Tag Archives: PPC

The technology behind AI in PPC

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time, so why are we only just now exploring its applications for PPC? Columnist Frederick Vallaeys explains the technology, its evolution in recent years, and what's next for AI in paid search. The post The technology behind AI in PPC...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
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Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned vet, determining if you should use search advertising or display advertising for your marketing campaign is tough.

Use the wrong channel and you potentially ruin the maximum success of your whole campaign.

Thankfully, there are ways to decide which is the best for your business and which will generate the most conversions.

Display advertising

Display advertising is everywhere online. Every website you visit has ads that showcase products for sale. But have you ever noticed you keep seeing the same ads on your social media feeds and the like?

That’s because display advertising tracks a user’s behavior in order to put the right ads in front of the right customers. Display ads are also sometimes known as banner ads, like this one:

Major advantages

Brand awareness

In order to properly utilize display advertising, you need to understand its purpose. In short, display ads are great for driving brand awareness because, generally, these types of ads are found in a place a potential customer may be found.

For example, if a customer is on a website for vegetarian recipes, a display ad that may show up would be an advertisement for a health food store. The customer may not be aware of this type of store, but the ad would drive awareness. Marketers generally gather this information by studying customer behaviors, demographics, and previous search histories.

Retargeting

Let’s say a user has visited your website but hasn’t converted. Display ads give you the opportunity to pull those users back in with retargeting. Your display ad reminds the user about your brand; thus improving the chance of them converting. Check out our ‘5 remarketing strategies to prep for Q4‘ to learn more about retargeting as a whole.

High volume

Display ads may promote your brand to the right people, but they also have high visibility. When you use display ads, they’re also being shown to customers who may not have thought to look for your products or services (even if they’re not part of your demographic).

Even if you’re not targeting an audience, they’ll still see your business in front of them.

Search advertising

Search advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, is an easy, low-budget way to reach the right audience. You’re able to control who sees the ads with nearly instant results. The PPC ads are shown directly on search engine websites after a keyword or phrase has been searched.

For example, here’s two PPC ads that might show up at the top of a Google search:

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Major advantages

Qualified leads

A PPC campaign, done effectively, boosts traffic to your website and drives higher conversions. This is because customers are actively searching for keywords that result in seeing your PPC ads, so long as their keywords match your product or service. PPC ad campaigns generally drive higher click-through rates than display ads because of qualified leads.

Measurable data

Google AdWords is not only the place to setup your search advertising campaign, but it makes it easy to track how well your PPC campaign is doing. Simply pull up your AdWords account, choose the Campaigns tab, and choose “Keywords.” This shows you exactly how well customers are responding to your keywords and phrases.

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Budget-friendly

If you’re just starting out or starting your campaign on a lower budget, PPC may be the best bang for your buck. With a PPC campaign, you’re not paying for the ads unless a user has clicked on them—hence their name.

This means, if you’re choosing and bidding on keywords that are relevant to your product or service, the users are most likely qualified leads, resulting in higher conversion rates.

It’s a great way to test what works before moving on to more time-intensive marketing strategies like SEO and content.

Determining factors

Now that you’re aware of the major differences between search and display advertising, consider some of the factors that you should take into account before making a decision.

Search volume

What are your potential customers searching for? Are they already actively looking for the products you’re selling? Here’s where Google AdWords helps yet again. Use this tool to determine if the keywords you’re using are high volume.

If relevant keywords for your business are showing as high competition keywords, your best bet is to start with a PPC campaign. Here’s an example using the keywords “health foods.”

Search advertising vs. display advertising: Which delivers the best returns?

Awareness

Brand awareness is another determining factor when deciding. The first question you should be asking: How many people are aware of your brand already? If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, display ads are your best bet. However, a search campaign can also benefit from brand awareness, especially if your campaign focuses on brand-specific keywords.

Type of services or products

Certain ads may not bring you the highest ROI right away depending on the type of product or service you’re offering.

For example, services like towing, locksmiths, and doctors (also known as “urgent” services) are all services that users will specifically look for, and need, quickly. Using a display ad to advertise may not be the most beneficial if your service is something potential customers may need immediately.

However, this doesn’t mean your services wouldn’t benefit from a display ad—it just won’t be as beneficial to the customer in their time of need.

Mobile first

Did you know that almost 60% of searches are done on a mobile device? Typically, search ad campaigns are better equipped at handling mobile searches.

