I wrote a couple controversial posts a year or two ago. Then, like scumbag Steve, I didn’t tell you what I recommended for truly automated solutions in the bid management space even though I promised I would.
A lot has changed since I wrote those blog posts. One thing that hasn’t is my opinion that certain things should be largely automated by machines. We just aren’t as smart or as fast as machines can be when managing thousands of keywords…there’s no way around that. Your argument is already invalid.
A few of the changes that occurred since I promised to write but didn’t write, in no particular order:
- Marin Software raises a lot of money and is the indisputable leader as far as annual ad spend managed by their software
- Acquisio acquires ClickEquations from, and a partnership with, Channel Intelligence who originally acquired Click Equations months before selling
You get the idea that this is an active space for some reason. Could it be the billions in ad spend flowing all over the place online?
I know I’m missing a lot of influential and relevant players in my list…but these are the ones I have tried to keep up with and seem to recommend to agencies, advertisers and others more than any others. If I’m missing some, it is largely because I don’t know about them or haven’t experienced their products or don’t know who’s behind them like I do the companies listed above.
Without further ado, here are my personal recommendations to any advertiser or agency looking at automating or scaling bid management:
(Enterprise) If you’re looking for more of an agency style partnership and expert service, then I highly recommend RKG for their in-house custom engineering, attribution technology and raw truly-automated bidding power. If I had a budget when I was shopping for a truly automated solution, I would have picked RKG. As soon as I have the budget, I’m going to pick RKG.
(Enterprise) If you’re looking for supplemental software to handle bid automation, then I highly recommend Optimine or Marin Software (has a “Pro” solution in addition to Enterprise). I’m a subscriber at Marin and if it weren’t for them providing such stellar service through a few rough down trends, I would probably hop over to Optimine pretty quickly to give them a shot because the guys behind Optimine are undoubtedly just as caring as the people at Marin Software. The bottom line is that the technology at each are above par, I have no doubt about it. I have also been a subscriber to Acquisio (also has a Pro side to them in addition to Enterprise) and their team is amazing & caring, their technology is great too and I would stand behind their product as well. I have not experienced, nor do I know much about, SearchForce but an agency filled with people I trust and respect recommends or uses SearchForce on several of their clients and that’s good enough for me to put them in this recommendation list.
(Non-Enterprise mostly) If the above options are out of your budget at the moment, then take a good look at Trada for agency-like crowd-sourced manual ppc management ($3k/mo minimum ad spend required last time I checked), WordWatch for supplemental bid help, and Clickable (maybe…I thought their pricing was public a while ago, now it appears to be hidden.)
(Non-Enterprise and/or Enterprise) If you manage everything in-house, then you should take a look at these supplemental tools for analyzing a variety of aspects of any account no matter the software you currently use: CertifiedKnowledge (I’m a subscriber), WordStream, Gazel (Excel Plugin), AdWords Editor, Microsoft adCenter Desktop, Microsoft Advertising Intelligence (Excel Plugin), and so many more.
I know I’m forgetting a lot of highly valuable services in this list…
What do you recommend? Please tell us who the solution is for too…Enterprise, Pro, Small biz, Agency, etc.Read More
You have a few ad rotation settings to choose from in a Google AdWords campaign.
1) Optimize for clicks: show ads expected to provide more clicks (this is the default setting for new campaigns)
2) Optimize for conversions: Show ads expected to provide more conversions
3) Rotate: Show ads more evenly
You can get to these settings in AdWords under any Campaign -> Settings -> Advanced Settings section -> Ad Delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping -> Ad rotation (click “Edit” and you should see something similar to the picture below. Click the picture for a bigger version.)
Why I Always Choose Optimize for Clicks or Optimize for Conversions (and NOT Rotate)
I have been running my campaigns on either Optimize for Clicks or Optimize for Conversions settings for years. It can be hard to simplify or strive to back business metrics into clicks or conversions but it’s well worth the effort, in my opinion.
Optimize for Clicks
Optimizing for clicks let’s Google automatically choose the ad that will produce the highest click-through rates (CTR) in the near term.
When uploading a new advertisement, Google will automatically test that ad with limited impressions over time to see if it will produce a better CTR than the current winning advertisement.
