Archive for category Techniques
Last month, eBay released a study suggesting that showing paid ads for your brand terms on Google is a complete waste of money.
As an experiment, eBay paused their paid ads for the keyword ‘ebay’, and found that the reduction in clicks from their Google paid ads was made up for by an increase in clicks from their Google organic listings. eBay therefore concluded that bidding on your brand name is a complete waste of money.
Wrong. If, like eBay, you simply provide an ad message for your brand name as a mere navigational link (i.e. so that your simply appear in the paid listings), you will probably notice that any increase in paid clicks from your brand keywords is met with an equal decrease in organic (natural) clicks from your brand keywords, with no added value being created.
However, paid ads for brand terms can create significant value for your business if the execution of your brand ad strategy is more involved than simply providing a mere navigational link, for example:
So you’ve realised your current Google AdWords strategy is missing out on a big opportunity to connect with long-tail searchers who are further along in the buying cycle and more likely to convert. You’ve also realised you’ve collected a wealth of search query data while you’ve been running your current Google AdWords campaigns over the past few months or years. You therefore want to use your search query data to improve your long-tail targeting, reach these searchers at the later stages of the buying cycle, and increase your return on investment (ROI) from Google AdWords marketing.
However, when analysing your search query report, it can all too often be overwhelming. It can be hard to know where to start. You find yourself falling victim to analysis paralysis, and give up without making any tangible improvements to your campaigns. So to help mine your search queries for new long tail keywords, below are 3 techniques I find incredibly useful:
Back in 2009, I looked at the standard of PPC ads being displayed on Google in Australia, using the Sydney hotel industry as an example. I found that the majority of PPC ads being presented on Google by Australian businesses were poorly targeted and unengaging, and concluded that considerable opportunities exist for Australian businesses who take the time and effort to develop tailored and effective long-tail Google PPC campaigns.
Three years on, despite Google PPC marketing becoming more widespread among businesses in Australia (and arguably more competitive and expensive as a result), there still appears to be very few Australian businesses who provide high-targeted and tailored ad messages which cater from the growing long-tail of search. A huge amount of valuable keyword and search query data now exists for every PPC advertiser, but it appears that most PPC campaigns in Australia still consist of only a few hundred keywords and only a few hundred ad messages.
Due to the increasing popularity of Google, people are now typing a wide range of specific searches into Google, and are expecting more relevant and helpful search results and ads. However, when searching for these specific long-tail phrases, it appears that the general standard of PPC ads in Australia is very poor. For the search ‘sydney hotels near the rocks’, for example, notice how few PPC ads make any mention of The Rocks (a location in Sydney). The searcher has typed a specific phrase where location seems to be an important consideration, yet few Google PPC ads fully cater for their needs and requirements.
Similarly, looking at Google’s suggested searches for other travel-related phrases, it appears that the long-tail of search is very widespread. People are not only searching for holidays in a particular country, for example, but also searching for holidays from their town or city.
Notice below how the searcher has specified they are looking for Singapore holidays from Perth, yet only one PPC advertiser makes any mention whatsoever of Perth. Even the one ad which does, however, is promoting Perth hotels, which again is irrelevant and untargeted to the searcher’s needs and requirements.
The long-tail opportunity doesn’t just apply to locations. People are also searching by date, and expecting search results which are tailored to those dates. For example, notice below how not a single PPC advertiser make any mention of ‘October’ or ’2012′ in their ad messages. I imagine most travel service providers provide different prices and deals depending on the travel date, such as October 2012, yet few seem to translate these date-specific prices and specials into their PPC ad messaging. Again, a missed opportunity.
The long-tail of search is massive. People are not just searching for hotels in Melbourne. They are searching for hotels in Melbourne with spas, parking, indoor pools, free wifi, smoking rooms, and breakfast included. I imagine a large number of Melbourne hotels meet these requirements, yet you would not think so when searching on Google.
Hotels in Sydney with balcony rooms really need to get their PPC campaigns in order. They are missing a great opportunity to connect with potential customers on Google.
The same is true for Tahiti holiday providers and resorts with a child-friendly offering, or those which offer packages departing from the capital cities of Australia.
