Learn the “PPC Rules You Must Use” from Stephanie White of Hanapin Marketing
Managing ad campaigns can be pretty tedious, especially when your time is spent making the same campaign changes on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Luckily, Google and Bing offer a way to automate your tedious campaign tasks using rules to automatically make optimizations for you.
In this week’s #PPCPodcast, we chatted with Stephanie White, Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing, about automating ppc account management. Before White was PPC master at Hanapin Marketing, she was an entrepreneur starting her own jewelry business back in 1999. In 2004, instead of hiring a marketing specialist, White took it upon herself to learn profitable online marketing. These self-taught skills, ranging from web design to email marketing to PPC advertising, led her down a fruitful career working with talented marketers from ReachLocal, John Eagle Dealerships, and now Hanapin Marketing.
Check out White’s 5 must-have AdWords Automated Rules for every PPC account. Learn how she uses Automated Rules to save time, money, and sanity.
What the heck are Automated Rules?
Automated Rules are a series of actions you can choose to automatically perform across your ppc campaigns. To run these Automated Rules, you’ll need to define what conditions must be met for the rule to fire and apply these automatic changes to your account. Use rules to make changes to your ad statuses, budgets, bids, keywords and more. PPC managers are under a lot of pressure to deliver results…quickly: with clients’ increasing demand for deeper campaign performance analysis and insights combined with growing paid search and social platforms. The ability to automatically perform routine tasks, means you spend less time manually monitoring each campaign’s metrics and more time focusing on ppc strategy and optimizing growth opportunities.
The 5 Must-Have Automated Rules for Every PPC Account
Increase or Decrease Budget on Specific Date/Time
Use this rule if you either have additional budget you need to spend by a particular date OR if you want to automate increases or decreases to your budget on the first of the month.
Schedule Promotions to Run During a Set Time Period
Create an automated rule to adjust CPC bids for a particular ad group. This will come in handy when you build promotional campaigns for the holiday season. In your ad group you want to include keyword combinations for your product and any holiday terms. For example: Black Friday car deals, New Years car sales, Happy Honda Days, Christmas car deals, etc. Use a rule to automatically enable this ad group 2 weeks before the sale and end 1 week after.
For B2B clients: Be wary of the times you choose to schedule your ad campaigns
- B2Bs should schedule campaigns to run only during business hours. But if there is a weekend event your target audience will be attending, schedule your ad campaigns to run during the event’s timeframe.
- If you need to spend budget quickly, consider creating a rule to increase budget and schedule your campaign to run constantly for a short burst of time. Analyze the data and see what happens
Reduce Bids for Keywords with a High Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
Save time manually adjusting bids with a rule that will automatically reduce bids for keywords with extremely high CPA, but have zero conversions.
Increase Bids for Converting Keywords Below First-Page Bids
This is a great rule to have in your time-saver toolbox. Let’s say you have a keyword with high conversions, but just dropped below first-page bid. You can create a rule to automatically apply a 10% bid increase to all keywords that have over 10 conversions with more than 50 impressions and quality score greater than 5.
Set Up Email Alerts for Drastic Changes in Your Campaigns
Avoid ppc account surprises with performance-based email alerts that fire based on your most valuable KPIs. Set up an email alert to notify you of any drastic changes to your account, campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords.
Hopefully you’re now able to set up, test, and iterate on these automated rules to save you time and money. These rules are intended to make your ppc life easier because you won’t have to spend so much time doing the manual ppc account tasks, your time can be better spent thinking about your overarching ppc account strategy and how to optimize campaign performance.
Catch the whole #PPCPodcast episode here!
Google Adwords is a PPC manager’s double-edged sword. AdWords offers a robust suite of tools to help PPC managers yield impressive campaign results, but this highly competitive auction requires more than just a “shoot from the hip” strategy.
Running a successful AdWords campaign goes further than simply raising bids. Instead, PPC professionals must understand how to apply a scalable strategy to generate optimal results. To help explain this further, we sat down this week with Rumyana Miteva and asked her about her thoughts related to ad campaigns, advertising goals, and bidding tips as it it applies to her company. Originally from Bulgaria, Rumyana currently works out of London, as the Head of Performance Marketing at HouseTrip.
With seventeen plus years of experience, Miteva understands the importance of network expansion. More importantly, she has a wealth of experience under her belt; sharing how crucial it is to track campaign success and stay on top of what it is working and what is not.
