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
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
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
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
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
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
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 free 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... > Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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