Five Ways to Lower Your PPC Campaign's Cost Per Action (CPA)

Last week we gave you five tips on how to get more leads from PPC. But what if your main problem isn’t leads? Everyone wants more leads, of course, but what if your most immediate problem is that your PPC campaign just isn’t profitable?In this post we’ll walk through five more tips, this time for lowering your CPA.

Cost Per Action Lowering Tip 1: Lower Your BidsIf your cost per conversion is out of whack, this basically means that the following equation isn’t adding up properly for you:Cost / Conversions = CPAWe’re thinking about ways to get conversions for cheaper, so it’s pretty obvious that we might want to do something about the conversion end of this equation, but all too often I see people ignore the cost side to their own peril.Many times, there’s a range of conversion ... > Read more

May 02, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

The Art of the Terrible Analogy: How SEO Is Like Bacon, Sex & World of Warcraft

Sometimes, the best thing I read over the week has nothing to do with Internet marketing. But I really want to share it with you, so by God, I make it have something to do with Internet marketing. This week, that thing was this list of the worst analogies written by high school students, originally published in the Washington Post.

The source above ("The Lost Eyeball") calls them the "worst/best" because many are actually quite brilliant – if I was a high school teacher and one my students wrote these gems, I’d give them a king-size gold star. To further qualify the list, the source says the paper “held a contest in which high school teachers sent in the ‘worst’ analogies they’d encountered in grading their students’ papers over... > Read more

April 29, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 5

Best of the Month: WordStream's April Highlights

April is over, you've paid your taxes, and now you're waiting for your tax return. Oh, the miserable wait: What to do in the meantime??? How about catching up on our best blog posts from the month? Is the Internet Bad for the Environment?: In honor of Earth Day we published this infographic detailing what kind of damage we're doing with our Internet addictions, as well as how the Internet is good for the planet.

Crayola Colored Bubbles: Reputation Management for a 1-Star Disaster: Worst product ever? Read some of the hilarious reviews for this mess of a product (literally) and learn what to do if this happens to your company. Understanding the Differences Between Google and Bing Match Types: This guest post by Bethany Bey from Hanapin Marketing explains the differences betwee... > Read more

April 28, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

Five Ways to Get More Leads from PPC

Everyone wants more leads, right? This is probably your number 1 request from clients or upper management if you’re running pay-per-click campaigns (followed closely by “without increasing spend”). But the reality is you’re likely managing to a target cost per acquisition, so grabbing more volume isn’t as easy as jacking up bids and lifting your budgets.

The obvious answer to increasing conversions is focusing on conversion rate optimization, but we’ll walk through five slightly less obvious ideas worth testing that can help you grab more volume without ignoring your margins.Idea 1: Keyword ExpansionThe first idea is to try different keyword verticals and expand your keyword list. How do you do that? In all likelihood you’ve already brainstormed your initial list, used some tr... > Read more

April 28, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 5

Facebook Family Additions: The New Send Button & Social Deals

Facebook develops new features and alters its layout and settings (and privacy policies) frequently, and the social giant recently introduced two new additions in its continued mission to take over the word.Facebook’s new Send button allows users to share items with select people rather than everyone in their friend network.

Maybe you found a great bar in which to throw your friend’s surprise party – but you certainly don’t want the birthday girl to find out. With the Send button, you can quickly and easily share and send the URL to specific friends, groups, and email addresses.Cynthia Boris at Marketing Pilgrim has a clever idea about how the Send button could be implemented as a marketing strategy:"As a marketer, I’d take this one step further and use that Send button for some ... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Google's Instant Preview Now Includes Ads!

Yesterday Google announced that their Instant Preview feature will now apply to ads. That means you’ll now be seeing that nifty little magnifying glass appear next to ads as well as organic search results. Clicking the Instant Preview magnifying glass brings up a window that lets users preview the ad landing page.

