Call 0845 485 1219

Mike Essex

Over 100 Game Changing PPC Strategies From 12 Experts

20th Mar 2013 Paid Search | 3 Comments


PPC ExpertsFor the centrepiece of our focus on PPC we asked some of the leading agencies, brands and tool providers to talk about what PPC means in 2013 including hot topics such as Automation, multiple country strategies, mobile optimisation and designing the perfect PPC advert. We also end with a look at how people can get started in PPC, so whether you are a seasoned expert or want a new online marketing strategy you will learn something new.

You can read a little more about our contributors at the end of this post, so let’s get stuck in and don’t forget we’re hosting a big Twitter discussion on PPC on Thursday at 3PM GTM via @Koozai.

Quick Jump To Questions

1. What do you feel is the biggest challenge to PPC in 2013?
2. What are your thoughts on AdWords “Enhanced Campaigns” and to what extent have mobiles and tablets changed the way you build PPC campaigns?
3. To what extent do you feel a campaign should be automated and how?
4. What advice do you have for those working on multiple countries?
5. How have you seen competition levels and prices change over the last year?
6. How do you feel other channels – e.g. Facebook / Bing / LinkedIn compare to AdWords?
7. What tactics would you recommend for anyone using remarketing?
8. Should Content Marketing and PPC work together and if so how?
9. What is your number one way to increase conversions?
10. How would you write the perfect PPC advert?
11. What advice would you have for a first timer to PPC?

1.    What do you feel is the biggest challenge to PPC in 2013?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

A month ago, I would have said that the biggest challenge was around using data and understanding the complete customer journey – across multiple devices and touchpoints to run more effective campaigns. However since the announcement around Google Enhanced Campaigns I’m probably going to have to go with that as it’s the biggest shake-up to how we manage campaigns in a long time.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

The biggest challenge in 2013 is going to be understanding how to manage bidding and bid modifiers with enhanced campaigns. As this is a fundamental shift in the AdWords bidding strategy, it will take a while to determine how to set base bids and modifiers, and then create an ongoing program that takes into account both bid and bid modifier changes to ensure you are profitable across all devices, keywords, and geographies.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

One of the biggest challenges with PPC I continue to find is that the lines of PPC continue to blur with other forms of media – from pure online media buys to remarketing to social.  While there are similarities between all, the approach to campaigns and the intent from users varies wildly from channel to channel.  I think as we move through 2013 it will be critical for PPC advertisers to grasp an understanding of all channels and how each channel can help drive success for a client.

 

David Szetela David Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

The biggest challenge is the jockeying among competitors for available ad space on the SERPs, which has sent average CPCs sky-high in some industries. This is making it tougher and tougher for small local businesses to compete. For example, in the U.S., the common term “mortgage rates” demands a click cost of US$20 or more. That’s prohibitively expensive for a smaller advertiser.

 

Jacinta Walker Jacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Attribution is a key one.  People are still so heavily focused on the last click to conversion model.  We need to try and find some solid understanding for the impact of different forms of advertising on PPC and in turn how PPC contributes to other areas on your site that are driving leads and conversions.  There are so many different areas of opportunity for online marketing now – content, social, mobile, retargeting and we need to understand where our budgets are best placed and our time spent.

 

John Gagnon John Gagnon – Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

Managing and growing your ROI is always the biggest challenge, and in 2013 that’ll be no different.  What’s becoming a challenge is managing your ROI across a growing number of networks and targeting options.  Outside of search you’re seeing a fragmentation in the actions and metrics used to evaluate the success of online campaigns: likes, video views, CTR, assists, retweets, followers, subscribers, reach and even more.

Ultimately there will be a handful of measurable campaigns which will drive your return, search marketing is likely one of them.   We understand that part of the ROI equation is time, so we’ve also invested heavily in capabilities to save you time.  In a few minutes you can easily import your Google AdWords account into Bing Ads without bulksheets so you can capitalize on the hard work you’ve already done.  That way you get great ROI with search and you can continue experimenting.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Search marketers have to deal with increasing complexities. There is increased complexity in a multi-device world, with tablets and smartphones now accounting for nearly a quarter of search clicks. Also, there is an increasing number of ad formats to consider, whether it’s PLAs on Google or new ad formats on Facebook. Search marketers have historically had to spend a lot of time on manual tasks which left little time to develop campaigns across new ad formats and devices. In 2013, as these new ad formats and devices increase in prominence, search marketers will need to automate manual tasks and focus more time on strategic development of campaigns in these fast developing new channels.

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

I think one of the biggest challenges to PPC in 2013 is the variance of devices that consumers are using to “search”. With the rise of smart phone and tablet usage, consumers are switching between devices while they are in the buying cycle. It’s becoming more and more important to make sure we are showing ads on the appropriate devices that our potential customers are searching on.

 

Kayla Kurtz Kayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

I feel the biggest challenge in PPC this year is the ever growing competition in each and every market/vertical. With increasing CPCs and simply more competitors in each auction, the necessity to be on the top of your game in terms of account management and strategy is going to be of utmost importance.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

The biggest challenge to PPC is taking advantage of all the new stuff that is coming out this year. In my opinion, the biggest 2 things this year are Enhanced Campaigns and Search Remarketing on the Display Network (currently in beta). It’s pretty exciting stuff!

 

Michael Wiegand Michael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

Making Google search ads sexy enough to pull click-through away from aggressively-placed Product Listing Ad blocks. PLAs are eye candy, and it’ll be an ongoing challenge to attract folks’ eyes to your copy.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

A few weeks ago my answer might have been very different, perhaps discussing the changes to Google Shopping, and the need for greater focus on granular Product Listing Ad campaigns, or maybe roll out the seemingly annual talking point of increased Mobile traffic and the need to ensure that accounts are well segmented and websites set up to take advantage. However Enhanced Campaigns have trumped all those concerns.

With a fixed deadline in June and the new Enhanced campaigns lacking the segmentation by device that has become second nature to most PPC managers, that is the big landmark moment of the year. The promise of tracking across devices is intriguing, but do the benefits outweigh the complete loss of control over tablet bidding and the partial loss of control over mobile bidding? The challenge for 2013 is to transition smoothly from Legacy to Enhanced campaigns with the minimum of pain.

2.    What are your thoughts on AdWords “Enhanced Campaigns” and to what extent have mobiles and tablets changed the way you build PPC campaigns?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

While I dislike a number of the changes that will take place, broadly I like it as a concept and appreciate several of the improvements that will come in, such as better geo-targeting, ad scheduling for sitelinks and sitelinks at ad group level. I’m also interested to see the new conversion types that have been mentioned and understand these in more detail. Prior to this, I was very much a “best practice” user and separated out desktops, mobiles and tablets as they have such different needs and purposes.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

I think it’ll be good for less sophisticated accounts and that it’ll be bad for advanced advertisers. I have been building separate mobile campaigns in all accounts where mobile devices are part of the account strategy. For tablets, I’ve been either bundling them with desktops or building separate campaigns based around the landing page technology and the ROAS of tablets compared to desktops.

