Category Archives: Paid Search

Creating a Seamless Pre- To Post-Click Experience

When starting a new Pay Per Click campaign many business owners often ignore their customer’s experience and focus on selling their products alone. A PPC campaign cannot be successful without properly analyzing the experiences your customers would have.

Pre to Post click experience is the overall experience a user has from viewing an ad to clicking and buying a product online.

Your PPC campaign should put into consideration what the user would experience from the pre-click stage to the post-click stage. In other words there must be consistency and transparency all through the stages. Here are 3 beginner’s guides for a better user experience PPC Campaign.

Transparency and Consistency

These are very important when carrying out a successful PPC campaign. The user experience is the focus here, so, advertising a product with inconsistent price tag and contents that lacks consistency would lead to bad user experience.

Imagine clicking an ad that claims a product for $25 and offers 20 of such product in a pack, only to be disappointed when visiting the site that the product is $30 for the 20 packs. This shows a high level of inconsistency which would only make your users believe the ad is a deceptive one.

Brand Recognition

Sharing their experiences on how likely they might click an ad or buy products online, an online user narrated how she was tricked into clicking an ad on Facebook only to be disappointed that the brand name she saw was different from the site she clicked. For instance, a brand with the name “XYZ” on ad, turning out to be “XZY” on their website; such ads can be termed deceptive, as the user only clicked the ad because he/she was acquainted with the XYZ brand.

Post-click experience

The post click experience matters to the users as much as product sales matters to you. A user wants to buy a product because he knows such product would bring satisfaction, but the question is what are doing to enhance such experience and make them come back for more?

The interface of your site says a lot about this. Apart from the earlier mentioned consistency, transparency and brand recognition, a user wants to spend less time buying a product and checking out. Constant pop-ups urging the user to buy other products are distracting and should be avoided. The post-click experience also involves the final satisfaction they get after buying the product; your PPC campaign extends to the customer care you offer.

Conclusion

Your brand is not valuable if your product does not guarantee an above average user experience. Consistency and transparency are keys to avoiding deceptive ads. Users want to get exactly what they are attracted to and not the other way round.

Work Habits & Resources for the Stressed-Out PPC Manager

PPC management is no joke. It can get extremely stressful and put your head in a spin. The stress can even go as far as affecting your work, especially your organisation as a PPC manager. You can choose to take a break and relax, but then work only continues to pile up, and let’s face it, some accounts need real-time management.

As a PPC manager, you’re not superhuman but are expected to pull off superhuman tasks and beat superhuman deadlines even on your random bad days. This need calls for more than your PPC analytic tools, your prowess at identifying killer keywords, making bids, and facilitating ad campaigns. You’re human and there’s a need to manage your time efficiently, organise your personal work process, and stick to a schedule if you’re going to successfully pull off those superhuman stunts.

Here are some guidelines, work habits and resources that can help you beat those steep odds and reduce the stress you incure on you as a PPC manager.

  1. Keep a strict schedule and stick to it

Always setup a schedule for the day’s work with detail on what to do and how to do it. You can go at it the smart way with apps that can remind you of your next job and everything you’re about to do. Great resources for this include todoist and Wunderlist. With these tools you can happily free you’re up memory and focus on your tasks and when it’s time for your next job, you get notified. You can also assign, track, and set new jobs and tasks for your team using apps like wunderlist.

  1. Take lots of notes

Remember, you’re human. You can get forgetful at times, and that’s okay. But where it’ll be unforgivable, is where that forgetfulness costs you an account. That being said, it’s vital to keep notes of accounts details, strategies, client budget, client location, campaign particulars, and so much more.

Sure the human brain is a giant storage unit, but accessing somethings at certain times can be difficult. So using notes is ideal. If you’re not the old school type that would like to scribble with ink and sheet, then there are amazing tools such as Microsoft OneNote and EverNote that you can use.

  1. Nudge yourself by setting marks and challenges

We humans are a competitive lot and you can use that trait to your advantage. While you work on tasks, you can tell yourself that you’re beating a mark, setting a record, or you can simply promise yourself a bar of chocolate (or a favourite something) if you beat a deadline. This way, you can speed things up. There are also apps for this effect. They include Write or Die, an app that makes horrid noises when you stop to write; and Habitica, an app that rewards you with a new pixellated sword for every task you complete from your to-do list.

  1. Work within a friendly environment

Your environment can cause disruptions in your work flow. So keep things organised and optimum as much as you can. If there are elements that can draw away your attention, take them away and those that can help you concentrate, include them.