For example, a user may search for a service on their mobile device, which means they won’t be scrolling through a website. They’ll choose the first ad that comes up, and that’s generally going to be a PPC ad.

The takeaway

When you’re starting a new campaign, it’s not always easy to identify which type of advertising to use. Factors such as your budget, your search volume, and your main goal are only some of the things you should consider before choosing one.

Sometimes, it’s in your best interest to utilize both platforms to maximize your ROI. Using both at the same time means you’re reaching customers at different points in the customer journey, which may be a huge payoff for you in the end.

What has worked for you when it comes to search versus display advertising? Let us know your thoughts and your story in the comment section below!

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

PPC Ad Management: 5 Bad Habits to Break by @LisaRocksSEM

Now is the best time to break these PPC ad management bad habits to improve your results moving forward.

The post PPC Ad Management: 5 Bad Habits to Break by @LisaRocksSEM appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

High-level search marketing: How to keep your momentum from the holiday season going

Businesses tend to have a huge marketing push right before, and often during, the holidays, but often times these marketing campaigns fizzle out after the new year.

It’s easy to dial back your marketing efforts and budget after a busy season, but if you’re smart you’ll keep that momentum up well into the first months of the new year.

Here’s how you can keep up your push in marketing efforts in 2018.

Start email marketing campaigns early and target right

If you played smart during the holidays, your email leads should’ve increased significantly. The best practice is to act fast. Your new leads may have purchased their holiday gifts already, but that doesn’t mean they’re done shopping. Understand that your customers want to hear from you, so it’s best to act fast.

This starts with targeted email campaigns. Instead of doing the hard work yourself, use the help of marketing automation software to determine which content fits each audience. For example, automation software looks at the previous purchases of customers and prompts emails for similar products.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it with the emails. This will turn your customers away quicker than they came. Offer valuable content in your emails early on and you’ll keep your customers coming back.

Some ways to add value to your email marketing campaign:

  • Reach out to customers who purchased their products as a gift. Use similar product suggestions for future gift purchases
  • Contact customers who left an abandoned cart. Customers often use their shopping carts as a “wish list” of sorts. Reach out to those customers to see if they plan to complete their purchase
  • Offer a discount to entice customers to purchase. Free shipping adds tons of value. Make your discount exclusive to email subscribers to further add value.

Continue to use paid ads

You already have your paid ad campaign underway from the holidays. Don’t let those ads go stagnant as you start the new year.

Leading up to (and during) the holidays, ads from all over are competing. That energy slows down as the holidays end. Take advantage of both lower competition and less expensive ads during the aftermath of the holidays.

This is a new year, which means it’s the right time to switch up your strategy. You’re no longer in holiday mode, but laying out the foundation for the rest of the year.

Do you normally bid second position keywords throughout the year? Change your strategy and look for keywords that are first position. The holiday campaign may have busted your budget, but that doesn’t mean you should pull back on your paid ads. You’ll actually spend more money in the long run, and completely kill your momentum from the holidays.

Keep your paid ads running throughout the year, so you’re not halting traffic and trying to build it back up after you run your ads again.

Take advantage of keywords around new year’s resolutions

“New year, new me” is the mantra for most people after the holidays are finished. A new year means a fresh start, and regardless of your market, customers focus on improving their health and well-being. Use these trends to benefit your business. This means creating impactful content that’s valuable to customers and their goals for the new year.

Use your content to promote your products and services in a way that appear useful to your customers. How can you portray your products as a tool for achieving customer goals? This tactic is possible to spin no matter what industry you’re in.

For example, let’s say you’re a company that specializes in green cleaning products. Cater your content towards improving health and keeping chemicals out of the home.

You know keyword choice is imperative when working on your search marketing campaign. Take advantage of new year resolutions by choosing keywords that match. For instance, words like “get healthy” and “get organized” are keyword phrases that tend to pop up as the new year approaches.

Look at last year’s organic keywords. Which were the best performing, and which could you stand to ditch?

Take a peek at your competitors’ keywords, too, to see what they’re ranking highly for. Incorporate these keywords into your blog posts and social posts to drive traffic to your company’s website.

Review your data and strategize for the upcoming year

No doubt about it, the months of January and February are slow months for everyone, no matter your industry. The best way to push forward is to take a look at what worked and didn’t work during the holiday season.

It’s also a great time to learn more about your new customers. This gives you great leverage to start working on your campaigns throughout the new year.

Look at things like your timing and segments. Who responded well to specific emails? Which groups brought you the most ROI? How was the timing of your campaign? When looking at your new customers, figure out which of these groups fit well for your business.

