AdWords Tips

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: 6

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: 20

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: 2

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: 17

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

5 Tips for Managing AdWords Promotions, Budget & Bids for the Holidays

If your “To Do” List during the holidays looks anything like mine, it probably includes things such as: buy presents, clean and decorate the house, plan a menu, plan for all the relatives, and still manage all of my normal day-to-day duties. Do you really want to have to add “manage my holiday promotions for my PPC campaigns” to that already long, stressful list right in the middle of a holiday season? I certainly wouldn’t think so.

That’s why I am here to give you some easy ways to plan all promotions in advance as well as manage your budgets and bidding strategy for any holiday season. There are numerous steps that can be done days, weeks, even months ahead of time (OK, it’s probably a little too late for that last one) in order to alleviate any added stress, disorganization... > Read more

November 26, 2013     |   Written by: Katie Lyons   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

The Ultimate Holiday Text Ad: How to Optimize Your PPC Ads for the Holidays

As the holiday season approaches (very quickly), paid search advertisers should be well aware of the fact that their search and display campaigns are going to need some extra love to take advantage of the pure insanity of the holiday rush.The holiday season is a time when quick, impulse-driven purchases are at their peak, and it is absolutely imperative that advertisers take time to optimize their PPC campaigns to accommodate holiday shoppers and ensure that their ads are being triggered, drawing attention and driving clicks.

One of the core strategies that will support these goals is optimizing your text ads for the holiday season.This post will discuss three key factors to focus on while editing ad text, with tips on how you can model your own text ads after some of the most effective (a... > Read more

November 25, 2013     |   Written by: Jeff Stevens   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Gearing Up for the Holidays: Top 6 PPC Areas to Focus On

Happy holidays, everyone! As a follow-up to the recent webinar we hosted on 11/14, “Gearing Up For The Holidays,” we wanted to present you with the material so that you can have it all right at your fingertips. Your faithful holiday webinar presenters, Erin Sagin, Jeff Stevens, Katie Lyons, and I, will each be providing you with a blog post based on the content we shared with you.

Think of it as a mini-series!For my part, I’ll be discussing which elements of your AdWords account you should be thinking about to best prepare for the upcoming season.The beauty of the holidays is that they fall on (roughly) the same days every year, making it very easy for you to plan ahead! It’s good practice to review holiday performance from previous years, so that you can better prepare for this ye... > Read more

November 25, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 1

Complete Guide to AdWords Geotargeting & Local PPC

Unless you have plans for world domination, your pay-per-click ads don't need to be seen by everyone on the planet. It's much more likely that the products and services you’re advertising will be limited to a handful of countries, cities, or even city blocks. This is where geotargeting comes in.Geotargeting, or local PPC, is an AdWords feature that lets you target your ads to only appear to customers in a certain location, or set of locations, that you specify.

For businesses that rely on foot traffic (like restaurants), proximity (like used car dealerships by city), and deliveries (like an e-store that ships to certain countries but not others), geotargeting is an absolute no-brainer.With geotargeting, you won’t squander your ad budget on wasted clicks from people who are outside your... > Read more

November 13, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Bell   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 13

AdWords Holiday Planning: How to Use the Automate Feature

As the holidays come barreling in, the last thing you need to worry about is pushing yourself away from turkey and stuffing to turn off your clients’ campaigns. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to schedule your campaigns automatically: the AdWords automated rules feature.I used to eschew this feature, opting instead to set reminders in my calendar, but a recent client request for specific days and hours during the holidays prompted me to learn how Google’s campaign automation works.

You can use Automate for lots of things, such as turning a campaign off when your budget hits a certain amount, or to receive an email when events occur on your website. For our purposes here, though, we’re going to focus on one thing: how to pause and enable campaigns on particular days and at ... > Read more

November 11, 2013     |   Written by: Brad McMillen   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 0

Clearing Up Negative Broad Match in AdWords

If there’s one topic in AdWords that seems to confuse all sorts of folks, it’s negative keyword match types, especially negative keywords on broad match.Since regular keywords on broad match can cast a fairly wide net, people are worried about using that match type on their negative keywords. People are scared to use broad match on their negative keywords because they’re worried about potentially filtering out traffic they’d want.

The main thing to remember is that negative keywords set to broad match behave much more like modified broad keywords. Every word that you have in the negative keyword will need to appear in the query for the negative keyword to filter it out.For example, if we used the negative keyword –nike basketball shoes, our keywords could still trigger o... > Read more

November 04, 2013     |   Written by: Phil Kowalski   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5

AdWords Impression Share: Understanding and Improving Your Impression Share

Many times I have seen instances where clients pause keywords because they aren’t generating click or impression volume. While pausing is certainly one method for acting on low-performing keywords, I typically recommend pausing only as a last resort. There is plenty to consider when it comes to diagnosing why a keyword isn’t generating volume, and one often overlooked, yet informative metric is impression share.

