New England can be a fabulous home for adventure. A recent weekend included a kayaking excursion on the open ocean, bouncing from island to island off the coast of Portland, Maine. In such an environment, kayaks can be tricky things to control. Abrupt changes in wind, spontaneous large waves from the intersecting boating lanes, and the general instability of the craft can make for a challenging experience.
Yet this tandem craft was equipped with an extra device for control: a rudder. This small feature enabled you to agilely control the entire vessel with the slightest adjustment on its petals. This made it possible to shift quickly for waves approaching the boat, gently banking into the shore, and ultimately getting where we wanted to go in the shortest time.You’ve probably realized at ... > Read more
Google AdWords is a seriously powerful, dynamic online advertising platform, yet few users ever even begin to reach their full potential within the service. Google is constantly updating AdWords, adding new features, killing off ones that don't work, and changing the way features function, thousands of times a year.
It's no wonder marketers can't keep up! Thanks to this ever-changing nature of AdWords, there are some really significant features that hardly get any play at all. However, these underused features can have a serious impact on your PPC performance.If you want to really bury the competition, you have to move beyond the AdWords basics and get creative. I went searching for the AdWords features with the lowest adoption – we're talking under 10% – that have the greatest potentia... > Read more
To be successful in any type of advertising, whether it be digital, radio, or out-of-home, you must keep tabs on your competitors and their tactics. If they are advertising on the subway, chances are you should be too. Likewise, if they are targeting a specific keyword in PPC, so should you.Via PaulThere are a lot of free benchmarks for data available to all AdWords users.
Here are four of my favorite tools for analyzing your AdWords competition.Auction InsightsThe Auction Insights report allows you to look at who else is bidding on your keywords. You can see impression shares, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page rate that each competitor has on a particular keyword. With this information, you can effectively better manage your own bids in comparison to who... > Read more
When it comes to thought leadership in the digital marketing space, there is certainly no shortage of material out there. Not only are there numerous publications dedicated to providing new insights and guidance to marketers, but most agencies are also generating content. With each of these groups pumping out multiple articles a week, the internet is flooded with AdWords advice.
At this point, it feels as though the web is oversaturated with digital marketers’ blogposts, whitepapers, cheat sheets…the whole nine yards. And what’s worse is that nearly every article holds the promise of a “magical solution” or a “secret sauce” to help you beat out the competition or double your ROI. When I first started working in paid search, I read this content religiously and yes, I drank the ... > Read more
Have you ever noticed that Google loves experimenting with different ad variations in the SERPs? Usually these tests are impromptu and short-lived, but Google recently announced a new mobile ad format that is here to stay. Here are the details you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.The New Mobile Ad Format: What’s Changing?As of last month, Google began displaying ads in the mobile search results pages in which ad extensions are substituted in place of the second line of ad text.
Check out the example that they published below. As you can see, the new mobile ad format lost the second line of text and now includes a location extension in its place.Don’t worry, Google won’t be scrapping their standard mobile text ad format completely – they’ll be serving both versions at their... > Read more
As marketers, we know all too well that not all clicks are created equal. Not every ad impression will truly leave an impression and not all visitors to our site will convert. That’s why it’s important to know your target market and understand how to cater to your key demographics.Advertisers on the Google Display Network have the ability to view their performance by a user’s gender, age range, or, starting recently, parental status.
And while this was great insight into whom we were reaching with our ads, we were limited to view our demographic performance by only one demographic at a time. Complex decisions, like deciding whether you wanted to cater your campaign to target younger mothers (with presumably younger children) or older bachelors, are difficult when you can only view on... > Read more
Kids are punks. For their first few months, they make their introduction to the world screaming like Britney Spears off auto-tune, and gobble Gerber like they’re sponsored by Nestle. Soon come supermarket tantrums, and increasing elaborate birthday themes met with mild response. Thank god we love them.
As they grow, their sneaky pranks evolve, and it’s ever more common for those to include technology.When it comes to the world of PPC, I bet you thought you were safe, didn’t you? If you’re like most advertisers, you didn’t even see it coming. If you’re running Display campaigns in your AdWords account without the proper settings, these little buggers (and other users as well) could be costing you a chunk of money! Let me show you how…Why Google Ads in Mobile Apps Are Dangerous... > Read more
There is an endless supply of data coming from AdWords; sometimes combing through all this data can be a little daunting. It can be easy to get lost in all of it and not really know what you should be focusing on:What is and isn’t working?Where is your money being wasted?Where can you step on the gas?Here are a few simple reports that you can run in AdWords that will help you weed through all the data and make some quick decisions.
