Enterprise SEM is written by search marketers running massive search advertising campaigns. Running large budget campaigns with millions of keywords can be an entirely different animal than running less complex ad campaigns. Additional details, such as more complex ROI metrics, optimizing efficiently, managing creatives and automation become the focus of such campaigns. Experts share real-life experience and perspective to running search campaigns of such scale.

Enhanced Campaigns: The Future Is Now

Enhanced Campaigns are the most important architectural change to Google AdWords since it moved from the right rail to take the place of "premium placements" in 2004. Much of the early commentary has focused on the version 1.0 implementation. It is important for Enterprise SEM program managers to start thinking hard and deep about the implications of Enhanced Campaigns in the long term, as well as understanding what it is likely to become. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TdDYHtnSTI[/youtube] Better Architecture To Handle More Complexity Is Not Simplification Google has mistake [...]


The Real Reason Why Google Is Dropping The Tablet vs. Desktop Distinction? It’s The User Context, Stupid!

There’s been some grumbling among PPC marketers over the last few weeks about a few specific changes in Enhanced Campaigns – in particular, the loss of tablet vs. desktop segmentation, which was previously a best practice for mobile advertising strategy. One of my well-respected colleagues put it bluntly: Now, if you’ll forgive my attention-grabbing headline (based on 'It's the Economy, Stupid'), I’m definitely not actually calling anyone stupid – and, you can certainly see by the volume of re-tweets and favorites, it’s clearly a widely-shared view. However, I recently had th [...]


How Account Quality Score Can Guide AdWords Optimization

Last month, I covered four ways to use AdWords Scripts to improve AdWords account management. I didn't share any actual code for fear of geeking out too much, but people seemed interested enough in how to use Scripts to track historical Quality Score (QS), so this month, I'll share step-by-step instructions and give you the code needed to track your own account-level Quality Score. But first, let me explain what account-level Quality Score is all about… Why You Should Track Account-Level Quality Score The Quality Score of your AdWords account is a useful gauge to monitor how good Google [...]


6 Advanced Strategies For Optimizing PLA Campaigns

In January, Marin Software released a study on Google’s 2012 transition from Google Product Search to the commercial, “pay-to-play” model built on Product Listing Ads. When this enhanced shopping experience was first announced in May of 2012, online retailers reacted with both praise and criticism. However, since the transition, PLA campaigns have performed with a great deal of success. In fact, by the end of December 2012, the share of spend on PLA campaigns had increased 600% compared to January. More importantly, during the fourth quarter of 2012, as holiday shoppers searched and p [...]


Why Enhanced Campaigns Aren’t Really An Upgrade Or Improvement

I am absolutely fascinated by the automotive industry and am admittedly a car guy. The newest cars continually impress me because every new model seems like a significant upgrade over the previous model. And, they really are. New cars are lighter, stronger, more spacious, safer, more fuel efficient, and quicker than ever. A 2013 Mazda hatchback that costs a mere $30,000 is quicker than the (then) $180,000 Supercars from Italy I grew up idolizing. Astonishing, really. The term “upgrade” often seems like an understatement. So, what happens if the new models are not better? Thankfully, [...]


Will Facebook’s Graph Search Be Big For Bing Advertisers?

Following Facebook's announcement of Graph Search a few weeks back, there's been no shortage of analysis and speculation on what the move will mean for Facebook, its users, marketers and possible Facebook competitors, including the traditional search engines. At least in one arena, we can try to put some specific numbers together to shed some light on the potential here. A Brief History Of Bing & Facebook First, some background: Since 2008, Microsoft has been providing Web search results for Facebook along with search ads to monetize them. That seems to be news to a lot of people, [...]


Four Ways You Can Benefit By Using AdWords Scripts

The best kept secret for saving time and improving results in AdWords may very well be AdWords Scripts, a lightweight automation tool that is easier to use than the API but more powerful than the standard interface and the AdWords Editor. As highly as I think of the AdWords UI (I helped build it for 10 years, after all), when I recently started working with accounts of big advertisers, I found myself frustrated at how manual, repetitive, and slow it was to generate custom reports and act on my findings. The API could let me automate to my heart’s content, but getting started meant wait [...]


4 Trends That May Surprise Online Marketers In 2013

Over the last year, like every year prior, online marketers have witnessed an incremental growth in digital advertising spend and a rapid adoption of new technology. In 2012, we saw the introduction of Product Listing Ads as Google shifted to a pay-to-play model for shopping. Facebook began testing every ad format under the sun, with Sponsored Stories and mobile placement targeting gaining immediate traction. And who can ignore the advancements made across the Google Display Network (GDN), as more granular targeting options are paving the way for remarketing? With 2012 behind us, it’s [...]


28 Revealing Questions To Ask When Reviewing Last Year’s SEM Performance

[caption id="attachment_113087" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] The smartest way to begin 2013 might well be to make a careful review of paid search performance and practices in 2012. If your company spends closer to 8 figures than 6 on paid search annually it is well worth the time of the CMO to take a deep dive here. Evaluating an enterprise paid-search program can seem a daunting task. Complexity and scale can lead senior marketing leadership to make one of four mistakes: Allow paid search managers to evaluate themselves Allow a vendor se [...]


