Yesterday we published the results of a study showing how sponsored advertisements on Google (PPC ads) are taking over territory previously reserved for organic listings, AKA “free clicks.” This is both good news and bad news for marketers. On the plus side, Google continues to roll out more and better types of search advertising to help marketers target their customers.
On the negative side, you (obviously) have to pay for those clicks.But the fact is, organic clicks aren’t really “free” either – gone are the days when it was relatively easy to rank on the first page in Google for your target keywords. Given the increasing costs and complications involved with SEO, it’s important to diversify your marketing channels. You can’t rely on organic search alone for traffic and l... > Read more
Do People Click on Google Ads?If you use Google search (and who doesn’t), you may have noticed that sponsored results (Google pay-per-click, or PPC, ads) have been taking over more and more of the search engine results page.Here at WordStream, we’ve noticed that too! So we decided to do some research into what impact all of these new, bigger, more prominent and engaging ad formats are having on the average Google searcher.
The results are astonishing:Clicks on paid search listings beat out organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent in the US. In other words, 64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online!Click here to skip ahead:Organic Search ListingAlgorithm UpdatesSEO vs PPCAcknowledgementsSurvey MethodologyNow, to... > Read more
Perry Marshall on the AdWords Stupidity Tax & Why You Should Never Let a Google Rep Near Your Account
Perry Marshall is one of our favorite people in PPC. We’ve partnered with him on a few webinars, and we love that he doesn’t just parrot back conventional wisdom at you. He shares real insight into web marketing strategy and has a knack for analogies that hit home. He recently sent me the new edition of his popular AdWords guide, The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords, and spoke with me about some of the great advice you can find inside.
About Perry: Entrepreneur Magazine calls him “the #1 author and world’s most-quoted consultant on Google Advertising … He has helped over 100,000 advertisers save literally billions of dollars in AdWords stupidity tax.” His Chicago company, Perry S. Marshall & Associates, consults both online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales ... > Read more
Google recently announced the release of the Knowledge Graph, a new feature designed to “help you discover new information quickly and easily” by providing informative answers to informational queries directly in the SERP. In other words, for search queries that are typically answered by a high-ranking, ever-present Wikipedia page, some of that top-level information can now be found on the results page itself, so you don’t necessarily have to click through to another site.
For example, if you google “Mae West,” you see some basic information (date of birth and death, height, name of spouse, and some of her more well-known movies, as well as related figures) to the right of the organic search results (click to enlarge):Yesterday, I was talking to Larry about different types of sea... > Read more
We had an interesting question posed by a commenter named Scott recently regarding how to target a very specific offer to a remarketing audience:Thanks for your insights. I have a question about how to really implement a remarketing strategy on the website. Take this scenario into consideration: a user views a page on the site, leaves, is later targeted with a remarketing ad that says something like 'Come back for 25% off' and includes a coupon code on the ad, so they click on it, return to the site, proceed to checkout.
..and can't remember the coupon code... What to do then? I'm trying to brainstorm ideas for how to remind remarketing customers about the coupon code without telling everyone about it who visits the site.For this it seems like the best way to direct these visitor... > Read more
We've evaluated thousands of PPC accounts with the AdWords Performance Grader, adding up to almost $1 billion in total PPC spend. Looking at this huge amount of data in aggregate, one of the most salient trends has to do with account activity. Namely, we've noticed a strong correlation between regular activity and relative success.
That is to say, the advertisers that get the highest scores (because they're beating everyone else in terms of key metrics like Quality Score, click-through rate, and impression share) usually spend the most time in their accounts.Disturbingly, about 1 in 5 advertisers who used the Grader haven't even logged into their AdWords account in the past 30 days. We get it – we're busy too! – but if you don't actually work on your account on a regular basis, your RO... > Read more
We recently highlighted the different advertising options available via Twitter’s paid ads and promoted tweets platform. Another massively popular social site has also been introducing new advertising options of late: Tumblr. For many businesses, Tumblr’s currently available advertising options may not be a great fit yet, but it’s always worth understanding what’s available with a given advertising channel before you dismiss it, and by following how a popular platform with a lot of visitors evolves their ad products you’ll know when they start to offer solutions that you can get the most out of.
Currently, Tumblr offers four separate ad products:Tumblr Highlighted PostsHighlighted posts allow users to designate their own Tumblr posts to be highlighted in your followers’ dashboar... > Read more
Happy belated Independence Day, WordStream fans! With the 4th falling on a Wednesday, it feels like we had a Saturday right in the middle of the week – but no following Sunday to help us recover. Oof!When I reluctantly dragged myself back to work yesterday, I saw a note from my coworker Adam, who said he was “declaring independence from old emails,” archiving all messages older than two weeks.