Conclusion

Your work habits go a long way in saving you time and saving you from stress. The PPC business doesn’t need to suck up your entire you-time and stress you out at while at it. Go at things the right way, work efficiently, and nothing will stop work from getting more fun.

Ads in Mobile Apps: Not Just For Other Mobile Apps

 

Placing ads in mobile ads is proving an interesting and highly productive model to reach your targeted audience more quickly and effectively.  The good thing about this advertising technique is that your product doesn’t have to be an app too, although that’s also an option you can explore.

For example, think about the results placing an advert on luxury but affordable fashion accessories in a fashion or makeup app for women. As with many display options, this is a funnel model that lets you narrow down to your target audience; and you can set it up in your account. Here’s how it works:

First, you set up a “Display Network Only” Campaign. A screen will appear with options, select “no marketing objective,” and then click “ads in mobile apps” from the list that follows.

It’s always a smart thing to do to also select your preferred operating systems and devices. So depending on your audience analytics (it’s advised you do a testing), choose the most relevant option to you from the “Mobile” and “Devices” list from the drop down menu. Then you may also add other OS and device models in a hierarchical order to broaden your reach.

Next, select the app categories for your adgroup or adgroups. There are several of them, and they’re just as same as the list that appears in every mobile device store. They include ALL apps, business, entertainment, food & drink, finance, games (further categorized by game type), health and fitness, house & home, lifestyle, medical, musical & audio, navigation, news, photo & video, parenting, productivity, travel, utilities, and weather.

If, like in the example I cited earlier, I wanted to reach out to fashionistas, I’ll choose the most relevant categories and Google will give me an estimate of my weekly impressions. It’s a wide audience and I could choose to further narrow down my audience and using specifics by defining my target demographics, applying a remarketing list (such as a consumer match), and even detailing the amount of time that should elapse after a consumer has bought their mobile device.

The ad format options available for your in-app advertising are app/digital content ads, image ads, and text ads; and the size options include 300 x 250, 320 x 50, and 336 x 280 interstitial for mobile phones; and 468 x 60, 728 x 90, 300 x 250, and 336 x 280 interstitial for tablets.

Ads in mobile ads can be a very useful model for targeted ads as a product or services audience can be more easily and specifically reached where they commonly hang out online; where you can say hi and hopefully drive click traffics.

Three Ways the New Gmail Upgrade Will Boost Your Marketing Campaign

Gmail is a free email service operated and owned by search giant Google. They currently boast a subscriber base of over 1 billion users, which translates to one in seven people in the world using Gmail.

Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) offers businesses the opportunity to market their product to a large user base.

GSP is sometimes referred to as an impression-based medium. This means that users are exposed to your ad without asking what your content is. Bear in mind this is not a search, you are requesting the user to make an unconscious action of clicking a link they naturally wouldn’t.

For advertisers pursuing leads with a conversion goal of free models or trails, GSP is effective in driving these ‘free’ conversions without hassle.

What is GSP?

GSP is a google service that was launched without fan fare in 2013 with google soft selling ads rather than a full promotion. GSP are advertisements that appear on Gmail user accounts. It is displayed in the inbox, right above the email. The Ads are cleverly designed to look like an email and it expands to a full Ad once clicked.

How does Gmail Ads Work?

Google moved GSP into a standard AdWords toolbox.  The name changed from GSP to simply ‘Gmail Ads’.  The new Gmail Ad appears in the personal Gmail inboxes under the ‘promotions’ tab.

The Gmail Ad is ‘pushed’ to an inbox even when the user did not search for the advertised content. Google secretly crawls Gmail user accounts and compiles information essential with advertisers. Advertisers can select their audiences based on interests, likes and behaviour. They are charged per click when there is an interaction with the ad. This model for online marketing campaigns benefits leads based ads rather than direct sales. Naturally, online users respond best to the ‘freemium’ model or free trial. Users are more likely to click on Ads offering free membership or content. Google Ads impresses with the capacity to deliver leads from those unwilling users.

Three ways to boost your marketing with Gmail upgrades

  1. Targeting is a fantastic substitute to remarketing. Businesses can target recent interest generated by the user and this will enhance your ability to target users more likely to interact with your ad.
  2. Research conducted by Emery Barnes reveals that 87% of online marketers utilise Gmail Ads, 25% of the emails were opened regularly and 30% more masked with emoji. To engage users, advertisers are encouraged to use emojis as this will lead to more conversion for the ad.
  3. Gmail Ads has a metric function that allows you to analyse and monitor your campaign. This way you can review your AdWords strategy to match current trends popular among users.

Gmail Ads is a desirable method of advertising that has earned the admiration of consumers and marketers globally.  Forever changing how advertising and digital marketing will be conducted.

