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 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 Products ... > Read more
AdWords scripts for My Client Center (MCC) are now out of beta. Google mentioned this during an AdWords API workshop I attended yesterday but only just made a formal announcement. This is big news for agencies, who have been asking for the ability to run scripts across an entire MCC for a while. Previously, you could only run scripts at the account level.
This is a powerful feature for automating account management.Introduced just a few months ago on March 11, AdWords scripts for MCC allows larger advertisers to manage changes to accounts at scale by hosting all scripts within the account and applying changes to up to 50 accounts simultaneously.Previously, you could set up a script to run on each account in the MCC. Now you can write one script that iterates over all of your clients. Wheth... > Read more
I need to be in position 1! I need to be ahead of my competitors! I need to show up all the time for this keyword! I need to be in the top 3 or I won’t be seen! Wrong, wrong, wrong, and, yes, wrong.Too many marketers and business owners react emotionally to AdWords. Oddly enough, they have the data available to make accurate decisions, but they let their egos get in the way.
Bidding to a specific position in AdWords is B.S. There, I said it (AdWords gurus freak out…now). But…I have data to back it up.Your average position is a dependent variable. Here’s why – your conversion rate is not influenced by any of AdWords’ metrics. Your click-through rate, average position, impression share, quality score etc. have no influence on your conversion rate. None. So what does this tell us?... > Read more
Keyword research is a critical component in every successful paid search strategy. In fact, our internal data shows that search marketers spend nearly 25% of their time on keyword research.Google has quietly rolled out a number of significant changes and updates to Keyword Planner that should not only reduce the amount of time spent in the tool, but make it exponentially more useful, as well.
The updates rolled out this week make it highly visual and more powerful, with a definite mobile focus. It's the first major refresh since the tool was introduced about a year ago.(Warning: the new version is way more fun – you might actually spend MORE time in Keyword Planner. Try not to get distracted by the pretty shiny things.)So what's new? Check out the new Keyword Planner features:Visualize S... > Read more
Today's the day: Google finally spilled the beans about the new features that are coming to AdWords. (Protip: sign up for our webinar tomorrow for an in-depth look at the changes and how they'll affect you!) Now we can finally tell you what they actually announced. Here’s our take on this exciting news.
New AdWords Features OverviewBefore we get into the specifics of the new AdWords features, I wanted to provide you with an overview of the key points about these planned improvements. I recently spoke with Aaron Stein, Google’s Global Communications and Public Affairs Manager, who told me that:These features will be entirely optional, unlike last year’s mandatory (read: “destructive”) Enhanced Campaigns update.Also, unlike last year’s EC update, no existing features are being ret... > Read more
Google is making a big announcement on Tuesday, April 22 (yep, that's TOMORROW). They will announce 10+ new AdWords products, features, and research studies that they have been working on for the past year.Last year, we were the first to bring you complete coverage of Enhanced Campaigns, the biggest change to the AdWords ecosystem in the last decade.
This Wednesday, we’ll be holding a free, live webinar to clue you in on this new announcement and what it means for your AdWords campaigns.The moment the embargo is lifted, we’ll start bringing live coverage of the announcement plus actionable advice on how it will affect your account and how to take advantage of the changes.There’s been plenty of speculation so far on what those changes might entail. We’ve seen what people are saying,... > Read more
Take a look at your text ads and tell me if they are designed to sell. Do you have a well-written ad description, a strong offer and a compelling call to action? Many PPC managers create their text ads to match the title with the query and bring people to the right landing page. And that’s a great starting point, but is it enough?In many instances when we look at ads, we see the same generic or simple text written in the ad descriptions.
Over the last few years we’ve changed the ad descriptions for hundreds of ads and we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in click-through rates, even when the ads were at the bottom of the search results.When people search for a product or a service, they can see up to three ads at the top and eight ads at the side, together with the organic results and s... > Read more
Have you ever done a super-specific search for an obscure item on Google and been shocked to see an ad that is offering—to a tee—exactly what you are looking for? If so, there’s a good chance that the advertiser was using a strategy known as Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI). DKI allows you to customize your ad to match the user’s search query, thus creating a more specific, highly targeted ad that perfectly matches the searcher’s intent.
To do this, the advertiser can create a generic ad that contains the dynamic keyword insertion formula. When Google serves this ad, it will substitute the keyword that triggered the auction for the formula in the ad.For example, if an advertiser implemented the ad text above and their ad was triggered by the search term “german chocolate cupcake... > Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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