That note – and Wednesday’s patriotic festivities – inspired me to think of more ways to assert your independence in the office.1. Declare Email BankruptcyDeclaring “bankruptcy” for your email means admitting that you’re never going to be able to answer all those old messages. Archive them, delete them, unflag, mark all as read – do whatever you have to do, but don’t allow... > Read more
Because they have so many products and users, Google’s account login and access processes are often fairly complicated, and this is never more clear than with Google AdWords. If you’re a small business using AdWords, you might have struggled with some of the following issues:How to grant access to your Google AdWords account to other usersUnderstanding which users currently have access to your accountRevoking AdWords account access to previous usersGranting access to an agency or a third-party PPC software productIn this post we’ll walk through how to deal with each of the above scenarios.
Managing My AdWords Account AccessBy navigating to the “Account access” option in the “My account” tab, you can quickly get a view of:Pending Invitations – See a list of the the invi... > Read more
Simultaneously decreasing your cost per conversion, but still getting inspiration for new keywords in order to expand your successful AdWords campaign? It’s possible! Using so-called "mirrored campaigns," the current campaign is split into two campaigns. One of these two campaigns contains keywords that are set at the keyword option exact and the other campaign contains keywords that are set at broad.
This post describes how you can easily create these mirrored campaigns in AdWords, as well as sharing some real results.AdWords advertising allows you to buy search terms in four different ways. These four keyword matching options determine which Google searches can trigger your ads to appear. The first option is broad match, in which the ad appears on similar phrases and relevant variation... > Read more
As with any aspect of Google’s AdWords program, billing within AdWords can be somewhat complicated and confusing for newer advertisers. In this post we’ll walk through some of the different AdWords billing options and billing features available for advertisers.What Are My Billing Options for Paying for Google AdWords?To customize your billing options you can simply navigate to the Billing Preferences screen under the Billing menu:Or you may have to go to the Billing Settings screen, depending on which version of AdWords Billing your account is showing:Regardless of what your interface looks like there are several specific options for payment:Method of Pay: Postpay versus PrepayYou can set up billing either postpay or prepay.
If you use postpay billing, you’ll accrue advertising costs... > Read more
Check out our top 10 greatest hits from June!Everything You Want to Know About Quality Score & Landing Pages – This FAQ, consisting of questions we received during a recent webinar, is packed with info on AdWords Quality Score and how your landing pages affect it.RIP SEO Footer Links – Matt Cutts recently announced that boilerplate, sitewide links don’t count for much if anything.
Has your link strategy changed?AdWords Live Chat Ad Extension Now In Beta – Google appears to be testing a new “Live Chat” extension that allows people to click a button to initiate a live chat directly from a PPC ad.3 Things I’ve Learned from Founding a Software Start-Up – Larry talks about his experience with founding, bootstrapping, and securing funding for a software company that is now al... > Read more
The (Not Provided) OutlookSince October 2011, organic keyword data from logged-in Google users is not visible in Google Analytics. Google explained its new policy as an effort to protect privacy, but as keyword data continues to be available to Google advertisers, one is left to wonder whether privacy or profit is behind the move.
Whatever the reason, this lack of keyword data presents real problems for the SEO industry. Since October, most firms have seen the percentage of (not provided) data grow, currently averaging around 23% according to some estimates. Making tactical decisions 23% in the dark is hard enough, but things are going to get worse. Firefox, with a hefty 35% market share of browser usage, recently announced that it would default to HTTPS Google search. Whether ot... > Read more
Twitter Paid Advertising for Small Businesses: How to Get the Most Out of the Promoted Tweets Platform
Twitter’s pay-per-click advertising platform, now in beta, has opened up to offer access to some small businesses in addition to the larger advertisers who have been able to advertise via Twitter ads for some time. Getting access to the promoted tweets platform and understanding the different types of advertising available to you via Twitter could be a point of confusion for small businesses, so let’s outline the different means of advertising on Twitter.
Available Forms of Twitter AdvertisingThere are a few different ways you can advertise on Twitter:Promote Tweets to Twitter Search – You can pin a promoted Tweet to a specific search (you could choose some of your core keywords or advertise on a competitor’s brand name).Promote Tweets to Your Followers – You can also promote spec... > Read more
Well WordStream fans, I have some bittersweet news—I’ll be leaving WordStream soon to spend time in Europe.It’s been such a joy to work here and be part of our mega-marketing team.Normally a year isn’t all that long, but in startup years it’s a decent chunk of time. I started at WordStream during its haywire adolescent stage, and have had the unique opportunity to be here as it has come into its own and really begun to thrive.
