Merging Retargeting With Search Campaigns

Google Retargeting or Google Remarketing (the terms are interchangeable) is the process of using Google’s technology to advertise to customers who have already visited a website or a specific section of a website.  Generally, when an advertiser thinks of retargeting they envision those image ads for websites they have previously visited that ‘magically’ appear for a product or service when a user is surfing other websites.  This is indeed the most common use of retargeting and can be quite effective, see my blog post – Google Remarketing – What It Is, Why Use Google.

However, Google retargeting list (called audiences) can also be incorporated into search campaigns. By merging a Google search campaign with a retargeting list, advertisers can increase or decrease bids for their search ads when those ads appear to users that have previously visited their website. 

Why Is This Beneficial?

As we have stated previously, on average 97% of visitors leave a website without converting.  This holds true for ecommerce as well as professional service advertisers.  Many of these potential customers will subsequently return to Google and perform a related if not the exact same search. By merging retargeting with search, advertisers have the ability to increase their bids on these return searchers and thus increase their ad rank by targeting those customers who have previously visited their website. 

Customers who visit a website multiple times have been found to have a higher conversion rate.  In addition, ads shown to customers who have previously visited a website have also been found to have higher click through rates (CTR) which increases quality score, another factor in boosting ad rank.  For additional information on quality score, refer to my blog post – Why Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemCreating A Retargeting List

The first step is to create a retargeting list. There are two ways to create retargeting list with Google, either by using the Google AdWords interface with Audiences which is found under Shared library or through Google Analytics.  Both will work and as long as Google Analytics is properly linked to an AdWords account. Once the retargeting list is created in Analytics the retargeting list will display in the Shared library in Google AdWords just as if it was created using Google AdWords.

Creating a retargeting list in Google Analytics I feel is more user friendly and provides a few more options, so for this example that is the method we will focus.

In order to create the retargeting list in Google Analytics, first open Google Analytics and click on the Admin tab in the upper menu.

Admin Tab In Google AnalyticsIn the second column, the Property column, click on Remarketing and then Audiences. An advertiser will first need to click on Remarketing which will drop down a secondary list that contains the Audiences option.

Google Analytics - Remarketing OptionOnce the Audiences window opens, an advertiser will need to click on the +New Audience button to create a new campaign or select an existing audience if they wish to make changes to an audience that currently exists.

Analytics - New AudienceThe first thing an advertiser will then be asked to select is which AdWords account they would like the retargeting list to be associated.  This is going to be vital for advertisers with multiple AdWords accounts. In addition, this process allows advertisers to ensure their AdWords and Analytics accounts are properly linked.

Linking Analytics & Google AdWordsAn advertiser is then directed to define their audience (retargeting list). Here, Google gives some common suggestions for use including: Smart List, All Users, New Users, Returning Users, Users who visit a specific section of the website, Users who completed a goal conversion and Users who completed a transaction.

Defining an Audience in remarketing listGoogle’s list is merely suggestions and will populate the first rule based on the criteria of list selected.  However, Google’s Audience Builder is customizable and allows all lists to be defined on a wide number of attributes including: Demographics, Technology, Behavior, Date of First Session, Traffic Sources and Ecommerce.

The Audience Builder also allows an advertiser to combine multiple attributes based on whom they would like to have included within their remarketing list.

Using Google's Audience BuilderBelow is a list I created for a client that contains All Users that have never made a transaction with a membership duration (how long a customer will remain in the list) of 30 days.

Google Retargeting - No Conversion ListDeciding on the attributes that will create a remarketing list can be challenging, yet fun.  Think of what type of potential customers you would be willing to pay more to reengage and test for results. The possibilities are only limited by your traffic and your creativity.

Once a new list has been saved, it is ready for use for traditional remarketing or it can be incorporated into bidding for Google search.

Incorporating Your Retargeting List With Google Search

Now that we have a retargeting list, let’s look at how to integrate it into a Google search campaign.  Note, a retargeting list will need to have sufficient members in order to be eligible for use.  If it is a new list, it will take time before the audience is eligible for use in search.

Assuming there is a large enough audience within the retargeting list to use in search, the first step is for an advertiser is to open the AdWords Ad Group they wish to apply the retargeting list and click on the Audiences tab.

Google AdWords - Audiences TabOnce in the Audiences tab, select the red +Remarketing button in order to add a remarketing audience.

Google AdWords - Adding Remarketing ListOnce this window opens, an advertiser has 3 options: Targeting, Ad group exclusions and Campaign exclusions. The Targeting drop down is what allows a retargeting list to be added in order to adjust bids.  The other 2 options will stop ads from showing to a particular audience, so make sure the Targeting drop down is selected.

Once the Targeting drop down has been selected a sub-menu will display showing Interests & remarketing.

Google AdWords Interest & RemarketingNext an advertiser needs to select the remarketing list they wish to adjust bids. By clicking on the double arrow next to the name, the list will move into a selected column displayed to the right of rest of the lists (if multiple remarketing lists are available).

Google AdWords - Selecting A Remarketing ListClick the blue save button at the bottom of the screen and voila, done.  An advertiser now has the ability to adjust bids to those users who are contained within a specific retargeting list.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemIn order to adjust bids, an advertiser needs to click on the dash in the Bid adj category and select the amount they wish to increase (or decrease) their bid to those customers.

Google AdWords - Bid Adjustment

Note, bid adjustments are done in terms of percentage.  For example, if an advertiser increases their bid 30%, a $1 bid will become $1.30 for customers in the retargeting audience searching keywords contained within the applicable Ad Group. Also note that bid adjustments done within the audience tab work in conjunction with other advanced bid adjustments including location, ad schedule and device. For additional information on adjusting those bids, review my blog post – Optimizing Google Campaigns For Mobile.

Summary –

Incorporating retargeting audiences into search campaign is an effective way for an advertiser to have their ads more prominently displayed to those users more likely to convert. By paying a fractional increase per click, advertisers can see dramatic increases in sales coming from those users that have previously visited their website.

In addition, adding retargeting audiences to search can provide advertisers with a competitive advantage over their competitors who simply bid the same for each keyword regardless of whom it is displaying.

As with best-practices when using an advanced technique, it should always be tested.  Test the audience and test the bid to optimize for maximum results. Through ongoing work with my clients, I have found that with the proper implementation and testing this advanced technique has the potential to provide a nice boost to a Google search campaign’s ROI.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

How Segmenting Google Shopping Campaigns Can Boost Profitability {updated 1/28/20}

Google Shopping has the potential to produce one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) for ecommerce retailers advertising online. For those new to online marketing, that is a good thing, in fact, perhaps the most important thing!!! A high ROI means that the money that is invested in a marketing channel is generating a high return of sales for the investment.

ROI Calculation = (Gain from investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment

Over the last few years, I have consistently seen client’s Google Shopping campaigns attain a higher ROI than that attained from either Google Search or Display (retargeting) advertising making it an important part of Google advertising for ecommerce retailers. However, being able to achieve a really high ROI can typically only be attained by using advanced techniques such as segmenting Google Shopping campaigns, which this article is dedicated.

A Quick Review – How Google Shopping Works

Google Shopping results are displayed at the very top of the page before the organic listings (as seen in the example below).  Google Shopping results can also be viewed by clicking on the Shopping tab in the upper menu next to the default ‘All’ link.

Google uses a real time auction system just like search results to list products in Google Shopping. In order for products to appear, they must be included within a merchant’s approved  Google Merchant Center Account. The Merchant Center account must also be actively linked to an active Shopping campaign within the Google Ads interface. For directions on how to get started with Google Shopping, see my article Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed.

