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Why It’s Time to Go Mobile with Your PPC Campaigns

April 3rd, 2014

Mobile devices may be small, but there’s no doubt about it: they are mighty. Last year, for the first time ever, desktop ad spending dropped .8 percent, thanks to the small screen surge, and this year it’s expected to dip over 9 percent – that’s a hefty $1.4 billion dollar decline.

 

There’s simply no denying it any longer: your need to take your PPC campaigns to the small screen, and stat. Desktop ad spending is declining because traffic keeps dropping off – advertisers always know to go where the people are. And people are picking up small devices in droves. The exciting news is that prices for mobile ads still rank about 2/3 less than their desktop counterparts, so if you jump in quickly, bargains await. It’s time to be cutting edge and thrifty. A rare opportunity for marketers indeed!

 

Mobile By the Numbers

 

Mobile ad spending is expected to go up 82.3 percent this year – an astronomical jump that equates to over $4 billion in spending. If you’re not in on this trend, you’re literally behind the curve. Emarketer reports that for Google alone, desktop search ad revenue will decline by roughly $770 million, while mobile ad revenues will jump $1.76 billion. Since Google still maintains about 95 percent of mobile searches, there numbers reflect the industry as a whole in total.

 

For straight searches, the numbers are similar. Last year, desktop searches declined for the first time ever, down just over 3 percent. During the same period, mobile searches spiked over 19 percent. The mobile eagle has landed – there’s no denying the popularity. In fact, users sitting at their desktop are now commonly reaching for their cell phones to trigger a search, showing a preference for the small screen is just around the bend.

 

Mobile Tips for Your PPC Campaigns

 

Before you go head first into converting your desktop PPC spending into a mobile market, consider the following tips so your transition is a successful one:

 

1) Diversify Calls-to-Action

The most popular method of PPC clicks are linked straight to a web page. But don’t forget about the often highly effective click-to-call technique either. Depending on your business focus, click-to-call actions can yield far more positive results, and can often help you save on robust mobile sites. For example, if you don’t yet have a mobile-friendly website, there’s no excuse not to enter into the mobile PPC game with a click-to-call campaign.

 

2) Utilize the “Site Links” Feature

“Site links” are an add-on for PPC ads that enable marketers to include different links to their websites, placed below the standard ad copy. This means you can link to your homepage or key landing page in the main headline, but promote other category or product pages in the lines below. This allows you to present more details about your brand and offering, and diversify the calls to action here as well. This is a great place to list promotions, special deals, or key features of what you’re offering. Let these links answer core questions you perceive your demographic will have about your company, saving them the effort of clicking through to your site for more info.

 

3) Measure the Mobile Reach in Your Industry

Mobile may be sweeping the general web audience, but it might not be a hot commodity in your niche. Before you spend the time and resources to launch a mobile campaign, weigh the impact of small screens in your industry to guarantee you aren’t wasting time and resources.

 

4) Focus on Broad Keyword Matches

When you set up a PPC campaign, you have the option of locking in exact matches to your keywords, such as “red high heel shoes”. Remember, however, that mobile users have efficiency in mind, and often do not type lengthy searches. Instead, set up your campaigns to for broad matches, meaning that searches akin to “red high heel shoes”, not just those with the exact phrasing, are included in your campaign.

 

There’s just no arguing that mobile usage is a phenomenon that marketers must successfully deal with, or else they risk being lost in the conversion from desktop to small screen. PPC for mobile is in many ways a different animal to tame, so studying the nuances of this space is crucial to success. If you’re ready to dive into mobile campaigns but need some guidance and expertise, contact the folks at Webrageous anytime for assistance. We specialize in PPC campaigns on screens of all sizes, and can help you demystify the world of paid search, across the board. Regardless, don’t let yourself get left behind. Mobile is here to stay; join the trend, and let your PPC strategies stand the test of time.

Tactics for Savvy PPC Copywriting

March 26th, 2014

When you embark on a PPC campaign, one of the most important elements is the actual text you compose. Great PPC ad copy blends a harmonious mix of creativity and pragmatism, merging essential keywords with language that is effective, attention grabbing, and incites a call to action. For many, this process is anything but intuitive. If you’re looking to improve your PPC copywriting skills, this article will give your creative juices a definitive boost.

 

* Learn How to Stand Out From the Crowd

 

Your first tactic is to really think hard about the brand you represent. Make a complete list of brand traits and reputation keywords. Then decipher this awareness into the aspects that make your brand unique. If you don’t have any defining traits that make you a one-of-a-kind company, play upon your greatest strength, but make sure it’s head and shoulders above your competition.  When you use those aspects that make you stand out from the crowd, it’s one of the strongest calls to action you can utilize in your PPC ad copy.

