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.
If you could have just a peek into the Google AdWords crystal ball to help you get ready for smarter PPC strategy in 2015 … would you do it?Of course you would! Unfortunately, the crystal ball is in the shop.All is not lost. Paid search is in a constant state of flux, with Google testing new features and taking away some of our favorite toys on a regular basis.
We've said goodbye recently to exact match keyword types and hello to new and super powerful enterprise-class tools. You've probably heard about a dozen or so of the major changes to AdWords this year but in fact, Google unleashes hundreds of updates a year on the unsuspecting advertising public, many without so much as an announcement.It's hard to keep up, right? You have enough to worry about just trying to keep your accounts up... > Read more
Are you ready to be a one-person marketing machine? Whether you’re the lone soldier fighting for your brand to retain brand dominance, a one-person agency fighting for productivity, or somewhere in-between, this guide of PPC hacks for entrepreneurs and very small businesses or marketing teams will turn you into a PPC ninja.
1. Leverage Long-Tail KeywordsLong-tail is an online marketing term for more specialized queries and keywords. The idea behind them is the user who types in “wedding cake boston” is more likely to pick up the phone or engage with your contact form, than the user typing in “wedding cake” (assuming your shop is in Boston, that is!). Ironically enough, the more specialized the search term the lower the bid will likely be. Larger companies with big pockets bid aggr... > Read more
Some advertisers mistakenly believe that PPC begins and ends with Google AdWords. There’s no disputing that AdWords is the largest paid search platform, but overlooking Bing Ads is a mistake far too many advertisers make! Bing Ads is cheaper than AdWords, and many high-commercial intent search terms that would be completely unattainable in AdWords are within reach on the Yahoo Bing search network.
Whether you advertise on both Bing and AdWords, or you're just considering testing out the Bing PPC waters, there’s never been a greater need for reliable data to help you make solid business decisions. With this in mind, we’re proud to announce our latest free tool to help you win at PPC, the Bing Ads Performance Grader.Invaluable Insight into Your Bing Advertising AccountWordStream’s Bin... > Read more
What's next in search marketing? Considering how often Google updates the AdWords platform and how many new ad products we see unleashed on the industry each year, the only thing certain is change!However, while no one knows exactly what's next, we can certainly look to the predictions and educated guesses of PPC industry leaders to help keep our focus in the right areas.
End-of-year is a fantastic time for marketers to take a step back, review the year gone by, and plan for what the future has in store for us. Acquisio recently compiled an awesome e-book packed with predictions from 15 PPC thought leaders on what may be next for the industry in the coming year.Top marketers like David Szetela, Lisa Raehsler, Marty Weintraub and others shared a ton of useful info in their predictions – a ... > Read more
Everyone has problems separating work and home. For me, sometimes it’s more about separating work and my cats. I must admit, I might be a bit of a cat lady (understatement of the year), so sometimes my mind wanders to my cats at work and to work when I’m at home with the cats. This combination of PPC and cats inevitably led me to find work advice from the unlikeliest of places: these 2 little furballs:Here are three PPC lessons I learned from my cats.
Never Stop Playing With Something … Even If It’s DeadCats can sometimes be a little, well, creepy and continue to play with their prey long after it’s, well, dead. As a cat owner, this tends to not be very pleasant or fun, but the cats do seem to enjoy batting around some mouse or bird.It can be easy to look at a campaign and see tha... > Read more
The paid search landscape is fraught with risks and opportunities. But how do you know which risks to address first? Simply digging your way through the mass of PPC data available can be a huge chore.More importantly though, how can you pinpoint and take advantage of the opportunities offering the greatest rewards when the competition is stiff and constantly changing?We talk a great deal here at WordStream about paid search best practices – it's critically important that you get those ducks in a row if you want to see any success in PPC.
Beyond the basics, though, you need a comprehensive and holistic strategy to not only keep up with the competition, but leave them in the dust.Next Tuesday, October 21, Michael Stricker from SEMrush and I are hosting an exclusive webinar to help you do j... > Read more
I’d be willing to wager that you sleep with your mobile device mere inches from your pillow. You likely check your phone upon waking up, waiting for the train, and while scarfing down your turkey sandwich during your lunch break. It’s OK to admit that we’re all addicted to our smartphones, but what does it mean for your search marketing strategy?Take a look at these stats showing how mobile and search tie together:According to a recent Google study, 74% of mobile consumers used a search engine as part of the research process.
93% of people who used mobile to research go on to make a purchase (source: Google).52% of mobile shoppers realize they buy more with cross-channel personalization (source: MyBuys).And mobile is only predicted to grow:Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are expe... > Read more
Some of the most popular questions I hear from clients are “What are your recommendations for long-tail keywords?” and “How do I go about finding long-tail keywords?” It seems as though there is some notion leading people to believe there is a magical secret to long-tail keywords. Well, you’re in luck because I am here to tell you that there really is no secret, but rather just a few best practices you should know before beginning your search for long-tails keywords.
As you read on, I will dispel some common long-tail keyword myths and point you in the right direction for keyword research and discovery.Myth #1: The longer tailed the keyword, the betterI sense that the instinctual thought about long-tail keywords is that they need to be fairly long because that’s the only way th... > Read more
AdWords advertisers struggle constantly to keep pace in an ever-changing industry, where Google likes to switch things up with hundreds of changes to the platform each year.What if you could cut through all the noise, seriously reduce your learning curve, and cut straight to the heart of the most effective and impactful PPC marketing tactics?I recently led a webinar with Thue Madsen from KissMetrics and shared the 10 top PPC marketing hacks you need to optimize your pay-per-click strategy today.
You can keep tweaking copy and testing button placement forever, but those minor changes won't have near the impact as these.Here we go: these are my all-time top 10 PPC advertising hacks.AdWords Hack #1: Optimize Quality Score!Google wants you to think QS isn't all that important, but we know bett... > Read more
Industry thought leaders in the search marketing space have long speculated about how Facebook can compete with Google in terms of its lucrative advertising business. Well, according to recent reports, Facebook could soon surpass Google in terms of its remarketing capabilities with the launch of its Atlas advertising platform.
Image via nettramarketing.comFacebook Putting Google Under PressureFacebook Ads certainly has come a long way in two years. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook will unveil the revamped Atlas system next week. Facebook originally acquired the Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft last year, and the new platform promises to be a reengineered version of Microsoft’s former product.So what’s the big deal? For starters, Facebook’s Atlas system is capable of... > Read more
Are you working in a niche B2B industry attempting to generate leads (that hopefully convert) through your PPC efforts? In that case, I can assume that you are also on the verge of throwing a baseball at your computer. Am I right? PPC is challenging enough, but with the added long sales cycle, high competition, and niche market, getting leads from AdWords can make your sanity spin off the deep-end.
All too often I find this to be true with clients specifically in the software or SaaS industry. Gaining leads is a challenge in itself and definitely does not mean that a conversion is likely to follow. For example, searchers looking to purchase software don’t just hop online, search for their business need, and hit “Buy Now.” Software services typically a) are expensive and b) have longer... > Read more
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 the WordStream 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 mista... > 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