Using Supplemental Feeds in Merchant Center

Most often one of the least understood pieces of advertising using Google Shopping is the continuous updating of product data to Google Merchant Center.

Far too often I have found when reviewing a retailer’s Google Ads account, they setup the Merchant Center; linked it to their Google Ads account and then never or almost never looked at it again. These accounts are often riddled with product disapprovals and inaccurate information.

Although your bidding optimizations are going to take place inside your Google Ads interface, it is critical to keep the data in your Merchant Center up to date. In addition to being accurate, there are tools that savvy Google advertisers use to effectively managing product data.

One of my favorite tools that I use for my private clients is the use of supplemental feeds.

Getting Started Using Merchant Center

Before you can begin advertising using Google Shopping, you need to first properly configure your Google Merchant Center.

For those new to Google Shopping, properly configuring your Merchant Center includes verifying and claiming your store, setting up tax and shipping information and of course submitting products.

For a complete review of all the initial steps along with the ongoing reviewing of errors and disapprovals that are sure to happen once you have submitted your products, review my article – There Can Be No Google Shopping Without A Google Merchant Account.

However, this article is written for those who are already running an approved product feed and wish to customize the feed without making changes to the original feed.

If that doesn’t quite make sense, no worries? I am about to explain.

Merchant Center Feeds

When uploading your products into Google Merchant Center, you will use the feed section of your Merchant Center account. This section is split into two sections: Primary Feeds and Supplemental Feeds.

The Primary Feed section is where you send the primary feed. The primary feed contains all the data that advertisers use to list and optimize their Google Shopping campaigns formatted into a delivery method that Google accepts.

There are quite a few options for an advertiser when submitting their primary feed.

First, you need to select your country of sale, then the language and finally the destination of where you want your products ads to be eligible for display. The options include Display ads, Shopping ads, Shopping Actions (when activate) and Surfaces across Google.

Next, you name your primary feed and select how you are going to provide the feed to Google.

Options for providing the data to Google include:

  1. Using Google Sheets – Merchants create a Google Sheet to hold the data and manually update the sheet as needed.
  2. Schedule a Fetch – Merchants host the feed on their own server and schedule a regular time for Google to fetch the feed from that location.
  3. Upload – (the most common used) – Merchants typically using a 3rd party data optimization company to automate and format the data along with scheduling a regular send.
  4. Content API – (the second most commonly used) – Also typically done through a 3rd party data optimization company. This method transfers the data through an API connection directly into merchant center.

Once you decide on how to get the data to Google, you then need to name the feed and create the initial feed. Some of the settings such as the Default Currency setting will need to be properly specified in order to have the feed approved by Google.

Supplemental Feeds

Once your primary feed is up and running with products being approved, advertisers may feel the need to update data for a subset of the products in the feed without updating the entire primary feed.

If that doesn’t quite make sense again, no worries. I am about to again explain.

For the example below, I am going to demonstrate using a supplemental feed to exclude some of the products from being eligible to appear in Google Shopping ads.

Besides being able to exclude items, you can update products using a Supplemental feed for any of the over 50 fields supported by Google Merchant Center.

Supplemental feeds are particularly useful to merchants with thousands of products that are being submitted when they only want to edit a subset of those products. Using a Supplemental feed allows information on a large feed to be overwritten with data in a smaller, easy to manage Supplemental feed file.

One of the ways I use supplemental feeds for my private clients is to exclude a small subset of products from being eligible to appear in one of the four supported shopping channels – Display ads, Shopping ads, Shopping Actions (when activated) or Surfaces across Google.

Other times a Supplemental feed may be useful is when it is not possible to map custom labels for some reason inside a primary feed or for that matter any of the other 50 supported fields that need to be changed for a subset of the primary feed.

In this example, I’m going to use a supplemental feed to make some products ineligible to appear within Shopping ads using a Google Sheet.

Creating a Supplemental Feed

The first step is inside Merchant Center to navigate to Products, then Feeds and click on the blue ‘Add Supplemental Feed’ link.

You will then name the feed and select the method for which you would like to submit the data to Google Merchant Center. For this example, I’m going to use Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is like Excel; however, instead of storing the file on your computer it is stored under Google’s cloud storage. Google sheets therefore do not take up any storage room and best of all Google sheets are absolutely free to create, use and modify. A Google sheet simply attaches to the same Google account that you use when accessing your Google Ads Account.

In order to create a Google Sheet, you first will want to name your Supplemental feed with a name that helps you recognize the purpose of the feed and then choose how you would like to deliver the data to Google.

Then, you will select whether you want to generate a new Google sheet or select an existing Google sheet.

Since I am creating from scratch, I’m going to select a generate new Google sheet and click on continue.

You will then want to select the primary feed that you will want to override data in with the new supplemental feed and select continue.

Google will then automatically create your supplemental feed along with a link to open the feed.

Once you open the Google sheet using the blue ‘Open’ link under in the Input method the Google sheet will open, and you can manually add data to the file.

When adding data, you will want the first row to be the header row. This row should contain id in the first column (this is what Google will use to match the data in your supplemental feed with the data in the primary feed). The next columns will be the header for the supported fields that you want to override in the primary feed using the new supplemental feed.

For this example, I am using Excluded_destination in order to tell Google that certain items should not be eligible to appear inside Shopping Ads.

Note, in this example, I’m overriding only one field, excluded_destination, but you can override multiple fields at the same time using a supplemental feed. In order to do so, you need to add additional columns, where the header row contains the field you wish to override with the data underneath.

After the Google sheet is saved for the Supplemental feed to take effect, you are going to have to go back to your feeds and click on the Supplemental feed you just created.

Once opened, you will need to click on the ‘Fetch Now’ link in the upper right.

Once you click the Fetch Now link, Google will import your data and override product data in the original primary feed. Give the feed a few minutes to populate and you should see how many records were successfully populated.

As you can see above, all 27 items that we added were successfully populated!

Checking That Everything Is Working

In order to check to see if that the Supplemental feed has taken affect, you will want to click on ‘All products’ link in the left tool bar and then you can filter by one of the ids in your new Supplemental feed.

If you click on the item, all the details for this item as stored in Google Merchant Center will display.

For the purpose of our example, we can see right near the top that the item no longer is appearing on Shopping ads. However, if you changed other fields in the primary feed, you will need to scroll down on the page to see how different fields are now being displayed.

