It’s Time To Get Enhanced…

So, the time that we all get to ‘enhance’ our PPC campaigns is finally upon us. All campaigns with Google Adwords that haven’t already upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns, will be automatically updated by Google today. Like everyone in the industry, Enhanced Campaigns have been a big talking point for me and a huge change for us all.

I’ve written a few blogs since the big announcement in February – The Good, Bad and Ugly Of Google’s ‘Enhanced Campaigns’ and The Winners and Losers Of Enhanced Campaigns and Dealing With Life With Enhanced Campaigns and my thoughts haven’t changed that much since rolling out all of my clients campaigns within the last few months.

Bad Points

  • Still far too less control over mobile bid adjustments. It should still remain at keyword level in my opinion
  • No control over tablet bidding – Tablet and mobile do not behave the same so this is rubbish
  • CPC’s have seen increases of between 20-30%

Good Points

  • Sitelink extensions available at ad group level, rather than campaign
  • Sitelink scheduling
  • Time of the day and geographic location bid adjustments
  • More focus on being able to target the right person at the right time in display campaigns
  • Bing isn’t rolling out the same changes

Less control over mobile bidding and zero control over tablet bids are naturally going to see an increase in CPC’s and in most cases conversion rates. Depending on the industry the results so far are varying. For some of my clients I have stayed clear of mobile bidding altogether and tablet hasn’t had as much impact as I’d expected on most.

There are ways to make the best use out of mobile bid adjustments just at ad group level, such as:

  • Splitting keywords into ad groups which perform at different levels for mobile and apply different bid adjustments for each ad group
  • Use single keyword ad groups so you have more control over bid adjustments – not the most ideal solution, but works in some campaigns

Neither of these solutions are ideal, but without any control over the decisions Google make, it’s just about making the best use out of the changes.

How have you found the rollover to enhanced campaigns? Will we finally start calling our campaigns just campaigns, rather than enhanced campaigns?

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Top Movers Adwords Report

Google launched last week that they had rolled out a top movers report. This report, at campaign level, shows the top moving clicks and costs each week.

The report shows the following:

  • Topline increases and decreases in clicks and costs for all campaigns
  • Top increases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks
  • Top decreases in costs -> Showing changes in average position, clicks, average CPC, impressions and clicks

The great thing about this report is it highlights some of the possible reasons why the changes have occurred. Be that a change in bids, keywords deleted or new ads introduced. I would expect this report will become part of the Monday morning ritual to check what is driving a change in costs or clicks over a certain time period.

Google Adwords Top Movers Report

The report can be found in the campaign tab -> Dimensions tab -> Top movers

Is this a report you’ll now be looking at regularly?

A Guide To Search Query Reports (SQR’s) On Adwords

Google Adwords’ Search Query Reports, commonly known as SQR’s, are one of the most important reports to look at as PPC marketer. Here is a little guide on why they are useful, what you can (and should) do with them and how often to look at them.

What is a Search Query Report?

So you have keywords on different match types in your Adwords accounts (Phrase, Exact, Broad, Broad Match Modifier) which make your ads appear on all sorts of keywords, some that you want and some that you don’t. SQR’s show you exactly what search terms people are getting to your site from.

Where Do I Find The Search Query Report?

You can view of download the search query report if you go to a keyword report, then click on the details drop down and select the search terms report (either selected or all keywords).

Adwords Search Query Report (SQR)

Why Is It So Useful? 

  • Prevents spending on keywords you wouldn’t want your add to be shown
  • Gives you an awareness of your potential customers search habits and behaviours
  • Allows you to reassess the keywords you target and the overall structure of your account
  • Identify which search terms are performing on all metrics – CTR, CVR, cost per lead/cost per acquisition

What To Take From a Search Query Report?

  • Keywords to add into your account

What is the benefit of adding keywords into the account that are already triggering clicks to your site? This is something which seems to baffle some people, but the main benefit is that you can then treat this search term as an individual keyword. By doing this you’ll be able to:

– Bid separately (different CPC’s) – This could ultimately reduce your costs and efficiency

– View data on the individual keyword rather than a group of keywords

  • Identify negative keywords to add

Don’t sell a certain product? Out of stock on a certain type of product? Don’t want your ad showing against people searching for scams? Then add them as negatives. Go through your search queries to establish what isn’t bring in quality traffic and refine your negatives.

