Google AdWords Remarketing, Google Updates, Paid Marketing, Pay Per Click, PPC

Google Continuing To Test 4 Text Ads In Search Results

This isn’t the first time Google has tested four top-line ads on desktop results.

four text ads in google search results

Example of Google showing four text ads on a search result page

We’ve received several reports of people seeing four text ads in Google search results on desktop over the past couple of months. For example, the screen shot above was sent by Frederick Hyland of S360 in Denmark last month. In all cases we’ve seen, four ads are served at the top, and no ads appear along the right rail; most reports have come from outside the US.
The company is, of course, always testing the way it displays ads. Google actually first began experimenting with four text ads in 2010, as we reported then. We’ve been told that four ads are only showing on a small number of queries now and that the test is not permanent.
More ads, in turn, can mean less above-the-fold real estate for organic listings, though more and more, there isn’t much real estate available to organic to begin with. On mobile, we’ve seen two ads often take up the full screen, just as three ads do, depending on the number of ad extensions Google opts to show. In this cheeky tweet by Moz’s Pete Meyers, a screenshot shows that four ads and a mortgage calculator push all of the organic links below the fold.
While we’re on the topic of “mortgage calculator,” here’s a preview from of what many Californians will be seeing with more frequency: a sponsored listing for Google Compare for Mortgages. That product launched in California last month and will follow in other states.

Here the sponsored Compare listing is displaying with two ads above it, though others have seen more top ads showing along with the Compare spot. On my laptop screen, just the title of the first organic listing is viewable above the fold.
From the sound of it, four ads won’t be rolling out more fully any time soon, yet how long this particular experiment will run is not clear. And if history is any gauge, it likely won’t be the last time we see this tested.

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Microsoft adCenter is Now Bing Ads and Introducing the Yahoo! Bing Network

We’re pleased to announce Bing Ads as the new name for Microsoft Advertising adCenter, the tool you use to manage search ads on the Yahoo! Bing Network.

Bing Ads is not only a new name, but an improved experience with new features to help you better manage your campaigns and complete tasks faster. If you’ve been following along here on the blog, you know that we’ve been listening to your feedback and have been hard at work making a number of enhancements to the platform over the past few months. Recent improvements include: a new web interface, improved ad rotation controls, and agency enablement tools that make it easier for agencies to manage multiple accounts.

With these updates and others that are planned, we think it will be easier than ever before for customers to create, manage, and optimize search ads on The Yahoo! Bing Network.

Introducing the Yahoo! Bing Network

In addition to Bing Ads, we’d like to take a moment to introduce to you the Yahoo! Bing Network, the new name for the unique audience that uses Yahoo! Search, and Bing, and our partner sites. Delivering a high-quality audience, the Yahoo! Bing Network is comprised of 151 million unique searchers in the U.S. who are likely to spend 24% more than the average searcher, and likely to spend 5% more than Google searchers in the U.S.*.

Bing Ads helps you efficiently reach new customers, providing you with the support you need to get started, optimize your campaign and measure your results – all within your budget.

Check out and be sure to follow Bing Ads on Facebook and Twitter.

*Source: US, comScore Core Search (custom), June 2012

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Cost Per Impression (CPM)

Cost per Impression often abbreviated to CPI or CPM (Cost per mille) are phrases used in online advertising and marketing related to web traffic. They refer to internet marketing campaigns where advertisers pay for every time that their advert is displayed to a user usually in the form of a banner ad on a website, but can also refer to advertisements in Email advertising.

An impression describes the instance when an advert is downloaded by a user while viewing a web page. A single web page may contain multiple adverts and in such cases a single pageview would result in one impression for each advert displayed to that user. In order to count the impressions served as accurately as possible and prevent fraud, an ad server may exclude certain non-qualifying activities such as page-refreshes or other user actions from counting as impressions. When advertising rates are described as CPM or CPI, this is the amount paid for every thousand qualifying impressions served.

Cost per mille is one of the most common marketing practice used on the internet along with Cost per click (CPC/PPC) and Cost per action (CPA) (including CPL and CPS). CPM advertising is often preferred by publishers because they can be more certain about the revenue they will generate from their website traffic, but CPM can be compared with different marketing strategies by examining their Effective cost per mille (eCPM). eCPM informs the publisher what they would have received if they sold the advertising inventory on a CPM basis by taking into account the Clickthrough rate (CTR) and/or Conversion rate (CVR) of the campaigns.

