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Google AdWords Even Ad Rotation Update: Take 3

Have you heard the good news?  If not, here it is – Google has, once again, updated its ad rotation options.  If you’ve checked out our previous posts on the issue, you know that on the fateful day of April 30, Google announced they would be making some drastic updates to the even ad rotation settings.  This update resulted in the end of the even ad rotation setting, which would only be available for a max of 30 days when an ad was edited or created.  Outside of that, ads would optimize for clicks, by default.

As you can imagine, this update received much backlash from advertisers, who joined together to sign a petition and express their unhappiness to Google.  Thankfully, Google listened – in June, an additional update was made to the even ad rotation setting, putting more power back in the advertisers’ hands.  This update gave advertisers the option to physically opt out of the update altogether through the use of a request form.  If advertisers did not do that, new or updated ads (on the even ad rotation setting) would rotate evenly for 90 days instead of the previous 30, allowing for more time to accrue statistically significant data.

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Google AdWords Seller Ratings Update

You are probably familiar with Google AdWords Seller Ratings, an ad extension that shows star ratings for advertisers who have provided their customers with a positive experience.  These ad extensions can show up in the top positions, or along the side of the SERP:

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Four PPC Advertising Myths

 

When it comes to Paid Search, advertisers often believe things that aren’t actually true.  Don’t worry, we’re here to make sure you are able to identify myth from fact.  Below are four myths that PPC advertisers often believe to be true.

1. I don’t sell anything so I don’t have a conversion point, or I only have one conversion point

All too often I run into advertisers who believe this is the case, but it’s not.  If you have a website, you have some sort of measurable action or activity on that site.  Bottom line, you should be measuring some sort of action taken by visitors so that you can get a true understanding of what visitors are doing once they land on your site.

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What to Test When Testing PPC Ad Copy

You may have seen our post in June regarding ad copy testing for beginners. Now that you know how to run an ad copy test, this post will outline a few additional (and some less common things) to test in your ad copy. There are, of course, the conventional points that advertisers will commonly test, which often prove to be extremely successful. Some common factors include (but are not limited to):

  • Calls to action – something I’m sure you’ve used if you’ve ever written ad copy before. These include ‘Save Now,’ ‘Shop Today,’ and the list goes on and on. While common, calls to action have shown to be really successful.
  • “Free” – obviously this is not something that can be used by every advertiser, as it actually requires potential visitors to be able to receive something for free. If your company does offer some sort of free product or service, whether it be big or small, it is highly recommended you use the word “free” in your ad copy. Examples include ‘Free Audit,’ ‘Free Samples,’ etc.
  • Exclamation Points – I am a huge proponent of exclamation points. Despite the fact that it’s a simple one character change to an ad, I’ve seen much success come out of using exclamation points in one of the description lines.  It creates urgency for the visitor without going over the top.

The above examples are more common factors to test in ad copy testing, but don’t forget to think outside the box. Below are a few examples of ad copy factors that you may not have thought to try out just yet.

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Google AdWords Even Ad Rotation Update

The majority of PPC advertisers have heard all about Google’s update to the AdWords ad rotation settings that was announced on April 30th and the tidal wave of opinions and backlash that followed.  The social space was abuzz with posts and status updates from advertisers voicing their disapproval for the update, and many advertisers signed a petition trying to stop Google from implementing this change (a great interview with the petition creator can be found here).  I wrote a post last month outlining the changes this update entailed, and a few possible ways to bypass the setting for more accurate and efficient ad copy testing.  Consider this post a follow-up (and a great one, at that).

Google Ad Rotation Update: Take 2

We did it!  Last week, PPC advertisers’ prayers (and tweets, and e-mails) were answered.  Google announced two changes to the original ad rotation update: the 30-day even rotation will now be a 90-day even ad rotation, and best of all, advertisers now have the ability to opt-out of this update altogether.  Interested in opting out?  This setting can’t be found within the AdWords user interface, but instead must be submitted via this form.

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Four Essential Rules to PPC Remarketing

This post was originally published on the Trada blog, and has been updated to reflect recent changes to Google AdWords.

TargetIf you work in Paid Search, you know that the term “Remarketing” (often referred to as “Retargeting”) is all the rage right now.  What often happens when buzz-words take wind, however, is misuse by marketers.  Advertisers are often so anxious to take advantage of these new tools or offerings that they don’t truly polish off the effort, and therefore get results that are less than desired.  This has become commonplace with remarketing – advertisers see, advertisers implement, and advertisers love; but they forget that they should set limitations to their remarketing efforts.  Don’t abuse Remarketing!  Here are 4 Rules (and a few how-to’s) to follow when implementing remarketing in your AdWords campaigns.