That is it. Congratulations you now have another highly effective tool for being able to quickly manage the data in your Google Merchant Center!

Last bit of advice

Knowing how your Google Merchant Center pulls in product data is essential to gaining a huge leg up on your competition. Although, all the bidding is done within your Google Ads interface, only products that are approved in your Merchant Center will become eligible to appear in your Google Shopping campaigns.

If you are not checking your Google Merchant Center often, you could be doing yourself a real disservice in terms on not monitoring new disapprovals and other issues that will inevitably arise within Merchant Center.

Providing strategically formatted data to Google Merchant Center makes it much easier to control product listings and allows for the best chance for success using Google Shopping.

And now that you know how to quickly control a subset of your products using a Supplemental feed, you have an effective way to manage your products including showing which products are and are not eligible to appear within different channels.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online destination for 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.

Now included within The Academy of Internet Marketing is a video tutorial detailing the creation up a supplemental feed as described in this article.

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 complete access for 2 full weeks.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

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About The Author

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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.

Keyword Search Terms – Unlocking The Ads Puzzle {revised 4/8/20}

Regardless of which type of advertising medium you use to run your ads, one truth is essential to your success: you must be able to track response including when, where and how potential customers responded to your ad.

For off-line advertising this may be a bit broader, such as which magazine or newspaper on which date did a customer respond to you ad. This is traditionally tracked by using a special trackable URL or trackable phone number specific for each location the ad appears.

Fortunately, for us who advertise using PPC, tracking can be pinpointed down to the exact search terms a customer used to find your ad along with a slew of other data including the exact time your ad was clicked and the device the potential customer used to click on your ad.

To access this information in Google, one must become familiar with the Search Terms report.

Growing up, I loved working with puzzles with the challenge of having all the pieces fit together to create something that sometimes could be pretty amazing if I say so myself:>

Make no mistake, Google AdWords is a on-going puzzle and the Search Terms report for advertisers who discover which search terms are leading to their ads being shown it is a big piece of unlocking the AdWords puzzle regardless of whether your campaign is a Search or a Shopping campaign.

This is where you are spending the money, so you need to know on what. Think of advertising on Google as a purchase of sort, which in fact it is as you are purchasing traffic.

You wouldn’t go to the grocery store with a list and come out with a random bag of groceries would you?

Of course not, you need specific items.

Well, you are purchasing traffic and you want to make sure you are getting specific traffic and nothing else is sneaking into your bag (back to the grocery metaphor).

By reviewing your search terms campaign regularly, an advertiser can reveal instant information about the quality of their PPC traffic.

This information can be most useful to discover the following:

  1. What search terms are converting.
  2. Which search terms are receiving traffic but are not converting.
  3. Whether or not search terms advertisers feel are relevant are generating traffic.

We will review why each of the reasons is important along with what to do with what you discover, but first we need to see where to access the user search terms report that shows which terms are generating traffic to your ads.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open any campaign or ad group (note, keywords can be viewed at the account, campaign or ad group level).
  2. Click on ‘Keywords’ in the left menu.
  3. Click on the ‘Search Terms’ link below. (For Shopping campaigns, the sub-menu under Keywords only has Negative Keywords and Search Terms. For Search campaigns, the sub-menu under Keywords contains Search Keywords, Negative Keywords, Search Terms and Auction Insights).

Search Terms That Are Converting – Shopping Campaigns

The way to handle search terms that are converting is going to be different depending on whether you are optimizing a Shopping campaign or a Search campaign. It is also going to depend if you are looking at the Search Terms report at the Account, Campaign or Ad Group level.

In order to be the most beneficial, especially when there are a substantial number of conversions, you are going to want to look at the most granular data possible, which means looking at the Search Terms report at the Ad Group level.

One of the most effective ways to use the Search Terms report is in discovering which keywords searches are converting and for which of your products. You can also view your click-through-rate (CTR) of any keyword searches. CTR is calculated by diving Clicks by Impressions.

If you discover a search term that has conversions; however, it has a relatively low CTR this is a great indicator that you may want to consider changing either your product title or product description.

Since only the product title, image, price and retailer name is shown in a Google Shopping ad, modifying your product title to closely relate to the search terms that have historically converted will help to improve your CTR as well to help increase your conversion rate for those keyword searches.

Search Terms That Are Converting – Search Campaigns

Optimizing your Search campaigns using the Search Terms report is going to be a bit different since you as the advertiser determine which keywords your products are eligible to display.

When you discover a Search Term that has converted, you will want to make sure you are advertising on that search term using your desired match type.

For a review on search term match types, review my article – Properly Using Keyword Match Type In Google Advertising.

Typically for high converting search terms, you are going to want to set your match type as an exact match type. This directs your ads to show on this search term or close variant. You can then control the bid for that exact match type within the Search Keywords tab in order to control and increase your Search Impression share.

By adding the keyword as exact match, you can also work on the quality score of your keyword. Also, if you find a keyword that is a high converting, high earner, you may consider optimizing the product name, product description or both in order to increase conversions for those high performing keywords.

In addition, you may want to review your Search ads to ensure that these high-converting keywords are included within your ads as well as possibly within your sitelinks.

Search Terms That Are Not Converting – Shopping Campaigns

With Shopping campaigns, when your products appear in searches is based on Google’s algorithm that matches your item title and description along with your bid to a customer’s search.

This can lead to many times, your product ads appearing for irrelevant terms.

By using the Search Terms report an advertiser can easily identify those terms that are spending ad budget, but not converting into sales.

Once non-converting search terms are identified, advertisers can add these search terms as negative keywords at the ad group, campaign or even account level. In addition, non-converting search terms can be added to a negative keyword list making it easier to apply across multiple campaigns.

Just like search terms, negative keywords can be added in an exact, phrase or broad match type.

For details on adding negative review my article – The Art of Adding Negative Keywords.

Search Terms That Are Not Converting – Search Campaigns

Adding negative keywords to Search campaigns is going to be very similar to adding negative keywords to Shopping campaigns.

Once you identify non-performing keywords, you can add as negative keyword as an exact, phrase or broad match at either the ad group, campaign or in a negative keyword list.

However, there is one important difference.

Since the advertiser is bidding on specific keywords, you are the one who has made your ad eligible to appear for non-relevant keyword searches.

Therefore, besides adding the negative keyword you should figure out exactly why your ad appeared for an irrelevant keyword search.

