Archive for the ‘Paid Search’ Category
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.
At some point or another, you’re going to be running an Adwords campaign in a country whose primary language isn’t English. Whether it’s for your own products or services or a client, you want to make sure that each campaign is a success, reaches the right audience, and more importantly, has the right messaging.
Even some of the biggest, brand name companies have made mistakes but you can do all you can now to take measures against possible mistakes. Below are 5 quick tips that you may want to keep in mind when it comes to international paid search campaigns.
- Research your competition like you would for an English campaign. It’s important to lay the groundwork, get to know the level of competition and then construct or adjust your campaign accordingly. Traffic levels, variations of keywords and average CPC are not the same in Germany as they would be in the United States.
- Think like who you are targeting. This closely relates to number 1 for sure. But I wanted to drive home the point that your international market may think, and therefore search, for things in a different way. Get inside the mind of the international searcher. The top converting keywords in your English campaigns may not always translate to winning keywords in your international one.
- Get proper translations. I’ve been lucky with clients in that they have people who are fluent in the foreign language and can help translate keywords and ads. Not everyone is so lucky. You can use Google Translation Toolkit, but take the translations with a hefty grain of salt. Try to find someone who can speak and write the native tongue so that they can either do the translations or fact/spell/grammar check your work. I’ve also turned to 3rd party translation dictionaries, but don’t usually have time for a grammar lesson. (I also have frightening flashbacks to 8th grade Spanish class when we learned about present subjunctive and all the little quirks that go with it.)
- Make sure the entire experience is in the native language. This includes the landing page, about pages, contact pages, pricing, shipping details and checkout. The entire experience should be in the language you’re targeting so that the user is not jolted from the conversion funnel by a page full of language they don’t understand or pricing that isn’t applicable to their needs.
- Traffic may be different, therefore bids might be different. If you did a straight copy of your English campaign and then translated into the other language, take a second look at your Max CPC’s and budgets. It’s important to remember that traffic will be different in the other country and your CPC’s will be correspondingly different.
An international Adwords campaign is a different beast than a straight-laced English campaign. But don’t let it scare you from approaching one and successfully running it. Keep these pointers in mind and you should be fine!
Have you run international campaign in the past? Share your tips below!
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:
Regular visits to the dentist, eye doctor and physician are routine for many people. You visit when you’re well, and more often than not, you visit when you’re sick, need new glasses, or a dental cleaning. Well, you’re not the only one that needs a health checkup – your PPC campaigns need one when they are healthy AND when something seems wrong. They are integral to the continued success of a paid search campaign. PPC audits, much like a visit to the dentist for a cleaning, can find underlying or hidden issues that you can’t see on a daily basis. They can seem daunting, but if you go in with a game plan, you’ll actually have some fun. Below is my go-to checklist of questions for PPC audits.
Are your campaigns running for both Search Network and Display Network?
- Pro tip: Only have campaigns set for one or the other, never mixed.
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.
If you manage more than 5 Adwords accounts, you know as well as I do how pressed for time you can get optimizing each account and managing the small details of every campaign. One supremely large account can take hours to sift through, not counting the other medium-to-small clients. But if you tackle each optimization effort in stages, the work load won’t seem as daunting. I’ve compiled my own run-down of the optimization I apply to each account I work with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Feel free to add more that I missed!
- Search Query Report – the SQR is every Adwords manager’s tool of choice for finding new keyword opportunities and fine-tuning their negative keyword list. The SQR contains actual search terms that users searched when they found and clicked on your ad. You can find the SQR in the Keywords tab. Choose to look at one (or a few) high traffic keywords or look at the report of all the keywords. Using this tool on a weekly basis is essential in keeping your traffic highly targeted, finding new opportunities, and seeing if you can add more negative keywords to your list.
- Ad copy testing – If you haven’t been testing your ads, then you are losing out on potential clicks and conversions. Read the post about the beginner’s guide to ad copy testing and get started ASAP. If you have been testing, don’t stop! Read the post about more advanced ad copy testing tips and tricks. The moral is this: every time you stop testing, a kitty dies. Don’t let kittens die. (Or your CTR and CVR.)
- Use segmented reporting for Day Parting– Adwords has this glorious thing called “segmented reports”. Get familiar with it. You can use the Ads and Keywords segmented reports by pulling a report for your indicated time period, then clicking on the report button and adding a segment for Day. You can even go as far as segmenting for Time. Export this data into Excel and determine what days receive the most traffic and clicks, and what days receive the least. Adjust bid scheduling accordingly, or determine if there are days that can stand to be turned off.
- Bid Scheduling – This can tie into number 3 quite well. Using your segmented reports, make adjustments to how your adgroups and keywords are run by using Automated Rules. When was the last time these were changed to reflect new keywords or ads? If it’s been a while, consider a refresh. If you’ve never used Automated Rules, then set up a few and see if performance is impacted. My rule of thumb is setting keyword bid adjustments that reflect the peak traffic times. Set up your rule to raise bids by a certain percentage, or bring it up to First Page bid estimate, for your peak days and times. Try this for 10 days and record performance before and after to compare results.
- Use segmented reporting for Keyword Weight– I don’t know if “keyword weight” is a real term, but it works for me. I usually pull this report for a 3 month time period. Export keywords (I also segment for Match Type for easier sorting in Excel.) Then set up your Pivot table fields like this:
Next, change your Field Settings for Cost and Conversions to “% of Column Total”. This will simplify the values to the percent that each row (keyword) contributes to the overall column value.
Create a new Calculated Field to determine the CVR of each keyword. (You can export this item, but I like determining it within Excel).
