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PPC Town Hall 31: Expectations for PPC in 2021

It’s 2021, and whether you’re a marketer or an agency, you would be preparing for yet another thrilling year of PPC. Right from the start, you need to be aware of the newest trends and features in paid marketing to leverage your PPC game. And that means you need to know of any curveballs that might come your way. In 2020, we saw experts deep-diving into topics like automation, privacy issues, and keywords, which we might be discussing more of the same this year as well.

To get a better perspective of what to expect in the coming months, we invited over some of the smartest minds of PPC and asked for their insights. Our panelists this week are some of your favorite experts from conferences like SMX, shedding light on what they expect from PPC in 2021.

As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

Here are 5 insights on what to expect from PPC in 2021.

1. RSAs vs ETAs

Brad: According to our data, we’ve seen more people trying out RSAs than Optmyzr users. We also see that a lot of people who still have them, have shrunk their usage. I’ve done a little bit of segmentation (since we did our session at SMX) on spending and account size versus declining RSA usage. And it’s definitely the smaller accounts that have declined their usage much less than the larger ones. We have seen that those who spend half a million to a million, plus have decreased usage more than those who spent 10-20 thousand dollars a month.

For a lot of these people, it’s more about results than getting that control. They don’t care if you’re a lead gen company. You may spend 10 million a month but in the end, you care about results.

Ginny: My question on it comes back to what are ‘results’? If we’re strictly looking at conversion rate or cost per conversion, then I can see where ETAs are often going to win. I’m wondering if advertisers might be looking at RSAs to open themselves up for more impression inventory. So is that a factor where people are considering more exposure than focusing on conversion rate?

Matt: In a lot of cases, you actually don’t have enough data for RSA to really even get their wheels spinning. It’s a multivariate type of testing and so often times we see that decisions are being made too quickly on winners and losers.

2. Identifying your business signals

Ginny: Having your own business signals mixed in with data you provide to the machine is becoming really critical now. This is where the real leverage can come, particularly the competitive leverage over your competitive sets. In order for people and businesses to identify their own business signals, they need to do some real analysis and investment, which takes a lot of digging. And then being able to present this in a way that can actually be used.

So the real question is, do advertisers keep pushing businesses to give more inputs even when some might want to keep that data to themselves rather than sharing it with Google? If yes, can we anonymize it and ensure that those inputs work within the algorithms.

3. Giving Google the right data and goals

Matt: Instead of fighting Google, let’s focus on giving them the right goals. One of our focuses will be feeding the data to the machine. And I think we’re actually going back to really seminal work in the whole web UX and web design area. If you look at Google Analytics, it’s moving away from discrete real things to events and connections that sort of represent proxies like scroll time or time on page. What I’d like to see is combinatorial data that would allow us to combine scroll depth and time on page, multimodally. How do we build up signals from the site we’ve got and trigger events that we can feed back to our bidding?

Our goal this year is to take a look at how we can understand what behaviors on the site represent good proxies to the next sort of actions. We also want to give those signals a little bit more attention, feed them, and try to develop audiences out of them.

4. Importance of setting up clean conversion

Brad: This is more important now than in the past because with all the privacy things happening, you doing your own data or attribution modeling is going to be essential. Even from a basic standpoint of modeling, you need to get it right because the privacy changes are going to mess up the data inside some of your platforms. Just to do some basic analysis, you actually need to have it yourself now and can’t rely on the platforms to give it to you because they’re not gonna have all the data they had previously.

5. 2021 Predictions

Brad: I will argue that as soon as Google removes keywords, their revenues decline significantly. Out of every advertising method out there, the intent of a search for someone saying ‘I want this’ is the strongest signal in advertising. It’s better than any programmatic, any audience or any other advertising methods. If people don’t get to use keywords for targeting, they might think of going programmatic.

Matt: I think that while Google may never take away keywords, they’ll definitely stop paying attention to what we’re actually telling them with our match-types. And I think that if you look at the loss of search query data may be Google feeding its AI and learning on all of our dimes! And they’re saying we don’t care what we [advertisers] know, they’re going to let their machines run wild, and decide for themselves what’s working or not!

Ginny: We still have some agency in all of this. I think we need to start using the machines in ways that they were meant to help us. And while they aren’t going to get it right all the time, we should be present to guide it. This is where your own data is going to be helpful. If you come in with a campaign that has been a disaster, all that data is not useful. For example, if you’ve set your campaign on broad match and end up reaching attorneys in Palm Beach when you actually run a hair salon, that data is useless. All of this can be avoided if you educate yourself and be an invested marketer. So much about this year is still going to be based on fundamentals.

Conclusion

Let’s face it - doing PPC in any year is tricky.

What with Google introducing changes, paid marketers need to leverage on every new trend that comes their way. Working along with the machine, feeding it good usable data, and relying on automation to boost your business goals might go a long way for PPC pros in 2021. To set yourselves apart from your competitors, consistently optimize your campaigns, utilize new tools, and look to expert strategies by industry leaders to pave your way to success.

Dec 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: New in Google, MSFT & Facebook

To finalize this ambivalent year, the latest updates round off what the platforms have been building on for these last few months. Machine learning has pushed accounts forward, market demand has been record breaking and audience engagement is now more important than ever. Our strategy is governed by the resources available and all eyes are transfixed on what the next year has to bring.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Explanations Expand To Target CPA

Explanations is a new feature to Google Ads, previously in beta, that gives you additional insights regarding your campaigns and performance factors, such as bid adjustments affecting devices. We’ve seen these appear more and more in our tROAS campaigns to great benefit and now the feature will start showing for tCPA campaigns. This additional information is invaluable when strategizing forward, especially around the holiday season where budgets tend to shift.

1.2 – Google Ads Editor v1.5

Google Ads Editor is a favorite of ours given how much you can do on the platform compared to the sluggish Google Ads web app interface. New updates provide new opportunities and with the recent v1.5 release we have access to more recommendations, ad strength for RSAs, and image extensions. Whilst the application is still lacking important insights such as Explanations above, the ability to filter for new metrics and make changes efficiently is always a big bonus.

2. Microsoft Advertising

2.1 – Mixed Campaigns & Data Retention Changes

Microsoft added mixed campaigns to their platform, allowing you to combine both regular ad groups and dynamic ad groups into one sole campaign. This has a lot of potential, especially taking into account smart bidding and campaign goals, which both ad group types will be able to contribute toward. Whether you choose to combine your ad groups or keep them separate as not to skew metrics is entirely your call but for accounts with a smaller budget, this could be huge.

In the same update, Microsoft also announced increases to their data retention window for Universal Event Tracking with data being able to be retained for 390 days, compared to 180 days which it was previously. You will need to update the membership duration of your remarketing lists in order to take advantage of this increase.

3. Facebook & Instagram

3.1 – Preparing For iOS 14

With the release of Apple’s iOS 14 update, they announced their AppTrackingTransparency framework in the fight for data privacy, which required apps to show the user how their tracking information is being used, specifically if that information is being sent elsewhere, which they can deny. It came as a tough blow to advertising platforms with Facebook including these prompts from January 2021. To combat this, they have provided an update on how they are adapting to this framework, alongside a range of advice on how to prepare your accounts.

3.2 – Shopping Now On Whatsapp

With many businesses utilizing Whatsapp for their customers, Facebook are continuously releasing new features to cater for more efficient engagement. The latest update makes it easier to shop with ‘Carts’. Through Carts, you can browse the items you’re looking for and add products to your basket, ready to be sent back to the retailer. Given that Whatsapp is one of the most used and loved social media platforms in the world, this is incredibly powerful, it’s just a shame it didn’t come sooner.

A Quiet December

It’s been a quiet December for updates given how much the platforms have worked to accommodate the demand that 2020 brought. Still, there is continued focus to provide more tools for advertisers, with Google expanding their insights for tCPA campaigns, Microsoft increasing their data retention windows, and Facebook giving Whatsapp a shopping facelift.

This year has been a tough one for advertisers and has yet brought many opportunities with businesses adapting to online sales. Throughout this year we’ve seen many smart bidding success stories, free product listings available for retailers and more insights than we know what to do with. We hope you have enjoyed this year’s tech updates and wish you the best as we go into the near year.

PPC Town Hall 29: Revamping Outdated PPC Strategies

One thing that we’ve learned about search in the past year is that we all need solid PPC strategies that account for all sorts of change. With all the automation that’s coming from Google, whether it’s smart shopping, smart bidding, or seasonality bid adjustments, it’s important to automate, optimize, and intervene our way to success. And what better way to understand the way forward than to ask some of the smartest minds of PPC.

Our panelists this week are among PPC Hero’s most influential paid search experts of 2020. and they shared their tips and experiences on working around outdated PPC strategies.

As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

Here are 7 insights on revamping outdated PPC strategies.

1. Thoughts on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Aaron: On our side, we saw that Black Friday was bigger than usual while Cyber Monday was slower than usual. It logically makes sense as on Balck Friday, everybody has a need to go bargain hunting, and that pent-up demand has shifted to online this year. Everyone thought Cyber Monday was kind of quiet because it’s the same as it has always been.

Kirk: We saw the same thing as Aaron [in a higher volume Black Friday than Cyber Monday this year, but we’ve heard others saying things a bit differently. It makes a lot of sense that the past weekend was a bit quiet as a lot of people were running sales earlier than normal. They had a Black Friday week-long or even month-long sale in November. Because of the earlier sale season, we saw consumers buying earlier than usual. So in some way what we saw in our numbers was that Black Friday was the main event, and Cyber Monday less so.

One of the reasons for this earlier shopping season is concern over shipping and delays. Because of this earlier-extended shopping season, we saw more out-of-stock products, more sales that went quicker this year.

Joe: While Black Friday was definitely much bigger than Cyber Monday and much earlier. For us in general, Black Friday was lower than expected but the entire month of November was higher than expected. Some stuff was reactionary to competitors starting early which was in the first-second week of November.

2. An unusual year for PPC

Aaron: At Tinuiti, we tend to work with larger data sets to focus on larger enterprise clients. So Smart Bidding in general tended to work pretty well for us. But one of the things that I always pick on Smart Bidding for is that it has too short of a memory. This Holiday season was one of those scenarios where that’s really valuable because it didn’t try to base itself off of what happened last year. We used seasonality adjustments pretty religiously for most of our clients. For example, if noon was a really popular time, we’d start tweaking our seasonality adjustments leading up to it and down after.

3. Using different shopping strategies

Kirk: We try to use a combination of both Standard and Smart. We constantly test them, see what’s working and what’s not. I’m always trying to figure out a better strategy to work for both Standard and Smart. With Standard, you get more of that control where you can give the system-specific search terms, which we’re focused on (even if they’re not always converting) as valuable information for brands.

Sometimes, we’d duplicate products or try something with the feed to get stuff in the upper funnel queries that might not be specific to one product. Smart shopping is not just on search but display, Youtube, and all that, so rather than be frustrated that we can’t control the search terms, we’re trying to figure out a way to group products around the ad content itself to emphasize specific call-outs in those Smart Shopping Ads for that specific group of products.

Joe: As I said earlier, our Black Friday started earlier than normal and our seasonality bidding was kind of thrown out of the window of what we expected to do. Since I work with smaller clients with very niche products (sometimes higher-ticket type item products). We understand that those really aren’t necessarily impulse-buys. So, we’re looking at the time of day, understanding that it’s gonna take multiple touchpoints for a user to buy this product. If we hit them enough with discovery, Google, and social initially, then we’re seeing that they later go back (late night hours) to purchase. We’re seeing a better performance as we’re adjusting the different schedules and updating how we want to boost our bidding and performance.

4. Converting digital newbies & feeding data to the system

Aaron: Something we’ve seen in the last six or so months, I’ve somewhat abandoned call to action. But giving turn-by-turn directions to these people who aren’t digitally native seems to work. You can tell them where to click, enter their details, make the purchase and know when it’s gonna get delivered or opt to come and pick-up yourself.

When you have data like shipping or pick-up preferences, you’ve to use it sensibly. It varies a lot depending on clients because it partially depends on cost and revenue centres as well. So maybe the digital team isn’t incentivized to drive people to the store and so we want to discourage it. But for those clients who are a bit more holistic, we’d look into the feeds and coach the bid tools to do what we want. For example, we see that for a certain demographic, this particular set of terms or ads tends to convert better as in-store pick-ups rather than a standard e-com shipping. Then we’d take that group, pivot it, and tell Smart Bidding that we want more store visits to set that group. The rest can be taken towards the more conventional way.

5. Get your messaging right in Responsive Search Ads

Joe: We utilize the pin option just to make sure that certain elements of the messaging show. It’s something that we definitely consider when we’re mapping it out. We will show it in front of clients too. We ask them if it really helps to add all these variations if four of them pretty much say the same thing. Google’s definitely gonna flag it, prompting you to add more keywords into your headlines.

Honestly, we’ve played around with what actually makes sense and that’s where we kind of focus on value prop. Maybe I’ll pin the first keyword which made more sense to the product type and then look at testing the other ones. Slowly, I’ve come to like RSAs. While they didn’t really work for me that well in the beginning, the more I see them working they are getting better. We’ve seen RSAs work pretty well with grants accounts by boosting impressions quickly.

6. Looking towards automation

Kirk: We’re looking more and more into automation to solve our problems. The whole idea of Google leaning hard into automation can be quite frustrating for PPC marketers like us who have been running things for a while. I may have practiced and learned something for over a decade, and then due to a specific change, I can find myself at the same level as an intern in my knowledge of the thing that changed. But the flip side of this frustration is – there’s an evolution that needs to happen in PPCers, too. We need to adapt to the system. And with automation at ZATO, we’re trying to think of reinventing the way we think about campaign structure and other things.

Specifically in thinking about broad match keywords, we’ve started testing things giving Google control over Target ROAS bidding, few very tightly controlled broad match keywords where everything else is excluded. We’re treating this less in terms of ‘what we want to get from this campaign in specific tracked ROAS’ and more of giving Google guidelines and then freedom for reaching the upper-funnel.

7. How do we structure our campaigns?

Aaron: When we think of structuring our campaigns in the present scenario, we’ve to look at conversion runways. If you think about Smart Bidding on its most practical level, it largely looks at the expected conversion rate. The way forward should start with the question – what do we expect from this group of people to do.

Talking about Skags and keywords, if the intent is fundamentally different then we’ll split it out. If not we’ll compress. We all know how Google is pushing towards consolidation and we’re establishing runways for the automation to make the right decisions. So we essentially split the groups out based on audience, demographic, keyword, or interaction. You don’t want to shrink data to the point where you’re making bad assumptions.

Conclusion

While automation has helped PPCers focus more on the strategic part of marketing, it has left us with little to control. With Google constantly introducing changes in 2020, it might be time to recondition the earlier approaches to get an edge over the competition. This is where all the expert advice and recommendations come into play by supporting marketers to operate in the periphery of the system and still manage it for better results.

Now more than ever, PPC marketers and strategists need to come together to figure out how to advance in the paid search industry. It might not be a bad idea to make use of efficient software systems, like Optmyzr, to track, manage, and optimize your campaigns. Try and experience our capabilities yourself by signing up for our 14-day free trial. You get full access to all our features – credit card free!

Nov 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: New in Google, MSFT & Facebook

As we close towards the end of this rather unusual year, changes are being made to prepare for 2021 in what could be an even bigger opportunity for e-commerce. We’ve seen many businesses adapting their main source of income to online platforms and consumers changing their spending habits in tandem. The market is full of amazing potential, these new features help us capitalize on that.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Enhanced Tools For Campaign Creation

Expansion is something we all do within Google Ads and campaign creation is a big part of that. Whilst we all have checks to ensure that the right settings are there, it helps to have a system there to keep you informed of any tips or potential errors. That’s why Google have introduced new tools for creating campaigns, allowing you to do so in confidence.

1.2 – Auction Insights Now Available For Report Editor

The report editor is something many of us utilize as it’s a handy way of compiling metrics, segmenting by desired dimensions. You can now access auction insights to these reports, although the number of metrics you can attach to them is limited, similar to accessing auction insights data within Data Studio. Still, the additional layout options that report editor provides is a handy way of analyzing competition within the Google Ads platform.

1.3 – Simulated Insights For Smart Bidding

We’ve recently seen in some of our accounts a new feature for simulating budgets, Target CPA & Target ROAS changes. You can now see the effect changing these targets will have on your account for up to the next 90 days with some incredibly powerful forecasting that also, quite handily, caters for seasonality. We’re hoping this update gets rolled out across all accounts as it’s a great tool for future strategy.

On top of that, there are improvements to the platform, such as the ability to view recommendations within the bid strategy report, or view average target CPA/ROAS in the campaigns tab. Also, for search campaigns, you can hover over conversions to get an estimate of future conversions, after taking into account time lag. Little quality of life improvements like these are handy for efficiently navigating through the busy platform.

2. Microsoft Advertising

2.1 – Promotion Extensions For Microsoft Advertising

As Microsoft Ads continues to bring its platform up to date with the competition, the newest & more welcome addition is the ability to create promotion extensions to go alongside your ads. These extensions, much like Google’s, allow you to set defined promotions between a date range and even select the occasion. These are invaluable for seasonal periods such as Black Friday & Christmas, adding hugely beneficial information to your ads, increasing the likelihood of someone engaging.

2.2 – Recommendations, Keyword Planner & More

Continuing with their platform improvements, Microsoft announced a range of new features starting with updates to the Keyword Planner, giving more effective keyword suggestions and even allowing the opportunity to scrape URLs for more keyword opportunities. This has the core of dynamic search ads but built for a very proactive approach towards search campaigns. It will be interesting to see how these suggestions turn out.

What was a major update for Google Ads has now made its way to Microsoft, that being recommendations. Whether you have agreed or disagreed with some of the strategy tips recommendations have made in the past (more budget please), there’s always valuable information to give and insights to report on. Having the ability to access that in Microsoft Ads is a huge boost to the platform and one many advertisers will take advantage of.

3. Facebook & Instagram

3.1 – Branded Content For Instagram Reels

Recently, we talked about Instagram’s Reels, how they’re fighting Tiktok for competition, and the potential this format could have for advertisers. Well, it’s just got even better. You can use branded content tags to promote your business through Reels, with Live on the horizon. In a world where social media influencers are plenty, this brings about more options at your disposal.

In addition, there’s a more streamlined process for brands to incorporate their ads into creator content. No longer do you have to rely on an organic post, now using the new Creation Flow, advertisers can initialize the setup with the creator accepting the terms and posting to their feed. It’s a lovely bit of synergy that brings collaboration together in a much smoother fashion.

An Insightful November

The further we go down the path of smart bidding, the more insights we are rewarded with. This month Google & Microsoft have brought us more reporting options, proactive tools, and forecasting models to help strategize accounts towards a better future. Finally, we have Instagram providing tools to help advertisers and content creators work together for a seamless branding experience that benefits all parties.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit Mabo.co.uk.

7 Things to Prepare for this Holiday Season

The holiday season is the busiest time for e-commerce and with just days until Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, everyone in the search marketing community is knee-deep in last-minute preparations for the sale of the year. Considering what 2020 has been like so far, what else should we expect to be different? We can’t predict the unexpected, but we can point out some new trends that you should be prepared for.

More even than in previous years, we have seen a bigger rise in the number of online shoppers. Owing to health restrictions and lockdowns, people have turned online to look for products and services. We need to look at audience behavior, pay close attention to logistics, and keep a close eye on our messaging. And because we are living in such an ‘unprecedented’ year, we are bound to see some ‘unexpected’ things in the upcoming weeks. 

Here’s my take on 7 such things that we need to be prepared for this Holiday season.

1. Holiday shopping will start sooner

Holiday shopping started early this year and that’s backed up by Microsoft research showing that over 40% of shoppers intend to start earlier this year. Due to the pandemic, a lot of retailers have been very aggressive with deals throughout this year and that may have reset some expectations with consumers. We may now see deals lasting longer and pop up more frequently than before. 

While Black Friday is usually the unofficial start to the Holiday shopping season, this year shoppers won’t be waiting that long. Counting the fact that there are around 50 days between Amazon’s Prime Day (Oct 13) and Cyber Week, shoppers will have begun planning and purchasing for the Holiday season from early October. Moreover, considering the current health regulations, social distancing, and movement restrictions, shoppers might be looking towards a safer way to continue their shopping. This will prompt them to be less spontaneous and instead better plan their in-store visits, and even space them out over a few months to lessen the stress related to the circumstances of this unusual year.

2. Most shopping will be done online

E-commerce is going to be huge in the upcoming months. Even in Q1 & Q2, we saw an unprecedented push towards digital shopping and e-commerce. So the same wave is expected to follow through till the end of the year. According to a report published by Statista Research Department (Aug 10, 2020), titled United States: retail e-commerce sales 2017-2024, US online retail sales are projected to reach 476.5 billion US dollars by 2024. 

E-commerce has accelerated ahead of where everyone expected it to be. For example, the Snacks Daily podcast reported that the Disney+ streaming service has reached its 5-year goal for subscriptions just 7 months after launch, more than 4 years ahead of schedule!

Another thing we are expecting to see is a constant rise in the number of online shoppers post-pandemic, relying on e-commerce stores for their purchases. Data from IBM’s US Retail Index supports this and shows that the pandemic has quickened the transfer from physical to digital stores by 5 years! 

BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store) is going to be a huge hit. People who never dreamed of buying online may now use this hybrid approach. But for retailers, this brings a shift in the competitive landscape. Earlier, brick-and-mortar stores were just competing against pure-play e-commerce shops where consumers liked their convenience and low prices. Now they also have to compete against hybrid players with a strong BOPIS model, like Target and Walmart instead of just Amazon. 

While it’s true that physical stores were already competing with brands like Target and Walmart, that was based more on local convenience and low prices. But with consumers relying on the added convenience of shopping in apps and opting for BOPIS, things may get even tougher for old-school brick-and-mortar stores with no digital capabilities.

4. Holiday 2020 will be celebrated differently

Microsoft’s research data indicates that people will be celebrating differently than before.

More people will celebrate at home (40% will change usual holiday plans according to Microsoft’s data), with smaller groups. Which means less travel but more first-time chefs cooking their first-holiday meal. This in turn is a big boon for food delivery services like DoorDash which, driven by the pandemic, turned a profit for the first time and will have its IPO soon. 

Moreover, with people deciding to stay home, they might be more inclined to invest in self-pampering products like fitness equipment, beauty products, or even streaming subscriptions. So those industries will continue to see an increase in sales as the holidays roll around.

5. Figuring out shipping & delivery

Free shipping, which has long been a staple of e-commerce deals, is likely to take on a new meaning. With higher e-commerce sales, shipping logistics are more strained than ever and that’s on top of pandemic-driven supply-chain issues that have created empty shelves and shortages of a variety of products over the past months. According to a Salesforce report — traditional delivery providers (like FedEx, UPS, DHL) might face issues with capacity (by 5%) between the week before Cyber Week and Boxing Day. Consumers may be surprised when they have to order much earlier than before to get their gifts on time for their celebrations. 

And in turn, retailers and service providers will have to keep a lookout for unanticipated delivery delays of inbound and outbound goods, shipping surcharges imposed by carriers, and potentially higher than usual returns from consumers who are panic buying. 

6. Sale events will be game-changers

Contrary to previous years, Black Friday 2020 might not be able to get much in-store action, courtesy of the pandemic. And while Black Friday has been associated with big-item sales which require a lot of planning and intent, Cyber Monday has always been about online-shopping. 

In-person Black Friday shopping used to appeal to consumers for 3 primary reasons:

But things are different this year and despite the usual appeal of Black Friday, according to Microsoft, Cyber Monday is the sales event to be on the lookout for this year. If your Black Friday follows the trend and is lower than expected, it’s not too late to shift that budget to Cyber Monday over the weekend.

And for international marketers, the following data might be much insightful. In the US, these sale events might bring in consumers, UK & AU report lower numbers of shoppers attending them.

7. Rise of the gift cards

Microsoft says gift cards are growing faster than other categories this year. They are an ingenious solution to a big Holiday problem for consumers – choosing a gift and delivering it on time, even for procrastinators who waited too long! They can even help small businesses market their products and gain stability in the Holiday season by bringing in steady revenue with minimal investment. Consumers have been buying gift cards to support their local businesses in the pandemic.

As gift cards are traditionally excluded from sales events like Black Friday, that may explain why some people don’t intend to participate in the event this year (as explained in the point above).

The other items that are on shoppers’ lists are apparel, toys, electronics, and self-care products.

Conclusion

2020 has been a year with many ups and downs. Unlike earlier years, this year consumers won’t be crowding aisles for Black Friday sales, but rely on purchasing from the comforts of their homes. Since we only have a week to Black Friday, most marketers would have already put their plans and strategies in place. 

While you might not be up for making major changes directly to your ads right now, you can still create last-minute monitors and alerts so that you get some help staying on top of things during your busiest time of the year. If you don’t have these set up, do so now! Also, check out the tips we shared from speaking to 14 PPC experts about their advice on navigating Holiday 2020 and winning e-commerce sales

PPC Town Hall 28: Optimizing Smart Bidding with Google

Over the past few years, marketers have seen Smart Bidding evolve with Google’s machine learning. In fact, it seems to be a way into the future of advertising by making the best use of AI and data to provide intelligent campaign adjustments. But while Smart Bidding does automate tedious tasks of PPC ad management and save time, it’s far from a ‘set it & forget it’ mentality. To make the most of it, advertisers need to monitor and optimize to get the best results for their campaigns.

So this week on Episode 28 of PPC Town Hall, we invited our friends from Google to discuss Smart Bidding campaigns and shed light on tactics for optimization.

Our panelists for the week:

You can receive the exclusive Smart Bidding guide from Optmyzr and Google by signing up here! You can also view previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

Without further delay, here are the 6 insights to understanding and optimizing Smart Bidding campaigns.

Emi: What we see today is really the evolution of machine learning. I think machine learning is getting smarter with people getting more comfortable using and leveraging it to the next level for better results. We search so differently compared to what we did three years ago. In fact, 15% of queries on google.com are new every day. That means there are tonnes of queries that Google misses as well. So, we really have to depend on Machine learning to capture maximum potential with search.

As machine learning gets smarter, the data that marketers provide is really going to be the key to be competitive and achieve your goals. Not from the CPA perspective, but broader profitability and customer lifetime value.

2. Analyzing Smart Bidding signals

Peter: Google looks at billions of signals to set the bid for every auction. We’re monitoring a bunch of different things more than just the signals, like the intersection of these signals. A lot of the things that we used to optimize manually like devices, day of week, time, location, all the different keywords, etc are now being taken care of for Smart Bidding. But there are some tactics which you can use to inform Smart Bidding what are the right ways you can treat some of these things.

Emi: So this is a recent performance review using selected US accounts. When we looked at the data, Smart Bidding outperformed Manual Bidding across most of the spend buckets on Optmyzr accounts.

A lot of people should take advantage of Smart Bidding regardless of the budgets (look at the right-hand side of the chart – ‘under 500 budget’). And we see significant performance even in smaller budgets as well as larger ones (above 50k).

3. Optimizing Discovery campaigns

Peter: I have seen some very strong results with Discovery campaigns for certain advertisers. For example, I worked with a real-estate partner who was seeing better results in Discovery campaigns than in Search!

If you’re having issues with the returns and getting conversions, make sure that you’re setting the CPAs properly. Setting up unrealistic CPAs that do not represent your goals can hamper your account health. And then there’s also the flipside. If you look at our audiences to whom we are comfortable suggesting Discovery Ads, you’ll see that the daily budget recommended is about 20 times the target CPA. So, if you have a tighter budget, I’d recommend maybe doing 10 times the target CPA.

That being said, I have seen success at a lower CPA. But if you have a smaller budget, I wouldn’t be actively recommending Discovery Ads to you. Layering on audience lists like remarketing and customer matching might help you see more successful results.

Emi: We have seen a pretty good performance in the use cases with Discovery campaigns, even for a first-time mid-sized account. So I would encourage marketers to keep looking into why they aren’t giving you a good performance. In terms of how long, usually we test for a week and then we regroup with the customers, and keep doing this. So one week at a time.

4. Common mistakes advertisers make with Smart Bidding

Start making sure what goals your Smart Bidding campaign will be optimizing and those goals align with what you’re trying to achieve. I have seen people set a Max Conversions strategy on a campaign that was spending half of its budget. We didn’t see any positive results CPA-wise as Max Conversions doesn’t necessarily focus on optimizing your CPA. It looks towards getting you as many conversions as possible within your budget. And if you’re spending only half of your budget, we don’t necessarily know whether that incremental conversion will come at a CPA that aligns with your historical ones.

The other thing is the target that we set. I would advise looking into your optimization score recommendations in the front-end to see what we are recommending there. You’ll probably want to start by setting a target in line with what you’re historically performing at. If you’re historically performing at a CPA of $100 and if you switch that down to $50, you can massively end up throttling the number of conversions and sales you were getting.

Just because we don’t want to necessarily start with Smart Bidding on the exact Target CPA, doesn’t mean we can’t get there. Start with where you’re historically performing at and slowly adjust to get where you want to be.

5. Structuring a Smart Bidding campaign with segmentation

Peter: When we segment our campaigns, Smart Bidding can actually take data and learn from the performance that’s happening throughout the account. While you don’t need to segment everything, if you do end up breaking up your campaigns, Smart Bidding will be able to learn from the performance of the campaigns. The only thing that I’ll caution about is to break down to the point where there isn’t a lot of conversion volume in each individual campaign. On top of that, if you have a Target ROAS or Target CPA that your campaigns aren’t able to meet, that’s something to watch out for.

If you put more constraints on the targets and segment the campaigns, you could end up throttling your campaigns altogether.

6. Marketing as a holistic approach

Emi: We think that a marketer can play a bigger role in PPC marketing than just making strategies or directing CPC. We look at a marketer as a growth engine for the company. Strategic points like profitability and value of customers can help bring value to your work and your business. I would really encourage everyone to think more than just PPC, think of how you can bring that value to your company and leverage for more growth.

Conclusion

Fred: When you start with something, like Smart Bidding, it’s better not to shock the system and be extremely aspirational. Machine learning functions on how things have worked consistently in the past. Even if you set up higher targets, it might take a while for the system to get you there. But at the end of the day, to achieve the target you really want, it all comes down to you, the advertiser, to set up the prerequisites and feed in impressionable data. You can add a lot of value to your ongoing campaigns by not taking bidding as something that just happens by itself.

Seasoned PPC professionals make use of efficient bid management tools, like Optmyzr, to keep their accounts top-notch and optimize your bids. Try and experience our capabilities yourself by signing up for our 14-day free trial.

Tips to Leverage your PPC Campaigns with Standard Shopping

As a PPC professional, you’d have often wondered which campaign type would best suit your goals and business objectives. While it can’t be denied that Smart Shopping is more data-driven and less time consuming, Standard Shopping campaigns can also be quite beneficial if used efficiently. Not only will you be able to have full control over your campaigns, but direct the adjustments more effectively without compromising on the target.

This means that you can run efficient and profitable campaigns with Standard Shopping if you want to! Here are some tips to structure Standard Shopping campaigns to make them profitable with insights from Optmyzr products.

1. Campaign Structure

Pro Tip: If you have an existing shopping campaign, use the Shopping Analysis Tool to see performance aggregated by different product attributes. This can help you decide on the best structure for your campaigns and ad groups. We recommend choosing attributes that have 100% coverage in the feed because it prevents products from falling into everything else in the product group. The feed analysis feature from Optmyzr can give you an overview of attribute coverage.

Using inventory filters for campaign settings can help you make sure that you’re not advertising the same products in multiple campaigns. You can define inventory filters in the Google Ads interface in the campaign settings. Also, when you create shopping campaigns using Optmyzr’s Shopping Builder 2.0, these inventory filters are set up automatically based on the structure you choose.

2. Search Query Management

Shopping campaigns do not have keywords so it is not possible to tell Google which queries you want your ads to show for. However, you can tell Google which queries you don’t want to show your ads for by using negative keywords. Negative keywords can also help sculpt traffic to direct traffic to more profitable ad groups. This makes sure that queries are more accurately matched to products that help maximize ROAS. 

Pro Tip: Use the Shopping Negatives tool from Optmyzr to send traffic to more profitable ad groups or to add unprofitable queries as negatives to save cost. You can also use the Rule Engine to automate this process. 

3. Bidding

Standard Shopping campaigns give you a lot of flexibility with bidding strategy and that is one of the reasons we prefer them over smart shopping campaigns. You can either choose to use a manual bidding strategy or put the campaigns on an automated bidding strategy like target ROAS (tROAS).

Automated Bidding (tROAS)

You can set your shopping campaigns to run on a tROAS automated bidding strategy. We recommend using standard automated bidding instead of portfolio automated bidding. This way you will have the opportunity to tweak the target ROAS at the ad group level when you use standard automated bidding. In fact, this is one of the ways to use automation layering to get better performance and benefit from Google’s automated bidding.

You can use the Optimize Target ROAS optimization that helps increase conversions and increase ROAS. This optimization was built using the Rule Engine so you can build your own version of it as well and automate it.

Manual Bidding

You can also use manual bidding which will give you more granular control over bids. Apart from making bid changes at the product group level, you can also set bid adjustments by time, geography, audiences, and devices. While it requires a higher level of monitoring than automated bidding, it can be quite rewarding. 

Optmyzr has a whole suite of tools to help you manage hours of the week, geo, audience, gender, and device bid adjustments. You can also use the Rule Engine to automate your strategy which reduces the day-to-day overhead. When you are running on manual bidding, analyze the benchmark CTR and benchmark CPC metrics to see how your products are performing against your competitors. This information can come in handy when you’re setting bids. 

4. Budgets

When you have a multi-campaign structure, make sure to allocate budgets in a way that maximizes the performance. For example, if your most profitable campaigns are losing impression share due to budget, reallocate budget from other campaigns. The Optimize Budget tool from Optmyzr can help you do this very easily.

Points to remember

Make sure to note the following points to maximize the profits and efficiency of your Standard Shopping campaign:

When you choose to go with Standard Shopping campaigns, you’d have full control over your campaigns, making every decision based on your own business choices. You can structure campaigns to have separate ad groups and product groups which will give you the flexibility to manage their bids, ROAS targets, and negative keywords. Smart shopping campaigns don’t give the user control to manage any of these things.

If you are an experienced professional, working with Standard Shopping campaigns can help you analyze and experiment with your accounts. Using predictive tools like Optmyzr can help you hone your campaign objectives and give meaningful suggestions to better optimize your PPC accounts. 

3 Ways to Take Control of Universal App Campaigns in Optmyzr

If you want to scale the growth of your Apps, then Google’s UACs (Universal App Campaigns) must be one of the focal points of your marketing strategy. An automated type of campaign, UACs are an excellent choice for driving both installations and in-app actions, like purchases. This campaign type allows targeting audiences across Google Search, Google Display, Youtube, Google Play, and Apple Store. Google has an excellent course that can help you learn more about Universal App Campaigns.

UACs were launched to make in-app advertising easier and quicker. In line with this, to set up your UACs – you only require minimal initial data like texts, images, or videos. Google’s machine learning-based algorithms then work to show your App’s ads to your target audience. Since, these are automated campaigns – unlike your search ads – you won’t need to manually test the ads to find the best performers. Google does this bit for you. 

No doubt Google does a decent job of driving high-quality traffic for UACs, but did you know that you can lend Google a hand to bring you better results? This can help you save money being spent on the wrong placements and audience and at the same time help you use your budget efficiently. 

Here are some tips to try out that will help you exert a higher level of control over your UACs using Optmyzr:

1. Manage location targeting

Google doesn’t translate your ads for specific spoken languages for locations. This makes it imperative to run ads for only those locations that align with the languages in which an App is available. Therefore, while you work on making your app available in more languages, don’t forget to target locations for your campaigns accordingly. 

You can also go granular within these locations and manage targeting based on how regions and cities perform. Some ways to optimize location targeting are:

Pro Tip: Use the Geo HeatMap or Rule Engine from Optmyzr to get a report of cities, regions and postal codes that are performing best or worst – to target or exclude them respectively.

2. Optimize for in-app goals 

How cool would it be to find campaigns which are driving registrations or in-app purchases and manage the Target CPA for them? Optmyzr’s Rule Engine can help you achieve this.

Take a look at the screenshot below of the Optmyzr Rule Engine, wherein we are pulling the in-app actions and even action values that are being tracked as conversions and conversion values. You can base optimizations on any such custom conversions which you might be tracking for your campaigns.

For example, here’s a rule that finds all the campaigns which have brought in registrations and recommends increasing the Target CPA for them by 10%. 

Check out the campaigns below, which have had the “Registrations” type of conversions, and the system is recommending tweaking target values for them. Just like this, you can optimize for any in-app action as required. Eg: If you’re driving “Registrations”, and losing impression share, increasing TCPA can help. 

3. Ensure sufficient budget for your CPA

It is recommended that these campaigns have a daily budget of at least 20-30 times of your CPA (cost-per-action). Create a rule in the Rule Engine to label campaigns on which you need to consider increasing your budgets. 

Conclusion

UACs have helped unburden advertisers from needing to try out ad combinations to find what drives good results i.e. acquisitions/conversions. While you should make use of Google’s machine learning, don’t forget to optimize and control your campaigns from time to time. 

To start setting up UACs, 
Sign in to your Google Ads account → go to the page menu → Campaigns → Universal App. 

Once you’ve accrued traffic on UACs – try out the tricks I shared above using Optmyzr (14-day free trial) and improve the performance of your campaigns. Feel free to reach out to support@optmyzr.com if you have any questions. 

Digital Marketing in an Unpredictable VUCA World: PPC Town Hall 27

If you’ve been watching the news over the last couple of years, you could be forgiven for thinking we live in a weird timeline where dreary writers like Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury reigned supreme.

Between climate change, terrorism, economic struggle, and the health crisis of 2020, this year has embodied the term VUCA — volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Yet this is the world we live in, and if digital marketers want to continue to have a place in it, we have to learn how to adapt our tactics and messaging to this reality.

So this week on Episode 27 of PPC Town Hall, I wanted to bring in the authors of the report “Digital Marketing in a VUCA World” to share some of their insights from the research they conducted and to discuss what the roadmap for the future could look like.

Our panelists for the week:

As always, you can view this week’s episode of PPC Town Hall embedded below, or click here to browse all our episodes. In the meantime, here are some of the insights from this week’s PPC Town Hall on how to do digital marketing in an unpredictable VUCA world.

1. What happens when agencies lose large amounts of revenue overnight

Anders: We asked 20 agencies that participated in the survey, “How bad were you hit?” About 15% said ‘no change’; a huge chunk — about 50% of respondents — said between 10-40% reduction in media spend; and a fairly large percentage saying 40-60% reduction.

When we’re looking at agencies having 40% of their media spend disappear, and as we know, a lot of the economic models are tied in some way to spend. Very few are on a retainer or consultancy basis. So this means they lose a lot of money and activity, and the rest of the activity had to be changed. Everybody’s panicking, so what do you do?

Lukas: It’s actually been the case in some instances that the agency-client relationship has ended because of volatility. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of agencies — particularly the bigger ones in the UK — have very diverse clients in their portfolios, so that’s why the impact was mostly in the 40-60% range.

But I definitely know of instances where clients have stopped their relationship with an agency because they were the most hit — tourism, hotels, and some retail as well. But other parts of retail, especially direct-to-consumer, actually thrived during this time.

2. If you put the wrong data in, the wrong prediction comes out

Anders: When we talk about volatility and VUCA, yes there’s health crises and lockdowns; but there’s also terrorism and the end of cookies. The direct impact is more easily measurable on this year’s health crisis because it’s such an abrupt change.

Over the past 2 years, we saw people adopt automated or machine-based bidding massively. We also observed that agencies used dedicated data analysts in fewer cases than they did before. This surprised us.

Lukas: It feels like the outcome was two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, there is less involvement from data analysts because there’s more reliance on AI. On the other hand, it’s not about the position of the analyst but the insight into performance is placed on marketers’ shoulders.

So where you’d previously have a data analyst to support you with looking at trends and performance, it’s almost a standard part of the marketer’s job instead of focusing on platform and creatives.

3. Data is the new oil

Anders: Can you extract more value from your data than if you give it to a platform? It’s a question of who controls it and whether you should give it away to a third party like Google or Amazon.

We think it’s very important to start controlling and protecting your own data. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it flow; flowing data across platforms is extremely important to get better insights. But you need to consider each time you do that: what are you using, what are you giving away, and is there anything you can keep instead of letting someone else monetize it?

4. The connection between automation and who’s deploying it

Lukas: For me, the whole idea of paid search until now is its transparency. You can track everything down to each penny you spend and be able to show results. This is now changing the fundamentals of what paid search is for me, because I can’t explain everything (with less data).

5. How people can use automated bidding more effectively

Lukas: I personally see a huge degree of complacency when it comes to automated bidding, especially, in a lot of agencies. You’ll find that 90% of the time, you can set the AI to do your bidding for you and it’ll deliver decent performance.

But it’s that 10% of the time where something goes wrong, or when you have a promotion that suddenly skews the data — and suddenly, you have an impulse that the tool cannot account for and everything falls apart.

I even feel with some of the ways platforms sell automated bidding, like recommending not to touch things for 2 weeks to let the machines learn, you should never be in a position where you can’t change settings.

6. Preparing for the end of cookies

Anders: Will remarketing be in trouble as we see fewer and fewer cookies? Yes. Hopefully, the bad practices will die off and there’ll be some intelligent use of user data.

So start building direct relationships with your users, like email or another channel where you own that user data. If you only have access to your customers and clients via platforms or audiences, you’re probably going to lose a lot of that access. So start building that proprietary database today.

Conclusion

As I mentioned this week on PPC Town Hall, the role of the PPC manager is changing from being in the middle of account performance to managing the periphery (read my full thoughts on the topic in my post for Search Engine Journal).

But as we look to evolve our roles, we also have to remain aware of what’s happening in the wider world. From the geopolitical to the ecological, events transpire daily that impact the health of the digital marketing space… paid search included.

That’s why spaces of learning (like PPC Town Hall) will only become more important in the coming months and years. So sign up for our mailing list (and tell your PPC peers) to get notified of all our events in advance and early access to some of our upcoming resources!

Is there something on your mind? Do you have a topic you’d like us to cover on PPC Town Hall? Write to support@optmyzr.com and tell us about it, and we’ll try our best to address your concerns.

Oct 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: New in Google Ads & Facebook

Artificial intelligence is bringing about a golden age of technological divination, opening up insights that predict futures and trends that shape the market. Advanced machine learning models change the way we work, always learning and adapting, providing us with an accurate array of digestible data. The latest features from this month include new tools to give advertisers the ability to tap into that unrelenting power.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – Google Insights Page & Performance Max Bidding

Google’s announced two additions to the Ads platform in their recent Advertising Week roundup. The Insights page, which initially will be available as a beta, will prove key trends and account information to help accounts push in those areas. It may show an interest in a certain product range, or forecast future growth opportunities which you will be able to optimize towards. It goes without saying just how incredibly useful this feature will be, allowing you to catch the latest trends in time and build your strategy around them.

Performance Max campaigns will serve as an addition to Search campaigns, helping find the signals that ultimately lead to a conversion. They will allow you to focus on several goals such as new customer acquisitions which will give the option to assign additional conversion value, calculated from the potential future revenue. However you intend to choose your goals and accompanying value, we’re receiving yet another tool to expand our already diverse toolkit.

1.2 – Data-Driven Attribution Changes

Attribution modeling has always been a hugely important part of accounts, and getting the right model can play a huge role in an account’s performance. The Data-Driven model is excellent as it’s unique to each account, using advanced learning to find the ads which had the highest impact for each conversion.

Fortunately, the data requirements for an account to be eligible for data-driven attribution have reduced to a minimum of 3,000 ad interactions and at least 300 conversions in the past 30 days; that’s down from 15,000 ad interactions and 600 conversion events in the past 30 days. Google have updated their support article with these changes.

In addition to this change, Youtube metrics have now been included in attribution reports so that you can see how much video metrics play a part in conversions, further expanding opportunities for advertisers. This is currently in beta so you’ll have to opt in to take advantage and to put the cherry on top, Google have mentioned that they’ve got plans to include Display ads in the upcoming months.

1.3 – Google Local Services Ads Now Available In Europe

Google introduced Google Local Services Ads a while ago, allowing users to find local businesses, book appointments & more. These ads initially came to US & Canadian audiences however they’ve recently expanded to include a host of European countries including the UK, France & Germany. With a focus on home service industries, such as plumbing or electricians, these unique ads are ideal for lead generation with the added ‘Google Guaranteed’ bonus.

1.4 – Google Analytics 4

The new update for Google Analytics utilizes the same machine learning, which has successfully powered the Ads platform, provides smarter data insights to push for success. Similar to the Insights page for Ads, these new insights can give access to current trends and user demand, alongside predictive metrics that can project the amount of revenue a group of customers can bring, producing new opportunities for custom audiences. It will also give deeper access to a customer’s journey, how they discovered your brand and how they engage with your content. It’s safe to say these new features, which require you need to create a new view to access, will be pivotal to anyone wanting to analyze their traffic.

2. Facebook & Instagram

2.1 – Facebook Attribution Window Changes

Due to changes in digital privacy, Facebook will be removing the 28-day attribution window option and will instead offer a 7-day window, which they claim is a more sustainable measurement strategy. We can’t stress just how necessary data is for advertising so it’s disheartening news to hear. These changes came into effect from the 12th of October; however, any historical account data will remain. During this transition, you may find your reports showing a downturn in performance, although it’s important to note that this may likely be down to how results are measured.

2.2 – Facebook’s New Language Model

The team behind Facebook’s incredible AI have announced significant changes to the way language is processed, moving forward to their multilingual machine translation model (MMT). Whereas before, the translation model used English as the connective language due to the extent of English data that’s available. The new model, named M2M-100, cuts out the English connection allowing for 2,200 language directions improving how the meaning of the original text is conveyed. This change brings for more accurate translations with a model that’s continually improving in a world that’s getting closer every day.

October’s Attribution To Success

This month’s changes seem to be heavily focused on attribution changes with Google now including Youtube into attribution reports and reducing the limitations for accounts to take on the data-driven model. To contrast that, Facebook have reduced their attribution window from 28 to 7 days but have at least updated their ad policies allowing for more lenient creatives. Finally, Google Analytics has seen a new update to bring in advanced machine learning features, a massive benefit to all platforms.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit Mabo.co.uk.

PPC Town Hall 26: Foolproofing your Business with PPC Automation

Ever since Google introduced a whole bunch of changes, things have been changing very fast in PPC. Taking away search query data, making it harder to create expanded text ads, doing more and more automated bidding, etc., is only making us unsure of the future of search marketing. 

With the rising number of roadblocks that Google is putting in front of us, marketers need to be ready to overcome anything that the search giant throws at us. The question of the hour is: How much more can Google automate and change the way that we as PPC professionals go about business? 

So this week on Episode 26 of PPC Town Hall, I wanted to talk to two industry specialists who have worked with a lot of accounts and have faced the implications of the changes in search marketing and automation.

Our panelists for the week:

As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

Here are the top 6 insights from this week’s PPC Town Hall on navigating the future of PPC automation.

1. How to optimize Google’s tax?

Martin:** __**Some countries have started to raise the Digital Services Tax from Google. Now, Google intends to pass that on to advertisers. For example, for ads being shown in Austria and Turkey Google will add 5% to your invoice. This is tricky because it won’t show up in any of your regular KPI’s. Your costs and CPC’s in the interface will seem unaffected. This makes it easy to miss – which is probably the intention.

There’s a reason why you’ve decided on a certain bid or budget. In order to account for the new tax, you’ll have to lower your bids or budget by about 5%. Then you’ll end up paying the same as before. Of course, Google would rather have you pay the same amount to them and then the additional 5% in taxes, which is probably why they have little incentive to help us with this.

2. Taxes and Geo locations

Martin: Digital services taxes depend on where the advertising cost occurs. For example, if someone in the UK clicks an ad, a 2% tax charge will be added to the cost of that click. The problem here is that there’s a difference between the location of interest and user location. If you target the U.S. then that can include people elsewhere if Google somehow identifies the U.S. as their location of interest.

There used to be an easy way to evaluate physical user locations. That has been removed. Standard location reports no longer include physical location. In fact, Google got rid of any mention that there might be a difference between physical location and location of interest.

You can still get the data, though – it’s just less convenient. Google also removed the pre-defined report from its report editor, but you can still create your own from scratch. So while the data is no longer present front-and-center, you can still get it.

Brady: Let’s take the example of businesses dealing with ‘New York Pizza’. This is a specific style of pizza that practically anyone can search about. While the local pizza shops of New York have been capturing people around the world looking up for New York Pizza, the location settings in the user interface don’t show this happening. As a result, a lot of these small pizza places now could gain a UK tax or something without any idea why.

To find this specific information about locations, go to

Reports → Custom and build your own report.

If you search ‘user locations’ in your report, you’ll find all of the user location option that you can place within the rows of your report.

3. Managing accounts with less search data

Brady: We’re seeing a struggle for low volume accounts. So for accounts where you can spend every day digging into the search term reports, read them, and make decisions based on your finding, we are seeing a lot of frustration. 

When it comes to high volume accounts, I think it makes things like n-grams even more relevant. With access to less data, n-gram reports can help you find trends within the data set you have and make decisions accordingly.

4. Functioning with Google ‘roadblocks’

Brady: I’m not fully against these changes. In a handful of our campaigns, we do full broad keyword targeting paired with Target CPA, and it does fairly well. Looking at our search terms, we see that some of them are non-branded solution-based terms, while some are comparing our solution vs other competitors, and some are comparing between other competitors altogether. But, at the end of the day, the cost per conversion, and MQL, are pretty good.

When it comes to B2B software marketing, we’re really looking at an LTV/ CAC model. So modeling that out for both Google Ads and other channels, and helping the clients on that level is something we’re moving towards. With a higher level of automation, we would have time to focus on stuff like landing pages optimization, A/B testing, new offers, and analyzing the competition.

5. Shifting agencies and business goals while working with the same black box by Google

Martin: With Google doing everything with these black box campaigns like smart shopping, discovery, or local campaigns, it becomes more and more important to make sure that their systems have the right data to go on. This is also an important field for agencies and advertisers to set themselves apart from the crowd.

One way to do that is to further evolve conversion tracking. For the last ten or so years, everyone has focused on revenue. Before that, it was about conversions. The future is about margins and profit instead of revenue. Beyond that, there’s customer lifetime value. And just as important is incrementality – although that is something that you probably can’t expect much help from the platforms.

Brady: When everyone is competing armed with the same black boxes and no levers like before, you should: 

6. Future of Google

Brady: If we think of what to expect from Google in 2021, I think we’re going back ourselves into something like DSA campaigns. While we will see some new features, it seems like we’re getting back to something that’s already existed – Google having control over the search terms, the ads, and the pages.

I think that the future of Google already exists. While I don’t think the changes will be extreme, we’ll be moving towards something that existed previously.

Conclusion

It’s no doubt that the world of PPC is going through some changes. With Google introducing new features every now and then, we marketers must be flexible with our strategies. One thing is clear: it’s going to be extremely tough to stand out when every PPC professional relies on the same black box by Google. To be on par with the search giants evolving practices, we need to rely on automation to some level. 

Automation is a great way to handle daily mundane tasks, but PPC professionals shouldn’t confuse it with ‘autopilot’. Though machines might be able to perform a high number of actions quickly and efficiently, they will still rely on us for timely inputs and tweaks.

So whether it’s now, or 5 years into the future, marketers will always have something to do for there is no replacement for human intellect, ingenuity, improvisation, and intuition.

Go Beyond Bid Management: 4 Common Problems & How to Solve Them

When we think about bid management of our keywords and product groups, there are key areas that every marketer concentrates on. For example, targeting the right ROAS/CPA, ensuring that impression share is not lost, not losing the top spots to your competitors, giving lower bids to expensive or non-converting keywords, and so on.

While it’s right to focus on optimizations for setting the bids correctly, marketers should not forget other areas that need their attention as well. 

Here are some areas where marketers shouldn’t be limiting themselves to bid management to tackle common problems: 

It’s important to know the right thing to do for each of the above use-cases. Let’s wrap these pain points with the right solutions. 

1. Spread out your budget throughout the day.

Keep your bids as it is and implement hourly bid adjustments. Analyze historical data and find the times in the day which spend more and which perform better as well. So, you need to apply bid adjustments for different times of the day based on your goal. 

One way to get started would be to look at the times of the day when your conversion rate is high and check the impression share during those specific times. If you have a low impression share, it means that you aren’t able to drive as much traffic as you could for high-performing hours.

To fix this, increase the bid adjustments to grab more traffic. At the same time, for the time slots which don’t convert – apply negative bid adjustments or disable those time slots to not serve ads at all. This is like load-shedding – wipe out budgets during some time slots of the day and keeping it for the times of the day when you expect better performance.  

2. Don’t overspend your daily budget.

Use a budget tracker – to have a way to not exceed a given budget amount each day even if Google allows spending 200% of your daily budget. You can use solutions like Flexible Budget script at Optmyzr. The script runs automatically every hour to check the cost you’ve spent until the hour of the day and pause the account/campaign when the target budget is spent. Learn more.

3. Analyze the lost impression share. 

Before dropping the ball, it is very important to identify if it was the budget or ad rank (bid) that limited the performance of your account/campaign. Sometime back, a Digital Marketer shared with me that they’ve been increasing bids for high performing keywords to improve their impression share to 85% from current ~60% Impression share – but with no success. 

On analyzing their account’s performance with PPC Investigator, we found that increasing the bids didn’t help because they were losing impressions due to budget constraints and not the bid. Learning from this? While you increase the bids – don’t forget to check if you’re losing impression share because of insufficient budget allotment. 

4. Go granular – manage bids for each keyword.

Don’t limit yourself to set bids only at the ad group or campaign level. While you find high-performing keywords that perform better, it’s equally important to find keywords that are bleeding money. 

If you can identify the underperforming keywords and reduce bids on them, it will allow you to provide more budget towards better-performing keywords which will last for a longer period of the day and get you better results at the same time. 

Conclusion

What advertisers forget is that each time that a new bid is set, Google takes time to test it and bring you results based on the changes. So, if you change the bids too frequently, you might very well be hampering the learning cycle and eventually the results. 

The solution? You need to give your bids room to breathe and check out the other factors which you need to be concerned about apart from just setting your bids again and again.

14 PPC Experts Tell Us How to Win 2020 Holiday Shopping & e-Commerce

The holiday season is no longer upon us — it’s here. With Amazon kicking off Prime Day last week, the US market has entered the busiest time of Q4. And if you’re a search marketer, you’re probably still looking for ways to adapt to the new game that is e-commerce in 2020.

We spoke to 14 PPC experts to find out what advice they have for fellow search marketers to crush holiday sales and win big at e-commerce in Q4 2020. Here are their tips (in no particular order)!

1. Pick a campaign structure to help you win

Frederick Vallaeys, CEO, Optmyzr

Focus on profits rather than Google metrics like target ROAS. Remember that a higher ROAS does not automatically mean a higher profit so it’s important to find the sweet spot for your accounts.

Better yet, split up your shopping campaigns so that products are grouped by profit margin and then set a different tROAS for every campaign so that it achieves profitability. This works with standard and Smart Shopping campaigns, and it’s a great way to take back some control while still using Google’s amazing capabilities in automated bidding.

2. Optimize your data feed

Ed Goss, Managing Director, Ten Thousand Foot View 

We’ll all be running Smart Shopping campaigns sooner or later. Focus on data feed optimization as this evergreen strategy will become your primary differentiator. With Google ramping up product disapproval thresholds, a high-quality feed can also save you from constant troubleshooting.

At my agency, we’ve found many advertisers haven’t spent any time optimizing Merchant Center. Activating features like feed rules, promotions, product ratings, and even automatic improvements can substantially boost click share and ROAS performance.

3. Don’t break or lose trust

Navah Hopkins, Director of Paid Media, Hennessey Digital

If online retailers do just one thing to bolster their performance, it’s to ensure they’re not losing the sale because of lack of trust. 

Customers expect trust symbols:

The unspoken expectation is an online store will have more than one product unless the brand is clearly direct-to-consumer (DTC). If there aren’t a lot of products on offer (or if there isn’t a cohesive theme behind products being offered), it can deter prospects from going ahead with the purchase.

4. Optimize for profitability

Frederik Boysen, CEO, Profitmetrics.io

Q4 is the quarter of the year for most e-commerce. It’s Black Friday, the Christmas season, and sales. You have high expectations. Your product promotions are ready. Discount codes and campaigns are ready. Marketing budget is increased. But so is your competition as well.

Q4 is an e-commerce dogfight and the complexity of handling promotions, discount codes, free shipping, increased CPA, etc leaves you open to decreased profits even if turnover goes up. My advice is to track your profitability every day, on every order and every online ad, and get going with profit-bidding. No more guessing about profitability.

If you want to learn the difference between ROAS and POAS, click here

5. Be ambitious, open, and realistic

Matthew Soakell, Senior PPC Trainer, Mabo

My tips come in the form of three simple yet highly effective areas:

If you’re not using proactive Smart Bidding (rather than reactive manual bidding), you’re missing out on thousands of signals that Google can be responsive to in a split second.

Secondly, utilize promotions in the Merchant Center. If you or your client are running a Black Friday or Christmas sale, the world needs to know!

Finally, make sure that you’re not missing out on traffic (and therefore sales) because of something as simple as being limited by budget.

6. Keep an eye on creative

Phoebe Holford, PPC Team Manager, Mabo

Check your creatives and keep your messaging seasonal! In the new automated landscape of PPC it’s sometimes easy to forget the basics. In Q4 refresh your smart shopping ad images, remarketing, and even your product descriptions to make sure you are shouting about your USPs and standing out from the crowd with seasonal content. In the Northern Hemisphere, think roaring fires and festive scenes, no ice creams or sunbathers. No group shots either resonate by reflecting current COVID guidelines. 

Top Tip: If you are looking for volume and reach try adding generic phrases to product descriptions “a perfect stocking filler”.

7. Look for stability

Kirk Williams, Owner, Zato Marketing

We are about to enter a period of time in e-commerce that digital marketers have never before faced. I believe the most practical thing we can do as marketers is to seek “stability” in our efforts. In Google Ads, I believe this stability can take 2 routes: algorithm stability and bandwidth stability.

By seeking algorithm stability, we need to give the machines the best shot at helping us in this time of potential upset. This means, we should minimize the amount of unnecessary changes we are doing too close to BFCM. My recommendation is to have your feed data locked down by October 31 so you are making no changes (other than normal pricing or stock changes, of course) in November as you approach the core season.

By seeking bandwidth stability, you are addressing the human side of PPC in ensuring you and your team have the ability to account for the unknown. If you are continuing to do normal sets of optimizations through the BFCM period, then not only are you potentially throwing off machine learning, but you are putting the pressure of normal changes on your team in a time that is sure to have additional pressures added at the last minute.

8. Expect more of the unexpected

Julie Friedman Bacchini, Founder and President, Neptune Moon

Since 2020 has already been an off-the-charts year in craziness, it is best to go into Q4 expecting at least more of the same! Get your strategies and ads in order as early as possible – both to ensure delivery delays don’t derail everything and in case ads start taking a lot longer to get through approvals. Talk with clients about expectations too and make sure they understand that things could get disrupted from any direction this year so there should be contingency plans in place for as many aspects as possible.

9. Deseasonalize demand

Gianpaolo Lorusso, Founder, ADWorld Experience

In my opinion, the key for success in Q4 campaigns for shopping & e-commerce in this strange year is in the general marketing strategy we all should set up to ride the long wave of incremental online purchases created by 2020.

We all know very well how important it is to set new ads (and extensions) and to push budgets on the right promotions when people are more willing to buy online, but the real challenge here is to turn a cash-flash into a structural and steady sales growth.

The key to all this is to deseasonalize the demand. And you can do it only partially by acting on campaigns; you have to change the structure of your promotions. From Black Friday to a week or even a month, let people know that they have not to wait till November 27th to have their discounted El Dorado and that they will find good bargains long after it.

Learn more about PPC in Europe by reading this blog post.

10. Look beyond just ads

Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director of Marketplace Strategic Services, Tinuiti

The array of options for e-commerce right now are pretty dizzying and even more so at a time when traffic is high and add in a marathon of shopping dates into Q4. So to get to it — if you are in-store and haven’t checked out Instacart, you definitely should. 

Shoppers are going beyond groceries and the self-serve platform makes it easy. If you are in retailers like Walmart or Target, there are sponsored product options that may be a fit with low or no minimum budgets to give it a go. If you’re DTC, definitely check out some of the lesser crowded options like eBay or Etsy to promote items often at a lower cost than you would on more popular channels. And of course, Google Shopping, Shopping Actions, Buy with Google. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a no commission platform right now.

11. Go beyond on the customer experience

Duane Brown, Founder & Head of Strategy, Take Some Risk

If you are in e-commerce, DTC, or even in B2B and sell a physical product, making sure you can deliver that product and make the last mile work for your brand is something all marketers should care about. If we can not get our brands to deliver a product in people’s hands, we won’t have anything to sell. We won’t have a reason to run PPC ads.

The battleground for Q4 2020 will be in the streets and in the warehouses across this country and around the world. This may not be the job we signed up for but if there is a roadblock stopping customers from having the best experience possible after clicking on our ads, we need to help brands remove that roadblock.

2020 has been a whirlwind experience. It can be hard to think about let alone predict the future. However, I truly believe that making sure we can get our products into the hands of customers is going to be a challenge this year and all brands need to plan for it. We can not run ads, spend tons of money, and then not deliver on our brand promise to get that item someone bought.

12. Get the fundamentals right

Richard Kliskey, PPC Manager, The McGarry Agency

To ensure Q4 success, we review performance trends and predict where the best opportunities will be relative to auction competition. This includes factoring in prediction forecast ranges where shoppers start earlier than last year. We build out promotional calendars and prepare in good time. Simple, basic tasks that might seem obvious still need to be triple checked to avoid missing out. This includes ensuring customer match lists are up to date, and that product feeds are in good health.

13. Be ready for greater competition

Andrew Lolk, Founder, SavvyRevenue

The competition will be fierce this year. Many omnichannel e-commerce companies will be chasing revenue online. Q4 accounts for 20-50% of most e-commerce revenue and with Covid-19 not being over by a long shot many will have to shoot for the stars.

Here it’s important to distinguish between DTC and “retail e-commerce” companies. DTC will experience more competition, but overall do great. They have seen a much bigger appetite for e-commerce and are living high off this. Retail e-commerce is trying to play catch-up, which is close to impossible. 

I’m therefore predicting a mad dash for revenue in Q4 across the US and Europe. Be ready to change course, lower ROAS targets, and come up with better strategies during Q4. Only the best survive.

14. Be realistic, transparent, and patient

Aaron Levy, Group Director of SEM, Tinuiti

I feel like a bit of a broken record, but Q4 2020 is going to be different than any Q4 we’ve had before. The keys to winning this year are expectation setting, transparency, and patience.

The fast rise in e-commerce and reticence to visit stores in person means shipping delays and curbside pickup. Companies will win with an omnichannel strategy (leveraging in-store pickup options in Merchant Center) and transparent shipping timelines to ensure consumers will get their gifts on time.

The other challenge to be cognizant of is slowed approval timelines within Google or Microsoft. Both have had resource issues (along with the rest of the world), meaning your ads for a 1-day sale may not get approved as fast as they would before. Get your sales planned well ahead of time, and leverage extensions to ensure ads show rather than fully swapping ads for every promotion.

Conclusion

In the coming months, we’ll all need to put more thought into everything that’s important to meet business goals. Whether it’s logistics, automation or bidding strategy, keep your audience as your focus. Share the right messages to the right people. Regularly monitor and update your accounts. And above all, be prepared yet flexible.

More importantly, make note of what experts and your peers have to say about the upcoming season. Gain multiple perspectives and apply those which help you fulfill both yours as well as your clients’ goals.

Google Smart vs. Standard Shopping: When to choose which campaign type

While many marketers and agencies might prefer Smart Shopping campaigns for its ease of use, some still prefer Standard campaigns because they feel more in control. One question that we hear from e-commerce advertisers time and again is what works better: Smart or Standard Shopping campaigns?

You’re in for a surprise if you think we advocate for one over the other.

To be honest, there’s no universal ‘right answer’ to which campaign type is better. It all depends on your vertical, business goals, and the strategy for your PPC campaigns.

In some cases, Standard Shopping campaigns outperform Smart ones in terms of ROAS; other times, a purely Smart campaign strategy can deliver better performance; or you can deploy a hybrid strategy, like using Standard campaigns with automated bidding.

In this article, we’ll take you through some use cases to help you better understand which Google Shopping campaign type will work better for your needs.

1. Feed size and variety of products

If you have a small feed with products that are very similar to one another, then combining all of them in the same campaign will probably work well. For example, if you’re only selling custom shoes that are all priced between $100-150, running a single Smart Shopping campaign may be a good idea. This is because the expected return on ad spend (ROAS) for all products in the campaign is pretty much at the same level.

Optmyzr Tip: Our Shopping Analysis tool can help you see if products in your Smart Shopping campaigns have varying performance.

However, if you have a large product feed with varying products, a single Smart Shopping campaign will not yield the best performance.

