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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Search Engine Marketing News – June 2013

Another month, another pay check, more reports and more change in the industry (of course!). Here’s what happened in the world of marketing in June 2013:

Dynamic Retargeting Launched
Probably the biggest news from Adwords this month. Google announced in the last week of June that they are launching dynamic remarketing to any advertisers using the Google merchant centre feed. So you can now remarket to people who’ve looked at certain products on your site with a dynamic message. At this stage, I’m not sure how competitive it will be against the likes of Criteo but we’ll soon find out for sure!

Google Adwords Top Movers Report

Another nice update from Google – they have now launched a ‘Top Mover Report’ within Adwords. This report shows you at a campaign level 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 best thing about the report is that it shows you the reasons driving the changes, be that new ads introduced, keywords removed or CPC’s decreased/increased. Finally, a quick way to find out what is driving any top line changes. Monday morning report = sorted!

Payday Loan Algorithm

The latest attempt by Google to reduce the amount of spamming sites, hit payday loans website hard this month. A new algorithm was launched to combat payday loans and other spammy sites.

This update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but Matt Cutts said it was as high as 4% for Turkish queries.

Apple Makes Bing the Default Search Engine for Siri

Bing had a huge win this month when Apple named them as the default search engine for searches on the web through Siri. Now when you ask a question to Siri, Siri will either give you a direct answer or will ask you if you want to search the web. That web search will now be done through Bing. Google remains the default search engine on Safari, although mine managed to set the default to Bing, safe to say that has now been switched back to Google!)

Goodbye Google Reader

Google reader has finally hung up its boots, after much deliberation about when it was actually to end. Who knows the reason why and what the plans are to replace it (if they will be) but it’s gone!

So that’s another month for Search Engine Marketing news. July will be a busy month in PPC to make the last few changes to enhanced campaigns for anyone still to switch over. And no doubt that Natural search will have a through curve balls thrown by Google!

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