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RKG Report: PLAs Fuel AdWords Growth, Bing Ads Spend Rises Sharply In Q4

Paid Search Growth Q4 2013 RKG RKG has released its Q4 2013 Digital Marketing Report, and as other reports have indicated, paid search saw solid year-over-year growth in the holiday quarter. Paid search spend among RKG's retail-heavy client set rose 23 percent year-over-year. Overall click volume increased 19 percent, and CPCs ticked up just 3 percent.   Google Brand CPCs Fall On Ad Rank Change, Non-Brand CPCs Fueled By PLAs Google paid search spending grew 19 percent year-over-year in Q4, with paid clicks rising 15 percent. Google CPCs also rose just 3 percent. Non-brand CPCs, however, rose 6 percent year [...]


At The Digital Crossroads: Shifting To Audience-Centric Marketing

Marin Software Audience Connect Cycle In the first half of 2013, search advertising represented 43% of all digital ad revenue. The primary reason paid search remains so successful is that it creates a direct link between users and their intent. For marketers, the ability to deliver an ad promoting running shoes to users searching for [best running shoes] represents a revenue opportunity that will command an estimated 45.1% share of US digital ad spend in 2014 -- that's more than display, email, or mobile messaging. To date, these channels have failed to match the performance characteristics of search. However, audience-orient [...]


Start The New Year With A PPC Health Check: Part 1

health-computer-keyboard-featured As Group Head at a fast growing search agency, I've carried out hundreds of campaign checks over the years. In my contributions here, I'll be sharing my top tips on things to look out for when reviewing your own campaigns. Some of these things are obvious, while others might have slipped past you because you're not up to date on recent changes or are just too close to the day-to-day running of the campaign. It can be easy to just leave your campaign(s) running and not delve into the detail of things such as the settings of your campaign, especially if your campaign is performing well. But a [...]


Google PLAs May Be Bigger And Better Than You Think

paid-search-ppc-featured As someone responsible for compiling, analyzing and putting narratives to raw marketing data, I spend a good portion of my time reviewing similar material from other sources in our industry. This is helpful for generating new ideas for analyses and serves as a basic sanity check of the results we are finding at RKG. On occasion, I'll find that the numbers we are seeing on a given issue seem to lie outside the norms, and it can be a challenge to determine exactly why, given the limited context that comes with many industry reports. A prominent example of this has been with Google's Produc [...]


Report: US Search Ad Spend Rises 12 Percent YoY In Q4 2013; Smartphone CPCs Drop

IgnitionOne Tablet Smartphone Performance Q4 2013 IgnitionOne released its fourth quarter Digital Marketing Report today, showing that the paid search market in the US continues to grow. Search ad spend rose 12 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2013. In part as a result of the later kick-off to the holiday shopping season this year, December ad spending was up a significant 27 percent over 2012. Though overall ad impressions fell 16 percent year-over-year, clicks rose 5 percent and click-through rates jumped 25 percent in Q4.  IgnitionOne posits lower impressions are a result of "top of page innovations" including new ad ext [...]


For SMBs, The Time Is Now To Embrace Search Advertising

paid-search-ppc-featured As a recently as a few years ago, the owner of a small or local business could legitimately ask, "Why should I buy search ads?" After all, he or she first faced the hassle of setting up an ad campaign in a relatively foreign platform -- then, assuming they got ads served, maybe people clicked. But at the cost, what benefit was the advertiser really receiving? If you are not an online business, how do you translate a click into something an SMB can understand -- and place value on? It was simply impossible to know. And who can blame them? According to our research, proving ROI is the top nee [...]


WordStream Updates Its Free Google AdWords Performance Grader: Now With Mobile And Automatic 30-Day Reporting

Wordstream WordStream has released a revamp of its AdWords Performance Grader, the instant AdWords account auditing tool, now dubbed AdWords Grader Plus. WordStream says the free tool, launched in August 2011, has already been used to analyze accounts representing three billion dollars in total advertising spend. The company has refined the tool based on that wealth of past audit history to give advertisers performance benchmarks within their own industries. The three main new features in AdWords Grader Plus include a new performance tracker, mobile readiness review and improved benchmarks. The per [...]


PPC Excel Tips For Every Level: Part 3, Advanced Level Keyword Research And Data Visualization

ppc-puzzle-featured We close out our three-part series of Excel tips from Bing Ads Evangelist John Gagnon today with some advanced level tools that, in fact, even beginners can start using successfully today. While many of the tips we've covered can also help SEOs as well as PPC practitioners, today's focus on keyword research is particularly relevant to both camps. Advanced Tip: Bing Ads Intelligence for deep-dive keyword research and Power BI for big data analysis and visualization. Bing Ads Intelligence is an Excel add-in for keyword research that enables Excel to integrate directly with your Bing Ads a [...]


PPC Excel Tips For Every Level: Part 2, Faster Campaign Analysis For Intermediates

excel logo Today we have more handy Excel tricks from Bing Ads Evangelist John Gagnon. This second installment of PPC Excel tips focuses on intermediate level techniques for speeding up campaign analysis. Paid search managers will benefit, but really anyone using Excel for data analysis will find good information or a helpful refresher here. Intermediate Tip: Get more out of Pivot Tables with calculated fields and by fixing #DIV/0 errors. Pivot tables are truly a must-have Excel skill for marketers. If you haven't used pivot tables yet, don't be timid. You can't damage your data set when working w [...]


Enhanced Campaigns & More: Our Top Paid Search Columns Of 2013

sel_sem Paid search has long been a staple of Internet marketing, yet the SEM landscape continues to evolve at what seems a lightning-fast pace year after year. This past year was no exception, as 2013 brought with it a host of changes for paid search marketers. The most notable of these changes was arguably Google's announcement and subsequent roll-out of Enhanced Campaigns. The marketing community's response to the news was divided -- but, love it or hate it, Enhanced Campaigns became the new norm as of July 2013. All of our knowledgeable paid search columnists helped keep marketers up-to [...]