I understand Google’s theory of ‘connected devices'; however, I don’t fully agree with how they changed the AdWords system to accommodate these changes. I like lots of control and every possible lever to take advantage of all the data available; and now I have lots of totally useless; but amazing, data.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

I think along with many changes, Enhanced Campaigns has its pros and cons.  The biggest con I’ve found is that Google’s decision on how devices are handled was based on data at the Macro level.  However, when you dig into individual accounts at a micro level, there are certainly differences in consumer behavior and search behavior for each device.  The inability to control this as much as we have been able to historically is quite frankly a bit scary.  For example, in some accounts, we’ve found that certain keywords perform great on mobile, but not on desktop.  Historically, this was easy to control as you were able to create unique mobile and unique desktop campaigns. With Enhanced there will not be the ability to run Mobile only, which will be a challenge for advertisers who’ve built campaigns unique to each device.

Another big area of concern is that I’ve found that tablets tend to do poorly for Display and Remarketing campaigns.  Historically, this was easy to negate by excluding tablets.  Under Enhanced we won’t have this control and this could cause some performance issues for clients where this nuance was found.  On the flip side, the addition of controls such as ad group level site links and bidding by distance is exciting and something I look forward to seeing in action.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

I think the structural aspect of Enhanced Campaigns – moving targeting to the ad group level – is an improvement. It’s consistent with Google’s action over a year ago when they moved Display Network targeting to the ad group level. The result is a cleaner, more sensible account structure that should be easier to track and optimize.

The compounding of targeting methods and bids is to me a matter of concern. I think it’s confusing to novice AdWords managers, and will require more work to report, monitor and optimize even for experts.

Then there are some outright flaws, like the inability to target Tablets separately from Desktops/Notebooks, and the need to maintain a different ad group for each time zone when dayparting.

Granted Google faced a tough challenge when trying to design new user interfaces for these changes and features. And they’ve often proved nimble when responding to advertiser input – so I encourage all advertisers to let their opinions be heard.

Turning to the second part of your question: shipments of desktop/notebook PCs have been decreasing for more than a few years. The shipment of desktop PCs peaked in 2004, and notebook PC shipments started declining in 2010.

More and more people worldwide have been turning to mobile smartphones and tablets as their primary personal computing devices. This phenomenon is particularly stark in developing countries where mean wages are so low that only one device can be afforded.

So targeting mobile devices is essential for advertisers who don’t want to restrict their coverage to a declining population. That’s why all of my client accounts include ads targeted to mobile devices. And whether the advertiser is a B2C or B2B business, most clients take advantage of call extensions, click-to-call ads and different ad copy written for mobile devices as compared to PCs.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Nobody likes change especially online marketers and right now we need to evaluate the changes and prepare for them.  For some people this might mean accelerating your mobile and tablet strategy which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Right now I am focusing on the positive changes that it will bring – more extension options, better targeting and better reporting capabilities.  Working in online advertising for the last 8 years I have learnt that adapting is hugely important and that’s the same way I will approach enhanced campaigns.  We also have an amazing Google account manager keeping us up to date and working towards our end goals, which helps!

 

John Gagnon John Gagnon – Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

We listen to our customers.  We want to give our customers what will help them be more effective, and we prefer to give our users the choice to continue managing their campaigns.  It’s not news that the mobile market is only going to keep growing.  We view mobile campaigns as an important source of growth, and you’ll continue to see us invest in ways to give advertisers deeper capabilitieslike integrating Skype Click-to-Call and other mobile solutions that will come soon.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Enhanced Campaigns have pros and cons for advertisers and agencies. On the plus side, it makes mobile campaigns a lot easier to setup and manage. This will be particularly helpful for smaller businesses who haven’t necessarily had the resource to separate and build out search campaigns in the mobile channel. However, those companies who had already separated out mobile and desktop campaigns, will now have less visibility and control over their mobile campaigns.

For example one of our clients, who’s a car manufacturer, found that one of their high-end cars was performing particularly well on tablets due to the more affluent audience. As such they boosted bids and focused on tablets with that car.

The new Adwords setup won’t allow for this as tablets and desktops will be treated the same. So, I think overall those advertisers who had separated campaigns will lose out, but those that hadn’t are the winners. Small businesses, particularly those with local and regional targeting requirements are the biggest winners.

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

I think there are pro’s and con’s to the new Enhanced Campaigns. The pro’s are the ease of setting up campaigns to target multiple devices. Most advertisers in the past would set up separate campaigns to target each device which was pretty time consuming. Being able to adjust bid boosts based on numerous targeting factors within one campaign verses breaking targeting out across multiple campaigns will also save time. Some of the negatives will be advertisers who liked the depth of targeting up till now. They will no longer be able to break down targeting by mobile device and/or carrier.

In the end, I think local advertisers will benefit the most from the changes due to ease of use for them to set up campaigns and adjust bids accordingly to location and device. The advertisers who will probably fight the change the most are the ones who have known what the varying conversion rates are for their products across device types and have built out campaigns and structured their accounts to eliminate these poor performing traffic sources.

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

Considering that up until a few weeks ago, one of our top recommendations for account audits was the purpose and theory behind campaign device segmentation…they’ve changed a lot! Of course Enhanced Campaigns require a little bit of “back to the drawing board” in terms of device management, but overall the long term benefits will be there.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

Overall I think it’s a step in the right direction in terms of making mobile work by default. I realize many of my colleagues are unhappy with EC’s but nevertheless I happen to think that it’s a stronger foundation upon which to build campaigns given the rise of mobile and all, and that the vast majority of advertisers are more likely to see positive ROI using EC’s vs. legacy campaigns. And of course this is just the beginning so I’m excited to see where the Google people go with this.

 

Michael Wiegand Michael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

It used to be Google reps would push us – as agencies – to separate campaigns by device for our clients. We got addicted to the lower CPCs you could attain that way and now it feels like with Enhanced Campaigns that they’re making us quit cold-turkey.

I wouldn’t say mobile devices changed the way I built PPC campaigns, necessarily. It’s assumed that each device needs a different ad text and keyword approach. I’ll just miss the granularity of device-specific bid control.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

Unfortunately it is hard to view this move with any enthusiasm. I understand what Google are trying to achieve, it’s a push for more simplicity within accounts, a call for a digital world view that is truly multi-device and a move towards greater user context in PPC, but simplicity is not necessarily a good thing for people who have spent a great deal of time and effort constructing complex and efficient account structures that deal with user context on our own terms. There are moves in the right direction here, but they come at a high cost.

Splitting by Tablet and Mobile is essential practice for PPC account management. While they may have similar or near identical campaign structures, Desktop and Tablet bids would be very different in the vast majority of cases, and Mobile would be more different still from the other two. This meant that in almost every account we would be triplicating each campaign, then tweaking to suit the specific device, so I can see why Google would want us to cut this out and lighten the load. Enhanced campaigns means a third of the campaigns and everything that goes with it. For a small account manager this would be a good way to do things, and particularly if they own a small Bricks and Mortar business.

