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.

How To Use AdWords Scripts Efficiently In Agencies And Enterprise SEM

google-adwords-square-logo I'm a big fan of all the things you can automate using AdWords Scripts -- from calculating account-level Quality Score, to creating ads from a spreadsheet, to optimizing keywords using data from the Search Terms report. When using scripts to manage a single account, it's well worth the effort to install and tweak them because of the amount of time you'll save down the road. But when it comes to managing enterprise-level AdWords, or managing multiple accounts as an agency, the truth is that a lot of the time saved ends up wasted in the minutiae of keeping everything organized and running. Ad [...]


Google Shopping Campaigns Are Now Live — How To Get Started

google-shopping-products-featured Yesterday morning, Google announced the Google Shopping campaign program is now available to all online merchants. Google Shopping campaigns, which have been in beta since October, are a new version of PLAs which change how ads are created. They make creating PLAs more transparent within AdWords and give advertisers more control, allowing them to view more product information with less involvement with the data feed and an intuitive product group break-out structure.  Google Shopping Campaigns 101 Here are three of the major elements of Google Shopping campaigns: Layering Structur [...]


Why “Big Data” Won’t Win You The Battle For Online Revenue

Marin Software Revenue Connect With so much attention currently being focused on big data, advertisers are beginning to lose sight of one crucial truth: big data is worthless if it's not the right data. So what is the right data? We all know that the digital advertising landscape has dramatically matured over the past decade, and businesses are now wise to invest in technology that enables marketing sophistication. But, the right data is what makes that marketing sophistication meaningful. It's what marketers use to power more complex, strategic and smarter marketing decisions. It's the data that matters most to your [...]


Where Do You Go When You’ve Maxed Out SEM?

sem brick wall Advertisers frequently tell me, "If you can hit my CPA target, my SEM budget is unlimited!" This is great in theory but often limited in practice -- at some point, there simply are no more new keywords, or landing page tweaks, or ad text tests that can increase an advertiser's SEM spend. [caption id="attachment_183221" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Has your SEM optimization hit a wall? See options below.[/caption] Two years ago, maxing out on SEM resulted in a virtual dead-end for online marketing growth simply because other channels could not come close to the CPAs achievable in SEM. [...]


For Product Brands, Consider Paid Search Ads On Retailers’ Sites Instead

babies-r-us Last year, Google made what was to some a surprising announcement: its previously free Google Product Search would become Google Shopping, which would ask a fee of product brands and retailers that wanted to be included in new Product Listing Ads. I can't say that I disagree with Google's decision. The company has hit on a solid way to increase both its revenue and its visibility as a retail platform, and the shift to pay-to-play has been considered successful -- particularly for Google, but for e-commerce retailers as well. It's less beneficial to product brands. Shoppers get on [...]


Start The New Year With A PPC Health Check: Part 2

health-computer-keyboard-featured Welcome to Part 2 of my PPC Health Check series! In part 1, I covered account structure, settings, conversion tracking and budgets. Today's piece will help you understand the areas you need to be checking with regard to keywords, ads and performance. Reviewing a campaign properly isn't something that is done in 20 minutes -- you'll need to spend hours checking these things over in detail, depending on how large your account is. Please keep this in mind when checking over your own accounts. [caption id="attachment_183260" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Click to enlarge.[/caption] As [...]


Are You Ready For The New Google Shopping Campaigns?

google-shopping-products-featured This past October, Google announced a new campaign type for Google Shopping which fundamentally changes campaign management for Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Google Shopping Campaigns are currently in beta (you can request to sign up here), but are likely to become the main campaign structure for Google. This will revolutionize how you create Google product ads. So, how can you avoid getting burned by the New Google Shopping campaigns? Read on to find out. 1. Choose Your Product Groups Wisely Google has emphasized that the new campaign structure for PLAs is designed to make managing P [...]


I Don’t Want No Scrub (Agency)

ppc-puzzle-featured You know the song, so sing it with me people! I made some modifications to the lyrics below that demonstrate my point well: I don't want no scrub (paid search practitioner) A scrub (PPC ) is a guy (PPC person) that can't get no love from me Hanging out the passenger side Of his best friend's ride Trying to holler at me (a customer and/or prospect interested in PPC) To me, a scrub practitioner pretends to know the ins and outs of PPC. They go to search conferences, read related forums and articles, use the right jargon, and send out flashy looking proposals. In the end, they're a b [...]


Excelling (Again) At Excel For Search Engine Marketers

excel logo On Thursday, March 13th, I will be presenting on the Extreme Excel Excellence panel at SMX West with John Gagnon and Brett Snyder (moderated by Chris Sherman). In the session, we will be delivering power-user tips for marketers using Excel, and Chris has raised the bar very high for us to deliver truly advanced-to expert-level hacks on what has become the most commonly used software platform in the digital marketing industry. In my time here at Search Engine Land (this will be my 148th post), I've written about best practices, innovative technology and the business of paid search. Howeve [...]


A Former Googler’s Routine For AdWords Management

New AdWords Ad Rank Formula It's been seven months since we launched Optmyzr's first tool  at SMX Advanced in Seattle -- the Quality Score Tracker -- and we've been busy adding tools, reports and optimizations since then. Now, one of the most common questions we get is when to use various optimizations -- and, of course, these apply no matter what tools you're using. There are plenty of daily tweaks to make in any AdWords account, but what are some of the optimizations we do on a regular schedule? While there's no one right answer for every account, I'll share some of my thoughts about what to do and when to do it [...]


3 Surprising Benefits Of Retargeting

7_types_of_retargeting_small As retargeting becomes more widely used and better understood, its reputation is improving. Marketers are learning to avoid creeping people out through better targeting and less intrusive messaging. Early adopters now have a year or two (or more) of experience to share, which is exactly what I intend to do today. At Wordstream, we've been using retargeting with Google AdWords since Q1 2012. Though we expected it could help us with a few specific issues, it's surprised us with a few additional benefits, as well. First, what is retargeting? In a nutshell, it's the process of tagging websit [...]


Tax Season: Plan Now For Great Advertising Returns

ppc-puzzle-featured Someone once said that Americans deserved a tax system that looked as it if were designed on purpose. No doubt, the world is a complicated place when tax time looms. Rule changes, exemptions, complicated deductions -- it's no wonder that people start to sweat a little as April 15 approaches. If there's one thing taxpayers can cheer, however, it's the fact that the web has really helped reduce the pain of researching tax information, completing tax documents and submitting tax returns. Tax season is increasingly a digital season. Here at Bing Ads, we've seen firsthand the growing tendenc [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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