If you're new to AdWords, the platform can seem overwhelming, and like anything you'll likely look for help in the form of forums, tutorials and books. There are a lot of great training programs (like PPC Blog and Certified Knowledge), a number of excellent books (like Brad Geddes' Advanced Google AdWords and David Szetela's Pay Per Click Marketing an Hour a Day), and of course AdWords' own help resources.
One challenge people new to AdWords sometimes face is that the help materials can be a bit dry, and the complexity of the AdWords platform can be a bit intimidating. As a result a lot of times videos can be a good way to get going and can help you understand how your ads are served. Once you understand the basic idea behind pay-per-click marketing these videos will help you to get a more ... > Read more
One of my PPC New Year’s resolutions was to start taking advantage of geo-targeting more in AdWords. Analyzing your AdWords Geographic Report is a good place to start with developing your strategy for setting up geo-targeted campaigns. Everyone knows about the power of Excel for PPC data analysis, but not too many people are taking advantage of the power of data visualization using Tableau.
Download Tableau Public Tableau is an easy-to-use business intelligence and data visualization software. You can download a copy of Tableau Public for testing. Tableau is like a visual pivot table and really shines at displaying multi-dimensional views of data. Don’t be intimidated, Tableau has lots of training material on their website, so it won’t take you long to start slicing and dicing ... > Read more
AdWords is getting very complicated. There are new features being churned out constantly, and if you're a new advertiser or simply not a paid search expert, it's difficult to keep up with what's in the interface, let alone make use of all the tools. Obviously we can't review the utility of every single new feature for every single advertiser here on the blog, but I thought it would be useful to walk through a specific feature for a specific type of advertiser.
The aim will be to offer advice for how to evaluate new features and whether there's utility in leveraging them for your own AdWords campaigns. Evaluating a New AdWords Feature: The Ad Interactions Report AdWords announced the introduction of a new report in the dimensions tab (the reports' having moved to the dimensions tab is ... > Read more
In any given month, AdWords experiments with numerous subtle variations of the Google search results page, testing everything from font sizes and colors to layouts and spacing, as well as dozens of other variables. Recently, they found that by standardizing the look of the URLs on the page, it had a slight improvement on ad click-through rates.
As a result, they're changing the appearance of the display URLs of all ads that appear on Google and search partner sites. This is a global launch that affects all Google domains. Following the change, the domain portion of the display URL will always be shown in lowercase letters. The following illustration shows an example of how the ads will be displayed post-change. This change affects the domain portion of the display URL, including any subdo... > Read more
If you're a paid search expert focused on managing pay-per-click campaigns, you're likely up to date with Google's constantly expanding feature set. But if you're new to AdWords or are managing paid search campaigns as one of multiple responsibilities, it's likely there are some important things going on in your account that you aren't even aware of.
In this post we'll call out five key things that many PPC advertisers don't realize about their Google AdWords accounts. 1. Keywords Aren't Actually What Searchers Are Typing Mining search queries is a crucial part of the paid search management process, but many advertisers aren't aware of the fact that keywords aren't search queries: the keywords you bid on frequently aren't the things people are actually searching for. Because of the way mat... > Read more
Was anyone else a little confused and let down when Google launched AdWords Campaign Experiments back in August without the ability to test ads? Instead of the obvious new ad testing features, Google focused on split testing across ad groups and campaigns for changes to keywords and ad groups.For example: The first test I ran was a keyword reduction test.
I paused low impressions, low Quality Score keywords, etc. for an entire campaign. ACE worked great for this type of test.But why not start with the ads? Ads are the single most tested element of anyone’s PPC campaign, and yet they were mysteriously missing from the initial release.So, Google has now announced the ability to use ACE with your text and display ads. Better late than never—right?You can watch the video below to learn how... > Read more
We recently did a post on how to use AdWords Campaign Experiments and why they have the potential to be so powerful. In that article and in Joe Kershbaum's post over on Search Engine Watch, one of the biggest complaints was what a hassle it is to export AdWords data and report on it from Excel. It certainly is significantly more work than it needs to be, but because I think this is such an amazing tool (it can be as valuable to a PPC campaign as Website Optimizer, in many ways) I think it's worth walking through how you can actually get at the output of your campaign experiments so that you can act on the insights.
Defining the Problem - Why AdWords Exporting of ACE Needs Help Let's imagine we've set up a nice AdWords campaign experiment. How do we view this data? Well, we can start by cre... > Read more
There are few things as frustrating in the world of internet marketing as having your Google AdWords account suspended. Many people are surprised when it happens. Google essentially has a policy of no tolerance. If you violate their terms of service, you will not be able to get a new account under the same name, and you will not be able to drive traffic to the same domains through AdWords ever again.
