Last month, our team had the opportunity to visit Google’s NYC office for the Google Engage Catalyst conference.The event was directed toward agencies and, to be perfectly honest, I expected to get an earful of Google’s typical agenda pushing. Pleasantly to my surprise, Google delivered on their promise to show us “what’s new and exciting in online marketing.
”Here are the top four Google and AdWords features I’ll have my eye on this summer:Similar AudiencesCheck out this new twist on Remarketing, one of the most popular Display Network strategies. Similar Audiences allows you to display your ads to users whose browsing behaviors are similar to those of people on your current remarketing lists. I think this is a genius idea, considering that it will give you exposure to a new, q... > Read more
A brilliant new feature has been added to the AdWords roster. Auction Insights now lets you see data across keywords and even up to the campaign level. Auction insights can be found in the Details tab under Campaigns, as shown below. You can get data for all or selected campaigns, ad groups or even keywords.
Now you can see metrics such as impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate and top of page rate.Auction Insights ExplainedAuction insights gives you 5 great metrics to work with:Average position – This gives you an average ranking over your selected time period along with the associated domain. (See also: The Relationship of Click-Through Rate & Ad Position.)Impression share – Represents the amount of times you have appeared in search results when you... > Read more
The AdWords universe is forever expanding. Sure, some things get changed, demoted or taken away (like Pluto losing its planet status). But new PPC features are always being created, the latest being image extensions for search ads.It’s therefore imperative for PPC professionals to stay on beat with the latest and greatest as their competitors will surely be the ones to try out anything new.
But what about forgotten and hidden AdWords features that you’ve never thought of?Here’s an extensive look into the top 10 most underutilized AdWords features and how you can use them to your advantage.1. Above-The-Fold CPM Bidding on the Display NetworkMany studies have been produced regarding above- and below-the-fold ad placement, and it’s widely accepted that above-the-fold ad placement allow... > Read more
When trying to improve Quality Score across the board, it would seem intuitive that eliminating keywords with low Quality Scores would be a step in the right direction. However, blindly deleting all low-quality keywords in your account is not always the best solution. Think about improving Quality Score the way you would think about eliminating a pest infestation.
If you’ve ever had any problem with pest control, you know that killing off your unwelcome visitors is not enough. In order to implement an effective pest control program, you need to identify the variable sources of the problem and find ways to combat/change them. Why are the pests there in the first place? Is it climate-related? Is it material-related? Do they have a readily available food source? Is there a nest somewh... > Read more
Google has revealed a new venture into ad extensions. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you image extensions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then AdWords users have certainly got a lot more room to create compelling text ads now.In Google’s announcement post, they talk about how this extension will be great to show off things like car models, jeans and even different shades of eye shadow.
There is a lot more that we could use this extension for. Service-based companies will be able to highlight their work, and, as in the above example, hotels will be able to showcase their facilities. We may even see some companies using their logos – it would be very interesting to see the results of this in comparison to other methods of image ads.Obviously any company with a visual angle w... > Read more
If you’ve ever done a Google search, you know already that Google ads are occupying more and more space on the SERP. What you might not know is that the fancy Product Listing Ads you see are commercial intent-sucking monsters and are stealing all the conversions from both the organic and non-PLA search results.
Today, when someone searches for anything related to a product name, Google automatically populates most of the above-the-fold space on the SERP with PLAs and other blinged-out ads:When I search on “keurig coffee maker,” about 80% of the screen is devoted to sponsored results featuring keurig products– I have to scroll below the fold to see more than two organic listings. All the ads you can see here make use of extensions (such as offer extensions, location extensions, etc.)... > Read more
If you’re looking to boost your paid search performance without working late in the office all summer or increasing your budget, try utilizing Ad Extensions. Not only do they require minimal set-up time, they are displayed at no additional cost.It can be tough to decide which extensions to focus on, so I’ve created a cheat sheet to help you decide which ones will work best for you:Sitelink ExtensionsWhat are they? As you can see above, Sitelink Extensions allow you to promote additional landing pages below your standard ad text.
Applying a few more lines to your ad gives you more real estate on the SERP, helping your ad to stand out against your competition. Sitelinks also give the searcher an opportunity to go to a more specific page on your site. For example, in the ad above, t... > Read more
Over the past six months or so, I’ve been conducting an informal survey before all of my PPC webinars. I ask attendees to tell me how much time they spend doing PPC every week, as well as which task is the biggest time sink in PPC management. For the first question, answers vary from less than an hour up to 40 hours a week.
