AdWords Display URLs Now All Lower Case

Have you noticed that AdWords changed they way they show ad display URLs? They are now all lowercase, regardless of how you set-it up in your account.  Before the change, you were able to inter-capitalize an ad’s display URL ExampleURL.com. After the change, it will show as exampleurl.com in your ad. Apparently, the AdWords team did internal testing and found that lowercase Display URLs help increase CTR.  The data was conclusive enough to overturn the previous best practice of inter-capitalization.

Optimize Your AdWords Ads Automatically For Conversions

AdWords finally released a feature I’ve been waiting for for years, a setting which optimizes your ads for conversions. You can find it by clicking on your campaign’s settings, under the ad delivery section.

Previously the options were to have the system optimize ads for CTR or to rotate them evenly. Because ads with the highest CTR do not necessarily convert best, I used to recommend most advertisers to set their ads to rotate, then manually pause those ads that are generating a lot of clicks but aren’t converting. That process was  manual and time-consuming and AdWords has come up with a smarter way to optimize your ads based on what’s truly working for you.

To take advantage of this setting, you’ll need to have conversion tracking enabled in your account and you will want to create multiple ads per ad group so the system can run them against one another. The ad that is more likely to convert will start to be preferred by the system and will show more often. Have fun experimenting!

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.

Microsoft’s adCenter Expands Negative Keyword Limits

adCenter recently increased their negative keyword limits to ‘thousands.’ This is great news for those who have been optimizing their campaigns in preparation for the Yahoo search marketing and adCenter merger. Previously, advertisers were able to only add less than a 150 negative keywords. To start taking advantage of the new system capability, go to your campaign or ad group settings and add new exclusions.

Unfortunately, unlike with AdWords, in adCenter negative keywords still cannot be assigned a match type. If you’re curious about when you might want to assign different match types to your negatives, and want to read more about negative keywords, see my post on negative keyword best practices.

Google’s keyword tool out of beta

Google’s updated keyword tool is now officially out of beta, and advertisers no longer have the option to go back to the previous version of the tool. This is unfortunate, as the previous version provided more results and keyword variations. However, a couple of advantages on the updated tool include updated statistics and the ability to use the tool without signing in.

In you’re looking for additional or alternative keyword tools, I recommend you check out keywordspy and wordtracker. Both require subscriptions but do offer free trials.

Should you let AdWords do the bidding for you with Enhanced CPC?

AdWords recently released a new bidding option under campaign settings called Enhanced CPC that uses your conversion data to optimize bids for ROI.  Advertisers will reportedly benefit from spending less time on managing bids while receiving more conversions at an equal or lower ROI.

The way Enhanced CPC* works is that your keyword bids are automatically adjusted up or down depending on how an individual keyword converts for you. As a result you may pay up to 30% of your set bid. It’s a feature you can enable at the campaign settings page, and it applies to all the ad groups within the chosen campaign. If you’re uncomfortable paying more than your set Max CPC, you should probably not use Enhanced CPC.

Unlike with Conversion Optimizer, the other AdWords advanced ROI bidding option, you do not need 15 conversions in the past 30 days to use this. However, Conversion Optimizers allows you to set specific CPA goals, which Enhanced CPC does not offer. If you are looking to lower CPA significantly, then you might be better off using Conversion Optimizer, which has greater potential to help you improve CPA.

*Do note that if you enable Enhanced CPC you will not be able to make changes to your campaigns through AdWords Editor.

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