Report: US Search Ad Spend Rises 12 Percent YoY In Q4 2013; Smartphone CPCs Drop

IgnitionOne Tablet Smartphone Performance Q4 2013 IgnitionOne released its fourth quarter Digital Marketing Report today, showing that the paid search market in the US continues to grow. Search ad spend rose 12 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2013. In part as a result of the later kick-off to the holiday shopping season this year, December ad spending was up a significant 27 percent over 2012. Though overall ad impressions fell 16 percent year-over-year, clicks rose 5 percent and click-through rates jumped 25 percent in Q4.  IgnitionOne posits lower impressions are a result of "top of page innovations" including new ad ext [...]


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 [...]


Report: Google PLAs Deliver 4X Revenue Lift For Retailers In Early Holiday Season

google-shopping-products-featured It's probably not too surprising to hear that retailers have doubled their year-over-year spend on Google product listing ads this holiday season thus far. After all, the paid format of Google Shopping had just rolled out in the fall of 2012. What is stunning, however, is the four-fold increase in revenue that retailers have realized from PLAs versus 2012, according to a holiday retail report from Kenshoo out this week.   ROAS reached $8.62 in the 26 days ending with Cyber Monday that were analyzed for the study. Yes, PLAs delivered a nearly 9 to one return on investment in the [...]


It’s True! Bing Ads Allows Use Of Exclamation Mark In Ad Titles

bing-ads-new-240px After reading the news yesterday that Bing Ads has made a change to its Editorial Guidelines prohibiting third-party sellers from appearing as an original brand, I noticed this notation in the change log from November: We have removed the restriction on use of exclamation points in ad titles from the Content and Style Guidelines. A single exclamation point is now allowed in the title of an ad. Really, exclamation marks in ad titles? The actual guidelines are a little fuzzy on this point, stating just that "One exclamation point or question mark is allowed per sentence in ad text." with no me [...]


Bizible Adds Google AdWords ROI Reporting For Salesforce

salesforce adwords logos Bizible, a marketing analytics app for Salesforce.com, has launched a feature to enable Google AdWords cost data to be imported and tied to actual revenue posted in Salesforce. The AdWords ROI Dashboard enables revenue tracking against keywords, ads, ad groups and campaigns. The AdWords ROI Dasbboard was released generally last week. The company says beta testers have used the dashboard to track AdWords' ROI based on closed opportunities in Salesforce, quickly visualize the sales pipeline of AdWords leads, and project future performance of AdWords campaigns by looking at open opportunit [...]


4 Surprising Ways CPG Brands Are Using Paid Search For Brand Marketing [Study]

Retail Shopping Consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers have been spending an average of $6.2 million monthly on Google AdWords in the US over the past three years, according to a new AdGooroo study which looked at ad impressions between August 2012 and July 2013.  All of the CPG companies engaged in brand marketing, but AdGooroo found that several brands took surprising approaches in their targeting to reach their desired audiences in search. Here are four examples of CPG companies using search to broaden their share of voice in surprising ways: In a departure from the standard tactic of promotin [...]


Google Ad Rank Study: How The New Formula Is Impacting AdWords Performance

google-adwords-square-logo In October, Google changed its Ad Rank formula which determines the position order of AdWords paid search ads. The revised formula now factors in the expected impact of ad extensions and ad formats, in addition to the bid and quality score. The Search Agency has released its latest findings on the impact of this significant change. The Search Agency looked at roughly 3,500 campaigns across a large client set and isolated preexisting ads that included one of the following ad extensions: location extensions, call extensions, review extensions, offer extensions, app extensions, or sitelinks, t [...]


10 Things RTB Rookies Can Learn From SEM Vets

ppc-paid-search-200px If I were to describe to you a digital media channel in which marketers bid on ad inventory in an auction-based model, would you think of paid search? Of course! But this also describes the relatively new online display category of real-time bidding (RTB) in which banner impressions are sold in a similar fashion. eMarketer recently released Programmatic Advertising Forecast and Future Growth Trends, in which it projects that RTB digital display ad spending in the US will reach $9.03 billion by 2017 and will represent 29.0% of total U.S. digital display ad spending. Although RTB has been [...]


Paid Search Spend Surges 27%, Mobile Grabs 40% Thanksgiving, Black Friday Spend

black-friday-cash-mouse-featured Amid reports that brick and mortar sales were lackluster over the Thanksgiving weekend, ecommerce is looking like a bright spot this holiday season, with mobile devices playing an increasingly important role. Mercent, which powers major retailer campaigns online for brands including Brookstone, Office Depot and HSN reports same seller online sales increased 40 percent on Thanksgiving Day compared to 2012. Black Friday same seller sales hit a record high, increasing 35 percent Paid search saw big increases in click volume and retailer spend. Retailers spent 27 percent more on paid search [...]


Now “Undo” Google AdWords Changes From Change History Reports

google-adwords-square-logo Taking action after a completing a test in Google AdWords may just have become a whole lot easier. An new "undo" button was spotted last night in the Change History reporting by Heather Cooan, director of client services at Clix Marketing. Here's a screenshot from Heather's account after she clicked on the "undo" button next to one of the line items. Heather notes that a new line item is created when the change is marked as undone, and the "undo" button is made available in case you want to revert back again. The feature doesn't appear to have rolled out to everyone yet, so you're not al [...]


