Get the PPC insights and advice you need now. Follow these 13 passionate paid search experts.
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Get the PPC insights and advice you need now. Follow these 13 passionate paid search experts.
The post 13 of Today’s Top PPC Experts to Follow by @LisaRocksSEM appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Contributor Jeff Baum discusses how allocating funds and developing smart budgets brings focus to your PPC campaigns and helps make them a success.
The post Invest in a killer PPC campaign by using these smart budget strategies appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Contributor Frederick Vallaeys believes the PPC professionals with the strongest knowledge of paid search fundamentals will have the best opportunities for successful campaigns and solid career growth.
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If you are a business looking to dive into display advertising, it can be overwhelming.
In an increasingly digital world, where everybody’s eyes are glued to a screen, most advertising can seem like white noise. So you want to make sure you’re designing and promoting worthwhile ads in a proper venue.
Here we’ll go over some simple best practices for creating a display ad: how to decide where to advertise, and what type of advertising you want to pursue. You can reach out to websites directly and do the dirty work yourself, or you can also utilize a marketing network to manage your marketing.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you are spending your dollars wisely, so you’ll need to measure the impact of your campaign.
Display advertising is a bit of a blanket term because it covers just about any visual advertisement on a website. However, this broad category can be divided up into a few main types:
When it comes to digital advertising, there are standards that both advertisers and publishers must adhere to.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is an organization that provides insight on industry standards for digital media. In its display ad guidelines, the IAB states that display ads should be “distinguishable from normal web page content and the ad unit must have clearly defined borders and not confused with normal web content”.
They also recommend flexible ad sizing, meaning the ad units are defined by aspect ratios that can adjust based on the screen size the user is viewing. In their guide to ad sizes, Google lists top performing ad sizes as 300×350 (medium rectangle), 336×280 (large rectangle), 728×90 (leaderboard), 300×600 (half page), and 320×100 (large mobile banner).
When working on design it is important to create ads that are unique and clearly identify your goal, here are some simple practices for creation.
Ads need to be relevant to your audience as well as your main objective. You want to entice a viewer, not annoy them.
If you are using contextual display advertising, your ad is already on a website with similar content to your product. When a user clicks on your ad, it’s important that it leads to a corresponding landing page, not just your main website.
For instance, if the viewer clicks on a banner ad for a Valentine’s Day sale, you should have this link to a stand-alone landing page that focuses on that topic, not your main ecommerce site.
Display ads were originally geared towards a desktop user, and mobile users were considered second. However tides have turned and that has flipped around.
According to recent eMarketer research 70.5% of all display ads in the US are mobile. Meaning depending on the audience you are trying to target, you may want to create ads with mobile-viewing in mind first.
Compelling, concise, clear design
Google Marketing advises to use the “3 C’s” when it comes to creating display ads: compelling, concise, clear. You want your ad to stand out by using eye-catching design, with a clear call to action button (CTA).
Use high resolution images. Display ads can be very compact, so your pitch and CTA need to be brief. Lastly, your marketing goal needs to be clear, only advertise one message- sign up now, check out our holiday sale, etc. You want to avoid overloading your viewer.
With site placement advertising you can directly approach a website or publisher on your own. This could work for a small local business that knows its market.
For instance, if you are an event planning company, you could approach your local chamber of commerce about advertising on their website. However, depending on your digital marketing goals, it might be better to work with a third-party service.
Here are three popular options:
This is the display ad arm of Google AdWords. Google Display Network offers over 2 million websites that your ad can appear on. It also promotes ads across other platforms like apps and mobile-based programs.
They use contextual and remarketing advertising to target your audience. Their guidelines can be somewhat strict to adhere to, but this is one of the largest audiences you will be able to reach, all with the backing of Google. AdWords also offers deep analysis of your campaign’s performance.
With over 1 billion users worldwide, Facebook offers a huge audience for digital marketing. Their ads not only appear on Facebook, but other high traffic apps and sites. If you are already using Facebook advertising for your business page, transitioning to using the audience network is fairly simple, their advertising guidelines are the same.
This allows you to display ads on the Yahoo! Bing Network, which may not be as large as it once was (or as Google’s), but they claim that they reach 46 million unique searchers who aren’t using Google.
However you chose to display advertise, you need to track your ad performance. What is your marketing goal, and is your digital campaign getting you there?
