Paid Search Marketing
This section contains paid search marketing articles, covering advanced paid search marketing tips, tricks and strategies. Also in this section are interviews with some of the Web's most prolific and well-known paid search marketers.
My fellow paid search advertisers, our world is always changing. It seems like we can’t go a month without a new ground-shaking announcement in this industry. Whether it’s policy changes, sitelink changes, changes to what impacts your Quality Score, new demographic targeting options – the paid search environment never sits still.
This is particularly true for advertisers who value the mobile market. The mobile landscape is growing and changing rapidly and it has real consequences for advertisers.Mobile ReachIt’s not news that it seems like everyone has a smartphone these days. In 2013, smartphone users officially became the majority in the United States:US Mobile PenetrationSource: Google: Our Mobile PlanetAs these devices become better and more affordable, and their networks become... > Read more
Not two weeks ago, Google effectively killed off the Exact and Phrase keyword match types in AdWords – pissing a lot of paid search managers off in the process – and now, Bing is following suit.Bing Ads is testing the inclusion of close variants in a portion of US exact match queries, according to an announcement on the Bing Ads blog.
Unlike Google, which removed the option to turn close variant in exact match off, Bing Ads will still give advertisers the ability to opt out of it (at least for the time being).If Bing moves this beyond testing and implements close variant in exact match across the board, it will affect all Bing advertisers, whereas Google's recent forced migration affected only about 3% of AdWords advertisers. Google took away the ability for advertisers to opt out, but... > Read more
How I Stumbled Into PPCIt was the first day of my Spring semester internship at one of the big advertising agencies here in Boston. In the application process I was asked to specify my top three choices of departments in which I’d like to work. My choices? Account Management, New Business, and Content Marketing.
The listings were handed out to the 40 interns, and most people sighed a breath of relief when they found out they were granted one of their top three choices. I breathed a sigh of anxiety when I saw the department in which I was placed. Yes, you guessed it! – Search Marketing. I had only briefly learned about SEO and SEM in a marketing class at Suffolk University. I barely knew the difference between organic and paid search results.Fast forward about 5 months, and I began to re... > Read more
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you already know that the mobile market is becoming increasingly important. The big guys know this too – last summer, Google pushed advertisers into mobile with the transition to Enhanced Campaigns, and Bing recently announced it would be following suit this September.
Experts are seeing mobile search volumes grow much faster than desktop, and some forecast they will even exceed desktop search volumes as early as next year.Mobile vs. Desktop Local Search Volumes (BIA/Kelsey Forecast)As mobile searches have been heating up, so have rumors about the implications for mobile advertisers. Rather than speculate, let’s quantify what’s important for mobile marketers out there today with real data. What’s a good CTR for mobile... > Read more
If you want to maximize your online advertising budget and get the most bang for your buck, you need a solid understanding of how paid search works and how to best manage your AdWords account. But where do you even start?Paid search marketing can be incredibly intimidating for beginners – there's a lot to learn and the industry is changing all the time.
Google AdWords is the most popular PPC platform, but can also be the most complicated for marketers to manage. In 2013 alone, Google made over a thousand changes to AdWords. It's almost impossible to keep up.That’s why we created WordStream PPC University: an organized educational resource enabling marketers of all skill and experience levels to take their AdWords strategy to the next level – for free!Millions of visitors have already... > Read more
You may have heard the big news that WordStream has added call tracking software to its arsenal of PPC tools. This means you can now track the campaigns, keywords, match types, ads, and landing pages that drive inbound calls to your business. Not only that, each call gets recorded, so you can refer back to it for marketing and training purposes.
It’s a pretty freaking sweet feature, and, if you use it, it may change your business.Let’s assume you already know it’s freaking sweet, you know that inbound calls are worth 5 to 10 times the value of form fill leads, and you’ve got call tracking set up. Now what?Now you start tracking performance so you know what’s working and what’s not. You already know the traditional AdWords metrics, including which campaigns, keywords, ads, and la... > Read more
High commercial intent keywords are like invitations from prospective customers. They beg you to tempt them with your wares. They tell you, loud and clear, that they have money in their hands (or burning holes in their pockets), and they want what you’re selling right now.The intent of the keyword should affect how you target it.
For example, if someone is clearly in the “early research” phase of shopping, the keywords they use will have less intent – maybe something like “do I need a lawyer?” You can target that keyword with a content piece like a checklist. Content marketing is all about getting in front of the customer early and making a good impression. Maybe later on, he’ll come back when he needs you.However, if someone definitely does need a lawyer, they might use a hi... > Read more
Get this: since last year, mobile paid search advertising has increased by 55%. Even crazier: Mobile PPC now accounts for one-fifth of total advertising spend.We keep hearing that advertisers aren't seeing great ROI from their mobile ad campaigns, though. Even if you’re making the investment, you don't feel like you’re getting your money's worth.