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Tips on How to Maximize Lead Quality in PPC Marketing

One of the biggest issues PPC Marketers face today is knowing what is a considered a GOOD lead and what is a BAD lead. Some would say that doesn’t matter to them, as they feel their job is to just drive leads and keep the ROAS% within their threshold, while others to strive for perfection and count on their clients for future referrals. Well, for those who don’t care about lead quality, that is just bad business practice. To solve the issue of “unqualified leads” takes cooperation from both sides and it’s pretty easy to get a sense of what’s working on what is not. Let’s Discuss.

Why “After the Click” is just as important as “Before the Click”
PPC Marketers who put a blind eye to just look at conversion quantity and not conversion quality is setting themselves up for failure. No client is going to stay with them very long if their leads never turn into $$$ for them. However, taking this first step to solving this problem starts with a simple conversation with the client and asking very specific questions like:
  • Why is this not considered a good lead?
  • What information do you need from the visitor to consider them qualified.
  • What other information can you give me from past clients?

Then after those questions are answered, the PPC Marketer should also be allowed access to view the leads that are coming in so they can analyze the messaging and all of the other demographic and geographic information so they can come back and adjust their messaging and/or entire strategy.

Measuring Keyword Intent
Many of us know that certain Long Tail terms have specific motivations behind them. As in human behavior, our words and how we say them impact responses from those listening. Terms like Buy, Order, Immediate, Fast,  Help, Need, etc… have different levels of intent as compared to others which do not have that same level of intensity. Based on the industry that the PPC campaign is targeting, work with the client to identify these terms and apply them to the adgroup, as well as the Text Ad Messaging and test it.

Conversion Tricks to Filter out Bad Leads:
Instead of using a basic Online Form, you should create a brief survey to get the visitor engaged and allow them to provide information that could automatically  qualify them or put them in the trash. Surveys are good for two (2) reasons.
  • Often get a better response rate
  • Provide a sense of interaction and engagement that a general form does not.

Point Based Conversion tracking:
Tracking Conversions is a pretty easy thing to do and no matter how much work is done “before the click”, understanding with Keywords and Text Ads drive the most “qualified leads” is difficult to identify. One way to fix this problem is putting a point system in place based on the answers to the questions and have those points calculated in the Conversion Tracking Revenue Dynamic Variable (as used in eCommerce).

Based on these points, we now can see that from 1 – 10, with 10 being best, we can identify what is generating the best leads. Moreover, this will require some programming to generate a point system, but the end result will save the advertisers hundreds if not thousands of PPC dollars in the future. See an example below:
In Conclusion:
PPC Marketing is an evolving industry which continually keeps getting more and more complex and we need to find ways to get our clients they best results possible. Quality Scores and Optimal Landing Pages are good, but unless the lead turns into strong prospect, it’s all useless to the client. Obtaining better qualified leads is as easy is chatting the client to see the types of leads coming in and understanding why they were good or unqualified.


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Google May Penalize Your Site for Having Too Many Ads

Google is looking at penalizing ad heavy sites that make it difficult for people to find good content on web pages, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, said yesterday at PubCon during his keynote session.
”What are the things that really matter, how much content is above the fold,” Cutts said. “If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it,” inferring that a if a user is having a hard time viewing content that the site may be flagged as spam.
Google has been updating its algorithms over the past couple months in their different Panda updates. After looking at the various sites Panda penalized during the initial rollout, one of the working theories became that Google was dropping the rankings of sites with too many ads “above the fold.”
This is an odd stance, considering Google AdSense Help essentially tells website publishers to place ads above the fold by noting, “All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold.”
Cutts also encouraged all websites that have been marked as spam and feel they should not have been marked as spam to report their sites to Cutts and his team. Cutts stated that he has a team of web spam experts looking into problem sites and that the Google algorithm still misses a site or two in its changes.

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Google Now Shows Ads Below Search Results

Ads that were previously shown to the side of the results may in some cases appear below the search results, Google announced via Inside AdWords. Google reports that ad click-throughs are higher when the ads are integrated into the search results instead of being displayed on the side.
Google will now be classifying the ads as “Other” in your AdWords account. These are also known as experimental impressions, but should easily seen at the bottom of the page. Google should rename this from Top vs Side to “Top vs Other” in the coming weeks as not to confuse people.
Google has confirmed that ads will only be displayed on the side or at the bottom, at least for now. When ads appear on the right, no ads will appear on the bottom; when ads appear on the bottom, no ads will appear on the right.
Will this will work out for advertisers in the long run? I’ve found that 90 percent of clicks come the top three ad positions. The other 10 percent of all AdWords clicks come from rest of the ad positions. Now, 10 percent of the clicks can be a lot but when you’re looking for the best clients and easiest to sell, those people are the ones that are clicking on the top of the page.
Over the past couple months Google has been updating many different features in AdWords,search, and the way they work with local advertisers. Google even now allows us to block ads from advertisers.
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Google Bid-Per-Call Launches In AdWords


Advertisers that see phone calls as a valuable source for leads will now have an option to bid for phone calls alongside clicks when targeting paid-search ads to searchers across computers and tablets. Google plans to roll out the feature in the United States and United Kingdom during the next few weeks.

