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?

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?

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 🙂

Dealing With Life With Enhanced Campaigns

Now we’ve all had time to take in the changes from the Enhanced Campaigns, the reaction has shifted from disappointment/anger to acceptance and trying to work out the best plan of action to make the most out of the change. I’ve even stopped writing Enhanced Campaigns as “Enhanced Campaigns” – that’s acceptance for you, right there! For most of us the change is huge and will require hours of work on a lot of accounts and a change in strategy, leaving us with some very important questions to answer:

Should We Roll Out Now or Wait Until June?

The advantage of not waiting until June is that you can get a really good idea of how to make the change work. Rolling out a small number of campaigns to enhanced can teach us some valuable learnings before rolling out to all campaigns. Campaigns which target just mobile will be in no rush to upgrade, while those who could benefit from geographical bidding and site link extension scheduling will be more inclined to upgrade now.

Do We/How Do We Change Our Structure?

For accounts that split out mobile, tablet and desktop are naturally the ones who are left with a lot of questions on how to adapt the structure. Split high performing mobile keywords into their own campaigns and increase the bid modifiers by 300%? Take poor performing mobile keywords and bundle together to turn bids down/off? What to do with the keywords that convert on mobile but not desktop? Keep the curent structure and adjust mobile bids by a campaign average? The list of questions goes on!

What Bidding Strategy Shall We Use?

While we are no longer able to have separate bids for tablet and are really restricted to mobile bidding at just a campaign level, there are some benefits to enhanced campaigns in geographical bidding. How do you change your bidding strategy to best target people in your location? Turn down bids in locations where you don’t have a physical presence, or increase bids when people are near a store/dealership or try target areas where you see better conversion rates?

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How to Make The Most of Negative Keywords

In PPC advertising negative keywords are arguably as important as your regular keywords. Negative keywords ensure:

  • You only pay for what works
  • You’re not getting irrelevant traffic to your website
  • Users are more likely to convert

Search query reports in Google Adwords show you the exact search terms they have triggered your ad to be shown, which is great for identifying negative keywords to add. But the only problem with doing this is the terms have already given you traffic so it’s best to try prevent terms you don’t want your ad showing for before. Here are some tips to help you make the most of the negative keywords in Google Adwords:

Identify Products You Don’t Sell

The first place to start identifying the negative keywords to place in your account is by looking at your product list. Are there any particular products you don’t sell or have run out of stock for? For example, if you sell sports jackets but you don’t sell Nike ones, then you should set ‘Nike’ as a negative keyword so your ads are not shown for these searches. Look at your competitors websites and identify if they sell any products that you don’t, which are likely to trigger a keyword similar to the ones you’re using (on a phrase or broad match). Also, identify any types of products, brands, colours that you don’t sell which people are likely to be searching for and set these as negatives too.

Google Keyword Tool

The Google Keyword Tool is a really handy tool to see search volumes for keywords and show you opportunities for keywords to target, but it can be equally as useful to show related keywords which aren’t as useful. A good exercise is to take your keywords from an ad group and put them in the keyword ideas tool. This will show you any related terms and may highlight any which are not relevant to what you’re selling.

Cross Campaign/Ad Group Negatives

You want the ad copy a user sees to be the most relevant ad you have in your account, right? Setting ‘Cross Campaign Negatives’ ensure that your campaigns and ad groups are tight enough so that different phrase (or broad) matches don’t appear for the wrong campaign. For example, you may have two ad groups within one campaign – sports jackets and jackets. A search for ‘sports jacket’ could trigger an ad in either ad group if you have jacket on a phrase ad group. In this case you should set ‘sports’ as a negative keyword. Probably not the best example I could ever give, but it’s Monday and it’s been a long day!

Why is this important? By keeping your keyword grouping tight from ad group to ad group/campaign to campaign, you can ensure you’re using the most appropriate ad copy, URL’s and the right bid (you may want to bid less on certain ad groups).

Find Out What People Are Saying About Your Brand

No brand is free from a bit of bad publicity, it happens and even though it’s now easier with social media it’s easier to voice your ‘Brand Voice’ to help maintain your reputation and manage this bad press, there’s still something you can use negative keywords to help. If your brand or industry has had some bad press, you can use search engines to find related stories or see what people are saying on social media to give you some ideas of negative keywords to include in your campaigns. Terms like, ‘scam’, ‘rip off’, ‘con’are generally ones you’d want to include so your ad doesn’t show.

Obviously every case is different and things like this can be a delicate situation, but generally you wouldn’t want your brands ad to be shown for a keyword that wouldn’t show you in a good light.

Test Different Negative Keyword Match Types

Just like regular keywords, you are able to select broad, phrase or exact matches for your keywords. Usually exact or phrase matches are most appropriate, but you don’t want to restrict yourself too much and miss out on impressions and clicks so be careful when choosing the match type for your keywords.

Feel free to share your tips for making the most of your negative keywords below! Thanks for reading 🙂

The Winners and Losers Of Enhanced Campaigns

Okay, so it’s still a little too early to be declaring the winners and losers from the recent Enhanced Campaigns announcement by Google but it’s still clear to see who will benefit from this change, who will lose out and who will have to work extremely hard in the next months to find a campaign structure(s) which works best with the changes.

Winners

  • Businesses who have never bothered to target mobile devices and create mobile friendly landing page – They’ll now be able to automatically opt in to targeting mobile without ever spending the time to build an account which is optimised for mobile performance
  • Marketing agencies and PPC specialists – One thing that this change has highlighted is that you need the best PPC experts handling accounts to be able to adapt to these changes best.
  • Businesses with lots of physical locations – Arguably one of the best parts of this update is that you can now adjust bids based on geographic location. So if you own a retail store in the city centre you can raise bids to people on mobile devices within a few miles of your store. Free call tracking is also a bonus. Call extensions and phone numbers can be automatically replaced by sitelink extensions out of office hours.
  • And the biggest winners?….. Google! There might be a nice video and explanation on all the Google blogs to make it seem that Enhanced Campaigns are the best things since slice bread, but it’s pretty transparent to see their intentions. CPC’s on mobile devices were around 50% lower than desktop ones and with an ever increasing volume of mobile searches, how do Google increase revenue from mobile? Make everyone opt into mobile and make it more difficult to adjust mobile bids, easy!

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5 Common Misconceptions About PPC

PPC / Paid Search Marketing / Pay-Per-Click can be a funny old world and one that can be a bit of a mystery to some people. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about PPC and why they’re complete rubbish!

Your Work Is Done Once Someone Clicks On Your Ad

Wouldn’t that be nice?! But no, sadly it doesn’t quite work like that.  The ad copy you write plays only a small part in determining the success of your paid search campaign. The landing page needs to be relevant to both the keyword and ad. You might have a fantastic clickthrough rate on your ads, but if you’re not getting a good conversion rate then you’re work is far from done! Arguably on site optimisation is just as important as the set up and delivery of your PPC campaign.

You Have to Be Number 1 To Succeed

Unlike in natural search rankings, it is not always best to be number 1 for PPC. Number 1 rankings mean you pay a higher CPC (cost per click) and more people will see your ad but not necessarily click on it just because it’s top. Not all your keywords will be keywords that convert well or that are completely relevant to what you’re offering/selling, so you don’t want to be spending higher costs just to be at the top of the page. Your ads will still get clicked on when they’re not in poll position and you’ll still be able to achieve a ROI.

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