As PPC professionals, we’re always looking for ways to increase productivity and campaign performance. In 2017, automating PPC ads is going to be our top tactic for getting the most out of our ads with the least time spent (we don’t just sell PPC automation tools – we practice what we preach). We know a lot of people have questions when it comes to PPC automation, so in this post, we’ll be covering the top seven reasons everyone should be automating campaign optimization this year.
1. Automated Bidding
Google AdWords and Facebook Ads both have a number of bidding options. And, if you haven’t tried them yet, you’re missing out. Managing your bids manually is not only time-consuming, but may not be in your best interest based on your campaign goals.
Within Google AdWords, we recommend using the CPA bidding option. This will help maximize your conversions, unlike CPC or CPM bidding, which optimizes for clicks or impressions, respectively. Because search queries and impressions occur in real-time, it’s unrealistic for a human campaign manager to continuously monitor and update bids around the clock. You can select your bid strategy at the campaign level and the ad group level within AdWords, but the ad group setting will supersede the campaign settings.
Facebook is slightly different since the campaigns you build on the social network are objective-based. Based on your campaign objective, Facebook will automatically optimize bids for the end goal if you select automatic bidding. Unlike a one-time bid update, Facebook’s automatic bidding algorithms are constantly optimizing and iterating your bids 24/7 to deliver the maximum number of results. Automatic bidding is set at the Facebook ad set level within your Ads Manager.
2. Campaign Scheduling / Dayparting
If you managed a retail shoe store, and you knew more shoppers came on the weekends, you would schedule more onsite team members on those days, right? Likewise, if you’re a restaurant owner and you know when the popular meal times are, you’re going to have more cooks and waiters on the schedule. You can think of campaign scheduling the same way.
If you’re tracking your conversions through Google Analytics (which I hope you are!), you already know which days of the week and even which hours of the day are going to yield the most conversions. Alleviate the need to manually pause and start campaigns by scheduling your ad delivery times and days. Campaign scheduling optimizes your budget, stretching it to drive more conversions during the most competitive hours of the day.
3. Account & Campaign Budget Monitoring
To combat over or under-pacing, you should monitor your spend trends. However, this attention to detail is often very manual and time consuming. By implementing rules through an automated monitoring system, you can receive alerts when the system is noticing changes in performance and then reallocate budgets automatically.
4. Standardize, Automate, and Schedule Your Reporting
Reporting is inevitable. Especially when you’re spending thousands, if not millions of dollars across multiple traffic sources. The more sources you test, the more cumbersome reporting gets, so find a system that helps you automate elements of the PPC reporting process. Here’s an example from AdStage Report:
Create a standardized template for your report by adding interactive elements, custom views, and branding.
From there, you can refresh and send yourself and your team the report on your desired cadence.
5. Automatically Pause Underperforming Creative
Automated rules that are unbiased and impact your cost per conversion can go a long way in making sure that your are putting your best creatives forward. For example, PPC automation allows you to pause ads that have high impressions and clicks, but no historic conversions, or pause ads that have significant historical data, but high CPAs.
6. Receive Alerts for Performance Trends You Care About
Rather than manually having to check your campaign performance every day or every week, automate this task with an alert. This means you will get a message pointing out any campaigns or targeting settings that are jeopardizing performance. For example, get notified when your campaigns, ad groups or ad sets have a low CTRs or high CPAs.
7. Automate A/B Testing
Creative testing has a scientific element to it that is prone to human error or biases. There are rarely any marketers conducting purely manual A/B tests. When using an automated system to A/B test your ad creatives, you can set up the parameters and let an algorithm decide the true winner. It will tell you which ad creative is winning based on the performance metrics you care about the most and you can swap in a new ad for ongoing A/B tests and incremental boosts in performance over time.
Obviously, we’re biased when it comes to PPC automation – we love it so much we’ve made a whole product for it. If you have questions about how AdStage Automate might work for you, start a 14-Day Free Trial or request a demo.