The bid for phone calls will directly factor into the ranking of ads that return with search results. Higher-ranked ads are more likely to be seen and read by searchers, and can generate more phone calls and clicks. Today, only maximum cost-per-click bids are calculated in Ad Rank, which determines the ad’s position.
Marketers that want to use bid-per-call need to select the option to use forwarding numbers from Google when setting up Call Extensions, so that Google’s system can measure when a call to the business occurs. This also provides advertisers with summaries of completed calls, phone-through rates, duration of the call, and other metrics directly in AdWords reports.

Equipped with the option, marketers should decide when to consider a call to a click metric. Insurance agents, for example, might find it advantageous to speak with someone on the phone and walk them through the process, rather than ask consumers to fill out a form online.

Havas Digital EVP Rob Griffin said it’s more useful to have a lead from a call, compared with a click, when the paid-search ad focuses on local and expects an immediate response, often found in mobile paid search ads.

George Michie, CEO at Rimm Kaufman Group, believes the preference on when to use click vs. call metrics depends on the expected conversion rate, and the conversion rate difference between a caller and a paid-search visitor to a company’s Web site. “The call center can lose money unless the conversion rate of a call to the call center is above a threshold. That threshold depends on the industry and the value of a conversion.”

Michie also suggests that marketers determine the keyword searches the call center reps can most likely close for that ratio of conversations. For example, marketers might determine the call center reps need to close 25% of their calls to become cost-effective. Marketers might measure or surmise that the call center reps can become twice as effective as the passive Web site at closing calls. For it to make sense to send visitors to the call center, rather than the Web site, the Web conversion rate for those keywords would need to be more than or equal to 12.5% to translate to a 25% conversion rate on the phones, he explains.  

“It may be the case that only brand keywords convert at that rate, or it may be that a number of other non-brand keywords convert at that rate as well,” Michie said. “Whatever the case, those are the keywords to test pushing toward the call center.”


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11 Great Points About Google AdWords Sitelinks

Most PPC managers will agree that Google AdWords’ sitelinks can be a powerful optimization tool for any PPC account. At the encouragement of our Google AdWords rep, I’ve recently been spending more time with sitelinks, and have discovered several new ways to effectively utilize sitelinks.
Last week, I turned to my PPC colleagues on Twitter to find out if their experience matched mine. As with any crowdsourced question, I got some great feedback that I hadn’t thought of – and it’s too good not to share.
With that, here’s what’s great about AdWords sitelinks.

1. Great CTR

Sitelinks have a click-through rate (CTR) that’s far above average. One of my clients has an overall CTR of just over 2 percent, while the sitelinks in their account have a CTR of more than 10 percent. That’s a five-fold improvement – not too shabby for a few minutes of setup.

2. Helps Quality Score

Although Google publicly denies this, our AdWords rep told me that sitelinks help quality score. I was honestly surprised at this news, because Google is generally tight-lipped about the quality score factors. Still, we all know that CTR is the biggest factor affecting quality score, so it stands to reason that anything you can do to increase it in your account, including sitelinks, will help.

3. Additional Space for Ad Text

We all know that 95 characters isn’t a lot of space in which to expound the virtues of your PPC offering. Sitelinks offer up to six additional opportunities for additional ad text and/or calls to action. As long as the text is relevant to every ad group in the campaign, this can be a great way to sneak in more ad copy, and take up more space in the SERPs.

4. Alternate Conversion Paths

Along similar lines, sitelinks can be used to point visitors to conversion-oriented landing pages that may be different from those in the individual ad groups. This gives more options to the searcher, and makes it easy for those who are close to converting to find where they need to go.

5. Can Send to Multiple Landing Pages for Relevancy

Yet another benefit of sitelinks is the use of multiple landing pages, a different one for each sitelink; thus giving searchers more options to find relevant information. This is a great option for small businesses without landing page budgets. If you run a small business and can’t afford to create individual PPC landing pages, sitelinks are a good alternative – you can test multiple landing pages in one campaign.

6. Gives Better Sense of Legitimacy

One really cool thing about sitelinks is that most searchers can’t tell the difference between PPC sitelinks and organic sitelinks. For all they know, sites with additional links are just more relevant, according to Google.