As far as your website goes, A/B testing will tell you which pages of your website responded well with your customers. Test your non-holiday specific landing pages and compare them to your holiday pages.

Notice the shift between the two and apply those shifts to your new year campaign. Take this information and tweak the things that didn’t work and apply those changes to your upcoming campaigns.

The takeaway

After the surge of the holidays, most SEOs and marketers feel they’ve exhausted their resources and budget. This doesn’t have to be the case. The success of a holiday campaign should continue well into the new year. Keep these things in mind during your slow months and you’ll keep the momentum up to prepare you for spring and busier selling seasons.

How do you keep your momentum going into the new year? Let us know what has worked for you in the comment section below.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for No Risk SEO, an all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

5 Ways to Automate More of Your PPC This Year by @SiliconVallaeys

Start improving your PPC campaigns with artificial intelligence. Commit to adding a new form of automation to your accounts.

The post 5 Ways to Automate More of Your PPC This Year by @SiliconVallaeys appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

The 2018 guide to B2B Sales, Part 1: Demand gen and demand capture

If you’ve ever made the switch from B2C or ecommerce to B2B marketing, you know there’s a world of difference.

B2B offerings are generally much more expensive, with a very long lead-to-close time, and marketing needs to be addressed in a different and strategic manner.

In B2B marketing, you must reach users at every point of the funnel – and keep educating them in stages along the way.

Through a series of blogs, I will discuss strategies for how to generate demand, drive qualified leads, master content delivery, and essentially close the sales loop via paid media. In part 1 of this series, we’ll talk about how to generate new demand and capitalize on the intent that already exists.

Let’s jump in.

Use both search and social to get in front of the right audiences

You’ve got more than a few powerful levers to pull to get in front of qualified buyers. I recommend you start with your two biggest: paid social and paid search.

Paid social allows you to get in front of relevant audiences and let them know you and your product/service exist. This is a demand generation play – reach highly targeted audiences who would likely purchase your product/service, educate them on your brand/product/service, and ideally drive them to your site to push them into the funnel.

Paid search capitalizes on the intent that already exists. People are searching for what you have to offer, so leverage paid search to ensure you are capturing that interest.

Paid social strategy

For paid social, I would recommend the following channels and strategies:

Facebook

  • Make use of lookalike targeting! Take your customer list and, rather than uploading the entire list, segment your top (highest-LTV) customers and create lookalikes based on that group.
  • Use Facebook’s native targeting capabilities to segment and address audiences based on different titles, companies they are employed with, etc.
  • Use 3rd-party data companies (e.g. Axciom and Datalogix), which allow you to target businesses of different sizes, specific roles, decision makers, etc.

LinkedIn

With LinkedIn, you are able to truly hone in on your target audience by leveraging a mix of the right industries, functions within those industries, seniority type, and company size. LinkedIn’s CPCs are considerably higher than those of other channels, so you must be willing to pay a premium price for the first click to bring the user onto your site – this way you can introduce them to your brand and educate them on your offerings.

After the leads are in your funnel, you can market to them through other channels, significantly cheaper channels to push them through the funnel (which we’ll address in another post).

Twitter

Twitter is another great social platform to find relevant audiences. Although volume is not as large as that of the other platforms, you can still leverage some of their targeting capabilities to get in front of the right eyes.

  • Lookalikes: very similar to the strategy used on Facebook
  • Targeting by followers:
    • Build out conquesting campaigns to target users following your competitors
    • Target followers of industry thought leaders and publications

Paid search strategy

Paid search is expensive – but extremely effective. Users looking for your brand, product, or service are already exhibiting intent that positions them closer to sale, so these are users you must target.

Our paid search strategy at 3Q has two main components. The first is to implement the Alpha Beta campaign structure, based on single-keyword ad groups and a mixture of negative, exact, and broad match that allows you to capture and control your top keywords while testing new keywords. If you need a refresher on how the Alpha Beta campaign structure works, a quick Google search should help fill you in.

The second is to develop competitor conquesting campaigns that capitalize on the intent that our competitors have built. Note: if your competitors are bidding effectively on their own brand terms, you’ll likely pay a pretty penny to compete, but it can be a very effective shortcut.

Use landing pages strategically

For both paid search and paid social, it is crucial to segment the audiences and keywords appropriately to be able to send these different audiences and appropriate keywords to the most relevant landing page/piece of content.