I love this option for rapidly testing ads; not to mention that it helps my quality scores and gives me a competitive edge.
Rapidly testing ads under this setting is easy – and this is my primary reason for NEVER using Rotate: Pause the current winning ad, clone it and unpause the clone – test your new ad against that clone and Google will give each ad a fair shot at producing a better CTR before choosing the most relevant ad as a winner. Google makes you more competitive in the marketplace by not having to wait on you to revisit the test to pick a winner by CTR. In other words, Google is giving an advertiser traffic that their competitors likely didn’t receive by automatically running the advertiser’s winning ad more heavily than other active ads in their ad group.
One should only choose this option if they are confident that the audience arriving through that campaign will satisfy the business goals of the advertiser regardless of the volume of traffic.
For example, I am confident that my landing pages for a specific niche should convert at 12% given a specific campaign’s existing keyword list, bids, ads and historical metrics. It is safe for me to drive as much traffic as I can to that website because the business metrics for this campaign are stable at any traffic volume the campaign can give me.
Optimize for Conversions
Optimizing for conversions let’s Google automatically choose the ad that will produce the highest conversion rate in the near term.
When uploading a new advertisement, Google will automatically test that ad with limited impressions over time to see if it will produce a better conversion rate than the current winning advertisement.
Testing ads under this setting is easy too – but depending on your conversion metrics or tracking, it may take a little bit longer to determine the winning ad: Pause the current winning ad, clone it and unpause the clone – test your new ad against that clone and Google will give each ad a fair shot at producing a better conversion rate before choosing a winner. Google can drive more converting traffic to your website quickly by driving traffic through an ad that is more likely to turn into a conversion. Letting Google do this automatically is smart because conversions are not lost in the hustle if an ad test is on Rotate and simply waiting for you to revisit and pick a winner yourself. Why would anybody want to lose conversions to a competitor?
One should only choose this option if they are able to prove value to the business for every conversion they are tracking through AdWords.
Rotate (Please do NOT choose this option!)
I don’t recommend this option unless you have the time or the technology to do this in a more efficient way than Google can with the above options, or you have a different business metric that you’re striving to optimize for – for example: a low bounce rate/higher engagement, profit per impression (PPI), or other metrics.
Most advertisers should NOT use this option for a few reasons:
- Waiting for a person to pick a winner is inefficient. One will either lose clicks or conversions if they are unable to pick a winner based on CTR or conversion rates.
- Most advertisers are not optimizing for PPI or other metrics. Even if one is optimizing toward PPI, money could be lost to costs due to lower quality scores on ads that might produce decent PPI but lower volume traffic and conversions. There’s almost always going to be an opportunity cost…but if you’re optimizing toward PPI on Search Campaigns, you likely already considered or tested the alternatives.
- AdWords recently decided to optimize this setting toward clicks automatically after 30 days. You might as well Optimize for Clicks now if you’re going to Rotate. Or you better carve out plenty of time in your routine to review hundreds, thousands or millions of ads each month – depending on how big your AdWords account(s) are.
You Have a Choice
It’s up to you as an advertiser or business owner to determine which metrics or settings will work best for your business model. Currently, AdWords gives us 3 options: Optimize for Clicks, Optimize for Conversions or Rotate.
I recommend running with Optimize for Clicks or Optimize for Conversions. Make either of those options work for your business and I’m confident that you will be on your way towards a high quality, highly relevant, and highly profitable Google AdWords account.
If you invested in bid management software within the past few years, chances are high that you were probably duped in one key area: automation.
Now, before you think I’m about to split hairs here…let’s walk through a few basics to make sure we’re on the same page…and…wait…who am I kidding? This might make you mad – or it will make ppc software companies mad so I suppose it really might split a few hairs.
Define:automation. <— This link takes you to google’s indexed list of definitions for the word ‘automation’
The definition I think fits best for what I’m talking about is this one:
“the condition of being automatically operated or controlled; ‘automation increases productivity’”
My main argument in this post is simply this: One should have little to no adjustments to make themselves if a software solution claims to be ‘automated.’ One would simply have to provide any business metric (or combination of business metrics) – revenue, cpc, cpa, ROAS, margin or anything really…and the solution/software provider should customize their automated technology to meet or exceed those goals.