Facebook is enhancing its Audience Network with its latest release of In-Stream Video Ads. This added placement is not only for mobile, but also available on desktop as well. From a user experience standpoint, the end user will be able to view the video ad in one of two ways: in-stream or in-article.
In-Stream Video Ads
The in-stream video ads, available both on mobile and desktop, will deliver in pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll settings on video publishers that have in-stream inventory. If you’re wondering what type of third-party placements you can expect, premium publishers such as USA Today, Sports Media Group, and Daily Mail are already using these new ad formats to deliver engaging video ad experiences to their audiences. Other premium publishers may be available in the closed beta, but eventually Facebook will be rolling this out more broadly. Here’s an example of a video ad shown on USA Today:
In-stream video ad in the Audience Network (desktop + mobile)Advertisers can now optimize their video ads for brand awareness through the Audience Network. In-stream video ads will play before, during or after video content on third party apps and sites across mobile and desktop.
Posted by Facebook Business on Thursday, May 12, 2016
In-Article Video Ads
In-article video ads are currently shown on Facebook’s Instant Articles, a solution that lets publishers show articles from their site or mobile app to their audience on Facebook. The video ads will appear between paragraphs of text articles on mobile and play automatically when at least 50% of pixels are viewable. Viewers can opt-in for sound if they choose, but the default is muted. If you’re wondering what type of placements to expect, the in-article placements are only available through Facebook Instant Articles at this time. This means any publisher that already uses Instant Articles could enable this placement to show your video ads.
In-article video ad in the Audience Network (mobile)Advertisers can now optimize their video ads for brand awareness through the Audience Network. In–article video ads will appear between paragraphs of text and play automatically when at least half the pixels are viewable. Viewers must opt-in to sound.Posted by Facebook Business on Thursday, May 12, 2016
To start syndicating your video ads on third-party publishers, head to your Facebook Ads Manager. Within your Video Views campaign, you will see an option to Edit Placements. Make sure you’ve checked the box called “Audience Network” to qualify for additional reach and frequency across other publishers outside of Facebook.
According to Facebook, advertisers that opt in to the Audience Network can generate approximately 10% more incremental reach than if they only targeted the mobile News Feed (Facebook internal data, May 2016). Early tests are also showing a lower cost per view (CPV) when advertisers enable video ads on all of their properties including Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network.
The algorithms will increase in-stream video ad delivery on a third-party site or app if it is deemed more relevant to a viewer. This means, for example, if your targeted audience spends more time in a particular app or website outside of Facebook or Instagram, your video will be shown on that publisher more often. With more places to deliver content, advertisers can maximize their brand exposure through video ads more seamlessly through Facebook. Have you tried In-Stream Video Ads on the Audience Network yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!
We started off 2017 with some expert predictions about what the new year will have in store for PPC. But all the buzz about trends and innovations can be pretty overwhelming without actionable steps to not just prepare for 2017, but stay ahead of the PPC curve.
In their webinar on PPC predictions for 2017, our very own Mike McEuen teamed up with JD Prater and Matt Umbro of Hanapin Marketing to talk about what’s coming down the pipeline for Search, Social, and Ad Tech and what you can do to stay ahead. We pulled out their most actionable tips, so you can get to work (after all, 2017 is already rolling right along…):
1. Take full advantage of ad extensions for more real estate and organic-looking results. The more opportunities you can find to get users to interact with your ad, the better! Check out this example of a ski boot search to see what we’re talking about:
2. Explore creating dynamic Google Display Network ads and native ads. The tools available to create responsive ads continue to reduce the barrier to entry for marketers. All you need is a short headline, description, and some images to upload and you’re off to the races. Google will take care of resizing your ad to fit the page on which it will be served.
3. Test audience targeting in Search, for instance bidding higher for a specific age range or gender that might be best served by your product. Matt Umbro encourages PPC professionals to think past keywords and to really think holistically about audiences to stay ahead of the game.
