Winters get long here in New England and so we often find ourselves travelling here and there to break up the long, dark winter and get some time outdoors before the first crocuses pop out of the ground. Some folks prefer to get outside onto the ski slopes while others head south to grab some rays on Caribbean cruise. Me? I prefer search marketing conferences.
Thankfully, SMX West was out in San Jose last week, so I got the best of both worlds. Though SJ is not exactly tropical this time of year, going out doesn’t involve five minutes of layering with hat, gloves and boots.
During the week, I picked up some just-off-the-presses PPC updates as well as a slew of new tools to help optimize and manage PPC accounts, recommended by from PPC colleagues at SMX. Here are just a few I’d like to share today.
Microsoft Pushes Ahead With New adCenter Features
Microsoft, who started slowly a few years ago with their adCenter platform development, continued their forward momentum with a slew of new AdCenter features announced last week, including:
Mobile Device Targeting
You can now target smartphones and other devices including Android, Blackberry, iPhones and Windows Phone, and iOS, Android, and RIM operating systems. Device targeting can be done at either ad group or campaign level, giving you more flexibility than your AdWords device targeting settings.
Local Ad Extensions
As the name implies you can add contact details for your local businesses and the ads present like this:
More information about implementing local extensions within adCenter can be found at the adCenter blog.
Bidding, Budgeting Suggestions
Great new feature to help you discover areas of your adCenter campaign where you can improve performance by adjusting bids and openingup your budgets.
Impression Share Report
You can now get impression share reports at both the ad group and campaign levels within AdCenter.
Power Tools For Paid Search
There was an interesting SMX session on power tools for paid search professionals that highlighted some interesting and not widely-known tools to help with various aspects of campaign management and optimization. Here are a few interesting tools mentioned at that session that are worth exploring:
James Zolman, (@jameszol) of Quality Scores,Inc mentioned a tool that can help you get more quickly identify sources of poor quality traffic in your display campaigns. ReverseInternet.com has a competitive analysis tool that lets you identify sites owned by, or closely-related to, the low-quality traffic sites you’ve identified in your Google Analytics and Google AdWords network reports.
We all know that owners of really crappy adsense sites tend to have more than one of them. This tool lets you identify more of the bad actors more quickly.
Fellow SearchEngineLand columnist, Brad Geddes (@Ck_org) of Certified Knowledge, observed that a surprising number of PPC account managers are still not using the free, well-known vendor-supplied tools like AdWords Editor and adCenter Desktop Editor, but then mentioned a few of his own favorite free or nearly-free tools: Google AdWords Modified Broad Match Keyword Tool. This simple, free utility from Acquisio quickly converts your broad match keyword lists into broad match modified lists.
Brad also mentioned another free tool, the AdSense Sandbox, that allows you to find competitor’s text and display ads running on adsense network sites by typing in a keyword and an geographic region.
David Rodnitzky (@PPCAssociates) of PPC Associates, had a few more good tools to help advertisers with their display ad campaigns. He mentioned two great tools for uncovering competitors in the display advertising space, recommending the free tools from Moat.com and MixRank .
Finding the time and creativity to develop your own display ads is always a challenge. David recommends the free and nearly free tools and services from a company called, 4Mads which can help you reduce the cost of developing mobile and other online ad formats.
Chad Summerhill (@ChadSummerhill) at ABF U-Pack Moving, recommended a few great tools for Adwords account management. High on his list is a free tool from Gazel, a company he is also associated with, that allows you to creating AdWords dashboards in Excel.
Developing and maintaining KPI dashboards can be mind-numbing. Gazel offers a free AdWords campaign performance template for Excel that accesses APIs, to help automate the creation of som really slick and really useful performance dashboards.
Another free tool Chad has developed is an Ad Relevance Checker to help you adhere to best practices for ad copy development and testing. This free ad relevance tool is available at Chad’s blog.
These are just a few of the news items I took note of during my escape from winter trip to SMX West last week, and I look forward to getting more breaking news, tools and tips at the upcoming SMX shows in the coming months. If you haven’t already, reserve your spot at SMX Advanced in Seattle on June 5-6th and at SMX Toronto on April 25-26th. See you there!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.