However for agencies and large account managers, it’s not the same situation. Handing back control is rarely as easy to take as not having control in the first place, so you could argue we’ve been spoiled. We’ve seen the benefits of segmentation by device and how the CPAs differ between Desktop and Tablet. We’ll still be able to see the difference, we just won’t be able to do anything about it…and that’s going to be hard to swallow.

3.    To what extent do you feel a campaign should be automated and how?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

I believe that automation has a place – to help with repetitive, manual or large-scale tasks – but I also believe that it cannot replace the skill and knowledge of an experienced PPC’er. Even for those without access to bid management tools, Google through Automated Rules and Scripts offer a level of automation – but it’s key to look for what benefits YOUR campaigns as one size fits all does not work. As long as automation adds value to your campaigns or workflow, then it’s worth using.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

I’m a big fan of automating bidding, testing outcomes, and alerts.

I find that some items, such as ad writing, keyword expansion, search query analysis, etc need a combination of both technology and human brain power to find a middle ground between scale and good decision making.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

There is always room to automate campaigns however there is a line of over automation.  When there is no human element to a campaigns optimization it’s gone too far.  For example, I fully believe in utilizing automated bid alerts but believe that adding the human layer of reviewing the bid changes before they go live is important, at least until the bid alerts consistently are 100% accurate and you are not making your own changes.

Another area of automation that is a no-brainer is with inventory management.  If items are out of stock, automating pausing of ads makes a ton of sense.  Ad testing is another area I believe is best approached with an automated and manual process.  Automatic reports that ‘test’ the data are great, but having the review conducted by a human is key as there may be other factors at play that the data doesn’t always show.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

Bid management should almost always be automated. Algorithms can always outperform humans at monitoring performance and modifying keyword-level bid prices. Google’s bid automation features like Campaign Optimizer and Enhanced CPC draw on a wealth of data Google has about keyword and placement conversion characteristics. Taking into consideration time of day, day of week, geography, etc., the algorithms can’t help but outperform humans without such intelligence and the ability to monitor and adjust 24/7.

Third-party tools like Acquisio and Kenshoo go a step further by factoring in the value of previous visits to the advertiser’s site that are attributable to paid actions.

As Google’s targeting options proliferate, as they surely will, manual bid management will become increasingly difficult, and advertisers will rely more and more heavily on automated bid management.

Another task that begs for automation: ad testing. For years I’ve been begging Google and third-party vendors for a tool that would automatically compare ad performance and choose the winning ads based on advertiser-chosen metrics like conversion rates- like a Website Optimizer for ads. Software can do this time-consuming but essential chore much faster and better than humans. Listening, Google?

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Bid management tools can really help you effectively manage large accounts.  However in my opinion you still need the daily interaction with your accounts.  This is particularly important if you are working to offline conversion data where you are integrating with your CRM system and have sales teams qualifying your leads.  You need to make sure that any tools for automation are actually driving revenue and are bidding towards your end goal if that’s clicks that’s fine but if it’s not you should find a way of integrating your data with your bid management tools.  Also if there’s an important keyword that is integral to your business you might need to monitor this manually to ensure you are maximising impression share etc.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Advertisers should look to automate a lot of the manual tasks where they are not optimising campaigns. For years search marketers have spent far too much time manually stitching data together in reports and manually bidding. If search marketers relieve themselves of these tasks through automation they can use their strategic expertise to focus on developing campaigns across devices, in new biddable media channels and integrating search with channels such as SEO, display and social all with the goal of continuous optimisation.

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

I go back and forth on my stance behind automation frequently, and I usually rest at somewhere in between. I think setting up your accounts in a refined bid management platform can be crucially important to allow a more manual touch to ad copy writing time, etc. However, flipping campaigns to optimize for click ad rotations and other such settings make me a bit crazy. So that’s it; it’s a happy middle.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

A marketer should be setting the advertising strategy – that can’t ever be automated. However he/she should rely on tools to automate manual repetitive tasks like where to set bids at, or what negative keywords to add, or what keywords to add, which ads to optimize, what keywords to pause, etc.

 

michael-wiegand 150pxMichael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

If your ad group organization is tight and your ad text is really relevant to small groups of keywords, I firmly believe in automating bids on the long tail.

The most a mid-to-large account should be automated is 75% of the keyword base, in my opinion. Any more than that and you’ll see diminishing returns. Your head terms will always require human thought and touch to get progressively better.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

It depends to a large extent on the size of the account. For accounts with 1000s of products it is essential to update adverts with prices and pause items not in stock in real time, and the only way to do this effectively is through automation.

However, whatever size of account, you can benefit from bidding automation. Whether you are using conversion optimizer, automated bid rules or more sophisticated bid management platforms, bidding is the area that benefits most from automation – the small adjustments that would otherwise require digging laboriously through spreadsheets are now taken care of quickly and efficiently, if set up correctly.

With plenty of new automated products being tested by Google, I am sure that a greater and greater proportion of account management will be automatable. However, whatever level of automation you are using, it always requires oversight and we’re a long way off a situation where we could hand control over keyword list creation and advert generation to automated systems, for example. I’ve yet to see really effective keyword grouper tools, that could automate the splitting of keyword lists into high quality ad groups, and advert writing remains an almost completely human task, but one day, and probably sooner than we imagine, the technology will be there to do all this and more.

4.    What advice do you have for those working on multiple countries?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

If you have access to people in local business units, build relationships with them and use their feedback and knowledge to influence your campaign focus and how you write ads, for example. If you manage a lot of countries, look to divide them up by business priority, for example those you want to defend and grow a certain amount, those which need more attention but could yield greater results and so on. You can then divide your time and resources according to what fits with both wider business goals and PPC-specific goals.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

Always have a native translate your ads, website, and keywords. I find many international accounts that aren’t very good and it’s because a non-native, or worse, a computer system, did all of the translation.

A campaign should rarely span multiple countries.  The most successful international accounts treat each country totally separately from bidding to budgets to tests. By treating each country independently from the others, you will make better than decisions that using combined data.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

The two biggest pieces of advice I have are:

1)      Make sure to target all relevant languages, even if you are running in English only.  I saw huge success for a client after simply opting into a county’s native language, due to how language settings work within AdWords.