For the second, they’re a bit more consistent. I averaged the answers from the past several webinars and found that PPC managers find keyword research to be the single biggest time sink in PPC (wow, you guys really spend a lot of time on keyword research). This was followed closely by reporting and analysis:Why do advertisers spend so much time on PPC reporting? Because the available PPC reporting tools are often too complex. You go into AdWords or Analytics to chec... > Read more
There is an age-old argument about structuring your account based on the match type of the keywords in each ad group. Should you add all keywords on exact, phrase, and broad (and don’t forget modified broad)? What is the right way to do it? If there are so many ways to structure, how do you choose? These are all questions that, so far, I haven’t seen definitive answers to.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on how to structure an account – do this, don’t do that, add this, follow this best practice, etc. But who is right?Hard evidence seems to be lacking for one view or another, but is adding all these match types ever necessary? If you have a keyword on a broad match type, why do you need phrase and exact? Aren’t you already getting enough traffic? And this is where the problem l... > Read more
Enhanced Campaigns Are Here! Wait … Am I Making More Money?When switching to Enhanced Campaigns – which will be required for all AdWords users within the next few months – I would advise all advertisers and managers to remember that any drastic changes that happen quickly and suddenly are most likely to go poorly.
While there is certainly cause for excitement surrounding the ability to control bids at a targeting level, I would implement any of these changes at a gradual pace as opposed to all at once. Every account is different, but don’t go nuts implementing a ton of geographic and device bidding all at once – you could quickly lose control of the account. Unless your account is totally upside down, I would try to roll out advanced bid changes throughout the summer at a slow pa... > Read more
AdWords has just rolled out AdWords Keyword Planner, a new tool that combines two of the most popular existing AdWords tools, the Google Keyword Tool and the AdWords Traffic Estimator, and adds to it a wizard-like integrated workflow to guide users through the process of finding keywords for creating new Ad Groups and/or Campaigns.
I’m guessing that at some point in the future, the AdWords Keyword Planner may replace the Google Keyword Tool and AdWords Traffic Estimator – tools which have been in service for over 10 years and are widely used for both PPC and SEO. So if you’ve used either tool in the past, take note here – your process is probably about to change!Getting Started With AdWords Keyword PlannerThe AdWords Keyword Planner supports three key use cases:Search for keyword an... > Read more
What big brands are able to do with their enormous marketing budgets is inspiring – though sometimes it mostly inspires jealousy. The typical small business can’t sponsor the Olympics or get an ad spot during the Super Bowl. You have to tinker around with more accessible campaigns that cost less but typically have smaller reach as well.
PPC is an example of an incredibly accessible marketing channel – it’s being exploited by tiny one-man shops and huge multinational corporations alike. But how much better is a big-brand PPC ad than an SMB ad – if at all? Is it like comparing the latest Pepsi commercial to what your local furniture store puts together?Let’s look at five big-brand AdWords ads and see what they do well and what they could do better.(More: Dear eBay, Your Ads Don't ... > Read more
Creating Quality PPC Landing PagesYou can have an SEM account with hundreds of thousands of keywords that each have fantastic click-through rates (CTR) but without quality landing pages, you will never fully optimize your CPA and never reach your true money-making potential.Landing Page Layout via UnbounceI have put together some guidelines to help you create the best PPC landing pages for your AdWords account.
New! Try WordStream's FREE Landing Page Grader1. Establish your goals.The first step in creating quality landing pages is to establish your marketing goals to decide what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want sales, form fills, mailing list registrations, sign ups, etc.?Once you have established what you are trying to accomplish with your campaigns and ad-groups, do some competit... > Read more
Earlier this week Google announced some upcoming changes to Enhanced Campaigns. Soon, advertisers will be able to set mobile bid adjustments at the ad group level:To provide more control and precision over bids in an enhanced campaign, advertisers will soon be able to set a mobile bid adjustment at the ad group level.
This functionality will be available to all advertisers in mid-May. We think this may be useful if you’ve been operating large scale campaigns and found that your optimal bids for some keywords would require significantly different mobile bid adjustments within an enhanced campaign.When Google originally announced the shift to Enhanced Campaigns, mobile bid adjustments were only available at the campaign level, a detail that AdWords power users were especially unhappy about... > Read more
Google’s Enhanced Campaigns are here, and with them came new bid adjustments. While they may seem straightforward at first, bid adjustments can get a bit tricky when they are applied together. For example let’s say you have three bid adjustments set at -60%, +20%, +30%. Google combines those to reach an overall adjustment of -38%.
