You’ve read our picks for the best articles, guides, and case studies on PPC from around the web in 2013. But what about WordStream? We wrote plenty about pay-per-click marketing, Google AdWords in particular, this year, but some of our most popular posts were about Twitter, Facebook, and social media management.
Could it be that small businesses find social media marketing less intimidating than SEO and PPC?In any case, both Twitter and Facebook are coming into their own in terms of their advertising offerings. They have a long way to go before they catch up with Google, but it should be very interesting to see how the big two in social media step up their ad options in 2014.Other hot topics this year: Enhanced Campaigns (by far the biggest change Google has made to AdWords in years) an... > Read more
Deciding how to handle copyright law in a time where 3D printers are on the rise and online media sharing is the norm is troublesome at best. Many critics admonish movie studios and record labels for their desperate attempts to retain the status quo, rather than embrace and adapt to cultural shifts. This stalwart stubbornness is reflected in the big media industries’ use of the DMCA to levy absurd fines against online copyright infringers.
That being said, it’d be unfair to suggest that copyright holders or intellectual property owners should have no rights when it comes to the wild west of the Internet. It all comes to a problem of balance and fairness. While we’re likely many years away from finding a suitable balancing point for properly protecting the rights of owners while being ... > Read more
Over the last year, I’ve spent about 3 hours per day reading about online marketing, and paid search in particular. It’s worked out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 780 hours of staying up to date on the latest case studies, tips, detailed how-to guides, and original research – we’re talking thousands of articles here! On the off chance you haven’t been keeping up to this extent every day, I wanted to share my picks for the best, most informative, absolute must-read PPC articles of 2013.
Some I had bookmarked, others were filed away in my mind, and others still were contributed by industry peeps including Robert Brady, Melissa Mackey, Danny Goodwin, Sam Owen at PPC Hero, Michelle Morehouse at Clix, and AJ Kohn – thank you all! (See more awesome contributions in this Twit... > Read more
This past week, Twitter took a page out of Google’s book and introduced broad match keyword targeting. For AdWords veterans, this concept is nothing new. Twitter’s new match type will extend the reach of promoted tweets to capture an audience that uses terms similar or related to the target keyword.
According to Twitter, a broad keyword “matches on tweets containing keywords in any order, including other words in between … related terms, stem variations, synonyms, misspellings and slang.” For example, if the keyword is “love cats,” promoted tweets could appear for people who are tweeting or interacting with tweets that contain “adore cats” or “luv my kittens” etc.Image via TwitterThis broad match format may sound familiar to AdWords advertisers, but there is one key di... > Read more
In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know about the Google Grant Program, Google’s AdWords program for nonprofit organizations, from how to qualify to ad guidelines.What Is Google Ad Grants?The Google Ad Grants Program gives nonprofits the chance to advertise on Google AdWords at no cost to the nonprofit.
This program gives qualified organizations $10,000 per month in AdWords spend to be used to promote their missions and initiatives on Google.com. To qualify, companies must go through the application process, and to keep the grant they must follow the program details.If you work at a non-profit, you like the sound of this. Before you apply, check to ensure your nonprofile is eligible. Here are the qualifications: To be eligible for Google Grants an organization must:Hold c... > Read more
Content marketing continues to dominate as a core component of a successful B2B marketing strategy – and we’ve got the facts to prove it. Get your flabbergasted face on, it’s time for some seriously surprising stats and facts about B2B content marketing!Note: Most of this data is taken from the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B 2014 Report.
Exceptions to this are marked. Fact #1: 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. Yep – almost all of them.Fact #2: 42% of B2B marketers say they are effective at content marketing. (Only 36% felt this way last year. Way to go, that’s a big improvement!)Fact #3: 44% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy (the question is – do you?).Fact #4: B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy are much more likely... > Read more
Let’s be honest, ad copy testing=tedious. Those of you who have conducted A/B testing on your ads are completely aware of how painfully time-consuming this task can be. Creating testing Excel sheets to set up, sort, and analyze how one’s ads are performing against one another can suck up hours upon hours of your time.
But, on the other hand, making small tweaks to your ad text can drastically increase traffic to your site! This is why testing is incredibly important, and can lead to glorious outcomes if done properly. Who doesn’t want a higher click-through-rate (CTR) that leads to more conversions, an improved quality score, and lower costs? You can achieve this through testing, testing, testing!As I explain this to a client, they inevitably groan back, “But I don’t have time to ... > Read more
Google AdWords takes the word “competitive” to new heights. This fluid auction, fired off whenever someone performs a Google search, provides a platform for advertisers to compete for attention, clicks, traffic, and conversions – in short, for customers. Too often, however, PPC managers see the need to be competitive as a kneejerk cue to raise bids.
