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.

Five Ways to Lower Your AdWords & PPC Costs

This is the last installment in a three-part series on achieving specific goals within your paid search accounts. In the prior installments we’ve covered:Five Ways to Get More Leads from PPCFive Ways to Lower Your Cost Per Action (CPA)And today we’ll cover a third, somewhat less frequent objective: lowering your PPC costs.

It seems like lowering your PPC costs should be a pretty common objective, but in actuality lowering your CPA is usually a much better goal. After all, for most businesses you’ll take as many cost-effective leads and sales as you can get, so the concern is more how much you’re paying for each lead rather than how much you’re paying total. But as most PPC managers know, in the real world there are various factors that sometimes cause businesses to want to quickly... > Read more

May 09, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Five Ways to Lower Your PPC Campaign's Cost Per Action (CPA)

Last week we gave you five tips on how to get more leads from PPC. But what if your main problem isn’t leads? Everyone wants more leads, of course, but what if your most immediate problem is that your PPC campaign just isn’t profitable?In this post we’ll walk through five more tips, this time for lowering your CPA.

Cost Per Action Lowering Tip 1: Lower Your BidsIf your cost per conversion is out of whack, this basically means that the following equation isn’t adding up properly for you:Cost / Conversions = CPAWe’re thinking about ways to get conversions for cheaper, so it’s pretty obvious that we might want to do something about the conversion end of this equation, but all too often I see people ignore the cost side to their own peril.Many times, there’s a range of conversion ... > Read more

May 02, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

PPC Bid Management Strategies: An Interview with Todd Wilkinson of WordWatch

Todd Wilkinson, CEO of WordWatch, began his online career in 1999 with WorldOnline/Tiscali, a pioneering European ISP. Todd later co-founded a digital agency in Amsterdam in 2002, called iizt (pronounce “east”), serving the advertising industry in the Benelux. In 2006, Todd co-founded and served as CEO to Respectance.

com, a social media play described by TechCrunch as the “MySpace for dead people.” Funded by two European VCs, Respectance was located in San Francisco, CA and Amsterdam, NL. Todd exited Respectance in 2010 and launched WordWatch in March 2011, based in Foster City, CA and Amsterdam, NL, with production and algorithm development in Krakow. You believe that bid management is the most time-intensive part of search engine marketing. Why is it so time-consuming and what... > Read more

April 12, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Understanding the Differences Between Google and Bing Match Types

I thought I had a good grasp on keyword match types – that is, until I started studying for the adCenter exam. Then I realized there were some noteworthy differences between how Google and Bing interpret match types. If you’ve been treating match types the same in both search engines, read on to learn the key differences between the two and how they may be affecting your account.

For this example we are going to be owners of a flower shop. We want to include the keyword "red flowers" in our Google and Bing accounts. I’m going to go through how the different match types for "red flowers" will affect when our ads show in each account. List of Match Types: Broad Match Phrase Match Exact Match Negative Keywords Broad Match Google: An ad is eligible to appear when a user's search term ... > Read more

April 05, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 17

Running an AdWords Campaign in a Competitive Local Market

If you run a local business in a competitive market (and whose market isn’t competitive these days), it’s essential to set your AdWords campaigns up in a particular way for local online marketing. You will need to set up a minimum of two different campaigns, and sometimes four. Why is this? Let’s look at an example for a plumber from Swindon, in the UK.

The first campaign will be set up with general keywords. Examples are: Plumber Local plumber Plumbers Emergency plumbers Local plumbers 24 hour plumbers The best practice in order to get high Quality Scores, hence a cheaper Cost Per Click (CPC), is to add each of these keywords in their own ad group, with ads containing these specific keywords. You will then set this campaign to run ONLY within the Swindon area. You can do this... > Read more

March 30, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 12

The Return of Pimp Your PPC Ad: Lessons from Bad PPC Ads

  That's right folks, it's the auspicious return of Pimp Your PPC Ad, in which I scan the SERPs for sponsored ads that don't pass the sniff test, then tell you how to make them better (-smelling?). I always meant to make this a regular feature, but apparently I only did it once in 2009. Oops. So, maybe it's only a biannual feature.