For prospecting campaigns, you need to get a sense of what each audience is looking for and serve them content that not only gives them an overview of what your business is at a high level, but also offers them value and true insight into your business – this may be a whitepaper, a demo, etc.

Think about the keyword or the type of audience you are targeting. For example, if you’re targeting audiences from specific industries (e.g. finance, retail, food and restaurant, etc.), send them to landing pages specific to that industry if available.

If you’re targeting more senior-level executives, think about the right content to deliver to them, something more high-level discussing key impacts to the business, value props, etc., that your service or offering would bring. If you’re targeting those whose job this would directly impact, highlight the more technical specifics.

The goal is to truly cater content towards the individuals you are targeting; this will make the clicks you’re driving much more effective.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series, in which I’ll discuss building audiences, smart segmentation, and leveraging the right content for mid-funnel remarketing and your overall nurture.

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PPC for Travel: 3 New Tactics to Try This Year by @cchaitanya

Here are some new tactics, and revised versions of existing strategies, to try on your paid search travel campaigns.

The post PPC for Travel: 3 New Tactics to Try This Year by @cchaitanya appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Using Google Demographic Data to Optimize Your PPC Account by @GrpTwentySeven

How PPC pros can better optimize accounts and target audiences using the various types of demographic data Google collects.

The post Using Google Demographic Data to Optimize Your PPC Account by @GrpTwentySeven appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

6 AdWords metrics you should optimize for better ROI

Google AdWords plays an important role in the success of businesses, and companies should optimize their AdWords campaign to the greatest possible extent.

This is often easier said than done, however, because running such a campaign can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

But there is a way to achieve this despite a limited budget and resources, and it involves focusing on the right metrics instead of all of them, and making the right tweaks to optimize AdWords campaigns.

Wondering how you can figure out the “right” ones? Well, we’ve done away with all the complex analytics and numbers, and hand-picked six choice AdWords metrics that can help you achieve better return on investment (ROI) by:

  • Getting you more clicks
  • Optimizing landing pages
  • Decreasing cost per acquisition.

Take a look at the list below:

1. Quality Score

Think about the keywords you chose – are your ad and landing page relevant enough compared to them? Look at the Quality Score to figure out the answer. Use this metric to estimate ad quality.

Quality Score depends on three factors:

  • Ad relevance
  • Quality of landing page
  • Possible click-through rate (CTR)

Consider each of these factors individually for a positive outcome. For example, in the case of ad relevance, play it smart when building your AdWords campaign structure.

Improve your landing page experience as much as possible. If the status reads below average, optimize your landing page by adding a few A/B tests.

Expected CTR determines how likely your ads are to get clicked. Change your ad text if your status is below average. Use magnet words (powerful words that drive conversions, like “free” and “cheap”) as a substitute for improved CTR.

2. Reach

Analyze reach metrics to estimate the number of people who saw your ads. If they are performing more poorly than expected, place your ads carefully. And this time keep the Display Network separate from the Search Network. Why? Because when you choose Search Network with Display Select in email marketing software, they show:

  • On related partner sites
  • Results of searches done by someone

That is not something you want. Carry out proper optimization, even though it is a more protracted process. Sure, there are other campaign types that affect reach, but these are the two types that really matter.

3. Wasted spend

Check how much money you’re wasting by paying for clicks that never convert. Avoid this sort of ROI killer by limiting wasted spend via the use of negative keywords to filter out traffic that is unnecessary to your business and does not convert. Create negative keywords to prevent ads from showing search queries containing the specified keyword.

Use a tool like the Negative Keywords Tool from WordStream to find out which negative keywords will be the most impactful. For instance, we did a little analysis on “get investment advice”.

Once you’re done, introduce the negative keywords in your campaign and you’ll be good to go. In a short while, you will notice a drastic reduction in wasted spend.

4. Conversion Rate

Marketing goes beyond AdWords. For example, look closely at conversion rate improvements you can achieve by improving your landing pages.

Keep your conversions up by building quality landing pages that are:

  • Mobile compatible
  • Quick-loading
  • Relevant

Focus on speeding up your website for users. Utilize tools like Yandex Metrica to find out the reception of your visitors towards your landing pages as well as how they scroll.

5. Labels

Labels are not exactly “metrics” but they do work in a similar manner, and help group entities for quicker, simpler analysis. Keep an eye on these labels for smoother optimization and more ROI.

Labels depend upon keywords, ads, and campaigns. Specifically, limit the number of keywords used in each of your ad groups for simpler management of campaigns.