Consider the example of a large clothing retailer who sells a variety of apparel like t-shirts, shoes, ties, shirts, and socks. A single Smart Shopping campaign is not the best strategy since different products will have varying manufacturing costs and price points, and you may wish to allocate different budgets to different categories of products based on what you want to advertise more.

If everything is in one Smart Shopping campaign, the performance will average out and won’t be optimized for profitability. In cases like these, we recommend either multiple Smart Shopping campaigns or multiple Standard campaigns.

Optmyzr Tip: Our Shopping Builder 2.0 _tool can help you create multiple campaign structures for your feed very easily._

The proof is in the pudding. Shopping Builder 2.0 is a great way to create
Shopping campaigns faster and get straight to selling.

2. Niche products or seasonal products

If you are selling niche or very seasonal products, like highly specialized tools or Christmas ornaments, it would be wiser to avoid Smart Shopping campaigns. This is largely because there may not be enough data for Google’s machine learning algorithms to make smart decisions.

In this case, a Standard Shopping campaign with manual bidding or target ROAS/target CPA bidding strategy will work better.

3. Scarcity of time

When you don’t have much time to manage your Shopping campaigns and the choice boils down to either running a campaign or none at all, pick a Smart Shopping campaign. However, if you do have some time to manage your campaigns and your feed has different kinds of products, choose a multiple campaign structure.

4. Control & Visibility

Let’s face it: Smart campaigns don’t give you much control. If you want more granular command over different attributes — bids, target ROAS, search queries, networks, and devices to name some — then consider switching to Standard Shopping campaigns.

With Standard campaigns, you have the flexibility to choose which parts of the campaign management process you want to automate.

For example, you can use automated bidding strategies like target ROAS that automate the bidding process, but you can still retain control over other things like search queries and negative keywords.

When you need more visibility into your campaign’s performance, Smart Shopping may not be the best option. If you want to see which search queries drive the most sales — or even which ones are not profitable and should be added as negatives — Smart Shopping won’t give you that data while Standard ones will.

What can you do in each type of campaign?

To wrap things up, here is an overview of the levers you can pull to optimize both smart and standard shopping campaigns. 

For Smart Shopping campaigns: 

For Standard Shopping campaigns:

Both Smart and Standard campaigns have their pros and cons, so choose what suits the campaign you’re running, your line of business, your marketing strategy, and how much time you have.

At the same time, stay mindful of your clients and their business goals while choosing a strategy. If your clients are focused on profitability and not ROAS (as we all should be), then adapt accordingly.

One recommendation we make often is to run Standard Shopping campaigns with an automated bidding strategy like target ROAS, as it brings together the best of both worlds — the power of automation without sacrificing insight and control.

Happy selling!

Q4 e-Commerce: Optimize Google Shopping with Supplemental Feeds

In the past couple of months, more and more retailers have gone online to reach wider audiences. To get (or keep) an edge over newfound e-commerce competitors, businesses need to make the most of their proprietary data to optimize their Google Shopping campaigns.

One way to do that is by using a supplemental feed to complement the primary feed.

Supplemental feeds are an excellent way of managing your product listings with added information. Essentially, it’s secondary data that can be used to update a Google Merchant Feed without tampering with the primary feed.

One example is using a supplemental feed to temporarily adjust sale pricing, without having to undo the standard price categorization that’s built up in a primary feed. So while you can’t use supplemental feeds instead of a primary one, they can provide helpful layers of data that can optimize your shopping campaigns.

Why search marketers should consider using supplemental feeds

While the primary feed contains basic product details, supplemental feeds can be used to enrich that with more detail or alternative ones. They’re the perfect way to update listings without messing with your primary feed. And you can also avoid any extra client-developer work, as practically anyone can deploy them.

You can layer additional information in the form of custom labels, promotions, or even altered descriptions and titles. All you need to do is provide the additional information with the product IDs in Google Merchant Center, and it enriches the product data in the primary feed.

A supplemental feed can only be used with primary feed and cannot be added to the Google Merchant Center as the main data for products.

Let’s take a look at how to use supplemental feeds during the rush of holiday e-commerce that’s headed our way.

Use cases for Q4 Shopping campaigns

1. Announce promotional items.

During the Holiday season, you would want to advertise some items exclusively as on ‘sale’ or ‘New Arrivals’. As smart shopping campaigns don’t allow inventory filters, you can use a supplemental feed to add additional details about the product like promotional messages using custom label field. 

Once you identify the items you need to highlight, use a custom label field to mark them. Now, use the supplemental feed with the product IDs with the custom label field you created to set up a new campaign! 

Let’s say you sell different types of sweaters and other winter clothing. During the holidays, you notice that customers are using search terms like “Christmas sweaters” or “Christmas pullovers”.

If your product titles don’t contain these keywords, your ads may not be getting the traffic they should. To maximize exposure without increasing bids, you can alter your product titles to include the word “Christmas”.

Use the supplemental feed to create a new custom label and upload a list of product IDs with the updated titles, replacing earlier keywords and creating a new campaign. Once your promotion ends, you can simply remove this field, revert to earlier product titles, and your feed goes back to the previous setting.

3. Fix errors in Google Merchant Center.

Google Merchant Center often flags your products and disapproves them due to missing GTINs or Google Product Category. Imagine if this were to happen in the weeks before the BIGGEST sale of the year. Your developer will need loads of time to fix these issues and may not get it done in time.

However, if you have the details required by Google Merchant Center, you need not wait that long. Use a supplemental feed to add the necessary information and not only will you have your whole inventory live, but also avoid account suspensions during the holiday rush.

Using supplemental feeds with Optmyzr

We all know how Smart Shopping campaigns provide almost no control over product ads. You can try optimizing them by clubbing together products in different campaigns based on profit margins, high-selling products, or even ROAS goals. 

The additional details for customizations can be fed to the merchant feed as a custom label. From there, you can use Optmyzr’s Shopping Campaign Builder 2.0 for each separate custom label value and create different smart shopping campaigns.

Also, check out this article where we busted some common Smart Shopping myths to show you the path to better optimization.

Conclusion

As businesses start gearing up for Q4 and the holiday season, marketers need to be mindful of changing shopping behaviors and be ready to pivot quickly. Considering the scope of e-commerce in the next few months, optimizing your product listings using supplemental feeds feels almost like a must-do.

While seasoned PPC experts might turn to feed management tools, taking a look at supplemental feeds for quick and easy fixes is still a good idea. Start with these, improve the feed with new data for seamless campaigns, and maximize reach.

If you want to try Optmyzr and experience our Shopping capabilities for yourself (get a new campaign live in as little as 5 minutes), sign up for our 14-day free trial. No credit card required, and full access to all our features!

PPC Town Hall 22: Google Limits Search Terms Reports, The Demise of Cookies & More

No matter how many updates or changes happen in search marketing, some things remain constant, like the importance of data. It’s no secret that PPC marketers rely heavily on good data to influence their automation and build powerful strategies. 

With all the changes taking place, we need to stay vigilant for anything Google throws at us. Setting up intelligent measurement systems to assess your PPC account success is a necessity, now more than ever.

So this week on episode 22 of PPC Town Hall, we decided to dive deep into all things data and analytics that give search marketers nightmares. Our expert panel, featuring some of the most experienced minds in the community, shared their tips and tactics to build solid PPC strategies.

Our panelists for the week:

As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

Here are 5 insights to help you understand how to utilize data and analytics to encourage your PPC authority.

1. Living with Google’s limits to search terms reports

Kirk: So basically Google rolled out a change where they would no longer be showing search terms that are over a certain traffic level to advertisers. This is significant. Now in your search term reports, you don’t have access to around 30% of the data for the terms that are incurring costs. Marketers have been wondering what this means or whether it’s ok to make such a deduction.

Aaron: We haven’t put out a piece about it yet. But a lot of our clients have asked us questions like whether 50% of the data or so will become inaccessible. The thing to remember about search term reports is that a lot of it normalizes over time.

My theory is that it’s all one impression one-click searches, so if/when they’re searched a second time, they’ll start to show in SQR’s. There’s a lot of controversy around it but we need to see what happens. We are still trying to unpack what it is and what is the necessary criteria, but want to see the dust settle as the report fills out.

I actually predicted the end of keywords two years ago. For me, search is looking more and more like a DSP, like it’s a pragmatic land now. So if you think about an earlier time, a lot of this data was hidden or you’d have to pay more for full visibility. It kind of looks like how things were in the early 2000s.

2. Figuring out advertisers’ rights

Kirk: I truly don’t think that the advertisers own the data (that fight is between the user and platform). But the question is what is an advertiser paying for? Is it just strictly access to the platform? Or is access to the platform and the data that allows you to advertise well?�

On another philosophical note around Google and advertisers, the constantly changing landscape from what was originally agreed upon to the system in which we are reliant on them. And Google pretty much has most market share. So they have created all this and now they keep shifting the goalposts.

Basically, this is all about search, the keyword, communication, or intent. And now all of this is starting to change. A lot of the advertisers’ frustration is not just around figuring out the shift, but also that the reforms keep getting worse for us.

Is it becoming more and more difficult to communicate to Google on what advertisers would like to see happen? Yes. Basically, Google is pursuing a strategy that pushes to kind of monopolize the whole dynamic. As Google pushes to wall off the data and turn to a more audience-focused programmatic type approach, they are behaving less and less like a paid search advertising platform and more like a traditional media platform.

3. Building runways for automation

Aaron: A lot of our philosophies are around building runways for automation. We know the automation is going to make mistakes, it will have its good days and bad days. So we make sure that these runways are appropriate to give enough room to help the automation succeed. Runways are basically more of how we structure things by intent, forecasted outcome, and conversion rate.

Talking specifically about Google’s automation and Smart Bidding, Google optimizes based on expected revenue and expected conversion rate. So it has to learn and figure out those points – if we can put things in runways, where we have different groups for different goals that get different optimizations.

This way the automation has a runway within a target, a consistent marketing goal and doesn’t have to guess much. If we can control the inputs and make sure that the machine is optimizing based on what we know is right as a business, agency, or customer, it minimizes the downside and lets it do what it’s good at to improve outputs.

4. Strategizing for the right data

We are trying to purposefully have more strategic conversations. Currently, the human element is used to determine the bounds and objectives for automation. There have been times when I have deliberately pulled out of smart bidding to go full manual, and not because I think smart bidding or automation can’t get to that level, but that it still lacks in certain ways right now. 

Acknowledge the fact that at some point, some developers will write a code that will improve various forms of automation. We’re just not there in every way yet! And so you need to act accordingly. Understand the nature of the automation right now and build things around it and then adapt as automation evolves. Humans need to figure out how to utilize automation as it continually changes.�

5. Accepting the demise of cookies

Aaron: It will be a lot more first-party data, the information you collect, and how you can use it. Privacy moves by Europe with GDPR will certainly be a lead-in to what the rest of the world is going to be. Just like we are seeing a rise in software companies just for Google Ads management, there will be a rise in data matching platforms that can operate best under GDPR regulations.

Figuring out how you can take out the important data, you do need to tie in all the information together. I am a bit encouraged by the concept of a cookie-less world as it will make us a little bit smarter and craftier in terms of branding and messaging.�

Conclusion

One thing is clear: we’re never going to have everything perfect all at once. We can argue in favor of advertiser rights, automation, and bidding strategies all we want. But we need to be flexible and accommodating of any changes in order to keep doing better for our clients and businesses.

As for me, I’d like to see some updates to the Google API to make up for all the missing stuff. I hope in 2021, a lot of the things that we don’t have API access to (like competitor data in the auction) get fixed. At Optmyzr, we want to build out simpler automations that our customers can depend on to make smarter decisions.

What do you want to see from Google in 2021? Tweet us!

Global Search Awards: Optmyzr Bags Best PPC Management Suite

2020 has been a turbulent year for search marketers, but Optmyzr still managed to be named ‘Best PPC Management Suite’ at the 2020 Global Search Awards.

Wins like this during times like these have made us even more grateful to be a part of such a vibrant, adaptive industry. While it’s rewarding and encouraging to see our efforts to empower search marketers have been recognized, this wouldn’t have been possible without our customers and the PPC community at large.

Our customers play an especially significant role in our success. We look to them to tell us what we’re doing right, what we can do better, and what else we can add to our platform. After all, we’re here to address their challenges. So while they’ve been battling to help their businesses and clients succeed, we’ve been busy equipping them with additional tools to get the job done more efficiently.

Through it all, our founding team has been at the heart of every discussion, bringing customer insights and their own experience to the table, helping our team consistently create value for our users.

Over the past year, we’ve increased the usability and performance of our tools. New features like Account Blueprints are aimed at not only improving the quality of PPC campaign output, but the experience of using Optmyzr as the keystone of a PPC tech stack.

“This year is proving to be one of the most unpredictable years ever, forcing marketers to adapt to wildly shifting dynamics,” said Frederick Vallaeys, co-founder and CEO, Optmyzr. “We’ve seen dramatic shifts in consumer internet search behaviors, spending patterns, product needs, and confidence. Our tools allow significant automation of search marketing while providing exceptional insight into search data and trends. We’ve worked hard to empower search marketers to become deep strategists, which has been even more crucial in 2020. The Global Search Awards recognition is humbling for our entire team.”

Team Optmyzr at a company off-site from a few years ago

Geetanjali Tyagi, co-founder and COO, is keeping Optmyzr focused on educating users on best practices and tactics. “For the past few months, we’ve been conducting more training sessions, advising marketers on the best practices to become more efficient. Even if it’s a prospect, we try to understand their difficulties and then come up with solutions to tackle them.”

And it’s all backed by a development team that buys wholeheartedly into our customer-centric approach. “The industry is still moving ahead at a super-fast pace. The engines have continued launching their updates. Things like automation layering, optimizing Smart Bidding strategies, or how to have more granular control over targets is still our priority. So, we haven’t changed much from our focus area,” added Manas Garg, co-founder and CTO.

Beyond the product, we’ve also been busy creating a space for PPC and search marketing professionals to find solutions to new and everyday challenges. What began as a space to vent and figure out our chaotic new world, PPC Town Hall has evolved into a library for community solutions. At the time of writing this post, we’ve aired 21 episodes and hosted over 50 of PPC’s leading experts.

We see every day that PPC pros work in competitive, fast-paced, stressful environments. The pressure to deliver results is greater than ever. And so Optmyzr is readier than ever to enable search marketers to be marketing strategists, improve the financial health of the brands they work with, and succeed at every level.

4 Smart Shopping Myths BUSTED: How to Optimize Even with Limitations

Over the years, through many product webinars and solution calls with customers, I’ve noticed that search marketers continue to perpetuate certain myths around Smart Shopping. While Google has made Shopping campaigns more accessible (and marketers benefit from that), some misconceptions still float around on whether you can optimize them.

So, let’s cut to the chase. Check out 4 of the most common myths around Smart Shopping campaigns that I’ve seen, and find out how you can optimize them better.

Myth #1: Smart Shopping campaigns don’t offer any control.

It’s no secret that Google Smart Shopping doesn’t let you control negative keywords or offer many bidding strategies to choose from. But even with these limitations, there are still a lot of things that you can control.

Myth #2: Smart Shopping campaigns can’t be optimized.

I beg to differ. You can certainly optimize the structure and performance of your campaigns as explained above. And there are a few more things you can optimize.

Myth #3: You can’t favor high-performing products.

While you depend on Smart Shopping campaigns to maximize your conversion value for an allocated budget, you can still favor your choice of products. Do this by creating different campaigns for products based on their performance or attributes, such as price point. Then, set up different budgets for each campaign to help Google maximize your conversion value. Allocate budget to campaigns with products that have higher profit margins or higher expected ROAS.

Check out the screenshot below to get a better idea. 

Myth #4: You have to advertise all products from your merchant feed.

Google recommends adding as many products as possible to your merchant feed. That’s a very good idea… please continue to do that. But at the same time, it’s imperative that you monitor campaign performance and exclude products that underperform. 

Some ways to identify product groups that should be excluded from Smart Shopping campaigns are:

Google is currently not favoring that last category of products and may continue to do so.

Pro Tip: Create a new standard Campaign to target these kinds of products with better results.

Improving the Shopping Experience in Optmyzr

While you can make these optimizations manually in Google Ads, they’re going to eat up much of your time — time that could instead be spent on testing and planning. If you’re a fan of getting back hours of time each week, sign up for our 14-day free trial. All our features are ungated during this time, letting you explore all the ways we help you optimize your campaigns.

As a quick sneak peek into an upcoming Optmyzr feature, we’ll be adding support to the Rule Engine to exclude product groups that are underperforming. Stay tuned for more on when this goes live!

Still have questions? Write to us at support@optmyzr.com to get a demo of Optmyzr!

Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: August 2020

With 2020 giving us a very testing year so far, there have been some promising insights from reports showing a massive surge in mobile usage, with the majority of us adapting our lifestyles through the palm of our hands.

Whether it’s browsing the digital shelves of your favorite supermarket or checking out the latest pop culture trends, the industry is transforming to our current needs. Learning to harness this potential and take advantage of new technology is how we can survive in this brave new world.

1. Google Ads

1.1 – App Campaigns Get Some Love

You will soon have more flexibility when adding image assets to app campaigns, with a new focus on aspect ratio rather than the current set size collection available. Google wants to simplify the process to make it easier for advertisers to add more creatives.

On top of this, there’s a hefty increase to file limit size, going from 150kb to 5MB, so no more resizing images because they’re a few kilobytes too big!

Continuing with their app campaign updates, you can now apply Maximize Conversions for installs, giving you more options to help you optimize your accounts, building your campaign towards your desired target cost per install (tCPI).

The attention they are giving to App Campaigns is hugely welcome, especially with recent app projections showing that global ad spend is set to increase by over $40 billion by 2022 (AppsFlyer 2020).

1.2 – Lead Forms Now Available for YouTube Discovery Ads

The lead form extension is a new feature that came to our eyes towards the end of 2019. Since then, we’ve seen some great results coming from this mobile-friendly format. With lockdown still in effect for many of us, YouTube usage has climbed rather dramatically (myself threefold), hence why Google have released lead forms for discovery ads.

This addition is very beneficial for both parties, with advertisers having more access to engagement and reducing the amount of app-switching ads taking users away from their favorite cat videos.

1.3 – A New Direction For Showcase Shopping Ads

Due to hands-on feedback, there’s a new way in which Showcase Shopping Ads will function. No longer will these take to you to a mini-page within Google displaying a list of products under a headline banner.

Instead, these swipeable ads, arranged by each retailer, will be in a carousel-style format, similar to how standard Shopping ads look. Clicking on the product will take you straight to the retailer’s website, although this new direct approach will count as an engagement.

It’s interesting to see taking action on shoppers’ feedback as these top-page ads can be immensely powerful in showcasing your content.

1.4 – Merchant Centre Changes & More

We’ve seen a subtle update come to the Merchant Centre with the way countries are targeted, or in this case, how countries can be untargeted.

There’s a new feed attribute in town and its name is ‘shopping_ads_excluded_country’. This new property allows you to exclude certain products (or all) from specific countries, beneficial for those products that might not fit a particular country’s requirements, instead of having to diagnose disapprovals.

On a side note, we’ve seen a few issues arise from this, most notably an increase in active and disapproved items given the changes to how the merchant centre targets countries. If you’ve seen similar trends in Merchant Centre, we’d highly recommend checking your feed targeting and language options and an overall audit to diagnose any differences.

There’s an additional help article provided to give more insight into targeting multiple countries; you might find that you have to utilize this new feed attribute sooner than you thought.

2. Microsoft Ads

2.1 – Free Product Listings

Just as we spoke about in last month’s update, the surge in online shopping is at an all-time high with Facebook and Google making significant changes to their e-commerce systems.

Microsoft are doing the same by offering product listings for free, giving retailers access to promote their products in the bing shopping tab. This new revision will be automatically applied to those with a Microsoft Merchant Center, however it’s currently limited to US advertisers with plans to extend this service for other countries later down the line.

It goes without saying how much this will help accounts of all sizes; it’s not often you hear the words ‘free traffic’.

3. Instagram Ads

3.1 – Engage Your Audience Through Instagram Reels

Whilst Instagram’s latest addition might be a bit more influencer-friendly, one can’t turn away from a new area to spotlight their services. Instagram Reels provides a different way to create short videos with internal creative tools to help merge multiple videos, add custom audio, and make them sparkle.

The major highlight of Reels is that they can also feature in the Explore section, with an ample amount of real estate dedicated. Given just how much TikTok has established itself as a new headliner for social media and the political risk of its future, it makes absolute sense that Instagram followed suit by releasing Reels.

Another ‘Appy Summer For August

The continued focus on e-commerce is still the highest priority, with announcements to further improve Google and Microsoft’s merchant centers, giving us more customization to promote worldwide.

Despite this, mobile-oriented marketing has been the real winner for August with investment in apps and their respective ads. The monumental rise in lockdown-induced traffic is bursting with opportunity; the big platforms know this, and they are giving us the new tools we need to tap into those audiences.

For more information on Mabo and their paid advertising management services, please visit� Mabo.co.uk.

PPC Town Hall Ep. 19: Dominate e-Commerce in Q4 2020

As we enter September, PPC marketers everywhere are gearing up for Q4 and the coming holiday season. Online retail will come alive, with businesses planning their strategies to woo consumers.

After a challenging year, and as many advertisers and agencies are regaining their footing, Black Friday and Christmas could be exactly what the PPC doctor ordered.

So as you start planning for your brands and clients, we thought you could use a hand.

This week on episode 19 of PPC Town Hall, we spoke to some experts on the cutting edge of e-commerce and shopping campaigns:

As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

Here are the top insights from this week to help you navigate, plan for, and dominate e-commerce in Q4 2020:

1. How 2020 is different for e-commerce 

Katie: One thing that we know for sure is that this year, we are going to experience a different kind of holiday. At Google, we are preparing on all fronts to help our customers. We have been seeing a penetration of e-commerce on all fronts.

According to various studies, e-commerce has grown more in the last two months than in the last decade. There’s a potential that the level of demand starts increasing as early as October. Being prepared for this, for example on inventory and logistics, is going to be incredibly important as we enter the Holiday season.

This year, around 72 % of Holiday shoppers are going to shop online which is bound to create a huge demand. Brand loyalty is starting to become a thing of the past as people start discovering new brands through Google and social media.

So newer brands can take this time to get discovered more to drive their sales.

2. Getting ready for Q4

Katie:** __**In 2020, we are already 27% above demand levels as compared to last year. Getting ready for that demand as we get close to November and December, or even as early as October is extremely important.

At present, we are at a planning stage with our clients where we are discussing their Q4 goals. Essential things like logistics, promotions, inventory, or even shipping criteria are super important to plan for right now. This way you are preparing for any possible scenarios (like delays) in the future.

From an advertising perspective, this is the time to get the fundamentals down. Do you have tracking set up correctly? Have you looked into automation solutions? Have you checked out your shopping feeds?

Polish everything to make sure you are ready to go and are up to date in the months prior to Q4.

3. Explore free product listing ads by Google

Katie: Free listings are a great way for people to dip their toes if they are curious about feeds. It is really important to be there and have your inventory aligned. We have found that both from the paid and unpaid standpoints, they work better together when you’re covering all bases.

Free listing is a very powerful tool for research and easy to set up with third-party apps. You also get an option of integrating if you have a physical store. So, there’s a lot of things one can do with feeds and that is going to be really important this year.

Elizabeth: Working with many channels like Amazon, Walmart, or Google, being able to understand inventory levels in real-time is very critical. For example, if you happen to over-sell in one or more marketplaces, they will penalize you heavily. If you cancel your orders, your cancellation rate goes up and you could lose the channel.

4. Account for changes and demand

Duane:** __**All automations are correct but in the right context. When you see too much data being fed into the system and that not every system can handle it, shift to something else. We try to keep a last 7-day average as long as we are on track. Beyond that, it becomes a question of whether the systems can handle the changes.

We had certain accounts where smart bidding did amazing, while with others, it just spiked the CPA. When the CPA kept on rising, it made sense to shift to manual. So really it depends on a case to case basis, taking into account what happened in the last 7 or 30 days.

5. Accounting for customer lifetime value

Elizabeth: LTV (life time value) always depends on the brands and how they are set up as a business.

We’ve set up Amazon attribution for some brands that are unable to measure how consumers who begin at Google, convert at Amazon. Some clients are able to do things like LiveRamp and audience matching.

We are dependent on our clients to fill us in at some places since we don’t get to see the level of their financials and how they see their businesses.

6. Look at different platforms to gain more audience

Duane: A lot of people will spend all their money on just Google and Facebook which limits their audience scope. Apart from these two channels, people do spend a lot of time on TikTok, Snapchat, and even Pinterest. So if all your capital is directed to just a few channels, you are bound to lose this shopping season.

Look at different platforms to really make use of your spend. While it’s easier to manage one platform, if you can bring in a contractor or hire an agency, you can benefit from other channels as well.

Being successful in Google or Facebook is definitely not enough. For example, YouTube, which is owned by Google, is a whole other world. And you need to be there if your customers are there.

Elizabeth: It’s likely necessary to be on 3-4 different platforms this holiday season. Just so you can be where your customers are when they are ready to convert.

Conclusion

The coming months tend to form a large chunk of revenue for any retail-focused business.

Think holistically — this year more than ever — about what can actually attract customers to stores and drive them to purchase. Logistics like last-mile delivery, payment methods, and supply chains can make or break a successful plan.

Keep your eyes open for more shopping content from Optmyzr in the coming weeks, including another e-commerce PPC Town Hall on September 16.

4 Proven Tips to Control Automated Bidding

During my 5 years as a PPC strategist, I’ve learned that the most common dilemma marketers face is choosing between automated and manual bidding.

While many other factors also come into the picture — budgets and targets, for example — choosing an efficient bidding strategy is the undisputed winner.

So let’s dive right into how we find the solution. Here are 4 proven tips I’ve seen PPC managers use to control automated bidding.

How much can you really rely on Smart Bidding?

On a past episode of PPC Town Hall, Google’s Partner Development Analyst Peter Oliveira said, “Smart bidding uses both aggregated and recent trends, [but] favors what’s been happening recently.”

While Smart Bidding looks more agile, it may not be as robust as you’d like it to be. This is because the automated system may not wait long enough to adjust bids. Those bids might be set based on new patterns, leading to potential anomalies.

So do you rely on Google’s Smart Bidding to get the best results? Or should you roll up your sleeves and take responsibility for manually driving the best results?

In my experience, the answer is a combination of the two.

Experts say that your choice of bidding strategy should depend on how much time you can devote to PPC management and your goals.

But according to a more recent train of thought from our CEO Fred Vallaeys, marketers should train automated bidding strategies to get better results — something likely to resonate with the world’s most renowned PPC practitioners.

As you rely on automated bidding strategies to stay agile (especially in the current scenario), add your own expertise and understanding of the market to strengthen Google’s automation.

The solution: Pick the right automated bidding strategy and train it to get your desired results efficiently. That means feeding it the right settings, like Target CPA and Target ROAS, at a very granular level.

1. Don’t be afraid to switch strategies to get more control.

Here’s my golden tip: Don’t set it and forget it.

Automation is only as good as what you feed it. You may start a campaign to achieve one thing, but don’t leave it there. Monitor its performance regularly, and when you don’t see the desired output, you can easily switch to the next strategy.

For example, when you want to generate conversions rather than get clicks, you’d choose the “Maximize Conversions” bidding strategy. After running that for 30 days or exhausting your budget, you can gauge the performance of your campaigns.

When you have a tool like Optmyzr, the next step is to check out performance using the Rule Engine strategy shown below. And if you’ve had enough conversions — say 50 in 30 days — you can switch to a more specific strategy like “Target CPA” or “Target ROAS”.

This is because the campaign is already able to spend more than its daily budget. In that scenario, taking control of the target values for CPA or ROAS can improve performance even further.

2. Get granular.

Align campaigns based on the goals and strategies you intend to use for optimization, right from the beginning. Think of it as a more futuristic approach to preparing your campaigns for a bidding strategy like “Target CPA” or “Target ROAS” from the beginning.

If you have different margins for the brand, categories of products, product types, or location targets you’re advertising for, then group them separately.

3. Update your targets.

Google allows you to set the target values for “Target CPA” and “Target ROAS” bidding strategies. Make use of this flexibility.

If you set one bidding target for all of your ad groups, it’s akin to expecting all the fingers on your hand to do the same thing.

One target for all your ad groups is likely to limit their performance, and you may also prevent Google’s machine from optimizing the best results for your different ad groups. Instead, optimize your target values based on each ad group’s current performance.

Check out one such strategy ready for you to try in Optmyzr: Optimize Target CPA & Target ROAS.

4. Don’t rule out manual bidding.

While automated bidding strategies may work for most of your campaigns, it might not be the solution in every scenario. Keep your options open.

Using Optmyzr, you can set up automation to find campaigns where automated bidding didn’t fare well. Switch them to a control group of campaigns where you can run manual bidding strategies.

Check out the image below showing how to find those campaigns using our Rule Engine:

Conclusion

Automated bidding strategies are a good foundation, but it’s the PPC strategist’s role to make them smarter. Analyze, introspect, and always be prepared to shift bidding strategies if you aren’t moving the needle on your goals.

And as you switch to other bidding strategies, keep in mind that the accumulation of data points over a period of time can guide Google’s engine to drive the best results for you.

Optimizing your strategies on automated bidding isn’t always simple, but Optmyzr can help you shave hours off execution. Our tools layer automation over what the ad engines provide, helping you leverage automated bidding while staying in control.

To try out the Rule Engine strategies in this article and many others, try Optmyzr absolutely free for 14 days.

Customer Success Helps Optmyzr Retain Inc. 5000 Spot

It’s oddly tough to celebrate good news in 2020. Let’s face it: It’s a truly challenging year for so many organizations.

Our team learned last week that we made the Inc. 5000 “Fastest Growing Private Companies in America” list for the third straight year. Typically, that’s reason to pop the champagne corks and celebrate. This year, however, it’s a remarkably humbling bit of news.

While we certainly welcome the recognition, it’s more apparent than ever that our success is truly dependent on the success of everyone who uses our software.

Our team comes to work every day with the goal to make life easier, better, more efficient, more productive — and yes, more profitable — for those who use Optmyzr to run their PPC programs.

By staying on top of the latest trends and offerings from Google, Bing, Amazon, and Facebook, we work to provide new tools, scripts, and resources to empower PPC pros to do great work.

In addition, the Optmyzr crew has been working hard to bring the PPC community together in 2020 through our regular PPC Town Hall series, bringing top industry pros together to further support search marketers.

Fueling great PPC campaigns is at the heart of everything we do. The fact that longtime customers stick with us and new customers are joining us daily is the best validation of all.

As we continue to grow, we’ll continue to innovate, automate, and streamline how PPC campaigns are created, managed, and reported.

Of course, we’re pleased to receive the Inc. 5000 validation, but perhaps the best outcome of this recognition is the fact we are driven even more to help PPC pros — at agencies and in-house teams alike — guide their respective organizations to a better place in 2020.

We humbly thank you for making it possible for us to enjoy some good news during this truly confounding year.

10 Ways Customers Use Optmyzr to Retain Control with Smart Bidding

Marketers fear automation, but Smart Bidding is a great example of how it actually helps.

Teeming with data and interactions, Smart Bidding uses machine learning to create optimal bid strategies. And because it saves both time and money, it’s quickly become an important part of PPC.

But there’s a (literally) dark side to it as well.

Smart Bidding means surrendering control to the black box of Google’s AI, with strategies that simply don’t allow you to tweak aspects of them to your specifications. Simply put, you input your goals and Google uses your account’s past behavior to produce results.

What do you do when you want the convenience of Smart Bidding but don’t want to give up control? You turn to a tool like Optmyzr.

Here are 10 ways Optmyzr customers use our platform to retain control when they use Smart Bidding.

Understanding how automated bidding works

The keystone of AI or machine learning is the data the system uses to make decisions and predictions. In the same vein, the success of automated bidding strategies depends on the quality of the performance data that system is able to collect. This in turn depends on how your account is set up.

The performance of badly structured campaigns cannot be improved by putting them on an automated bidding strategy.

A good account structure and the right attribution model are vital to the success of any automated bidding strategy. If you’re using last click attribution, either change to another attribution model or run manual bidding.

Campaigns that run on automated bidding strategies need to be optimized in order to have the right data to work with. In theory, the only thing Google takes care of is setting bids — only one aspect of managing an account.

The rest is still on you.

Automated bidding is not a ‘set it and forget it’ deal. However, with bidding out of the picture, you’ll have more time for other tasks — the kind of search queries you want to show for, or the messaging you want to use in your ads.

1. Search Query Management

Search queries are still the primary source of traffic for search campaigns, so it’s important to monitor the ones your ads show for so you can remove irrelevant ones (add them as negative keywords). It’s also a good idea to add high-performing search queries as keywords because you can write more specific ads for them.

Optmyzr Tools Used: Keyword Lasso, Search Terms n-Grams, Negative Keyword Finder

2. Quality Score Optimization

Optimizing to increase Quality Score is one way to reduce your CPA and increase ROAS. Even though Google is automatically setting your bids in the auction, a high Quality Score requires a lower bid.

In other words, you pay less for each click.

Find keywords in your account with low Quality Score and move them to their own SKAGs with the more specific ads. Or, pause them if they have an irredeemable quality score of 1.

Optmyzr Tools Used: Quality Score Tracker, Rule Engine

3. Creating Ad Schedules

This isn’t about setting bid adjustments for different times of the week; your automated bidding strategy already does that. We’re talking about allocating campaign budgets to the more lucrative times of day by turning your ads off when they’re not profitable, making it something of a budget optimization.

Optmyzr Tools Used: Hour of Week Analysis, Hour of Week Bid Adjustments

4. Non-Converting Keywords

Pause keywords that have not converted in a long time but have accrued significant cost. This optimization should only be done if you aren’t running on last click attribution. Otherwise, you’ll pause top-of-funnel keywords and eventually reduce conversions.

Optmyzr Tools Used: Non-Converting Keywords, Rule Engine

5. Budget Optimization

You did budget optimizations before automated bidding, and you should continue to do them now. Reallocating budgets across campaigns based on performance helps improve overall account ROAS.

Check if high-performing campaigns are losing impression share due to budget, and increase their budget by giving them money from underperforming campaigns.

Optmyzr Tools Used: Spend Projection, Optimize Budgets

6. Tweaking Targets

If you’re running on the standard automated bidding strategy (target CPA and target ROAS), you can tweak targets at the ad group level. There are two instances where I’d recommend doing this:

Optmyzr Tools Used: Optimize Target CPA & ROAS, Rule Engine

  1. Increase target CPA for ad groups that are converting but losing impression share due to ad rank. For campaigns running on target ROAS, reduce ROAS. This is the same as increasing bids for high-converting keywords when campaigns are on manual bidding. It enables Google to bid more to drive more conversions.

  2. Reduce target CPA or increase ROAS for ad groups whose actual CPA and ROAS are significantly better than the target and whose impression share is already more than 70%. This reduces the chances of Google buying very expensive traffic when the automated bidding system thinks there’s room to increase CPA and win more traffic.

7. A/B Testing Ads & Updating Messaging

Ad text automation is probably one of the last things that will happen in PPC — writing ads always involves subjectivity and creativity. Responsive Search Ads are a step in that direction, but they only combine headlines and description lines; you still have to write them.

This is why it’s important to continually A/B test ads — so you can remove underperforming ones and keep messaging fresh.

Optmyzr Tools Used: A/B Testing, Ad Text Optimization

8. Performance Monitoring & Alerts

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is set up alerts to notify you of sudden changes in traffic, conversions, CPA, ROAS, or any other KPI that’s important to you.

This helps you stay on top of your campaigns, especially when something doesn’t go as expected. For example, if the CPA for a campaign suddenly shoots up, you’ll want to see why it happened and take appropriate action.

Optmyzr Tools Used: Alerts on the MCC dashboard, Rule Engine

9. Performance Audits of Automated Bid Strategies

Knowing when to pivot is critical to success, be it in PPC or any other business. It’s a good idea to regularly check on the performance of your campaigns’ bidding strategies to see if you need to pivot.

For example, if a campaign is running to maximize conversions, it might be time to move it to target CPA and ROAS. You can also see if certain campaigns on automated bidding strategies aren’t driving enough conversions and move them to manual bidding for a while.

Optmyzr Tools Used: PPC Audits, Rule Engine

10. Structural Account Audits

Regular account audits are so important for good structure. Check for things like too many keywords in an ad group, too few ads, campaigns with not enough negative keywords, or campaigns missing site links.

This ensures that campaigns in your account have a solid foundation on which automated bidding strategies can do what they’re capable of.

Optmyzr Tools Used: PPC Audits

Conclusion

We live in a world where competition is fierce and standards are demanding. PPC marketers rely on automated bidding more than ever to do more in less time. What automated bidding lacks intuition and human understanding, you can provide by optimizing your campaigns.

Help it help you.

There’s no one way to win with automated bidding, but Optmyzr offers several tools that allow you to layer your own automation over what the ad engines provide. If you don’t have Optmyzr, try our platform free for 14 days with access to all features.

Get Better Results on Google Search & Shopping In 2 Weeks

It doesn’t matter how well your PPC accounts are performing — great marketers and agencies always want to do better.

But better takes time, right?

Not when you have a tool like Optmyzr at your disposal. Our PPC management platform enables users to get better results from their Google search and shopping ads in just two weeks.

And with a 14-day free trial that grants access to all features, you can test these strategies out for yourself at no risk.

So whether you’re just starting out with Optmyzr or want to onboard another client, here’s how we can help set your accounts up for success in just two weeks.

You can also find links at the bottom of this page to download these checklists as interactive PDFs with clickable links to the tools themselves, help articles, and video resources.

A. Search Advertising

Day 1: Set up alerts to monitor accounts and track budgets.

Pro Tip: Enhanced scripts can be installed at the MCC level. Read more about installing scripts.

Day 3: Analyze account performance and start optimizing.

Day 5: Analyze search queries to add new keywords and negatives to your account.

Pro Tip: Combine these optimizations into a single workflow using Blueprints.

Day 6: Manage bids.

i. Campaigns using manual bidding

ii. Campaigns using automated bidding

Pro Tip: Combine these optimizations into a single Workflow using Blueprints.

Day 7: Improve quality score and manage budgets.

Day 9: A/B test and create new ads.

Day 11: Set hourly bid adjustments and build custom optimizations.

Bonus: Experiment with a custom strategy in the Rule Engine.

Day 13: Set bid adjustments for locations and demographics based on performance.

Day 14: Create your own workflows and implement automation.

B. Shopping Campaigns

Day 1: Set up merchant feed and monitor budget.

Pro Tip: Enhanced scripts can be installed at the MCC level. Read more about installing scripts.

Day 2: Filter out irrelevant shopping queries by managing negatives.

Pro Tip: Combine these optimizations into a single Workflow using Blueprints.

Day 4: Analyze feed and resync campaign structure.

Day 6: Manage bids.

i. Campaigns using manual bidding

ii. Campaigns using automated bidding

Day 8: Create custom optimizations.

Pro Tip: Watch this video for ideas on how to use the Rule Engine to set up custom optimizations.

Day 10: Create your own workflows and implement automation.

See the difference for yourself.

Our mission at Optmyzr is to develop not just the tools that PPC marketers need today, but ones they can use to safeguard their true roles as digital marketing strategists.

That’s why everything in this onboarding guide has one eye on long-term results, and why we don’t gate any of our features to trial users.

What you see is what you get.

Don’t believe us? Sign up for a 14-day free trial to experience for yourself how Optmyzr makes PPC management faster and your contributions more value-oriented.

**Download the Search campaigns checklist**_ here_.

**Download the Shopping campaigns checklist**_ here_.

6 Ways Optmyzr’s Rule Engine Beats Google Ads Automated Rules For Flexibility

We all have repetitive PPC management tasks we wish we could automate and get off our daily to-do lists. Fortunately, there are several options for PPC advertisers to achieve this, like Google Ads’ Automated Rules, and Optmyzr’s Rule Engine.

In working with hundreds of customers in my two years at Optmyzr, I noticed many advertisers don’t explore our Rule Engine’s most powerful capabilities because they assume it’s just another interface to control Google’s Automated Rules.

Turns out there’s much more to it than that.

The Rule Engine actually enables our power users to do some of their most advanced optimizations that they wouldn’t have time for without this level of automation. 

I talked to Fred, one of our founders who shared that the Rule Engine was initially built as a script for a customer whose bid management strategy took a full day of his time every week!

The script was useful but limited to that advertiser’s strategy. So our company built the Rule Engine to allow every advertiser to automate their most powerful strategies.

While we’re fans of Google Ads Automated Rules for their simple setup, that simplicity is limiting when you want to take your account to the next level with a more powerful strategy. That’s the gap we’re solving with our Rule Engine.

Let me share 6 useful things you can do with the Optmyzr Rule Engine that you cannot with Google Ads Automated Rules.

1. Combine multiple rules into layered strategies.

Though in Google Ads you can add as many automated rules as you want, it’s not possible to combine them into a single optimization. In Optmyzr, this is possible with Rule Engine strategies.

In Optmyzr, a rule is a set of conditions and actions (if and then statements). Strategies let you combine multiple rules — in essence, letting you add the ‘else’ portion in an ‘if’, ‘then’, else’ rule.

For example, in just one strategy, you can consolidate all your search query management by adding one rule to add positive keywords and another rule to add negatives.

You can also have multiple actions applied to an entity. For example, you can add a label to the keywords your rule paused because they were found to be too expensive.

2. Use data from multiple date ranges.

Automated rules in Google Ads let you use a single date range for metrics. This makes it impossible to do relative comparisons, like to find ad groups that have a sudden spike in CPA for the past week compared to the last 30 days.

With our Rule Engine, you can bring in performance data from as many date ranges as you’d like, making relative comparisons very easy.

3. Use data from custom date ranges.

While using multiple date ranges is useful, it’s even better when you can customize those date ranges. Rather than just using default ones like the last 7/30/n days, you can build custom date ranges that are based on lookback windows.

For example, you can build a custom date range for 14 days ago to 8 days ago (week before last), and another for 7 days ago to 1 day ago (last week). This enables you to find search terms that have gained a lot of impressions in the past week compared to the week before, or ad groups that have seen a decline in CTR for a few weeks in a row.

4. Do relative comparisons of metrics across a hierarchical structure.

With our Rule Engine, you’re able to compare, in just one condition, the performance of the same metric at different levels. This comes in handy when you want to do a relative comparison using expressions/formulas.

For example, compare the CPA of one keyword versus the CPA of the campaign in which the keyword is located. Now you could do things like find keywords that are 50% more expensive than average for the campaign.

In Google Ads automated rules, you can compare a metric against a static value but not against other elements. So you can only do things like find keywords whose CPA is higher than $20. That’s not helpful when you know that CPAs vary greatly between brand and non-brand campaigns, and even between campaigns that sell different services in different locations.

By using a relative comparison, you don’t need to set a static target for all your comparisons, and it becomes very easy to simply look for outliers.

Note: You can also use expressions as actions to calculate new bids and targets.

4. Use external data.

What happens when you want to use data not available in Google Ads, but that is also important for your business and optimizations?

In Rule Engine, you can connect a Google Sheet to use your own data in your rules. You can get as creative as you want: use profit margins defined by your agency, analytics data, weather data, a list of holidays, etc.

For ideas and use cases, you can have a look at our series of blog posts Thinking Outside the Box & Do More with Optmyzr.

5. Set rules on autopilot or review them on demand.

While automations help you save tons of time, you may not always want to give up full control; this is why we also let you use your Rule Engine strategies manually. We give you everything necessary to create your own optimization tools and then run them on demand.

Following this idea, even when your strategies are running automatically, we still let you decide if you want to review the changes before you apply them. This is a huge advantage when you want to test your optimization before giving all the control to the automation.

6. Exclude recent changes.

You can avoid applying continuous changes to the same entity for a defined period of time to give them enough time to perform before it’s considered by the strategy again. This helps when you don’t want to stack bids or change the target CPA of an ad group that was already adjusted the day before.

This is particularly helpful in situations where you’re slowly changing things like bids until they meet your goal.

For example, if you automate bidding to set an ideal CPC based on the last 7 days’ conversion rate and your target CPA (new CPC = target CPA * conversion rate), you can run that rule as often as you want without worrying that your bids will get out of control.

However, the following is a riskier automation: new CPC = old CPC + $0.10 when last 7 days’ CPA is below CPA target.

It’s risky because if you run this rule 5 times per day, it will increase the bid 5 times even though the last 7 days’ CPA includes only a small portion of data since the last bid change.

With Optmyzr, you can remove this risk by excluding items that were already changed recently. Now every time the rule runs, it will only make suggestions for entities that were not already recently changed by the same rule.

The Rule Engine is my favorite, because you can tailor account rules to match what the individual client needs to be seeing for performance.

Larry C, Owner/Operator, 707 Marketing

Conclusion

If we have to sum up all of the above, it’s about two things: flexibility and more control. Which tool to use will depend on how much of your workflow you want to automate, and how much customization is required.

The Rule Engine definitely is a powerful tool that gives you much room to play with and is designed for both novice and advanced users.

Interested in learning more about it? Let support@optmyzr.com know, and we’ll be happy to help you!

Google Told Us Their 6 Tips to Impact Smart Bidding

The last time we sat down with Google to talk shop, the discussion found its way to managing PPC campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With supply chains disrupted and business models being tested, companies around the world are facing a variety of new conditions. And though the results aren’t uniform, what’s consistent is how every business has been affected in some way.

Many are struggling to find customers. Some are facing uncertain futures. A few fortunate ones are doing better than ever — will they struggle when things return to normal?

We put together some advice for PPC marketers that took the shape of this blog post. But in the weeks since, we’ve seen and heard the debate over automated bidding become one of the prevailing industry conversations.

Thankfully, our friends at Google had plenty more to say.

Here are their recommendations for 6 secret tips that can help you impact Smart Bidding and more reliably navigate a marketplace in flux.

6 Secret Tips to Impact Smart Bidding

As you monitor shifting trends and course-correct your business plan, you’ll also need to bring your strategic approach in line with what the current situation demands. To help you provide clients and customers with a fruitful experience without eating too much of your time, Google recommends Smart Bidding.

Let’s recap the tactics we recommended last time, as well as explore how they impact Smart Bidding.

1. Keywords

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Keyword optimization helps deliver more at the same CPA/ROAS goal, and ensures that brand strategies align with business goals. Broad match keywords allow the Smart Bidding machine to discover new opportunities for conversions.

Optmyzr Tip: You’ll still want to keep other match types and regularly review new search terms with tools like Optmyzr. The Rule Engine’s latest addition takes high-performing keywords with one match type and lets you add new match types at the ad group level.

2. Creatives

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Getting your creatives right prevents your message and customer experience are on the same page, which ensures that each bid brings relevant engagement.

Optmyzr Tip: Regulations and restrictions can change frequently. With the Ad Text Optimization tool, you can quickly and consistently change ad copy to reflect the real-world operating conditions of your business. The Add Responsive Search Ad tool is also useful to build RSAs for each of your ad groups.

The Responsive Search Ads tool lets you maximize your chances of getting meaningful clicks

3. Bids and Budgets

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Putting your marketing dollars where they’re likely to yield the best returns is PPC 101. You capture more leads at the same CPA/ROAS goal, and forecasting often captures the most recent demand trends.

Optmyzr Tip: Campaigns that worked a few months ago might not be winners today, for no fault of their own or yours. Put your dollars where they need to be with the Optimize Budgets tool. It can help you quickly re-allocate budgets based on how different campaigns are doing against your goals.

Optimize Budgets lets you see how to adjust spend to achieve specific goals

4. Target Constraints/Goals

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Using CPA/ROAS goal adjustments can help you control spend and volume. But to achieve the same thing for Max strategies, Google recommends using budget adjustments.

Optmyzr Tip: Use the Optimize Target CPA & ROAS on campaigns with automated bidding to increase conversions and Impression Share. You can also see converting ad groups that use other automated bidding strategies.

5. Account-Wide Best Practices

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Smart Bidding uses account-wide signals (cross-account under MCC, if applicable). If you’re struggling to see results from Smart Bidding, it might be because you’re still using Last Click Attribution in an era of erratic search behavior.

Optmyzr Tip: The Rule Engine allows you to create data-based strategies, like removing non-converting keywords related to COVID-19. Or for a fun way to keep your account in shape, try the Workouts that combine multiple optimizations to achieve a specific objective.

6. Audiences

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

First-party audience lists improve Smart Bidding algorithms, but Google lists have a neutral impact on Smart Bidding. For best results, provide your own customer information.

Optmyzr Tip: You always want Smart Bidding to have the latest and greatest information about your customers. Use the Customer Match List Updates tool (under Optimizations > Utilities) to keep your audiences in sync between your business data and Google’s audience repository.

6 Ways to Fully Control & Adjust Smart Bidding

While Smart Bidding might make PPC a bit less time-consuming, it’s far from a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality. There are many things you can do to affect the degree of control and influence you have over your bids.

Check out these 6 ways to fully control and adjust Smart Bidding.

1. Goals

Goals are the end objectives of your campaign; think of them as a destination. Tweaking goal values can change the way Smart Bidding tries to get there.

2. Conversions

Current market realities have impacted conversions across the board. Use the information in this space to inform your strategy and reshape the Smart Bidding process.

3. Constraints

Setting hard limits on your financials can enable Smart Bidding to look at creating value over volume. As always, keep an eye on things as you implement this approach.

4. Targeting

Audience is one of the most influential factors in PPC, and there’s no doubt that who and how you choose to target can make a difference to Smart Bidding results.

5. Budgets

At the end of the day, it’s all about the dollars. Experimenting with budgetary values can provide some of the most significant influence on Smart Bidding.

6. Misc. Adjustments

There are other adjustments you can make to shape Smart Bidding, including seasonal adjustments. We suggest exercising oversight when using some of these in today’s market.

Conclusion

It’s been said before but bears repeating: There’s only one way PPC professionals can do right by their businesses and clients — by having as much information as possible. That’s why we’ve partnered with Google to bring you these posts on how to gain maximum value from the tools at your disposal.

These recommendations from Google are intended to supplement a brand’s unique business strategy. Both Google and Optmyzr suggest you balance any automated bidding strategy by keeping a close eye on your accounts. After all, only humans can provide context to the data.

And be on the lookout for the third part of our collaboration with Google, when we discuss what advertisers in hard-hit industries can do to prepare for the end of lockdown.

Google’s 6 Practical Tips for PPC During the Pandemic

There’s no company that isn’t affected by COVID-19. Whether it’s lower than usual demand or a supply chain that’s unable to keep up, every business must adjust the way they advertise to the people who buy their products and services.

Customers understandably have high expectations that companies will provide value and act responsibly during this time. And with “the new normal” changing almost constantly, 71% of consumers say that they want to hear from businesses that can help them navigate this crisis, according to a joint study between Google and Ipsos.

We spoke to some friends at Google to get some actionable advice. If you experience changes in demand for your products and services, or volatility in your PPC data, here are some of the best practices they shared to manage your marketing campaigns through unusual times.

Phase I: Surveying the landscape

While you keep an eye on shifting trends, there are ways to alter your business plan, update your strategic approach, and adapt to the current situation so you can be there for your customers. Google has useful resources available to help you navigate this uncertain time.

Plan your way forward

To know where you need to get, you have to start by figuring out where you are. Google recommends answering a few basic questions about your business or client, and the impact of COVID-19 on operations and marketing.

Once you have the answers, you’ll be able to take steps to alter your strategic approach.

Use Google’s knowledge bank

There are a number of tools and resources developed by Google that can help you study the marketplace and understand consumer behavior.

And as you re-engage with your customers, you can also explore additional resources on Google My Business, Performance Planner, and Smart Shopping and YouTube campaigns.

Phase II: Assessing the situation

Once you’ve answered some core questions about the state of your business or your client’s, you’ll be able to start piecing together a strategic solution. What that entails will depend on multiple factors — demand, availability, visibility, geography, and more.

Here are four categories of situations that businesses find themselves in today.

A. Businesses at risk

These are companies in financial or operational trouble who need help staying afloat. Many are at risk of furloughs or layoffs, or likely to shut their doors.

B. Businesses facing some challenges

Some companies are experiencing threatening situations like supply chain shortages or decreased customer demand, and are unable to meet normal revenue targets.

C. Businesses that have pivoted

These companies have realized the need to adapt to the new normal, and are building awareness as they shift to producing something new.

D. Businesses in demand

Companies that are fortunate enough to be doing well are experiencing higher demand for their products. They want to discover newer ways to connect with and help customers.

Phase III: Building a new strategy

Depending on which category your business or client falls under, it might now be time to start putting together a paid search plan.

Keeping the current business situation and new marketing goals in mind, here are six common tactics you can use.

1. Keywords

Fine-tune it with Optmyzr: Use the Keyword Lasso tool to discover new keyword suggestions, or the Negative Keyword Ideas tool to find keywords that are causing wasted spend. 

2. Creatives

Fine-tune it with Optmyzr: The Ad Text Optimization tool allows you to search for phrases or words across campaigns and instantly edit them. Use this to quickly and consistently make bulk changes as your messaging needs to reflect the rapidly changing conditions in the world.

3. Bids and Budgets

Fine-tune it with Optmyzr: Conversion Grabber lets you increase Impression Share by raising bids for high-converting keywords that are missing out on traffic due to low ad rank. The Optimize Budgets tool can help you quickly re-allocate budgets based on how different campaigns are doing against your goals.

4. Target Constraints/Goals

Goals: Evaluate your new business strategies and confirm target goals. Set performance targets and customize settings to your unique business goals.

Fine-tune it with Optmyzr: Use the Optimize Target CPA & ROAS on campaigns with automated bidding to increase conversions and Impression Share. You can also see converting ad groups that use other automated bidding strategies.

5. Account-Wide Best Practices

Fine-tune it with Optmyzr: The Rule Engine allows you to create data-based strategies, like removing non-converting keywords related to COVID-19. Or for a fun way to keep your account in shape, try the Workouts that combine multiple optimizations to achieve a specific objective.

6. Audiences

First-Party Audience Lists: Add all RSLA, Similar Audiences, and Customer Match lists to Smart Bidding campaigns.

Fine-tune it with Optmyzr: Use the Customer Match List Updates tool (under Optimizations > Utilities) to keep your audiences in sync between your business data and Google’s audience repository.

Phase IV: Measuring the impact of your new investments

Once you have a new strategy in place, it’s important to keep a close eye on your campaigns to make sure they’re doing what you want them to. Even with automation, human context is critical to regular adjustments and optimization.

Here’s what you can do.

We hope these insights from Google enable you to make the right decisions for your businesses and clients. For any additional support, our friends at Google recommend that you visit the Think with Google hub or contact your Google Ads representative.

Six Weeks That Have Changed PPC (Maybe Forever)

The past six weeks or so have been transformational in so many ways. Businesses, agencies, and individuals face uncertainties and challenges unlike anything we’ve experienced in the modern era.

Tough times always present monumental burdens for marketers. Knee-jerk reactions often include rapid reductions or eliminations of spend. Agencies worry about staying in business. Marketers worry about their livelihoods. 

For the past six weeks, though, Optmyzr has hosted our weekly online PPC Town Hall events. We initially launched the concept to simply get PPC pros together to commiserate, dust off, share some fears and optimism, and maybe get a few ideas about what to do next. 

The result has far exceeded what we hoped to achieve. 

To date, nearly 1,000 viewers have logged on, with the vast majority staying for the duration. We’ve had stellar panelists – marketing leaders who graciously share their insight and wisdom. Typically, these are the folks keynoting and leading sessions at those now-canceled industry conferences. 

PPC pros prove they are a solutions-focused bunch

Interestingly, starting about halfway through our inaugural Town Hall, questions started coming in about “what can we do now?” It was as if the PPC community knew it had a responsibility to the brands we serve as a higher calling. Rather than wallowing in dread, our community wanted to move forward and do great work. 

But how? There’s no roadmap for what we’re experiencing. 

Maybe we have a few things working in our favor. Many PPC pros are used to working in relative isolation. Whether agency or at-home consultant or in-house marketer, many PPC pros had unknowingly pioneered the concept of social distancing! We spend our time in the data, detecting anomalies, solving problems, coming up with strategies, and figuring out how to connect those searching with the brands that solve needs. 

The evolution of discussion from Episode 1 to Episode 6 last week has been amazing. Our community has done the very things noted above. Panelists have figured out ways to get up-to-the-minute data. We’ve examined, analyzed, opined, and theorized. Viewers have asked probing questions. 

Sharing the opportunities and potential pitfalls on a weekly basis has provided hundreds of PPC pros with the information they’ve needed to go beyond surviving the times to thriving in the times. 

One Hour Each Week Can Change Your Life

Okay, we all may be a little fatigued spending our days meeting via webcam and sometimes struggling to hear what someone is saying through a cheap laptop microphone. Folks are a little “Zoom Meeting’d” out right now. Understandable, since that’s how we’re forced to meet. 

We’ve been sourcing and testing different options and tech to make sure we have good audio, useful graphical information to share, and crisp messaging to make the one-hour Town Hall as valuable as it can be. Feedback tells us it’s getting better by the week.

I invite you to join us for next week’s Town Hall on Wednesday, May 6 at noon ET. Our guests will be Navah Hopkins, and David Szetela, both on the list of 2019’s Top 25 PPC Influencers. They’ll be joined by Brandon Jones who has a unique perspective on how SMBs are reacting to COVID-10 through his role at agency un(Common) Logic. 

Now that we’re into May, many states are actively easing business restrictions and slowly reopening commerce, creating big questions for PPC pros:

The next few weeks are critical. We want to help you navigate the times and be the leader that is needed.  

Our next Town Hall will be available live on our site this coming Wednesday. If you’d like to stay in the loop about upcoming topics and panelists, consider registering for the PPC Town Hall reminders or subscribing to our shared calendar

It might very well be the most valuable hour of your week.

PPC Town Hall #6: Each Week in the COVID Era Brings New Insight

When brilliant marketers share insights, we can get a sense of clarity in troubling times. This week Optmyzr hosted the sixth episode of our weekly PPC Town Hall gatherings. To date, we’ve had nearly 1,000 attendees participating in these timely, essential discussions about search marketing in the COVID-19 era. 

The response to our Town Hall concept has been terrific. We deeply appreciate the involvement of amazing panelists and the hundreds of attendees who watch, submit questions, and follow up with us.

You can see all of our episodes to date on our PPC Town Hall page

Week-6 brought another stellar panel of search marketing all-stars, including 

This week’s event focused heavily on the tools, data, and creative thinking that is helping PPC pros navigate the strange times we’re in. 

Innovative Insight Tools

There are some great new tools to help us make sense of search behaviors and underlying dynamics that may be flummoxing marketers. 

Aaron showcased the really cool COVID dashboard from the data and analytics experts at Tinuiti. We’ve referenced this dashboard in a few venues ourselves. The dashboard provides visualizations of month-over-month and week-over-week spend trends as well as indexed spend trends covering a wide range of sectors. 

Explore the dashboard. It’s free. All you need to do is provide your email address. 

Christi also showed some powerful insight tools that Microsoft is generating to provide intelligence into weekly trends in automotive, financial services, health & wellness, retail, tech & telcos, and travel. The Microsoft resources analyze marketplace impacts and provide meaningful context into indicators of recovery by sector. 

I encourage you to watch the replay of the session for deeper analysis, but some key takeaways from our panel:

Seeing Clarity in the Data

Is it even possible to trust the data that is out there? The brilliant AI machines and smart automations are, in many cases, confused.  The machines know it’s a weird time, but they don’t know we’re in a crisis. The machines understand data from the past to predict the future. But the past doesn’t factor in massive global shifts in how people are living their lives. 

Christi, Aaron, Jim, and I talked specifically about the use of RSAs and applying data to decision making. Aaron talked about moving from being data-driven to being data-informed. Look at data and best practices as very relevant, but we all need to view this information through very different lenses than we did two months ago. 

Christi encouraged search marketers to take a much more manual mindset with RSAs. The days of set-and-forget are gone (for now). The challenge for marketers today will be to apply critical thinking, creativity, assessment of messaging, geo differences, and other factors to make decisions better than the machines can do right now.

Jim echoed the same RSA points, and said he is heavily annotating analytics right now, due to the wildy dynamic environment marketers are in. We simply cannot compare anything from 12 months ago to make decisions now. He noted that like-for-like may never exist again, or at least not for quite some time. 

Panelists also encouraged marketers to allow themselves to be wrong on occasion. In many cases, hindsight will be the only indicator of the decisions being made right now. 

Amazon, Ecommerce, and “Black Friday” Thinking

As panelists have discussed in earlier episodes, Amazon’s impact on the market is far different today than it was two months ago. Still the ecommerce behemoth, shifting priorities and temporary shipping extensions create opportunities for other providers to step in the ecomm gap. 

Aaron and Jim both credited Amazon’s quick move to communicate extended shipping timeframes as a means of protecting the Prime brand. People associate Prime with same-day and two-day shipping more than they may associate it with the other services like Prime Video. Noting it’s better to underpromise and overdeliver on shipping. Cart abandonment that happens when people see shipping dates weeks out can help other providers – assuming their supply chains, inventory, and distribution can fill the void.

Christi added that for those doing Amazon sponsored ads, it’s essential to be sure the ads, promotions, and messaging actually align with what people are purchasing now. Careful consideration of how sponsored ads are being applied now is essential to prevent needless spend or to capitalize on filling near-term needs for things people will actually purchase. 

The ecommerce discussion also covered “Black Friday” thinking by many retailers. Balancing the potential perception that a provider is desperate against the perception of being viewed as opportunistic, the panel advised retailers to avoid keeping Black Friday type discounts from going on too long. 

Aaron summed up the panel’s thoughts when he noted, “The people who market well are doing well. The people who market poorly are doing poorly. With the Black Friday concept, some can look a little desperate and it can seem like some are addicted to focusing on month-over-month or ROAS on last click. Longer term marketers are looking at the edge of the funnel – seeing the whole funnel as opposed to just the bottom.” 

Light at the End of the Tunnel? 

Nobody knows a timeline for returning to something resembling normal, but the week-6 panel expressed optimism with discussions beginning to shift to recovery versus managing through the crisis. 

The tools shared above and all other data points can help search marketers have a better understanding of immediate factors, but also are now setting the stage for longer term thinking and decision making. Clearly we have a long way to go, but with each subsequent Town Hall, discussions are morphing and adjusting. Week-1 was more about being together and commiserating and trying to gauge “what the heck is happening?” Five weeks later, discussions are dramatically different. 

Invest an hour of your time and watch the replay of episode 6 on our Town Hall web page or listen to it as a podcast. Then sign up for next week’s live session, which will feature Navah Hopkins and David Szetela, both on the list of top 25 most influential PPC experts in 2019, and Brandon Jones from un(Common) Logic, an Austin-based agency.

Register today and we will see you Wednesday for PPC Town Hall #7.�

5 Ways to Use Optmyzr’s Ad Text Optimization Tool During COVID-19

Copywriting is one of the most versatile tools in a PPC marketer’s skill set for a reason. After all, words are the foundational building block of most channels, including paid search advertising.

But all the data in the world means precious little if you can’t craft messaging that drives conversions.

Today, we’re talking about our Ad Text Optimization tool and how it helps PPC marketers deliver ads with copy that works during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five things it can help you achieve for your businesses and clients.

1. Let people know about operating changes.

This pandemic has forced businesses to rethink the way they operate. Government-enforced social distancing restrictions limit the number of people who can be in a store at once. On top of this, many employers have implemented new policies to limit their staff’s exposure to potential carriers of the virus.

With the Ad Text Optimization tool, you can make bulk edits to your ads that reflect any new operating conditions so that consumers know what to expect when they do business with you.

Use Cases

2. Tell people about your new product experience.

For some verticals, there’s just no way around giving people a chance to see, touch, and feel the product. In other cases, the product is an experience. Either way, prevailing conditions demand that businesses get creative about providing this interaction in a safe environment.

The Ad Text Optimization Tool lets advertisers make sweeping changes to their campaigns to let consumers know about changes to methods of delivery, product experience, and more.

Use Cases

3. Keep up with implementation and easing of restrictions.

While much of the US, UK, and Europe are already sheltering in place, things are changing as we learn more about COVID-19. Local, state, and federal regulations are likely to be modified regularly as governments make new discoveries and observe medical data.

Whether you need to make regular updates, create new ads, or manage ads for multiple locations, the Ad Text Optimization tool gives you the power to create ads that are more likely to perform.

Use Cases

4. Be sensitive to prevailing conditions.

One of the biggest challenges for advertisers is making sure ads don’t come across as insensitive or tone deaf. Many phrases that are perfectly acceptable in a non-pandemic environment can be questionable when deployed today.

It can be difficult to manually track all these phrases across your campaigns and ads. The Ad Text Optimization Tool lets you search for and replace them in just a few clicks.

Use Cases

5. Get new insights more quickly, and act on them.

It’s not just the markets that are volatile right now. Consumer sentiment is changing rapidly based on new developments — that includes search behavior. One of Google’s tips for account managers is to plan weekly, rather than monthly or quarterly.

To make weekly planning feasible, you need data on how your ad text influenced performance. The Ad Text Optimization tool lets you compare ads side by side with metrics including CTR, conversions, impressions, and more.

Use Cases

Less time. Fewer mistakes. Better results.

The Ad Text Optimization tool significantly reduces the time and energy cost of making copy edits across your ads and campaigns. And it makes the exact same edit you want wherever it occurs — no gaps, no missed instances.