In the image below, you can see that my Google search for “flowers” brought up a few ads. Clicking the magnifying glass next to my 2nd ad, I got to see a preview page and was able to confirm that the ad would, in fact, lead me to a site with an abundance of beautiful flowers to sell (just seeing them all nearly makes me sneeze). Instant Preview allows users to preview the ads they are about to click on to ensure that the content of the landing page matches what... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Five Reasons Every Startup Needs a Great Writer

When hiring for a tech startup, most companies focus, understandably, on technical talent: developers and engineers. Obviously, you need great engineers if you're going to build software, apps or a website of any kind. But don't underestimate the value that a great writer can bring to your organization.

A lot of startups make any writing tasks that come up the responsibility of whichever staff member is the most competent writer. When you're bootstrapping, multitasking is a necessity. But if you've got some funding, hiring an excellent writer can impact your business in a lot of positive ways. So whether you make a full-time hire or find a reliable contractor, it's worth the investment to seek out a writer who understands your business and industry and cares about the outcomes. Here are fi... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 1

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 2: The Transformation

In Part 1 of this series, you learned how to prepare the data we will be using to create our dashboard. In this article, I will show you:How to set up an Excel pivot table.How to use calculated metrics in a pivot table.How to use Named Ranges in Excel.How to use the OFFSET formula in Excel.Transformation (The “T” in “DTP”)We are going to use an Excel pivot table for our "transformation" layer in our DTP framework (worksheet).

You should already have your data prepared in the "current" worksheet, so you will need to:1. If you haven’t already, format your data as a table in Excel by highlighting your entire data set in the "current" worksheet and click on "Format as Table" from the "Home" menu.2. Now select any cell within your table and navigate to the "Insert" menu and insert a "... > Read more

April 26, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Announcing the Keyword Research Kit from WordStream

We recently put together a Keyword Research Kit that includes a lot of great resources for anyone doing keyword research and marketing for either SEO or PPC applications.The Keyword Research Kit is a completely free resource available to download. The kit includes:The Keyword Research Cheat Sheet – This PDF offers a bird's-eye view of what keyword research is, what it isn’t, and why it’s important.

This cheat sheet is helpful for quickly orienting those new to the concept of keyword research, from first-time hires to executives.Keyword Monitoring Worksheet – This tool allows you to plug in your keyword data every month and monitor trends in your rankings, traffic from SEO, and ultimately how your organic search engine marketing efforts are helping to drive your business.The Ultimat... > Read more

April 25, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Keyword Marketing   |   Comments: 2

New and Noticeably Worse! The Downgrade in Upgrade's Clothing

On Wednesday, Google rolled out a new Analytics upgrade. Here’s Mashable’s report on the upgrade: Google rolled out a new and improved version of Google Analytics to all current Analytics users on Wednesday. The upgraded product comes with a bevy of new features. In addition to faster performance and a streamlined UI, the new Analytics also packs quite a lot of improved and entirely new functionality.

Users can create multiple dashboards, up to 20 per user; and each dashboard can contain up to 12 widgets. Users can also set interaction goals (for example, you might use Google Analytics to track and optimize file downloads or video views), graph and compare certain metrics over time, and toggle between multiple profiles and sites while focusing on one report. Wiep Knol begs to d... > Read more

April 22, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2

Is the Internet Bad for the Environment?

In honor of Earth Day, we've done a little digging to find out just how bad (or good) the Internet is for the planet. Click the image to enlarge. ... > Read more

April 21, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 13

Be Your Own Lewis & Clark with Google's Map Maker

In Google’s continuing efforts to get more social, Google’s Map Maker tool made its introduction into the United States yesterday. Map Maker allows users to add and update maps with their own insights. This can mean a number of different things, such as moving place markers to more appropriate spots, pointing out certain parks and playgrounds, building a more detailed map of a college campus, or even marking the bike lanes in your town.

Essentially, it makes Google Maps into a Wiki.Google’s Lat Long blog notes that since the release of Map Maker, the percentage of the world’s population that has detailed online maps of their neighborhoods has jumped from 15% to 30%. Users have mapped road networks, bike lanes, schools, and even entire cities that were not documented ... > Read more

April 20, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

SEO for Small Businesses: An Interview with Dan Olson of DIYSEO

Dan Olson is the CEO of DIYSEO, a provider of SEO software for small businesses. Dan leads the strategic direction and manages all day-to-day activities at DIYSEO. He is a former vice president at Performics, the largest search marketing company in the United States that was acquired by DoubleClick, Google and eventually Publicis Groupe.