Though a top rank can be helpful, and you might have to raise your bids to get there, it doesn’t guarantee clicks, let alone that those clicks will convert – and conversions are what matter most.This guide will show you how to stand out in this competitive space without reverting solely to bid-pumping tactics. We’ll examine the digital real estate you’re competing for, what prompts your ads to show there, and specific steps ... > Read more
If you’ve been a marketer for more than a year you’ve surely heard that SEO is changing (or, alternately, dead, dying, evolving, etc.). It’s a cliché, but it’s true: Today, SEO doesn’t mean what it used to.I recently spoke with Mike Grehan, publisher of ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, about the changing SEO landscape, why SEOs need to be generalist marketers, and his predictions for Internet marketing in 2014 and beyond.
We also talked about why these changes need to be reflected in ClickZ live, the conference formerly known as SES, which has always been a must-attend conference for marketers. Read his fascinating insights below, and register for ClickZ Live in New York this coming spring!What is the thinking behind the recent rebranding of the SES Conference & Expo as Click... > Read more
So you just passed the Google AdWords Fundamentals Exam with flying colors, and all you want to do is pop some champagne and break into an embarrassing celebratory dance …NOT SO FAST! You are only half way to becoming fully Google AdWords certified.If you’re reading this article you likely already know the value of becoming Google AdWords certified, but, as a quick refresher, this certification is truly valuable for those in the PPC consulting industry to help legitimize their skills when working with clients, find new PPC gigs, and gain a high level of knowledge on one of the most powerful platforms in online marketing today.
As someone who recently went through the certification process, I was a bit intimidated when searching through the wide scope of preparation material provided by ... > Read more
Twitter will reportedly make just made a big announcement confirming the expansion of the ad retargeting program they began testing this summer. The new offering, dubbed Tailored Audiences, is a logical next step for a network that went public just months ago and now has a lot to prove to investors.
But how will Twitter Tailored Audiences work for advertisers?TechCrunch earlier this morning cited anonymous “sources” confirming the launch, but say the details were hazy. Here’s what we did know:Twitter advertisers will now have access to external data for ad targeting.It’s almost guaranteed that Promoted Tweets will be open to retargeting; whether or not Promoted Accounts are is unknown.Twitter began experimenting with retargeting in July and made it clear users were able t... > Read more
A new feature that allows marketers to undo changes in Google AdWords is welcome and probably long overdue, though it begs the question: is the AdWords Editor dead?Right now, the AdWords “Undo” button seems to be a limited test, available only in select accounts. What it does, however, is gives advertisers the ability revert to the way their campaign was before changes, or to download a fresh version of account or campaign specifics.
This should make testing much easier.With all of this functionality in the web interface, are we now hearing the death knell for the Google AdWords Editor, desktop version?Why I Used to Use AdWords EditorBack in the day, AdWords Editor had a ton of advantages, including:Offline editing, which was a real issue in and around 2005. Now, however, we have wi-fi... > Read more
Since AdWords remarketing launched back in 2010, it has gone from strength to strength with new features and functionalities, from building lists with Google Analytics to Dynamic Remarketing. These ever-improving functionalities have made it even more important for advertisers to be creating and optimizing remarketing campaigns with best practices in mind.
This post a complete list of best practices and tips to help you get the most out of your AdWords remarketing campaigns.Before you get started with remarketing…Consider these tips before you actually start creating your remarketing lists and campaigns.Manage client expectations by setting clear remarketing objectivesAs with all digital marketing projects, you must be sure of your objectives before you dive into remarketing. This will h... > Read more
Last month, Google launched a long overdue revamp of the AdWords’ Opportunities Tab. Not only did it upgrade the display to a simpler, cleaner format, but it also made major improvements to the content provided.The original Opportunities Tab helped advertisers recognize when to expand their keyword lists, raise their max CPC bids, and increase their budgets.
Now, Google has incorporated new best practices related to AdWords’ most famous brain child, Enhanced Campaigns, as well as the recent changes to the Ad Rank algorithm. Advertisers can expect to find recommendations encouraging them to:Implement ad extensionsSplit ad groups into smaller, more relevant groupingsAdjust bids based on impression share dataBefore you head over to AdWords and give it a spin, let’s review the pros and c... > Read more
The folks at Google AdWords have been busy elves over the last year – so much so that just keeping up with all of the changes is practically a full-time job. By my estimation Google has rolled out over a thousand new AdWords features and changes in the last year alone. That’s almost 20 new features or changes every week! The challenge for marketers is that we often just discover the new stuff as we make our way through our accounts; Google doesn’t even announce the vast majority of their AdWords updates.