How Often Should You Look At Yours?

There’s no hard and fast rules about how often you should look at them, but for me the more the better. I schedule time every week to review SQR’s for clients.

Make sure you don’t forget by scheduling a report and get it emailed to you through Google!

So, there you have it a very brief guide to Adwords’ Search Query Reports. Comments and feedback welcome as always 🙂

What Do Your Search Query Reports Say About You?!

Search Query Reports (SQR) in Google Adwords can (and should) completely shape your PPC activity. Ever wondered why one of your keywords on a phrase or broad match isn’t giving you a good clickthrough or conversion rate? Search Query Reports tell you everything you need to know. Your SQR’s can say a few different things:

1 – You Need to Review Your SQR’s More Regularly

By having keywords on phrase and broad (I personally think broad terms should be only used on Branded terms) matches, there are all types of keywords that your ads will trigger for. Some of them will be the right type of keywords, but others really won’t. If you’ve got lots of keywords that you think s*it we shouldn’t be appearing for that, then you need to look at SQR’s on a more regular basis. Place negative keywords against:

  • Products you don’t sell
  • Anything that would make your brand look bad appearing against, such as ‘scams’, ‘worst place to buy xx’
  • Things showing in the wrong ad groups – i.e a competitor term might come up on a phrase match in one ad groups, but you have an ad group just for competitor terms – so place it as a negative in this ad group so it shows in the ad group which will have the best ad copy/landing page (see point 3)

2 – You Should Add More Keywords & Restructure Your Ad Groups

A Search Query Report isn’t the best way to find new keywords, mainly because it only shows keywords that have triggered impressions and clicks. But one of the things you should do with your Search Query Reports is to add any search terms you don’t have as keywords. There are many benefits of doing this – separate bids for keywords, ability to review the keyword individually and limit the amount of keywords you have on phrase match.

The more keywords you do add though, the more of a need there is to tightly group your keywords. Restructuring your ad groups with just a few related keywords allows you to tailor ad copy, link to relevant landing pages which in turn improves clickthrough rate (quality score) and conversion rates. Continue reading

Spring Clean Your PPC Accounts in 5 Simple Steps

It’s apparently spring (we haven’t had snow in a month so guess it must be!), so what better time to give your paid search campaigns a good ol’ spring clean?! But, “where do I start?” I hear you ask… these few pointers might just help:

1 – Pull the Plug on Under Performing Keywords 

As much as we’d like to see all keywords convert well – it just doesn’t work like that. Once you’ve optimised your keywords as much as you can by adding negative keywords, tailoring ad copy to match and testing different landing pages, if you still can’t get the keyword to convert then it’s time to pull the plug. It’s like breaking up a relationship really – you really don’t want to do it but once you do, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done and you can start to move on with your life….. or something like that!

Sort your under performing keywords into two categories – the ‘no hopers’ and the ‘last chance’ keywords. Bin off the no hopers and optimise the last chance ones to do all you can to revive them. They’ll either turn into ‘no hopers’ or the ‘survive for another day’ers’ – a tad dramatic?!

pull the plug
2 – De-Clutter Your Accounts

Is your account full of paused keywords, ads or ad groups? If you have no intention of reactivating them, then you don’t need them cluttering up your account. Identify what you don’t need anymore and don’t be afraid to press that delete button!

3 – Review your Landing Pages

Landing pages can often be overlooked in optimising PPC accounts, but no matter how good your selection of keywords are or how great your ads look if you’re sending traffic to the wrong pages then they mean diddly squat.

Does the traffic your send to the homepage actually do anything? Is there a more relevant page you could send users to? Are you using all the possible pages? If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, set up some A/B testing between different landing pages. Analyse the results then test another page.

4 – Add Negative Keywords

If you don’t already regularly look through your search query reports, then take the time to do so now! Search query reports show the exact queries used which trigger your ads. They are the most useful tool showing where you’re wasting your spend on keywords that are not relevant to you. Conversely, they are also useful to add the keywords triggering your ads on phrase, broad match and near exact terms as keywords in your accounts.

Plus, let’s face it, it’s always amusing to look at what people use search engines for!