 How should small business owners think about and evaluate SEO?I think three things are important here:Approach it like marketing. SEO isn’t some tech-voodoo, it’s another way of getting customers to your site.Compare it to other things you do to market your business – sometimes that’s similar stuff like PPC, but it’s also print ads, billboards, etc.Focus on the actual return on investment.I think a lot of small businesses get overwhelmed by ... > Read more

April 20, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Interview Series   |   Comments: 2

What You Should Know About Web Hosting & SEO

The process of choosing a proper hosting service for your website is fairly straight-forward. First, you'll need to have an idea of the type of site you are aiming for. While you don't need to have every single page in mind that will be on your website, having good estimates will mean that you'll be able to properly gauge what type of hardware and software a web hosting server will need to be able to host your site.

During this planning phase, you'll also need to think ahead to how your website might grow, and what new hardware and software needs the site may have in the future. With this information in hand, you're prepared to start looking for a hosting service. Software Requirements Some websites require support for various programming languages, like PHP or Ruby on Rails. These differe... > Read more

April 19, 2011     |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Announcing the New Keyword Research Suite: More Keywords, Exclusive Data, Actionable Results

Today I’m thrilled to announce the general availability of what I believe to be the World’s most comprehensive and accurate suite of keyword research tools for SEO and PPC – the new Keyword Research Suite from WordStream! You can test drive the tools for free, or read on for more information.In this post, I’d like to talk a little about what the Keyword Research Suite does, how it’s different, and why I think it’s a must-have for anyone who's serious about search marketing.

What Is the Keyword Research Suite?For the past several months we've been gathering feedback from our regular free tool users and buckling down to develop what we think of as the ultimate keyword research suite. We wanted to build a tool that would offer…The Biggest Keyword Research Database on the Planet ... > Read more

April 18, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 5

Re-Creating AdWords Campaign Performance Charts in Excel, Part 1: The Data

Interesting things you will learn in this how-to:How to prepare data for year-over-year analysis in ExcelHow to use the Excel INDEX-MATCH formulaHow to use the Excel ISNA formulaA few weeks ago I showed you how to compare date ranges in AdWords, and then a few days later I came across an article on Search Engine Journal about using the new AdWords dashboard located on the "Home" tab.

 In the article the author mentioned how, in the new version of the Home tab, you couldn’t do date range comparison like in the previous version. See the image below:So, I thought it might be interesting to try and recreate this chart and summary in Excel. The finished dashboard will look something like this:For this exercise I will be using a variation of the Juice Analytics DTP Framework.Data (the... > Read more

April 18, 2011     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Friday Roundup: Panda Bears Down Internationally

This week Google’s Panda update went global, shutting out spam sites worldwide. Sistrix posted a nice little chart listing the “losers” of the new updates. Sites like suite101.com and associatedcontent.com suffer just as much now as they did in the US, but there were some surprises;  eHow, which most expected to suffer from the US Panda update, was actually deemed one of the “winners” originally, but with the global changes, eHow is now losing the numbers we expected it to.

    There is some speculation that this might be a result of Google implementing data from users who manually blocked certain sites. Ever since Google released a block link directly in search results, it’s been expected that this data will end up affe... > Read more

April 15, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2

AdWords Position Preference Bidding Is Retired: What You Need to Know About AdWords Average Position

Google recently announced that they are retiring position preference bidding. Some smart PPC managers had been talking about how position bidding wastes money for some time, and Google's own chief economist had taken great pains to lay out the argument against bidding to position in your attempts to improve your actual sales and costs per sale.