Don’t worry – we’ve got your back! We’ve kept on top of the notable changes this year and identified the ten most impactful updates for paid search marketers. Some were great and necessary improvements and others… not so much. However, they’re all changes you should know a... > Read more
In my last post on ad text improvements for the holidays, I mentioned that your PPC landing pages are a critical component you need to tweak for the holiday season.It stands to reason that a highly effective, holiday-targeted PPC campaign needs to incorporate contextually aligned landing pages that support the expectations of holiday shoppers that are clicking on your paid ads.
This article is going to focus exclusively on improvements that you can make to your website’s landing pages in order to maximize your performance potential during the holiday season.Similar to my last post, we’re going to categorize landing page tweaks into two specific areas.Below is a quick outline of how I’d like to cover landing pages. The seven tips I provide below will tie in to these two key areas of f... > Read more
Google Rolls Out Active View Metrics & Viewable Bidding to Counter Worthless Display Ad ImpressionsGoogle seems to be in the process of (finally) launching Active View features average CPM, viewable CTR and viewable impressions. I say “seems to be” as they have not yet made an official announcement, and no supporting material (i.
e., help documentation) is yet available.This is an important change because traditional impression-based bidding charges advertisers based on served display ad impressions – a misleading figure, since, according to comScore, 31% of display ads are never actually seen by users. These features go some way toward correcting that shortcoming on the Display Network.Viewable CPM bidding allows advertisers to optimize their bids so ads appear in slots mor... > Read more
I’ll be the first to admit it—it’s hard to buckle down and focus on PPC strategy during the holidays. Unfortunately, given that this is the biggest shopping season of the year, us PPC folks have to keep our heads down and power through. In the past few days, my teammates have shared tips on holiday planning, bidding and budget preparations, and ad text adjustments.
For those of you that have mastered the basics and are ahead of the curve, let’s explore some advanced strategies you can apply to your account before you head out to enjoy the holiday cheer.Ad ExtensionsFirst things first, let’s talk Ad Extensions. Extensions have always been a great way to boost your performance and, due to a controversial update to the Ad Rank algorithm, they are now a critical component in all PPC ... > Read more
If your “To Do” List during the holidays looks anything like mine, it probably includes things such as: buy presents, clean and decorate the house, plan a menu, plan for all the relatives, and still manage all of my normal day-to-day duties. Do you really want to have to add “manage my holiday promotions for my PPC campaigns” to that already long, stressful list right in the middle of a holiday season? I certainly wouldn’t think so.
That’s why I am here to give you some easy ways to plan all promotions in advance as well as manage your budgets and bidding strategy for any holiday season. There are numerous steps that can be done days, weeks, even months ahead of time (OK, it’s probably a little too late for that last one) in order to alleviate any added stress, disorganization... > Read more
As the holiday season approaches (very quickly), paid search advertisers should be well aware of the fact that their search and display campaigns are going to need some extra love to take advantage of the pure insanity of the holiday rush.The holiday season is a time when quick, impulse-driven purchases are at their peak, and it is absolutely imperative that advertisers take time to optimize their PPC campaigns to accommodate holiday shoppers and ensure that their ads are being triggered, drawing attention and driving clicks.
One of the core strategies that will support these goals is optimizing your text ads for the holiday season.This post will discuss three key factors to focus on while editing ad text, with tips on how you can model your own text ads after some of the most effective (a... > Read more
Happy holidays, everyone! As a follow-up to the recent webinar we hosted on 11/14, “Gearing Up For The Holidays,” we wanted to present you with the material so that you can have it all right at your fingertips. Your faithful holiday webinar presenters, Erin Sagin, Jeff Stevens, Katie Lyons, and I, will each be providing you with a blog post based on the content we shared with you.
Think of it as a mini-series!For my part, I’ll be discussing which elements of your AdWords account you should be thinking about to best prepare for the upcoming season.The beauty of the holidays is that they fall on (roughly) the same days every year, making it very easy for you to plan ahead! It’s good practice to review holiday performance from previous years, so that you can better prepare for this ye... > Read more
Small Business Saturday might feel a bit weightier this year for many, given the shortened shopping period from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Individual retailers and restaurateurs participating in the annual holiday season kickoff plan to offer coupons, discounts and other holiday promotions, according to new research from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
This year, 70% of those participating believe it will help them attract new customers, and 67% plan to offer discounts to drive sales. Offering a free gift with a purchase is an incentive 33% plan to deploy. Notably, the number of small business owners planning to rely primarily on paid advertising to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled since 2012.Now in its fourth year, Small Business Sa... > Read more
The cornerstone of any successful PPC campaign is keyword research – choosing the best keywords to bid on that are most likely to result in clicks and conversions. Keyword research is part science and part art. It's about using the myriad tools at your disposal, but also understanding your customers and predicting which terms they're actually typing into the search box.
