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GOOGLE ADWORDS EXPERT & CONSULTANT

Category Archives: PPC

Advertising on Google: The High Performance Cookbook

I am excited to announce that after a long year of work, my book Advertising on Google: The High Performance Cookbook was published today. The book is a step-by-step guide with practical tips and lots of examples and screenshots to help you run effective Adwords campaigns.

5849EN_0You’ll learn how to:

  • Set up your Adwords account and track results beyond the click
  • Create relevant keywords and write compelling ads
  • Run reports, analyze, manage AdWords, and troubleshoot performance
  • Implement display strategies, including remarketing
  • Optimize performance for maximum ROI

I’d like to thank my publisher, Packt Publishing, for proposing this project to me and for moving it forward. If you have any feedback or comments, please feel free to email me.

Upgrade Your AdWords Sitelinks with Additional Details

AdWords recently updated their sitelink policy to allow for optional sitelink descriptions that are unique to each individual sitelink. The additional text can help you win more ad real estate and allow you to further pre-qualify your visitors.

In order to use enhanced sitelinks, you’ll need to upgrade your campaigns to enhanced (if you have not already).

In your campaign management tab, go into a campaign you wish to edit. You can also go into a specific ad group if you wish to create sitelinks unique to an ad group.

Click on Ad extensions and choose Sitelink Extensions from the drop down.

sitelinks 1

Click to Edit the Sitelink extension and choose to create a +New sitelink. Write in your Link text (25 characters max) and choose a Link URL. Under Description, add in additional copy to further describe the specific sitelink page you are linking to.

sitelinks 2

You can even set specific starts and end dates, or days and hours, if you wish to only show a sitelink during specific times.

Please note that your ads will not always show sitelinks, and when they do, the format can vary. Also, sitelinks only show in the top ranked ads that are promoted to ad positions above the organic search results.

Continue to monitor your account, including performance for each sitelink you have set-up. In your ad extensions tab, click on Segment and choose This Extension vs. Other to see how each sitelink contributes to your clicks and conversions. If you’re noticing that a sitelink is under-performing, consider changing the link language and description details, or try a different sitelink.

sitelinks 3

What You Need to Know About AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

AdWords announced today a major change called enhanced campaigns. This change will affect all advertisers and will impact ad serving. Below, I discuss the major changes, challenges, questions, and resources.

Key Changes

  1. Manage bids across devices, locations and time within a single campaign. Many advertisers split up campaigns by devices, so they can optimize bids and budgets and use different settings for desktops, mobile, and tablets. Moving forward, advertisers will be forced to use the same campaign for mobile, tablets, and desktops. You’ll be able to adjust bids for each device, but not budgets. This could be problematic for advertisers who have much smaller budgets for mobile, for example. One great new feature is the ability to adjust bids (by using bid multipliers) for regions/cities that are more profitable.
  2. Ads customized to user context. Showing the right creative, sitelink, app or extension based on user context and device capabilities. You’ll be able to set “preferences” within each campaign to show ads, apps, extensions or sitelinks depending on device. Ad copy management and optimization might get even more complicated.
  3. Advanced reporting. We’ll be able to track new conversion types such as calls, digital downloads, and cross device conversions.

Questions, Challenges & New Features

I was able to run some of my question by our Google rep and I am summarizing the highlights below.