As we can see with the above examples, people are increasingly using Google to specify their exact needs and requirements. This suggests there are considerable opportunities for businesses in Australia who take the time and effort to fully cater for Google’s growing long-tail of search. So instead of displaying only a handful of ads and only a handful of keywords, your PPC campaign strategy needs to contain thousands of tailored ad messages and tens of thousands of relevant and well-organised keywords.
Although such a tailored long-tail campaign structure will obviously take more time and effort to setup and maintain than a simple campaign consisting of only a few hundred keywords and ads, a long-tail PPC strategy can deliver fantastic results in terms of increased click through rates (CTR), lower CPCs, and higher conversion rates. Considering the poor standard of Google PPC competition in Australia, a highly-tailored and comprehensive PPC strategy can be one of the most successful and financially rewarding marketing investments any Australian business can make.
Alan Mitchell is an experienced Google AdWords specialist, with a proven track record in helping businesses increase their return on investment (ROI) from PPC marketing. To find out how logical PPC marketing can help your business, please get in touch today for a free consultation.
All too often I see small to medium-sized businesses spending considerable amounts of marketing dollars on PPC campaigns without having implemented even the most basic of tracking solutions. Other businesses seem to accept that Google’s Conversion Tracking is as good as it gets, and have yet to realize the benefits of having more detailed (but still very simple) goal, event, ecommerce, and custom variable tracking in Google Analytics.
Google AdWords and Google Analytics provide fantastic free of charge functionalities for tracking, measuring, and evaluating the performance of your PPC and non-PPC marketing campaigns, helping you to make more informed decisions about how to improve your return on investment (ROI) from your online marketing activities.
Here we will explore 4 tracking opportunities, which could help you better understand and improve the return on investment (ROI) of your online marketing activities. Depending on your website, all 4 tracking methods may not be relevant, but most websites should look to implement at least two of the below.
Read the rest of this entry »
Google last month increased the maximum number of keywords allowed in a standard Google AdWords account from approximately 50,000 to 3 million. Yes, that’s right, you can now have up to 3 million keywords in your Google AdWords account.
And while most pay per click (PPC) advertisers are probably already doing a fair job at targeting a large number of relevant searchers through their existing keyword lists, there are massive opportunities for PPC advertisers who take the time to research thousands more keywords than their competitors.
Let’s find out why.
1. More Impressions
To illustrate the first reason, let’s consider Google’s phrase match for a moment. By bidding on the keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, and setting it to phrase match, you are essentially saying to Google:
“Show my ad whenever someone mentions the word ‘sony bravia tv’ in their search query”.
The job of phrase match is to show your ads for searches that mention your keyword phrase. You might therefore think this will enable your ads to appear whenever someone mentions the phrase ‘sony bravia tv’ in their search query.
Just because you have chosen to bid on the keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, does not mean your ad is guaranteed to show for any search containing the phrase ‘sony bravia tv’. You are competing with thousands of other advertisers for Google’s search results page real estate, and Google can only show a finite number of ads at any one time (10-12).
When deciding which ads to show, Google will display the ads that are most likely to generate a high click through rate (CTR), and those that have a relatively high Quality Score.
So when someone searches for ‘sony bravia 50 inch tv black’, PPC advertisers who have chosen to bid on a keyword close to ‘sony bravia 50 inch tv black’, and are able to display an ad which is relevant to Sony Bravia 50 inch TVs, is more likely to be awarded the chance to appear on Google’s search results page, than your generic keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, which triggers a more generic ad message.
The percentage of impressions your keywords receive for all ‘available’ searches is counted in Google’s Impression Share metric. The higher your Impression Share, the higher the percentage of available searches in which your ads appear.
The crucial point is this – by researching thousands of relevant keywords, all other things equal, you are more likely to show for a greater number of relevant searches. By researching thousands of keywords, your impressions and click volume will increase considerably.
WordStream last week carried out some fascinating research on Google AdWords CPC prices of different sectors. One key finding was that the finance industry carried high CPCs of up to $54.91, while other service-related sectors such as education, law and health also exhibited expensive CPC prices of over $30.00.
