Archive for the ‘Paid Search’ Category
We know you’re eager to start paid search; it can be a crucial way of bringing potential customers to your site. But there are a few things you should make sure you have in place to be successful.
1. Work the Numbers
Stop. Do not pass go. Do not deposit $200 in your AdWords account (yet).
First, figure out what your conversion is — a sale? a lead form submission? Then you have to try to figure out how much money it makes sense to pay to bring people to your site so that you get more value from that conversion than you spend on the advertising.
You can go at this two ways. If you know the value of the conversion (you sold a $100 widget), you can work the ROI calculation backwards to figure out what a reasonable cost per conversion and cost per click might be. Alternatively, if the value of the conversion is less well-defined (like in lead generation), you might simply pick a reasonable target for cost-per-lead.
Here’s a great article from the LunaMetrics archives to give you perspective on how to think through the numbers before beginning paid search, and really understanding whether and how you can make an impact.
2. Be Ready to Convert Traffic with Landing Pages
OK, so you figured out what kind of budget you need to be looking at and some targets for success. But before you start spending that money, you (and your website) need to be ready to receive that traffic and do something with it.
Rarely is your home page a great place to send visitors who clicked a paid search ad. Sure, it may be a good introduction to your company, but you’re not fully utilizing the most important aspect of paid search, which is that we know just what someone is looking for (based on the keyword we bid on). We don’t have to give them a generic page; we can be specific and targeted.
So, it pays to have specific, targeted landing pages ready to go for those visitors. Sometimes an existing page on your site might suffice, but take a hard look at it to make sure it’s clear and easy for the user to make the conversion. Here’s another article from deep in the LunaMetrics archives (from 2006!) about fourteen things to pay attention to on your landing pages, and they’re all still quite relevant today.
3. Be Ready to Measure the Conversions
You must be a new visitor to this blog if you don’t already know we are ALL ABOUT MEASUREMENT here at LunaMetrics. But there’s a very good reason for that: if we don’t know which keywords, ads, and landing pages convert on our site by measuring them, how do we know where we are spending our money well and where we’re flushing it away?
So get Google Analytics (or the analytics tool of your choice, but GA is free, after all) on your site, and make sure it’s set up to measure your conversions.
Once you’ve got (1), (2), and (3) in place, then you are ready to start putting together your paid search campaigns.
It’s safe to say that Facebook.com and YouTube.com are the #2 and #3 most visited websites on the world wide web (behind only Google.com). No big secret there. It’s also pretty safe to assume that you or someone you know has shared a YouTube video on their Facebook Wall. Also not a life-changing revelation. What might surprise to you is that you can actually target viewers of these Facebook-hosted YouTube videos using a Google AdWords advertising product. That’s right; read it twice.
“How is this possible?” you might ask. ”Aren’t Facebook and Google mortal enemies?” you might ask. Well ya, but with Google AdWords for video and some keen investigation you are able to leverage these two super-massive audiences in conjunction with one another. You get the best of both worlds by effectively serving your advertising message alongside compelling YouTube content within the world’s most popular forum, Facebook. (more…)
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.
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…)
A lot of folks come to us asking us to help them restore a decline in website traffic that occurred after a site migration or major update. Typically, most – if not all – of the traffic loss was preventable. There’s a lot of different update and migration scenarios and a lot of different things that can go wrong, but we keep seeing many of the same underlying issues.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll define a migration as anytime a large amount of pages or content move from old URLs to new URLs whether it be migrating an entire site to a new domain, a subdomain to a subdirectory, merging a small site into a bigger one, or what have you.
And I’ll assert that most potential problems with any migration can be prevented by following 7 fundamental pieces of advice so simple that even a CEO should understand.
- Understand the Stakes
- Make Sure No Content is Missing
- (Properly) Redirect Every URL
- You Need a (Cross-Functional) Migration Team
- You Need a Pre-Launch Plan
- You Need a Post-Launch Plan
- Use Tools (more…)
In digital marketing, cannibalization occurs when a paid search ad “steals” traffic away from an organic listing. You’ll typically find questions associated to this topic like, why should I bid on my brand name keywords? Or, why should bid on keywords that I rank #1 for organically?
Let’s put these questions to rest once and for all because, in my opinion, cannibalization is a pretty harsh term to associate with paid search. So, unlike my Pac-Man example above, I prefer to view the relationship between PPC and SEO as a symbiotic one where both channels work together to achieve an overarching marketing goal. Let’s look at a few examples and discuss why it’s beneficial to appear in both spaces simultaneously.
1. Real Estate on the SERP
Real estate consumed on the search engine results page is the most easily seen benefit of targeting identical keywords in both paid search and search engine optimization efforts. Increasing the shear visibility of your brand is always beneficial; your (1) more noticeable and (2) consumers will begin to associate your brand more often with a particular search phrase – both branded and non-branded.