As mobile PPC continues to increase in value and surpasses desktop PPC…how can you tap into the massive opportunity of connecting with highly motivated, on-the-go consumers?Don't keep plugging away, following the old best practices – we've discovered that the conventional wisdom for desktop PPC is dead wrong when it comes to mobile. If you're doing what you've always done, you're sabotaging your own mobile campaigns.That sucks, right?S... > Read more
As summer begins, the market is flooded with hordes of recent college graduates eager to join the workforce. Searching for a new job in an increasingly competitive market can be a daunting task, especially for those with limited work experience. I remember back when I was first applying to jobs, this felt like an infuriating Catch 22—how was I supposed to gain experience if no one would give me an opportunity?Welp, the good news for aspiring PPC marketers is, you don’t necessarily need to have a lengthy CV to make an impression on hiring managers.
If you play your cards right, you can get your foot through the door with little to no professional experience.If you’re looking to get your first big break in the PPC industry, here are a few tips:Apply for the right position.Be realistic ... > Read more
What if search advertising were able to impact not just clicks and conversions, but top-of-mind brand awareness?This was the question Google set out to answer in a just-released study with Ipsos MediaCT. In it, they found that search ads have a positive impact on top-of-mind awareness, but also on unaided brand awareness – even when the searcher doesn't click the ad.
Search ads may be known as a direct response tool, but Google's research points to real value for branding, as well.The study, which consisted of 61 simulated search experiments involving 800 U.S. consumers, identified an 80% lift in top-of-mind brand awareness.In each of the studies, consumers were asked to perform searches for category-specific searches spanning 12 verticals. They then saw either a control page or a simula... > Read more
With all the recent advances in targeting offered in Google AdWords, I thought it made sense to take a deeper look at one of the AdWords features that has almost become old hat to PPC marketers at this point. Dynamic Keyword Insertion is a tool that is often overlooked in the sea of new features and betas that Google continues to churn out, but this staple feature can make a drastic and immediate improvement to your paid search account performance.
Google defines Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) as “an advanced AdWords feature that dynamically updates your ad text to include one of your keywords that matches a customer's search terms.” PPC marketers know it as putting those funny little brackets and the word “KeyWord” into the ad copy so that the search term will show up within... > Read more
Yahoo's Gemini marketplace for mobile and native ads launched in February and is now the default audience option in the Yahoo self-serve advertising manager. But what is Gemini and how does it work?Yahoo Ad Manager launched in January as a simplified platform for advertisers to buy and manage native ad products like Stream Ads, Image Ads and sponsored Tumblr posts.
Gemini was added to leverage the power of mobile and native advertising together; their native ads are optimized for tablet and mobile devices.Yahoo Gemini powers native ads that put sponsored brand content in front of Yahoo's 400 million monthly users in contextually relevant ways.But First…Why Native Ads?If you're not yet familiar with the format, native advertising is the increasingly popular method of reaching audiences wi... > Read more
By now, nearly everyone in the paid search industry has heard about Google’s decision to stop passing query data in its referring ad URLs. After an initial panic, many of us were brought back to our senses by some well-reasoned posts from industry experts. Among them was WordStream’s own Larry Kim, who explained very clearly that search query data isn’t dead.
Advertisers will still be able to pull this information from the Search Terms Report and through third-party platforms that use the AdWords API.Figuring Out Who Was Impacted by Google’s Policy ChangeSo if the impact is pretty minimal for most advertisers, where are the effects being felt? After asking ourselves this question, we developed some criteria to evaluate whether an advertiser’s campaigns would be significantly hamp... > Read more
I recently had the opportunity to be the subject of an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at Inbound.org and was blown away by the response. Not only were there a ton of questions, but they were really, really good!These questions led to a lot of great discussion and advice on PPC and AdWords, in particular. But in case you don’t want to dig through the whole thing, here are my top 10 best PPC tips from the Q&A.
1. What's the greatest, but most underused, opportunity in AdWords?Q. Kyle Petzinger asked, "What would you say is the single largest, mostly unused opportunity that AdWords advertisers can take advantage of? I realize this is pretty open-ended, but feel free to just spit out the first 'OMG DO THIS. WHY IS NO ONE DOING THIS' thought that comes to mind. Thanks a ton in advance! Love your wo... > Read more
For those of you not keeping up with the WordStream blog (shame on you!), you might have missed the awesome Grade and Get Paid contest we ran in late 2013. I won’t bore you with all the details, but as a quick summary, marketers were invited to use the AdWords Performance Grader twice to see how their PPC performance improved over a 30-day time period.
