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Google_images

Martina Martina

October 17th, 2012.

Google adwords: Image search ads

Google_images

Topic in question:
Google Adwords’ image search ads

Are these new?
Well yes and no. No technically, since they were originally launched at a Google Search event back in 2010, but to you – yes if you have never used them before, obviously.

What are they?
In short, they are ads that include images similar to the ones you see on the search network as part of a PPC campaign.

Where do you use them?
These can be used as part of your online advertising campaign in Google’s display network. Specifically, they will appear at the top of Google’s image search above the lines of images returned. Here is an example:

CLS
 

Why would you use them?
For many reasons. There is a huge untapped opportunity to be found via the images you have on your website than just through regular SEO. For instance, through the ALT-tags used in your images. These can lead people to the content on your website.

Also, often people are genuinely just looking for an image rather than actual text content – for instance when looking for new shoes, or any product they are interested in. This is a great chance to draw in prospective customers.

Hold on, don’t we already have image ads on the display network?
We sure do!

So, how are these different?
They’re completely different. Image ads are ads featured in Google’s display network. This network is different from Google’s search network. Instead, it is a large collection of websites that are in a partnership with Google that work to display graphical ads that have been built with the display ad builder.

Those ads look like this:

cooking_ad

Will these cost me more than usual search ads?
No, you can bid on relevant keywords as you usually would. So this will only cost you as much as you choose to bid.

Any tips for effectiveness?
Google advises you create a separate campaign for these kinds of ads. This way you can gauge quality scores much more accurately and hone the campaign in a way that works best.

Things to keep in mind?
Although a useful way to advertise, it is worth noting that there are no guarantees this will be a huge success in terms of conversions, and as with text ads, it is a process of constant tweaking until you find what works.

Some users have suggested that this is something that best works with tangible products (on e-commerce sites) where someone will search to get an idea of a product they will eventually wear, use or feel (i.e furniture, clothing or decoration).

If your product doesn’t fall into this band, then the outlook for image ads search might be branding; a way to advertising the visual aspects of your services. Low Cost Holidays does a good job of this. Here, I searched the term winter holidays:

winter_holidays
 

Okay where do I start?
You can explore this feature in Adwords by selecting a campaign on the left and then selecting ads from the top panel. From there, select new ad and then Specialised – Search from the drop down menu:

search_ad



Follow the instructions from there. – Good luck! ;-)

Matt

February 15th, 2012.

PPC And Seller Extensions Cannibalising Your Brand Traffic

The star ratings that you often see in Google ads are known as seller extensions. These are now likely to appear in the paid, organic and shopping results.  These ratings are generated when product reviews are submitted either on 3rd party sites such as ReeVoo or TrustPilot, or when Schema.org mark-up is used to tag internal/on-site reviews.

It is often cited that these star ratings can improve click-through rates by as much as 30%, which will not only increase both organic and paid visitors, but an increase in PPC click-through rate is also likely to reduce your overall cost per click.

Now, while the effects of these are obviously positive when dealing with generic searches, consider the impact on organic brand traffic when seller extensions appeared for one of our clients brand searches.

As you can see, organic brand traffic fell by around 49%. Overall brand traffic remained around the same level, the client was now just paying for a much larger proportion of it via their own PPC ads.

The obvious solution in this case is to turn-off the PPC ads for brand search terms. However in this specific case the situation is compounded by other (legitimate and non-legitimate) companies bidding on their brand term, this includes Amazon, an approved distributor who also benefit from seller extensions  in their own PPC ad, so turning-off the client brand ads would probably result in a large share of their own brand traffic diverting to the Amazon result.

 

So what can be learnt from this?

  • Seller extensions have a dramatic uplift in click-through rate
  • Protect your brand/trademark results from unauthorised bidders
  • Prevent affiliates from bidding on your trademarked terms
  • Google are making a lot of money from selling companies their own brand traffic

 

Adam Adam

August 22nd, 2011.

Visualizing your busiest PPC time periods using pivot tables & Excel

Ad scheduling can be a particularly useful tool to use within Google AdWords if you’re running a campaign on a tight budget. For anyone who hasn’t used Ad Scheduling before, it allows you to set time periods in which your AdWords ads within the selected campaign are allowed to show. This is useful because with a little research you’re able to find out when are the busiest hours of the day and adjust your AdWords campaigns accordingly, allowing your available daily budget for each campaign to be spent only within the time periods specified. I’m going to show you how I go about finding this out for each campaign, and how to set it up in approx. 10 minutes!