1. Social community managers need to learn how to sponsor their best content against the right audience. This means getting a really good handle on the paid side of their networks, which not all community managers have necessarily needed to do until now. There are lots of great training resources out there, so if you’re not a paid social expert, take some time this year to get up to speed.
2. Invest in social listening, monitoring, and analytics tools to increase and prove social ROI. 61% of social marketers see measuring ROI as a challenge, and if you can’t measure how your social investments are doing, you’ll be stuck in that challenging spot for another long year.
3. Experiment with new mediums such as bots and live video. Doing so now will allow you to take advantage of the lower competition costs, greater reach, and higher engagement rates than standard ad units.
1. Think of organizing your campaign and ad sets into campaigns by objective, across networks, as opposed to taking a network-centric approach to optimization. Find a true multi-channel tool that will allow you to create this kind of management structure, and valuable, high-level view of your PPC activity.
3. Either through scripts or 3rd party solutions, PPC marketers should automate their most mundane tasks — such as budget pacing, pausing underperforming keywords/ads/ad groups/sets — instead focusing their time on budget allocation, campaign strategy, audience targeting, and copy testing. We’re biased here, but with Automate, our 2700+ users saved over 144 weeks of full-time man hours in 2016! Think of what you and your team could do with that kind of freed up time.
4. For B2B organizations, standing up an attribution model is key to determining if ad performance at the network, campaign, and ad level are having an impact on actual revenue. It’s time to optimize past cost per conversions (lead) and instead make optimization decisions based on return on ad spend (ROAS). Platforms like Bizible, and ad tech companies who are opening their APIs are great places to turn to get this going.
Want to go even deeper? View the full webinar recording or click through the SlideShare below to get the full presentation!
Need another set of eyes on your PPC account? Hanapin has a building full of experts who are happy to help. Click here to see if you qualify for a free account analysis.
Luke Alley: The Rising Star in PPC Marketing
Named one of the rising stars in PPC Marketing by Search Engine Land, Luke has started and grown the PPC division for two companies from a handful of small clients to several million dollars managed annually. His focus has been on client acquisition, client retention, PPC management, process development, hiring and training, and being active in the PPC community through speaking, blogging, and #PPCChat. Follow him at @.
Enjoy the episode!
David Szetela Shares 5 Tips for Optimizing Adwords Campaigns and a Free Book!
This week on The PPC Show David Szetela, speaker and author of “Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Marketing: An Hour a Day” shares his top tips for optimizing AdWords campaigns.
Having been voted Top PPC Expert in a poll of thousands of PPC managers and website owners, published on MediaPost, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land and MarketingSherpa, and of course, lauded for his two books (Customers Now and PPC Advertising on One Hour a Day), David is one of the leading PPC thought leaders today. Hit play to hear his Adwords tips, as well as discussions of the latest trends in the world of PPC marketing. One episode not enough? Follow him on twitter @.
Bonus with this episode: David has offered to give listeners of this podcast a free PDF copy of his book! Simply email David@fmbmedia.com to request that PDF!
Khalid Saleh talks A/B testing best practices to drive growth and profit
In this episode of The PPC Show, we chat A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) best practices with best-selling author and CEO of Invesp, Khalid Saleh.
Invesp is a leading provider of conversion optimization software and services. Khalid is at the helm, having written his Amazon.com best-selling book, “Conversion Optimization: The Art and Science of Converting Prospects into Customers.” In his book, Khalid offers a sound method to capture more customers through a fully integrated marketing strategy. He demonstrates how the six marketing principles: customer persona, trust and confidence, buying stages, engagement, fears/uncertainties/doubts (FUDs), and incentives define the success of all types of marketing initiatives, from websites to policy strategies.
As a frequent guest on media outlets like CNN, BBC, SKY, France 24, MSNBC, New York Times, National Public Radio, and in-demand keynote conference speaker, Khalid inspires audiences to rethink their approach to marketing in terms of exponential growth and profit.
We hope he does the same for you in this podcast. Enjoy!