January Survival Tips For Search Marketers: Revisit Your Budget, Rest Up – The Superbowl Is Coming

The beginning of the new year is usually a very busy time for marketers. Not only do they have to execute on their new goals and budgets, but they also have to deal with seasonal factors that affect many verticals. While search marketers in particular have to overcome several tactical and strategic issues in January to ensure success; this January, I see three key areas where search marketers would be well advised to focus their energies. Adjusting To Rapid Changes In Traffic Patterns For most businesses, the period between December 25 and January 1 is a quiet period when traffic dies dow [...]


7 Optimization Strategies For A Limited Daily Search Budget

No matter what level your paid search program is operating at, whether small business or enterprise, inevitably some campaigns will outgrow the daily budgets that were set to sustain them. Aggressive keyword expansion or increasing CPCs due to competition could be two contributing factors. Until these budgets can be expanded, your campaigns will be limited. Optimizing a campaign that’s limited by budget is one of the toughest tasks for a search marketer. A limited budget not only eliminates opportunities to expand on keywords and campaigns, but can hinder the execution of other crucial [...]


3 Top Line Search Marketing Resolutions For 2013

The beauty of working in the digital marketing industry is that it is difficult to get bored. There is a new advertising option available every week, it seems, a new Google algorithm update, a new targeting option, and a new rocket ship social media platform clamoring for attention. The demands on the online marketing director’s time have never been greater or more fractured, and it only gets worse from here. The greater the array of programs to manage, the more essential it becomes to prioritize. There is a natural human tendency to focus attention on the newest, shiniest object in th [...]


Why Attribution Really Matters For Product Listing Ads

With the holiday shopping season in full steam, advertisers are continuing to invest significantly in Google Shopping via Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns. Given the different format of these ads, one might expect users to interact differently than regular search ads. Perhaps people interact with them earlier in the sales funnel because these ads have images. If so, do they assist regular search ads? Further, do they contribute substantially to a search marketers campaign in terms of both volume and ROI? I analyzed several PLA campaigns and found that advertisers would do well to measu [...]


6 Holiday Trend Shifts That Heavily Impact SEM

Anyone involved with online retail should be well aware of just how critical holiday revenues are, not only to a strong fourth quarter, but to our success for the entire year. An RKG analysis of 2011 paid-search results shows that, on average, retailers generated 18% of their annual revenues over the 30 day period starting with Thanksgiving Day, with daily sales volume coming in at nearly triple the rate of the rest of the year. But, revenue volume isn't the only metric that shifts significantly during the holiday season, and as we'll see below, the assumptions and strategies that serve us [...]


3 Mobile Trends Every Search Marketer Must Know

When I last blogged about mobile trends in 2011, I had predicted that mobile, i.e., smartphone + tablet traffic would be 10% of all paid search traffic by the end of 2011. I had also predicted that mobile traffic would be between 16-22% of all traffic. It turns out, at least for a few categories, that I had under-predicted the rise of mobile. An analysis of mobile traffic of a cross section of advertisers reveals up to 25-30% of all paid search traffic is now mobile. It is now more important than ever before to pay attention to your mobile targeted search campaigns. In this post, I shall ta [...]


What’s The Next Big Metric For Creative Optimization?

As keyword lists expand, they often outgrow the groups that were initially created to contain them. For example, a group that started out with a single keyword, [running shoes], could expand over time to contain [running shoes], [womens running shoes], [jogging shoes] and [black running shoes], among others. The original creative that was generated to match [running shoes] queries would be less relevant to the newly expanded keywords and, as a result, the overall click-through rate (CTR) of this group would decline. This decline in group CTR, as keyword count increases, exposes a useful [...]


Why Changed Goals Require Changed Metrics

Enterprise businesses demand savvy communication from SEM managers. It is the nature of large organizations to have the following: Senior executives reviewing data from programs they don't understand A shortage of institutional memory Consultants coming and going who offer opinions based on superficial data Each of these traits make performance reporting particularly important, and sometimes challenging, for paid search. These challenges are often most keenly felt when the enterprise decides to make significant changes to the goals of the program. Any well-managed paid search pro [...]


How To Effectively Use Attribution With Complex Campaigns

As marketers, we think that attribution is important. However, despite all the talk in white papers, blogs, etc., little has been discussed about its effective use. For instance: is attribution always useful, what are the common attribution techniques, which is the best attribution model, what improvements in efficiency can one expect from the right attribution techniques? In this column, I shall attempt to answer some of these pressing questions. Question 1: When To Invest In Attribution? Many advertisers want to investigate cross-channel effects with multi-channel attribution. However, [...]


5 SEM Tips For A Successful 2012 Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season has always been the most profitable time of the year for online retailers. Search, display, social and mobile have shown tremendous growth year over year and continue to be vital programs for acquiring more revenue during the holidays. Online marketers going into the 2012 holiday season should have a plan for success, but maintain the ability to stay flexible in the face of changing conditions. To help prioritize paid search strategies for the upcoming season, we evaluated five best practices across Marin’s client base and highlighted them below: 1.  Prepare [...]


Is It Time To Revisit Your PPC Strategy For Tablets?

Going by the last couple of months, the humble tablet computer is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the strategic plans of many of the biggest names in tech, and it will continue to hold greater significance to paid search advertisers as we move toward the holiday season. Following the March release of the new iPad, the tablet market enjoyed a few months of relative calm before the heavy hitters began rolling out a new wave of devices that they hope will finally make serious gains against Apple's dominance in the space. In mid-June, Microsoft announced it would co-opt its own Surfa [...]


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