Google Announces Major Changes to Ad Rotation Settings

Google recently announced some major changes to ad rotation settings in AdWords that will take place starting from the 15th of September. These changes will bring an end to the long-standing debate among advertisers about the best way to test different ads in each ad group. While all paid search advertisers can certainly agree that ad testing is important, should they let them rotate blindly, make changes after a 90-day period, or optimise them to increase clicks and enjoy more conversions? It seems the answer doesn’t matter anymore because now, the changes simplify the matter by trimming the AdWords ad rotations settings for a simpler solution.

The Major Changes to Ad Rotation Settings

Google AdWords will support only two rotation settings where you can either choose to optimise or rotate indefinitely. The first option to optimise (prefer best performing ads), will employ Google’s machine learning technology to deliver ads with the potential to do better than the other ads in the ad group. Choosing ‘do not optimise (rotate ads indefinitely) allows your ads to rotate continuously without putting priority on better performing ads to a user’s search.

The existing settings ‘optimise for conversions’ and ‘rotate evenly’ will be abandoned and where the options to ‘Optimise for clicks’, ‘Optimise for conversions’ and ‘Rotate evenly are being used by campaigns, there will be automatic change to the new ‘Optimise’ setting.

Regardless of how campaigns set their ad rotation settings for their smart bidding strategies like Enhanced CPC, target CPA or target ROAS, their ad rotation will automatically be set to ‘Optimise’ as a result of Google’s new decision. In addition, advertisers can easily control their new ad rotation settings at the campaign level and at the ad group level as well.

The Impact of the Changes on Advertisers

Besides the major effect being forcing search marketers to stay on top of their testing schedules if they aren’t already, the announced changes to AdWords rotation will affect many advertisers using the usual ad rotation and bidding strategies.

This means if your campaigns currently make use of either the ‘Rotate evenly’ or ‘Optimise for conversions ad rotation setting’ you will notice the new changes in your account sometime in late September. Campaigns employing smart bidding strategies such as target CPA, enhanced CPC or target ROAS bidding strategies are not left out either.

Although some advertisers would naturally not be inclined to trust Google to optimise their ad rotation, you can reasonably expect to see positive performance n CTR and CPA from making the change.

Preparing for Changes in Ad Rotation Settings

There’s nothing to be done in advance since the transition will automatically occur in late September. Still, it is advisable to pay close attention to your accounts in order to see how they respond to said changes.

Advertisers presently making use of the ‘Rotate evenly’ option should work to finish up current ad tests and possibly migrate to an optimise setting before the ad rotation change takes place to get the most out of ad tests in the future. A smart bidding strategy is a better option for advertisers currently using the ‘Optimise for conversions’ setting in order to optimise their bids in real time auctions.

On a final note, if you are dissatisfied with the proposed changes to be made to your account, you can always choose the ‘Do Not Optimise’ ad rotation so that your ads are rotated evenly into each search auction.

AdWords Announces Upcoming Changes to Enhanced CPC Bidding

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In the middle of May, Google announced that AdWords will start rolling out changes to enhanced CPC bidding (eCPC) beginning in early June. Advertisers logging into the AdWords interface would likely have seen the notification indicating these changes.

Background of eCPC bidding

AdWords presents advertisers with various bidding strategies to use to achieve their aims. While advertisers can decide to bid for a target CPA, bid for a target location on the SERP, pay for display ads, or pay for video views, majority of advertisers choose to depend on cost-per-click CPC bidding.

Advertisers’ accounts easily grow in complexity and size, and with this growth, it becomes difficult to manage a rapidly growing load of audiences, demographics, keywords, and bid adjustments in campaigns. It is for this reason that Google introduced eCPC in 2010, rolling out a major change in the way cost-per-click (CPC) bidding works. By introducing eCPC bidding, they were able to take some load off the shoulders of advertisers.

The change allowed Google to dynamically adjust advertisers’ bids within a range of 30% if the AdWords algorithm believed a click was likely to lead to a conversion. Since it was introduced, eCPC bidding was used for new campaigns as the default bidding strategy, which in turn gave Google more control over bids.

What do the new changes mean?

Adwords eCPC Update
This is the official word from Google on the eCPC update.

Before the new changes, the eCPC automatic bidding strategy would increase an advertiser’s keywords bids by up to 30% if the AdWords algorithm noticed a click which may be more likely to convert. When automatically adjusting bids, the algorithm would take into account the time of day, users’ location, device, and browser, and before those, any manual bid adjustment.

With the new adjustments to eCPC, Google will be removing the 30% cap, aiming to help advertisers to gain more conversions. The new changes will not adjust bids based on device, and advertisers who have no conversion stats and those with strict CPC KPIs need to watch out.