Blogging and discussing the latest online marketing happenings with you guys has been awesome. While I’ll miss WordStream immensely, I’m excited about my travels and what’s next.Now dry those tears, this isn’t the end! I’ll be spending a couple weeks in Italy teaching a bed & breakfast some SEO basics, so I’ll continue blogging here from time... > Read more
The Microsoft adCenter platform offers its own answer to AdWords Quality Score, but as with negative keywords in adCenter, Quality Scores in adCenter function somewhat differently than they do in Google AdWords.You can easily see your keyword-level Quality Scores in adCenter, similar to the way that you can drill down to the keyword level in AdWords:The way that Quality Score is calculated, however, is slightly different in adCenter.
How Quality Score Is Calculated in adCenterThe biggest difference is that adCenter Quality Score doesn’t actually impact your cost per click and ad rank, ad position, or keyword eligibility. It’s designed to be a metric that indicates how generally competitive your keyword is in the adCenter marketplace as compared to other advertisers’ keywords. The over... > Read more
Facebook Ads Whisper Sweet Lies While Kinect Emotion-Detecting Ads Slap You With the TruthA few weeks ago I encountered a bizarre advertisement on Facebook that caught my attention:I spent a moment trying to puzzle out how a decapitated baby head related to social work. The whole point of course is that it doesn’t—the creepy-baby-head-ad I encountered is a classic shock & awe Facebook ad, determined to capture a user’s attention with a strange picture with hopes that you might be curious enough to click through.
It’s quite the lowly form of advertising, banking on Facebook users’ curiosity alone to drive clicks. But this idea of embracing the “silly” factor that is ever-present on the internet can be successful for some, like the Plenty Of Fish ads made in Microsoft Paint ... > Read more
If you have been working with PPC for a while you’ve probably already reached the conclusion that your text ads play a large part in determining the overall success of your PPC account. While bidding on the right keywords ensures that your ads are appearing in front of qualified searchers, if your ad copy isn’t enticing, there is a good chance that searchers won’t reach your site.
Worse still, they may end up at your competitor’s site. It doesn’t matter that your competitor charges more for a lower quality product while providing less service than you do. Why not? Because they wrote a better text ad. My old soccer coach used to say that you missed every shot that you didn’t take. In PPC, you miss out on every potential customer who doesn’t click.Need more proof that text ads ... > Read more
Hello World!Just a quick announcement that I'll be participating in the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA) June meeting, this Thursday, June 21, 2012, at the Constant Contact offices in Waltham, at 6:15PM. It's not a free event, but anyway, here are all the details!Session TopicPanel Discussion on "Sophomoric Software: Going from Prototype to Production" hosted by the Boston Product Management Association (BPMA).
BPMA Session AbstractYou've received some seed funding and signed with a customer or two. Now you need to grow your base to bring in some real revenue and build a production-quality product. It's very exciting times but you may not realize that the light at the end of the tunnel may be the train. Attend this session to learn more from an experienced group of executives ho... > Read more
Twitter, God love them, tends to be a little slow on the uptake as far as social networks go. It’s been around for about six years, but Twitter has been notoriously slow about adding new features and improving the functionality of its website. For example, it took years for the company to build in a “retweet” button (and the way they built it initially was not well received); it acquired TweetDeck in May 2011, but has kept TweetDeck as a separate application with its own brand rather than integrating those awesome features into Twitter itself.
About a month ago, Twitter sent out an email to users announcing some updates and policy changes. First among those changes: “A new weekly email that delivers the most interesting news and items you might have missed from the people ... > Read more
Breaking News!Adwords Releases New Live Chat Ad Extensions! Take a look at this incredible screenshot!What is the New AdWords Live Chat Ad ExtensionThis new Ad Extension appears to enable a live chat session by clicking on the "Live Chat" icon within the Google AdWords ad! The chat extension has not been announced by Google yet in any official capacity.
This exciting new ad extension builds on many other interesting ad extensions released by Google in the last year including:AdWords Communication/Email ExtensionsAdWords Social Ad ExtensionsAdWords Product Ad ExtensionsAdWords Call Ad ExtensionsAdWords Sitelink ExtensionsPersonally, I am very excited by Live Chat Ad Extensions in AdWords because it greatly reduces the the time it takes to speak to your leads, which should lead to higher conv... > Read more
In case you missed it, Syncapse yesterday announced that it had acquired Clickable, Inc.!! (Go to clickable.com for additional details!)Clickable had been at one point been a direct competitor of WordStream, but much less so in the last year because:Clickable changed their product direction away from PPC /AdWords/Search Engine Marketing and instead focused more on Social Media and Facebook Advertising.
