Paid Search looks at search advertising programs and how to most effectively use them. Columnists cover topics such as bid management, managing multiple campaigns, search ad copy tips and landing page quality issues and other subjects.

5 Steps To Leverage Those AdWords Bid Simulations For Maximum Return

Coverage Though the basic concepts have remained the same, a lot has changed since Hal Varian released his bidding tutorial back in 2009 (video autoplay), especially with enhanced campaigns and those new mobile and location bid modifiers. One such change is that keyword-level simulations are now available for download in AdWords. For any search marketer interested in marginal cost and revenue numbers -- essentially how diminishing returns affect your paid search program -- those simulations can be a great source of knowledge. Below are some thoughts on how to leverage them. 1. Pull Those AdWords [...]


Prepare Your PPC Plans For The Search Engines’ Inevitable Pivots

shutterstock_101441059-emergency-preparedness Last week, Google announced some panic-inducing security enhancements, essentially removing search queries in referring URLs for PPC clicks. Plenty has already been written about this topic and, without getting into it too much, I think it's a bit of a storm in a teacup. Larry Kim summed it up well last Thursday: It's pretty much a non-issue for most of the people who actually do paid search work. But you wouldn't know it based on the all the hysteria. However, before we knew the scope of Google's planned changes, the team at Hanapin sat down to prepare an action plan for adapting to (not pr [...]


6 Steps To Boost The Profitability Of Your SEM Acquisition Program

cpaclvwee Imagine that your job is to stand outside a barber shop and bring in new customers. If a businessman with shaggy hair comes walking by, you give him a big wave and a hello. If a bald man walks by, not so much. This analogy is used by Google AdWords to describe its Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) feature. The feature is intended to identify auctions that are more likely to lead to conversions -- and to automatically raise bids to "work harder" for those sales. It's a powerful concept, and one that has understandably gained traction in the SEM community. But imagine if you could take [...]


10 Surprising Facts About “Keyword (Not Provided)” For Paid Search

referral-url Earlier this week, everyone went bananas over a rumor that paid search query data was disappearing and that third party tools providers would be slammed. In my article, I’ll clarify fact from fiction. Here are ten things you need to know about the Keyword (Not Provided) for paid search issue: 1. Can I Still Access My Paid Search Query Data? Yes! You can access your paid search query data, using the search terms report in AdWords. Just go to your keywords tab, and select the view search terms option. (Try it out yourself!) 2. Is The Search Term Report A New Feature In AdWords? No. [...]


AdWords Scripts Grows Up With MCC Level Scripts

google-adwords-featured1 So far, many have dismissed AdWords scripts as a toy that you can only use for small AdWords account setups. There are some ways to build out larger script frameworks that span multiple accounts, but it is clunky and still requires you to install a snippet of code into each account. Worse yet, if you find a bug in a script that you've copied to 10 or 25 accounts, you'll need to log into each one and update them manually to apply the fix. This breaks one of the fundamental rules of software development: "Don't Repeat Yourself." Welcome to MCC Level Scripts My Client Center (MCC) level sc [...]


Not Provided Comes To Paid Search: What Will The Impact Be?

Not Provided If you're reading this, you probably already know that Google is making changes that will bring the much-maligned "(not provided)" to paid search. The AdWords world has been abuzz about the change for the past few days. The gist of the development is that when people using secure search click on AdWords ads, the user's search query in the referrer string -- the actual words that people entered into the search box -- won't be passed to analytics packages and third-party software. This is an annoyance, but in the great scheme of things, it’s not a major problem. I'll explain more, b [...]


The Enhanced Campaigns Big Picture & What’s Next For AdWords

shutterstock_64061482-fortuneteller Google’s gearing up for a big announcement on April 22. The last time Google truly lowered the boom, we got Enhanced Campaigns, which have radically changed the SEM landscape. Let’s take a look at where Enhanced Campaigns have led us and what might be coming next. Enhanced Campaigns Have Changed Your World – But Not How You Think Sure, we’ve all come to the conclusion that CPCs were nominally impacted. Mobile is higher, but not that much. Tablet CPCs have increased, but those impressions are still relatively low, and the CPCs still haven’t met parity with desktop. The bigger [...]


Analyzing Paid Search To Maximize Customer Acquisition

ppc-paid-search-200px Sophisticated marketers think about building business from two different constituencies: new customers and repeat customers. In industry vernacular, this is often framed as customer acquisition and customer retention. And sometimes, marketing efforts are split along these lines. Paid search is a tremendous vehicle for both of these constituencies. In the case of new customers, ads draw attention to the advertiser's brand and, when clicked, lead to great brand exposure and sometimes, revenue to boot. In the case of existing customers searching on competitive general search terms, ads allow u [...]


Getting More From Your RLSA Campaigns

RLSA Options Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) has been, in my opinion, the highest impact feature released by Google over the last year! However, many people out there are still not putting them to use, and those who are using them could probably be getting even more out of them by adopting smarter strategies. Why This Type Of Targeting Is So Important If you’re not already using these, then here’s just a brief explanation of why you should be. By adding a remarketing audience of your choice to your search campaign, you can apply different keywords, bids and ad strategies in your search [...]


How To Reduce Landing Page Clutter For Optimal AdWords Performance

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 7.46.55 PM When it comes to optimizing PPC landing pages, marketers often think about beefing up page copy, adding trust signals, or including eye-catching graphics. What they often neglect to consider are ways to reduce page clutter -- ways to make the information on your landing page easier to read, or ways to visually enhance the most pertinent information on a page. In this article, I'll cover the basics on how to effectively reduce landing page clutter. Eliminate Unnecessary Words The English language is full of unnecessary words. Unfortunately, these words clutter up your marketing messages [...]