Once connected to a Google Merchant Center account containing approved products, Google Ads allows advertisers to optimize their listings based on populated fields contained within their submitted products. For detailed information on what different fields Google supports, read this article – Top Tips To Optimize Google Shopping.

In addition, Google also allows advertisers to add promotions to their Google Shopping listings, which is another great way to increase click through rates (CTR).  Note, Google promotions are added through the Merchant Center account as well and not within the Google Ads interface.  For those wanting to learn more about promotions, I have an article dedicated to Google promotions as well – Enhancing Google Shopping With Promotions.

However, even if you have a Google Shopping campaign that is being optimized and you are running meaningful promotions, there remains a problem. If all Shopping listings are contained within the same campaign, advertisers are restricted because they must have the same settings across the entire campaign.

What this means for advertisers is that they can of course adjust bids on the campaign as a whole based on location, ad schedule, devices, but what if they want to change settings thus effecting bids on different products or a category of products? Of course, they cannot if all of their products are contained within a single campaign

This is why segmenting Shopping campaigns is essential for many retailers if they wish to fully optimize their Google Shopping listings based on location, time of day or devices. One of the more advanced techniques for those just starting to use Google Shopping, segmenting Shopping campaigns can improve Shopping results and provide advertisers a distinct advantage over their competitors.

Creating Multiple Google Shopping Campaigns

The first step in creating a new Shopping campaign containing a sub-section of a feed’s product offerings is to create a new Shopping campaign. In order to do so while in the Campaigns view click on the blue plus button and select New Campaign.

Next, you will select the campaign’s goal. For Shopping campaigns, you will select ‘Sales’ and the blue ‘Continue’ button.

Then, you will need to select the new campaign type. For Shopping campaigns, you will want to select Shopping and the blue ‘Continue’ button.

You will then need to select which Merchant Center account you wish to link your campaign; select the country where products are being sold and whether you want to run a Google Smart Shopping campaign or a Standard Shopping campaign. (Note, this selection cannot be changed once a campaign is created).

For my private clients, I manage Standard Shopping campaigns as it gives you more control over where and at what costs your Shopping ads will appear. However, be careful because Google defaults your option to the newly released Smart Shopping campaign.

For information on Smart Shopping campaigns, see my article – New Google Smart Shopping Campaigns – What You Need to Realize.

Google will then prompt you to name your new campaign; set your budget; select your bidding strategy and decide if you would like to use Google’s Enhanced CPC to automatically raise your maximum bid if a click seems likely to lead to a conversion.

Next, is a setting named Campaign priority. You will find this setting useful when segmenting your products within campaigns.

The default on Campaign priority is Low.  Best-practices would recommend that this setting be changed to either Medium or High since is contains a sub-set of the full product offering.

This setting is a safeguard. If a product is contained within multiple campaigns, the product will be shown depending on which campaign has the higher bid.  However, if a product is in multiple campaigns where there are different priority levels, the priority level is the determining factor for which campaign the product will be pulled.

Finally, you will want to specify which Networks you want your products to eligible to display. This is a fairly new option. Until recently, Google Shopping ads would only display within the Search Network. Now, the default is to have Shopping ads appear within the YouTube and Discover Network as well. This is a great option for increased exposure, but I have found these placements do not generate near the ROI of having products appear only within the Search Network.

For additional information on having Shopping ads appear within these networks, read my article – New Changes to Google Shopping Could Cost You Big Time!

Finally, select which location to serve your ads, the start and end dates of your campaign and click on the blue ‘Save and Continue’ button.

You will then be asked to select some settings for your first Ad Group including the Ad Group Type, Ad Group Name and your initial bid.

Note, the Ad Group Type – Product Shopping is the standard Shopping Ad and what I recommend for private clients.

Finally, we are ready to start determining which products should be in the campaign.  By default when an advertiser creates a new campaign, Google brings in the entire product offering in the data feed linked from the advertiser’s merchant center account.

However, the point of segmenting is to include a subset of products within the new campaign.  In order subdivide, click on the + symbol next to the All products.

A window will then pop-up allowing retailers to subdivide according to fields they have populated within their products that are currently approved within Google Merchant Center Account. (Again for a refresher on setting up a feed, review my article – Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed.

In the example below, I am looking at the feed subdivided by Custom_label 0, which for this particular feed contains the different categories as seen on the website.

In order to add a subsection, simply click the box adding a checkmark to the right of the name and click ‘Continue To Edit Bids’. Note, multiple categories can be selected if an advertiser wishes to use the same settings for all subsections that are to be included within the new campaign.

Once a subsection has been added, advertisers can adjust their bid on the entire product group.

Once the subsection is added and saved, a campaign will show the subsection(s) along with another subsection named Everything else.  Since we are subdividing and the rest of the products are found within the main Shopping campaign, we will not want the rest of the products or ‘Everything else’ displaying within this campaign. Therefore, we need to exclude those products.

To exclude, simply click on the bid column next to the product group that should be excluded and select the radio button next to Excluded and save.

Once you have saved properly, there should be the word in Excluded grayed out next to the Product Group that is no longer eligible to display within this campaign.

That is it, the new campaign has been created with the desired subsection of products and settings can now be optimized based on these products rather than by all products that were originally in the main Shopping campaign.

A best-practices tip here – although setting a high priority level setting should prevent products being shown in other campaigns, I always recommend excluding the newly created subsection in other campaigns that you do not wish for those items to be shown.  In order to exclude those products, navigate to the main Shopping campaign and follow the same steps as above, only this time excluding the subsection that is now in the new Shopping campaign.

Final Word

Obviously the newly created campaign will not have historical data needed to optimize, but it will populate over time. Once the data starts coming in, there are 3 ways to change bids based on results all which have the potential for impactful results in the new campaign. These 3 ways to optimize include: Locations, Ad Schedule and Devices.

If you have taken time to have a plan when mapping out your data, you will most likely find that the way you want to optimize these areas of bidding along with the negative keywords that you add will be different between campaigns. Being different is one of the ways why it makes sense to segment product data into different campaigns. For those with a substantial number of product offerings, just like classic search campaigns, segmenting your product offerings will greatly outperform a non-segmented campaign.  

With Shopping ads, Display ads (particularly retargeting) along with Search ads, advertisers have the ability to advertise their product offerings in a variety of different ways.

When deciding which method of advertising is viable for an advertiser’s business goals, an advertiser must closely monitor results in terms of costs vs sales in order to optimize accounts that generate the most profitable ROI.

Google Shopping is an effective tool for doing this, but it must be properly configured in order to fully optimize results.  Segmenting Shopping campaigns with the steps above is an advanced technique that can help to generate an ROI, but like the setup of most campaigns requires work and constant monitoring.  Perhaps this is why it has the ability to generate such great results, because the vast amount of advertisers are not taking the effort to employ this tactic. Thus, leaving opportunity for those who are willing to put in the effort to fully market their products using all the tools available in Google’s every changing Ads platform.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

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If you have the dedication and are ready to take your online sales to the next level, then The Academy of Internet Marketing was created for you. It provides the tools in the form of knowledge of what works today. Join us and see what makes us special and together we will grow your business.

If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Optimizing Google Campaigns For Mobile

It is no secret that mobile has exploded. I remember when I attended the Internet Retailer conference in 2011 that the prevalent theme was not to concentrate your efforts on mobile, but instead concentrate your marketing efforts on social media especially Facebook and Twitter.  Wow were they wrong!  Although social marketing is catching up in terms of importance and should not be ignored, there was no doubt with me then or now that mobile is a much more important aspect of today’s online marketing.

A huge percentage of Google searches has shifted from desktop to mobile and the percentage of users using mobile devices continues to climb in that there is no doubt, but is serving your ads on mobile devices for your Google campaigns right for you? The answer depends on each specific company.

