Small Business Tag

04 Aug 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?

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28 Jul 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?

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23 Jul 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!

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16 Jul 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.

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09 Jul 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.

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