To learn more about paid search and search advertising, also see our What Is CPC, PPC & Paid Search Marketing? page.

How To Add Custom Tracking To Google AdWords

Many advertisers use keyword level tracking in AdWords destination URLs. This allows your server to track the source of paid search traffic hitting the site. Recording this data with each inbound paid click allows you to collect your own data for analysis. It is possible to track the search engine, account, campaign, ad group, keyword, and so on, augmenting what is available from Google AdWords and Analytics reports. Why go to this additional effort? Maybe you have a local data warehouse, the ability to track the actual user search (from the referrer URL), or you want to watch for click [...]


Realizing Greater ROI From Onsite Behavioral Targeting

If you had the time and resources to personalize every sales pitch, every piece of marketing collateral, every special offer, how would that affect your bottom line? If your customers told you, "I don't want that, but if you offer me this in a different color, I'll buy three," you would listen, right? Onsite behavioral targeting enables you to customize your website to create the most welcoming, enticing destination for your visitors, ultimately engaging them more deeply in your site. So-called machine learning engines provide a means to automatically offer the most relevant content to [...]


Little Known But Powerful: Google’s Export Planning Tool

Google’s Export tool was developed to help businesses identify overseas market opportunities for expanding their business. While not perfect, it does allow companies new to international marketing to discover potential markets by leveraging multiple Google tools to translate keywords then weigh market potential based on search volume and average cost per click data.


Understanding Keyword Match Types

In paid search marketing, users searching on specific keywords will trigger ads by advertisers who have indicated those keywords are relevant to their business by participating in the auction on those terms. Beyond just bidding, though, there are many variables that come into play which you can use to tactically enhance the effectiveness of your online campaigns. One of the most important tactics to understand as a search engine marketer is how keyword match types work. Let’s say your advertiser is a bank who offers a special high-yield checking account that they’d like to let consu [...]


Maximizing PPC Budgets Using Alternative Search Engines

When building out a successful campaign on the major search engines, there often comes a time when the influx of traffic hits a plateau. To continue growing results, advertisers need to extend their reach and resources elsewhere. There are a few different routes to take when it comes to acquiring new traffic—however, the path most traveled is alternative search engines. Tapping into the alternative engine resource pool gives a business access to unique and pretty large volumes of traffic, but only proves successful if the person managing the campaign knows how to effectively work the sou [...]


How To Save 5% To 40% On PPC Using Negative Terms

We are just so busy, busy, busy as search engine marketers on behalf of our advertisers!  There are the mission critical tasks such as managing budgets, getting tracking implemented, hitting CPA goals, and uploading new keywords/ads to the account. Then there are the things we definitely need to get to every week such as pacing, performance reports, testing, managing bids, etc. And then there's everything else. All of the other hundreds (if not thousands) of things we could be doing to help our accounts accomplish their goals like match type testing, landing page optimizing, keyword expans [...]


Keyword List Building 101

After doing all of your research, you now have a pretty good crop of data to sift through. Remember, during the Research Phase, we collected every keyword we found during our various investigations. Check out this article for a comprehensive recap of Research Phase posts from this column regarding PPC research. Some of sources used for the initial keyword research were: The kickoff meeting with the client A preliminary search of the major engines Previous (or current) paid search campaigns The advertiser’s site(s) and competitor sites The advertiser’s site level web analyt [...]


7 Tips For Effective Global PPC Campaigns

International paid search offers the unprecedented ability to break into new markets with low upfront costs. However, a common mistake made by marketers when expanding to a new country is that they only translate ad text without taking into consideration all of the additional complexities involved. An international campaign is not simply an extension of an existing local campaign. It has its own currency, language, culture and demographics. The campaign has to have the ability to customize parameters for local tastes and also to create common data that can be rolled up to a central loc [...]


Attribution Technology: What’s Best For Your Needs?

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled Attribution: What It Is And Why It’s Important where I discussed two types of attribution: operational and project based attribution. For this post, I want to go one step further and explain how you can use several different types of technologies for operational and project-based attribution. The tables below should help you select the most appropriate technology based on your own attribution needs. Operational attribution allows an advertiser to see all the steps or clicks that led to conversion in real-time and continuously attributes conve [...]


