September 22, 2014

Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: What You Need To Know


Google AdWordsGoogle has recently announced major changes to AdWords. The new enhanced campaigns will see the integration of mobile search and desktop search. This is Google’s first step in helping advertisers manage their ad campaigns in a multi-device world.

A recent study found that 90% of multi-device consumers move between several different devices to accomplish a task. AdWords has previously been used to target mainly desktops devices, but with the advancement of new devices, such as tablets and smartphones the new enhanced campaigns will target both desktop devices and mobile devices in one campaign.

The enhanced campaigns will be optional for all advertisers, until late June, when all campaigns will automatically be upgraded.

The new enhanced campaigns have three major features:

Management of Campaign and Budget: With smartphones constantly coming down in price, it’s no wonder that nearly half of all searches are performed using smartphones, and this will only increase over the next few years. Google has taken note of this data to help advertisers target customers more relevantly. With bid adjustments, using just a single campaign, advertisers will be able manage their bids for different devices, locations and time of day.

Example: A cafe serving breakfast may want to target people nearby searching for “Breakfast” on a smartphone. With bid adjustments, advertisers have the ability to bid higher for people located nearby, and for those using smartphones. The cafe could also choose to bid lower after they stop serving breakfast.

Bid adjustments will be found in the campaigns settings tab.

Context Based Ads: People using a smartphone may be looking for something different, than if they were using a desktop computer. Context based ads allows you to show ads across different devices with the correct text, sitelink or app. This can all be achieved with just one campaign – rather than having to edit each campaign for different locations, times of day and devices.

Example: Certain companies may have both a physical store and a website. With the new enhanced campaigns, the company could show ads with click-to-call and apps downloads for people searching with a smartphone. The company could then choose to display an ad for their website for customers searching with a PC.

Ads based on context will be a type of ad selection in AdWords.

New conversion types: Before enhanced campaigns, advertisers have been unable to easily measure mobile campaigns. With the new AdWords reports, advertisers will now be able to determine how many times an ad has converted into an app download or phone call.

Example: Click-to-call phones calls of 60 seconds or more will be counted as a conversion in the new AdWords reports. This can then be used to compare against other conversions, such as sales and downloads.

This feature will be an additional column as a conversion in reporting.

Cross device tracking, a new feature from Google, will allow advertisers to see how mobile searchers drive desktop searches, downloads, purchases, etc. It will also show how desktop searchers drive mobile searches.

Will the New Enhanced Campaigns Affect your Current Campaigns?

Most likely, yes. Firstly, the new mobile changes coming to Google’s mobile search will no longer make tablet targeting optional. You will still have the option to not appear on mobile by setting mobile bids to -100% of the desktop bids.

Your upgrade path will vary depending on how you currently run your campaign:

  • If you’ve yet to separate your desktop and mobile advertising, then the only thing you’ll need to do is set your mobile bid adjustment factor
  • If your campaign is currently desktop-only, then it will automatically be upgraded to run on both desktop and mobile devices
  • If your campaign is currently mobile-only, then it will automatically be upgraded to run on both desktop and mobile devices
  • If you have made copies of the same campaign, to run on both desktop and mobile, you’ll need to merge these back together

The new enhanced campaigns should make AdWords easier to target users. The complexity of managing several different campaigns should now be easier to manage, as all changes will be made from just one campaign.

Google’s new enhanced campaigns will be available to advertisers in the next few weeks and are optional until the end of June, after that time all campaigns will automatically be upgraded.

Are You Addicted to AdWords?

Growing up I always knew that technology could be addicting. My mom would often kick us off the Sega and tell us to go play outside. Over time the games became more and more immersing. My freshman year of college I had a friend who would stay up all night (even right before big tests) playing Starcraft. Then there were the Golden Eye tournaments in my hall and eventually Halo came on the scene.

My aunt was convinced that Halo was the devil of games. She had seen “good kids” who stopped being productive with their lives and just played Halo instead. However, in talking to gamers, the ultimate in online addiction is World of Warcraft. Where Halo is the nicotine of online gaming, World of Warcraft is the crack cocaine. So how does this relate to online advertising? Let me explain.

AdWords Is A Drug

Caution: This statement has not been reviewed by the FDA.

  1. The first time is free – If you haven’t seen a free $50 or $25 AdWords offer online you must have been hiding under a rock. You’ve probably even tried it haven’t you?
  2. The high is immediate – As soon as you turn it on you start getting traffic. Immediate gratification at its finest.
  3. You keep wanting more – You get a few clicks that generates a sale or two. Now you need more clicks to keep the sales coming.
  4. If you stop, you crash – Think you can stop anytime? Go ahead … and watch your traffic and sales plummet.

So how addicted are you? Take this poll to find out:

If you said that over 60% of your traffic is from AdWords, you’re a hardcore addict. 41-60% makes you a heavy user. 21-40%, you could quit, but it would be tough. 0-20%, you’re still in the gateway stages.

Expandable Maps in PPC Ads on Google?


While running a search today I came across this interesting feature – an expandable Google Maps listing.

I thought it was only available for 1st position advertisers, but here it is at position 3. When did they “expand” the policy?