  • What percentage of your traffic comes from mobile?
  • What is your conversion rate on mobile visitors?
  • Is your site optimized for mobile?
  • Do you currently advertise on mobile and what is your current ROI in doing such?

These are fundamental questions that each marketer needs to answer for his own company. Fortunately, by installing Google Analytics the answers for these questions can be easily attained. (Note, for mobile we are referring specifically to iPhones and other iOS devices, not to tablets as they generally view websites the same as desktop computers).

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings System

Should You Use Google Ads To Advertise Mobile?

The answer to this depends upon the answers given to the questions above.  Although, you will indeed lose significant traffic if you opt out of advertising on mobile, if you advertise using mobile and do not generate an effective conversion rate you are simply spending money with little to no benefit.

If campaigns are not currently serving ads to mobile devices, an advertiser will need to dig into their analytics to learn what conversion rates mobile has been historically generating.  If the conversion rate is too low then you should either forgo advertising mobile or do something with your site (such as making it more user friendly for mobile) to increase conversion. If you look at your advertising and the conversion rates have a palatable ROI then you are ready to perhaps expand a portion or all of your Google AdWords into mobile advertising.

Adjusting Bids For Mobile Devices

Initially, when setting up Google campaigns did you know that you will be displaying ads on mobile devices along with iPads?  By default ads will be subject to the same cost per click charges as the ads displaying to laptops and iPads. 

In fact, there is no way to opt out of advertising on mobile devices on the initial settings page.  However, with Google you have options. Once a new campaign has been created, Google allows marketers to raise or lower the amount they are willing to bid for mobile ads as well as write ads specifically for mobile. In addition, a marketer can easily add various ad extensions such as sitelink extensions and call extensions to increase the effectiveness of a mobile ad.

In order to adjust bids for mobile, the first step if for advertisers to click on the Settings tab and then the Devices tab.

Google AdWords - Mobile Bid Adjustment

Here advertisers can view their traffic segmented by Mobile devices with full browsers, Computers and Tablets with full browsers. An advertiser can then view what advertising on different devices have historically costs along with click through data and conversion information.

In order to change a bid, simply click in the Bid adj. column next to the device you wish to change in terms of either an increased or decreased percentage.

Google AdWords - Changing Mobile BidsNote, to opt out of bidding on mobile devices, adjust the bid to -100%.  By making this change ads will not be eligible to run on mobile devices.

In the example above, I have mobile devices set to a bid of -75%.  This means that if the current bid is set at $1.00 then the bid on mobile devices would become $0.25. It important to note that mobile bid adjustments are calculated in conjunction with other bid adjustments such as location and time bid adjustments if actively setup.

There is no such thing as the perfect bid as the optimized setting for mobile bid adjustment is different from advertisers to advertiser and the most optimal bid most likely will change throughout the year.  Therefore, it is important to continually monitor mobile bids and optimize based on actual results.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings System

Creating Ads Geared For Mobile

Besides bid adjustment, another way to generate more positive ROI generated from your mobile advertising is by creating ads specifically optimized for mobile devices.

In order to generate a mobile-optimized ad, first select the ad’s tab and then the red +AD button.

Google AdWords - Creating Mobile-Optimized AdsA box will pop-up asking which type of ad you would like to create. Selections include: Text ad, Dynamic search ad, Mobile app engagement ad or Call-only ad. Although all types of ads can be created specifically for mobile devices, the example below will focus on the most common of the ad types, the text ad.

When you select create new text ad, the usual ad template box will display.  However, if the mobile box is checked, the ad display instantly changes from showing side and top ad views to showing how the ad will render on a mobile device.

Google AdWords - Creating Mobile Optimized Ad
Once you save the new mobile ad, the ad will appear in a list with other previously created ads, but the ad will have the word (mobile) in parentheses underneath. The (mobile) signifies that this ad is only eligible to display on mobile devices.

Google AdWords - Ad List With Mobile

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when creating your mobile optimized ads. 

Remember on mobile devices space is at a premium, so ads that use mobile friendly ad extensions can have a dramatic effect on click through rates (CTR).

For a detailed description of available ad extensions, read my blog posts – When It Comes To Your Google Ads, Size Does Matter

The following are 5 best-practices to keep in mind when creating mobile optimized ads.

  1. Mobile sitelinks should be short and sweet. Keep them compelling, but keep to the point.
  2. Keep your mobile call to action in either the headline or the first description line of your ads. Due to size constraints on mobile devices, many times Google may not show the second description line.
  3. Description line one and description line two should be two complete and separate statements. Sometimes, Google uses one of the lines as the headline when displaying ads on mobile.
  4. Add /mobile to your display URL so users know your website is mobile. Allowing users to know your site is mobile friendly is a great way to increase click through rates.
  5. Double check to ensure your mobile tracking is working. If an advertiser has a separate mobile site, it will be necessary to install the appropriate tracking code in order to register conversions.

Benefits of Showing Ads On Mobile Devices

Research has indicated that as in 2014, consumers spent approximately 10% of their media time on mobile devices although only 1% of total advertiser’s ad spend budget were advertising to mobile devices, which could mean less competition. 

In addition, Google typically only displays 1 or 2 ads per search query on mobile devices where it typically serves 6 or 7 ads on the same search done from a desktop device.  This allows for opportunity to gain an immense amount of traffic for a possibly substantially lower cost than if that traffic was coming from a laptop due to Google’s current bid structure.

Summary

Each advertiser needs to decide on a campaign by campaign basis if using Google to serve ads to mobile devices is viable in their marketing.  However, it is clear that mobile continues to take market share away from traditional PCs and the percentage of searches done using mobile is expected to continue to rise. 

With that said, it needs to be profitable to make sense.  Review your analytics to see what your current mobile conversion rate is, look at your mobile experience from the side of a user (look at your own website on a mobile device), and decide if your mobile experience needs to be improved.  If you have conversion rates that will support it, use the Google mobile tools provided to optimize your campaigns and ads to get the absolute most out of your mobile marketing dollars.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

Creating Effective Ad Copy In Google AdWords


Throughout previous blog posts I have touched on the subject of writing effective ad copy, however not in-depth. A well written, well placed ad is extremely vital to success when advertising in Google.  Therefore, I have dedicated this entire blog post on the subject along with some examples of great ads as well as ads that are well to be frank, not so great.

What Are Google Ads –

For advertisers wishing to advertise their product or service, a list of keywords they wish their ads to display and coordinating ads are required. Google limits ad size to specific character limits in order to display uniform ads to their users.  With all of the ads for different advertisers relatively the same size, it is up to the advertiser to use Google’s allotted character restrictions to differentiate their ads and persuade Google users to click on their ads.

Here are the current character limits of a Google Ad:

Title/Headline – 25 Characters.
Description Line 1 – 35 Characters.
Description Line 2 – 35 Characters.
Display URL – 35 Characters.

Why Writing Google Ads So Important?

For Google search, advertisers are charged each time a Google user clicks on an ad and is directed to their website.  Called the cost-per-click model or (CPC), the amount Google charges depends on how much the advertiser has bid in their campaign in conjunction with the quality score of their ad.  To learn about quality score, see my blog post – Why Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemAn ad that is not well written will end of doing damage to an advertiser’s marketing efforts in a number of ways:

First, the ad may not be clicked very often.  This will leave website traffic undiscovered which defeats the purpose of advertising.  This scenario often occurs when ads are not related to the search term even if the page that the ad would direct users is related.

Second, an ad may be too broad.  An ad that is too broad has the potential to deliver a ton of traffic, but not the right traffic.  This scenario will cost the advertiser money each time a user clicks with little or no results.  In addition, this scenario can create high bounce rates (a term when a user clicks on the back button after viewing the first page on the advertiser’s website).  Having high bounce rates will lower an ad’s quality score, which can result in Google charging more for each future user’s click on the ad as well as lower placement on the page.