The only way to avoid a suspended Google account is prevention. Here are some of the reasons that an AdWords account might get suspended. Your Site Displays Only Ads If your only goal in using AdWords is to drive traffic to your site so that you can make money off of advertising, Google will not consider your site to be an appropriate landing page. The reasoning behind this is that when a user... > Read more
One of my AdWords accounts got an interesting AdWords class action lawsuit notice today (bolding is mine): Subject: Google AdWords Class Action Settlement Notice Google is sending you this notice of a proposed class action settlement that may affect your legal rights as a creator of an AdWords campaign between October 2007 and July 2009.
This notice is being sent to you by Court Order so that you may understand your rights and remedies before the Court considers final approval of the proposed settlement on March 11, 2011. This is not an advertisement or attorney solicitation. A settlement agreement has been reached by the parties and is pending approval by the Court. Under the proposed settlement, Google will pay a total of $3,500,000 to the settlement class, including attorne... > Read more
Within the Google AdWords interface there are some awesome tools, like: AdWords Campaign Experiments The Search Query Report Modified Broad Match Analyze the Competition These controls are fantastic power tools for power users that allow for a lot of great campaign optimization tactics. Some other tools inside the AdWords interface either aren't so useful, are hidden from view, or can have a dubious overall impact on your campaigns -- like the hard to find IP exclusion tool and conversion-focused bidding options like Enhanced CPC and AdWords Conversion Optimizer, which can generate terrific improvements in many cases but force advertisers to cede control of their bids to Google.
A great example of a tool that falls into this second category is the AdWords opportuniti... > Read more
This is a guest post by Martin Röttgerding, Head of SEM at Bloofusion Germany. Learn more about Martin at his blog at www.internetkapitaene.de or follow him on Twitter. A new wave of AdWords Quality Score drops is troubling advertisers again. A thread on the AdWords help boards suggests that it started last Friday, just before the weekend.
A Google employee has confirmed that fixing the problem is now a priority for Google's engineers. I used the Excel sheet from WordStream's Quality Score Toolkit to analyze the changes that occurred in one of our accounts. Below is the account's usual Quality Score distribution: The red bars show how often a Quality Score occurs in the account. The green line is an average Quality Score distribution according to WordStream's worksheet. The graph ... > Read more
Perhaps the most powerful thing about paid search is that PPC campaigns offer instant feedback. This is what makes A/B testing so powerful: you’re able to funnel the firehose of data that pay-per-click campaigns fire at you into either of two theses and get instant feedback. This is why a new AdWords feature called AdWords Campaign Experiments (or ACE) is so powerful.
Basically this feature allows you to isolate certain aspects of your Google AdWords campaigns and test certain elements, splitting off traffic in whatever way you like. In this post I’ll walk you through: The things you can test using AdWords Campaign Experiments The things you can’t test How to set up an experiment How to measure your results As background for anyone not familiar with the feature, Google has a... > Read more
It looks Google has rolled out a new tab/feature called auto targets. It looks like the feature leverages the Google Merchant Feed and allows you to create product sets and link them to ad groups, but as Matt Umbro points out the help page appears to be a blank document: Anyone have any more info here? If anyone has a write up drop it in the comments and we'll update the post with any links.
UPDATE: The feature doesn't appear to be that new after all :). Thanks to Chad Summerhill of PPC Prospector for the link to Elizabeth Marsten's awesome in-depth walk through on Portent's blog and for dropping in the help rollover info (for some reason that help menu never loaded for me): Auto targets Auto targets allow you to target your ads to search terms by specifying attributes th... > Read more
As with many aspects of AdWords and the other paid search marketing platforms, I find that geotargeting for PPC is easy to do quickly and difficult to do well. In this article we'll walk through a few simple steps for setting up "default" geotargeting options, and then I'll talk through a couple of additional levers that advertisers can pull to both expand and refine their geo targeting reach.
If you're an advanced user already painfully familiar with how to get a new geotargeted campaign up and running via the AdWords interface, I created a handy anchor link so that you can skip ahead to the meatier stuff. Setting Up Geo-Targeting As you create a PPC campaign, you're offered with some initial options for geotargeting: If you already have a campaign set up, you can go to the Campaig... > Read more
When analyzing the performance of your pay-per-click ads, one of the main factors you'll want to concentrate on is click-through rate (CTR). Ads with high CTR are desirable because they drive more traffic to your site in less time. In addition, a high CTR contributes to a good Quality Score, and that helps lower your cost per click.
It's also an indication that you're targeting a relevant, qualified audience, which can improve your conversion rate as well. (Of course you'll want to keep an eye on both metrics and make sure you're not sacrificing one in favor of the other.) Recently I scanned through the ads in our own AdWords account and identified some patterns in the ads with the highest click-through rates. Note that I've changed the examples so I'm not giving away our best creative, bu... > Read more
I'm sure most of you are familiar with Google AdWords Impression Share reporting, now available in your Campaign tab. But how many of you are using the new "Analyze the Competition" tool available in your AdWords Opportunities tab? This new tool adds useful and detailed data for competitive intelligence.