In this podcast, she shares insights about the management process of her own company and how to optimize AdWords bidding strategies for advertisers. In addition, she offers valuable tips for generating efficient revenues from ad campaigns. Finally, we learn about her thoughts on newer topic trends and the impact on advertising.
Listen to the full #PPCPodcast and check out some highlights below.
Things to Keep in Mind with AdWords
- Getting your tracking setup right is crucial and the first step
- Competitiveness is high, so be efficient about how allocate your budget towards bidding.
- For example, bidding on position #1 may deplete your budget too quickly.
Focus on the metrics that matter:
- Return on ad spend
- Conversion rate by destination page
- Track and optimize down to revenue by campaigns
- Segment out and bid towards device performance
- Bid different by major geographic locations
- Test Google’s Flexible Bid strategies
- Bid to target positions through Google and to outrank competitors
Other strategies to test
- Take full use of Google services and policies, which are available to advertisers
Keep a close eye on what is out there, think of multiple strategies and tools
- Depends on specific objectives and businesses
- For B2B or B2C companies:
- Keep a good balance between spending vs. revenue → want good return on investment
- Target towards Certified Public Accountants
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA): easy to use through Adwords editor, great way to keep people engaged, and interested
- Tailored ad targeting
- Possibly treat it as something special; build a separate Adwords account for RLSA
- Add target audiences Continue on existing searching campaigns, build off of what’s there
Interested in learning more AdWords tips like this?
Tune in every Tuesday at 10 AM PST to #PPCPodcast.
Google AdWords has many features useful to any PPC account manager. Experts on the subject, Mike McEuen, Director of Demand Generation at AdStage and Amanda West-Bookwalter, Senior Account Manager at Hanapin, sat down to share with their top ten features, along with useful tips on how to best utilize Google AdWords for your PPC campaigns.
Watch the webinar below to learn more about search query reports, ad extensions, ad rotation and bid settings, and more. Check out the live Q&A session with questions from our viewers for more in-depth tips and tricks.
10. Search Query Reports
Running a search query report is any PPC account manager’s baseline. Search query reports are useful to get rid of irrelevant traffic and find additional opportunities to expand. When launching your account, broad match modifiers matches you with your actual searches.
Search query reports matches you with words that you are being paired with. This helps you discover negative terms that don’t lead to conversion, and ensures that you won’t show up for them in the future. When you come across a search term that does lead to conversion, it’s smart to add that keyword to it’s own ad group, along with similar terms, and create new ad copy.
9. Ad Extensions
Ad extensions are a useful tool that sometimes get overlooked, and can be seen as an afterthought. By successfully utilizing your ad extensions you can cover more real estate, become more relevant to your audience, and give yourself more opportunities for traffic. With this feature, you can increase click through rates and simultaneously decrease your average cost per click, just by taking advantage of your description area.
8. Ad Rotation and Bid Settings
Ad rotation helps you test your ad copy to make sure it’s catering to your end goals. Important features to take note of include optimizing for clicks, optimizing for conversions, or rotating evenly/indefinitely. For brand new campaigns with minimal performance history, you can start optimizing for clicks. With this feature, you can collect the actionable data you need to start A/B testing.
During the testing period, rotating the ad copy is a helpful comparison tool. Once you have enough conversion data and the account is actionable, you can switch to optimizing for conversions where you can choose the best ad to display based on your campaign goals and history.
7. Exclusion Targeting on GDN
This feature is helpful for conserving your budget so your ads do not show on irrelevant sites. In addition, you can exclude specific categories, such as mobile apps, which tend to be accidental clicks. By adding sites or mobile apps as negative placements, you rid your account of budget-burning traffic.
Labels is a great way to keep your account organized. Michael recommends for new PPC users to “label like a librarian”. In addition, you can get filtered views based on individual labels. With filtered reporting, you have access to quick and in-depth insights on how things are performing. In all, labels helps you keep your account clean and saves you time on reporting.
5. Auction Insights
Auction insights gives you important data on your competitors that will really impress your boss or clients. You are able to view your competitors’ impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page rate for specific keywords. Using an outrank bid strategy, you can stop your competitors’ aggressive strategies that may be hurting your business. Use Auction Insights to inform your bid strategy so you never miss out on impression share.