 

* Study Your Competitors

 

Once you have a deep understanding of your own brand and uniqueness, become intimately familiar with your competition. What aspects do the tout as their differentiators? This is another opportunity for you to fine tune your own identity, ensuring that your communications are different and stronger than your competitors. Study what works and what doesn’t work about your competitions’ campaigns, and this will only serve to fortify your own efforts tenfold.

 

A word to the wise about PPC competitors – they may not be your first instincts.  PPC is different from other markets and channels, and may prove to have an entirely different selection of top competition. Say you’re a painter who sells your art online and in local galleries. In a print campaign, you’ll be appealing to local art lovers, and compete against fellow artists. With a PPC campaign, you may be up against online art sellers, discount framing supplies, and all manner of artistic elements. Once you identify your core keywords, search them specifically to see who your real competitors are; don’t assume these are the same as your other marketing channels.

 

* Master the Art of Action Calls

 

Without a doubt, the most crucial part of your PPC ad copy is a whip smart, eye-catching call to action. If your copy is interesting enough to read, but not compelling enough to click, you won’t see a miniscule uptick in results. Calls to action are the very words that convince folks to learn more, buy a product, or subscribe to your service. These have to be rock solid, and just like any creative endeavor, they are a different artform that take a certain amount of practice.

 

Many folks really on old standbys like “Buy Now”. Yes, these work, but they won’t win you any awards for originality. Standbys work for audiences that are already looking to purchase your goods and services, but they do very little to convert new customers. For the artist selling his or her paintings, they could certainly stick to “Buy fine art today”, or something equally generic. Or they could push the envelope a bit, with calls to action like “The art you’ve dreamt of owning” or “Paintings to light up your home” – something that exhibits the essence of your products in a style and tone that truly draws your buyers in.

 

* Say Yes to Ad Extensions

 

The size of your ads can impact click-throughs by 1/3; that’s a substantial up-tick. As you solidify your ad copy, research the available ad extensions, and select the one that beefs up your listing. More real estate equates to more attention, and more attention equals more click-throughs.

 

* Metrics Are  Your Friends

 

Nothing spells out the success of your ad copy than your current ad metrics. Watch these like a hawk, then assess the highest performers to find their language commonalities. Every demographic is different, so you may discover that your audience adores creativity, as opposed to standard catch phrases. Of course, the reverse could be true as well. The more you become well-versed on your analytics, the easier it will be to compose ads in the future – you’ll know what works, and why. In future ad campaigns, you can play to these strengths and enjoy increased successes.

PPC and Social Media: The Dynamic Duo

March 21st, 2014

At the heart of every PPC (pay per click) and social media campaign is a marketer’s desire to increase traffic, brand awareness, conversions, and profit margins. Once considered mutually exclusive, paid search and social media are now accepted as partners in marketing movements.

 

There are two schools of thought in the integration of these two tactics:

 

1)    Using social media to dramatically boost PPC campaigns

2)    The advent of “social PPC”, or paid search campaigns on social sites like Facebook

 

Whether one or both are viable strategies for your branding efforts remains a very personal decision. Dive into these robust definitions and see if either tactic matches your efforts.

 

Intelligent Ways to Merge Social Media with PPC Campaigns

 

Almost every company could benefit from smartly executed social media campaigns that help support their PPC ads. To do this with aplomb and professionalism, employ these five tried and tested tips:

 

1)    Consistency

 

Use the same messaging, tone, and sentiments in both PPC and social spaces to create a cohesive brand identity for your viewers. If a visitor sees a social campaign that then matches a PPC ad spied later, that kind of reinforcement can be just enough to entice a closer look.

 

2)    Variety

 

Yes, consistency and variety go together! Variety, in this case, refers to the social media platforms you select. It’s incredibly easy to fall into a social rut; marketers often remain true to sites like Twitter or Facebook out of sheer habit. If you find your campaigns just aren’t gaining the traction you had hoped, venture off to sites like LinkedIn or Pinterest; whatever fits your brand best, and houses the best potential to reach your selected demographic.

 

3)    Engagement

 

As you stream folks from your PPC campaigns to your landing pages, make sure it’s easy to become a follower of your social profiles too. The more you leverage each approach to support each other, the more powerful both strategies become.

 

4)    Analytics

 

PPC campaigns reveal loads about who your audience really is. Study the metrics carefully to determine your core demographic. Likewise, the messages that garner the most clicks in the paid search world are obviously golden for social media campaigns too. This emphasizes the need for consistency discussed above; if it works on one channel, it may be equally strong on the other. Don’t be afraid to duplicate your successes wherever it makes sense.

 

Mastering the World of Social PPC

 

Social PPC is a specialized form of paid search that involves ads on social platforms, specifically for a CPC or CPM basis. The main metrics that are essential are click throughs, conversions, and impression counts.