4 Steps To The Perfect AdWords Audit

ppc-featured I recently participated in a few SEM tune-up clinics where we did live reviews of AdWords accounts. While I hope I provided a few interesting tidbits, I think the thing advertisers are looking for in these sessions is insight into the process that other practitioners go through when checking an account. So whether you’re doing an account review because you’re checking your own performance or helping someone else figure out what opportunities exist, a checklist may help. Here’s mine, which consists of four main areas: feature usage, account structure, segmentation opportunities and tren [...]


Unicorn Accounts Don’t Use DKI & 9 Other PPC Lessons From SMX West

SMX West 2014 Freshly back from the excitement of SMX West in beautiful San Jose and full to the brim with insightful PPC notes (if Evernote can technically get full to the brim), I've set about compiling a list of my top PPC-related takeaways from the event. The following are the ten that most caught my imagination. 1. Good Accounts Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion, The Best Don't In his excellent presentation on former PPC Best Practices gone wild, Larry Kim outlined a great way to think about ads that make use of Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Essentially, DKI is a great way to bump your ads into "abov [...]


Driving PPC And SEO Synergy In Large Enterprises

I recently had a prospect ask me whether it's ideal to have one team handle both the SEO and PPC efforts for an enterprise. To a large degree, that depends on the capabilities of your in-house group or external agency -- world-class PPC and SEO advice seldom coincide with each other, and often one can be better off engaging a firm with deep expertise in a particular channel in order to "move the dial" for that channel. There are some areas where SEO and PPC efforts dovetail nicely; however, this doesn't mean the same person or the same team needs to manage both in order for an enterprise [...]


Drive PPC Revenues By Addressing The Bing Dilemma

Life Beyond Google Meme In February, comScore released their monthly analysis of the US search marketplace, reporting Google with a 67.6% share of the search market and Bing, which powers Yahoo! search, a 28.7% share. Though these findings continue to confirm Google’s dominance in the search landscape, it’s important to highlight that Bing’s share of the market has continued to grow year-over-year, accounting for 3.6 billion searches per month. As advertisers continue to navigate an increasingly competitive and complex landscape, these search trends underscore an incredibly profitable and accessible oppor [...]


Using First-Party Data For SEM On Google & Way Beyond!

data_SEL As a general rule, the marketer with the most actionable data wins. There are many types of data but the most useful kind -- the GlenGarry data -- is first-party data. This article will show you how you can use the data you already have about your best (and worst) customers to improve your online marketing ROI. First-Party, Second-Party, Third-Party Before I dive into use cases, let's quickly define what first-party data is. Here's a basic primer on the three types of data you likely have access to: First-Party: Information that you have collected about your customers. This includes emai [...]


4 Surprising SEM Stats Every E-Commerce Marketer Should Know

surprise-shock-man-600 Santa's elves weren't the only ones busy this past holiday season. Paid search was also working overtime to make sure shoppers ended up with perfect holiday gifts. The share of e-commerce transactions driven by SEM during November-December 2013 was 15%, up from 14% in 2012. And, organic search accounted for 26% of holiday e-commerce orders. Clearly, Google was the gatekeeper for e-commerce success, with over 40% of all e-commerce sales originating in search queries. These stats are based on e-commerce data from The Custora Pulse -- a free US e-commerce industry benchmark, aggregating tr [...]


If Online Ad Targeting Works, Does More Targeting Work Better?

target roi A former colleague at Forrester Research recently published a study that described his view of the future of online marketing. The study is available to Forrester clients only, but the crux of the argument is laid out in a blog post: Why Google - Not Facebook - Will Build The Database Of Affinity. The author, Nate Elliot, describes large media companies building a "database of affinity," which he described thusly: Recently we described an idea called the database of affinity: A catalogue of people's tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors on sites like Face [...]


Create A Winning Paid Search Strategy For The World Cup

shutterstock_178258670-world-cup-soccer-ball For world-class marketing opportunities, few events surpass the World Cup. Given its global reach, a viewership that by some estimates reached nearly half the world's population in 2010, and the feverish devotion of football (aka soccer) fans, the World Cup is marketing gold. Marketers that rise to the occasion can score big. Four years after it first aired, people still talk about and watch Nike's epic three-minute World Cup ad, which featured football superstars Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo -- not to mention Homer Simpson. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which runs from June 12 t [...]


7 Common Pitfalls Of Google Display Network Campaign Management

Test new approaches as often as Beckham changes his hair style! The Google Display Network has been around for a long time now, yet marketers continue to make many of the same mistakes over and over again. Here are seven common issues that can arise when running a display campaign if you don't stay on the ball. 1. Unnecessary Pausing Of Keywords You notice that your display campaign has suddenly started spending a lot more money and your cost-per-conversion has tripled. What's the first thing you look at? A lot of people would tend to go straight to the keywords (if targeting contextually) and try to pinpoint the highest spending term to either lower [...]


3 Simple Messaging Changes That Can Mean Big PPC Bucks

ppc-money-mouse-click-600 There are many ways in which PPC accounts can go astray. For example, wrong keywords, incorrect bidding, bad landing pages, etc... I think you get the picture. An often overlooked pitfall relates to basic marketing strategy/messaging. If basic marketing principles are overlooked, PPC goodness tends to fall off the rails. In this article, I’ll cover some of the marketing-related ways that companies can go astray. In our experience, we’ve found that 90% of our clients (large and small) benefit from such information. Boldly State Your Value Propositions And/Or Unique Selling Propositions [...]


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