To learn more about this tool and its different features, check out our user guide. The Optmyzr team is also working from home, ready and available to help PPC professionals deliver value for their businesses and clients during this challenging time.

We’re here to help!

PPC Town Hall: 9 Insights on Bid Management, Paid Social & More

Following last week’s successful PPC Town Hall, we returned with a 4th edition featuring some of the most knowledgeable minds in the PPC and paid search space.

If you happened to miss this week’s chat or any previous editions, check them all out on our YouTube channel or listen to them as podcasts over here.

This week, we focused on bid management in dynamic environments (such as the one created by COVID-19). Optmyzr CEO, Frederick Vallaeys, moderated a panel that included:

Let’s take a look at 9 key insights from this week’s conversation that every agency, advertiser, and consultant can act on.

We’re still in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be achieving any degree of ‘normal’ in the immediate future. With so much volatility across markets, it might be a good time to explore Google’s Performance Planner if you haven’t already.

To quote Google, “Performance Planner is a tool that lets you create plans for your advertising spend, and see how changes to campaigns might affect key metrics and overall performance.”

Google Ads Performance Planner. Image courtesy of Google.com.

Performance Planner works with the latest data at any given time, but the current climate means that said data is rarely predictable and stable from one week to the next.

Peter recommended checking in on Performance Planner every week to explore the impact of shifting CPA, ROAS goals, and manual bids.

“The market is changing so frequently that a target ROAS that gave you a great volume last week might not do the same this week.”

2. Not all businesses have been affected equally.

Just like in every crisis, certain businesses are doing well even as others struggle to stay afloat.

You might have a client whose product or service is experiencing incredibly low demand, or one that’s waiting on overseas shipments and can’t run more ads until they’re able to fulfill additional orders.

Martin has seen that spectrum play out for some of Bloofusion’s client base.

“With our e-commerce clients, we’ve seen a number of differing challenges in the current crisis. Some were overwhelmed by demand. In a few cases, supply is an issue. Others have problems to keep up with packing and shipping. They’ve scaled back or turned off their campaigns to gain a little breathing room.”

3. Products that make isolation less boring are in demand.

With most states in the US (and many geographies around the world) under ‘shelter in place’ orders, it’s no surprise that Google has observed a significant uptick in volume for search terms related to products that make the experience more tolerable.

“We’re seeing that as people are spending more time online, usage is increasing across multiple devices,” Emi said.

“Consumers are searching for many things including technology that helps them work from home (+750%) as well as connected televisions (+37%), streaming devices (+38%), and gaming consoles (+48%).”

4. Consumers want to stay healthy and informed.

But not everything is about work and recreation. Consumers are also looking to maintain their health — and that of their finances.

“In healthcare, consumers are looking to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy while at home. For example, searches related to ‘online workouts’ increased 12x in the past 90 days,” Emi revealed.

Alongside that, people are also preoccupied with what’s happening in their bank accounts. With unemployment hitting record levels and even those in secure jobs suddenly looking cash flow issues in the eye, there’s been a surge in search volume for many related topics.

She added, “Consumers are also looking for financial help, professional advice, and mobile apps to plan for the future with a 9x increase in ‘financial help’ queries e.g. rent/mortgage relief, loan relief, deferred payments.”

5. Hard-hit industries are starting to figure a way out.

It’s worth noting that Tinuiti has an insightful tracker that monitors Facebook spend performance segmented by vertical (signup required).

A quick glance shows that travel is down 79.5% month-on-month but has risen 13.5% week-on-week. Fred speculated that this could be a sign that some of the industries COVID forced to pump the brakes are starting to put new strategies in place.

“People still want to travel; we just can’t,” he said. “These companies could realistically be building desire and demand, identifying an audience searching for these things during this restrictive phase, so they can convert them when travel opens up again.”

Google Trends. Image courtesy of Google.com.

In the case of the automotive industry, which is also showing signs of resurgent spending, Susan speculated that it could be an effort to supplement TV commercials advertising never-before-seen offers like extended windows for no payments and 0% financing.

Either way, it’s evident that businesses that can’t convert at their usual pace are starting to acquire new users to fill the top of their funnel. Which means…

6. It’s a great time to use social media to build TOF.

You don’t have to be as hard-hit as travel or hospitality to consider taking advantage of low-priced social media.

Given that your clients have the budget to do so, now’s as strategic a time as ever to front-load your pipeline with consumers who are high on intent but limited in their capacity to act.

In other words, you can build desire and demand to a fever pitch — and do so with a fraction of the budget you’d normally need.

“We’re seeing some of the cheapest Facebook media with CPMs as low as $2-3. If you have the flexibility and the budget to focus on some top-of-funnel activity, it’s not a bad time to acquire users even if they’re not all going to convert right away,” Susan observed.

If you want to dive deeper into paid media performance during COVID-19, check out her article on Search Engine Journal.

7. Smart bidding offers more control than you realize.

While some advertisers and agencies might be hesitant to allow machines more than a modicum of control over their paid search strategies in the current environment, Smart Bidding might actually empower you more than you thought.

By using tens of millions of data signals, Smart Bidding pairs your inputs with similar auctions in the industry, so it works even if you’re short on first-party data.

“Smart bidding has the ability to pick up signals and compare it to other things going on in the market to make those adjustments. While it uses both aggregated and recent trends, it favors what’s been happening recently,” Peter noted.

Google Smart Bidding considers a multitude of signals to set the right bid for every query. Image courtesy of Google.com.

The key is to remember that as human operators, we’re capable of watching the news and observing the world around us, and then using those observations to provide context to your paid search programs.

You really can influence Smart Bidding to work for you as long as you don’t ‘set it and forget it’!

8. Hyper-segmentation might actually be a good idea.

Under normal circumstances, it’s not absurd to look at the US as a single market: largely the same regulations, similar opening hours, and common methods of fulfillment.

Today, that’s simply not the case. States are enforcing their own COVID-19 restrictions, and even individual counties and cities can impose their own limitations.

So while it’s not the best idea to hyper-segment under normal circumstances, it might be useful to at least try it out right now — and Smart Bidding could be of help.

“Smart Bidding lets you bid at the intersection of each bid adjustment you can manually set,” Fred shared. “One example is adjustments for a location like New York which has been hit hard, one for time of day, and then another for the audience. It can look at the actual scenario of that one auction and how that combination actually matters.”

Peter agreed that if you see significant discrepancies in a geography or other parameter, separating campaigns can afford you a greater degree of control by putting individual levers on your campaigns.

9. Experts are making it easy for PPC pros to stay informed.

As the PPC community continues to face a number of hardships with finding reliable data, some of the industry’s leading experts have developed scripts that enable marketers to make quick observations about the shift in behavior.

One example is this COVID-19 visualization script developed by Fred, which overlays government actions related to the pandemic on Google Ads performance metrics.

“The idea is to help you see if certain events, like store closures, the start of shelter in place, the closing of schools, or the introduction of social distancing correlates in any way with drop-offs or spikes in performance.”

Martin has also developed a script that compares pre- and post-COVID behavior.

Google Ads script by Bloofusion and Martin Röttgerding generates charts showing account performance before and during COVID-19. Image courtesy of Bloofusion.

“Overall trends may be a traffic shift from mobile devices to desktop computers, people searching later at night, and weekdays blurring,” he said.

“However, we’ve found that this is not true for every account. In many cases, these things have remained more or less stable. The script can give you some handy charts about the situation in your own accounts.”

Conclusion

We started the first PPC Town Hall with two objectives in mind: to provide a safe space for paid search pros to vent and share their thoughts on everything that’s been happening, and to steer clear of using it as an opportunity to promote any kind of software or services.

Since then, the PPC community has embraced these weekly conversations, and they’ve evolved into a source of insights on how to approach these new problems that none of us really have all the answers to.

We’re in this together, and we’ll get out of it together.

Please join our next PPC Town Hall on Wednesday, April 22.

Powerful Recipes for Microsoft Ads PPC: Rule Engine for Bing

Paid search marketing has become even more challenging than usual, as PPC pros grapple with unforeseen challenges far beyond our normal existence. We’re all being tasked to re-think how we approach paid search and adapt to this time of crisis. Even without the COVID-19 crisis, our longstanding, baked-in challenges compound the pressures on even the best of PPC pros.

Among the entrenched challenges is the clear need to view PPC beyond the land of Google.

We love Google. It’s still the undisputed king of search. Yet now more than ever, Bing continues to steadily work its way up the market share ladder. Many estimates say the Bing properties now account for about a third of all search activity.

Remember, Bing includes Yahoo!, MSN, and more.

Fear not. We’re not introducing more challenges into your PPC life; we’re focused on easing your burden.

Whether you’ve already added Microsoft Ads to your PPC mix or are just realizing the opportunities in the evolving search landscape, the Optmyzr team continues to make it easy to work across platforms.

This week, our team releases the Rule Engine for Bing Ads. The new module is part of the core Optmyzr PPC Management Suite, makes it easier to craft deeper customization, and adds power to your Microsoft Ads campaigns.

Best of all, you can work in tandem, managing Google Ads and Microsoft Ads much more efficiently and effectively.

Explore the Rule Engine on Optmyzr

Closely adapted from our longstanding Rule Engine for Google Ads, the intuitive Rule Engine makes it easy to create custom PPC optimizations and execute bulk changes to Microsoft Advertising campaigns across the Bing universe.

Think of the Rule Engine as a way to create multiple rules in sequence, tapping into essential conditions within campaigns along with the corresponding actions.

What does that look like in real life? Based on conditions and parameters deep in campaign structures, the Rule Engine makes it easy to automate discovery and actions against critical aspects of PPC including:

The Rule Engine Wizard makes it easy to find a strategy that fits your needs

The Rule Engine includes many pre-built strategies for critical needs that we’ve identified over the years — and that our users have also discovered. These pre-built strategies help you get started faster.

As PPC pros’ needs and skill evolve, the Rule Engine becomes even more powerful.

Start by selecting an objective and one of the Instant Strategies, or build your own

We’ve designed the tool to ease the time and steps required to build your own strategies. A new, intuitive setup wizard allows simple point-and-click rule creation, making it possible to launch new strategies in just minutes.

Several customers took part in the beta testing of the Rule Engine for Bing. One, in particular, was able to deploy the Rule Engine for innovative bid management and alerts.

Leverage Optmyzr’s machine intelligence or take full control of your strategy settings

That customer is Spain-based sporting goods retailer Sprinter. As part of a very competitive industry, the experienced team at Sprinter has to align keyword strategies with inventories, promotions, seasonality, economic dynamics, and other factors that impact revenue.

Sprinter’s senior paid social executive Manuel Vilella noted after beta testing, “We like to bid manually in our brand campaigns, as we prefer not using automated strategies to achieve the minimum CPC. As we have some dozens of brand keywords, we need a solution to adjust the bid according to the viewability. Rule Engine allows us to forget about implementing these changes, as it does this automatically.”

The Rule Engine lets you build unique strategies using if-then statements

We’re proud to bring this new capability to market at a critical time when once again, search marketing is being upended and re-invented before our eyes. Being an effective, strategic marketer during adverse times requires us all to take a much more holistic view of the market and have effective tools at our disposal to work efficiently and strategically across channels. 

Best of all, whether the Rule Engine for Google Ads is a familiar tool or one you’ve never tried, we’ve focused on ease of use. So the Rule Engine for Bing can be incorporated into workflows quickly and effectively.

If you’re a current Optmyzr user, let us know how we can help you get the most out of the Rule Engine across Bing and Google. If you’re thinking about trying Optmyzr, contact us for a demo. You’ll see how Rule Engine fits into the full suite and can reduce tasks that previously would have taken hours (or even days) to minutes.

Our team is standing by. Let us know how we can help!

5 Things PPC Agencies Need to Do to Survive the COVID Crisis

As a career creative, I’ve worked for and with virtually every type of agency — specialist, generalist, design, integrated, mainline, digital, creative, performance.

One thing that’s remained constant is the disproportionate relationship between value provided and revenue generated. All but the biggest network agencies are sorely undercompensated for the value they bring to the table — few clients truly recognize this.

This is the position agencies start from in a best-case scenario.

So whether performance marketing is your shop’s forte or just one of its many offerings, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has likely already impacted both your revenue and your operating plans for the near to distant future.

Clients are already notoriously difficult to impress, so what’s an agency to do when spends have been lowered or paused across multiple accounts with little to no notice?

The toughest part of running paid search and other performance marketing campaigns during COVID-19 isn’t the drop in spend itself; being asked to do more with less is something all agencies are accustomed to.

It’s the lack of a clear solution or roadmap to recovery.

No one knows exactly when shipping and logistics will return to normal, when flights will start operating again at full capacity, or when hotels will once more be so busy that they double-book guests over Christmas. None of us have ever been here before.

What’s evident is that the ‘normal’ way of doing business doesn’t work right now.

Agencies have to pivot while helping clients do the same — and they must do it quickly. This is one of the reasons Optmyzr is hosting weekly PPC Town Halls where the PPC community can come together, talk about the problems we’re facing, and learn from each other.

Let’s take a look at the value agencies provide and some of the things they can do to survive — maybe even thrive in — the coming months of this pandemic.

1. Shift focus from performance to strategy.

If your clients are slashing ad spends, there’s a strong chance your account managers and PPC specialists suddenly have a lot more time on their hands. Use those extra hours to shift from managing campaigns to devising new tactics to build awareness, increase engagement, influence brand perception, and increase conversions.

Are there unexplored (and cost-effective) channels you can use to promote your clients’ brands? Would partnerships give their products and services greater visibility? Is lower CPC actually making a client’s newly reduced budget viable?

_Work closely with clients to ensure they can’t foresee a future without your agency_

During our April 1 PPC Town Hall, Benu Aggarwal, president of Milestone Internet Marketing which services several hospitality and travel clients, shared her team’s approach to providing new value in the interim.

“Within a week of the pandemic, 80% of our clients told us to stop paid search,” she said. “We are omnichannel, so what was helpful was developing plans for ‘crisis, recovery, and growth’. As part of the crisis plan, we ensured proper messaging. We put a page on every site updating our clients’ responses and measures to COVID-19. We also did this for local channels, such as GMB.”

We believe Benu and her team are smart to have prioritized helping their clients for the long-term, even if there was uncertainty around their near-term ability to pay the bills. Everyone is feeling the pain from the crisis, and doing what you can to strengthen relationships with your clients will make them value their partnership with your agency once things return closer to normal.

Optmyzr Tip: Above all else, be defensive of your value and service. Make sure your client doesn’t get used to a ‘new normal’ that doesn’t include working with you. That may mean getting creative and helping them in new ways, or helping them even while they request grace periods on their invoices.

2. Adjust pricing models to create shared value.

Every agency knows the dangers of scope creep and overextending non-billable hours to unsustainable levels, but having too little to do is a new challenge for many shops.

If you’re at the point where client retention is a concern (or will be soon), it might be worth exploring a temporary change in the way your agency bills. Many shops already work with generous credit windows, so this shouldn’t be an entirely alien conversation.

Agencies that bill by percent of ad spend stand to gain the most by switching to hourly, retainer, and � la carte pricing models for the foreseeable future. Independent consultants and small agencies should be especially careful about waiving any fees or costs.

In “4 Tips for Running a Small Digital Agency in Times of Crisis” for Search Engine Journal, ZATO founder Kirk Williams (who’s slowly becoming a regular on Optmyzr’s PPC Town Hall events) shares great insights on managing financials (among other solid advice).

Among his recommendations are providing pricing options that offer “tangible benefit to both parties” rather than “a fire sale of value”.

“Discount prices randomly for no reason without there being some reason or pull-back in scope… would only undervalue and undermine [agencies’] abilities to stay alive themselves as profit was decreased in ever difficult times, and would also set a new lower standard for accurate value once the crisis was inevitably over,” he writes.

3. Support clients with growing businesses.

If your agency is fortunate enough to see no change in business — or even growth — there are several ways you can support your clients.

For clients who are shifting from brick and mortar to e-commerce for the first time, the current climate can make routine tasks challenging.

_Clients migrating to e-commerce for the first time need agile agency partners_

Something as simple as establishing a digital presence might require a lot more thought than usual; setting up fulfillment methods could take significantly longer.

Your greatest asset is the speed that agencies are famous for. Stay nimble and help set up new accounts quickly for clients coming online for the first time — you’ve done this a thousand times before!

If a client is in a market that’s currently benefiting from lower than average CPCs, help them maximize that window of opportunity.

And last but not least, if you happen to find yourself with more than you can realistically handle, spread the joy. Recommend clients you can’t service to other agencies in your city or region who could benefit from the opportunity.

Optmyzr Tip: If you need to build out new accounts quickly as traditional brick and mortar retailers try their hand at e-commerce, use the Campaign Builder to quickly create shopping campaigns, ad groups, and product groups that are well-structured and will be well-positioned for successful management in the long run. Our standalone Campaign Automator can also help you create and manage inventory-driven keyword campaigns using business data like a Google Merchant feed.

4. Support clients with contracting budgets.

On the other hand, your shop might be fighting to convince clients to avoid or minimize cuts to their marketing budget — or, in some cases, to retain your services altogether. While the smart thing to do is keep marketing (even if it’s for top-of-mind recall), clients in some industries simply can’t afford it.

For those brands that can keep spending a certain amount, there’s a lot that agencies can do to help.

_Machines can’t provide context to what’s happening; agencies can — and must
_ (Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash)

After all, while consumer sentiment is cautious, people are spending up to 30% more shopping online according to this article “COVID-Consumers: Pessimistic, but spending more online” by Search Engine Land.

Performance marketing agencies have a role to play as PPC doctors. Market realities are changing daily — hourly, for some industries — and what ails the patient changes rapidly from day to day.

Unlike machines, humans can determine the context of data and steer campaigns in the right direction.

Check in more frequently. Adjust bids to be in line with prevailing CPC rates. Run hygiene checks on your automations to make sure they’re fine-tuned. Review your ad copy and extensions to eliminate tone-deaf or insensitive language.

Optmyzr Tip: Use the Rule Engine to weed out new search terms that are generating clicks but aren’t leading to conversions. The Ad Text Optimization tool lets you make bulk copy edits to existing and new ads, to weed out phrases like ‘Visit us today’ or ‘Open 24 hours’.

5. Stay adaptive to changing conditions.

Going outside of your domain expertise or primary offering will give your agency the adaptability it needs to pivot itself while helping clients do the same.

This might mean servicing a new vertical or industry that you have to quickly familiarize yourself with, entering a new segment or market, or bringing a service to the forefront that was earlier simply part of your marketing mix.

_From adding new services to servicing new industries, be open to market demands_

Whatever it is, you’ll likely retain the core strengths that made your agency valuable partners in the first place: a higher degree of expertise in SEO, local search, and performance marketing than your client (in most cases).

Neptune Moon founder and PPC Town Hall guest speaker Julie Friedman Bacchini is a vocal proponent of staying fluid and receptive to change.

“Flexibility is the best skill you can cultivate right now, if you don’t already have it. If nobody wants to buy what you do, you’re going to have a problem,” she noted during our April 8 webinar. 

“Agencies should be listening to clients — really, really listening — to discern what’s keeping them up at night, what they’re worried about, and what it is they feel they’re not going to be able to do,” Bacchini added. “Are you able to offer a solution in that area? Being able to shift around how you do things and offer things is critical to longevity.”

Optmyzr Tip: Watch our social media pages for the details of our PPC Town Halls to gain insights from PPC leaders and influencers. We finish up with a Q&A session, so bring any questions you might have!

What real agencies are doing

Some shops have already put contingency plans into practice, having made the switch from what they used to do to what they’re doing now.

Let’s take a quick look at what agencies around the world are doing in response to the financial and operational challenges posed by COVID-19.

As always, Optmyzr is here to provide any help we can. Our team is working with customer agencies and the wider PPC community to provide new tools and scripts, quick and nimble support, and new features to more effectively manage ads and campaigns.

3 Lessons From This Week’s Optmyzr PPC Town Hall

The next PPC Town Hall is April 15. [Register here][1].

After a couple of highly popular editions, the Optmyzr PPC Town Hall returned for a third week to give the PPC community a space to hear what their peers are doing, ask questions, and hopefully gain a few additional insights into how to conduct business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel for the April 8 PPC Town Hall included:

This week’s conversation touched on a number of themes, including how virtually every agency and advertiser is navigating these uncharted waters at the same time. As always, the goal was to put these learnings and insights out in the open to help the PPC community learn and adapt quickly.

<div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/DigitopiaAgency/videos/1360080550860711/" data-width="1165">
  <blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/DigitopiaAgency/videos/1360080550860711/" class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore">
    <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DigitopiaAgency/videos/1360080550860711/">Last week our PPC Department manager, Moe McLeod, created a recap for a virtual Town Hall hosted by Optmyzr on how COVID-19 is impacting the PPC realm. Watch Moe's recap for highlights and key insights other PPC managers can use during COVID-19. A specia</a>
    
    <p>
      Last week our PPC Department manager, Moe McLeod, created a recap for a virtual Town Hall hosted by Optmyzr on how COVID-19 is impacting the PPC realm. Watch Moe's recap for highlights and key insights other PPC managers can use during COVID-19. A special thanks to Fred Vallaeys of Optmyzr and the other guest panelists for all the great information. We would highly recommend you pass along the town hall recording to anyone in the paid search realm. Recap &#8211; https://hubs.ly/H0pddJh0Town Hall Video &#8211; https://hubs.ly/H0pd7m10
    </p>Posted by 
    
    <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DigitopiaAgency/">Digitopia</a> on Monday, April 6, 2020
  </blockquote>
</div>

_Moe McLeod, head of PPC at Digitopia, shares his takeaways from our first Town Hall_

With that in mind, let’s take a look at three takeaways from this week’s PPC Town Hall. You can watch the full session on the Optmyzr YouTube channel.

Keep an eye on the technical stuff.

In “Can we trust automation in a time of crisis” for Search Engine Land, Aaron Levy writes that marketers should avoid returning to “the stone age of SEM”. He goes on to outline eight elements of automation that call for a “watch and adjust” approach.

“Each situation is different, so you must evaluate your own business under your own lens,” he advises.

Optmyzr CEO Frederick Vallaeys also recommends merging manual control with automation-driven strategies.

“It feels like deferred conversions are happening, so you might be in a branding stage rather than getting sales over the line. If you’ve been running last-click attribution, you might not be valuing those early-stage interactions. Automated bid management systems don’t know what to do to get you more top-of-funnel activity if you’re not using the right attribution model.”

So instead of using last click attribution, consider a position based or time decay model.

_An empty cart in the current climate isn’t a challenge; it’s an opportunity_
(Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash)

Another great piece of advice from this week’s panelists is to check your automations, bid management, and extensions on a more regular basis. If ever there was a time to avoid a “set it and forget it” mentality, it’s now.

Kirk Williams shared the results of his tests comparing performance on some accounts from March 12 to April 5 against previous weeks. During his analysis, he found that automated bidding by Google seemed to do relatively well. Conversions were worse in the most recent weeks (as one would expect), but ROAS had actually improved.

Williams surmised that CPCs have become so low, they drove more traffic. Even with lower conversion, overall ROAS was better across some important accounts.

Look for fresh opportunities.

As with every major market shift, the COVID-19 crisis presents opportunities for businesses to explore new opportunities in meaningful ways — if you know where to look.

_To adapt, retailers must explore fulfillment channels beyond Amazon_
(Photo by� Jaehyun Kim� on� Unsplash)

“Here’s a major company that runs a large part of the planet’s ecommerce saying it can no longer deliver what it’s conditioned us to expect, and not everyone realizes how disruptive this is,” said Elizabeth Marsten on Amazon’s decision to reprioritize certain FBA products.

“For paid search advertisers who have the ability to self-fulfill or sell via another platform, this is a huge opportunity as FBA shipping times become longer.”

Kirk Williams also believes that there are opportunities for the more nimble organizations out there, though not without their own challenges.

“At some point, you can’t make marketing do what it can’t do,” he warns. “While it’s worth exploring a change in position or new audiences, this is a very difficult time for B2B. But these are interesting times that will segment out not only who has the cash to survive a lean period, but who has a loyal customer base and who can pivot in a business and strategic way.”

Performance marketing agency Tinuiti has also developed a COVID-19 hub, where you’ll find a number of valuable resources to inform your decision-making and strategic planning.

Know the new consumer.

Earlier this week, we wrote about Google’s tips for running ads during COVID-19 in our blog post “PPC During COVID-19: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Search Ads”. Many of these revolved around consumer sentiment and came up again during this week’s discussion.

While it was unanimous that ad copy and extensions need to be reviewed for sensitivity and to avoid sounding tone-deaf, Julie Friedman Bacchini also did a deep dive into what it means to rethink your audience at this time.

_Be mindful of not just what you’re promoting, but how_
(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

“What worked a month ago may not be the right message for today,” she observed. “Audiences are important as well. In travel, for example, you may want to avoid targeting people who work in industries that have been hit especially hard by COVID-19 when advertising for certain segments or verticals.”

The fact is COVID-19 has completely undone everything we consider “normal”. People who worked and lived in different locations are now largely in one location, so Google’s data is not the most informed right now when it comes to audience profiling.

Observations & Conclusion

In addition to these lessons, the Town Hall panel shared several anecdotes and observations that offer refreshing insights into the mechanics and logistics that power ecommerce. Some of these include:

It’s certainly a confusing time; what would have been considered absurd a few months ago is par for the course today. Brands are trying to figure out the right moves and messages, and it will take our entire community of nimble, creative marketers to help them overcome these challenges.

We plan to continue hosting weekly Town Halls to give our customers and the wider PPC community a place to learn, share, or simply vent.

Register now for the next PPC Town Hall on April 15, 2020

PPC During COVID-19: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Search Ads

There’s nothing as terrifying as doing something no one has ever done before. And yet, that’s the boat we all find ourselves in.

COVID-19 is mankind’s first major tryst with the unknown in a long time, which means there are no roadmaps or strategies to get through this. We’re all wandering down this same new path together.

From healthcare to advertising, no industry is immune to the challenges this presents. While doctors don’t yet fully know how to treat patients, marketers remain unsure of how to respond to different situations. There’s no data to pull, no machine learning to lean on, no lessons from the past that apply directly.

All we can do is trust our instincts.

_Advertisers can use the downtime to streamline complex processes_

So it’s reassuring to see that the first reaction of most marketers and brands right now is to do the right thing. Take a look through the news or your LinkedIn feed, and chances are you’ll quickly come across a global CEO or small business owner who’s shifted focus from profit margins to supporting their people, communities, healthcare professionals, and frontline workers.

Rising to the Challenge: Rallying the PPC Community

With behaviors changing across the spectrum, PPC professionals and brands everywhere are trying to solve problems for which there is no historical data. This is where the PPC community needs to deploy that extra bit of creativity — treating the situation with seasonality, studying Google Trends to inform countermeasures and, most importantly, sharing our learnings with each other.

In a piece for SearchEngineLand titled “Paid search ad copy strategies during coronavirus”, Ginny Marvin shares with marketers three core approaches to writing effective, meaningful, and mindful ads during the ongoing pandemic.

“If there’s one thing this crisis has shown, it’s the ingenuity of businesses to rethink entire processes and business models,” she writes. “Be sure your ad copy reflects how your company is responding to this new environment.”

_Are you communicating how your brand is adapting to the ‘new normal’?_

Of course, it’s not just marketers who are sharing new ‘best practices’ for these uncharted waters. Google has chipped in with a handy help document full of great advice on how to approach your PPC advertising campaigns during COVID-19.

Takeaways From Google’s Campaign Tips for COVID-19… and How Optmyzr Can Help

_Google also provides tips on adapting to dynamic market conditions_

1. The words you choose matter. Right now, words that would otherwise be perfectly fine to use might not have the context you want them to. Terms like “checkup” or “protection” are just two of the many that Google recommends being careful with, but they also advise marketers to be cognizant of regional terminology that may be in use.

Tip: Use Optmyzr’s Ad Text Optimization tool _to quickly find and replace phrases across your account._

_Bulk adjust ad copy to be more mindful of the current situation in your markets_

2. Stay on top of logistics and inventory. With supply chains heavily disrupted, the last thing you want is for customers to place orders that can’t be fulfilled. Google suggests editing ads to make sure you account for operational realities like timings, delivery, and in-store pickup.

Tip: The Campaign Builder _can help you automate your ads based on business data like which products are in stock and which are on back-order._

_Automate shopping ads to be more accurate and up-to-date_

3. Review, review, review. Every aspect of your communication matters; not just your copy. To quote Google, this includes “images and videos that show large gatherings of people or human interaction, the tone of your headlines, descriptions, and landing pages.”

4. Stay aware. Google recommends keeping track of the pulse in your areas of business via their Trends page to better understand how your customers think, feel, and act at this time. This will help you better communicate in a way that will be well-received.

Tip: Check out Optmyzr’s new COVID-19 PPC Analysis Tool_, which annotates PPC charts with dates when local and federal governments enacted restrictions like shelter-in-place or store closures._

_Get granular insights by adjusting metrics and geographies for different campaigns_

5. Remain flexible. Above all, Google’s help document highlights the importance of being able to pause and pivot with agility. Conversion rates might call for adjustments to your bids, and ad groups or campaigns for high-demand products might need to be paused quickly when you run out of stock.

Tip: Use the Rule Engine to create custom alerts and automatically respond to changes in your accounts, like eliminating new search terms related to the pandemic _but that are not driving conversions._

_Use the Non-Converting Search Queries recipe to weed out low-converters_

Doing the Right Thing in Unfamiliar Times

While the sudden appearance of COVID-19 has put businesses into vastly different situations, there is more that unites us. Now more than ever, it’s paramount that we all do the right thing.

If your business is able to continue spending marketing dollars, we encourage you to plan initiatives that support healthcare professionals, frontline workers, and vulnerable people. Be mindful of the words and images you select for blog posts, landing pages, search and display ads, and e-commerce listings.

If you’re experiencing a lull, leverage the downtime to improve your relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Reconnect with your employees, build backup plans for the brands you nurture, and develop flexible processes to quickly scale up to usual levels of spend when the storm passes.

In the meantime, we’re here to help soften the blow for our customers and the PPC industry as best we can. Let us know if we can help. Our team is working from home and ready to continue delivering great support.

Bringing Focus to PPC In Troubling Times

SPECIAL INVITATION: OPTMYZR WEEKLY WEBINAR TO FIND A NEW NORMAL

Post updated April 6, 2020 with details about the next PPC Town Hall.

PPC pros, we’d like to share a critical call-to-action during this time of global crisis. It’s time to roll up our sleeves together and help one another and our clients navigate very challenging times. Perhaps more than ever, your role as strategic marketers is essential for your business and clients to thrive. 

Twice over the past two weeks, we have gathered several hundred marketers from all types of companies for somewhat impromptu webcasts. We conducted these events as Open Town Hall gatherings. Initially, we hoped to connect peers, many of whom now work in relative isolation. Great industry leaders have offered their time as panelists, including Mike Rhodes, Susan Wenograd, Kirk Williams, John Lee, Christi Olson, Andrew Goodman, Benu Aggarwal, and Jeff Allen. We’ve also had attendees chime in with  their experiences, including Dan Perach from James Allen, and UK-based Google Account Strategist Amit Shah. 

Our audiences have been quick to move past emotion and fear, shifting instead to very practical, solutions-oriented questions and ideas. These town hall sessions have made it clear that PPC pros are eager to navigate challenges in practical, proactive ways. 

We will host our third installment of the virtual Town Hall this coming Wednesday, April 8 at noon Eastern Time. Kirk Williams and Julie Bacchini will be joining as panelists.

Register here.

Kirk Williams, Julie Friedman Bacchini, Fred Vallaeys discuss PPC during the COVID-19 crisis.

Let’s solve problems together and remove some of the social distance between us all and engage as peers and friends. 

Broader Thoughts: PPC During the Crisis

Expanding on thoughts shared in our debut Town Hall sessions, there will be positive outcomes after we all navigate this current global pandemic. It will be tough getting there, but good will come of this situation. In fact, from week-1 to week-2, we already see a shift in some of the discussions being even more solutions focused. Discussion hit on what we can do now, six weeks from now, six months from now – along with other solutions-oriented considerations.

In society overall, we’re witnessing innovative thinking and collaboration to solve extraordinary societal, safety, and business needs. Field hospitals are being spun up seemingly overnight. Manufacturers are shifting production to personal protective equipment. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are finding new ways to engage with customers.

Innovation and working together always delivers our society from the worst of situations.

Beyond immediate fears over health and safety, unforeseen business challenges and new questions are bombarding everyone by the minute. There are concerns about supply chain viability, fears about safety of products imported from China (or even items delivered to our homes), and vast unknowns about how consumer behavior will shift near- and long-term, just to name a few.  

Rest assured, though, COVID-19 is today’s surmountable challenge. 

Optmyzr’s leadership team, our developers, and product teams come from some of the most innovative organizations in the world, not the least of which is our deep heritage in Google. We’ve been continuously digging deep into the data and working closely with clients to apply technology and brain power to adjust to changing dynamics and help clients navigate troubled times. 

Bringing Clarity Amid The Noise

The world is literally searching for answers right now. Web searches go beyond seeking info about the pandemic. Search patterns also show that people crave information as consumers, business owners, and even marketing experts. As PPC pros, we’re at the epicenter of that sometimes-desperate searching. Over the coming weeks, we’ll offer ongoing insight into the trends we are seeing. We are watching performance data, campaign strategies, and campaign outcomes.  

This week, among high level trends we are seeing beyond the noise and static, are some notable shifts: 

Some takeaways to consider: 

Brand Building During the Storm

As odd as it may sound, there is another important strategy to consider in the near term. As noted earlier, rapidly shifting changes in supply and demand, and the corresponding changes in demand for search ads creates a more dynamic environment than ever with some significant reductions in click costs across a wide range of client types. 

What does this mean for businesses? Established big-name consumer brands still need to stay out in front of audiences and maintain brand mindshare, even if not driving immediate conversion. Maintaining brand presence conveys stability, viability, and it can foster the notion of “when this crisis passes, I want to purchase that” among audiences. 

For upstart brands trying to gain a foothold, particularly in cluttered spaces, relatively small investment today can yield precious brand visibility. Remember, more people are spending more time online and searching topics on desktops and mobile as we go deeper into social distancing. The more we see stay-at-home orders, the more we will see people seeking information, entertainment, emotional breaks, and some semblance of normalcy. 

Think through the whole user experience related to search ads and not just the mechanics and metrics of PPC the way we thought of it a month ago. Think holistically like a strategic marketer. For example, going for the hard sell or showing display ad images that depict people in close contact will almost certainly be off-putting to audiences. Be aware of your content and avoid being tone-deaf to current concerns of the audience. 

Many brands that ARE investing marketing dollars for brand purposes right now are doing smart things showcasing notions of community commitment, appreciating first responders and medical personnel, resolving immediate challenges together, crediting employees or stakeholders for being part of the solution. Perhaps now more than ever, it’s essential to think like a human being and apply common sense to the display ads, images, words, phrases, landing pages, blog posts, and every interaction. Marketers have an important role in the weeks ahead to protect brands and position for the recovery that will ultimately happen. 

There is also an important opportunity for marketers to use unplanned downtime to get campaigns in order. Fix structural problems. Assess reporting and look at the tools you use to find better, smarter ways to do your job when spend levels begin to return to normal. 

Challenging times often come with great opportunities. We hope to be there for our customers and the PPC industry as a whole to soften the challenges and help you prepare for the post COVID-19 world.

We hope you join us for next week’s third Town Hall Session. In the meantime, you can watch replays of the first two sessions:

How to See the New Queries That Now Trigger Your Ad

In the past few weeks, search behavior – much like the rest of the world – has turned upside down in an unexpected and unprecedented manner. Whereas airlines might have normally seen a lot of searches related to flights for summer vacations, now they’re seeing entirely new search terms related to cancelations and COVID-19.

With the influx of never-before seen queries, we added a new Rule Engine strategy (recipe) to help you stay on top of things. It finds queries (search terms) that had no impressions 2 weeks ago, but which have had impressions in the past week. These are considered ‘new queries’ for your account. By reviewing them periodically, you can see if shifts in user behavior are impacting your account negatively with an influx of searches you’d rather not pay for.

This new strategy is also rather important given that exact match keywords can now be expanded by Google to include searches with a similar meaning. We don’t know exactly how Google defines ‘same meaning’ so it’s more important than ever to monitor search terms for your account.

It’s easy for our customers with access to Rule Engine to try this new strategy.

Step 1: Go to Rule Engine and add a new Instant Recipe

Step 2: Preview results for the ‘New Search Queries’ recipe

Step 3: Look at the new search queries for your account.

Step 4: Customize the results by setting a different impression threshold.

Five Things PPC Pros Can Do NOW to Keep Commerce Moving In The COVID-19 Era

We are living in strange times. 

Just a couple of short weeks ago, we had packed sports arenas, sold-out concerts, major industry conferences, crowded malls, and a secondary worry of “what is this Coronavirus thing all about?” Today, the best we can enjoy for TV sports are reruns of classic games on ESPN, restaurants (ones that are open) have a lot of open tables, and music & theater venues have gone dark. Above all, we can’t seem to escape the topic of Coronavirus on TV, social media, or in our dwindling person-to-person contact. 

Search Marketing In The “Social Distancing” Era

It’s impossible to tell at this point how long brands and social marketers will have to navigate these uncharted COVID-19 waters. PPC pros are trying to sift through a brand new set of challenges and questions, while still being expected to drive conversions and return on investment.

Perhaps more than ever, PPC pros must make sure brands and organizations are present when people are searching. And let’s face it…we’ll undoubtedly have a LOT more searching going on via Google and Bing” in the coming weeks as consumers adjust their lives. And as people go deeper into social distancing, we’ll see even more searching on Amazon to further replace brick-and-mortar shopping. 

It’s clear we are experiencing an unprecedented event in the internet age. But good management and solid automation layering tools can help you get through this in the best possible shape, and hopefully reduce some of the tremendous stress everyone’s dealing with. 

In this post I want to share a few techniques to deploy today to help your business or that of your clients make the most of an uncertain situation.

Near-Term/Long-Term – The Impact is Not Clear

Online is the place to be with COVID-19 casting its shadow. Colleges and universities around the country are moving courses online. Even K-12 schools are closing and moving to virtual classes for at least a couple of weeks. Distance learning providers are benefiting from the crisis. Likewise, companies are quickly figuring out how to expand remote work opportunities through video conferencing providers like Zoom who are also seeing their stock value rise. The outbreak has also been driving huge demand for cleaning products, boosting companies with domestic manufacturing such as Clorox and Purel. 

Google Trends data from March 2020 shows a big increase in people searching for video conferencing solutions to address the need to work from home due to COVID-19

When consumer behavior shifts dramatically, in this case due to external events none of us can control, opportunities arise for nimble companies. With many people at home with little to do, it seems every streaming service should be making moves like Disney+. They quickly shifted gears and announced streaming of Frozen 2 will start a few months earlier than planned. 

Other industries are facing a crisis. Hospitality providers are scrambling to serve near-term needs with reduced staffing but they must also remain ready for the day people can and WANT to travel again. SAS airlines have cut 90% of capacity, American is grounding all its widebody aircraft, and if they survive this economic turmoil, they will need a game plan to capture customer demand when it returns.

Small business is also hard-hit. When local companies must close, or have no more foot traffic, they may not be ready or able to provide a digital alternative (think gyms for example). Despite evaporating sales, they still have to pay rent and possibly staff. When business reopens they may need to win back all the customers they once already had and digital marketing may become a make-or-break proposition for them.

Whether your business or that of your client (if you’re an agency) falls in the category of positively or negatively impacted, the good news is that as a digital marketer, you are in a position to help them. And even better news is that tried-and-true methods and best practices from non-crisis times also apply here.�

Optmyzr Tip #1

Use the PPC Investigator to quickly see how external factors like changes in queries and changes due to what your competitors are doing are impacting your top line numbers for sales and conversions.

Use the PPC Investigator to monitor changes in year-over-year performance. Pay close attention to how query volume and Lost Impression Share are responsible for the overall change in account performance as these are driven by changes in consumer behavior and changes in competitor behavior. In uncertain times, these two factors can have a dramatic impact on account performance, even when you have made no changes to the account.

Managing PPC Budgets in a Time of Crisis 

While businesses often knee-jerk their budgets down in times of uncertainty, now may very well be the best time to up the spend on PPC. Social distancing means more people will buy online. It’s essential and responsible to be sure to capture the surge in online shopping. 

Use the MCC dashboard to set a target budget for the month and get a quick overview of which accounts are falling behind or getting ahead of projections the most. You can then address these issues using the budget management tools or scripts in Optmyzr.

Optmyzr Tip #2

Set up a budget script. You may be spending money much faster than usual if you sell sanitizer online. You can use a script to set account level monthly limits. Or if you see the opposite because you sell flights and fewer consumers are booking, a script can set more aggressive budgets to quickly capture consumers when they start to fly again – and they WILL fly again.

Automated Bidding Algorithms Have Never Seen This Before

Automated bidding relies on historical patterns to predict future behavior. But just like it’s not great at figuring out what’s happening when you have a short weekend sale (because the duration is too short and too unexpected to learn from), what we’re seeing now is drastic and unexpected and not something we can fully trust the machines to understand.

Unlike machines, we have context about the situation and we can use judgment to steer things the right way. 

An example is that we may see a lot more search volume for toilet paper (not sure what it’s like in most of the world but it’s sold out everywhere in the US) and hand sanitizer. Machine learning may think it’s wise to boost bids a lot. But have you considered your margins and profitability goals for these products? At some point the machine may increase bids so much that sales volume spikes but does so at the cost of profits. Or what if sales continue to be counted but your supply runs out and you have to cancel orders. Is machine learning looking at your REAL conversion data or making bad decisions because you gave it incomplete data?

Google Trends data for March 2020 show searches for toilet paper have inexplicably skyrocketed as a result of the COVID-19 situation in the US.

Optmyzr Tip #3

Learn how to add external data, like product margins, to Rule Engine to make sure your target ROAS is set correctly for every product based on its margin. This will help ensure profitable sales and only running ads when it makes financial sense.

Another example, we can expect even MORE time spent on mobile devices and less on desktops because that’s the trend we see on weekends when people are home. But now a lot of people are going to be home all week to work remotely. This can potentially impact behavior for devices and days of week. Those weekend-specific strategies you’ve used to capture heavier mobile time may well have to be deployed all week long for a while. And when things return to normal, you may need to guide the machines to understand we’re back to business-as-usual.

Optmyzr Tip #4

If you’re using automated bidding, use automation layering in the form of alerts and monitoring to ensure any changes in behavior are acted upon by machine learning algorithms. For example, with an expected change in device type usage on different days of the week, set up an automation that tells you if there are shifts and if those could be responsible for performance changes in automated bidding.

Rule Engine can be used to build device-specific rules. Rule Engine can be used for Microsoft Ads, Google Ads, and even Amazon Ads.

Don’t pay for news queries that don’t drive conversions

We’re seeing a lot of searches related to coronavirus updates for airline policies. If you don’t want to spend your PPC budget on those types of clicks you need to add negatives quickly. A simple automation that looks for high volume new queries with low conversion rates can automatically help you with this, now with coronavirus, but also for whatever unexpected disruptive event will happen in the future.

Optmyzr Tip #5

The Rule Engine lets you customize date ranges and compare the performance of several date ranges against one another. This lets you execute a strategy where you monitor for new queries that have significant volume in a more recent period of time (e.g. this week) compared to a previous period (e.g. last week). 

Add custom date ranges in Rule Engine so that you can check for things like queries that went from no impressions last week to lots of impressions this week. This can identify trending queries quickly before they eat up all your budget without driving conversions.

Don’t accidentally run ads for stuff you can’t provide

Toilet paper is sold out, yet shopping ads galore for toilet paper. With a tool like Campaign Automator you could automatically update keywords, ads and more to reflect that some products are sold out, or that others (like last minute flights to get back home before the borders close down) are more expensive.

In addition to our core PPC management and reporting software, Optmyzr sells a product called Campaign Automator that makes inventory driven ad automation easy to set up and automated to maintain.

Conclusion

The tips above are simply smart business practices that PPC pros can and must deploy quickly to help the brands they represent weather a really tough storm. Sure, there are charlatans out there seeking to profit unethically from a crisis. That’s the opposite of what we are talking about. 

Commerce can, and must, go on. In fact, it’s perhaps more important than ever that PPC pros lead the charge in facilitating commerce and being sure to help the brands we represent meet these extraordinary circumstances. 

The team at Optmyzr is proud to be working with you, side-by-side, with powerful PPC tools that can layer the automations you need to do great work and keep the economic engine running well until we find our new normal. 

Using Supplemental Feeds to Manage Google Shopping Campaigns

Would you like to use additional business data like profit margins to structure your shopping campaigns and set bids? Is there any information missing in your merchant feed that you’d like to incorporate into your campaign structure?

If your answer to the above questions is yes, then supplemental feeds are the solution for you. 

Supplemental feeds help you push additional information to your primary merchant feed without editing the primary feed. They can help you enhance the merchant feed by adding extra information that may be missing from the feed. For example, if you have profit margin data available for the products in the feed you can push that data to your feed as a custom label. Or, if you would like to structure your campaigns based on ROAS, you can do that as well using supplemental feeds. 

How do supplemental feeds work?

When Google reads the data from your Merchant Center feed, it treats the parent feed and supplemental feed as one. You can create a supplemental feed with the additional information you’d like to add for each of the products and then associate it with the merchant center. The supplemental feed matches the product id in the primary feed and associates the extra information with the matching products. This process gives you the flexibility to add/update the required information in the merchant feed and use it to build campaigns.

Use cases for supplemental feeds

Let’s take an example to understand how supplemental feeds can help. Say, you have a feed with more than 10,000 products with different price points and you would like to structure your campaigns based on the price of different products. Google Ads only allows a specific list of attributes which can be used to create a campaign and that does not include attributes like price or ROAS. A supplemental feed can help you include the price field or ROAS as a custom label value in the feed and it can then be used to build a shopping campaign. 

To start with, have a look at your feed and identify different price ranges in which your products fall (or you can use the Shopping Analysis tool from Optmyzr). The reason behind creating different price range buckets is to group together the products that have a similar price and have them under the same campaign or ad group. This will help you bid on similar priced products together. Once you have decided the price buckets, you can create a supplemental feed assigning these price buckets to a custom label for each of the products. Please refer to the example below:

Primary feed: Below is an example of a primary feed in its original state.

Supplemental feed: Looking at the price of the products in the primary feed, you can create different buckets and then assign the relevant price bucket as a custom label for each of the products.

Updated primary feed: The supplemental feed matches the product id with the primary feed and updates the custom label value accordingly. In the example below, we’re pushing the price data into the Custom Label 0 field which will enable us to use to structure campaigns.

Once the custom label is updated in the primary feed, you can then use it to create the campaign structure you want.

There are different use cases in which you can use a supplemental feed. I have mentioned a few below:

Apart from the above cases, there are several other benefits of using supplemental feeds:

  1. Supplemental feeds can be created and deployed by any one on the team and you don’t need an engineer to do it.
  2. New information can be added to the primary feed through the supplemental feed and you don’t have to ask your client to make those changes.
  3. Missing information like GTINs can be added to the feed easily. This helps make products more discoverable.
  4. Smart shopping campaigns do not support inventory filters, so, if you want to advertise selective products, pushing custom label values using a supplemental feed can be useful.
  5. Supplemental feeds can also help you categorize the products and create campaigns based on that. For example, finding out winners and losers based on the ROAS and creating campaigns for them.
  6. Local inventory feeds can be easily updated with availability and price values regularly.

Supplemental feeds can help you manage your shopping campaigns more granularly by letting you add extra information to the primary feed as and when required. This makes it easy to make intelligent bidding decisions based on attributes like profit margins or ROAS to improve return on investment.

Optmyzr in 2020: Automation Layering, Structured Data, and Usability

AI and machine learning-driven automations are responsible for big changes to how search marketers run their accounts. Make no mistake, smart marketers are those who leverage this new technology and operate at the forefront of where Google, Bing, Amazon, and Facebook are taking us.

Keeping control over PPC in an ever-more automated world is both the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for PPC pros this year. Let me share how we’re going to help you make 2020 your best year yet.

Automation Layering

Automation within the search engines poses a couple of inherent risks for PPC pros:

  1. Automation-fueled obsolescence for the PPC pro
  2. Commoditized marketing for the brand

Think about it: If Google automates seemingly everything, will the PPC pro have anything to actually do? And if everyone is using the same automated setup/bid/execute models, is everyone operating on a playing field that is just far too level????

You’re not wrong to have those fears but the team at Optmyzr takes a different view of platform automations – one of opportunity versus threat.

We see a new era for PPC pros to become indispensable through a concept we call Automation Layering.

Frederick Vallaeys, Cofounding CEO, Optmyzr

Simply stated, the search engines are continually automating specific tasks and functions associated with PPC. Automation layering is about the human PPC pro using those automations to morph from being task oriented to becoming a strategic marketing leader.

Optmyzr CEO, Fred Vallaeys, explains automation layering at SMX East. Apologies for the scratchy audio.

Google and the others are aggressively automating the repetitive and tedious side of PPC. Innovative PPC pros crave reducing manual tasks, which allows them to redefine their role and rightfully claim the mantle of marketing strategist

For the past year and through 2020 and beyond, we are focused on empowering PPC pros to make sense of the platform-level automations and turn those automations into PPC gold. 

Let me add a real-life example to illustrate what we’re talking about. We used the Rule Engine to find expensive keywords. Surprise, surprise, we almost instantly found some keywords using automated bidding from Google, spending nearly $2,000 in the last 30 days with 0 conversions. 

The ‘Reduce Bids‘ optimization, based on an Optmyzr Rule Engine strategy, can proactively identify and pause keywords where automated bidding by Google is wasting money.

To a big company like Google, this is peanuts and just a necessary part of teaching the machines how to do bidding. But to an advertiser, that is real money coming off their bottom-line that could have been better spent. 

Bid automation is great because it saves advertisers a tremendous amount of time, but we have to use our own automations, like Optmyzr, to stay on top of the automations from the engines

Data-Driven Ads

Saying a PPC campaign is data-driven is a bit like proclaiming that the sun rises in the east. It’s no surprise. PPC pros live in data all day, every day.

Reality is, data will continue to expand its already omnipresence in PPC pros’ lives. We see more structured data leading to more ads based on that structured data. From merchant feeds to inventory spreadsheets, product-level details get deeper and even MORE real-time than ever. 

In 2020, we’ll focus much more intensely on the very powerful shopping ads in Google, Amazon, and Bing, in particular. Our expanding developer team will focus on many emerging advancements of shopping ads in 2020.

And we’ll also continue to enhance our new stand-alone software that turns business data into well-structured ad campaigns. It uses a highly customizable template controlled by the advertiser to create new ads on the fly and to remove ads that are no longer relevant (e.g. when a product goes out of stock).

Usability

Search marketers operate in multiple search platforms with varying functions, control, and reporting capabilities. While automation at the platform level helps streamline many of the in-channel tasks, working across disparate platforms can be challenging. As such, we are focusing on improving usability for marketers:

Staying on top of client needs and anticipating or adjusting to subtle changes deep within automated systems will be more critical than ever in 2020. Optmyzr Co-Founder Manas Garg summed this notion up eloquently in a recent discussion about automation and smart bidding. He noted

“While advertisers shift more and more to smart bidding, many will fall into a complacency trap with a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ mindset. Optmyzr must help them see the signals so they avoid falling months behind a trend or opportunity.”

Manas Garg, Cofounding CTO, Optmyzr

Software that helps advertisers stay in control of the myriad automations from the engines is the key to success. We see 2020 as an opportune time to further empower PPC pros with essential tools and prebuilt recipes that maximize the native automations within the big engines.   

2020 can be a year of empowerment and unprecedented opportunity for smart PPC pros. Make it your best year yet. Optmyzr is with you. 

PPC Automation Done Right: Shopping Campaign Builder 2.0

Holiday shopping season has seemingly become a “winner take all” proposition in the world of PPC. Think of it as the Fall playoff season leading up to the big championship game in December. Brands are scrapping for every click, every lead, every conversion. 

Mistakes can be devastating to the end goal. And with each passing day in November and December, opportunities lost are gone. There’s little chance at re-earning the sale. 

Shopping Campaigns have become heavily automated at the platform level, so on the surface it would seem that Google is making it easy for every brand and every merchant to launch effective shopping campaigns. So why worry?

Therein lies the latest challenge for PPC pros with all the pressure on them to execute flawless Shopping Campaigns. EVERYONE has access to the same heavily automated foundational toolkit. So if everyone plays from that same playbook, nobody can truly be out front. 

Layered Automation: Deeper Control For PPC Rockstars

The core automations from the search engines essentially help marketers get efficient with the foundational elements of good PPC across the various ad types typically deployed. Optmyzr provides what we call layered automation to make it possible for strategically-inclined marketers to stand out from that “good” pack. Our team spends a lot of time tracking all of the advancements at Google and Microsoft to create tools that help marketers better utilize a search engine platform’s automation and transform PPC pros into strategic marketers as opposed to being tacticians. 

The latest development from the Optmyzr team is a fully revised version of Optmyzr Shopping Campaign Builder. This week we formally introduced Shopping Campaign Builder 2.0, which taps the latest platform automations and make it much easier to build perfectly structured shopping ads faster and with more power behind them.

Version 2.0 culminates months of intense work by our team, connecting Google Merchant Feed data to new automation tools to build the perfect structures for shopping ads. Doing so meant ensuring the new version works across virtually any ad structure methodology. Thinking through the various ways PPC pros need to structure, we address a multitude of specific campaign needs, for example: 

Shopping Campaign Builder 2.0 makes it even easier to build perfectly structured shopping ads in record time. By maximizing the standard platform automations and layering in Optmyzr’s own automation protocols, it’s quite easy to build literally thousands of product groups in a matter of minutes as opposed to multiple days. 

The essential linkage between the Google Merchant Feed and creation of product groups removes thousands of manual tasks. Within Campaign Builder, version 2.0 also includes enhanced capabilities within the Shopping Refresher module. Automations now extend to adding and removing campaigns as needed, acting on changes in data from the merchant feed. The earlier version had a simpler capability that was limited to working with a single campaign, requiring significant manual intervention (and time) to replicate across multiple campaigns. 

Take, for example, the common approach of structuring campaigns based on similar products with similar profit margins. A good idea, which also allows for automated bidding to help maximize results. Such an approach, however, could box the marketer into a structure that isn’t nearly as dynamic as it could be. A marketer may decide it would be more beneficial to have one campaign for each product type. Shopping Refresher can now detect if a new product type suddenly appears in the feed and then automatically create a completely built out campaign with all product groups for that new product type. 

The tool can also automatically detect the opposite – when a product is no longer available in the merchant feed. Campaign Refresher can automatically pause the campaign for that specific product and quickly cut off needless ad spend. 

Move From Tactical to Strategic

Automations from Google, Bing and others can make things seem like doomsday for PPC pros in the long term. It’s understandable when considered purely at face value. However, the innovations that transformed other industries such as manufacturing over the last several decades have moved many smart professionals into much more strategic value-add roles. 

Tightening bolts on the assembly line of yesteryear was an essential tactic/function many years ago. But repetitive action yielded the same core outcome while failing to tap the deeper thinking and intellect of the production line employee. In PPC, our value add as the human being running programs is not in managing repetitive actions. Our value add comes in the form of creativity and strategy – figuring out the intangibles and the if-this-then-that variables. 

PPC pros who will lead the industry to greater relevance in the overall marketing mix will be the ones who layer powerful automation on top of the core automations from the search engines. The less time spent in the weeds of tactics will continue to elevate PPC pros from being “The Google Ads person” to being a strategic visionary with a much more essential role in the overall marketing hierarchy. 
Check out Shopping Campaign Builder 2.0. As always, contact us directly and we’ll gladly provide a 1:1 demo of how it can transform your PPC work day.

PPC’s New Frontier – Retail eComm Search (Why Amazon SHOULD Matter to You)

I had an illuminating conversation about Amazon Ads and PPC with an industry colleague recently, not long after we announced Optmyzr’s new Amazon Ads functionality. Our discussion shined a spotlight on a potential emerging threat for PPC pros – channel complacency

Understandably, a lot of people in our space are deeply rooted in Google and Bing. It makes sense. Agencies have achieved greatness by making it possible for clients to dominate in the highly lucrative paid search engine results. Google and Bing are, without question, the primary search engines – and we are search marketers by trade. By a wide margin, standard Internet searches happen on these two platforms, with Google still the runaway leader – and its SERPs providing highly valuable paid (and organic) information.

Product Search – PPC’s Hottest Battleground

While Google maintains its overall Internet search dominance, actual product search has seen a quiet revolution in the background. Somewhere between 2015 and 2018, Amazon swiped the top spot for product searches, according to a study done by Jumpshot

What? Did we hear that correctly? Amazon is the search king? But they’re eCommerce, not search!

Yes. For product-specific searches, Amazon seems to have hip-checked Google off the mountaintop. At the time of the Jumpshot study, Amazon held 54% of that type of search activity, compared to 46% for Google. Those figures were inverted just three years earlier. In the months since the study, Amazon has invested massively to deepen and further refine its search capabilities. 

Google has fought back, of course, significantly enhancing its pay-for-play product search results, while deepening the experiences with Shopping Ads and Showcase Shopping Ads. Expect the battle to wage intensely for market dominance in product search. 

Why? As we all know from years gauging searcher intent, product-specific search is a strong indicator that someone is stampeding down the funnel toward conversion. After all, a person typically doesn’t search [brand] [product] [size] [color] if they are trying to get general ideas for fashion trends for the upcoming season. Many of those searchers are seeking best price, convenience, and shipping options to purchase NOW. 

So, PPC pros who dismiss Amazon search as not being “search marketing” are likely missing a huge opportunity not considering queries on Amazon as “search.”

Image of the search bar on Amazon.com.

Millions upon millions of searches are happening in the Amazon search box each day. Semantics and intent may be different than how many searches happen in the Google box, but make no mistake about it – Amazon is a search platform and there’s gold in them thar’ searches.

It’s been interesting observing reactions after we launched Amazon Ads functionality as part of the Optmyzr PPC Management Suite. PPC rockstars were all over it. They received the news with an almost “about time!” mindset, expanding their capabilities virtually overnight. Visionary PPC pros are looking beyond Google and Bing in their expanding definition of “search.” 

Many other very talented pros in our space, however, are still connecting the dots of how search is morphing and seeing the broader landscape beyond the king (Google) and the queen (Bing) of search. The emergence of Amazon (and Facebook) as actual search platforms creates a big new opportunity for PPC pros looking to own a bigger piece of the overall digital marketing mix. 

And since most agencies get paid based on how much spend they manage, any opportunity to significantly move the needle on spend under management should be seen as a tremendous opportunity, especially when the new platform isn’t all that difficult to manage with the right tools like Optmyzr.

Expanding the PPC Universe – Simplified

Here’s the great news: It’s not difficult to expand PPC programs beyond Google and Bing. Again, the intent and behaviors in the various search boxes may be different, but the underlying mechanics are remarkably similar.

Think about it…Search > Algorithms > SERPs. Just as with Google and Bing, the Amazon machine churns out results against searches while allowing retailers and brands alike to buy their way to dominance for the keywords they want.

Optmyzr Rule Engine is the core of our Amazon offering. You can read more in our blog post announcing the Amazon capability, but here it is in a nutshell: Optmyzr makes it really easy for PPC pros to manage paid search across Google, Bing, and Amazon from a single interface. Manage critical aspects of paid search in Amazon, including the ability to set bids for a range or to meet a target ACOS goal. We allow the PPC pro to include negative keywords to reduce poor performing search terms and identify the positive keywords that convert in the Amazon universe. 

Holiday shopping is ramping up as we speak. Hundreds of millions of searches for specific products will happen in the Amazon search box. You really don’t want to miss out on that lucrative search traffic. Your clients REALLY don’t want to miss out on it either!

Thinking Outside The Box #3: Automate and Integrate Google Analytics Data with Rule Engine Spreadsheet

In a previous blog post, we walked you through how you could manage bids by weather using Optmyzr’s Rule Engine and its spreadsheet capability. Today we will be doing a similar walkthrough but focused on how to integrate and use Google Analytics to optimize your Google Ads account using the Rule Engine. For this example, we’ll be pulling a report from Google Analytics with data from how many new users came from AMP pages, and then use that information to raise the bids for them by 5%. 

Set up the Spreadsheet

The first thing we’ll need to do is populate a spreadsheet with Google Analytics data to work with. To do this, you can generate a new Google Analytics report directly into a spreadsheet by using the Add-On Feature for Google Analytics. You can do this by opening up a new spreadsheet and heading over to “Add-Ons”. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed as an add on, you can set it up with “Get add-ons”, selecting “Google Analytics” and signing into your Analytics Account.

In the report spreadsheets, you can add almost any combination of metrics, dimensions, and segments to create a Google Analytics report into a spreadsheet. For this example, we’ll be using the following:

This will help us gather how many new users our campaigns have acquired through the use of mobile, web and AMP pages.

Run the Report

After you create the report, head back over to the Add-Ons section and press “Run Reports”. The results will appear in a separate tab, and will look somewhat like this:

To be able to use this spreadsheet in the Rule Engine, you’ll need to delete the information above the results breakdown and change the “Campaigns” to “CampaignName”, “Google Ads: Ad Group” to “AdGroupName” and “Google Ads: Ad Group ID” to “AdGroupId”. It should look something like this.�

Finally, and once these settings are done, open up the sharing preferences and share the spreadsheet with the following email: 

rule-engine@optmyzr-automation.iam.gserviceaccount.com

You can read further on how external spreadsheet data works with the Rule Engine here.

Connect it to the Rule Engine

Once the spreadsheet is set up and ready, head over to the Rule Engine and create a new custom recipe. Define the level on which changes will be made, and set a name for your new recipe. 

On the settings page, scroll down to the “Connect External Data” field and paste the spreadsheet link in the empty space. Make sure you use the results tab name where it says “Specify Sheet Name”.

Create the Recipe

Once you’ve connected the external spreadsheet, click proceed and you’ll be taken to define the first condition.

You can read more about how custom Rule Engine recipes work here.

In this case, we’ll set the first condition that’ll tell the system to consider the ad groups with more than 5 “new users”. The second condition will filter out the new users that have been acquired through AMP pages, and the third condition defines that only the ones with a CTR higher than 5% will be considered. Here you can also filter out by campaign and ad group, by selecting “Campaign Name” or “Ad Group Name” contains.�

Then we’ll tell the system that when these rules are matched, it should increase the bid by a 5%

Once we’re done, press on the preview button and you’ll be taken to a page with a list of the results. These results will show which campaigns and ad groups matched the rules in the recipe, the current bid and the 5% increase of bid. If you want to apply these changes, simply press on Apply Now.

Keep it Running

Every Rule Engine recipe can be scheduled to run automatically by pressing on the Automate button on the recipe’s preview. Pressing on this button will prompt a confirmation box with the final details for you to review. You can schedule it to run on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Congratulations, you’ve just created a custom Analytics-based recipe! If you have any questions or would like help setting it up, feel free to contact us at support@optmyzr.com and our awesome team will give you a hand!

How to Pick a Profitable ACOS or ROAS Target

Online advertising can get expensive but thankfully the ad engines like Google, Bing and Amazon all have controls that help advertisers keep costs at the right level for their business goals.

In this post I’ll share how to use your profit margin in conjunction with either target ROAS (tROAS) or target ACOS (tACOS) to achieve break-even on your ad spend. Once you know how to pick the right target so you don’t lose money on PPC, you can dial it up or down to find the right balance between profits and revenue.

The Difference Between Google ROAS and Amazon ACOS

First let’s take a look at what ROAS and ACOS mean and how they are calculated.

Google uses ROAS

When it comes to reporting columns, Google uses terms like ‘Conv. value / cost’ or ‘All conv. Value / cost’. ROAS (return on ad spend) isn’t a metric you can pick: 

But the good news is that ROAS is simply one of the ratios expressed as a percentage so it’s just multiplied by 100 and a ‘%’ sign is slapped on the back:

Google does use the term ROAS in one of its automated bid strategies: Target ROAS (tROAS).

Amazon uses ACOS

Amazon shows the ACOS (advertising cost of sales) metric in its interface more prominently so advertisers are immediately exposed to it when they start advertising on Amazon.

ACOS is based on two of the other metrics Amazon shows by default in its interface:

ACOS and ROAS both serve the same purpose of giving guidance on how to make online ads profitable but at first glance the two metrics seem very different:

While the formulas look quite different, that’s mostly due to the difference in nomenclature between the two ad platforms. Where Google calls it ‘cost’, Amazon calls it ‘Ad Spend’. 

Google cost = Amazon ad spend

Where Google calls it ‘Conversion Value’, ‘Conv. Value’, or ‘Value’, Amazon calls it ‘Sales’.

Google Conversion Value = Amazon Sales

So once we standardize the terminology and swap out all the synonyms, we see that ROAS is the inverse of ACOS:

We need to know product profit margin before ACOS and ROAS become useful.

So how are ACOS and ROAS helpful in bid management? How might we decide what a good target ROAS or target ACOS might be? To do that, we need to understand margins.