 

There are a slew of excellent sites to choose from if you’re venturing into social PPC – obvious go-to’s like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn reign supreme. But don’t count out lesser-known but powerful options like FourSquare and Reddit; if your audience is active on these tier 2 social sites, there’s less competition and clutter, which can mean a veritable windfall if you execute properly.

 

To determine if a social PPC campaign is truly working, you’ll want to focus on measuring the following parameters:

 

  • ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) – a more traditional metric to follow, but don’t forget to log it carefully.
  • Watch things like Likes, Follows, and Fans; these metrics should trigger additional actions for your social campaigns that celebrate successes. Don’t just monitor sales and leads, as the social space has a lot more data to utilize.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click) – You will likely find that some tactics bring folks to your social sites for less; leverage those to the hilt.
  • Setting goals is also essential, for analytics like sales, leads, and engagement. Without a clear benchmark to aim for, your efforts can feel misguided and lacking direction or clarity.

As you can see, creating separation in social and paid search spaces is no longer smart or efficient. By wisely merging the two efforts, you’ll eliminate duplications and better your changes to make each channel more effective and powerful.

 

PPC Tips for Ecommerce Sites

March 10th, 2014

E-tailers have a myriad of marketing challenges, and tops on the list is maintaining affordable and high performing PPC campaigns. From managing keywords to drafting stellar ad copy, there’s a lot to master when it comes to ecommerce PPC. Your sure-fire solution is always to hire a PPC pro like Webrageous; if you’re still keen on going it alone, heed the following tips and you’ll have a definite head start on your competitors.

 

Tip #1: Include Pricing in Your Ad Copy

 

PPC campaigns for ecommerce sites are not about targeting the most number of clicks, but rather, garnering the most relevant clicks. When you include pricing for your featured items, you’re automatically narrowing the field and ensuring the clicks are qualified customers. Some marketers choose to hide pricing until visitors reach the actual sales pages, yet stats show repeatedly that buyers are not easily fooled. When a user is shopping for a specific item, they almost always have a price threshold. Since you’re paying for every click you receive on your ads, an excellent way to guarantee conversions is to call out the price in your ad copy.

 

Tip #2: Use Specific Brand Names and Model Numbers

 

Bidding on the highest converting keywords is essential to PPC success. When you run an ecommerce site, your best bet is targeting customers that are ready to buy your products, not those that are still in the researching phase. One way to capitalize on this strategy is to include specific model numbers and exact product names in your ad copy and keywords.  Anyone searching for something as targeted as a model number is obviously ready to purchase that product. Crafting a very product-centric keyword strategy is an excellent way to boost returns on your PPC campaigns.

 

Tip #3: Master the Art of Optimization

 

PPC is a game of words, price points, and overall optimization. If you’re targeting keywords and placements that are highly competitive, you are naturally going to need to pay more for those clicks. If, in turn, you’re not on top of performance monitoring for all your campaigns, you will grossly overpay and devalue your PPC efforts. PPC price per click charges may continue to increase, while your sales may not follow suit. The solution? Halt the worst performing keywords and placements as fast as possible to shore up wasted costs, and refocus on higher performing combinations.

 

One of the smartest ways to ensure you properly optimize your campaigns is to create a benchmark that defines your price per conversion caps. Include a targeted price, and a max point that still results in a higher ROI for your business. This will prevent you from being deceived by keywords that drive impressive numbers of clicks, but are out of your targeted price range, and therefore too expensive to warrant any benefits to your ecommerce website.

 

Tip #4: Track Negative Keywords

 

PPC campaigns, more than any other strategy, require staunch dedication to report analysis and performance metrics. Make it a habit to run search query reports at least monthly, but ideally weekly, and study all keywords that have garnered clicks from your campaigns. If you are also running display campaigns, create placement performance reports as well to identify placements that are attracting high numbers of clicks.

 

Your first instinct will be to highlight your highest performers, but take the time to log the most underperforming keywords and placements as well. These will highlight those that are the least relevant to your products and site, which in turn will save you serious cash down the road to spend on more targeted buys. These unrelated placements and keywords should be logged as “negative keywords” – this optimization strategy will do wonders to keep you from irrelevant clicks and impressions. Taking the time to monitor negative combinations helps expand your budget and focus on tactics that are proven performers.

 

Tip #5: Keep a Close Eye on Your Competitors

 

Keeping tabs on the efforts of your competitors is another intelligent way to keep your ecommerce site on the cutting edge. Bid on the same keywords as your top competitors to keep them from gaining traction over your original efforts. In order to take a peek at their campaigns, use any one of the free competitive intelligent tools which give access to their top performing keyword strategies. Study keywords, placements, creative, and landing pages for inspiration, and to spy on what may be working on their side of the fence as well.

 

The tips offered above work for seasoned PPC pros as well as those just starting out in the world of paid search. To boost your efforts tenfold, contact a Webrageous PPC specialist anytime to discuss your options for dominating this space. PPC is a difficult space to master, but with such huge potential for profits and pay-off, it’s a tactic you can’t afford to ignore.

