AdWords Tips

Goodbye Google AdWords Regular PLA Campaign Type, Hello Shopping Campaigns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Google AdWords Certification Doesn't Matter

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

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

April 01, 2014     |   Written by: Caleb Hutchings   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 46

3 Ways Google AdWords Is Adapting for Small Business Advertising

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

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

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

The Beginner's Guide to Building a Negative Keyword List

When Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work,” he wasn’t talking about negative keywords. While paid search was not among Edison’s various areas of expertise, his words of wisdom most definitely apply to how to run an effective AdWords campaign.

Whether you’re a newcomer to AdWords or have been running PPC campaigns since Google launched the platform in 2000 (with a grand total of 350 customers), you’ve probably given a great deal of thought to which keywords will result in more clicks and higher conversions – not to mention that vacation home in Lake Tahoe you’ve been dreaming about.However, fewer businesses devote as much time and energy to building a negative keyword list, despite the crucial role tha... > Read more

March 04, 2014     |   Written by: Dan Shewan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 11

The AdWords Landing Page Grader: Try Our New Free Landing Page Tool

We consistently hear from our clients and prospects that PPC landing pages are a struggle. There’s so much at stake on the landing page – that’s where your visitor either converts or doesn’t. But you don’t get much help from Google when it comes to landing page optimization. A poor landing page experience affects your Quality Scores as well as your ROI, but it’s tricky to actually figure out what the problem with your page is in AdWords alone.

Given this common pain point, I’m excited to announce the release of WordStream’s brand new landing page tool, the AdWords Landing Page Grader. This tool, now in beta, is the newest addition to the family of free tools WordStream offers small businesses to help them assess and improve PPC performance. And today, I’d like to tell you ... > Read more

February 19, 2014     |   Written by: Ben Kasdon   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Why Tracking Conversions for Your PPC Efforts Is a No-Brainer!

Does your business have marketing goals?If the answer is no I hope you have an alternative source of income.If your answer is yes then your business should be tracking conversions.But what is a conversion?One of the most common misconceptions about conversion tracking is that it only works for purchases made online.

In reality, a conversion is any meaningful action completed by a visitor on your website. Something as simple as subscribing to your company blog, downloading a whitepaper, or even viewing an important webpage on your site can be tracked as a conversion.So first, define what actions are meaningful to your business. Perhaps you own a sports camp and visitors who explore your interactive activities map on one of your web page’s tend to be valuable to the growth of your business... > Read more

February 13, 2014     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 6

Going Unicorn Hunting: The Secrets Behind Ads with 3x the Average CTR

What’s the average click-through rate for a Google AdWords ad? When people ask this question, it’s often because they want to benchmark their own ad CTR’s. Unfortunately, way too many advertisers are content to reach an average click-through rate and leave it at that.We recently held a well-attended webinar packed with crazy techniques you can use to triple your AdWords click-through rate.

Sounds unbelievable, right? It’s not at all – in fact, we walked step-by-step through a process that helps marketers improve their ads to the point they’re performing in the top 1% of all ads across the platform.We’ve had a number of requests for more information on this webinar, so here we go! This post is a monster – use this handy guide to help you get around:What Is a Good CTR?Why Uni... > Read more

February 11, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 15

How to Pass the AdWords Advanced Display Exam & Earn Google Partner Status

We’ve already delved into surviving the AdWords Advanced Search exam, thanks to Margot da Cunha’s post last December, so now let’s take a look at the other advanced exam, Advanced Display. Display seems to be a bit of a great unknown, the dividing line between the hardcore search geeks and the creative, right-brained people who cringe at all the spreadsheets and analysis that accompany search.

It bears mentioning here that 95 percent of people’s online time is spent consuming content, so learning about display (and video) can be a nice upsell to your clients, or it could be a career path you carve for yourself. Here’s an interesting fact: YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine – and it’s a major component of the Advanced Display exam.Let’s assume you’v... > Read more

February 10, 2014     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

AdWords Metrics: How to Make Sense of Your PPC Data

When it comes to the paid search environment I think it’s safe to say that most people are very results-driven. After all, would you really go through all of the effort to build out, optimize, and monitor your AdWords account on a frequent basis if all you got in return was a blank sheet of paper? Of course not – we put the effort into our search campaigns because we expect results, we want to see an outcome, and we need AdWords performance metrics to alert us of our success or failure.

That being said, looking through all of the data that Google provides can sometimes feel like searching for your child in a giant ball pit. In other words, it can be tough to find something meaningful in the chaos.Let’s take a look at some of the AdWords metrics that are going to help you really home i... > Read more

February 06, 2014     |   Written by: Katie Lyons   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Search Network with Display Select: Should You Use AdWords' New Campaign Type?