What Is Included In A Well Written Ad?

  1. Ads should be relevant to the keyword term. Ideally, the keyword term would be in the ad’s headline or ad’s description or display URL or even better, all three. As a bonus, when the keyword is included in the ad headline or ad text, Google will typically bold the keyword in the ad.  However, if an advertiser is using 20-30 keywords in an ad group, including all keywords in the ads may not be possible (unless using dynamic insertion).  Therefore, at a bare minimum, an advertiser needs to ensure the ad is highly relevant to the search term for which it is displayed.
  2. Set expectations. An ad must convey what a user can expect once they click and are directed to an advertiser’s website. Ads that do not match their corresponding landing page, will result in high bounce rates and thus a low quality score.
  3. Include benefits and features of the product or service being advertised. Consumers need to be convinced of why they should click on an advertiser’s ad opposed to ads from their competitors.
  4. Include offers and be specific as possible. ‘Save 10%’ in the text is better than ‘Low Prices’ in the text, but ‘Low Prices’ in the text is better than no specifics at all.
  5. Ads should be unique from competitors advertising the same keywords. When creating an ad, advertisers should research and perform a search for their keywords.  If three advertisers are using the exact same headline, try something different.  By being different yet relevant, ads may gain higher click through rates which will ultimately improve quality score and lower what Google charges on a per click basis.
  6. Ads should be grammatically correct. Check for misspellings, poor grammar, etc.
  7. Ad relevant keywords to the end of the display URL. Google allows advertisers to append their URL, take advantage of this feature.
  8. Implement all relevant ad extensions. Google offers numerous ad extensions including sitelinks, call extensions, callout extensions and location extensions.  I can’t stress this enough, use them!!!  Properly implementing ad extensions can dramatically improve an ad’s click through rates and improve quality score.  For details on how to implement ad extensions, see my blog post – When It Comes To Your Google Ads, Size Does Matter.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemAd Examples –

Now that we’ve looked at what ads are and some best-practices for writing, let’s take a look at some real life examples.  I did a search from my office in Pasadena for ‘dentists’ and below are examples of ads that were displayed.  Some were good and some were bad and some could be better. 

Here are the top three ads as appearing in the search query:

Dentist-Top-ExampleThe top three ads are for 1800 Dentist, Sherman Oaks Dentistry and Beverly Hills DDS.  Of the 3 ads listed, all use the keyword in the ad headline and 2 of the 3 ads have added the keyword ‘Dentist’ to the display URL, which is good.

However, out of the 3 ads there is a grand total of 1 ad extension being used.  Sherman Oaks uses a call extension, but that is it!  No location extensions, no site link extensions listing benefits, no callout extensions bringing more attention to benefits, NOTHING.  This is a complete waste of one of Google’s most effective tools, ad extensions. 

Did I also mention that I did this search from Pasadena, CA?  For those not familiar with Southern California, both Sherman Oaks and Beverly Hills are at least a 40 minute drive from Pasadena on a good day.  Will someone drive that far for a dentist when there are so many other quality dentists in Pasadena?  Maybe, but not likely.  For this industry, I would recommend against bidding in such a large geographical region unless you offer specialized services not commonly found.

I would rate these ads as a C+.

Let’s look at another ad.

Bad Ad Example for Google Search Dentist

This ad appeared in the right column next to the organic listings where ad extensions are not eligible to display, so it is not possible to tell if they have ad extensions active in their account.

However, again this is an ad for a dentist in Orange Country (an hour plus drive from Pasadena). This advertiser does use the keyword in the search title which is good, but what the heck is getting your teeth zoomed?  I’ve been going to a dentist for 40+ years and I’ve never heard of that term.  How many other potential patients searching for dentists have?  It is specific that it is only $399 and includes custom whitening trays, but speaking in dentistry lingo or any other industry lingo is a mistake and I would image the results on this ad to be poor.

I would rate this ad a D-.

One more ad example, courtesy of Smile Generation.

Good Example of AdWords Ad For Dentist

This ad again appeared to the right of the organic searches so it would not be eligible to display ad extensions, however they have done a lot right with this ad.

This advertiser uses the keyword in not only the ad headline, but also the ad text.  In fact, they list a benefit for the user in the headline along with using the keyword all while setting user expectations – ‘Find A Dentist Near You’.  The first description line conveys a unique message – ‘Trusted Source for Dentists Online’ and the second description line ‘Schedule An Appointment Today!’ provides a specific call to action.

I would rate this ad an A- only because they have not appended the keyword to the display URL; otherwise I would rate an A.

Summary –

These examples of good, bad and so-so ads are not unique to dentist advertising in Pasadena, CA.  Examples of each type of ad can be found in almost all searches done using Google that feature multiple ads.  This is great news for advertisers getting started or those who are writing well-constructed Google ads. 

By creating solid ads an advertiser will have an immediate advantage over most of their competitors.

Finally, make sure testing is done on ads.  Google allows advertisers to test multiple ads simultaneously and serve the ad with the highest click through rate more often than ads with lower click through rates.  Although you may feel you have written the perfect ad, still test. Potential customers will be the judge of the most effective ad based on the click through rates.  So pay attention and best of luck with driving traffic!

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

Properly Using Keyword Match Types In Google Advertising

While creating a Google AdWords campaign an advertiser must enter a list of keywords for which they wish to have their ads display. As simple as that sounds, there are variances to adding keywords that will determine the number of impressions and clicks an advertiser’s campaign receives.  The type of keywords entered is a vital factor in determining impressions, clicks, spend and the overall success of advertising on Google.

Every month Google processes over 100 billion searches.  As amazing as that number is, it is equally amazing that on average 15% of those searches have never been previously searched, ever!  This is one reason why an advertiser cannot simply enter a list of keywords, but rather must enter a list of keywords and their match type in order to determine how they wish their ads to appear for any relevant search query.

Let me explain. Google currently supports five different match types: broad, phrase, exact, broad based modifier and negative.  Each match type has its advantages and which type will be the most effective is dependent upon the type of business using it, but generally it is a combination of match types within a campaign that proves to be the best option. 

The ability to determine match type gives marketers the tool to direct as granular or broad of traffic as they wish to their website.  It should be noted that the best match type is not going to be the same for all advertisers and continual testing is recommended.

Broad Match –

Broad match type is the most basic match type.  When using a broad match type, advertiser’s ads will be eligible to run on any search query that has the broad match word(s) or slight variances listed (slight variances include singular/plurals, misspellings, abbreviations and stem words). 

Example, if a marketer is using the broad match term – shoes, ads will be eligible to display for the following search queries: red shoes, women shoes, expensive shoes, cheap shoes, shoes sold online. Any query that contains the word shoe the advertiser’s ads will be eligible to show! 

As you can imagine, broad match type is going to deliver the most traffic; however it is also most likely to deliver the lowest return on investment (ROI), so use it wisely. Note, the broad match type is Google’s default if an advertiser does not specify one of the other match types listed below.

Phrase Match –

Phrase match is generated by added quotation marks around the keyword or keyword phrase. This match type will allow ads to be eligible for display if the search query matches the keywords or when additional words appear in the search query either before or after the keyword or keyword phrase. 

Example, if a marketer has a phrase match term – “red shoes”, ads will be eligible to display for the following queries: ‘buy red shoes’ or ‘red shoes on sale’.  However, ads will not appear if the query has the keyword phrase interrupted such as is the case with the search query – ‘red pretty shoes’. If an advertiser wishes their ads to trigger in this instance, they would need to use the broad match modifier match type (described below).

