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.

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 [...]


The Single Metric Every SEM Acquisition Marketer Should Be Tracking

CCM_Find When it comes to SEM acquisition marketing, there's no such thing as a free lunch. As acquisition marketers can attest, there's almost always a tradeoff between the number of new customers acquired, and the customer lifetime value (CLV) of those customers. In short: The more new shoppers you bring in the door, the less each of those customers is likely to be worth to the business in the long run. What accounts for this widely-observed phenomenon? There are a couple of factors that explain why number of customers acquired and CLV tend to move in opposite directions: Self-Sele [...]


How To Run Single-Device Only Enhanced Campaigns. It Can Be Done!

shutterstock_122145442-single-device-campaign When I speak about Enhanced Campaigns, I invariably get an audience question like this: "How can I create single-device campaigns? I know it's possible somehow, tell me how!" I recently figured out the answer. Why The Need For Single-Device Campaigns? I am not usually a proponent of AdWords workarounds. I typically encourage businesses to work with the system and concentrate their efforts on making their landing pages and funnel work well within the AdWords targeting criteria limits. However, the device targeting limits of Enhanced Campaigns just inherently don't work for some business [...]


Despite Google’s Efforts, Counterfeiters Are Commonplace On AdWords

shutterstock_132430334-prom-dress-fraud Should a company that includes the phrase "don't be evil" in their code of conduct be expected to block counterfeiters from buying ads on their search engine result pages? Is it "evil" to sell AdWords to websites that are filled with copyright infringing photos? These questions are unfortunately relevant -- for certain product categories, Google's search engine results pages (SERPs) are filled with links to counterfeiters utilizing copyright-infringing photos. Take the product category of [Dresses > Formal Gowns]. A significant percentage of sponsored ads on the SERPs promote the s [...]


How Google Can Help Enhanced Campaigns Reach Their Potential

Google Enhanced Campaigns It's been over a year since Google publicly announced Enhanced Campaigns for AdWords, and just shy of a year since the mandatory transition date in late July of 2013. Early on, there was a great deal of consternation surrounding the changes brought by this new campaign model, but advertiser sentiment improved as some of their worst fears failed to materialize. Case in point, the growing consensus seems to be that smartphone cost-per-click has not risen much, if at all, versus desktop CPCs since Enhanced Campaigns were introduced. This concern wasn't well-grounded in the first place, if for no [...]


Put Big Data To Work To Build Better Search Ads

Bing Ads Ad Copy Variable Not too long ago, if I said “big data” to someone, I got a blank look in return. Now, big data is the topic du jour. People in healthcare, politics, industry... all are talking about it and how big data is changing the world. Simply put, the concept of big data reflects our growing ability to collect, store and analyze huge amounts of data. That data comes from all manner of sources – credit card purchases, posts on social media sites, public records, mapping software on mobile phones, search-engine queries, weather sensors – you name it. Everywhere in the world, devices and pe [...]


Are Your Google Display Network Results Damaged By AdSense For Mobile?

mobile-ads_products_sm Have you checked your Google Display Network (GDN) campaign placements recently? If the answer is no, then I would take a look ASAP -- chances are, you're appearing on a hell of a lot of apps now, and you might need to make some adjustments to your campaign in order to improve your results. The Issue Eighty percent (80%) of people's time on their mobile device is spent in an app now, and this has caused a significant shift in the traffic available on the Google Display Network via different devices. We all know that there's been a big shift in the amount of time people spend on mobile de [...]


Remove Page Elements For Higher Converting Pages

Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 6.34.31 PM People often talk about including elements on a page to improve landing page conversions and user experience. I know I've personally written a lot on this particular topic. But, did you know that removing page elements can be just as effective at increasing conversions as adding or tweaking elements on a page? Both large and small companies often make the mistake of including too much information on landing pages. In this article, I'll provide several examples of ways to effectively remove page content. The suggestions are fairly simple and can have a significant impact on your bottom line. [...]


Shopper FOMO – What Is It & Are You Dealing With It Appropriately?

FOMOKIDSWIthFOMO FOMO, or "fear of missing out," is something that is playing an increasingly significant role in today's digitally connected world. Wikipedia defines it as follows: Fear of missing out or FOMO is a form of social anxiety -- a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event. This is especially associated with modern technologies such as mobile phones and social networking services. The web has provided us with more options and possibilities than ever before -- but the downside to having a seeming [...]