According to Google, 5 to 20 keywords should suffice, but there are marketers who use a single keyword per Ad group (SKAG). Follow this simple concept which puts one keyword in each Ad Group, and the same keyword is then used in the description as well the headline.

6. Conversion

Achieve more conversions by knowing which keywords facilitated the conversion in the first place. Also, avoid a drop in conversion rate by knowing which ones were not up to task. A conversion tracking code can help you keep track of these statistics. Avoid negative keywords as well as the ones that lack any value.

Installing a tracking code is simple. Just go to “Tools”, and select “Conversions”. Then you simply need to select “+ CONVERSION”.

Once you’re done installing it, choose the source of the conversions you wish to track.

Choose Website as the source and set a conversion value. It is possible to select a dynamic value.

Place the code between <body></body> tags.

Install this code correctly, and your Target CPA bidding method also becomes enabled. This automatically bids on your behalf.

The abovementioned metrics need to be optimized if you wish to enjoy greater success and financial returns on your business. The processes described above might be a little time-consuming, but considering how much they benefit your company, they are well worth it.

Best of 2017: Our top 5 articles in PPC

As we come to the end of 2017, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of our most-read articles throughout the year. For the rest of this week, we’ll be highlighting the top five most popular articles in various categories across the site.

Yesterday, we kicked things off with a look at our top 5 articles about SEO, and if you missed that one, it’s definitely worth a read. Today, we’ll be turning our attention to the other great staple of Search Engine Watch content: PPC.

We covered some fun ground with our PPC articles this year, from emoji in AdWords ad titles to the psychology of ad copy, to the impact of Google’s new ‘Ad’ label on marketers. Let’s not waste any more time – here are our top 5 articles from 2017 about PPC.

#1: Emoji appear in Google AdWords ad titles

This was an interesting one. Just a couple of weeks after we wrote about Google’s decision to bring emoji back to the SERPs, emoji were spotted in the wild in AdWords ad titles, suggesting that Google had decided to go the whole hog in embracing emoji in both organic search and paid search ads.

Sadly, the test doesn’t seem to have lasted in the case of paid search, as Google’s official stance is still that emoji are “invalid characters” – but there have also been recent reports of people being able to bid on emoji in AdWords. Either way, the combination of fun emoji news with a potential big change for search marketers makes it no surprise that this was our most-read article about PPC in 2017.

Emoji appear in Google AdWords ads titles

#2: The psychology of language for paid search

When it comes to PPC best practice, there’s a vast amount of ground you can cover, from keyword bidding to demographic targeting, AdWords reports, landing page optimization and everything in between. But how often do we talk about the actual copy of the ads that are supposed to get consumers’ attention?

According to Sophie Turton, Head of Content and PR at Bozboz, people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. In her presentation at Brighton SEO in April 2017, she explained how search marketers can use psychology to make their paid search ads more effective. Tereza Litsa sums up the key highlights in an informative piece for Search Engine Watch.

The psychology of language for paid search

#3: 10 online marketing strategies to make you a unicorn [infographic]

It’s hard to go wrong with a good infographic, and Larry Kim of Wordstream has a great one which brings together 10 online marketing strategies to make you a unicorn – one of those magical campaigns that’s so effective, it performs in the top 1-3% of all marketing campaigns.

Sound like a dream come true? Check out Larry’s infographic, whose points he expands on in further detail in his post, and find out why you need to forget everything you know about Conversion Rate Optimization.

10 online marketing strategies to make you a unicorn [infographic]

#4: How to target high-income consumers with AdWords

There are many industries in which being able to target high net worth individuals with your paid search campaigns is extremely useful. If you think that AdWords doesn’t have this function, you might want to think again.

Wesley Parker reveals the secret behind a “deeply hidden gem within AdWords”, currently available for U.S. locations only, which allows you to target people based on their household income. With step-by-step instructions and screenshots, he explains exactly how to set this up, as well as how you can use layered targeting to pull in multiple different demographics.

How to target high-income consumers with AdWords

#5: How will Google’s new ‘Ad’ label impact marketers?

In a major development for PPC, Google began testing a new look for its ad labels in January of this year, and in late February confirmed that this would be rolled out globally.

The new white label with green text and a green outline replaced the green label that was launched in June 2016, and blends much more seamlessly with the rest of the ad placement, perhaps creating less of a contrast between organic and paid search results. Clark Boyd considered Google’s motivation for the change, and the possible impact on search marketers.

How will Google’s new ‘Ad’ label impact marketers?