 If you're hearing this news now for the first time you might be wondering why people ever used bidding to position as a means of managing bids, what you should know about AdWords average position metric, and of course: whether or not there may be some instances where this data is still useful in your campaign.Why Bid to Position?Obviously with Google sharing some of its own data and Google and top PPC minds decrying the value of the metric... > Read more

April 14, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .edu Links

Kellogg’s Cereal has space-themed nutrition lessons in downloadable PDF files. Orkin Pest Control has a virtual insect designed to offer an alternative to classroom dissection. Ben and Jerry’s has interactive games about the environment. Big companies have, for years, been putting educational materials online and getting benefits in the form of coveted .

edu links and serendipitous traffic. Smaller sites can do the same. They usually don’t, but the benefits can be significant. High-quality sites that would never link to your commercial website’s homepage will link to your educational page. You can also list your educational page in high-value places like Google groups for educators or Teacher’s Sourcebook – as long as you’ve got actual educational m... > Read more

April 13, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 10

PPC Bid Management Strategies: An Interview with Todd Wilkinson of WordWatch

Todd Wilkinson, CEO of WordWatch, began his online career in 1999 with WorldOnline/Tiscali, a pioneering European ISP. Todd later co-founded a digital agency in Amsterdam in 2002, called iizt (pronounce “east”), serving the advertising industry in the Benelux. In 2006, Todd co-founded and served as CEO to Respectance.

com, a social media play described by TechCrunch as the “MySpace for dead people.” Funded by two European VCs, Respectance was located in San Francisco, CA and Amsterdam, NL. Todd exited Respectance in 2010 and launched WordWatch in March 2011, based in Foster City, CA and Amsterdam, NL, with production and algorithm development in Krakow. You believe that bid management is the most time-intensive part of search engine marketing. Why is it so time-consuming and what... > Read more

April 12, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Giving Your Links a Boost with Tiered Link Building

The following link building tip may or may not sit well with all SEOs, and when deciding on a link building strategy that will suit your business, it's important to weight all the pros and cons before making a choice. Now, with that said, let's talk a little about tiered link building.Tiered link building allows you to drive some extra juice to your quality links and keep the more aggressive link building tactics aimed at buffers in between the more questionable links and your website.

The below is a very quick overview of what this may look like.Getting Quality LinksQuality links in the above diagram are those you are proud of. They are the kids in the frame on your living room wall, with happy faces having just graduated from college. There are a number of ways to get quality links:1) Cr... > Read more

April 11, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 20

We're Hiring: Inbound Marketing Jobs, User Experience Jobs, Software QA Jobs

Looking for your next career move? Interested in search marketing? Inbound marketing? Apply for a job at WordStream! We're on a mission to build the world's best PPC management and keyword research solutions to help companies with their online marketing efforts. We're currently hiring for positions in search marketing product management and software development.

How to Get a Job at WordStream (or anywhere, actually)Before diving into the job descriptions, thought it might be helpful to give my personal three best tips on how to get a job at WordStream, or anywhere else for that matter!Don't use find and replace in a generic cover letter – This is so obvious, I don't know why people do this. Instead, write a short note about what you thought about the position, what got you interested abou... > Read more

April 08, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Crayola Colored Bubbles: Reputation Management for a 1-Star Disaster

One of my many brilliant Twitter followees pointed me this week to a hilarious page of Amazon reviews for a product called Crayola Colored Bubbles Wand Set. This piqued my interest because I remember reading an interview in The Believer a few years back with Tim Kehoe, a toy inventor who had been working for more than a decade to develop colored bubbles that wouldn't stain.

(You can read an excerpt from the interview online, but the full text is only available in print. FWIW, I seem to remember the whole issue being fantastic. I believe it also included interviews with Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances.)Kehoe's product was set to be called Zubbles and debut in 2008, but I never heard anything else about them, until now. At first I thought Ke... > Read more

April 08, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 12

AdWords Marries Opportunities Tab to Campaign Experiments: What Does it Mean for You?

We've written here about some of the things to be aware of with regard to the AdWords opportunities tab, and we've talked in depth about AdWords Campaign Experiments. AdWords recently announced a new feature that enables advertisers to run campaign experiments against AdWords opportunities. This is a really interesting feature combo -- both from a pure functionality standpoint and in thinking about where AdWords is heading, so let's unpack it.

What Exactly Does Opportunities & Experiments Combining Mean?So how does this play out, exactly? Basically all Google's done (from the end-user perspective anyway) is make the campaign experiments functionality visible and available as you're browsing the opportunities Google is presenting you with:(Funny aside: this is the screenshot from the Goo... > Read more

April 07, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Comparing Year-Over-Year Search Query Trends

In the past I’ve written extensively about search query mining for negative keywords and new keyword opportunities, and while search query mining is arguably the best use of the search query report, there are other insights worth exploring. Have you ever wondered what search queries were driving your business last year and if they are still contributing this year? Are there new search queries emerging in your market? To answer these questions, you will have to do a year-over-year search query analysis.