Anyway, here we go with five more lessons from poorly executed pay-per-click ads. Lesson #1: Don't Put All Your Keyword Eggs in One Basket These are some of the ads I was served up for "army surplus gear": This last one suffers from a lack of targeting – these different keywords (ACU headgear, ACU jackets, etc.) should really all be in their own ad groups. In addition, the ad doesn't communication any value proposition and doesn't have a ca... > Read more

March 29, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 12

How to Conduct Your PPC Audit: Pay-Per-Click Audit Best Practices Part One

If you're a PPC agency there are some fundamentals within the campaign that you want to understand before you do anything else: Margins & Profit - Before you do anything else with PPC, you want to understand what "profitable" means. If you're working on a VC-backed company willing to take a loss on each lead this might just be a target cost per acquisition (CPA), but in most cases it means a hard cost that leads a company into the black.

This is the most critical single metric in your PPC campaign (and it has nothing to do with click-through rate, Quality Score, etc.!). Costs & Costs Per Click - Obviously you want to be cognizant of what you're spending -- not just in the context of your cost per conversion and your margins, but also in the context of the volume you can drive... > Read more

March 17, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

PPC Ad Writing Tips from the Experts: An Interview with BoostCTR

BoostCTR is is a network of advertisers and expert pay-per-click ad writers. I asked BoostCTR's Jeff Sexton and Ryan Healy to share some of their knowledge about what goes into a great pay-per-click ad. Jeff is in charge of Optimization Management for Boost’s writer network, and Ryan is a lead writer and blogger for Boost.

First off, can you tell us a little bit about BoostCTR? Jeff Sexton: BoostCTR helps businesses improve their pay-per-click advertising ( PPC) by boosting the click-through rate (CTR) of their ads. We take clients’ best performing PPC ads, re-write them, and then split-test the original ad against our new challenger ad. And we repeat that process until we beat the client’s old ad by at least 5%, or we give them their money back. 5% is the guarantee, but our average ... > Read more

March 15, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Fighting Cross-Campaign Ad Poaching with Negative Keyword Lists

A couple of weeks ago I told you that your first negative keyword lists should consist of your brand keywords. Doing so keeps your competitive (higher CPC), non-branded campaigns from poaching brand-related ad impressions. Typically we see negative keywords being used to stop ad impressions from completely irrelevant search queries (or search queries that bring no business value), but there is a case for using relevant keywords as negative keywords.

Using brand-related keywords in negative keyword lists is not the only example of using relevant keywords as negatives. Depending on your business, you may find, after analyzing your search query reports, that your campaigns are poaching ad impressions from each other. Because of this, I recommend that you create a negative keyword list for eac... > Read more

March 01, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

Acting on Good Advice: Using Symbols to Get an 89% Lift in Conversions

This is a guest post by Chad Summerhill, author of the blog PPC Prospector, provider of free PPC tools and PPC tutorials, and in-house AdWords Specialist at Moving Solutions, Inc. (UPack.com and MoveBuilder.com). How many PPC blog posts do you read in a week? How many do you actually take action on? I’m guilty of reading a lot and acting too little.

Much of the information published on optimizing your PPC campaigns is very interesting and insightful, but maybe not particularly actionable (or it can be difficult to take action easily). So when you see something that's actionable and easy to try, don’t just read and tweet! Actually try it! Slow down and ask yourself how you can leverage this new knowledge in your own campaigns. That’s what I did, just a few weeks ago when Tom Deme... > Read more

February 16, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 8

Optimization Means More than Just Refinement: Two Ways to Expand Your PPC Keyword List

In many cases, expanding your paid search marketing reach can have as great of an impact on results as refining your existing campaigns. As you look to expand your paid search campaigns, you want to focus on two core means of discovery: "Wider" - Going "wider" means identifying new keyword verticals that didn't previously exist within your campaigns.

This often comes in the form of new ad groups targeting wholly new keyword ideas that you hadn't previously introduced into your campaigns. "Deeper" - Going "deeper" in this context means mining your existing campaigns for new targeting opportunities. The best way to do this is by looking at the search query data generated by your existing campaigns. WordStream's latest product release offers some tools to help advertisers perform just these... > Read more

February 14, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

What's the Biggest Day of the Week for In-Text PPC?

Which day of the week do your contextual PPC ads get the most clicks? Infolinks recently released a study showing that in-text pay-per-click advertisements get more clicks on Tuesday than any other day of the week, followed by Wednesday and then Monday. Unsurprisingly, clicks were lowest on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with a typical Sunday accounting for 45% fewer clicks than Tuesday.