Product profit margin or gross profit margin is the ratio of profit over revenue for a single product. The simplest way to think of profit is as the value of the sale minus the cost of producing the thing that was sold:

Let’s look at an example where we sell 3 products for the same price but they all cost different amounts to make. Or for an Amazon reseller, they all cost a different amount to buy from the manufacturer:

Combine margin with ROAS or ACOS to find your break-even point

Now we have all the pieces needed to find how much we can spend on advertising to break even on each sale or conversion*. 

To make sure we don’t lose money by buying ads, our ad spend to get a sale should be no more than the profit we get from that sale.

We make a profit when:

profit on the item sold >advertising cost to get the sale

That’s simple logic to understand, but to communicate this goal to the ad engines, we need to translate it into the jargon they use. That means we need to bring it back to ROAS and ACOS.

What is a Break-Even ACOS

ACOS it’s very simple to equate to break-even if you know your margin. The numbers have to be the same.

What is a break-even ROAS?

Because ROAS and ACOS are the inverse of each other, our break-even point on Google is when is (product profit margin)-1 . That’s the product margin divided by 1.

Let’s see that in a different more visual way:

The bottom line

So there you have it, the perfect ACOS or ROAS to break-even on your ad spend on Google or Amazon. On Amazon, it’s the profit margin of the product you sell. On Google it’s the inverse of that same number.

*You don’t really break even by spending no more on ads to get a sale than what you gain from that sale as that doesn’t consider other costs to run the business of selling things. This is why knowing the break-even point is just the start and you should add a target profitability so you make money.

Do more With Optmyzr #1: Automate Tiered Bidding Management

“Stacked bidding” or “Tiered Bidding” is a strategy in which the same keyword is added in multiple match types to better control costs. The closer a query is to a keyword, the higher the chance that it could lead to a conversion, hence the more an advertiser is willing to spend.

Looks Simple, Where’s the Catch?

For this strategy to work, you need to keep the bids for each match type somewhat surrounding the same amount. For example, and as Frederick Vallaeys explained on this article from Search Engine Land, “if the exact match keyword’s max CPC is $1.00, the advertiser may want to bid 80 percent (or $0.80) for phrase match and 60 percent (or $0.60) for broad or modified broad match”.

The problems with tiered bidding usually result from when the bid is modified for one keyword, but not for its match type counterparts. This results in a confusing and very problematic issue, as the tiered bidding is no longer in place and you might end up with bids that you aren’t controlling, or which slip off your radar. 

How to Successfully Manage Tiered Bids 

At Optmyzr we’ve come up with a solution that puts together a custom recipe from our Rule Engine, its very own spreadsheet capability, an enhanced script, and automation, to create a hassle-free workflow for tiered bid management. 

To get started, you’ll first need to use our Stacked Bids enhanced script, to define the ratio which you’d like to maintain between the different bids for the keywords in multiple match types. With this script, a spreadsheet will be generated with a list of keywords existing in multiple match types. By running this script regularly, you can find keywords in multiple match types with their current and expected bids. 

After you’ve set this up, you can pull the same spreadsheet into the Rule Engine and create rules as shown below. These rules will let you set the bids for Phrase match and Broad match keywords to 80% and 60% of the Exact Match CPC respectively. 

The output of this recipe will give you a list of suggestions of keywords added in multiple match types and the calculated new bids for them to maintain tiered bidding. 

For example, you can find any Phrase match keyword which has its current bids higher than their Exact match type counterparts and set their bids to say 60% of the Exact Match keywords Max CPC (this will be automatically pulled in the spreadsheet). 

With the Rule Engine’s automation capability, you can set this recipe to be run on a weekly basis and make sure your tiered bids are all set in place!

This custom solution was made using Optmyzr’s Rule Engine and Enhanced Scripts. If you need us to put this recipe in your account, please write to support@optmyzr.com and we’ll be more than happy to do so!

How to Optimize your Ad’s Text Content in Just a Few Steps!

Optimizing your bids and budgets is most definitely an important part of successful account management, however, even great bids with a precise budget can perform negatively if the ad’s text doesn’t really catch any attention.

To better manage your ads from every angle, we have created a tremendously powerful tool that’ll help you analyze not only the text contained in your headlines and descriptions but also how they work in line with each other: Ad Text Optimization.

What does the Ad Text Optimization tool do?

Optmyzr’s Ad Text Optimization tool helps you break down and review your ads’ performance by its components. You can view data by Headline 1, Headline 2, Headline 3 (where available), Description 1, Description 2, the full ad, Path 1, Path 2, the combination of Path 1 with Path 2, and Headline 1, 2, and 3 together.

In the following example, you can see the performance of this ad as a whole, with 151 clicks and a CTR of 20.60%

But when we break it down by parts you can see how each component works on its own:

Headline 1:

Headline 2:

Description 1:

Headline 1 & 2 combined:

Why this is important

By analyzing the text contained in your ads, you can get a better sense of what works, and what doesn’t. Keep in mind that an overall good ad can still be negatively influenced by a low performing component within – even if the rest work well!

We are used to investing the most time in making sure the budget is allocated in an optimal way, the CTR is high, and the conversions are high quality, but sometimes we forget what makes a person click on an ad, and that is the message contained in the text. With the new insights you’ll derive from the new Ad Text Optimization tool, we hope to make you a more effective digital marketer.

No time wasted – Make bulk changes!

Another great feature inside this tool is the Find-and-Replace option, which allows you to make bulk changes to ad components. This feature can be used in several ways, for example, to replace the word(s) in individual ad components, several ad components, or anywhere it’s found in any ad text component. You can also choose whether you want to create new ads or update existing ones with your change.

For example, say some of your ads contain “2019” in their headline or description text, but the year is coming to an end, so you want to start promoting services for 2020. Instead of going through every ad in your account, with the Ad Text Optimization tool you can simply go to the Find and Replace feature and tell it to replace every text in any component of your existing ads that have “2019”, with “2020”.

You could also use the tool to quickly start new A/B tests for ads. For example, you could create new versions of all ads with the text ‘free trial’ but try the variation ‘try it free’. Starting this test takes just seconds with the new tool and after some data has started to accrue, you can use our existing AB Testing for Ads tool to find winners, and remove losers. 

As easy as 1, 2, 3!

Stay tuned for more of our awesome tools and features!

Google, Bing, Facebook, and NOW Amazon – Manage All With Optmyzr

Running PPC programs used to be relatively simple, with essentially one major platform to consider. Those who mastered what was then called “AdWords” could focus nearly all of their attention on Google – maybe showing occasional love to tier-2 search platforms. 

Seemingly overnight, others achieved “powerhouse” search marketing status, including Bing, Facebook, and now Amazon. 

Over the past 5-10 years, these major players have gained significant share of the universe of commerce-related searches. All are now locked in fierce battle to connect people with the information and products they are seeking through billions of searches every day.

The Optmyzr team has worked hard to provide a platform that allows PPC pros to optimize ads in each of the leading platforms with ease and confidence. Today we’re excited to launch Amazon Ads Management within our PPC Management Suite. This new capability will help PPC pros tap into the expansive growth of Amazon’s presence in the search marketing landscape.

Amazon now ranks as the third-largest platform for share of net digital advertising revenue, and it’s gaining ground on Google and Facebook. Amazon is masterful at capturing high-intent search traffic – or even casual browsing traffic – and then driving customers down the funnel. 

Optmyzr Rule Engine, which is a critical component of our full PPC Management Suite, sits at the heart of our foray into Amazon. Using Rule Engine, PPC pros can manage bids and keywords for Amazon Advertising campaigns, while being able to easily toggle ads on and off for rapid campaign response. Prebuilt recipes and one-click optimizations, which are inherent in our full system, are now able to be put to work against Amazon Ads, allowing PPC pros and agencies to broaden their portfolio of services, in-house and agency alike. 

We sought to make a system that would allow PPC pros to turn existing optimization processes into scalable, automated workflows. The recipes noted above make it easy to:

Try Optmyzr’s Amazon Functionality – NO RISK

We want to make it easy for you to try Optmyzr’s new Amazon functionality. All you need to do is link your Amazon Advertising account to Optmyzr.  We’ll enable access to our beta on a rolling basis. 

We’re confident PPC pros and agencies can find great value in managing campaigns across multiple platforms from a common system. We continually look for ways to remove complexity and create opportunities for you to run campaigns like a PPC rockstar. 

Amazon is clearly among the fastest-growing ad systems in the marketplace. The upcoming holiday shopping season (yes, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays) will be a make-or-break season as competition for online conversion will continue to escalate. Think of the depth and value you can bring to your stakeholders by optimizing all their digital marketing from a single workspace.

Thinking Outside The Box #2 – Bid by Weather

You know that old saying “when it rains… apply bid changes”. Well, that’s not really how it goes, but it’s most definitely one thing you can do with our Rule Engine!

On our last “Thinking Outside The Box” post, we showed you how to create a date-driven automation to change your campaign status. And that’s just one example of the many different (and powerful) use cases we have for Rule Engine.

Now we’ll show you how Optmyzr can help you automatically bid by weather.  A similar case was also covered in the “Advanced Rule Engine Examples” video by our co-founder Frederick Vallaeys.

Step 1: Create the Recipe

For this example, we’ll create a recipe to modify bids at the ad group level using values such as “Current Temperature” or “Current Weather Condition”.

Keep in mind that this is just one of many use cases for the Rule Engine weather bid management. Among the possibilities you’ll find you can:

Step 2: Set up the spreadsheet

To set up the spreadsheet, you’ll need to make a copy of this Google Spreadsheet, and share it with rule-engine@optmyzr-automation.iam.gserviceaccount.com

You’ll need to generate your own API key here https://openweathermap.org/appid#get and follow the rest of the steps listed on the sheet “Instructions and Keys”.

Note: For the last step on the spreadsheet, you can download your list of campaigns from the “Connect External Data” section in the Rule Engine by clicking on “Get Sample Data For Your Account” and paste it exactly as it is on the “Paste CSV from RE here” sheet.

Step 3: Add the Zip Code

Now let’s add the corresponding City or ZIP Code to the campaigns. The spreadsheet has a couple of sheets to get weather data. Depending on which one you want to use, you’ll have to manually add the City or ZIP code to your list of campaigns.

For cities, please follow this format {city},{country code} (you can get a list of country codes here).

Note that if the country code is not specified, the OpenWeatherMap API might return data for the wrong city.

To link the spreadsheet to your recipe, you’ll need to paste the spreadsheet’s URL in the “Connect External Data” section. Make sure you specify the sheet from where the Rule Engine pulls weather data, and the correct column types (Current Temperature: Number|Current Weather Condition: Text).

Read further on “Connecting External Data in Rule Engine”

Step 5: Build the recipe

Let’s get down to business! Having completed these previous steps, you can now use any of the weather data from the spreadsheet to build your own custom optimization. Remember the spreadsheet has campaign data, so that’s the scope you should use when adding the conditions:

Let’s suppose that we have a couple of campaigns for “Sunglasses” in Madrid and “Shorts” in Toulouse. If temperatures start to rise, we might want to increase the bids for the ad groups in those campaigns accordingly.  The first rule does precisely this. If the temperature rises above 27ºC, and the weather condition is “clear sky” it applies two actions:

  1. We increase the bids for the ad groups in the campaign by 10%
  2. We label the ad groups (for the example we’ll use: Bid by High Temperature) – **This step is critical, as it helps to revert the changes with Rule-2.**

But what happens if the temperatures drop? The second rule reverses the changes applied by the first rule. To do this, we check all ad groups with the label “Bid by High Temperature” and apply two actions:

  1. Set the bids back to their previous value. We achieve this by using an expression where we divide the Current Bid by 1+(0.1) where 0.1 = 10% increase.
  2. We remove the labels “Bid by High Temperature”.

Note: In the same ****spreadsheet you can change the temperature units used (Instructions and Keys sheet – Step 4) and see a list of all weather conditions the Open Weather Map API can return (Descriptions sheet)

Step 6: Test, preview & automate 

All set! You can now preview the suggestions and if everything looks ok, you can go ahead and automate it to run on a daily basis.

Try it out! If you have any questions, or if you’d like us to have a look at your recipe before you start running it just email us: support@optmyzr.com – we’ll be glad to help you.

Google Responsive Search Ads – What You Really NEED to Know

Google throws a lot of great stuff at those of us fortunate enough to work in PPC. Much of it makes sense right out of the chute. Some others? Maybe not so much, but you might be missing some great opportunity if you’re not paying close enough attention. 

Take, for example, the often-overlooked Responsive Search Ads that hit the market a little over a year ago. Since that time, many PPC pros have struggled to figure out how best to incorporate these little gems in their PPC toolkit. Too often, RSAs are misunderstood and the opportunity remains untapped. 

RSA 101: What you need to know

The Optmyzr team sees great value in RSAs and we’ve further simplified making them part of your ongoing PPC strategy. We also realize they’re a bit confusing on the surface, so let’s get back to the starting block with RSAs.

Responsive Search Ads simplify creation of multiple ad variations, tapping advanced machine learning to show the most relevant ad to every user who may be looking for what you or your client have to offer. The PPC pro can craft 15 different headlines along with four separate descriptions. Google then serves up a combination of the various ad components to create copy designed to be most relevant to searchers for that particular auction.

We’re talking real-time ad optimization, which can be a really powerful resource. 

Why use RSAs

PPC pros can spend an inordinate amount of time crafting ad copy. It’s tedious, challenging, and often not prioritized in the PPC workflow. And let’s face it – many PPC pros are more analytically inclined and not necessarily among the F. Scott Fitzgeralds of marketing copy writers. (See my latest Search Engine Land post on Responsive Search Ads, particularly the second section.)

Even for those PPC pros gifted at writing copy, the harsh reality is that every person doing searches on the big engines responds to different value propositions, calls to action, and the other words that make up a text ad. It’s impossible to write every possible ad variation, and even if you could master that feat, there’s no way to correctly target each variation to the right user. 

Here’s where machine learning comes into play – specifically with RSAs. Google’s Quality Score (QS) pretty much drives everything, controlling when an ad is shown for a query. The ad must be relevant enough in wording and substance with a high probability of getting the click for the machines to decide to show it.

The complexity behind QS makes it virtually impossible for a person to write ads that will work equally well for all search scenarios. So much hinges on numerous factors – the device being used, time of day, location, the searcher’s demographics, previous interactions with the seller (remember…remarketing also comes into play).  Approaching this manually will lead to missed opportunities. 

Any particular ad may have a QS too low to qualify for a particular search. Doesn’t matter if the offer is great. A static ad with strict character limitations may not adequately convey relevance of your business to the user. 

Now the missed opportunities start to become a little more evident. 

With RSAs, you make it possible for the machines to “craft” a great ad on the fly (with a little upfront work from you), giving you a much better shot at capturing valuable incremental opportunities.

When to use RSAs

Okay…RSAs are not the panacea for all of your search marketing challenges, but they are an often overlooked opportunity for meaningful performance improvement. Hence the reason our team set out to make it even easier to create them. 

To co-opt an old phrase, an RSA each day will keep the PPC doctor away. You should strive to have one RSA in every ad group. Check out the video below to see a side-by-side view that shows how little time you’ll actually have to invest. 

Side-by-side comparison – RSAs Created in Google vs Optmyzr

If you want to see how the tool works in a bit more detail, check out our feature demo on YouTube or if you’re an Optmyzr subscriber, you can try the Responsive Search Ad Builder right now.

Limit yourself to the one RSA per ad group, though. You may be tempted to do a second one, but instead you can optimize what you have in the group.

When to avoid RSAs

As mentioned earlier, RSAs are not a magic PPC wand. They won’t solve all of your challenges. Also, conversion rates against RSAs may be lower than what you are accustomed to, which is why a lot of folks in our industry may have intentionally abandoned the opportunity. Lower conversion rates may be okay, particularly if you are using Smart Bidding, such as tCPA or tROAS. Smart Bidding will account for conversion rate differences and then work to meet your stated goals. 

Also keep in mind that RSAs are really about driving incremental traffic. A lower conversion rate on RSAs doesn’t necessarily mean you’re losing conversions. Google still can show your manual ads if they are performing better and they have a better QS (this is why we want to have both expanded text ads and an RSA in each ad group). 

Let the machines learn!

RSAs are right in the sweet spot of machine learning within PPC. But for the machines to learn, you need to give them a little time and space to explore. Resist the urge to pin ad components when you don’t have to. Allow time for a test. It’s essential to feed the machine good variable element ad components. The machines are not coming up with new ad text on their own. They use the creative elements YOU provide, which means the machines can only be as successful as you’ve set them up to be.  

The Optmyzr Ad Text Optimization tool helps you discover creative elements for your account that have performed well over time. Study the valuable information that Optmyzr serves up. The historic view into performance can be a powerful tool to inform your future creative and how you set up manual ads and variables for RSAs. 

It sort of goes without saying, but deploying the proven winners across your ads gives you a better chance at success. 

Which bid adjustments work with my bid strategy on Google Ads

Google has a tremendous amount of data about how people interact with ads and the computing power and machine learning models to find useful patterns within this. Combine that with the fact they make bid management available for free to all advertisers and it’s no surprise that their bidding tools are some of the most widely used in the PPC world.

Optmyzr’s tools are the perfect complement for Google’s bid automation, enabling advertisers to monitor and analyze results and to bring their own business data into the mix to further improve results. For example, Optmyzr can suggest geo bid adjustments or use product margin data to enable bidding for profitability, taking things a step further than Google’s target ROAS.

But in working with thousands of advertisers to help take their bid management to the next level, we noticed a fair bit of confusion stemming from the fact that there are 11 types of Google bid strategies that each interact differently with campaign and ad group bid adjustments.

Here’s a fairly common example of why there is confusion: as advertisers transition between bid management strategies, it’s not always obvious which bid adjustments still matter so advertisers with a target ROAS strategy continue to spend time on setting demographic bid adjustments. This is unfortunately a complete waste of time as those bid adjustments are simply ignored by Google. Advertisers don’t realize they’re wasting time because bid adjustments can be added in the Google Ads interface but depending on the selected bid strategy they may be ignored without warning. 

While Optmyzr points out these issues with our Policy and Audit Report, we wanted to help demystify this for all advertisers regardless of whether or not they use Optmyzr so we worked with Google and PPCers on Twitter (shout outs to @BertOnckelinx and @navahf) to create a table of interactions between bid strategies and bid adjustments.

We’ve documented the places in the Google Help Center where our findings came from and tested the settings ourselves. Some of Google’s help materials offer conflicting statements but we’ve done our best to reflect what we see in the real world. Google Ads is constantly evolving so please get in touch with us if you have a suggestion for how to make the table better.

Bid Adjustment and Bid Strategy compatibility chart for Google Ads (July 2019)

Google Help Center References:

  1. Unlike bid adjustments for manual CPC, your bid adjustments for Target CPA modify the value of your CPA target, rather than the bids themselves. https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6268632?hl=en&ref_topic=6294205 

  2. Because Target ROAS helps optimize your bids based on real-time data, your existing bid adjustments are not used. There is one exception: You can still set mobile bid adjustments of -100%. Note that you don’t need to remove bid adjustments—they just won’t be used. https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6268637?hl=en&ref_topic=6294205

  3. Smart Bidding is a set of conversion-based bid strategies—Target CPA, Target ROAS and Enhanced CPC (https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/2979071?hl=en&ref_topic=6294205Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, and Enhanced CPC (ECPC) are all Smart Bidding strategies. https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7065882

  4. Smart Bidding will use your audiences as signals to bid more efficiently and help get you more conversions and conversion value. Bid adjustments work differently when you’ve applied a conversion-based automated bid strategy and the campaign or ad group contains multiple lists with overlapping users. Rather than adjusting your bids, your bid adjustments will instead prioritize the audience list to which an impression, click, etc. will be attributed. https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/4782789?hl=en

  5. ECPC automatically takes into account different conversion rates for all types of traffic, but sets bids separately for mobile devices. This means you don’t need to set any bid adjustments (aside from mobile) for ECPC to maximize conversions. However, if you want to bid more aggressively for certain types of traffic you can still choose to set a bid adjustment. This adjustment will be applied on top of ECPC’s automatic adjustments.

    (https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/2464964?hl=en&co=ADWORDS.IsAWNCustomer=true) Google does not recommend setting bid adjustments unless those adjustments are being made for reasons that wouldn’t be captured in the conversions such as LTV. 

  6. Starting in late June 2019, advertisers will no longer be able to add new Target Search Page Location or Target Outranking Share bid strategies. Later this year, existing campaigns still using these strategies will automatically be migrated to the Target Impression Share strategy based on previous target locations and historical impression share. (https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9354813)

Thinking Outside The Box #1 – Automatically Pause and Enable Campaigns On Holidays

_Just like you do, some campaigns deserve a good day off! So with the Rule Engine, we found a way to send them on their holidays (automatically)!_

One of the many great features of our Rule Engine is that you can import external data into your recipes to use almost any value on a spreadsheet cell as a condition and to trigger very concrete actions. In this example, I’ll show you how to pause a campaign based on a list of dates from a spreadsheet.

The method I’ll share could be useful to pause your campaigns on days when your call center or store is closed or to activate specific campaigns during seasonal events, like Prime Day or Black Friday. 

Step 1: Create a new recipe in Rule Engine 

Create a new Custom Recipe and select “All but removed” in the Campaign status dropdown from the Filters section. This step is essential, as it ensures that the recipe runs on both Enabled and Paused campaigns.

Step 2: Set up the spreadsheet

Make a copy of this spreadsheet. In the “Campaigns” sheet, you need to add all the data for the campaigns you want the recipe to modify based on the list of dates (“Dates” sheet).

To make this easier, you can download your list of campaigns from the “Connect External Data” section in the Rule Engine by clicking on “Get Sample Data For Your Account”. 

Now, copy and paste the mandatory data for CampaignId and CampaignName in the corresponding cells. 

Step 3: Set up the list of dates when the automation needs to do something with your campaign

On the “Dates” sheet we have the list of dates used for the comparisons we make within the spreadsheet (so it can see if today’s date is on the list of special dates when something needs to happen). There, you’ll have to add the dates you want to use (make sure to follow the same format). Note that by default, this spreadsheet includes the list of US public holidays (2019-2020).

Step 4: Create your date-driven automation!

Now here’s where the fun starts! – let’s build the rules. 

The first rule takes care of the campaigns when the cells in the Holiday column are “Yes”. When that’s the case, we apply two actions:

1. We label the campaign (for the example we’ll use: Paused by Holiday Recipe)

2. And then we pause the campaign

The second rule does the opposite. It’ll take care of re-enabling the campaign once the cells in the Holiday column say “No”.

It’s important to only check the campaigns labeled by the previous rule. That’s why we add the condition “Label Name is equal to Paused by Holiday Recipe” – It has to be the same label!

The two actions for this rule are:

1. Remove the label we added with the first Rule (Paused by Holiday Recipe)

2. Re-enable the campaigns

Step 4: Test, preview, automate 

Voil� ! The recipe has been created 🙂

Now preview the suggestions, and if everything looks ok, you can automate it to run daily.

tl;dr: 

Try it out! If you have any questions, or if you’d like us to have a look at your recipe before you start running it just email us: support@optmyzr.com – and we’ll be glad to help you.

Crush Your Inventory-Based Campaigns TODAY with Campaign Automator

Pay-Per-Click seems to undergo a revolutionary change every 15 minutes or so these days. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but advancements in automation, AI and machine learning are driving dramatic changes for PPC pros, and we know it can be difficult to keep up with the changes.

“Automation” can be a frightening word for people, possibly indicating one is on a road to their own obsolescence. But at Optmyzr, we see automation (and its cousins, artificial intelligence and machine learning) as empowerment for smart PPC pros who want to become PPC rockstars. 

Today, our view of automation is manifested in our newest product to hit the market – Optmyzr Campaign Automator. We formally introduced this standalone SaaS-based software offering via a news release and social media. Campaign Automator is ideal for building and maintaining campaigns based on a feed of structured data (think about inventory feed and the value starts to become quite clear).

Campaign Automator is an exciting new tool in the PPC expert’s toolkit, and it dovetails elegantly with our broader PPC Management Suite. Campaign automator allows you to build and maintain PPC campaigns, particularly for inventory-specific initiatives. Consider businesses such as auto dealerships, travel agencies, home goods retailers, or eCommerce programs that have constantly changing, deep attribute-based aspects that impact what, how, when, and to whom you market. 

A sudden jump in SUV or truck inventory means a car dealership will want to reach those buyers actively searching for specific attributes about heavy duty vehicles. You’ll want to advertise only those vehicles that are in stock or be more aggressive on perhaps those that are overstocked. Similarly an eCommerce provider that has a surge (or slump) in inventory for very specific product sets may have a sudden need to sell more window fans and patio furniture as opposed to last week’s surge in loveseats and ottomans. 

Campaign Automator At-A-Glance

Here’s a quick view of how campaign automator works: We start with specific templates for the business or product type. It builds all the necessary elements, including campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords and extensions. 

Simply connect your data source with one of our templates. Your feed could be an inventory spreadsheet in Google Sheets or a Merchant Feed or multiple other sources such as an XML feed, FTP or even Amazon S3. 

A really intuitive UI makes setting up campaigns a snap.

Then continue through the setup process to easily define the campaign, keywords and ads – all of which is template driven. 

Campaign Automator also allows you to set up very specific inventory-based conditions to help manage the data in the spreadsheet.

You can manage campaigns based on any attribute that is part of your source data – product type, color, discount amounts, geographies, and many others. These conditions can automate pauses in ad groups, keywords and ads when certain thresholds are met, such as inventory = 0 or a specific color is out of stock or you’ve run through the inventory you want to discount.

Here’s an example of how one can quickly create dynamic PPC ads for a car dealership.  

Integration with Other Optmyzr Tools

Yes, it’s standalone – but Campaign Automator integrates with other Optmyzr tools, such as Rule Engine and Bid Management. It even integrates with Google Smart Bidding tools. The result is a powerful set of tools that allows the PPC pro to get campaigns up and running faster, make bulk changes quickly and accurately, and advertise only those items that meet specific criteria. 

Campaign Automator also provides significant manual override, allowing the PPC pro to put his or her expertise to work quickly and easily. You’ll get better ads – faster – when you take advantage of the automation and unprecedented control. PPC pros can cut out wasted ad spend and gain flexible, powerful reporting to make smarter decisions, faster. 

Automation And Your Future

We’ve been talking about automation a lot over the last several months, because it has such a tremendous impact on our ability to market smarter, faster and more effectively. It’s also important to note that we don’t envision a future where machines do everything in PPC. But by automating tasks and the busy work of search marketing, we encourage PPC pros to up their strategic game and demonstrate a more holistic value to the organization. 

Our automations help you take advantage of the advancements happening at Google and Bing – but they also help you focus less on the tasks and more on the strategy. Machines are great. People are great. But people + machines is always better. 

Ride the wave of automation. It’s not a threat. It’s an opportunity.

Why Smart Bidding and Last-Click Attribution are a Dangerous Combination

Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation are three trending topics in the industry today. It’s an accepted fact that automation is here to stay so it’s our job to learn how to make the most of it for our PPC accounts. In my book “Digital Marketing in an AI World”, I explain that one of the roles humans will have to play when their old job has been automated is that of the “PPC Doctor”: someone who knows the right medicine for their patient and who also understands potentially dangerous interactions. This post covers one such interaction that can lead to disastrous results in PPC.

We’re talking here about Google Ads’ smart bidding strategies. Even though they’re designed to help advertisers reach a determined goal, they lack the human intuition for understanding how to deal with gray areas, and are prone to bad decisions when they’re fed bad data. Specifically, they can do major damage to accounts that are using last-click attribution (LCA) models.

Understanding Last-Click Attribution Model

Last-Click is one of the 6 different attribution models offered by Google Ads. It gives all the credit to the ad and keyword which was last clicked before a conversion.

For example, let’s say you are advertising athletic shoes. There’s a sequence of queries done by a user that goes something like this: “Sneakers” > “Running Shoes” > “Adidas Running Shoes” and finally they search for “Ultraboost 19”. This is just a simple example to illustrate that users tend to start with broad queries and get more specific as they get to understand what it is they might want to buy.

If your campaign is using the Last-Click attribution (LCA) model, then all the credit for the conversion will be given to the ad shown for the final query: “Ultraboost 19”, and no credit will be given to any of the queries that preceded it.

Conversion Funnels and LCA

So why is this so bad? When you give all the credit to the last-clicked ad/keyword, it’s like saying you don’t think there was any value to all the queries along the way that helped the user become aware and familiar with your offering. You’re assuming the user would have discovered to search for “Ultraboost 19” without having been exposed to any of your other ads. This is generally a false assumption, especially for consumers who are not very familiar with your brand and its latest offerings.

Consumers today have more interactions than ever before with brands while researching what to buy. Brands that are not present at the earlier stages of a user’s discovery process may not be in contention to win their business later down the line.

So using last-click attribution would mean that “Sneakers”, “Running Shoes” or “Adidas Running Shoes” are assigned no value.

Attribution Models Inform Optimizations

Why is it so important to assign the correct value? Doesn’t the attribution model just change the numbers in reports? The answer is ‘no,’ the attribution model populates the conversion and conversion value metrics and most account managers rely on these to decide where to allocate their budgets, where to change bids, what queries to add as keywords, and what negative keywords to add.

This could all be okay if a human was managing all this manually. For example, while the lack of conversions for a keyword like ‘sneakers’ might normally be grounds for a bid reduction, an account manager would likely realize that they’d still want to bid for this keyword. Human judgment would win out over purely following some logical rules and the account might do fine.

But like I said before, automation is increasingly doing more of the day-to-day account management and it lacks the human judgment that averted disaster in this scenario of an advertiser using last-click attribution.

Smart Bidding + Last-Click Attribution

When last-click attribution is being used, the keywords “Sneakers”, “Running Shoes” or “Adidas Running Shoes” from the example above, will be reported as non-converting, although they are still valuable keywords because they help consumers unfamiliar with your brand discover your brand’s offerings as they do their research.

Now here’s where results can get really bad… by combining bid automation with last-click attribution. The job of automated bidding, like target CPA (tCPA) or target ROAS (tROAS) bidding from Google, is to calculate the appropriate CPC that is needed for the ad to enter the auction.

The ‘right’ CPC is determined one of two ways:

  1. For tCPA, Google uses the predicted conversion rate to calculate CPC
  2. For tROAS, Google uses the predicted conversion value for a click to set the CPC

But if the attribution model hasn’t been assigning conversions to upper-funnel searches, it will predict that conversion rate will be low and that the value per click will be low. So now the automated bidding system will start to reduce bids for these upper funnel keywords. And eventually bids will get so low that the ads may stop showing altogether.

This is bad because it means you’re reducing the volume of prospects who will be exposed to your brand at earlier stages. Eventually your funnel just dries up and the only sales you’re left with are those from people who already knew your brand and products very well — the people who knew to search for “Ultraboost 19”.

Final Thoughts

Considering the significant risk of making bad decisions for the reasons explained above, we advise all our customers to switch away from using Last-Click attribution. If anything, simply switch to a time-decay model which is most similar to last-click while still giving some value to all stages of the funnel.

When it comes to automations like smart bidding strategies, or automated bids using another platform, knowing how they interact with your measurement systems is an absolute must if you want to avert an account blowup.

How to Quickly get Started with RSAs for your Google Ads Account

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) were announced by Google Ads last year and are now available for all advertisers globally. This new ad format allows you to enter up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, all of which should work together to produce a compelling ad.

Responsive Search Ads

If you’ve been holding off on adding RSAs to all your ad groups because the process of coming up with 15 great headlines and 4 descriptions is too time-consuming, Optmyzr has a great time-saving tool to help. It suggests ad text components from your existing expanded text ads and allows quick edits across entire campaigns. This post will show you how the RSA Builder from Optmyzr can help you quickly deploy RSAs across all the accounts and campaigns you manage.

What are Responsive Search Ads

For this new ad format, Google Ads’ system uses machine learning (ML) to put together the best combination of headlines and descriptions, taken from the ad text components you’ve provided. By having multiple headlines and descriptions to work with, your ad’s message can be better tailored to each user’s unique query, thereby reaching more potential customers.

This Responsive Search Ad format also adapts very well to different devices and has the potential to increase the overall ad group performance.

At Optmyzr we’re committed to making PPC account management as simple and hassle-free as possible, so to help with this new ad format, we created the Responsive Search Ad Builder, which works by gathering the ad components from your current expanded text ads and using them to generate suggestions for the headlines and descriptions that’ll be contained in your new Responsive Search Ads.

The way it works is straightforward, you’ll first choose the campaign to work on, and which source we should use to suggest new ad text components. You’ll also see the option to add more headlines and/or descriptions (up to 15H and 4D) and modify the path 1 & 2, and the final URL. As always, nothing will be created or uploaded without your final approval.

One of the great benefits of our tool is that you can approve all new RSAs at once or review them one by one, and then upload them in bulk directly to your Google Ads account.

Responsive Search Ads are a great way to display more relevant ads and improve your reach to more prospective customers, by helping you compete in more auctions that would otherwise require creating multiple ads. We explained the incremental nature of RSAs in our monthly column on Search Engine Land.

How to create RSAs with Optmyzr

To get started you’ll be selecting the campaign to work on, and how we’ll be suggesting new ad text components. This can be either from all active ads in the campaign or all active ads within the same ad group, the latter being the most common and recommended option.

Once you’ve selected which settings to use, you’ll go straight into the tool where you’ll have all the ad groups displayed to the left side and all the ad components towards the right side. The ad groups marked with orange have not been reviewed, and therefore no changes will be made. Once you edit, review and approve the changes, they will turn to green, which means they’ll be added to the list of RSAs to be uploaded.

The suggestions showed for headlines and descriptions can be modified for only that ad group, of for every ad group which is using that piece of text. This makes a great way for bulk edit and creation of RSAs. Likewise, you can add a new headline or description and in the same way use it only for that ad group, or for all ad groups.

Once you’ve edited and approved the ads you want to upload, simply press on “Review and Upload Approved Ads” and you’ll see a final summary of what will be created. From then, and with your approval, your changes will go live in Google Ads.

Optmyzr’s Responsive Search Ads Builder is a great way of making bulk modifications and RSA creation across your campaigns. It’s time-saving, simple to use and very convenient, as it would otherwise take much longer to do this process one by one.

You can see a speed comparison video here:

SMX Advanced 2019: Automation & Machine Learning Take Center Stage

Search marketing is at an interesting place in its evolution. The industry is maturing, but at the same time evolving at speeds more like a Silicon Valley startup. We find ourselves in the midst of yet another era of hyper-fast innovation and change, leaving marketers with a whole new set of challenges to figure out.

That’s why it’s great that we get industry leaders together at many conferences throughout the year, including SMX Advanced in Seattle next week. These conferences help keep us all on top of everything new. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are creating opportunities to automate many of the core functions of search marketing.

All of this can be exciting – and overwhelming – for search marketers and PPC rockstars who have to adapt to changes on the fly. Many are left wondering if they will even have a role in PPC or if they’ll be automated out of a job.

Machines + People: More Essential Than Ever

The Optmyzr team devotes a significant portion of our time staying on top of the innovations, changes and opportunities happening at breakneck speed.

I’ll be presenting during a couple of deep-dive sessions at SMX in Seattle June 4 & 5. Tuesday afternoon, Brad Geddes, Duane Brown and I will chair a discussion entitled “Automation: The Next Generation.” It’s always a pleasure to be on stages and webcasts with these two top professionals. We’ll preview what’s ahead for more automation as machines help the search engines and third-party providers like Optmyzr streamline the tasks associated with PPC.

Wednesday I’ll be on stage with Susan Wenograd, one of the new senior leaders at Aimclear. Susan and I will conduct the Advanced SEM Clinic to close out the morning sessions. Among key topics, we’ll explore the role of automation, AI, and machine learning to help PPC pros understand their opportunities in SEM moving forward.

The Impact of Automation on PPC

A few key things come to mind as we prepare for yet another important industry conference. Mentioned earlier, search marketers understandably look at the future with excitement, mixed with some angst. After all, robots and automation have rendered a lot of manufacturing jobs obsolete. Is the same outcome inevitable in our space?

Not likely. Here are a few things to consider:  

First, let’s look at smart bidding. This process was ripe for automation and, thanks to innovations at Google and Bing (and Optmyzr), much of it is automated. Exploring a bit deeper, though, the need for a different, more strategic human role is evident. Smart bidding is far from “set-it-and-forget-it.” In fact, Google now offers MORE levers for advertisers to better inform bid automation that matters to specific business types.

Take, for example, the deeper abilities to manage seasonal bid adjustments, conversion value rules, creating separate conversion goals by campaign. Machines can only do so much for each of these. The smart PPC pro can apply his or her time and knowledge on much more strategic aspects of bid management. Rather than schlepping through tasks, the PPC pro can actually apply more energy to higher level strategy.

Second, it’s clear that in-platform management of campaigns is becoming much easier and automated. In many instances, more junior level PPC pros can run the majority of campaigns without any real challenge.

Managing across platforms, however, is becoming quite challenging. Google, Bing, Amazon – they are all creating walled gardens to keep people in their system. Tools like Optmyzr help bridge those gaps and make it easier to optimize across the platforms and see the connections and comparisons to help them make more informed decisions to boost performance in total. Insights gleaned from performance in one platform will be tapped for actions in another. No more walls.

Third, as more point solution automation options become available, PPC pros must figure out the interaction of seemingly disparate automations. Think about the challenge of figuring out how good responsive search ads are. On the surface, it seems RSAs offer lower conversion rates. But they also automate against entirely new queries, so the gains are strictly incremental. It takes a PPC rockstar to think beyond the singular metric when multiple automations may be at play – and find value others may miss.

Here’s another example: What happens with smart bidding if you also have an automation that turns campaigns off before the end of day? Is there a risk that the smart bidding system may have been holding back spend for later in the day, but the automated shut-off interfered with that action? The human expert is required to assess the deep-in-the-weeds strategy and understand the interplay of automations and potential consequences.

Futureproof YOUR Agency & Career

Automation is exciting, intimidating, challenging, even troublesome – but in total it’s a great thing for our industry and the humans who can connect the dots. Smart PPC pros are the ones who will embrace the innovations that are fueled by AI and machine learning. They’ll understand their value in the equation Machines + People = Better.

If you are attending SMX in Seattle, I hope to see you in one of my sessions or in a hallway or networking session. Invest your time at the event to map out your future in our industry.

And shameless plug time! A reminder that my new book (which has already become a best seller in the Online Advertising category on Amazon), “Digital Marketing in an AI World: Futureproofing Your PPC Agency” is now available on Amazon. I plan to have a few copies with me at SMX. The book digs deeper into the AI revolution in our industry and provides a tangible guide for PPC pros to claim their space in the next frontier of PPC. I hope you check it out.

See you in Seattle!

Fred’s Book for PPC Rockstars is Out! Digital Marketing in an AI World

The Optmyzr team is excited to see our cofounding CEO, Fred Vallaeys, publish a new book: “Digital Marketing in an AI World”. It’s now out and available on Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback.

Book cover of Digital Marketing in an AI World by Frederick Vallaeys and Optmyzr

The book explores the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning – specifically how it is changing the world for PPC professionals. We see this book as a survive-and-THRIVE guide for PPC pros navigating a universe where some fear being automated right into obsolescence.

As Fred shares in his book, the new AI era is actually a time of unprecedented opportunity for PPC pros who aspire to be PPC rockstars. We’ve been saying for a long time that machines and AI are amazing and can do things humans cannot do. But machines PLUS humans makes an even more powerful force. Fred’s book is essential for PPC pros at agencies and in-house alike.

At the core, AI and machine learning certainly eliminate tasks and automate the tasks that should be automated. Smart PPC pros are the ones who use that automation to redirect their energy and attention to chart bold new strategies and spend more time on the strategic, human elements of marketing.

Fred’s book is out on Amazon today at special introductory pricing. Order between now and Friday, May 31, 2019, and get the Kindle version for an introductory price of $0.99. The Kindle price returns to full retail of only $9.99 on June 1, and the paperback version is available for $15.99. �

If you are attending SMX in Seattle, Fred will host an advanced SEM clinic, which promises to be a don’t-miss session. He’ll have copies of the book with him available for purchase (and we think he’ll even sign those copies!).

PPC pros who want to up their game and turn uncertainty into opportunity as a PPC rockstar should invest in this book. It may very well have a transformational impact on your PPC career.

What Was Announced at Google Marketing Live 2019

Sitting in the front of the main keynote today, it’s clear Google Marketing Live is an essential experience for anyone who works in the PPC trenches. Let’s face it – Google Ads will continue to change at breakneck pace and introduce changes that can make or break a PPC pro’s next few months. It’s essential to stay on top of what is announced by Google at their premier event for marketers.

This year’s event has a lot of focus around new ad experiences for users, the latest on video experiences, branding, and (of course) the mobile web and apps. We’re here to make sure the Optmyzr team is on top of the evolution to continually push powerful automation tools to help you continue to strive for PPC rockstar status. Read our tweets and see videos we took at the keynote.

Here are some of our initial key takeaways from the day 1 keynote in San Francisco.

New Experiences to Satisfy Consumer Expectations

With such a huge chunk of search activity happening on smartphones, and to a lesser degree voice assistants with screens — what Google refers to as ‘surfaces’ —  consumers are increasingly interacting more with Google on smaller screens. The consumer is expecting ever-improving quality in the results – not just in terms of information received, but in the overall experience. When the screen is smaller, the information — including ads — has to be better.

Your brand’s presence in those results (paid, in particular) is critical. The small screen is also becoming a primary content and video consumption hub for hundreds of millions of people. Google responded with the expanded offering of Shopping Ads to YouTube and Google Discover. Coming mid summer, the expanded opportunities with Shopping Ads will allow for broader distribution of immersive search ad experiences for the consumer.

Google also announced entirely redesigned search experiences for retail and travel and both have ways to let advertisers connect with prospective new customers. Google Discover helps consumers discover must-buy products while consuming a feed. The redesigned Google Travel experience which is launching today offers ways for travel advertisers to find more buyers for experiences, hotel rooms, and flights.

They also announced Gallery Ads, a more visual ad format for the ‘absolute top’ position ads on mobile searches.

Smart(er) Bidding

Of course, we’re talking one of our favorite topics! (and the Optmyzr team will be busy quickly incorporating the latest from Google). Google Ads unveiled new capabilities for smart bidding that allow PPC pros to choose desired conversion actions for optimization at the campaign level.

Those action sets can then be applied across campaigns. Other new bidding capabilities include:

Really cool in this is the ability to set rules that will make it easier to adapt conversion values by audience type and then fine-tune bids according to specific value.

Insights and Information

Machine learning and AI continue to fuel so much of the innovation coming out of Google. The company is deepening offerings that will make it easier to:

We’re particularly keen on applying the latest from Google into the Optmyzr platform to help PPC pros connect the dots in a growing avalanche of data and insight. Being able to explain why a machine learning system made certain decisions and then using that insight across other clients will be a big win for advertisers.

Campaign/Program Management & Measurement

The more things get “automated” the more complex and challenging they can be. Google is introducing some interesting management functions designed to put more control in the PPC pro’s hands. Specifically, we got a glimpse into some interesting new tools & functionality, ideally to help:

Measurement is also front and center this year. The Google team is tackling:

Even by Google standards, the latter elements create some of the most challenging problems to solve.

More to Come

The topics and news coming out of Google today are far reaching and will have a huge impact on our industry throughout 2019. A small sampling of other news/topics includes:

The Optmyzr team is on the ground here and taking in everything we can (while putting our Google roots to good use to get great front-row seats as well as networking with the Who’s Who in the land of Google for even deeper insights). Look for more detailed recaps in the days following GML, and we’ll be crafting our own solutions to help you extract the greatest value from the ever-expanding set of tools in Google.

PPC Automation Is Alive And Well. Are You Missing An Opportunity?

Are you wasting time working on tasks that could be automated?

That’s the exact question I asked myself several years ago, before making the switch from a manual account management process to an automated one.

Conversion Hut is slightly different to most marketing agencies. We only focus on two areas – PPC Ads and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Our agency has a diverse portfolio of clients and before moving to a more automated business model, our clients were more than happy with the consistent performance improvements that they were receiving.

However, where we were running into difficulty was when we were trying to focus more on the overall strategy for the accounts. Including testing new types of campaigns as well as consistent landing page testing and optimization.

All of this just wasn’t possible in the time allotted for every client, each month.

I looked at the client schedules and could see the amount of time being used was primarily the housekeeping tasks rather than tasks which could provide real growth.

My theory was that by reducing the amount of time we spent on general tasks by replacing it with automation, we could then spend more time focusing on the big shiny things.

So in true Conversion Hut style, we thought “Let’s test it”.

Let’s test switching to a predominantly automated PPC management agency which would allow us to spend more time on aspects that were really going to move the needle and less time on things that could be done with little human interaction.

If we could save time and still maintain our high quality standards, this would be a win for us.

What Happened Next?

To be quite honest, it transformed our company.

Tasks that would usually take a few hours each day, were instead done in minutes.

And instead of spending less time on things like strategy and conversion rate optimization, we were now spending the majority of our time doing them.

The Current Situation

At the moment there seems to be people on two sides of the fence when it comes to automation.

People that prefer to do everything manually, because they don’t want to lose any control. And then there’s the people that harness the power of automation and understand that you’re still in full control.

Our tool of choice for our PPC automation is Optmyzr.

We’re fully aware that there are plenty of tools available on the market that offer a similar service. But for us, Optmyzr does everything we could possibly want it to and more.

In this blog post i’m going to cover some of the different tasks that we automate and how our company benefits as a result.

The topics that we will cover are as follows :

  1. Keyword Bidding
  2. New Keywords
  3. Ad Testing
  4. Bid Modifications
  5. Shopping Campaigns

Keyword Bidding

Bidding effectively is the holy grail of PPC management.

It can really make or break a campaigns performance.

However, it’s extremely time consuming as well as requiring to be done regularly. In some cases, even daily.

Because of this, it can take up the majority of time that account managers have.

Which is more than likely why a lot of the agencies out there have opted for using one of Google’s automated bidding strategies for their clients.

For most of our clients, we can’t see the same performance improvement that we can by doing keyword bidding manually, which is why we haven’t gone down that path.

The automated bidding tool that we use can adjust bids for thousands of keywords in seconds. And unlike Google’s technology, we’re actually defining the rules that the bids are set to.

So for our ecommerce clients we can define an ROAS that we want to try and meet from each keyword.

We can also set those rules on a product basis if we like. So if one group of keywords needs a target ROAS that’s higher or lower, we can customise our bids accordingly.

Alternatively, for lead generation and SAAS companies we can adjust bids based on a target CPA that we’re trying to hit.

An example ‘recipe’.

We can also specify the amount of conversions a keyword must have before we make a change as well as making sure the keyword bid hasn’t been adjusted in a certain time period (i.e. 7 days).

There’s one more really important capability that was a game changer for us.

The lookback window.

We can set multiple lookback date ranges for each rule that we create, so that we can find out when keywords met a predefined rule.

For instance, we may adjust the date range from 7 day, 14 day, 30 day, 60 day and so on, until it matches our rule.

Once it does, that’s the data it uses to adjust the bid.

For one person to do this manually, would almost certainly be a full time job for some accounts.

As i’m sure you can see already, automated bidding can save hours of manual work.

But that hasn’t scratched the service of what automation can do just yet.

New Keywords

Any account manager knows that adding new keywords is a basic part of PPC management.

By continuously adding new relevant keywords to an account, it will help increase traffic and sales.

The downside is that it takes time to do. Quite a bit of time for most accounts.

Here’s the usual manual process for adding new keywords :

  1. Load up the search terms report for the last 30 days.
  2. Look for keywords which have driven clicks.
  3. If a search term looks like a good addition, add it to a list to include.
  4. Once complete, add the new keywords including each match type to the relevant adgroups.
  5. For those keywords which require their own adgroups, create a new adgroup.
  6. Add keywords and different match types.
  7. Create new ads
  8. If there isn’t a relevant landing page, create one.
  9. Publish.

Woah.

Looking back at it now, that’s a lengthy process and i can’t believe we used to spend all that time doing it!

What Happens Now?

Now we can pre-define criteria for new keywords that we want to add to an account.

We may say that we require a minimum number of clicks, impressions, conversions or quality score before we decide to include it in a campaign.

We’ll then see a list of suggestions to include and we can pick and choose what we would like to go with.

We can quickly duplicate the keyword and adjust the matchtype so we have various versions. We then click the add button and they’re added to our adgroups.

What about if we need to create a new adgroup?

That’s no problem either, we can specify that the new keywords need to go into their own single adgroup and it will create them automatically.

This also includes pulling the ads in from the adgroup where their clicks came from.

Ad Testing

Nothing can improve the performance of a PPC campaign more than consistent Ad testing.

Although working your way through each campaign regularly to weed out the under-performers and highflyers is fairly time consuming.

Previously we used to this with the use of a script that would tell us when an ad became the “winner” based on a limited amount of settings that we could define.

I think the term to refer to that process was it was ‘fine’. It kind of did what we wanted it to do, with some customisation.

How Our Ad Testing Looks Like Now

Within Optmyzr we can quickly jump into the A/B testing for Ads report and see if there are any ad tests that have reached statistical significance.

We can choose the date ranges to look at as well as them ad performance from specific campaigns.

We can even select the test result confidence level that we want for an ad to be a statistically significant winner.

We can also set the amount of impressions an ad must have before even including it in the analysis.

Additionally, we can choose whether we want to set a winner based on Conversions, Conversions by Impressions or CTR.

We can quickly see how ads KPI’s are performing

Because of this, our ad testing has moved up to a whole new level.

We easily save at least 4 hours of PPC management for each client per month from this feature alone.

And because we’re applying the criteria before calling something a winner, it’s far more accurate (in my opinion) than doing this manually.

Where this tool really comes into its own is when it comes to pausing the losing ads.

When we’re ready to pause an ad, we can also create a new ad at the same time.

But that’s not all.

The feature will also tell us the best performing copy from historical data, to use on each of the various Ad elements.

Next Steps

Right now we’re testing using a new feature in Optmyzr which allows us to quickly analyse and compare the ad performance data based on the various ad components (Headlines 1,2,3 + Descriptions 1,2 etc).

This works great for big accounts that have lots of adgroups but don’t necessarily receive lots of clicks. Where reaching any conclusions from the data would take a long time to do.

Our account managers can now quickly see how specific copy is performing across all campaigns or individual campaigns. We can even segment by device to see how the performance changes between them.

This works brilliant for us.  

When working with medium to large accounts, this process takes a huge amount of time to do. Now we can see this data in seconds.

Bid Modifications

Since bid modifications were introduced, they’ve really helped make optimization more granular.

However to do this effectively, we previously needed to work our way through each of our clients campaigns and make the adjustments manually where we thought we could improve performance.

Since moving to Optmyzr, we’ve definitely streamlined this process and picked out some of their best features to make this happen.

We use their suite of tools that are made to assist with Bid Modifiers, in particular for Geo, Device and Audiences.

The method we use is called Intelligent Suggest, which from the name you’ll probably be able to gather that it gives you the recommended modifications based on your goals.

It uses machine learning to provide the suggestions, which includes an array of different factors.

We can then see a predicted performance improvement if the changes that are suggested are applied to the campaigns.

Each of the different modifications that can be made, can be broken down further to be more granular.

So rather than just adjust Device bids at the campaign level, we can adjust them at the adgroup level instead.

We can see each of the proposed changes to made and make our own changes should we wish.

To compile and apply this data would take hours for a human to do, but using automation, it’s done and applied within seconds. The only time involved is clarifying the changes that are being made.

Shopping Campaigns

Google Shopping Campaigns are huge at the moment and there’s no sign of them slowing down.  With new features being released frequently, it’s a great time to be using them.

However, when it comes to Google Shopping Campaign Optimization, there’s a huge amount of factors that are involved to not only setup a campaign effectively, but then turning those campaigns into revenue generating machines.

By default, Shopping Campaigns load of all of the products from the product feed into a single product group.

But this isn’t the best way of implementing a shopping campaign, as you’re effectively bidding the same on all products.

So for instance, you could have a product with a retail price fo $500 and that would have the same bid as a product with a retail price of $10.

Implementing campaigns like this is unlikely going to get the results that we want.

When it comes to the shopping campaigns we create, we always apply the One Product Adgroup method.

What’s involved here is creating an individual adgroup for each of our products that are in our product feed.

That way we have much more control over not only our bids, but our bid modifications too (as well as many others).

Prior to using Optmyzr, we used to do it all manually with the help of excel.

To say it was time consuming would be an understatement.

Using Optmyzr, we can quickly build campaigns based on our product feeds in seconds.

We can choose if we want to build the product groups based on a number of different attributes including :

What Optmyzr helps us do is take the time out of creating campaigns and give us more time to manage them strategically.

There’s also some additional tools that they offer to help with managing the campaigns.

The Biggest Mistakes Made With Automation

We asked Fred Vallaeys, Cofounding CEO of Optmyzer what he thought the biggest mistakes people make when moving to automated PPC management :

  1. Automations still need to be monitored. I.e. Do NOT set-it-and-forget-it. For example, a Google Ads script authorization could expire which means it stops running. Now that automated script that you thought would prevent you from spending more than the client’s budget isn’t actually running and you miss the budget.

  2. Automations require reliable inputs. For example, if you have automated bidding but your web server goes down and clicks are leading to a 404 page where no conversions are possible, it will start to reduce bids, perhaps so low that you no longer qualify for page 1. Then when the server is fixed, ads linger on page 2 and your conversions aren’t restored.

  3. Automations need complete instructions. For example, if you tell a bid system to maximize conversions but you set no bounds on maximum CPA, it can buy some very expensive conversions. If you don’t distinguish between different types of conversions, some of which are more valuable, it may buy too many of the low value conversions.

The Robots Do As We Say Not The Other Way Round

As i’m sure you’ll agree with what we have covered in this article, automation isn’t just about giving full control to the robots and letting them go and do as they please.

We still have the final say over what happens in our accounts. Any changes that are made, we can decide whether to make them or not.

As well as that, the room for error in the changes that we do is so much lower than if it were to be doing them manually. Humans being humans, can have off-days and make errors in the optimization that they are doing.

Agencies seem to be fairly divided when it comes to used automated tools or not.

We think it’s a no-brainer for allowing our campaign managers to spend less time on the housekeeping and more time on the big-wins for our clients.

I think main question here is what would you rather, a campaign manager that’s snowed under doing day to day tasks with no time to spend on growing clients accounts?

Or a campaign manager that has a surplus of time, that they can use to focus on making more money for them?

PPC automation is being adopted by successful agencies across the world in some shape or form. So this isn’t really a question about if you’re going to use it. It’s about when you’re going to start using it.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the benefits of PPC automation and been able to see the amount of time that it can save as well as the improvement in performance.

I’d love to hear your experience with PPC Automation. Please feel free to reach out with your comments or questions.

Inventory Filters in Google Shopping Campaigns

Using inventory filters in Google Shopping campaigns becomes a necessity if you have different campaigns for different categories or brands of products. In this blog post, I’ll talk about what inventory filters are, when they should be used and how to set them up.

What are inventory filters?

When you set up a shopping campaign, the entire feed that is associated with the campaign and becomes the universe of that campaign. Inventory filters help you reduce the size of this universe for the campaign by restricting the products that are eligible to be advertised in it. When you set up an inventory filter for a campaign, it is your way of saying which products should be targeted in that campaign. For example, if you have a feed that has four different product types (shoes, t-shirts, pants, caps) and you want to create a separate campaign for each of them then you will set up four different campaigns and use inventory filters.

When to use inventory filters?

Inventory filters are set up at the campaign level so the most common use case to use them is when you want to create different campaigns for different groups of products like product lines or categories. Continuing from the example above, if you want a different campaign for each product type (shoes, t-shirts, pants, caps), inventory filters are the right way to do it. Having different campaigns helps manage budgets separately and have different targeting.

Why are inventory filters important?

As mentioned earlier, when you set up a shopping campaign in Google Ads, the entire feed becomes part of the campaign it is linked to. If you’re setting up multiple Google Ads shopping campaigns, then the only reliable way to prevent campaigns from competing with each other and duplication is to set up inventory filters. A common mistake is to create multiple campaigns and then manually exclude products that should not be advertised in a campaign. However, this is a very tedious task and prone to human error. Also, it is difficult to automatically refresh shopping campaigns to keep them in sync with the feed. 

How to set them up?

Inventory filters can be set up in campaign settings in Google Ads. They can only be set up to include products with a certain attribute. For example, ‘Product Type’ is . It cannot be set up to be a partial match (contains) or to not match (does not contain).

Need help managing Google Shopping campaigns? Take a look at the tools Optmyzr has.

What happens after Average Position is gone

Google Ads has announced it will no longer report on ‘average position’ later this year. To learn more about this change, check out my post on Search Engine Land. Optmyzr can help make the transition smoother as one of the most frequently used original AdWords metrics sails into the sunset later this year.

 

Average Position in Reports

When the ‘average position’ metric disappears from all reports, Optmyzr will automatically handle this in scheduled, automated reports. Specific details will be shared as we get closer to the sunset date but we plan to make this a seamless transition for our customers.

 

For example, any report templates that include the ‘average position’ metric will continue to work even if you don’t make any change. We will simply remove the metric that is no longer supported by Google so that your reports will continue to be delivered uninterrupted to your clients and stakeholders.

 

Average Position in Rule Engine Recipes

Some advertisers have used the Optmyzr Rule Engine to automate a bid-to-position strategy that relies on ‘average position.’ Rules that contain the deprecated metric will stop working when Google no longer reports average position because any comparisons will fail. In other words, if your rule says to change a bid if the average position > 2, that comparison against ‘greater than 2’ will fail so the rule will be broken.

 

To make the transition easier, advertisers who have active rules that are impacted� will receive a notification from us as we get closer to the date in September when average position will no longer be available.

 

Alternatives to Average Position in Automated Rules

The Optmyzr Rule Engine can still be used to change bids (among many other things it can automate) based on position goals. Instead of using the ‘average position’, you can use one of the newer metrics like ‘Impression (Absolute Top) %’.

 

For example, for a brand term where you’d like your ad to be in first position and appear above the organic results, you could check if the impressions at the absolute top are close to 100%. If they are not, this could be because your bid or quality score (QS) are too low. Remember Google has a top promotion threshold and if you’re below that level, even if your ad is ranked first, it won’t be eligible to show at the top of the page. So if you then find that QS is good (7 or higher), you could boost your bid to try and cross the threshold to get your ad at the top.

 

The beauty of the Rule Engine is that you have the ultimate flexibility in turning your optimization process into an easily repeatable automation that you can deploy quickly across all your accounts. The example above is just one way to do it but our hope is that you will leverage the full power of the tool to help you manage accounts the way you like.

 

What’s next

Optmyzr is committed to building tools to make PPC pros more efficient and that includes making this transition to a post-average position world easier, and offering alternative ways to achieve your position-based goals. Stay tuned for more details soon.

PPC in 2019: The Year YOU Reach Rockstar Status

As an industry, we made huge strides in pay-per-click automation during 2018. It really was a transformational year for PPC pros, agencies and the brands we serve.

There are tremendous opportunities on the horizon for PPC pros who are forward thinking and eager to recalibrate their own role and value in the PPC value chain. Yet many PPC pros today are perhaps a bit flummoxed about what the future holds for them, as Google and Bing are seemingly automating the PPC pro out of existence.

The PPC pro’s rapidly shifting role will be a huge topic of discussion on this blog and other outlets as we move through 2019. Our team is in the trenches daily crafting functionality, scripts and concepts that will help you – the PPC pro – transform into a PPC rockstar due, in large part, to ongoing automation within the big engines.

Building on Automation & Innovation in 2018

Q1 of 2019 kicks off with amazing PPC automation momentum that welled up during 2018. A scan of 2018’s most-read Search Engine Land contributed posts shows extraordinary interest in automation and other new functionality designed to eliminate tasks associated with PPC. �

Examples among the top posts include an interesting piece by Daniel Gilbert that showcases the power of scripts to automate ways to quickly fix low quality scores. (As you know, scripts are a key element of Optmyzr’s push to make the most out of automation.) While Google and Bing continue to automate so much of the upfront aspects of PPC, smart pros will take their script game to new heights in 2019. Scripts can be daunting if you haven’t dabbled in them before. But even for those versed in using scripts, they can almost certainly be used to an even greater degree to make the most of the daily advancements available natively in the engines as well as PPC management software like Optmyzr.

We love seeing innovative script ideas from our peers in the industry. It keeps our script artisans on our toes to continually craft new and innovative scripts to crush tasks and foster greater strategic thinking among PPC practitioners. In fact, subscribers to Optmyzr have long had access to a script just like Daniel’s and now we’ve added a tool for pausing low QS keywords as a One-Click Optimization™ so it’s easier than ever to use.

[Optmyzr Screen Cap][4]
_Optmyzr subscribers can easily create custom rules or copy one of the many we’ve already created as instant recipes. This one identifies and pauses low quality score keywords that are not driving any conversions._

Our team was pleased to see Optmyzr twice in the Top-10 SEL posts. We dove into some of the core things Google Ads can now do automatically and we examined close match variant changes that challenged and elevated capabilities for marketers and providers alike.

Core in all of the discussions, whether about automation or other industry advancements, those of us writing about critical topics focused a lot of energy and attention on helping PPC pros view new dynamics as opportunity versus a threat to your long-term viability.

Interestingly enough in 2018, some of the mainstream press started paying a _little _more attention and respect to the oft-misunderstood and underappreciated role of PPC. It was attention fueled, perhaps in part, by the significant role of buzzworthy concepts like AI and machine learning. Even Forbes included coverage this past year that started to unlock the mysteries of PPC and its potential to the broader business community. Writer Tom Chalmers took steps to help our business brethren connect dots between AI, automation and a more integrated view of marketing/content/PPC, in general. While not a deep piece, it was good to see PPC addressed in Forbes!

Of course, the old school marketing/advertising media outlets like Ad Age and others still seem to view PPC as an odd, distant step-relative to old school marketing. A search of “PPC” on the Ad Age site yields a couple of results from two years ago. Such apathy within “mainstream” marketing underscores opportunity for smart PPC pros to elevate to rockstar status in 2019.

Read on for a taste of what we’ll be talking about in the months ahead….

Automation, AI/Machine Learning – Buzz or Brave New World?

Some of the words we (our industry) use are perhaps beginning to take on very similar and sometimes diluted meanings in our space. To an extent, we’re all guilty of buzz-ifying our industry when we talk about concepts like AI and machine learning – and in the process, even the smartest of pros can struggle to figure out what these concepts really mean for our shared future.

The reality, though, artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation dovetail in many ways to create unprecedented opportunity for PPC innovators. Few other marketers can quantify their impact on the business as a PPC expert. Few others are at the center of the storm where purchase-intent consumers are stampeding toward the bottom of the funnel, ready to convert. Few others can connect the dots between the content, words, images that people see in different channels and search for every day.

As a result, the PPC rockstar in 2019 should earn a more commanding seat at the marketing leadership table!

PPC rockstars can and should influence broader marketing strategies from the very beginning of the process. As automation frees us from the tasks of PPC, you can unearth significant opportunity to put your knowledge and analytic abilities to work in much more strategic fashion – for your PPC initiatives and help foster true integration of marketing. �

2019 might well be the breakout year for PPC pros to go from “yeah…she does that pay-per-click Google stuff” (uttered with a slightly confused tone) to “she really transformed our marketing integration in amazing ways.”

Sneak Peek: Big News Coming Soon

Without giving away the farm, I’m looking forward to sharing news about a project that has been near and dear to my heart for the last several months. Look for an announcement soon about something I think will be really helpful for PPC pros to get your mindset in the right frame for 2019.

Automation will rule the day in PPC in the months ahead. But that doesn’t mean automation should rule the PPC pro. On the contrary, I look forward to unveiling our latest project that will help PPC pros elevate their game to rockstar status by taking control of what, how, and when automation is deployed in search marketing to help you drive increasingly powerful results for the clients and brands you serve.

In the meantime, keep studying. Keep reading. Keep learning. Embrace automation because it is your ticket to great things in 2019.

Script THIS! Automate Google Ads & Bing Ads for Beginners

The Optmyzr team is fresh off an invigorating and inspiring webinar with our friends from Hanapin Marketing. I had the opportunity to present virtually alongside Jacob Fairclough, the associate director of Analytics at Hanapin and regular blogger at PPC Hero.

Jake and I spend a lot of our work life neck deep in scripting, which makes it easy to assume everyone PPC pro out there is as keen on scripting as we are.

We had a great audience of PPC pros for the webinar, and started off with an online insta-poll asking attendees to identify their biggest challenge in working with scripts. More than 90 percent of attendees indicated scripting is still a big unknown:

If you would respond more in line with the other 10%, you might already be a script-ninja. Great! Ninjas can stop reading this post and pop over to our script library to peruse the latest from our script-crafting experts. A regular browse through our latest scripts can keep your automation ahead of the game.

However, if you are like a lot of PPC pros, the notion of scripting as part of your PPC automation regimen might make you shield your eyes and run for the door. So keep reading!

PPC Automation Takes Many Forms

It’s important to understand the varying degrees of automation in PPC – and where scripts fit into the picture.

The basics:

Google Ads and Bing Ads provide basic, but essential automations that can reduce tasks for core PPC activities. Things like automated bid management. If automation is new to you, this is a good place to start.