Sounds Great! How Do I Know What Times Searchers Are Most Active?

First of all you’ll need a sample period where Ad Scheduling isn’t used and you’ll need a fairly decent daily budget so that the display of ads isn’t limited by your daily budget. I’d suggest running the campaign like this over a month and work with the data available.

Step 1: Download the Report

Log into Google AdWords and select the date range for the sample period. Click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab and click on the reports icon, shown below:

AdWords report button

AdWords report button

 

The box will then expand to show the report name, format, and allow you to add segments. Click the ‘+ segment’ link, adding the three segments shown below:

AdWords report segments

 

Add the ‘Day’, ‘Day of the week’ and ‘Hours of day’ segments to your report and click ‘Create’ to download the report. Once downloaded open the report in Excel.

 

Step 2: Using Pivot Tables to Group Periods

Depending on the number of Campaigns and AdGroups you have running, chances are you’re going to have a spreadsheet with quite a few rows. To make sense of this we are going to break this down using a pivot table.

First delete the top row (containing the report name and the sample data period) so that:

becomes:

 

You will also need to remove the last few rows from the bottom of the spreadsheet containing the totals as well:

Next highlight all columns (my example goes from columns A to Q), and under the ‘Insert’ menu in Excel click ‘Pivot Table':

 

You will then see a dialog box similar to the one below- click ‘OK’ to create a pivot table in a new sheet. After, click on the new sheet where you will see the empty pivot table:

Pivot Table Field List highlighted in Green

 

You can now start adding the fields required to the areas within the ‘Field List’. To start with, drag the ‘Campaign’ field into the ‘Report Filter’ box, ‘Days of week’ into the ‘Column Labels’ box, ‘Hour of day’ into the ‘Rob Labels’ box and ‘Impressions’ into the ‘Values’ box. The field list should look like this:

Next click the down arrow on ‘Count of Impressions’ value in the ‘Values’ box and click ‘Value Field Settings:

and select ‘Sum’ before clicking ‘OK’.

You should now see that ‘Count of Impressions’ has changed to ‘Sum of Impressions’ and the values within the pivot table have also changed. You can now see the total number of impressions for the selected campaign broken down by hour of the day for each day of the week:

Note you can filter by campaign by selecting the campaign name (highlighted)

This is pretty useful as you can see the number of total number of impressions for each hour of the day for each day of the week. The only problem is I’ve then got to compare the numbers, and since I prefer pretty pictures or graphs, I’d rather see this visually represented.

Step 3: Make It Pretty

To see a visual representation of more popular hours we can add conditional formatting to the table and highlight busier periods. To do this, start off by selecting all of the values for ‘Monday’ and under the ‘Home’ menu, click on ‘Conditional Formatting->Color Scales and select an awesome-looking colour scale:

 

Then do the same for the other columns for other days of the week (you’ll have to do each column individually). Afterwards you’ll end up with something like this:

Here you can see how the number of impressions differs by hour on each typical weekday, and more importantly when the quieter periods are. You can then apply this data to each Campaign (by changing the Campaign drop down in cell B1) and apply ad scheduling to these periods. This will allow you to show your ads only during the periods where searchers are more active, meaning your available daily budget is used more wisely.

Remember to consider different timezones- if your campaign is targeting more than one timezone you will need to account for this, and you may wish to separate different timezones into separate campaigns.

 

Martina Martina

May 10th, 2011.

How to turn bounces to boomerangs!

Are your bounce rates extremely high? Does Google Analytic’s show that people are only spending a very short time on your site before leaving? Loyalty rates low?  As a web-master if you face any of these issues, read on for some tips on how to overcome them:

Have some “me” time



Link to your site – on your site. The more links your website includes to the pages on your site the better. The simple logic behind it is this, when these links are clicked, they lead to another area of your site. This means people will be hanging around longer, seeing what else there is to see rather than being lead off to other places online or simply leaving altogether.

