Is Removing Desktop Sidebar Ads a Good Decision by Google?

desktop-sidebar-adwords

Earlier this year, Google rolled out a significant change to how search ads are displayed for desktop browsers. The removal of sidebar ads from desktop search results has many advertisers wondering if their AdWords campaigns will be negatively affected moving forward. Here’s what you need to know about what has changed for desktop search ads, how it might impact your PPC results, and what you can do to future-proof your AdWords campaigns.

Streamlining Google Search Ad Results

In short, Google has removed sidebar ads for search. For desktop browsers, the positions above organic search results will be the only ads that will display for searches. The one exception will be PLA (product list ads) boxes, which will still appear on the sidebar of search results. For most searches, Google will continue to limit the results shown to three ads. However, up to four ads can be shown for some “highly commercial” categories. While what exactly “highly commercial” categories includes has not been defined by Google, it seems that categories that tend to have high-cost, competitive keywords, including insurance, law and travel will be included.

Why Did Google Remove Sidebar Ads?

Google is always very responsive to how people use their products, as we saw with the recent introduction of a redesigned AdWords dashboard. But while the AdWords interface update was focused on advertisers, this update seems to be for the benefit of both consumers and advertisers. Matt Lawson, the director of Performance Ads Marketing at Google, explained the logic behind the change in a recent article for Search Engine Land:

“Over time, we’ve found that text ads on the right rail were simply less useful than we’d hoped. In direct terms, users didn’t click on them as much as other ads — and when users don’t click on things, we take that to mean that something wasn’t what they were looking for.”

Sidebar ads (referred to as “right rail” above) on Google search results look and feel more like ads than those that appear in-line with organic search results. By refining how ads are displayed to provide a more “native” advertising experience, it appears that Google wants to keep consumers from feeling like they are being barraged with too many ads while providing a more effective advertising environment for AdWords users.

This change has not been entirely unexpected. Google has been testing variations of how search results are displayed since at least 2001, including adding a fourth ad position above organic search results. With a strong focus on improving usability and implementing Material Design, advertisers and consumers alike should expect to see periodic changes to Google’s interface from time to time.

What Removing Sidebar Ads Means for Your Campaigns

The overall impact of removing sidebar ads is hard to gauge this early on. Advertisers are likely to see a decline in overall impressions since ads will not be served at all on sidebar results anymore. More importantly, Google has essentially throttled supply for a high-demand advertising outlet. As a result, it’s possible that CPC for high-demand keywords may rise significantly. This might be especially relevant for businesses in highly competitive PPC spaces, including law firms and insurance providers. 

However, some PPC experts have predicted that with a smaller, more focused offering of ads displayed for any given search, advertisers may see better results overall. If you’re already doing a good job of targeting and serving ads to the right audience, you’ll be rewarded with less competition on-page from other advertisers. That could potentially lead to higher CTR and conversion rates.

The good news is that if you’re already aiming for the top three positions, the change isn’t likely to negatively affect your campaigns significantly — at least not immediately. Since CTRs can decrease significantly for ads in any spot lower than the top three positions, it’s estimated that less than 15% of total click volume on PPC ads will be affected by the change. If your ad position strategy doesn’t involve working towards the top three ad positions, the removal of sidebar ads has made changing your strategy moving forward absolutely critical. Making simple changes such as bumping up your budget for particular keywords and working to improve your Quality Score can help you boost your position.

Future-Proofing Your PPC Campaigns

With this change, as with all others, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your campaign metrics for any sudden changes. Watch your budget, your conversion rate, and your click-through rate carefully. You may find that increased competition will require you to increase your bids for certain campaigns in order to continue serving ads effectively. Alternatively, if you notice that your ads are performing better for certain keywords than others, you may want to focus more resources on those campaigns.

If you start seeing a negative impact on your campaigns, it may be time to revisit your PPC strategy. Webrageous advocates for constantly A/B testing ad copy, placement, and bidding strategy regularly to continually improve campaign performance. Making changes such as implementing extensions or moving more of your budget to call-only campaigns can be effective methods of increasing conversion rate.

Leveraging Webrageous for Better Results in a Competitive Landscape

Working with a PPC consultant with a strong track record of managing high-performing ad campaigns can help you adjust to Google’s new ad display changes. We can prevent this change (and future ones) from tearing down your campaigns. At Webrageous, we specialize in managing campaigns for clients in the legal industry and know how to effectively navigate the highly-competitive legal PPC space.

