Guide to Using Flexible Bid Strategies in AdWords

I’m sure by now many of you have at least heard of Google’s Flexible Bid Strategies (or read Larry’s blog post on the Top 10 AdWords Features of 2013), which was announced in May of last year. Google created these strategies to help advertisers make more sense of their bidding and spend less time trying to figure out what to do.

However, most are struggling to see what the benefits are, how and where to use them, and how to measure success. In this post, you'll learn what they are, the different types of flexible bid strategies, and how to make them work for you.What are Flexible Bid Strategies?Flexible bid strategies automatically set bids to optimize for certain goals across set campaigns, ad groups and keywords.Once you have created a strategy, it will be shared in your Share... > Read more

April 16, 2014     |   Written by: Kelsey Halloran   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

SearchLove Was in the Air in Boston

It seems there’s always a digital marketing conference going on somewhere, but few were as eagerly anticipated as SearchLove Boston 2014 was. The thoroughly charming folks at Distilled assembled a truly diverse lineup of speakers for the event – a roster of search and digital marketing talent that certainly didn’t disappoint.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since we gathered at Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center for the event, and perhaps even harder to believe that I failed to get this write-up finished sooner. C’est la vie.Although I’ve no doubt many of you were hanging on my every word on Twitter during the conference, here’s a round-up of some of my favorite sessions.Day OneAlthough Distilled’s Founder and Chief Marketing Office... > Read more

April 15, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0

Funny Amazon Reviews: The Top 10 Funniest Reviews on Amazon

Let’s face it, the internet is full of clowns and jokers.While Amazon is largely a site of purposeful, insightful reviews, under the darkness of night you may find it transformed into a local comedy club, full of amateur stand-ups looking for a laugh. Plenty of folks employ Amazon consumer reviews to poke fun at some of the outrageous products found on the web in a movement dubbed “customer review comedy.

”Today we’re giving you the top 10 funniest Amazon products and their hilarious reviews.1. Three Wolf Moon ShirtArguably the most popular Amazon internet joke is the Three Wolf Moon Shirt. Since its introduction onto Amazon in 2008 it has gone on to earn over 2,790 reviews and has become its own meme. The shirt’s viral explosion increased the shirt’s sales by 2,300%. The r... > Read more

April 15, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 2

Do AdWords Shopping Campaigns Work?

Do Google’s Shopping campaigns (the new version of Product Listing Ads) work? My answer 100 out of 100 times would be yes! The results speak for themselves, but simply, what advertiser wouldn’t want to see metrics and bid at the specific product level??? I’ve worked with accounts that have super-segmented product feeds and accounts that aren’t segmented at all.

The results will vary account to account, industry to industry.For me the biggest asset with Shopping ads is clarity. You can now see everything you need to manage a PLA campaign almost as if it were a regular search campaign. You can see which specific products are accumulating the most spend, you can see which products are converting and for how much. You have the power to manage PLAs like you do keywords (minus match type... > Read more

April 14, 2014     |   Written by: Jason Gannon   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 13

5 Ways to Get 5-Star Amazon Customer Reviews

Why You Need Amazon Customer ReviewsOnline reviews are the modern media world-of-mouth; they’re immensely powerful and can have a huge affect on how your business is perceived. A study last year found that:79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations85% of consumers say that they read online reviews for local businesses 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business moreWhen you wish upon five stars, it makes no difference who you are – your business dreams come true! OK, in truth you’ll need a lot more than wishing to obtain a great Amazon star count.

In this post we’ll talk about why Amazon customer reviews are important and the various ways you can earn them (both legitimately and not-so-legitimately).What Amazon Custo... > Read more

April 10, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 3

Rumors of 'Not Provided' In AdWords Unfounded: Paid Search Query Data Is Not Dead

All sorts of silly rumors were circulating earlier week suggesting that Google is going kill off all search query data from paid search and that third party tools providers like WordStream are going to be slammed. Unfortunately the reporting on this issue has been light on facts and heavy on speculation.

In this article I'll explain exactly what is is changing here -- the short answer is: not a heck of a lot.Are The Rumors True? Is Paid Search Query Dead?No. not even close. If you used paid search query data to do campaign optimizations, you can still access all of that data from within the Search Terms Report in AdWords just as you have done in the past. Not convinced? The easiest way to disprove this rumor is to log into your AdWords account and view your search query data for yourself. ... > Read more

April 09, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

The Greatest Intro to PPC EVER: 10 Years of PPC Experience in 40 Minutes

What would it do for your business if you were able to crawl inside my brain and wallow in crazy-effective PPC knowledge, gained over more than ten years working in paid search every single day?The insane insights and experience you would take away would become your ultimate PPC secret weapon, giving you the power to slay the competition and squeeze every last drop of ROI out of your AdWords campaigns.