What’s the math behind how Google comes up with that final adjustment? Is it a miracle?Google does provide a calculator that allows you to select your adjustments from a drop-down menu to see how they are applied together, as shown below (click the image to enlarge):But being a PPC nerd, I wanted to understand the math myself. Let’s break it down.One Bid AdjustmentWhen one bid adjustment is set, that’s the amount the bid will be adjusted when the condit... > Read more
In a bid to capitalize on widespread discontent and outrage in the SEM community over Google AdWords enhanced campaigns, Bing today reiterated their view that EC’s are essentially a bad move and indicated that they will not be following Google’s lead as far as their product development efforts are concerned.
Bing Champions “Advertiser Choice,” Implies that Google Doesn’t CareWhile Bing’s announcement itself is pretty straightforward, they used a 1200-word blog post to indict Google of not providing “advertiser choice.”The blog post enumerates a litany of complaints that have been leveled against Google in recent months, including the notion that:Bundling of tablet and desktop advertising as a single target is worrisome given that there is research that shows tablets convert ... > Read more
Google’s new dynamic remarketing feature – currently in beta – is hands down the best release from Google I’ve seen in a long time. As far as I’m concerned, this will be a MUST DO for all e-commerce websites that are advertising with Google.I’ve recently had the opportunity to try out the new dynamic remarketing ads, and in this post, I’ll explain how they work, why they’re better than traditional remarketing, and why you should care.
Google Remarketing: The Old WayFor any e-commerce website, it is becoming more and more important to have a Google Merchant Account set up. Merchant accounts are becoming extremely valuable within AdWords, as they feed your PLAs (Product Listing Ads, soon to be replaced with Google Shopping Campaigns), Product Extensions, and now your remarketi... > Read more
Just over 4 years ago, Craig Danuloff at Click Equations wrote an article called “The Economics of Quality Score” that provided a simple model to determine the value of Google Quality Score in your AdWords account.We all know the value of Google's Quality Score in a high-level sense – Quality Score plays an important role in determining your Ad Rank, which is how Google determines the position in which your ad appears, which in turn determines the amount of exposure and clicks your ads will receive.
We also know that Quality Score plays a very important role in determining how much you’re charged per click. A now famous video by Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, helped clarify this point – that your cost per click is calculated using the formula: Ad Rank of the ad below your... > Read more
Like any good carpenter, as a PPC manager you need to have a number of tools available to you in order to get the job done and done right. Through the years, I have come to find a number of different PPC tools to help in a variety of different areas, from competitor analysis to setting up conversion and analytics tracking.
Here are some of my favorites!PPC Tools for Setting Up Analytfics and Conversion TrackingGoogle Analytics URL Builder: One of the most time exhausting tasks is setting up Bing in order to properly track it in Analytics – you have to go in and add the special coding to the ad (or even keyword) destination URLs. Google offers a simple tool that allows you to fill in a few fields and then spits out a full URL with Analytics codes added! Just change the destination URL to ... > Read more
Almost every week a client asks me, “What do those plus signs mean?” and I am constantly reminded that even though this keyword match type is fairly common, there are still a lot of people who have no idea it exists.If you haven’t caught on yet, this match type is known in AdWords as the Broad Match Modifier, but it is more commonly and widely known as simply Modified Broad.
People tend to shy away from using this match type because they don’t understand what it means or how it works. It can also be a time-consuming task to add the plus signs to each of those keywords you want to switch, but in the long run, this match type can be a big help to your account.Essentially the idea is that whatever keyword you put the plus sign in front of is a “modifier” to the broad match keyword... > Read more
Recently I had a heated argument with one of our clients about using the word “click” in Google AdWords display banner ads. There are many questions about inappropriate language on Google AdWords, especially for banner or flash ads. Most advertisers take unnecessary precautions because they are worried that the design will be disapproved by the Google Policy Team.
Google prohibits advertisers from using the word “click” or “click here” as a call to action in text ads, which is clearly stated on the Google Policy Page under “Inappropriate language”:The words “click” or “click here” could be easily replaced in these text ads by the words follow, see, check, find etc.However, as a Paid Search Strategist at WordStream, I receive a lot of questions when it comes to a ban... > Read more
Does Google AdWords work? There’s a story making the news this week about how eBay supposedly wasn’t able to make paid search work for them so they stopped using Google AdWords. Ray Fisman, who wrote up the study for Harvard Business Review, said “Their findings suggest that many paid ads generate virtually no increase in sales, and even for ones that do, the sales benefits are far eclipsed by the cost of the ads themselves.