How to Leverage Long-Tail Keywords in PPC Campaigns

February 17th, 2014

Long-tail keywords are having their legitimate day in the sun. While PPC campaign managers have been much slower than organic SEO experts to adopt this more targeted strategy, long-tails are starting to prove worthy in both arenas. Depending on your business focus, it is potentially volumes more profitable to focus on a targeted long-tail campaign rather than a more highly competitive short keyword focus. Is a long-tail PPC method right for your campaigns? Read on to find out.

 

The Long-Tail Lowdown

 

Long-tail keywords are, as the name suggests, more lengthy phrases that target a more specific product or service. Say you run a website that sells computer accessories. Instead of targeting a generic phase like “laptop accessories”, long-tail strategists would select something like “HP Envy screen protectors.” This is a potentially more profitable scenario for many reasons:

 

1) Long-tail keywords are less competitive, and therefore much cheaper to bid on. Those that are highly targeted for your specific business have the potential to completely transform PPC campaign results by lowering cost-per-click and cost-per-lead, and in addition can improve your average click-through rates and quality score.

 

2) Targeted searchers who use long-tails like “HP Envy screen protectors” are clearly focused on exactly what they are looking for. Someone searching for a generic phrase like “computer accessories” may still be in research-mode. Chances are that the user who types in a long-tail is more serious about making a purchase, which equates to a higher quality of traffic and better conversions for your website.

 

3) Due to the decreased competitiveness of long-tails, it’s less risky to test your selected keyword phrases and gauge ROI. When you do land on a significant long-tail phrase, you have an insanely valuable opportunity to convert users at a fraction of the normal cost for your PPC campaigns.

 

So while long-tails may be harder to identify successfully, the payoff ratio is substantial. When they work, they are absolutely golden.

 

Do Long-Tails Ever Damage Your PPC Strategy?

 

While long-tail keywords offer an impressive ROI opportunity, they are certainly not always the best strategy for every business. First, consider how competitive your industry really is. If you already work in a pretty niche space, and overall search isn’t highly competitive, long-tails will only complicate matters and make it even more challenging to find and reach your customers. If, for example, you do a search for your general industry and area, such as “Las Vegas rain gutters”, and you don’t see any paid search results above the organic listings, your industry isn’t an obvious long-tail candidate.

 

For most of us, however, competition is fierce. This is where long-tails can give PPC campaigns a significant edge – they let you stand out from the masses, and find targeted customers that are looking for your exact goods and services.

 

The Secret to Stellar Long-Tail Success

 

The number one most important element to long-tail PPC campaigns is a clear and focused awareness of your target customer. As you’re identifying these characteristics, it’s essential to be immensely detailed. Don’t just create a vague notion of who your customer is; develop a comprehensive list of traits, and this will guide you as you select your keywords and overall campaign. This is the step that is most often ignored; many go straight to keyword data and phrases commonly used in the selected industry. Taking the time to thoroughly understand your customers from a psychological perspective can save massive amounts of capital and precious time in your PPC efforts.

 

How to Choose the Right Long-Tail Keywords for Your Business

 

Below are multiple tactics that aid in your keyword creation. Choose the avenues that best embrace your company’s needs.

 

1) Keep it Local

If your business focuses on local clientele, use your location (or locations) to narrow down your keyword focus. Examples could be “New Jersey pool supplies” or “Ocean City pool supplies.” You can opt to be even more targeted too, like “Trenton pool chemicals” or “Trenton swimming pool liners”.

 

2) Use Appropriate Qualifying Terms

Remember that long-tails really need to be quite specific to be successful, so identify plenty of qualifying words to add to your keyword phrases. Examples would be “red high heel shoes size 8″ or “women’s red platform shoes sale”.

 

3) View AdWords Reports on Recent Queries

Within your Google AdWords profile, utilize the Search Query Report to view the exact phrases that triggered your ads. This list is essential to creating the right long-tail strategy, as it reflects real data from your potential customers’ searching habits. Run this query every month, at a minimum, and keep track of results in a spreadsheet so you can compare trends over time.

 

4) Keep Tabs on Your Competitors

Oftentimes, your competitors are the best windows into your ideal long-tail strategy. Use a tool like SpyFU to identify which keywords they are using, and beat them at their own game.  This is the kind of expertise a PPC firm like Webrageous can help with immensely, as we have access to all the tools and data required to push your PPC campaign into the next dimension.

 

5) Utilize Internal Website Stats

If your site has an internal search, that’s another mountain of crucial data to mine for ideal long-tails. This is a fabulous way to identify very specific phrases that your customers are typing on your actual website; very often, these equate to huge success for PPC campaigns.