Clickable changed their target market away from small and medium-sized businesses towards larger, up-market companies.I don't know much about the Clickable acquisition -- I'm just as surprised as everyone else! But here’s what I do know:We've seen a growing flow of customers who were ex-Clickable users in the last 6 months. SMBs need help with paid search / AdWords and we are laser-focused ... > Read more
5 years ago, I quit my day job and I started WordStream. The idea for my start-up was pretty simple: That paid search is potentially an incredibly effective way to grow your business, but unfortunately, you need to be a math wizard to make it actually work. Since most small businesses don’t have these kinds of skills (or the money to hire someone with those skills) our mission would be to develop software that would make it possible for millions of small businesses to be succesful.
In the last 5 years we’ve accomplished quite a lot! Today, we’re the industry leader in our market segment, we've developed innovative products and features like PPC Advisor and the 20 Minute PPC Work Week, we have many customers, and we’re growing remarkably fast! But it wasn’t always like this an... > Read more
There are a lot of key differences between Google and Bing match types, but people seem to be particularly confused about adCenter’s negative keyword match type. Most people are familiar with negative keywords in Google AdWords and understand the mechanics of using negative keyword tools and selecting the best negatives for a campaign in Google AdWords, but many people struggle with some of the nuances of leveraging negative keywords within Microsoft adCenter.
In this post we’ll walk through how negative keywords work in adCenter and how, specifically, that functionality is different from Google AdWords.Using Negative Keyword Match Types in Microsoft adCenterIn the post I linked to above, Bethany Bey created this great chart comparing the way negative keyword match types function on dif... > Read more
The New York Times just published an Associated Press snippet under the extremely misleading headline "ComScore Study Says Facebook Ads Effective."Larry passed me the link, and we both wondered briefly if Facebook had commissioned a study to "prove" that their ads are in fact effective (since our recent research suggests that Facebook ads are not effective compared to other online display ad networks).
However, if you read the story, it doesn't even appear to be about ads (emphases mine):The report released Tuesday found that people who were fans of Starbucks and Target, or friends of those fans, were more likely to make a purchase than a control group that were not fans.The comScore study comes a day after the research firm said that the number of unique visitors to Facebook's websit... > Read more
This is another post in a series aimed at helping advertisers to better understand how to leverage all of the various tools in the AdWords interface to help get the most out of their campaigns. Previously we’ve offered guides to using:AdWords Ad ExtensionsAdWords Reporting via the Dimensions TabAdWords Campaign SettingsCreating & Analyzing AdWords AdsThe Google AdWords Audience TabGoogle AdWords Auto TargetsGoogle AdWords’ Left NavigationGoogle AdWords Tools & Analysis TabGoogle recently reconfigured how advertisers can manage their display campaigns, and in this post we’ll walk through the new Google AdWords display network tab.
Using the Google AdWords Display Network TabAs with most of the main tabs within AdWords (keywords, ad text, etc.) you access the display network tab... > Read more
Every year at SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts does a “You & A” question-and-answer session with Danny Sullivan. Matt McGee’s write-up of this year’s interview is full of juicy tidbits and interesting insight into Google’s inner workings – but it’s worth reminding ourselves that part of Cutts’ job is PR.
When a company goes around saying “We value transparency, we value transparency!” all the time, you have to wonder how transparent they’re being – and Google’s algorithms for organic search rankings and Quality Score are still very cryptic.But let’s see what we can take away from his comments anyway, shall we?Links Still Matter – But Not Site-Wide Links, SuckersDanny asked, “Do links still work, or are social signals gonna replace them?” Cutts responded:Dougla... > Read more
I was frustrated and disappointed when the news broke that Google retired Google Places services and replaced it with a new Google+ Local. I already spend a lot of time adding and verifying businesses on Google Places and didn’t want to go through the same process again.However, when I logged in to the new service at https://plus.
google.com/local, I found that nothing fundamental has really changed – Google just transferred data, adding more information and additional features like business score and recommended local places. Those businesses which are not verified by their owners still require verification by phone or mail, the same way it was on Google Places. Meanwhile, the new local pages look fresh, engaging, and have more features for business owners and visitors.Here's what it l... > Read more