Exact Match –

An exact match type is generated by using brackets [ ] around keyword(s).  For exact match, the search query must match exactly your keyword or keyword phrase in order for ads to be eligible to display.

Example, if a marketer has an exact match keyword – [red shoes], only if the search query is ‘red shoes’ or a slight variance such as ‘red shoe’ will the keywords trigger an ad to display.  Using exact match keyword and keyword phrases will deliver advertisers the most targeted traffic of any match type and many times the highest ROI, although it will be the least traffic generated of any search type.

Broad Match Modifier

My favorite match type is the broad match modifier. The broad match modifier match type will trigger ads to display for more search queries than the phrase or exact match types while providing more control than a broad match search type. 

The broad match modifier search type is able to be used with single or multiple words.  It is generated by adding a (+) symbol directly in front of the word with no space between the (+) symbol and the word or words.  Once the (+) is added, each word or close variant (singular/plurals, misspellings, abbreviations and stem words) that is preceded by a (+) must be present in a search query in order for an ad to be eligible for display.

Similar to phrase match, a broad match modifier needs to have all the words in the query to appear, but unlike phrase match the order does not need to be the same. As an example, if a marketer uses the broad match modifier search term – +Red +Shoes, ads will be eligible to display even if the words within the broad match modifier are interrupted.  Queries such as ‘Red Unique Shoes’ will trigger ads to display just the same as queries that do not interrupt the broad match modifier keywords such as ‘Unique Red Shoes’.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are unlike the other match types in how they are setup, but may be the most important of the match types!  Negative keywords are words that advertisers can add that will cause ads NOT to display even if other match types are triggered.

Negative keywords are generated by adding a minus symbol (-) before any words that should be a negative keyword. Example, if there is the negative word ‘–used’ and a search query is done for ‘used red shoes’, an advertiser’s ad would not be display even if the campaign contained “red shoes” as a phrase match; +red +shoes as a broad match modifier or red shoes as a broad match.  The ad would also would not show for an exact match for [red shoes]; not because of the negative keyword ‘-used’ is present, but because the query ‘used red shoes’ of course is not an exact match for [red shoes].

The proper use of negative keywords is quite important in limiting unwanted traffic and costs. In fact negative keywords are so important that I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to the subject – The Art of Adding Negative KeywordsPlease review that post for complete details on how to implement negative keywords at the campaign as well as the ad group levels along with some best-practices and strategies.

Summary

In order to determine which match type will generate the highest return on investment, continual testing is required.  The proper use of match type is a delicate balancing act between generating traffic and generating a positive ROI.  Only through continual testing can advertiser discover the proper balance for their specific advertising campaign.  

Fortunately for advertisers, Google makes it easy to track results by implementing Google’s conversion tracking code.  Tracking conversions allows a marketer to determine directly in their AdWords account what costs and conversions are being generated at the keyword level. 

Note, while testing it is not recommended to change a keyword’s match type once listed as historical data will be permanently lost.  Instead, if an advertiser wishes to change a keyword’s match type, it is recommended that the original match type be paused and a new search term with the new match type be created.  This will preserve all historical data and hence allow a comparison of which match type provided better results.

An important tool Google provides in looking at match type on the historical level is the keyword search terms tool as seen in the image below.  By viewing search terms, advertisers can realize exactly which search queries have been driving traffic and how those queries are being matched with existing keywords.

Search-Terms-AllFor more additional instructions on how to access the keyword search terms tool and best-practices when using, read my blog post – The Art of Adding Negative Keywords.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 or schedule online.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

Strategies For Determining Bids In Google AdWords

When advertising with Google AdWords, advertisers must determine the maximum they are willing to spend each time a user clicks on one of their ads (known as the bid).  Advertisers have the option to set the same bid for all keywords within an entire campaign; optimize bids on a keyword level based on past results or turn over the bidding strategy to Google’s automated bid management system. 

Once an advertiser’s bids are in place along with all other required settings, an advertiser’s ads are eligible to appear on Google’s Search and/or Display Networks. 

What Determines The Order That Ads Appear?

The number of ads Google displays depends on the search query and device used to perform the search. Typically, Google displays between 5-8 ads for desktop devices and 1-5 ads for mobile devices.  For desktop devices, the first 1-3 ads appear on the top above the natural (organic) listings and the remainder of ads will appear on the right side of the page beneath the Shopping listings, if present.  For mobile devices, only 1-2 ads are typically displayed on top of the first page above the organic listings and shopping results, if present. The remainder of ads (if served at all) will appear on the bottom of the page below the organic listings.

In determining the order that ads appear, Google runs a real-time auction using eligible advertiser’s bids in conjunction with eligible advertiser’s quality score to determine which order to display ads. This post focuses exclusively on bid strategies; however quality score is equally important.  For more information on quality score refer to the blog post – Why Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemDeciding On A Bidding Strategy

When determining a keyword bid strategy, advertisers must first decide whether to set their own bids or turn over control and let Google determine the bid strategy within the confines of a daily budget. 

For advertiser’s who have the time and knowledge to optimize their campaigns, determining their own bids is recommended.  However, for advertisers with limited time, limited knowledge or both, allowing Google to optimize bids is a viable option.

If directed, Google will either automatically optimize bids on a CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per acquisition) basis known as their Enhanced CPC option or an advertiser may select a flexible bid strategy. Although Google has made changes to their algorithm, even the most sophisticated algorithm is not going to be able to typically match the results that can be achieved with attentive hands-on maintenance.  In addition, although it benefits Google to have their advertiser’s successful; it also benefits Google to have advertiser’s increase their ad spend. So is Google optimizing for Google or the advertiser?  The truth is probably both, but this idea should not be overlooked and is a key question when turning over bid strategy to Google.

Setting Initial Bids In Google AdWordsFor advertiser’s who decide to manage their own bids, the first step is to determine the default bid and campaign budget.  This is determined at the campaign settings level even before creating either ads or keywords.

Determining Initial Budget In Google AdWordsOnce a campaign has been configured, Google provides a number of customizable tools that can be used to determine initial keyword bids.  These tools are accessed by customizing the columns when viewing keywords to include Est First Page Bid and Est Top Page Bid.

In order to customize columns, go to the Keywords tab and click on the Columns button. Then, select modify columns.  Under the Attributes metrics at the bottom of the list is the Est first page bid and Est top page bid.  Click on the blue Add link, set the display order and apply. 

Customizing Columns In Google AdWordsKeywords will now display the columns for minimum bids required for ads to be eligible to display on either the first page or in the top position.  Note, a high quality score can substantially reduce the bid needed to have ads displayed, so I also recommended customizing columns to include Qual. Score.

Once an advertiser is aware of where the minimum bid should be set in order to appear on the first page and the top position, optimizing becomes a task of testing and collection enough historical data to make educated decisions.  It is not recommended to go below the first page; however, it is also not always necessary to be in the top position.  The ad rank position that is going to provide an advertiser with the biggest bang for the buck is going to be different from advertiser to advertiser and only testing will be able to reveal the optimal ad rank position.

Another great tool when customizing columns in order to determine bids is found under the Competitive metrics.  These tools are the Search Impr.  share, Search Exact match IS and Search Lost IS (rank) columns. Together, these 3 columns when combined with historical data allow an advertiser to look at what percentage of traffic their current bids are capturing and provide the information needed to change bids when needed.

Adding Competitive Metrics In Google AdWordsBidding For Mobile

Remember for mobile devices, Google typically only is going to display 1-2 ads on the top of the first page. Therefore for advertisers wishing to have their ads display on mobile, it is critical to keep track of their keyword’s average page position.