3 Key PPC Metrics Are Lying To You. Find Out How

ppc-featured When it comes to PPC, metrics are everything. We consume ourselves in pouring over numbers and analyzing our accounts down to the smallest detail. However, it turns out we are being misled by the data we rely on the most. We're too quick to take our figures at face value without thinking about what we're not seeing. I'm going to explore what I consider to be the three most misleading AdWords metrics (and discuss how we should be thinking about them differently): Click-Through Rate, Average Position and Average Cost-Per-Click. Click-Through Rate (CTR) Click-through rate (CTR) is the lifebl [...]


7 Conversion Rate Truths That Will Change Your Landing Page Strategy

cro-meme Much of what marketers have learned about landing page conversion is wrong. Worse, the optimizations promoted across industry blogs, courses and at conferences as game changers are really just best practices every marketer should have implemented already. Tweaking headline and body copy, adjusting line spacing, repositioning buttons, playing with fonts and colors – all of these conventional landing page optimization recommendations will bring only small, short-term results at best. We recently analyzed thousands of advertiser accounts to determine just what it is that sets the top conv [...]


Starting A Shopping Campaign In AdWords? Forget All You Know About Keywords!

Shopping Ads Displace Search Ads Now that Shopping Ads and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are getting more prominent positions on the SERPs (and taking away traffic from search ads); I've started to focus on them more with my clients. I found that working with Google Shopping campaigns is a good deal different from working with traditional keywords and text ads; so over the coming weeks, I'd like to share some of my experiences with this new type of AdWords campaign. The key initial learning for me is that product groups are so different from keywords that you really need to understand how they function before setting up yo [...]


Where SEM Is Concerned, Google+ Appears To Be Alive And Well

google-plus-featured Last week saw a flurry of speculation on the future of Google+ after the head of Google+, Vic Gundotra, announced his departure. The question raised most often is whether Google+ is going away. Although some are reporting that G+ will kill the product side, the platform (in terms of data collection and unique user sign-ins) is sure to stay -- but in what capacity? Several recent changes to Google+ (which don't indicate a dying or ignored product) either have SEM significance or indicate an effort to make G+ more integral to Google's advertising products. Move away from the idea of Goo [...]


Does Google Want to Cut Out AdWords Middlemen?

google-adwords-featured1 The launch of Google AdWords and its subsequent rapid growth in the early 2000s helped spawn an entire industry around paid search advertising. The ecosystem that arose includes Google and its advertisers, as well as a slew of agencies, consultants, software platforms, data providers, third party tools and various combinations thereof in between them. Almost every change or announcement that Google makes seems to raise the question of which of these middlemen Google may be trying to disintermediate. Is Google Threatening Paid Search Providers? When it was recently announced that Google wo [...]


Boost Your Campaigns By Becoming An Expert Search “Forecaster”

shutterstock_137694644-weather In the Greater Seattle area, you never know what spring weather will bring -- cloudy at 8 a.m., sunny at noon, pouring down rain at 5. I always start the day with a check of the forecast, so I know what to expect. In the same vein, anyone planning a search advertising campaign should know what the day's search "forecast" might be. That's because search isn't a static thing. Search behavior changes each day, during the day as well as on different days of the week. Those changes can take the form of different user intent, different search volumes, different devices, or all three. Ad [...]


How To Gain Additional Reach In AdWords With Similar Audiences

clones-duplicates-copies-600 The "similar audiences" feature has been around for some time now, but this type of audience list is still heavily underused. So, what are similar audiences? Google uses your existing remarketing lists to characterise the types of users within them and then makes its own audience lists based on users that have the same interests and characteristics. This list is made up only of people who have been browsing the Google Display Network (GDN) within the last 30 days. You can then use these lists to show both text and image ads to these audiences across the GDN. How Can You Find Them? You ne [...]


This AdWords MCC Script Will Save You An Hour Every Day!

google-bulb-logo-ceiling-1397043754 If you've kept count of how many of my posts during the past year have touched on AdWords Scripts (6 out of 16), you'll know how useful I believe they can be to streamline repetitive tasks in AdWords. I use them all the time for accounts I manage; and without them, I simply couldn’t be as efficient as I am now. Because I've become so reliant on Scripts, I've secretly been worried that one day they might face the same fate as some other Google products that get cancelled during their annual spring cleaning. So imagine my excitement when I read the announcement from Google that AdWords S [...]


Search Marketers: Keep Calm, Carry On

keep-calm-and-market-on Everybody loves progress, but nobody likes change. This adage is particularly true any time Google announces major upgrades to AdWords. If recent comments on Twitter are any indication, Google this morning was gearing up to pull your hair, throw sand in your face and take your lunch money. None of this is true. The Sky Is NOT Falling For whatever reason, search marketers seem to have some sort of an inferiority complex. A lot of us are always on the lookout for new ways that Google is going to screw us over. Seriously, it’s like a laundry list of insecurities: @bigalittlea K [...]


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 [...]


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