Opt for quality over quantity


What would you rather:
(a) thousands of visitors daily who stumble onto your site & realise they have been duped by your misleading ad causing them to instantly leave and grumble about wasted online browsing (which would result in high CTRs, virtually no conversions and an extremely high bounce rate).
OR
(b) a consistent amount of daily visitors who spend a little longer on your site browsing and hopefully converting?

The point of this rhetorical question is relevance. A person wanting to buy household goods for interior design, finding your site through an ad suggesting household goods for interior design before discovering what you actually sell are gardening products, will leave. You may be happy about a high CTR but remember, you are paying for every click in a CPC campaign and every thousand impressions in a CPM one; be specific.

Avoid mazes, nobody likes those


The origins of the internet arguably date back to the 19th century, yet 2 centuries later people still create websites with awful navigability leaving the average web surfer frustrated enough to give up searching for whatever it is they wanted on that particular site and going elsewhere. If you want people to stay, you must make each section of your site clear and easy to get to, it wouldn’t matter if you had the most wonderful web content available if people didn’t know it was there.

Get the right look


Using Google Adsense is one great way to bring some extra revenue. When people come to your site and you have too many ads, links to here & there, misspellings, dodgy looking logo’s/pictures, flashing animations and the like…they leave. These things are annoying and really count towards (or in this case against) customer confidence. Try Google’s ’website optimiser’ – a tool that allows you to test different versions of your site to help decide what the best version is.

Incentives and interaction


Incorporate things into your site that people want to spend time doing, this could include anything from quizzes, polls, questions, comments areas, forums, things to rate, games etc (I could keep listing things but I think you get the point).

Good luck! :-)

Martina Martina

April 15th, 2011.

Fantastic ways to fail miserably in your Adwords PPC campaigns!

PPC is a complex system of bidding on low cost, undiscovered but really high traffic keywords in attempt to rank as high up in Google’s SERP’s for your brand as possible.

Often underestimated, users create campaigns which run okay. Maybe they break even, perhaps their site is getting more exposure and if they are lucky, they might even get some conversions. One quick search, and the internet overflows with hints, tips and tricks on how to effectively create PPC campaigns to maximise your ROI, and everyone lives happily ever after…

Unfortunately this isn’t the reality for everyone. Sometimes campaigns can take an awful turn for the worst and instead of those fluffy guides that explain how to be a PPC mastermind, I often wonder if those company owners and PPC newbie’s who suffer have done so because they read a different, slightly darker guide that mislead them. This is how I imagine such a guide would read:

 

Spend wisely and try to set a reasonable budget that you will be able to pay.

Invest copious amounts of money into every campaign almost breaking the bank. It doesn’t matter if you have other bills to pay or budgets to keep to, now that you’ve read a little here and there, it’s guaranteed that this will pay off – the more money invested the better!

!

Avoid the main keywords for your brand, there is likely to be high competetion for these which will result in high CPC rates!

Try your very best to beat-out the competition by going head to head for the most competitive keywords for your brand. Be generic and avoid specific. For example, if you’re selling sportswear, bid on “shoe”, “trainer” and “clothing” so that when somebody searches for those terms, your ad will appear somewhere in the results as long as you followed that first rule about money!

Try to use long-tail keyword prhases that have lower search volumes but also lower CPC rates. Using a variety of broad and “phrase” match terms can help with this too.

Be extremely precise by using [exact match] for everything. Long keywords are for suckers, get to the point with one word terms, be honest who has the time to think up long-tail keywords anyway? Instead, spend the time you have saved and go shopping or catch up with an old friend!

Carry out keyword research so you can get an idea of the kinds of things people are searching for. This might also help you to think of alternate keyword variations that people might not have thought up, but will get the desired result.

Do everything as quickly as possible! You don’t have the time to hang around when people are selling the same product as you! Use your intuition and instinct, the first words that pop into your head when you think of your product are the ones you should go for. Get them in and bid ASAP!

Monitor your ads throughout the day, this will help you to discover what is getting clicks and impressions and what isn’t. If something isn’t working, change it.

Time is money. Once you have quickly set up one campaign leave it to simmer and create the next one. If you have followed this guide so far then everything should be a-okay!

