Posts Tagged ‘ppc’
Google is testing a new look for AdWords ad that features the inclusion of domain names next to the ad headline, separated by a vertical line. Here’s what it looks like:
AdWords has seen quite a few tweaks and tests this year. Back in January, Google began lowercasing display URLs and testing related PPC ads, then followed up in February by increasing the length of AdWords headlines, reverting ad backgrounds to yellow, and then in March we reported on spaces on display URLs.
Tweaks Traffic Estimate Algorithm
Google just announced that it had made an adjustment to the algorithm it uses to provide traffic estimates in AdWords. The change, the company says, should improve stats for estimated clicks, cost, and ad position.
While Google doesn’t share much in the way of how the algorithm has been adjusted, Dan Friedman writes on Google’s Inside AdWords blog, “One of the most common uses of traffic estimates is to evaluate potential keywords and decide whether you should add them to your account. Traffic estimates are also useful in determining if your bids and budgets are appropriate for these new keywords.”
“In order to determine if you’re setting an appropriate target bid, try entering a few different values in the Max CPC field the next time you use the Traffic Estimator,” he adds. “Look at how these different bids affect your statistics, and then decide which bid gives you the best return on investment. You can use the same process for trying out new budgets.”
The change to the algorithm is currently live, and affects AdWords accounts all over the world.
As we all know, the Google AdWords platform is an ever-changing machine that keeps all of us advertisers on our toes.
One area where there has been significant change in the last few years is with Google’s myriad of bidding options. There’s Max CPC, Enhanced CPC, and Conversion Optimizer.
Each bidding option carries a distinct set of pros and cons, but what is more important is that they all have unique effects on your account performance. When this is most obvious is when you switch from one bidding option to another. Here’s an overview of what you can expect when updating your AdWords bidding options.
Max CPC to Automatic Bidding for Budget
All AdWords campaigns are set to Max CPC bidding by default. From there you can begin to add on increasingly more complex features.
The first such option is one designed to get you as many clicks as possible within your budget. This is loosely referred to as “automatic bidding for budget.”
Other things you need to know:
- This bidding option is strictly designed to increase click traffic. It doesn’t take conversions into consideration.
- You set a CPC bid limit at the campaign level. This bypasses your ad group or keyword level max CPC in order to generate more clicks.
- Because this feature is dependent on your budget, make sure you double check your campaign budget before you switch to this bidding option. If your budget is set too high, you run a high chance of spending too much money.
Max CPC to Enhanced CPC
Enhanced CPC is the newest kid on the block, but is definitely an interesting feature. Enhanced CPC uses your conversion data to modify your bids to increase the likelihood of conversion.
Google has launched Instant Previews on AdWords ads.
You may recall when Google launched Instant Previews for search results. These let the user click the little magnifying glass to get a visual preview of what the site will look like before they click on the result itself. The whole thing really made it clear that having an attractive design could only benefit you in the Google user interface.
Now the same thing applies to your ads’ landing pages.
“Now, we’re bringing the same benefit to ads with Instant Previews for Ads,” writes Google’s Dan Friedman on the Inside AdWords blog. “Starting today [on the 25th, actually], the Instant Previews icon will appear next to ads on Google.com allowing users to preview the ad’s landing page. With Instant Previews, your customers are able to quickly preview a page to see if its content matches what they’re searching for.”
“By allowing potential customers to preview your site before they arrive, Instant Previews helps you get even more highly-qualified traffic to your site,” he adds. “Even better, Instant Preview clicks are free of charge — you’re only charged if a user clicks through to your actual landing page.”
Landing pages are obviously very important to the conversion process, so if you didn’t have an effective landing page to begin with, you weren’t going to have much luck in your search marketing. The Instant Previews should only serve to emphasize that very fact.
The latest news to keep you ahead of the competition in managing your paid search advertising…
Is it Time to Rethink Bidding on Trademarks?
You can now bid on competitor’s trademarks on Yahoo and Bing; meaning you can get an instant boost in traffic and conversions. But, this doesn’t mean you should. One PPC marketer recently lost in court to the tune of $292K plus legal fees for doing this. Protect yourself from lawsuits.
adCenter Quality Score Coming Soon
Similarly to Google AdWords, each keyword will have a quality score on a 1-10 scale with sub-scores for keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and landing page user experience to aid in optimizing performance.
Top Slots on AdWords: Even Longer Headlines
Remember how Google now moves the Description Line 1 of your ad to the headline if it appears in the top 3 results and ends in punctuation? Now, all description lines that Google is confident are complete phrases will be moved to the headline when appearing in the top 3 spots. Improve your CTR and ROI.
Google announced the launch of a new ad format for AdWords today – the Media Ad format. These ads allow advertisers to place emphasis on video from the search results page. The new format works a little differently than the traditional AdWords concept, however.
“To start, Media Ads isn’t targeted like typical AdWords ads on Google.com,” explains Google’s Dan Friedman. “With Media Ads, you don’t pick any keywords — the targeting is completely automated. When someone enters a search on Google.com that our algorithms determine is directly related to your movie title (most commonly the title and variations on it), we automatically display your Media Ad at the top of the search results page. Our research shows that when someone searches for a movie title on Google.com, they’re most commonly looking for a trailer. With Media Ads, we’re able to help you ensure that those users find exactly what they’re looking for.”
That’s funny. I’m usually looking for a showtime or an IMDB listing (yes, I could go directly to IMDB, but you gotta love that Chrome omnibox, particularly with Google Instant enabled).
“The second thing that’s unique about Media Ads is the way you pay,” says Friedman. “Unlike typical AdWords ads on Google.com, you don’t enter any bids for Media Ads.