Hubspot recommends tracking the following KPIs:
If you are individually managing your display advertising, you can request this info from your publishing website, or track where traffic is coming from on your landing pages.
If you are using a service like Google Display Network you can download analytic reports and use their tools to monitor conversion tracking.
Display advertising can help you reach a targeted customer base, drive engagement, and get users to your site. Navigating this type of digital marketing can be complicated. The click-through rate on display ads hovers around 0.07% worldwide, which often scares marketers away.
Yet in spite of this, display advertising is continuing to grow. A recent IAB study found that display ads grew 13.1% in 2017 (compared to search ads at just 12.8%). If you have a measurable goal for your campaign, create compelling ads, and you keep track of results you can see a high ROI in a short amount of time.
If you found this guide useful, don’t miss our other beginner’s guides to search marketing and advertising:
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.
Where is the biggest opportunity in marketing at the moment?
According to Sophie Moule, Head of Marketing at Pi Datametrics, it’s the sheer amount of customer data that we can get from search.
With 3.5 billion searches per day being carried out by Google, not to mention on vertical-specific websites like Amazon, YouTube and Pinterest, there is a huge sea of data available on customer intent which marketers should be taking advantage of.
But what is the best way to go about doing so? Having reams of data available to you is all well and good, but as any marketer knows, the tricky part is in knowing exactly how to sort through that data, find trends, and apply it to your marketing strategy.
If you can get it right, however, it can elevate the topic of SEO within your business and bring about great results.
At the Figaro Digital Marketing Summit in London, Moule gave a jam-packed presentation on exactly how to look for customer intent trends in search data, and how to align your marketing strategy with these trends to take advantage of research and buying behaviors at exactly the right time.
The evolution of search on the web has been driven by data. All of the major developments in web search – from localization to personalization to the rise of mobile – are being powered by a huge epicenter of data.
Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines use data from their users’ searches to learn about habits, language usage, search intent and more, and develop their search platforms based on what they’ve found.
But search engines aren’t the only ones who can use the data behind search to evolve their approach; marketers can too.
Tools like Google Trends, Google Insights for Search, Google Keyword Planner and Pi Datametrics, can produce data that gives a view of search trends over time. Using this data, search marketers can:
By analyzing the share of SERP real estate between different companies in your target market, you can also find out exactly who is capitalizing on these searches. This shows where it might be better to sell and advertise your products as a brand, by indicating which stockists, partner stores and publications have the greatest visibility.
Looking at the share of voice in the beauty sector, we can learn that stocking our make-up products with Superdrug instead of Boots would provide better visibility, as Superdrug pulls in more traffic and impressions online in the make-up category.
This also gives an overview of the vast array of different companies competing for attention within the space – showing that your competition online may be very different to the competition you had in your head.
By looking at the peaks and troughs in search volume data over time, Moule explained that search marketers can plan their campaigns around different phases of the buyer journey.
She called this approach “Plan, Influence, Peak, Repeat” – identifying when you need to be planning; seeing when people are ready to be influenced; identifying peak buying trends; and finally assessing whether a pattern will repeat, or whether it was a one-off fad.
As an example, let’s take a look at a search trend graph for the term “festival clothing” over a period of two years. This is an event-triggered trend, so the same pattern is likely to recur year-on-year:
The peak purchase times in this graph are easy to isolate, but your products don’t only need to be in front of consumers at these times. The trough periods, where search volume is lowest, are a good time to plan ahead, take stock of your content, consider how you want to target consumers, and make sure it’s optimized and published early before buying interest starts to climb.
Then, we enter the influence, or research phase (marked out in red in the above graph). “This is probably even more crucial for the digital department than it is for the search team,” said Moule. “Very few businesses actually capitalize on this research phase.
“I’ve so frequently seen people planning all their marketing campaigns around the peak, and not far enough in advance of it.”
Collectively, there are more searches taking place during this build-up than there are during the peak itself – representing a huge number of opportunities for customers to encounter your brand. This means that your site and content need to be ready to appear in front of consumers before they hit the research phase.
CPCs are also much lower during the research period as competition drops off – so if you’re willing to invest more in brand awareness than direct conversions, you can take advantage of the lower rates, and generate interest that will pay off during the peak period.
This means that by the time both sales and CPCs peak, you won’t have to worry about targeting consumers as aggressively, because you’ll have already laid the groundwork for orders and sales coming through.