I’m proud to brag that my fabulous client GetOutfitted stole the prize and took home the Olympic gold! When I say gold I’m referring to a rainbow-wrapped PPC gift basket of $25K to spend in Google AdWords for 2014, plus a one-year subscription for WordStream’s PPC Advisor software to help Kristi Anderson, VP of Marketing at Get Outfitted, spend this budget to maximize sales.Even though this was not included in the prize details (big m... > Read more
What would it do for your business if you were able to crawl inside my brain and wallow in crazy-effective PPC knowledge, gained over more than ten years working in paid search every single day?The insane insights and experience you would take away would become your ultimate PPC secret weapon, giving you the power to slay the competition and squeeze every last drop of ROI out of your AdWords campaigns.
For one day only, you have the opportunity to do just that. In our next free webinar, I'll share mind-blowing PPC secrets and unconventional wisdom gleaned over my 10+ year career in PPC.Our Ultimate Introduction to Pay-Per-Click Advertising webinar is designed to help you kick-start your PPC campaigns or invigorate your existing ones.There's no denying that AdWords ads are a highly effective... > Read more
Just a few days after announcing the beta launch of Product Ads for Mobile, Microsoft has made Bing Product Ads available to all advertisers in the US. The new ad format, Bing's version of Google Product Listing Ads (soon to be replaced with Shopping Campaigns), allow advertisers to add rich images, prices and descriptions to ads appearing for e-commerce related searches across Bing and Yahoo.
Here's what the new Bing Product Ads look like:Bing Product Ads should definitely be considered for online retailers, given that the Bing/Yahoo network accounts for 117 million retail clicks a month, or 22% of all US retail paid clicks (comScore, June 2013).And Bing really, really wants you to use them – one of the key features is that advertisers can import right out of Google's PLAs. Alongside th... > Read more
Do you feel like a dainty pony in a world of fierce PPC unicorns?Time and time again you tell yourself to create a PPC plan/workflow, yet you have no idea how to do this. Your palms are consistently sweating due to the persistent pressure from your boss demanding you improve your quality score or finally show the return on the huge chunk of marketing budget he or she has let you use for paid search.
You log in to your WordStream or AdWords account, overwhelmed by all the functionality and unaware of where to start. No plan = no direction = no success. But no goals = no workflow.Goals are a key component to creating your PPC workflow. Just think about it, do you ever drag yourself out of bed and hop on the treadmill just because? Or attend an hour-long, sweat-drenched spinning class after wo... > Read more
What would it do for your business if you had the chance to pick the brains of two renowned PPC industry experts about your specific AdWords needs? Would you discover budget-saving bidding and creative strategies, tactics to maximize your conversion and ROI, or targeting functions and features to get you in front of the most relevant audience possible?All of the above!This spring, one lucky marketer has the opportunity to supercharge their AdWords strategy with expert insight and guidance from two industry experts.
In just a few days, we'll draw the winner of a two-hour paid search consultation with my good friend, AdWords guru Perry Marshall and me, Larry Kim.Marshall, the world's most quoted Google AdWords consultant, authored The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords, the most popular PPC ... > Read more
Ever secretly wonder if mobile PPC ads are really as effective as their desktop counterparts? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. In fact, a lot of advertisers (including some big, impressive brands that claim to be “experts” in paid search) share these doubts – but don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.
For now, let’s discuss some questions you might have about mobile PPC advertising. Do people actually click them? Did Google’s new SERP design ruin everything? Can mobile PPC improve your visibility in local search? Let’s find out.[RELATED: How to Build the Perfect Mobile Landing Page]How Effective Are Mobile PPC Ads?Before we go any further, we need to address the fact that, yes, in-app and mobile display advertising are almost universally hated by consumers. However, unlik... > Read more
Remember how we said wayyy back in 2012 that Google's Knowledge Graph feature was conditioning searchers to look to the right side of the SERP for information, where the ads usually go? Our conspiracy theory gets a little more credence today: According to Search Engine Land, Google is increasing their commercialization of Knowledge Graph and simultaneously promoting their Google Play service by testing movie ads in Knowledge Graph panels.
Back in 2012, this was just a theory and we had to give Google the benefit of the doubt – that Knowledge Graph truly intended to use this space for relevant, informative answers to questions and informational queries. But early on, Elisa theorized that Google had more nefarious intentions. What if Knowledge Graph was really about training the eye to see ... > Read more
Folks, we have a winner. The results are in from our Grade and Get Paid contest, and the big winner is GetOutfitted, a small startup based in Colorado. If you missed the announcements surrounding the contest, here’s how it worked:We invited marketers and businesses owners to use the AdWords Performance Grader twice – once to get an initial report on their AdWords account performance, and then again after 30 days, to show much they could improve.