It’s All Relative
Since CPC prices are often closely linked to the potential profitability of a sale from that keyword, the CPC price is often a mute point. A ‘bad credit history remortgage’ could be worth $15,000 profit to a remortgage broker, so having CPCs in excess of $50.00 can deliver a strong return on investment.
On the other hand, the keyword ‘New York weather’ has little commercial intention, so keywords such as this tend to benefit from low CPCs.
While this relativity of CPC prices makes CPC comparisons across sectors rather meaningless, most PPC advertisers would jump at the chance to pay lower CPCs. So below are 4 strategies I’ve found useful for achieving lower CPCs, while still maintaining a strong conversion rate.
Google’s search query reports provide PPC advertisers with two fantastic opportunities to improve the performance of their AdWords campaigns:
- Identify irrelevant keywords which can be added as negatives
- Identify new keyword opportunities for keyword expansion
The difficulty, however, is efficiently and reliably pulling out trends and insights from a raw search query report. According to Google, 25% of searches made each day are completely unique, and 70% of searches lie outside of Google’s Keyword Tool. While this suggests that the large majority of your search queries will have received only a handful of clicks (making trend-spotting extremely difficult), it also presents a great opportunity for identifying new keywords outside of the Keyword Tool.
This article will explore the techniques which can be used not only to identify negative keywords from a search query report, but also identify new opportunities for practical keyword expansion.
The beauty of pay per click marketing is that it allows you to choose keywords which are highly relevant to your business. By only showing ads for search terms which closely match the products and services your business offers, you can ensure a high degree of relevancy and strong return on investment from paid search.
PPC advertisers have abided by this relevant approach since the dawn of PPC, knowing that to maximize PPC profitability, ads should be shown for highly-relevant keywords, and not for irrelevant keywords. If you are a synthetic grass manufacturer, for example, you should only show ads for highly-relevant searches such as ‘artificial grass’ and ‘synthetic grass suppliers’, but not for less relevant searches such as ‘real grass’ or ‘buy grass seed online’. Showing ads for these less relevant keywords would achieve a low conversion rate and yield a poor profit.
Or so the theory goes.
But maybe there is a way to still achieve great results from these less relevant keywords? Maybe there is a way to reach a greater number of potential customers, while still achieving a strong profitability?
There is. But it involves a different way of thinking. It involves a different approach to simply bidding on a range of keywords, showing your best performing ads, and waiting for the sales to come flooding in.
In this third post in the Economics of PPC Pricing series, we consider the profit sharing model (you might also like to refer back to the previous Economics of PPC pricing posts on the markup model and the cost-per-sale model). By looking at the cost and revenue structures for both client and PPC agency, we discover that under the profit sharing model client and agency motivations are perfectly aligned, making profit sharing a highly efficient method of PPC compensation.
Although we infer that profit sharing is sound from an economic sense, we find it does have problems of its own in terms of implementation and conversion attribution, and conclude that profit sharing should only be considered once a strong and tested relationship has already been established between client and agency.
So let’s get started.
For a business looking to hire a pay per click (PPC) agency, cost-per-sale (CPS) performance models are great. The business pays the agency a set price for each sale, so fees are entirely based on the agency’s performance.
From a client’s point of view, this is great. There is little risk – agency fees are only payable once sales come in. Guaranteed profit!
From an agency’s point of view, it’s also great. Each extra sale is extra revenue, so an agency which is confident of its abilities to deliver value from paid search is rewarded heavily (and fairly) for their efforts. Performance-related pay creates an incentive for agencies to invest their best resources and expertise into making PPC campaigns a success for their client.
Researching cheaper and high-converting long-tail keywords, restructuring ad groups to improve relevancy and regularly carrying out landing page testing to increase conversion rate become all the more worthwhile when there’s a monetary incentive. If an agency only gets paid when they deliver sales, it is worth their time and effort to deliver sales.
Sounds too good to be true. Client risk is minimal. Agencies which perform are rewarded. Agencies which don’t perform…well they are forced to perform if they are to stay in business.
So you’ve decided you want to give performance pricing a go. But how exactly would a performance deal work? And how should you go about creating one for your PPC agency?