AdWords Report #1: Top Vs. OtherWhere To Find ItYou can find it on the campaign, ad groups, keywords, and ads tabs in the “Segment” drop down.What It Shows The report will show you what your performance looks like at either the “Top” positions (usually positions 1 through 3) or the “Other” positions (usually to the left of or below the search ... > Read more
As the ambiguous “late-August” deadline to transition PLA campaigns to Shopping Campaigns has come and gone, online retailers are scrambling to adapt to the new campaign type. Leading up to the big switchover, the AdWords team went to great lengths to ensure account managers were aware of the impending changes.
We saw numerous posts on the AdWords Insights blog, emails, alert messages in the interface and regular webinars guiding users through the transition process. In fact, we even saw “AdWords” representatives calling users who were still running the old version of PLAs to warn them about the new campaign type and provide transition assistance.These efforts generated a big buzz around Shopping Campaigns. Now that e-commerce advertisers are hyper-focused on them, we expect this s... > Read more
Good news for advertisers using Shopping Campaigns: Google is now allowing you to opt into displaying your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on retail and e-commerce search partner sites.Displaying your shopping campaign ads across Google's search partners network helps you reach motivated consumers outside of the google.
com and Google Shopping environments.Where Will Your PLAs Appear?Google said the network includes "a small set of retail and commerce publishers." The example they used in their announcement was Walmart; in this case, an advertiser selling tailgate grills could have their ads trigger on the Walmart site when someone searches for a tailgating grill.It begs the obvious question: doesn't this potentially take sales away from the partner sites?Like any and everything Google does, thi... > Read more
Does this situation sound familiar?Your AdWords campaign is live, but it is as effective at driving sales as Kanye West is at letting people finish award acceptance speeches.Users type in your keywords and click the ads, but when they are taken to your landing page they don’t convert. It’s not a matter of having a product or service that people want – you have customers who have purchased offline and rave about your solution.
However, when you try to advertise your product or service via AdWords the orders dry up.Instead of the sales you imagined, you are now paying for users to view the landing page and leave. You have a poor conversion rate, an expensive cost per acquisition and your user’s time on site is minimal. You adjust your keywords, put new images on your landing page, an... > Read more
Offers can be an incredibly effective conversion tool, and within the next few weeks, all Google AdWords advertisers will be able to highlight them in their search ads. Google is rolling out a new ad extension called Callouts that enables you to add more text to your ad to spotlight free shipping, discounts, price matching and more.
Callout extensions are similar to sitelinks, but without the links. Google recommends that advertisers use callout extensions to draw attention to unique selling points and important product details and benefits. You can feature up to four callouts in your ad, each limited to 25 characters each, and must have at least two callouts for them to display.Callout extensions can be used with other ad formats, like sitelinks, and are created, scheduled and managed with... > Read more
Google AdWords My Client Center (MCC) users have one more accounts management feature to love. Over the weekend, Google announced the rollout of AdWords Consolidated Billing, enabling agencies to combine multiple account invoices into a single one.Consolidated billing will also allow account managers to create, fund and manage AdWords budgets for new or existing accounts in the interface, without having to contact support.
New invoice structuring options enable you to combine everything in one invoice, or create multiple invoices based on segmentation by brand, location, division, etc.Another improvement is the addition of email delivery for invoices. Users can now choose to have invoices emailed, or download them at the beginning of the month. Previously, download and regular mail were th... > Read more
WordStream recently launched a call tracking initiative and naturally we have been asked tons of questions about how our new service offering compares to Google AdWords’ existing Call Extensions and Call Forwarding features. (These services are different from Google’s new Website Call Conversions feature; learn more about that here.
) It is easy to be confused since all these offerings focus on tracking potential leads, so it is important to understand the differences and benefits of each service.First, let’s break down what each of these service offerings do and how they work.WordStream Call TrackingWordStream Call Tracking allows you to see through the software which campaigns, ad groups, ads, match types and keywords are driving leads to call your business. How it works is:Customer... > Read more
Paid search is one of the most effective means for businesses to gain new customers. However, the PPC playing field has changed dramatically in recent years, and strategies that might have been effective in the past simply no longer cut it.In this post, I’m going to show you why you should stop wasting time with low click-through rate PPC strategies or bidding to a particular position, and what you can do to improve the ROI of your paid search campaigns.
What is a ‘Low CTR Strategy’?Before we go any further, I’ll explain what I mean by “low CTR strategies.”There are two main types of low CTR paid search strategies. The first is the type of campaign in which you target broader keywords within your market. These keywords include both informational and navigational queries, as well... > Read more
As of today, Google’s app promotion ads, first launched on the Display Network in June, are now available across the Google Search and YouTube networks.It’s great news for app promoters, particularly those interested in the YouTube network, where users are 2.2x more likely to download apps. Promoting an app on YouTube is as simple as linking the app’s ID to an active TrueView campaign.