This study was based on Infolinks' database of over 40,000 websites and analyzed data spanning all of 2010. According to the study: "Advertisers and publishers can utilize this click data for smarter investments and also higher payouts. By concentrating advertising efforts on Tuesday, Wednesday and even Monday, higher engagement can be accomplished and in turn higher revenue earned." ... > Read more

January 11, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

10 PPC New Year's Resolutions for 2011

1. I will use Broad Match Modifiers more This feature is something that we PPC’ers have been wanting/needing for a long time. It is a real step forward in giving us more control over how we spend our money on broad match. But with great power comes great responsibility. It’s up to us to use BMM to its fullest potential, which unfortunately means more disciplined work.

Some of you may remember the Broad Match Modifier tool I created earlier this year to help you get started. I wrote about how to use BMM here.  2. I will use geo-targeting more Geo-targeting has been around a long time, and like the new BMM it takes a disciplined approach to use it properly and effectively. Using geo-targeting gives us advertisers more control over how we spend our money, but it makes me tired just t... > Read more

January 04, 2011     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 3

PPC VLOOKUP: How to Use VLOOKUP for Paid-Per-Click Marketing

VLOOKUP is one of a number of handy Excel functions for PPC. For grizzled PPC campaign managers this function is likely very familiar, but as a former philosophy major who fulfilled his math requirement with a class in logic (taught by a philosophy professor) I think it's helpful for non-Excel ninjas who are new to PPC to understand:How the Excel VLOOKUP function worksHow it can be applied to pay-per-click managementAs a result in this article we’ll walk through some specific applications and resources offering more information on using the VLOOKUP function for PPC.

How to Do a VLOOKUPBefore we dig into the applications of the VLOOKUP function for PPC I want to go over how to actually use the VLOOKUP function. Here are a couple of videos that should help you to learn the function:And anot... > Read more

December 30, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 4

AdWords for Beginners - Explaining Pay-Per Click (PPC) to Clients & Novices

I have failed to effectively communicate "what PPC is" to people on numerous occasions. Some of that may be that I talk unnecessarily  fast, but I think most of it was a result of my approach. My more recent efforts to explain to people what PPC is, how it works, and why it's important to their business have been more successful (from what I can tell and from what I've been told) and since this is an issue every PPC consultant is likely to face in some capacity or other, I thought it might be useful to talk about what has been (and hasn't been) effective for me in communicating to non-PPCers on the topic of paid search marketing.

Think About Your Objective I think that your objective should always be education. Whether you're selling PPC services, PPC software, or just trying to "sell... > Read more

December 27, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 5: Acting on Your Insights

This is the last post in my series on Advanced Search Query Mining. Here is a list of the previous posts in this series just in case you missed one. Part 1: The Power of Search Queries Part 2: Getting the Right Data Part 3: Preparing Your Data for Analysis Part 4: Mining Your Data for Insights In my previous post on search query mining I showed you my technique for creating an ad-group-level negative candidates list and a keyword expansion list from your search queries.

In this post I’m going to show you a method for acting on those insights. I will also include a link in the conclusion of this post to a free Excel download that has all of the formulas I’ve used in this series. Acting on your Negative Candidates There are several factors that could be impacting the performance o... > Read more

December 08, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 4: Mining Your Data for Insights

In the last post in this series, I showed you how to prepare your search query data for analysis. We had some specific questions that needed to be answered and that shaped how we transformed our data. These questions included the following: What search queries have high impressions but no clicks?  What search queries have resulted in a conversion?  What search queries have a below-average CTR for the ad group?  What search queries have an above-average cost/conversion? Do I have a problem with ad poaching and duplication?  For the most part, these questions are focused around search queries that may need to be added as negative keywords and search queries that need to be a part of a keyword expansion strategy.

I like to start my query mining analysis with a quick surv... > Read more

December 01, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 3: Preparing Your Data

In part 2 of this series, we gathered all of the data we would need for our search query mining exercise into Excel, as seen below. Now, we must take the time to prepare our data for analysis. This will include creating derived fields to bring information to the surface, flagging and deleting noise, converting counts to proportions, etc.