”I couldn’t help but laugh when I read this, and I’m sure many of you did as well, because it’s pretty well-known within the search engine marketing community that eBay is the butt of many jokes when it comes to adopting advertising best practices.eBay is probably the world’s biggest abuser of an ad writing tactic in AdWords known as Dynamic Keywor... > Read more
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first launched the Google search engine in January of 1996, no one, including the creators, realized the gold mine that they had just designed. By May 2011, Google had surpassed 1 billion unique visitors per month and had expanded to much more than just a search engine.
Now with Google+, Gmail, Maps, Drive, Chrome, Shopping, News, YouTube and perhaps a self-operating automobile in the near future, Google has revolutionized the internet and, whether we like it or not, our lives as well.Despite of the impact that Google has had on both our professional and personal lives, operating and understanding their advertising system can be a frustrating and tiresome process. As a Customer Success Specialist here at WordStream I get all sorts of questions; however the m... > Read more
I swore I’d never study for anything ever again once I graduated college. That was until I started a career working in paid search. Until I got into the field, I had no idea what paid search even was. And I certainly didn’t think it was anything I’d ever understand. What is PPC? What is AdWords? I refuse to learn!However, being in a particular field requires expertise, of which I had none.
My only option was to shake off the cobwebs and put my studying hat back on. But where to start? Sure, I could do some research on my own, maybe pick up a pointer here or there. That didn’t seem sufficient enough, especially if I was planning to make a career in this field. I thought that I would need a source of substantial information, and where better to turn to than Google AdWords itsel... > Read more
Google has rolled out a new ad App Promotion Ad that allows users to download your app from iTunes or the Google Play Store, adding to their already impressive line-up of mobile innovations.They've also rolled out a new mobile app promotion ad template for advertisers to easily create the new App Promotion ads.
The New App promotion ads are like the next version of click-to-download ads which have existed for several years now.The new App Promotion Ads are only available if you’ve upgraded to enhanced campaigns. Google recommends that advertisers create new new app promotion ads to replace the older, existing click-to-download ads, in order to take advantage of new built-in, smarter ad-targeting capabilities of the App Promotion Ad.Both the new ad-creation template and upgraded click-to-d... > Read more
Everyone always asks me, “What’s a good click-through rate?” The standard answer I always hear is 2%. My answer is always, it depends.If you don’t want your Quality Scores to suffer, you need to think twice about always targeting a 2% CTR. Quality Scores are very dependent on your CTR by Average Position, so it’s worth getting a good understanding of what this means.
So, what does it mean? People will usually click on the top ad of a SERP (search engine results page), because, well, it’s the first thing that they see. Position 1 will always have a high CTR, and CTR will continue to descend naturally in positions 2, 3, 4 and so on. This being the case, Google knows that position 1 and position 4 are not created equal, and therefore does not treat them equally.Google does not want... > Read more
Google Offer Extensions are the latest and greatest AdWords advertising extension, enabling advertisers to make some powerful adjustments to their standard-issue Google ads. Offer Extensions integrate offers with search, allowing you to attach a clickable coupon, rebate, or discount offer to any standard Google Search ad.
Previously, Google Offer Extensions were available in a private beta for select AdWords advertisers. The feature is now on track to be rolled out to all advertisers along with a ton other changes by the end of February. We're excited to introduce to you how Google Offers for mobile could look like.Here’s what an AdWords Offer Extension looks like in the wild:How Do AdWords Offer Extensions Work?Advertisers can attach a redeemable offer to their regular Google search ad. ... > Read more
Sifting through your search queries to optimize your AdWords campaigns is kind of like looking for gold in a river – you can find some valuable nuggets, but you’ll be a lot more efficient if you’re using the proper tools.One of my favorite tools to use within WordStream PPC Advisor is the QueryStream tool.
(If you’re not using WordStream, it’s analogous to the Search Terms Report on the Keywords tab in AdWords.) Using different filters in QueryStream to help you find useful insights is like using a good pan in a real-life stream when you’re looking for gold.While QueryStream is powerful, it can be a beast to examine if you have a lot of data. Here are four ways that I tackle QueryStream using filters to get the most out of my search query information:1. Filter out already exist... > Read more
A half score and three years ago Google brought forth on this continent, AdWords, conceived in search, and dedicated to the proposition that not all campaigns are created equal.Your campaigns are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that campaign, or any campaign you conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle-field of that bidding war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that campaign, as a final resting place for those keywords who gave their max CPC so that that campaign might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this auction. The brave campaigns, active and paused, who struggled here, have a budget, far above our marketing goa... > Read more