To quote Craig Danuloff over at ClickEquations speaking about AdWords Impression Share data, "Maybe one day Google will share with us Impression Share at the ad group or even the keyword level. Wouldn't that be grand?" Well, not only did Google start offering share of impression data at the ad-group level, they also included categories, sub-categories, and comparisons for CTR, AvgPos, and Clicks. They even have a weird little video to explain exactly how it works: ... > Read more
I’m sure by now that most of you have heard of Google AdWords’ new feature, Broad Match Modifiers (BMM). In short, by adding a simple “+” before a word in your broad match keyword, Google requires that word (or a close variation) to appear in the user’s search query. If you’re not excited, you should be.
This is exactly the type of feature that we advertisers have been asking for and can benefit greatly from. BMM gives us more visibility and control over how we spend our money. (Check out Alan Mitchell’s blog post on using Modified Broad Match and its effect on CTR and CPC if you still need to get pumped up about trying out this new feature.) So who should use this exciting new feature? Anyone who has been afraid to use Enhanced Broad Match (EBM) in the past because it’s ... > Read more
Click here to read Part 1 of our Complete Guide to AdWords Matching Options (covering broad match and modified broad match). Phrase Match The phrase match keyword option offers a much more targeted approach than broad match, but still allows flexibility for Google to match your ads to more queries than your exact keyword phrase.
When using the phrase match option, your advertisement will appear for searches that include your keyword phrase in the correct order, but can still display for queries including additional words. To use the phrase match option in AdWords, enter your keyword phrase in quotation marks. Entering your phrase as “Gel Batteries” indicates to Google that your advertisements should only appear when someone has entered a search term that includes this exact phr... > Read more
Selecting targeted keywords is the first step to setting up a PPC campaign in Google AdWords, but the keyword matching options that you use can also have a large impact on your success. There are five AdWords match types: Broad Match, Modified Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match, and Negative Match.
All keyword match types have advantages and drawbacks, so we'll discuss each in detail to help you choose the most advantageous options for your goals.For our discussion of the different AdWords matching options, we'll use "Gel Batteries" as the example keyword to illustrate how different options affect when your advertisements will be displayed.Broad MatchBroad match is the default matching option for keywords used in your AdWords campaigns. A broad match keyword will be entered as Gel Batt... > Read more
This is a guest post by Caleb Levell, a search marketing, SEO and PPC consultant at Hanapin Marketing. His interests include search and social marketing, online collaboration, and social media for business and non-profit organizations. He blogs at PPC Hero and SEO Boy. At the beginning of September, Google AdWords and I were in a relational rut.
Our daily lives together had become monotonous and uninspired. Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to blame Google for our static relationship, the truth is Google was never short on ideas for me to implement into my client accounts. I, on the other hand, was stubborn and already knew what worked best for my accounts. After talking to some colleagues, I have found that this is a common problem among PPC account managers. When managing accounts, we... > Read more
For a while now, we've been offering a free Quality Score Toolkit that rounds up our best resources for marketers looking to learn more about Quality Score. This toolkit includes: A white paper on improving Quality Score by increasing relevance A "Mastering Quality Score" video (a recording of one of our most popular webinars) A Quality Score Cheat Sheet, a one-pager dense with information about Quality Score And we've just added a fourth element that makes this toolkit even more useful for search marketers.
One of our resident PPC experts, Andy Stefano, has put together a Quality Score worksheet that will give you a quick overview of where your AdWords account stands from a Quality Score perspective. Just plug in some key numbers in the first page of the worksheet, and a dashb... > Read more
Yesterday, one of our resident AdWords experts, Andy Stefano, led a webinar called "Five Myths About Quality Score." He received the following question from one of the attendees. Below you'll find Andy's answer. Is it possible that some businesses inherently get a low keyword Quality Score because they are in low-volume industries? For example, we are in the horse topical treatment industry – that will never get as much interest as, say, the golf or football industry.
– Jane Here's Andy's response: Hi Jane, This is a really interesting question. I think “low-volume” won’t be a determining factor, but “low-interest” might be. Let me explain. I started tackling your question by looking at the data I had access to. I had a sample... > Read more
Google recently introduced a new AdWords feature that lets you create keywords that are more targeted than broad match, yet have a greater reach than phrase or exact match. With modified broad match, you put a plus sign (+) in front of one or more words in a broad match keyword. The words that are preceded by a (+) sign must appear in the user’s keyword phrase exactly or as a close variation.