Myth: Most PPC Bid Management Software IS Automated
I spent a lot of time in Q1 this year researching over 2 dozen ppc software companies that provide bid management functionality within their software – or it’s the core to their solution.
Almost every single company claims to:
- Automate bid management entirely with pre-created rules that you choose to set per keyword/campaign/adgroup/whatever (in some cases calling them ‘algorithms’ that bid to position, cpc, etc)
- Give you full control to change bids or create custom rules for automated bid management
- Automated portfolio based bidding that is totally controlled by you
I dare you to go look at every ppc bid management solution out there and find one that does not claim ‘bid management automation’ in some way. I’m convinced that you won’t find a single one that is not claiming ‘automation’ as a feature/benefit to their solution…
A company that claims automation, while putting all of the control into a professional paid search manager’s hands, can’t really be considered automated at all!
Well…answer me a few questions…and you’ll get the idea…
Can a normal professional paid search manager understand the nuances behind advanced predictive statistical models and create/apply bid rules that match those models with any significant degree of confidence?
Can said paid search manager understand the algorithms and math behind the programming that manages the (custom or not) bid management rules/methods?
Can said paid search manager rapidly compare and model today’s results from yesterday’s results, same date/last year’s results, same date/last month’s results, and other date OR day specific results relevant to that day’s bids and adjust bid rules accordingly – even through sales, vacations, 24/7?
Now that you have answered those questions honestly…let’s run through a scenario on a very very small scale:
1 non-competitive (let’s say…5 advertising competitors), uber low search volume, location based keyword in an ad group
2 text advertisements in the ad group
$1 to $2 bid range
And we’ll have to agree on a few things:
Each competitor has the same cpc range
Goals are different for each competitor
Each competitor tries to day part by day or week or whenever they feel like manually adjusting their bids
Ok, there are probably a few things I am leaving out…like the dynamic fluctuation of competitor’s bid patterns and consumer’s search patterns; but, I want to run through the basic math of the sheer number of variations to consider in this scenario where I believe manual bid managers can not accurately predict results and implement changes within a decent amount of time day in and day out:
1 keyword x 2 ads = 2 tests, right? You have one keyword with one ad…against the same keyword and the other ad. Of course you’re still following, because that’s easy!
Now…because we have 2 ad tests running in a non-competitive environment, it might take several weeks to accrue enough impressions/clicks/conversions/’x metric here’ to manually conclude an ad a winner and write another ad to test against the winning ad. Make sense?
Let’s make this problem a little more complex because you agreed that your competitors are probably changing their bids at regular increments via day parting to some degree. You will probably need to adjust your bids too when your competitors adjust theirs or vice versa. Remember your bid range is $1 to $2, or 100 pennies:
1 keyword x 2 ads x 100 penny bid range = 200 tests…a fairly large multivariate test, wouldn’t you agree?
I am confident that you, Mr/Ms manual ppc manager, will be adjusting bids every once in a while without much consideration to the bid change you made several months ago because you’re typically just concerned with the past day’s/week’s/month’s cpc/conversion performance and the last 4 or 5 bid adjustments you made. And some advertisers seem to get by with acceptable results that way.
Consider this: What if your competitor is using a real automated solution that uses an adaptive technique similar to that used on landing page MVTs. (I really like hi conversion’s illustrations when describing their testing technology. Please replace their word ‘conversions’ with other metrics that could be used in low volume spaces – maybe EPC or eCPC.)
With this adaptive/automated technology on their side, your competitors will beat you to writing new ads more consistently and frequently. And writing new ads should naturally lead to improving their target metrics more consistently and frequently.
If you agree with the above scenario, then why, as an industry in general, do we believe most bid management software companies are really automated? Is it because we have been conditioned to accept the definition of ‘automation’ to be “set and create your own bid rules or use ours and the bids manage themselves but you are always in control?”
These alleged ‘automated’ solutions typically don’t employ predictive/rapid statistical modeling in their algorithms. These ‘automations’ are almost always tied to an ad position, cpa, cpc or other easy to calculate average over a specific (or custom) date range!
Manual control is a common theme among these ‘automated’ solutions. This manual control negates automation given the definition I referenced earlier.