TrueView Mobile App Promotion AdsOn YouTube, the app promotion ads are an enhancement to TrueView ads and send users directly to the appropriate app store to download. You can choose an ad format optimized for app promotion that displays the app name, icon, price and ratings next to the video ad and in the ad preview.Advertisers can target YouTube audience members based on whether they've viewed content... > Read more
You work hard to optimize your ads and either get consumers to your website or get them to call your business directly. But how can you tell when the person who calls your business did so as the result of your AdWords ads? If the number on your website and in your ads is always the same, you have no way of knowing.
Now you can measure phone calls that are triggered by your ads in AdWords. Google has just announced the launch of website call conversions, a dynamic forwarding number insertion feature that enables the measurement of calls from a website visitor who landed on the site as a result of an AdWords ad click. This is similar but not identical to WordStream’s own AdWords call tracking software (more on that later).The ability to track where your calls are coming from and how your PP... > Read more
If you had the chance to read my recent post on why it’s so easy to fail at mobile advertising, then you’ll remember that we discovered:Mobile search volumes have been growing exponentially the past few years.Mobile CTR drops off 45% faster in lower positions than desktop or tablet.Search CPCs have been rising dramatically for mobile over the past 12 months.
The mobile impression share penalty is more dramatic that its desktop counterparts.These trends make the mobile PPC market appreciably harder to control. Advertisers without a clear mobile strategy are almost certain to fail. So what can you do to beat the mobile curse? Our Client Success reps here at Wordstream and our loyal blog followers shared their best tips:#1: Use Mobile Bid Adjustments to Control What You Pay for on MobileMo... > Read more
Holy smokes! Google has today effectively killed off both the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords!While the keyword match types will still exist, starting in September, AdWords is redefining the definition of how keywords set to phrase and exact keyword match type will trigger search ads by applying close variant keyword matching – meaning your keywords will also trigger for misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents, acronyms and abbreviations of the keywords that you specify.
Close variant keyword match was introduced in 2012, and was already the default option when using exact match and phrase match – however previously you could opt out of it. Going forward, this is no longer the case. Here’s everything you need to know about this keyword match type shake-... > Read more
Dr. Pete just tweeted a screenshot of a SERP that he spotted last night – Google appears to be running a test with paid local search results!Just popped up on Google last night - Is this paid local? pic.twitter.com/9VUanoXpfX— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) August 11, 2014As you can see in the screenshot he grabbed, the local map results have the yellow “Ads” label that designates them as sponsored results:Compare this to a typical organic local pack:Following the recent loss of local “pack” results, which came to be dubbed the “Pigeon” update, this is an extremely interesting development.
It’s just a test for now (I couldn’t reproduce the results on a live query), but it would make perfect sense for Google to monetize the local results, because that’s exactly what happen... > Read more
Have you ever heard the saying knowledge is power? ... Well, then why don’t you have any idea what days of the week and times of the day your ads are knocking it out of the park in terms of impressions, conversions, CPA, or whatever other metrics are important to you?If you’ve been running your AdWords account a few months or more, it’s time to dive into the Dimensions tab (aka one of my favorite spots in to hang out in AdWords) and see what times and days provide the most value to your business.
In AdWords, this is known as dayparting (not to be mistaken with day partying) or ad scheduling.“Drunk Firefighters w/ Southie Girls” via Bryan MaleszykThis valuable setting is something I often bring up in conversation with my clients, although common objections include: But why is this... > Read more
Google has given AdWords advertisers a pretty awesome gift: new dynamic sitelinks, free of charge, for the top three ad positions. That means Google will automatically generate sitelinks for certain ads, and clicks on those dynamic sitelinks won’t cost you anything.In their announcement this morning, Google said, "This is another example, like selling ratings, of AdWords tools adding value to your ads while saving time and simplifying campaign management.
" As with Enhanced Campaigns, Google is basically catering to smaller businesses who don’t have the time or expertise to set this stuff up themselves.When Adoption Is Low, Google Forces AdoptionThe big idea behind Enhanced Campaigns was to increase adoption of mobile advertising, since so many AdWords advertisers weren’t doing it on ... > Read more
They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when it comes to bad clients, are you in better shape if you avoid the lemons altogether?We consult for a number of small AdWords agencies. One emerging trend that we have noticed among newer agencies is that they jump at the prospect of bringing on new accounts, regardless of whether or not these clients are a good fit for them.