You may remember that in early November 2013 Google rolled out a new AdWords campaign type called “Search Network with Display Select.”For advertisers, we now have a serious option to consider when debating the merit of running a combination search and display network campaign. In the past, we were able to simply combine both the entire search and display networks into one “hyper” campaign.

This presented a unique opportunity to seriously expand your reach and generate potentially valuable impressions, clicks and conversions across a broad range of web assets.The results, however, usually were not that great. I can corroborate this. Rarely do I see accounts that actually use this combination campaign type, and when I do, I recommend splitting up campaigns based on their network tar... > Read more

February 05, 2014     |   Written by: Jeff Stevens   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 6

Hacking AdWords: Winning at AdWords the Weird Way

As search marketers, we spend a lot of time analyzing crazy SEO algorithms (hello, Panda and Penguin) and constantly trying to reverse-engineer ranking factors in an attempt to increase our organic rankings.Yet when it comes to paid search, there's not nearly as much research, despite the fact that PPC, like SEO, is largely driven by an algorithm (Quality Score) which determines ad position, cost per click and many other factors.

By understanding how Quality Score works, AdWords can be cracked.In my article today, I'll quantify the impact of Quality Score on your cost per click and cost per conversion. I'll also explain to you (mathematically!) how Google calculates your Quality Score. Finally, I'll share my three best tips on how to raise your Quality Scores, all in an effort to help you h... > Read more

January 29, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 29

How Your AdWords Daily Budget Works With Ad Scheduling

AKA, How to Keep Google from Turning Your $500 Budget into $600 in SpendTake a look around any Google help forum and you’ll likely see questions about how AdWords budgeting works. They usually come from advertisers who’ve run over their monthly ad budgets for lack of understanding of this topic. I have to admit, I was one of those advertisers.

I would have felt a lot of embarrassment about my past mistakes if not for the fact the Google help experts had to do some double-checking of their own on it—that’s how (intentionally?) confusing this topic is.Most, if not all, advertisers use monthly budgets. Of course, AdWords runs on daily budgets. The way you work within this environment depends on whether or not your campaign runs every day of the month.With full confidence intact, let’... > Read more

January 20, 2014     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 10

How to Get New Clients: Top 6 Tips from Successful PPC Agencies

For up-and-coming digital marketing agencies, finding new customers can be a challenge. In fact, this seems to be an ongoing struggle for many of the smaller agencies that I work with. These businesses walk a fine line when it comes to prospecting clients; not only do they need to find advertisers who want to work with them, they also need to verify that these accounts are a good fit for their PPC managers—not an easy feat!I have a soft spot for up-and-coming agencies, so I made it my mission to find the top ways that successful PPC agencies get new clients.

To develop this list, I turned to a seasoned group of experts, many of whom work for, own, or consult to SEM agencies. Participants included Aaron Levy, Andrew Lolk, Andy Groller, Anisha Dattani, Bethany Bey, David Szetela, Ginny Marv... > Read more

January 16, 2014     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 26

Live Webinar: Totally Insane Techniques Guaranteed to 3X Your CTR

This might hurt a little – apologies, but I promise it will feel better in the long run. Coming to terms with this important realization is the first step in your PPC recovery. Are you ready for it?You’re doing PPC wrong.I know that’s frustrating to hear; if you’re like most SMB marketers, you think you’re already doing everything you can to better manage your paid search campaigns.

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re following conventional wisdom and managing your account in the same way you and every one of your competitors has been for the last several years, you’re throwing money out the door.In an upcoming webinar, I’m going to show you how to break free of the mold the vast majority of PPC marketers have trapped themselves into.You’re throwing out your 1% CTR a... > Read more

January 15, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 9

YouTube Remarketing: Why & How to Try Remarketing with YouTube Videos

Why just market … when you can remarket?!We recently shared The Complete Guide to AdWords Remarketing Best Practices – but it wasn’t 100% complete because it didn’t cover remarketing with YouTube videos.Using YouTube videos is the next step in the evolution of remarketing. As Google continues to try and make searching (and advertising) a more visual and interactive experience, video ads are primed to fill this void.

Remarketing with YouTube videos will allow you to:Grab your potential customer’s attention and explain to them why your product is beneficial.Step outside of the 70-character limit of conventional text ads and push beyond the dull, static nature of image ads.Connect more directly with customers by explaining and demonstrating your product or service in a 30-second cli... > Read more

January 15, 2014     |   Written by: Chris Panetta   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Bid Optimization: Getting Started with Bid Optimization in AdWords

Bid optimization can require quite a bit of time and attention, but it is a critical process for any successful AdWords account. In terms of how to start monitoring performance and analyzing data to manage your bids, it’s tough to know where to begin. In this post, I’ll break down the essentials of PPC bid optimization into digestible little pieces for you.