Webrageous has an experienced team of dedicated PPC managers who oversee multiple accounts. We can leverage our experience managing the changes that Google has introduced to ensure that your campaigns will continue to thrive. Learn more about the results Webrageous delivers our clients to see how we can help you move your PPC strategy to the next level.

 

4 Ways to Keep Your Google AdWords Retargeting Campaigns from Turning Into a Disaster

retargeting-campaign-mistakes

Retargeting can be a highly effective method for filling your funnel and finding qualified customers. According to one study, retargeting campaigns can boost conversion rates by as much as 147%. However, retargeting campaigns do have the potential to backfire if you aren’t careful. At best, retargeting campaigns can have the highest ROI of any of your paid search campaigns, and at worst, poorly placed ads can offend your audience and be a PR nightmare. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that your retargeting campaigns stay focused on the right audience for your business.

Identify Why Campaigns Aren’t Converting

Retargeting works best when it can identify and anticipate consumer browsing behavior, so it’s important to understand what the ideal journey to conversion will look like. You must also be able to anticipate any poor matches that you are likely to encounter as well. There are a variety of reasons that your ads might not be a good fit for the audience they reach, including:

  • Bad Product-Audience Fit – The audience you’re reaching might not be a perfect fit for your services. This is often the case where keywords can mean multiple things. Someone who searches for picture frames then gets hit with ads for eyeglass frames will waste your advertising resources and might annoy your audience.
  • Aspirational Searches – If your audience isn’t at the right point in their purchasing journey to make a commitment, your retargeting dollars may be wasted. They may be doing research and looking for information, without any intention to make a purchase yet. They may be looking for employment or education — for example, someone searching for “patent law school” would not actually be interested in finding a patent lawyer to represent them.
  • Inappropriate placement – Sometimes your ad placement isn’t a just poor fit — it’s offense. Serving ads for affordable vacation home rentals side-by-side with articles about a recent natural disaster in the same area, for instance, can trigger negative feelings in your audience and do damage to your brand beyond simple annoyance.

Unfortunately, the AdWords algorithm does not necessarily understand these contextual clues that what may seem like a good candidate for retargeting may actually be a poor fit for your business. Once you’ve identified potential reasons that someone would NOT want to see your ads, you can take action to avoid serving them retargeted ads.

Develop a Strong Negative Keywords List

Once you have a sense for why your retargeting campaigns aren’t resonating with your audience, you need to make sure that you minimize the instances where ads will be served in inappropriate circumstances. AdWords lets users compile negative keyword lists, which inform the AdWords algorithm about which search terms you do not want to have your ads served for. Keep in mind that including too many negative keywords can limit the reach of your ads and prevent people from seeing them, so building your negative keyword list should be done carefully.

We’ve compiled a list of common negative keywords below that every advertiser should be sure to add to their negative keywords list for retargeting campaigns.

Our Checklist of Negative Keywords for Retargeting Campaigns

  • death
  • obituary
  • terrorism
  • suicide
  • death
  • earthquake
  • tsunami
  • homicide
  • rape
  • war
  • bomb
  • murder
  • abuse
  • abused
  • accident
  • arrest
  • arrested
  • arson
  • assault
  • attack
  • avalanche
  • bomber
  • bombing
  • brutal
  • burglary
  • cancer
  • crash
  • crime
  • criminal
  • dead
  • deadly
  • die
  • dies
  • disease
  • drowned
  • drowning
  • drug
  • drugs
  • drunk
  • electrocution
  • extortion
  • fire
  • flood
  • floods
  • fraud
  • hurricane
  • kidnapped
  • kill
  • killed
  • killing
  • kills
  • manslaughter
  • molest
  • molestation
  • molester
  • molesting
  • murderer
  • pedophile
  • pedophilia
  • pimp
  • pimps
  • porn
  • pornography
  • possession
  • predator
  • predators
  • prostitution
  • robbery
  • shooting
  • shoplift
  • shoplifting
  • shot
  • solicitation
  • stroke
  • terrorist
  • theft
  • tornado
  • trafficking
  • tragedy
  • violence
  • violent
  • wreck
  • gun
  • weapon

Negative Keywords for Search Campaigns

And while we’re on the topic of negative keywords here is a negative keyword list you can use for your search campaigns also. It’s a good idea to review this and make sure this negative keyword list is appropriate for your circumstances.

