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.
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 landing page 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 cre... > 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
The refrain “time is running out” is something we’re all going to hear on a repeated basis for the next 45 days or so. As it applies to the PPC pros, time is running out to prepare for the digital shopping madness known as Cyber Monday, coming on December 2. That's just three short weeks away.Cyber Monday is a term marketing companies created back in 2005 to hype online shopping the Monday after Thanksgiving.
It’s a day of steep discounts and special offers to keep the momentum going after Black Friday, the major difference being you don’t get trampled by people on Cyber Monday like you might on Black Friday, and you don't have to search for parking.What does Cyber Monday mean to you? It means consumers are in “extreme buying mode” on Cyber Monday, so it’s time to take step... > Read more
In politics, the term “going negative” tends to have a, well, negative connotation—typically from the candidate who just placed a negative ad and dares his or her opponent not to do the same.In our case, however, most of the companies we help to optimize their PPC campaigns don’t even realize that going negative—that is, eliminating the useless keywords that bring the wrong people to your site—is even a possibility.
We’ve been preaching the concept for while—including a handful of blog posts and even an e-book – but now is as good a time as any for a quick refresher on the topic.To recap: a negative keyword is, according to Google, “A type of keyword that prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase. It tells Google not to show your ad to anyon... > Read more
I admit it. As a marketer, sometimes I get stuck with ideas when I try to promote my own self.Maybe it’s a cultural stigma that somehow self promotion is a shameful thing (hence the term “shameless self promotion”). And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.But one day (as I was TOTT-ing … “thinking on the toilet,” term you see posted on the back of bathroom stall doors) it dawned on me: “Heck, I should use my knowledge to benefit … ME!”For example, this guy was looking for a job.
He was trying to stand out from the other applicants, so he bought keywords for executives in the company that he was trying to get hired at.Why did it work?Simple. He tapped into people’s natural tendency to Google themselves. Like Al Pacino, vanity is ALL marketers’ favorite sin.That’... > Read more
Ask any business owner what he or she needs, and you’ll likely hear “more customers.” Businesses can’t just rely on their existing customers to fuel growth, so there’s a constant need for more leads who will eventually become clients.This guide will tell you how to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising with Google AdWords to get more leads and grow your business.
Who PPC Lead Gen Works ForA common misperception is that PPC is only for e-commerce websites, but that’s not the case at all. PPC is a highly effective channel for websites and companies doing lead generation.Lead generation (often referred to as “lead gen”) is a requirement for businesses that can’t or won’t do business with just anyone. There’s usually a prequalification and information-exchange period that ta... > Read more
The Excel bubble chart is often overlooked by PPC advertisers, because it can be tricky to set up. However, when used properly, a bubble chart lets you clearly present and compare categorical data (e.g. campaign, ad groups, device, etc.) – represented by the number of bubbles – as well as quantitative data (e.
g. cost, conversions, CTR, etc.) – represented by the size of the bubble and its location on the XY axis.In this article, I will show you step-by-step how to create the powerful Excel bubble chart for use with PPC data and even give you access to a free download of the unlocked Excel spreadsheet (Click to download excel bubble chart template).Why Bubble Charts Are Useful for PPCAs PPC managers, we understand our campaigns, but it can be difficult to quickly and effectively descr... > Read more
So you’re advertising on mobile devices. What now?As most advertisers know by now, one of the biggest changes in Google’s new Enhanced Campaigns is that they target all devices. After the upgrade, this means that at least a portion of your impressions are coming from users on mobile devices – even if your market is primarily desktop based.
Sure, you can set your mobile bid adjustment to -100% to effectively turn off mobile (although Google has noted that even this won’t guarantee that your ads will never be displayed on mobile devices) but if you’re like most WordStream users, then you are either willing to experiment with mobile or you simply haven’t gotten around to changing the bids.And this isn’t a bad thing. More and more search usage is shifting to mobile devices, and s... > Read more
The following is an excerpt from a new white paper co-created with Hanapin Marketing. Download the complete white paper here.In pay-per-click marketing, as with so many things in life, you have to spend money to make money. But how do you figure out what you should spend?Your monthly and annual budget is a huge part of your PPC strategy, so whether you’re new to PPC or have been doing it for years, it’s worth taking a step back to figure out if you’re making the most of your spend.
The most important consideration for budget planning is your lead needs. You’ll need to sit down and figure out some characteristics of your leads, such as:Lead qualityTarget cost per lead (CPL)Buying cycleVisitor frequencyGeographic locationIf you’re not sure what your target lead looks like, start by ... > Read more
This is Part 5 of a 5-part series. Read the rest of the articles here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1: Intro to PPC ROIThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsWho should use pay-per-click advertising? Does PPC really work?Maybe you have been affected by Google updates, and your website disappeared from the SERP (search engine results page).
