Every year I dread the New Year’s Holiday. Just the thought of making pledges to eat better or start working out gives me chills. I dutifully pledge to give up this or give up that and fail miserably on January 1st at about 9:40 a.m. This year I thought I would take a different approach; focus on my passion for Search Marketing to set me up for success and allow me to leave my personal life out of it!
How about making PPC Management Resolutions for 2013?
If you are like a lot of PPC Managers, you’ll likely have inherited an AdWords account. Clients typically want to get up and running and see results ASAP. This usually forces us to keep them up and start working on the re-structuring of the account as we go. Most of the time, there are common mistakes that have put the account into your hands that must be fixed before you start seeing some traction.
Resist the urge to keep campaigns set up the same way as you inherited them; even for a short period of time. Make your account assessment and hit the biggest areas of opportunity first. Taking a little time upfront and re-organizing the account’s structure will give you the click-thrus and not send them to your competition. These are all things we know and typically do as PPC professionals–so if nothing else it’s a reminder for me to Here is my top 3 list for 2013:
1. Where possible; split out larger Ad Groups:
Assess your client’s Ad Groups. Most of the time, you can make them smaller and more targeted. By doing this, you can decrease the number of keywords in your ad group which will allow you to be as specific as possible to your searchers intent with your ads. You can be far more relevant and send the searcher to the appropriate Landing Page. Once they are taken to the highly relevant page, they are more likely to convert for your client with higher CTR’s, higher Quality Scores and lower Cost per Clicks. Sometimes, the issue really is with the client’s web site and whether they have highly effective Landing pages for each of your Ad Groups. Hopefully you can convince them that changes they make will benefit their business.
2. Don’t rely on Google Optimization for my A/B Ad Testing.
I’m going to utilize Google’s ‘Rotate indefinitely’ Option which will show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads to give me a better understanding of what’s happening without the automatic optimizing rotation. Then I’m going to be tougher and delete (not pause!) the ads that are not performing…what’s the point of keeping them in the ad group if they’re not converting?
3. I pledge to utilize Excel more than I do.
It’s a love-hate thing I know for most of us but once we get down and dirty with it, what a fantastic tool we have to drill down on the data we have available to make the wisest decisions for our accounts. 2013 is the year I fall back in love with pivot tables!
As I was working on this, I asked my colleagues here at Apogee Results what their PPC Resolutions would be and they had some excellent ones:
Ryan is going to focus on maximizing Ad Extensions to increase his CTR on his account ads. Hopefully Google will get cracking and improve the tracking capabilities for them as well.
Cori is going to (not listen to Ryan, ha ha – Just kidding) try and stay on top of Google’s Changes which is a pretty hefty goal. She gave a solid example regarding Google’s Conversion Optimizer Requirements:
Your campaign uses AdWords Conversion Tracking or is importing data from Google Analytics.
The campaign has received at least 15 conversions on the Search Network and 30 conversions on the Display Network in the last 30 days. This conversion history enables the system to make accurate predictions about your future conversion rate. So, the more data we have, the more accurate we can be.
The campaign must have been receiving conversions at a similar rate for at least a few days.
Kaolhi wants to get more in-depth on Google Analytics and all the ins & outs and dig into the reporting it has available.
This blog post presents some great ideas on how to approach video SEO beyond the basics of using rich snippets and getting links. It is more of a strategy session than a tutorial. The ideas discussed include: self hosting a video rather than hosting on YouTube if the goal is traffic and conversions, using different types of videos to fit your different goals, and if possible, creating videos with some SEO in mind instead of trying to optimize after a video is already created.
This is an excellent and comprehensive post on link building in the current, post-penguin environment. Not only does it discuss different types of links and how to get them (with a list of useful link-finding tools), but it also delves into an overall strategy for building a link profile. This includes how to decide if and when to remove links, tracking the progress of a link profile, and looking at what the future might bring in terms of updates.
Google has begun to show detail about medicine in the search results similar to how a famous person’s biography might show up in a SERP when their name is searched. Data from various authorities on medicine are part of Google’s knowledge graph, which attempts to contextualize words by making connections between words that the algorithm deems to be semantically related. This development will be particularly useful for any business in the medical field.
MDG advertising created this large Infographic with a lot of statistics about online holiday shopping trends. While there isn’t a lot of explanation about what these numbers mean, it’s a good visual that makes it easy to realize some powerful trends. Tablets are becoming a huge factor in that more and more people are using tablets to shop as well as shopping for tablets. Online holiday shopping also seems to be starting earlier and ending later in the year, beginning in October and going past Christmas.