Too much human control of a robot creates a lot of room for errors…especially when one is relying simply on rules or portfolio based solutions that are easy to understand and normally consist of using rolling averages to make bid changes.
Bid management is way more complicated than rolling averages!
Fact: Truly Automated, Self-Learning PPC Bid Management Technology EXISTS Today and it Trumps Manual and Pseudo-automated PPC Bid Management Software 24 Hours/day, 7 Days/week!
In my research I found less than 5 companies offering truly automated, self-learning bid management technology across the major search engines (at the time of my research these were Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft’s properties.)
The case studies found at each of these companies are truly impressive and you get a great idea about the real scalability, efficiency, modeling and metrics that these companies can optimize toward successfully.
A few key characteristics of these companies that offer true, automated, self-learning technology are:
- They employ or work closely with a well qualified team of PhD holding mathematicians and PhD holding statisticians.
- They have to (or should) manage their complex technology with strategy direction from an advertiser’s in-house paid search team or agency. Remember, this technology is so complex that it requires PhDs to help program and develop and improve it…most pro paid search people aren’t even close to that caliber of math because we’re marketers!
- They should NOT replace an advertiser’s team nor should they encourage it. The biggest mistake with bringing in these expensive, high cost automated companies is letting go of the pro team that can and should manage the automated tech company relationship/strategy/creative portion of search marketing.
- The technology is so advanced that it should be highly adaptive/self-learning toward cycles, Holidays, trends, sales promotions, and more. In some cases – i.e. sales promotions – communication is going to be key between the advertiser and the technology company team.
- They should have a fully functioning, transparent reporting system that may allow a very limited degree of control…for example, you might have a few branded terms or a campaign that you absolutely will never ever automate to custom metrics so you can keep it out of the pool of automated campaigns. (Yes, manual ppc management MAY be required at this point if you really really want to do it yourself…)
- They should allow control in the sense that you can still go into your AdWords, Microsoft, Y!SM accounts and change things manually yourself…but they should adamantly request that you never ever do that because it will mess up the millions of constant tests and statistics running through the automated solution and that could lead to massive losses/big problems. If you must do it, provide adequate advance notice to the tech company so they can prepare and perhaps even withdraw certain data based on your manual adjustments…
- Their sales copy is freaking annoying and as vague as possible because they have no clue how to describe their technology due to the dilution of the definition of ‘automation’ by all other pseudo-automated bid management software in the marketplace.
- They’re cost prohibitive for advertisers spending <$100 thousand per month.
So what are advertisers spending less than $100,000/mo supposed to do to compete with this insanely awesome sounding technology?
I guess you’ll have to settle for pseudo-automated software…while I might argue that one should go manual to $100k and skip the pseudo-stuff if possible because pseudo-automation leaves so much room for error, bugs and misunderstanding. In my mind it is more risky to adopt pseudo-tech than it is to wait until you can scale to using real advanced tech.
I wanted to cover the solutions I might pick for advertisers spending under $100,000/mo in this post…but I’ll cover a few companies in my next post because this one is getting too long! Time to wrap it up!
What is Truly Automated, Adaptive PPC Bid Management Technology?
The only technology that should ever call itself automated is the one that puts the entire bid/testing/learning process into a position of largely “being automatically operated or controlled”…meaning little to no direct input (bid changes) from a human. One acceptable input would be sharing business strategies, promotions, etc with the technology manager who would ‘move a few levers’ to adjust the technology accordingly. Another might be keyword expansion, writing new ads (the software should auto-pause poorly performing ads based on your business strategy/metrics!), organizing new ad groups, and more.
True automated, adaptive ppc bid management technology does not need bid rules input by a human – it simply needs business metrics to optimize and scale toward. This technology learns and optimizes along the way by performing complex predictive analyses that humans can’t even come close to doing at the same speed.
What do you think? Am I making sense regarding the differences between what I call ‘real bid automation’ versus what most ppc management software companies are claiming as ‘real bid automation’? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
PS – In my next post I’ll cover a list of the truly automated solutions I found + the pseudo-stuff I might consider using and one or two manual ppc management solutions to think about while you’re scaling your way toward the truly automated stuff.Read More
When I started QualityScores as an agency* several years ago, I was proud of the crazy results we were able to achieve with manual pay per click management techniques.