 We are going to use the power of Excel to our advantage and push our data to its limits to extract value. Here are some of the questions our data will need to be able to answer easily: What search queries have high impressions but no clicks? (might be a good negative candidate) What search queries have resulted in a conversion? (promote these to exact match keywords in your account). What search queries have a below average CTR for the ad ... > Read more

November 24, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 2: Getting the Right Data

As with any PPC analysis, you must get the right data to answer your questions. Here are some of the questions our data will need to be able to answer easily: What search queries have high impressions but no clicks? What search queries have resulted in a conversion?  What search queries have a below average CTR for the ad-group? What search queries have an above average Cost/Conv? What search queries are duplicates of existing exact match keywords?  In order to answer questions about a search query’s performance we need the Search Query Report, for questions about comparison metrics we will need an Ad-Group Report, and for questions about duplication we will need a Keyword Account Structure Report.

This tutorial does require a basic understanding of how to use the AdWord... > Read more

November 17, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Advanced Search Query Mining Part 1: The Power of Search Queries

If you are bidding on broad match keywords and ignoring your search queries, you are definitely wasting money, by not managing your negative keywords, missing out on profitable long-tail keyword opportunities, and possibly missing new emerging search trends in your market. Keywords are not search queries Keywords are not search queries, although search queries can be keywords.

 Keywords are assumptions about the words we think our customer will use when using a search engine, while search queries are the reality. If you are only using exact match keywords in your PPC campaigns, then your keywords will match your customers' search queries exactly every time a search is matched to your ad. However, if you are taking advantage of broad and phrase match, oftentimes one keyword ca... > Read more

November 10, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 5

Understanding Keyword Organization: Why You May Be Wasting Great Campaign Structures

One of the biggest mistakes that I see people make surrounding keyword organization is that they waste good to great structures. It's becoming better understood that intelligent paid search campaign organization is fundamental to paid search success, but just having a strong keyword structure isn't enough.

You have to then work to get the most out of that organizational advantage. How to Waste Great Keyword Structure in One Easy Step One of the really important things to understand about keyword grouping is that as you create new groups of keywords and get more and more granular with your segmentation, you're actually just speaking to an additional layer of intent. A keyword, after all, is an advertising control, and you're hand-picking a certain type of prospect with the keyword and signa... > Read more

November 04, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1

How to Maximize Google AdWords Marketing Returns with Targeting

This is a guest post by Willy Oghinan, a search engine marketing consultant and CEO of Salesplux, a leading Google AdWords management and marketing enhancement company. With Google AdWords, you can build your brand and increase your customer base with near immediate results. However, the challenges in properly creating and managing an AdWords campaign are such that many marketers abandon the whole project before they can achieve any return on investment.

These challenges include, but are not restricted to, high bid rates that exceed your budget and non-converting clicks that further erode your spend. But there are two critical factors that go a long way toward ensuring greater AdWords marketing success, enabling you to implement precisely targeted advertising and turn your PPC campaign in... > Read more

November 01, 2010     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

PPC Blog PPC Training & Community Review

We've reviewed PPC Blog here before but since that post they've added a members-only training and community portion of their site that I've had a chance to spend some time with, so we thought it was worth reviewing the training and community aspects of the site. Why Bother with a Training/Community Site? One of the common objections you'll hear to paying for content (whether it's a how-to eBook or the Wall Street Journal) is that you can get seemingly similar content for free.

I touched on this in my review of SEO Book's training and community site, but I think that as content and data become more and more omnipresent and commoditized, a lot of the opportunity to create great products that make people better at what they do lies in how you slice, dice, and represent portions of that c... > Read more

September 22, 2010     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

PPC Ad Testing to Maximize Conversions

The goal of PPC ad testing is to increase your click-through rate (CTR) and/or your conversion rate (CVR). Focusing on CTR should result in more traffic to your site, but it could be at the expense of your CVR. On the other hand, focusing on conversion rate should improve the quality of your traffic, but could hurt your CTR and reduce the number of potential customers visiting your site.

As advertisers we are asked to maximize both CTR and CVR, which often requires totally different approaches. If you want to maximize the total number of conversions on your site, you will need to look at a different metric which considers both the CTR and the CVR. This metric is called Impression-to-Conversion or I2C (Conversions/Impressions). I recently created a free Excel download for determining statis... > Read more

September 15, 2010     |   Written by: Chad Summerhill   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Negative Keyword Tips, Tricks & Best Practices

We recently ran a webinar on negative keywords, sharing tips, tricks and best practices for using negative keywords to identify and eliminate areas of wasted spend in AdWords pay-per-click campaigns. The webinar included: Tips for identifying wasted spend before it happens Methods for identifying underperforming queries that are costing you money in your AdWords campaign Step-by-step instructions for setting negative keywords within your AdWords campaign via the AdWords interface If you missed it, you can view a video of the webinar or the slides below.