4. Dynamic Search Ads
Finding new keywords is important to your ad campaign. Dynamic search ads is a useful tool for keyword mining, in addition to traditional search query reports. Using your search query report, you can identify keywords that people are searching for that you’re not targeting yet. Dynamic search ads is another useful tool to help expand your keyword portfolio, just be sure to keep a small budget on these campaigns so you don’t overspend.
3. Compare Time Periods
Compare time periods provides helpful graphs and metrics to view specific changes. You can check your performance to see if there is a drop in conversion rates and change your course accordingly to optimize your campaign. It’s always important to track progress over time and this feature provides insight into what is or isn’t working well to help you increase conversions.
2. Search Audiences
With so many different uses for search audiences, there is something useful for any ad campaign. For example, you can retarget an audience more effectively by increasing bids on more qualified site visitors, use broad keywords, and exclude previous converts. By increasing the bids on qualified buyers, your target audience is more likely to see your ads. Using broad keywords for your ad campaigns are a reminder for customers to come to your site when they aren’t searching specifically for you. Excluding previous converts is especially helpful if a second conversion has no value to you. Search audiences helps you reach out to customers with better precision for better results.
AdWords scripts is a hot topic at any conference – they programmatically control your AdWords data. For example, you can use scripts to forecast how much money you have to explore new advertising opportunities like display campaigns. By automating these difficult tasks in AdWords, your job becomes easier and more efficient.
Q: In relation to ad rotation and bidding, how is much data is enough data before you should change a rule?
Michael: It all depends on what type of business you are, but typically, about 14 days once trends have developed. If you have a leaner budget, you might want to wait for 60-90 days.
Amanda: I would say, it’s more about volume of data, as opposed to time periods.
Q: Do call-only ads bid on the same ad space as mobile text ads with a click-to-call extension?
Michael: Yes, it does go into the same data auction as mobile. However, the experience is a little different. Instead of allowing options, any click leads to ideally dialing.
Q:There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to building keyword lists. Build a very large list, and whittle it down as you run your campaign. Or, build a small list, see what works, and build it out from there. Which school would you recommend?
Amanda: That depends on your business goals, and how much funding you have upfront for your marketing. For clients who want quick results and a lot of money to throw at it, I would say, go for the larger keyword set and see what works. In cases of lower funding, you’d want to start at smaller keyword sets.
Michael: I completely agree there, if you go a little too in-depth, you’ll have months of data without actionable insights. Unless you have a large budget, it isn’t very opportunistic to cast a wider net.
Q: Which bid strategy would you recommend for AdWords search? I currently use a flexible bid strategy with first page targeting. How does this compare to just manual bidding?
Amanda: I’m employed to do PPC, and I want to be efficient as possible, so I do everything manually. It’s a great idea, if you have the time to do that. If you don’t have the time, this may not be the best strategy for you. You have to be smart about your automations and check back regularly to ensure that it’s profitable.
Michael: I’ve seen enhanced PPC both work phenomenally, and take a nosedive. That’s why it’s very important to check if it’s working. Manually, the best is having a philosophy that manages in a spreadsheet form. If you don’t have the time, a flexible bid strategy could work well, but it’s always important to go back and compare the results over a time period to see the impact.
Q: What is your method of consolidating and managing A/B test results and optimization?
Michael: It depends on budget and what you’re looking at. When A/B testing, you want to make sure to isolate your variables and stick to your hypothesis. Labels really help when checking results. You can see how things work in comparison to non-changing variables. Having too many experiments at one time makes it difficult to track impact. I record my expected result, make sure I have the timeline to determine if something works, and then compare results.
Amanda: At Hanapin, we’re super diligent about our ad testing. We have the creative testing cycle, where we follow a step by step process. We take a look at all of your site’s features, then list possible ad tests. We only run one ad test at a time, to ensure that it’s completely A/B. We then wait until it’s significantly relevant to determine what the winners are, and upload a new ad.
Q: Is remarketing required to do what you mentioned for search audiences?
Amanda: You don’t have to put remarketing ads on the display network, which is what remarketing is referred to as. But, you do have to place the remarketing code onto your website, and start collecting cookies into different lists.
Q: Can you talk about the pros and cons of using existing Google Scripts and having someone write custom ones for you?
Michael: Some of the alert type scripts work very well, allowing you to not be cautious on impact to your account. Looking at the bid modifier scripts, they can get more complex, causing unintended consequences. When finding someone to write them for you, you need to find someone that has the technical skills that also has knowledge of PPC.