We used massive custom spreadsheets (customized for each client! no ‘rubber stamp’ approach!) with rules that would tell us to move a bid up or down or change the ad copy or revise the ad group…it was really quite an amazing ppc management tool and I would often brag that we had tested a handful of ppc management software in the space only to outperform it manually every time!
That was before most web-based or desktop based ppc management software had extensive, customizable bid rules to the extent we had in our spreadsheets.
A Little Challenge
Recently, I was challenged to manually manage $7,000+ ad spend in one day ($200,000+/mo) while striving to maintain somewhat strict average cpc and cpa goals.
My initial thought was “piece of cake, this won’t take too much time so I can focus on other campaign and business metrics that I think will make a bigger impact on future ROI and the business itself.”
I ended up spending most of the day downloading stats into all of the Desktop Editors and utilizing the regular user interfaces at the search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft only) to strive to project what would happen 2 to 4 hours in advance because I knew that most stats reported were going to be behind by at least that much.
Here’s how it worked: Basically, you would raise a bid by 150% for an hour or two and your average will definitely be much higher for those two hours than it was prior to that bid change. Therefore, it would make sense to have to lower it before you even see the stats update for those two hours while studying past metrics and analytics for day parts that you think should help the overall volume of conversions while striving to maintain better than average costs per click for that specific day. Then you would go back to adjust to 85% of the original starting bid to continue the semi-intelligent day part based on your studies and continue your way hour by hour at a minimum to end the day with a hope that the next day proved you reached your average cpc/cpa goals the prior day! Wow that is a mouthful to…say…in your head…as you read those words…
Are you still with me? If not, don’t worry! I’m basically saying that rather than spend my time on important business metrics and letting software help me manage the tedious bid management…I spent my day barely studying historical data in time to make day part adjustments not just on a campaign level but on a keyword by keyword level too!
The Results of the Challenge
It wasn’t a waste of time because I DID hit the cpa/cpc goals (/sarcasm)…but I would have achieved a lot more for this advertiser than I did in that single day challenge if I didn’t have to spend so much time adjusting bids and making tweaks and paying minute by minute attention to where my averages were.
If you are managing any decent volume of ad spend manually…then I can almost guarantee that you are wasting your time and your employer needs a wake up call. Is it really efficient to pay an expert to try to do what a robot does for most of your competitors? Humans aren’t supposed to be robots! We’re intelligent! You’re intelligent! Should you really spend most of your time changing bids day in and day out? What value are you really bringing to a company if you do that?
Sure, your value in producing decent profits might be there…and you will know the accounts better than anybody…and you will be susceptible to lack of experimentation and unrecoverable errors…and your competitors are probably running circles around you with their fancy schmancy software…but hey, at least you’re profitable and you can grow spend and profits manually with the best of them.
Wow, manual ppc bid management is glorious!
7 Reasons Why Manual PPC Bid Management is Dead
1. While you’re adjusting bids manually, your competitors are writing and testing creative ad copy.
2. While you’re adjusting bids manually, your competitors are creating new landing pages to test and driving incremental improvements in conversion rates on the website.
3. While you’re adjusting bids manually, your competitors are collaborating with their designers and programmers to improve landing page speed, usability, and solving other bottleneck problems in the conversion process…improving conversions even more!
4. While you’re adjusting bids manually, your competitors are developing a strategy and mapping out future promotions/offers with their sales and marketing teams.
5. While you’re adjusting bids manually, your competitors are utilizing ppc management software to change bids for them – and not only that…
6. While you’re still adjusting your bids, your most advanced competitors are utilizing truly automated algorithms that perform millions (and even BILLIONS) of mini-tests between keywords and ads in every ad group and every campaign at every hour of every single day…and THAT technology is learning with statistical prediction models that your brain (and my brain) could never comprehend or test fast enough to compete with…and what’s spooky is that they’re accurate most of the time!
7. While you’re adjusting bids manually…your most advanced competitors who are using self-learning technology to manage theirs are scaling much faster than you can dream of it!