A company trying to decide whether to do SEO or PPC should realize that the most successful campaign will likely implement both at some level and have a hand in numerous other marketing outlets. This article gives 10 good reasons why your company should do PPC, and specifically Google AdWords, while responsibly prefacing that AdWords should probably not be used as a replacement for SEO. Some of the best reasons are probably the first four given, which are that it is scalable, measurable, flexible, and faster than SEO.
The amazing people at PPC Hero researched and compiled a list of the 25 most influential PPC experts in the digital marketing industry today. Congratulations to all the people that made the list!! Check out the infographic below:
Thanks to the Memorial Day holiday, it’s been a little quiet around here. Well, that, and it’s just been quiet in general it seems. Yesterday, though, presented a couple of interesting things in the world of online marketing, mostly regarding Facebook (and no, I’m not talking about Facebook stock falling or the photos that surfaced of Zuckerberg’s honeymoon).
Apparently the social media giant has decided to roll out a couple of new features for pages, which opens up new possibilities for social media managers. The first is the introduction of Promoted Posts, which allow page managers to promote a post in order to extend that post’s reach. With a normal Facebook post by a brand on their brand page, your reach is limited and constrained by Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm, which somehow decides who gets to see your posts. A Promoted Post, however, will reach beyond the algorithm, but Facebook hasn’t said just how much further the post will reach. This is also a paid feature, which means marketers and social media managers will need to pick and choose carefully the posts they choose to promote (if any at all). Obviously, for those that have the budget, promoted posts could be a great way to extend the reach of posts that contain links to lead gen pages, Facebook offers, special fan only promotions, etc. The billing works much like the billing for Facebook ads does, in that you set your own price, and that price is good for the lifetime of the promoted post, which is three days. The screen shot below, courtesy and copyright Facebook, shows how to promote your post.
The other change Facebook made to its brand pages is the ability to set different permissions for different types of admins. Previously, everyone listed as an admin had the same rights, which could obviously cause some issues within organizations where multiple people have admin rights to their company’s Facebook page. The new admin levels are Manager, Content Creator, Moderator, Advertiser and Insights Analyst. As the primary admin for Apogee’s Facebook page, I like that I could give different people different permission levels if necessary, and I’m sure many other marketing managers and social media managers probably feel the same way. From the agency side, I can see how the Advertiser and Insights Analyst permissions could really apply to agencies who manage clients’ social media accounts, or at the very least their social paid media. Basically, an Advertiser can create ads and view insights, and an Insights Analyst can just view insights, allowing an agency to create ads and view the analytics without the manager having to hand over full admin rights. To me, that’s quite possibly a win-win. The other cool part about this change? Page managers can now also schedule posts ahead of time directly through Facebook rather than having to use a third party application such as Hootsuite.
In Google news, the search giant unveiled the “new” Google Places–which is now a part of Google+ and will be called Google+ Local. Earlier this year we had a blog talking about Google+ and how Google’s trying to swallow everything up and put certain things under the Google+ umbrella. Apparently Places wasn’t immune to that, and not surprisingly, the move is purely monetary. The other not surprising thing is that Google says this move was also motivated by an ever increasing amount of mobile searches. One cool thing about the move is the integration of Zagat reviews, which will replace Google’s five-star system. the not cool thing? Google’s obviously trying to herd all of us into the Google+ circle and force us to use a service that still hasn’t seen widespread adoption (170 million active users as compared to Facebook’s 845 million users).
And last but not least, in other search news, Yahoo!, once known as a search engine rather than a news aggregate, unveiled Yahoo! Axis, which is a desktop (or mobile) application that allows you to search the web through the app rather than a browser such as Firefox or IE. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet, but if Axis catches on, it looks like SEOs might have one more thing to think about regarding search engine optimization and the way we search on the web.
Google AdWords is a great platform for online paid advertising that just about anyone can utilize to manage multiple campaigns. Getting started with AdWords is a fairly simple process, but it takes time to become an AdWords master and know the in’s and out’s of the platform. If you are a novice when it comes to using AdWords, be mindful of the following 5 most common misconceptions.
1. Not all Google ad features work across Partner Search Networks
Targeting partner search networks can be limited with what Ad features can be used, such as Google reviews or Product extensions. If your team has a strategy utilizing any of these Google features, be sure to understand which partner networks this will affect, and how the results may not be completely representative over the initiative. AOL is one partner where Google features may appear.