For one day only, you have the opportunity to do just that. In our next free webinar, I'll share mind-blowing PPC secrets and unconventional wisdom gleaned over my 10+ year career in PPC.Our Ultimate Introduction to Pay-Per-Click Advertising webinar is designed to help you kick-start your PPC campaigns or invigorate your existing ones.There's no denying that AdWords ads are a highly effective... > Read more

April 09, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 7

PPC for Seasonal Businesses: 5 Ways To Get Your AdWords Account Ready For Spring

Here in Boston, we finally had a day that one could call “Spring-like.” It was warm (a whole 52 degrees!), people were walking around without jackets, and there was a general feeling of “I really hope we are done with the snow” filling the air.Ah, spring!Along with this, a number of my clients are cleaning up their AdWords accounts and getting ready for the spring and summer months ahead.

For some industries, nothing really changes when the temperatures go up, but for a lot of seasonal businesses and merchants, there is plenty of updating to do within their accounts.So here are my top five ways to make sure your AdWords account is ready for spring!Out with the Warm and In With the … Skimpy?A few of my clients sell different types and styles of clothing. In the fall and winter, we... > Read more

April 09, 2014     |   Written by: Randi Lucius   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

AdWords Dynamic Parameters: A Sneaky Way to Double Your CTR

Ad text relevancy is important to keeping your audience engaged, and in some cases can dramatically improve key metrics like click-through rate (CTR). Whether it’s advertising your latest promotion, lowest sale price, or resonating with an audience interested in up-to-date stock prices, there are many scenarios when switching up your ad text is not only valuable but imperative.

Constantly updating ad text has its challenges. Keeping up with these updates can be time-consuming, especially for large accounts. Additionally, ad text updates are not always timely as they need to go through the Google review process which can take up to 24 hours. When a last-minute promotion only lasts a day, the update to your ad text can become moot as it may never reach the SERP. A great workaround to update... > Read more

April 08, 2014     |   Written by: Jaclyn Jordan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 8

PPC: Impossible? Not for WordStream’s Elite Paid Search Agents!

WordStream recently received intel from one of our field agents that Kristi Anderson, VP of marketing for GetOutfitted.com, was attempting to maximize the effectiveness of her PPC campaigns and increase conversions.Despite facing overwhelming odds, Kristi succeeded in her mission by using WordStream’s not-so-super-secret paid search technology.

Over the course of 30 days, Kristi learned precisely where she was going wrong in her paid search efforts, enabling her to take immediate action and get incredible results.In just 30 days, Kristi was able to:Improve her impression-weighted Quality Score by 50%Raise her average CTR from 0.26% to 6.32% - 24 times higher than her original CTRIncrease her account activity score from 39% to 72%Kristi’s mission was ambitious, but far from impossible. ... > Read more

April 07, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 0

How to Create a Ferocious Unique Selling Proposition

Unless you’re fortunate enough to be the only player in your industry (say, the only dedicated supplier of lion-taming equipment in North America), you’ll need to differentiate yourself from your competition through your unique selling proposition, or USP.A strong, instantly recognizable USP can make or break businesses operating in competitive markets, so it’s essential that you leverage your USP and make it the cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy.

Until you know what your USP is, and how to capitalize on it, your business will be just another voice clamoring to be heard.In this post, you'll learn:Unique selling proposition definitionUnique selling proposition examplesUnique selling proposition best practicesHow to use a unique selling proposition in your advertisementsHo... > Read more

April 07, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 9

Diving Deeper into Search Network with Display Select

To the uninitiated, the Google Display Network can be more than a little intimidating. Despite the vast potential of the GDN to expand AdWords advertisers’ reach, the costs and time management involved in running a GDN campaign put many people off, particularly small businesses with limited paid search budgets.