2)      Create unique campaigns per country.  What search terms work in one country don’t always translate to other countries. CPCs aren’t consistent either.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

When translating keywords and ad text, always employ native speakers, rather than people for whom the target language is not their first. Non-native speakers can rarely translate without making (often embarrassing) mistakes.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Really get to know your target market.  There are differences in languages and search behaviour in every country I work in and these should help define your keyword research, ad copy, site selections and formats.  What works in the UK cannot just be translated and work in Germany.  If you are working on PPC campaigns don’t underestimate the power of brand awareness and its impact on search trends.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Make sure you roll up performance across territories into one currency, so you can effectively compare the behaviour of campaigns across borders (another task which should be automated). Also, ensure you fully understand the search engine market shares in each country. In the UK, France, Germany and large parts of Western Europe Google is the dominant force, but as you move to Russia, Korea, Brazil and other areas you have new search engines such as Yandex which behave quite differently to Google.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

Even though the country may have the same root language (English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, etc) the nuances of language are not the same.For example, I was on paternity leave when some of my UK clients requested new adverts. My American colleagues wrote some good ads, but when I returned I needed to adjust the phrasing because it’s just not how we would say things over here. Enhanced campaigns are going to make it tempting to throw countries with the same language into one campaign then set bids with the modifier, but this may lead to sub-optimal campaigns if the nuances differ between those countries.

Following on from the automation question, don’t rely on automated translation tools, like Google Translate. They will not be up to the task of creating authentic looking adverts.

Likewise, when you hire a translator they are unlikely to understand how PPC works, so words with double meanings can require some serious explanation beforehand and some judicious use of negative keywords when you are creating the account.

Be very careful when setting bids – what was an average CPC in your regular market may be way off base in other locations.

Understand the location targeting options. Are you targeting only people in your target location or are you interested in people who are searching for pages about the location? Get the setting right so you are in control of this.

5.    How have you seen competition levels and prices change over the last year?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

We’ve seen competitors being a lot more aggressive, particularly on brand terms and also take more of a positional strategy in some areas without the need to generate a particular ROI. This can make it challenging to compete on higher-funnel keywords but there is always opportunity available elsewhere.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

Every year, I see more total advertisers. However, for more mature online industries, the CPCs have been fairly static for the past couple years. When I see large CPC increases, it’s usually in an immature online industry who is still trying to figure out the best way to use AdWords for their company or industry. The other time CPCs and competition heats up is when multiple business models conflict in the results. For instance, for accounting queries you have accountants, software, and educational materials. The more profitable and scaleable business models often ending up pushing down the other industries for those keywords.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Overall competition levels and prices having increased YoY across most sectors. This brings challenges but also huge opportunities for online marketers.  With PPC we are tasked with driving great growth but now we need to think about other ways of driving revenue, using content and nurturing capabilities, fueling top of the funnel content and new retargeting capabilities.  Prices should not be the overall factor for success, it still comes back to putting yourself in the position of the searcher and giving them the most relevant information or offer and enticing them to convert.

 

John Gagnon John Gagnon – Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

There are a number of studies out there which look to answer this very question. A Marin Software’s Q4 2012 study shows that in the UK both impressions and click volume are up, but the cost per click is actually lower year over year.  And I see that tablets and smartphones are opening up new opportunities for local businesses that will continue in 2013.  I often joke that your competition is getting smarter, but that doesn’t mean the price is getting higher.  The reality is the pie is also growing so there is room for more businesses.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

It obviously varies across verticals, but on a year-over-year basis for Google advertisers, Marin Software saw a 24% increase in click volume, a 14% increase in cost-per-click (CPC), and a 10% decrease in click-through rate (CTR) during the fourth quarter. For Yahoo and Bing advertisers, on a year-over-year basis, Marin Software saw a 25% jump in click volumes accompanied by a 22% increase in CPC and a 13% increase in click-through rate during the fourth quarter.

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

This feels like deja vu…but again, everything is going up! More competitors bidding on terms is making keyword bids more expensive right out of the gates and it’s harder to optimize Quality Scores, as well. Both sides of the rank coin are increasingly more difficult to manage, and the marketplace is showing it.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

CPC’s on average were down by about 6% last year but it depends on your industry and location settings. Mobile CPC’s last year were on average roughly a third cheaper than desktop CPC’s which is strange because I think that mobile CPC’s are actually worth more. The time between searching and taking action (like buying something) is shorter on mobile, and the people using mobile align with a higher net-worth demographic. So I’d expect this gap to close by the end of the year, especially given that it’s so much easier to create mobile campaigns now with Enhanced Campaigns.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

We haven’t seen much change in the last year, but what’s really going to be interesting is the changes this year, after Enhanced Campaigns. Tablet traffic will now be getting Desktop bids, but it’s the Mobile traffic where we’re likely to see the biggest CPC rises – and a subsequent jump in revenue for Google.

6.    How do you feel other channels – e.g. Facebook / Bing / LinkedIn compare to AdWords?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

As always, it depends on your business and how your customers use those channels. Not all are appropriate for all companies looking to use them to drive sales. It’s a bit like the SEO vs PPC debate – it’s not that one is better or worse, they’re just different.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. Of course, LinkedIn is mostly a b2b channel; so AdWords is much better than LinkedIn for all b2c queries. However, I really like testing out LinkedIn.

I do like Bing in the US. I find they don’t have enough query volume in other countries to use them extensively. However, until they can up their query share a bit, they are going to continue to have a difficult time recruiting SMB accounts.

I have very mixed feelings on Facebook. The timeline change had tremendous impacts on a lot of our Facebook accounts. There are times, I find it’s a great channel and other times I totally avoid it. My use of Facebook is highly dependent on the business and advertising goals.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

In terms of granularity, transparency and how robust the engines/interfaces are, not many other channels hold a candle to AdWords. Bing has made some serious improvements over the past year but AdWords generally is leaps and bounds beyond other channels when it comes to this.  From a performance standpoint, for me it always depends on the goal of your campaigns.  What are you trying to accomplish – what problems are you having? Then decide which channel can best help you achieve that goal.

For example, Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to target audiences much more granular than on AdWords.  However, the behavior on these engines is much more passive than active like on AdWords (push vs pull marketing strategies).  If you are looking for direct response, AdWords and Bing are generally still my go to engines but if you are open to more of an awareness/direct response approach and have a very specific audience you need to reach, Facebook and LinkedIn can be a great channel.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

As always, Bing continues to deliver superior ROI, probably because the competition is less fierce than on AdWords. This is due to the relative difficulty of navigating the user interface – and the offline Bing Editor has never approached the functionality and speed of AdWords Editor.  Another factor is that Bing’s search volume has always been dwarfed by Google’s.

LinkedIn has been useful for micro-targeting people with specific occupations and workplaces – but the advertiser user interface and reporting are primitive compared to AdWords and I only use it in special cases.