2. Don’t assume Reach and Frequency reporting can be used on the search network
It is only for the Display network. More specifically, it is only available to use for interest category and remarketing campaigns. Please be mindful when you are planning on what and how to report to your client or boss about the performance of your campaigns.
3. CPM bidding is only available in the display network
A misconception by many novice specialists out there is that since CPM bidding is an option within Campaign Settings, it can be utilized for Google search. That is a false belief. CPM bidding is only available for the Display network, formerly known as the Google “Content” Network. There is no way around CPC bidding.
4. Keyword match types only applies to search networks, not display
If you are advertising on the Display network and you are utilizing the same campaign structure as the one you are using in search, you may want to review the keywords and make sure you prune out words that are very similar to each other, such as plurals and singulars of the same term. You may be limiting the actual reach your display campaign is receiving since your ad groups will more than likely contain 20 keywords or more. The match type design you built-out in the search campaign does not affect your display network targeting.
5. Understand your tracking technology
It is important to know the limitations and benefits between the different tracking you or your client may employ to report on Paid Search performance. Depending on the methodology of tracking, such as redirection tracking versus landing page tracking, the code may interfere with special logos that can appear on your ad, such as the VeriSign Trusted seal, or with other programs the system can integrate with, such as automatic URL tagging between Google Analytics and AdWords. By being better informed about the technology you use, the more effective your program will be and fewer mistakes will be made, saving your team time, energy and cost.
If you’re a B2C company, odds are your marketing department’s been preparing for the 2012 holiday season for months already, trying to figure out the best ways to reach potential customers and to increase sales in an economy that’s still stagnant. You’ve figured out your email marketing, direct mail and advertising. The powers that be have determined what items will go on sale when, and declared that doors WILL open at 2 a.m. on Black Friday (or, in some cases, will open at midnight or earlier Thanksgiving day).
With so many advertisements pummeling consumers on a daily basis (I think I’ve received at least ten emails in the past two days already talking about buying for Christmas, and Zales has been doing pre-Black Friday email only sales for the past month or so), how do you stand out and make sure customers are buying YOUR product rather than your competition’s?
Having a robust email list that’s properly segmented is one way to help garner attention and boost sales. A properly segmented list means that the right people are seeing the right message, thus increasing your chances of getting a sale from that particular email. Focusing on the right items and message–beyond segmentation–is also important. Yes, parents want to know that Lalaloopsy dolls will be on sale for ten bucks on Black Friday (actually, if anyone sees that price let me know–we have a niece who wants one for Christmas), but not everyone is in the market to purchase toys. An avid cyclist would love to know that REI will have all cycling clothes half off, but a rock climber wouldn’t necessarily care. Focusing on value, though, is a good tactic in our current economy. And if you have a layaway program, an email campaign would be a great place to mention that. Coupons, exclusive offers and steep email only discounts are all good ways to help drive sales.
If you’re also running a direct mail campaign, there are ways to integrate a print piece into your online marketing. A QR code is a super simple way to do that. Smack one on your well done direct mail piece and have it go to a landing page for a contest to win a free item, such as boots, a $500 gift card, an HDTV, PS3, etc. Not only will you get people to land on your website, but you’ll also get their email addresses as a result, which you can then load into your email database for further promotions and newsletters. Be sure, though, to include the URL to the landing page for those who don’t have a smart phone or a QR code reader–no matter what, you’ll still only give away one prize, but the number of email addresses you collect could go up considerably.
So what if someone clicks through on your email campaign or scans in the QR code but doesn’t buy anything? That’s where a good retargeting campaign can come in handy. Basically, retargeting is a form of paid media where a visitor’s IP address is cookied, and as they surf the web ads for your store or product will appear on the websites they’re surfing. I get retargeted all the time by Zappos and Overstock.com, and have received retargeted emails from Home Depot. I also just started being retargeted by Cabela’s after signing up for their newsletter yesterday. A 2010 study by comScore found that retargeting generated a 1046 percent lift in trademark search behavior, and retailers who retarget site visitors can see an ROI ranging from 2% to 35% (and probably higher). Evidence is showing that while a lot of shoppers window shop online and abandon their shopping carts, retargeting is an effective method of drawing them back to your website and encouraging them to complete the transaction. Other forms of paid media can also be effective, depending on your particular space and the competitiveness of it.
While most retailers focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t neglect customers the rest of the time from November 1 to December 25. Anyone who’s ever worked in retail knows that the Saturday before Christmas is actually the busiest day of the holiday shopping season. There are also those customers who shop throughout the year, or who start their shopping before Black Friday. There are those who avoid stores on Black Friday at all costs, and those who wait until 9 p.m. on December 24th to buy gifts for all 23 of their family members. Spraying and praying is not effective, but making sure to address ALL–or at least as many–of your customers as possible will help you to garner the most sales during an incredibly competitive shopping season.