Instead, clicks on Media Ads are charged at a flat rate. This simplified pricing model makes it easier to budget for your Media Ads campaign and to know exactly how much an interaction is going to cost.”
It’s common to hear veteran search marketers at conferences and in social media talking a lot about PPC conversion rate — so much so that those new to PPC may think that conversion rate is the end all.
Conversion rate is important, to be sure. I’d even say it’s very, very important. But before a PPC ad can generate a conversion, it needs to generate a click. PPC ads are no good if no one clicks on them.
If you’re new to PPC, or if you want to improve your click-through rate (CTR), here’s a 12-step program to help you.
Step 1: Bid on Relevant Keywords
PPC beginners are often tempted to bid on high-volume keyphrases that are only marginally related to their business. Take, for example, a hotel/casino that wants to bid on “Texas hold-em.” While people indeed play this game at a casino, it isn’t relevant if the goal is to sell hotel room nights.
Don’t fall into this trap. Searchers have gotten sophisticated. If your ad isn’t relevant to the search phrase, they just won’t click on it and your CTR will suffer.
Step 2: Bid on Specific, Not General, Keywords
This is related to Step 1, yet is slightly different. Taking the hotel/casino example, you might be tempted to bid on “hotels.” While this term has significant search volume, it’s too general and is unlikely to drive many, if any, clicks.
Step 3: Use 2, 3, or 4 Word Keyphrases
Years ago, one-word searches like “hotels” were common. Nowadays, searchers have become more specific in what they search for, and it’s common to see search queries with four or more words.
Jason Tabeling wrote an informative article with research showing that CTR was highest on keywords containing two, three, or four words. Our experience has been similar: one word is not specific enough, but more than five shows diminishing returns.
Step 4: Create Small, Tightly-Themed Ad Groups
Tightly-themed ad groups make it easy to write relevant ad copy that will generate clicks. A common rule of thumb is 10-15 keyword phrases per ad group.
This ensures that your ads will be relevant to the search phrase, and increases the chance of a click. This in turn will help drive a good quality score.
Step 5: Include the Keyphrase in Ad Copy Whenever Possible
If you’ve set up your ad groups as described in Step 4, this should be relatively easy to do. Search engines bold the search phrase in both organic and paid results, so including the keyphrase or keyphrases in the ad copy ensures they will be bolded, which helps your ad stand out. Ads that stand out get better CTR.
Step 6: Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion
Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) is a feature that automatically inserts your bidded keyphrase into your ad text. It’s a great way to make sure Step 5 above happens.
That said, use DKI with caution: make sure you’re not inserting misspellings or other awkward phrases into your ad copy!
Step 7: Include a Price in Your Ad Copy
An old adage in classified advertising says that if you don’t include a price in your ad, people will assume you’re selling something expensive.
Calm those fears by including the price in your ad upfront. Even better, include the price in the ad headline — it’ll attract attention and clicks.
Step 8: Include Action Words in Your Ad Copy
Including action words (e.g., exclusive, limited time, online only, 1-day sale, etc.) adds a sense of urgency to your offering. Adding urgency encourages click-throughs.
Step 9: Include Symbols in Your Ad Copy
If applicable, include symbols such as ©, ™, ®, and even the plus sign (+) or ellipses (…) can make a significant difference in CTR. Symbols make your ad stand out on the page.
Step 10: Use Ad Extensions
Google offers several different types of ad extensions: Location, Phone, Products, and Sitelinks. Take advantage of them. While these don’t display on every search, you’ll take up valuable screen real estate when they do show up.
The rise of Facebook ads is having a profound impact on the performance marketing ecosystem. Facebook is now the most visited website in the U.S., with more visits than Google, according to Experian Hitwise. The social network is also projected to take in more than $2 billion in advertising revenue in 2011, according to eMarketer.
As Facebook becomes a bigger platform for advertisers, more players are emerging to help marketers make sense of how to use this new form of advertising most effectively.
Advertising on Facebook looks and feels a lot like search and performance-based display. It’s biddable on a CPC or CPM basis, and can be targeted to specific audiences. Marketers can choose how much to bid for specific audience segments and based on their ROI goals.
Click-through rates (CTRs) on Facebook have been widely discussed, with some reporting better results than seen with some types of display, but not nearly as strong at CTRs witnessed on search.
This leads to a few basic questions for search marketers: Is Facebook more like search or display advertising? Who should advertise on Facebook? How do I judge Facebook performance relative to other media channels?
1. Who Should Advertise on Facebook?
This is an easy question to answer on the face of it: Everyone should advertise on Facebook. Just like paid search, you only show your ads to your target audience and only pay when they click on your ad.
Why wouldn’t a company choose to advertise on Facebook? There are legitimate reasons and most revolve around effort versus reward tradeoffs.
Based on your demographic or geographic targeting, the number of customers generated on Facebook might not be worth the effort. Lots of work goes into successful Facebook campaigns, so scale is important to making the effort worthwhile.
You should be doing SEO. You probably should be doing PPC. They work well together.
Those are basic facts of online marketing. Anyone who has been to a search conference and attended a PPC vs. SEO session knows that.
I was on one such panel at the Online Marketing Summit last week, but I didn’t talk about why you would use PPC instead of SEO or even how PPC helps SEO.
Instead, I focused on one important development that’s redefining the search engine results pages (SERPs): the shift in the balance between paid and unpaid listings.
Putting it another way: Paid search as your organic competitor.
Paid Search as Your Organic Competitor
To illustrate this concept, let’s use the example of Norton Antivirus — makers of PC protection software. Consider three different queries:
- Brand Search Query: [norton antivirus]
- Head Search Query: [anti virus software]
- Long Tail Search Query: [adware removal program]