Don’t worry if you aren’t getting a good enough ROI to begin with. Use whatever results you have as a learning curve and improve what you need to. Use helpful features like the opportunities tab, or the many reporting tools to make a difference.

Money is everything. If you check and your campaigns aren’t doing well, you’re doomed and should probably give up. Shame on you!

Follow this guide and be a professional failure now!

Good luck!  :-D

Martina Martina

March 11th, 2011.

Slightly immoral and unethical ways companies might use Google Adwords to generate business…

In July 2010, ‘Goldtrail holidays‘ a British tour operator, collapsed leaving thousands of holidaymakers abroad when it went into administration.

It took no time at all for fellow tour operators to see this as a great way to generate business. ‘EasyJet’, ‘Fly Thomas Cook’ and ‘Sunwings’ were but some of a few who cottoned onto this and broke a fundamental rule – bidding on a brand-name term that isn’t your own.

Nevertheless, a search query using the term “Goldtrail” or “Goldtrail holidays” returned adverts for cheap holidays abroad and the like. Of course Google would have had to allow this, and probably didn’t act on it because at that point, technically, Goldtrail was no longer an actual legal entity.

The recent Earthquake disaster in Japan, hitting 8.9 on the Richter-scale and sparking off several Tsunamis’, is all over the news and the internet today. It isn’t a brand name, but could this idea be adapted and used as a possible gateway for business? For example, charities pushing sponsorship in the third-world for instance, might post adverts asking for financial help in countries where natural disasters are common by using the words “Japan disaster” “Japan” “Tsunami” “Japan earthquake” “Japan Tsunami” etc, as a broad match – or any keywords that are relevant to this recent tragic disaster.

Click the thumbnails below to see some search terms that are fairly popular at the moment due to current events, and have little competition:


If ads are tactically written so that technically they are not breaching any rules or regulations – like the Goldtrail example above – and instead are tugging at peoples heart strings, this might work.

It seems fine until you consider how this could be misused, for example by charities who take most of what is donated to them and use it to pay “administration fees” and “business costs” before any of it makes it overseas to those in actual need.

You never know…

Martina Martina

February 23rd, 2011.

Why it is now impossible to rank as #1 in search engines…

The evolution of the Internet shows the constant change in the way search engines fetch you the information you want when you put in a query. Gone are the days, when a uniform set of results would pop up irrespective of who you are, where, when and how you searched a particular term.

One such example was just 2 years ago in the huge viral campaign for the blockbuster movie ‘2012’. The online marketing behind this movie was so clever that consumers were told to “just search 2012” in a search engine, as part of the teaser. Indeed if they did, a quick search in Google would return about 1, 000 websites and over 150 books based on the idea that 2012 marked – the end. Scary!

Localised and Personalised results.

Two years later, things have changed. With Google collecting just about every smidgen of information available to them from the online user, they have found away to return results that are ultra personalised all depending on the users’ settings. This is great in terms of relevance. For example, a Londoner living in Chelsea putting in a search for “local plumbers” or even just “plumbers” would be in for a treat. Google would collect her I.P. address which would determine roughly which area the search has come from, her domain name, (which in this case would be ‘.co.uk’), and even the similar searches that have been carried out in the past, to finally come up with some options that would best relate to that user.

This seems great for the person wanting a local plumber. But is it great? The answer is yes…and no – and here’s why:

  • It causes some businesses or products to not be shown, limiting the users opportunity to try something new/go somewhere else.
  • Other businesses might not draw customers from certain locations because they are not being shown in results.
  • Most importantly: nobody ranks number one!

Blended results

Blended results further add to this difficulty of ranking at the very top of your field. These are integrated in the results that are returned when you search any particular term. For example we already know that a search for “local plumbers” combines a series of data to produce personalised results. Blended results are the effect of vertical search engines gathering information. For example in Google, there are additional tabs you can click to get certain results: (images, news, books, blogs etc.) These are placed adjacently between organic results. So you might search “plumber” and return: 1. A Google page listing of a local plumber, 2. The Wikipedia definition for the word, 3. A directory result and 4. An image of a plumber (just kidding on this one :-) but you get the idea.)

Therefore ranking at number one is not really generic. This doesn’t mean however, that you can’t rank at the top for your field if you utilise tools such as Google AdWords and create a very powerful and successful campaign with all the right keywords. After all, you only need to appeal to the intended audience, and this is exactly what Google assists in doing!