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The End of the Google AdWords Even Rotation Ad Setting

This week, Google made the announcement that it would be making “changes” to the campaign level ad rotation settings, an announcement that was far from well-received.  We’re all familiar with the three campaign ad rotation options: Optimize for Clicks, Optimize for Conversions, and Rotate Evenly.  The “Rotate Evenly” option, my personal favorite, ensured ads within that campaign/each ad group rotated evenly rather than showing one ad the majority of the time.  In addition to added control over account management, a huge benefit of the “Rotate Evenly” setting is streamlined ad copy testing, which many advertisers do on an ongoing basis in order to determine the most effective control ads, promotional ads, etc.

What’s the Change?

Google made the announcement that in the coming weeks, the Rotate Evenly setting will only rotate ads evenly for 30 days after a new ad is implemented or after an existing ad is edited; despite this being a campaign-level setting, the even rotation will be tracked at the ad group level, meaning each ad group can be at different stages in the 30 day rotation.  One thing that’s extremely important to note is that the campaign’s ad rotation setting will continue to say “Rotate Evenly,” even if the 30 day rotation period has ended.

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Google AdWords Automated Rules: Three Valuable Uses

Cutting down on the time required to manage PPC accounts is a great thing, especially when you manage multiple accounts. One awesome tool that many advertisers overlook is the quick and easy Automated Rules tool in Google AdWords.

 

Automated Rules are available to all AdWords advertisers, and are extremely useful at automatically making changes to your account that you would otherwise spend time making on a regular basis. Here are three great ways that I put Automated Rules to work, so that I can spend time on some other optimizations:

 

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3 Reasons You Should be Using Broad Match Keywords

It’s a common misconception that using broad match keywords in PPC campaigns will always result in out of control spend and loads of unqualified traffic; when used correctly, however, broad match keywords can be some of the most successful keywords in an account.  Deciding if broad match keywords are right for your account?  Here are three reasons why you should think about using them:

1.)    Increase in traffic

This reason is obvious – having broad match keywords in your account is going to increase the number of visits your campaigns will receive.  People often get too stuck in the mindset that broad match keywords are bad, and therefore limit the potential of their AdWords accounts by not adding any broad match keywords to them.  If you’re spending time (and money) ramping up bids on exact and phrase match keywords trying to increase their positions to increase the traffic they receive, it may end up being more cost effective to implement some broad match keywords.  Broad match keywords are also an extremely effective way to build brand awareness, reaching a wider audience to get your name out in front of more people.  If awareness is one of your PPC goals, then broad match keywords are right up your alley.  Remember, however, that broad match keywords should be implemented correctly and efficiently, or else they could run wild.

2.)    Keyword Discovery

Broad match keywords can be a great way to find new keywords to add to your campaigns, due to the fact that they have the ability to capture traffic in response to a wider variety of search queries than exact and phrase match keywords.  Make sure to keep up with search query reports in AdWords to see which searches triggered your ads, as these searches can spark great ideas for long-tail keywords or different keyword phrase variations.  One of my favorite benefits of the search query report is its ability to expose typos and/or misspellings that triggered some of my broad match keywords.  Misspellings are something that should be implemented in every PPC account, and a great way to discover all the different types of variations is through search query reports.  While phrase match keywords can also be an effective way to discover some long-tailed keywords, they won’t do you any good in discovering typos or misspellings of your keywords.

3.)    There ARE Limitations Possible

Many advertisers often forget this reason when considering broad match keywords in their account – they forget that there ARE limitations to broad match.  While the word “limitation” often carries a negative connotation with it, it can actually be a very positive thing when it comes to the broad match keyword.  One way to have more control over your broad match keywords and limit their reach is to implement negative keywords, something that EVERY AdWords account should have.  Here is where Google’s search query report is going to come in handy again – just as I referenced using the report to find additional keyword variations, you’ll also want to use it to find negative keywords that you don’t want your ads to show up in response to.

Another way to limit the reach of your broad match keywords is to use the broad match modifier.  This is a great way to have enough control over your broad match keywords but still allow them to have that extended reach they’re useful for.  If you’re not familiar with the broad match modifier, it’s something you’ll want to familiarize yourself with.  While a standard broad match keyword can show up for a search that Google deems relevant to the keyword, the broad match modifier allows you to set which word(s) in the keyword phrase are required to be part of the search query in order for the keyword to be triggered.  The modifier is easy to use – simply add a “+” sign in front of the word or words of the keyword that you’ll require to be part of the user’s search query.  For example, if you have the broad match modified keyword “+girls +dressy +shoes,” this keyword could be triggered from the search “dressy shoes for girls” or “girls dressy shoes,” but not for the search “girls shoes,” since you set a modifier before the word “dressy.”

