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.

Paid Search Portfolios: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

DMR Last month, I suggested that spending beyond observed profit maximization in paid search can make a great deal of sense on a number of grounds. In a nutshell, the argument is that a combination of other factors can make "losing money" on the incremental investment rational. Here's why: You might not actually be losing money. There is more "return" than meets the eye. There is cookie breakage There are cross-device tracking losses There is affiliate cannibalization There is offline spillover There are other valuable actions you may not be crediting to paid search Short ter [...]


Hearing The Rhythms Of Human Search Behavior: What We’ve Learned

(Click to enlarge.) Watching people search is great entertainment. It's not a one-note performance. It's an all-day, around-the-clock jazz show, with the performers constantly changing their themes, rhythms, even their instruments. Along the way, one gains some great insight into human behavior and how people go about their connected lives. Search marketers that pay attention to this tune will come away with some big advantages. Why do I make the analogy to jazz? Because consumer search behavior is extremely varied, but also tends to follow patterns that we can discern, like the way a drummer can anchor a j [...]


Reach & Frequency: The Forgotten Dimension Of GDN On AdWords

google-data-knowledge-brain-featured The Reach and Frequency report lives under the Dimensions tab in AdWords; yet this information often gets overlooked in favour of analysis on areas such as geographic location or time of day. What Can You See From This Report? Very simply, this report shows the following: Reach:  The number of unique users who saw your adverts Frequency: The minimum number of times a unique user saw your adverts. You can select the length of time you wish to see: day, week or month. Where Can You Find The Report? This report can be found under the dimensions tab (see image below). The data are av [...]


Mobile PPC Tips & Tricks – What Works & Doesn’t

ppc-paid-search-mobile-600 As we all know, the mobile environment is becoming more important, and mobile PPC is a topic companies are starting to pay more attention to. At this point, there’s still a lot of low-hanging fruit out there. In this article, I'll share some mobile stats to begin with, and then provide some PPC tips and tricks we've learned along the way related to mobile ad copy, mobile landing pages and mobile scheduling strategies. Mobile Growth Mobile usage is on a pretty big upswing, and "the year of mobile" is coming much faster than people think. Are you losing sales today from bad mobile adverti [...]


Should You Be Bidding On Your Brand Terms For Your Search Ads?

Incrementality of organic and paid clicks While many advertisers have bought into the idea of bidding on search terms that include their brand name, there are still plenty of smart people that question the incrementality of such a practice. We've questioned it ourselves, most recently in a 2012 study. That study looked at incremental clicks in instances where you're already appearing in the organic rankings -- something that probably happens a good deal when you bid on the terms associated with your site and your brand. Whether you're already on the side of bidding on your brand terms or not, odds are that you'll have a discussion [...]


Reassess How You Prioritize Your E-Commerce PPC Campaign Builds

ppc-paid-search-mobile-600 Over the last couple of years, the prioritization of e-commerce PPC campaign builds has shifted dramatically.With the rise of Google Shopping and with dynamic solutions now available to advertisers, standard Search Network text-ad campaign builds fall down the priority list. In today's world of e-commerce PPC, I prioritize my campaigns as follows: Google Shopping (Product Listing Ads or PLAs) Remarketing (All Types) Search Network Text Ads & Ad Extensions Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) Google Display Network Google Shopping According to RKG's Q1 2014 Digital Marketing Report, PL [...]


New AdWords Quality Score Info: What You Need To Know

adwords-quality-score-featured By now, you've probably seen (or at least heard about) Google’s recent video and new white paper about Quality Score in AdWords. In fact, when I first heard about the updated Hal Varian video, I was a bit surprised, given that Google hasn't bothered to update it for about five years! Whenever Google officially communicates information about their various algorithms, for obvious reasons there's often more going on than meets the eye. In my column today, I'll share with you my take on what you really need to know about Google's new Quality Score information. What The Heck Is Going On? [...]


How To Improve Shopping Ad Performance & Quality Score In AdWords

Google Shopping Ads By late August, Product Listing campaigns in AdWords will be retired in favor of Shopping campaigns, so if you haven’t started migrating, don’t delay much longer. You can run both campaign types start tweaking Shopping campaigns now so that they’ll be performing great by the time PLAs go away later this summer. [caption id="attachment_195905" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Screenshot from Google.com showing Shopping ads generated from Merchant Center feed data.[/caption] In my last two columns, I covered targeting Shopping ads (which is extremely different from keyword targeting) [...]


The New Data Currency In A Digital World

How first-, second-, third-party data is collected The list of options on the performance marketing menu has been growing steadily. Whereas search had historically been the primary channel for direct marketers to drive leads and revenue, the array of opportunities has been increasing within the social and display channels, particularly given the rising popularity of retargeting. First-, Second- & Third-Party Data In A Data Currency World Accordingly, there's been a shift in the essential data currency for marketers. Within the search world, that currency has mainly been keyword data. But within the world of display and social, that curre [...]


Search Engine Marketing Helps Drive Back-to-School Sales

back-to-school-shutterstock Summer may just be starting, but advertisers that want to do well this back-to-school shopping season need to plan now to make the most of this really impressive annual consumer shopping event. In fact, at an estimated $72.5 billion in combined back-to-school and back to college spending in 2013 [1], this is the second-largest retail event of the year, after the winter holidays. What advertisers are best positioned to capitalize on this major seasonal event? Not surprisingly, 87 percent of the people we've surveyed report that school supplies are the No. 1 category. [2] Not far behind, [...]