  • About
  • Affiliate
  • Affiliates
  • Analysis
  • Articles
  • Associates
  • Bargain
  • Budget
  • Career
  • Careers
  • Cheap
  • Cheaper
  • Cheapest
  • Class
  • Classes
  • Close outs
  • Closeouts
  • Colleges
  • Community
  • Complaint
  • Complaints
  • Consultants
  • Consulting
  • Course
  • Courses
  • Create
  • Define
  • Defined
  • Definition
  • Definitions
  • Developer
  • Developers
  • Diagram
  • DIY
  • Do it yourself
  • Download
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Error
  • Essay
  • Example
  • Examples
  • Fake
  • Free
  • Hack
  • Hacks
  • Hand made
  • Hire
  • Hiring
  • History
  • Hobby
  • How to
  • Inexpensive
  • Info
  • Information
  • Interns
  • Internship
  • Internships
  • Interview
  • Jobs
  • Journal
  • Journals
  • Laws
  • Lecture
  • Lectures
  • Libraries
  • Liquidation
  • Low budget
  • Low cost
  • Magazine
  • Magazines
  • Metrics
  • Naked
  • News
  • Newsletter
  • Obituary
  • Photo
  • Photograph
  • Photographs
  • Photo
  • Picture
  • Pictures
  • Porn
  • Preventing
  • Problem
  • Problems
  • Profession
  • Publication
  • Quotation
  • Quotations
  • Quotes
  • Recruiter
  • Recruiting
  • Regulations
  • Repairs
  • Replica
  • Research
  • Researches
  • Researching
  • Resume
  • Resumes
  • Review
  • Reviews
  • Rules
  • Safety
  • Salaries
  • Salary
  • Sample
  • Samples
  • School
  • Schools
  • Sex
  • Shortcut
  • Specifications
  • Specs
  • Stats
  • Studies
  • Success story
  • Template
  • Tip
  • Tips
  • Training
  • Tutorial
  • Tutorials
  • Universities
  • University
  • Used
  • Value
  • Video
  • What are
  • What is
  • White paper
  • White papers

 

Understand Context and Define Industry-Specific Negative Keywords

Context is incredibly important for successful retargeting campaigns, and understanding all of the potential scenarios in which someone might be served your ads is key. In addition to these general negative keywords, you may have to find industry-specific negative keywords. For some industries, pinpointing keywords that have potentially problematic use cases is critical to retargeting success. For instance, it’s important for airlines to avoid serving retargeting ads on articles about recent plane crashes, so keywords like “plane crash” should be added to your negative keywords list. Building a comprehensive list of negative keywords that are specific to your industry can be challenging. If you’re working with a PPC manager or consultant who has experience in your industry, they may be able to draw on past experiences to help you build out a list of industry-specific negative keywords more quickly and efficiently.

Utilize Site Category Exclusions on Display Network Ads

Sometimes going keyword by keyword isn’t enough to ensure that your ads are served appropriately. To make sure that your ads are only shown to the right audience, you can use site category exclusions to eliminate categories of websites that you are sure you don’t want your ads to be associated with on the Google Display Network.  This helpful feature lets you turn your ads off for broader categories of websites. This could include those with content on sensitive topics, such as death and tragedies, or with content that has been designated for mature audiences only. To adjust your site category exclusion settings, go to the “Display Network” tab of your AdWords dashboard and select “+Targeting.”

Refine Retargeting Campaigns with Webrageous

Webrageous’ team of PPC experts has experience managing the challenges of running successful retargeting campaigns. We can bring our expertise and experience to your campaigns and help you ensure that your campaigns won’t suffer from poor fit or inappropriate placements. Contact us today to learn more about our no-risk 60-day trial for PPC management, and we can start transforming your retargeting campaigns today. 

 

How the AdWords Redesign Impacts Your PPC Campaigns

If you’ve been following news about AdWords, you might have heard that Google recently rolled out a whole new look for their AdWords dashboard. But the latest Adwords redesign can mean more than just a slick new interface for you to enjoy. The updated platform might just have a positive impact on your campaigns — if you know how to leverage it. Here’s what you need to know about AdWords new look, and how it will impact your PPC campaign strategy.