  • Budgets. My first question was if we’ll be able to set different budgets by device and the answer is no. We will not be able to set different budgets for desktops, mobile, and tablets. In enhanced campaigns, budgets will continue to be managed at the campaign level via an individual campaign budget or a shared campaign budget. Similar to hybrid campaigns today, this budget may run across all devices, and advertisers will not be able to set device-specific budgets within an account or a campaign.
  • Bidding: For desktop/tablet bidding, you’ll set a dollar amount. Mobile will function as a % of desktop. It will not be possible to set individual keyword-level bids on mobile. This is definitely a concern, especially for advertisers tracking conversions closely and with strict CPA goals.
  • Opting out of mobile/tablets. The good news is that you can bid down mobile keywords 100% to opt out completely. The bad news is that tablets will always have the same bid as desktop, so you cannot opt out or adjust bids specifically for tablets.
  • Pausing ad groups/keywords by device. You can pause mobile at the campaign level only, by bidding down 100%. However, you won’t be able to do this the other way around because all bids will be pinned to the desktop/tablet bid. For example, you could set your desktop bids to $0.05 and then bid up on mobile by up to 300%, making an effective mobile bid of $0.15.
  • Reporting. One of the advantages of having separate campaigns for different devices is aggregate reporting. For example we can easily filter out all mobile campaigns and compare their performance against tablets or desktops. Having all devices lumped into one campaigns will make this much more difficult. AdWords is not planning any major reporting changes at this time. You will still be able to see reporting for mobile/tablet/desktop, using “Device” as a segment, but device numbers will need to then be multiplied across all campaigns to get your totals.
  • Mobile ads/URLs. Some of my clients use different URLs for mobile ads. Advertisers will still be able to create mobile preferred ads but there is no such thing as mobile only ads, which we could previously accomplish with separate mobile campaigns. However, mobile preferred ads will almost never show on other devices, unless your ads for other devices are missing or disapproved. On the side, universal ads will almost never show on mobile, unless you are missing mobile ads or they are disapproved. So, generally speaking, mobile URLs or mobile only ads should not be an issue if you set your ad preferences.
  • Automated rules. Automated rules will be compatible with enhanced campaigns. However, it does’t sounds like you’ll be able to set rules for tablet-only campaigns, since all tablet bids are shared by desktop. Again, this is not ideal, as it would be nice to automate bidding for tablets specifically based o tablet specific conversion data. AdWords does not yet support adjusting mobile bid modifiers via automated rules. It may be in the pipeline later this year.
  • Call forwarding: Google will no longer charge $1 for the call forwarding feature. Also, you’ll have the option to show your own phone number in ads on desktops and tablets, previously only available through call forwarding a number Google assigned you.

Resources

Timeline

This change will start rolling out slowly to all advertisers over the next few weeks but we will not be required to fully switch over to enhanced campaigns just yet. All advertisers will need to eventually migrate to enhanced campaigns by mid-2013. I recommend you start slow by migrating your lower volume campaigns while you learn the new features and capabilities.

Should You Use Shared Budgets in AdWords?

The new shared budgets feature in AdWords is great for those looking to streamline management and not stress out about going over their set ad spend amounts. You have the option to assign specific campaigns to your budget and AdWords will distribute spend across those campaigns. Another advantage of this feature is that if there is more traffic available via certain campaigns, AdWords will maximize ad visibility across campaigns you assign to shared budgets to increase your clicks.

You can find the tool via your AdWords campaign management page under the Shared Library section. Simply name your budget, assign campaigns you want included and set your daily budget amount.

While this is a good option for advertisers who do not have the time to manage their campaigns and adjust budgets frequently, I would not recommend it to more savvy advertisers with multiple campaigns, who are watching conversions closely. Your campaigns are likely converting very differently, and I recommend adjusting budgets based on conversion data, rather than traffic, which is what shared budgets will accomplish for you.

One creative way you could use shared budgets is to assign your top performing campaigns (that you already know tend to convert better for you) a higher percentage of your total available marketing dollars. For example, if you have a total budget of $100 per day, you could create a shared budget of $70 for your top converting campaigns, and a separate budget of $30 for your low performers.

AdWords Releases Advanced Phrase and Exact Match

AdWords recently released improvements to their advanced matching options, slightly expanding phrase and exact match, so that users that are typing in misspellings and very close variations of your chosen keywords will still see your ads. This change will help boost traffic on phrase and exact keywords without bringing in irrelevant queries like broad match tends to generate.

A lot of advertisers have been vary of broad match, because of the sometimes irrelevant expansions by the system and have chosen to use phrase and exact match instead of broad match altogether.

If you’d like to opt out of this new feature, you can do so in your campaign settings page, where you will now see a new section Keywords matching options. There. you’ll be able to select your preferences to include or prevent close variants.

I still recommend checking your search query reports to ensure you are utilizing the match options effectively and excluding those irrelevant queries.

Click-To-Call in AdWords Can Make Your Phones Ring

If you are a business that values calls more than website visits, you should be taking advantage of click-to-call mobile features in AdWords. With click-to-call, when people are searching on their mobile devices, they have the option to call you instead of clicking through to your website, thus saving customers an extra step and helping you get more engaged prospects.

To get started, I recommend creating a separate campaign that’s opted into mobile devices only. Next, you will want to go to the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab in your campaign management section, and select with ‘Location Extensions’ or ‘Call Extensions.’ The screenshot below shows an example of ‘Call Extensions’

You do have the option to enable the ‘Call-Only’ format so that only the phone number is clickable when your ad is shown on mobile devices capable of making phone calls. Please note that call-only phone extensions don’t work in conjunction with enhanced CPC or CPA bidding, so you should use Maximum CPC bidding if you’d like to take advantage of  this feature. There  are also  issues with call-only creatives showing on BlackBerry devices, so you might want to target iPhone and Android specifically if you go with the call-only feature.