Q: Any recommendations on how to find the best keywords?
Michael: As far as keyword mining is concerned, there are a lot of tools to help. One of my favorites is Übersuggest.
Amanda: I use the site as an influencer to find keywords that seem valuable. I also use AdWords keyword research tool, Quizio, and a lot of DSA campaigns.
Q: What is the rule on pausing keywords?
Michael: General rule of thumb, if your keywords aren’t creating enough value, pause them. If you aren’t receiving a return on ad spend, and it’s been a considerable amount of time, I’d look to pause.
Amanda: You want to take a look at your funnel as well. You may have a top of the funnel keyword, trickling down and causing conversion. I’d check that out before you pause. I’d also take seasonality into account, some keywords work better certain times of the year.
Have any additional questions for Michael and Amanda regarding PPC ad campaigns or Google AdWords? Ask them in the comments section below, or follow them both on Twitter @Lonohead and @Amanda_WestBrook!
We’ve been honored to have some amazing guests on PPCPodcast this year. What started out as a fledgling idea, slowly swept over the team. The podcast matured from a dorm-level production grade, to high quality mics, opening music, an incredible roster of industry leaders.
While there were many great moments, the interview with Frederick Vallaeys, CEO of Optimyzer, was my absolute favorite. Among colleagues and industry friends, there’s been a continual debate over which elements influence AdWords Quality Score. “Does account level Quality Score actually exist? How much weight does your landing page affect the calculation of your score?”
It’s fascinating to hear from an early AdWords team member, reveal insights into the thought process and methodology used to formulate one of the most misunderstood AdWords metrics. I find myself relistening to the interview, and catching new takeaways each time. Below, are some of the best snippets from the podcast.
What is Quality Score and how does it work?
It’s one of the 3 factors that goes into determining your ad rank. Fundamentally, Quality Score is click through rate. Back in the day, Google used a simple equation to calculate ad rank:
Max CPC bid x CTR = ad rank
Quality Score is a huge factor in how much you pay and how many clicks you will receive.
What are the most important factors in building a good Quality Score?
There are 3 key factors.
1. Historical CTR
On Google Search, when the keyword matches exactly to the query, what is the CTR.
2. Relevancy factors
Predictive CTR looking at auction time signals. If you have certain factors, how do they correlate with CTR.
Example: If you have advertisers who have a billing address in the United States, but have a searcher’s IP address in Canada, does that affect CTR?
3. Landing page quality
How many times should the keyword be mentioned in the ad text?
Adding keywords in your ad copy is a good thing, but don’t focus on it too much. Just make sure the ad stands out.
What are some pro-tips to increase your Quality Score?
If you can boost your click through rate, that’s what matters the most. Ultimately, it’s what makes Google money. Essentially, Quality Score is the calculation of different ways that Google can calculate CTR in different situations.
- Tightly structured ad groups
- Multiple ad texts
- No more than 30 keywords in an ad group
- Take advantage of all your ad extensions
What doesn’t impact Quality Score?
- Keyword match types
- Negative keywords
What’s a good Quality Score?
New keywords start at a Quality Score of 6. If your keyword remains at 6, I’d leave it, if it drops below 6, and you can’t make it better you might want to remove it from your account.
Is there an account level Quality Score?
There is no published number. But Quality Score is a learning algorithm. A learning system needs to rely on bigger signals when it doesn’t have enough data about a specific element. If Google doesn’t know how this ad text will perform against this keyword, they may look at the advertiser across the account and is the performance good or worse than average, and based on that they can set a base level Quality Score.
Listen to the full podcast:
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Join us every Tuesday Live @ 10am PT || 1pm ET for #PPCPodcast where we chat with industry experts from Microsoft, LinkedIn, Hanapin Marketing, Google and more.
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Google recently announced that native Gmail ads are now available for all advertisers in AdWords. Previously in beta, Gmail ads are highlighted text ads with an accompanied logo, that appear on the Promotions tab. If clicked upon, the ad expands to a full page layout, with a lot of realty.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to setup Gmail ads in AdWords.
Create a Display Campaign
If you’re able to dedicate a modest budget to testing Gmail ads, I suggest creating a dedicated Display Network only campaign. Next, select your marketing objective for the campaign. Marketing objectives allow advertisers to align their campaign settings towards with desired goals, such as a form fill. Performance, ROAS driven marketers should choose from a “drive action” objective.