Good luck, many sales, and if you happen to need some elves to help you with your holiday marketing, we’re pretty handy with reindeer and Jack in the Box (es? Jacks in the Boxes? Jacks in the Box? what is the plural of that?).
Google Adwords Phishing emails are still getting through. The phishers use Google email addresses that Adwords clients recognize, but don’t be fooled!
This morning I received an email that was from Google’s Adwords email address. The formatting looked slightly off from other Adwords emails usually I receive, so I was immediately suspicious. I hovered my mouse over the link titled “click here to review your ads and let us know if we made a mistake,” and found that the destination URL led to “google-tih.com”. I searched Google for the exact domain name and found no reference in Google to the URL.
Watch out for the following email subject: “Account has stopped running”
If you receive this email do not click the link. They are asking for your Adwords credentials and you could endanger your clients’ or your company’s campaign integrity.
Here’s a screenshot of the email received:
According to OnlyMyEmail the spammer will cause all your ads to direct to their sites.
Google, what are you doing about this? It has been going on for quite a long time. Search for “Google Adwords Phishing” and you will see scams as old as 2009.
Event Marketing, Experiential Marketing, Hyper Events, Local Events, Virtual Events…we aren’t here to debate the fact that events can be an effective way to reach and engage an audience. However, event marketing is changing and transforming rapidly. It isn’t surprising that the top two reasons why companies host events are to educate and generate leads. With multiple tens of billions of marketing dollars are still being invested annually (up to 20% of some marketing budgets) into live events and the surrounding booths, media, travel, hospitality, and both online and offline promotional dollars, event effectiveness and ROI are more important than ever.
Learn how, with just a fractional redirection of event spend into pre-, during- and post-event digital budget, you can take your event success to the next level, completely outflank the competition, and make your field marketing and sales organizations gleefully happy (not to mention your prospects and customers).
Specific Questions Answered:
1. What’s the current status of event marketing and what does the future hold in store?
2. How to optimize your event marketing budget with the various online channels
3. How can digital presence and investment be a game-changer?
4. What do you need to do to ensure your events have not only high attendance, but HIGHER, MEASURABLE ROI?
Everyone knows a pipeline of leads is the lifeblood of a B2B business. Companies rely on their lead flow for near and long-term growth, as it’s what keeps a company on track to reach or exceed quarterly or annual goals.
For business-oriented lead generation initiatives, webinars and related virtual events have a proven track record of serving as one of the most effective tactics for maximizing new leads. So how does a company get people onto a webinar-specific landing page, and more importantly, get them to register?
The simple answer is to develop a paid search campaign targeting the problem or solution and not webinar related terms.
Consider this example:
Apogee Results recently worked with a company that provides useful information designed to help small businesses succeed, with articles and webinars that walk a small business owner through everything from building a strong sales team to picking the best insurance package for employees.
Prior to working with us, they ran campaigns utilizing terms such as “business webinar” and “videos for businesses.”
Those terms missed the mark. People are not searching to attend webinars. When they search the terms listed above, they are looking for a webinar platform, such as GoToMeeting and MeetingBridge.
Instead, people are searching for solutions to specific problems, and a helpful webinar is simply a means to deliver the solution.
Next time your business is looking to promote a great webinar, focus on the problem or solution and simply mention the webinar as a useful way for them to obtain the information.
Here’s a sample ad:
“how to file taxes for small business”
Need Help With Taxes?
Learn how to maximize deductions &
minimize tax burden. Free webinar!
Have you ever run a PPC campaign to drive webinar registrations? What were the results?
Everybody’s been chasing social media like mad for several years, and now must also contend with figuring out mobile and iPad marketing . All well and good, but aren’t you forgetting something? How about taking the time for something that could give you the biggest single marketing win for 2011 and beyond?
Paid search/pay per click (PPC) and related media types are still far and away the single largest component of most discretionary online marketing budgets, dwarfing display/banners, SEO, social media, mobile, and any other online marketing spend category. And there is low-hanging, valuable fruit to be harvested for you.
Is your performance flat to down? Is there more competition? Do you have the time to manage this? If you have the help of an agency, how are they doing? Isn’t it time to revisit this investment?
Learn the 9 things you can do immediately to recapture value back from Google and your competition. Download today and turbocharge your AdWords campaign.