Or maybe you simply want to make more money, and you’re looking for all the help you can get to boost sales.There are times when a well-planned PPC campaign proves to be a quick and profitable solution to internet marketing woes. And there are times when it isn’t. But, if you have been with us since the beginn... > Read more
This is Part 4 of a 5-part series. Read the rest of the articles here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1: Intro to PPC ROIThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherYou use them to find what you want, to order what you want, and to get what you want.
They can hurt you, infuriate you, or enrich you. And once you let them go, you can never get them back.Words. The internet is based on words, and Google earns billions of dollars per year from Ad “Words.”Ask someone to help you plan a pay-per-click campaign, or for advice on how to get your website ranking higher in organic search results, and one of the first things you will be asked is, “Which ... > Read more
This is Part 3 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1: Intro to PPC ROIThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherWhen a visitor knocks on the door of your home, do you chase her away? Invite her inside? Pour her a drink of iced tea?Your response depends on who is knocking, doesn’t it? The same principle applies to landing pages.
Every person searching on a keyword or term related to your business is an individual—why not recognize that individuality and serve up a proper reception?What do summer camp and PPC have in common?This morning, I put my boy on the bus, headed to a 4-day summer camp. Gettin... > Read more
This is Part 2 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 1The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5Okay. So, you are hopeful that a pay-per-click marketing campaign, correctly organized, could help jumpstart sales and bring in a sorely needed boost in revenue.
You’ve heard about others who have succeeded with PPC, now you want to know whether the expenditures necessary to get your project on board would provide sufficient return on investment (ROI).Let’s talk about that – starting from the beginning.What are the right goals for a PPC marketing campaign?Everyone needs a goal – a destination. Sure, it can be fun to simply hop in the car and start driving … not knowing o... > Read more
This is Part 1 in a 5-part series. Read the rest of the series here:The PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 2: Setting Your PPC GoalsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 3: The Landing Page DilemmaThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 4: Finding Your KeywordsThe PPC Guide for Beginners, Part 5: Bringing it All TogetherGetting Return on Investment from PPC“Return on Investment” (ROI).
It is a business school basic and a fact of life. If you get less out your efforts than you put into them, you’re going backwards, not forward – and, eventually, you will be bankrupt.One investor takes a chance on a start-up company and makes millions. Another puts her life savings into a “sure deal” and loses everything. Return on investment can make or break any operation – and it is a primary consider... > Read more
Quick: What do ground-penetrating radar, hydraulic tie-rod cylinders, and third-party PPC software platforms have in common? Not much, really—but all three are examples of B2B (business-to-business) products that B2B companies can sell via PPC advertising.PPC is a system that offers B2B companies the ability to capture leads fast and efficiently.
Your target market is basically raising its hand and saying it’s interested in your product or service, and it does so by typing in search keywords on Google or Bing. The beauty of it is, they’re looking for you – instead of you standing around a trade-show booth for ten hours at a time asking people what their biggest business challenges are and hoping their needs match up with what you offer. That’s what makes PPC a form of inbou... > Read more
Banner ads are largely seen these days as fossils from the internet’s dinosaur period, back when blinking text was cool and Angelfire sites were all the rage.Such online billboard ads have long been considered deceased, dead, and buried, with few mourners grieving the demise of web banner ads. However, a new breed of banner ad has evolved and is on the rise thanks to Google, and they’re hungry for blood (or clicks.
Whichever is easier).Today we’re looking at the horrific past of banner ads, their new and improved counterpart, and how you can make banner ads work for you!Everyone’s (Least) Favorite Ad: Why Most Banner Ads Stink Just like the Iraq War, slavery, and parachute pants, banner ads are an ugly part of our history. They’ve generally been seen as a public nuisance and... > Read more
Our friends at PPC Hero put together an infographic of the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in 2013, based on votes from readers, social influence and other influence factors (speaking engagements, books published, channels reached, etc.). We were very excited to see our own Larry Kim in the very top spot! Check out the full graphic below to see all the top experts.
Huge thanks to our buddies at Hanapin for putting this together, and congrats to all the other experts. We're honored to be in your company!You can read more about the survey's methodology here.... > Read more
Do you remember the last television commercial you saw? How about the last radio ad you listened to?Okay, here’s one you’ll remember for sure: What company was behind the last banner ad you saw online?My guess is that you don’t remember any of those three types of advertising. But don’t feel bad about it.