 While the AdWords interface does allow for date range comparisons down to the keyword level, it loses this functionality at the search term level. We are left with analyzing date range comparisons for search queries in Excel.Getting the right dataThe goal of this analysis is to c... > Read more

April 06, 2011     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Understanding the Differences Between Google and Bing Match Types

I thought I had a good grasp on keyword match types – that is, until I started studying for the adCenter exam. Then I realized there were some noteworthy differences between how Google and Bing interpret match types. If you’ve been treating match types the same in both search engines, read on to learn the key differences between the two and how they may be affecting your account.

For this example we are going to be owners of a flower shop. We want to include the keyword "red flowers" in our Google and Bing accounts. I’m going to go through how the different match types for "red flowers" will affect when our ads show in each account. List of Match Types: Broad Match Phrase Match Exact Match Negative Keywords Broad Match Google: An ad is eligible to appear when a user's search term ... > Read more

April 05, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 17

Reporting on Multiple 1-Per-Click Conversion Types (Conversion Action Names) in AdWords at the Campaign & Ad Group Level

If you're a PPC software company, one of the best opportunities to add value on top of the AdWords interface is by thinking more about advertiser pain points than Google is able to. Google frequently has to balance features that help their advertisers generate more revenue against features that help Google generate more revenue, and frequently since Google isn't an advertiser, even when they build something that seemingly has optimizing for conversions in mind, they don't always get it quite right for the advertiser.

Just as it's important to realize which new AdWords features aren't necessarily worth implementing, it's equally important to identify gaps in AdWords' feature set and reporting so you can find ways to fill it. Today we'll talk about one of these gaps: reporting on multiple 1-p... > Read more

April 04, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Google Now Hiring Autocompleters for Google Suggest

If you were ever wondering how Google Suggest is so good at predicting your desired search, Google today revealed (through a job posting) some rare insight into exactly what powers Google suggestions.If you search on Google today with Google Instant on, you'll see a little link on the bottom of the suggested searches that says "We're Hiring Autocompleters", as shown here:Clicking on the highlighted link will take you to the job description of a Google Autocompleter (click here for a screenshot).

And here are some of the job description highlights... Required Responsibilities of a Google AutocompleterWatch anonymized search queries as they come in to Google.Predict and type completions based on your personal experience and intuition.Suggest spelling corrections when relevant.Keep ... > Read more

April 01, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

2, 2, 2 Posts in 1! WordStream's Best of the Month + Weekly Roundup

Clearly, Google’s latest foray into social was the big search news of the week. But we’ve already covered what Google +1 is and how +1 will affect your campaigns. So rather than forcing yet more +1 down your throats, I’m wrapping our usual round-up of the month’s best blog posts in with my recommended reading for the week.

You voted with your clicks and eyeballs, and here they are, our top 10 slammingest posts from the month of March:Five Great "Hidden" Link Building Resources: Tom identified a handful of sources for reliably great information on link building, outside of the 100% link-building-focused blogs like Ontolo.PPC Ad Writing Tips from the Experts: An Interview with BoostCTR: I talked with BoostCTR’s Jeff Sexton and Ryan Healy about what goes into a kick-ass pay-per-click... > Read more

April 01, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2

New White Paper: Complete Guide to AdWords Matching Options

Do you know the difference between broad match and modified broad match? Are you confident in your ability to use negative keywords to save money without losing valuable traffic? To maximize the profitability of your pay-per-click campaigns, you need to know how and when to use each of the keyword match types offered by Google AdWords.

 Our newest white paper, the Complete Guide to AdWords Matching Options, can help you navigate the options. After reading this white paper, you'll have a clear understanding of: The differences between the keyword match types offered in AdWords How, when and why to use each match type to get the best results Using the new modified broad match option for more refined targeting How negative keywords can save you money and raise CTR Best practice... > Read more

March 31, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1
 
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