Activating paid media during this period also brings a healthy amount of traffic to your site, which can build up a strong cookie pool for retargeting later on. You can then use that pool during the peak period, whether that be in retargeting display, RLSA, or retargeting email campaigns, and pull in conversions in a much more efficient way.
This data can further be used to benefit the rest of your organization, beyond the digital and SEO teams. What can you expect from the season to come? Is it the same as what we saw last season? Is there anything that might trigger slightly different trends? The influencer period is also a key merchandising period, so you should make sure that the products people might be researching are front of store, and displayed prominently on your website.
Then, in the aftermath of the peak sales period, you can determine when demand is dying down and it’s time to discount and sell off your stock. If your data tells you that you can expect another peak later in the year, however, you might want to hold onto that stock for later.
All of the “star performers” in retail put search data first when they build their strategies, said Moule – feeding it in an intelligent way to all of their channels. This gives teams a framework of data that they can plan around, instead of trying to retroactively crowbar it into plans that have already been set in stone.
Moule advised that you can give your data even more “oomph” by integrating it with other datasets, such as social conversations, and customer research. These kinds of datasets can give a vital context to the trends you’re seeing from search data – allowing you to understand not just which trends are taking place and when, but why.
This is important, because if you can determine the external influences on your market, you can predict and prepare for them in the future.
As an added benefit, these kinds of data sets can help you get buy-in for your strategy from other parts of the business, who might be less familiar with search data, but feel more confident basing their decisions on social or customer research data.
An excellent example of how this can work in practice is a case study carried out by Pi Datametrics with social listening tool Brandwatch, which used social discussions to give context to search trend data about personal debt.
Looking at the search trend data, Pi found it easy to identify some patterns, most notably that searches about personal debt regularly peak around January of each year.
This is to be expected following the heavy spending period of Christmas, where people might splash out on gifts for their loved ones, only to find themselves facing a mounting credit card bill come January.
When Brandwatch dived deeper into the tweets that were being sent out around that time, they found that many of the conversations revolved around getting debt-free as a new year’s resolution. Not only did this validate the patterns that both companies were seeing in the search data, it also added a layer of sentiment analysis to the dataset.
When compared alongside search data, social data can further give an insight into the diversity of conversations taking place in your industry.
Pi and Brandwatch found that people’s searches were heavily focused on mortgages and credit cards, but on social media, the conversation was very evenly spread across the spectrum of personal finance topics: everything from student debt, to going debt-free, to bankruptcy and debt collectors.
“If I were a brand in the financial sector, I might look at this and think, ‘Am I creating enough content to be able to join in with all these types of conversations?’” said Moule. The diversity of social conversations can give you many more opportunities to get your brand in front of people.
To sum up, here are the key points to remember when delivering a data-driven search marketing strategy:
In Part 1 of this series, I broke down how to effectively use different channels for B2B efforts – from demand generation channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to get in front of highly relevant audiences to paid search to capitalize on audiences with intent.
I also touched on optimizing the landing pages/content you should deliver to these audiences.
In this post, I’ll cover creating smart segmentation, and making use of the right content for mid-funnel remarketing and your overall nurture.
Let’s start by assuming you’ve brought relevant audiences onto your web property, and they haven’t yet converted – but you have cookied them with pixels placed on the site, and you’ve built an audience for remarketing purposes. The first thing you’ll want to do is…
If you’ve followed best practices so far, the users in your remarketing pool have hit different content and landing pages on your site, depending on what you deemed most relevant to them. And their entry points can be very useful in segmenting your remarketing lists.
Rather than just having a catch-all remarketing list for all visitors, create segmented audiences that can accommodate more tailored content. Here are some examples of how you want to think about audience development/segmentation:
I’ll say it again: one of the most unique things about B2B products and services is the fact that the buying process is so long – often because of the high product price point and the level of impact of your service or offering.
B2B decisions aren’t made lightly, which is why I emphasize the educational process, the need to continuously convince the user why you are right for them, and the effectiveness of keeping your product/service top of mind as users move toward a decision.
With the your newly created segmented audiences, you can craft a more precise strategy to serve content and messaging that will push users down the funnel to help them become more qualified leads and, eventually, customers. Think about relevant whitepapers, testimonials, and case studies that show the impact of your offering/service/product to prove your credibility and value.
