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?


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 🙂

5 New Year Solutions for Your PPC Campaigns!

Happy New Year to you all! Forget giving up eating junk, trying to quit smoking and generally making resolutions you’ll never stick to, this year why not focus on your paid search strategy and instead of not doing things, create solutions for your PPC and make it work even harder this year! Here are just a few solutions to get 2013 off to a good start and optimize your PPC campaigns straight away.

New Year's Solutions

1. Turn Off What Doesn’t Work
Are you spending money on keywords/ad groups/campaigns that doesn’t give you a return? If a certain ad group or keyword isn’t converted then do you want to be using your budget on it? Probably not I’m guessing (that’s if you are targeting conversions). Looking at historical data to determine what works and what doesn’t is the best place to start. It can sometimes be a little too easy just to pause/delete something that doesn’t appear to work though, so try to optimise in these areas to see if you can improve conversion rate. The below might help with this.

2. Review Your Landing Pages

Landing pages have arguably the biggest influence in conversion rates. You may have the best ad copy in a well structured ad group, but that means squat if you’re not landing them onto the best page possible. Take the start of the year as a good time to review all the landing pages you link to. Do you have custom page pages for certain keywords? Or are you using generic pages that were set up to people already on your website? Use common sense to think if there is a better landing page and analyse your conversions results for a certain period.

Landing page A/B testing is the best way to establish which landing page is best. Use the same ads and make the only variant between them the destination URL. Remember it doesn’t have to stop after one test, you can take the top performing landing page and test that against another and keep going until you think you’ve optimised enough (not that it can ever be enough in paid search marketing!)

3. Test Your Copy
Does the perfect ad copy exist? Arguably not if you ask me. Okay, so you may have found a certain ad(s) give you really good clickthrough rates (CTR) and a conversion rate you’re happy with, but is this the best ad copy possible? Ad copy should be reviewed and tested constantly. Again A/B testing can be used to establish the most effective headlines, description lines and even display URL’s. Never stop testing!

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The Who, What, When, Where & Why of Paid Search

If you’re setting up a new paid search campaign or even just want to make your existing one work that little bit harder, you can use the old school ‘Who, What, When, Where and Why’ to define your objectives and get you started. Here are just a few questions you should be asking yourself about your paid search campaign.


Who do you want to target? Who you decide to target is predominantly based on the paid search keywords you select. Keyword research using Google’s Keyword Tool is a good place to start.

Who is your target audience? While with PPC it’s difficult to pin point who the typical searcher is, knowing a bit about who is clicking on your ads certainly helps! Okay, so I don’t mean knowing the middle names and shoe sizes of your potential customers, but knowing their buying habits and trends can help you define your strategy. Are these people searching on mobile devices or tablets? If so, make sure you’re showing your ads on mobile and tablets devices! Are they on social websites? This is more difficult to know, however if you know the type of person you are targeting are ‘hanging out’ on social networks then this can be a perfect paid (or non-paid) opportunity.


What do you want people to see? Do you want them to see an ad with offers or one highlighting your USP? Your ad copy is the only thing the user sees about your campaign, so your ad copy needs to make people click! It doesn’t matter how well your account is structured and managed if your ad copy isn’t getting clicked on!

What do you want people to do once they’ve seen your ad? Do you want them to buy a product? Make an enquiry? Share content?

The ‘what’ part is really all about strategy, strategy, strategy!

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