Facebook has proven to be a vital advertising medium with unparalleled micro-targeting capabilities. I especially find it useful when ad operations can be undertaken with powerful tools like Acquisio.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

It’s hard to make a direct comparison.  AdWords has always been a big lead or revenue generating platform and it is a core part of any online strategy.  However Facebook and Linkedin bring other capabilities to the table that search just doesn’t offer.  In particular targeting capabilities.  You can target people based on email addresses, likes, hobbies, job titles, company size and can deliver them specific messages that are relevant to them.  While these channels still have a long way to come to out perform AdWords for revenue generation they do play their part.  We just need to make sure we are measuring their effectiveness with the right metrics.  Is it sharing, comments, likes, leads or traffic; what is your end goal?  If it is revenue choose AdWords as your main channel but supplement it with the targeting capabilities of Facebook and Linkedin and display advertising to continue to drive search volume.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Investment in Google continues to increase year-over-year and as advertisers continue to generate a return that won’t change. However, new channels are growing with incremental budget from advertisers. For example, Facebook continues to see budgets and, more importantly for advertisers, click-through rates increase as they develop their mobile advertising offering and update their news feed. Socially enabled search opportunities through Facebook Graph Search will only enhance this. Channels such as retargeting and biddable display are also seeing investments increase. Advertisers need to understand how investments in these other publishers compliment search spend on Google in a path-to-conversion.

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

It’s really hard to compare all of these since they have such different uses and audiences. AdWords and Bing are useful for advertisers who want to reach a broad audience who is in the process of searching for specific products/services. Bing still has significantly less search volume than Google so CPC’s still tend to be lower. With some of the changes Google is making with Enhanced Campaigns, we might see advertisers devoting more budget to Bing if they can keep all the levels of targeting intact.

Facebook is great for recognizable brands and also brands that are pushing content and community engagement. The level of targeting on FB is impressive but many advertisers still face the issue of intent – most FB users still aren’t in the buying mode when they are browsing their friend’s pictures and status updates. FB is making strides in the right direction with their custom audience targeting and Facebook Exchange that allows you to serve FB ads in a retargeting manner to folks who have visited your site.

LinkedIn is typically more expensive than the others but offers a unique opportunity for B2B advertisers. The level of targeting you have towards users job titles and employers is great for reaching high value targeted audiences.

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

From a targeting standpoint, I find Facebook and LinkedIn incredibly appealing, however the frequency of ad copy refreshing and attention required to those accounts are seldom worth the return. When it comes to Bing, I see the interface and engine itself making huge strides when it comes to paid search, so I’m excited to see how much more of the total marketshare they can start pulling in. As I feel like most people see, Bing conversion volume is always much lower that Google, but the conversion costs are always lower, too. So if the market increases consistently, I’d love to pull more budget over to Bing in the future.

 

michael-wiegand 150pxMichael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

I’ve found “like-building” on Facebook to be an incredibly worthwhile exercise. Using a mix of plain ads, promoted page posts and sponsored stories is a great way to work on your house list without needing to capture an email (although that’s great too!). The targeting options are so robust that you’d be a fool not to try.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

Each has their part to play in a comprehensive PPC strategy. LinkedIn can be great for niche B2B style marketing in particular, Facebook obviously has huge reach and, with conversion tracking and the Power Editor now available, is becoming easier to manage, Bing ads…well, I hate using it but it can be effective, but in terms of usability they all lag way behind AdWords.

 

John Gagnon John Gagnon – Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

We asked John a slightly modified question: What do you feel Bing’s main strength is over other advertising channels? 

Our audience and how easy it is to advertise with us.  We have 47,000,000 unique searchers in the US and 85,000,000 worldwide. Those are people who aren’t using Google and are only found on the Yahoo! Bing Network.  When our searchers buy, they buy more than Google searchers, 77.4% more.  So if you’re a marketer, not only are you missing out on a huge audience but you’re missing out onwhat we believe are the best potential customers.

And as I mentioned before, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time making the import process from Google AdWords into Bing Ads as simple as possible.  In a few minutes, with a few clicks of the mouse you can quickly and easily import your entire campaigns.  We’ve adopted a philosophy of trying to do in 15 minutes for advertisers what AdWords can do in 45 minutes.

7.    What tactics would you recommend for anyone using remarketing?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

I would tell them to look at Sam’s excellent presentation from SES! Nothing more really I can add to the great insights that she gave.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

Do not do ‘all visitor’ remarketing campaigns – those rarely work. Remarketing is about finding engaged visitors, bucketing them based upon their site usage and offers you want to use; and then rolling out segmented ad groups to the user base. Remarketing often works when done well; but most remarketing campaigns are not well grouped and executed.

I’d also strongly recommend to not use a discount offer as your first remarketing campaign. I see Facebook groups that have lists of websites where you should add items to your shopping cart and then abandon the site because you’ll get a coupon code or special deal without having to hunt for one. These types of campaigns are training shoppers to abandon shopping carts, which is not a behavior marketers want to see become commonplace.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

Get granular with your audiences and combinations! I’ve seen too many remarketing campaigns setup to target key pages but neglect to build in important audience layers, such as those who have already converted.  I’ve also seen that it’s important to filter out your ‘homepage’ bouncers.  A TON of traffic generally enters through a homepage, but often times this page can have a high bounce rate.  If you don’t filter this out as its’ own audience with Remarketing I’ve seen this blow through budgets.  Another tactic I would recommend is to ensure you are running both text and image ads.

It’s equally important to have an inventory of ads ready so that you don’t have ad fatigue occur.  Also make sure that messaging is tailored to your audience.  The more direct you can tie your messaging of your ads to your audiences the better response rate (in terms of conversions) I’ve seen.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to use frequency capping.  Remarketing is still a ‘scary’ marketing tactic and you don’t want to overdo it and scare potential customers away. By using frequency caps and controlling exposure you can make sure you are not unnecessarily ‘following’ customers.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

First, make sure to customize ad design and ad copy to take advantage of the fact that you know ad viewers have already visited the advertiser’s site. Second, limit the number of repeated (some say “creepy”) ad impressions to the same person by using frequency capping.

Google will offer increasingly powerful remarketing capabilities this year, like Search Remarketing and Dynamic Ad Remarketing, so pay close attention to announcements coming soon.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Don’t bore your user – refresh your creative or your offer frequently.

Use frequency capping.  This goes for all of your display advertising.  If you haven’t gotten them after 25 times of viewing an ad you won’t get them and people will feel negativity towards your brand!  Stop stalking them!

Try and test everything.

Don’t underestimate it – if people have made a connection with your site but didn’t convert it is still an initial interest.  Why not give them a great piece of content as their remarketing message rather than an offer to see if that works?

Combine remarketing with your content marketing and lead nurturing programs to see what data you can use?  I think 2013 will see some great targeting tools evolve for display and remarketing so don’t be afraid to test them!

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Make sure you tie it back to search investment. It’s important to understand retargeting in a path-to-conversion with search. Think about how much more effective your search spend is further up the funnel as a result of conversions happening via remarketing towards the bottom.

