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Author Archive

5 Display Campaign Checks You Can’t Forget

Yesterday, I was really taking a deep look at a client’s account – I was trying to find out why branded searches and conversions have decreased this year compared to last year. And while there were a number of conclusions that we drew from the data, what interested me most was the difference in display strategy (and placement) comparing the two time periods.


Display Campaign Comparison

I might be making some generalizations, but hey, this was a big difference. It looks like 2011-2012 saw a big display push in the months leading up to their “opening day” (early March), while 2012-2013 saw a drastic reduction in that strategy for the same period of time. This really got me thinking about display ads in general – strategies, banner creative and what you can do right now to assess display performance. I’ve summed up the top five things that I think are priorities when it comes to a wholesome display “check”, though there are certainly more that can be added to the list.

 1. Strategy – As I said above, investigating year over year comparisons revealed to me the big difference in Display strategy and the potential ramifications it could have had on Search campaigns (especially Branded). Your Display strategy (or strategies) should have a clear purpose. Are you campaigns helping raise brand awareness? Are they focused on a certain goal completion? For the most part, Display campaigns support the goals of a Search campaign. If they do, then align your messaging so that there is a clear connection between the ads, leading to a higher click through rate as people recognize the offer you are advertising. (more…)

My 5 Biggest Takeaways from Hero Conf 2013

This past week I was in Austin, TX for HeroConf 2013, the PPC Hero conference, and as I may have tweeted out during it (See Exhibit A below), it was a PPC haven for all of us PPC nerds out there.

PPC Hero Conference tweet

Exhibit A

There was definitely a lot of information to take in, absorb and sort through during and after the conference. Trust me when I say that there was a lot of great ideas presented by some awesome speakers. If you’re new in PPC, or have been in it for a few years, a conference is a great way to brush up on skills, learn about new ones, and network with a bunch of people that like the same things that you do. There were likely a lot of takeaways for each person who attended. For me, these are my 5 top takeaways. If you attended, feel free to add in the comments!


Automation, and the various tools (both hacked and bought) to achieve it, dominated a lot of the panels and some keynote speeches. At first, I thought it was a way to sell the products that vendors were pushing. And in some ways, yes, that’s exactly what happened. Duh. BUT, what was more important was the fact that automation takes on all forms and you can apply it in different ways to make your job as a PPC manager more efficient. We’ve all fallen victim to the blackhole that can be reporting – pretty sure there are parts of my soul still lingering in that dark, dark world. Automation using AdWords Scripts, Excel macros and the AdWords API are there to actually make your job easier to manage. They don’t make you look lazy – in fact they make you look pretty freakin’ awesome. And as for the actual tools that were being highlighted, my sense was that they are still there to make your job more manageable, and it’s about figuring out what works for you and your clients. There is no one-size-fits-all for automation tools. (more…)

Location Targeting in Google AdWords

adwords location reportGoogle AdWords gives advertisers a myriad of options to target and refine when, where and how their ads are shown on the Search network. And as Jonathan Weber talks about in his most recent blog post about the location report in Google Analytics, you can easily compare and contrast location data from different advertising channels. (more…)

Enhanced Campaign Ready AdWords Editor 10.0 & Locating Auto-Backup AEA Files

If you’ve been paying attention, you likely heard of a little something called “Enhanced Campaigns”. You have? Good. No? Catch up and read the Enhanced Campaign blog post at the Adwords blog, or get the optimistic low-down from our own, Stephen Kapusta, in his most recent post – “AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: 5 Great Features“.

With all the new changes that are available to us, it was only a matter of a few days before Google updated the AdWords Editor. With AdWords Editor 10.0, you now have the ability to:

1. Upgrade your legacy campaigns – individually or in bulk.

2. Set campaign level bid adjustments for mobile devices.

adwords editor 10.0 (more…)

PPC Competitor Strategy Talk: Your Brand vs. the World

When it comes to your branded search and your competitors, where do you draw the line on betting on competitor terms? When do you break out the metaphorical sword and start chopping down your enemies, a’la Scott Pilgrim? Glad you asked. Betting on competitor terms is a Paid Search strategy that can open a can of worms if you go about it the wrong way. But on the other hand, if you approach the strategy correctly, you can find success. For me, it all starts with securing your own brand. I often tell people at AdWords trainings that if you have a healthy amount of people in the same industry as you, you can bet that at least one is bidding on your terms and funneling those possible conversions to their site.