The big engines also provide essential automation via rules. This can include automation for keyword campaigns, scheduling, termination. Google and Bing make it easy to get started automating in about five minutes. Results can be pretty striking – and perhaps start a healthy automation addiction.

The essentials:

PPC management suites, such as Optmyzr, allow PPC pros to manage virtually all aspects of their work more efficiently. Within such full suite tools are varying levels of automation and controls that can greatly elevate the effectiveness of PPC campaigns through automated bid management, implementation of rules and many other forms of automation (fear not…we’ll write extensively about deep-in-the-weeds PPC automation throughout 2019).

The advanced:

A lot of our clients regularly derive extreme value from the advanced, custom scripts our team creates on a regular basis. From budget management to URL checkers to reporting, our scripts eliminate hours of task-oriented activities, freeing up the PPC pro to focus more on the human aspects of their job – strategy, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Still, there are many really smart PPC pros who perhaps only dabble lightly in our scripts to help boost their capabilities, but may still have some level of trepidation.

Finally, many clients see scripts as cryptic cave paintings – and never explore our vast array of really powerful tools that take their game to a whole new level.

If scripts seem cryptic – don’t fret. You’re not alone, and the PPC script “cave paintings” are really much easier to figure out than you might think.

PPC Scripts Deconstructed

Let’s look at Google Ads scripts – but keep in mind Bing Ads is really cut from the same cloth. Scripts that work in one platform can generally be easily adapted for the other.

Google Ad scripts are really just a flavor of JavaScript code that can be pasted into a Google Ads account. Think of formulas within spreadsheets or even a basic IFTTT sequence. If you can write something down as a process or set of commands, you actually understand coding more than you may think.

Start by examining your PPC workflow. Can something be automated? Repetitive tasks? We work in data and process flows – two key ingredients for automation and scripting. Think of the most common things surrounding managing keywords, product groups, Ads, Shopping Ads, bid adjustments. So much of what we do can be boiled down to a process. Processes SCREAM “automate me!”

The next question to ask yourself is – SHOULD this be automated? The chart below helps us prioritize opportunities to automate via scripts and what we may want to keep as is or perhaps automate at a later date.

The key question: What keeps you the busiest? Plot your responses on a basic X-Y grid diagram where the X-axis scales according to time consumption and the Y-axis focuses on task frequency. For me, I find ad testing – explored manually – happens a lot and takes a ton of time. Bid management happens a lot, but is relatively quick to do. Reporting takes a lot of time, but happens predictably and not as frequently. Budget updates can be done quickly and don’t happen as frequently.

Now we have a great visual representation to prioritize what can/should be automated.

Whatever priorities you come up with, chances are we have easily-adapted scripts ready made for you in our script library. If you can master “control-C” and “control-V,” you are already on your way. The steps are pretty simple:

  1. Copy the free script you want from our script library
  2. Paste the script into your Google Ads manager (same for Bing scripts)
  3. Revise the few specific lines of code that need to be customized (easier than it may sound at first)
  4. Test/preview
  5. Launch

Okay…step 3 in the sequence above still may seem daunting, but it’s not. In reality, most PPC pros can master this step fairly quickly. You really only need to adjust some configuration in the code. Simple things such as replacing email address for notification – or adjust specific parameters that you want the script to monitor, such as triggering based on a specific percentage of budget or other specific performance data.

Reality is there may be hundreds of lines of code in a script that you copy and paste, but you need only adjust a few lines for the commands and actions you want. After you try it a few times, it becomes really easy to do.

Scripts have their place (and not)

Scripts clearly can be great tools to use, but like everything, they have limitations. For example, they can only run 30 minutes at a time and they have limits on parameters such as numbers of keywords. Advanced script ninjas will often go a level deeper into crafting robust APIs for more advanced programming that goes beyond the limitations of scripts. But for now, it’s most essential to get comfortable with scripts if this is new turf for you. �

The results can be astounding. Breaking complex tasks down to smaller components allows machines to focus on the tasks and the humans to focus on more esoteric, strategic aspects of PPC. Creativity in words or imagery for Shopping Ads – or perhaps planning out seasonal/timely campaigns that require the human mind to break new ground. Machines are getting smarter, but they simply can’t compete with the human mind on many levels still.

Automate like it’s 2019!

PPC Automation has made huge strides in recent years and we expect that trend gain speed in 2019. Scripts are one piece of what should be a more holistic approach to automation. �

Hopefully we’ve broken down some of the natural barriers many great PPC pros find when they think about scripting. Start small. If you are an agency, test on your internal campaigns and get comfortable. You’ll see that scripts are pretty foolproof, easy to debug when they aren’t working right, and open new doors to become the PPC rockstar you’re destined to be.

Conclusion

Coming up in January, we’re going to run a run little contest with our friends at Hanapin. We’ll ask PPC pros what they want to automate via scripts. Based on your feedback, we’ll build the most sought after script and post it free here and on PPCHero.com.

Submit your script idea!

Jake and I will revisit scripts even more in depth at PPC Hero Summit on Wednesday, March 6th. The event will offer a great opportunity to add scripting as part of a holistic approach to PPC automation.

In the meantime, start exploring scripts! They can help transform your effectiveness as a true PPC rockstar.

Ensure Your PPC Accounts Are Well Managed With Our PPC Audit Tool

End-of-year puts PPC audits top-of-mind. While PPC pros dissect performance and report campaign results daily, weekly or monthly, deeper audits can fall by the wayside. Regular reporting gives great insight into campaign metrics, but audits dig into critical structural elements, such as having enough ad variations in ad groups, consistent use of ad extensions across campaigns, and many other foundational issues. �

Audits pop back up as a priority as PPC pros answer the myriad year-end questions from stakeholders and get immersed planning for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, infrequent audits means critical insight can be left unknown for too long.

Let’s face it – auditing PPC programs can be a colossal, time-consuming pain. Even the best pay-per-click pros can put off audits until they absolutely must allocate scarce time to dig through spreadsheets and hunt for anomalies and root causes. Compounding the challenge, PPC data interdependencies run deep and it can be nearly impossible to do effective auditing manually.

Our PPC Policy & Audits Builder turns processes that would take days to complete into fast, executable activities that can yield great value. Putting off audits until year-end can result in those dreaded “I wish we knew that back in August” moments.

Audits also foster essential policy compliance when managing external agencies. For example, if an agency says it always does ad testing, but the audit shows ad groups only had one ad, you now have an accountability trail. In addition, audits help defend accounts from being poached by competitors by ensuring accounts are following best practices, making it difficult for competitors to claim accounts are being mismanaged. �

Point & Click Ease

Policy & Audit Builder is simple and intuitive. Clicking “Create New Audit” launches the step-by-step process in which you can choose to audit Ad Groups, Ads, Campaigns, Search Campaigns, and Keywords.

As seen in the image below, each audit type allows the user to adjust the essential parameters to begin auditing by segment. Auditing Ad Groups, for example, allows the user to readily uncover anomalies in quality score, spend, number of ads, or number of keywords. The PPC pro can run audits based on all parameters or disable individual ones to focus in on specific attributes.

Clicking “Run” executes the high level audit and immediately issues a report card that provides letter grades of A+, A, B, and C. Just as with school grades, the report card shows the areas that are running well and calls out ones requiring further attention.

Clicking into the report card gives deeper insight into specific areas of interest. From this view alone, the PPC pro can begin to take corrective action or dig deeper into the data to analyze foundational issues and then resolve problems or out-of-policy actions.

Powerful and easy-to-execute audit capabilities empowers the PPC pro to quickly uncover otherwise hidden spikes or valleys that could be driving increases or decreases in overall performance. In addition, PPC campaigns have countless data interdependencies (sometimes making cause/effect analysis nearly impossible), so our audit tool taps the power of machine learning and AI to dig into relationships between various attributes to get to root causes more efficiently and accurately.

Overall, PPC pros can gain a much deeper understanding of the potential impact of issues to help drive excellent performance across all activities.

Audit’s Role Moving Forward

Streamlined audit processes mean PPC pros can add audit to their activities with greater frequency. If you currently only audit quarterly, semi-annually or annually – consider a monthly audit run to help uncover potential issues faster.

Be sure to close out 2018 with a deep audit and analysis of your holistic PPC program. Give Policy & Audit Builder a try to see just how fast and effective it can be at mining for information beyond the KPIs. Then craft a plan for 2019 that better taps the power of audits and moves them from being a must-do hassle to an area of great opportunity to boost PPC’s effectiveness in what is sure to be an even more competitive year ahead.

Check out Policy & Audit Builder with a free audit today. Or if you are not yet an Optmyzr customer, try our 14-day free trial.

 

 

 

 

3 Shopping Tools & Smart Bidding Tips to CRUSH Holiday Sales

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. After-hours convenience. Price. Easy/free shipping. All are huge motivators driving people from brick-and-mortar stores to the ease and convenience of online retail. The trend lines are unmistakable. 2018 promises to be another transformational year for eCommerce at holiday time, with many experts predicting double digit increases in online holiday shopping.

Billions of dollars will be up for grabs.

PPC pros have an unprecedented opportunity to be real heroes this year by making sure their company wins more than its share of the shopping frenzy. Working in your favor, holiday shopping is always ripe with intent and immediacy.

Semantics Matter

First, let’s briefly recap the ongoing rapid evolution of the tools at our disposal. Google and Bing are both continually enhancing shopping tools to drive that high-intent searcher to conversion. They have added core automation to streamline the basics of PPC and more advanced tools such as Shopping Ads.

Focusing specifically on the Google platform (but still keeping in mind Bing is remarkably Google’esque with PPC), we all know the greater the specificity of a person’s search, the greater the intent. “Men’s black analog diving watches” tells the Google machine a lot about the � searcher’s eagerness. Google can serve up engaging Shopping Ads featuring cool black diving watches to capture eagerness to purchase, serving product-specific ads with click-to-buy ease.

The holiday shopper doing more casual digital window shopping, however, will offer less specific searches such as “Men’s watches” or more vague “gift ideas for dads.” While vague, that shopper likely WANTS to get into a funnel and may need just a little prodding to convert.

In this less-specific search, Shopping Ads and Google’s Showcase Shopping Ads can create immersive and meaningful experiences for people browsing for that perfect gift. �

If you haven’t dabbled yet with Showcase Shopping Ads, perhaps you should. They provide pre-click browsing of your products to generate purchase ideas based on more general searches. Previously, PPC pros didn’t have a lot of power to draw casual browsers into their funnel. Showcase Ads are an inexpensive option to meaningfully engage shoppers of modest intent – particularly those meandering for ideas on a mobile device.�

Build – Optimize – Automate – Control

While Google and Bing do a good job automating core aspects of search ads for everyday PPC practitioners, the PPC rockstar needs tools like Optmyzr to take their game to new levels. The goal is beating competitors in the second-by-second, search-by-search battle for holiday sales.

The Optmyzr system gives you greater control and automation beyond what Google and Bing offer – and it’s all managed from a single interface. Everything from building campaigns, syncing with inventory, and managing bids to choosing your preferred mix of automation/manual intervention.

Campaign Builder greatly simplifies and automates creation of product group and other campaign structures. Tapping data in your merchant feed, this tool helps automatically align structures by category and craft groups by brand, product type, etc. Campaign Builder’s easy-to-use interface gives you greater control and flexibility to analyze structures to refine and improve them prior to launch. It will also flag gaps in structure that could negatively impact reporting and analysis downstream. In other words, you catch the clunky, annoying misses that would otherwise create headaches or hamper insight after the fact.

Next, let’s talk inventory. Retailers have greater opportunity to serve up ads based on _actual _inventory – you know…the stuff you have on hand and want/need to sell. Whether you sell cars or speciality holiday dresses or sporting goods, accurate inventory data fed into Optmyzr allows efficient set up and management of hundreds of potential rules and parameters to serve the right ad at the right time. Through rules and automation, you can streamline processes to serve ads based on highly specific product attributes – size, color, style, tech specs. Essentially, if you have data about the products, Optmyzr drives powerful tools to serve the ads aligned with that highly specific search.

Finally, let’s cover bid management. This is where a third-party tool like Optmyzr layers exceptional power on top of the standard automations from the search engines.

The day-to-day task of managing bids can be horribly time consuming, but it’s really at the heart of taking campaigns from basic to extraordinary. For those who need to manage basic modifications in bulk – such as blanket modifications across a product group, our Shopping Bidder tool allows a PPC pro to do that in minutes.

PPC pros, however, often want/need to make decisions at a much more granular level. Shopping Attribute Bidder taps data from Google Ads and specific attributes in your merchant feed. This combination deepens the ability for PPC pros to make different bids to accommodate variations based on any number of attributes. You’ll want to read up on GrIP structures to get the most bang for your buck with Shopping Attribute Bidder.

Finally, Optmyzr Rule Engine is an extremely powerful tool in the hands of a PPC rockstar. With this proprietary tool, it’s really quite easy to adjust bids based on deep data points, such as conversion, CPA, ROAS and others. Among the most versatile tools in the PPC toolbox, you can automate bidding structures across pre-set parameters. Big snowstorm about to hit the northeast? Bids can automatically adjust to push snow blowers or skis. July heatwave predicted in the midwest? Rule Engine can push window air conditioners in Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis. You can set those rules up well in advance to automate against countless eventualities.

Conclusion

Holiday shopping season always puts eCommerce topics to top-of-mind, so it’s always a great opportunity to talk about Shopping Ads and powerful bidding tools. Of course, we all want to capitalize on the November-December gift buying frenzy, but these tools are 12-month necessities to allow PPC pros to beat the competition.

People are out there searching for your products/services right now. Make sure they find you before they find your competitor.

Of course, if you want a free 14-day trial or demo, just let us know.

Optmyzr Awarded Best PPC Management Software Suite

We are humbled and honored to be bringing back home this year’s award for Best PPC Management Software Suite, granted by the US Search Awards and announced this past October 17th.

This award couldn’t have been possible without the loyalty and dedication� of our customers, who value the importance of efficiency when it comes to managing and improving their PPC campaigns. Our CEO Frederick Vallaeys was there to receive the award in Las Vegas.

Optmyzr focuses on reducing the time spent on those repetitive and sometimes tedious tasks,� combining great optimizations with smart automation to create a unique and comprehensive experience. Our tools range from insights and analysis to optimization and automation (and just about everything else in between!) and are all created putting the interest of the PPC expert first.

We believe in the power of transparency and how that adds a unique worth to our software. For this reason, every final decision regarding changes to your account will always remain completely in your control.

To� get to know a bit more about our tools, try our free 14-day trial.� If� you want to see the tools in a more 1:1 session, we’ll be more than happy to demo our product for you personally.

We greatly appreciate the ongoing trust our clients put in Optmyzr. It is through that trust and validation that Optmyzr continues to create great software for PPC experts.

Staying at the Forefront of PPC. A Humbling & Proud Time for Optmyzr

PPC’s leading edge keeps crashing forward, typically faster than most PPC pros can keep up. The big search engines continually roll out new tools and capabilities to bolster everything from basic text-only ads to immersive showcase shopping ads. The inner workings of the PPC machinery get more and more advanced with AI- and machine learning-infused wizardry.

The pace of advancement is staggering.

The team at Optmyzr spends a huge chunk of our time analyzing what’s happening on the front line of innovation, staying on top of the latest from our friends at Google and Bing. We are there so you don’t have to be.

Over the last two years, we’ve added significant capabilities across our PPC Management Suite to automate campaign building, optimization and dozens of other actions across Google and Bing. New capabilities for Shopping Ads and even groundbreaking integration of Amazon Alexa into the mix has brought us truly to “full suite” status.

It’s exceedingly gratifying that Optmyzr was just recognized on the final night of Pubcon 2018 with the US Search Award for Best PPC Management Suite. This award has gone to giants in our space in recent years. It recognizes the best and most innovative offerings in PPC management today.

Receiving the award in Las Vegas alongside colleagues, clients and peers across the industry was another high point in the evolution of Optmyzr. It provided clear validation that our clients’ needs are being met and then some.

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Accepting “Best PPC Management Software Suite” award

The award serves another purpose, though. Motivation. Such recognition doesn’t come easy and it means our team is right back in the trenches keeping up with what’s next in our space.

US Search Award

Optmyzr is made up of PPC practitioners. We geek out on PPC as much as anyone, so we love unpacking the latest innovations in search marketing. We will keep develop our own scripting, optimizations and automations to streamline processes for PPC pros and allow them to apply their thinking to higher level strategy vs in-the-weeds tactics. We’ll keep sharing our knowledge and insight to help you, the PPC pro, be even better at what you do every day.

If you want to see what you’ve been missing, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free demo of our award-winning suite. Also, if you’ve been using Optmyzr for a while and not sure you’re using it to its fullest extent, check out our YouTube channel for great how-to videos and more. Also, check out our free scripts that layer added capabilities. Or just give us a call and let’s talk. We want to make sure Optmyzr is doing all it can for our amazing clients.

We thank you for your support in the evolution of our PPC Management Suite. Our US Search Award is as much a testament to our great clients as it is to our team that is working hard to help you be the best PPC pro you can be.

PPC Automation In ACTION! Optmyzr Demos that Can Change Your World

Pay-per-click is a hot place for pretty amazing automation. Some PPC pros may worry that they are being automated right out of a job. But in reality, the opposite is true – at least for those with advanced skills in the craft.

We just published an in-depth piece in Search Engine Land that explores four key areas of PPC automation opportunity. Check it out. We dig into advanced automations that go beyond what you can do via Google or Bing directly. While you are there, I encourage you to check it out other recent Search Engine Land columns by Optmyzr.

We’ve also been really busy in the Optmyzr studio crafting video demos and webinars that really dig into the specifics of automation. You can check those out on our YouTube channel. But here are three recent ones that are really timely.

Automate Building Search Campaigns from Ecommerce Data (Automyzr)

 

Streamline Shopping Ads Management for Google and Bing

 

Automate Google Ads with Optmyzr’s Enhanced Scripts

Be sure to check out the all the other videos on our YouTube channel� designed to� help you get the most out of your Optmyzr account – with new videos being added regularly.

As always, if you want to see more 1:1, we’ll be more than happy to demo our product for you personally or try our free 14-day trial.

 

How Keyword Match Types Work With Close Variants (2018)

Keyword match types have long existed as a way for advertisers on Google and Bing to define how closely a user’s query has to match a keyword before it can trigger an ad to show.

Match types allow advertisers to either tightly control exactly what searches their ads may appear for (through exact match keywords) or to give a lot of control to Google’s Machine Learning to decide when the ad might be relevant to a search, even if it doesn’t contain any of the words in the keyword (through broad match keywords).

Because Google says that approximately 15% of searches that happen every day are unique (i.e. that same query has not been seen in the past 90 days), they believe that advertisers who restrict their keywords too much will miss out on a lot of relevant traffic. Their point is valid.

At the same time, broad match has a reputation for sometimes being a bit too quick to show ads and causing irrelevant clicks and that has led some advertisers to stop using broad match all together. While they’re more in control, they miss significant opportunities, and Google is missing the opportunity to monetize.

Close Variants

So Google started to look for a solution and in 2014� they introduced the notion of ‘close variants’. In a 2017� update, ‘close variants’ were updated and by then could encompass plurals, singulars, misspellings, stemmings, or the addition or removal of function words.

Keywords of ANY match type can be mutated through the ‘close variant’ algorithm. Through this change, advertisers can benefit from a tightly controlled exact match keyword without needing to add additional exact match keywords for very minor variations, i.e. close variants.

2018 Close Variant Update

In the most recent 2018 update, close variants were again redefined and they can now behave in one of 2 ways depending on the match type:

For any positive keyword type, except ‘exact’, a close variant can be:

  1. A typo
  2. The plural or singular
  3. A stemming
  4. The word with function words added or removed

For exact match keywords, close variants can be all the above PLUS one more:

  1. A string that indicates the same intent

Think of a close variant as the ability for Google to take any string of words in your keyword and replace it with one of the variations described above. If that new keyword is eligible to show an ad in the match type chosen by the advertiser, the keyword will enter the ad auction.

There is one further change that is worth noting. The word order in exact match keywords used to matter. In the 2017 close variant update, word order for exact matches could be changed.

Because match types are more complicated to understand due to the existence of close variants, we’ve created a table to explain how match types work as of the launch of the October 2018 close variant update.

Close Variant AdWords Script

We’ve also created a free AdWords Script that will help you do an analysis of how close variants are impacting your account. Simply copy-and-paste this into a single account’s AdWords Scripts section and run it to get a Google Sheet showing how your keywords have been changed by close variants.

Get the script here:

Watch our instruction video on how to use the script:

Close Variant Automated Rule

Subscribers of Optmyzr can also try our Predefined Recipe in the Rule Engine called “Close Variant Performance for Exact Match Keywords” to get a similar report. This predefined recipe can easily be updated to automatically add negative keywords if the query proves to be significantly underperforming the underlying keyword.

Shopping Ads Management for Bing Now Available

As longtime Search veterans ourselves, the Optmyzr team’s legacy generally comes from the Google universe. Yet we’ve always viewed Bing’s emergence as a true player in search as being a good thing for search marketers. More choice for users. A bigger pie overall. More opportunity for marketers to help brands reach the customers who are searching for what they sell.

Accurate market share stats are elusive, at best, but seem to range between 10-33% for Bing these days (in terms of search volume). While Google still rules the search universe, 10-33% of billions of searches conducted is massive – to say the very least.

Search is clearly the powerhouse way to reach customers, because users tell the search engines specifically what they are seeking – � “Men’s black dress shoes” or “trendy prom dresses” or “[brand name] camera lenses” or “family restaurants near me.” As Bing continues its steady growth in volume and its evolution to Google-like ad types, data and analytics, search marketers have found themselves working across platforms with greater frequency.

Trouble was, working in two platforms typically more than doubled the work for the PPC pro. Google automation and powerful tools like Optmyzr made it a snap to launch and manage Google Shopping Ads. Bing ads, though? Not so much. It’s been a much more manual and time-consuming prospect for PPC pros – until now.

The Optmyzr team is excited to introduce powerful new functionality that allows PPC pros to manage all critical aspects of Bing Shopping Ads from the same Optmyzr interface that manages Google Ads.

The new Bing-specific functionality greatly simplifies Bing Shopping Ads in much the same way it simplifies Google Shopping Ads. We set out to simplify core activities, including setting up advanced campaign structures, keeping campaigns synced with dynamic product inventory, and optimizing performance quickly and efficiently with AI-enabled decision support.

We’ve made it possible for PPC pros to tackle Bing Shopping Ads in minutes instead of hours. Many automated features speed things along, but Optmyzr also provides extensive manual intervention and optimization, so you can dig deep into your product data to improve performance.

A few of the most notable core features to highlight:

  • Optmyzr Campaign Builder: Set up your campaign structure for the most optimal deployment and management. Highly flexible in setup, much like what we’ve offered for Google Shopping Ads management.
  • Optmyzr Campaign Refresher: Keep your Bing ads in sync with a merchant feed.
  • Optmyzr Bid Management: Creates customizable reports that will help you identify commonalities affecting performance deep within campaigns. Commonalities might be brand, style, size, product type, price – any number of attributes essential to a successful campaign. You can act on the insight to drive better (more profitable!) bids.
  • As always, we focus much of our innovation on mid to advanced PPC pros, but the ease and flexibility of the system allows up-and-coming PPC managers to improve their abilities and execution.

    One final important piece about the new Bing-specific functionality – you’ll still manage campaigns (setup to execution) individually for Bing and Google within Optmyzr. Each platform has its own unique structure and specific requirements. However, the time savings of deploying campaigns AND tracking metrics and reporting through the same system will undoubtedly help PPC pros work more efficiently and effectively.� Optmyzr allows the PPC pro to access campaign metrics and reporting through the same interface, which allows more immediate comparison of performance in Google and Bing.

    Best of all, you won’t be leaving millions – if not billions – of Bing searches to chance. As the overall search pie gets bigger and Bing continues to grow its share of search volume, it’s becoming more important than ever that search pros build their cross platform expertise and capability. If not, the competition might just run away with a huge percentage of previously untapped search traffic.

    Inc. 5000 Ranking Validates Optmyzr’s Focus on PPC Pros’ Needs

    As PPC pros, we all know search is where it’s at if you want to ensure customers and prospects find YOUR business. Customer behaviors have shifted dramatically in recent years with Google and Bing being first-stop waypoints on the journey to purchase. It’s a challenge for PPC pros to stay on top of shifting behaviors and changes to Google and Bing.�

    We all know the drill. When the customer searches for “[brand name] camping tent” or “shoes to match black dress” or “human resources software system with employee scheduling” or “pizza near me” or any of the other 40,000+ searches that happen every second, someone is looking for what you sell. PPC is the new front line in sales and customer service.

    We’re driven to help businesses make the connection when customers are out on Google or Bing. In doing so, we’ve seen pretty great growth as a company. So much so, we just made the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America ranking for the first time in our 5+ year existence.

    Growth is great. It’s one important validation that our service is on the mark. Growth also allows us to re-invest more in the tools we provide to bring even more value longer-term. We have introduced several product enhancements over the last year, in particular. Without giving away too much too early, we encourage you to watch for many new things we have in the works – some coming out very soon. �

    Google and Bing continue to innovate with new functions and features to automate core aspects of PPC. Some of their innovations will make PPC pros’ jobs easier. Some bring new challenges. We continue to track the forefront of their ongoing development to support the entirety of your job. From campaign inception through reporting – across Google and Bing – we will continue to deploy machine learning and AI to help PPC pros be better, stronger and faster at what they do.

    We appreciate the ongoing trust our clients put in Optmyzr. Being on the Inc. 5000 validates our partnership with clients – coupled with your trust – works for our mutual benefit. Watch for more great news coming through the second half of this year (and beyond)!

    Bid Management For Google Shopping Ads Made Easy

    When it comes to Shopping Campaigns, there are different ways you can approach the bid management process. At Optmyzr, we offer three tools that will help you manage shopping bids successfully. They have different focuses and vary by the granularity you’ll need. Whether you’re looking to manage more generic and standard changes in bids, or to do so differently for that one specific product attribute, we’ve got you covered.

    1. Shopping Bidder – One of these tools is the Shopping Bidder. With the Shopping Bidder you can make rather standard and bulk modifications for bids based on performance. These bid changes can only be applied to product groups, and work by increasing or decreasing the current bid by a number or percentage. You can also choose to set a new fixed bid. This tool is most useful for when you want to make changes like, for example, reduce the bids on all non-converting product groups by an X percentage, or set all new product groups at a specific initial bid.

    2. Shopping Attribute Bidder – Based on how granular you want to go, at Optmyzr we also have the Shopping Bid by Attributes* tool, where you can combine performance data from your Google Ads account with the attributes in your merchant feed. This means you can use a division such as **Category 0 > Product Type 0 > Brand > Price** to make different bid changes for every unique combination of the selected attributes. You can do this so long as you’re maintaining a GrIP structure, i.e. one product SKU per product group. (Try our Utility tool to Create a Grip structure)

    3. Rule Engine – Another great tool to manage bids, and perhaps the most versatile one we have so far, is the Rule Engine*. The Rule Engine lets you change bids for product groups based on performance, and gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of comparing performance and setting bids. The Rule Engine works with recipes which contain a set of rules you’ll define. These rules contain multiple conditions and associated actions, and all of the conditions must be met for the actions to be applied. For example, you can use our target ROAS, conversion rate etc. to set bids for product groups.

    The Rule Engine can even connect with your business data so you can start managing bids by margins or even by weather.

    These three tools offer different, yet equally helpful ways of approaching shopping bid management, with different levels of complexity.

    *The Bid by Attributes and Rule Engine tools are only available for Pro plan users, but as you can see both give a greater range of possibilities. If you’d like to try them, you can contact us at support@optmyzr.com.

    Stay in the Know with Beamer

    At Optmyzr we are constantly making updates and improvements to our tools, and though big changes will continue to be communicated via email, we feel some of the smaller updates are best communicated in a more compact and contextual way. We have now started using Beamer’s in-app changelog for this so that you can keep up-to-date with all our changes while keeping your inbox and the Optmyzr user interface clean and uncluttered.

    We decided to use Beamer because it integrates well with our site and helps us communicate better with our customers. Beamer is a smart and easy-to-use newsfeed and changelog to announce relevant news, new features and product updates. It’s a great way to keep our users informed about small yet important updates.

    At Optmyzr we value your time and know just how important it is to have everything in one place, and we hope this customized newsfeed will help you learn about all our new features in a more effective manner. And since we are always looking to give you the best and most useful information, the Feedback and Reactions feature in Beamer allows you to tell us what you think about these updates, and through this feedback we can continue to tailor our solutions to your needs.

    Building Workflows in Optmyzr

    Optimizing your accounts with Optmyzr is pretty simple and straightforward. You get to work with performance analysis and optimization tools, reporting features and task automation, among others, while still maintaining complete control.

    We want you to make the most out of your experience with Optmyzr, and show you how you can reach your business goals through the use of our tools. And in the spirit of easing the process of getting started with your account, we’ve created a first-month checklist to guide you along all our tools and make sure you aren’t missing out on anything.

    This checklist works as a referential guideline for the first five weeks from when you link your Google Ads accounts to Optmyzr. It has different tasks for each week, starting off with recommendations that cover a more general and broad aspect of your account management, and which get more specific and advanced along the way.

    Week 0 and Week 1

    For the first two weeks, Week 0 and Week 1, you’ll be setting up alerts, analyzing your overall account and doing some simple optimizations. This will give you a great baseline for further account management. During Week 2 we’ll cover performance on networks, and by Week 3 and 4, you’ll be analyzing performance by location, optimizing ads and analyzing search queries for new keywords and negatives.

    In this checklist, the first week to be taken into consideration begins once you create your Optmyzr account, and link your existing Google Ads accounts to it. You’ll start off by setting performance alerts, to make sure you are always aware of how your money is being spent. This creates a great baseline for any further optimization, as any unwanted performance won’t go by unnoticed.

    During this initial phase, we recommend setting up automation to monitor account performance and landing pages for ads, as well as budget-related monitoring. These alerts and automations only need to be set up once, and will then on continue to work in the background.

    Week 2 and Week 3

    Moving forward, and for the upcoming week you’ll get recommendations for account analysis, and a few simple optimizations to begin with. Tools like the PPC Investigator will help you figure out how the key performance metrics on the account have changed and based on this data you can determine the optimizations you should do first.

    You can also use tools such as the Spend Projection to get insights on whether your budget is overspending or underspending, and you can then use that information through the Optimize Budgets optimizations to reallocate those budgets across campaigns.

    Week 4 and Week 5

    As the checklist moves forward, you’ll be getting recommendations that dive deeper into analyzing performances, such as by network and location. We’ll guide you along tools to optimize the search queries that drive traffic to campaigns, manage your keyword bids based on performance by the hour of the week, and set bid adjustments by device and location, among others.

    All throughout this checklist, you’ll also see some recommendations for prebuilt Account Workouts. The Account Workouts are a series of tasks that are put together to achieve a specific goal. They combine the different tools from Optmyzr in a logical order to create the right combination for optimizing your accounts.

    All in all, this 5-week checklist is a great way to get familiarized with practices you can follow with Optmyzr, and though the steps here are just our recommendations, we think it will be of great use for you and your team. If you would like a customized checklist for your team, feel free to write to support@optmyzr.com and we’ll be happy to help you.

    Deconstructing the Latest from Google Marketing Live: Optmyzr on Location in San Jose

    Among all of the great digital marketing conferences of the year, Google Marketing Live is one that sets the tone and topics for all conferences that follow. Intense analysis, debate and optimism flow from Google Marketing Live, because the event showcases the next iteration of search marketing and the latest insight from the people who make search happen.

    Google SVP of Ads & Commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy keynotes this year’s event, providing a first look at the latest tools and innovations that Google envisions will be highly transformative for businesses of all types. Sridhar will also analyze trends that are shaping search – both from within Google as well as the broader search universe.

    Optmyzr Co-Founder Frederick Vallaeys will have a command view at the event on Tuesday, July 10, as he takes part in a live-on-the-scene panel discussion with other industry experts. Fred will join fellow search experts� for a live-streamed discussion to deconstruct Sridhar’s keynote and provide their unique perspectives of all developments to help search pros get the most out of the event.

    Check out all of the keynote details to register for the live stream and then check back on this blog after Google Marketing Live for Fred’s first-hand account of the event and his key takeaways next week.

    Are your AdWords ads losing money on bad landing pages?

    When it comes to functionality and performance of landing pages, some errors go beyond a non-working URL. Here are two common use cases that you should take care of.

    Ads leading to out-of-stock landing pages

    Ads leading to out of stock product pages or product not found pages can become a problem both for the user as well as for the advertiser.� We know Google checks the landing page your ad leads to as part of the ad approval process, but it only checks if the URL leads to an active page. So when it comes to product availability, if your ad leads to an out of stock product, your ad won’t get disapproved and you won’t get notified. Ads that lead to out of stock pages result in a bad user experience and wasted spend. It can also affect Quality Score because users don’t spend enough time on the page which can be an indicator of how relevant they found the page.

    Quality Score is made up of three components: Expected Clickthrough Rate, Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience, this last one being a way of measuring just how well your website responds to what people searched for.

    Now imagine you are looking for a digital camera. You’ve been looking all over for that model, and you see an ad that shows the specific one you wanted and at a great price, but once you click on the ad, you reach a site that reads “product not available”.

    From the user’s point of view, this is a negative customer experience, and could affect the way the user views your site. From the advertiser’s point of view, it generates a wasted click and a poor landing experience that affects your overall score. When a user lands on a ‘product not available’ or ‘out of stock’ page, and because they couldn’t find what was offered in the ad, your landing page experience score will likely get affected.

    The main problem with this, and as mentioned before, is that the landing pages are still considered to be ‘functional’ by Google AdWords, therefore you won’t be notified this is happening. The clicks that land on such pages are wasted but manually checking the landing page for every ad is not a feasible option. To help automate this task, we built an enhanced script called Check Destination URLs, which automatically checks the landing pages an ad leads to.

    This enhanced script finds ads and keywords that lead to a 404 error, and can also check for text like ‘product not found’ or ‘out of stock’. The script generates a report with the URLs that generate this error and can also automatically pause corresponding ads and keywords. You can set it up to run for specific campaigns or for the whole account. The script has an advanced setting that lets you monitor specific text on a landing page. This helps you keep a better track of landing pages that are ‘functional’ but lead to ‘product not found’ pages. Read how this script works here.

    Underperforming Landing Pages

    Another great way of getting input on how the landing page for an ad is working, is by using the Landing Page Analysis tool. This tool gives you information on how landing pages are performing across the account, and divides the results into three categories: High Performer, High Potential and Expensive.

    The High Performer category shows landing pages with high conversion rate and high CTR. These are landing pages that are performing well.

    The High Potential category shows landing pages with a high conversion rate, but a low CTR. This category shows you the landing pages where the keywords and ads that lead to them are not as relevant and can be improved. These landing pages are converting the clicks that they get quite well so directing more traffic to them is likely to result in more conversions. One way to do that is to make the keywords and ads more relevant to the landing page.

    Finally, in the Expensive category you’ll find landing pages with a low conversion rate and high CTR. This usually indicates that the keyword, ad and landing page are relevant to each other but users don’t convert at a high rate after coming to the landing page. This could happen if the conversion process on the landing page is complex or is not user friendly. In such cases, it is a good idea to analyze the page and make changes to it. Read more about how the Landing Page Analysis tool works here.

     

     Top Posts on Search Engine Land by Frederick Vallaeys

    Optmyzr is proud to call out the latest accolades for our Co-Founder/CEO Frederick Vallaeys. He was named SEL Contributor of The Year at this year’s SMX West conference (Landy Awards). His articles on Search Engine Land (SEL) cover a variety of topics relating to PPC from analyzing how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world of PPC, to optimizing workflows for agencies.

    Below you’ll find a recap of Fred’s top articles by topic – take a look!

    Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in PPC

    Covering the know-hows of succeeding in an AI-first world, these articles go through how AI has evolved through time, the different levels of PPC automation and the technologies driving PPC intelligence. Here are some of his top AI-related posts:

  • How artificial intelligence drives PPC automation
  • The AdWords 2017 roadmap is loaded with artificial intelligence
  • 6 ways ad agencies can thrive in an AI-first world
  • The technology behind AI in PPC
  • PPC agencies will play these 4 roles when automation takes over
  •  

     

    Automating Processes with ScriptsWhen it comes to saving time in rather routine and sometimes tedious tasks, scripts are a great way to facilitate the process. From reporting to auditing scripts, these articles cover all you need to automate the process, and not get lost along the way!

  • This script automates adding any AdWords data to a Google spreadsheet
  • A time-saving free script to help keep Google Grants accounts out of trouble
  • This script creates Google Slides with AdWords data to automate the creation of presentations
  • Boosting Results.

    Knowing what you are facing is by far the best way to prepare for success! On these related articles, you can find some insights on boosting Shopping ads, driving positive results with AMP sites and a review of the free PPC reporting solutions Google offers.

  • The best-kept AdWords secret: AMP your landing pages
  • How to outdo the PPC robots in shopping ads
  • 5 ways to sell more this holiday season with Google’s updates to shopping ads
  • How to build a stronger, more effective PPC team
  • A review of free PPC reporting solutions from Google
  • As one of the more prolific content contributors at Search Engine Land, Fred has authored dozens of columns to share his unique insights and expertise in PPC and search overall. You can find all of his articles at https://searchengineland.com/author/frederick-vallaeys

    Humbled and Honored: Being Among the Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts

    We hope you won’t mind a brief post with a bit of a self-congratulatory tone, but we’re a really proud bunch at Optmyzr. For the 4th year in a row, our Co-founding CEO Frederick Vallaeys has been named to the annual PPC Hero “Top 25 Most influential PPC Experts” ranking. This year, Fred reached his highest ranking to date, coming in 2nd to Dan Gilbert, founder and CEO of Brainlabs.

    [Optmyzer Co-Founding CEO][3]
    Fred Vallaeys Named to PPC Hero “Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts” list for the fifth time in seven years.

    What’s really cool about this particular recognition is the fact it’s based, in part, on a vote by thousands of PPC pros from around the world. PPC Hero has created this list every year since 2012. Once again, Fred is listed along with 24 peers from around the world, including execs from big players like Microsoft and Wordstream, along with leaders from top agencies, other platform providers, exciting startups, and terrific media folks like Ginny Marvin from Search Engine Land.

    While some on the list are competitors, we view everyone included in this year’s top 25 as friends and peers – people for whom we hold deepest respect and admiration.

    We congratulate Fred for making the list again, and we sincerely extend our best and continued friendship to everyone doing their part to elevate PPC as a hotbed of innovation and success in marketing.

    The second half of 2018 promises to be an exciting time for our clients as we continue to drive more innovation and development from the team here at Optmyzr. We look forward to seeing what our friends and competitors have in store as we all work to make PPC as powerful as it can be.

    Alexa and Optmyzr Steal the Show at Hero Conf

    The PPC Hero Conference in Austin, Texas, just wrapped up and the event gives us all reason to reflect deeply on dramatic changes happening in our industry. From voice assistants to artificial intelligence and machine learning, the way PPC pros interact with data and machines is changing at an incredible pace.

    During the Optmyzr keynote, we snuck in a little surprise for attendees that was perhaps a little more mind-blowing than we anticipated. We showcased the real-world prospect of using voice assistant technology to access and work with PPC campaign data. Reactions to the demo were pretty spectacular.

    It’s funny what happens when people hear you say “Alexa, start Optmyzr” followed by “How is my account doing” followed by probing questions about the data in a “discussion” with Alexa. Tweet reaction to Alexa demo

    Tweet reaction to Alexa demo

    Voice assistant technology is a new frontier, particularly for those of us working in data-rich environments. Beyond a kitschy fad, though, voice assistants such as Alexa – coupled with rich AI and machine learning environments – will reshape the way we do our day-to-day jobs. Deeper insight. Rich context. An extraordinary interface. Portability. We anticipate a revolution on par with the way smartphones and tablets upended our world (in good ways).

    It was clear from reactions in the room at HeroConf that people are hungry for voice assistant functionality that does more than turn on a light, change a thermostat or read us news headlines scraped from internet sources.

    Still a concept, our dev team is working aggressively to bring voice assistant capability to real-world application quickly. We are wrapping up final coding and testing now, before seeking approval from Amazon as an Alexa “Skill.” We anticipate formally releasing the capability in May.

    Check out our video that only begins to explore how voice technology will reshape the way PPC pros do their jobs. BTW – we’ve put Alexa to work for now, but Google Home and others can’t be far behind!

    Managing Negatives for Shopping Campaigns

    Shopping campaigns work very differently from search campaigns. The biggest difference is that, unlike search campaigns, you can’t specify the keywords that you would like to show your ads for. However, you can decide which keywords you _don’t_ want to show for, by adding negatives at the ad group and campaign level.� Usually the purpose of adding negative keywords is to cut out irrelevant traffic which helps increase profitability. However, Google does a pretty good job of not matching irrelevant queries to shopping ads. The question then is – how can negative keywords help improve performance of AdWords shopping campaigns?

    It can be done in two ways:

    Direct traffic to more profitable ad groups

    Negatives for shopping campaigns can be used to direct traffic to more profitable ad groups. When using a multi-campaign structure with different priorities, the same query can match to different ad groups. Comparing performance of the same search query across ad groups and adding it as an exact match negative to the ad group it is underperforming in will make sure that the query always matches to the more profitable ad group. By doing this you can sculpt the traffic to go to the ad group that you want.

    Remove generic non-converting queries or queries with low ROAS

    Google doesn’t match irrelevant search queries to shopping ads but it does match generic queries. For example, if you have an ad group selling ‘Adidas Running Shoes’, it can match to a query like ‘Black Shoes’ which is not irrelevant because it does refer to shoes but the search query is generic. Sometimes when campaigns have limited budget it is a good idea to concentrate on the queries that have the highest return on investment. Adding generic queries that don’t convert or have a very low ROAS as exact match negatives helps increase overall ROAS.�

    The new Shopping Negatives Tool from Optmyzr supports both the above strategies of adding negative keywords. It analyzes the search terms for shopping campaigns and recommends exact match negatives based on the these strategies.

    Duplicate Queries (Across ad groups)

    This strategy finds queries that match to more than one ad group and recommends adding the query as an exact match negative to the under performing ad group. It is like AB Testing the search query and keeping it in the best performing ad group.

    Low Performing Queries (within ad groups)

    This strategy finds queries that are not performing well within an ad group. They may have a lower ROAS than the ad group average or a much higher cost/conversion. If you’re on a limited budget, these queries can be added as exact match negatives to the ad group to reduce cost.

    You have the option of clicking on the query and seeing exactly why the system is recommending adding it as a negative keyword. Also, the confidence level says how confident the system is when making the recommendation.

    Watch this video to find out more.� � � Try the Shopping Negatives Tool here.

    Optmyzr Express: Crank Out Top Optimizations Over Your First Cup of Coffee

    As marketers, we all know that running successful PPC campaigns requires agility and speed when making crucial optimizations. You’ve likely noticed a new option within the Optmyzr PPC Management System – Optmyzr Express. This is our latest automated offering that suggests� the most important optimization opportunities across your campaigns.� We created Optmyzr Express to bring one-click simplicity to help PPC pros take immediate action on top opportunities for campaign optimizations.�

    Available immediately to all users of the full Optmyzr PPC Campaign Management Suite, Optmyzr Express is designed to help simplify and automate the top up-to-the-minute opportunities. The user can simply click to accept an automated optimization suggestion or they can access an intuitive dashboard to customize or modify suggested changes from a single screen.

    The Express offering augments the full Optmyzr software system. Designed to allow you to crank out the top optimizations fast – perhaps over your first cup of coffee in the morning – Optmyzr Express will allow you to blast through those “quick-hit” opportunities right away. It allows you to then allocate more of your valuable time digging deep into advanced functionality within the suite to be more strategic overall.

    Think about those fast opportunities we all seek for rapid optimization: from pausing� low performing ads or adding new keywords to quick fixes for Quality Score and high performing keywords and more. Optmyzr Express facilitates smart, on-the-go campaign adjustments and creates a workflow for continuous improvement.

    Initial user feedback has been excellent and has validated that Optmyzr Express is a real time-saver. It delivers fast insight, agility and power, which encourages more frequent optimizations. PPC pros have told us they want a workflow that helps them make immediate changes for the most pressing opportunities, while retaining the full suite functionality for deep dives into campaign performance improvement. Through client feedback, we also know that a workflow that appears similar to a high value to-do list across multiple accounts allows for greater efficiency for in-house and agency teams alike.�

    Other key features:

    We have more information available in a news release� we just posted to announce Optmyzr Express. You can also see a quick overview in our new YouTube video.

    Give Optmyzr Express a try and let us know your thoughts.

     

    PPC Automation = Agency Efficiency and Profitability

    Running search ads is an easy sell for agencies, because clients like the measurability and control this medium offers.

    Then comes the discussion of the agency fees and hours required to execute a successful campaign, often yielding a chasm between the service a client expects and what the agency can offer, yet remaining profitable. As contract negotiations whittle down already aggressive project bids, the pressure falls on the day-to-day PPC managers to complete mountains of work in little time.

    The danger for agencies—besides write-downs and overages—is becoming so focused on checking off a task list that they fail to make the strategic moves necessary for the results they promised. To prevent this unenviable situation, agencies need to pause and take a hard look at where their time is going to maximize efficiency and boost profitability of PPC campaigns. Automation of AdWords and PPC campaigns overall is key. �

    [][1]
    PPC OPTIMIZATION Businessman working at office desk and using computer and objects, coffee, top view, with copy space

    4 PPC Agency Time Killers

    Reality is, dozens of time killers plague search marketing agencies, but we want to focus in on a few specific areas of exceptional opportunity to automate the most frequent time-consuming PPC tasks. At the very least, analysis of the following automation opportunities can put agencies on the path to better profitability.

    1. Reporting. PPC account managers field constant client questions about results and requisite explanations of how campaigns affect business. Many agencies tell us reporting can consume three, four or even five full days of exhaustive, detailed, manual work each month. Reporting is perhaps one of the most essential parts of campaign management, but it shouldn’t eat up otherwise profitable time.

      Thankfully, machine learning and automated processes now make it possible for campaign managers to automatically and reliably pull data, analyze for key findings and structure custom-looking reports in minutes versus days. We have multiple clients notching 90 percent reductions in reporting time via automated reporting capabilities.

      Read about experiences for EU-based Geniads and US-based Granular. Both agencies saw dramatic reductions in time spent on reporting, allowing them to redirect critical thinking to campaign optimization. Google also recently stepped up its automation game with a simple API connecting AdWords data with Google Slides. Simple AdWords scripts can be used to create presentations or automate appending additional data into existing ones.

      There may be upfront time required to do additional scripting or implement ready-made scripts like our Enhanced Scripts™, but once implemented, automated PPC reporting can drive agency efficiency, effectiveness AND profitability.
    2. Bid management. Effective bid management can make or break campaigns. Google actually builds in automated bid management right in the Adwords interface to automate strategies like “bid to top of page.” These sorts of Automated Rules are basic, but can save tremendous amounts of time compared to doing the same work manually in spreadsheets.

      Many PPC pros, however, cling to their own bid management processes to maintain as much control as they can. But they miss the fact that relinquishing control of such manual processes can free them up to do more strategic, high-value campaign management.

      Prebuilt rules can take the tedious work out of managing bids to position, target CPA, target ROAS and other key metrics. With a little time and thought in HOW and WHAT to automate, PPC pros can reliably take big chunks of time out of bid management.
    3. Keyword management. Automation and artificial intelligence can even help with tasks that require a bit of human input, like keyword management. Computers can find optimal new keywords based purely on the data, whereas PPC pros may be inclined to rely on intuition when they should follow data.

      Automating keyword management shifts a PPC pro’s job to confirming the suggestions and tweaking the model being used as opposed to groveling over every keyword to make a difference. Considering many accounts have tens of thousands of new queries to contemplate adding as keywords, shifting to automation can be a huge time saver.

      The challenge is about releasing control of keyword management to open up productive time. Ask yourself if the task is something you really NEED to be doing. If automation can do the same or even better, why would you even think about continuing with the status quo. And even if the automation is slightly worse than a human, consider the tradeoff between your employees’ valuable time and the change in performance from a more automated keyword management process.
    4. Ad Testing. � Google offers ready-made tools for PPC pros to test theories and decipher infinitesimal differences between ads. These tools are only a starting point for automation. The trouble is, expanding permutations of all the variables between keywords, ad creative, regions, bids and the myriad other variables can make even the best PPC pro’s head spin.

      Managing the ads becomes an intricate ballet, prioritizing what we think is important and digging into the subtleties of the data and understanding what “statistically valid” really means. As PPC pros advance along an automation path, they can harness the power of visualization and data insight tools to move their energy, talent and creativity away from test building and into informed, strategic optimization.

      Looking beyond Google’s built-in automation tools, more powerful options such as Optmyzr Ad Optimization, can systematize repetitive tasks that often fall short due to human interpretation or error. PPC pros who embrace ad testing automation are able to look at the bigger picture, make adjustments and gain significant efficiency. �

    Time spent on repetitive tasks ripe or overdue for automation can exact a painful toll on agency profitability and competitiveness. Of course, write-downs and write-offs will always be a fact of agency life, but many profitability killers are preventable with automation, advanced scripting, AI and machine learning.

    Because of such rapid transformation, automation will be a key area of focus on this blog throughout 2018 – along with our contributed articles in Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal. I encourage you to read my most recent Search Engine Journal article easy ways to get started with PPC automation.

    “Automate or be rendered obsolete” might well become the PPC pro’s rally cry in the near future. Agencies and PPC pros alike need to explore automation to stay ahead of the curve. The industry will only get more competitive with tighter margins.

    Use Feed Analysis to Build AdWords Shopping Campaigns

    Shopping campaigns are set up very differently from search campaigns in AdWords. The biggest difference is that technically your entire feed is part of each ad group in your shopping campaign. Unlike search campaigns where you choose the keywords that should be targeted, in shopping it is specifying what you don’t want to target and bid on separately. This is the reason that when you set up a shopping campaign in AdWords it starts off with one ad group and product group (All Products) which shows ads for all products in the feed. It also means that every product in the feed will have the same bid and it doesn’t matter if it costs $10 or $300.

    Having the same bid for products that have a varying price point is not a good strategy and will result in low ROAS. This is because you will invest less in big ticket items which will most likely result in lower returns. To avoid this, it is recommended to create separate product groups for different products and set different bids. Deciding on the structure for your shopping campaign depends a lot on how you want to monitor and manage performance.� The new Shopping Feed Analysis feature in the Shopping Campaign Builder gives you the additional layer of data you need to have the most accurate product group structure based on the data available in your feed. Before we get into the details of this feature, lets talk a bit more about campaign structure.

     

     

    It is a good idea to follow the structure you have on your website. For example, if you’re selling accessories, you can choose to have different campaigns by the top level product category, ad groups by brand and product groups by product type. However, technically there are two things to consider – the attributes that AdWords lets you use to structure campaigns and the coverage of these attributes.

    Attributes available to structure a shopping campaign

    It is only possible to create product groups using specific attributes from the product feed as AdWords doesn’t allow the use of all attributes available in the feed to define product groups. The attributes you can use are:

    Brand
    Condition
    Item Id
    Google Category
    Product Type
    Custom Labels/ Attributes

    Coverage of attributes

    If you use an attribute to define the structure but certain products don’t have a value for that attribute, those products will fall into everything else. This is what the Feed Analysis feature that I mentioned earlier helps fix. It’ll tell you in advance� the attributes in the feed, the number of variations per attribute and the number of products that have that attribute defined. This can help you decide which attributes to select when� setting up your shopping campaign.� For example, if the feed has 80,000 products and the analysis shows that only 50,000 products have the brand attribute defined then avoid using brand to structure the campaign because 30,000 products will end up in everything else. It will also tell you how many different types of brands are there in the feed. For example, if the e-commerce store only carries one brand, it is not a good idea to split by brand. Therefore, choose attributes that are defined for most products in the feed and have some variation.

    How to use the shopping feed analysis?

    The feed analysis feature is available in the Shopping Campaign Builder tool in Optmyzr. When you are deciding on a campaign structure, select those attributes that have the highest coverage. This means they are defined for a majority of products in the feed. Also, after choosing the structure in the Shopping Campaign Builder, the tool will tell you the percentage of products that will fall into everything else. This way you can change the structure in the Shopping Campaign Builder before uploading the ad groups and product groups to AdWords.

    In the screenshot below, the column ‘Products missing this attribute’ will tell you how many products in the feed don’t have a value for that attribute and if you were to use that to split your feed, those many products will end up in everything else.� For example, the attribute Brand has 32 different variations and the number of products that don’t have brand defined is 0. This means it has good variation and full coverage so it is a good option to use. On the other hand, Custom Attribute 2 is not defined for 25,039 products so it is not recommended to use that to structure your campaign.

    Understanding ‘everything else’

    Products that don’t have a value for the attribute you selected to create product groups will go to everything else. This is essentially a group of products that are not split into their own product group. Each level of split in an ad group has an everything else node associated with it to accommodate the products that are not targeted at that level. The more products or SKUs that fall into everything else, the less control you have over their performance and bids. Think of it like a supermarket but instead of neatly stacked shelves by type of product, everything is mixed up together with a single price tag.

    Why should products not fall into everything else?

    AdWords only lets you set bids at the product group level. The everything else node is one product group and all the products inside it will get the same bid. You don’t have the flexibility to bid differently for products that have a different price. Also, performance metrics (for the purpose of setting bids) are reported at the product group level so the performance for all products will be consolidated. It doesn’t matter how many sales individual products in the everything else group drove.

    If you’re just getting started with shopping and want to better understand why products should be split into different product groups, read the example below:

    You are an e-commerce advertiser selling shoes. Each SKU or shoe in your feed has multiple attributes associated with it which provide information about it. Like brand (Reebok, Nike, Aldo etc.), product type (walking shoes, running shoes, heels…), price, color, gender, custom labels and the list goes on. Using some of these attributes, you can define product groups in AdWords which let you set a different bid for a pair of Nike shoes that cost $200 compared to another pair of Nike shoes that cost $90. If you don’t split your ad groups into specific product groups, all the products in your feed will be in a single product group and will have the same bid. To manage performance and bids, products need to be split into product groups because that is the lowest level at which AdWords allows changing bids for Shopping Campaigns.

     

     

    Introduction to PPC

    We know that when you are used to traditional-media advertising, taking a step into the digital world can be an overwhelming task. We seem to take for granted that the basics of digital marketing are something everyone is familiar with. And though creating advertisements on a digital platform is becoming easier and more accessible by the day, there are still some who believe that an online advertisement for your 24-hour plumbing service is simply typing in what you want your ad to say.

    The art of Marketing relies on interactions. Whether it’s through a digital platform or a traditional channel, the basic principle remains the same: target the right audience, at the right time and in the right place, and offer a solution to a problem.

    Some people believe that traditional marketing platforms have better results, because they target the people they want to target, instead of having their advertisements “all over the web”, but the reality is that every day, the digital marketing world becomes more and more customizable to tailor your advertising needs to appear where, when, how and towards who you want it to.

    Before we can help you tailor your advertising needs, it is important to define what we mean when we talk about “Digital Marketing”. By using such a generalized term, we tend to put all the different types of digital marketing in just one concept. And though the term successfully englobes the idea of online marketing strategies, the type you choose should depend on the product or service you want to advertise, your business goals and the type of advertising you want to create.

    There are several subcategories of digital marketing, which include Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Although we’ll focus on Pay-Per-Click (PPC), we want to point out a few differences between SEO and PPC (some of the most common).

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focuses on getting increased search engine traffic to the business’s website by ranking higher in Google search results. In this case, the most commonly searched for terms are included in the content on a webpage. PPC, on the other hand, refers to paid advertisements and promoted search engine results. The way it works is you choose the keywords for which you want your ads to show, you write a relevant ad for each group of related keywords, and you set bids based on the expected value of each click. You then only pay when your ad is clicked.

    While PPC has much more to it than just bidding on keywords and defining how much you are willing to pay for a click on your ad, the goal is to always get more traffic with more accuracy and less time invested. By analyzing your strategies and keeping track of the structures that work out best, you’ll be able to create effective campaigns across networks and devices.

    The main platforms used for PPC Marketing are Google AdWords and Bing Ads. Google Adwords runs on Google and its Search Partner sites and Display Network sites, while Bing Ads shows ads on the Bing and Yahoo networks.

    With traditional-media advertising, it doesn’t matter whether you get 1 or 100 clients through your ad, you will still pay the same price simply for putting it out there. It’s harder to track the results and reach out exclusively to specific audiences and it’s more expensive to analyze how to improve your ad and/or service.

    With digital advertising and PPC, not only are you choosing what keywords are essential to your service, but you can also filter the traffic or searches that don’t apply to you by using negative keywords. This way you can avoid any unqualified traffic, and being placed in the wrong search results.

    Later on, we’ll go more into how keywords and negative keywords work.

    One of the best things you’ll find with PPC is having the possibility to visualize, analyze and determine which of your ads reach a larger audience. You can get real-time insights into your account, and take actions to continue improving your strategy.

    So whether you are covering a common necessity with your handyman business, or if you have a target-specific vintage fashion store, PPC marketing strategies can help you get the most out of your advertising campaigns. In the end, it all comes back to the basics: knowing when and where!

    PPC marketing will help you create a great new advertising strategy for your service or product, and help you place your brand name on multiple platforms for a wide range of people, but most importantly, it will give you the control you need to invest your money in the right place.

    On the upcoming articles, I’ll describe in depth the steps needed to tailor your online advertising, from the available platforms and the differences between them to the structure and components of your campaigns. I’ll be explaining how and when to target a specific audience, which bidding strategy is generally used for different types of advertising campaigns, and what to take into consideration when creating a budget.

    Get Hourly Bid Adjustment Recommendations for AdWords Campaigns

    The Hour of the Week tool is an incredibly helpful way of visualizing the times and days of the week where your AdWords campaigns perform better. You can manage your bids based on which time slots have the best performance, and avoid wasting budget unnecessarily on those hours of the day when the return on investment is low.

    After all, information is the key to success, right?

    But wouldn’t it be great if you could not only see the information displayed, but also get recommendations based on your AdWords performance, and make a greatly useful task even easier? Well, luckily, we’re all about smooth efficiency! And that’s where the New Hour of the Week Bidder comes into place.

    Our latest update to the Hour of the Week Bid Adjustment includes time-based bid adjustments based on your AdWords KPIs. The tool uses intelligence to tailor bid adjustment suggestions based on your goals. The recommendations are based on historical performance and estimated potential.

    With the New Hour of the Week Bidder, you can:

  • Choose a goal that works for your business. Whether its increasing conversions, reducing cost per conversions or increasing traffic, we’ve got you covered!
  • Get bid adjustment recommendations based on historical analysis and expected performance, as well as seeing estimated change in traffic and conversions.
  • Performance and opportunity analysis for individual day parts, which will also allow you to edit day parts.
  • A small step for your bids, a giant leap for your budget!

    The tool is currently in Beta and is exclusively accessible on this link. For a quick tour on how it works, watch this short video or, read this user guide.

    Restructure Google Shopping Campaigns

    Optmyzr has a new tool that will make it easy to restructure existing shopping campaigns to improve performance.

    Create GRIP Structure Tool

    In shopping campaigns, the product group is the level at which you can set bids. A product group can have any number of products. Having a granular shopping campaign structure lets you set a bid for each product individually. This is important because different products have different prices and having the same bid for all products may not result in high ROAS. For example, if you’re selling shoes and you choose to split campaigns by Category 0->Category 1->Product Type 0, you could end up with a structure where the last level has different types of shoes like running shoes, walking shoes. In this case you could end up bidding the same $2 for a pair of shoes that costs $100 and another that costs $250. To make sure you can bid relative to how each product performs, it is important to have a structure where there is one product or item in each product group. This is the GRIP (GRoup of Individual Products) structure.

    How can you achieve the GRIP structure without spending hours in your AdWords account? The Shopping Campaign Builder lets you create the GRIP structure for new campaigns. You can specify the high level split, the tool will pull the data from your feed, put it into the defined structure and you can upload it to AdWords with a single click. For existing shopping campaigns that already have performance data, you can either spend hours creating this structure in AdWords or use the new Create GRIP structure tool from Optmyzr. This lets you restructure existing shopping campaigns to have the GRIP (groups of individual products) structure.

    How does it work?

    The tool detects the last level at which an ad group is split and splits it one level further at the item id level. This enables you to have one product group per item id while preserving the historical data associated with the ad group. Once you have this structure you can use the Shopping Attribute Bidder to aggregate data by any attribute in the feed.

    Benefits of using the tool

    This tool is currently in beta and is available in the Pro subscription plan on Optmyzr.

    AdWords Can Now Spend Twice Your Daily Budget – What You Can Do

    AdWords announced a major change to how overdelivery will work with daily budgets. As of October 4th, overdelivery will be capped at 100% of the daily budget rather than 20%.

    This means that you could now be on the hook for double your daily budget rather than 120%.

    Overall this is a reasonable change from Google’s end because it helps them better achieve a target monthly budget which is what most advertisers have in mind. Few businesses are operated with daily budgets of any kind. Monthly, quarterly, or annual budgets are much more common. So what typically happens is that a business budget is divided by the number of days in the period to derive the daily budget that AdWords needs.

    In the case of a monthly budget target, simply divide the amount by 30.4 to get the daily budget. Why 30.4? Because a typical year has 365 days and divided by 12 months that’s 30.41666…

    You might wonder why Google doesn’t simply have a monthly budget in the first place. Several reasons:

    1. Some campaigns are flighted and have a set start and end date. For example, a campaign to promote a new movie usually doesn’t start on the 1st and end on the last of the month.
    2. One of the big selling points of AdWords is that you can always change your mind. So if an advertiser finds the results aren’t what they expected, they can terminate a campaign on any day. It’s better in this case that they are only on the hook for the number of days a campaign ran rather than the monthly equivalent.

    Daily Budgets Are Good For More Control

    PPC experts clamor for more control. When Google� changed how exact match works� (by allowing word order to be different and function words to be included or excluded) or when Google removed bid adjustments for tablets (which have since returned), agencies and other professional account managers bemoaned the loss of granular controls.

    With daily budgets, Google is actually providing a more granular way to control things than if they had monthly budgets so we should� not� ask Google to replace daily budgets with monthly budgets. Rather we need to understand how to use the granular controls they’ve given us to achieve the goals set by clients.

    The way overdelivery works just introduces a new challenge but it should not come as a total shock since overdelivery has been around for as long as AdWords (in its current CPC form) has existed.

    A Primer on Overdelivery

    Overdelivery exists in AdWords to give the ad serving system the flexibility to spend different amounts based on the available opportunity. If you look at your costs for different days of the week, you’ll notice that for most campaigns there is a day of week fluctuation. This could be due to search patterns in your industry, or simply because fewer searches are done during the weekend than during the week.

    Overdelivery prior to October 4, 2017� was limited to 120% of the daily budget. Two things happen when Google processes an advertiser’s charges:

    1. The maximum daily bill can be no higher than 120% of the daily budget
    2. The maximum monthly bill can be no higher than 30.4 times the daily budget

    Any amounts in excess of either rule are returned to the advertiser and will appear as an overdelivery credit. Note that this is not a situation where Google charges you the higher of two numbers – both conditions are mutually exclusive. For example, it is possible to get a daily overdelivery credit even if the monthly bill is less than 30.4 times the daily budget.

    An example for an advertiser with a $100 daily budget:

    Actual costs accrued for clicks every day

    <td>
      Monday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      Tuesday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      Wednesday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      Thursday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      Friday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      Saturday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      Sunday
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $120
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $120
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $110
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $100
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $90
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $70
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $60
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $110
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $100
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $90
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $70
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $60
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $110
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $100
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $90
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $70
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $60
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $110
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $100
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $90
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $70
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $60
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      $135
    </td>
    
    <td>
      –
    </td>
    
    <td>
      –
    </td>
    
    <td>
      –
    </td>
    
    <td>
      –
    </td>
    
    <td>
      –
    </td>
    
    Week
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

    Here we have a month that contains 30 days. Let’s look at week 1. During this week, even though Google accrued costs above the daily budget on the first 3 days, they only overdelivered $50. The last 3 days of that week, there weren’t many searches and they underdelivered by $80. For that week, they spent $30 below the advertiser’s target.

    In weeks 2 through 5, they overdelivered $35 on Monday and Tuesday and for each of those weeks, that put them right on the mark. However they were not allowed to charge more than $120 on any given day, so the advertiser still gets a $30 credit every week: $15 for Monday and $15 for Tuesday.

    For the entire month, they accrued clicks worth $3040 but can only bill $2920, $80 below what the advertiser wanted.

    After October 4, 2017, overdelivery can now bill up to twice the daily budget on any day. So it now has these restrictions:

    1. The maximum daily bill can be no higher than 200% of the daily budget
    2. The maximum monthly bill can be no higher than 30.4 times the daily budget

    In the same example as the table above, Google would no longer have to issue an overdelivery credit for daily overages since they never went above $200 on any day. They would also be right on target for the monthly rule of $100 * 30.4 = $3040 for the month.

    This is a reasonable thing for advertisers because they are now spending what they implicitly told Google their goal was.

    Wait, Aren’t Advertisers Now Paying More for the Same?