And we hope to see you at the next webinar!   Negative Keywords: Tips, Tricks and Best Practices Need more help with negative keywords? Download our free white paper: Negative Keywords: How to Put an End to Wa... > Read more

September 02, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

How to Compare Your PPC Results Month over Month

This is a guest post by Amy Hoffman, a search marketing consultant at Hanapin Marketing. She also blogs for PPC Hero and SEO Boy. Have you ever looked through an old scrapbook to find yourself smiling at memories you’d nearly forgotten? For me, it may be dressing up as Aqua to perform a sixth grade rendition of “Barbie Girl,” holding my at-the-time new baby brother, or some other embarrassing, proud or hilarious moment.

Some of these moments will live on only in the scrapbook. (I can double-check but I’m pretty positive my mom won’t have any more kids.) On the contrary, these memories can spark future plans such as a reunion with my fellow Aqua impersonators. By now, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Believe it or not, the lifespan of a PPC account follows... > Read more

August 11, 2010     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 2

Selling Trending Items via PPC: A Success Story and Some Advice

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a small retailer in Alabama that profited from noticing and acting on a paid search opportunity. 365 Inc. first seized a market opportunity—late last year, knowing that the World Cup was approaching, the company ordered several thousand vuvuzelas (stadium horns).

They had a hunch vuvuzelas would become popular among U.S. soccer fans, which ultimately proved true.   As the World Cup drew near, 365 Inc. bid on vuvuzela-related terms like “soccer horn” and “stadium horn” from Google and Yahoo for between 15 and 30 cents per click. Its ads began appearing in search results, and as of July 1 the company had sold $240,000 worth of vuvuzelas (30,000 vuvuzelas at $8 apiece).   The company wouldn’t reveal to ... > Read more

July 27, 2010     |   Written by: Christine Laubenstein   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Building a PPC Campaign: Workflow & Mistakes to Avoid

I haven't done PPC in a long time, so when I had to set something up for my dad's dental continuing education conference and travel business, it took a while to shake off the rust. I'm still figuring things out, but so far I've got some things flowing smoothly, and some mistakes worth learning from, too.

So let's see what we can learn from this campaign.(This was in the context of trying PPC again for my dad's dental CE cruises. I already knew the campaign strategy and so was able to create the landing page quickly, making the wireframe myself, having the graphics fleshed out by Angeles, and the HTML sliced by PSD to HTML CSS.)If you don't have your strategy set already, you need to think things through first. (For instance, is it going to be an e-commerce or lead gen play? Who's the audie... > Read more

July 22, 2010     |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 6

Announcing The Ultimate Guide to Quality Score

Since launching WordStream in late 2008, the most common question we get asked from clients is "how do I improve my Quality Score?" This really doesn't come as a surprise given that maintaining a healthy AdWords Quality Score is critical to driving down click spend and driving up ROI. To help PPC marketers better navigate the murky waters of Quality Score, we've put together The Ultimate Guide to Quality Score.

The guide features in-depth, comprehensive insights into the nuts and bolts of Google AdWords Quality Score from some of the top minds in pay-per-click advertising, including Brad Geddes, Andrew Goodman, George Michie, Dave Davis, Marty Weintraub, Larry Kim and many, many more. So for anyone who's ever wondered what you can do to improve your Quality Score in Google AdWords... ... > Read more

June 15, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 0

Improving Quality Score Part 4: The Importance of Quality Score

Quality Score affects virtually all the important metrics of a PPC campaign, including: Impressions Ad position Cost-per-click (CPC) Here’s how: How Quality Score Affects Impressions Each time a user conducts a search, Google AdWords conducts an internal ad auction to determine which advertisers have ads it deems eligible (relevant enough) to appear alongside the user’s search results.

Google has publicly stated on numerous occasions their underlying belief that it’s better to display no ads at all than to display irrelevant ads (and in doing so, potentially lose an opportunity for incremental revenue). Quality Score partly determines if a keyword is relevant enough, and hence eligible to enter an ad auction. The more times an advertiser’s ads are deem... > Read more

June 10, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Paid Search Marketing   |   Comments: 1
 
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