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

Have patience. It may take some time for you to get a sizeable retargeting audience set up. Utilize sequencing and behavioral retargeting to segment out your retargeting audience based on how far they got in your conversion funnel. Someone who just visited your homepage is probably less likely to react to an ad that is talking about a specific product or offer than someone who placed a product in their cart and abandoned it. Utilize the knowledge you have of your conversion funnel to target your audience with the appropriate ads. Finally, testing and changing out your ad creative is key. This is often the hardest one to stay on top of since it requires creative resources, but the more often you can change out your ads, the better as you will experience less ad fatigue.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

I think of remarketing as a vehicle for conversion rate optimization and branding. Average conversion rates are mid-single digits. We work so hard to get people to the site yet the vast majority of people who click on our ads end up not converting. Something like 2/3rds of people end-up abandoning a shopping cart. This can be very frustrating. Remarketing is cool because it lets you tag and market to those folks so that you can improve your conversion rates. Remarketing also has a positive impact on brand recall since image ads on the display network can prominently display your company name and logo which is not possible to do in text ads.

 

michael-wiegand 150pxMichael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

Don’t be afraid to start remarketing with text ads on the Google Display Network. They’re cheaper than display, generally, and with the right incentive, you can still get great click-through and conversion rates.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

I’m a big believer in frequency capping, and also in creating negative remarketing lists, as well as using more than just one banner per segment so there is not the feeling of one banner following you around. Remarketing is powerful, but any time you are putting out advertising for a company you have to be aware that you are acting as an ambassador for the brand so there needs to be some sensitivity to how the audience might respond to excessive appearances of their banners.

8.    Should Content Marketing and PPC work together and if so how?


Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

Absolutely – better content can only benefit PPC and help improve quality scores – making campaigns more efficient and hopefully also helping to improve conversion rates. Sharing data to the content team on what keywords are working, or what areas have a high bounce rate can be great starting points. Ultimately, we should be trying to integrate the marketing elements to deliver a more rounded strategy and these are two areas which often don’t work closely enough together!

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

Of course. All marketing channels should work together. I find the term ‘Content Marketing’ a strange one. This is just the exact same marketing that good advertisers have been doing for years, but because of penguin and panda, somehow it went to something you should be doing and often have been doing to its own channel.

PPC can help promote blogs, social networks, infographics, etc. Infograpics can make for good landing pages. Promoted YouTube videos can help a video gain traction and explode in views. If any of your marketing efforts, SEO, PPC, Content, Email, etc exists in a vaccum; then you are missing opportunities.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

I like to think of PPC as being your revenue-generating platform in getting the low hanging fruit to your site.  Content Marketing helps you attract people by giving them great solutions to their problems.  Whether that’s business or personal.  It’s about people who don’t yet know that they need your products.  Social advertising on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are perfect channels for content promotion.  However that’s not to say PPC can’t be.  One way is taking your keywords that have a really high click volume but lower conversion rate and placing the people who arrive on these keywords into a nurturing program.  Maybe a “welcome to your brand” program before you send them to any additional offers or to your sales team.  You should also experiment if you have budget and lead gen is not an issue with driving your TOFU, MOFU and BOFU content pieces through PPC.  However make sure that the content you are promoting is really relevant to the search query.

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

Yes. It’s great to see so many brands and advertisers focusing on creating unique, compelling, and passionate content these days. That content also comes in many forms from videos to infographics to white papers. Once that content is created, the key to its success is getting it in front of as many people as possible in its target audience. Beyond the organic channels, PPC offers a unique advantage to driving traffic and downloads of content. You can run paid search ads bidding on informational queries (such as “how to” and “what is”) to get your content in front of an audience that is specifically looking for that type of content. You can also use targeting on FB and LinkedIn to target niche audiences based on interests.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

Yes! For example, we use content marketing to create the audiences that we remarket to.

 

 

 

michael-wiegand 150pxMichael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

Absolutely. Just as SEO and PPC should work together. Content Marketers can be great folks to bounce ad text ideas off of when you’re ready to start coloring outside the lines of typical calls-to-action. Likewise, PPC Marketers can test response rates on potential keywords that’ll drive good traffic for your Content team.

In a perfect world, all facets of Internet Marketing are truly symbiotic. They all inform each other and grow businesses together.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

If your content needs a push, then PPC can obviously help deliver traffic to do that. But it can also help after the content has been viewed. By adding retargeting to the equation you can make sure that those visitors are now staying in the sales funnel, getting maximum benefit from your PPC spend – even if the content has higher than expected bounce rates and disappointing initial engagement, you can use remarketing to re-engage later on.

9.    What is your number one way to increase conversions?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

Right now, it’s using Dynamic Search Ads to help find the gaps in your campaigns and drive some incremental revenue! If tightly controlled and carefully managed it’s a great way to gain sales that you might otherwise lose.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

It’s almost always ad or landing page testing. Usually the biggest issue with landing pages are the forms or content layout. Most of the issues with ads occur when they fail to contain benefits and calls to action. In some cases, the product pricing, bundling, or positioning needs to be changed before good testing can take place; but most of the time, I start with testing.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

Without being too vague, I would say testing.  Accounts that just ‘run’ will more than likely have only small performance fluctuations.  Accounts where I’ve been able to have a substantial impact on conversions are accounts where I’ve been able to test – from keywords and ads to landing pages and new channels.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

By designing effective PPC-specific landing pages, and then testing variations of those pages to improve conversion rate. Many advertisers neglect to put time, effort and investment into this, and wonder why their conversion rates stay low. There’s no better way to increase conversion volume and profitability.

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Testing something new.  Trying a new landing page format or replacing an old image can improve your conversion rates hugely.  Don’t have any sacred cows, online advertising is about changing and testing everything you can.  Also taking something really simple like your top 10 converting keywords and seeing how can you improve them.  Are you getting the majority of your impression share? Is budget an issue? Can you amend ad copy? etc

People always focus on how can we improve the lower or non-converting activity when you can get some quick wins from focusing on areas that are already driving growth.  Think about if you grew your highest converting keywords by just 1% and how much that would grow your business without eating into your resources.

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Use Marin Software ;-) http://www.marinsoftware.co.uk/customers/case-studies/farnell-element14

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

Here are 3 quick ideas (I know, you said one way, but I couldn’t resist)

  1. Remarketing to people who have already checked you out. This is the lowest hanging fruit out there. Target this first to increase conversions.
  2. Negative keywords. 20 minutes a week doing negative keyword research will save you 20% or more on your AdWords budget. Try using a free negative keyword tool and mine your search query report for ideas.
  3. Grade your AdWords account. Do a quick audit of your PPC account to figure out what areas in your account are under-performing and where to focus your optimization activities. It takes just 30 seconds and is completely free.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

Sorry, I can’t really give a simple answer to that. The number one way will depend on the account – it could be by introducing PLAs, extensions, adding a bigger keyword list, ad scheduling, setting bids more aggressively, improving adverts, remarketing, use of Display campaigns, changing landing pages or any number of things.