That’s the best way to ensure that your ads show up at the right time and in the right place: when they’re searching for the kinds of products or services you offer.In this guide, you’ll learn a set of methodologies to help you acquire, refine, and organize your PPC keywords, all in the service of better targeted and more effective pay-per-click campaigns.Getting Started: Brainstorming a PPC Keyword ListThe starting... > Read more
Text ads and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are more powerful used together, according to Google; in fact, using text ads alone means lower brand recognition, less site engagement and fewer online sales, they say.Google’s recent study, conducted in cooperation with research and consulting firm Millward Brown, shows that:People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.
People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.Their findings pertain mostly... > Read more
True or false: SEO is dead.If you said false, keep reading.But wait! That’s not all.You also need to be an excellent writer. Do you love blogging and sharing your knowledge?Then yay! You might be a good fit for our newest marketing role.We’re looking for someone who’s equally strong in search engine optimization techniques and content marketing to help our team out with a bunch of exciting projects in the pipeline.
Here’s what you need to know:You won't be a cog in ye olde machine. We’re a young, venture-backed software company in the search marketing space. We’re growing really fast. We're winning awards. Everyone who joins WordStream has a chance to make a palpable difference in our success.Our marketing team is widely known for performing at a level way beyond our size and ye... > Read more
The refrain “time is running out” is something we’re all going to hear on a repeated basis for the next 45 days or so. As it applies to the PPC pros, time is running out to prepare for the digital shopping madness known as Cyber Monday, coming on December 2. That's just three short weeks away.Cyber Monday is a term marketing companies created back in 2005 to hype online shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving.
It’s a day of steep discounts and special offers to keep the momentum going after Black Friday, the major difference being you don’t get trampled by people on Cyber Monday like you might on Black Friday, and you don't have to search for parking.What does Cyber Monday mean to you? It means consumers are in “extreme buying mode” on Cyber Monday, so it’s time to take step... > Read more
As the owner of a popular internet marketing blog (this one) that gets around a half million unique visitors / month, I’m used to getting all sorts of spam.Every week I get dozens of requests to purchase links on my site (which I ignore), and every month, and we delete hundreds, possibly thousands of spammy blog comments and link drops.
But more recently I’ve been getting a different tune of spammy emails from SEO spammers, like this one asking for help with link removal:Oh how the worm has turned…I’m guessing their back-link profile is full of anchor-text-rich, no-followed blog comments and that Mr. Penguin doesn’t like that too much.Seriously, what to do here – should I help out this SEO spammer or should he suffer?Reasons to Help This SEO SpammerWe’ve all dropped a link wit... > Read more
Unless you have plans for world domination, your pay-per-click ads don't need to be seen by everyone on the planet. It's much more likely that the products and services you’re advertising will be limited to a handful of countries, cities, or even city blocks. This is where geotargeting comes in.Geotargeting, or local PPC, is an AdWords feature that lets you target your ads to only appear to customers in a certain location, or set of locations, that you specify.
For businesses that rely on foot traffic (like restaurants), proximity (like used car dealerships by city), and deliveries (like an e-store that ships to certain countries but not others), geotargeting is an absolute no-brainer.With geotargeting, you won’t squander your ad budget on wasted clicks from people who are outside your... > Read more
With Google constantly rolling out new features and design on the search results page, including personalized and location-based search results, there's no longer such a thing as a standard SERP for everyone. So what’s driving the new Google search results page layout?The team at VirtualHosting.com has put together a new infographic that examines what today's Google SERP looks like and what it means to be at the top of Google’s search results.
According to VirtualHosting, the new Google search results page is driven and defined by:Click-through rates (CTR) – Which parts of the page get the most clicks? How much does CTR fall off after page 1?Searcher intent and location – Does the Google user have intent to make a purchase? Are they looking for local businesses or trying to co... > Read more
As the holidays come barreling in, the last thing you need to worry about is pushing yourself away from turkey and stuffing to turn off your clients’ campaigns. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to schedule your campaigns automatically: the AdWords automated rules feature.I used to eschew this feature, opting instead to set reminders in my calendar, but a recent client request for specific days and hours during the holidays prompted me to learn how Google’s campaign automation works.
You can use Automate for lots of things, such as turning a campaign off when your budget hits a certain amount, or to receive an email when events occur on your website. For our purposes here, though, we’re going to focus on one thing: how to pause and enable campaigns on particular days and at ... > Read more