For these reasons, Google launched its latest hybrid campaign type, Search Network with Display Select (SNDS), in November 2013. SNDS campaigns are the ideal way for AdWords advertisers to take their first steps into the world of display, and WordStream’s Director of Search Engine Marketing Rich Griffin sat down with Google’s Katie Hamilton in a Google Hangout on Air to dive deeper into what SNDS campaigns can do for advertisers.In the Hangout, Katie and Rich cover topics inclu... > Read more

April 04, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Goodbye Google AdWords Regular PLA Campaign Type, Hello Shopping Campaigns

By late August, Google will retire their regular PLA campaign type and switch all product listing ads users to Shopping campaigns. Beta launched in October 2013 and fully rolled out in February, Shopping campaigns have a number of unique features that make them particularly attractive to e-tailers:The ability to browse inventory within the AdWords platform and create product groups using attributes from your data feed.

Custom labels, a way to tag products in your data feed with personalized attributes.Advanced performance measurement, with data segmentation by product or attribute.Aggregate competitive performance data, including the average CTRs and Max CPCs of your competitors.Create and edit with the AdWords API and bulk edit product groups at scale.If you’re selling products, you shou... > Read more

April 03, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Help! I Raised My AdWords Bids and Got LESS Traffic!

If you’re a reader of this blog, you’re probably familiar with the basics of the Google AdWords auction. You place a bid, you win a position on the page. And the higher your position, the more likely you are to get the click.So…… right?Wrong.If you’re a small business with a limited budget, you’ll need to be smarter than this.

Let’s use a simple example to illustrate why.Related: How to Use Flexible Bid Strategies in AdWordsHow Raising Your Bids Could Lower Your TrafficLet’s imagine this is the universe of possible impressions you could get. It represents searchers who meet all of your criteria: the right search term, the right geography, the right language, and the right time of day.And let’s make a few basic assumptions about your performance:Current Bid: $1.25Current A... > Read more

April 03, 2014     |   Written by: Andy Stefano   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 11

If People Don't Link to Porn Sites, How Does Google Rank Porn?

In his latest Webmaster video, Matt Cutts answers the question: “How does Google separate popularity from authority?” (This question came from a “Blind Five Year Old,” by the way! That’s our friend AJ Kohn unless someone stole his alias.)It’s an interesting question, but I’m particularly interested in an offhand comment that Cutts makes at the beginning of the video.

To distinguish between popular sites and authoritative sites, he uses the examples of pornography and government websites. Porn sites are more popular than government sites, he says, but government sites are more authoritative:If you were to look at sites that are popular – for example porn sites are very popular – but people tend not to link to porn sites. On the other hand if you take something like the Wis... > Read more

April 02, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 18

3 Things I Learned by Writing 3 Million Words in 3 Years

My first SEO copywriting job (which is what most content marketing used to be called before “web content” was a thing) was working as a freelancer for a national British travel agency. Although the work itself amounted to little more than stuffing awkward long-tail keywords into flowery copy about tourist hotspots across the Mediterranean, it was an invaluable learning experience and set me on an exciting and rewarding career path.

Since that fateful freelance gig, I’ve written millions of words (literally) – most of them during the past three years. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about what separates the great content from the bad, how to hit deadlines on time every time, and why measuring your coffee intake in pots is a warning sign that you should probably take it easy.In tod... > Read more

April 02, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Blogging   |   Comments: 4

Why Google AdWords Certification Doesn't Matter

When was the last time someone told you they were a good driver? Perhaps it was during an attempt to borrow your car for a weekend excursion, or boast their prowess in parallel parking. Do you recall how they backed up their claim? I’d be willing to guarantee they didn’t immediately pull out their wallet to show you their driver’s license.

Why? Because that shiny piece of plastic holds little bearing on their actual capability to drive a car. You’re familiar with this conclusion if you have ever witnessed the exodus of a high school parking lot at 3:00 pm, driven on the 95 into New York City, or tried to merge anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania.The same applies on the streets of Search. If you work in PPC or are looking for a consultant/agency, you might have noticed that an AdW... > Read more

April 01, 2014     |   Written by: Caleb Hutchings   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 44

The 9 Best Email Subject Line Styles to Increase Your Open Rates

How many unread emails do you have in your inbox? 300? 800? Or maybe, if you’re like me and are on countless mailing lists, 2,644? And that’s after a little Gmail spring cleaning!We get a TON of emails every day, and a lot of them are never opened. People are inundated with boatloads of information – more than ever before in history! But we don’t have more time to soak it all in.

The chances of your email being ignored are pretty high – unless of course, you have a rockin’ sockin’ subject line.Your subject line is your first (and maybe your last) impression on users. In many ways, your email subject line is more important than your email body. After all, a great newsletter is worthless if it never sees the light of day.There are a few different schools of thought when it come... > Read more

March 31, 2014     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Copywriting   |   Comments: 15

3 A/B Tests That Surprised the Heck Out of Us (See You at the Opties!)

A/B tests are a vital part of WordStream’s marketing efforts. Seriously, we split test everything: banner ads, registration forms, landing pages – you name it. My colleagues keep telling me that buying two different burritos for lunch then tweeting about which one I like best doesn’t count as “real” A/B testing, but I beg to differ.