Small Business PPC – Content Network (Part I)


Content Network Black Hole
Nothing strikes fear into the heart of PPC newbies quite like the content network – a mystical black hole that sucks in all advertisers who dare pass too closely. While true that many an advertiser has lost hundreds or thousands of dollars in the content network, if properly used the content network can provide cheaper clicks and cheaper conversions for your business.

Divide and Conquer

Step 1 for the beginning AdWords user is to create separate campaigns for the content network. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Keywords: The content network is contextually-targeted. Ads are not triggered by the exact keywords you have in the campaign. Ads are triggered if Google feels the intent or context is similar to your keywords. Therefore, for content campaigns you should feel free to use competitive head terms like weight loss or divorce lawyer (whereas in your search campaigns you are likely using more specific terms like “weight loss after pregnancy” or “Los Angeles divorce lawyer”). This will get you loads of impressions, and hopefully clicks, quickly.
  2. Ad Copy: Ads showing in Google’s content network are alongside articles, blogs, etc. In search the user is looking for you. In the content network they are doing something else and you need to entice them to click on your ads. This important difference is why you should use different ad copy. For the content network you need more compelling copy that draws attention.
  3. Stats: Users aren’t looking for ads in the content network. Therefore you will get lower CTR in the content network. Don’t be alarmed, but keeping content and search separate will help you know just how big the difference is. The low CTR shouldn’t scare you though. The content network will get you far more impressions to make up for the low CTR and you should be able to convert the traffic as well, or better, than your search campaigns.

Now you know the basics for getting started, but how do you control the beast? That will be the topic of my next post. Tune in next Tuesday!

Top PPC Mistakes (via Twitter)

After reading the most recent State of the Twittersphere report I realized that I’m kind of a big deal (compared to the average Twitter user). Therefore, I asked my awesome followers to share their wisdom and asked “What is the #1 AdWords mistake made by small businesses?”

My contribution to the list would be the following:

Not testing on a consistent basis

Thank you to these guys for helping me out and if you take these points to heart you’ll avoid a lot of mistakes. Anything we missed?

Google AdWords – Spreadsheets Now Built In!

For all you PPC wizards out there who do bulk edits via Excel spreadsheets, Google has just made your life A LOT easier by building spreadsheet editing right into the new AdWords interface (AdWords blog post here). In the Keywords tab just click the More actions like so:

Then you’ll see a spreadsheet (sort of an Excel/Google Docs hybrid) which includes the basic functionality (like formulas) that makes working in spreadsheets so cool. Or you can just do a copy/paste of your spreadsheet right into their spread sheet.

Go check it out my fellow PPC wizards and let me know what you think

PS I know this is yesterday’s news (literally), but I didn’t see it until this morning. Forgive me.

Small Business PPC – Search Query Reports


If you are looking for insight into what customers are searching and when your ad is being seen, this report has the answers. And with the new AdWords interface these reports are easier than ever.

How To Run A Search Query Report

To run a search query report, login to AdWords and drill down to the ad group level. Then select the “See search terms…” button like so:
Search Query Report

After the report runs you’ll be presented with your search terms like this:
Search Query Report

Notice here that the 2nd keyword, online marketing consultant, got clicks on 3 of 4 impressions. This is a keyword that I could add to my keyword list. Just check the box and click the “Add as keyword” button at the top of the list. Google has made this super easy. You’ll also see that my ad was triggered by the broad term “market”. Yes, it got a couple clicks on 60 impressions, but market is too broad for my product. I can add this as a negative keyword by checking the box and clicking the “Add as negative keyword” button at the top of the list.

How Often Should I Run A Search Query Report

I recently saw a good PPC checklist that recommended weekly and I agree. My only caveat would be that if you have a small budget and are accumulating clicks slowly, you may not be getting a lot of data every week. In these situations every couple weeks would be sufficient.

Moral of the Story – Search query reports will help you find new keyword opportunities and weed out irrelevant searches which will boost CTR and QS, lowering your CPC. Give it a try and let me know how it went.

Small Business PPC – Negative Keywords


One of the most underutilized features in PPC is the negative keywords function. Hours are spent looking for the most relevant keywords and every imaginable permutation and misspelling. Those keywords are then organized into ad groups and campaigns using multiple match types, all in an effort to make sure our ad shows when a search is performed. All this effort to show up, but aren’t there searches where we DON’T want our ad?

Negative Keywords – Your Own Personal Jiminy Cricket

I love the movie Pinocchio and especially the character of Jiminy Cricket. This little guy has the job of keeping Pinocchio out of trouble. Effectively, Jiminy tells Pinocchio what NOT to do. Negative keywords are the Jiminy Cricket that you give to Google with instructions of when NOT to show your ads.

First, an example. Say you are selling small business backup software like Mozy Pro. Of course you want your ad to show for searches like “small business data backup” or “business backup”. So you put these guys in your ad group. However, do you really want someone searching “free business backup”? Say you sell Toto toilets. Do you want your ad showing for searches on Dorothy’s dog Toto from the Wizard of Oz?