10.How would you write the perfect PPC advert?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

Test, test, test! A fun thing is often to have a PPC advert competition between different people in your marketing teams! Most effective ad wins a prize! This can be a great way to get some new ideas.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

I don’t think there is such a thing. First, I look at the advertisers goals. Then, I examine what’s unique to them. This can take the form of reading sales scripts, talking to sales reps, reading their collateral material, examining patents, etc. I’ll jot down several ideas and the type of ideas as I research the company. Then I’ll see what the competition is doing. Finally, I’ll look to see what ideas I have that will stack up well, and often contrast, with the current ads and start testing ideas.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

1. Create “granular” ad groups – where every keyword includes the same two root words. Frequently keyword lists should contain only 2-6 keywords

2. Include the root words in the ad at least once, preferably in the headline

3. Use the second person – address the reader as “you”

4. Include benefits as well as features

5. Include a strong call to action – e.g. “Learn More Now!”

6. Add a suffix to the end of the Display URL – like www.marketresearch.com/Education+Industry

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

There isn’t a secret formula on how to write the perfect PPC ad and really I am not sure there is such a thing.  What works for one person doesn’t work for the next so you will never get it 100% right.  I follow best practices: including your keyword in your ad copy, having a clear CTA, being relevant.  However one of the most important rules that my first boss told me was that search or direct response advertising has a job to do.  We can be as creative as we like but at the end of the day we want that person’s attention.  And finally test, test and more testing; you will be surprised what can happen by changing one word!

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

I’d let the data do the work for me and A/B test different combinations of creative to identify a clear winner. Then A/B test variations of that. Use a test, refine and test again approach to creative optimisation. We’ve got a useful Whitepaper on Creative Testing if you’re looking for ideas

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

A-there is no one way to write a perfect PPC advertisement, and I don’t find a lot of 100% CTR/conversion rate ad texts out there…so it just doesn’t exist. B-I still know what you mean! My thoughts are that successful and effective ad copy comes from consistent testing and cycling of messages. We make actual lists of costs and benefits for each of our clients and work through combinations of them to write keyword-inclusive copy that is enticing and purposeful. If you read your ad copy and you’ve used every character space to move the customer to choosing your brand, you’re a solid step closer to the elusive perfect PPC ad.

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream 

For starters, don’t write ads like ebay. Instead try to think about what the intent of the search being conducted is. What question, need, desire or fear does the searcher have when executing a particular search query. Now try to make an emotional connection with that person in your text ad. I know it’s hard to do with just 25 characters for a headline, but most ads suck so the bar is pretty low.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

There are plenty of ingredients to get in there – call to actions, offers, discounts, symbols and numbers where possible, social proofing, differentiation with competitors, a message that reflects the audience you are trying to reach, make sure the keyword is in the ad, ensure that all the right extensions are being used, then test the hell out of them. As the winning advert is rarely the one I like the most, the perfect PPC ad is going to be found by testing and iteration rather than one moment of inspiration.

11.What advice would you have for a first timer to PPC?

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

Read around the industry as much as you can and try and gain a knowledge of other key digital areas, such as SEO, Social, Content, Remarketing etc. It’s not enough anymore to just know PPC inside-out. Broadening your knowledge and understanding how PPC fits in as part of the wider digital picture is key to not only making you more effective at PPC, but giving you the opportunity to progress and do something really interesting in an industry that’s still undergoing massive change.

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

Before you start, get some education. This can be reading Google help files, watching training videos (like we have on Certified Knowledge) or reading a good book. A non-educated PPC account will just waste money.

What’s important to really focus on when you are new is the search network, campaign reach settings, conversion tracking, and ad group organization (including match types). If you can start with those few areas, and start understanding the data, then you will usually do well and learn from your own account. As you learn, then you can also profitably expand your account into new areas.

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead at SEER Interactive

One of my biggest pieces of advice is don’t be afraid to fail.  PPC can be intimidating at times because the data is RIGHT THERE. You know fairly quickly if your strategy has worked or not.  It’s important to understand that not every test you run will work and in fact, if all of your tests work, you probably aren’t thinking too outside of the box. It’s certainly important to craft sound strategies and learn from your failed tests/strategies.  However, if you are too scared to test, you’ll likely maintain stagnant accounts and miss the great opportunities.

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

First, read a good primer on the topic. My own is PPC SEM: An Hour a Day published by Wiley/Sybex. While doing this you might practice using an affiliate account or by driving traffic to a friend’s site.

Then take the training for AdWords and BingAds certifications – and then pass the exams.

If you can afford to, take the excellent PPC training offered by the firm Market Motive.

Stay abreast of new developments by reading PPC blogs like PPC Associates and PPC Hero. And follow the Twitter hash tag #PPCchat to get up-to-the-minute news, resources and opinions from PPC experts like myself.

Most importantly: have fun! PPC management is a fascinating, rewarding occupation for those who love words AND numbers. I feel privileged that I can practice it!

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Learn from the bottom up; do the keyword research, write the ad copy and learn to love data.  Know all of your metrics off the top of your head.  Never let one day go by during the week where you don’t check on your accounts at least once, be diligent and hard working.  Listen to your sales teams and marketing colleagues feedback, we can learn just as much from traditional advertising.  And one of the most important things I have learnt is learn how to present your ideas, data, reports and findings to people who don’t have the same level of knowledge of online advertising or PPC, educate them and don’t blind them with science!

 

John Gagnon John Gagnon – Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

Most businesses jump right into creating keywords, bids, ad copy and ad groups without a plan!  They don’t take a moment to think about their business first and then work backwards from their website.

  • Ad Groups/Campaigns: Browse your website and write-down the products or services that make the most sense for you to sell online (best sellers, most profitable, areas of focus, etc…).  You can think of each product or service as an ‘ad group’ or ‘campaign’.
  • Keywords: Write down the different ways your customers might search for your products.
  • Ad Copy: Then think of 3-5 ways you are different from your competitors, what makes you unique.
  • Targeting:  Think about where your customers are located, and ask “on which device are they searching for you?”

I put together a video of my top 5 search marketing tips as well. Start small, grow what works, weed out what doesn’t, test and then repeat. 

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

Be ready to fail. The beauty of PPC is that you can fail, and fail fast, while constantly learning from these failures. Be ready to test and never accept assumptions as fact. All industries, verticals, and advertisers are different. What worked for one won’t necessarily work for another. Finally, learn to love the data. Data is your best friend as a paid search marketer and you should learn to embrace it and use it to drive your decisions.

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

Don’t let it overwhelm you! I remember my training at Hanapin and how scared I was to pull the trigger on anything. If you accept that you will, at some point, make a mistake – you’re in charge. Map your moves out and never stop trying to learn new things (blogs, blogs, MORE BLOGS!)…and USE them! This is starting to sound like a high school graduation speech, but you know what I mean. :)

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

Slow and steady wins the PPC race.

 

 

 

michael-wiegand 150pxMichael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

Keep learning. Follow PPC blogs religiously. The paid search landscape is evolving too fast to rest on your laurels.

And try every new feature at least once, no matter what you read. The results you get might be better than the results your peers are getting.