Remember that the type of keywords you should use within your campaigns is really up to your overall goals and what works well for your account.  Broad match keywords may or may not work well for your particular account, but when used correctly they can often be a great way to generate conversions.  It’s important not to rule anything out right off the bat without taking all the possibilities into consideration.

How have you successfully used broad match keywords in your campaigns? Share your comments below.

How to Prepare your AdWords Account for Enhanced Sitelinks

On Tuesday, Google made the announcement that they would be making yet another update to their AdWords sitelinks format, and it looks like a great one to me – Happy Valentine’s Day to advertisers! The new format is called Enhanced Sitelinks, and in a nutshell, it allows advertisers to not only show additional links to various pages throughout their website, but also allows the advertiser to show additional ads! Below is the example Google put up on the Inside AdWords blog:

Sample AdWords Ad
This format greatly increases the amount of real estate one advertiser can have on a page, further increasing the chances of stronger click-through rates. In fact, Google reports that when testing ads with enhanced sitelinks, clickthrough rates were much higher than those with traditional sitelinks.

How it Works

It’s pretty simple – when you have a traditional sitelink with text that closely relates to an ad within your account, Google will display the description lines of that relevant ad, with the sitelink text displaying as somewhat of an ad header above the description lines. Google has shown up to four of these displayed at one time, in addition to the actual ad itself that appears above the Enhanced Sitelinks.

How to Prepare Your Account

Interested in your sitelinks being displayed as these new Enhanced Sitelinks? There are few steps you should take to ensure you are eligible:

Get your ads to show in the top positions. Just like other sitelink formats, in order to be eligible, an ad must show above the Google search results (not along the side rail). Also remember that sitelinks are set at the campaign level. Therefore, as you would do to get any sitelink format to show up, ensure keywords in a given campaign have strong Max CPCs, click-through rates, and quality scores so that they can show in top positions (but only for those keywords are working well for you! Don’t simply crank up the CPCs on all of your keywords without first evaluating their performance!)

Compare your sitelinks to your ad copy. If you haven’t given your ads a thorough evaluation lately, now is the time to do it. Google says that as long as the sitelinks in a campaign relate to ads within your account, they will be eligible to show the Enhanced Sitelinks. Matching your sitelinks with ads in your account will be easier than having to match them with ads within that specific campaign (thanks, Google!), so carefully compare each of your sitelinks’ text with your account ads to determine if new ads should be created. Here is a Google example of a closely related traditional sitelink and ad that would be eligible to trigger an enhanced sitelink. It uses the sitelink text “Order Online Now” paired up with an ad which has “Order Online” in the headline and details of what you can order in the description lines.

Sample AdWords Ad 2
The Enhanced Sitelink would use the original sitelink text as the headline link, and show the description lines from the relevant ad below it.

Sample AdWords Ad 3
Use text in your sitelinks that appears in your ads’ headlines (or vice versa). This builds off of the point made above. When trying to decide if you have ads that are closely enough related to your sitelinks, keep the ad headline in mind! Use key terms in your headline that are included in your sitelink to help steer Google in the right direction, and to give yourself more control over when enhanced sitelinks will show up/what they will look like.

Who Should Use Enhanced Sitelinks

Everyone should be updating their ads and sitelinks to become eligible for Enhanced sitelinks. After all, we know from Google that even the use of traditional sitelinks provides an average 30% increase in ad clickthrough rates, and the hope is that the increase from Enhanced Sitelinks will be even better! These new Enhanced Sitelinks can be especially beneficial to advertisers experiencing low average positions throughout their account, such as nonprofits using Google Grants. Because advertisers using Google Grants often see low average positions (due to Max CPC constraints), these new sitelinks provide them with the opportunity to use keywords/campaigns that do have strong positions to trigger enhanced sitelinks – which is practically like displaying additional ads! By ensuring keywords with strong average position are in a campaign with sitelink text that relates to other ad copy throughout the account, this gives advertisers the opportunity to show certain messaging at the top of the page that might not have a chance to show in an ad on its own, or at least not in a good position.

It looks like enhanced sitelinks could be a win-win for Google and advertisers, in all types of industries. I’m excited to see these new sitelinks in action and continue measuring the sitelink results. Do you have any experience with Google’s new Enhanced Sitelinks? Please share! We’d love to hear your opinions!