Happy Searching.

Martina Martina

February 2nd, 2011.

What to do with organic search results

Firstly, what are ‘organic’ search results?

Organic search results found in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, are those that are not strictly altered by anyone and are not paid for. They are results that appear centre-left on the screen after you put in a search term.

Doesn’t organic mean ‘pure’?

Yes, it does. This term is ideal because unlike the many paid/sponsored results, the purity of the organic result means that they are free from blatant advertisements pushing a product or service.

Search engines such as Google are great at separating the two. The paid adverts are usually columned off to the right.

So just how important are organic search results?

Very important! In fact 83% of commercial purchases come from them in comparison to paid results. So that’s 5/6’s of all potential business. Whilst PPC is a competitive and additionally important SEO element, if it only accounts for 1/6 of your overall success then organic results must be made priority.

Okay, so now I know about organic results and PPC results – but I’ve heard about sponsored or ‘paid inclusion’ results – what are those?

Paid inclusion is a search engine marketing tool where search engine companies charges fees for the inclusion of particular websites in their search index. These websites are then known as sponsored listings.

This sounds surprisingly similar to PPC…isn’t it the same thing?

Well, the line between PPC and paid inclusion is a thin one. Some believe that any paid listings are advertisements (which is essentially what PPC is), while others insist they are not because unlike ads, webmasters do not control the listings content, it’s ranking, or even whether it is shown to any users.

Okay to sum this all up, what are the differences between all three?

1. Organic traffic: includes the free-of charge results off to the left side of the page.

2. PPC listings: are the ads typically at the right side of the page. Occasionally they will appear at the top & bottom of pages too. When PPC ads appear above or below organic results in most search engines, they are in a coloured box which helps make it that little bit clearer.

3. Paid inclusion results: are mixed in with regular organic listings however paid inclusion is known to have no effect on relevancy. They are simply blended into the search results anywhere and cannot be easily distinguished from the other search results.
However, some search engines such as Google, feel as though paid inclusion is a conflict of interest with relevancy, this is why they have never had a paid inclusion program.

Okay so back to organic results…how do I improve them?

  • Be an expert on your site. Literally know everything you need to know about it – it is extremely likely there will be competition, so that little bit of extra information is what will help you to stand out.
  • Research the competition to see how competitive the keywords you are using are.
  • After you have found the most effective and unique keywords make sure you include them in your meta-tags, your page title and everywhere you can on the page.
  • Submit your site to as many directories as you can find (that are relevant your location) If your services go as far as the South East of London and you are submitting to American directories, you may be found in the USA – but then ignored.
  • Each page should have a specific focus – whatever you mention on one page should stay there, no need to keep backtracking, it’s repetitive and ideally you want to be found for different things in search engines rather than just the one service/product.
  • Search for spam in your keywords and report any you find – you may be able to them removed.
  • Build links. This is the most effective element of SEO that exists. If you aren’t building links, start!
  • Remember that content quality matters much more than quantity. Don’t waste any time putting a site together  with tonnes of useless or badly planned out information when you haven’t got any strategy on what to do with it.

Martina Martina

December 15th, 2010.

An introduction to pay-per-click (PPC)

There are tales of retired businesspeople or sometimes new parents who leave jobs to raise families, who then get bored of monotony and decide to try and use the internet to cure their boredom. Perhaps this idea was launched after they stumbled across Google AdWords and PPC, both helpful tools in allowing companies to bid on certain keywords and phrases.

It works like this – if their bid is high enough,  the winning bidder pays the bid price which ranges from pennies to pounds depending on the competition for those words. Once paid for, a short advert from that bidders company will appear alongside the search results of anyone typing those keywords or phrases into a search engine or a website. Whatever the winning bid price was, is paid every time someone clicks on the ad. The benefits come from the traffic that is drawn to the site mentioned in the advert.

This may sound great, fantastic even – but there are ways to get it wrong, so read on for some handy tips in getting the most out of PPC:

Measuring Click-Through Rates

The success of pay-per-click is found in how many time someone clicks on your ad. This is called the click-through rate. In theory, a high click-through rate equals one click for every four times the page containing your advert is displayed. However you should remember that you are paying for any clicks, therefore – if no business is gained by the ad being clicked, you are potentially losing money.