    In both scenarios laid out above, advertisers got the same traffic, but before Oct 4th they paid $120 less than they would now. Clearly that is a bad thing. However, Google doesn’t like to give away clicks for free when there are other advertisers willing to pay for those clicks so they’d gotten really good at staying within the 20% daily overdelivery cap so in reality few advertisers were seeing these credits. They used to be common 10 years ago, but not recently.

    One way Google got really good at preventing overdelivery was by becoming really conservative when serving ads when a budget might be almost depleted. Because there is some delay between when a click happens (and becomes billable) and when the ad serving system knows that this new click has been charged towards a budget, Google slows down ad serving once advertisers come close to their budget. By being conservative, Google hopes that all the billed clicks are known to the serving system before more ads are served. This has generally resulted in a rule-of-thumb guideline that a budget should be at least 10 times the amount of the highest CPC bid within that budget. In other words, a lawyer bidding $100 per click would need at least a $1000 daily budget to get their ads to show with reasonable confidence.

    What to do about this change

    Ginny Marvin from SearchEngineLand wrote an� excellent review of the different things to watch out for with the budget changes in AdWords. I recommend you read that article for a great in depth review of common and less common scenarios. My own advice follows here:

    If you don’t change budgets during the month

    This is really the simplest case and you don’t need to change anything you do. Google will continue to do its best to reach 30.4 times your daily budget. If they were not able to meet the target in the past because your ads were turned off on weekends, or because there just wasn’t much volume on some days of the week, they may now start to serve more ads on the days with more available volume to make up for the lower days. This makes it more likely they will fully spend your budget.

    If you shift budgets around during the month

    Budgets don’t exist in a vacuum. Usually you’ll have more than 1 budget for an advertiser. Simple example: one budget to sell used cars, another to sell new cars. As the month goes on, used inventory may increase and you may want to allocate a bigger portion of the overall budget to it. When you make a budget change in the middle of a month, Google only has to credit back any amounts above twice the daily budget. While it is unlikely to happen, there can now be a scenario where after 15 days, your true monthly budget target is depleted because Google charged you double the daily budget every day.

    I say this is unlikely to happen because Google would only try to do this if it expected no searches to happen for your keywords in the second half of the month. I expect that most of the time Google will try to spend the equivalent of a weekly budget in any week so you might see some expensive days in a week, but they’d be balanced out by lower days that same week.

    I think it is likely that if you change budgets mid-week, you may end up having exceeded a weekly budget target as early as Wednesday.

    Tools to Manage Budgets

    Our goal at Optmyzr is to provide PPC experts with tools to make their lives easier. That often means we help you bridge the gap between what the advertiser wants, and the way Google lets you manage to those targets.

    We offer several ways to make budget management easier.

    AdWords Script: Advanced Budgets – Pause When Things Spend Too Much

    This script is primarily used by advertisers to maintain an account-level monthly budget. Rather than maintaining a shared budget for many campaigns (which is inflexible and doesn’t allow allocating more money to high performing campaigns), advertisers can continue to use the more flexible campaign-level budgets and use this script to detect when the account has exceeded its overall monthly budget threshold before automatically shutting it down until the next month starts.

    A lesser-used, but now very important capability of this same script is that it can be used to enforce campaign daily budgets. The script can control budgets for keywords, ads, ad groups, campaigns, and accounts, and it can use a daily, weekly (M-S), weekly (S-S), or monthly date range. We never thought that a campaign daily budget would be particularly useful since that’s what AdWords provides. But now that they changed the rules on overdelivery, this script can be used to set a cap on the daily budget.

    Here’s an example: say you have a $100 daily budget and you were okay with 20% overdelivery but 100% overdelivery scares you. Simply set the script to enforce a $120 daily budget and within an hour of the campaign reaching that amount, it will be paused until the next day. Obviously you could set the threshold a bit lower if you don’t even want the few dollars that might be spent during the 60 minutes in between when the script runs every hour.

    What’s nice is that thanks to Optmyzr’s Enhanced Scripts system, you can very easily mix and match settings and do so for all your accounts. So it’s possible to enforce both a daily campaign budget and a monthly account budget on the same account. The two settings won’t interfere with one another.

    AdWords Script: Reach Target Monthly Spend

    The whole point of what Google is trying to achieve with this change to overdelivery is to more accurately hit monthly targets. We’ve been providing that functionality at Optmyzr for quite some time already with a script that updates budgets every day to redistribute remaining money to the remaining days.

    For example, with a $3000 daily budget in a 30 day month, you’d start with a $100 daily budget. If for some reason you spent none of that money on day 1, this script would divide the remaining $3000 by 29 days and set a new daily budget of $103.45.

    The script is more sophisticated than this and can deal with day-of-week fluctuations. It looks at historical spend patterns for different days in an account and can overallocate the necessary amount to fully capture each day’s full potential. In other words, rather than saving budget for the future when we already know that future days typically are pretty weak, we’ll let the script set a higher budget if it feels today’s a day with high potential.

    We are monitoring how this script performs with Google’s new overdelivery levels. My expectation is that it will do quite well for anyone already using the ‘Based on Day of Week Potential’ allocation method� because this sets a lower budget when it expects there to be less traffic. If for some reason the day is unusual and more traffic is available, it would overdeliver but because the base budget is set lower by the script, the overage will also be lower.

    Note that the setting� ‘Evenly with Increases For High Potential Days of the Week’� doesn’t set lower values based on day-of-week performance, it only sets higher values for high potential days. It doesn’t lower the value for lower potential days just in case those days actually end up being unexpectedly better. Now that Google can overdeliver more, it may be worth considering switching from this setting to the setting ‘Based on Day of Week Potential’

    We also recommend running this script in conjunction with the one mentioned above that limits overall spend.

    Both scripts have the capability to take inputs from a Google Sheet which massively reduces the amount of time account managers have to spend clicking through our interface to maintain budget goals. If you don’t see the bulksheet settings in your Optmyzr account, please request it from the support team.

     

    Budget Forecasting and Re-Allocation

    We have updated our budget forecasting tools to account for the higher potential overdelivery. Our machine learning based tool for budget forecasting already deals very well with seasonality and should continue to help you forecast your budgets.

    Hour of Week Bid Adjustments

    Our tool for helping set bid adjustments to capture more impression share on days of the week that have better CPA or higher ROAS will also continue to work with the new updates from Google. If you’re curious about how the quality of traffic fluctuates from day to day during the week, this tool is an easy way to investigate that. Results can even be included in automated scheduled reporting.

    First there was Shark Week, now there is PPC Week

    I have to admit, my favorite week of the year has always been Shark Week on Discovery Channel. But this year we’re launching PPC Week� and I think it’ll give the Sharks a run for their money. Granted, I do wear custom Adidas sneakers that say “PPC Geek”, but if you’re reading this blog, you probably love PPC as much as I do…

    So we’ve partnered with Unbounce, the hosts of PPC Week, and some of the best names in PPC to bring you 12 live webinars from August 14-18, all for free.

    I will host a session on day 1 at noon PT about how to automate your PPC with AdWords Scripts, with no programming skills needed. Optmyzr subscribers can already run our patent pending Enhanced Scripts™� for AdWords where they don’t have to write a single line of code. In my session I’ll cover some other great ways for non-programmers to get started with AdWords Scripts.

    Unfortunately some of the session times won’t be great for people outside the US but everything will be recorded and videos will be sent to everyone who registered� the week after the event.

    So sign up today� to get the link to join PPC Week for free next month.

    Machine Learning Improves AdWords in 2017

    At Google’s annual launch event for AdWords, Analytics, and DoubleClick, the key theme for 2017 is that machine learning is enabling marketers to do things we’ve long wanted to, but have been unable to due to their complexity. Here is what they announced.

    Some of the highlights of what they are announcing:

    For Optmyzr it means we will now be able to do some cool things that we couldn’t before:

    Note that as usual, many of the announced features are in beta or planned for later this year and Optmyzr will make the new capabilities available to our customers as soon as AdWords Scripts or the AdWords API supports it.

    In-market audiences help advertisers target consumers who appear to be in the market for something. This is incredibly valuable because AdWords, which is all about targeting the right user, at the right moment, and turning that interaction into more money for your company, now lets you know more about how likely the user is interested in what you offer.

    The in-market audience is a layer on top of all the traditional targeting methods that carry bids like keywords, location, time of day, etc. Now you will be able to bid higher for in-market audiences.

    Optmyzr already offers optimizations to help you set the right bid adjustments for geographies, devices, and dayparts, and now we will be able to add in-market audiences to that list.

    Available in-market audiences include:

    Introducing Google Attribution

    During the most recent Google Partners livestream, Ben Tyson, Program Lead at Google, and I discussed PPC for home services companies. The average consumer checked an average of 4.2 resources before purchasing a home service 6 years ago. Today that number has ballooned to 22.4 resources on average. Touchpoints can include a variety of ad and content formats like video, display, search, and social on multiple devices and smartphones.

    The promise of online advertising is that it’s very measurable and hence it’s possible to avoid wasted spend. But the reality is that measuring correctly has become exceedingly complex. Valuing the interactions and coming up with a sensible attribution model is complex enough to get right for large companies with dedicated analysts, so how is a small local company to make sense of it all.

    That’s where Google Attribution comes in. It simplifies three things that have traditionally been a pain about attribution:

    1. Track all data without extra tags
    2. Analyze the performance using sophisticated attribution models
    3. Act on insights

    Google Attribution.png

    Attribution Includes Unified Tracking

    There are several issues with tracking today. A big one is that adding utm_tags for Google Analytics is a pain so it often gets overlooked or done incorrectly. Then an advertiser might use multiple systems to analyze data and when those systems are not unified, things get double counted like in the following example:

    last click attribution.jpg

    With unified data, advertisers will have clean data to make smart decisions with.

    Data-Driven� Attribution Model is Now Free

    But even with clean data, it’s still hard to value all the interactions that lead up to a conversion. This is what attribution models are all about. How to assign the right value to every interaction… Google will now make it easier to test different attribution models. The key to this part of the announcement is that data-driven attribution� is included and will now be free for everyone.

    Data driven attribution models use big data and machine learning to make some very specific predictions about what combinations of touchpoints are likely to lead to a conversion.

    Here’s an example of how data driven attribution works. It uses machine learning to find correlations between the millions of unique ways in which a consumer’s path could lead to a conversion and it assigns weights to the importance of each possible step. It can then present advertisers with a custom attribution model that reflects the real world as closely as possible.

    data driven attribution.jpg

    Keep in mind that attribution models are just approximations that help advertisers connect the impact of their campaigns to the outcomes that happen in the real world. When Google makes its amazing computing resources available to help marketers get a better model, that’s a big deal.

    Attribution Data Flows Into AdWords So You Can Take Action

    The third prong of the announcement is that it will become easier to take action. Even when I worked at Google, the frequent disconnect between an insight and the ability to act on that insight was something we frequently discussed and which led to an overhaul of the AdWords front-end.

    It’s also an issue we try to address with our tools at Optmyzr. For example, the Shopping Attribute Bidder� which we launched last week makes it easy for a retailer to get an insight about what aspects make certain products into bestsellers, and instantly lets them change bids for all products that share those desirable combinations of attributes.

    With today’s announcement, Google is promising that the enhanced insights they get as part of Google Attribution will be pushed back into AdWords where it will be easy for advertisers to use to set better bids, or reallocate budgets.

    Improved Store Visit Measurements

    Machine learning has improved significantly since Google introduced store visits measurement� back in 2014. That means they can now provide more and better store visit data for all advertisers. Advertisers don’t need to do anything more than enable location extensions to get this data. There’s no complicated technology to install at stores because advanced machine learning and mapping technology� from Google handles it all.

    And when advertisers enable location extensions, those will now also be able to drive store traffic from YouTube video ads.

    importance of mobile ads.png

    Store Sales Data for Any Retailer

    Retailers track sales data from online orders so that they can measure return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) and set more profitable bids. Something that Optmyzr also helps to achieve with our variety of bid management tools. Now Google will make it super easy for retailers of any size to get sales data into AdWords. Advertisers simply provide Google with sales data and the associated email address from their loyalty program, and Google connects the dots to the online activities that led up to the in-store purchase.

    And for retailers who don’t track email addresses, they can still benefit from the program because Google has third-party partnerships which capture approximately 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States.

     

    Conclusion

    There are many more announcements from AdWords coming today but these are the most important ones for now. We’ll cover more details in the coming days.

    Tools to Create Expanded Text Ads in AdWords

    AdWords introduced expanded text ads (ETAs) last year and promised higher click-through rates for advertisers and a better experience for users. In continuation to the announcement, AdWords removed the option to create standard text ads on 31st January 2017. Following which advertisers have either completely moved to ETAs or are in the process of doing so. To smoothen the transition, AdWords automatically added ETAs to accounts, which gave� users the option to� test out performance of ETAs but offered little control over the ad text. � Optmyzr has solutions to help you create ETAs at scale in your AdWords account while maintaining control over the ad copy.� You can create ETAs from a spreadsheet as well as from existing standard text ads. I’ve listed three tools in Optmyzr that support creation of ETAs.

    #1 Generate Text Ad Bulksheets Enhanced Script

    Creating ETAs from scratch can be very time consuming especially if you have many campaigns in your account. The Generate Text Ad Bulksheets Enhanced Script helps in creating new ads based on performance of existing ads. For example, you can pick a metric like CTR and use it as a benchmark for creating new ETAs that can be quickly uploaded to AdWords. This video explains how this script can be used for creating ETAs via bulk uploads or the AdWords Editor.

    #2 AB Testing for Ads

    The AB Testing for Ads optimization compares performance of legacy ads (old text ads) with new ETAs and it lets you pause losing ads with a single click. It also lets you create new ETAs to populate ad groups and continue testing ads. To make it easy, it recommends high performing headlines and description lines that can be easily combined to create new ads. Pro Tip: Use the Turbo Mode to view all active ads in ad groups and to quickly create new ETAs across ad groups.

    #3 Create Ads from Spreadsheet Enhanced Script

    Well, that’s not all. If you are looking to create fresh ETAs in a campaign, you can use the Create Ads from Spreadsheet Enhanced Script. Using this script you can use data from a spreadsheet to create new ads, keywords and ad groups. This video shows how this script lets you easily automate the creation of ads from a spreadsheet. You don’t need any coding skills to implement this.

    Not sure which ad groups don’t have ETAs? Use the audit widgets in Optmyzr to find ad groups with less than ‘n’ ETAs. Read more about how to use these widgets here.

    If you don’t have an Optmyzr account, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial of Optmyzr’s tools to try out these tools � 🙂

    AdWords Shopping Campaign Optimization in Three Steps

    How much time do you spend managing shopping campaigns in AdWords?� In this blog post, we talk about how you can save time by automating shopping campaign optimization and management.

    #1 – Creating Campaigns

    The first step is to create a well structured shopping campaign with properly defined� product groups. Unlike AdWords search campaigns where keywords are the biddable elements in shopping campaigns it is product groups. The ideal structure is to have an individual product group for each item in the feed. This enables you to control and manage bids at the most granular level based on performance. In AdWords, it is difficult to create one product group per item id because you need to split them� manually. Due to this, depending on the size of the feed it could take hours or days to just set up a shopping campaign.

    The Shopping Campaign Builder from Optmyzr lets you create shopping campaigns� within a few minutes. You can define the structure you would like to split your product feed by and upload product groups to AdWords with a single click. Watch this short video of how the Shopping Campaign Builder works.

    #2 – � Managing Bids

    When you’re managing bids for product groups, it is important to take into account� the revenue they generate and the return on investment (ROAS).� Having one product group per item id gives a lot of flexibility when managing bids as you can measure the return on investment at a very granular level. However, if you have thousands of product groups, AdWords doesn’t make it easy. I’ve mentioned three tools from Optmyzr that can help you manage bids at scale for product groups.

    Shopping Bidder

    This is a One-Click Optimization™ that lets you change bids for product groups based on performance. You can choose to change bids for product groups that have ROAS>100% and ROAS<100%. It is also possible to automate your optimization strategy by creating custom filters. These can then be used to change bids for product groups based on performance. This version of the Shopping Bidder lets you view data for product groups at the product group level.

    Shopping Attribute Bidder

    This new optimization for shopping campaigns lets you aggregate and combine data across product groups based on attributes and use that to change bids. You can choose from attributes available in the feed like color, size, gender, group id and more. What makes this powerful is that it enables you to aggregate data across the campaign� irrespective of the structure and change bids at scale. Watch a video of how the Shopping Attribute Bidder works.

    Rule Engine

    The new Rule Engine from Optmyzr gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of analyzing performance for product groups and also how bids are changed. It lets you automate your own bidding strategy for shopping campaigns. For example, you can use a formula to compare the performance of the product group to that of the ad group and campaign. Similarly you can choose to change the bid using a formula that takes into account conversion rate when calculating the new bid.

    The Shopping Bidder and Rule Engine let� you change bids by absolute numbers or percentages.

    #3 – Refreshing� Campaigns

    Once you create shopping campaigns in AdWords, the number of product groups will not automatically change based on your feed. For example, you are selling shoes and create one product group for each model or item id in the feed. Now when new types of shoes� get added to the feed, AdWords doesn’t automatically create product groups for them. As a result, the new products end up in Everything Else. This may lead them to get very little traffic as ‘Everything Else’ usually has a low bid.

    To avoid this, you can go to your AdWords account and create new product groups for products that end up in� Everything Else. Or, you can use the Shopping Refresher from Optmyzr.

    Shopping Refresher

    This One-Click Optimization™ automatically finds new products that are added to the feed, identifies the structure of the Shopping Campaign and creates new product groups. We have two versions of the Shopping Refresher. In the regular version, you can run the refresher ad group by ad group. In the Pro version, you can run it for all ad groups in the campaign together. The Pro version also creates new ad groups if the campaign structure requires it. See how the Shopping Refresher works. To try the Shopping Refresher Pro (currently in Beta), contact our support team.

    Have questions? Write to us at support@optmyzr.com 🙂

    Revamp your AdWords reports with these new features!

    It’s time to revamp your PPC reports with these cool new features from Optmyzr.

    #1 New Chart Types – More Visualizations

    We’ve added many new chart types that you can use in reports. These include doughnut charts, bar charts and area charts. You’ll find these options in the� chart widgets in the report designer.

    #2 New Widgets – More Data

    Optimization History Widget

    Include a summary of changes made through Optmyzr in your reports. You can include details like how many new keywords were added, how many bids were changed, and how many ad schedules were created. This widget also lets you show how much data you analyzed before applying optimizations.

    Audit Widgets

    Quickly find optimization opportunities at the ad group and campaign level. You can find campaigns with no sitelinks, few negative keywords or ad groups with too many keywords. For example: You can get a list of� ad groups that don’t have enough Expanded Text Ads.

    Ad Extensions Widget

    Now you can include performance data for ad extensions like sitelinks, call extensions, app extensions and review extensions in reports.

    #3 Report Themes, KPI Icons & More

     

     

     

     

    #4 – New Report Templates

    We have a brand new Annual Report that you can use to instantly generate a year-end review. Go ahead and customize it or share it as is with your stakeholders to show them how awesome you are at PPC 🙂 Pro Tip: Duplicate the template and change the date range to last month to create a monthly report 🙂�

    Don’t Get Left Behind: 6 Tools, Tips, And Resources to Never Miss On a New AdWords Feature Again

    Hands down, Google AdWords is one of the most complete advertising platforms available today. From the day it was released (October 23, 2000) to this day, the Google team has worked remarkably hard to offer the perfect experience to both the user and the advertiser.

    But nothing is perfect, is it?

    Despite the effectiveness of the tool and its superior ROI, many of us still struggle to unleash the real potential of AdWords PPC. One of the primary culprits is the lack of understanding about the different features and tools available.

    In 2016 alone, Google added 56 new features to AdWords. Add to this the fact that many updates are not publicly announced, and you’ll understand why so many advertisers find it tough to take full advantage of the platform.

    But what if I tell you there’s a way to never miss on a new AdWords feature again? A simple process to find even the most obscure features and beat your competition as a result?

    Well, that’s what this post contains.

    1. Use Feedly to Track Major Publications

    It’s not a big secret that major publications—like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, or PPC Hero—tend to be the first on publishing the latest news in the industry. Some of the most influential people in the PPC field (including former Google employees) write for such websites, so it’s to be expected.

    If you want to be up-to-date with the newest AdWords features and trends, keeping a close eye on this kind of websites is not a bad idea.

    The thing is, top-tier sites produce a lot of content. Search Engine Land alone publishes between 4 and 5 new articles per day, excluding weekends. That’s 80 to 100 new articles per month, from just one site.

    Sure, you don’t have to read all those articles, right? You are only interested in AdWords related news. But assume you’re tracking three or four of these sites. In this case, you’d have to search through hundreds and hundreds of articles per month to find the true gems. It doesn’t matter how efficient you are, you wouldn’t keep up.

    Here’s where Feedly comes in handy. � In short, this tool helps you do three things:

  • Track and organize websites
  • Filter content based on popularity
  • Discover sites in your industry
  • This means that you can find all the news, updates, trends and guides from your favorite websites in one single place. And since you can sort content based on popularity and date of publication, this is an excellent way to separate the wheat from the chaff and focus on the topic that really matters to you: Google AdWords.

    How to Use Feedly to Find Relevant AdWords News

    Setting up Feedly is simple, first add some sources to follow:

    Feedly

    In the search bar, enter the URL of the website you want to track. If you’d like to follow Search Engine Journal, for example, you’d enter “www.searchenginejournal.com.”

    feedly search

    If the website you’re searching for covers more than one topic—say social media, paid marketing, and SEO—Feedly will display each topic separately, as if they were completely different websites. Make sure to follow all the categories that you’re interested in. To do it, � click the “Follow” button located at the right side of each category.

    feedly follow

    Since this is a new account and you have no collections, Feedly will ask you to create one. Collections are an excellent way to stay organized and never miss on the important news from the websites you’re following.

    Name your first collection accordingly and then click “Create.”

    feedly collection

    Note:To add more websites to any of your collections, just click the “Follow” button and select your desired collection.

     

    Now, in case you don’t know what sites to follow, some examples of publications that post relevant AdWords news are:

  • Search Engine Land
  • Search Engine Journal
  • PPC Hero
  • Entrepreneur (Google AdWords News & Topics Section)
  • Search Engine Watch
  • The Huffington Post (Google AdWords Section)
  • Marketing Land
  • The Search Herald
  • The SEM Post
  • To find even more sites, visit sem.alltop.com.

    2. Use ContentGems to Discover Hidden Treasures

    So now you’re following the cream of the crop of � PPC blogs, and I’m sure you’ll find some gold nuggets. However, sometimes you need to dig a little bit deeper to find the entire gold mine.

    The fact you’re tracking top-tier websites doesn’t guarantee you won’t miss out on a relevant AdWords story. Over 2 million blog posts are published every day, some of which could be of great value to� your business. Without the right tool, you couldn’t possibly find them.

    That’s the reason I want to introduce you to ContentGems, a content discovery tool I recently invested in.

    ContentGems works similarly to Feedly, but instead of tracking websites, you track keywords, and the tool shows you the most popular content related to such keywords. This ensures you never miss an important story.

    How to Use ContentGems

    First, start a free ContentGems account and set up a new interest� to� help you organize your keywords based on topics.

    content gems new interest

    One of the things I love most about this tool is that you can filter your results with three different keyword filters:

  • Should Contain ANY� — results can contain any of the keywords you enter in this filter.
  • Must NOT Contain ANY — results can’t contain any of the keywords you enter in this filter.
  • Must Contain ALL� — results must contain all of the keywords you enter in this filter.
  • These filters will help ContentGems find the most accurate results for your search query. Take a look at this screenshot:

    contentgems

    In “Must contain” filter, I added the keyword “AdWords” because I’m only interested in content that’s directly related to AdWords marketing.

    Also, at this moment, I don’t want to find anything related to Bing advertising, so I added the word “Bing” in the negative keywords filter.

    Finally, in the “Should Contain” filter, I added six keywords that will give ContentGems a hint of the kind of content I’m looking for: “PPC”, “Features”, “Feature”,“News”, “New,” and “Search Engine Marketing.”

    Now, if you will, you can use the same keywords I used for this example, but I recommend that you play with the tool and experiment.

    Once you have filled each keyword filter, click “Create Interest,” and voila!… you’ve created an automated engine to discover AdWords news on demand. Now, ContentGems will process your query and will show you a bunch of articles that match your selected keywords:

    contentgems results

    3. Read These 4 Google Official Resource Pages

    You may think this tip is obvious or simple, but it’s staggering how many of us overlook the marvelous information Google itself provides through its different resource pages and blogs, yet these are some of the few places online where you can find accurate, to-the-point, and up-to-date information about AdWords.

    Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced PPC advertiser, these four pages will put you on the right path to a more profitable AdWords campaign:

    1. AdWords Help (New AdWords Features Section)—in this page, you’ll find a timeline of all the new features added to AdWords in the last 12 months. You can also learn about upcoming updates and tools. It’s the fastest way to keep up with what’s new on the platform.
    2. AdWords API Blogwhether you want to increase the efficiency of your large campaigns or just integrate AdWords with other apps, this blog will unveil some of the “top secret” AdWords features and help you get the results that you want.
    3. AdWords Scripts Blogpractically speaking, this blog will show you how to automate AdWords; make tedious tasks simpler and quicker, which is super helpful if you manage many AdWords campaigns. They also have a “What’s New” section where you can find new scripts and tools.
    4. Inside AdWords—this is� Google’s official blog for news, tips, and information on AdWords. It’s a must-read for anyone trying to take their AdWords skills to the next level.

    4. Embrace Curiosity

    If you can adopt only one quality from any of the greatest marketers and entrepreneurs of all time—Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Seth Godin, or Mary Kay Ash, to name a few—it should be curiosity. But, sadly, most advertisers seem to be afraid of experimenting and trying out new things.

    The truth is until you embrace curiosity and start questioning stuff and exploring, you’ll never get ahead. That’s a fact in business, life, and AdWords PPC.

    You might be surprised by the number of features you probably have never used in any of your campaigns. Did you know that you can distribute video ads to blogs? Have you ever used the Display Ad Builder to design your ad creatives? How many ad-extensions have you tried? Have you ever checked your competition through the Auction Insights Report? There are so� many things you can do to improve your ROI.

    Marketing writer Tania Hoque put it well on� Brilliant AdWords Features You Didn’t Know Existed. She adds_ “In a bid to catch the #1 spot on Google, many advertisers are missing the brilliant AdWords features that provide incredible opportunities to target potential customers.”_

    The bottom line? Explore the AdWords platform. Try to pinpoint features you haven’t yet used. Look for tools you may have overlooked in the past, and most importantly, don’t be afraid of experimenting with them.

    5. Attend #PPCchat Every Tuesday

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see� inside the mind of some of the smartest people in the industry and “steal” their secrets?

    Well, that’s exactly what� #PPCchat is all about. Every Tuesday at 9:00am PST, � leaders and industry insiders meet on Twitter to discuss news and trends on PPC marketing. This is a unique opportunity to get your questions answered by people with tons of experience in the field.

    So next Tuesday, grab a pen and a notebook and get ready to learn from some of the world’s best.

    In the meantime, you can read guides and archives from previous chats here.

    6. Make Friends With Optmyzr � �

    At Optmyzr, we’re advocates of all things PPC, and we want to see your results improve. That’s the reason we continually update our channels with some of the most relevant news, articles, guides, and videos in the industry.

    If you’re in a rush or simply want a quick and easy way to improve your advertising skills, this is a good place to start:

  • Read our Blog—every month, we publish new tutorials, guides or scripts to help you get the most out of your AdWords campaigns. So� to make sure you never miss our content, I recommend that you subscribe to our blog.
  • Over to You

    Did I leave out any of your own tricks to find secret AdWords features? If so, make sure to drop them in the comments.

    Geniads’ Tips For Better PPC Ad Performance

    I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the team at Geniads, a Premier Google Partner and an Optmyzr customer,� to talk about how they built a successful PPC agency with many happy clients.

    They are a team of seven PPC geeks, headquartered in Denmark, and dedicated primarily to managing AdWords for 50 clients. I spoke with Ebbe Kjær Skau and Simon Raun Madsen who’ve both been doing PPC for three years.

    What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation.

    [][3]
    Ebbe Kjær Skau

    Fred: Tell me a bit about what makes Geniads special.
    Geniads: We are 100% specialized in AdWords, and only touch on other PPC and marketing areas to understand AdWords in a broader context, to use its full potential. We’ve also really focused on being transparent and honest, something that is important because many advertisers have been burned by shady agencies in the past. Sometimes we take over an account from another agency, and we see that there have been no changes in the last six months!

    Fred: How do you grow your agency when you’re in a relatively small market, Denmark having a population of only about 5.7 million people.
    Geniads: We have employees from several countries, and like many Danish people, they are multilingual so we can write ads in Swedish, Norwegian, German, Danish, English, and French. That gives us a considerably larger market to address.

    [][4]
    Simon Raun Madsen

    Fred: How do you scale your agency?
    Geniads: We have clients from a wide variety of verticals so we can’t do cookie cutter account management. The way we scale is by being 100% focused on AdWords and by streamlining our operations by using tools like Optmyzr. We also spend a lot of time staying up-to-date on the industry so that we can advise our clients on interesting new opportunities within AdWords. When they are successful, they tell others, and that’s how we grow.

    Fred: What interesting trends do you see in PPC?
    Geniads: We’re very focused on ROPO (research online, purchase offline). According to Google, 80% of offline buyers research online before buying. For one client we were able to get store visit data from Google (which wasn’t obvious given the small size of the Danish market), and that helped us optimize that campaign by going beyond simple ROAS (return on ad spend). We increased the overall revenue of the company significantly by having more accurate data. For example, a general keyword like ‘sofa’ had a ROAS around 200% but when we added store data, that jumped to 2000%! So we were able to drive a lot more conversions on that keyword by investing more in it, something we wouldn’t have done if we thought the ROAS was only 200%.

    Despite all these offline purchases we see with ROPO, we also see a lot of growth in online purchases driven by Google Shopping Ads which have grown every year for us. Optmyzr’s been very effective to help us build our shopping ad groups in a way that we can granularly control bids and add negative keywords at the SKU level. We do this by using the tool to automate creating ad groups for every product in the feed.

    Another trend is the growing importance of demographic data and sharing it between channels like social and search. For example, we provide our clients with demographic data from AdWords which they then give to their Facebook reps to help with those campaigns. For us, the Holy Grail is to have a perfect push-pull system where social and search work together to deliver more conversions.

    Fred: Is there data from outside AdWords you leverage to make AdWords perform better?
    Geniads: We use sales data from Google Analytics, and Webmaster data from Google to identify new high volume keywords or high volume keywords that have too low a CTR in AdWords.

    Fred: How do you save time with Optmyzr
    Geniads: We used to spend five days per month on reports. Now even though we doubled our clients, we do all reports in one day. Even though reports are mostly automated, we still look at them because they provide valuable insights that can be applied to improve performance further. Time saved on reporting can then be spent doing more optimizations.

    Fred: How did you find Optmyzr?
    Geniads: We tested a few vendors like TenScores and Acquisio and found Optmyzr could cover more of the work we needed to do. In the two years we’ve been working with Optmyzr, the team has been great at implementing some of the new capabilities we’ve requested.

    Fred: What is your favorite tool in Optmyzr?
    Geniads: The difference between AW and Optmyzr is that Optmyzr lets you look back historically much better, and makes it easy to act on the insights you find. For example, in the Hour-of-week bid adjustment tool we use customizable time slots to find and implement dayparting bid adjustments. Doing the same in AdWords would consume far more time.

    We also like the Shopping Campaign Builder to split our shopping campaigns, and with our big e-commerce clients, we’ve been able to create different ad groups for every SKU, so we can bid and add negative keywords on product-level.

    With bidding, we like to make geo and device bid adjustments, and that is much easier in Optmyzr.

    [Geniads office][5]
    The Geniads office in Lystrup, Denmark

    Fred: Do you think you’ll go beyond AdWords management soon?
    Geniads: We believe that we can get more people to search for our ads by doing more on Facebook. The whole push-pull effect. In that way, FB and AW can be great companions. Bing is pretty small in the Nordic countries, so Bing Ads is less important for us.

    Fred: What’s your favorite trick in AdWords?
    Geniads: We think there is a lot of potential around ROPO. Even without store visit data, you can still get data in AdWords about proximity. We see that the closer the user is to the business, the higher the conversion rate. It’s surprisingly easy to get this data when you have a Google My Business Account.

    In Shopping Campaigns there isn’t enough focus on negative keywords and too much focus on bidding. Although automated bid management is important, your impression share is likely to decrease dramatically if you keep reducing the bids due to poor performance. Rather than just having scripts that decrease the bid for products with a high CPA or low ROAS, you should also take a look at the queries on product-level and add negative keywords. Hence, your products will still trigger impressions on highly specific and relevant queries, so you can continue to capture conversions.

    Demographic data in search has allowed us to tweak the message based on the age of the user and that’s driven some impressive results for our clients. We can see which combinations of age and gender underperform and fix those. We’ve just put the age in the ad text, and that seems to appeal to users, e.g. “Are you 18 to 24 and looking for x?”.

    We use countdowns in ad customizers to simplify account structure and to make sure that when the ad changes, we still keep the historical data.

    Fred: Thanks so much for sharing some of your tips for managing AdWords and growing an agency! If any other Optmyzr users want to share their tips on our blog, let us know!

    Set Geo Bid Adjustments – Improve ROI

    Optmyzr_-_Geo_HeatMap - blog

    When you set up an AdWords campaign you choose the locations you want to target based on where your prospective customers are located. However, it is not enough to just target locations� especially when campaign� targeting is set up at the country level. One way to make sure you’re optimizing campaigns for better ROI is to identify high performing and underperforming locations and setting bid adjustments for those.

    For example, if you’re targeting the United States as a country, you’ll receive traffic from different states. California and Alaska may have completely different performance metrics but under the current structure you’re probably managing them in the same manner. This is why it is important to use geo bid adjustments to manage bids or if you want more granular control over budget, you can split them out into separate campaigns as well.

    Setting bid adjustments for locations

    Performance data at the country, city and region level is available in AdWords under the dimensions tab. However, taking that data and making it actionable can take hours. This is where the Geo Bid Adjustment One-Click Optimization™ can help. This optimization lets you see data at the country, region, city and postal code � level. You can analyze performance, add locations as targets and set bid adjustments in a few minutes. This process can be done for multiple campaigns at the same time. In AdWords, it will� take 3-4 steps to do this for each campaign. When you have to do it for multiple campaigns,� you can easily spend a few hours doing it.

    Optmyzr_-_Geo_Bid_Modifier - Screenshot

    Why use the Geo Bid Adjustment One-Click Optimization™?

    **View geographic performance at any level (country, city, region).**� For example, if California is added as a target location, you can choose to view data at the city level and see how campaigns are� performing across different cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles etc.

    Automatically calculate bid adjustments based on goals. You can enter the target goal value for the account or campaign and the system will automatically recommend bid adjustments based on performance.

    Set bid adjustments for locations that are not added as targets. If you choose to add a bid adjustment for a location that you’re not targeting, the system will automatically add it as a target location and set the bid adjustment.

    Use aggregate data to set bid adjustments for campaigns that don’t have enough data. You can use the overall performance of a location to set � geo bid adjustments for campaigns that don’t have enough data to make a decision.

    Watch a demo video | Try the Geo Bid Adjustment optimization

    3 Ways Granular Marketing Improves Landing Pages With Optmyzr

    Many paid search marketers are familiar with Optmyzr as a great tool for time-saving scripts and one-click optimizations. But do you know that Optmyzr can also help you create better landing pages? It’s true. This post will show you three tools you can use within the interface to help you improve your landing pages and convert more customers!

     

    Quality Score Tracker

    In this view advertisers can get clear, visual snapshots of their account quality scores. The visuals are also color-coded to make it easier to see where you stand. (Red: QS 1-3, Yellow: QS 4-6, Light Green: QS 7-9, Dark Green: QS 10). In the example below, you can see this ad group is getting dinged on having a poor landing page experience. With simple, easy to find visuals, you’ll be able to see your faltering landing pages in no time.

    quality score snapshotYou can also drill down to various levels (depending on if which view you start with) to compare changes in quality score data. All of the quality score components, including landing page experience, are included as default columns.

    quality score columns

    This report is easy to print which will give you the ability to share it with the right people in your � teams to start making new landing pages!

     

    Landing Page Analysis

    The title of this tool is pretty straightforward, but extremely effective. There are three sections to this report…

  • High Performer – High Conversion Rate and High CTR
  • High Potential – High Conversion Rate but Low CTR
  • Expensive (seen below) – Good CTR but Low Conversion Rate
  • landing page analysis

    You can see in the Expensive image above that these particular ad groups have ads with fairly good CTRs, but little to no conversions. The destination URLs all had good quality scores because they were relevant to my target keywords as well as my ads. While those URLs were relevant, they still weren’t converting and also spending lots of cost. This report will show you which landing pages need conversion rate improvements to get better ROI on the great work you’ve already done.

     

    Non Converting Keywords

    The Non Converting Keyword report will show you all of the keywords that had zero conversions in the date range you select. You can view these keywords from the account or campaign levels, and also pause any of the flagged keywords right within the Optmyzr interface.

    non converting keywords

    Similar to the destination URLs reported in the Landing Page Analysis tool, you might see certain keywords that have high engagement but poor conversion rate. This data can give you some evidence to go back to your landing pages to see if any improvements can be made before you rule out these keywords completely.

     

    Final Point

    Optmyzr is a great tool to help PPC advertisers find and make adjustments within their AdWords and Bing accounts, but that’s not all it can do. The three tools we just went over will help you improve your landing page quality scores and performance. Take the time to dig in and make a concerted effort to make improvements to your landing pages. You can thank Optmyzr for the extra conversions later.

    Optimizations and Tools for Bing Ads – Now Live!

    Optmyzr has launched One Click Optimizations™, Data Insights and Reporting tools for Bing Ads. These tools make it easy to manage� multiple Bing accounts by automating time consuming and routine tasks performed by PPC experts. Read on to find out more.

    Optmyzr for Bing

    One Click Optimizations for Keywords, Bids and Ads

    For Keywords
    Keyword Lasso: Add high performing search terms as new keywords with the Keyword Lasso optimization. This helps increase conversions and drive good traffic to your site.

    Non-Converting Keywords: Reduce cost per acquisition by pausing under performing keywords using this� optimization. It helps� pause keywords that drove clicks but did not convert.

    Negative Keyword Finder: Add negative keywords to your account to reduce wasted spend. This optimization analyzes the search terms report to find irrelevant words that can be added as negatives.

    For Bids
    First Page Bridger:� This optimization recommends increasing bids for high potential keywords. These are keywords with a high Quality Score that can be pushed to the first page of search results with a small bid increase. It helps make the most of the account budget.

    For Ads**
    ** A/B Testing for Ads: This optimization identifies underperforming ads and enables you to pause them with a single click. This ensures that only the best performing ads remain active in each ad group. Suggestions are based on statistically significant data and losing ads can be determined based on CTR, Conversion Rate and Conversions/Impression.

    Data Analysis Tools

    Account Dashboard: The new dashboard� for Bing gives a quick overview of how the account is performing across key metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions, cost and more.

    Performance Comparison: This tool compares performance for campaigns and ad groups across date ranges. It lets you aggregate performance for multiple campaigns and ad groups to compare as well.

    PPC Investigator: This tool� help you� investigates why a metric� like clicks or conversions� saw a change in performance. It� lets you view a cause chart to analyze which elements of an� account are affecting performance. The root cause analysis helps you go a step further to find the potential causality at keyword/ad group or campaign level**.**

    Reporting

    The Report Designer for Bing lets you create and share customized account performance reports. You can include KPIs, daily metric charts, segment performance and more in the reports. In the Pro plan, you can also combine data from different AdWords, Bing and Analytics accounts in the same report.

    You can select a� Bing account from the Optmyzr dashboard and access the tools for Bing here. Let us know which other tool you would want to see for Bing Ads next, and we will work on it to help you optimize your Bing accounts quickly and efficiently. Till then happy optimizing!

    New Tools for Managing PPC Budgets

    Managing PPC� budgets� can get extremely tedious so we’ve recently introduced 4 new tools to help make life a little easier.

    Spend Projection Tool

    Our newest addition to Data Insights is our Spend Projection tool. It helps predict how much you will spend by a certain date and recommends how much budget you should allocate to reach a target level of spend.

    See an estimate of how much your PPC campaigns will spend by the end of the month or any other date in the future.
    See an estimate of how much your PPC campaigns will spend by the end of the month or any other date in the future.

    As you can see in the example above, the projected spend ranges� from� $968 to $1,305 and is most likely going to come in at $1,202. The way we calculate the range is based on recent performance and we show that performance in the “recent trends” view shown below.

    See how much your PPC has spent for the past few days and get a sense of how consistent your spend is from one week to the next.
    See how much your PPC has spent for the past few days and get a sense of how consistent your spend is from one week to the next.

    You can enter a target spend and target date to get some further insights in this tool. Based on� your actual performance we can tell you how you are pacing against your target. For example, if you should have spent $100 by today but your actual cost is only $90, then you are pacing at 90%, slightly behind where you should be.

    See how your actual spend compares to the target and the amount you should have spent by today to reach that target.
    See how your actual spend compares to the target and the amount you should have spent by today to reach that target.

    The final insight this tool provides is how much you should spend for the remainder of the budget period in order to hit your target spend. The recommendation takes into account very recent performance trends since you may have already adjusted budgets recently based on how you were pacing.

    Get a recommendation for how much to spend per day to reach your target PPC spend for the month.
    Get a recommendation for how much to spend per day to reach your target PPC spend for the month.

    With this recommendation, the next step is to change budgets to� meet that recommendation. That brings us to our second new tool…

    Try it now.

     

    Optimize Budgets Tool

    The Optimize Budgets One-Click Optimization™ is designed to help allocate budgets in the most efficient manner. Remember that AdWords operates with daily budgets at the campaign level or shared budgets that encompass one or more campaigns. This tool helps translate monthly budget targets that are commonly used by companies to daily budgets as required by AdWords.

    As with all optimizations, using the most granular setting should produce the optimal results, so we recommend using individual budgets for every campaign. However this tool works equally well with shared budgets, or even a mix of shared budgets and individual campaign budgets.

    By enabling the custom columns for the key performance indicators (KPIS) you care most about, you can quickly prioritize campaigns that should have their budgets changed.

    Re-allocate budget between campaigns and shared budgets to optimize overall PPC account performance.
    Re-allocate budget between campaigns and shared budgets to optimize overall PPC account performance.

    In the example above for a lead-gen focused advertiser, we have enabled the column “Cost / Conv” as well as “IS Lost (Budget)”. Now we can easily see if there are budgets with opportunity for increased spend that also have a great CPA. Advertisers could also use the data in this tool to reduce spend, or improve performance for branding or ecommerce focused accounts.

    Try it now.

     

    Advanced Budgets – Pause When Things Spend Too Much

    The 3rd new tool is an Enhanced Script™ for AdWords and is one of 2 new scripts� to give you the ultimate level of automation for budget management. In fact, most advertisers will want to use both of our new Enhanced Scripts™for budgets at the same time.

    This one prevents you from spending more than intended. If you’ve been spending time manually checking budgets at the end of the month to make sure you’re not overshooting the target, this script will automatically do this for you every single hour.

    Here’s how you’d set this one up to prevent an account from spending significantly more than $10,000 per month:

    Don't spend more than intended in an AdWords account using this Enhanced Script.
    Don’t spend more than intended in an AdWords account using this Enhanced Script.

    This script can be copied-and-pasted into AdWords (either at the MCC or individual account level) and scheduled to run automatically every hour.� As soon as the script detects that the cost for the month exceeds the maximum, all active campaigns can be paused and labeled. The script can even re-enable all campaigns it had paused at the start of the next month.

    While this script is very useful for automating monthly budget management, it can do a lot more. For example, you can apply budgets at any level of the AdWords hierarchy: account, campaign, ad group, keyword, or ad. You can set budgets to be monthly, weekly (Monday through Sunday), weekly (Sunday through Saturday) or daily. An example use case is to enforce a daily budget for a set of� experimental keywords (which you have labeled) so that they are not taking up too much budget from old keywords you already know to be performing well.

    Try it now

    Reach Target Monthly Spend

    The 4th and final new budget management tool is another� Enhanced Script™� but this one� updates daily budgets based on how much money is left to be spent for the month.

    Just like clients don’t like it when you overspend their target budget, they also don’t like it� when you don’t spend enough. When used in combination with the previous script, this one can help ensure you end the month as close as possible to the target spend without having� to monitor and tweak it manually.

    Use this script to automatically update daily budgets to help reach a target spend by the end of the month.
    Use this script to automatically update daily budgets to help reach a target spend by the end of the month.

    This script works with either campaign-level or shared budgets. You simply specify the name of the budget (or the campaign) and how much you’d like to spend for the month. Tell it what to do when the budget has been exceeded (normally I leave the budget as-is because the other script handles that situation) and how to divide the remaining spend over the days remaining in the month. You can either split it evenly, front-load or back-load it, or use our most sophisticated method which uses historical data to determine the typical spend on different weekdays and then allocates bigger budgets on days with a higher usual spend potential. For most advertisers, this setting would set a higher budget on Mondays than on Sundays because there are usually more searches and more clicks on Mondays than Sundays.

    There are additional settings to tell the script how many weeks of data to use for determining day-of-week spend, and to allow the script to carry over unused budget from last month.

    When you run this script using the verbose output mode (this is an advanced setting you can enable), you’ll see something like this:

    When running the script you might see logs like these indicating that the daily budget has been adjusted to help meet the monthly target spend.
    When running the script you might see logs like these indicating that the daily budget has been adjusted to help meet the monthly target spend.

    Try it now.

    Conclusion

    We hope you’ll give our new budget management tools and automations a try. We built these based on customer feedback� and we’d love to hear more feedback about how else we can make these more useful, or what completely new methodologies you wish Optmyzr would build next.

    Optmyzr automates PPC account audits with PPC Investigator

    Finding answers to frequent questions like why an account saw an increase/decrease in clicks or conversions is tedious. A drop in conversions or clicks can be attributed to multiple elements like keywords, placements, or an entire network, which makes answering such questions difficult and time consuming.

    Optmyzr has automated this investigation process through its new PPC Investigator tool. If someday, your account experiences a sudden decrease in clicks, just ask PPC Investigator what brought on the change and you will get an answer within seconds.

    How does it work?

    As the performance of every metric depends on the performance of other underlying metrics, PPC Investigator uses the relationship between different metrics to show potential causality. Then it takes it to the next level and highlights exactly which element (keyword, ad group etc.) in the account caused performance to change. There are two levels at which the performance change can be investigated – Cause Chart and Root Cause Analysis

    Cause Chart

    The Cause Chart breaks down a metric’s performance into its underlying related metrics and highlights the metric that impacted performance in red. Analysis from the Cause Chart can help find those areas in an account that can benefit from a bid or ad optimization. For example, if conversions dropped and the underlying reason is identified to be an increase in impression share lost due to ad rank, a bid optimization will help. Subject to availability of budget, an account manager can choose to bid higher for better impression share, higher CTR and more conversions.

    Optmyzr_-_Cause Chart1

    But wait! That’s not all! PPC Investigator also helps in examining and identifying the positive and negative top movers in an� account. It shows the elements in an account (keywords, ad groups. campaigns) that were significant contributors to the change in the account over a period of time. This analysis is available under the Root Cause Analysis tab.

    Root Cause Analysis

    PPC Investigator’s Root Cause Analysis evaluates the exact Campaigns/Ad groups/Product partition/Keywords etc. responsible for change in an account. The tool finds the top contributors by taking into consideration individual keywords/ad groups/network/device and even their combinations like keyword+device or network+ad group. You can view the top three positive and negative movers for a particular account which are further broken down to check sub-contributors. Here is a quick overview of the account insights the Root Cause Analysis can give:

  • Identify the pain points which impacted account performance to streamline workflows. You’ll know exactly which keyword or ad group caused the change and needs to be investigated.
  • Check the impact of paused campaigns/ad groups/keywords and make a decision on whether you would like to enable them or keep them paused. These are keywords or campaigns that shows a 90-100% drop.
  • Find optimization opportunities by viewing the networks or devices that� might be pulling down the performance of an ad group or campaign.�
  • Optmyzr_Root Cause Analysis -2

    Read more about the PPC Investigator here. You can try it out in your Optmyzr account under the Data Insights tools.

     

    Automate SKAG creation in AdWords

    A good account structure is still one of the most important aspects of managing an AdWords account. It makes it easy to manage different types of bid adjustments and track performance.

    Keyword grouping is essential to a good account structure because it affects ad relevance and in turn Quality Score. Over the years account managers have come up with different methodologies to structure AdWords accounts. All these methodologies target a stronger keyword-ad relevance and a higher Quality Score. One such methodology is SKAG or Single Keyword Ad Group that is probably the utopia of keyword grouping. As the name suggests, each keyword has it’s own ad group which makes it possible to achieve a very high keyword-ad relevance. However, this is not always easy to do.

    Optmyzr has automated routine processes like adding new keywords, pausing non-converting keywords as well as adding negatives through One-Click Optimizations. One such optimization is the Keyword Lasso where our system recommends adding high performing search terms as keywords. This enables users to manage them better by setting bids and writing relevant ad text. Suggestions from the search terms report also bring out new keyword themes that require keywords to be put in individual ad groups.

    New Keyword Lasso – With SKAG Support

    keywordlasso1

    In the new version of the Keyword Lasso One-Click Optimization we’ve added a feature that lets you create new ad groups from within Optmyzr. This feature can create ad groups using a template which enables automating methodologies like SKAG. It’s as easy as selecting a list of search terms and clicking a button to move them into individual ad groups.

    KeywordLasso2

    Also, the tool automatically copies over all the ads from the ad group that triggered the search term. If search terms across multiple ad groups are being combined, it selects all the ads from the best performing ad group and uploads them to the new ad groups. It also sets bids for the search terms that are being added to be the same as the keywords they matched to. You can read more about the new Keyword Lasso and SKAG feature here.

    Try the new version of the Keyword Lasso One-Click Optimization!

    AdWords Announces Longer Text Ads and Tablet Bidding

    Google just revealed� some exciting changes to be announced at its annual AdWords event, the Global Performance Summit, held at the Fairmont hotel in San Francisco. Here are the changes I am most excited about…

    Text Ads Are Getting Longer

    Jerry Dischler, Vice President of AdWords Product Management said that text ads have fundamentally not changed since the introduction of AdWords but in a mobile-first world, his team thought they should� rethink that. The result of this work is the first exciting update for advertisers: Expanded Text Ads will offer nearly 50% more space to write ads than before!

    In the coming months,� ads will have 2 headlines of 30 characters each and a single description line of 80 characters. That’s a whopping 45% more characters than before and because the description will be consolidated in one line vs two, it means we can finally start to write in a more natural way without needing to find a short enough word to� bring� description line 1 as close� as possible to its old 35 character limit.

    adwords-new-text-ad-character-limits

    So what’s the impact of this? According to Google’s measurements, the CTRs of expanded text ads were up 20% compared to regular text ads. Seems normal given that they occupy more space. I’m curious to see how this normalizes once every advertisers can take advantage of the new format and once it� becomes the new normal for users looking at ads.

    Set Bid Adjustments For Tablets

    Ever since the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns, advertisers have been clamoring for more control over bids on different devices. While we’ve been able to control the mobile bid adjustments between -100% and +300%, tablet traffic was grouped with the same bids as computers.

    AdWords will be rolling out tablet bid adjustments to give advertisers the additional� control they asked for but the bid adjustments will still only be available down to the ad group level. Advertisers� won’t be able to set keyword-level device bid adjustments unless they� create single keyword ad groups (SKAGs). Speaking of � which, did you know we recently introduced support for automatically adding good queries to single keyword ad groups in the updated version of our Keyword Lasso One-Click Optimization™? Try it out if you haven’t already.

    According to Jerry Dischler, some advertisers have seen more value from mobile traffic and as a result they will increase the limit for bid increases from 300% to 900%.

    In a more subtle but equally important change, bids will no longer be anchored to computer traffic. You’ll be able to set a bid based on the device you choose and then set adjustments for the remaining 2 device types. This opens up the intriguing capability to easily run mobile-only campaigns by setting computer bids to -100%.

    Here’s why all this matters… In this hypothetical� example� from Optmyzr, you can see a case where tablet (and mobile) cost outweighs conversion value from those devices.

    why-you-need-tablet-bidding

    A smart advertiser would optimize this to bring value in line with cost. With mobile, they already could, but tablet traffic simply came along with computer traffic so it was either a money-pit because it was too expensive and couldn’t be scaled down, or it was a lost opportunity because it outperformed desktops and� the bids couldn’t be raised without impacting desktop traffic.

    Other Announcements

    In addition to my 2 favorite announced product updates, there were a few other announcements from Google:

     

    How To Win More PPC Clients

    If you’re an agency or PPC consultant, you’re probably always on the lookout� for new clients so I wanted to tell you about a great program I’ve been a part of for several years, “Partners Connect.”� This� program from Google helps agencies host thought leadership events for current and prospective clients. Google provides some goodies and the content via livestream and the partners provide the venue.

    This morning I delivered content about 10 ways� to grow a business with online marketing. You can find the recording of the event here.

    Here I am at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, right before we went live on the air this morning at 9am PT.

    Optmyzr at Google Partners Hangout Studio
    Optmyzr CEO Frederick Vallaeys and� Alex Rodrigues, Product Marketing Manager for Google at the Google Studio to� share 10 ways to grow your business with online marketing.

    If you’re not already a member, sign up for Google Partners today so that you can host your own event later this year. If you’re looking for an agency or consultant to help with your AdWords campaigns, you can find one who has the Google Partner certification in their directory.

    Optmyzr Shortlisted For SEMY Award For Best Specialized SEA (PPC) Tool

    Optmyzr has been shortlisted for the 2016 SEMY Awards in the category of best SEA (search engine advertising) Specialty Tool.

    Optmyzr-SEMY-Awards 2016

    We are excited to have been selected as a top-3 finalist in the category that rewards PPC tools that provide the greatest benefit to users.

    The shortlisted nominations and winners are determined by a jury of 12 SEO and PPC professionals and the winner will be announced at SMX Munich.

    How The Demise Of Right Side Ads Will Impact AdWords Advertisers

    Google made a big change this month in how it displays ads on its search results pages (SERPs). They will no longer serve text ads on the right side of the organic results, a location where there used to be as many as 9 text ads before. Instead of showing up to 11 ads on a page, there is now only room for 7 ads. While this is a 36% decrease in the number of ads that can show, I think this will result in 18% more clicks for advertisers without changing anything to their accounts. While the removal of ads may sound like a negative, I think this is a big win for Google and for advertisers. Let me explain why.

     

    The End of Ads on The Right Side Concludes Google’s Longest Experiment

    Google is known for keeping products in beta for a long time but this one may have been the longest of them all. While Search Engine Land reports this experiment has been going on since 2011, the original work that led up to this month’s big change started well before that. I was on the Google team originally working on this back in 2008 when we added new ad slots below the search results in Australia and Japan.

     

    Our goal was to test if bottom ads could be launched in larger markets as well. The reason we didn’t launch back then is that we weren’t considering turning off the ads on the right side but were merely going to add new slots at the bottom. Because we knew that bottom ads had better CTRs than those on the right, we thought it would be logical to award those slots to ads with better ad ranks.

     

    The highest ranked ads would continue to show above the organic results, the next highest ranked ones would get the bottom slots, and the lowest ranked ones would fill out the right side. That proposal drew fire from advertisers who were more interested in seeing their ads above-the-fold than getting more clicks. It was a situation where the numbers clearly made a case for continuing with bottom ads but we could not convince the advertiser-base at the time that this was the right thing to do.

     

    Then a few years later, Google started experimenting with 4 ads above the results with mortgage ads in 2010 and in 2011 they started serving ads below the search results in cases where they didn’t show ads on the right. These experiments have now culminated in the permanent removal of right side ads in favor of new ads below the organic results.

     

    The New Layout Has Been Active on The Majority of Traffic For Over a Year

    Remember that Google told us last year that the majority of queries happen on mobile in the US and 8 other countries and these devices have always had the ad layout we’re now getting on desktops. The layout of a mobile SERP has never had ads on the right side, and has instead shown ads above and below the organic results. Now the layout of ads on desktops and laptops looks more like what we’re already used to on mobile devices.

     

    The number of searches on desktops has been declining for some time whereas mobile search volume has been growing.

    decline of desktop search
    The overall number of queries on desktops is decreasing.

    (source: http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Market-Rankings/comScore-Releases-September-2015-US-Desktop-Search-Engine-Rankings)

     

    Fighting for RHS ads was no longer a viable long-term strategy since those slots were part of a shrinking market. Competing aggressively for top positions on the other hand is a great long-term strategy because it goes after the most important ad positions for a growing segment of all searches. Now that mobile and desktop layouts look very similar, all advertisers will basically compete for the same positions. This reduces some of the complexities that advertisers had to deal with because one ad position meant different things depending on the device.

     

    Clicks From Right Side Ads Are a Small Fraction of Top Ad Clicks

    Ads that show above the search results outperform ads on the right side in terms of CTR. Optmyzr’s data shows that ads shown at the top easily get 10 times the CTR of the same ads shown on the right side. This is consistent with recent reports from iProspect that their clients get 14 times better CTRs in top positions than on the right.

     

    This Change Instantly Increases Clicks By 18%

    Let’s take iProspect’s numbers to calculate how this change might impact the number of clicks available in AdWords, assuming all else remains the same.

     

    iProspect says that the CTR of the top ads is 14 times that of RHS ads:

    top ad CTR: 14*x
    RHS ad CTR: 1*x

     

    Let’s simplify our scenario by assuming there used to always be 3 ads at the top and 8 on the RHS. This is how many clicks there used to be to go around:

    3*14*x (for the 3 top ads) + 8*1*x (for the 8 RHS ads) = 50*x clicks (the total clicks of a page)

    If they just removed the RHS ads, that’d be 6.25% of all clicks on Google that they just relinquished:

    8*1*x (for the 8 RHS ads) / 50*x (the total clicks of a page) = 6.25%

    But remember they are adding one new ad at the top, that one may also get 14 times the clicks of a RHS ad.

    4*14*x (for the 4 top ads) = 56*x clicks

    That’s a 12% improvement from before but we’re not done because a few of the old RHS ads now move to the bottom where we expect them to get a better CTR than before, but let’s just say their CTR stays exactly the same:

    4*14*x (for the 4 top ads) + 3*1*x (for the 3 bottom ads) = 59*x clicks

    So with this change Google may have very well gone from 50x clicks to 59x clicks, an increase of 18%.

     

    Advertisers should rejoice that there are now 18% more clicks to be gotten without doing a single thing.

    Bottom Ads Have Better CTR Than Sidebar Ads

    Back in 2011 Google said “On average, this [bottom ad] placement performed better than side ads in terms of click-through rate in our tests.” I suspect a large part of the reason is that the average user treats ads shown inline with organic results as another organic result and any decrease in CTR due to an aversion to advertising goes away.

     

    CPCs Will Not Go Up

    Let me be crass. While it is true that advertisers who used to occupy positions 8 through 11 may start to bid more aggressively, let’s remember they were bidding for a tiny fraction of the available clicks and the only reason for this behavior is that they didn’t care or couldn’t afford to bid more. These advertisers will need to fix the issues that prevented them from being more competitive in the ad auction in the past, whether it was a poor conversion rate, lower margins than their competitors or something else. They can’t afford to bid more so they won’t apply new pressure on the auction that would cause CPCs to increase.

     

    But is it possible that first page bid estimates will start to increase now that a higher rank is required to be on page 1? I believe this will not be the case though I will monitor it and am happy to be proven wrong. I believe the increase in CTR of the new positions will offset any required increase in CPC. Remember that Ad Rank is a complex formula, but it all goes back to the days when it was simply as follows:

    Ad Rank = Max CPC * CTR

    Hence if the CTR goes up because of the new location where the ad is shown, the required CPC to maintain the same position will decrease. Hopefully Google doesn’t tune their formula to immediately remove the CPC discount from the new higher CTRs.

     

    SEO Will Be Hurt By This Change

    Companies with high organic rankings will see those listings get pushed further down the page, often below the fold. Organic advertisers are the losers with this change.

     

    Advertisers Who Appear On Page 2 Will Be Hurt By This Change

    Advertisers whose ads have been relegated to page 2 of the results won’t simply make up lost volume with more clicks from the second page of results. A 2013 study shows that page 2 represents less than 5% of all traffic, and page 3 gets only about 1.1%.

    traffic of serp by page number
    Very little traffic comes from any page after the first page of Google search results.

    (Source:� https://chitika.com/google-positioning-value)

    Furthermore, ads relegated to the second page won’t get the top ad positions on page 2. Those premium slots remain reserved for ads that are known to be better so Google will just repeat ads from page 1 at the top of page 2.

     

    Ads At The Bottom Convert As Well As On The Right Side

    One fear is that ads at the bottom of the page may not convert as well as RHS ads. While this study is now quite old and didn’t account specifically for bottom ads, Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, said that there is less than 5% variance in conversion rate for the same ad when it is shown in different locations on the SERP. Maybe they can update that study but this is the most authoritative information I have on the point of conversion rate.

     

    Product Listing Ads Are Winners

    While traditional text ads no longer appear on the right side, Product Listing Ads (PLAs), also known as Shopping Ads will continue to show there and this feed-based ad format has been a fast-growing segment of AdWords for retailers. It is good for e-commerce advertisers that Google is making shopping ads more prominent by removing the clutter around them.

     

    What Advertisers Need To Do

    AdWords changes constantly and this is actually a change that requires most advertisers whose accounts are already in good shape to do very little, if anything at all. I recommend the following:

  • Monitor performance more closely for a few weeks. Changes in AdWords usually cause advertisers to react and that may cause some fluctuations in your positions and other metrics. Our MCC Dashboard and Anomaly Detection Enhanced Script™ can help you find anomalies.
  • If you need to improve ad rank, consider doing a Quality Score (QS) optimization. Optmyzr has tools to help with Quality Score� and I’ve also written extensively about how QS works.
  • Monitor keywords that may be falling off page 1. Optmyzr has a One-Click Optimization™ that automates this.
  •  

    Update #1 – I was asked to offer more data for the statement that bottom ads have better CTR than sidebar ads. Here’s a Google post on that topic which I also added to the original blog post.

    A User Story: Real Life Agency, Real Love for Optmyzr

    We’re a small agency in Milwaukee with big PPC experience. That experience comes from working for a combined 8 agencies, multiple in-house marketing teams (including Best Buy and Kohl’s), and even hiring a few agencies ourselves in our “previous lives”. With all of that comes a ton of hands-on experience and exposure to every PPC management tool under the sun. When we were looking at additional tools to add to our roster at Granular, Optmyzr came up multiple times during our search.

     

    We approached Optmyzr with a high level of curiosity but also with a good amount of doubt. We’ve read plenty of feature lists before, we’ve seen “PPC celebrities” endorse products before, being around so many SEOs we knew what snake oil looked like (kidding guys!). You get it, we entered with caution.

     

    Much to our delight, Optmyzr blew us away within 15 minutes of the free trial. We knew it was the real deal and could immediately tell that it was built by a true PPC expert. The features that it had were inherently different and it was as if someone built this by looking over our shoulders and watching us work for a year…then figuring out how to make our lives easier.

     

    Check out some of our favorite features below:

    White Label Reports

    Optmyzr_-_Report_Designer-Whitelabel

    It’s refreshing to have true white label reporting. They don’t sneak in their logo or website address like some others on the market. It can take as little as 2 minutes to build and save a PDF or web-sharable report.

  • No logo or watermarks
  • Insert Agency and Client Logos on cover page – looks custom
  • Insert custom data with screenshots
  • Include other channels from GA reports
  • Easily customize, Save and Schedule reports for each client
  •  

    Quality Score Tracking

    Optmyzr_-_Quality_Score_Performance

    Who wouldn’t love this? We do, that’s for sure. With aggregate views and daily trended score tracking, it’s everything you need to thoroughly keep an eye on your quality scores.

  • Overall QS gauge for your account, Campaign, or AdGroup level
  • Google doesn’t even have this feature in AdWords.
  • Clients know about QS, so you should include it in reporting and conversations with them.
  •  

    Hour of Week Analysis and Bidding

    Optmyzr_-_Hour_of_the_Week_-_Bid_Modifier

    Want to look like an all-star to your clients or internal marketing team? Want to stop wasting money during off hours or want to capture more opportunity during profitable times? Then bid by hour of the week.

  • It helps us “live our name”, Granular
  • Another feature hard to match with AdWords out of the box.
  • Ultimate customization and tracking for your accounts
  • Find “waste hours” and move their budget towards “profit hours”
  •  

    Automated…but not too Automated

    We don’t like full automation; most senior-level PPCers feel the same way. We want to get our hands dirty and execute certain optimizations after closely analyzing the data ourselves.

  • We’ve used Marin, Acquisio, Kenshoo and Adobe which all serve their purpose for large accounts, but are still a little too hands-off for us.
  • Optmyzr found a nice middle-ground where we can automate general tasks, yet remain hands on for the more in-depth stuff.
  •  

    Landing Page Analysis

    Optmyzr_-_Landing_page_performance_analysis

    Nice and quick insight into how well your PPC landing pages are working, based on search performance data.