The words that are not following a (+) sign will trigger ads on more significant query variations. This feature can drive more traffic than phrase or exact match, and attract more qualified traffic than broad match. What are examples of modified broad match phrases? Say your broad match phrase was “red purses.” That phrase could prompt ads on relevant query variations like “red bags,” ... > Read more
Google has an interesting tightrope to walk with their AdWords platform in that they have two central competing interests:They want to make the system intuitive to use and easy for the "tail" of AdWords advertisers to spend money with.They need to continue to make AdWords a profitable channel for the top advertisers, who represent the bulk of the money spent on their platform, and they need to present power users with access to power tools.
To date the way they've handled this is to offer defaults on the front end that encourage spending, with advanced features that help optimize larger spends available but less accessible (which possibly accounts for their alarmingly high churn amongst small businesses).A great example of this push-spend-in-the-front-intelligent-features-in-the-back is the... > Read more
If you are a savvy AdWords advertiser, or at least someone who wants more control over your AdWords account, you may want to consider setting maximum cost per click (CPC) for your keywords and keyword groups. AdWords offers automatic bidding for those who aren’t interested in setting their cost per click amounts manually.
But for those of you who are, you can follow these steps to formulate your maximum cost per click: Our EightSteps to Optimizing AdWords Maximum CPC: Determine Profit Margins Set A Cost Per Acquisition Goal Pricing Strategies Conversion Rates Maximum Cost Per Click Research Traffic Consult First Page Estimates Optimize Your Maximum CPC for Profit 1. For each keyword or keyword group, determine your desired profit margin for each corresponding sale or sales lead... > Read more
Please join Tom Demers and Larry Kim tomorrow for their AdWords keyword research session at the AdWords Advantage Online Summit.What: Researching & Managing Keywords - The Key to AdWords SuccessWhen: March 24 at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST)AdWords Advantage is the largest online training summit for marketers looking to master Google AdWords.
AAOS is led by 14 search marketing experts such as Bryan Eisenberg, Mary O'Brien, and David Szetela, and includes training sessions, a comprehensive Google AdWords Guide and expert tips and tricks for mastering Google AdWords.Here's a more detailed description of the session: Effective keyword research and management is the most critical element of Google AdWords success. Do a bad job at keyword research, and everything else – bid manipulation, landin... > Read more
This is a guest post by Alan Mitchell. Alan Mitchell is a Brisbane PPC consultant specializing in highly granular long-tail PPC management. Follow him on Twitter: @alanmitchell. One question which is regularly asked to any PPC consultant when managing Google AdWords PPC campaigns is whether ads should be set to rotate or optimize.
Google's default setting is "optimize," so if you have multiple ads in one ad group, your better performing ads (generally those with a higher CTR) will be shown more often. This might seem great -- you will automatically receive the maximum number of clicks for your ads. But the more experienced PPC advertisers out there will know that clicks are not generally considered a good measure of success. Instead, conversions -- sales, leads, sign-ups, downloads and oth... > Read more
Repeat after me. This year, I resolve to... 1. Get More Organized Is your idea of "keyword research" just a bunch of keywords jammed into in a spreadsheet? Effective keyword organization and keyword management is a foundational component of paid and organic search marketing. In PPC, it means grouping together similar keywords and matching them with targeted ad text and landing pages.
And in SEO, it means effectively targeting keyword niches in order to create and link together original themed content about specific topics, which in turn are more likely to rank highly for targeted organic searches. Start the new year off with strong organizational footing by checking out our Definitive Guide to Keyword Organization. 2. Lose Weight Trim the fat from your PPC campaigns! Negative ke... > Read more
The following is a guest post by John Lewis, one of WordStream's client services representatives. John helps customers overcome challenges and hone PPC performance. Pay-per-click marketing is a continual process and there are always ways to expand your presence and improve performance. The following are five ways you can explore different PPC opportunities even after you have thoroughly segmented your keywords into an effective structure: 1.
Advertise on the content network: A good form of spreading your brand name to a relevant audience. Select verticals of websites that are related to your product to reach out to the most qualified audience. A study conducted by Forrester indicates that display advertising in the content network increases brand awareness and results in higher click-thro... > Read more
This is a guest post is by Bob Stanley, WordStream’s Senior Client Services Representative. Bob has extensive experience in paid search, which he now leverages to help our clients solve difficult problems surrounding pay-per click marketing with the WordStream software. One of my roles as a client services rep for WordStream is to help clients use our software to successfully manage their paid search accounts.
I’m finding more and more with our clients that the long tail is getting extremely competitive. I personally blame advanced broad matching options, dynamic keyword insertion (DKI), and just the industry becoming more sophisticated. We all know the advantages of getting more specific with grouping and creating better conversion paths – however, it’s not always so cut and... > Read more