Impression share is the number of impressions you've received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads' targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. You can view impression share data at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels.Types of Impression Share in AdWordsThere is more to im... > Read more

October 28, 2013     |   Written by: Billy McCaffrey   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 9

What the New AdWords Ad Rank Algorithm Really Means

The PPC world is abuzz with this week’s announcement that AdWords is introducing a new component to its Ad Rank formula. In the past, an ad’s position was dictated by a combination of two factors, the keyword’s Quality Score and its max CPC bid.Google has now thrown Ad Extensions into the mix to serve as a tie-breaker of sorts.

As Google describes it, “if two competing ads have the same bid and quality, then the ad with the more positive expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher position than the other.” This is, by far, the biggest change to Google’s ad rank algorithm since AdWords’ inception over a decade ago. So let's take a look at what it means.Why did Google adjust the ad rank algorithm?For all intents and purposes, the old ad rank formula seemed... > Read more

October 24, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 29

Google’s New Ad Rank Formula: Is the Change to Ad Rank Good or Bad for Small Businesses?

Yesterday, Google announced that it was releasing a major change to its Ad Rank algorithm, which determines the order of the paid search ads on each SERP as well as how much advertisers pay in the ad auction.  In a nutshell, Google is now using the presence and performance of ad extensions in determining Ad Rank.

Previously, Ad Rank had just two components: your Max CPC Bid (the most you were willing to pay per click) and your Quality Score (Google’s assessment of the quality of your keywords, ads, and landing pages). Now, the formula has three components: your Max CPC Bid, your Quality Score, and, as Google puts it, “the expected impact from your ad extensions and formats.”I was chatting with our founder, Larry Kim, about the change, and he noted that this change is bad for sma... > Read more

October 23, 2013     |   Written by: Adam Shain   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 2

Top 5 Ways You're Leaking Money in AdWords

The typical small business wastes 25% or more of their total paid search spend. It’s obviously a big problem, but tackling wasted spend in Google AdWords can be challenging for account managers. Instead of focusing on the latest PPC fads or shiny new tools, I encourage advertisers to head back to the basics and focus on the core components of their campaigns.

Oftentimes, just by tweaking your settings or adjusting your structure, you can patch up your biggest account leakages.Here are the top five culprits that I recommend taking a second look at when assessing your wasted AdWords spend.Overuse of Broad Match TypeSetting all of your keywords to broad match can have a devastating impact on your PPC account. Remember, by setting a keyword to a broad match type, you are opening the doo... > Read more

October 23, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Google Shared Endorsements: Who Are the Real Winners and Losers?

Shared Endorsements are the latest in a line of updates that bring user reviews and ratings into the Google results. Announced earlier this week and coming to the SERPs in November, the newly expanded shared endorsements will allow reviews and +1’s from Google+ profiles to appear in the paid search results (not just organic).

For example, if someone searches for “hot springs in Colorado” and you reviewed a hot springs resort that has an ad on the first page for that keyword, your review (along with your name and Google profile image) might show up as part of the ad. Shared endorsements look like this (the one on the far right is an example of a shared endorsement appearing in a Google ad):Shared Endorsements: The Latest in a String of Ratings-Related FeaturesAs I mentioned, this isn... > Read more

October 16, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 3

Want a Free AdWords Budget for 2014? Grade and Get Paid!

Are you a small business using Google AdWords to market your offerings? That’s great!The bad news is, you’re probably wasting about a fourth of your budget.We recently did a survey of 500 small business AdWords accounts, and found that the average account owner is wasting over 25% of his or her AdWords budget.

Since the typical small business spends $1200 per month on PPC, that means $300 is going in the trash every month – adding up to $3600 a year. And that’s just the average – many companies are wasting closer to half their total spend.That’s not all we found. There is plenty of room for improvement in the typical SMB AdWords account.We identified the top five areas where small business marketers need to renovate their accounts. Learn about the opportunities you’... > Read more

October 09, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Case Study: The Anatomy of a Killer Quality Score

I’ve told you over and over that Quality Score is super important. It lowers your cost per click. It lowers your CPA. It improves your ad rankings. In short, high Quality Scores correlate really well with overall account success.OK, OK, you’re saying, I get it! But how do I actually get these high Quality Scores? Rather than spout the usual list of advice, let’s take a close look at a real account that has exceptionally high Quality Scores and see how they’re getting it done.