P.S. Like what you heard in this episode? Follow Khalid on Twitter to keep the conversation going! 👉@khalidh
EDITOR’S NOTE: This client retention marketing infographic is part of KlientBoost’s 25-part series. We’re super excited to partner with them so you can enjoy a new gifographic once a day in your inbox. You should subscribe here.
There are a whole heck of a lot of marketing optimization posts out there to read, but just a tiny amount of client retention posts that are dedicated to marketing agencies.
If you run an agency like I do at KlientBoost, or even work at one, then you know how crucial client retention is to the growth of your business.
With a crappy retention rate, you feel like you’re treading water.
But instead of water, you’re treading in quick sand and slowly being poked by a million small toothpicks, while elephant poop is being dumped on your head.
Couldn’t find one GIF that had all three – GIF source
But joking aside, client retention is a serious thing. You’ve worked so hard to obtain a client, so why not set some things in place to keep them around longer?
That’s why we partnered with AdStage to bring you our biggest client retention lessons that we’ve learned in the two years of significant growth we’ve had (to almost $250k in monthly recurring revenue) all in one fun gifographic (with no elephant poop. Promise).
Where’s The Money?
Being an agency owner, there’s a good chance that you’ve spoken with other owners about the painful things they endure.
But one of questions I often get revolves around client reporting and the amount of time it takes.
The only issue is that reporting outside of the bottom line isn’t that important. Too many agencies get caught up in reporting in metrics like CTR, impression shares, or quality scores without talking about the most important thing:
Money being made
It wasn’t until recently that we started requiring all account managers to ask that very important question to their client, which could either give a dreaded response or an exciting answer:
“Are you making more money?”
It’s too easy to get caught going through the motions or adjusting a few things here and there that have no real business impact.
Once you know that a client isn’t making more money (and you ask the question early enough), then you have enough time to make any pivots needed to get them in the right direction.
Fail to ask that question, and you’re hoping that your client is honest enough to tell you they’re not happy before they randomly stop working with you.
Just by having that one question up our sleeves, we’ve been able to catch fires way before they happen, and that has helped our retention in a very positive way.
The Four Client Phases
Once you know that a client is or isn’t making any money, the next step is to have a game plan for how to get them to make more money, again.
We decided to create four phases that all clients go through, and once they’ve graduated from one phase, the next phase has a new set of tasks we need to take care of before they move on to the next.
Here are the client phases we use at KlientBoost to identify client progress:
#1 Traffic: Nothing starts without traffic. If your client isn’t getting enough traffic, then any CRO tests you try to run are most likely going to fall on their face.
This means that the goal isn’t to try to run display campaigns to get cheaper CPCs to get more clicks. Instead, ask the client for more budget so that some quicker wins become a reality.
This is where you shouldn’t focus on the landing page.
This phase should take no more than a week.
#2 Conversion: Now that you have traffic, the next step is to generate conversions. And after that, you need to make sure that the client is able to make money off those conversions.
This is where you focus on the landing page side, and not so much on traffic side.
This phase can take one to two months depending on how many different CTAs you have to test.
#3 Profitability: Once a client has traffic and conversions, the next thing to know is whether or not they’re profitable. With ad spend and agency fees in mind, is the client able to achieve a higher ROI?
If not, then you need to figure out why and adjust. Going multiple weeks with the same traffic and same landing pages most likely won’t turn a corner fast enough.
This phase can take one to two months as well.
#4 Scaling: This is the final phase and the one that’s the most fun to get to. Once you have traffic, conversions, and profitability, the next step is to start growing the account.
Here, you’re able to start testing new PPC channels to grow the entry points of your clients funnel.
This phase can last forever and never plateau.
By knowing which phase your client is in, your account managers can easily decide which tasks to focus on for the week.
If a client is in Phase #3 and the account manager is still spending most of their time adjusting bids and testing ads, then there’s a good chance that client will never graduate to the next phase.
And if that happens, then your retention rate suffers, too.
Deep Deep Communication
If there’s a thing I’m obsessed with when it comes to working with clients, then it’s having a pulse on them.