- If your values look somewhat like this…
…then you have room for improvement. Overall, Broad match results are obviously bringing in keywords that are converting – figure out what ones by expanding that row and looking at each keyword. Start building ad groups that better target this type of traffic. Exact matches in an ideal campaign should have a conversion rate that is relatively higher than phrase, though it’s not unheard of that phrase matches convert on par with exact. If you find keywords that are just spending and not converting don’t be afraid to pause it.
Make sure every keyword is working as hard as possible for every conversion. No slackers allowed.
- Budget Adjustments– Are you using your full budget as effectively as possible? Do well-converting campaigns meet their full spend early in the day? Using an Excel pivot table, look at the percentage of budget allotted, percentage of budget used, conversions, and conversion rates. If there is a campaign that is converting higher, consider shaving some budget off of lower-converting campaigns and relocating it to the better-performer.
- Campaign Settings – These can tie in pretty well with number 5 in that you should periodically look at the campaign settings and see if there are settings you can change that would increase performance of your account. Look at your device targeting options and ad rotation specifically. Some PPC managers prefer the “Rotate Evenly” option if they are testing ads. The option “Optimize for clicks” is a good choice if the client is mainly interested in driving traffic. The option “Optimize for conversions” is a good choice if the client is interested in on-page conversions. What option is best for your account really depends on the amount of control that you, and your client point-of-contact, on the ENTIRE conversion funnel (from click, to landing page, to sales call, etc.)
- Competitor Terms – This can be a tricky thing to do as it depends on what your client is willing to allow and/or how competitive these terms are in the auction. Set up a separate campaign that targets your competition, bid on the key terms and variations of them, and create ads that speak to this audience. I don’t use the actual brand terms in ads or landing page copy, since, you know, I don’t want to pay a hefty fine or be blocked. Set this campaign on a low budget at first and see what happens! Keep an eye on quality score and bounce rate (in Analytics), but if conversions are decent, then score. If not, then at least you tried that avenue.
- Campaign Structure- While this isn’t necessarily a “quick fix”, it is something that I employ on a monthly basis in conjunction with the SQR. I keep a notebook handy when I review the SQR results and jot down some ideas for new ad groups. From there, I dig into more keyword research using Google Adwords Keyword Tool or Spyfu, for example, and see if there a real potential for targeted traffic. If I determine that it’s a good place to build, I will begin the break out of an ad group and/or create entirely new ones. Be sure to pause the keywords in the old ad group if you do move them into their own group.Remember to add negative keyword lists to your adgroups so that traffic will funnel appropriately. For example, if you make an adgroup for Chocolate and one for White Chocolate, then the Chocolate adgroup needs to include negative keyword “white”.
- Device breakout- Depending on your type of traffic (and if the client has a mobile site), breaking out your campaigns by device is a great technique. Mobile, Tablet, and Computer CTR and CVR have the potential to be drastically different. As noted, some clients might just not have mobile capabilities or they might not have significant mobile traffic to justify a breakout. But if they do have a mobile site, then copy the campaign, change the targeting on the old one to “Computers and Laptops”, and make the new one “Mobile Devices” (You can also target Tablet separately, but I generally add it into “Computers and Laptops).Remember to change the Call-to-Actions on the mobile campaign ad copy. If a phone call is a conversion point for the client, then consider a Click-to-Call setting for the mobile campaign (though this certainly can be employed in all campaigns).
What are some go-to tips that you use when you are managing multiple accounts? Tell us about them in the comments!
Back in May our own Brittany Baeslack wrote up a great post on the Four Essential Rules to PPC Remarketing which laid out how exciting the new remarketing trends are and what you could do as an organization to leverage remarketing to improve your Adwords buys. Her post has been updated to reflect the exciting new changes AdWords has made to remarketing implementation. Remarketing essentially if you’re not familiar with it, is a way for you to place Google Adwords specifically to people who have visited your site before. It’s a way of saying “Hey this person visited my site, I want to show THEM ads to try and remind them to come back to my site.” Back in May this was done by placing a piece of code on a specific page on your site, and if a person visited that site you could identify them on a list in your Google Adwords, and then choose to focus ads on only those people. Pretty powerful stuff. (more…)
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.
Just starting out in Google Adwords? Then you might be wondering about the best way to begin ad copy testing for your campaigns – new or old. Every campaign demands its own attention and optimization efforts, however, all have a similar foundation for ad copy testing. These ten ad copy testing steps below will cover what you need to get on your way in your first round of testing.
Where to Begin
Knowing where to begin can be half the battle in larger campaigns. I generally start most ad copy testing in the campaigns that are spending the most of my, or the client’s, budget.
1. Find the big spender(s). Take a look at what campaign is spending the most money first, and then make a list from there. Inside each high-spending campaign, you’ll find an ad group (or two, or three) that is spending more than others. Note these ad groups – that’s where you will begin testing. You want to optimize where the money is going, right?
2. Determine your testing goals. Do you want more conversions at a lower cost-per-action? Do you want more clicks and subsequent views on your site? Once you know what you want, you can tailor the tests for the goal and will know exactly what to look for in the results. Within each high-spending ad group are keywords that spend the most. Determine the keywords with the right traffic, a good click-through-rate and conversion rate, and begin thinking of ads for those well-performing keywords.
3. Set up the testing parameters. Make sure that the campaign settings within the dashboard are set to “rotate evenly”. Recently, Google made a change to this setting that would automatically deliver the best performing ad after 30 days. However, after a rather public backlash by those who argued that a 30 day window was not enough time to determine a winner, they changed the setting to 90 days with an optional “opt-out”. (more…)
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.