Common reasons for ads appearing for a non-relevant keyword search can include using the wrong match type. Perhaps you are using a broad match type that is bringing in too generic of traffic. You may consider either changing or adding the keyword to either an exact match or phrase match. This would allow you to lower or pause your bid on the broad match keyword thus helping to reduce the times your ads appear for non-relevant search terms.

Are Relevant Keyword Searches Generating Traffic? – Shopping Campaigns

Assuming you have done your homework and researched keywords, the Search Terms report is a great place to determine whether researched keywords are generating traffic and whether they are generating sales.

If you have identified through keyword research a keyword that historically has quite a bit of traffic on Google but is not generating traffic to your campaign, there are typically two main culprits.

First, Google does not deem your product to be relevant to that search term. In order, to remedy this issue, you will need to either change your product title, description or both to be more relevant for the keyword that you are trying to gain traffic. By making your product listings more relevant for a targeted keyword, you increase the chances of your product ads appearing for a specific search term.

Second, your bid is too low and therefore not competitive. If your product is optimized for a keyword and is still not appearing or at least not appearing often, your bid may be too low. In order to see if this is the case, you can either use Google’s bid adjuster to see what Google recommends for a bid or you can view your search impression share for a particular product ad that you believe should be receiving more traffic.

Are Relevant Keyword Searches Generating Traffic? – Search Campaigns

Remember with Search campaigns, you control the keywords where your ads appear. Therefore, if you are not appearing for a specific keyword search, there are a few reasons.

First, you are not bidding at all or you are not bidding high enough on the keyword for your ad to display for that search term. If you are looking for traffic for a specific search term, consider using an exact keyword match type. This will help your ads appear for an exact search term or slight variant without appearing generating broad traffic.

Second, if you are still not appearing for a specific search term and are using an exact keyword match type, chances are it is because your quality score for that keyword search is too low.

Advertisers can bid on any term that they wish; however, if the ad or the URL where the ad directs is not relevant to the keyword they are bidding on, then Google will not show their ads for those keyword terms.

You can view your quality score within the Search Keywords tab by adjusting your columns and adding the Quality Score. Typically, advertisers should strive for quality scores on all keywords of 7 or above. If a quality score is below 7, advertisers should consider either moving the keyword to a different campaign or ad group that is more relevant to the keyword either through the ad or the URL it is advertising; pausing the keyword; or adjusting the match type of the keyword.

Final Word

Think of running a successful Google Campaign as a big puzzle. Trying to determine what you are spending money on; where you should increase what you are spending and where you should decrease what you are spending is a huge part of completing your puzzle.

By effectively using the Keyword Search Terms report, advertisers have a tool to complete this puzzle. However, the keyword search terms report needs to be monitored because keywords that convert can change and non-relevant keyword searches that cause ads to appear are an on-going issue within campaigns and ad groups.

The good news is that by monitoring your Search Terms report with an effective plan of action you can optimize for more profitability and effectively work to stay ahead of your competitors using Google Ads.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com) for exclusive video training, online courses, step-by-step instructions and exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.l

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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

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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.

Knowing Your Priority Settings in Google Shopping

Google allows campaigns to be configured using different priority settings of low, medium or high.  By default, a campaign’s priority level is set to low; however, along with bids, priority settings, when you know how to use them, can be a powerful tool in optimizing your Google Ads campaigns.

A more advanced concept, I have found by reviewing hundreds of Google Ads accounts that the usage of the priority settings is one of the key indicators of the skill level of the person managing an account. The proper use of priority settings is one technique that separates the novice from the expert in terms of Google Ads advertising.

What are Google’s Priority Settings?

When a product ad is contained in multiple campaigns, the priority level directs Google on which campaign to pull the product ad from regardless of the bid amount .

This can be confusing so I will provide a further example, but first a quick summary of how Google Shopping determines when to display an advertiser’s product ad for a user query aka user search.

Google Shopping ads do not contain keywords. Instead, Google matches the text in an advertiser’s product title and description and best matches to keyword searches using their algorithm that strides to provide the most relevant Shopping results to a Google user.

If priority levels are the same and an advertiser has a product ad that is contained within multiple campaigns, Google will use whichever product has a higher bid to determine which product ad to display for a matching user search.  Since there are no keywords used and the titles and descriptions would be the same for a duplicate product ad, the only difference that Google has to use is what the product ad bid is set to when deciding from which campaign an advertiser would like their product ad pulled.

Again, this is only relevant when a product is listed in multiple Google Ads campaigns.

By using Priority Settings, an advertiser can override the bid hierarchy. This allows an advertiser to communicate with Google from which campaign they would like a product ad pulled when their product ad is contained within multiple campaigns.

Let me break it down further:

A product ad contained in a Google Ads campaign set at either ‘Medium’ or ‘High’ priority with a bid of only $0.01 would be served (when a user’s keyword search matches) instead of the same product contained in a different campaign with a bid of $10, if that campaign uses a ‘Low’ priority setting. This is in spite the fact that the bid on the product ad in the low priority campaign has a bid 1,000% higher that the bid in the medium or high priority campaign.

I know this is a bit confusing.

I’m going to first cover where to set the priority level and then I’ll provide an example of how I use priority levels for my private clients, which should clarify how priority levels work as well as how you can use them.

Configuring Priority Levels

Setting priority levels can be done when first creating a new campaign or the priority level can be changed on an existing campaign.

When creating a new campaign, an advertiser will first set the campaign type to Shopping and the campaign subtype to a ‘Standard’ Shopping campaign. (Note, priority levels are not applicable for Smart Shopping campaigns).

On the next page, an advertiser will name their campaign; set their bids and budgets; set targeting and set their campaign priority of either Low (default), Medium or High.

Setting Priority Levels in a New Campaign

For an existing campaign, an advertiser can change their Priority settings by simply clicking on the campaign name and selecting the ‘Settings’ link in the left-hand menu.

Changing Priority Levels for An Existing Campaign

Using Priority Settings

Now that you know what priority settings are and how to define and change them inside your Google Ads campaigns, the next logical question that you may have is when and why would an advertiser use priority settings?

I use priority settings for many of my private clients with a technique called positive keywords.

Here is how it works.

I set a product group containing many related products typically products grouped by manufacturer brand to high priority at a very low bid, say $0.01 in an initial campaign – Call it Campaign A.

Then, I create another campaign set at either medium or low priority with the same product group set and use a significantly higher bid, say $1 – Call this Campaign B.