 

More and more, marketers are learning to cease the attempt to be all things to all people and truly focus on their ideal demographic. This strategy works for just about any company and business niche. If you haven’t yet dabbled in long-tail paid search efforts, drop us a line and we would be happy to explore your options. Whether you’re new to paid search or simply looking to amp up your results, Webrageous has the expertise to generate your desired results, one long-tail at a time.

 

The Latest Trends in Successful Mobile PPC Campaigns

February 3rd, 2014

When embarking on a new pay-per-click campaign, most marketers still turn to the web as a first resort. These days, the old ways are shortsighted; mobile searches are increasing an average of 400% each year, now accounting for 50% of total searches. If you’re not bringing your PPC efforts to the mobile space, you’re missing a gigantic opportunity for growth.

 

By 2015, it’s estimated that marketers will spend over $4.39 billion dollars on mobile advertising. It’s not too late to get in the game as a front-runner, but you need to act now. Most folks resist jumping on the mobile trend out of overwhelm and confusion; don’t let that prevent you from capitalizing on the fastest growing audience in digital marketing.

 

Is Mobile PPC Right for Every Business?

Yes and no. Any company that has a web presence can benefit from a well-executed mobile campaign, but some businesses simply can’t afford to leave small screens off their radar. Here are the ideal company attributes for mobile PPC:

* Short sales cycle

* Physical storefront

* Responsive website, or separate mobile site

It’s obviously not wise to launch a mobile PPC campaign if your site itself is not yet mobile friendly. As a first step, ensure customers can access your site and content effectively on their small screens. Next, do not assume that the efforts you launch on the web are applicable in mobile too. This is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking; make sure you educate yourself on current mobile PPC trends and note how the spaces differ. Follow the tips below and you’re well on your way to a triumphant mobile campaign!

 

Elements of Successful Mobile Landing Pages

You obviously need an intelligently designed landing page for your ads to point to; here are the essential components that must be present:

* Easy to navigate content with text that is readable on the smallest of smartphone screens

* Mobile-friendly links and related navigation

* If you have a physical storefront, ensure your address and contact information is present and clear; this will aid in your overall SEO efforts

* Clearly articulate and display your preferred method of contact. Remember that mobile users can click your number to instantly call you. You can also set up email or contact forms for mobile devices too; just make sure it’s obvious how users can contact you to learn more.

* Double check that NO ZOOMING is required for usability

* And most importantly, get to the point of your messaging straight away. Mobile users have a miniscule attention span; you must engage them clearly and quickly to see stellar results.

 

Setting Up the Perfect Mobile PPC Campaign

Just like web-based PPC campaigns, the set-up is crucial to success. Take your time with this stage and double check every segment, otherwise you risk a lot of wasted time and money. For best results, trust a professional PPC manager, as these are tricky tasks indeed.

If you’re going it alone, here are the main points to consider:

* As mentioned before, don’t ever launch a traditional PPC campaign concurrently on mobile devices. A separate mobile campaign is essential.

* Additionally, you’ll want a separate campaign for all major devices, like Android, iPhone, and tablets

* Getting your settings right is paramount too; here are some tips for the four main ones:

- Network settings: Out of the gate, the best option is to focus on the search network, rather than venture into the display network

- Location targeting: Go for the gold here and be as targeted as possible. This is especially true for businesses with actual storefronts, but is still very important to virtual businesses too. Don’t try to conceive of a campaign that fits all demographics – be specific, it pays off.

- Device targeting:  As mentioned above, target ONLY mobile devices, and it’s a bonus if you target specific devices too.

- Ad extensions: Use as many as possible, including location, sitelinks, and social extensions. Use as many as are relevant to your campaign and business; they each help target your campaign all the more.

 

Managing Your Mobile PPC Campaign

Once you’ve completed the set-up details, here are the aspects of successful campaign management:

* Keep your ads in the top spot by creating an automated rule that will automatically increase the bids for your keywords if they fall below the number 2 position. Bids that don’t land you in place 1 or 2 simply won’t do enough to assist in your efforts.

* Keywords should be very, very specific, and action-oriented. Bids should target searchers who know what they are looking for, not those still in the midst of research.

* Create negative keywords for non-action search terms like “what is” and “compare” – identify words that are simply not relevant to your campaign’s goals, and weed them out for best results

* Create ads that specifically speak to the location and device you are focusing on; as mentioned before, the more targeted your PPC campaigns are, the more potential they have to being a home run

 

As you can clearly see, while there are some similarities in web-based PPC and mobile PPC, mobile has plenty of intricacies and nuances that require special treatment.

Why Keywords Trump Targeted Audiences

January 27th, 2014

In the complex landscape of PPC, many lament on where to focus: fine-tuning keywords, or selecting a targeted audience?