A final note about remarketing: always take a multichannel approach by leveraging both GDN and paid social so you can meet the audiences where they choose to go.
Your users won’t stop browsing the web, so your nurture efforts shouldn’t stop either. Segment your audiences by recency of their last visit to your site, and keep showing them different ads, content, and creative that educates them about your product or service.
Don’t just switch up the messaging; test different ads formats (Facebook video, YouTube, banner ads, text ads, etc.) to keep the creative fresh and engaging. And keep rotating in testimonials that speak to different value propositions that align with your audience’s needs – and lend you credibility at the same time.
In our next post, I’ll cover how to ensure you’re driving qualified leads, how to track events that lead most reliably to sales, and how to back into optimized bidding strategies based on your CRM data. Stay tuned!
Here are five PPC tasks that are great for automating with scripts, and some specific scripts that you should try.
The post 5 Things You Could Be Automating with AdWords Scripts by @SiliconVallaeys appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
From showing local information to display ads to the launch of Smart Display campaigns to visibility over landing page performance, each update from Google – whether big or small – has an impact on the way that PPC practitioners and search marketers go about their craft.
Going by the major announcements we’ve already seen from Google in January, with the roll-out of an Actions directory for the Google Assistant, home hubs with smart screens, and a significant update to its mobile algorithm to take page speed into account, 2018 is going to be an even bigger year for Google all round. AdWords is likely to be no exception to that.
Meanwhile, there’s another key player on the horizon: Amazon. With the saturation of the Google Shopping landscape, Amazon Shopping is opening up as a potentially lucrative new avenue for retail search marketers.
I caught up with Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing at Adthena and former Product Manager at Google, to talk about what we’re likely to see from AdWords and paid search in 2018. Ashley Fletcher has been in the industry for 12 years, with five of those spent at Google working on a range of products including Google’s Compare products, Google Express, and Google Shopping in its infancy.
Fletcher shared his thoughts with me on the overarching trends in paid search, why PPC still needs a human touch, and why search marketers should be getting in early with Amazon Shopping.
Last November, Google unveiled a revamped version of its AdWords product just in time for the holidays. The new AdWords platform was redesigned in Material Design, Google’s design language, and built on top of a new infrastructure, meaning faster-loading pages and a cleaner look.
The redesigned AdWords also brought with it custom intent audiences to help marketers reach people as they’re making a purchase decision, and promotion extensions that serve up special offers for products and services.
Image: Google Inside AdWords
I asked Fletcher how advertisers can get the most out of AdWords in light of the November redesign, and other recent updates.
“My overarching feeling is that it’s highly customizable,” says Fletcher. “That plays into the advertiser’s hands, because you can shape the metrics and views to your needs.”
This is important as advertisers now are working with increasing amounts of data from different sources, making it crucial to have that level of customizability and flexibility in visualizing it all.
“Advertisers are accessing increasing amounts of data via APIs,” Fletcher explains. “More and more advertisers are getting comfortable using something like Data Studio to ingest all of the AdWords metrics, plus all of the metrics from an independent source like ours, and overlay them onto their day-to-day KPIs.”
Not all advertisers are comfortable with using APIs, however, and for AdWords – as well as for external tools like Adthena – there is a need to strike the balance between making great data insights available via an API, versus adding more bells and whistles to the interface.
The metrics that advertisers are working with can often shift partway through the year as Google rolls out an update. For example, in October 2017 Google uncapped the daily budget in AdWords, making it possible for advertisers to spend up to twice the daily budget that they had allotted. This type of change directly affects the metrics that go into an advertiser’s dashboard.
But rolling with the changes has become par for the course in paid search. “There’s a huge dependency on the part of AdWords advertisers to keep up with the pace of change,” says Fletcher. “There’s always something else to learn and adapt to.”
On the topic of change, what does Fletcher believe is on the horizon for AdWords in 2018?
“The first thing I would say is that we can expect more automation,” says Fletcher. “Google has been focusing a lot on developing its AI and machine learning capabilities, and we’re likely to see that continue.”
He pointed to the example of Dynamic Search Ads, which is heavily reliant on automation to help users scale their campaigns. DSA have seen widespread adoption amongst advertisers, and Fletcher predicts that this particular feature is likely to evolve over the coming year.
Display is another area in which Google has ventured into automation, launching smart display campaigns in April 2017. These seem to have been positively received, although Fletcher observes that automation can be a contentious topic among advertisers.