Average position is one of the default columns when reviewing Google data and can be viewed either at the Ad Group or at the Keywords tabs. However, the data that is shown by default is for all devices.  In order to see data segmented by device, an advertiser must use the Google segment feature.  In order to split data by device, first go to the Segment button and select the Device option in the drop down.

Segmenting Traffic Data By Device In Google AdWordsOnce segmented by device, advertisers in addition to being able to determine traffic, conversions, costs, etc, will also be able to view average position.

If the average position for mobile devices is not within the top two, then a bid adjustment is recommended.  However, it is not necessary to change the entire bid for all devices.  If an advertiser wishes to raise the bid and subsequently the average position on mobile only, that is possible.

In order to change the bid for mobile only, go to the settings tab for the campaign that is to be adjusted and select the Device sub-tab.

Device Bid Adjustment In Google AdWords

Bid adjustments can then be made by clicking on the Bid adj. column next to the device an advertiser wishes to change.  The change of either increasing or decreasing is done in terms of percentage.  For example, the setting in the image above has a bid adjustment of -10%.  In this example, if the standard bid is set at $1 for mobile devices, the maximum bid will be $0.90.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemSummary –

The amount an advertiser is willing to bid is one-half of the formula that Google uses to determine ad rank.  Only diligent testing over time will help advertisers determine the optimal bid rate for keywords. It is critical that advertisers put in the work to make sure they have their keywords set at an optimal bid rate to provide the highest possible ROI.  Too low of a bid will not generate appropriate levels of traffic and too high of a bid will generate more traffic, but the costs could be too expensive.  Fortunately, as described above, Google provides all of the tools advertisers need to optimize their bidding across all devices.

For additional information on the second half of the ad rank formula, see our blog post – Why Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing discovery sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

Proper Settings – The First Step of Successful Google Advertising

Each time an advertiser creates a new campaign, the first step is to select campaign settings. Selecting a campaign’s settings needs to be done prior to adding either keywords or ads.  Although it may sound like a mundane task, proper settings are essential for a campaign to receive optimal clicks at the lowest possible costs.

Below we will focus on each initial Google setting available and when and where advertisers should use different options as well as recommended best-practices.

In order to launch a new campaign, click on the red + Campaign button.  A drop down list will display the types of campaigns Google offers.  Current campaign types include Search Network with Display Select, Search Network only, Display Network only and Shopping.

Selecting A New CampaignSearch Network controls the ads that are triggered when a user does a search query on Google or one of Google’s Search Partners.  Search results that are eligible to display come from advertisers that opt in to Google’s Search Network. Google Search Network is the most popular setting and typically what most advertisers think of when advertising on Google.  The ads in the Search Network are displayed above and to the right of organic (free) listings.

Display Network, formerly known as Content Network, allows advertisers to place their ads on all Google’s partner websites when a user is looking at a webpage related to an advertiser’s product. 

Example, an advertiser is a dentist and a user is browsing a website in Google’s Display Network and reading an article on dental implants, the advertising dentist’s ads in this example would be eligible to be displayed if they have opted into Google’s Display Network.

Google Shopping is relevant for ecommerce advertisers only, not professional service advertisers.  Google shopping are product results displayed on the right of the page when a user does a Google search as well as the results found within the Google Shopping tab.  For more information on Google Shopping, read our previous blog post – Google Shopping – What It Is, How It Has Changed.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings System
Next, an advertiser will need to name their new campaign and select the type of campaign.  In the example below, I selected Search Network only (the most popular) and enabled All Features.  The default for the campaign type is Standard, however the standard setting does not allow advertisers to take advantage of tools such as location bid adjustments, ad scheduling, ad rotation, dynamic search ads or campaign URL options. 

Selecting Search Type In Google AdWordsThere are also lesser used options available next to campaign type including Mobile app installs, Mobile app engagement, Dynamic Search Ads and Call-only ads.  These options are used by very few advertisers so we will not go into detail at this time, but if interested contact us for more information.

Advertisers are then asked to select whether they want ads to be eligible to appear on Google Search Network only or also to be included on Google’s search partners. Google search partners include thousands of Google partner websites that display Google search ads. Note, this is an all or nothing option.  Advertisers cannot opt in or opt out from a specific search partner or see detailed results from specific search partners.

For Professional Service advertisers, I typically recommend turning off, while for ecommerce advertisers I recommend leaving the option enabled. For detailed information on why, see our post – When Advertising With Google, Where Are You Really Advertising.

Next, on the screen is a Devices field.  This is a bit odd in the fact that Google does not allow an advertiser to adjust their bid on devices at this point in the setup process.  In order to adjust bids, an advertiser must go into the Settings tab once the campaign has been configured.   Note, Google’s default is to have the same bid across all devices.  It is highly recommended for advertisers to monitor results of mobile, tablet and desktop devices closely in order to make necessary bid adjustments that are often needed to increase profitability.

Finally, this image shows the location option which controls where an advertiser would like to have their ads eligible to be displayed.  The default from Google is to display in both the United States and Canada, but this option can be adjusted to include either All countries and territories, United States or an advertiser can target or exclude specific locations.  While important for all advertisers to ensure they are advertising only in areas they can offer their products, this feature is vital for Professional Service advertisers that generally have smaller service areas.

Selecting Proper Settings In A Google AdWords CampaignScrolling further down on the page, an advertiser must select language preference, bid strategy, default bid and budget.

Most are self-explanatory as an advertisers needs to determine how much they are willing to spend on their new campaign both daily and per click.

The bid strategy has a few more options.  Advertisers have the ability to either manually set their own bids or have Google set the bids within the confines of a daily budget.

Google AdWords Settings Bid StrategyBelow that, we come to the delivery method option.  This option allows advertisers to determine if they would like their ads spread out throughout the day based on their budget (standard option) or if they would like their ads shown as fast as possible based on user’s search behavior (accelerated option).  Although Google recommends the standard option, it depends on the advertiser, their business and their budget.  This is definitely a setting worth testing.

Finally, this brings us to the end of the settings and to the final options of Ad Extensions and Advanced Settings.

Setting Up Ad Extensions In Google AdWordsAd Extensions are extra pieces of information that Google allows advertisers to append to the end of their ads.  Current ad extensions include location, sitelinks, call, app, reviews and callouts. Ad Extensions have been found to positively affect CTR (click through rates) and are recommended to test.  Which ad extension is going to be the most successful will depend on each advertiser, their vertical and their product offerings.  For a complete list of best-practices regarding the use of ad extensions, see our YouTube video – Pay Per Click Advanced Technique 2 – Ad Extensions.

Last but not least are the advanced settings.  Here an advertiser can setup ad scheduling, ad delivery rotation, dynamic search ads and campaign URL options.  Note, only if an advertiser initially has changed the campaign from Standard features to All features will advanced options appear at the bottom of the page.

Google AdWords - Advanced SettingsOnce complete with the settings page, click on the Save and continue and Google will direct you to the next piece of the campaign – creating keywords and ads.

Although it is a good habit to set up a campaign correctly from the beginning, note that it is possible to change campaign settings after the campaign has been built by clicking on the settings tab. Creating optimal settings will be different from advertiser to advertiser.  However by fully understanding and selecting what are the best options for each campaign, settings can have a dramatic effect on ROI (rate on investment) along with overall account profitability.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemStill need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  We are currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

 

The Art of Adding Negative Keywords {updated 3/3/20}

One of the quickest and most effective ways for advertisers to optimize their Google Ads account is with the proper use of negative keywords.  A powerful optimizing tool for both Shopping and Search campaigns, negative keywords work to block unwanted search terms from triggering ads to be shown.

Let’s quickly review what Google keywords are before looking at negative keywords.

For Google shopping campaigns, there are no keywords. Google matches keywords found in an advertiser’s product titles and descriptions and matches them to related user queries. The lack of keywords makes using negative keywords especially in shopping campaigns a must for advertisers to prevent product ads from appearing for irrelevant searches.

