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
How To Differentiate Your Ad In A Competitive Space
As more advertisers are jumping on the paid search bandwagon every day, the ppc marketplace is becoming increasingly emulous. In competitive markets, more and more searches bring up pages full of nearly identical sponsored ads. Here’s an example of a Google search for house painting:
Does anyone else look at this and see the exact same ad over and over again? The only ad that remotely stands out is #4, because the local “Honolulu, HI” makes it take up a little more space.
Does your ad look like this? Well don’t resign yourself to mediocrity. If you think your website is great, but your ad stands out about as well as a single zombie amongst a pack of undead, then you need to keep reading!
(Photo from the movie, Shawn of the Dead, retrieved from Wired.com)
Because of a proliferation of PPC blogs, pay per click tip guides, and “get rich off of Adwords” websites, pretty much everybody has started using the same tricks: capitalization on every word, a call to action that ends in words like “now” and “today” with an exclamation point on the second description line, dynamic keyword insertion, and as many keywords crammed into the ad as possible.
Take another look at the ads for house painters above. Seven out of the eight ads have the word “Free” in them (another common trick), and two of the ads have the exact same call to action, “Get Free Painting Estimates Today!” It might seem counterintuitive, but by employing some of the most “proven” ad copy writing techniques, chances are – these days – that you are going to look exactly the same as everyone else, severely blunting the effectiveness of your ad.
So how can you differentiate your ad in such a competitive space? It seems that by simply writing something unique, an advertiser could seriously increase click-throughs based solely on curiosity or catching the user’s eye. But before you start trying out some wild CTR-increasing gimmick, you should consider your goals. In some cases, simply generating as much traffic as possible is the only goal; however, typically the goal of a paid search ad is to eventually get the click to convert into a sale, lead, or signup. Unique ad copy alone won’t help you in these departments.
Keeping in mind that our priority is probably going to be conversions, and therefore you can’t afford to pay for clicks that have no possibility of making you money, I would like to talk about 3 things that can transform your text ad clone into most attractive ad on the page.
1. Borrow ideas from unrelated, but highly competitive industries
Some industries are more cut-throat than others. Chances are, there are many industries that are more wildly and violently competitive than the one you are advertising in. Think of an industry where competition is fierce and take a look at some of the ads. Take note of the copywriting techniques they use, and use these as a springboard for your own ad copy ideas.
We recently had a client whose ad performance was simply not doing as well as we (and the client) thought it could be doing. A search showed that our client’s ads in certain campaigns were nothing but clones of a dozen other advertisers who had entered the PPC arena in the past several months. We had a brainstorming session to figure out how we could get this client’s ads to stand out. We knew once we got the traffic to the site, we could make the conversion, but we just weren’t seeing any kind of growth in click volume no matter what we did.
So we took a look at some ads in one of the web’s most competitive industries: online dating. Even though our client was in the construction leads industry, we thought online dating ads might give us some insight into techniques we could use in our situation. While these two verticals are highly unrelated, we figured that advertisers in online dating that hadn’t already been driven out of business are likely seeing good results from their ads. And in order to stick out the competition, they would also be forced to write very enticing ad copy in order to snatch clicks from their competitors.
Here are a couple ads that caught our attention right away:
First of all, the ® symbol in the Match.com ad immediately gives it credibility and allows it to stick out. They still use the keywords “online dating,” but they clearly draw attention to themselves. Another attractive thing about this ad is the claim to fame, the “World’s Leading Dating Site.” One of the editorial rules for Google and other major search engines is that all claims in ads have to be backed up on the landing page visitors are taken to. If your business doesn’t have some kind of credibility factor like this, take the time to court some endorsements or enter some competitions. Match.com could be the world’s leading dating site in terms of members, active members, page views, profit, or any number of things. This means that other dating sites could be the “world’s leading dating site” by another criteria. Which also means that your site could be the leader of something in some quadrant of the world. Pursuing something like this can definitely be worth it.
Although we gained some insights from the Match.com ad, we found another one that gave us some material we wanted to immediately work with:
This ad was especially appealing to us for the construction leads market. All of the ads for a search for “Home Remodeling” would show up with the title “Home Remodeling” and occasionally things like “Home Remodeling Quotes.”
So we tested a new ad, based on ideas we got from this one, against our old “zombie-clone” ad. We changed the headline “Home Remodel Bids” to “Top 3 Remodel Contractors,” and guess what? On that change, our CTR shot up and our conversions consequently increased. Nobody else had a similar ad, and apparently people searching for home remodeling services liked the idea of getting bids from the top contractors (according to us) rather than just getting bids.
You don’t have to confine yourself to pay per click ads, either. Turn on your TV or log onto YouTube.com and watch some ads in another industry. Take note of the calls to action that the ads use. How do they grab people’s attention? What kind of language do they use? Of course, a commercial has a lot more words at its disposal than a paid search ad, but some of the best video ads can condense their pitch into one or two very short sentences.
While you’re at it, go to Barnes & Noble and bust out some magazines. What ads grab your attention? Of course, images can play a big part in attracting you to stop turning pages to look at an ad, but effective copy is essential to print advertising in almost every industry.