Google Trusted Stores Now Integrates With AdWords, Shows StellaService Ratings In US

google-trusted-store-icon Today, Google formally announced several updates for Google Trusted Stores, the free ratings service Google launched in 2011, just ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. AdWords Seller Ratings Integration Google Trusted Stores is now among the services that help to power seller ratings, which show on AdWords text ads as well as Product Listing Ads. Here is an example of how the ratings details display for a Google Trusted Store: In most cases, businesses must have at least 30 unique reviews from the past 12 months and an overall rating of at least 3.5 stars. Retailers participating [...]


Will Big Retail Rule Paid Search On Black Friday, Cyber Monday Again This Year?

holiday-shopping-featured Here we go, just over a week until Black Friday and Cyber Monday. All hands are on deck, budgets are ready to be unleashed. The big box retailers appear poised to yet again dominate paid search results for queries related to these all-important retail days. Over the last two years, the big box retailers have been squeezing coupon and deals sites out of paid search leader boards for "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" queries, according to research from Adgooroo. In 2012, big retail dominated paid impressions for "Black Friday" search queries: Just two deals sites managed to infiltrate the [...]


Bing Ads Introduces Refined Broad Match Keyword Targeting

bing-ads-featured In an effort to help advertisers attract more click volume from the Yahoo Bing Network, Bing Ads has rolled out Broad Match keyword targeting. The company says that with refinements and ongoing updates the "Bing Ads platform is able to deliver Broad Match conversion metrics that are 85% of the percentage of Exact Match". The new Broad Match is designed to eliminate the need for endless keyword variations set on Exact or Phrase Match, while still maintaining quality control. Some 30 percent of daily searches on Bing are new, so Broad Match is meant to help cast a wider net to catch new, rel [...]


Conversion Metrics Now Available In Google AdWords Bid Simulator

google-adwords-square-logo The AdWords Bid Simulator tool now offers conversion estimates in addition to impressions and clicks to show how bid changes may affect conversion volume and values. For each bid option shown in the simulator, the bid simulator provides the number of conversions -- both 1-per click and many-per-click -- and conversion values if assigned or set. Conversion estimates show how many clicks might result in a conversion within one day, and the estimates are based on "a recent 7 day period". (Notice Google here does not say the most recent 7 days.) Because the bid simulator is based on a seven day [...]


Holiday PPC Tips From Back-To-School Season: How BookRenter Faced Down Bigger Competitors & Rising CPCs

shutterstock_126762251 shopping As online businesses prepare to ramp up their holiday paid search campaigns, it can be instructive to look at insights from the retail's second biggest season: back-to-school. For BookRenter.com, an online text book rental company, back-to-school is its holiday season.  Jean-Michel Boujon, BookRenter's Marketing Director, discussed some of the paid search challenges his company faced this year and how, despite increased competition and soaring CPCs, he says they managed to grow their search traffic faster than the industry. When BookRenter launched in2007, the company’s main challenge w [...]


3 Ways B2B Search Marketers Can Stand Out With Rich Ad Formats

b2b-building-blocks We all know B2B customers differ from regular consumers for a variety of reasons. Their purchase cycle is longer, as they have to consult more options before pulling the trigger on signing a contract for a solution or purchasing a product. There is also more risk involved when a B2B client finally makes a purchase, as the success of their business may hinge on the decisions they make. We also know it's critical for paid search to be present to finally close the loop on the sale or lead when that B2B client is ready. But when the search engine results page is a sea of text ads and organic li [...]


Google AdWords Yellow “Ad” Icon Spotted On Desktop SERPs In UK

adwords-mobile-ad-icon The bold yellow "Ad" icon that started showing up in Google search results on smartphones in September, now appear to be  getting a test run in the UK. This weekend, Ashley Williams, SEO Project Lead at Summit Media in the UK, noticed the icon appearing in the SERPs for every query he performed on his desktop. Here is what it looks like:   In the new design, the yellow shading behind the ads is gone and a thin gray line separates the top set of ads from the organic listings, and the yellow icon is displayed at the top of the right rail ads. The "Ads related to [search query] [...]


The New Visual Brand Ads: What Google Banners & Bing Hero Ads Mean For Search

bing-google-banner-hero-featured In the past two weeks, both Microsoft and Google began testing display-style ads that appear on search results for select brand queries. Many see the introduction of these ads as a money grab to get brands to pay for traffic they would otherwise get for free, an assault on SEO, and the further "brandification" of SERPs that caters to large companies (and hurt smaller ones). Others see it as search maturing toward traditional advertising and a natural extension of a more visually-driven Internet.     Google's test ads, called Visual Search Ads are simple banners that display [...]


Google Testing New AdWords Site Search Extension

google-adwords-square-logo A new flavor of AdWords form extensions has been spotted. It's a site search box, and according to Google, this test is related to the drop-down navigation extension seen in August. Users can perform an internal site search of the advertiser's web site right from the search results. After users types in a search query and clicks the "Search Now" button, they are taken to the product search results page on the advertiser's site. In other words, internal site search results become the landing page. This could be a powerful extension, in particular, for retailers advertising on category key [...]


Microsoft Provides More Clarity On Bing Ads Microsoft Account Sign-In

bing-ads-new-240px Last week, users began seeing prompts to set up Microsoft account log-ins for their Bing Ads accounts. Some users expressed consternation about the changes and log-in errors they were experiencing when trying to postpone the new process. Today, to mitigate customer angst and make the process as seamless as possible, the Bing Ads team posted an updated FAQ and announced a change to the 2-step verification requirements on the Bing Ads community blog. The first point made clear in the post is that the new sign-on process is not required for existing users before the end of the year. Upon sign- [...]


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