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Posts Tagged ‘Best Practices’

Don’t Ignore Best Practices

Monday, July 1st, 2013


Best practices have been identified and labelled as such for a reason — because they’ve been found to boost Click-Through Rates often enough to make them a good rule-of-thumb for inclusion in your ad writing habits and to make testing them a go-to part of your optimization process.

That doesn’t mean they’re fool proof, or that you shouldn’t test alternatives to them, just that their worth remembering, worth testing, and, when possible, worth combining and stacking for maximum effect. This recent contest is a great example of “stacked” best practices, successfully tested as part of an optimization campaign:

Use of Registered and Trademark Symbols and/or “Official Site”

This one is interesting because it pits the winning ad’s use of the copyright symbol for the hotel name against the “Official Site” language in the losing ad’s first line of copy. But what’s better, to establish credibility with one character/symbol in the headline or to do it with 14 characters in the first line of body copy?

The winning ad takes the credibility factor and elevates it up to the headline (which itself is a best-practice for optimization testing) and manages to accomplish the same task with less than 1/10th of the characters.

Promoting Key Persuasive Information “Up”

This PPC Ad is trading on matching keyword terms for “Gulf Shores Hotels” with a powerful appeal to price. So the headline deals with keyword match-up and then the body copy deals with price. So where do YOU think price should go: at the bottom of the ad or as close to the top as possible?

The BoostCTR ad writer understood that persuasive information should be pushed higher up in the ad, and further to the left, when possible, so he raised the “$69 per Night” info to the first line of copy (and made room for it by using the Registered symbol in the headline rather than “Official Site” in the first line of copy.

Promise Immediacy and Instant Gratification Whenever Possible

The losing ad closes with a CTA to “Book Rooms Starting at $69/night!” but this makes no explicit claims as to how quickly or immediately the searcher can check availability and book the rooms. But the winning ad foregrounds the immediate nature of the Call-to-Action by closing with “Book or Reserve a Room Online Now.” In this case the “or Reserve” and the “Online Now” phrases are key to promising immediacy.

Stacking 3 Best Practices = 89% increase in Click-Through Rate

The sub-head says it all, by combining these three best practices, the author of the winning ad scored an impressive win in a tight and competitive keyword bracket, falling just a bit short of doubling CTR. So take a tip from the boosters and see if you can’t apply some or all of these best practices to your own ad optimization efforts.


Weekly PPC Update – Happy Mama’s Day to All the Mamas!

Sunday, May 12th, 2013


Happy Mother’s Day to all our readers who are mothers!  We hope you have a lovely day.


Let’s kick it off proper, not with breakfast in bed, but with the freshest, most delicious PPC news from this week!


First, from Google…………..


In the next few weeks, if you are only using features available under the  “Standard” campaigns, Google will be migrating them to the “Standard” type. This does not affect how your campaigns serve at all, but it will greatly simplify the set of features that you see when you are using AdWords to manage these campaigns.  


We’re getting closer to Enhanced Campaigns being the default (July 22), so Google’s offering a series of posts to provide best practices for managing them.  This post gives best practices for prioritizing bid adjustments across location, time and device.  It will also suggest ways to optimize these adjustments over time, especially as outcomes and business conditions change.  


Google Shopping is announcing some changes to improve the user experience.  These include:  requiring higher res images, support for merchant defined multipacks, adjustments for products without unique identifiers, and guidance for description and color attributes. Read the whole post here: “


And, if you’re not totally confused by bid adjustments required for Enhanced Campaigns, here’s another thing to add to the mix. In addition to rolling out ad group level bid adjustments, Google is also making it easier to change bid adjustments for several locations, dayparts and devices at the same time.  


Mobile In-Store Research:  How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices is a study co-sponsored by Google that found a bunch of interesting facts about how shoppers with mobile devices use their phones (to check prices, store hours, deals, etc.) and then user behavior, like mobile shoppers spending habits, and more. 


Now, from Bing……..


Here’s some advice for submitting exception requests in Bing Ads.


This is coming up more and more it seems, so Bing’s article on How to Successfully Run Multilingual Campaigns is a good reminder of the basics of multilingual campaigns, including being mindful of language and culture,  domain extension/folder selection, and others.  A great post.


Are you in the Bing Ad Pro Directory?  Well, if you’ve passed the Accredited Professional Exam, you should be.  Find out how to access and enhance your profile here.


If you’re new to PPC, or if you’re looking for a better way to explain negative keywords to clients, Bing Ads blog has a Video Tutorial – Getting Positive Results with Negative Keywords.


Landing pages are important!  It’s still somewhat shocking to us that people are driving paid ad users to their homepages.   This post has some best practices for landing pages.  This is really important stuff as our digital world is growing more mobile every day.  Keep important stuff above the fold y’all!  


And, from elsewhere on the web………


Following on the heels of the article above, this post from Search Engine Land has some real tactical changes you may consider on landing pages to make them more user friendly, and more likely to convert. 


From Search Engine Journal, a video that talks about Bing’s growing market share.


