Archive for May, 2011
Posted May 31st, 2011 by Kristin Cox
It can be difficult to rank on the Keywords you want to bid on, especially if competition is high. It becomes very important to the success of your Keywords and overall account to have “Good” to “Great” Quality Scores. Typically, when you first set up an Ad Group, the Keywords will have a good Quality Score, but then as Google has a chance to review everything, those Quality Scores can change. Below are some tips to follow which will help to boost the Quality Scores of your Keywords.
- Use the Keyword tool to find Keywords that are relevant to your site and landing pages.
- Split Keywords up into smaller groups.
- Send under-performing Keywords into their own Ad Groups (If you don’t want to pause under=performing Keywords [which really should be done] then split them up into their Ad Groups so they don’t drag down the Quality Scores of good Keywords).
- Don’t use every phrase match type in the same Ad Group; be sure to include Negative Keywords.
- Send traffic to quality Landing Pages; you want to create keyword targeted landing pages.
- Create fresh content for your site (i.e. – articles, blog posts, newsletters, etc). Content is King, and you want to make sure your landing pages provide new, relevant content and are easy to navigate.
- Tailor your Text Ads to your Keywords and Landing Pages; these three items are very important when Google determines your Quality Score, so you want to make sure they are closely aligned.
- Testing, Testing, Testing; it is very important to continually test new Text Ads, Landing Page content/templates and Keywords as you rid your account of under-performing ones and find what works best.
- Improve Landing Page load times; if your page is slow to load, this will negatively impact your Quality Scores.
Follow these tips and continually check in on your Quality Scores to make sure they are in the “Good” to “Great” range, and you will pay less for your CPC’s and receive better Ad Ranking.
Posted in Pay Per Click
Tags: Pay Per Click Account Management, PPC Expectations, PPC Optimization
Posted May 11th, 2011 by Kristin Cox
For those new to PPC or thinking about starting a PPC campaign, you may be asking yourself “what is this Quality Score everyone keeps talking about?”. How does it work and why is it so important? Search no more; below is the answer to all of your questions, so let’s get started with the basics.
What is a Quality Score?
Quality Score is a variable that Google and MSN use to help influence your CPC’s (Cost-Per-Clicks) and Ad Position. It also helps to determine:
- First page bid estimates (the price you have to bid to be on the first page of search results)
- Eligibility to enter the auction that occurs when a user searches for a term you’re bidding on
How does it work?
There are a variety of factors that go into determining your Quality Scores, some of which Google is willing to share (and some in which Google is not)! Relevancy is the key to your success when it comes to Quality Scores; how well your keywords, text ads and landing pages align to a user’s search query is very important. Every time a user searches for a term that you are bidding on, your keyword enters an auction. The result of that auction is your ad position and CPC you pay if your ad is clicked on. A keyword’s Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance, so keep an eye on those performance metrics!
Some key components of Quality Scores are:
- Historical account data (if any): CTRs (click-through-rates) of the keyword and text ads
- The quality of your landing page
- The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group
- The relevance of the keyword to text ads
- Account’s performance in the geographical region where ads will display
Note: There is a slight difference in the calculation of Quality Scores for the Search Network and Display Network. Display Network takes into consideration the CTR of the sites being advertised on. Google does not share your Keywords Quality Score for the Display Network (apparently Google feels this information is Top Secret!)
Why is it important?
When it’s the difference between being able to save money and reach even more potential customers, or spending more money and reaching fewer clients, Quality Scores become very important.
- Ad Rank – Top Spots: Typically you want your ads to show in the top three spots, but any of the ad positions above the fold tend to perform well. If your Quality Score is low, this can affect in which Ad Position your ads will show.
- Too Low – Don’t Show: Quality Scores of 2 and below, will not be allowed to show. This will certainly negatively impact your potential client reach.
- Money – Save vs. Spend: Even the slightest increase or decrease in your keywords’ Quality Scores can have a major impact on your budget, what you pay to rank on the first page, and how much you pay for a keyword if the a search that triggers your ad is clicked on.
Example: Say your account receives 1000 clicks per day on average. Your Quality Score decreases resulting in paying $0.10 more per click; this means $100 more in daily advertising expenses (if your daily budget doesn’t account for the difference, then you begin spending more to advertise less). On the other hand, if your Quality Score increases, then you could lower your costs-per-click by $0.10 resulting in $100 in daily savings or being able to advertise more and increase your potential client reach.
Bottom line, when it comes to Quality Scores, an average score is 5/7, better than average is 7/10 and even better is 10/10. Anything below that and you have some major changes to start making in your account.
Posted in Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click
Tags: Pay Per Click Account Management, PPC Optimization
Posted May 6th, 2011 by David Mihalek
In my first post, Web Analytics Strategy Part 1, I talked about why it’s so important to perform URL tagging when implementing a web analytics strategy. In this post I will show you how to properly create a URL tag and how to implement a consistent and effective URL tagging strategy that all team members can use.
Step 1: Creating the Tags
To gather the basic information such as specific campaign performance and conversion metrics you will need to use three parameters: Campaign Source, Campaign Medium and Campaign Name. Below is an example of a tagged URL that EverEffect could use to effectively track the performance of a Marketing Campaign on Twitter for PPC Services.
Non tagged URL: www.evereffect.com
Tagged URL for Twitter PPC Campaign: www.evereffect.com/?utm_source=social-media&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=ppc-05-06-20111
As seen in the example the new URL directly relates to the marketing initiative by calling out the type of marketing method “Social Media”, the avenue for marketing “Twitter” and the campaign focus “PPC” which then allows us to track this marketing initiative’s performance within Google Analytics at a more granular level. If you have trouble remembering the proper formatting of a URL Tag, Google provides a free URL Builder which can help you create custom URL tags.
Step 2: Establishing a Convention
URL tagging is neither hard nor expensive; however, getting everyone in a company on the same page can be a challenge. Your URL Tagging Strategy requires uniform tagging which is why establishing a set method is very important. At EverEffect we follow simple rules; always use lower case, never use spaces, always use hyphens to separate keywords i.e. social-media. We recommend putting the campaign start date at the end of the Campaign name so for example: www.evereffect.com/?utm_source=social-media&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=ppc-05-06-2011. Once you have decided on a convention do not forget to share it with everyone in your organization. Everything you send out should be tagged properly and consistently. This includes email logos, marketing emails, advertising on third party websites, tweets, Facebook posts, PR and everything else.
Step 3: Tracking
While additional performance metrics are tracked automatically after a URL has been tagged by your analytics software, it is important to create a shared document within your company that tracks overall performance and information about the URLs that you create. Keeping information about dates the campaigns ran and ended, as well as the goal of each URL, helps determine long term strategies.
As mentioned earlier, this type of URL Tagging and Web Analytic Strategy is completely free but does require communication and time. The value this type of strategy brings can not be overstated as the granularities in terms of campaign performance metrics will allow you to better determine the effectiveness and ROI of your Advertising, Branding and Marketing efforts.
Posted in Online Strategies, Web Analytics
Tags: Web Analytics Agency
Posted May 5th, 2011 by Sarah Wallace
As part of our efforts to help folks understand a little bit more about AdWords Policy and how to plan for changes, troubleshoot policy issues, and understand some of the more complex policies, we’ll be touching on another of the sticky policies today: online pharmacy. AdWords’ Online Pharmacy policy underwent some pretty large changes in the last several months, and even if you’re not necessarily in the business of selling prescription medications online it may be smart to get caught up on how things stand today. Understanding how this policy has been modified is a great illustration of how quickly and how drastically policies can shift, whether they’re seemingly insignificant in scope, or broad, global rules governing millions of advertisers and businesses.
As some of you may be aware, in the past if you sold prescription medications in the United States online and advertised using Google AdWords, you were required to have a PharmacyChecker ID. PharmacyChecker is a third party company who operates a verification program that protects consumers by ensuring websites selling pharmaceutical drugs online are dispensing medications from pharmacies in good standing. It was the responsibility of the advertiser or business owner to obtain the ID from PharmacyChecker, and once this was done they were able to submit it to AdWords in order to have ads approved. Why all the fuss? My guess is that AdWords needed to be able to protect consumers purchasing prescription medications from their ads, but may not have had the resources in-house to take care of this kind of evaluation. Makes sense…so what’s changed? Everything.
- If you’re an online pharmacy that has a PharmacyChecker ID and was previously advertising just fine on AdWords, when the policy changed you might have found your ads disapproved. PharmacyChecker IDs are no longer required, or accepted for approval of AdWords pharma ads.
- Instead of PharmacyChecker, AdWords now requires that any websites that allow users to purchase prescription medications online (keep in mind that this also includes pet pharmacies) be accredited by the National Association Boards of Pharmacy VIPPs Program.
- Additionally, online pharmacies operating in the U.S. and U.S. territories may only target the U.S. and U.S. Territories.
- There are absolutely no exceptions to these rules (not that there were exceptions previously, but this is worth noting as the changes to the requirements have been somewhat substantial).
Basically VIPPs have taken the place of PharmacyChecker, meaning that any online pharmacy wishing to begin or continue advertising with AdWords must be accredited. If you had a PharmacyChecker ID, it is now worthless in the eyes of Google. It should also be noted that selling pharmaceutical products between different countries is now completely prohibited, and so targeting must be specific and limited. There are other areas of the world that are allowed to advertise online pharmacies using AdWords, albeit the list is limited, and each has its own very specific requirements.
I can only assume that the changes made to this policy affected every single online pharmacy advertiser working with AdWords. That’s a huge number of advertisers, and a huge amount of revenue. With a space as tightly governed and legally sensitive as pharmaceutical drugs, I’m also assuming that the change was legally motivated, and Google likely had to work closely with or align with the FDA. So, as you can see, despite the huge impact that a change like this has on their advertiser base, Google will not hesitate to make sweeping policy changes when necessary–a great reason to periodically perk up and pay attention to what’s going on in the online advertising policy world.
Posted in Online Strategies, Pay Per Click, SEM
Tags: AdWords Policy, PPC Policy, PPC Policy Issues
Posted May 3rd, 2011 by Kristin Cox
Pay Per Click Account Management isn’t like the cooking infomercial with Ron Ponpeil. His Ronco Showtime Rotisserie’s selling point may be that you can “Set it & Forget it”, but if you “set” and “forget” your PPC marketing campaign, it can wreak havoc like a toddler in a mud puddle; when you turn your back on it, a mess will inevitably be made.
Running a PPC campaign can be very expensive, and you want to make sure that you are maximizing the potential of your Campaigns. It is very important that you not only monitor the results of your PPC campaign carefully at the end of the day, but that you are also checking in on your account several times throughout the day to make sure there are no glitches. Often times throughout the day you could find that…
- Ad Scheduling went astray
- Credit card payments have been declined
- CPC’s are jumping astronomically
- Ad positions are declining
- Destination URLs have broken
- Number of Impressions/Clicks have jumped exponentially
These are key aspects of PPC Campaigns that you want to make sure are running properly. It can be difficult enough to get the results you are expecting without the little things throwing a wrench in your account. It can be the difference of your ads showing in a top three position or not showing up at all. And besides, it’s your money that is being spent to advertise. You want to make sure that it is being used effectively. By monitoring your account throughout the day you can make he necessary changes needed to help increase your ROI’s and “get to that toddler before he gets to the mud puddle (well in this case, catch any PPC bugs before they wreak havoc on your account).
Checking in on your account often is especially important after:
- Setting up a new account
- Creating new campaigns/ad groups
- Adding new keywords or match types
So remember when it comes to PPC, this isn’t cooking, this is online advertising and you want to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your account running smoothly. Set it & Forget it…..only if you want your competitors to enjoy the ROI’s you’re missing out on.
Posted in Internet Marketing, Online Marketing ROI, Online Strategies, Pay Per Click
Tags: Pay Per Click Account Management
Posted May 1st, 2011 by Thomas Heed
“The greatest wastes are unused talents and untried ideas.”
In reality, commit a PPC Management sin and it leads to waste (gluttony). For proof, check Part 1 or Part 2 of this series.
When it comes to wasted talents, one needs to look no further than Lindsey Lohan or Charlie Sheen. Duh … gluttons for punishment!
As for untried ideas, let’s put a new spin on the sin: when you ignore new or existing features or ideas, you are missing (wasting) opportunities.
Search share is now at approximately 30%. While not for everyone, in some cases total cost is far lower than Google, and Conversion Rates can be quite solid.
Ad Extensions (Google) –
Brand Campaigns – Invest in yourself!
In most cases, local businesses derive a good deal of traffic from people searching on their “Brand” terms.
These types of campaigns are almost always a low CPC play. After all, who is more relevant to your Brand than … You?
Leverage Site-links and Phone Ad Extensions, and you can make quite a splash.
A local business, paying $0.25 to $0.50/Click for Brand-related terms, could send 1,000 to 2,000 more Visitors a month to their site for an investment of only $500.
This feature is especially critical if you are an SMB or hyper-local.
- Example 1: intense pressure on Max CPC Bids often stems from poorly executed campaigns by other advertisers across the country. For instance, many individual dentists or their proxies are not employing Geo-targeting – we highly doubt that Indiana residents are actively seeking dental care in Rye or Oswego, New York or the United Kingdom!
- Example 2: A major Health Insurance Provider, authorized to sell policies in only a dozen states, displayed its PPC Ads nationwide. Would it shock you to learn that they were wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on clicks from people who could never legally buy from them?
The Display or Content Networks (AdWords/Bing) –
Again, this may not be for everyone. However, Display/Content Network Campaigns can contribute significantly to your bottom line, and at much lower CPCs. In our experience, Managed Placements tend to perform better than Automatic Placements. One of our clients generates 70% of their Leads at 25% of their cost for the same Keywords on the Search Network.
Managed Placements allow you to optimize your Ads for the individual sites where they will appear. The added context (relevance) can greatly enhance Conversion Rates.
Goal/Ecommerce (Google Analytics) or Conversion Tracking (AdWords/AdCenter) –
Not measuring or analyzing Conversions? Oops!
When it comes to Sales from Pay-Per-Click, the 80/20 Rule applies too; 20% of your Keywords will generally account for 80% of your Revenue. If you have not enabled Goal, Ecommerce, or Conversion Tracking, you cannot possibly identify those most productive terms.
Put another way, as much as 80% of your spending may account for only 20% of your sales. Now that’s waste!
Web Analytics –
Ignore at your peril. Do not forget to consider the on-site performance of your campaigns within your Analytics solution. Campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords, and Text Ads should all be routinely evaluated for onsite performance related to:
- Bounce Rate
- Average Pages/Visit
- Average Time on Site
- Goal / Ecommerce Conversion Rate(s)
Value/Visit is an especially valuable metric for you to monitor. Would you really pay $2/Click when the Keyword you’re bidding on only generates $1/Visit?
As you can see, it is often what you didn’t do that causes more waste (gluttony) than anything you did.
Posted in Pay Per Click, SEM
Tags: Pay Per Click Account Management, PPC Management Sins, PPC Optimization