Within the high priority Campaign with bids set at $0.01 (Campaign A), I add negative keywords for the brand terms as well as other high converting search terms.

What this does is allow Campaign A to filter out keyword searches with the use of negative keywords at a bid of $0.01. The keyword searches that direct to Campaign A are typically keywords with a low chance of converting. Thus, this strategy allows only high converting Shopping traffic based on specific keywords to be eligible to serve product ads in Campaign B which greatly increases the conversion rates, CTR and overall profitability of Campaign B.

Now Campaign A, with its bid of $0.01 will still get a small bit of traffic and some of that traffic may even convert. When a keyword term converts in Campaign A, you can view the ‘Search’ terms report located within the ‘Keywords’ link on the left menu to add this keyword as a negative keyword to Campaign A. When you add a keyword negative to Campaign A, it will allow searches to be passed through to Campaign B.

This strategy works to significantly improve the conversion rates and the CTR, which also will increase the quality score of products ads in Campaign B. Increasing the quality score of products ads will work to benefit advertisers by helping lower their average cost-per-click regardless of bid.

A product ad with a high-quality score often may be shown in front of a competitor’s PLA ad in Google regardless of bid, thereby increasing overall profitability even further!

Last bit of advice

This is an advanced technique and if you are somewhat new to Google Ads, you may need to read through the above example more than once for the strategy to make sense.

However, I promise, that once you understand the Positive Keyword strategy and start to implement in the strategy into your own campaigns, you will immediately reap the benefits when it comes to your overall profitability – return on ad spend (ROAS) numbers.

This strategy is one of the first strategies I typically implement for new private clients in order to provide an immediate bump to profitability.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com) for exclusive video training, online courses, step-by-step instructions and exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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.

New Changes to Google Shopping Could Cost You Big Time!

This week Google announced some new upcoming changes to Google Shopping. The announcement sounds very exciting. Google’s headline was ‘Your Shopping ads may soon be eligible to show on YouTube and Google Discover”.

So, what exactly does this mean for advertisers?

What it means is that starting the week of June 17th, 2019, Google advertisers running Google Shopping ads will be automatically opted-in to have their PLA Shopping ads not only appear as they do now on Google, but also on YouTube and on the Google Discover.

So, who is this change going to benefit?

Before we look at who this change could possibly benefit, we need to first look at where Google Shopping ads appear now and where Google Shopping ads will appear once Google implements the change.

Currently, Google Shopping ads appear at the top of Google’s main page above text ads and above organic results as well as under Google’s Shopping link. Cut and dry. Potential buyers search Google for an item, and they see products that match what they are searching.  Shoppers can also look for more advertiser’s product offers and filter for items under Google’s Shopping link.

Simple, right. Product ads are served to those actively shopping and very likely prepared to purchase.

With the upcoming change, retailer’s Shopping ads will now be also served on the YouTube platform as well as on Google Discover.

So, what is YouTube and Google Discover?

YouTube of course is a huge platform consisting of videos. With over 1.3 million people viewing YouTube videos every day, being able to serve Shopping ads on YouTube has the potential of dramatically increasing the number of potential buyers that see an advertiser’s products.

Google Discover was introduced in 2018 by Google. Google Discover’s mission is to show relevant content to users even when they are not searching. In the simplest terms, Google Discover was designed to work like a social media feed. Designed for the iPhone, Google Discover works to show topics and news items geared toward an individual user’s preferences. It provides information about individual’s interest without a user having to search for those interest.

Although not a ton of data on Google Discover, Google itself report that it currently has more than 800 million monthly users. Regardless of the exact number, it is safe to say those numbers will be significant given that Google Discover is built into many Android home screens.

Is this going to be a good change?

Whether or not this will be a good change is up for some debate.  Absolutely, the change will be good for Google as it will increase the number of ads Google serves undoubtedly increasing their revenues. Maybe a good time to investigate buying Google stock?  Well, that is another subject all together.

For advertisers on the other hand, only time will tell if this is a good change leading to an increase in profitable sales or if this change will drive up the overall cost per acquisition.

What I have been telling my private clients is that this change needs to be tested in order to determine whether the increase traffic and increased ad costs coming from showing ads on YouTube and Discover will be profitable.

My gut feel is that for some advertiser’s it will be profitable while for some others it most likely will not.

What do I mean? Well let’s use a couple of my private clients as an example.

I have one client that sells automobile repair manuals. Being able to show ads on YouTube and Discover could be very successful for this client. Imagine someone is watching a YouTube video on restoring their 1967 Mustang and right next to the video is a Shopping ad for a 1967 Ford Mustang Complete Guide to Restoration.  Probably a more than decent chance of conversion.

However, I have another private client who sells t-shirts. Imagine someone is watching a YouTube video on brewing your own beer and a Shopping ad should up next to it for a Budweiser t-shirt.  Probably not a great chance of conversion even if the ad is clicked.

So, what is the bottom line?

Advertisers should test and be cautious with their testing. Traditionally, Google Display ads (and really what this boils down to is an expansion of Google’s display ads) do not convert nearly as well as ads directly on Google. When Google searchers are not readily looking to buy, their likelihood of them purchasing is significantly less.  Makes sense, right?

In addition, it is not clear how Google will display results on the new platforms to advertisers. The new Smart Shopping campaigns are completely blind in where ads are being served.  Will this be the same kind of deal?  Let’s hope not! Will advertisers be able to opt-out of one and not the other.  For that we will have to stay tuned.

Last bit of advice

For my private clients, I’m advising that they initially opt out of showing ads in YouTube and Google Discover, except for initially testing on high converting campaigns or when it seems to make sense as in the examples above. 

However, start small with your budget and measure what it does to your overall sales and costs. Advertisers want to be profitable when advertising in Google and to do this you need to know many key performance metrics and constantly measure changes and how they are affecting your profitability and overall sales.

Lastly and maybe the most important, advertisers will need to manually opt out of serving ads to YouTube and Discover the week of June 17th, or their ads will all begin to run throughout these platforms which may come as a shock to the overall costs for those not prepared for this change!

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out the all new The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com) for exclusive video training, online courses, step-by-step instructions and exclusive access to me, author of Make Each Click Count, The TOP Guide To Success Using Google AdWords.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

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.