Google search campaigns are more straightforward. Keywords are created within the Google ads account added by the advertiser and these keywords fully dictate which search terms trigger ads to appear. Negative keywords are still important especially if advertisers are using match types other than Exact Match.

Currently, Google supports five different types of keywords for Search campaigns: Exact Match, Phrase Match, Broad Match, Broad Match Modifier and Negative keywords.

Regardless of campaign type, negative keywords have the top hierarchy of the different types of keywords.  Adding a negative keyword to an advertiser’s account, campaign or ad group will block all ads from being displayed even if that same keyword is also listed as one of the other keyword types for a search campaign. 

However, although the negative keyword will block ads from being shown, having a keyword as both a negative and either an exact, phrase, broad or broad match modifier keyword in a search campaign will trigger a Google alert and is not recommended.

How Do You Know Which Negative Keywords to Add?

In order to determine if it is necessary to add a negative keywords, review your search terms report in order to discover which keywords are driving traffic.

Effectively using Search Terms is an entirely different subject which I have dedicated another entire article – Keyword Search Terms – Unlocking The AdWords Puzzle.

For now, we are going to assume you have a list of negative keywords you would like to add. Common negative keywords across accounts include keywords such as: free, coupon, pictures, cheap, wholesale, etc. Therefore, we will use these keywords in our example.

Adding Negative Keywords At The Ad Group & Campaign Levels

Once you have your list of negative keywords they can be added for the ad group, campaign or account level.  We will look at how to properly add negative keywords at all 3 levels and strategies to implement.

The process for adding negative keywords to either the ad group and campaign levels is identical and will depend on which whether you are viewing the campaign or ad group level.

In order to add negative keywords at either the ad group or campaign level, first navigate to either the ad group or campaign you wish to add the negative keyword(s) and click on the Negative Keywords link in the left hand column below the Keywords link. (You may need to click on the small arrow to the left of the Keywords link in order to view the Negative Keywords).

The negative keywords view will show all existing negative keywords currently applied to this campaign including which negative keyword, where they are added to, the level (account, campaign or ad group) and the match type for the negative keyword.

In order to add additional negative keywords at either the campaign or ad group, an advertiser will first click on the blue plus button.

This will open a new window where advertisers can add their desired negative keywords.

Here advertisers are allowed to either manually enter new negative keywords or apply a negative keyword list (we will discuss later in this article). In addition, advertisers can decide whether to add the negative keywords to either the campaign or ad group level.

If adding manually, here you will add the negative keywords. By including either within brackets, quotes or with no punctuation will determine the negative keyword match type.

Exact Negative – Brackets – Excludes all searches from appearing that contain that exact search.

Phrase Negative – Quotes – Excludes all searches from appearing that contain the negative phrase.

Broad Negative – Nothing – Excludes all searches from appearing that contains that word or words.

Adding Negative Keywords At The Account Level

Adding a list of negative keywords at the account level will limit ads being triggered throughout the account. 

A distinct advantage of adding negative keywords at the account level is a quick and semi-easy way to limit unwanted traffic for generic terms that advertisers wish never to be able to trigger their ads across their account.

A distinct advantage of adding negative keywords at the account level is a quick and semi-easy way to limit unwanted traffic for generic terms that advertisers wish never to be able to trigger their ads across their account.

Then, click on blue plus button to add a new negative keyword list or click on an existing list to modify the keywords currently contained within a list.

To add a new negative keyword list, click on the blue plus button; add your negative keywords; name the list and then save.

Once you create or when you using and existing negative keyword list, advertisers can easily apply the list to multiple campaigns.

To apply to multiple campaigns, first click on the negative keyword list you would like to apply. Then, you will be either allowed to add more negative keywords or to apply the list to one or more existing campaigns. In order to add to campaigns, click on the blue ‘Apply to Campaigns’.

This will open a new window where you can select campaigns to apply your negative keyword list. Simply select the box next to the campaign or campaigns that you wish to add the list and click the ‘Done’ button.

Remember that you can also apply negative keyword list directly within the campaign where you add individual negative keywords (see instructions above).

Final Word

The proper use of negative keywords is a powerful tool in optimizing an advertiser’s campaign.  By examining past account performance, an advertiser can find a list of keywords that if properly implemented will stop ads from being displayed for non-relevant search terms. 

Properly optimized, keeping up to date with negative keywords is a best-practice that not only can substantially save ad budget, but will also make your ads more relevant thus helping improve overall metrics in an account.

Keep in mind with negative keywords that once you are done you are not done. The use of negative keywords is NOT a set it and forget it technique. 

In order to get the most out of an ads budget, a properly optimized account will need an advertiser continuing to search, discover and implementing new negative keywords on an ongoing basis throughout the lifetime of the account.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination for small to mid-sized e-commerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales plus exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

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If you are ready to take your online advertising to the next level, I welcome you to take a trial. It only costs $1 for access.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, the founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing, author and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

What Is That Mysterious Dimensions Tab In Google?

Google wants its advertisers to be as successful as possible.  The more an advertiser is successful, the more marketing budget an advertiser can allocate to spend with Google.  The higher the marketing budget, the more diversified an advertiser may be willing to bid on different keyword terms. The more diversified the keywords, the more competition. The more competition, the more profit for Google.

Bottom line – the more successful advertisers are, the more successful Google becomes. This is why Google provides advertisers an array of free tools to use to help optimize AdWords campaigns. 

Sadly, many of these tools are not utilized by most advertisers.  Maybe it is because there are too many tools or maybe it is because advertisers don’t feel that optimizing their campaign is worth the time and effort it takes?  Whatever the reason, there is no valid reason for advertisers not to take full advantage of the tools Google provides to optimize results and ensure successful campaigns. 

Google Dimensions Tab

One Google tool that is often overlooked is the proper use of Google’s Dimensions tab.  This tab is perhaps the most important tab in properly optimizing a campaign, but quite possible the most misunderstood.  Below, I will review what the tab is and a couple of techniques of how to properly use to increase profitable traffic.

A typically configured Google account contains six tabs: Ad Groups, Settings, Ads, Keywords, Ad Extensions and Dimensions. Most of the tabs are evident in what they do by their name.  Settings control the settings; Keywords contains the list of keywords, Ad Extensions is where an advertiser controls the various ad extensions, etc, but what exactly is the Dimensions tab?

DimensionsThe Dimensions tab is where advertisers can slice and dice their historical data in order to discover trends in their campaigns. Within the Dimensions tab, advertisers can view detailed data of their campaigns including time of data segmented by day, day of week and geographical information. All of this data can then be sorted from any of Google’s metrics in customizable columns.  Google’s metrics currently include a variety of performance, conversion and competitive metrics.

It may sound overwhelming at first, but below are a couple of examples of how the Dimensions tab can be used to enhance campaign performance. Once you go through the process a few times, it becomes rather fun to find those hidden details that can substantially improve a campaign’s performance.

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemExample 1: Geographical Analysis –

Let’s assume you run a surf shop or some other of business where you believe that some areas of the country may be more valuable to bid than other areas.  It is possible to increase or decrease bids based on geographical location, but first an advertiser should confirm that some areas are indeed more profitable than others instead of simply using a ‘gut feel’.  Who knows, the actual results may surprise you!

This is where the Dimensions tab can be used. First, go to the Dimensions tab and select Geographic from the View menu.

Google AdWords Dimensions Tab Sort GeographicallyThen, under the columns button, click on modify columns.  For our purpose, we want to view results only by region.  In order to do so, Metro area, City, Most specific location and Location type will need to be removed. Note, an advertiser can also customize the order of the columns if they prefer.