While it is possible that advertisers will pay more than their maximum CPC for one click in eCPC bidding, Google says it will try to keep average CPC under maximum CPC bids. With the 30% cap removed, Google may become forceful in making automatic bid adjustments.

Also, Google may adjust advertisers’ bids for different demographics, similar audiences, and remarketing audiences. Regarding bids for different locations, if Google’s AdWords algorithms find local markets with higher conversion rates, your bids for that location will automatically be adjusted.

For advertisers using eCPC with excellent results, it is recommended to test for some time and see how the new changes affect conversion rate, average CPC, and impression share.

Bing Relaxes Policy Restricting Use of Trademarks as Keywords

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On March 27, 2017, Bing’s update to their policy on using trademarks as keywords went live. This means advertisers and marketers are now free to use trademarks in their ads, with a number of restrictions of course. The new changes applied to 10 countries. These countries are Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, France, Italy, UK, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.

In Bing’s official announcement made by their Program Manager of Search Demand Policy, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, the company made it clear that they would continue to disallow the use of trademarks in ad copy. They mentioned that fair use of a trademark in ad copy will continue to be allowed specifically for:

  • Informational websites such as product reviews.
  • Resellers of an authentic good or service.
  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term.
  • Comparative advertising, but onlywhen supported by independent research.

One of the factors the company seems to have considered before making the change is it will make it easier for advertisers to transfer their campaigns between the major search engines without having to optimise as much. The benefits are not restricted to the advertisers as the company expects that consumers will have a better experience. According to the official announcement, Bing had found that consumers often search for trademarked terms expecting to receive broader results.

Bing has always been stern with piracy, phishing, scams, scareware, misleading content, and other unethical practices. For instance, in 2016, their ad quality review reported that 130 million ads were rejected with 175,000 advertisers blocked. This is nowhere near Google’s 1.7 billion bad ads blocked in the same year but the company does its part. Bing’s decision to update their policy restricting the use of trademarks in keywords could place them on a level playing field with Google’s AdWords. However, Google is certainly way ahead of them, having allowed trademarks in keywords since 2014.

On the advantages of Bing’s update, Paul Smith of Search Creative points out that:

  • Advertisers will be able to optimise search engine results to their advantage by leveraging on trademarks that do not belong to them.
  • Enforcement of trademarks will become more consistent globally.
  • Advertisers will be able to transfer campaigns between search engines without having to tweak optimisation as much.
  • Consumers will benefit as they would begin to get a wider range of results, presenting them with more choices and improving the overall search experience.

Smith insists that while more advertising campaigns may be annoying, making searches broader can only yield better results. He advises that brand owners be aware of the development and consider focusing their efforts on retaining a strong online presence, especially through multiple search engines.

Google is Making AdWords Smarter with Exact Match Keywords


The days of having to enter loads of exact match keywords are soon coming to an end. Over the next few months, Google will effect a series of changes to the way AdWords processes keywords.

What happens now is if you sell children’s clothes, you’ll likely include “children’s clothes” in your list of keywords. For a potential customer to find you, they would have to type “children’s clothes”. If you want to ensure more people find you, you’ll add different variations such as “clothes for children”, “kids’ clothes”, and so on. Of course, this can get tiring and on many occasions, you may be unable to target all the possible keywords.

Because Google understands that this can be a difficult matter for advertisers, they’ve decided to expand close variant matching to help advertisers reach more of their customers. These are the changes they’re making:

Ignoring function words

Google is going to start ignoring function words as long as they don’t change the meaning of the keyword. Function words are prepositions such as “to”, conjunctions such as “but”, articles such as “an”, and other words that don’t alter the intention behind the user’s search. For example, the “in” in “restaurants in Vancouver” can be ignored because it doesn’t change the meaning. However, the “from” in “flights from Vancouver” doesn’t have the same meaning as “flights to Vancouver”.

Words can appear in any order

An exact match keyword will be matched with different queries even if the words are reordered. The only condition is the meaning must remain the same and retain the intent behind the user’s search. Using the same examples above, “restaurants Vancouver” is the same as “Vancouver restaurants”. However, “Vancouver to Toronto” is certainly not the same as “Toronto to Vancouver”.

These changes are to be effected over the next few months starting with English and Spanish, with other languages following through the rest of the year. Google expects to see up to 3% more exact match clicks.

What do advertisers think?

On day 2 of Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West, Mindstream Media’s Stephanie Cheek shared her thoughts on Google’s AdWords update. She explained that advertisers would have to retrain themselves to use and think of exact match keywords differently. Mindstream Media’s report from the panel discussion states that many advertisers were uncomfortable with giving up the level of control they have with exact match.