Seriously, all is totally lost for the manual ppc bid manager. I honestly don’t know why I was successful with reaching my goals with the advertiser described in the challenge above. Perhaps it is because I have been in the space for quite some time…instinct…I would love to believe that. Realistically, I’m inclined to think it was luck mixed with a little skill. Skill can only take you so far when you’re up against a robot that performs thousands of tests each day and you can only get in a manual dozen on a good day…
If you’re currently managing pay per click advertising manually, I recommend you start looking at software immediately. Not just any software though – you will want to look for (and encourage your company to purchase) true self-learning ppc management technology.
What do I mean by ‘true self-learning ppc management technology’?
I would love to tell you right now…but I’m going to have to ask you to tune in next week for the answer to that question so DO NOT purchase ppc technology until then!
(Update: Here is the follow up post that answers the question “What is Truly Automated, Adaptive PPC Bid Management Technology?“)
*QualityScores is not an agency any more, it is simply a search engine marketing blog now.Read More
Students have been dropping by the office more and more as the year moves along…they are looking for internships, jobs or simple career advice. Some of the best questions that have come up so far are: What can I do right now so that you or somebody like you would hire me? What do you look for in a job candidate? What can I read or where can I learn more?
Most of these students are absolute beginners when it comes to pay per click advertising and web marketing in general. I am a fan of learning directly from a blog post, but I think a beginner needs to go out and DO instead of just READ…so the following thoughts are action oriented (or I am lazy…) I want and expect people to leave this page to learn directly from a source.
Here are my thoughts on what a person should know and/or do as a beginner:
The lay of the land
Study the writing, the placement and the style of the ads you find in the search engines, on regular websites or on social media platforms.
Natural/Organic vs Sponsored/Paid
Investigate the search results at a variety of search engines. Learn how to spot the paid vs the organic results. Some of these aren’t obvious believe it or not! Dogpile comes to mind…do you think a normal user can tell the difference there? Yahoo has paid inclusions scattered throughout their ‘organic’ results too. Go check it out!
Content Networks, Image ads & Social Network Ads
Explore a variety of websites and pay attention to the banner ads, text ads and their locations in the website. The publishers (the people that own and operate the website) typically put ads in the most visible, highly trafficked areas on their websites. You can learn a lot from these placements…here are a few very popular places that host content ads, image ads and/or social network ads: Facebook (duh!), MySpace, Gizmodo, New York Times, Digg and MSN.
Know The Basic Acronyms and their Definitions
PPC = Pay per click. You pay when somebody clicks on your ad! Yes! Basically, every time your ad appears it is free. When somebody clicks to see your website, you pay. Simple, right?
SEO = Search engine optimization. The marketing behind a website’s natural organic/natural ranking ability. SEO is NOT PPC and PPC is NOT SEO. Please do not confuse the two.
SEM = Search engine marketing. Search engine marketing is any marketing on the search engines. It is not just PPC and not just SEO. It can be both…
CPC = Cost per click. The amount you pay for a single click. I listed this here because there are several iterations of this metric out there. You might see eCPC which means effective cost per click. eCPC simply divides your total cost for the run of the ad divided by the number of clicks you received. Example: You buy a flat fee ad on a local chamber of commerce website for $250. The ad was live for 30 days. You received 78 clicks from that ad; therefore, $250 divided by 78 clicks gives us your eCPC of $3.21.
CPM = Cost per thousand impressions. An impression is simply a single instance of your ad being displayed on a website. There are several banner ad networks out there that still charge based on impressions. Or you get the choice: you can buy based on impressions or clicks. The industry standard is to price or bid based on a per one thousand impressions basis. You may run into CPMM which is cost per thousand thousand impressions – or cost per 1 million impressions.
CPA = Cost per action. Advertisers pay a publisher or a company based on a desired outcome. This can be for a lead, a page view, a sale, etc. The most common CPA model is the affiliate marketing model. Google ‘affiliate marketing’, you’ll learn a lot.
Go search for good keyword research tools. I recommend Google’s keyword tool, Keyword Discovery has a free one – Wordtracker does too. Use them all, compare and contrast them and get familiar with them.
