA and PIPA: Why They're Bad for Business – Meg breaks down the problems with SOPA and PIPA, proposed actions to put an end to piracy.AdWords Exper... > Read more
SEO, when done right, never interferes with web design, but sometimes redesigning a site can unknowingly interfere with search engine optimization. This is why teamwork among SEOs, designers, marketers and developers is critical during a blog redesign process.Here are 5 common web design mistakes that kill search engine optimization:1.
High-traffic pages are removed or deletedThe blog redesign process often identifies site content that is no longer a priority, but pages should never be deleted. Older blog posts often bring in a high volume of traffic, and those aged URLs create domain authority and page authority for organic search traffic. Instead of removing pages, protect your SEO and visitor experience by using 301 permanent redirects to ensure visitors via organic search and referral ... > Read more
The downside is, anyone with a Google account will be treated as “a single user across all our products” – that means you won’t be able to have a Gmail account and leave it at that. As long as you are logged in, Google will attempt to integrate your experience across its products – for example, pulling content from your Google Docs or Picasa albums into your search results:Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google c... > Read more
All right, this post isn’t so much a defense of piracy; it’s about why pirates aren’t the real problem.I know we’ve talked a lot recently about piracy and maybe you’re sick of it all, but the way I see it, all this discussion about SOPA and PIPA really boils down to many industries’ unwillingness to adapt.
Piracy is the result of the entertainment industry’s inability to change. Rather than think innovatively and try new solutions to better mesh with an increasingly online-oriented world, they dig their heels in the mud and try to pass laws that won’t force them to change their marketing strategy.What Sets Online Marketers Apart Great online marketers understand why it’s important to adapt to change. The world of online marketing is continuously shifting on the churning ti... > Read more
Thanks to everyone who helped us get the news out about our infographic: What Industries Contribute to Google's Revenues. A special thank you to John Abell at Wired, Jennifer Booton at Fox Business, and John Letzing at the Wall Street Journal, Noam Cohen at the New York Times, Eric Mack at CNET, Jeff Haden at Inc, as well as the guys at Black Hat PPC! In this post, I’d like to address a few of the questions that came up in the comment sections of our blog and other sites that covered the news.
Here it is again (click to enlarge), in case you missed it!And now for some Q&A’s about our Google Advertiser Infographic:Where Is the Legal Industry? (i.e., Where Are My “Mesothelioma” Keywords?)Here are the top 20 industries that spent the most on Google advertising last year.Finance &a... > Read more
On Monday, we published a new infographic based on original research into the industries that spent the most money on Google advertising last year, contributing to Google’s 2011 revenues of $37.9 billion, 96% of which came from advertising. (Larry answered some follow-up questions about the research here.
)Following up on those results, we wanted to share some advice for new or hopeful AdWords advertisers – namely, what kinds of businesses are finding great success with AdWords and other pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms? What types of characteristics could make your business a good match for PPC?Below are five traits of businesses that usually see great results and strong ROI from paid search marketing. If any of these apply to your company and you’re not yet engaging in PPC,... > Read more
This is the fifth and final post in our series on creating and analyzing Google AdWords ads. In the previous four installments we’ve covered:Creating a Google AdWords Text AdCreating a Google AdWords Image AdUsing the Google AdWords Display Ad BuilderCreating Google AdWords Video Ads & Mobile AdsThis post will focus on analyzing the AdWords ads you’ve created.
How to Analyze Your Ads within the Google AdWords InterfaceIf you’re looking to evaluate the performance of your ads, an obvious first step is to take a look within the AdWords interface to see how ads are performing. Here you can do things like customize date ranges, look at cost, click, impression, and conversion data, and quickly make changes to your ads:This is a very useful view and interface if you’re optim... > Read more
The Industries that Spent the Most on AdWords and What It Tells Us About the State of the US EconomyOn the heels of Google’s “disappointing” earnings announcement last Thursday – they generated a whopping $37.9 billion in revenues in 2011 – we conducted our own analysis to determine the top 10 industries that spent the most money on Google advertising last year.
The results are summarized in our Google revenues infographic, also shown below (click the image to enlarge).Google AdWords Revenue:Top 10 SpendersRevenue DataRevenue SourcesGrow Your Business With PPCWe think that the results of our analysis reveal some surprising insights into the current state of the US economy – read on for more commentary.The Top 10 Industries that Spent Big on Google AdWords in 2011Finance & I... > Read more
In light of Wednesday's tremendously successful SOPA blackout, I thought we'd take some time to recap and document the day the web went dark. The stop SOPA and stop PITA blackouts were really powerful because with online champions like Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit teaming up, the blackouts most certainly raised awareness and affected people who had no clue about these ridiculous bills until yesterday.
Petitions were signed, calls were made to state representatives, and the word got out.If you're looking to understand why SOPA and PIPA are bad bills and how they will hurt your business, check out our previous blog post explaining them and their disastrous affects.So what did the SOPA and PIPA blackout protests achieve?18 Senators changed their position on PIPA after witnessing the massive ... > Read more
Well knock us over with a feather -- we're surprised and honored to be on Website Magazine's list of the 50 top software solutions to explore in 2012!Funny story: One of my coworkers actually printed out this list to use as a reference, but didn't notice until I told her that we were #13 on the list!According to Website Magazine, here's the methodology that determined the list:Website Magazine’s Top 50 rankings are a measure of a website’s popularity.
Ranks are calculated using a proprietary method that focuses on average daily unique visitors and page views over a specified period of time, as reported by multiple data sources. The website with the highest combination of factors is ranked in the first position.Thank you to Website Magazine for including us among so many great software ... > Read more
This is the fourth post in a series on creating and analyzing Google AdWords ads. Previously in the series we’ve covered a variety of topics related to AdWords ads:How to Create a Google AdWords Text AdHow to Create a Google AdWords Image AdHow to Use the Google AdWords Display Ad BuilderIn today’s post, we’ll be focusing on how to create video ads and mobile ads via Google AdWords.
Creating Video Ads with Google AdWordsThe first step to creating a video or mobile ad is very similar to the way you would create an image or text ad. Go to the Ads tab and select “Video ad” or “WAP mobile ad” from the “New ad” dropdown menu:We’ll start with video ads. The first choice you’re presented with is selecting a video ad template:The templates include:YouTube Promoted Video Templa... > Read more
SOPA and PIPA: You’ve certainly heard about these two, but maybe you’re still not quite sure exactly what they mean or why they’ll be bad for your business—and make no mistake, they will certainly have a negative effect for small and medium sized businesses.What Are SOPA and PIPA? SOPA is the acronym for the House of Representatives' Stop Online Piracy Act.
Partnered with SOPA is the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA). If these bills pass, together they will unleash chaos and destruction that will obliterate the internet as we know it.Am I exaggerating? I don’t even know if I am. Because these bills really are serious bad news.Why SOPA and PIPA are BadSOPA and PIPA were created in hopes of cracking down on pirates and rogue websites posting copyright infringing content. The bill’... > Read more