7. Allows for More Targeted URLs to Deeper Content

Where else can you run a PPC ad with five or six different destination URLs? For example, you could use sitelinks for broad or general terms this way: A search for “Hot Drinks” could use sitelinks showing “Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, More Tea,” etc. This is a great way to help searchers narrow down their choices and get closer to a conversion.

8. Competitive Advantage

For years now, advertisers have coveted the premium top spot above the natural search results. By including sitelinks in these ads, advertisers gain an even bigger competitive advantage.

9. Ability to Optimize for “in-ad” Text/Links

Similar to increasing the length of your ad copy, sitelinks enables advertisers to optimize for multiple landing pages and calls to action.

10. Brand Awareness

You can use sitelinks to promote social media profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter. While the AdWords editorial guidelines somewhat restrict what can be said, there are creative ways to include social media links in sitelinks and build brand awareness and loyalty.

11. Good for Every Type of PPC Campaign

Sitelinks can work for every type of PPC campaign: local, e-commerce, lead generation, etc.


As you can see, sitelinks are indeed a powerful PPC feature – one you should be using, if you’re not already. That said, there are some down sides to sitelinks. In my next post, I’ll outline the cons of sitelinks.

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Easier Negative Keyword Management in AdWords

In January, Google introduced a useful addition to AdWords that potentially makes managing negative keywords across multiple campaigns a lot easier. Maybe it was because January is such a busy time of year, but it’s a feature that seems to have passed by many advertisers. Here’s a recap.

What Are Negative Keyword Lists?

Simply put, a central place to store master list(s) of negative keywords and apply them to multiple campaigns. This is an improvement on the old way of doing this in AdWords, when you had to laboriously copy and paste negatives between campaigns — a process which can mean copying thousands of words for a mature campaign that’s been built out over time.

Accessing Negative Keyword Lists

The lists are easy to access. In AdWords, simply click Control panel and library on the left of the screen, and select Negative keyword lists.


In the example above, you can see that I’ve already got a list in place of 127 keywords applied to four campaigns. You can create multiple lists and apply them to different combinations of campaigns.

This is useful if you want to apply a master list of negatives to all campaigns, and another, separate list to only a select few — for example, if your product range is limited in some regions, but not everywhere.

Creating new lists is easy — just click the New negative keyword list button, name the list, and paste in the keywords. You’ll need to spend some time consolidating existing lists across campaigns — more on that later — and then you’ll need to apply them to campaigns. That’s where AdWords interface design provides something of an obstacle.

Applying Negative Lists to Campaigns

Using this feature, it feels like Google designed it without thinking through the workflow involved for existing campaigns (i.e., most of their customers).
Once you’ve created lists, there’s no easy way to apply them to multiple campaigns. Instead, you have to go into every single campaign and then apply the lists(s) that are relevant to that campaign.

Here’s the process:
  1. Click All online campaigns on the menu on the left of your screen
  2. Click the campaign to apply the list to
  3. Click the Keywords tab
  4. Scroll to the bottom of this screen
  5. Click Negative Keywords
  6. On the right of the inflated lists that appear, click Keyword Lists
  7. Click Add
  8. Click Add next to the negative keyword list you want to apply
  9. Repeat across multiple lists
  10. Click Save

Unfortunately, you need to repeat these steps for every campaign — there’s no way at the time of writing to select multiple campaigns and apply the same list(s) to them all at once — which would have been a real time saver. There’s no way to apply them to multiple accounts within the same My Client Center (MCC) either, something that would help with enterprise level accounts like national retailers.

Negative Keyword List Deployment Steps

Interface gripes aside, negative keyword lists are a worthwhile addition to any AdWords campaign. Here are some steps to follow to get the most out of them:
  1. Download your account via AdWords Editor
  2. Sort the columns in Excel and delete all of the rows and columns with anything other that negative keywords and the keyword type in them
  3. Use these to plan the lists you need — I’d suggest a Whole Account list of terms you’d never, ever want your ads to appear for, and then any more specific lists you need around those you have in AdGroups or only in some campaigns in the download
  4. Rearrange the negatives in the download to populate these lists and save them
  5. Add any additional terms that spring to mind, or you can find via search query reports or keyword tools
  6. Save the master list(s) and then start adding them via the procedure above
  7. Update your campaign build out process to include applying these lists to any new campaigns in future
Negative keyword lists will no doubt become a standard of AdWords campaign management — hopefully Google will improve the interface over time and add support via AdWords Editor and the API, too.

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