What’s New with AdWords?

AdWords Has a Clean, New Look

The first thing you’ll notice about the new interface is how sleek and clean it is. The new AdWords interface is an expression of Material Design, Google’s design language. The principles of Material Design stress the importance of usability. As a result, Google has focused on creating responsive layouts and highly visual designs to help users get the information they want at a glance.

adwords-redesign Image Source: Google

This is a big change from the cluttered, busy interface that AdWords currently has. Since it first launched 15 years ago, AdWords has gathered up a large number of features, and the original interface wasn’t designed for the breadth of features and functionality. These new additions have slowly created a more and more cluttered dashboard. The new AdWords features a stripped down and reorganized layout, with the intent to make it easier for advertisers to find what they need quickly.

It’s Mobile-First and Customer-Focused

So what was the motivation behind the new look? The focus has been to make AdWords a more useful tool for the businesses who rely on it the most. To do so, Google carefully studied how their users were interacting with the existing platform. In an interview with Fast Company, Greg Rosenberg, Head of UX at Google, discussed the customer-focused approach that Google took to redesigning AdWords: “It goes far beyond polls or surveys. It’s literally being at a business with our users, watching them use AdWords for hours on end.” 

The dashboard has been redesigned to help advertisers gain faster, more valuable insights into their data. The redesign takes into account how people browse on mobile devices – in browsing sessions that tend to be quick and frequent, rather than longer ones. Finding data on browser location and device will be easier to find and interpret on the new dashboard.

How Will AdWords Redesign Affect My Campaigns?

Your Existing AdWords Campaigns Are Safe

It’s not unusual that when AdWords rolls out an update, it can have drastic effects on campaigns. Fortunately for advertisers, this is largely an interface redesign. There’s no reason to worry that AdWords will have a negative effect on the performance of your campaigns. Additionally, all of the great features and functionality of AdWords won’t change with the redesign. All your favorite AdWords features will still be available. However, how you access them may change slightly.

Making Your Mobile Campaigns Stronger

If the new AdWords has any impact on your campaigns, it will likely be to make your mobile campaigns stronger. The redesign focuses on making the mobile PPC campaigns easier to manage and interpret. If you feel overwhelmed by the existing AdWords experience, or if you want to focus more heavily on your mobile PPC campaigns moving forward, you can look forward to the AdWords redesign making it easier on you in the future.

When Can I Start Using the New AdWords Experience?

Google has already started rolling out the new AdWords experience. However, this rollout is being done on an invitation-only basis for right now, and will probably proceed slowly. While this may have impatient advertisers itching to see the new layout, this slow introduction will benefit all users in the long run. Google has stated that they will focus on gathering feedback on the new design during 2016-2017 to see how their users like the new experience, and what can be improved. By the time the new AdWords experience reaches everyone, we can expect a well-honed version of the new AdWords.

Webrageous for Mobile

The AdWords redesign might just help you gain more insight into your mobile PPC campaigns. But if you’re looking to truly reinvent your mobile PPC strategy, you’ll need to do more than wait for AdWords to catch up with your needs. Webrageous works closely with AdWords representatives to keep our campaign management strategies up to date with the latest. Our experience with managing campaigns and our expertise at maximizing campaign results ensures that we can leverage the latest version of AdWords as effectively as possible for our customers. To learn how we can help you get the most out of your campaigns and the new AdWords interface, contact Webrageous today for a consultation.

 

6 Tips for Improving Call Rates for Google AdWords

PPC call rate
Getting potential customers to reach out to your company with a phone call can be a critical step in the sales process. If you’re running
call-only ad campaigns or want to boost the number of call conversions you get from your existing PPC campaigns, improving you call rate for your Google AdWords campaigns can be an effective way to persuade your audience to pick up the phone and call your business. Whether you’re already following our best practices for running call-only campaigns, or if you’re just getting started with optimizing your PPC campaigns, these six tips for improving call rate will help take your AdWords campaigns to the next level. 