The account we’re going to be looking at belongs to a WordStream client, a small business in the insurance industry. Despite this being one of the most competitive verticals in AdWords, this advertiser is killing it with his AdWords campaigns. In fact, he has an average impression-weighted Quality Score of 8.... > Read more

October 01, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 4

Targeting Bilingual & Spanish-Speaking Audiences in AdWords: The Why & How

As digital marketers, we are always under the gun to drive more qualified searchers to our website. This can be a challenging job, especially once a PPC account is well-optimized.So what do you do when your performance starts to plateau? Look for missed opportunities. Hands down, the most common area of missed opportunity I see in US-based accounts is not advertising to the bilingual, Hispanic community.

Why You Can’t Afford to Neglect the Spanish Language MarketThe numbers speak for themselves. According to the 2010 census, there are 53 million Hispanics living in the United States, which comes to 17% of our total population. Not only that, but this group is projected to continue growing at a rapid rate. As you devise your digital marketing strategy, this is an important factor to keep i... > Read more

September 26, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 7

Bid Stacking in AdWords: How to Pay Less When Using Multiple Match Types

A little while back, my fellow CS specialist Lisa wrote a great post to guide advertisers towards picking the right match types. In her post, Lisa pointed to the benefits of testing the same keyword with different match types to help determine which match type is the right fit for an advertiser’s account.

Now let’s explore a situation where you might want to actually keep running different match types simultaneously. In the below example, we have set a sample keyword (literally titled Keyword) to Broad Match and Phrase Match. Why would you want to want to keep these two particular keywords running simultaneously?Well, let’s say after testing your keyword at different match types you have decided you really like Broad Match. There could be a whole host of reasons why you’ve decided t... > Read more

August 27, 2013     |   Written by: Zina Kayyali   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 21

The Change in Quality Score Reporting: What Really Happened?

A few weeks ago, Google announced that it was changing the way Quality Scores would be reported. Not how they are calculated, they pointed out, just how the scores are reported. This seems like clear confirmation from Google that the 1-10 Quality Score you see in AdWords is just a “front” for whatever your “real” score is.

If nothing changed about your “real” Quality Score, and this is truly just a glossy reporting change, then there should be no effect on your other metrics. BUT, there’s another way to interpret Google’s announcement. Google might be saying that they haven’t changed the factors that go into Quality Score, but they have changed how they normalize the results (which is how they can compare disparate advertisers). If that’s true, then there could be substa... > Read more

August 26, 2013     |   Written by: Andy Stefano   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 25

Quality Score Hacks: 3 Sneaky Ways to Increase Your Quality Score

Don’t you just love how we can call almost anything a “hack” these days?Most of the “hacks” I see on the Internet are just tips, but calling them hacks makes it feel like you’re getting away with something. And whatever makes work more fun, I’m all for it.So let’s talk Quality Score. We’ve harped on and on about the importance of Quality Score.

It can save you up to 50% on cost per click (CPC), and those savings at the level of the click translate into savings of up to 80% on CPA, or cost per conversion. In other words, optimizing for Quality Score is basically a way to optimize for costs.So how do you actually increase your Quality Scores? Google’s exact formula for calculating Quality Score is famously mysterious, like the recipe for Coke. But we do know that click-th... > Read more

August 20, 2013     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 37

Google Conversion Tracking: Complete Guide to Conversion Tracking in AdWords

So you've got your AdWords campaign up and running, and your ads and keywords are starting to generate an impressive number of clicks. Great! But unless you've got conversion tracking installed, you won't be able to see how many of those clicks are actually resulting in sales.Conversion tracking is a powerful tool in AdWords that lets you identify how well your ad campaign is generating leads, sales, downloads, email sign-ups, and other key actions for your business.

The data recorded by conversion tracking allows you to identify which areas of your campaign are working and not working, so you can optimize your bids, ad text, and keywords accordingly.Depending on your business, a conversion could be counted when a customer makes a purchase through your website, signs up for a newsletter, f... > Read more

August 13, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Bell   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 28

How to Set Up an AdWords Account

 Think you’re ready to take the plunge and start a Google AdWords account? If the next three statements describe you, than you have my blessing!You have a website that is relevant, easy to navigate, and fairly well built out.Your AdWords account will help you to bring qualified searchers to your landing pages.

Once they’ve made it to your site, it’s your job to convince them to convert. To achieve this, you must create landing pages that will compel visitors to take action. If your landing pages are cluttered, lack relevant information or do not facilitate a conversion, you’re throwing money into a black hole and your paid search efforts will be in vain. If you know that your landing pages need a little TLC, check out these tips. (Bonus points if you have mobile optimized land... > Read more

August 07, 2013     |   Written by: Erin Sagin   |   Posted In: AdWords Tips   |   Comments: 5
 
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