How To Create High-Converting Landing Pages

In this post I present some intermediate level landing page optimization tactics. I toss in a couple of real-world scenarios and we will work from some basic assumptions. This article is targeted for Google AdWords advertisers with direct marketing goals in mind, although the same principles apply to other search engines just as well. Landing page optimization has two main goals: Increase conversions for clicks that get to the page Increase Quality Score (Google only) so that you can lower your CPC for the same clicks As a secondary benefit, while more conversions and a bet [...]


CPA Vs. ROI Optimization: What’s The Best Practice?

Performance measure on a CPA basis is usually is a limitation of tracking – the advertiser cannot associate true revenue with the conversion. Managing to an ROI, and moreover, managing to maximize profit margin for each keyword will open up new doors for PPC efficiency.


Valuing Keywords Based On Their Role In Conversion

Are you valuing all keywords equally, assuming they all offer the same benefit to your paid search campaign? That may be a mistake. Here’s a cautionary tale that shows you how to assign appropriate values to keywords based on their role in the conversion funnel.


Things To Consider Before Starting Your Next Conversion Rate Optimization Project

Five years ago, few people paid any attention to conversion rate optimization. Today, everyone is jumping on the conversion optimization bandwagon. I believe that there were two main factors that changed search marketers perceived value of conversion optimization: Google Website Optimizer. In October 2006 Google announced the release of its website testing tool, Google Website Optimizer. While the tool is not as powerful as some of its commercial counterparts, it allowed the average smaller to mid-size website to integrate some sort of A/B and multivariate testing into their marketing init [...]


How To Optimize A Mobile AdWords Campaign

Google is going mobile in a big way. Following the announcement of Nexus One, the official Google phone, and the acquisition of adMob, Google is ready to make some serious moves on the small screen. Early days of mobile advertising Before smart phones hit the market, mobile advertisers were confined to the small screens of traditional mobile units. Web access on those phones was painful and expensive"web pages" on those phones often consisted of nothing more than several hyperlinks. Needless to say, the technology never really took off. The iPhone changed all of that in late 2007, by off [...]


Searching For PPC Success In A Down Economy

The beauty of online marketing is transparency – there is no other medium in advertising within which a direct ROI or CPA can be associated without questioning a slew of externalities.


Four Unobvious Strategies For Improving Google AdWords Profitability

Sometimes the ideal AdWords strategies are counterintuitive. If you’re in a competitive market, you need every optimization you can get. The following tips will give you an edge in profitability.


A Roundup Of 2009′s Best Search Advertising Books

The world of paid search has evolved from "all you need is five minutes and a credit card" to a complex ecosystem with lots of moving parts that and obstacles that can cause serious damage for the unwary. Here's a look at some of the best paid search books published in the past year. A roundup of 2009's best search advertising books Search Engine Advertising: Buying Your Way to the Top to Increase Sales (2nd edition) by Kevin Lee, with Catherine Seda New Riders, $34.99 ISBN-10: 0-321-49599-3 This was one of the first books about search advertising ever published, making its debut [...]


How To Use Google Analytics To Improve PPC Performance: Part I

Running effective PPC campaigns in B2B markets is a competitive task that can be extremely expensive. That’s why it is so important for search marketers to run efficient campaigns that create maximum value for those high-cost clicks. So what can you do to be more competitive and increase ROI even as these tough economic times are shredding your budgets?


Two Golden Keys To Paid Search Success: Scale And Efficiency

There are two key factors crucial to assuring the success of any large SEM optimization process: First, tuning the campaign so that it is efficient and second, scaling the account while maintaining the efficiency you’ve gained. Your key goal should be to identify incremental opportunity without losing profitability.


5 Social Media Lessons For Paid Search Landing Pages

Can you apply the spirit of social media to other marketing channels? At this year's SMX East, after my presentation on Landing Page Usefulness—emphasizing a "usefulness" mission over "usability" tactics—it struck me: great landing pages can bring many of the ideals of social media to paid search marketing campaigns. Here are five principles of social media marketing that can energize your landing page program: 1. Engage in specific conversations, not generic one-size-fits-all talk. When a company engages in social media, the worst thing it can do is echo canned, cut-an [...]


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