 

If you have to choose between the two, put your efforts into keywords all day long. The single most effective aspect of a successful PPC campaign are the keywords, hands down. All the demographic research in the world can’t make up for the careful selection of appropriate keywords for your campaign. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of tasks involved in plotting a PPC campaign, start and end with keywords.

 

Why Keywords are So Crucial

 

On the one hand, it’s obvious why keywords are critical; these are the keys to the kingdom, the very words your customers will use to find you. What’s not obvious about the importance of keywords is how many competitors just plain get them wrong. Do-it-yourselfers are especially prone to mistakes in keyword selection, and a lot of that comes down to the selection of tools. Most of the free resources, and even many of the paid options, don’t do a tremendous job of thoroughly combing through keyword combinations and identifying those with the most value and relevance.

 

Too often, pay-per-click managers go after the most competitive keyword selections, due to the high popularity. While chasing down the most searched for terms in your niche may sound like a great idea, it will no doubt be enormously expensive to pull off. If you don’t have the bankroll to take on the big dogs, choose a smarter route and narrow your focus to targeted and long tail keywords that have far less competition. You’ll spend a lot less for your campaigns and overall perhaps see less traffic, but the keywords are more likely to source quality leads that increase your conversions. This combination is where revenues truly start to increase.

 

The Truth About Audience Focus

 

There’s a simple reason that keywords are more critical than demographic to focus on; by their very nature, appropriate keyword selection requires that you have a clear vision of your target audience as well. Rather than focus solely on going after a specific audience sector, however, you should incorporate your customer research into your keyword selection. This creates a “one stone two birds” effect, and strengthens your campaigns significantly.

 

Marketers who put audience focus first pay too much attention to who they’re trying to reach, rather than how. The who is obviously an important component, but keywords, which represent the “how”, are the fishing lure that attracts your chosen catch. This is in part why focusing on keywords as your primary objective will get you better results.

 

Keep Your Keywords Organized

 

In the PPC space, low-cost, high-quality keywords are the ticket to high ROIs. As you go about your research, it’s essential that you have an organized way to manage your keyword data for each of your targeted campaigns. Don’t just rely on a couple of phrases to do all your heavy lifting; by narrowing down your niches in various slices, different sets of keywords can reach different demographics. Find a tool that allows you to group different keyword phrases into various groups, and then quantify the results of your actual campaigns. You will no doubt find that some keywords work better on different selections of your customer base; as long as you are accurately capturing these results, your ROIs will steadily increase as you learn from each campaign.

 

With all the complexities of keywords and every other component of a PPC campaign, it’s always best to trust an expert paid search manager to get the best results out of your campaign. Without a deep understanding of current keyword trends and tools, it’s immensely easy to go down the wrong path with your audience and waste precious marketing dollars.

 

If you’re still going it alone, remember that if you focus solely on selecting the keywords that best appeal to both your business and your customers, you’re setting yourself up for the highest potential for success. Focusing on your demographic as a primary concern will not bring you maximum ROI. In the world of PPC, keywords are king.

Tips to Staying Hyper-Competitive With Your PPC Campaigns

January 20th, 2014

Paid search is a dog-eat-dog world, and staying competitive is essential to seeing a substantial return on your investment. Since the paid search space is highly dynamic and ever-changing, what is competitive today might be old news tomorrow. That’s why trusting an expert to assist with your PPC campaigns is integral to maximum success. That said, there are a few current trends that are helping folks stay ahead of the curve. See below for a meaty list of tried-and-true ideas that will help you maximize your paid search efforts!

Tip #1: Using the “Paid Competition” Section in AdWords

Although controversial, I stand by the “Paid Competition” feature in AdWords as a truly useful snapshot. It’s ideal in offering high level insight regarding your competition, and if you use this in combination with SERP analysis, it tells a very important story. This section is especially relevant for localized PPC competition, and careful, regular analysis for this purpose can prove to be incredibly useful. Take all results with a grain of salt, however; remember that Google has an agenda with the data they are sharing here, and you should not trust it unequivocally. Use other tools and sources to validate the research, and you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.

Tip #2: Tag Your URLs

Tagging your URLs allows you to accurately track all elements of each page. Many experts shy away from tagging out of fear of revealing too much information to competitors (tagging URLs can provide others the opportunity to get an inside view into your campaign), but I never advocate operating under fear and paranoia. Most competitors don’t have the sophistication to track your campaign on any granular level, and more importantly, the information you can ascertain through tagging far outweighs the risk of giving too much away.

Tip #3: Execute Quarterly Competitive Analysis

If you don’t know what your competitors are up to, you are severely missing the boat. Many marketers assess competition at the start of initial analysis, and then never go back to reevaluate at any later date. That’s why a quarterly review is so essential. Every time you reanalyze your own marketing approach, take the time to see what folks in your space are doing as well. You may have new, savvy competitors on the scene, or have past peers that are excelling or falling off the map. Regardless, it’s essential that you be aware of their trajectory. For ecommerce sites, this is all the more critical.