One of the tools we use for A/B tests is Optimizely, a comprehensive solution that allows us to conduct tests quickly and easily. It’s awesome when we find tools that help us understand our audience more effectively, but it’s even more awesome when the people behind those tools recognize us for how we use their software. That’s precisely what happened recently when Optimizely told us that WordStream is a finalist in the inaugural Opties 2014 awar... > Read more

March 27, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 0

Meet Bing Product Ads: Bing's Answer to Google PLA's

Just a few days after announcing the beta launch of Product Ads for Mobile, Microsoft has made Bing Product Ads available to all advertisers in the US. The new ad format, Bing's version of Google Product Listing Ads (soon to be replaced with Shopping Campaigns), allow advertisers to add rich images, prices and descriptions to ads appearing for e-commerce related searches across Bing and Yahoo.

Here's what the new Bing Product Ads look like:Bing Product Ads should definitely be considered for online retailers, given that the Bing/Yahoo network accounts for 117 million retail clicks a month, or 22% of all US retail paid clicks (comScore, June 2013).And Bing really, really wants you to use them – one of the key features is that advertisers can import right out of Google's PLAs. Alongside th... > Read more

March 26, 2014     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Here's Your Chance: Ask Me Anything!

Hi, I'm Larry Kim and I've analyzed over $10 billion in paid search spend.Wondering how to give your Quality Scores a lift, or what Quality Score even is? Curious about how WordStream works, and how I bootstrapped my way to the top? Looking for growth hacking tips to build your business? Or maybe you're curious how we churn out such awesome content here at the WordStream blog, driving over half a million page views per month? I can help!This coming Monday, March 31, I'm hunkering down at the keyboard for what I hope is a fun and informative Ask Me Anything with Inbound.

org. What is an Ask Me Anything? It's basically an opportunity for the Internet at large to pick the brain of one person – and this time, it's me! AMAs started on Reddit but since Inbound started hosting them, they've gene... > Read more

March 26, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In:   |   Comments: 0

Content Promotion: The Difference Between Brands with Fans & Anonymous Content

Google has been using some pretty effective scare tactics to warn marketers off link building lately. Scalable link building – even tactics that used to be seen as white-hat, like guest blogging – are steadily coming to be seen as black-hat. Instead of focusing on links, Google says, just build your brand by creating great content!The problem is, everyone and their best friend has already jumped on the content marketing bandwagon.

This noisy space is getting even noisier! Over 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing – for obvious reasons:Two-thirds of consumers say they feel better about and are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content.Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media.So when everyone is doing it, how do you stand out... > Read more

March 26, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 14

No Plan, No Workflow, No Results: How to Develop a PPC Plan that Aligns with Your Goals

Do you feel like a dainty pony in a world of fierce PPC unicorns?Time and time again you tell yourself to create a PPC plan/workflow, yet you have no idea how to do this. Your palms are consistently sweating due to the persistent pressure from your boss demanding you improve your quality score or finally show the return on the huge chunk of marketing budget he or she has let you use for paid search.

You log in to your WordStream or AdWords account, overwhelmed by all the functionality and unaware of where to start. No plan = no direction = no success. But no goals = no workflow.Goals are a key component to creating your PPC workflow. Just think about it, do you ever drag yourself out of bed and hop on the treadmill just because? Or attend an hour-long, sweat-drenched spinning class after wo... > Read more

March 25, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

3 Ways Google AdWords Is Adapting for Small Business Advertising

There’s no denying that AdWords has been extremely successful in building an enterprise-level customer base. How else would it have achieved the status of the world’s most popular search marketing platform? Given that it is, by far, the most prominent player in the space at this time, I think it’s fair to speculate that the majority of its enterprise-level clients are highly committed to the advertising platform.

Based on what we’ve seen here at WordStream, these big spenders tend to be actively engaged with their accounts, and their AdWords spend levels remain fairly consistent.These small businesses could use some helpNow that Google has full confidence in its enterprise clients’ stability, I suspect that it is shifting its focus to small business advertising. From my own exper... > Read more

March 24, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7

How to Use Schema Markup for SEO: Making Your Site Easier to Find for Stupid Machines

Including schema microdata in your web pages is a lot like eating well, exercising or getting a good night’s rest – you know you should be doing it, but actually following through can be harder than it sounds. Unless you’re a health nut, in which case please stop telling us about Crossfit.Although schema and other structured markup formats have been around for several years, relatively few sites bother to include schema microdata, and even fewer people actually know what schema is or what it’s for.