The calls cost the same as a click, but make sure you increase your bids so that your ads are showing in the top positions for maximum visibility on mobile devices. I also suggest you consider enabling ad scheduling so your mobile campaigns only run when you have someone available to take calls.

Save Time By Taking Advantage Of Automated Rules in AdWords

Do you keep checking on your keywords and adjusting bids to make sure they’re showing in top position? Do you run time sensitive seasonal promotions that your ads need to reflect? Do you keep checking conversions and ROI and lowering budget on campaigns that are under-performing? Then you’ll love ‘Automated Rules’ in AdWords. With automated rules you can make changes to campaigns, ad groups, bids, statuses, ads, and keywords based on your custom requirements. You’ll save yourself time and optimize your account based on your unique goals.

Setting up automated rules is easy. In your AdWords campaign management tab, click to ‘Automate’ as shown in the screenshot below and select what aspects of your campaigns you would like to create a rule for.

Next, you’ll want to specify your criteria, such as what the rule will apply to, action, requirements for the rule to take effect, and frequency or when the rule should start running. In the example below, I chose to lower budget by 40% on all campaigns where cost/conversion went above $32. You can select how often you want this rule to run and receive an email with details. Happy automating!

What are AdWords ‘Dimensions’ and why are they useful?

Some of you may have noticed that AdWords recently released a new tab within the campaign management section of the account called Dimensions. In this post I’ll discuss how to enable that feature and what some possible uses are for the data it displays.

Viewing Dimensions

Dimensions will not be visible by default, you have to select to view the tab within your account. To do so, go to your campaign settings, and click on the drop down menu to the right of the Networks tab, as shown in the screenshot above. After clicking on Dimensions, you will see an additional array of options to choose from, as shown in the image on left.

What should I care about dimensions?

Dimensions provide you an easy view to segment and view your AdWords data by the dimension of your choice for an ad group, campaign, or your entire account. One of my favorite options is to analyze how your account performs on different days of the week. If you’re concerned about ROI and have a tight budget, and the dimensions tab shows you that on Sundays your cost/conversion is higher than on other days of the week, you can choose to lower your budget on Sundays or pause your campaigns entirely.

Another view I found useful is to look at account performance over a period of several months. You will be able to see all of your statistics month-by-month and this can allow you to evaluate how the account has changed since you started implementing specific optimization strategies or special offers, for example.

I also found Destination URL data very useful, since you can quickly view how your different landing pages convert and which ones are most profitable. Really, Dimensions are another quick way to integrate and present reports and data you care about!

Advantages Of Paid Search Ads Over Organic/Natural Search

Business owners that are looking to grow their online presence often ask why they should invest in pay-per-click (PPC) ads when they could be getting free organic traffic. When considering how to market your business online, it’s important to keep in mind that paid and organic ads both have their advantages and disadvantages.

One of the main advantage of organic is that clicks are free. Also, more people click on organic than paid ads, and those clicking on organic results tend to be more educated. However, paid ads do have some important benefits over organic, and these factors should be considered before you neglect your PPC efforts.

Top 10 benefits of PPC ads:

  • Instant: A strong online presence in organic search can be difficult to achieve and may take months. With online PPC ads, you can create an ad and appear on your most important keywords within minutes.
  • Targeted Keywords: With PPC marketing you can control the precise keywords and messaging for your business with virtually unlimited scope of keywords to target.
  • Flexible Spend: There are no minimum spend requirements for PPC, and you can set your own budgets and the maximum amount you’re willing to pay per click.
  • Cost-Effective: Advertisers are awarded for being relevant, which in turn helps bring down costs and allows even smaller advertisers to compete with large businesses.
  • ROI: PPC is highly accountable and allows you to measure and optimize return on investment. You can easily analyze how your keywords and ads are performing and make adjustments, based on data.
  • Reach: With PPC ads, you can reach millions of people searching for your services. Additionally, you get access to a huge network of other partner sites beyond search.
  • Easy implementation: PPC advertising is a proven model and is simple to implement. PPC ads don’t require any major modifications on the website. Ads can be easily updated for changing promotions and business needs.
  • Location Control: PPC campaigns allow you to target users in select locations or regions.
  • Time Control: advertisers can choose the days and times their ads will show. Campaigns can be easily activated or paused when you need to adjust demand, or to match your bandwidth/resources.
  • Mobile Audience: With PPC ads, you can now reach the rapidly growing audience of mobile users browsing the web and pay for clicks or calls only.

For all of these reasons, businesses should consider paid search, in addition to organic optimization efforts. White both strategies have pros and cons, you’ll likely find that each suits a different business need and deserves a place in your marketing plan.