  • We find the “Good CTR but Low Conversion Rate” numbers helpful in identifying destination URLs that need improvement. It shows us when our ads in the ad group are engaging but not converting the relevant user.
  • The High Performer section shows us pages with high conversion rate and high CTR. That allows us to apply what’s working for one page to other landing pages needing help.
  •  

    Geo Heat Map

    Optmyzr_-_Geo-Performance__Non_Bubble_Mode_

    Everyone likes a good visual heat map. Optmyzr hit another triple with this feature which takes your geo data and visualizes it in a way that C-Level folks can digest during their morning elevator ride.

  • Makes viewing location performance super easy
  • Region, city or country level
  • Lots of metric options to change views and get better insights
  • Quick way to set location bid adjustments, with visual reference points
  • Sort and view by aggregate, campaign, or even by device and network breakout
  • Spend Projections

    Optmyzr_-_Spend_Projection_Tool__Experimental_

    Have you ever gone over or under budget for a client with strict budget guidelines? It’s not fun. If you do it internally, it may be even worse because you can’t blame the agency. Here’s an easy solution for you.

  • Quick, easy, and accurate way to stay on track for monthly budgets
  • Gives budget suggestions and handles the math for you
  • Saves you enough time to be a significant help
  •  

    *NEW* PPC Investigator

    Optmyzr_-_PPC_Investigator

    This just mimicked what any good PPCer does on a daily basis when investigating why and how performance changed in a campaign or account. It’s truly amazing but simple at the same time.

  • Example: Why did conversions drop over the last 7 days versus the previous period?
    • Look into impressions (less demand?) and CTR (is my ad less compelling?)
    • Ok, impressions were down. How is my impression share in search and display?
    • Ok, I lost a bunch of display share. Let’s look at what was changed and see if I can fix it.
  • This all happens with a few clicks and is displayed in a nice mind map or “cause chart”
  •  

    Bonus

    Almost all of the amazing reports and data insights can be exported in a CSV with a click of a button. This allows us to dive in even deeper and also blend it into some of our custom reports.

    Use Aggregate Data to Set Bids for Shopping Campaigns

    When� shopping campaigns are split at a very granular level like product id, each product group may not have enough data to make a bid decision. This makes it difficult to optimize these product groups creating a chicken and egg problem. You can’t optimize without data and you won’t get traffic if bids are set too low. In such cases, it helps if you can group product groups� to create a critical mass and use aggregated� data to set bids for product groups. We recently launched the� roll up feature in the Shopping Bidder One-Click Optimization™ that is designed to do this. It makes it� easier to set bids at scale by aggregating data for product groups.

    How does the roll up feature in Shopping Bidder work?

    The first step is to select the metric by which you want to roll up data and the second step is to set the threshold for that metric.

    Step 1: Select the metric by which you want to group or aggregate data

    Step 2: Set the threshold for that metric

    Step 3: Click update

    Shopping Roll Up -1

     

    Understanding the results

    The tool will roll up product groups to the lowest level that meets the data threshold selected.� For example, if you select clicks as the metric and the threshold is set to 500, the tool will show all� product groups that have at least 500 clicks. Product groups that don’t have 100 clicks will be rolled up to the lowest level at which the threshold is met.

    1. Product groups are rolled up and grouped together at the lowest level. The number of product groups in the group show in brackets (n) next to the name.
    2. Sometimes there are a lot of product groups in a single group but the range for max cpc is broad. In this case, the tool further breaks it down into sub groups that have a smaller max CPC range. This helps set bids at a more granular level. You can click on the rolled up product group to see sub groups.
    3. The max CPC in this case shows the range (min – max) for all product groups under the roll up.� If the new CPC requires the bid to be increased by a percentage, this is applied on the max number in the range.

    Shopping Bidder - 2

    Demo Video: Roll up feature in Shopping Bidder

    PPC Trends for 2016

    As a new year starts, PPC industry experts predict the trends that shouldn’t be ignored in 2016. We’ve collected the most mentioned predictions according to what different experts believe will be the biggest trends in PPC for 2016 in pieces written by Momentology and Acquisio.

    From all the insights, one trend was clear: 2016 should be more about targeting consumers than targeting keywords. New technologies (like machine learning or artificial intelligence) are helping us understand the customer journey better. This will help us improve the way we communicate with customers, allowing us to focus better on the target audience by creating custom targeted campaigns. By creating a customized experience, we can deliver the right ad, with the right product at the right time.

    We’ve ranked the top predictions, and summed up some key areas that you should focus on, while preparing your PPC 2016 marketing strategy.

    Trend 1: Customers First

    As voted by Laura Collins, Zvika Goldstein, John Gagnon, Daniel Gilbert, Larry Kim, Zach Schroll, Katy Tonkin, Frederick Vallaeys, Justin Fried, Melissa Mackey, Christi Olson

  • Developing campaigns based on the insights you get from different first party data sources (like CRM databases) or tools (like Google’s Customer Match or RLSA) will allow you to create and better target your custom user audiences, improving the user experience.
  • Audience segmentation based on information like demographics or interests will help you deliver customized messages that will target the right audiences across all marketing channels. Leverage data (from social demographic data to search history) more strategically, to create high-value target audiences and customize messaging.
  • Trend 2: Personalized Customer Journey Experience

    As voted by Jennifer Johnstone, Christi Olson, Diane Pease, Lisa Raehsler, Justin Fried, Daniel Morris

  • You should maximize your efforts on gathering insights to better understand the customer journey. It is not all about sales and leads, but also about the user’s micro-conversions and how these will lead up to a conversion. Instead of promoting your brand, give your customers a solution or an answer to their query. Mold your campaigns to provide a response towards what the individual is looking for.
  • It’s important to consider the overall customer journey experience. Learning from the journey will also help you understand how the user moves across multiple sessions and devices, online and offline activity, the links between these connections, and how you can benefit from them to improve your cross-device conversions. Focus on delivering targeted campaigns that are relevant to users.
  • Trend 3: Go Mobile-friendly

    As voted by Tim Ash, Zvika Goldstein, Pauline Jakober, Larry Kim, David Szetela, Katy Tonkin, Brad Geddes

  • As the number of mobile phone users keeps increasing, your strategy should prioritize the mobile experience first. Don’t think about mobile optimized ads only, but also how to create a mobile experience (a mobile landing page, not a lite version of your desktop site). The customer experience should work across channels and platforms.
  • Mobile-friendly sites should always consider a structure that can help you maximize calls and leads. A mobile structure and strategy often requires different calls to action.
  • Trend 4: Custom Automation

    As voted by Daniel Gilbert, Zvika Goldstein, Andrew Goodman, Brad Geddes

  • Automation tools can help you maximize resources, especially when the amount and complexity of your portfolios keeps on increasing (given the amount of data and different target audiences you want to approach).
  • Focusing on a hybrid approach (automation tools used along with a manager’s analysis and strategy) rather than relying only on third-party management technology, will help you decide when it’s appropriate to use different tools. This approach can help you accomplish more robust results depending on the complexity of your audience, and your marketing goals.
  •  

     

    Trend 5: New Technologies

    As voted for Bryan Eisenberg, John Gagnon, Mona Elesseily, Purna Virji, Brad Geddes, Bryan Minor

  • Technology can help you produce fresh and relevant insights at a level that no humans can do, specially when analyzing high volumes of data. Use new technologies (like machine learning or artificial intelligence) to improve your ads performance, landing page, and to funnel your communications.
  • Advertisers should also consider voice search as a trend, based on the growth of digital personal assistants. The increase in voice search queries could affect how advertisers approach mobile PPC.
  • Trend 6: Focus on Social and Video

    As voted by Katy Tonkin, Frederick Vallaeys, Pauline Jakober, Melissa Mackey, � Zach Schroll, � Lisa Raehsler, David Szetela

  • As consumer behavior shifts, brands must look for additional channels (like social media) to stay relevant. The arrival of custom audiences on Facebook and Twitter will allow advertisers to communicate with consumers and prospects across multiple online touchpoints. As social and display advertising is already outpacing search ads in audience targeting functionality and usability, you should consider them in your budget.
  • Google migrated TrueView ads to the AdWords interface, making video campaigns and budget management easier, so video ads could be the next major ad format to show on search results pages. Also, Google will likely introduce new ways to place ads alongside or inside videos, that will provide better targeting and improve conversion rates. Keeping this in mind, as a marketer, you should consider expanding your efforts towards video ads.
  •  

    Conclusion

    So here are the 5 key takeaways from what the PPC experts predict for 2016:

    Optmyzr Voted “Best PPC Tool”

    Studio 40 asked 21 PPC experts like Larry Kim, Chris Haleua, and John Gagnon what PPC tools they couldn’t live without. 43 tools were mentioned and I’m pleased to say that Optmyzr made the list.

    Studio 40 Best PPC Tool

    Here are some of the other tools named Best PPC Tool alongside Optmyzr.

    Microsoft Excel

    Excel took the #1 spot, not surprising given its ability to help PPC managers crunch the numbers for large data sets. While you can’t use Optmyzr in a generic way like Excel, we have taken some of the most common data questions and turned them into Data Insight tools where we fetch the data from AdWords and Bing automatically, merge several datasets when necessary, handle the filtering and aggregation of the data, and present findings in a matter of seconds. Our Hour-of-Week analysis is a great example of how we can quickly help advertisers identify if they are missing opportunities at specific times of the week.

     

    AdWords Editor

    The AdWords Editor was the #2 tool and that makes me happy because I was on the team at Google that started the Editor project. There are some great engineers working on this tool at Google and it’s great to see that even after a decade this one still saves PPC account managers a tremendous amount of time. Saving time is also one of the core goals we have whenever we build new tools at Optmyzr because we know that good PPC professionals are in short supply so making them more efficient with their time is critical. We automate common optimization tasks through our One-Click Optimizations™, for example helping advertisers A/B test different variations of ad text, image ads, or dynamic search ads (DSA).

     

    Google Analytics

    #3 on the list is Google Analytics and I have a pretty close connection with that one too as I was on the team at Google that acquired a San Diego company that would become Google Analytics: Urchin. Wesley Chan, the Google PM who led the acquisition thought it was important to offer advertisers a better way to track the results they were getting from buying AdWords ads and analytics would help with that. Where AdWords tells advertisers how many conversions they got and how much they spent on those, Analytics gives insights into what people did on the� site, helping to improve conversion rates which in turn lets advertisers bid more in AdWords.

     

    AdWords Scripts

    AdWords Scripts are #7 on the list, another one I’m very happy about as it was a big part of the reason Optmyzr got started. After leaving Google in 2012 I had been doing some AdWords consulting and I found myself short on time to do a lot of the AdWords management tasks I knew were critical to the health of accounts. One day I was having lunch with Mark Martel, a Product Marketing Manager from Google and he told me about a� new technology called AdWords Scripts that hadn’t seen a lot of uptake. I went home after lunch and started coding my first script. I then blogged about it for SearchEngineLand, was one of the first to cover the topic at a PPC conference (HeroConf Austin) and met my cofounders because they read about my script that checked for broken landing pages.

     

    A special thanks to George Bates from Studio-40 for compiling the votes, and to Mona Elesseily from Page Zero Media and Kirk Williams from ZATO Marketing for being some of our biggest supporters.

    Learn Optmyzr On Udemy

    We’ve tried to make our tools really simple to use but when we’ve needed to explain how they work, we’ve often relied on videos. Every page on our site has contextual help with videos and articles specifically about the tool, data insight or report you’re working on:

    [contextual-help-videos][1]
    Every page on Optmyzr.com contains contextual help, including videos that show how a tool works.

    We came to realize that� many advertisers wanted a curriculum where our videos are presented in a logical order so� they can build on each other and� teach larger concepts. So� we created a free course on Udemy that teaches Optmyzr from start to finish.

    optmyzr-on-udemyVisit the Optmyzr course on Udemy. (password: learnoptmyzr)

    To get access to the course use the password: learnoptmyzr.

    So far our customers� have used this course to help train new team members working on their AdWords accounts, and to get a better overview of all the capabilities of our tools for themselves. We hope you’ll find this course helpful too but please let us know how to make it better.

    Optmyzr Named Best PPC Management Software

    Untitled designWe’re excited to share that� Optmyzr won the award for Best PPC Management Software at the US Search Awards in Las Vegas on October 7, 2015. Other nominees for this award were Marin Software, Adobe Media Optimizer and two time winner, Kenshoo so we’re extremely flattered to have been selected from� this formidable group of solutions.

    The award for best PPC Management Software was presented by our friend David Szetela, VP of Search Marketing Operations for Bruce Clay Inc. I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest on his podcast, PPC Rockstars many times.

    [Optmyzr Wins Best PPC Tool][2]
    Optmyzr CEO Frederick Vallaeys accepts the award for Best PPC Management tool from David Szetela at the 2015 US Search Awards in Las Vegas.

    The judging panel for this award included 30 experts in the field of online marketing, PPC and SEO including long-time� Optmyzr user� Jim Banks who I had the pleasure of meeting at Pubcon last week. Jim has been doing PPC longer than almost any of us and started in� 1999 and now heads up Biddable Media for Cheapflights. I find it really exciting that people who’ve been doing PPC for so long recognize there is room for innovation in the PPC management tool space.

    I also have to give a special thanks to Larry Kim, founder of WordStream and Mobile Monkey for inviting us to attend the event as a guest at their table. Congrats to Larry on his well deserved win of Search Personality of the Year.

    [Larry-Kim-Frederick-Vallaeys-Search-Awards][5]
    With Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream at the US Search Awards and winner of Search Personality of the Year.

    Congrats to our other friends who won at this event:

    [Steve-Hammer-Frederick-Vallaeys][6]
    With Steve Hammer, winner of Best Small PPC Agency.
    [marty-weintraub-eric-enge-frederick-vallaeys][7]
    With Marty Weintraub, winner of several PPC awards and Eric Enge, author of “The Art of SEO” and the guy who got Frederick to leave Google.

    And congrats to the many people I know at these agencies� for the wins their agencies scored:

    We are truly honored to receive this prestigious recognition for the tools we’ve created to help PPC account managers do more in less time. We had a lot of innovation in our second year and we will continue to build what our customers want so please let us know how we can make Optmyzr better!

    New Script: Emergency Button For AdWords

    My monthly post on PPCHero just went live this morning and I share the code for an AdWords Script you can use to pause your account if there is an issue with the site.

    We already have a script that automatically checks for broken URLs and pauses the associated ads but the idea for this script is that it should also work for emergencies where the site may still be running, like when the payment processor is down and people can’t place orders. This script will help quickly stop and then resume any ad groups using the impacted domain.

    If you want a free copy of the AdWords Script code, you can grab it here or you can use this tool through our Enhanced Scripts where it works on MCC accounts and where we provide ongoing support so that the script will work even when Google changes their APIs.

    The way I have set up the Enhanced Script in our own AdWords account looks like this:

    emergency-stop-button-for-adwordsAs you can see I took advantage of the ability to create multiple settings of any script. I created one setting that will pause ad groups when my site breaks and another to resume the ad groups as soon as the issue is resolved. I only have 1 of these active at any time!

    Another important difference from most of our scripts is that I haven’t scheduled this one to run automatically. Instead, if the need arises, I will go into AdWords to manually run the script once. At that time, it will pause ad groups.

    Then when the issue is resolved I will change the status of both settings so that the resume option becomes active and manually run the script again.

    I hope nobody needs this script but it’s a good one to have at the ready in case a site issue happens, especially during the holidays when CPCs can skyrocket.

     

    Have you tried the new Quality Score Tracker for AdWords?

    The Quality Score Tracker is one of our most popular tools and we’ve just given it a makeover!� We’ve added several new capabilities that we’re sure you’ll love.

    See Historical QS At A Glance – We improved how we show historical QS by including the data for the first and last date of the selected date range on all views. We now also include the highest and lowest QS values from the selected period, giving you a better understanding of how your current QS compares with historical data.

    New Quality Score Tracker

    Find Areas of Opportunity – Our new Top Movers table shows the campaigns, ad groups, and keywords that saw the most significant change in Quality Score for the selected date range. This makes it easier to find items whose QS has slowly declined and need to be fixed. It also shows items whose QS has improved which may provide insights about the types of optimizations that are delivering results.

    Top QS Movers

    Find Ad Texts To Fix – We added the Keyword Ad Relevance subcomponent of QS to keywords and also aggregated it at the account, campaign, and ad group levels. This makes it easy to find instances where you can improve QS by improving the ad text using tools like our AB Ad Testing tool or the Ad Template Report Enhanced Script.

    Keyword-Ad Relevance

    See Only The Data You Need – We added a text search box so that you can quickly hone in on just the keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that contain specific text.

    A big change that we made to the Quality Score Tracker was that we now include impressions from all devices (mobile, desktops, tablets) on Google search to calculate the weighted impression share. Earlier, we were only using impression data from desktops on Google search. If you’re getting a lot of traffic from mobile, you’ll may notice a change in the account, campaign and ad group level Quality Scores.

    AdWords One-Click Optimizations In Turbo Mode

    One of the features that makes Optmyzr’s tools effective is that they are data driven. The suggestions that you see in the one-click optimizations are all based on data. � While the data driven methodology works very well for accounts that have a sizeable amount of traffic, it may not show a lot of suggestions� for accounts that are still growing. This is because accounts that are relatively small in size may never get enough traffic to make decisions based on statistically significant data. Keeping this in mind, we recently launched the Turbo Mode in our most popular optimizations.

    What is the Turbo mode?

    In the Turbo mode, our system lowers the traffic threshold required to show optimization suggestions and gives you access to a larger, less-refined data set. The idea is that you can view a larger number of suggestions and then implement your own optimization strategy on them through custom filters.

    Which optimizations is the Turbo mode available in?

    Keyword Lasso

    Adding new keywords is critical to any AdWords account which is why the Keyword Lasso is probably one of our most important optimizations. When you enable the Turbo mode in this optimization, it shows you all the search terms that received traffic but are not present as keywords in your account. You can apply custom filters to these suggestions to find positive and negative keywords and then add them with a single click.

    Keyword Lasso - Turbo Mode

    Non-Converting Keywords

    Our system uses stringent parameters when recommending � non-converting� keywords� that should be paused. We understand that many times you want to find non-converting keywords in your account early on and optimize or pause them. For this reason, we added the turbo mode to the non-converting keywords optimization. The turbo mode displays any keyword that received more than 20 clicks and did not convert during the selected date range. Some ways in which you can use the non-converting keywords optimization are mentioned below:

    1. Optimize or pause keywords that have not converted in the last three months and haven’t converted in the last 365 days.
    2. Investigate keywords that have a high CTR and high Bounce Rate because this means that the keyword is� relevant to the ad but the landing page is probably not correct.

    Non-Converting Keywords - Turbo Mode

    AB Testing for Ads

    The AB Testing for ads optimization identifies winning and losing ads in each ad group. However, it requires data to be statistically significant before making a recommendation and only displays ad groups that have winning and losing ads. However, there are times when an account doesn’t have enough traffic to make a decision based on statistical significance. Or, you want to optimize your ads early on. To enable this, we launched the� turbo mode in the AB Testing for Ads tool. This lets you see ads that have traffic in all ad groups and also create new ads in these ad groups.

    AB Testing for Ads - Turbo Mode

    Quality Score Q&A

    We recently hosted a webinar about the recent changes in Quality Score with Convirza and they just posted the transcript of the Q&A we did at the end. Read it here…

    If you’re interested in the topic of Quality Score and missed my 2 recent posts on this topic, here are the links:

    1. SearchEngineLand: The Minimum Quality Score That Can Save You Money In AdWords
    2. PPCHero:� The Impact Of Google’s July 2015 Quality Score Change

    Here’s a sample of� our findings about the impact of QS on CPCs. Be sure to check out the articles above for more details.

    [Optmyzr’s analysis compared first page bids for keywords with a Quality Score drop of 1 point between Monday July 28 and Monday Aug 3.][4]
    Optmyzr’s analysis compared first page bids for keywords with a Quality Score drop of 1 point between Monday July 28 and Monday Aug 3.

    10 Optmyzr Reporting Features You Don’t Want To Miss

    1.Multiple Date Range Options

    Most reporting tools only give you the option to add one or two date range options in reports. With Optmyzr’s report designer you can include as many date range options as you want in a single report. These can be absolute or relative date ranges so you can automatically schedule reports. For example, you can have data for last month, month before last, last month last year in the same report.

    Date and Campaign Selector

    2. Campaign, Label and Account level Reporting

    We understand that if you’re using labels in AdWords, you want to be able to report on them. In the report designer, you have the option to report� at the account, campaign and label level. What makes this feature really cool is that you can have all three levels in the same report. For example, you can compare performance of your branded and non-branded campaigns or one category of products with another in the same report. Also, if you want to use labels for reporting but don’t want to create them in AdWords, you can use Optmyzr labels.

    3. Navigator� in Report Designer and PDF Reports

    This is probably one of our most hidden features 🙂 While creating a report in the report designer, you can navigate between the different sections of the report using the report navigator on the right side. You can also change the position of different sections in the report by simply dragging and dropping them. The report navigator is available in the actual report when you share the report as a PDF as well as when you share it as a link.

    Report Navigator

    4. Create Reporting Dashboards

    Our Pro plan users can share links to reports and they can now also schedule links to be updated on a schedule. This helps you create a reporting dashboard that can be updated on a schedule (every day, every week or every month) and you can also see the last 10 reports on the link.

    Creating Dashboards

    5. Include Image Ads in Reports

    When you’re running image ads in an account you want to be able to actually show the image ads in the report instead of just names. The Top Image Ads widget in the report designer lets you do exactly that. You can show the top image ads by cost or traffic� in the report. If you share a link to the report, you can also show ads with animation!

    6. Custom Filters for Google Analytics

    Custom� filters in the Google Analytics widgets make it easy to report on very specific data. For example, you can only show data for the traffic you received from Facebook or, only include Analytics data for certain campaigns in your AdWords account. For more details on how to set up custom� filters, read this article.

    GA Custom Filters

    7. Date Range Insertion

    If you’re scheduling reports, it is essential to be able to automatically insert the correct date. You can automatically insert dates using the date range insertion feature in any text box in the report. What makes this feature really cool is that you can insert the date in any� format. For example, you can choose to display the date like September 1 – September 30, 2015 or just September 2015. Read more about the different date formats here.

    8. Segment Performance in a Single Chart

    Compare performance across different segments (campaigns, ad groups, networks, devices) of your AdWords account in a single chart using the Segment Line Chart widget. This widget works with campaign level labels so you can see the performance for all campaigns under a given label on the same chart. You can also see how a single product category is� performing on different devices.

    Segment Line Chart

    9. Include External Data

    To make sure you can include data from different sources, we have the Image Box widget that lets you insert screenshots. You can take a screenshot of the chart or table you would like to include in the report and insert it in the template.

    10. Margin Up for Cost Data

    This feature lets you mark up the cost related data in a report by a certain percentage. This feature is available in Optmyzr’s Report Designer and can be selectively enabled in accounts. � Please feel free to send us an email on support@optmyzr.com if you would like to enable it on your account.

     

     

     

    Get More Local Leads With PPC

    At SMX earlier this year we met the team from YP but we were initially hesitant to talk to them because we wondered what a phone book advertising company could offer a crowd of search marketers. I’m glad we got to know them because it turns out they’ve actually built a very interesting new platform for advertisers to reach local consumers, and made it particularly easy to use for anyone already familiar with AdWords. Because we know many advertisers in the local space are frustrated by the lack of traffic when targeting a small geographical area, and because we think YP can help solve this problem, we invited them to write a post for our blog to share what they’ve been working on. Here’s Melissa Burghardt, Vice President of Search and Yield at YP about reaching consumers at the moment when they’re in need of a local solution…

    Reaching The Mobile Consumer

    Mobile and local search are playing an increasingly, albeit complex, role in the search marketing landscape. � With consumers increasingly relying on multiple devices and channels to research and transact, there is no denying that mobile search is a fast growing segment. � It is also a highly valuable audience as studies show mobile local searches have a strong conversion rate. � According to eMarketer, 78% of searches on mobile phones for local products and services result in a local purchase.

    Tapping into this ready-to-buy audience is a clear imperative for marketing success. � However, the historical challenge for advertisers has been how to capture these consumers at the time of their local search queries. � Advertisers also want to deliver incremental leads without diluting ROI, and even though local search traffic that converts well can improve overall cost per lead, in the past, it has been difficult to hone in on pure local search traffic.

    Now, we’re providing another option: � ypSearch Marketplace� � is an � industry-standard, local search marketplace that enables advertisers to reach a valuable local audience at scale. � A recent report by analyst firm IDC ranks YP number five in mobile search revenue, behind Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo! (International Data Corporation, June 2015).�

    YP has more than 70 million monthly visitors to its digital properties – yp.com and the YPSM app – and much of the audience is the consumer searching for a local business or service. � According to a comScore study commissioned by YP, among those visitors, 77% of people who initiated a search on YP contacted a merchant after their search and 66% made a purchase of goods or services from a merchant after their search.

    Melissa, how can advertisers connect with all these consumers who need their services?

    ypSearch Marketplace provides an easy-to-use interface to manage search campaigns quite familiar to advertisers already running search campaigns on other platforms. � Since it is built based on industry standards, using the same guidelines and tools used to run campaigns across Google’s and Bing’s networks, there is no steep learning curve.

    ypSM1

    ypSM2

    Advertisers can apply all the optimization tactics already honed via core Search Engine Marketing across desktop, mobile web and app. � We support bidding on keywords, as well as targeting by location, time of day and device. � The marketer controls the creative messaging and the destination site and can also include location and call extensions in order to drive the best monetization opportunities whether via ecommerce, store visits or over the phone.

    ypSearch Marketplace runs a real-time auction for each local search query and presents optimized offers designed to deliver clicks, calls and conversions. �

    Can you tell us a bit more about who’s already used this and what results they’ve seen?

    The Home Depot partnered with us to enhance its local search advertising results and found that it drove “online-to-store traffic and sales with simple campaign implementation,” according to Umut Dincer, Director of Online Marketing at The Home Depot. � Given the local search campaigns we’ve managed for national brands, we’ve seen categories like those in home, financial and professional services have traditionally ranked among the top local search queries on YP, creating quality inventory and suggesting possible use cases for this kind of local search marketplace platform. � �

    How can someone get started with their own YPSM account?

    To learn more about how to setup an account, log on to: national.yp.com.

    Shopping Ads Webinar

    According to Merkle RKG’s Digital Marketing report for Q2 of 2015, shopping ads now account for 32% of paid search clicks for retail advertisers. As this type of PPC ad is increasingly becoming a more important� factor in driving sales for e-commerce sites, it’s important to make sure they are fully optimized.

    To that end, Optmyzr recently removed the limits on how many product groups can be created through our Shopping Campaign Builder tool. Now you can easily build the best structure for your Shopping ads, even if that means having thousands of ad groups and tens of thousands of product groups.

    [Optmyzr_-_Shopping_Splitter][3]
    Optmyzr’s Shopping Campaign Builder lets you build the ideal structure for your Shopping campaigns quickly and efficiently.

    We also partnered with Whoop! a company out of Austria that we met at SMX Advanced in Seattle this summer to host a webinar about optimizing bids for Shopping Ads. We hope you’ll join us and Reinhard� Einwagner,� Product Manager at Whoop! for our webinar on Wednesday� August 26, 2015 at� 9 AM PST (USA) | 6 PM CEST (Europe) where we’ll cover:

    You can reserve your seat for the webinar here and also get on the mailing list to get a copy of the materials afterwards.

    [Join Optmyzr and Whoop! to learn how to optimize Shopping Ads][5]
    Join Optmyzr and Whoop! to learn how to optimize Shopping Ads

    More than 20 tools to manage AdWords accounts

    One of the most common questions we get asked is how can Optmyzr help me or, what is Optmyzr? � I’ve tried to answer these questions here.

    At a high level, Optmyzr has API based Tools and Enhanced Scripts™ for AdWords. This blog post gives a quick overview of the tools available to users when they sign up for an account.� The tools fall under three broad categories based on which function of AdWords management they will help you with.

    Optmyzr Tools & Scripts

    Data Insights

    The tools under this section help you see trends and find optimization opportunities by converting rows of data into easy-to-understand visualizations. The tools that fall under this category are:

    1. Dashboard – Quick snapshot of how your AdWords account is performing across devices and networks. Data can be aggregated by labels.
    2. Hour of the Week – Find the best and worst performing time-slots during the week for your AdWords campaigns.
    3. Geo HeatMap – Find the best and worst performing geographic areas for ads in terms of traffic, conversions and ROAS.
    4. Performance Comparison – Compare performance of campaigns, ad groups, categories, devices and networks. Do quick post-optimization analysis.
    5. Quality Score Tracker – Get the historical Quality Score of your account, campaigns, ad groups and keywords. � Compare how Quality Score affects Avg. CPC. Get a list of ad groups that need to be optimized.
    6. Landing Page Analysis – Find which Landing Pages in your AdWords account need to be worked on.
    7. Search Terms Word Cloud – Get aggregate data for all the long tail queries that get drive traffic to your AdWords account.
    8. Spend Projection – Get an estimate of how much your account will spend� using simple linear regression analysis.

    One-Click Optimizations™

    The tools under this section help you perform optimizations in your AdWords account with just one-click. The system does all the data crunching to make intelligent recommendations. All you have to do is review and implement. The optimizations suggestions are made real-time.�

    One-Click Optimizations that help you optimize keywords:

    1. Conversion Lasso – Add converting and high CTR search terms to your AdWords account. It doesn’t recommend search terms that are already present as keywords.
    2. First Page Bridger –� High Quality Score keywords that are just below the first page bid.
    3. Keyword De-Duper – � Shows keywords that are absolute duplicates. Recommends which one to keep and pauses the rest.
    4. Conversion Grabber –� Finds high converting keywords that are losing impression share due to ad rank. Recommends selective bid increases for those keywords.
    5. One-Word Keywords –� Finds one-word keywords in broad and phrase match that are accruing cost and traffic.
    6. Traffic Sculptor –� Helps direct traffic to the right ads by recommending exact match negative keywords.
    7. _A/B Testing for Ads –_� Uses statistical analysis to identify the best and worst performing ads in an ad group including image ads for display.
    8. Display Placements Exclusion –� Recommends placements to exclude based on your goal – Branding, Traffic or Conversions.
    9. Non-converting Keywords –� Identifies non-converting keywords that are driving up cost.
    10. Hour of the Week Bidder –� Set bid modifiers for different times of the week based on performance.
    11. Shopping Bidder – Let’s you change bids for product groups in shopping campaigns with one-click. Product Groups can be selected based on ROAS.
    12. Shopping Campaign Builder� – This lets you create well structured product groups from your Google Merchant Feed in minutes. You can manage bids and exlcusions with just few clicks.

    Reporting

    This section has the Custom Report Designer and some other tools designed specifically for reporting on AdWords account performance. The tools under this section are:

    1. Report Designer: This lets you create report templates for AdWords reports that can be used across accounts. You can whitelabel and schedule reports to be emailed automatically as PDF attachments. It gives you access to unique widgets like Hour of the Week, Quality Score Tracker and Geo HeatMap that are unique to Optmyzr reports. Don’t want to create a template from scratch? The section also has some pre-built templates that can be used. The icing on the cake is the ability to automatically schedule reports on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
    2. _Instant Reports:_� Don’t have time to create a report template from scratch? You can use one of the instant report templates for AdWords or Google Analytics as is or customize them.

    If you have questions or, need help getting started with Optmyzr, please feel free to write to us at support@optmyzr.com.

     

    Tips to write stellar ad copy in AdWords

    70 characters for ad text, 25 characters for headline, and 35 characters for the display URL are all you get in AdWords to convey the message about your product or service. Although, success in� AdWords depends a lot on your product and website, � the first step is to� get� potential customers to your site by clicking on your ad. After you have worked out the structure of ad group themes, chosen relevant keywords, it is important that you do not overlook the ad copy. The ad copy must be informative and engaging at the same time. So, let’s see what it takes to write stellar� ad copy!

    AdCopyBlogPost - 1

    Let’s start with this ad. This is a fine example of how an ad should be.

    Use Keywords in The Headline

    Include keywords in your ad text without using any synonyms. If the keyword in the ad headline� matches a user’s search query, it will appear in bold and make� your ad stand out from the other ads on the page. It also helps establish a strong relation between your product/service and what the user is looking for which increases� the likelihood of a user clicking on the ad.

    Use Numbers

    Using � numbers in ads creates a perfect block between long sentences, making them more visually appealing while adding� specific information at the same time.

    AdCopyBlogPost-2

    Including price points like ‘$49 only’ tells people� what they are getting into and sets the right expectation. When you mention the price, it prevents people who have a fixed price in mind from� clicking on the ad which saves unwanted clicks. Describing USPs like 100% custom made or 100% money back guarantee helps establish credibility and trust and boosts the user’s confidence in your product/service.

    Call To Action

    Having a call to action in the ad text is important. A call to action phrase tells users� what they are supposed to do. For example, ‘Order Online Now’ tells the user� that they can click on the ad and order the product instantly. If you’re offering a SaaS product, mentioning ‘Start Free Trial’ in the ad text tells users that they can try your product before buying it. Call now, order now, sign up, get a quote, buy now are some other call to action phrases� that you can use. If you’re running a sale or have limited stock,� using words like ‘Hurry’ induces a sense of urgency.

    Good Formatting

    Always double check your copy for typographical and grammatical errors. Running ads with errors affects credibility and doesn’t create a good impression. Another best practice is capitalizing the first letter of each word in your ad. This makes the ad copy look catchy. Look out for extra spaces, unclear URLs, and uneven capitalization.

    Landing Page

    Now that you have written a great ad, it is time to create a great landing page experience for your users.

    The landing page directly impacts conversions, ad rank, and Quality Score.

    Once you’ve created the right ads, make sure to test them on a regular basis. This is because performance data is the only measure of success. Optmyzr’s AB Testing for Ads Tool helps find ads that are underperforming and gives you the option to pause them with a single click. You can also create new ads to test.

    Demo Video: Optmyzr’s AB Testing Tool

     

    Vote Now For The Top PPC Experts of 2015

    Voting for the most influential PPC experts of 2015 is now open and closes on Friday May 22nd so get your votes in soon!

    http://www.ppchero.com/voting-begins-for-the-2015-top-25-influential-ppc-experts/� (My Twitter handle is SiliconVallaeys)

    I would love to get your vote to be named� one of 2015’s top PPC Experts because� this will help me get access to even more people when I lead training sessions on the art and science of PPC. I would also like to hear from our users who feel they deserve a spot on this list. Everyone using Optmyzr is a� PPC professional and I know I’m not the only one vying for a vote� so use the comments to let everyone� know who you are and why you should make the cut� too.

    The_Top_25_Most_Influential_PPC_Experts

     

    Vote for your favorite PPC expert now!

    Pro Dashboard for Google AdWords and Analytics

    We recently launched a more powerful version of the Optmyzr MCC dashboard. What makes this dashboard so powerful is that it lets you:

    **View and compare goal data from Google Analytics along with data from AdWords
    ** You can link your Google Analytics account to Optmyzr and view goal and e-commerce data alongside AdWords data. In the favorite accounts tab, you can compare this data to a different date range and see how performance has changed.

    **Add notes and labels to accounts
    ** With the Pro dashboard you can add labels and notes at the account level and these will be visible to your team members. The search box at the top will help you filter accounts by label.

    Optmyzr-Pro Dashboard Optmyzr-Pro Dashboard

    Add more data fields like monthly budget, percentage of budget spent
    When managing multiple AdWords accounts it becomes difficult to see if all accounts are on track to spend the amount allocated for that period. With this feature you can specify a monthly budget for each account and then use the % Monthly Budget spent field to identify accounts that may not meet or may exceed the allocated budget. Even as a company if you’re managing multiple AdWords accounts, this feature will definitely come in handy.

    Optmyzr-Pro Dashboard-Segment

    **Segment data by network and device at the account level
    ** This is one of the most powerful features of the Pro dashboard. You can use the filters on the left side of the dashboard to see how much each account is spending on a particular network and device. You can see how performance for all your accounts has changed on mobile phones.

    � *This version of the dashboard is available to users on the Pro and Enterprise subscription plans

    Reduce wasted spend on AdWords with these four tools

    The two things people care most about when managing AdWords campaigns is reducing cost and increasing conversions. Therefore, it is not surprising that one of the most common questions� we� get asked at Optmyzr is “how can your tools help me reduce spend and increase conversions?” � In this blog post we want to highlight the top four tools in Optmyzr that can help you reduce wasted spend on AdWords instantly.

    Non-Converting Keywords

    This is a one-click optimization that finds keywords that have not converted in the last 30 days. It takes into account statistical significance of data and only recommends those keywords to be paused that have received enough traffic but haven’t converted yet. It lets you pause these keywords with a single click. To help you make an informed decision, the system includes assisted conversion data and data from Google Analytics like bounce rate and average time on site. � (One-Click Optimizations -> Non-Converting Keywords)

    Hour of the Week Bid Modifier

    Scheduling your ad to not show� or to run at a reduced bid during underperforming times of the week is another great way to reduce wasted spend. This methodology lets you allocate more budget to those times of the week that perform well. The Hour of the Week Bidder lets you set bid modifiers with a single click in your AdWords account. It also gives you the option to imitate a metric where you can set bid modifiers based on the trend line conversions follow during the week. (One-Click Optimization -> Hour of the Week Bid Modifier)

    Demo Video: How does the hour of the week bid modifier work?

    HourOfTheWeekBidder - Imitate a Metric

    Geo HeatMap

    One good way to optimize your campaigns is to make sure you’re reaching users in the right geographic location.� With the Geo HeatMap you can find locations that result in spend but no conversions and locations that have a low ROAS. (Data Insights -> Geo HeatMap)

    There are two ways to use this data:

    1. Exclude underperforming geographic locations
    2. Split your campaigns by location and allocate more budget to better performing locations

    Demo Video: How does the Geo HeatMap work?

    GeoHeatMap - AccountAudit

    Check Destination� URLs

    Ads leading to 404 error pages always result in wasted spend and a bad user experience. It is difficult to keep track of landing pages that stop working. This Enhanced Script for AdWords automatically check landing pages for all active ads and automatically pauses them to stop money from being spent on wasted clicks. (Enhanced Scripts -> Check� Destination URLs)
    Read more about how this script works

    Why Did My Quality Score Plummet?

    If you looked at your AdWords account earlier this week you may have noticed some very dramatic declines in Quality Score.� I noticed it myself as I logged into my Optmyzr MCC dashboard where we show the account level Quality Scores for all the accounts. Normally I’d see changes� in the range of +/- 0.2 but this time� the changes were all down around 2 points!

    [AdWords Quality Score On Optmyzr Dashboard][2]
    See account level Quality Score for all your accounts on a single page with Optmyzr’s MCC Dashboard.

    Of course this got me very worried because clearly Google had made some changes to the algorithm to cause this. Luckily it turns out that it� was just a bug so my QS was fine, it was just reported incorrectly. It’s at times like this though that I’m happy to have access to historical Quality Score through a tool like ours for a couple reasons…

    Reason #1: Verify The Quality Score Bug Has Been Corrected For Your Account

    With Optmyzr’s Historical Quality Score Tracker, I can check if and when Google has fixed the Quality Score bug. Here you can see that by now my QS has returned to normal.

    [Quality Score Unchanged][3]
    The MCC Dashboard shows that account-level Quality Score has not changed much for most accounts under management over the past week.

    Reason #2: Find And Fix The Cause of Quality Score Declines

    If this had not been a bug, I could have used the QS Tracker to identify the elements of my account that were in the worst shape or that had dropped the most. In this example, the ad group “Navy Blue Sweaters” is recommended for an optimization because even though it doesn’t have the worst QS in the account, it has the worst combination of spend and QS. Fixing this one would most likely raise QS for the entire account the most.

    [Find the ad groups in your account that would have the biggest impact on Quality Score if they were optimized.][4]
    Find the ad groups in your account that would have the biggest impact on Quality Score if they were optimized.

    I could also get a sense of what type of QS change had taken place in the account with the chart that shows how many keywords exist at every QS level in my account. The graph shows both the number of keywords at each level for the start and end date of the selected date range.

    [Keyword Quality Score Spread][5]
    The colored bars indicate the number of keywords at each Quality Score level at the end of the selected date range and the black line indicates the number at the start of the range. In this example you can see a dramatic increase in keywords with a QS of 4 and 6.

    You could� argue that just looking at the number of keywords with a low QS doesn’t tell you much because only keywords with lots of impressions contribute meaningfully to the account QS… and you’d be correct! That’s why we also include a visualization showing how many impressions happened at each QS level, helping you hone in on the keywords that are most in need of a fix.

    [Quality Score By Impressions][6]
    Find out how many impressions in your account come at each level of Quality Score.

    Update #1 – March 30, 2015

    Advertisers report an increase in costs as a result of this bug. What I’ve seen in a handful of accounts I manage through Optmyzr is that there is no clear impact on CPC or cost. While all accounts seem to have been affected by the QS bug and have big QS drops, the costs and average CPCs are sometimes up, down or unchanged.

    [Impact of the Quality Score Bug][7]
    While the Quality Score is always down, costs and CPCs are a mixed bag.

     

    SMX SydneyIf you want to learn more about Quality Score, attend my full day AdWords workshop right before SMX Sydney. I’ll share everything I know and it’s a beautiful location for a conference!

    Learn How AdWords Quality Score Works

    I recently came across a video from Isaac Rudansky (one of our customers) where he does a great job explaining how AdWords Quality Score works. Isaac’s video is factual, yet entertaining. If you’ve ever wondered how QS works, why you should care about it, and how to use tools like Optmyzr to improve it, take a look the video:

    If you’re more inclined to read an article on the topic, here is a post I wrote for SearchEngineJournal last year:

    Quality Score Explained By a Former Googler (SearchEngineJournal.com)

    And if you prefer just looking at some quick slides, here are a few that cover the bare minimum:

    AdWords Quality Score Overview from Frederick Vallaeys

     

    Our Most Popular PPC Posts of 2014

    With 2014 now well behind us, � I wanted to give a quick round up of Optmyzr’s most popular media coverage. A lot of these are evergreen content that should be helpful for anyone looking to learn a bit more about how to be more effective at managing AdWords.

    Three of the top 10 PPC columns on SearchEngineLand.com were ours.

    [Screenshot of SearchEngineLand.com, taken January 2015.][1]
    Screenshot of SearchEngineLand.com, taken January 2015.
    1. A Former Googler’s Routine For AdWords Management
    2. 7 Hidden Features In AdWords To Make Your Life Easier
    3. This AdWords MCC Script Will Save You An Hour Every Day!

    I used BuzzSumo to discover the most shared content on the internet related to AdWords last year and that showed that one of our articles on SEL was the 13th most shared post of the year, not bad considering it’s competing with Google’s own product announcement blog.� These 10 Analytics Reports Will Improve Your AdWords Results. I also delivered this content during a Google Partners Hangout On Air: Use Google Analytics to Improve AdWords Performance.

    Use_Google_Analytics_to_Improve_AdWords_Performance_-_YouTube

    We also picked up some coverage related to the ever popular topic of Quality Score. According to BuzzSumo, it was only the 50th most shared AdWords content, but it’s a good read if you’re trying to make sense of how Quality Score works:� Quality Score’s Impact on Ad Rank and CPC.

    Our product launches got some nice mentions in various publications, but we’re always happy to see them mentioned by dedicated SEM practitioners like here:

    We also went in-depth on a few critical areas of managing AdWords: ad text optimization and managing shopping ads. My friend David Greenbaum, CEO of Boost Media (a company in which I have invested) provided a lot of great thoughts on 3 Proven Ways To Write Ads That Deliver More Conversions. Based on my own work in managing Shopping ads and PLAs, I wrote a 3-part series starting with this article:� Starting A Shopping Campaign In AdWords? Forget All You Know About Keywords!

    I hope to count you as a loyal reader for 2015!

    New in Reporting – Report Navigator, Image Widget & More

    We recently launched a lot of new features to make Optmyzr’s reporting platform even more powerful.

    Report Navigator

    We added the Report Navigator feature to the report view. This lets you click on any section of the report and scroll to it instantly. The names of the sections are the title widgets that are used in the report. With this feature the interactive reports have become even more powerful. Try it out� and let us know what you think!

    ReportNavigator - screenshot

    Image Widget

    Now you can insert images up to 1 MB in size � in your report templates. These images can be charts or screenshots that you would like to share as part of the report. The widget accepts image file formats like jpeg and png.

    Try it out� and let us know what you think

    ImageBoxWidget- Blog Post

    Account & Template –� Report Logos

    We recently added more functionality to the logo feature in the Report Designer that makes the report templates easier to use across accounts. You can now save logos separately at the AdWords account and report template level. If there is a logo at the account level, it will override the default template logo if any. For example, as an agency you can save your company’s logo at the template level and the customer logo at the AdWords account level.

    NewLogo-BlogPost

    Read about other exciting features in Optmyzr’s Report Designer like� Interactive Reports, and report snapshots and� comments.

    Keyword Lasso: In-Line Edit, Negative Keywords, Advanced Mode & More

    The Keyword Lasso one-click optimization is one of the most used optimizations in our suite of tools. It analyzes the AdWords search terms report and makes recommendations on which search terms should be added as keywords based on performance. We’ve added a lot of new features to this optimization to make it even more powerful. Details below:

    Adding search terms as negative or positive keywords

    Now you can add search terms from the Keyword Lasso as either negative or positive keywords to your AdWords account. If you find a search term that you don’t want to show on, add it as a negative. When the match type for a keyword is set to negative, the row is highlighted in red to help you separate the negative keywords from the positive keywords visually. When you click on ‘Add Selected Keywords to Account’ the system adds both the negative and positive keywords together.

    Keyword Lasso - Negative Keywords

    Broad Match Modifier as a match type

    In AdWords, to add a keyword as a broad match modifier (BMM) you need to manually type in the ‘+’ symbol in front of each word. In the Keyword Lasso it is present as a different match type and selecting it will automaticaly insert ‘+’ symbols in the keyword. You can see and edit the keyword before adding it as well.

    Keyword Lasso - Broad Match Modifier

    In-line editing of search terms

    Sometimes you want to edit search terms before adding them to your AdWords account. This is especially true when you’re adding negative keywords. Now when you click on the search term in Keyword Lasso, it becomes an editable text box. Also, � you can see all edited keywords highlighted in Yellow in the Optmyzr interface.

    Keyword Lasso - In-line Edit

    Add search terms to different campaigns

    and ad groups

    When you’re following a specific account structure you may not want to add the suggested search terms in the ad group they were triggered in. The ‘Advanced Mode’ in Keyword Lasso lets you do this. You can switch to the advanced mode by clicking the ‘Toggle Advanced Mode’ button at the top right corner in Keyword Lasso. This will show you additional options to pick the campaign and ad group you want to add the search terms to and clicking ‘Move’ will show you the search term under the new campaign and ad group in the interface. When you click ‘Add selected keywords to account’ it will add them to your AdWords account.

    Keyword Lasso - Advanced Mode

    Keyword Notes

    The search terms report also gives you ideas for new ad group themes and negative keywords. Now you can make a note of search terms that can be themes for new ad groups or negative keywords by clicking on the icon displayed when you hover over the search term. After you’re done, export the list as a csv.

    Keyword Lasso - Keyword Notes

    Create New Ads With Text From Your Best Performing Ads

    Removing underperforming ads is one part of testing ad text in an AdWords account. The other part of the process is to create new ads so you can continue testing new ad copy. Optmyzr’s AB Testing For Ads optimization already lets you remove underperforming ads with one click. Creating ads in this optimization� was a long standing request from our users and we’re happy to announce that this feature is now available!

    You can now instantly create ads in ad groups from which you remove underperforming ads. What takes this feature to the next level is that the system automatically recommends high performing headlines, description lines and display URLs to choose from. This makes creating new ads efficient and easy.

    How to use this feature?

    1. In the AB Testing for ads optimization, all ad goups that have underperforming ads are displayed. There is a button above the results to create ads in each ad group.
    Create Ads in AB Testing - Blog Post
    2. Clicking on ‘Create Ad’ will open up an easy-to-use interface that will let you create ads in the ad group. When you click on each component (headline, description lines) of the ad, the system automatically shows you the best performing options. You can either choose from the options displayed or write your own text.
    AB Testing - Create Ads - BlogPost
    3. Clicking on ‘Create Ad’ in the ad creation window will upload the ad instantly to your AdWords account. You’ll see a message that it has been successfully uploaded at the bottom of the window. In case there is an error and AdWords rejects the ad, the system will let you know that the ad was not uploaded. You can continue to create additional ad variations in the same window and upload the ads in your AdWords account.
    Optmyzr AB Testing - Create Ad - Blogpost
    Try out this feature in the AB Testing for Ads Optimization� here.

    Introducing An Easier Way to Use AdWords Scripts

    In 2013, Optmyzr was one of the first companies to create AdWords Scripts for advertisers who were looking for more efficient ways to manage their accounts. As the capabilities of AdWords Scripts grew and advertisers started using them in more accounts, we saw some interesting ways they could be made easier to use for the average non-technical marketer.

    Today, I am very excited to launch what the team and I have built: Enhanced Scripts™, a whole new way to use AdWords Scripts without ever touching a single line of code. Here are some of the key features:

    Maintain Script Settings on The Optmyzr Website Instead of in The Code.

    [Enhanced Scripts for AdWords][1]
    Enhanced Scripts for AdWords make it easy for non-programmers to use powerful AdWords reports and automations using AdWords Scripts.

     

    Get All Script Output Directly in Optmyzr

    [Enhanced Scripts Reports][2]
    Get all the output from AdWords Scripts directly in your Optmyzr account with Enhanced Scripts.

     

    Copy-And-Paste The Code Once And Never Touch it Again.

    [Enhanced Scripts for AdWords Code][3]
    Copy-and-paste the code once. After that it never changes but you can still modify what the script does by changing the settings in Optmyzr.

    Demo Video

    Script Example: Create Ads From a Google Spreadsheet

    To showcase the capabilities of Enhanced Scripts™, we took our most popular regular script and turned it into an Enhanced Script™. This script creates ads from Google spreadsheet, making it easy to maintain a large account where the ad groups, ads, and keywords are constantly changing based on inventory.

    Here’s a video that illustrates how this specific Enhanced Script™ works.

    If you want to learn more, here’s the press release� with our announcement and here is what SearchEngineLand said about Enhanced Scripts™.

    Still using static AdWords reports?

    Static AdWords reports limit the amount of information you can include or, you run the risk of including so much data that the reports become overwhelming. We recently launched a new way to share reports that makes them interactive.� You can now generate a link to the report and share it with users.

    The report is no longer static as in a PDF and you can hover over charts and graphs to see data points. � For example, if you notice a sudden drop in clicks on a particular day you can hover over that particular point and see the exact number without having to log in to your AdWords account.

    Instant data gratification: Hover over charts to see actual data at different points without having to log in to your AdWords account
    Get more granular data:� Zoom in to widgets to go a level deeper. For example, if the Geo HeatMap in your report is at the country level, this format will let you zoom in and see data at the city level without having to generate another report.

    Interactive Reports - Blog Post

    Steps to generate a link for the report:

    1. Click on the report you want to generate a link for on� this page� in your Optmyzr account.
    2. In the report, select Create Link from the Report Actions drop down.
    3. Copy and share the link.

    InteractiveReportsBlogPost

    Tip: You can use the Share a Link option with the new commenting feature we launched. Using the two features together will let you share a link to the report with your comments.

    Customize AdWords Reports With Comments

    After creating AdWords reports, account managers spend a lot of time adding observations that help their customers make sense of the data. We understand that the commentary that goes with the reports is as important as the reports themselves. To make this easy for our users, we’ve added a comment feature to reports. You can now add comments to reports after they have been generated and then download the report as a PDF, email it or share a link with the comments intact.

    How is this feature different from the text widget in the report designer?

    The text widget lets you add text while creating the report in the report designer. This works when you want to include text that will remain consistent each time the report is generated. To record observations that are specific to a particular month or week, the comments feature is more useful because the comments don’t become part of the report template. They are specific to that report and you don’t have to edit the template each time.

    To use this feature, follow these steps:

    1. Click on the report you want to add comments to on this page� in your Optmyzr account
    2. In the report, hover on top of any widget and it’ll show you a highlighted box to add comments
    3. After adding comments, download the report as a PDF, email it as a PDF or, share a link to the report

    We’re adding a feature that will let you save the reports with comments in your Optmyzr account. You can edit the comments later or, maintain a history of your observations for future reference.

    Blog-Comments in Reports

     

    This feature is available in the Pro and Enterprise plans. Also, available on the old Gold plan.

     

     

    Tools to manage multiple AdWords accounts

    It can be quite tedious to manage multiple AdWords accounts and stay on top of them all the time. In this post we want to highlight features and tools in Optmyzr that are designed to help you manage multiple AdWords accounts more efficiently.

    MCC Account Dashboard

    In your MCC account in AdWords, � you can get a list of accounts and can see metrics over a given period of time. However, figuring out which account needs your attention is entirely up to you. The new MCC account dashboard from Optmyzr helps with this. It lets you see how performance of � your favorite AdWords accounts has changed over two periods of time. This instantly tells you which accounts had the biggest drops and need immediate investigation. You can also compare performance to the same period last year to see if it is a seasonal trend.

    1. Add accounts to favorites by clicking on the star next to the account name
    2. Select which metrics you want to see from ‘Choose Columns’
    3. Select the date range to compare
    4. Hover over the account name to see a birds eye view of performance

    MCCAccountDashboard

    Optimization Inbox

    Don’t know which AdWords accounts to start optimizing? The Optimization Inbox gives a quick snapshot of the number of optimization suggestions available in each AdWords account. You can filter and sort data by account name, the type of optimization (keywords or bids), number of suggestions and the last time an optimization was implemented in the account. A great way to prioritize your work week and save time.

    New Optimization Inbox

    Favorite Report Templates

    You can favorite the most frequently used report templates for each AdWords account in Optmyzr. The advantage is that they show up at the top under favorite templates and you can get to them without sifting through a huge list. Also, the rest of the templates are available at the bottom of the page in case you need to use or replicate one for an account. You can schedule weekly/monthly reports to be emailed automatically, download a PDF or, share a link to an interactive report.

    FavoriteTemplates

    Add Negative Keywords With One-Click

    Adding negative keywords to AdWords campaigns has been a long standing ask from our users and we’re happy to announce that this feature is now live in the Keyword Lasso.� The Keyword Lasso tool was designed to analyze the AdWords search terms report to find keywords to add with one-click. The search terms report is also where you get negative keyword ideas from and it made perfect sense to combine the two.

    In the Keyword Lasso, you can now choose to add search terms as negative or positive keywords in broad, phrase or exact match at the ad group level. For positive keywords, the tool also gives you the option to select the BMM (Broad Match Modifier)� match type.

    The advantage is that you can select positive and negative keywords to be added simultaneously and then upload them together in your AdWords account with a single click.

    When you mark a keyword as negative, the row gets highlighted with a light red color. This helps differentiate between positive and negative keywords visually. You’ll see two drop downs next to the search term, one to select the type of keyword – Positve or Ad group Negative and the other to select the match type – Broad, Phrase, Exact or BMM (Broad Match Modifier).

    Negative Keyword - Lasso Blog

    Read more about AdWords One-Click Optimizations

    Come Meet Us At The Internet Marketing Association Conference!

    Now that Labor Day and the slow summer months are behind us, I’m ramping up for a fairly busy conference schedule that will take me to Las Vegas and NY several times in the next month.

    I’m particularly excited to announce that we just signed on to sponsor the Internet Marketing Association’s annual event in Las Vegas: Impact14 from September 24-26.

    Optmyzr Sponsors IMA 2014

    I’ll be co-hosting an evening keynote at the beautiful CityCenter conference center, together with my former colleague from Google, Joe DeMike.

    If you’ve been thinking about going to a conference, here are the three I recommend. They all have very different audiences so I’ll also include why I like each one:

    Hope you’ll be able to join me at one of these 3 great events!

    Get Certified For AdWords

    A great way to set yourself or your agency apart when trying to land new SEM clients is to show them that you are AdWords certified. There are many sub-par agencies that say they know AdWords but who really don’t, so having the certification and the agency badge that comes along with it, is a good way to show prospective clients you’re serious about AdWords.

    To be AdWords certified, you have to pass 2 exams: AdWords fundamentals and one of the advanced exams, like Advanced Display.

    Recently Google asked me to host two live Hangout On Air events to give agencies a crash course to prep for both of these tests. If you’ve been wanting to get your certification but you’re not sure you’re up-to-date with all the latest material, these videos are a great refresher.

    Watch the AdWords Fundamentals Video
    Prep for the Google AdWords certification program with this crash course to get you ready to pass the AdWords Fundamentals exam.

    [Watch the Display Advertising Video][2]
    Prep for the certification exam with this crash course to get you ready to pass the AdWords Advanced Display test.

    We’re also posting these videos on our [AdWords video tutorials page][3], along with some of our best other videos that explain our tools, and explain how to use AdWords best.

    [2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e_sZFPwSYwPrep for the Google AdWords [3]: http://www.optmyzr.com/info/video_tutorials

    Make Better PPC Decisions With Analytics Data

    I recently hosted a Hangout On Air for Google Partners and wrote a post on Search Engine Land about how you can get better results in AdWords by using data from Analytics. � In AdWords, you are usually limited to seeing only data about how many clicks turn into conversions and at what CPA. By adding Analytics data to the mix, it’s possible to gain insights into WHY some clicks turn into customers and others don’t. You can also use Google Analytics to do attribution modeling to better understand how PPC ads contribute to the success you may be seeing in other channels.

    Read the complete article about using Analytics and AdWords together on SearchEngineLand.com� or watch the video from the session I hosted for Google Partners.

    Are you adding too many negative keywords?

    While building the Traffic Sculptor One-Click Optimization™ we found a unique use case where adding negative keywords may not be a good thing. We took care of this use case in the algorithm for the Traffic Sculptor where it does not recommend adding keywords that have Low Search Volume as exact match negatives. Read on to to find out why this is important.

    Using negative keywords to direct traffic

    The basic use for negative keywords is to filter out irrelevant traffic. At a more advanced level, they are used at the ad group level to direct traffic to the right ad groups. For example, if you have two ad groups one for black shoes and the other for white shoes then you’ll add black shoes as a negative to the ad group white shoes to make sure that when someone searches for black shoes it doesn’t broad match to white shoes and show the wrong ad. This is the principle that the Traffic Sculptor is build on.

    According to this strategy, when a keyword is added in exact match to one ad group it is added as a negative exact match to other ad groups that have broad matched keywords. This works perfectly fine with regular keywords but with ‘low search volume’ keywords it may back fire.

    Why this strategy backfires for low search volume keywords?

    Low search volume keywords are keywords that don’t have the minimum required search volume according to Google. These keywords are not eligible to enter the auction and therefore don’t trigger ads. Over time if the number of search queries for these keywords increases, Google will remove the low search volume status and the keywords become eligible to enter the auction.

    Usually when keywords with more than four words are used in exact or phrase match end up in the low search volume category. When a low search volume keyword is added as an exact match keyword in a broad match ad group it is to ensure that when someone searches on the � keyword the ad from the exact match ad group shows and not the one from the broad match ad group.

    However, by doing this we ensure that that keyword will never trigger an ad from the account. This is because the low search volume keyword will not enter the auction and since it is added as a negative in the broad match ad group, it will never broad match to it. The end result is no traffic to that keyword.

    Let’s explain this with an example.� There are two keywords in two different ad groups.
    Ad Group Name: Black Shoes – Broad
    Keyword: black shoes
    Negative Keyword: -[black shoes with red stripes]

    Ad Group Name: Black Shoes – Exact,
    Keyword – [black shoes with red stripes]

     

    Infographic-TrafficSculptor+LowSearchVolume

    To prevent the search term black shoes with red stripes from broad matching to black shoes, black shoes with red stripes was added a a negative in the ad group Black Shoes – Broad.

    When a user searches for black shoes with red stripes it should ideally match to the exact match keyword in the ad group Black Shoes – Exact. However, since this keyword is marked low search volume it won’t even enter the auction. The next option for it is to broad match to the keyword black shoes in the Ad Group Black Shoes – Broad. However, since it is added as an exact match negative in that ad group it won’t match. The end result, the search query doesn’t match to any keyword in your account and your ad doesn’t show.

    The keyword [black and white striped shoes] is marked as Low Search Volume. When someone searches for ‘black and white striped shoes’ this keyword will not be eligible � to show ads because of its status. However, this may broad or phrase match to a different keyword in your account.

     

     

     

     

    The Ten Elements Of The Perfect Landing Page

    I attended Bryan Eisenberg’s keynote about landing page optimization at HeroConf, an all PPC conference in Austin last month. He had some really actionable advice for landing page design so I thought I’d share the highlights here. You can check out Bryan’s presentation titled “Developing a High Converting Landing Page” on his site.

     

    On Why Landing Pages Are Often Broken…

  • Most companies bring $92 to bring traffic to their site but only $1 to convert them.

  • Most sites don’t have a traffic problem, they have a conversion problem.

  • Many marketing teams suffer from the curse of knowledge: they bring their own knowledge about the product and try to sell it to people who know nothing about it.

  •  

    On What A Great Landing Page Experience Needs To Be…

    A landing page needs to be all of the following. Start from the top of the list and only if you meet the criteria, move on to the next one.

  • functional – i.e. not a 404 error or otherwise broken (use our landing page watchdog script if this is a concern for you)

  • accessible

  • usable

  • intuitive

  • persuasive

  • $44B is lost in e-commerce due to issues with just the first item on this list…

     

    On What Landing Pages Need To Address Depending On Various Stages Of The Buying Cycle…

  • early awareness – solution may be to define a problem for the consumer

  • mid / consideration – solution may be a buying guide

  • purchase – solution is to provide a sign up or shopping cart

  • post purchase – solution may be ways to engage with the product

  •  

    On How Many Test You Should Do…

    Amazon did 1900 tests in 2013. So no, you’re probably not doing enough.

     

    The Conversion Trinity: What You Need To Convert

  • Relevance

  • Value

  • CTA

  •  

    The Ten Elements Every Landing Page Must Have:

  • Logo

  • Headline

    • text

    • <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          graphical
        </p>
      </li>
      
  • Offer

  • Descriptive Copy

    • bullet block

    • <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          key features
        </p>
      </li>
      
      <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          key benefits
        </p>
      </li>
      
  • Product / service presentation

    • product image

    • <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          tours
        </p>
      </li>
      
      <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          screenshots
        </p>
      </li>
      
      <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          lifestyle images
        </p>
      </li>
      
  • Call to action

  • Confidence building

    • testimonials

    • <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          examples of users
        </p>
      </li>
      
      <li dir="ltr">
        <p dir="ltr">
          3rd party validators
        </p>
      </li>
      
  • Contact info

  • Link to more info

  • Template elements

  •  

    How To Prioritize These Ten Key Elements

    You need to be careful about the page layout and make sure the page flows well and the users’ attention is drawn primarily to the right things.

     

    Employ the visible anatomy which has 5 dimensions:

  • Relevance – reinforce the keywords in the title so you preserve the scent of the query

  • Quality – the page needs to look like it’s high quality – if you add too many trust badges, your site may look desperate to try and prove legitimacy and actually have worse conversion rate because it will be perceived as low quality

  • Placement

  • Proximity

  • Prominence

  •  

    You should prioritize 3 key sections to have great placement, proximity to other key sections, and prominence on the page:

  • call to action

  • choose any of the remaining 9

  • choose any of the remaining 8

  •  

    Then run a heatmap study and compare the heatmap to the anatomy you created. Your 3 priority elements should match where the users are looking. If not, iterate to fix this.

     

    If you ever have a chance to see Bryan in person, I highly recommend it.

     

    Our Account Quality Scores Match What Google Reports!

    If you’ve read any of my blog posts about AdWords Quality Score (QS) or seen any of my presentations at SMX, SES, or PubCon, you should already be familiar with the importance of the AdWords account-level QS. It’s Google’s measure of how relevant the keywords in an account typically are and it’s a major factor in determining how much an advertiser has to pay to get new keywords started in their account.

    An account with great account-level QS has to pay a lower CPC than if it had poor QS to get the same ad rank for a new keyword. As soon as the new keyword has enough CTR data to establish its relevance, the account-level QS factor becomes far less important.

    The thing is that Google has never disclosed what the account’s QS is… until now! I just received a booklet from the Google Partners team with data for a few accounts that are under my MCC and while it’s so subtle I originally didn’t notice it, there is an account Quality Score published for each account!

    So I immediately went to our Optmyzr Quality Score Tracker to see how Google’s numbers compare to the ones we’ve been calculating and reporting to our customers for nearly a year now. The good news is that they match up very closely. We are somewhat limited in how we can calculate the QS number but it seems our formula is pretty close to the one Google uses and for all accounts I checked, we were within 1 point of what Google said. Because Google rounds to an integer and their number is for the entire quarter, that’s as close as I think we could get.

    [Google Partners started to report the account Quality Score in a booklet they send agencies.][2]
    Google Partners started to report the account Quality Score in a booklet they send agencies.

     

    Today’s Big AdWords Announcement

    AdWords just wrapped up what I think is a first for them: a staged event to announce some of the new things they’ve been working on. In all my years at AdWords, we never did any launch events and we certainly didn’t like to pre-announce anything to the public. It’s nice to see them share their roadmap so that us advertisers who spend a lot of money with them can get some more lead time to get ready for any changes that may impact us.