These relationships quickly take a turn for the worse and the agencies find themselves in hot water. In many cases, the time and energy spent obtaining and onboarding these clients’ accounts outweighs the actual price they’ve paid to the agency.Here at WordStream, our agency team does an in-depth account assessment for every prospect who is interested in our paid search services. Not only do we consider ... > Read more
One of the biggest obstacles I face with clients is taking control of a messy and hard to manage account. Often times AdWords accounts change hands over time, have an “old school” strategy for setup, or just have too many cooks in the kitchen for a lack of better terminology. This often leads to an account with more campaigns, ad groups, and keywords than you know what to do with.
I speak with many clients who feel like they are drowning in their accounts and don’t even know where to begin. Upon analyzing these accounts, I often have the same sentiments; it can feel impossible to know what the best first step is because there are so many things that can and need to be fixed.The obvious question is then, “Do we try to fix what currently exists or would it be better to start over?” ... > Read more
Google this week has published a new white paper on Quality Score and finally updated their 5-year-old video on how Quality Score works. I asked them “why now” and they said that it’s just time to redo the old stuff, but part of me thinks that they’re trying to quell a Quality Score rebellion that myself and others (including Frederick Vallaeys, etc.
) may have inadvertently started – the wording of some points in the new materials seem to directly reflect points that I’ve articulated in articles I’ve published in the last year.Image via Kirk Williams - @ppckirkAs usual, Google trotted out the same old “happy users,” “happy advertisers” and “happy Google” platitudes. It’s mostly a rehash of the same old Google fairy dust about Quality Score, but there are a ... > Read more
Google is launching a “new and improved” AdWords Policy Center aimed at making policies more user-friendly and accessible to advertisers, according to an announcement buried in their AdWords Policy Help resources.The current AdWords policies will remain in effect until “around September,” when the new center will launch.
So what's new? Google has released a preview of the new center alongside their announcement. Here's what you need to know about the changes.1. If you're in compliance now, you won't be a rule-breaker come September… well, most of you, anyway.In their announcement, Google noted, "Almost all advertisers who comply with our current policies will also comply with the new policies."Yes, there will be fundamental policy changes that will affect some advertisers more tha... > Read more
This post was co-written with Randi Lucius. Google Shopping Campaigns are a favorite of e-commerce advertisers—they give online retailers the opportunity to present a product image along with relevant purchasing information, like price, directly on the Google results pages. You all know the old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.
” So it’s no surprise that these ads are highly effective, often outperforming standard text ads and even organic results.At this point, many advertisers have been jaded by great performance in their shopping campaigns. Most saw huge spikes in sales upon implementing their feeds, but chances are, your results have flat-lined over time. If you’re frustrated with stagnant trends in your account, Google Merchant Promotions might be exactly what you... > Read more
Here at WordStream, our team of consultants analyzes thousands of PPC accounts. While our customers’ pain points tend to vary, many of their issues can be tracked back to one major misstep—their campaigns are set to run on both the Search and Display Networks simultaneously.99% of the time, this practice will wreak havoc on a PPC account.
The main problem is, these networks target users in two completely different scenarios. Not to mention, since metrics across each network are combined, it is challenging to assess how each is performing, and it eliminates the option to segment one’s budget by network.Quite frankly, applying the same strategy to both networks is like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole…it just doesn’t work. If you have any campaigns opted into both network... > Read more
What do WordStream, Google and the White House have in common? We’re all championing small businesses this week, as Small Business Week 2014 is in full swing!In partnership with the Small Business Administration, a series of events, workshops and Q&A sessions are taking place in cities across the country (and at tech companies such as Microsoft and Twitter) to provide proprietors of small businesses with the support, advice and resources they need to thrive.
Small Business StatisticsSmall businesses are a big deal. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up:99.7% of U.S. employer firms64% of net new private sector jobs49.2% of private sector employment46% of private sector output43% of high-tech employment98% of firms exporting goods overseas33% of the co... > Read more
A few weeks ago, Google announced major changes and updates to the AdWords platform, several of them designed to improve efficiency and scale for enterprise-class search marketers.Google wants to make life easier for companies with massive campaigns – for those who are spending hundreds of millions or even a billion dollars on AdWords.
Enterprise-level PPC marketers face unique challenges, given the complexity and sheer size of their campaigns.These new AdWords features were designed to increase efficiency, help brands scale their campaigns and make insights more accessible and useful. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into the new tools available to enterprise AdWords clients.Bulk Actions: Making AdWords Less "Complicated"In the new features announcement a few weeks back, VP of P... > Read more