Tip #4: Be Highly Detailed as You Track Your Competitors

Competitive analysis should never be a high-level snapshot. Instead, you should be combing through the sites and landing pages ofyour top competitors just like a customer would. Note how they handle acquisition and retention along every step, and be aware of techniques they use that outdo yours, and vice versa. There are lots of tools – like WhatRunsWhere – that will aid you in your quest to fully comprehend your competition’s PPC efforts, but the key here is to stay objective at every turn. Remember that no two companies are the same, so if you see tactics that appear to work for any given competitor, don’t automatically assume it will be a slam dunk for you too. Intelligent analysis is key.

Tip #5: Study Impression Share Metrics

Impression shares reveal a lot about what’s working and what’s not in paid search. Impression share stats help you understand why your ads are showing up sparingly throughout the day, and why your competitors may be getting the lion’s share. Google Trends in particular can be very helpful in determining losses due to query flux. If you find your share is lower than you’d like, work on optimizing campaigns that have the lowest impressions by analyzing where the missing clicks would be the least expensive and the most worthy of pursuing.

In a nutshell, the key to staying competitive is by understanding your industry trends, and in turn, the actions of your competition. Whether a competitor has hit a winning streak or has fallen from grace, a thorough understanding of how and why they achieved those results gives you a tremendous amount of knowledge for your current and future PPC campaigns. Let your competitors reveal costly mistakes without you needing to follow suit, and additionally, let them inspire you to more creative heights and greatness. Don’t fall prey to fearing your competition; let them be the fuel that drives you to even higher paid search successes.

 

Paid Search Trends for 2014

January 6th, 2014

 

2013 was a banner year for online marketers. Events like the successful Twitter IPO and Google’s enhanced campaigns created a whirlwind of new SEO and marketing tactics. While it’s too soon to know exactly what curveballs the new year has in store for paid search, there are several obvious trends that simply cannot be ignored. By jumping full throttle on the techniques and angles discussed below, you’ll have a head start on your 2013 PPC efforts.

 

Go Big in the Social Scene

 

Marketers have long lamented bringing search efforts into the social space, as it was once a difficult arena to quantify and validate. Thankfully, things are improving. Social ROI is now alive and kicking, and your next PPC campaign should absolutely consider embracing social sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Tactics like promoted tweets (Twitter), page post ads (Facebook), and promoted pins (Pinterest) now enable paid search efforts to effectively reach a targeted demographic, and to accurately measure the results as well.

 

If you can only afford to target one social network, choose based on your industry. If you’re an e-commerce professional, Pinterest holds the lion’s share. Twitter has the highest rates of adoption these days, and it’s new public status means that new features and advertising models will become available this year. Facebook, however, is still the bell of the social ball, and it’s stratospheric growth may have slowed, but has certainly not halted. You can bet all three major players will be working hard this year to win your marketing budgets.

 

Ultimately, when you gear up to enter the social space with PPC efforts, pay very close attention to the tools that each platform offer for tracking and value attribution. Getting 5,000 retweets, as an example, may sound like an impressive response, but you’ll need to be clear on what that means for your bottom line. It may or may not indicate engagement; you’ll need to have clear goals in your social media campaigns that indicate overall success.

 

Small Screen Dominance

 

The continued increase of mobile adoption is perhaps the most obvious trend prediction for 2014. Optimizing for mobile in the PPC arena will, however, continue to be a tricky task indeed. The biggest challenge for paid search experts when it comes to mobile is accurately tracking conversions to small screen clicks. Because cookies aren’t passed across different devices, it’s still incredibly challenging to assign revenue to mobile social signals without a complete big picture view. 2014 will likely provide relief for marketers in this vain, however, as technology development efforts continue to address these challenges.

 

Mobile usage provides a myriad of complex data touch points, but don’t let that intimidate you in the coming year. If your paid search efforts don’t involve an intelligent mobile strategy, you are missing a major segment of your potential audience. Consider strategies that include things like mobile-optimized landing pages, paid search keywords chosen specifically for local mobile searches, and/or combining offline data with mobile clicks.

 

One of the main areas that will separate the PPC pros from the amateurs in 2014 will be mobile tracking. Those sophisticated enough to intelligently track and target customers on small screens will most certainly maintain an overall edge.

 

Audience-Focused Search

 

Right from the start, search has embodied user intent as the foundation of indicators and campaigns. In 2014, expect paid search to embrace intent on an even more dramatic level. PPC will analyze intent with regards to keywords this year, further optimizing and targeting the results.

 

Here’s how this works – consider the keyword phrases “new york city restaurants” and “albany restaurants.” On the surface, the keywords seem the same – they’ll generate clicks and revenue, but they are hardly equal in intent. We can realistically assume that the former involves a higher-end searcher that will drive bigger lifetime value, and the latter contains less revenue potential. By looking at the intent – i.e. the audience demographics for each keyword phrase – we unravel a much bigger story about implied results.