My STORY & One Epic FAIL

So many times I’m asked of how I ended up founding True Online Presence.  Like any origin story it is a bit personal and there are things to be learned. Let me first say before I start the story that I would not change anything because as with everything in our past it is part of what makes us who we are today for which I am extremely grateful.

Okay, Now Story Time ….

For over 10 years (between 2003 – 2013), I had previously worked for an online ecommerce company, What She Buys, as the Director of Web & Marketing in San Gabriel, California.  In this position, I oversaw all online marketing as well as the daily website operations.

A rewarding experience, during my tenure, the company grew from a little under 1 million dollars in revenue to just over 9 million dollars in revenue.  The majority of the sales were attributed to the use of Google AdWords; although Amazon Seller Central was also added in late 2011.  As often happens, our advertising budget grew along with our sales going from around $100K per year to around $1M per year. 

A healthy growth, facilitated by the proper use of advanced techniques in Google, Yahoo (later Bing) and Amazon.  I’m proud to say that our accounts always showed profitable numbers for ROI, ROAS as well as other key performance indicators.

Also, through this time, I was on the front line gaining first-hand experience as the profitability of industry channels shift from first Google and Yahoo Search to then Google Shopping and Yahoo/Bing Shopping as well as the rise of Amazon Sponsored Ads.

In 2013, the company sold to investors that were currently running a pair of smaller ecommerce websites on the East Coast.  Shortly thereafter they made the decision to use their own marketing team and I was out the door.

Sad, right?  Well, not so much.   Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel like you have gotten into the same old routine and just really need a kick in the pants in order to change your direction?

Well, this is what has happened to me.  During the last 4 years since founding True Online Presence I have been able to help dozens of ecommerce and Professional Services through private client relationships grow their AdWords and Amazon sales while keeping profitable levels.Make Each Click Count - T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords

In addition, I have been able to help many more companies through my book Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google AdWords, which was released in 2015.

Then, The Epic FAIL

So what happened to What She Buys you might ask?  Well, as the title might to suggest, it was one epic FAIL. 

The investors, which seemed like smart guys, in fact one even was a former publisher for a well-known ecommerce magazine . However, despite being ‘seemingly smart guys’  they quickly took a multi-million dollar profitable company for which they had paid millions of dollars to acquire and directed it into chaos. 

Today, they have bare minimal inventory (because they can’t pay their vendors); they have been evicted from the San Gabriel 15,000 foot warehouse (for lack of paying rent) and they have defaulted on many of their debts and are currently wrapped up in legal proceedings heading for bankruptcy.  As you can imagine, I have been following their story somewhat closely, after all after 10 years, the company was like one of my children.

So what happened?  How can two seemingly savvy ecommerce professionals have such issues and lose millions of dollars, their credit standings and their good names so quickly after purchasing a successful ecommerce company.  Even more importantly, what can we learn from these mistakes?

Well, I only worked with them for a few months after their purchase.  Did I mention they were my first client, hiring me back as a freelance consultant just a few weeks after we parted ways as an employer/employee?

Here are the mistakes, I know they made and what you need to make sure you avoid.

Mistake #1 – Not Knowing Your Advertising Channel

The majority of the sales were being driven by Google.  However, they didn’t have a full grasp of the Google platform or what it takes to be successful advertising with Google.  Google can be complicated, especially if you have not worked extensively within the interface or if you have not worked in Google recently. 

Google makes changes that can affect performance quickly (for instance, last month’s change to how Google handles advertiser’s daily budgets – read more about that here BLOG – Who Benefits From Google’s Recent Change To AdWords Budgets?). 

If you do not know your advertising channel and are trying to manage it yourself or maybe even worse you go and hire the cheapest Search Engine Marketing firm you can find, you are likely to turn profitable campaigns into non-profitable campaigns, sometimes as quickly as overnight!

Mistake #2 – Not Knowing Your Numbers

There are a number of key performance indicators that every advertiser using Google or any other marketing channel should know.  These KPI’s include your ROAS, ROI, CPA, CPC, CTR etc.  These key attributes are available for free by using Google Analytics; however, you need to know how to setup the Analytics code on your website and you need to know how to make sense of these numbers.

Do you know what these acronyms above stand for?  Hopefully you do.  If not, you should work on finding out what they are and why they are essential or at least work with a company who can explain what they mean, where to find them and why they are the lifeblood of you online advertising. 

Mistake #3 – Not Knowing What Your Team Members Know

So if you are a one-man shop, this doesn’t come into play, but even if you are a one-man shop hopefully you nailed #1 and #2.  Also, hopefully you have enough time to dedicate to properly managing your accounts?

If you are using someone else to run your advertising internally or outsourcing, does the person or company responsible for running your marketing really know what they are doing?

Unfortunately, one of the issues with hiring a large SEM company to manage your paid advertising is that they often use junior marketers many times just out of college with minimal experience, training them as they go.  When they get experience they then leave, taking a job in-house for a larger company or just changing careers.  Like I said it is a vicious cycle.

One of the issues with using internal personnel is that many times they do not have enough time to properly focus on the marketing.  Especially true for small to mid-size businesses such as What She Buys where employees often ‘wear many different hats’.

Also, an often seen trap especially if you have an in-house team, is do they know what they are doing?  Where we they trained? Are they spending enough time on the account optimizing?  Could it be done better?

As a rule of thumb, you should have your AdWords audited periodically at least every 18 months.

So the takeaways from my story – There are mistakes that can be easily made by even ‘savvy’ online marketers, but the good news is there is a good chance your competitors may be making them.  There is plenty of room to profit in ecommerce using online advertising and there is no reason to think that this opportunity will not continue to grow.

So what you need to ask the mirror is ‘am I putting myself in the best position to make sure I am as profitable as possible’?

If the answer is no, take a look at my special offer below or read some of my more detailed blog posts and discover how I can help you get to where you want to be with your online advertising.

Happy Marketing!

Andy Splichal

SPECIAL OFFER:

For blog readers only, I’m currently offering a copy of my book, Make Each Click Count – T.O.P. Guide To Success Using Google Marketing for just $5 with free shipping.  In addition, for a limited time, I am including a complimentary marketing strategy session ($149 value), where I will join you on a screen share/phone call reviewing your AdWords account and answering any questions that you may have on how to make your Google Campaigns more profitable.

>> CLICK HERE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS EXCLUSIVE OFFER >>


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.