This is why decisions about your campaign should be focused on getting customers to spend money on the product or service you supply, rather than simply getting them to click on your ad. Completely removing ad that gets lots of clicks but rarely results in a transaction is an idea; perhaps replacing this ad with of one that isn’t as big of a click draw but ultimately entices more transactions would help.

Understanding Conversion Metrics

Online ads allow for you to calculate the money you will make based on what you invest. Although it can be pretty straightforward in some cases, in others it may not, especially if you are using many different forms of marketing already. Google has conversion-tracking tools designed specifically to determine the rate at which people come to your website through clicking on your ad and actually go on to complete a transaction. This can be in the form of making a purchase, signing up for something or simply joining a mailing list. By telling these tools what different types of clicks on your site are worth, it can calculate what your total return will be.

Setting Manageable Budgets

Figure out where you are getting a positive investment and base your budget primarily around that – and that alone. If you are making money, continue to spend more and keep doing so as long as you are making money. Only stop this if it is absolutely necessary, or becomes too much of an outgoing each month to pay. If you are not making money on a campaign then fix it, or walk away from it but do not throw money away month after month in the hope that things will improve, chances are they won’t.

You’re Job Is Never Done

Make constant changes. Such changes include better ads, better keywords and better methods of converting ad clickers. There are some helpful tools provided by Google that assist you in doing so, such as ‘Bid Simulator’ which predicts how new keywords will pan out. Never assume you can do no better, there is always a way to make extra money, or to ‘right’ any wrongs.

Being Realistic

If your keywords are not highly sought after by other advertisers, then you will probably be just fine. But if you are in a crowded industry facing stronger competitors, then prices can get extremely high for keywords.

You can save some money by using more obscure keywords reflecting your businesses strengths and niches. Also, an ad that makes it to the second or even third page in a search engine is not a bad ad. You can save money this way – instead of doing all you can to land on the first page, which new businesses cannot always afford to do.

Good luck!

Rob

June 26th, 2009.

How not to do PPC – John Lewis

I’m sure it’s just a clerical error but at the moment (June26) If you search for Sony LCD TV’s in Google and click on the John Lewis Pay Per Click listing the ad takes you through to their Samsung LCD TV page. 

Anyone doing PPC will know how vital it is to have a proper landing page which responds to the what the user is searching for.   This could be costing a fortune in lost conversions for John Lewis. 

I wonder how long it will take for anyone to notice.  So far it’s been like that for a week. 

 

The listing in Google

 google-sony

  

 Part of the landing page

samsung

Matt

November 17th, 2008.

The Online Spend Disconnect – PPC And SEO

An interesting post over at SEOMoz highlights the spending disconnect that exists in the way that many companies allocate their online marketing spend.

Not surprisingly, search advertising should continue to be the largest category, growing from $9.1 billion in 2007 to $20.9 billion in 2013.
– Source: C|Net News, June 30, 2008

While the current spend on natural SEO?

SEO: $1.3 billion (11%)
– Source: SEMPO data via Massimo Burgio, SMX Madrid 2008

So, out of a total of around $10.4 billion spent on search, only $1.3 billion, or 12.5% is spent on natural search placement. Therefore you would expect the potential traffic from natural search to be the smaller piece of the pie, right?

Wrong.

Looking at the Google heat map we can see that it’s the natural results that catch the attention of users viewing the page.

This superior visibility is matched by the click through rate data,

The natural results in Google drive more than 70% of search traffic, though only account for 12.5% of online spend.

Why is this? Take your pick from any one or more of the following,

  • PPC is an easier concept for people to understand, there is a general lack of education and understanding of the SEO process.
  • PPC is quicker (almost instant) to get results and you only pay for traffic that you actually receive. There is a higher perception of accountability and control.
  • Traditional marketers pay far less attention to SEO, column inches in the business press given over to SEO are far less than PPC. Again this may well be due to a lack of SEO understanding amongst journalists.
  • There is a lack of trust in a segmented and unregulated SEO marketplace. A basic lack of understanding handicaps buyers and can lead to acceptance of poor advice and wrong buying decisions.

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