There are a lot of good articles on the intent of a search query. I think students and beginners that read this are smart enough to determine what the intent of a keyword is…is it transactional? Will it lead to a sale? Does the word lean more towards discovery and research? Is it a branded keyword? Think like your target. What will they search for when they’re ready to buy? What will they search for if they are just starting to discover the product or service you offer?
I require at least 3 writing samples from each prospective employee. Why? Because writing is essential to success in this industry. If you can’t get a thought across with few grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, then this is probably not the right place for you at this time.
Learn to write well, learn to communicate quickly and efficiently. You are working with severely limited space to convince somebody to visit a website. Attention spans are shorter than ever, so you need to learn to write powerfully, simply and effectively.
Experience is one of the biggest requirements that I am interested in when I am hiring somebody. If you have your own skin in the game, and you can prove it to me by showing me your account/your website/etc, you are much more likely to get hired. I will not accept anybody that hasn’t spent at least $100 advertising something – anything!
Use your own money
Using your own money proves that you are dedicated to learning the trade. You have your own skin in the game, that takes dedication and courage.
Use your own website
If you have a website already or a marketable skill, it is nice to see that you have taken the initiative to do it yourself – it means that you are further along the learning curve than almost every new applicant or student that I meet with.
Use your mother’s uncle’s best friend’s website and money
If you don’t have a website or your own money, at least start working in a relative’s account or a friend’s account with your own user ID so you can see and measure the changes you make on the account via change reports, etc. Being able to show me that you know your way around is better than anything – and the ability to show me the changes you have made is a good sign that you are willing to try things out.
Just do it for at least 30 days on your own and on a tiny budget
A beginner can learn soooo much by doing exactly what they want to learn. Just make sure that you are working on a daily budget, not monthly when you start. If you can afford $3 a day, then make sure everywhere you see ‘budget’ that it shows $3 per day. Don’t lose your shirt with this, just experiment with it.
Don’t get certified
Getting certified used to be cool. It’s not anymore. If you can show a business owner or a website owner what you have DONE, show them your work, then you are showing more competence than one who simply learns the material to take a certification test.
For me, seeing a certification on a resume is meaningless. I. don’t. care.
Start by reading all of the offical blogs and learning centers. Go google ‘AdWords Offical blog’, ‘Yahoo Search Marketing blog’, etc. Find the offical blogs and subscribe to them. Read through the official learning centers to get a basic background of best practices, search engine editorial guidelines and more. Here’s a freebie…I’d start with the Google AdWords learning center.
PPCHero is an excellent pay per click blog…you’ll accumulate more blogs to read as your knowledge grows. I don’t want a beginner to get paralyzed with too much reading.
This is about DOING. Formulate your own opinions – every piece of advice you read may or may not be true, so test it out yourself if you can.
Show me, don’t tell me
If you can’t tell, the bottom line is that I want beginners to show me what they have done and what they can do. Don’t tell me. Show me. Showing me is more convincing than telling me. The account doesn’t have to be clean or employ 100% of all the best practices out there. What’s important is that you simply know your way around a little bit and that you have the initiative to DO it.
Ok! Get out there and get ready to start at an internship level with PPC…it should take you 30 to 90 days minimum. Good luck!Read More
I’ve only recently started exploring the power of mobile and search…specifically paid search – and noticed a cool tool in Google AdWords that I wanted to share!
While setting up a mobile campaign last night I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to see the mobile search volume for these keywords? I bet Google has a tool…let me go to AdWords Help and see.”
Kablam! Here was the 1st result. Google’s search technology is pretty dang good.
And because I don’t think Google does this tool justice, I’m going to give you step by step instructions with screenshots! Woot!
1. Log into Google Adwords…set up an ad group with mobile ads – you can leave it paused if you’re not ready to start advertising on cell phones. The tool will still work.
2. Click on your keywords tab in the ad group.
3. Click on ‘Keyword Tool’. The ‘Keyword Tool’ link is above the ‘pause’ or ‘resume’ button and below the date range.
4. Start searching! Note that “Results are tailored to mobile searches”.
I found a TON of niches where I can bid around $1 per click OR MUCH LESS and sit at the number 1 mobile ad position…when I know for a fact that the regular avg cpc we see in regular search ranges from $2 to $65!
Anybody know what mobile conversions are like? Have you had success with mobile?Read More