From Search Engine Watch, an article that examines some of Google’s recommended Best Practices for Google Shopping advertisers, and then dissects and disproves many of them!


That’s it for now, have a great weekend, all!


Weekly PPC Update – Cinco de Mayo Edition

Sunday, May 5th, 2013


Hello friends!  Hope you are enjoying your weekend, but let’s put down our margaritas for a moment to catch up on the past week’s latest PPC news, shall we?


First, from Google……..


Google is sunsetting the spreadsheet edit feature effective May 30.  This makes sense since they’ve been rolling out bulk edit features and bulk keyword uploads recently.   Will you miss it?


A new series of Learn with Google webinars will be starting soon.  Webinars are held at 1 p.m. EST on Tuesdays through Thursdays and are categorized as follows:  YouTube, Shopping, Research, Analytics, Mobile, Search, Social and Display.  You can visit the webinar site to learn more and to sign up.


Have you gone to any of these AdWords Office Hours?  Well, “gone to” as in gone to the Google+ Hangouts?  It’s an opportunity to ask questions in real time to the Google team about AdWords.  Pretty cool.  You can see the most recently asked questions and answers here. The first question this past week was a good one, Are there some niches that just always have low quality scores due to high competitor clicks? If so, will the results to boost the QS higher always be limited? Check out the whole transcript.  Some really good stuff in there.


Now, from Yahoo/Bing Ads……..


If you’re brand new to Bing Ads, you can find a nice introductory video here to help you get started.  It’s only 2 minutes!


If you have clients who have been asking what Bing ads can do for them, here’s a handy infographic that breaks down the power of Bing Ads, including numerous improvements that have been made to the platform, its reach, and quotes from happy customers.  What are you waiting for?


Father’s Day is coming up next month, and Bing Ads blog has some recommendations and best practices to get you thinking about how to advertise for this holiday. Also included are some useful statistics for making the case to up budgets during this time.


Not to be outdone by Google Hangouts and the like, Bing Ads has been offering podcasts to help advertisers get up to speed with the latest and greatest from Yahoo/Bing.  There are downloads to two recent podcasts here.


Finally, from Bing Ads last week, another “Bing Ads and You” series post.  Advanced diagnostics will be coming soon to Bing Ads, and will allow advertisers to: Identify which keywords within your account could be delivered in response to a search term but being disqualified due to issues with campaign quality and campaign settings, along with actionable feedback to fix these issues.


Finally, from elsewhere on the web………..


Search Engine Land reports on a study that shows exactly how well PLAs are working.  ”Bucking the typical trend of CSEs (and e-commerce in general), paid Google Shopping traffic nearly doubled in post-holiday Q1 compared to Q4.”  We aren’t really surprised as these were really not rolled out until late last year.


Search Engine Journal has a very useful article to help manage automated rules.  It’s called The Art of Setting Up a 360-Fail Safe System When Utilizing AdWords Automated Rules. Some good advice there.


Finally, from Search Engine Watch, 7 Essential Skills for Managing PLA Campaigns.  If, as the article above states, we are really all spending more on PLAs, it’s critical that these campaigns are managed correctly!  Check out the steps to success in this article.


That’s it for this week, folks!  Enjoy the upcoming week.


Be Wary of Substitutions

Monday, April 1st, 2013


What’s the difference between “Designer” furniture and “Luxury” furniture?

Well, it’d be easy enough for me to wax poetic about the perceived differences, but here’s the thing: whatever explanation I handed you would be peculiar and particular to me, and not necessarily applicable to prospective searchers, in general.

And that’s the big reason why word substitutions can be dangerous — YOU may think the substitute word is perectly synonymous with the search term, but the searcher may not. Want an example, take a look at this recent contest:

If someone is searching on “Luxury Furniture,” what they want to see in your headline is exactly that term. Sure, you might think “Designer Furniture” is just as good, but there’s no guarantee the searcher will. In other words beware of substitutions.

And on a similar “best practices” wavelength, move the CTR-boosting information up and to the left. So if the main selling point for your store is the discount, let’s move that up to the headline rather than leaving it in the first line of body copy.

Two good (and easy) tips from the boosters that added up to a 59% increase in Click-Through Rates for this contest, and that often add up to significantly more than that. Test them out yourself and see what you get!


Weekly PPC Roundup – Labor Day Edition

Friday, August 31st, 2012


Incredible to think that summer’s (un-technically) over and that Labor Day is only a few days away.  Have you broken out the cool weather clothes yet?  Yeah, neither have we.


But, while we are talking about cool things, here’s the latest news from the AdWords blog (aka the horse’s mouth):


Geo-targeting in AdWords is getting more precise.  Now we can target by Canadian zip codes, by Nielsen Designated Marketing Areas (DMAs), and new cities and regions in about a dozen countries.  Also, you can see how these campaigns are doing using geographic reports to analyze by specific region, and you can use location extensions and insertions to make ads appear more localized.


Meanwhile, over at Microsoft…..