 

3 Ways To Move The Needle In Your Google Shopping Campaigns

Last week, I conducted a webinar titled “3 Mistakes Most Businesses Make With Google Shopping That Could Be Costing You Thousands” and temporarily posted the video replay here on my blog. 

Although, the webinar recording is no longer available on my blog as I prepare a new members only area where this webinar recording and many others will be stored (more information coming soon), I wanted to share one of the most important pieces of what last week’s webinar contained.Make Each Click Count

A question, I often receive from advertisers utilizing Google Shopping is how exactly does Google determine which products to show from their database of products?  Although a good question, probably a better question for advertisers to ask is how can an advertiser determine which of their products display for different user searches?.

To understand the answers to both of these questions it is important to understand how Google Shopping works. 

Basically, it looks like this:

Starts with a ‘User Query’

Google matches eligible products in the Google Shopping database using

Keywords – Taken from the title &

descriptions

Then, Google conducts a

Real-Time Auction

and shows the user

Up to 16 products which can be from the

same or from typically different

advertisers

If you are lost, don’t worry as we are getting into some more complicated facets of Google advertising.  If you are indeed lost, now would be a good time to read my previous blog post – There Can Be No Google Shopping Without A Google Merchant Center Account.

For those, of you continuing with this blog post, it is important to realize in the above algorithm the phrase ‘Google matches eligible products in the Google Shopping database’.  This is the key to how advertisers can determine which of their products display for different user searches and is truly the key to success when optimizing your Google Shopping campaigns.

Moving The Need With Google Shopping

So now that we understand how advertisers can take control of their Google Shopping listings, we can delve into detail about the three ways to move the needle when it comes to Google Shopping.

# 1 Way To Move The Needle – Segmenting & Bidding

One of the biggest mistakes I encounter when assessing a potential client’s Shopping campaigns is the lack of segmentation.  Another huge mistake I commonly encounter is advertisers using the same bids across all campaigns or even worse only having a single campaign.

Typically, with Shopping campaigns the 20/80 rule applies in that 20% of the products in a merchant’s offerings sell well; while 80% of the products do not sell well.  When an advertiser uses the same or similar bids across all products, they are in essence wasting budget on the 80% that does not sell well which could be used to allocate to higher bids for the 20% that sells very well. Make sense?

By adjusting bids based on historical conversions, advertisers can quickly move the needle when it comes to sales being generated through Google Shopping.

# 2 Limiting Unwanted SearchesMake Each Click Count

By using the Google ‘Search terms’ report, advertisers can easily determine which user search phrases are generating traffic and conversions or in some cases lack of conversions.  Once a campaign is properly segmented, an advertiser can also determine which user search terms are driving traffic to which items in their product feed.

Savvy Google Shopping advertisers will harness the power of negative keywords at both the Ad Group and the Campaign level to limit user searches that are either irrelevant or historically do not convert.

By limiting unwanted searches through the strategic and proper use of negative keywords, advertisers can quickly move the needle when it comes to cost incurred from poorly performing search terms.

# 3 Tidy Up The House

Often times, after an advertiser initially completes their first upload to their newly created Google Merchant Center account, they rarely revisit it.  Since all of the bidding, segmenting, etc, is done within the Google AdWords interface, they simply think there is no reason to constantly monitor their Merchant Center account.

Wrong!

Google periodically changes the rules when it comes to data feeds requirements and when those rule changes involve changes to required fields it could mean products being disapproved and no longer eligible to appear within Google Shopping results.

By keeping up with their Google Shopping feed and fixing all errors as the occur (errors are bound to happen) a merchant can move the needle when it comes to Google Shopping results.

SummaryMake Each Click Count

Until October 2012, Google Shopping was a free service.  At that time, many advertisers just wanted to get all of their products eligible to list and didn’t really care if they received traffic that didn’t convert because, hey the traffic was free.

My how times have changed!  Run properly, Google Shopping is as time consuming and as involved as Google Search.  However, it also has the potential to deliver a much healthier ROI than Google Search. 

By the nature of Shopping ads, showing the product image, title and price there is less potential for confusion once a visitor reaches your website.  In addition, with the removal last year of right side text ads (if you don’t know what I’m referring to read my blog post – What Google’s Removing Right Side Text Ads Means For Advertisers), Google continues to place prominence on Google Shopping ads.

These Google changes have provided a huge opportunity for advertisers who understand how Google Shopping works and successfully implement strategies that generate highly targeted 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.

Good Luck & 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.

Why Google’s Newest Ad Extension Provides A Competitive Advantage

A Google Search Ad contains four lines of text: a headline also known as a title (limited to 25 characters), two description lines of text (both limited to 35 characters), and a display URL. Within an ad there are a number of best -practices to make ads stand apart from the competition, which I have written about before in my blog post: Why Google Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score under the paragraph Improving quality score through ad copy.  These best-practices include tying creative to keywords, including a call to action and the proper use of Ad Extensions.

This article is going to discuss how to create distinction between your ad and the competitors with the use of Google Ad Extensions and specifically Google’s new Callout Extension.

Google Ad Extensions allows advertisers to place extra information in their ad.  Using Ad Extensions is an important and strategic way to increase your ads click through rate (CTR) by adding extra pieces of information within your ads that may not be used by all of your competitors. This extra line allows advertiser’s ads additional information to set themselves apart

Google Ad Extensions are nothing new, most Google Ad Extensions have been in place for years. Existing Ad Extensions included: Sitelink Extensions, Location Extensions, Call Extensions, App Extensions and Review Extensions. However, in October 2014, just in time for the holidays Google rolled out their newest extension – the Callout Extension.

What The Callout Extension Is – Google Callout Extensions allow advertisers to add another line of text just below the description text. The Callout Extension displays two distinct Callout Extensions simultaneously on the same line; in fact at least two Callout Extensions must be present in an advertiser’s account for Callout Extensions to be eligible to show. Callout Extensions are limited to 25 characters each and are not clickable and do not cost extra to display, they are simply another way to make your ads stand out from your competitors. Although there is no charge for displaying Callout Extensions, note advertisers will be charged per usual if an ad is clicked. Also, Callout Extensions are more likely to appear when an ad appears in the top one to two positions.

What It Looks Like – In the example below, I am showing an ad for my client Safes ETC. The ad appears in the top position and is showing both Sitelink Extensions as well as the just released Callout Extension.  In the ad, Google has combined the headline with the first line of description text (which happens when you close the first line with a period) and is then displaying the second line of description text and then the two distinct Callout Extensions (Plus Save 5% – NewYear15 and Those Who Know Shop Here) and finally the Sitelink Extensions.  As you can see the Callout Extensions appear above the Sitelink Extensions and are not clickable, just simply another line of text savvy Google advertisers can use.