Are they happy, sad, not confident, or excited?
But a pulse is much more than knowing how they feel about your services – it’s more about honesty and having the client feel like they can tell you anything to help both of you out.
So many clients are afraid of hurting feelings and they would rather not share what irks them. The biggest downside of this lack of communication is that you feel blindsided and shocked when they decide to stop working with you.
See, it’s easy to have your clients think you’re too busy and have no time for them, and that’s actually one of the biggest reasons they choose to leave.
Not lack of performance.
Surprising, right? – image source
What I’ve also found is that clients are more than happy to give you time and are patient enough wait until you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Once they know that you have their best interest in mind, they’ll give you more time before they cancel, because they like you.
I’ve sat in on a lot of client calls as a fly on the wall, and I keep seeing that a lot of client and account manager communication is super shallow and filled with pointless small talk.
Being honest with your clients and letting them know that you agree things aren’t doing well will help them be honest with you.
This strategy has oddly helped us have clients who canceled with us, refer people they know to work with us.
That doesn’t happen very often.
Speed, Pivots, Feedback, & Audits
There’s nothing that I value more than execution and speed. And I know it’s the same for our clients.
Having your client know that you have a sense of urgency is one of the best feelings you can give them.
Here are the four things we’ve found help our speed and retention rates as well:
Speed: The faster we can move from one campaign or landing page to the next, the faster we’re able to move a client from one phase to the next.
Pivots: This means that you need to be able to see if a campaign won’t work early enough for you to do something about it. It’s common for us to pivot once a week for a client until we’ve gained traction.
Feedback: Having regular feedback calls with a client has done very well for us. During the first month and second month mark, we have another team member (other than the account manager) call the client to get insight on what we can do better.
The most important part of this is doing it early enough in the relationship so you have time to salvage it.
Audits: This point is for the owner of the agency.
We’re coming up on our two year anniversary as an agency and the amount of changes we’ve made to our processes has been astounding.
By auditing our processes, we’ve been able to identify things like:
- What skills do certain account managers lack so we can train them to be stronger?
- Grouping one CRO designer with two account managers for better education transfer between all.
- Giving every team member a topic ownership to teach all other team members about. They’re now the resident experts on LinkedIn Advertising, Google Tag Manager, or CRO tools.
Sometimes your best bet is to attempt something and then adjust. Most of what we’ve learned has come from pure trial and error.
Back To You…
The best part about running an agency and priming it for growth, is that you can split test your own company, just like you split test things for your clients.
By neglecting change, you’re not only going to continue to suffer, but you’ll eventually burn out and throw in the white flag.
Agency life is tough, but so is anything that’s worth pursuing.
I hope some of these insights can help you spark change and get your retention rate up and to the right. 🙂
The Latest and Greatest in Adwords News
In this episode, we were excited to talk about the latest and greatest in Adwords news with the author of one of the very first e-books on the subject, Andrew Goodman. AdStage’s Director of Product, Paul Wicker, sat down with him to talk Adwords bid adjustments, expanded text ads, the new Facebook for business teams, and Twitter’s almost acquisition.
Andrew founded Page Zero Media in 2000 in order to create an SEM firm that earnestly listened to clients and offered better services than existing offerings. After a few years of general research for a book on online marketing, Andrew honed in on Google Adwords and released the world’s first “how-to” on AdWords – “21 Ways to Maximize ROI on Google AdWords Select,” in April, 2002. And then, in 2005, Andrew published Winning Results with Google AdWords (McGraw-Hill; 2nd ed. 2008), considered the leading resource in the field. If his name sounds familiar, it may be because he’s spoken at 44+ North American SES Conferences and writes a regular column for ClickZ.com.
To hear Andrew the Adwords expert’s take on current trends in the paid advertising world, listen to the entire podcast below. Enjoy!
P.S. if you’re not following Andrew on Twitter… you should be! You can find him tweeting all things AdWords here 👉@andrew_goodman