However, other people choose not to bid on competitor terms for various reasons. There are certainly other creative ways that you can increase your own brand presence, which might be cause for another blog post at some point but not today. Below are some tips for bidding on your competition that you should keep in mind that will keep you on the right side of the law and stand your ground with your own terms.

video game coinIt’s a no brainer. Have a brand strategy. Bid on your branded company terms and use ad extensions like sitelinks to lead people into your important conversion funnels. My most basic brand campaigns looking like this:

Campaign: Brand – Company
Ad Group: Company Name
Ad Group: Company Misspellings
Ad Group: Company Website

Often people look for certain brand-affiliated products. Make sure you have campaigns focused on this too! I would add brand campaigns with the key products or your own trademarked terms as well. (more…)

Google Consumer Surveys and How You Can Leverage them for PPC

Another week in Google Adwords means another little jingle in the announcement corner. Often, these go unnoticed or forgotten in the day-to-day bustle of account management, but don’t forget these helpful little nuggets of wisdom. This week, I got a notification that Google consumer surveys has a new and improved look and is offering a $75 credit to boot. So what exactly is a Google Consumer Survey?

These consumer surveys are a quick one-question “poll” that can be placed on select (or opted in) publisher sites. Generally there is a piece of locked content and a visitor needs to answer the question in order to access. At $.10 a response, it’s affordable to even the smallest advertiser who is doing some serious research in products, awareness or another marketing effort. Another bonus is that publishers will actually get a chunk of change for the people who answered the polls.

So how can a PPC-er leverage this survey tool? Glad you asked. (more…)

My 2013 New Year’s Resolutions for PPC

It’s that time of year again, you know, the one where you make a list of resolutions for the coming year and paste them on your fridge as a reminder of your commitment. This year, instead of just making them for your personal life, why not extend that to your passion for PPC? Post a list of resolutions on your office wall to keep them close by so that you can be reminded of the things you set out to do for 2013. Below is a list of my New Year’s PPC resolutions that I am committed to keeping not just for the sake of checking things off a list (how satisfying is that, really?!) but also to keep growing my own PPC knowledge and reflecting those advancements in my client’s accounts.

Commit to reading industry blogs fully and completely.

Reading industry blogs is an important part of staying up-to-date on new updates in Adwords and Bing as well as getting new ideas for testing and implementation. I tend to skim over posts in my haste to “clear” my Google Reader. This year, I am committing to fully reading and digesting them. I’d also like to comment and interact more.

Be more involved in the online PPC community.

There are a ton of wonderful, knowledgeable PPC professionals out there who are happy to lend a helping hand when there are questions or problems. Namely in #ppcchat on Twitter! I’ve been in and out of that “stream”, but this year I want to commit to contributing more than I have in the past. (more…)

Learning from Bad Text Ads

If you’ve been running PPC ads for any period of time, or even if you’ve been surfing the internet for longer than 5 minutes, you might have had the chance to come across some ads that were…not what you expected. Some weren’t that bad, others were just plain random, and still others made you wonder about people’s grasp of the English language. But the thing about finding bad ads is that they offer a perfect learning lesson in how to NOT write ads, how to tighten up targeting methods and making sure your ads make sense in general.

Bad ads can happen to all of us, just like embarrassing accidents that happen in your daily life. The point is that you learn a lesson from YOUR mistakes…and ads like these. Maybe you’ll laugh a bit, or shake your head, but I hope that it encourages you to go back through your own ads and check (and re-check) how they look and sound.

A few ads below are some I found simply surfing the internet and with some tip offs from other people. I wouldn’t say that these are The Worst Offenders ever, but it makes me sad when I see things like this in general. I plan on keeping tabs for future posts, so stay tuned.

Search word: beer making kit

Search result:

An example of a poorly targeted ad (more…)

Mobile and Tablet PPC Campaigns

Managing PPC campaigns just for desktop can be a handful in and of itself. But throw into the mix managing separate mobile and tablet campaigns, and it can get even trickier. Mobile and tablet targeted campaigns can have different traffic, CPC’s and conversion rates – and you want to know exactly how you can get the most out of each, right? Well I’m here to tell you it ain’t that hard and that you can start managing your fledgling mobile and tablet campaigns like a pro in no time.

Did you know…

  • 53% of searchers purchase as a result of a smartphone search in the U.S. (Google, The Mobile Movement, 2011 study)
  • 62% of smartphone Internet users have gone online everyday in the past week. (Google, Our Mobile Planet, 2012 study)
  • 90% of these smartphone users take some sort of action as a result (subscribe, become a fan on social page, etc.)
  • Only 31% of advertisers have a mobile-enhanced website

Judging from the facts above, I gather two important things: 1. Ummm people are using their smartphones, so let’s get with it advertisers! And, 2. Get a mobile page. Please. (more…)

4 Tips to Maximize Your Small PPC Budget

If you’re a small business owner and don’t have a fat wallet to pull Paid Search money from, then you might be nervous about starting an Adwords campaign. Today’s lesson: don’t be. With some good foresight and planning, Google Adwords could be a great revenue driver for your business.


1. Determine your maximum Cost-Per-Lead

Cost-Per-Sale, Cost-Per-Lead, Cost-Per-Acquisition – Whatever the point of conversion you have, make the determination right away what your maximum spend should be to achieve this goal. You might factor a few things: the actual value of the point of sale, the lifetime value of this purchase and the operating expenses for your business. You should also factor into the equation how often your visitors convert on average.