September 19, 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.

Small Business PPC – Content Network (Part II)

In Part I of Small Business PPC – Content Network we talked about when you should use the content network and why you should separate content network advertising into their own campaigns. Now we need to talk about how you control the beast that is the Google Content Network.

Controlling Google’s Content Network

The Google Content Network is best described as a black hole, sucking money away from advertisers into an abyss from which there is no return and no trace. However, with a few precautions and a wise course you can use the black hole to slingshot your business to speeds you never thought possible. This is how:

  • Budgets & Bids – These are your safety nets. Set the daily bid at a level where you are 100% cool with spending it. Set CPC bids lower than search, but remember that in the content network you need to be in the top 3 to show on most sites because a typical AdSense unit has 3 ads.
  • Negative Keywords – Run your search query reports frequently. Look for keywords that are triggering your ads but aren’t relevant (ie if you sell toto toilets you don’t want your ads showing next to content about Toto in the Wizard of Oz).
  • Domain Exclusion – Run your placement reports frequently too. Look for sites that don’t get results. This includes sites with lots of impressions but no clicks, or worse, sites with lots of clicks but no conversions. The new interface makes this much easier.

Bridled the Beast? Run with it!

Once you have a grip on the content network, start giving it the reins by increasing your budget. With the lower CPCs found in the content network you can often get conversions cheaper than search, and more of them. Any other advice from the experts out there?

Bing! And Then There Were Two

As has been reported everywhere, Microsoft finally got their hands on Yahoo’s search. Some say the move is necessary to create a viable competitor to Google’s monopoly. Some bemoan the death of Yahoo (since they’re the only “old school” search engine still around). Virtually every possible angle has already been covered, so I’ll just talk about what the merger means to me, the PPC manager at Vizad.

First, The Bad News

  1. Muddled demographics – Yahoo is more social, skews younger and more female. Microsoft is more corporate, skews older and more male. Now it will be one big muddled mess (just like Google)
  2. Wasted certification – My Certified Yahoo Ambassador status is a goner (though the Ambassador program was pretty much gone already)

The Silver Lining

  1. One less interface(eventually) – No more dealing with Yahoo’s clunky, slow web interface and both Bing and Google have desktop clients
  2. I’m in total control – No longer do I have to worry that Yahoo has turned off my ads in the name of optimization, or added keywords, or added new ad groups or … you get my point
  3. A legitimate contender – While everyone talks about search generally, the Google monopoly is most problematic on the advertising side. A solid competitor (with deep pockets to compete) will hopefully create a healthier market for PPC advertisers

I’m sure there will be problems as two gigantic companies try to merge something so complex. I’m sure you’ll hear plenty from the pundits, but for a PPC manager like me this will likely improve life. How will it affect you?

Small Business PPC – Bidding on Your Brand

As a PPC manager I often have the following dialogue with a client:

Client: I ran a search yesterday for “Brand Name” and saw that we are running PPC ads even though we already rank #1. We don’t want to pay [Avg. Bid Amount] for clicks we’re going to get anyway.

As you can see, this isn’t really a dialogue. Ideally it would go more like this:

Client: I ran a search yesterday for “Brand Name” and saw that we are running PPC ads even though we already rank #1. Do we need to pay [Avg. Bid Amount] for clicks we’re going to get anyway?

Me: Actually, for clicks on your brand name the average cost is under [usually between $0.05 and $0.25] and your result will almost always be #1, ahead of your competitors, and allowing you to occupy twice the “real estate” on the SERP. It’s like a cheap insurance policy against your competitors stealing clicks.

Client: But don’t people usually click the #1 result?

Me: Most do, but for searches on your brand name we want to capture as close to 100% of the clicks as possible. They’re already looking for you. Not to mention that we have full control of what a paid ad says and can send people directly to a landing page with [contact form, registration, special offer, etc.] instead of just plopping them on the home page.

Client: Okay. Let’s keep bidding on [Brand Name] then. Thanks for explaining that.

Bidding on Your Brand Terms

In summary, there are many reasons to bid on your brand term:

  1. Double the “real estate” you occupy on the 1st page of the SERP
  2. Stay ahead of competitors bidding on your brand terms
  3. You control the copy 100%
  4. Send visitors directly to landing pages/conversion pages
  5. The clicks are usually pretty cheap (think insurance policy)

Anything I missed?

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?

Small Business PPC – How Long Should I Run Tests?

Hypothetically let’s say you’ve successfully set up your AdWords account. You built a campaign (with all the settings right) and a couple ad groups (with well-targeted keywords) with two ads so you could test which is better. The account has been running for awhile and one of ads is performing better than the other. But is the test valid or is it just chance?

Statistical Significance

Don’t let the big words scare you, statistical significance is just a fancy term that mathematicians use to say, in effect, the difference is legit (and not the random 1 in 1000 chance of a bad ad doing better than the good one); the mathematical way of validating what will probably look like an obvious answer. So how do you apply statistical significance to your small business PPC? Two ways.

  • Rule of 30 – Make sure you have at least 30 responses (can be either clicks or conversions) and that the results are at least 10-20% different. For example, each ad ran 1000 times, one was clicked 25 times (2.5% CTR) and the other was clicked 35 times (3.5% CTR). You have 60 responses and the second ad received a CTR that was over 25% better. Replace the underperforming ad.
  • Use a Statistical Significance Calculator – You can go out and learn the math, or you can use a simple online calculator like this one. For a CTR test you put the impressions in as the sample sizes and clicks as the responses. For a conversion rate test, clicks are the sample sizes and conversions are the responses. Note: Conversion rate tests will take much longer than CTR tests.

Running your tests through this simple step will ensure that you make the right call on winners and losers while testing your small business PPC.

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.