2. Write something clever rather than keyword-stuffed
What can cause two ads for the exact same product or service to be light years apart in terms of grabbing attention and invoking action? To stand out in this way, the ad needs to approach the customer from a different direction. A unique angle can give you more than just an edge on your competition. To avoid speaking in too many general terms, here are a few examples, using our same construction leads company:
Start Your Remodel Now
Get Quality Home Remodeling Bids
From Local Pre-Screened Contractors
Start Your Remodel Now
Top Contractors So There’s No Delay
Shop Free Bids & Save Today!
What do you think the click through response to this ad was? Well, have you ever heard of the phrase, “through the roof?” Rhyme and cadence are a couple of things that can get your ad to stick in someone’s head. And people like the smooth feel of a rhyme. It may not work in every case, but it’s definitely worth testing.
Here’s another trick we’ve tried: alliteration.
Ready To Remodel?
Compare Custom Contractor Quotes
Click Quickly To Cut Your Costs!
How much friendlier and more clever is this than the generic ads everyone else has, like this one?
Find Remodeling Contractors
Get Remodel Price Quotes Today
Just a few things to think about. The point is, stop focusing on cramming keywords, and focus on making your ads appealing. Chances are, it’ll pay off.
3. Try something risky
By risky, I don’t mean stupid; I mean do something aggressive. And by aggressive, I don’t mean a call to action like “Order Right Now!” I mean write something that persuades people to click on your ad without looking desperate or the same as everyone else.
This is tricky to do. By studying competitive advertisers in other industries, as discussed in Tip #1, you might be able to find inspiration for ideas if your brainstorming hasn’t gotten you anywhere so far.
Take this example:
Cut The Crap
Expert Remodeling Contractors Are
Ready To Bid. Get A Free Quote Now!
Now there’s an ad that could get your attention. Of course, there are still editorial guidelines to be followed, and taste to be considered, but as the competitive game gets tougher, in order to outshine the rest of the text ad clones, good advertisers are going to have to test risky, aggressive ads.
And that’s the beauty of pay per click advertising. You can test everything, and nothing is permanent if you want to reverse it. If you no longer want to be one of the text ad clones, then start testing some new ads! If they don’t work, then test some other ones!Read More
This is our first mini screen recording production.
We hope you enjoy it!
“your account’s historical performance, and other relevance factors.”
There are a ton of ‘other’ factors…lol.
“Quality Score is a dynamic variable assigned to each of your keywords.”
Dynamic means it changes for every query…which is ok – and it’s usually why you want to make sure you target phrase and exact match terms as well as super long tail 1 or 2 per year queries.
“The formula behind Quality Score varies depending on whether it’s calculating minimum bids or assigning ad position.”
So there are two different formulas that are connected based on ‘other’ factors…sounds complicated.
Google gives us some indication of what each of the formulas are here. Check it out – it really is quite useful despite the ‘black box’ parts of the document.
Dave Davis at redfly marketing wrote an excellent piece listing 10 ways you can increase your quality score.
Another excellent post called AdWords Quality Score FAQ can be found at PPC Discussions.Read More
Yahoo! is still the little kid on the block when it comes to Ad Scheduling – they simply don’t do it.
Google is definitely the rich kid. Very flexible scheduling in 15 minute increments all day with the ability to split your schedule like mad. You could set your ads to run every other 15 minutes for hours at a time!
MSN simply looks up to Google with gaga eyes and says weakly “Anything you can do we can do…not better.” Semi-flexible ad scheduling with blocks of 3 or 4 hours at a time. I like to think MSN is simply a poser on the playground.
Anyways, mild humor aside – here is how you schedule ads in Google and MSN:
Google Ad Scheduling
Get into any of your campaign settings (yes, each campaign can have a different ad schedule).
Look down the left side of the Edit Campaign Settings page for your “Advanced Options” and click on “Turn on ad scheduling” or if you already have ad scheduling on it should say “edit times and bids”.
You should see a page that has this schedule on it -
Now you can edit each day however you want using the edit button next to each day or you can edit clumps of days using the links located in the upper left of the image above.
For example, we have our ads turned off on weekends and all weekdays are scheduled to run from 8 am to 3 pm.
When you are editing a clump of days like “weekdays” – simply click the “add another time period” link to run split schedules for your ads…for example, I want to run my ads from 1am to 1:15am and 5pm to 5:15pm so I would start with the 1am schedule and add another time period of 5-5:15pm.
Click Add when you’re done then save your schedule and you’re off to scheduling another campaign! It’s that easy!
MSN Ad Scheduling
MSN, being the usual culprit with usability, takes a few more clicks to find your ad scheduling…
Click the campaign tab (or click on your account), Click your campaign, click your ad group, click Settings, scroll down to the bottom and you will see your scheduling options -
Simply click on “Select specific…” radio buttons and MSN will load the scheduling options you see in the image – and that’s the total flexibility of MSN. You CAN select more than one option so you can still run a split schedule, turn off ads on the weekend, turn the ads of every other day, run the ads at midday and in the evening…etc.