5 – Look for Missed Opportunities

The opportunites tab in Google Adwords shows you where you are missing out on extra clicks and conversions either through budget constraints or by not having enough keywords in your account. This is a great tool to identify areas you can expand in, but that only tells you so much. When you work on the same accounts every day you can sometimes become blind to what is right in front of you and not spot opportunities that others may do. Ask a colleague to take a look at the account and provide any feedback on how it could be improved. You never know, you might just get some useful pointers that you hadn’t thought about – whether that’s tidying up an ad group, adding new keywords or restructuring a whole campaign.

Got any tips on spring cleaning your PPC accounts? Feel free to share them below!

Thanks for reading 🙂

PPC Time Management Tips

Time Management is one of the skills that everyone likes to boast about on their CV’s/resumes, but once you start working in PPC that’s when your time management skills really come into their own! Different clients, different demands and never ending optimization you could do on your PPC accounts means every minute you have is precious! Here are a few tips to help you manage the time you spend on your paid search activity more effectively:

1 – Establish Your Priorities

We’ve all had days where we have an overflowing to-do list and feel like no matter how much time there is in the day, you wouldn’t be able to get all your tasks done. Sometimes, it’s simply not possible, in which case you need to establish what needs to be done first rather than doing half jobs of everything. No-one wants to let anyone down by not completing things that you should but by clarifying exactly what the priorities are by either someone senior to you or directly to a client, you’ll be less likely to ‘let anyone down’.

2 – Don’t Drown in Data

It’s no secret that us PPC Marketers love data, give us 10,000 rows of data, a pivot table & a V-lookup to do and we’ll be amused for hours. But as tempting as it is to get as much data as you can to analyse, you need to step back and question if you really need it. Data is only useful if you can turn it into something which you can actually do something in response. Do you really need information on what browser, operating system or screen resolution users are on? Probably not if you’re going to be able to do in response to the results.

Continue reading

Search Engine Marketing News – February 2013

Well, what can we say about search engine marketing news this month…. you may have heard a thing or two about this little thing called ‘Enhanced Campaigns’. Enhanced campaigns has been the main talking point in the industry and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. I’ll recap on the main changes of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns and other changes that have happened in SEM this month (yes, there has been other news).

Google are giving us more control in our ‘multi-device world’? Brilliant…. oh no, wait!

I’ll admit when I first got the call from Google I was almost convinced (almost!) that the Enhanced Campaign change was a good thing. For some companies/agencies it may be, but not for the majority. Yes, there are some benefits but Google have gone about it the wrong way by ultimately giving us a lot less control.

  • Separate device bidding no longer possible (boo)
  • Tablet and desktop devices are now treated as one with no way of having separate bids for tablet (boo)
  • Mobile bid adjustments are available as multipliers from -100% to +300% at a campaign level (double boo)
  • Ad scheduling possible (woo)
  • Better call tracking (woo)
  • Data on individual site link extensions are available (finally!)

Enhanced Campaign changes have now been rolled out to Adwords Editor, making it easier for us to start making dreaded changes in our accounts.

Other News

Search Funnel Data

Finally some good news! Search funnel data is now available in the Adwords interface. We can now see data on assisting keywords directly in Adwords. It’s a good move by Google as we can see the number of assisting clicks, impressions and conversions without having to go to Analytics. It looks like this is one of the first steps in providing more attribution data, that most of us go somewhere else to find.

Google Penalising Inteflora

Google sent out a big message to advertisers this month by giving Interflora big SEO penalties. Although Google haven’t officially confirmed the penalty, there natural search results took a drastic turn for the worst… This great post by David Naylor shows how dramatic the shift was.

Interflora Rankings Dip

Free Shopping Comes to An End

Google shopping is no longer free to advertisers in the UK (and many other countries). It was good while it lasted here in the UK, but free shopping listings is no more, instead we have to set up product listing ads.

Google’s Unique Searches Drops

Google’s share of unique searches has dipped under 20%. Okay, so it’s still got the majority of searches but it’s slowly losing ground has Baidu, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo are seeing slightly increased global searches. Check out this post from Search Engine Land

Google Removes Not Provided From Webmaster Tools

The next place to not be able to get data on not provided terms was in Google Webmaster Tools. Just another update making it even harder for SEO agencies to explain to clients where there traffic is actually coming from.

So, it’s been a busy month for SEM in February…. roll on March!