Example of Callout Extension

 

How To Set It Up – Callout Extensions can be added on either an account level or a campaign level.  In order to set up on an account level, perform the following steps.

  1. Login to your Google AdWords account.
  2. Click on the Ad Extensions tab.
  3. Under the Campaigns tab, there is a pulldown menu of different ad extension types. Click the arrow and select Callout extensions.
  4. Click the red + Extensions box.
  5. Scroll down and select + New callout.
  6. Enter the new Callout text (here Google also allows you schedule when you would like to appear, leave this blank if you would like it to appear all the time).
  7. After you enter your callout text and schedule click save.
  8. Repeat to add additional Callout Extensions.

In order to setup Callout Extensions for the campaign level, first select the campaign in AdWords that the Callout Extensions should appear and then repeat the steps above.

Remember, there needs to be at least two Callout Extensions in order for the extensions to be eligible to show; however Google only shows two at a time.  Meaning if you have more than two Callout Extensions, Google will rotate the extensions allowing advertisers to test multiple extensions. This is best-practice so an advertise can determine and optimize the most effective Callout Extension.

Google Callout Extensions are new and in being new is where advertisers who add Callout Extensions to their account will gain an advantage, before Callout Extensions become common practice.  Google is now giving advertisers in the top spots the ability to add an additional line of text.  More text equals the ability to add more relevant information that will have users clicking on an ad; thus improving click through rates (CTR), quality score and the effectiveness of the Google campaign. A nice new tool from Google for those advertisers who wish to take advantage of the newest ad extension, I have been finding a healthy increase in CTR when used correctly.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact 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.

 

Why Google Advertisers Need To Know Their Quality Score

When using Google AdWords, advertisers create a set of keywords for which they want to have an ad displayed, determine the maximum they are willing to pay if someone is taken to their website for those keywords and then create ads to show for these keywords.  Within the ad copy, advertisers determine which page on their website that the user will be taken once the user clicks on their ad. 

Keyword quality score is a highly relevant factor in establishing successful Google marketing campaigns for both eCommerce as well as Professional Services advertisers. There are two important factors in determining quality score: ad quality and page relevance.

Let’s cover the basics first and then look at how Google determines and finally how an advertiser can improve their quality score.

What is Google’s Quality Score – Every time a search is done on Google, Google runs a real-time auction to determine in what order paid ads are listed.  The real-time auction takes into account two things in determining Ad Rank (what position ads are shown): how much an advertiser is willing to pay if their ad is clicked and the quality score of the keyword being auctioned. Quality score is determined by how often an ad is clicked on (click through rate) along with how long the user spends on the website they are taken and if the user hits the back button immediately (referred to as a bounce). If a user bounces, Google calculates that the user was not interested in the page they were taken and assigns a low quality score for that search to that particular keyword.  If this happens on a ratio that Google deems lower than average, the keyword is defined as having a determined low quality score.

Why Does Google Assign A Quality Score? Google wants those searching their results to find what they are looking for easily.  This keeps people using Google to perform searches instead of using a competing search engine. Therefore, it is in Google’s best interest to provide users with the most relevant results in order that they keep their users using Google to perform Internet searches.

What happens if advertisers have keywords with low quality scores?  If an advertiser has a keyword with a low quality score, three things are likely to happen.  1). Ads will be displayed lower on the page than competing advertisers with a higher quality score that are willing to bid the same amount for the same keyword. 2). Google will charge more per click to serve ads for keywords with low quality score (although an advertiser can NEVER be charged more than the maximum bid they have allowed).  3). Keywords will receive the message that ‘ads are rarely being shown due to low quality score’.  This generally happens when a keyword is assigned a quality score of either 1 or 2.

Review-and-Ratings-SystemHow can advertisers determine the quality score for keywords.  In order to determine the quality score for keywords open the Google AdWords dashboard and go to the keywords tab and click on columns and then select customize columns. Under attributes is listed Qual. Score (short for quality score of course).  Simply add Qual. Score and hit apply.  Now, when viewing keywords advertisers will see a column for quality score rated from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. The lower the quality score for a keyword the more expensive, less often and lower placed the advertiser’s ads will appear.

Improving quality score through ad copy – A low quality score may indeed be due to a poorly written ad.  For advertisers looking to improve quality score, make sure that ads contain popular keywords from the ad group for which they are being served.  This technique is known as tying creative to keywords and if done well will increase the likelihood of users clicking on an ad thus improving click through rate (CTR). 

Help ads stand out with the use of offers and creative copy. This can be challenging with just four lines of text to work with so it is important to always be testing and optimizing ads. Include a call to action, this is a chance for the ad to convince potential customers to select your ad as well as letting potential customers know what to expect when they visit an advertiser’s website.

A third technique that can help increase quality score by strengthening an ad is adding Google ad extensions.  Google offer a number of ad extensions which includes: call extensions, location extensions, review extensions, seller rating extensions, dynamic sitelink extensions and app extensions. Each of these extensions have their place and their success depends on the business using, but they all have one thing in common: they take up more real estate on the page (when displayed) making an ad more prominent thus increasing the likelihood of clicks and leading to increased click through rates.

Improving quality score through landing pages – Two words: Be Relevant.  Make sure the page a potential customer is brought to when clicking on an ad matches their search.  Advertisers often make the mistake of dropping potential customers onto pages which are much too broad (including the home page) rather than creating a landing page geared toward a user’s search.

Having landing pages closely related to a user’s search will not only increase an advertiser’s quality score on their Google ad campaign, but it will also work wonders in increasing conversion rates. It is a cardinal sin to make potential customers search a website once they have arrived from Google in order find what they were initially searching for on Google and customers simply won’t do it.  What customers will do is hit the back button and click on a competitor’s ad that the user hopes will be more relevant.  Customers bouncing back to Google hurt an advertiser’s quality score and costs advertiser’s money for the visitor they received who took no action other than to leave. It takes time to create relevant landing pages, but it is an effort worth the trouble ten-fold in order to improve both conversion rate and quality score.