Finish up selecting all your ideal campaign settings.
Select Your Placements
Gmail ads are selected in the ad group’s placements section. To reveal placement options, scroll down to the “choose how to target your ads” section, and select “use a different targeting method”.
Within the placements search bar, submit a query for the web address “mail.google.com”. Then select the domain as a placement.
Refine with Keywords
Only using placement targeting can open your campaigns up to billions of weekly impressions on Gmail. Hone in on your target audience and conserve budget by adding keyword targeting.
Display keywords are utilized slightly different than search keywords. Where search can be exact and intent based, display keywords are broad match only. Display keywords help guide where an an ad will be shown based on the content of the website and previous user browser history. Contextual targeting is powerful for Gmail, as the page content is generated from users’ emails.
Often, I’ll adopt a similar ad group structure to my existing search campaigns. Taking the best performing broad search keywords and adding them to display ad groups.
Consider Audience Targeting
When Google allowed single sign-on across all their products, it not only created a better user experience, but also provided Google with connected data on their user profiles. Advertisers can use this data to build custom audiences to target.
Custom affinity audiences is an option worth considering.
Custom Affinity Audiences
Create a custom audience, targeting users who visit specific websites or have long-term interests in certain categories.
You can learn more about custom affinity audiences in this detailed post.
Within an isolated ad group view, visit the ads tab. Pull down the ad tab to reveal “ad gallery”.
Choose “Gmail ads” from the gallery options.
There are 4 types of Gmail ads:
- Gmail image template
- Gmails single promotion template
- Gmail multi-product template
- Gmail custom HTML upload
For this walkthrough, let’s explore the Gmail image and single promotion templates.
Gmail Image Template
This option is great for branding, featuring your image across the full page width if a user clicks through.
- Collapsed – 144px by 144px
Add your advertiser name, a subject line, and a description. Treat your subject line as if it were an actual email headline – be succinct and to the point. Your description line should follow, by clearly revealing your value proposition.
- Expanded – 650px by (300px to 1000px)
Next, let’s explore the benefits of using single promotion templates.
Single Promotion Templates
While a prominent image can be a powerful way to showcase your brand, sometimes it’s not enough to convey your product or service benefits. The promotional template layout includes both a large area for images, and also provides space for a headline and copy.
In addition to the collapsed copy, expanded promotional templates allow for:
- a large side bar image
- headline copy
- body content
- optional header image
- Side bar – 300px by (200pc to 500px)
- Header image – 630px by(50px to 200px)
With the option to contextually target users by their email content, and lower cost per click averages than Search, Gmail ads provide a promising addition to your AdWords armada. Initial tests have shown click through rates as high as Search, and attractive CPA ranges. Have you tried the new Gmail Ads? We’d love to hear your findings!
In this week’s PPC Podcast, we’ll be joined by guest speaker, David Rothwell of Rothwell Media. David’s expertise lives in the ecommerce vertical and with the winter holidays approaching in Q4, we’re excited to take a deep dive into Google Shopping Campaign strategy.
We are just weeks away from the biggest holiday shopping season of the year. The time has come to start preparing for the occasion. We’re looking forward to getting David’s perspective on the following topics:
- The standard structure of a Google Shopping Campaign
- Suggested latency before seeing success with Shopping campaigns
- How to account for the removal of Promotional Text
- Recommendations for advertisers that are new to Google Shopping Campaigns
Join us for the live #ppcpodcast with David Rothwell on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 10am Pacific Time.
We are teaming up with Hanapin Marketing to host a webinar that will cover The Most Valuable Google AdWords Features For The PPC Account Manager. As you know, AdWords has tons of reports, targeting options, and optimization tools. But how do you allocate your time to make sure you’re getting the most value from these features?
Register for this webinar to learn expert tips like:
- Using Auction Insights to find competitors to use outrank bidding strategies on
- How to receive the ideal conversion volume and cost/converted click at positions 1-3 or lower
- Utilizing Dynamic Search Ads as a keyword mining tool
- Increasing bids on qualified, previous site visitors
Join us and our AdWords experts who will walk through their top 10 most valuable AdWords features.
Michael McEuen, Director of Demand Generation at AdStage
Amanda West-Bookwalter, Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing
The webinar is on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 9am Pacific Time. To guarantee a seat in this webinar, register today.