Remember to SAVE your changes when you’re done and you’re set to schedule ads for another campaign in MSN!
Sometimes click costs are cheaper in the early evening or at another time of the day so we will run a schedule that takes advantages of the times that cost the least. At other times that doesn’t matter to a client but the business hours do matter – you only want to run the campaign while you can answer the phone and email…there are a variety of reasons to use scheduling.
That’s a wrap for Pay Per Click Advertising Tip #13 – Ad Scheduling. Enjoy!Read More
Site exclusion and domain blocking are the “negative keywords” of the content network. You might find that the content network can be very profitable if you exclude/block certain domains from showing your ads.
A detailed description of how to find sites you want to exclude from the content network will be in our upcoming Pay Per Click Advertising tips…but for now, you can check for referrers in Analytics or run reports to find out where clicks are coming from on the content network.
Some tips to keep in mind when finding sites to exclude:
1. Exclude your own site if you run AdSense or Yahoo! Search Marketing ads on your site. Why would you want to pay for somebody to click an ad that simply points right back to your site? I know it is silly…but I have witnessed it again and again and again!
2. Make sure you measure conversions – you probably don’t want to exclude a site that is generating sales for you…just because it shows up as a high volume referrer doesn’t mean you should automatically exclude it. A good example is Ezine websites. I almost excluded a HUGE referrer for one of my clients because I noticed how much it was costing. I did a little digging and found that conversions were extremely cheap from that referrer even though I thought it looked like junk traffic after glancing at the initial stats.
3. Consistently check your referrers for sites to exclude. Your budget gets reallocated each time you exclude a site so you can, and probably will, find new sites to exclude for a while so don’t “set it and forget it”.
Google AdWords Site Exclusion
There are two ways to access the Site Exclusion tool in AdWords -
1. After logging into AdWords, simply click on Tools under your Campaign Management tab and find the Site Exclusion link…
Simply choose the campaign you want to use site exclusion for and list the sites you want to exclude! It’s that easy!
2. Click into a campaign from your Campaign Management -> Campaign Summary page and click on “add” next to excluded sites under your basic campaign details…
List the sites you want to exclude, save them and you’re ready to wait for new data!
Yahoo! Search Marketing Domain Blocking
I love Yahoo!’s domain blocking because it blocks sponsored search AND content network ads from showing on the domains you list – I like it because you have probably seen some parked domain referrers that typically end up being junk referrers.
It’s easy to block domains in Yahoo!.
After you log into Yahoo! Search Marketing, click on Administration, then click Submit Domains next to the Blocked Domains option under your Account General Information section…
Write in the domains you want to block and hit submit – it’s that easy!
Oh yeah…adCenter is lagging a little on this feature – unless I missed an announcement since they released their content network from beta last year?
Now you can exclude and block ads from showing on specific domains – use this tool to improve your ROI on your content campaigns!Read More
Adding a conversion code to your thank you page or confirmation page gives you greater depth in understanding and calculating your pay per click ROI.
Conversion tracking is actually a quick, simple and free process but we run into a lot of businesses and individuals that have not implemented it yet.
When you log into AdWords you end up on the Account Snapshot screen or your Campaign Summary screen…simply click on the Conversion Tracking link below the main Campaign Management tab and Google walks you through the simple steps to adding the conversion tracking code to your site.
Yahoo! Search Marketing
When you log into Yahoo! Search Marketing you end up in the Dashboard. Yahoo! doesn’t make their conversion page easy to find so here is a little more detail on getting a Yahoo! conversion code – then you will want to follow the insertion instructions from Google…simply put the code tag from Yahoo! in front of the /body tag on your thank you or confirmation pages.
1. Click on the Administration tab.
2. Click on the Analytics link.
3. Enable Analytics.
4. You will have the option to Activate “Conversion Only” analytics…I recommend doing that, especially if you’re already using Google Analytics or another Analytics package.
5. The code will be on the same page! Simply copy and paste that code into your conversion page. If you want to add a value to each conversion, use the drop down menu right above the conversion code Yahoo! gives you and select Constant Average Value to insert the constant value each conversion is expected to bring.
I can’t hide the disappointment I have for adCenter…getting the tracking code is a pain! Here are the instructions though:
1. When you log into adCenter you land on an Account Summary page – click on the Campaigns tab and click on any campaign.
2. Click into any Ad Group. The first Ad Group page you see is the Keywords page…
3. Click on the Settings Tab.
4. The first set of data are your Campaign Settings…you should see the Campaign Name and Time Zone.
5. Click on Advanced Options right below Time Zone in your Campaign Settings – I know, we are actually in the Ad Group and it doesn’t make sense to me either.
6. Put a check mark in the Track Conversions box and the tracking code will show up!
7. Finally! You can copy that code into your conversion pages and you will start to see conversions being counted in your MSN reports…
Now you can quickly see how much each conversion is costing AND you can track each conversion back to specific keywords whenever you review your Google, Yahoo! and MSN pay per click reports!Read More