Strategy for monitoring quality score – It is recommended for advertisers to keep a close eye on their quality scores.  A keyword with a low quality score could have the ability to negatively affect an entire ad group making it more expensive for keywords with an average to high quality score. Low quality score keywords do this by lowering click through rates for ads being served to other keywords within the same ad group.

If an advertiser has a keyword with a low quality score, it is recommended to either pause the keyword or pull the keyword into its own ad group and work on making either the ad copy, landing page or both more relevant to that keyword(s).

Quality score is often overlooked in importance in favor of bid, but remember Google uses a combination of both to determine Ad Rank. Therefore, it is critical to monitor keyword quality score as low quality scores are red flags that are not only costing advertiser’s budget, but affecting the overall quality health of the campaign.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact 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.

Why Professional Services Should Look To Google AdWords

Professional Services I will define as any company that sells their service or expertise opposed to selling a physical product.  This includes dentists, lawyers, doctors and too many more professions to continue to name.  One thing they all have in common is that they believe they offer a service worth money to others or they would not (or should not) be in business.

With that said, all Professional Service businesses face a common problem: how to let potential clients in need of their service know about them.

Before the Internet, it was much more cut and dry.  There was word of mouth, newspaper ads and the good ole yellow pages.  Today, online is where the majority of potential clients begin and generally end their search (approximately 80% based on a recent Forbes article).  The game has definitely changed.

Here are some ways that Professional Services can go about getting in front of potential clients.

Yelp – Yelp is an online source that customers can search for anything from restaurants to shopping to yes Professional Services.  Yelp offers free listings where your organization can create a page and be displayed based on popularity (reviews) along with Yelp’s algorithmic match to a user’s search criteria and location.  Yelp offers a free page that can be customized, which does offer an online presence.  However, where Yelp makes its money is offering paid ads where companies pay for their listings to be displayed on the top of searches.  Yelp uses a CPM model charging for total impressions (when the ad appears) rather than a CPC (charging when the ad is clicked).  This of course encourages Yelp to show its advertisers ads as much as possible which many times has its advertisers paid listings display on irrelevant searches (a major complaint of many Yelp advertisers).

Yellow Pages or (YP.com) – It used to be a must to advertise in the Yellow Pages; however that was before the Internet.  Today, potential customer behavior has changed.  Formerly, a simple set it and forget it strategy of having your ad appear in a book of ads, the Yellow Pages have evolved into YP.com.  Although possibly still relevant based on the urgency of your business, such as plumbers, advertising on YP.com faces challenges that include the lack of use by potential clients, the lack of the ability for an advertiser to track their results and YP’s lacking the ability to allow advertisers to bid on a wide variety of keywords.

Review-and-Ratings-SystemGoogle AdWords – Although many people think of Google AdWords solely for companies selling toasters or t-shirts it couldn’t be further from the truth. Google can be a great source of lead generation for Professional Service companies and here is why:

1. Ability to track – With Google AdWords you can track the results of every click that has resulted from your ads. In addition, when you create a Google AdWords account you are given access to a free online analytics tracking software (Google Analytics) that allows you to see all customer behavior on your website.  This not only helps advertisers track Google AdWords, but other marketing channels as well. In addition, Google provides call stats which give advertisers information on potential clients that have called based on Google ads.

2.  Ability to set your budget – With Google AdWords, you determine how much you are willing to spend on both the overall campaign as well as each individual keyword. This functionality allows marketers to optimize revenue by increasing bids on productive keywords and minimizing or eliminating bids on non-productive keywords.

3. Geographical targeting – With Google AdWords you determine who sees your ads. This functionality is important for local oriented Professional Services companies ensuring they are only paying to advertise to potential clients within their service radius.

4. Ad Scheduling – Allows advertisers to determine the time of day or day of week that their ads run as well as allowing changes to advertising budget for different times. This is important, for example, if an advertiser wants their ads to show only during open business hours or when a customer service representative is available to answer incoming calls.

5. Bid By Device – This feature allows advertisers to vary the amount they are willing to pay for a keyword based on what device is being used to search their ad (laptop, tablet or mobile). An important tool in optimizing campaigns in order to provide cost effective results.

6. Retargeting – Allows advertisers to display ads to customers who have visited their website and left without purchasing. Retargeting, also called remarketing, extends a company’s advertising reach allowing Professional Services to stay in front of potential clients whenever the clients are searching other websites within the Google Network.

7. Display Network – Allows advertisers to display ads on relevant news articles and other related spaces in the Google Network which helps extend an advertiser’s reach beyond that of potential clients doing Google searches.

Although not all techniques are going to be right for every Professional Service company, a properly implemented Google campaign should use what is available to test and the Google Analytics program, which is available free of charge to Google advertisers, makes it possible to do so.

Today, it is harder and more competitive to get the word out about your organization and those companies not fully utilizing Google and the features available are going to start one-step behind.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact 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.

 

True Online Presence – Who We Are

TOP-Logo-WEBTrue Online Presence is a SEM (Search Engine Management) Firm located in Pasadena, CA. We specialize in helping businesses both eCommerce as well as Professional Services increase their revenue through paid online advertising. We are a certified Google Agency Partner and proudly display the agency badge. As a Google Agency Partner, we have demonstrated consistently that we use best industry practices in running clients Google AdWords accounts as well as have established a history of controlling a certain threshold of budget for current clients.

Founded by myself, Andy Splichal, in May of 2014, True Online Presence was established to bring clients in both the eCommerce and the Professional Services spaces an SEM agency committed to delivering the highest level of service and ethical principles available in the industry. Before founding True Online Presence, I served as Director of Web & Marketing for a company consistently on the INC 5000 and Internet Retailer’s Next 500 lists between 2002 – 2013. In this previous position, I managed an online marketing budget of approximately $500-$700K per year allowing me to fine tune the skills needed today in bringing best practice techniques to the successful online management for clients of various sizes.

The purpose of launching this blog is to educate those interested in online advertising with tips, techniques and insights geared toward increasing online success. Not only will I concentrate on Google AdWords, but I will also share what I do using different CSEs (Comparison Shopping Engines) as well as other venues such as Yahoo/MSN pay per click. I will share what I do and what I see on an ongoing basis in order to navigate the online marketing world. I welcome comments and value discussion as the online marketing industry continues to evolve and hope you join me on my journey as I continue to strive to share ways to increase company’s bottom line revenues.

Still need help or looking for someone to bounce ideas off?  I am currently offering free marketing strategy sessions to those interested. Contact 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.