How To Understand And Optimize AdWords Search Partners Data

A pivot table showing search partner performance in AdWords Here at Hanapin, we have a monthly training day. We shut down the office and all the account managers spend the morning researching and learning new tricks and techniques, which we teach to each other later in the afternoon. This month, we spent some time diving into the exciting world of Google Search Partners, and I wanted to share some of the insights our team came up with. What Are Google Search Partners? When it comes to buying clicks from Google AdWords, the Search Partner network remains one of the least transparent and hardest to optimize areas to work with. The official Google help [...]


AdWords Bid Management And Account Structure Mistakes To Avoid

google-adwords-numbers-featured On my one-year anniversary of working as an AdWords practitioner instead of a Googler, Brad Geddes interviewed me about Quality Score for his WebmasterRadio.fm show, Marketing Nirvana. He asked for my thoughts on AdWords now that I'm a user rather than someone building it, and I thought that was a great question and one worth covering in this month's column. I've always had plenty to say about the most common mistakes advertisers make, but now that I'm auditing accounts more in-depth and managing a few myself, there are some new mistakes I've seen that I think are worth sharing so that you [...]


PPC Excel Tips For Every Level: Part 1, Huge Time Savers For Beginners (And Beyond)

analytics-data-excel-featured Excel is that must-have tool for managing, analyzing and reporting on paid search campaigns that is impossible to know too well. Many of us are self-taught -- picking up tips and tricks here and there -- which makes it even harder to know what shortcuts and secret powers we're missing out on. Yesterday, I spoke with John Gagnon, Bing Ads Evangelist and all-around Excel whiz, and asked him to share some tips for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level tips that paid search managers can start putting to use in 2014. This is the first in a three-part series we'll be publishing this coming w [...]


A Paid Search Christmas Carol: Learn From The Ghosts Of SEM Past, Present & Future

shutterstock_119305342-bahhumbug ‘Twas the night before Christmas in the search marketing department and SEM Director Scrooge was heading out hours before his staff. “Director Scrooge,” said one of the young SEM analysts, Tiny Tim. “It’s Christmas Eve. The gang and I wanted to know if we could get a paid search management tool for the holidays so we can program bid changes and ad scheduling, as well as automate the optimization based on our ROI goals? I promise we’ll check on our campaigns remotely at home.” Bah, Humbug! “Bah, Humbug,” grunted Scrooge as he locked up his office. “We don’t need to sp [...]


Retailers Spending Record Levels On Paid Search In 2013 Holiday Season

holiday-shopping-featured An early look at the paid search performance this holiday season shows retailers invested at record levels, beginning earlier, and are realizing new levels of revenue from their paid search efforts this year. The record highs in paid search activity set in 2012 were surpassed this year as clicks increased 27 percent, impressions rose 12.5 percent and spending jumped 34 percent globally, according to Kenshoo's seasonal shopping reporting to date. Global retail click-through rates (CTR) increased 12.8 percent from 2012. Healthy click through rates meant that advertisers realized 27 percent [...]


Default Campaign Settings In AdWords — The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

google-adwords-featured Fellow SEM experts, how many times has this happened to you? A newbie joins your company (or a company with which your SEM agency is working) and is convinced that he is an SEM master. He's read a few SEM books, attended a conference or two, and gone through the AdWords tutorials, after all. It's just keywords and text ads! In a worst-case scenario, this genius has enough confidence to convince folks higher up in the organization that he can truly make positive improvements to the path of the company's SEM fortunes and suddenly has some control over the campaigns. My favorite example of thi [...]


New Bing Ads Solution Center at Search Engine Land

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Bing Ads Solutions Center, a resource for digital marketers and search advertisers, in collaboration with Bing Ads. The Bing Ad Solutions Center provides a range of resources – from news articles to whitepapers, videos and webinars – that are geared toward digital marketers. Special attention is given to both the Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) as well as specific vertical industries, including Technology & Telecommunications, Financial Services, Automotive, Travel, and Healthcare & Wellness. We invite you to check out the in-depth reso [...]


Staying Competitive In PPC: Learning From Black Friday’s Most Popular Offers

black-friday-cash-mouse-featured The five-day Black Friday weekend from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday provided an insightful glimpse into how retailers are running their PPC strategies for the holidays. Particularly interesting are the variety of offer types run by retailers, ranging from the expected free shipping to 2-in-1 offers which include two offers in the same ad. Since shoppers were expecting to see a retailer's best deals during that weekend, we wanted to see just how far retailers were willing to go to get the sale. Using search engine results data gathered by Lighthouse (a partnership between The Search Monit [...]


SPONSOR MESSAGE: SMX Biggest Search Geek Contest

smxwest13_spotlight Are you the geek to beat? Prove your SEM chops and win a trip for two to SMX West plus your choice of an iPad Mini, Sony PlayStation 4, or an Xbox One. Just answer the most questions in the least amount of time to win. Test your marketing intelligence and see how you stack up against your peers - Play Now! [...]


3 Components Of Geo-Targeting Excellence For 2014

Google Enhanced Campaigns Smart use of the geo-targeting controls through Enhanced Campaigns in AdWords will prove to be the single largest opportunity for paid search marketers in 2014. Geo-targeting is nothing new. It has been a foundational element for local and regional businesses since the very early days of AdWords. What Enhanced Campaigns gives us is the ability to take a very sophisticated approach to geo-targeting and apply dynamically calculated bid modifiers at unprecedented scale. Up to this point, advertisers with substantial keyword lists operating over a range of geographies have had to take one of [...]


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