We’re here to help you start taking the baby steps that are key to managing your bids easily and effectively!Getting Started: PPC Budgeting and First-Time BidsBreaking it Down: Identifying Budget and ScaleBefore you even think about bidding, you’ll want to figure out how much money you’d like to spend. Your daily/monthly/annual budget is a critical part of your PPC strategy so take the time to start on the right foot.When you... > Read more

January 08, 2014     |   Written by: Zina Kayyali   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Need a PPC Audit? Get a Fast, Free PPC Audit with AdWords Grader Plus

January is the traditional time to take stock of your life, assess what’s missing, and set new goals. Chances are, your PPC account could use the January treatment. The holidays are over, you’re back from vacation, and your AdWords account is probably as messy as your kitchen, or as bloated as … never mind.

The point is, it’s time for a PPC audit – you need to benchmark where you’re at so you know where to focus your efforts in the new year.Two years ago, we created the AdWords Performance Grader to help advertisers audit and analyze their Google AdWords accounts. It’s basically the fastest, easiest, and by far the cheapest (you can’t get cheaper than free) way to audit your PPC account. You link the tool up to your AdWords account through a 100% secure OAuth connection (on... > Read more

January 07, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Guide: How to Use Google AdWords for Apartment Marketing

As the marketing director for Rentping Media, a marketing agency that focuses exclusively on the apartment industry, I have had the unique opportunity to optimize our PPC strategy across hundreds of apartment communities in over 20 states for the last couple of years. Through a lot of trial and a lot of error, our agency has honed a very precise strategy for apartment marketing that takes into account the unique challenges of apartment marketing.

In this article, I wanted to provide background insight into why marketing for apartments on AdWords has its own set of idiosyncrasies, as well as the top five performance tweaks to make your apartment campaigns extremely effective.The Unique Challenges of Apartment MarketingWhen your product is an apartment, you inherently have different challenge... > Read more

January 06, 2014     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Gmail Advertising Showdown: Gmail Sponsored Promotions vs. Managed Placements

The Gmail platform has been evolving, and Gmail advertising options are no exception. The ongoing Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) beta was rolled out in early 2013, introducing new targeting and display options for advertisers. Previously, search marketers could target an audience on Gmail through managed placements.

With GSP, Gmail advertising targeting became much more advanced. Aside from your normal display targeting options via the AdWords interface (age, demographic, keywords), you can now target by more options including email address, subject line, job title and product category. The catch? A very high spend requirement, without guaranteed results.The promos are also managed through an interface separate from Google AdWords, which can only be opened in the Chrome browser. Here’s... > Read more

January 03, 2014     |   Written by: Jaclyn Jordan   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

Google Engagement Ads – Should Small Businesses Use Them?

What Are Google Engagement Ads?Earlier this year Google released an exciting new feature that they call engagement ads. These engagement ads run on the Google Display Network (GDN) and use the same flexible targeting options as normal display campaigns. Google has also announced additional self-service ad formats, including Cross Device ads, a YouTube Masthead Lightbox to aid in consistent branding across ad formats, and a Shopping Catalog Lightbox, which allows users to display multiple products from a merchant center account.

These campaigns are only available on a cost-per-engagement basis, which allows advertisers to bid and pay only if a user has engaged with their ads. Google defines “engagement” as a user mousing over the ad for more than two seconds. This delay eliminates accide... > Read more

January 02, 2014     |   Written by: Ben Cohen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Deduping Keywords: How to Identify & Remove Duplicate Keywords from Your PPC Account

Around this time last year, I had a pretty ambitious list of New Year’s resolutions cued up for 2013. I’m ashamed to report that I did not successfully complete a single item during the course of the year. In retrospect, my problem was that I set the bar far too high—I mean really, who loses 20 pounds and masters the Spanish language in only 365 days?—and as a result, I gave up pretty quickly.

When it comes to managing PPC accounts, I face a similar problem. I tend to bite off more than I can chew and then get too discouraged to complete it.This year, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m setting more manageable goals and am determined to complete them. The first item on my checklist is to identify and remove duplicate keywords, so I can start the New Year with a nice, clean account.Why ... > Read more

December 31, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 19

Quick Guide to Google Grants: Google AdWords for Nonprofits

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

December 18, 2013     |   Written by: Kelsey Halloran   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

How to Compete in AdWords: Improve Results Without Just Raising Bids

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

December 11, 2013     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 31

How to Survive the Google AdWords Advanced Search Exam

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

December 06, 2013     |   Written by: Margot daCunha   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 16

The Complete Guide to AdWords Remarketing Best Practices

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

December 04, 2013     |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 11

Pros & Cons of the New AdWords Opportunities Tab

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

December 03, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7

The Top 10 Google AdWords Updates of 2013

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

December 02, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 17

Uh-Oh, A Third of Your Display Ad Impressions Are Worthless! Here’s What to Do About It

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

November 26, 2013     |   Written by: Miranda Miller   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Holiday PPC Planning: Three Advanced Strategies for AdWords

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

November 26, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3
 
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