 

Why is this so revolutionary? Because now we are able to use demographic information to attribute actual value to keywords. In this fashion, PPC marketers can now more accurately target searchers with higher revenue potential. By selecting an audience-based viewpoint, we are able to target not only the customers who truly want our products and services, but also those with the highest lifetime value.

 

More Flexible PPC Options

 

2013 ushered in a much more flexible PPC bidding platform, thanks to changes in Adwords and Bing Ads. This allows marketers to have more flexible options on PPC bids. We can now select a “bid strategy” or modify any existing bid based on a percentage – good news for those who are looking for more options and opportunities for fine-tuning.

 

2014 already promises many more similar options. Facebook has jumped into flexible bid options by allowing advertisers to select different types of goals. And more granular bidding options are in the works across the board. While this may seem like good news, be careful about jumping in too fast to these trends, as they make campaigns all the more complex without any proof that revenues will reflect the efforts. Many of the bid settings can actually overcomplicate the campaign and be counterproductive. Be very cautious about adding too many complex layers of bidding options until you are truly able to quantify results.

 

These are just a few of the potential PPC trends for 2014. What new paid search developments are most directly impacting your new year strategies?

 

Why Doing PPC Yourself Can Equal Disaster

December 26th, 2013

Paid search seems so deceptively simple. All that’s needed is a basic AdWords account and profile, a payment set-up with any major credit card, and small one-time set-up fee. With roughly 15 minutes of preparation, anyone can write an ad and trigger a basic PPC campaign. Then you just sit back and watch the money pour in, right?

 

Oh, if it were only that simple. Many, many business owners have wasted their entire marketing budgets by assuming PPC were a basic trial and error experience. Consider each of your paid search campaigns to be like a high-end car; they need maintenance, care, and attention. If you ignore any warning signs that something might be wrong, things can get painfully expensive.

Because PPC is brimming with hidden complexities and potentially pricey trappings, working with an expert firm can save valuable dollars and heaps of time and effort. To help you understand the dangers of going it alone, we’ve outlined all the crucial factors involved in a successful campaign below. If reading this list feels overwhelming, don’t fret; finding a PPC partner is less expensive than you might think, and it will simplify your life and help make your business the success it deserves to be.

 

Market Research

Most business owners have a deep understanding of their business, and a solid awareness of the industry as a whole. But the more intimately you know your competitors’ PPC campaigns, the more competitive you can, in turn, become. Who doesn’t like beating top competitors at their own game? This takes a tremendous amount of time and effort; competitive landscapes are tricky to analyze, and trends change so quickly, it is truly a daunting task to keep your finger on the pulse of the market’s current trajectories.

 

Keyword Expertise

The selection of keywords to target in any PPC campaign is absolutely crucial to success. Proper determination of keywords involves a comprehensive understanding of your business, the overall niche and industry, and current search trends enacted by actual customers looking for your goods and services. Many entrepreneurs assume they have an instinctual understanding of what keywords are appropriate for their business, but without that data to back up those assumptions, people waste money on keywords that are either not actually searched for often or are not relevant to the exact things they’re attempting to sell. A good PPC partner has the tools to analyze real-time data, and can in turn help you correctly target keywords from day one. This is extremely important when it comes to saving costs on tests and assumptions that are miles away from your target.

 

Determining an Appropriate Budget

One of the most complicated nuances to a paid search campaign is computing the right pay-per-click (which is what PPC stands for!) A well-executed PPC plan has a balance of cost that draws in the targeted audience, and in turn actually generates conversions and sales for the business. As you can imagine, it’s not uncommon for PPC campaigns to generate higher traffic, but without careful strategizing before the launch about the quality of this traffic, the price per click may be wasted on unqualified leads, or visitors that don’t contribute to the company’s bottom line. This is a very common DIY mistake in paid search, and another prime reason you should consult an expert.

 

Data Analysis

Finally, there’s the all-important task of analyzing a given campaign’s metrics. Understanding the story PPC data is telling is no easy task, and it varies as the campaign increases in longevity. Having the awareness to know when to stay consistent or shift tactics takes a tremendous amount of experience and paid search knowledge. It also requires analysis by someone who is current on tools and trends in the space; two traits that most business owners don’t have the time to conquer.

Paid search is a dicey, ever-changing landscape, which is why the DIY approach is so dangerous. If you’re a rare business owner who has spare time to devote to becoming a campaign expert, and it’s your passion to do so, that’s a beautiful thing. But for most entrepreneurs, all aspects of marketing are better left to the experts, or budgets are blown with little to no results. Paid search has an incredible ability to get positive results for your company in record time, but not if you make a continuous string of rookie mistakes.