I’ve conducted a search for the keyword sears in the example below. I am not only served an organic link (with sitelinks), a map displaying locations, and a Google+ page, but I’m also provided with a paid search ad that consumes a huge portion of the SERP. In fact, the only brand visible above the page fold is Sears®. This advertisers has certainly done their homework in both SEO and PPC.
Example 1 (click image to enlarge): Branded Search > “sears”
Speaking specifically to the PPC strategy, it is well planned. The advertiser has incorporated many, many ad extensions to help their brand dominate the SERP: Enhanced Sitelinks, seller rating extensions, and social extensions. It is this domination of the SERP that leads me into the next two points…
2. Messaging Variance & Messaging Solidification
Because the advertiser is dominating the SERP, they now have the ability to generate over a dozen different messages and ways (links) for the consumer to interact with their brand. But how do they leverage this visibility? Notice how the messaging differs between PPC and SEO, and think about how both PPC and SEO work separately. SEO is a long-term strategy, and PPC is a short-term strategy.
The SEO message is structured in such a way that it creates the foundation for the brand and focuses on longevity. The calls-to-action will ALWAYS be relevant regardless of the scenario:
- Begin your Shopping Experience
- Buy Online
- Pick up in Store
- Find Store Locations
- Find Great Brands
Now, look at the PPC messaging and how it actually works to reinforce AND build upon the SEO message. The consumer is presented with different ways to shop, added benefits to shopping with Sears®, and time-sensitive offers. The calls-to-action generate a sense of urgency asking the consumer to act immediately:
- Save on Top Brands
- Up to 20% Off
- Get Huge Deals
- Pick Up In Store Today
- Rewards Program
- Free Shipping
- Deal of the Day
- Shop Now!
Now, let’s briefly look at a non-branded example:
Example 2 (click image to enlarge): Non-Branded Search > “shop appliances”
We see similar techniques at play here in the non-branded PPC example: ad extensions, calls-to-action, etc. are used to build upon and solidify the message presented in long-term SEO strategy.
3. Increased Total Web Traffic
The third benefit of targeting the same keywords in both SEO and PPC channels again harkens back to consuming real estate on the SERP. It is plain and simple; with more links pointing to your website at any given moment there is more opportunity for increased visitors.
It is true that paid search ads may pull some visits away from your organic listings, but they will actually help to incrementally increase your website’s overall traffic. Let look at an example to clarify:
|Organic Visits: 1,000
|Paid Visits: 0
|Organic Visits: 900
|Paid Visits: 350
In Scenario 1, paid search ads are not running. Organic links are responsible for 1,000 website visits. In Scenario 2, paid search ads are running. Although organic visits have decreased due to the incorporation of paid per click ads, total website visits have actually increased to 1,250. So that’s 250 visits (1,250 minus 1,000) that you would not have received without the use of PPC advertising.
Since SEO and PPC strategies essentially share the same goal of increasing your overall website traffic, you should certainly consider using both strategies in conjunction with one another to achieve your marketing goals. Both digital marketing strategies are tools used to achieve your marketing goals. Learn how you can use one to strengthen the other, forming a symbiotic relationship. Once this is achieved you can start to dominate the SERP and dominate your competition. Have fun!
Questions? Comments? Leave it in the section below.
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.
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…)
As the avid users of AdWords know, Google Analytics has a great report that pulls in cost data from AdWords. If you have an ecommerce site or currency values assigned to your goal conversions, it’ll even calculate ROI.
A while back, Google Analytics announced new support for importing cost data from other sources: think Bing Ads, Facebook advertising, etc. This is great! It puts all the power of those AdWords reports to work on your data from any kind of advertising. (more…)
You’re a paid search manager. You’ve optimized your campaigns’ settings for efficient use of the budget. You’ve spent countless hours conducting keyword research. You’ve built tightly themed campaigns and ad groups. You’re already on the fast track to success but do NOT stop there!
Writing effective ad copy is next on your checklist, but how do you write a pay-per-click ad that really stands out among the competition? Using a strong call-to-action is a huge piece of the puzzle. This is a much overlooked part of the PPC process and can make or break your efforts. (more…)
Google 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…)
In Part 1 of the Demystifying Dynamic Search Ads series, we discussed the pros & cons of incorportating DSAs into your paid search strategy. Now that you’ve decided that Dynamic Search is something you would like to put to use, we can discuss the actual campaign set up and creating what Google refers to as auto-targets. We’ll also cover exclusions and run through a few examples of common ways DSAs are being put to use.
Dynamic Search Campaign Set-Up:
To create a Dynamic Search campaign simply begin by building a new search network campaign as you normally would, but when you reach the “Type” settings, select the Dynamic Search Ads setting to enable targeting based on your website content: