The words “Back to school” for me used to conjure up images of pencil cases and new school clothes. Now it makes me think of Google and keyword searches. The Google Retail Advertising Blog recently posted that “back to school” searches are up 15% over last year. GO economy!
Its time to start planning your PPC strategies for the back to school crowd. Their searches are expected to peak in August- September.
Let’s say you sell luggage. How can you leverage this school season? You may want to try Google’s Wonder Wheel to help explore your product topics. It shows the original query in the center connected to a bunch of related queries.
It looks like there are a few good ones there that can be expanded on by clicking: back to school messenger bags, back to school pack.
This tool can help you discover keyword concepts/themes, but you’ll need to dive into the keyword tools to generate the specific keyword list.
On a regular basis I have seen marketers make the same tactical mistakes in running their PPC (pay-per-click) programs. Why?
This seems to occur…
- in the beginning due to inexperience or indifference
- after the account has grown substantially and becomes quickly out of control
- with too many cooks in kitchen adding junk and pushing buttons
- when people panic and start adding junk and pushing buttons, hoping this will improve performance
By identifying and correcting the problems, you should see immediate and positive changes.
Account creep: Recently observed: campaigns added upon campaigns, random keywords added, or text ads added in until there are half a dozen creative versions for one Adgroup.
Solution: with each addition to the account, you need to do an audit to find same or similar or complementary campaigns. Compare and contrast. Maybe the additions you need are simply an edit or enhancement to an existing campaign? For new ad texts, you really only need one or two versions unless you intend to test them. Delete the old ones when adding new.
Duplicate keywords: Have you heard: “Why is the wrong ad showing up when I type in ‘blah blah blah’?” Take a detailed look. Do you see keywords duplicated and all over the place? This can result in the incorrect ad showing up.
Solution: Understand each set of keywords should be associated with the exact ad you want to appear. Make sure the same keyword is not in multiple campaigns. Run a keyword report and sort to find any duplicates. Decide which ones are in the wrong place and delete ’em!
Google says: “Avoid duplicate keywords across adgroups. Google shows only one ad per advertiser on a particular keyword, so there’s no need to include duplicate keywords in different adgroups or campaigns. Identical keywords compete against each other, and the better-performing keyword triggers your ad.”
This help file is excellent in demonstrating a simple account set up and how the keywords should look.
Keyword matching: The way keywords are matched up with search terms is extremely critical to performance. Recently, I witnessed an account capture 30% less traffic because the keyword match was changed from broad to phrase match in Google. Because phrase match is more targeted than broad match, the keywords were actually tightened up, thus limiting traffic. Google uses broad match and Yahoo uses standard match as the default.
Solution: Learn the details of how to make sense of keyword match types. Experiment in small amounts until you understand how your keywords will behave. Then expand.
Content and keyword campaigns combined: Even though this is the default setting for Google, you shouldn’t mix the two. The content campaigns will behave more like display ads with a lower click-through-rate than keyword triggered campaigns. This will skew the results and make it difficult to optimize.
Solution: In keyword campaigns, only select “Google search” and “search partners”. In content campaigns, do the opposite. See awesome illustration:
Have you made the same mistakes? Don’t panic. Kick the other cooks out of the kitchen and simply set a plan to make corrections and then it will be smooth sailing. For now…
I bore the crap out of people when I talk about Google’s technical changes. As Erin says, “deal with it”.
I was getting all these posts in my feeds about Google implementing a new quality score factor to Adwords. Google says “load time” refers to the amount of time it takes for a user to arrive at your functional landing page after clicking your ad. Starting in March, Google will begin to analyze the loading time of your landing pages and connect its quality to the overall quality score.
The official Inside AdWords blog posted an announcement about it March 6th. If you work on creating landing pages, you should be following this closely over the next few weeks.
Once Google adds “load time evaluations” to the account in the keyword analysis page, we’ll then have one month to review the pages and make necessary adjustments.
The purpose of this change is to provide the best possible user experience for those clicking on the ads. As a campaign element we haven’t considered much in the past, it serves as a reminder for advertisers to keep in touch with the user experience. I think we’ll find that that reducing the bells and whistles will lead to more conversions overall.
We still don’t know the parameters of the load time, what is too long? I guess we’ll find out…
As Lisa pointed out in a previous post, online video usage is exploding, and we aren’t talking just YouTube. According to a Horowitz Associates report outlined here, 16% of adults with broadband access watch full episodes of TV online. Personally, I’m a big fan of this because I am without a DVR, but I do have a serious addiction to many network shows such as Heroes, Prison Break, and Grey’s Anatomy. As an Interactive Media Planner/Buyer, I find this advertising opportunity very attractive due to the high impact placements and the ownership opportunities which typically include a few mid-roll placements that I have seen to be not just video, but also interactive units.
This week, Adotas published an interesting article about the merging of the Internet and TV. The author, Peter Koeppel, thinks this is inevitable due to increase of media consumption multi-tasking and how far quality content online has come. This sounds super cool to me as a consumer. My two favorite things – TV and the Internet – become one? A match truly made in heaven. Some of this convergence has already started with the XBox Live, Apple TV and other products. Long before was Web TV, concepted in the mid 1990s as a component which basically allowed for using the TV as a monitor and a remote as a mouse. I remember seeing ads for this in high school, thinking it was really cool but maybe ahead of the times for a mass audience. Or maybe I just wish I would have thought that. In doing some searching, I found that Microsoft purchased this and is still trying to improve upon the original concept with MSN TV 2.
Later this week, MediaPost published an article about TV buying taking a cue from online advertising networks utilizing the long tail of the web to deliver aggregated reach of a particular audience. It’s no surprise that Google was the first to roll this out with Google TV Ads, taking a cue from their Adwords product.
My geeky excitement of what will happen next with this is right up there with what will happen with behavioral targeting in 2008. Professionally it will create another media buying challenge, which I am totally up for. Personally, I just want to watch my Heroes and Instant Message my buddies about how cute Peter Pitrelli is or what power we would want if we could choose without having to start up my computer.
Recently Ina Steiner at auctionbytes.com made a interesting discovery. In “Mystery: Who Hijacked eBay’s Google AdWords Ad?”, a search for “ebay” yielded a wicked little PPC ad in Google that actually took searchers to a page on Amazon about iPods.
Top ad in Google search results goes to this landing page=>
What? iPods? Only the hottest gift of the season!
Google Local and Yahoo Local search products are often under-used as an online marketing tactic. With Google, the basic Google maps listing is free and businesses can input quite a bit of business information such as location, business hours, coupons and more. For those with a physical location, you’re crazy not to do it. This free listing can be a great way to get your business in front of searchers at the moment they are seeking your product locally. At the Google Local Business Center, Google will take you through the process of adding a listing. There’s also a great tutorial on Google Local Business Center: Adding Photos, Attributes, Maps Corrections & Stats on SearchEngineLand.com.
In the PPC realm, enhancing this listing with a custom map icon and ad text message is worthwhile because you don’t pay unless a user actually clicks through to your website. Now there’s a new benefit to going Local. A new feature called AdWords Local PlusBox allows extra lines in your text ad to appear in the search results page– IF you make the top of the page.