How To Add Negative Keywords

Google AdWords has rolled out a new interface in the last few months and negative keywords got moved. You will now see them below your keyword lists like this:
Negative Keywords in AdWords

Simply click the “Add” button and type in keywords that aren’t related to your offering. “Free” is a good one if you don’t offer a free option. Our Toto toilets site above would add words like “Oz”, “Wizard”, “Dorothy” or “Dog”. This has two main benefits:

  1. Your ads don’t get stupid clicks (missed clicks, curiosity clicks, etc.) from people not looking for your product/services.
  2. Your CTR goes up, your QS goes up and your CPC goes down for the same position.

PS – Can’t think of any more negative keywords? Run a Search Query Report and you’ll find more, guaranteed! But that is Thursday’s post.

Small Business PPC – Campaign Settings


Tucked away in the Google AdWords interface you will find a very important area that many people never even think to look at, let alone actually optimize: the Campaign Settings.

Campaign Settings

Below you will see a screenshot of the campaign settings area in the new Google AdWords interface.
AdWords Campaign Settings


Locations in AdWords can be set at the national, state, and/or city level. If you’re a plumber in Omaha, you can show your ads only within a 50 mile radius of your offices.

Languages are pretty self explanatory.

Demographics are more of an advanced feature that I wouldn’t recommend for most small businesses. These settings apply only to the content network (a beast in its own right) and the system Google uses to determine demographics isn’t perfect. Leave a comment if you have questions about this area and I’ll help you one-on-one.

Networks, Devices and Extensions

You have the options of serving ads on any combination of Google search, search partners (other sites that have their search powered by Google), the content network and mobile phones. Unless you have experience and are confident in your knowledge of AdWords, I recommend you start with just Google search and search partners.

Bidding and Budget

There are a lot of options here, but I’ll keep it simple: set the daily budget you’re willing to spend and then leave these settings alone.

Advanced Settings

First, you can schedule your ads to run during a period of time (say you run your ads from June 25th to July 3rd for your fireworks site) or “dayparting”, which is showing ads only during certain parts of the day (if your product is a pure B2B play it might be wise to only show your ads during business hours on weekdays). Dayparting is most effective when used to weed out less productive times and should be based on web analytics or sales data that shows which times of day aren’t profitable.

Second, you can change the ad rotation. The default is for Google to optimize. Optimize = Google serving the ad with better click-through-rate (CTR) to maximize their revenue. Therefore I recommend you change from the default to “Rotate”. This will serve the ads more evenly and let’s you effectively conduct simple A/B tests on ad copy and landing pages.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Be smart!

Small Business PPC – Budget Limitations Got You Down?

The most apparent difference between a small business PPC campaign and the PPC campaign of a large company is the budget. Large companies tell their PPC manager to capture all the available clicks, many times with no real cap on spending. The small business usually can set aside a certain amount each month, say $1000, and then has to squeeze every last drop from that budget. Here is where the rules change for small business PPC campaigns.

Focus, Like a Laser Beam!

I once had a friend who had difficulty studying. He would get distracted by the cool car on the street or more interesting reading material. We developed a saying for whenever he would get distracted to help him get back on topic: “Focus! Like a laser beam!”

Lasers on a fundamental level are just really powerful lights. However, a laser is able to cut through metal because that light is being focused into a single, small beam (think of a magnifying glass and ants). When focused appropriately, even a small laser can be extremely powerful. This is how you need to run your small business.

How Do I Focus?

Remember from our last post that budgets are set on the campaign level. Therefore, if you have $1000 to spend this month and 2 campaigns, each will have a budget of $16.67/day. Seems easy enough right? Actually, this is where you need to look at your own industry to determine the best course of action. Basically you need to see where your PPC fits in these 3 categories:

  • Not Competitive – Lucky you, your niche isn’t a feeding frenzy of competition. You are able to get clicks for under $0.25 on very targeted keywords that will produce excellent leads. There probably isn’t a ton of search volume, but this fits your budget perfectly. You can set a campaign with a $5.00/day budget and capture all the clicks available. Welcome to PPC nirvana.
  • Mildly Competitive – Your main “head” terms are pretty competitive and cost your around $1.00/click. However, you find there are quite a few “tail” terms (pocatello idaho wedding photographer instead of wedding photographer) that have much more reasonable prices and will produce highly qualified traffic. Try to separate your tail terms from your head terms. Make sure your budgets capture all the tail term traffic possible, then use the rest for the more competitive head terms.
  • Very Competitive – All the terms you want to target are highly competitive. Over $1.00/click and sometimes over $5.00/click. You face an uphill battle my friend. If you can’t identify tail terms to target first, you will likely have to consolidate your budget into a single campaign with a limited keyword list. This will allow you to run effective tests in reasonable time frames. When fighting in a melee, keep your forces concentrated. Remember the movie Gladiator? Think of the first fight in the Coliseum where Maximus is taking on the chariots with just shields and spears. Stick together.

Okay, so you’ve ascertained how competitive your industry is, now the next step will be setting your keyword-level bids to match. And that is the topic of our next post, so tune back in on Thursday or subscribe to the RSS in the upper right. As usual, I would love to hear from you in the comments.