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

Read as much as you can, stick to the search network to start with, take time to understand match types, particularly broad match, and get your tracking and analytics set-up right. The better your tracking the more likely you are to succeed, and the less expensive your mistakes are likely to be. (You will make mistakes, but it’s all part of the learning curve – keep going, PPC works).

Contributors

Arianne Donoghue Arianne Donoghue – SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas

Arianne is SEM & Social Marketing Manager at Mamas and Papas. Having worked both agency and client side, her focus is now on developing fully-integrated campaigns and tying these together with as much customer insight as possible. When not working, you can probably find her knitting!

Follow Arianne on Twitter

 

Brad Geddes Brad Geddes – Author of Advanced Google AdWords

Brad Geddes is the founder of Certified Knowledge who has been involved in online marketing for more than a decade. Over the years, he has provided a variety of consulting services, including: usability, conversion optimization, product development, product positioning, and agency consulting, He has managed, SEO, PPC, and affiliate marketing campaigns for both himself and others.

Follow Brad on Twitter or Google+ 

 

Crystal (Anderson) O'Neill Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill – PPC Division Lead, SEER Interactive

Crystal (Anderson) O’Neill (@Crystala) is the PPC division lead for SEER Interactive, a Philadelphia based Digital Marketing Agency.  Crystal joined SEER in 2007 and has served as SEO and PPC account managers across various clients, from local to Fortune 500.  Prior to joining SEER in 2007, she worked at an International Media Agency as the VP of Business development, where she focused on developing and managing international media and PPC campaigns.

Follow Crystal on Twitter

 

David SzetelaDavid Szetela – Author, Speaker and Expert in PPC Online Advertising

Online advertising expert David Szetela is a well-known authority on PPC marketing. He was voted Top PPC Expert in a poll of thousands of PPC managers and web site owners, and one of the top advertising experts to follow on Twitter. He runs the Linkedin group PPC Pro People and maintains the Twitter list PPC Advertising Experts. Formerly he was Founder and CEO of the ad agency Clix Marketing.

His articles have been published in MediaPost, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and MarketingSherpa. He has written two books: Customers Now and PPC SEM: An Hour a Day. He was the PPC expert faculty member for the online certification company Market Motive, and he hosted the Webmasterradio.fm radio show PPC Rockstars. He is a frequent speaker at conferences like Search Engine Strategies, SMX, Pubcon and ad:tech.

Follow David on Twitter or Google+

 

Jacinta WalkerJacinta Walker – Inbound Marketing Manager and Online Advertising EMEA at salesforce.com

Jacinta is a graduate of DIT with a Masters in Digital Media Technologies. She started her career working with some of the world’s top digital media agencies including Starcom, Carat and Initiative. She has worked with brands such as O2, BMW, Kellogg’s and UPC developing best in class digital strategies focused on return on investment and maximising results. She joined the Salesforce EMEA web team in 2012 where she heads up the Online Advertising team in EMEA. Her team runs SEM, Display/Retargeting and Social Advertising programs for the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands and Nordics. She is also responsible for Salesforce EMEA’s SEO and Content programs with primary responsibility for their Inbound site Social Success.

Follow Jacinta on Twitter or Google+

 

John Gagnon John Gagnon – Bing Ads Evangelist, Microsoft

John Gagnon is a Bing Ads Evangelist (aka “search nerd”) at Microsoft.

John is a frequent speaker at digital marketing conferences such as Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, Online Marketing Summit & others. He is also a regular contributor to ClickZ, SearchEngineWatch.com & the Bing Ads community.

He has advised hundreds of clients ranging from enterprise level Microsoft teams like Windows and Internet Explorer to small businesses like local garage door repair shops just getting started.  Prior to working at Microsoft, John worked at Google for the AdWords Small Business segment becoming an expert in their toolset.  He loves data and digital marketing but especially search marketing, which is his first love.

Follow John on Twitter

 

Jon MyersJon Myers – Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software

Jon Myers is Commercial Director – EMEA for Marin Software, the leading digital ad management platform. Previously a Director at Yahoo!, MediaVest and Latitude, he also sits on the Global SES Advisory Board.

Follow Jon on Twitter or Google+

 

Justin VanningJustin Vanning – Customer Acquisition Manager at SEOmoz

As the Customer Acquisition Manager on the SEOmoz Marketing team, Justin works with their VP of Growth Marketing to introduce new customers to the amazing products and tools that SEOmoz has to offer. Whether that be through paid search advertising, retargeting, display ads, affiliate marketing, social media advertising, or any other number of paid channels, if it can help introduce new customers to our products, there’s a good chance he’ll be working on it.

Follow Justin on Twitter or Google+

 

Kayla KurtzKayla Kurtz – Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing

Kayla Kurtz is currently the Paid Search Consultant for Hanapin Marketing, with vast experience as an Account Manager with the agency before taking on her current position, as well as a frequent contributor to PPC Hero. Her account work includes ecommerce and lead generation, with accounts spending between four and six figures monthly. Kayla is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington who frequently uses her Education degree to teach her peers the ins and outs of paid search marketing. When she’s not working, she enjoys Colts football, White Sox baseball, Hoosier basketball and wine.

Follow Kayla on Twitter

 

Larry KimLarry Kim – Founder & CTO of WordStream

Larry Kim is the Founder & CTO of WordStream, provider of the 20 Minute PPC Work Week and AdWords Grader.

Follow Larry on Twitter or Google+.

 

michael-wiegand 150pxMichael Wiegand – Senior PPC Strategist at Portent, Inc

Michael’s a Senior PPC Strategist at Seattle-based internet marketing firm Portent, Inc. He’s been in marketing for 10 years, paid search for over 5. When he isn’t busy staring at pivot tables and crafting ad copy, he’s fathering 2 kids and watching a lot of football, commonly referred to as “soccer” here in the states.

Follow Michael on Twitter or Google+

 

Richard CottonRichard Cotton – Head of Paid Search at Distilled

Richard has been working for Distilled for just a few weeks shy of 5 years, starting with no PPC experience at all. Previously he worked for online bookies as an odds compiler and trader, which may not have obvious parallels to PPC but with a need to spend plenty of time analysing trends, digging around statistics, in a world where small mistakes can have big and costly implications he was actually better prepared than he might have imagined.

Follow Richard on Google+

 

Google were asked for comment but sadly did not respond.

Share this post

About the author

Mike Essex

Mike Essex specialises in digital marketing and everything search. A recent project of Mike’s was featured on BBC News, Radio 5Live and the Times here in the UK, whilst also featuring on USA Today and ABC News in the US. He will be writing throughout the month about digital marketing and much more...

Beginners-Guide-To-AdWords

3 Comments

What do you think?

Digital Marketing Ideas Every Month

Sign up to receive our free monthly email. Including our favourite pieces of news from the digital marketing industry.

From SEO to PPC, Social Media to Brand Management and Analytics, we'll keep you informed.