You’re probably suffering from “Horse Blinder Syndrome.”It’s nothing serious, just a natural progression of how we humans have developed a tendency to ignore advertising. Especially online.Display ad click-through rates have plummeted over the years, and according to DoubleClick research and HubSpot, the average CTR is now at a miniscule 0.1%.So how do we brilliant marketers and creative advertisers improve? Well, there’s something called native advertising. And I’m 10... > Read more
What is Inbound Marketing? The Story of How PPC Became "In"The industry is all a-buzz today with Rand Fishkin’s announcement that SEOmoz is relaunching and rebranding as simply Moz. They are distancing themselves from their history as an SEO company and positioning themselves as a provider of more general marketing tools, with a focus on “inbound marketing,” the phrase that local Boston company HubSpot and others made (relatively) famous.
I couldn’t help but notice that Rand’s blog post explaining the change included a revision of a diagram he had previously used when discussing inbound marketing. Here’s the new diagram, which distinguishes between inbound marketing and “interruption marketing”:And here’s the old diagram, from Rand’s March 2011 blog post:Notice anything ... > Read more
There’s been a lot of negative stuff in the press so far about how Yahoo is making a big blunder with its recent acquisition of Tumblr.In this article, I’ll explain why I think they’re all wrong.But first, let’s address the critics, who in general, seem to be focused on two main points:1. Yahoo Sucks at Integrating Companies (See Flickr)In 2005, photo sharing site Flickr was at the forefront of the social media revolution.
But, as some critics have pointed out, Yahoo’s reign has brought with it a complete lack of innovation, and as a result the company failed to do anything interesting with the huge audience Flickr had.All this is true – however, it happened under Yahoo’s previous management, before Marissa Mayer took over the helm. This is backwards-looking, not forwards-loo... > Read more
Our friends at Hanapin Marketing and PPC Hero need your help!Pat East, the CEO of Hanapin Marketing, teaches a summer workshop at Indiana University that covers all aspects of Internet marketing, including a core module in PPC. Their grades are dependent on demonstrating their PPC knowledge by successfully creating and managing an AdWords account for a real business.
How You Can HelpHanapin is looking for eight U.S.-based companies to participate in this program and help out the students. The companies must be willing to make a $250 investment in PPC to help a student out – as well as to see if PPC is a good fit for their business!How to Get StartedIf you want to do your part in building the future of PPC, contact Hanapin's Director of Paid Search Jeff Allen directly (Jeff.Allen@hanapinma... > Read more
What’s your strategy for setting up your campaign budgets? One of our clients shared a case study with me about how he restructured his campaigns and budgeting strategy by combining the popular 80-20 Rule and the English soccer league system. Using this structure, he was able to improve his metrics across the board.
Let’s take a closer look at his account restructuring plan and execution to see what lessons we can learn.Background Info80-20 RuleThe 80-20 Rule (more formally named the Pareto principle) states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Our client was seeing a similar ratio of cause to effect with the performance of his account: 20% of keywords and ad groups were bringing in about 80% of impressions, clicks, and conversions.Soccer League TiersOur client a... > Read more
In the past, Erin covered how celebrity-related keywords can screw up your traffic: Help, My Search Query Report Has Bieber Fever! Now I would like to talk about new queries which can appear instantly because of new viral content and interfere with your existing PPC campaigns.Last year, a Denham Springs woman set up a “middle finger” made of Christmas lights on her roof to upset neighbors.
(NSFW?!) Of course the media attention as well as the offensive Christmas lights disappointed some residents in Denham Springs, but companies who sell Christmas lights and run PPC campaigns on Google and Bing were furious about unrelated queries popping up during the busiest time of the year.Those advertisers who worked hard on their negative keywords weren’t able to predict a query like “middle ... > Read more
Over 10 years ago I fell in love with PPC because it was the most measurable and optimizable marketing channel.If a keyword wasn’t working out, no problem! I could change the ad, or optimize the bids, or chose entirely different keywords. I could measure and optimize anything and everything, which enabled me to create very sophisticated and profitable paid search campaigns.
Yet as PPC has become more and powerful and thus more optimizable, sadly, the average AdWords account manager is optimizing less stuff in their account – to the point where I believe that today, most AdWords accounts are dying of neglect.Very low PPC account optimization activity means that many advertisers are missing out on what I believe to be the best part of PPC. Should you be concerned?Exhibit A: Self-Reported ... > Read more
#1 Is the Best Ad Position! … Or Is It?A common assumption about paid search is that position #1 is the ultimate goal. Advertisers clamber over each other to ensure their ads make it into the top position, because they think that’s what’s necessary to be successful for their campaigns.However, I’d like to go on the record and make a bold statement: Position #1 isn’t always going to be the best ad position for your business.
Yes, while position #1 certainly can’t hurt from an impression/visibility standpoint, it might not be the optimal position from a conversion/ROI standpoint. Google’s bid auction ensures that the higher you bid, the more likely you are to appear in a higher position. (Notice I said more likely, not guaranteed – the Quality Score system offers discounts fo... > Read more