However, there’s no need to be embarrassed – we’re going to answer your questions about schema and why you should make it an integral part of your SEO strategy. Pay attention – there’s a test at the end*.*Not reallyWhat is Schema?Schema is a type of microdata that makes it easi... > Read more

March 20, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: SEO Marketing   |   Comments: 12

Win a 2-Hour PPC Consultation with Paid Search Experts Perry Marshall & Larry Kim

What would it do for your business if you had the chance to pick the brains of two renowned PPC industry experts about your specific AdWords needs? Would you discover budget-saving bidding and creative strategies, tactics to maximize your conversion and ROI, or targeting functions and features to get you in front of the most relevant audience possible?All of the above!This spring, one lucky marketer has the opportunity to supercharge their AdWords strategy with expert insight and guidance from two industry experts.

In just a few days, we'll draw the winner of a two-hour paid search consultation with my good friend, AdWords guru Perry Marshall and me, Larry Kim.Marshall, the world's most quoted Google AdWords consultant, authored The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, the most popular PPC ... > Read more

March 19, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

The Heroes PPC Deserves: WordStream at HeroConf 2014

If you’re in PPC, you’ll undoubtedly have heard about Hanapin Marketing’s HeroConf, the world’s largest PPC conference. If you’re thinking of attending HeroConf 2014, you won’t find people wearing capes, masks or spandex leggings (well, probably not, anyway). However, you will find WordStream and many other PPC experts speaking about the hottest topics in paid search.

HeroConf 2014 will take place at the Hilton Austin Hotel in beautiful Austin, TX, from April 28-30. The Hilton Austin is nestled in one of the city’s trendiest areas, and is located just two blocks away from Austin’s historic 6th Street entertainment district.Why Attend HeroConf 2014?There are already dozens of reasons to attend HeroConf 2014, but here are some of the highlights:4 keynote addresses11 networking... > Read more

March 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: WordStream   |   Comments: 1

Do Mobile PPC Ads Even Work?

Ever secretly wonder if mobile PPC ads are really as effective as their desktop counterparts? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. In fact, a lot of advertisers (including some big, impressive brands that claim to be “experts” in paid search) share these doubts – but don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.

For now, let’s discuss some questions you might have about mobile PPC advertising. Do people actually click them? Did Google’s new SERP design ruin everything? Can mobile PPC improve your visibility in local search? Let’s find out.[RELATED: How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page]How Effective Are Mobile PPC Ads?Before we go any further, we need to address the fact that, yes, in-app and mobile display advertising are almost universally hated by consumers. However, unlik... > Read more

March 18, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Google Promises Solution to Keyword Not Provided, But How Useful Will It Be?

It's fair to say Google's Amit Singhal shocked the audience at SMX West last week when he told Danny Sullivan a solution to the not-provided keywords issue will be announced "in the coming weeks or months."Wow .@theamitsinghal announced that google is working on solution for keyword (not provided) situation #SMXWest #smx pic.

twitter.com/taQEMTYv9m— Larry Kim (@larrykim) March 12, 2014Google hasn't given an inch on the keyword data lost to site owners and marketers when secure search was fully implemented in September 2013. It was a change two years in the making; SEOs and site owners saw keyword data gradually disappearing to the "not provided" dark side from September 2011 on. Throughout, panic ensued as site owners were no longer able to track users by the keywords that brought them to... > Read more

March 17, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Everything You Know About Conversion Rate Optimization Is Wrong

Conversion is a key element in your paid search strategy; after all, if you're not actually turning lookers into buyers at a high rate, what are you advertising for? Conversion rate optimization enables you to maximize every cent of your PPC spend by finding that sweet spot that convinces the maximum percentage of your prospects to take action.

But what is a good conversion rate? If you're already achieving 3%, 5% or even 10% conversion rates, is that as high as you're going to go?We recently analyzed thousands of AdWords accounts with a combined $3 billion in annual spend and discovered that some advertisers are converting at rates two or three times the average. Do you want to be average, or do you want your account to perform exponentially better than others in your industry?Through our ... > Read more

March 17, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Conversion Rates   |   Comments: 14
 
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