“How comfortable advertisers feel about [automation] is really 50/50 – some people like to go hands-on, others like to go hands-off. Working with advertisers over the Black Friday period, a lot of them opted to go with manual bidding because they felt they needed that control.”
Marketers may need to become comfortable with increasing automation in PPC – but there will still be room in the industry for the human touch
Given that the trend in the industry seems to be veering towards increased automation, does Fletcher believe that advertisers will need to become more comfortable with it in future?
“Yes. But any kind of automated feature also needs to be clearly measurable, and give advertisers the transparency they need. If you’re going to opt in to these features, you need to know what they’re triggering on, and what the content is.”
However, this is not to say that search marketers are going to be losing their jobs to the machines any time soon, as Fletcher believes firmly in the value of the human element in PPC, as does Adthena.
“We need to utilize machine learning to do the legwork and work out the smarts for those insights,” says Fletcher. “But the human piece will always be to action and verify those – and to pivot to bespoke business needs. One may be around cost-saving, one may be around entering new markets, one may be around customer acquisition.
“You need the human element to pivot to those goals – but I would certainly leverage the machines to give me the insights to go and action. It’s a fine balance you need to achieve between being hands-on with search and search advertising, and using machine learning where it’s suitable.”
Meanwhile, in retail search marketing, a different kind of shift is taking place – between two industry titans.
Since Fletcher started working at Google, he has observed the Google Shopping landscape becoming increasingly saturated and competitive, to the point where an additional half a percent of performance can be key.
“When I started at Google, Google Shopping was really taking off – the ad unit was getting bigger, and exposing on new queries. Now, Product Listing Ads trigger on 58% of all retail queries – which is huge. It’s a very big shift there.
“Meanwhile, Amazon Shopping has become a destination site, and that’s changing behavior.”
Amazon Shopping has become a destination site, which is changing both shopping and advertising behavior
We’ve covered this trend previously on Search Engine Watch, with studies showing that more than half of consumers begin their online product searches on Amazon instead of on Google.
“Amazon’s Shopping product is currently on the rise – CPCs are low, advertisers are enjoying really good ROI; but it’s only a matter of time before that landscape becomes saturated, too.”
Fletcher believes that the low CPC and high ROI currently available through Amazon Shopping makes now a perfect time for retailers to get in on the platform.
And Amazon is still expanding into new marketplaces across the world – Fletcher points to Australia, where Amazon launched for the first time in December 2017. Because we’ve seen Amazon launch and expand in more than a dozen countries over the years, it’s possible to predict with relative certainty how events will unfold, and so search marketers in those new markets need to be aware of the trends.
“We have the data points to say, ‘This is what will happen to your market’ – we’ve seen the market share that Amazon takes from search in the UK and the US, and we can forecast what’s likely to happen to Australia, in turn.”
Does a competitor intelligence platform like Adthena have the same level of insight on Amazon as it does on Google’s platforms? “We actually have more,” says Fletcher. “We can do a huge amount with Amazon, in terms of mapping out the market.”
Overall, Fletcher believes that we’ll be seeing growth in automation products in AdWords over the next year, with Google continuing to develop what’s working well. He is confident that AdWords will continue to set the bar for campaign reporting, encouraging best practice in attribution across the paid search industry.
Following the announcement of smart screens for the Google Home at CES 2018, Fletcher also predicts that this year will be the year that Google offers campaign targeting for smart home hubs in AdWords.
“To me, screens seem like the first step towards monetizing smart home hubs. I think Google needs the screen in order to execute that, because it’s hard to see how else you would advertise on a voice device without completely messing up the user flow.”
Smart screens on the Google Home could be the first step towards making campaign targeting available for smart home hubs
Certainly, the closest thing we’ve seen to advertising on Google Home thus far – a possible plug for the Beauty and the Beast live-action film which Google denies was intended as an ad – was very jarring, and received a great deal of backlash from Home users, suggesting that Google needs to tread carefully if it wants to make monetization on the Google Home work.
“It’s still very early days – maybe Google was testing something with that, and maybe they weren’t. But if I were an AdWords advertiser, I wouldn’t expect it to be long before these devices feature in your set. By the end of 2018, I expect AdWords to have campaign targeting, or something like it, for Home devices.”
SEO and PPC advertising both can be incredibly valuable. But which is better in the long term? Find out here.
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