With the shift to mobile it is more critical than ever to optimize for calls. Users don’t like to fill out contact forms on smart phones if they can avoid it. And if you are pushing calls your overall conversion rates will increase. Take a look at some recent results for a personal injury attorney. You will see how calls are driving over 90% of their conversions. Users are presented with the option to fill out a form or call. While the cost per lead will seem high for many people outside of legal advertising these are very good numbers for personal injury advertising.

Optimize Google AdWords to promote calls

1. Think Beyond the Ad and Optimize Your Website for Calls

Improving call rate involves more than just adding a phone number to your PPC ads. Your website and landing pages should also be optimized to prompt customers to call you. Conversion rate experts assert that reducing friction to finding information drives higher conversion rates. If improving your call rate is the priority for your marketing efforts, be sure to make it as easy as possible for customers to find your phone number on your website. On our own website, we follow this practice by placing our phone number at the top of our homepage. This makes it easy for new clients to quickly make contact with the Google AdWords experts at Webrageous. 

webrageous call rate

2. Leverage Click-to-Call Ad Extensions

One of the best ways to garner more call conversions is to focus on mobile PPC. Because many mobile PPC users don’t have to switch devices to make a call, mobile is an ideal channel for improving your conversion rate. In particular, the Click-to-Call Ad Extension makes it dead-simple for smartphone users to call your company with a single click. According to Google, adding a call extension to your mobile ads can increase conversions by 6-8% on average. If you’re running mobile PPC ads but aren’t using this valuable extension, you are likely missing out on potential customers.              

3. Match Your CTA to Your Call’s Goal

Your language should echo the action you want your audience to take. Using phrases like “call now” or “speak to an expert” in your ad copy gives a clear message about the action you want your viewers to take. In addition to using language that will trigger the right action, your CTA should express the value of the call to the caller. Call conversions can represent a larger commitment on the lead’s part than other conversion types. They require the individual to commit to speaking with your company directly and immediately, rather than at their own pace. Make sure that your CTAs give some context as to what a prospective customer can expect from the call. Are you offering more general information about your business offerings? Or should prospects call only when they’re ready to make a purchase, or to ask for pricing information? Craft your CTA to make sure that your audience will know what they’re in for when they decide to call. That clarity will help convince them that making the call will be worth their time.

4. Know Your Audience’s Schedule

Digging into your audience’s behaviors is an effective method for improving call rate. Be sure to consider the best time to call from the perspective of your customers. To get a sense of your customers’ preferred times for calling, dive into your CTR and conversion data in Google AdWords. You can also use that information to A/B test what times and days your audience is most responsive.

To ensure that your audience truly converts, you need to have someone available to pick up the phone when a potential customer calls. For example, if you see an influx of calls during your office lunch hour because people are calling in on their lunch hour, consider putting someone on phone-answering duty to intercept any potential customers who call during that time.

5. Focus Ad Spend During Optimal Calling Hours

Boosting your PPC call rate is only one part of the campaign equation. Call conversions are inherently more time-sensitive than other forms of PPC conversion. Once you have a good sense of when your audience is most responsive, focus your bidding strategy on serving ads during the “hottest” times of the day and week for your target audience. Scheduling your call-focused campaigns to bid more (or exclusively) during times that you’ll be able to answer calls is key to running a successful campaign without wasting ad spend. You can use AdWords ad scheduling functionality, also known as dayparting, to focus your bids on the hours that you know you’ll be ready to receive calls.

6. Get a Good Look at Click-to-Call Metrics

Do you know which ads are getting you the most calls? Which ones are falling flat? Part of refining your call conversion strategy is keeping a close eye on what works and what doesn’t work. Be sure to take a data-driven approach and make sure that you’re tracking the right metrics to gauge the success of your call-based campaigns. Understanding what information is vital to the success of your campaigns can make or break PPC campaigns. This analytical approach is where PPC management firms like Webrageous can truly make an impact on your campaign. Our PPC experts have extensive experience analyzing AdWords metrics and performance.

Taking Your PPC Call Rate to the Next Level with Webrageous

If you’re aiming for a higher call conversion rate and aren’t seeing results on your own, we can help. Webrageous specializes in optimizing PPC campaigns to give our clients the best possible results for their advertising dollar. Contact us today to learn more about how Webrageous can give your call-based PPC campaigns a boost and help you see real returns from your campaigns.