We then asked them to tell us what they learned about their account.The business that was able to show the most improvement in 30 days won a tricked-out prize package: $25,000 in free AdWords spend for 2014, plus a year-long subscription to our PPC Advisor platform to help them make the most of that spend. (They also got a subscription to Consta... > Read more
What are landing pages? A landing page is the page a visitor arrives at on your website after clicking an ad (for example, a Google text ad or display ad). Inexperienced marketers often direct all of their PPC traffic to their homepage, but this can be a big mistake. Specific landing pages tailored to different offers are essential for providing a quality experience for visitors and driving conversions with a targeted message that matches each user’s need.
But don’t just check off received best practices. What makes a great landing page? How can you make awesome landing pages that boast off-the-chart conversion rates? We’ll walk you through what you need to know to make it happen.New! Try WordStream's FREE AdWords Landing Page ToolBefore You Build a Landing PageBefore creating your la... > Read more
Choosing a Network: AdWords and BingWhen planning your AdWords and Bing advertising campaigns, you will need to identify and select the specific “networks,” or combination of networks, that your paid ads will be shown in.Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads have a couple networks to choose from, each offering its own unique marketing opportunities, advantages and disadvantages.
In this post, I’ll define each PPC advertising network that is available to you when using Google AdWords and Bing Ads.Google AdWords PPC Advertising NetworksGoogle allows you to advertise on two types of paid-advertising networks that they have labelled as the “Google Search Network” and the “Google Display Network.” As an AdWords advertiser, you have the option to run PPC campaigns in one of these networ... > Read more
Over the last year, I’ve spent about 3 hours per day reading about online marketing, and paid search in particular. It’s worked out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 780 hours of staying up to date on the latest case studies, tips, detailed how-to guides, and original research – we’re talking thousands of articles here! On the off chance you haven’t been keeping up to this extent every day, I wanted to share my picks for the best, most informative, absolute must-read PPC articles of 2013.
Some I had bookmarked, others were filed away in my mind, and others still were contributed by industry peeps including Robert Brady, Melissa Mackey, Danny Goodwin, Sam Owen at PPC Hero, Michelle Morehouse at Clix, and AJ Kohn – thank you all! (See more awesome contributions in this Twit... > Read more
Let’s be honest, ad copy testing=tedious. Those of you who have conducted A/B testing on your ads are completely aware of how painfully time-consuming this task can be. Creating testing Excel sheets to set up, sort, and analyze how one’s ads are performing against one another can suck up hours upon hours of your time.
But, on the other hand, making small tweaks to your ad text can drastically increase traffic to your site! This is why testing is incredibly important, and can lead to glorious outcomes if done properly. Who doesn’t want a higher click-through-rate (CTR) that leads to more conversions, an improved quality score, and lower costs? You can achieve this through testing, testing, testing!As I explain this to a client, they inevitably groan back, “But I don’t have time to ... > Read more
Small Business Saturday might feel a bit weightier this year for many, given the shortened shopping period from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Individual retailers and restaurateurs participating in the annual holiday season kickoff plan to offer coupons, discounts and other holiday promotions, according to new research from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
This year, 70% of those participating believe it will help them attract new customers, and 67% plan to offer discounts to drive sales. Offering a free gift with a purchase is an incentive 33% plan to deploy. Notably, the number of small business owners planning to rely primarily on paid advertising to promote Small Business Saturday has doubled since 2012.Now in its fourth year, Small Business Sa... > Read more
The cornerstone of any successful PPC campaign is keyword research – choosing the best keywords to bid on that are most likely to result in clicks and conversions. Keyword research is part science and part art. It's about using the myriad tools at your disposal, but also understanding your customers and predicting which terms they're actually typing into the search box.
That’s the best way to ensure that your ads show up at the right time and in the right place: when they’re searching for the kinds of products or services you offer.In this guide, you’ll learn a set of methodologies to help you acquire, refine, and organize your PPC keywords, all in the service of better targeted and more effective pay-per-click campaigns.Getting Started: Brainstorming a PPC Keyword ListThe starting... > Read more
Text ads and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are more powerful used together, according to Google; in fact, using text ads alone means lower brand recognition, less site engagement and fewer online sales, they say.Google’s recent study, conducted in cooperation with research and consulting firm Millward Brown, shows that:People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.
People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.Their findings pertain mostly... > Read more