Google AdWords Dimensions Tab Removing ColumnsBelow is a view of what the generated report looks like sorted by conversion in a descending order.  Although only using 20 days of data, the report shows that California has a much higher Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) than other states.  Based on that info, I will take action by lowering the bid on California by 15%.

Google AdWords Dimensions Tab Results GeographicallyVery important, in order to be able to adjust the bid an advertiser must first make sure that the Campaign Type is set to All Features from the default Standard.  In order to make the change, click on the Settings tab and click the blue Edit button in the Type setting and change the radio button from Standard to All Features.

Google Settings - Change From Standard To All Features Once this setting has been changed, several new tabs will be displayed in the campaign including the location tab which we will need in order to adjust location bid settings.

Google AdWords Changing Bid By LocationOnce the location tab is displaying an advertiser can adjust bids based on location.  In order to begin, click on the red + LOCATIONS button and type in the area that you wish to adjust the bid and click save.

Google AdWords Adding A Location ScheduleSelected locations will now appear on the list.  To change the bid, click on the dash under the Bid adj column next to item you wish to adjust and change the bid by increasing or decreasing as a percentage of the normal bid. In this case, I selected to decrease by 15%. With this change, if my normal bid is $1 the maximum bid for California users for the campaign becomes $0.85.

Google AdWords Decreasing A Location 15%Optimizing bids by geographical region is a great strategy to improve results.  When using this technique, remember that trends can change. Optimizing by geography is not a set it and forget it technique.  I would recommend monitoring bids on a geographical level a minimum of monthly to protect the budget and optimize for new trends. 

By using the Dimensions tab, advertisers can see what geographical locations are the most profitable and which areas are not as profitable and adjust bids accordingly. Although a bit time consuming, the payoff of optimizing based on factors such as geographic location will be found in the bottom line.

Example 2: Day of Week Analysis –

Above we looked at optimizing geographically, now let’s look at optimizing by day of the week (note, optimizing by time of the day can also be very effective for some advertisers).

In order to look at past data by day of the week, click on the Dimensions tab and under the View drop down menu select Day of the Week located as a subset under the Time field and click save.

Google AdWords Dimensions Tab Results By Day of The WeekAn advertiser will then be shown past results based on the selected date range.  Remember, the columns are customizable for various performance, conversions and competitive metrics.

Looking at the numbers below, I can see that Wednesday has by far the most conversions and a substantially lower CPA.  I’m not sure exactly why, but as long as there is a large enough sample size a trend is established and when it comes to analytics; the numbers don’t lie!

Google AdWords Dimensions Tab Results By Day of The Week ResultsBased on our analysis for this campaign, I would want to test increasing the bid on Wednesday by 15% in order to optimize sales.

The first step is to click on the Settings tab and select the Ad Schedule button. Then, click on the red + AD SCHEDULE button followed by clicking on the Create custom schedule link and save.

Google AdWords Creating A Location Ad ScheduleThe data will be segmented by Day of the Week and bids can be adjusted by clicking on the dash in the Adj bid column for the row you wish to adjust. Just like in the first example, the bid is changed by increasing or decreasing as a percentage of the normal bid. If I wish to increase a bid by 15%, I select increase and enter 15%. If my normal bid is $1, my maximum bid for users being displayed ads for this campaign on Wednesdays will now be $1.15.

Google AdWords Changing Bids Based On Day of The WeekThe examples I have presented are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to effectively using the Dimensions tab to optimize your account.  However, for most eCommerce merchants optimizing by geographic location and time factors are two of the most effective ways to create increased profitability in a Google campaign.

The Dimensions tab can also be very useful when analyzing a Shopping campaigns as well as identifying other stats such as user location, search terms and a variety of other statistics.

The bottom line is that a campaign of course can be run without the use of the Dimensions tab and a campaign can even be run well without using the Dimension tab.  However, the Dimensions tab is an important tool in analyzing past account behavior in order to predict future behavior. Using the Dimensions tab is a tool that can be extremely beneficial when optimizing at both the account and campaign level. However, this is NOT a set it and forget it strategy. Analyzing numbers is a constant activity that needs to monitored regularly in order to ensure that advertisers are squeezing every profitable cent from their AdWords advertising.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.

 

Creating A Clear Call To Action Is Vital For Professional Services

When advertising with Google, advertisers have the ability to decide which URL that specific ads will direct users if clicked.  However, what happens once a user is directed to an advertiser’s website is vital in determining the success of an advertising campaign.

Initially, the first step is to select which page an ad should direct users.  The page that users are directed to, also called the landing page, should be highly relevant to the keywords that generated the ad being displayed and ideally even contain the keyword(s) for which the user initially searched, known as Keyword Targeting.  An advertiser’s landing page may also contain keywords on the landing page that are found in the advertiser’s ad, known as Proper Ad Targeting.  For detailed information on these types of targeting as well as other tips to ensure a landing page is relevant see my blog post – Have A Plan When Determining Your Google Ad’s Destination.

Ensuring an advertiser has a relevant landing page is just the beginning of determining if the landing page is effective.  Just as important is making sure that the landing page clearly defines what goals an advertiser wants the user to take once they arrive at a website, this is a Call To Action. A Call To Action is anything that encourages users to take a specific and immediate action.

As a rule of thumb, the Call To Action is cut and dry for ecommerce retailers. Ecommerce retailers want the user to purchase their goods.  But, what about Professional Services clients?  Professional Services are generally more concerned with lead generation.  Forms of lead generation can include contact either by phone, email or contact form; perhaps downloading a free report or subscribing to a newsletter just to name a few. However, regardless of what Call To Action a Professional Service provider wants the user to take, one thing is for certain – the advertiser should know what it is for their business!

T.O.P. AdWords Campaign Review & Ratings SystemHere are some tips when thinking about how to present advanced Call To Actions beyond that of simply contact us today link:

Call To Action Tips –

  1. Make sure the Call To Action is above the fold! This cannot be stressed enough.  An advertiser never wants a user to be forced to scroll down a page to search for the reason they have been brought to the page.
  2. Make sure the Call To Action is the prominent feature on the page. Don’t distract the users.
  3. Don’t speak in lingo or tech talk. Make sure the call to action is in plain English that a user understands and which they can relate.
  4. Consider a bribe. Everyone loves FREE! A powerful four letter word, Call To Actions such as Download a FREE Report , Contact Us for a FREE Consultation, Sign Up for a FREE Trial can be extremely effective.
  5. Add a time limit. Download A Free Report before midnight on mm/dd/yyyy.
  6. ALWAYS TEST.  As with most everything, a Call To Action is seldom perfect the first time.  Make sure you are testing alternatives and different offers in order to properly optimize.

Example –

Here is a Call To Action, implemented by a dentist, River Dentistry.  Interestingly, the page itself has contact information below the fold (not good, rule #1 above). However, a popup is immediately displayed offering a customer a 5% discount if they schedule an appointment in the next 5 minutes.  Straight from #5 above, this Call To Action does a great job of encouraging an immediate and specific Call To Action.

Call-To-Action

 

Summary –

Have you clearly defined what action you want users to take once they have reached your website?  Are you testing to make sure your Call To Action is compelling as possible?  These are critical questions each advertiser must ask themselves when driving paid traffic from Google.  Using Google Ads can be extremely profitable for Professional Service advertisers, but only if they have clearly defined the goals and direct users to take specific action!

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Call True Online Presence at 1-888-456-6943 to schedule.

Happy Marketing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Andy Splichal is an online marketing strategist  with more than a decade and a half of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.  Although this blog focuses on driving profitable traffic through Google AdWords, True Online Presence offers additional services for lead generation as well as other proven marketing strategies customized for each client.