Header photo credit: Flickr, Steven Lilley

How to Target Mobile PPC in Google Adwords

mobile ppc devices

If you had any doubts about the value of advertising to mobile device users, it’s time to start believing in mobile PPC. Tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices have become indispensable assets for both businesses and consumers. Traffic through mobile devices is taking up a larger and larger market share of PPC traffic. Mobile has now surpassed total desktop traffic, inching up to 51% of total media consumption in the US in 2015.

Savvy Advertisers are Adopting Mobile-First PPC Strategies

For some industries, focusing in on mobile PPC can help them tap a customer base more effectively. Desktop PPC ads can be prohibitively expensive, with some highly-sought after keywords costing over $100 per click. Additionally, with such a high amount of total online traffic going through mobile devices this year, advertisers who only use desktop PPC to promote their business can miss out on as much as half of potential customers. Many of our customers, especially law firms, are finding that their mobile PPC campaigns have a higher conversion rate and a lower CPC than desktop ads. By focusing on mobile PPC campaigns, they can avoid paying high prices to reach their marketing goals faster and more cheaply.

Targeting Mobile Users with Google AdWords

Because mobile advertising is a relatively new space, building a game plan to target mobile devices users can seem like a daunting endeavor. Here are a few tips for targeting mobile PPC users effectively with Google AdWords.

Focus Your Bidding Strategy on Mobile PPC

Unfortunately there’s no “all-in on mobile PPC” button on your AdWords dashboard. That doesn’t mean you can’t focus your ad spend on mobile devices, however. By using Bid Modifier, you can effectively push your ads towards mobile traffic and away from desktop viewers.

Use Bid Modifier to push your mobile bids close to the maximum limit of 300% to increase the amount of airtime your campaigns get on mobile PPC. You may also want to consider increasing your bid for location-specific ads, as mobile device users are likely to make location-based queries.

Optimize Ads for Mobile User Habits

In addition to adjusting your AdWords settings to serve more mobile ads, you should also adjust your new and existing ad copy and layout to work better for mobile users. While there are many ways to optimize your campaigns for a mobile format, here are key three things that you will absolutely need to consider.

Using Ad Extensions for more effective mobile ads.

Google has a wide range of AdWords extensions available. From “call now” buttons to built-in maps to your location, these plugins are the ideal way to pack valuable information into a small space. Using ad extensions can help you improve your conversion rate on mobile ads, and are customizable enough to work in a variety of situations. For more how to leverage this powerful mobile advertising tool, check out our article on how to use AdWords ad extensions effectively.

Optimize Your landing page layout for mobile.

Unless you’re relying solely on the “click to call” ad extension, your ads most likely link to landing pages. But if you’re simply directly mobile users to desktop-ready landing pages, you may not see great results from your mobile ads. The best mobile landing pages are short and cleanly designed, so they look great on smaller mobile screens. Any links or buttons on these pages should be clear and big enough to easily press with a finger. As with desktop landing pages, you may have to A/B test a few different layouts before you find one that works well for your customer base.

Edit your CTA for mobile-optimization.

Mobile users often conduct web searches in a different context than desktop users do. They may be searching on the go, in a loud environment. They are more likely to be looking for location-specific results. Mobile users also have the advantage of being able to call businesses without switching devices.  Adapt your CTA to anticipate their actions and react to their circumstances. You may want to test location specific CTAs (e.g. “Download your guide to Boston landmarks”) or device-specific CTAs (“Call us now to get your quote.”) to find out what works best for mobile audiences in your industry.

Cut down your landing page copy.

Additionally, laptop and desktop screens can handle lengthier landing pages, mobile screens are smaller and require shorter messaging. While you might be able to get away with a few extra sentences here and there on a desktop landing page, lengthy copy won’t increase your conversion rate for mobile PPC. If you’re converting existing campaigns for mobile PPC, be sure to cut down and rewrite copy to get your message across quickly and succinctly.

Taking on Mobile PPC with Webrageous

Developing a mobile-focused strategy can be a winning move for improving your PPC campaign returns. By working with Webrageous, you can make sure you’re getting the most you can from your mobile PPC campaigns. Our team of PPC managers has extensive experience working with mobile PPC campaigns, and can help you tap into the mobile-facing potential of your advertisements. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you target mobile with Google AdWords.

Image Source: Blake Patterson, Flickr