Mobile Calls Are The New Conversions: 7 Tips For SEMs

mobile-conversions-money-shutterstock Are you seeing depressing plateaus, or even declines, in your year-over-year conversion numbers? The fact is that a huge portion of search activity is moving to mobile. Soon, mobile activity will account for over 50% of searches. The problem is that the mobile conversions don't follow the mobile searches. For many SEM accounts, this means that year-over-year conversion volumes may be stagnating, or even look like they are declining. They probably aren't; it's just less trackable as people jump devices in their journey. People grab the device at hand and execute conversions in non-linear [...]


3 Opportunities With Those New Google Shopping Campaigns

(Click to enlarge.) For those who are not necessarily familiar with Google Shopping campaigns -- let's clarify things straight away. Product listing ads (PLAs) are remaining the same as an ad format for end users, whether search marketers are using "old PLAs" or new Shopping campaigns. The novelty lies only on the campaign management side of things, including a layering system based of the Google Merchant Center feed directly in AdWords. But in my mind, some of the new Google Shopping features should have a significant impact for both advertisers and end users – here are a couple of initial thoughts. 1. [...]


How Hard Should You Press The Gas Pedal In Paid Search?

1 to 2 The following post contains a number of metaphors strained to the breaking point; viewer discretion is advised. An enduring truth in the paid search business is that paid search managers and marketing teams spend far more time thinking about tactical minutia than they do thinking about what are far and away the most important questions to the business: "What is the ultimate objective of paid search for our company? And how do we measure success against that goal?" If the goals and measurement have been thoroughly fleshed out, considered and analyzed, then it makes sense that attention be [...]


Why AdWords Dynamic Search Ads Work Better Than You Think

google-adwords-600 I have a confession: I used to hate Dynamic Search Ads. I'm sure some of you still do. For my part, I had used them unsuccessfully in a couple of accounts and decided they were no good. It wasn't until a few months ago, when I saw this awesome presentation from Matt Umbro at SMX West, that I decided to give them another shot. Let me say this: Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are not only a lot better than they used to be, they can also perform extremely well when optimized properly. Let's take a look at how to run a successful DSA campaign. What Are Dynamic Search Ads? Think of DSAs as [...]


The Impact Of Google Display Network Magazine Ads

questions-shutterstock In May, Google officially launched a new format for text ads on the Google Display Network (GDN) called magazine ads. Have you taken the chance yet to analyse what has happened to your text ads traffic since? Here's what they look like: I've looked into a few accounts to spot what key differences we're seeing now that this new format has been out for a month. The Impact On Click-Through Rate One of the placements I've been analysing is Devour, a video content site that came up as a placement for a Travel client targeting the USA. You can see from the image below that the text a [...]


Remarketing Tips Born Of Years Of Experience

Add to Cart Retargeting is an awesome way to reengage traffic that hasn't converted. Over the years, it's evolved, and the tools have become more robust. With this development, we've uncovered some effective remarketing strategies. In this article, I'll cover some ideas related to engaging returning customers, obtaining new customers and remarketing related to specific search term queries. But before getting started, below are some general tips to remember: Tip #1: Don't Creep Your Prospects Out With Constant Ad Bombardment Don't show retargeted ads to everyone and their dog. Take the time [...]


How To Manage Bids For AdWords Shopping Ads

google-shopping-600 Last month, I covered the basics of how Shopping campaigns in AdWords differ from Search campaigns. The key finding I had was that, with Search, you have to add keywords to target more queries. In Shopping, all queries that match your products are targeted by default, and one of the main reasons to divide products into Product Groups is to get more control over bids. This month, I'd like to share what I've learned about managing bids for AdWords Shopping ads. Bidding In Shopping Campaigns All bidding in Shopping Campaigns is done at the lowest Product Group level -- so while ad grou [...]


A Defense Of Broad Match For SEM

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat is a renowned work of art that currently sits in the Art Institute of Chicago. You’ve probably seen it at some point or another. It’s known for its size (almost seven feet tall and over ten feet wide) and its style (pointillism). Pointillism, a style of art that Seurat himself invented, involves making colorful dots coalesce into a picture. If you look at some of Seurat’s works close enough, all you’ll see is a bunch of dots. [caption id="attachment_193543" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A Sunday Afternoon [...]


How A PPC Fraud Ring Impersonated 300+ Advertisers In May 2014

ppc-featured Did you know that your paid search ads are susceptible to the same type of fraud that affects other forms of digital advertising? And we're not just talking about click fraud here.  The fraudulent tactic affecting PPC the most dramatically these days is a fairly insidious one that can be hard to detect. It's called PPC ad impersonation and occurs when an impostor advertiser takes a known URL, like JossAndMain.com, and uses it as the Display URL of their own advertisement. When you first hear about PPC fraud rings, you tend to think of click fraud where an automated system, not a real pe [...]


Reusable Code For MCC Scripts Will Save You Tons Of Time In AdWords

html-code-schema-300px Writing reusable code is something all developers strive for. Any developer worth his/her salt is continuously building a library of reusable code snippets to use in future development. You don't need to re-invent the wheel each time a common problem is encountered because you can use the code you've already written. It also makes legacy code easier to update later. I'm in the process of updating some of my scripts for the new MCC level format, and I've been thinking about some common code snippets I seem to use in almost every script I write. So I thought I'd share some of these idea [...]


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