    The new AdWords features announced fall into three categories: Ad Formats, Reporting, and Tools. The exact launch dates were not announced, they said to monitor the Inside AdWords blog to learn more.

    So here’s a roundup of what was announced by Jerry Dischler, VP of Product for AdWords:

    Ad Formats

    All the announcements related to ad formats are meant for advertisers who also have an app on Google Play.

    1. App Keyword Suggestions. � AdWords will tell you the most popular queries on Google Play for your type of app, e.g. if your app is Hotels Tonight, they would recommend advertising on keywords like ‘last minute hotels’, and ‘hotels app’ because those are some of the most frequently searched keywords on Google Play that are relevant.
    2. In-App � Ads. You can now target your ads to users based on what apps they already have installed.
    3. YouTube Trueview Ads For Apps. You can now get a user to install your app by clicking on a TrueView ad.
    4. **App Deep-Linking Ads.**� Your ads can now link to a specific screen or page inside your app if the user already has the app installed. E.g. if a user searches for ‘hotels in NY’ and they have the Kayak app installed, they can be taken directly to the page in your app that has search results for those hotels. This is interesting for advertisers but to me this is probably the most significant announcement as a shareholder. Google faces a problem when users bypass search and go straight to their travel app for booking a flight, or directly to their Amazon app when they want to buy something. If Google search can get you to the right page and the right app faster, more people will search, advertisers will have more opportunities to find customers and Google will make more money.

    Reporting

    1. In Store Conversion Tracking. As part of estimated conversions they will include how many in-store purchases your ads may have driven. The fashion retailer, Express measured 102% ROAS from in-store sales during a beta of this new feature. They did not share details about how this was implemented.

    Tools

    1. **Bulk Actions.**� More things that previously required the AdWords Editor to change efficiently will now be available for bulk changes directly in the AdWords interface. Some examples they mentioned were changing campaign settings like location targeting, and ad extensions.

      Make bulk changes to campaign settings in AdWords
      Make bulk changes to campaign settings in AdWords
      • **Automated Bidding For Max Revenue or Max Conversions.**� AdWords wants every advertiser to have enterprise level bid management without having to go to a third party vendor. In addition to continuing support for the existing bid strategies like target ROAS, target CPA, and maximize clicks, they will be adding two new ones: maximize number of conversions, and maximize revenue. These sound a little scary to me because maximizing revenue with no regard to cost could make for some very expensive ads. And while I don’t care if my competitor wastes money, I do care that this may make AdWords more expensive for everyone since it remains an auction where everyone’s price is partially determined by what the competition does.

      • Multi-Dimensional report Builder. If you’ve ever wasted time pulling AdWords data into Excel for analysis, you’ll now be able to make sophisticated tables and charts to analyze your data directly in the AdWords interface and using live AdWords data. As AdWords has gotten more complex with many segmentations like devices, networks, geos and dayparts, analysis has gotten more complicated. That’s why we built our Hour-of-Week report, our Geo Heatmap for AdWords and some other tools that do all the data processing for you.

        [Create multi-dimensional reports from live AdWords data, directly in the AdWords interface][2]
        Create multi-dimensional reports from live AdWords data, directly in the AdWords interface
        [Turn the data into pie charts, bar charts or line charts.][3]
        Turn the data into pie charts, bar charts or line charts.

         

        • **Drafts and Experiments.**� You will now be able to stage new changes to your account before pushing them live. Say that you want to test out some new theories… rather than making the changes in the account, you can now build everything out in a staged version of your account and then when everyone signs off, get it kicked off as an experiment where you allocated a percentage of traffic to it so that you can do an apples-to-apples comparison of the control and the experiment results. It’s like AdWords Campaign Experiments but more advanced and hopefully easier to use. At least from what I saw when I tested this feature a couple months ago, it should be quite useful.

          [Build out a new campaign in draft mode and run it as an experiment for a percentage of all your traffic.][4]
          Build out a new campaign in draft mode and run it as an experiment for a percentage of all your traffic.

    So those are the new announcements. For those of you who love stats, here are a few ones Google sprinkled throughout their presentation:

    Quick AdWords Account Audit Using Optmyzr

    Doing an AdWords account audit essentially means using data to get a quick snapshot of where the account stands and what are the optimization opportunities. In this blog post we’ll give you an account audit checklist that you can follow using Optmyzr’s tools.

    Use Cases for an Account Audit

    **Taking on a new customer:**� As an agency when you’re taking on a new account it helps to know how much work the account requires.� It is also a great way to give that extra piece of information that shows that you’ve gone the extra mile to analyze the account.

    Keeping existing clients happy: While its important to get new clients on board it is equally important to keep existing clients happy. Account audits help keep a tab on account performance as well as create a road map for the next few months.

    Quarterly audits: As an advertiser, it is important to know how your AdWords account is performing and which parts of an AdWords account need to be worked on. It helps isolate and prioritize which areas of an account need to be optimized.

    Audit Checklist – The questions to ask

    **Step 1: � Is the account using all the latest features and best practices?
    ** Tools used: Optimization Dashboard, Quality Score Tracker

    1a. Network targeting – Does it have separate campaigns for search and display? If not, splitting out the campaigns is a good optimization suggestion.

    1b. Account structure – Does it have too many keywords per ad group? Having too many keywords in an ad group � makes the ads in the ad group less relevant to each of the keywords.� It dilutes the keyword-ad text relevance which affects Quality Score.

    1c. Conversion Tracking – Does the account have conversion tracking set up? If the sales and leads in an AdWords account are not being tracked you can’t accurately � measure ROI.

    1d. Remarketing – Does the account have remarketing lists? If yes, does it have at least one campaign targeting those lists?OptimizationDashboard-Audit

    1e. Is the Quality Score of the account good?

    Account QS-AdWordsAudit

    **Step 2:� Are the keywords in the account well structured?
    ** Tools used: Optimization Dashboard

    2a. A quick view at the Optimization dashboard will give you an idea of the kind of optimizations the keywords in the account require. For example, the keyword de-duper tell you if there are duplicate keywords in the account that are competing against each other?

    You don’t need to run the optimizations as the approximate number of suggestions are mentioned next to each optimization technique. This gives an idea of the opportunity in the account.

    Optimization Suggestions - AccountAudit

    � Step 3: Segmentation Analysis – Get more granular with the data

    3a. Are there day-parting opportunities?
    _Tools used: Hour of the Week_

    __Different times of the day work for different products. The Hour of the Week tool tells you which time slots are not driving conversions or leads and it would be better to schedule your ads to not run during that time.

    HourOfTheWeek-AdWordsAudit

     

    You can also compare Search Impression Share and Conversion Rate to find the best converting time slots and increase bids during the time that has low impression share but high conversion rate.

    DayParting-AccountAudit

    3b. Are bid modifiers set up correctly?
    Tools Used: D__ashboard

    With enhanced campaigns becoming the norm ads show on all devices – desktops, tablets and mobile. One way to optimize for devices is to set bid modifiers. You can segment data and see how the account is performing on mobile vs. desktops to decide whether bid modifiers will help improve performance. For example, on the dashboard compare the percentage of spend on mobile with the percentage of conversions to get an idea of the cost/conversion on mobile.

    Device Segmentation - AccountAudit

    3c. Are there opportunities to optimize by geography?
    Tools used: Geo HeatMap

    In the Geo HeatMap, take a look at the return on ad spend (ROAS) data broken down by city to find cities that have a higher return on investment. Based on this, you can recommend increasing bids for geographies that have a higher ROAS. Even having this insight into how campaigns are performing by location is beneficial.

    GeoHeatMap - AccountAudit

    Also, make sure that the account is getting data from the right geographies. For example, if you notice a lot of clicks coming from a country/city that has zero conversions then it may be a good idea to either exclude that geography or, create a separate campaign and optimize for it.

    Step 4: Trends

    4a. Is the account headed in the right direction?
    Tools used: Performance C__omparison

    Doing a quick before and after comparison of data for the last 30 days or quarter can tell you if the account is growing or not. You can also go into details and see which metrics are growing and which ones are dropping. For example, if conversions have dropped and clicks have increased then it may be a good idea to see if the landing page or conversion process has changed.

    BeforeandAfterComparison - Account Audit

     

    4b. Are the different segments and networks trending in the right direction?
    Tools used: Performance Comparison

    You can also see which segment or device has had the maximum change in traffic and conversions using the Performance Comparison Tool. For example, it is possible that conversion on desktops actually increased but the overall number is showing a drop because conversions on mobile dropped drastically.

    These comparisons can be done with one-click in a single report using the pre-built audit templates in your Optmyzr account.

    Don’t have time to read the entire post? Watch Frederick Vallaeys walk you through this audit process in here.

    AdWords Search Query Word Cloud

    If you’ve ever wondered how to leverage all the long tail data in the AdWords Search Terms report, I’ve got some good news for you. We just launched a Search Terms Word Cloud report in Optmyzr that brings the most important words to your attention.

    Here’s what that report looks like for our own AdWords account:

    Optmyzr_-_Tag_Cloud.png

    So why did we build this unique AdWords visualization?

    In the Search Terms report, we all know to look at the queries that are getting the most clicks or the highest cost, and to add these as new keywords or negative keywords. But in a system like AdWords that has so many long tail queries, this approach is not sufficient if you want the best results.

    Let me illustrate the problem… Say you’re selling cars and the top query in the report, ‘toyota camry,’ has 100 clicks. As you go down the list there are hundreds of queries that each have between 1 and 3 clicks, like ‘2014 toyota camry,’ ‘toyota 2014 models,’ ‘2014 camry pricing,’ etc. Notice a pattern? The word ‘2014’ appears quite frequently in the long tail, and if you were to add up all the clicks for queries that include this word, that might be more clicks than the top query in the report.

    Knowing this, you should make a decision about what to do with the word ‘2014’. In this example, you’d probably want to add 2014 to all your keywords for different car models and you might want to update your ads to say you have 2014 models in stock. In other cases a word that appears frequently in the long tail might be a good candidate for a new negative keyword.

    Thanks to the Word Cloud tool we just launched, it’s now easier than ever to find individual words that have a large aggregate volume in the long tail. You can run the report for an entire account, or any subset of campaigns. Give it a try today and see what gems you discover in the long tail of your AdWords query data.

    Tips to Optimize Keywords & Ads with Optmyzr

    Optmyzr has a lot of really cool data and we want to make sure you can make the most of it. This is the first blog post in a series of posts that will give you some tips on how to use Optmyzr’s tools efficiently. We’ll start with the basics and then move on to tips for more advanced analysis.

    Optimizing Keywords & Ads

    Keywords and Ads are the two functional components of an AdWords account because they are the ones that put your product in front of the user. Both need to work in tandem to drive traffic and sales which is why it is important to optimize them regularly. If you only have 30 minutes a week to spend on your Optmyzr account, then optimizing keywords and ads should be at the top of your list. � Some quick tips and suggestions on how Optmyzr’s tools can help optimize keywords and ads.

    One-Click Optimizations for Keywords

    When it comes to keywords you want to make sure that you’re optimizing for what is important to your business. Do you want to drive more traffic to your site or increase sales. Keyword optimization includes adding relevant keywords, selectively increasing bids for high potential keywords and making sure the right ads show for search queries. The six one-click optimization techniques in Optmyzr are designed to cover these. The Conversion Lasso, First Page Bridger and Conversion Grabber help drive more sales and traffic. The Traffic Sculptor gives you more control on which ad shows for a particular search query. There is a suggested time interval for each of the one-click optimizations. Read more about the� right time interval to run these optimizations.

    One-Click Optimizations - Blog

    If you have a set of techniques you use to optimize keywords, the Custom Filters option in one-click optimization suggestions let you replicate those techniques and implement them with just one-click. For example, in the Conversion Lasso optimization, if you only want to add search terms that have a CTR of more than 2%, you can do exactly that by using the custom filters feature.

    Custom Filters

    One-Click Optimizations - Custom Filters - Blog

     

    Ad Text optimization

    Remove under performing ads

    Using the right keywords is the first step to reaching your target audience. The next step is to get users to your site and this is where ad text comes in. � Leading traffic to an ad that users are less likely to click on is like wasting a good lead. Often it is difficult to understand what works in an ad and what doesn’t which is why it is important to run different ad variations and then pick the one that works. You need statistically significant data to decide whether an ad is working or not. � For example, if there are two ads in an ad group:

    Ad 1: Impressions = 10, Clicks = 2, CTR =20%

    Ad 2: Impressions = 15, Clicks 4, CTR = 26%

    Even though Ad 2 has a higher CTR, the traffic received by both ads is not statistically significant to make a decision. The A/B testing tool for ads uses statistical analysis to suggest which ads to keep and which ones to remove. It only suggests removing an ad when there is statistically significant data to say it is not performing well. The tool lets you remove the least performing ads with just one-click.� You can choose to pick the best performing ads by CTR or conversion rate.

    Tip: To get the best results, set the ad rotation setting in your AdWords campaigns to rotate equally.

    AB Testing Ads-Blog

     

    Write winning ad texts�

    After removing the least performing ads the next step is to write new ads. To get ideas on the kind of ads you should write, run the Ad Template Report AdWords script to find best performing headlines, description line 1, description line 2 etc. Use this data to create new ads. This not only saves you time but makes sure you’re using ad text that works.

     

    How often should you run One-Click AdWords Optimizations?

    One-Click Optimizations are automated, time saving and easy to implement. When things are automated and don’t take much time, we sometimes tend to do over do them 🙂

    In this post we’ve given suggestions on how often should you run each of the One-Click Optimizations. � The time interval between optimizations may vary for different accounts depending on size and traffic. The suggested times are only directional.

    Keyword Lasso

    This optimization suggests adding search queries that converted/performed well as keywords to your account. � The Keyword Lasso does take into account traffic when suggesting search terms that should be added to an AdWords account. Should you be running this everyday? Probably not.� Traffic from just one day is not enough to make a decision on whether you should add a search term as a keyword even if the search term converted. You could end up adding a lot of keywords that just converted once.

    Suggested time interval: 7 – 14 days.

    The time interval also depends on how much traffic you get on an average. You could be getting a 100K impressions a day or, just 100 impressions.

    Keyword De-duper

    This optimization removes keywords that are absolute duplicates (same match type, same targeting etc.) and compete against each other. This is particularly useful when adding keywords in bulk.

    Suggested time interval: 14 days (If you add keywords every day, then run it more often.)

    First Page Bridger

    This optimization finds keywords with a good Quality Score that have bids that are just below the first page bid and can benefit from a slight bid increase. There is no point running this optimization every day because it will keep increasing bids unnecessarily for the same keywords. Wait for at least 7 days after a bid increase to see performance.

    Suggested time interval: 7 -14 days

    � Keyword Sculptor

    This optimization ensures that the right ad shows for each search query by adding exact match negative keywords at the ad group level. Google sometimes broad or phrase matches search queries to keywords in an account even though the search query exists as a keyword in the account. You can run this report as often as you want but you may not get results if you run it every day.

    Suggested time interval: At least once in 30 days

    Have questions? Write to us at support@optmyzr.com, we’d love to hear from you!

    Hourly Day Of Week AdWords Reports Uncover Budget Problems

    Sometimes when you’re optimizing a budget constrained campaign, some unexpected things can happen that negate the positive effects of the optimization.

    Recently this happened to one of the accounts we’re managing at TopTierMarketing.com. We had increased bids for high performing keywords and reduced low performing keywords over the past two months.Then we noticed that conversions started to dry up…

    Luckily we had the “Account Statistics by Hour of day and Day of week” in Optmyzr labs and when we compared how our cost was distributed in June vs in the last 30 days, it quickly became clear that there used to be two spikes in cost every day and now there was only 1.

    BEFOREimage

    AFTER

    image

    This told us that the budget was getting depleted too early in the day (even though we’re using the standard delivery method that is supposed to show ads evenly throughout the day).

    Clearly our focus on better performing keywords was causing us to run out of budget before noon every day. And because conversions for this account tend to happen in the afternoon, we weren’t getting good results anymore.

    This insight didn’t come to use while looking at the reporting tables in AdWords because tables just aren’t as good at showing trends as charts are. But thanks to Optmyzr, we tracked down this issue in no time flat.

    Conversion Lasso – Increase Sales & Traffic

    This optimization automatically suggests converting/high performing search terms that should be added as keywords in the account. This helps drive more sales and relevant traffic by pairing the search terms with the right ads and bids in the form of keywords.

    It is difficult to add all possible keyword variations to a campaign when it is built out. The search terms report is a good way to find new keywords to add to your account because they are already validated. You can see how the search term is performing before adding it. The advantage of adding search terms as keywords is that you have more control over the ad with which it shows, and you can set a different bid than the keyword that triggered it. The probability that your ad will show more often for that search term increases when it is added as a keyword.

    How does the Conversion Lasso help?

    Optmyzr’s Conversion Lasso analyzes the search terms report from AdWords to suggest new keywords that should be added to your account. We go through the entire list of search terms, do the number crunching, apply logic and only suggest the search terms we think would be good to add as keywords. These are search terms that have good conversion or clickthrough rate (CTR) � statistics. By default the match type in which the search term will be added is set to phrase but you can change it to broad or exact as well.

    First Page Bridger: Mind the (bid) gap!

    When keywords don’t appear on the first page of search results, you’re losing out on a lot of potential traffic. The First Page Bridger identifies keywords that are just shy of making the first page with your current bids. With just a small increase in bid, they’ll catch the train to more impressions rather than fall in the gap where they’ll be relegated to second page oblivion.

    Google assigns a first page bid to each keyword. This bid is an estimate of the amount you need to bid to show up on the first page. It is not same for all keywords or, even for the same keyword across accounts. It is calculated based on Quality Score and competition. The required first page bid is relatively low for keywords with a good Quality Score. However, in competitive and saturated markets, you’ll find high first page bids for keywords with good Quality Scores (7- 10) as well.

    The first page bid is directional. It is the minimum required bid to show on the first page of search results. It doesn’t guarantee a high position.

    Why is it important to show on the first page of search results?

    Ad space on the first page of search results is prime real estate as most users don’t go beyond the first page when they are looking for something. Keywords showing on the first page of search results always get more traffic.

    How to decide which keywords should be above the first page bid?

    This really depends on your budget and how important a keyword is to your business. If you have the budget, you can keep all your keywords above the first page bid. However, if you have to choose, we recommend segmenting keywords into three sections based on impact and the required bid increase to meet the first page requirements. The easiest way to create these segments is by using tangible data. We recommend increasing bids for the first section of keywords.

    1. � � � � � � Minimum increase, maximum impact: Keywords with a high Quality Score (7 – 10) and current bid just slightly (10 – 20%) below the first page bid.

    2. � � � � � � Medium increase, high impact: Keywords with a Quality Score between 5 to 6 and current bid� 20 – 40% below the first page bid.

    3. � � � � � � Maximum increase least impact: Keywords with a Quality Score lower than 5 and current bid 40%+ below the first page bid.

    How does Optmyzr help?

    Our system analyzes performance data for each keyword and gives you a list of keywords that will have the highest impact with a minimum bid increase. You can choose to increase the bid to the first page bid or, to a % slightly higher than the first page bid for these keywords. The keywords the system recommends already have a good Quality Score and just need a little push in terms of bids. Increasing bids for these keywords gives them a chance to perform and can help get more traffic and sales. It is sometimes difficult to spot these keywords because they get ‘buried’ in the list of keywords that have bids below the required first page bid. You can review and implement bid changes with just a click from within the Optmyzr interface.�

    Keyword De-duper: Are duplicate keywords hurting your AdWords account?

    Duplicate keywords in an AdWords account compete with each other and traffic gets divided. Optmyzr’s Keyword De-duper finds duplicate keywords in your account, analyzes their performance and suggests which keywords should remain active and which ones should be paused.

    What is a duplicate keyword?

    A keyword that is present more than once in an AdWords account with the exact same targeting settings (network and geography) and the same match type is a duplicate keyword. If you have the same keyword targeting different countries/regions, it is not a duplicate because they don’t compete.

    Why should you remove duplicate keywords?

    Duplicate keywords in an AdWords account end up competing with each other. At a given point in time, the AdWords system will choose one keyword from the duplicate keywords to enter in the ad auction. The system makes the choice based on bids, relevancy, Quality Score etc. The traffic between duplicate keywords gets divided which affects performance and you may not have substantial data for one keyword. Sometimes none of the keywords get enough data to determine whether they are performing well or not.

    How to find duplicate keywords?

    You can use AdWords Editor to find duplicate keywords. However, in AdWords Editor, you’ll just get a list of duplicates and you have to manually check if they are actually duplicates. Even keywords in campaigns targeting different countries and networks will figure in this list. Also, you’ll have to do the analysis to choose which one is performing better and which duplicate keyword should be kept.

    Optmyzr Smart Select for Duplicate Keywords

    This feature in Optmyzr ensures that only keywords that are absolute duplicates – same network targeting and same match type are reviewed. It automatically selects the best performing keyword based on a number of factors like conversions, CTR, Quality Score and traffic. All you need to do is review the list and implement the changes.

    Traffic Sculptor: Are the right ads being shown for your keywords?

    Traffic Sculptor ensures that the right ads show for each search query in an AdWords account.

    Sometimes Google shows an ad that is less closely related to the query because it preferred to match to a keyword that has a higher rank, usually because of a high bid. This is undesirable because there is a better ad in your account for this query so we use traffic sculpting techniques to make sure we show the best ad for the search query every time.

    For example, as shown below, there are two keywords with different ads in two different ad groups in an AdWords account.

    Ad Group1/Keyword 1: Women’s Black Shoes

    Ad 1: Women’s Black Shoes.
    Great Collection Starts At $30.
    Get 5% Cash Back. Order Today!
    www.abcbuy.com/BlackShoes

    AdGroup2/Keyword 2: Buy Shoes

    Ad 2: Buy Shoes & Bags
    Great Collection Of Leather Bags &
    Shoes. Free Shipping. Order Today!
    www.abcbuy.com

    Search Query: Buy Women’s Black Shoes

    In the above example, even though the first keyword and ad text are more relevant to the search query, Google can choose to match the search query to the second keyword and show the less relevant ad text because the ad rank due to the keyword bid may be higher for the second keyword.

    The Traffic Sculptor ensures that traffic gets directed to the right ads by adding exact match negative keywords at the ad group level.

    The negative keyword suggestions you see in the Traffic Sculptor look very relevant for your account. So why do we recommend these as negative keywords? That’s because you already have these keywords in your ad groups but Google has not always used these when a user searched for one of these keywords. Rather than showing the ad you want, they display another ad from your account because it has a better ad rank (often because it has a higher bid). By adding these keywords as negative exact matches, it forces Google to show the ads you want rather than the ones that rank higher but are potentially less relevant.

    How a low AdWords Quality Score is costing you money

    Getting a high position on Google’s search results page is a key component of getting lots of visitors to your site but how do you get that great position for your ad without spending too much?

    The way AdWords ranks ads is based on two main components: your bid and your quality score. Because the position of the ad is not based on the bid alone, something crazy sometimes happens… the ad in the highest position could be paying less for a click than the ads below it. That’s right, advertisers who know how to get a great quality score pay less than everyone else!

    Here’s one of many examples� we’ve� seen where even a small increase in QS has a big impact on the average CPC an advertiser is paying.

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    So let’s take a look at how quality score works and how you can use it to your advantage to decrease your advertising costs.

    How to pay less for new keywords in AdWords

    When you add new keywords to your account, Google has to make an educated guess about what value to set for the initial Quality Score. If you can figure out how to get the highest possible starting QS right out of the gates, you’ll pay less for your initial clicks.

    So here’s how to get a better starting QS for new keywords: optimize your account QS by fixing the keywords that get a ton of impressions and have a QS that’s below the average for the account. But since Google� doesn’t� tell you what your account QS is, how do you put this advice into action? My favorite tool for monitoring account QS is Optmyzr (but I may be biased). It even gives me a prioritized lists of ad groups that I should optimize to boost my account QS. Other options include AdWords Scripts and some other SEM tools so research what option makes most sense for your situation.

    If you want to better understand the way Google uses data to set QS, take a look at the following.

    To guess your starting QS, they look at the historical performance of a few things they may already know: your account QS, your typical performance for ads with a certain URL, and the performance of other advertisers for the keyword you’re adding. The following diagram represents the major components the AdWords system evaluates when determining quality score.

    As you can see, there are 3 main factors: the account, the keyword and the ad. The ad component consists of� sub-components� including the ad text and the visible URL.

    The QS algorithm’s goal is to predict the CTR for a particular ad impression based on historical data. It uses these 3 factors individually and also in combination with each other. Factor 1 represents how a keyword has performed in a particular account. Factor 2 represents how an ad text and its components have performed in a particular account and factor 3 represents how a particular keyword has performed with a particular ad text.

    How to pay less for keywords� you’ve� had for a long time

    After at most 1,000 impressions for a keyword, AdWords has more than enough data to make a statistically sound judgment about the QS. Instead of relying on generic data like account QS, it can now use data about how the keyword performed with its ad text. If your keyword’s CTR is too low, that’s an indication to Google that users are not finding the ad relevant for that keyword. So your best bet is to either make the keyword more specific, for example by turning the keyword ‘dog’ into ‘dog food’ or by moving the keyword into a separate ad group with an ad text tailored for just this keyword. It simply comes down to finding a way to convince users to click your ad more frequently.

    To improve QS, make your keywords more specific and improve your account structure by creating smaller and more tightly themed ad groups, each with ads tailored to the small set of keywords.

    As a general best practice, I like to keep ad groups to no more than 20 keywords. While it’s not a hard and fast rule, I find that ad groups with more than 20 keywords can usually be split up into several smaller ad groups.

    What about Landing Page Quality Score

    Landing Page Quality Score is an element AdWords started to consider because some advertisers had figured out how to game QS by writing must-click ads but then not delivering on the promise of the ad. For example, it’s really easy to get a high CTR by telling users they can get a free tablet for clicking an ad. But once they click, that promise usually turns out to be a scam.

    It’s important to understand that this is why LPQ was introduced. While it can now boost the QS, it was originally intended to weed out bad advertisers. But it’s not a big component of QS. I say this because some advertisers believe they can get a better QS by creating unique landing pages for every keyword and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s probably not the best way to spend your limited time and resources. Focusing on highly relevant ads that get great CTRs is still the best way to boost QS.

    How to determine a good mobile bid multiplier in AdWords

    Tick tock, tick tock… the clock is ticking and you have only a few days left to upgrade your AdWords campaigns to Enhanced Campaigns! I’ve been advising my clients not to rush the transition since Google gave us 6 months to upgrade but with a forced migration just days away, it’s time to upgrade or face the consequences of letting Google do it for you automatically.

    Luckily we have an easy way for you to quickly see how your mobile clicks are performing compared to your desktop and tablet clicks and this can be used to set mobile bid multipliers that make sense.

    Take a look at this demo video showing how quick and easy it is to figure out the percent difference in performance between the two segments:

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    I’m pretty excited about all the cool stuff enhanced campaigns can do. They have evolved quite a bit already since they were introduced and they offer some great benefits like these:

    Are you using AdWords Broad Match Modifier in the right way?

    Broad match modifier (BMM): This match type is a relatively new entrant and lies in between broad and phrase match. It gives more control than broad match and more freedom than phrase match. It works by adding a ‘+’ sign in front of words in a keyword phrase when the match type is selected as broad. For the keyword to match, the words that have the ‘+’ sign in front of them should be present in the search query. The order of the keywords doesn’t matter. Unlike broad match, modified broad match won’t show your ad for synonyms or related searches which gives a higher level of control. Also, unlike phrase match the order of the words in the search query is not important which gives more flexibility. For example, if your keyword is +women’s +shoes it’ll match women’s shoes, women’s black shoes and buy women’s red shoes. However, it will not match ladies shoes because the word women’s is missing from the search query.

    How should you use it?

    Put the ‘+’ sign only in front of the words that are important and define your product. If your keyword phrase has 3+ words in it and each of them has a ‘+’ sign in front of it then it is as good as phrase match. For example, if your keyword is buy strappy black women’s shoes, the words that are important are black women’s shoes so the BMM keyword would be buy strappy +black +women’s +shoes. If you put a ‘+’ sign in front of all the words +buy +strappy +black +women’s +shoes it’ll mean that all the five words need to be present in the search query for the keyword to match which makes it as good as a phrase match keyword. The probability that someone will search for all these five words in a single search query is quite low which restricts traffic.

    Back to Basics #3 – Understanding keyword match types in AdWords

    One of the easiest ways to save money in AdWords is to use keyword match types the right way. The beauty of AdWords is its incredible ability to target your ads to just those users who are likely to be interested in what you’re offering. If you’re targeting too broadly, it can cost you money when you get clicks from people who are unlikely to want to buy from you.

    So here’s a primer on the different keyword match types at your disposal and my recommendation for when to use each of these.

    Google AdWords offers five keyword match types that you can use to control which search queries your ads show for. They essentially help you control the extent to which you want your keyword to match a search query and also helps control costs when you’re on a budget.

    1. Broad match: As the name suggests, this is the most lenient of match types. This will match your keyword to anything broadly related to it including misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations. It will match your keyword to a search query irrespective of the order of the words. For example, if your keyword is ‘women’s shoes’ it can match it to ‘shoes women’s’, ‘ladies shoes’, ‘women’s sandals’ and ‘buy black shoes for women’. This is the default match type in AdWords.

    When and how should you use it?

    If your budget is not very restrictive, it is a good idea to use broad match. It helps capture the highest possible volume of traffic which also means that it can match to irrelevant queries. Broad match keywords should always be used with negative keywords. If you’re launching a new campaign, one strategy is to use broad match keywords along with negative keywords. This will give you as much traffic as possible while eliminating irrelevant clicks. Then you can use a search terms reports to identify keywords that can be added as phrase or exact match later. The advantage of using broad match is that you don’t have to add all possible variations of your keywords in the beginning.

    2. Broad match modifier (BMM): This match type is a relatively new entrant and lies somewhere between broad and phrase match. It gives more control than broad match and more freedom than phrase match. It works by adding a ‘+’ sign in front of words in a keyword phrase when the match type is selected as broad. For the keyword to match, the words that have the ‘+’ sign in front of them should be present in the search query. The order of the keywords doesn’t matter. Unlike broad match, modified broad match won’t show your ad for synonyms or related searches which gives a higher level of control. Also, unlike phrase match the order of the words in the search query is not important which gives more flexibility. � For example, if your keyword is +women’s +shoes it’ll match women’s shoes, women’s black shoes and buy women’s red shoes. However, it will not match ladies shoes because the word women’s is missing from the search query.

    When and how should you use it?

    Use BMM when you want some phrase match like qualities in broad match. You want your ad to show if certain terms are there in the search query irrespective of order. For example, if you want your ad to show on ‘black striped shoes’ and ‘black heeled shoes’, you can just put a + sign in front of +black and +shoes which will cover all variations. �

    Put the ‘+’ sign only in front of the words that are important and define your product. If your keyword phrase has 3+ words in it and each of them has a ‘+’ sign in front of it then it is as good as phrase match. For example, if your keyword is buy strappy black women’s shoes, the words that are important are black women’s shoes so the BMM keyword would be buy strappy +black +women’s +shoes. If you put a � ‘+’ sign in front of all the words +buy +strappy +black +women’s +shoes it’ll mean that all the five words need to be present in the search query for the keyword to match which makes it as good as a phrase match keyword. The probability that someone will search for all these five words in a single search query is quite low which restricts traffic.

    3. Phrase Match: This match type is more restrictive than broad match but less than exact match. It works by selecting the phrase match type or putting the keyword in double quotes (“keyword”). For a search query to match a phrase match keyword, the entire keyword should be present in the search query as it is. It can have other words before or after the keyword phrase. The order of words in the search query is important in this case. For example, the keyword women’s shoes will match black women’s shoes, red women’s shoes and buy women’s shoes. However, it will not match women’s black shoes or ladies shoes.

    When and how should you use it?

    This match type helps reach more people than exact match but is more specific than broad match. It also shows your ad for close variations of the exact keyword. Use phrase match to have more control on the search terms your ads show for. However, you should still add negative keywords because the keyword phrase may show in conjunction with an irrelevant word. For example, the keyword “black shoes” can show for they query free black shoes. In this case, you’ll want to add free as a negative keyword unless you’re giving out free shoes 🙂

    If you’re primarily using phrase match, the number of keywords that you need to add to ensure good coverage is higher than broad match because you need to cover all variations for a keyword phrase.

    4. Exact Match: As the name suggests, this only shows your ad if the search query matches the keyword exactly. � The search query can’t have any other words before or after it. If someone searches for closely related variations of the exact keyword, the system can show your ad. To use an exact match keyword, simply surround the entire keyword with square brackets or, select the match type as exact. For example, the keyword [women’s shoes] will match women’s shoes and woman’s shoes. However, it will not match women’s shoes black or shoes women’s.

    When and how should you use it?

    Use exact match when you want complete control of your keywords and want to prevent them from matching to anything else. To ensure you don’t lose out on traffic, make sure to cover all variations of your keywords to ensure good coverage. If your ad group or campaign only contains exact match keywords, you may not need to add negative keywords.

    5. Negative Match: This match type is not as much for keywords showing for a search query as it is for preventing keywords from showing for a particular search query. Keywords with negative match type have the prefix ‘-‘ and prevent your ad from showing if the search query contains the negative term. Negative keywords are important to filter out irrelevant traffic and prevent unwanted clicks. They help maintain a good clickthrough rate and also help control costs. Negative keywords are listed under ‘Negative Keywords’ on the ‘Keywords’ tab. They can be added at the campaign and ad group level. Campaign level negative keywords are valid for all the ad groups in a campaign and ad group level negative keywords are only valid for the particular ad group. Negative keywords can be used in conjunction with broad, phrase and exact match types. For example, if a negative keyword is present in phrase match, it will prevent your ad from showing if the search query contains that phrase in the exact order.

    How to find negative keywords to add?

    Search for broad match variations of your keywords and see the suggestions that come up in the keyword tool. From that list you can identify negative keywords to add.

    Look for parallels in other industries. Does your product name mean something else in a different industry? For example, if you are advertising Java coffee you’ll want to add keywords related to the Java software as negatives.

    Use a combination of different keyword matching options to get the right mix of keywords for your budget.

    Why should you punctuate AdWords ads?

    AdWords gives you limited characters to get your message across in an ad. You want to use the characters available in the best possible manner. Very often, this means foregoing punctuation in the ad text. Earlier, it was not important to add punctuation in ad text because you were not following grammar rules. However, now it has become almost imperative to do so.

    Google keeps trying new ways of showing ads in the top positions above the search results. Sometimes the description line 1 is moved up to show with the headline, sometimes Description line 2 is moved up to show with description line 1. In the first case, Google adds a hyphen between the headline and description line 1. However, in the second case it just moves the description line 2 up. So, if the description lines don’t have punctuation or conjunctions then it appears as one long sentence which doesn’t make sense to the user when they read it.

    If the user doesn’t understand the text in your ad he/she will just move to the next ad. Your ad is showing in the most coveted position on the search page but you lose out because you didn’t use a full-stop or comma. In the long run, this will affect ad performance because the ad will accrue impressions but few clicks which means a low clickthrough rate (CTR).

    Next time when writing ad text, don’t eliminate the comma or full-stop.

    image

    Creating display ads from text ads in AdWords

    Display ads can be quite effective in building a brand and can be more engaging than text ads. � You can either upload image ads you already have or, use the display ad builder to create display ads using templates. The display ad builder tool enables small businesses to create display ads without spending money on a designer. Wouldn’t� it be great if you could just create a display ad from a text ad? Now you can in just three quick steps.�

    There is a feature in AdWords using which you can create display ads from existing text ads. The system uses the text in your ad and pulls images from your website to create display ads in all six sizes that you can show ads in. You have the option to edit almost all elements of the display ad like text, image, company logo, color. You also have the flexibility of editing the size of images and text boxes.

    How to get started?

    1.� � � � Go to the ‘Ads’ tab and select the text ad you want to convert into a display ad
    2.� � � � � � Click on ‘More Actions’ and select ‘Generate display ad’

    3.� � � � � � You’ll see a number of display ad designs on your screen. Select one of them and click ‘Edit’. The edit option becomes visible once you hover or click on the ‘Select’ button for one of the display ad designs.

    ————————————————————————-

    4.� � � � � � After editing, click ‘Done’ and your display ads are ready.

    The entire process takes less than five minutes and is very easy to follow! If� you’ve� been thinking of trying out display ads, this is a good way to test the waters.

    A lesson in MySql indexing

    So we have this table that has over 20 million rows of data, storing stats. The general structure of the table is like this:

    ItemId (varchar) | GroupID (varchar) | Stat1 (float) | Stat2 (float) | … StatN

    There is an index on ItemId + GroupId. When issuing queries, I observed that they would take very very long – upto 100 seconds. The queries were simple and looked like this:

    SELECT * FROM TABLE WHERE ItemId=123456789 AND GroupId=987654321

    After banging my head with different partitioning, query styles, I had almost decided that I need to upgrade the server (it was a micro instance on Amazon EC2 after all, and the CPU used to spike when the query was issued).

    Then it struck me. I changed the query to this, and the query times came down to 0.2 seconds!

    SELECT * FROM TABLE WHERE ItemId=’123456789’ AND GroupId=’987654321’

    Got it? The columns are varchar, but the parameters I was supplying were ints, and that would cause a manual type casting of each value (over 40 million values), and then non-indexed search. No wonder it was so slow.

    One of those days 🙂 Though I think the query optmyzr should probably try to typecast the parameter instead of the table columns.

    How to work around ‘Low Search Volume’ keywords?

    You launched a new campaign and added a lot of new keywords to your account that are very relevant to your product. However, a day later, you discover that the keyword is not generating any impressions and has the status – ‘low search volume.’

    What does the status ‘low search volume’ mean?

    This is a status given to a keyword in your AdWords account that doesn’t have enough search traffic on Google search. It means this keyword will remain inactive and won’t trigger your ad until search traffic for that keyword increases. If search queries for the keyword increase, it’ll become active and will start showing ads.

    What are your options?

    It is quite frustrating to have keywords that are relevant to your product marked as ‘low search volume’. Whatever happened to targeting long-tail keywords? Anyway, we just have to find a way to work around it! Here are some options:

    1. Leave the keyword as it is.

    When search queries for the keyword increase it’ll automatically start showing ads. This option makes sense if your keywords are for a product that is new and will pick up traffic. If you’re launching a new product or site, your brand terms won’t have traffic immediately but it will pick once people become aware of it.

    2. Change match type.

    It is very common for long keyword phrases in exact and phrase match to be marked low search volume. This is because the probability for someone searching for a keyword with 5-6 words in a certain order is very low. In this case, change the match type to broad. If you use BMM (broad match modifier) then just put “+” in front of the most important words and not all because doing that will make it as good as phrase.

    3. Find new keywords.

    Use the keyword tool in your AdWords account to find new keywords to target. Add keywords that already have traffic.

    How to manage low volume keywords?

    Pause. If you have a large number of low search volume keywords, consider pausing the ones that are generic and have a low quality score. This will make your account manageable. Having a few low search volume keywords in your account doesn’t affect account performance. However, if you have a significant number of such keywords then it may affect the Quality Score of the campaign they are in and of course add unnecessary volume.

    Relocate. Sometimes low search volume keywords are seasonal or related to an event/product that is yet to take place/launch. However, navigating through low search volume keywords every time you analyze account performance is not good use of your time and can be tedious. A good alternative is to house these keywords in a different campaign. Keep the same ad group names appended with ‘low search volume’ and move all low search volume keywords to a different campaign. It is much easier to analyze active keywords without the noise these keywords create. This will also help improve the overall campaign quality score.

    What can you do to increase traffic on low search volume branded keywords?

    Create buzz. If you’re launching a new product or site, expect brand related keywords to be marked low search volume. This is because people can’t search for something they don’t know exists. In this case, it is a good idea to run display campaigns to create brand awareness. People become aware of your product/site and start searching. This will increase search traffic for your brand terms and low search volume keywords will become active. It won’t happen overnight but you will start seeing results in a month or so.

    Back to Basics #3 – What is in name?

    Naming convention for campaigns and ad groups

    When creating a new AdWords account, we jump right into creating campaigns and ad groups, adding keywords and writing ads. We don’t really put thought into the name we give campaigns and ad groups. What is in a name? Well, a lot. The way you name campaigns and ad groups� doesn’t� affect account performance but following a naming convention will definitely prevent your account from becoming a management nightmare.

    How to name campaigns and ad groups?

    The campaigns in an AdWords account are usually the major product categories on the site. Name your campaigns after the name of the category and if a category has more than one campaign then use [category name] – [number or names of sub-categories]. For example, a shopping site that has categories like Men, Women and Kids can have campaign names like Men – Clothes, Men – Shoes etc. Similarly to name ad groups, append the sub-category name with the keyword theme. See example below:

    image

    For seasonal or holiday campaigns, that need to be created every year mention the year or date in the name. You won’t have to find a new name every time and will know which campaign ran when.

    Why follow a naming convention?

    Easy account analysis and management. By just looking at the campaign and ad group name you know the keywords that are inside and if the categories on your site have good coverage.

    Performance analysis. Campaign and ad group level statistics can help you analyze the performance of a category or sub-category of products. You don’t need to go to the keyword level. It makes it very easy to see which products are profitable and which� aren’t.

    Quick transition. If the management of your AdWords account changes hands, it is easy to transition. The new person taking over the account knows exactly what it contains and� doesn’t� have to spend time understanding the account structure.

    Next time you’re naming a campaign, follow a convention and make your life easy!

    When is a display campaign better than a search campaign?

    For a lot of advertisers, online advertising is synonymous with just advertising on the search network. If you have a limited budget, you’ll create a search campaign because you want a good return on your investment. It is always a priority to target active users through search instead of passive users through display. However, there are some cases in which display campaigns work better than search campaigns. The logic is simple. On search, people only search for things they know exist.

    Niche Product.� If you have a niche product, you won’t find many keywords with traffic because no one is searching for it. Even if you add keywords that are relevant to your product, there is the problem of these keywords being categorized as ‘low search volume.’
    The solution? Run a display campaign to create buzz about your product. Along with text ads, use image ads to create awareness and build your brand. It is very common for people to see an ad on the display network and then search for that product/site on search. This display campaign will not only create awareness it will increase the number of search queries on your brand/product keywords.

    Saturated Market. You are part of an industry that is saturated and the average CPCs are very high. Even for keywords with a Quality Score of 10 you’re paying $20+ per click. In such a situation, there is not much you can do apart from bidding higher because the space itself is very competitive. If you’re on a limited budget, run a targeted display campaign with using keywords and category targeting. This will allow you to reach a specific audience. The CPCs are much lower so it turns out to be more cost effective. Run a search campaign for keywords that are profitable and convert within your target cost-per-conversion (CPA) and use some of your budget for display.

    Upcoming Event.� You’re advertising an event or concert that is going to take place soon. If it is not an event that occurs at every year, then people won’t know to search for it. For example, a Madonna concert is happening in a city. Since it is not an annual occurrence like Christmas or Halloween, people won’t be searching for it. In this case, running a display campaign will create awareness. This awareness will translate into search queries for tickets etc.

    Analyze your situation and try display� because it may just work better for you!

    Back to Basics #2 – Theming keywords in ad groups

    The relevance of a keyword to an ad text impacts the clickthrough rate (CTR) and indirectly the Quality Score. The ideal structure would be to have one keyword and one ad text per ad group as this would help achieve almost 100% relevance. However, this is not a feasible structure as it will result in an unmanageable number of ad groups. This is where theming of keywords comes in.

    Theming is essentially grouping together similar keywords in an ad group. It is a good idea to be granular when theming keywords. This improves the chances of a keyword being relevant to the ad text.

    How to theme keywords?

    Theming can be subjective and depends on how granular you want to go. After you get a list of keywords, identify broad themes, and then look for sub-themes within that. You can create separate ad groups for sub-themes as well. You can also use the ad group suggestions the AdWords keyword tool offers. However, you’ll still need to go through these ad groups to weed out irrelevant keywords and maybe split them out further to theme them better.

    In the example below, all the keywords belong to the same broad theme – footwear. However, if you look closely, there are three sub-themes – Heels, Dress Shoes and Sneakers. In this case we’ll create a separate ad group for each sub-theme.

    image

    The best way to determine which keywords to put in an ad group is to see the number of words that are common in a set of keywords and whether they logically fall under the same theme. In the above example, if you only go by the matching similar words in keywords, colors like black and red emerge as themes. However, grouping keywords based on the type of shoes is more logical than grouping them based on color.

    Why is theming important?

    Good Quality Score

    Well themed ad groups make it possible to write ad text that will be relevant to all keywords in an ad group. Keyword to ad text relevance directly impacts clickthrough rate (CTR) which affects Quality Score. A high CTR is a good way to improve Quality Score.

    Performance comparison

    Well themed keywords make it is easy to compare performance across product categories. For example, if you put keywords for skirts and shoes in the same ad group then the only way you can compare the performance of the category skirts with shoes is at the keyword level. This can be quite tedious. If you follow a logical theming scheme, keywords for skirts and shoes will be in their individual ad groups and you can just compare performance at the ad group level. This same comparison can go up to the campaign level.

    Easy to expand

    When you have to add new keywords you know exactly which ad group to put them in because you built the foundation right.

    Ad group bids

    It is easier to set accurate ad group level bids because similar keywords usually have the same bid requirement.

    Specific ad text

    If all the keywords in an ad group belong to the same theme, it is easy to write relevant and specific ad text. This is because the USPs and descriptions will be the same. For example, in an ad group that has only keywords related to black heels, you can easily use a text like ‘Dress up your feet in stunning black heels’. It is relevant and specific to the product and one line does the trick for all keywords. However, if you had keywords for dresses in the same ad group, you would have to use something broader like – ‘Great collection of shoes & dresses.’ Which one would you click on as a user if you were searching for black heels?

    Back to Basics #1 – How to structure an AdWords PPC account?

    Account structure is essentially how you organize your ads and keywords in your AdWords account. Keywords and ads are the working elements in your account as keywords are what users search on and ads are what they see. Think of campaigns and ad groups like boxes that hold keywords and ads. The question is what goes into which box.

    #1 Creating campaigns and ad groups

    AdWords has a three-layer design: Campaigns → Ad groups → Keywords + Ads

    image

    The first step is deciding how many campaigns you want to have. A good way to build an AdWords account is to mirror the website structure. For example, take an online clothes store that has the categories – Men, Women, Kids with sub-categories like shoes and clothes under them. In this case, a good account structure would be to have three separate campaigns for the categories – Men, Women, Kids and ad groups for the sub-categories.

    Apart from creating separate campaigns at the category level, there are a few more instances when creating separate campaigns is required. In AdWords, some settings can be changed only at the campaign level so when you need more control over these settings, create separate campaigns.� I’ve� mentioned some instances when you’ll need to create separate campaigns below:

    Earlier it made sense to create separate campaigns for different devices (desktops, mobiles, tablets) but with enhanced campaigns this practice has become redundant.

    #2 How many ad groups should be there in a campaign?

    Technically you can have 20,000 ad groups in a campaign but as the number of ad groups increases, account management becomes difficult. The number of ad groups will depend on how granular you want your account structure to be and the categories you want to cover under the campaign. I personally prefer not to have more than 100 ad groups in a campaign.

    #3 How many keywords should be there in an ad group?

    Limiting the number of keywords to 10 -15 is a good practice because beyond that number the theme of the ad group goes for a toss. Theming essentially means keeping the same type of keywords together in one ad group. Theming can be subjective and depends on how granular you want to go. In the example below, all the keywords belong to the same broad theme – footwear. However, if you look closely, there are three sub-themes – Heels, Dress Shoes and Sneakers. In this case we’ll create a separate ad group for each sub-theme. We’ll discuss the importance of theming in another post.�

    � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � image

    #3 How many ads should be there in an ad group?

    Try out at least 2-3 different ad variations per ad group to see which one works best for you. Highlight different USPs and features in each ad. After the ads have run for a while, you can pause the lowest performing ads.

    #4 Why is it important to have a good account structure?

    In the next post we’ll discuss theming of keywords and why it is important!�

    Can changing bids really reduce your CPA?

    Is changing bids (max CPC) for keywords the answer to reducing your cost/sale or CPA? The answer is no. Getting sales/conversions through AdWords or any SEM campaign is a three step process and changing bids for your keywords only helps with the first step.

    First step: The Search

    A user types in a search query. Google matches the query with a keyword in your AdWords account and triggers your ad. The bid (along with other factors) decides which position your ad will show. The role of your keyword bid ends here.

    Second step: The Click

    Your ad is showing in the top position. Is your ad text relevant enough to your keyword? Will it compel the user to click on it? An optimized bid may get your ad ranked high but if your ad text is not good the user won’t click on it. One of the best ways to make your ad text relevant is to feature your keyword in it. Also, mention other USPs like free shipping, price points etc.

    Third step: The Conversion

    You get the click and the user is on your site! But it� doesn’t� end here. � Does your landing page offer what the ad text promised? If your ad text promoted black shoes and the landing page it leads to talks about a black dress, the user will probably just close the page. Unfortunately or fortunately, users want instant gratification. The landing page does offer what your ad text promised. How easy is it for a user to buy your product or, convert? How many steps does it take to get to your thank you page? Is your sign up process too long?

    To increase sales/conversions and to reduce CPA (cost/conversion), each of the above steps is important and changing bids only helps in the first step. This is why just changing bids or, using an automated bid management system that only changes bids, is not the solution. Next time someone tells you they can reduce the cost/sale for your SEM campaigns by just changing bids for your keywords, think again.

    Are broken landing pages hurting your SEM campaigns?

    How often have you landed on an error page or, a page with a ‘product not found or out of stock’ message after clicking an ad? The experience is the same as visiting a store after seeing the promotion of a product only to discover it is not available. It is a very bad customer experience and you’ll probably think twice before visiting that store or site again. As an advertiser, you lose money by paying for a click on an ad that leads to a broken landing page. You also lose a potential customer because that customer may not visit your site again.

    When an ad is created, as part of the approval process, Google checks if your ad leads to a functioning landing page. However, it only checks if the page is working and not if the ad leads to a product out of stock page. Once an ad is approved, even if the landing page stops working, Google will still continue to show your ads.

    The result is that these ads keep running and accruing costs and there is no way to detect and pause them. While optimizing AdWords accounts for our clients, we found that this was a very common problem especially for large shopping and ticketing sites. Due to the size of the accounts, it is not possible to manually check the landing page of each and every ad. That is when we decided to build the Landing Page Sentry.

    The Landing Page Sentry automatically checks the landing pages of all the active ads in your AdWords account. It pauses ads leading to error or out of stock pages. It also re-checks these ads and resumes them when the page starts working. All this at the click of a mouse! Read more about Landing Page Sentry here.

    Regular Pages

    PPC Town Hall 31: Expectations for PPC in 2021

    It’s 2021, and whether you’re a marketer or an agency, you would be preparing for yet another thrilling year of PPC. Right from the start, you need to be aware of the newest trends and features in paid marketing to leverage your PPC game. And that means you need to know of any curveballs that might come your way. In 2020, we saw experts deep-diving into topics like automation, privacy issues, and keywords, which we might be discussing more of the same this year as well.

    To get a better perspective of what to expect in the coming months, we invited over some of the smartest minds of PPC and asked for their insights. Our panelists this week are some of your favorite experts from conferences like SMX, shedding light on what they expect from PPC in 2021.

    As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

    Here are 5 insights on what to expect from PPC in 2021.

    1. RSAs vs ETAs

    Brad: According to our data, we’ve seen more people trying out RSAs than Optmyzr users. We also see that a lot of people who still have them, have shrunk their usage. I’ve done a little bit of segmentation (since we did our session at SMX) on spending and account size versus declining RSA usage. And it’s definitely the smaller accounts that have declined their usage much less than the larger ones. We have seen that those who spend half a million to a million, plus have decreased usage more than those who spent 10-20 thousand dollars a month.

    For a lot of these people, it’s more about results than getting that control. They don’t care if you’re a lead gen company. You may spend 10 million a month but in the end, you care about results.

    Ginny: My question on it comes back to what are ‘results’? If we’re strictly looking at conversion rate or cost per conversion, then I can see where ETAs are often going to win. I’m wondering if advertisers might be looking at RSAs to open themselves up for more impression inventory. So is that a factor where people are considering more exposure than focusing on conversion rate?

    Matt: In a lot of cases, you actually don’t have enough data for RSA to really even get their wheels spinning. It’s a multivariate type of testing and so often times we see that decisions are being made too quickly on winners and losers.

    2. Identifying your business signals

    Ginny: Having your own business signals mixed in with data you provide to the machine is becoming really critical now. This is where the real leverage can come, particularly the competitive leverage over your competitive sets. In order for people and businesses to identify their own business signals, they need to do some real analysis and investment, which takes a lot of digging. And then being able to present this in a way that can actually be used.

    So the real question is, do advertisers keep pushing businesses to give more inputs even when some might want to keep that data to themselves rather than sharing it with Google? If yes, can we anonymize it and ensure that those inputs work within the algorithms.

    3. Giving Google the right data and goals

    Matt: Instead of fighting Google, let’s focus on giving them the right goals. One of our focuses will be feeding the data to the machine. And I think we’re actually going back to really seminal work in the whole web UX and web design area. If you look at Google Analytics, it’s moving away from discrete real things to events and connections that sort of represent proxies like scroll time or time on page. What I’d like to see is combinatorial data that would allow us to combine scroll depth and time on page, multimodally. How do we build up signals from the site we’ve got and trigger events that we can feed back to our bidding?

    Our goal this year is to take a look at how we can understand what behaviors on the site represent good proxies to the next sort of actions. We also want to give those signals a little bit more attention, feed them, and try to develop audiences out of them.

    4. Importance of setting up clean conversion

    Brad: This is more important now than in the past because with all the privacy things happening, you doing your own data or attribution modeling is going to be essential. Even from a basic standpoint of modeling, you need to get it right because the privacy changes are going to mess up the data inside some of your platforms. Just to do some basic analysis, you actually need to have it yourself now and can’t rely on the platforms to give it to you because they’re not gonna have all the data they had previously.

    5. 2021 Predictions

    Brad: I will argue that as soon as Google removes keywords, their revenues decline significantly. Out of every advertising method out there, the intent of a search for someone saying ‘I want this’ is the strongest signal in advertising. It’s better than any programmatic, any audience or any other advertising methods. If people don’t get to use keywords for targeting, they might think of going programmatic.

    Matt: I think that while Google may never take away keywords, they’ll definitely stop paying attention to what we’re actually telling them with our match-types. And I think that if you look at the loss of search query data may be Google feeding its AI and learning on all of our dimes! And they’re saying we don’t care what we [advertisers] know, they’re going to let their machines run wild, and decide for themselves what’s working or not!

    Ginny: We still have some agency in all of this. I think we need to start using the machines in ways that they were meant to help us. And while they aren’t going to get it right all the time, we should be present to guide it. This is where your own data is going to be helpful. If you come in with a campaign that has been a disaster, all that data is not useful. For example, if you’ve set your campaign on broad match and end up reaching attorneys in Palm Beach when you actually run a hair salon, that data is useless. All of this can be avoided if you educate yourself and be an invested marketer. So much about this year is still going to be based on fundamentals.

    Conclusion

    Let’s face it - doing PPC in any year is tricky.

    What with Google introducing changes, paid marketers need to leverage on every new trend that comes their way. Working along with the machine, feeding it good usable data, and relying on automation to boost your business goals might go a long way for PPC pros in 2021. To set yourselves apart from your competitors, consistently optimize your campaigns, utilize new tools, and look to expert strategies by industry leaders to pave your way to success.

    Dec 2020 Paid Advertising Roundup from Mabo: New in Google, MSFT & Facebook

    To finalize this ambivalent year, the latest updates round off what the platforms have been building on for these last few months. Machine learning has pushed accounts forward, market demand has been record breaking and audience engagement is now more important than ever. Our strategy is governed by the resources available and all eyes are transfixed on what the next year has to bring.

    1. Google Ads

    1.1 – Explanations Expand To Target CPA

    Explanations is a new feature to Google Ads, previously in beta, that gives you additional insights regarding your campaigns and performance factors, such as bid adjustments affecting devices. We’ve seen these appear more and more in our tROAS campaigns to great benefit and now the feature will start showing for tCPA campaigns. This additional information is invaluable when strategizing forward, especially around the holiday season where budgets tend to shift.

    1.2 – Google Ads Editor v1.5

    Google Ads Editor is a favorite of ours given how much you can do on the platform compared to the sluggish Google Ads web app interface. New updates provide new opportunities and with the recent v1.5 release we have access to more recommendations, ad strength for RSAs, and image extensions. Whilst the application is still lacking important insights such as Explanations above, the ability to filter for new metrics and make changes efficiently is always a big bonus.

    2. Microsoft Advertising

    2.1 – Mixed Campaigns & Data Retention Changes

    Microsoft added mixed campaigns to their platform, allowing you to combine both regular ad groups and dynamic ad groups into one sole campaign. This has a lot of potential, especially taking into account smart bidding and campaign goals, which both ad group types will be able to contribute toward. Whether you choose to combine your ad groups or keep them separate as not to skew metrics is entirely your call but for accounts with a smaller budget, this could be huge.

    In the same update, Microsoft also announced increases to their data retention window for Universal Event Tracking with data being able to be retained for 390 days, compared to 180 days which it was previously. You will need to update the membership duration of your remarketing lists in order to take advantage of this increase.

    3. Facebook & Instagram

    3.1 – Preparing For iOS 14

    With the release of Apple’s iOS 14 update, they announced their AppTrackingTransparency framework in the fight for data privacy, which required apps to show the user how their tracking information is being used, specifically if that information is being sent elsewhere, which they can deny. It came as a tough blow to advertising platforms with Facebook including these prompts from January 2021. To combat this, they have provided an update on how they are adapting to this framework, alongside a range of advice on how to prepare your accounts.

    3.2 – Shopping Now On Whatsapp

    With many businesses utilizing Whatsapp for their customers, Facebook are continuously releasing new features to cater for more efficient engagement. The latest update makes it easier to shop with ‘Carts’. Through Carts, you can browse the items you’re looking for and add products to your basket, ready to be sent back to the retailer. Given that Whatsapp is one of the most used and loved social media platforms in the world, this is incredibly powerful, it’s just a shame it didn’t come sooner.

    A Quiet December

    It’s been a quiet December for updates given how much the platforms have worked to accommodate the demand that 2020 brought. Still, there is continued focus to provide more tools for advertisers, with Google expanding their insights for tCPA campaigns, Microsoft increasing their data retention windows, and Facebook giving Whatsapp a shopping facelift.

    This year has been a tough one for advertisers and has yet brought many opportunities with businesses adapting to online sales. Throughout this year we’ve seen many smart bidding success stories, free product listings available for retailers and more insights than we know what to do with. We hope you have enjoyed this year’s tech updates and wish you the best as we go into the near year.

    PPC Town Hall 29: Revamping Outdated PPC Strategies

    One thing that we’ve learned about search in the past year is that we all need solid PPC strategies that account for all sorts of change. With all the automation that’s coming from Google, whether it’s smart shopping, smart bidding, or seasonality bid adjustments, it’s important to automate, optimize, and intervene our way to success. And what better way to understand the way forward than to ask some of the smartest minds of PPC.

    Our panelists this week are among PPC Hero’s most influential paid search experts of 2020. and they shared their tips and experiences on working around outdated PPC strategies.

    As always, you can view this week’s episode as well as previous editions of PPC Town Hall right here.

    Here are 7 insights on revamping outdated PPC strategies.

    1. Thoughts on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

    Aaron: On our side, we saw that Black Friday was bigger than usual while Cyber Monday was slower than usual. It logically makes sense as on Balck Friday, everybody has a need to go bargain hunting, and that pent-up demand has shifted to online this year. Everyone thought Cyber Monday was kind of quiet because it’s the same as it has always been.

    Kirk: We saw the same thing as Aaron [in a higher volume Black Friday than Cyber Monday this year, but we’ve heard others saying things a bit differently. It makes a lot of sense that the past weekend was a bit quiet as a lot of people were running sales earlier than normal. They had a Black Friday week-long or even month-long sale in November. Because of the earlier sale season, we saw consumers buying earlier than usual. So in some way what we saw in our numbers was that Black Friday was the main event, and Cyber Monday less so.

    One of the reasons for this earlier shopping season is concern over shipping and delays. Because of this earlier-extended shopping season, we saw more out-of-stock products, more sales that went quicker this year.

    Joe: While Black Friday was definitely much bigger than Cyber Monday and much earlier. For us in general, Black Friday was lower than expected but the entire month of November was higher than expected. Some stuff was reactionary to competitors starting early which was in the first-second week of November.

    2. An unusual year for PPC

    Aaron: At Tinuiti, we tend to work with larger data sets to focus on larger enterprise clients. So Smart Bidding in general tended to work pretty well for us. But one of the things that I always pick on Smart Bidding for is that it has too short of a memory. This Holiday season was one of those scenarios where that’s really valuable because it didn’t try to base itself off of what happened last year. We used seasonality adjustments pretty religiously for most of our clients. For example, if noon was a really popular time, we’d start tweaking our seasonality adjustments leading up to it and down after.

    3. Using different shopping strategies

    Kirk: We try to use a combination of both Standard and Smart. We constantly test them, see what’s working and what’s not. I’m always trying to figure out a better strategy to work for both Standard and Smart. With Standard, you get more of that control where you can give the system-specific search terms, which we’re focused on (even if they’re not always converting) as valuable information for brands.

    Sometimes, we’d duplicate products or try something with the feed to get stuff in the upper funnel queries that might not be specific to one product. Smart shopping is not just on search but display, Youtube, and all that, so rather than be frustrated that we can’t control the search terms, we’re trying to figure out a way to group products around the ad content itself to emphasize specific call-outs in those Smart Shopping Ads for that specific group of products.

    Joe: As I said earlier, our Black Friday started earlier than normal and our seasonality bidding was kind of thrown out of the window of what we expected to do. Since I work with smaller clients with very niche products (sometimes higher-ticket type item products). We understand that those really aren’t necessarily impulse-buys. So, we’re looking at the time of day, understanding that it’s gonna take multiple touchpoints for a user to buy this product. If we hit them enough with discovery, Google, and social initially, then we’re seeing that they later go back (late night hours) to purchase. We’re seeing a better performance as we’re adjusting the different schedules and updating how we want to boost our bidding and performance.

    4. Converting digital newbies & feeding data to the system

    Aaron: Something we’ve seen in the last six or so months, I’ve somewhat abandoned call to action. But giving turn-by-turn directions to these people who aren’t digitally native seems to work. You can tell them where to click, enter their details, make the purchase and know when it’s gonna get delivered or opt to come and pick-up yourself.

    When you have data like shipping or pick-up preferences, you’ve to use it sensibly. It varies a lot depending on clients because it partially depends on cost and revenue centres as well. So maybe the digital team isn’t incentivized to drive people to the store and so we want to discourage it. But for those clients who are a bit more holistic, we’d look into the feeds and coach the bid tools to do what we want. For example, we see that for a certain demographic, this particular set of terms or ads tends to convert better as in-store pick-ups rather than a standard e-com shipping. Then we’d take that group, pivot it, and tell Smart Bidding that we want more store visits to set that group. The rest can be taken towards the more conventional way.

    5. Get your messaging right in Responsive Search Ads

    Joe: We utilize the pin option just to make sure that certain elements of the messaging show. It’s something that we definitely consider when we’re mapping it out. We will show it in front of clients too. We ask them if it really helps to add all these variations if four of them pretty much say the same thing. Google’s definitely gonna flag it, prompting you to add more keywords into your headlines.

    Honestly, we’ve played around with what actually makes sense and that’s where we kind of focus on value prop. Maybe I’ll pin the first keyword which made more sense to the product type and then look at testing the other ones. Slowly, I’ve come to like RSAs. While they didn’t really work for me that well in the beginning, the more I see them working they are getting better. We’ve seen RSAs work pretty well with grants accounts by boosting impressions quickly.

    6. Looking towards automation

    Kirk: We’re looking more and more into automation to solve our problems. The whole idea of Google leaning hard into automation can be quite frustrating for PPC marketers like us who have been running things for a while. I may have practiced and learned something for over a decade, and then due to a specific change, I can find myself at the same level as an intern in my knowledge of the thing that changed. But the flip side of this frustration is – there’s an evolution that needs to happen in PPCers, too. We need to adapt to the system. And with automation at ZATO, we’re trying to think of reinventing the way we think about campaign structure and other things.

    Specifically in thinking about broad match keywords, we’ve started testing things giving Google control over Target ROAS bidding, few very tightly controlled broad match keywords where everything else is excluded. We’re treating this less in terms of ‘what we want to get from this campaign in specific tracked ROAS’ and more of giving Google guidelines and then freedom for reaching the upper-funnel.

    7. How do we structure our campaigns?

    Aaron: When we think of structuring our campaigns in the present scenario, we’ve to look at conversion runways. If you think about Smart Bidding on its most practical level, it largely looks at the expected conversion rate. The way forward should start with the question – what do we expect from this group of people to do.

    Talking about Skags and keywords, if the intent is fundamentally different then we’ll split it out. If not we’ll compress. We all know how Google is pushing towards consolidation and we’re establishing runways for the auto