Scotty D on Google’s advertiser community believes the update is certainly a step in the right direction. He points out that 20% of searches in the US are now by voice, making it harder to pinpoint all query variations that may capture a user’s intent.

Location Extensions for your local business’ Google Display Ads. What good are they?

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Location extensions are a Google AdWords feature that allows for the adding of location data concerning a business into an ad. But why are these extensions important? And how can you use them to your advantage?

Location extensions assist people in discovering the location of a sought after local business with the aid of Google Maps and Google.com. Doesn’t matter what the business offers. As long as it’s listed and it has a physical location, Google will help you find it.

With the help of Google Display Network ads, a store’s photos, working hours, and location are automatically uploaded for the benefit of shoppers who are interested in what said business has to offer. A good example would be of an individual interested in limited edition sneakers browsing online and coming across local information of a little known store selling limited edition, one of a kind Nikes. This would mean thanks to local extensions, our friend with the sneaker fetish can visit this neighbourhood store he’s never heard of and maybe find something interesting.

To help users along, Google has started automatically adding location extensions to Google Display Network ads that are eligible when a user expresses interest in a certain kind of business and is in the locality of said business.

As a business owner, what you can profit from using Google AdWords location extensions is quite extensive. Such as, but not limited to;

  1. Acquiring extra ad space for communicating your business’ value: With local extensions, you’re no longer limited to only traditional costly methods of advertising or social media. Now you can reach potential customers who are in the actual vicinity of your business and are looking for your specific services
  2. Encouraging potential customers to walk through your store’s front door: Potential customers who would have never known of your business’s existence now have a higher likelihood of visiting you. This is thanks to location extension’s targeted approach.
  3. It also improves your Click through Rate by up to 10%, which in turn improves your Quality Score and reduces your advertising costs.
  4. With location extensions, customers have more ways to interact with your ad instead of just viewing it. The can click on the ad’s headline, or hit a “click-to-call” button, or better yet, get directions to your business’s location. This added functionality comes at no extra cost to your business because you’ll still be charged the same Cost Per Click regardless if the user chooses to visityour website or your local store, or call.

With this information you can now decide if location extensions are worth it to your business and how to go about benefiting from them. Up your business’ publicity by making the best out of this added feature from Google.

“Fred” Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

8-What-You-Should-Know-About-Google-Fred-UpdateSearch Marketers Beware

Successful search marketing has a lot to do with Google’s search algorithm. As a search marketer, developer or SEO expert, you must be conversant with the latest Google algorithm trends to pull off a successful marketing campaign because it relates directly with:

  • Search engine optimisation
  • Search engine ranking and
  • Organic website traffic

Optimising Search Marketing by Staying Up-to-Date with Google’sever Changing Algorithm

There is need for every search marketer, developer and SEO expert to understand the dynamics of  Google’s algorithm as it undergoes frequent major and minor modifications every often because it is essential to the success of their business. It is important you keep your ears tuned to these changes, especially the major ones which have a considerably weightier impact on the overall success of your business. Google Webmaster YouTube Channel is a useful resource that keeps you informed on latest trends in the SEO world.

The most successful search marketers, SEO experts and developers are those who do due diligence in keeping up with Google’s ever changing algorithm which does have a significant impact on search engine optimisation and ranking that translate into organic website traffic.

To be on top of your game as an SEO expert, marketer or developer, you must have adequate information on latest trends in search marketing and SEO best practices. Google was said to have made a major change in its search algorithm over the past few weeks, on March 8th to be precise.

Latest Google Algorithm Ranking – March 8th 2017 Update

It was reported recently on the 8th of March 2017 that there was a perceived major update in Google’s search algorithm known as Fred. Google’s Gary Illyes recently confirmed the update which was a mere speculation before now. There were, however, obvious signs that indicated there was a major Google ranking update before it was confirmed as it already had its toll on the SEO world with hundreds of websites recording between 50% to 90% decline from Google’s organic search.

According to Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Land, the sites that were hardest hit by Fred are sites that place revenue generation above user experience. These are sites which he claims are heavy on ads with low value content. Google’s recent major update Schwartz says is link related. Studies have it that there were significant changes in Google’s rankings in the first week of February which were link and content related. January 10 also saw a momentous change in the SEO world after Google warned against intrusive interstitials. “Fred” is, however, what SEO experts search engine marketers and developers need to be more concerned about now.

The safer thing to do is to go low on ads if your website is already heavy on this and focus more on quality content that will be useful to everyone who visits your website. The most important thing you should keep in mind is user experience.