The app industry continues to grow substantially, following increased usage of smartphones. Gartner reported in 2013, 102 billion apps were downloaded, equating to $26 billion in sales. Ad budgets are shifting to mobile and the ad networks are accommodating. To capitalize on growing demand, advertisers can now create app campaigns across Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and most recently, Twitter Ads.
Promoting an app can be different than running a lead generation or retail e-commerce campaign. Take advantage of each networks app campaign settings.
Create at least one unique campaign per app, and assign a budget.
Nothing pains an advertiser more than when they build a thorough campaign only to see click-throughs bounce off the landing page.
App installs ads remove the need for a destination url, instead allowing the target audience to download the app right on the ad itself.
Drive App Engagement
Use this ad type to remarket to app users, keeping them actively using your app.
App engagement ads help increase monetization, aiding in the engagement and retention of the app.
There are many types of apps (subscription based, in-app purchases, free with ads, etc.), and each will have a unique set of KPIs to measure engagement. Optimize towards your core KPIs, driving more users to complete your desired action.
*Note: AdWords app engagement campaigns are currently in a closed beta.
Set up conversion tracking to report on total installs, cost-per-install metrics, or custom engagement metrics.
App Conversion Tracking by Network
Add a snippet of code from Google to your app.
Optimize for KPIs
While impressions, clicks, click through rate, and avg. CPM/CPC trends are important to track, advertisers should be laser focused on two key metrics – total conversions (which can include engagement) & cost per conversion.
Continually test different targeting and bid combinations to increase new installs, cost-effectively.
Test conversion optimizer bidding algorithms to help drive additional revenue.
Advanced Bidding Options
Focus on installs (conversions optimizer)
Optimized CPM, bidding on actions.
The release of dedicated app campaigns have armed advertisers with a lot more flexibility and optimization tools when promoting an app. As mobile usage continues to increase, app ad budgets will also grow.
Who doesn’t love seeing a finished version of their project? Whether its an ad, a postcard or a deck, you’re filled with a sense of pride every time you look at your just-completed handiwork. But while there’s no harm in sending yourself a piece of direct mail or a promotional email, there are downsides to seeing your search ads in the wild.
If you search for your ad on Google, you’ll pay for it… directly or indirectly. In this post, I’ll show to how to preview your search ads without paying for it.
Why You Shouldn’t Search for Your Ads
Once you start running ads on Google AdWords, it can be incredibly tempting to do a search and see your ads serving in the wild. But you have to resist the urge because conducting searches to check up on your ads can hurt your performance.
The issue is that when you perform a search that triggers your ad, you rack up ad impressions that don’t lead to clicks. This can lower your click through rate (and reputation) and it can prevent your ad from running as often as it should. Do it enough times, and you might never be shown the ad again because Google might think you’re uninterested in that ad and will instead show you ads from your competition. Of course, don’t click on your ad either, since that will directly cost you money.
How To Preview Your Ads on Google AdWords
To check up on your ads without affecting your performance, you can use the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool. It’s like an alternative Google.com where the impressions are free. The links don’t work, but you’ll be able to see if your ads are running.
Instead of searching for your ad on Google, use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool to see where your ad appears in search results for a particular search term. This is an easy way to check how your ad appears in context, and the tool provides the same results as a Google search, without accumulating any impressions. Also, the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool will tell you if your ad isn’t showing and why, so you can make any needed changes and begin reaching customers.
How To Preview Your Ads on Bing Ads
If you want to preview your ads on Bing without affecting your performance, you can use the Bing Ads Ad Preview & Diagnostics Tool which offers functionality that is very similar to AdWords.
Now that you know how to preview your ads without paying for it, you can admire your handiwork without accruing costly impressions. For more help, check out our full list of Google AdWords help articles.
With Twitter & Facebook introducing self-serve remarketing capabilities in the past few weeks, it seemed right to give credit to the network that offered it first. In this post, I’ll walk you through creating a remarketing campaign in Google AdWords.
Remarketing (also known as retargeting), allows you to show unique ads to people who’ve visited your website before. It’s a great way to bring back people who didn’t become a customer the first time they came to your site, or previous customers who you want to engage with your site again.
Creating Your Remarketing List
The first step to creating your remarketing campaign is creating a list and defining how your audience will be added to it. For example, you may want to create a list for all people who visit your website, or just the people who visit your pricing page. Let’s walk through the process of creating your remarketing list:
1. Click “Shared library” in the left navigation.
2. Click “View” in the “Audiences” section.
3. Click “+ Remarketing List”
4. Give your list a descriptive name. (e.g., Visitors of the pricing page)
5. Select how you’d like to segment visitors in the “Who to add to your list” section. (e.g., “Visitors of a page” with the URL containing “/pricing”)
6. Decide how long each visitor should remain in the list in “membership duration.” 30 days is a good place to start unless you have a lot of traffic to your site, in which case you can get away with something as short as 3 days. You want it to be short enough where people still care about what you offer, but large enough that there is over 500 visitors in your list at any given time.
7. Click “Save.”
Installing Your Remarketing Tag
Before your list will begin collecting visitors, you’ll first need to copy the remarketing tag from the “Audiences” page and paste it onto your site.
Once your tag is on your site, people who visit your site will be added to the appropriate remarketing lists.
Targeting Your Remarketing List in a Campaign
Now that you’ve installed your tag and defined who you want to remarket to, you just need to set up a campaign that targets your list with ads.
1. Create a new “Display Network Only” campaign and make sure it’s type is either “Remarketing” or “All features.”
Note: You can also use your remarketing list to customize your search ads for people who’ve visited you site before.
2. Follow the campaign creation steps and create at least one ad group.
3. From your ad group, click the “Display Network” tab.
4. Click “+ Targeting” to modify the targeting.
5. Click the “Add targeting” dropdown and select “Interests and remarketing.”
6. Click the “Remarketing Lists” tab and select your list.
That’s it! Now simply finish populating your campaign with bids and ads and your ads will begin displaying to people once they leave your site!
Google today announced the launch of “magazine ads” for AdWords. The new format takes your existing text ads and formats them to fit display ad units on webpages in the Google Display Network.
How It Looks
The new ads simply overlay your ad copy on a light background. Google says they’ve designed the format with print magazines in mind, “putting a big emphasis on space and typography and displaying a new look distinctive from our regular text ad.”
No Effort Required, More Inventory
On the surface, this is a great feature for advertisers. Now you can convert your plain text ads into (relatively) attractive image ads. This is great for advertisers that don’t have access to designers to create image ads because no extra work is required to run image ads.
This also opens up your text ads to a wider range of available inventory. Your ads can now appear in display-only ad units on publisher sites.
Higher Ad Prices
But there is a very real drawback to magazine ads for advertisers. The main benefit that Google is touting to it’s AdSense publishers that show the ads on their site is to the detriment of AdWords advertisers: publishers will make more money from their ad units because more advertisers enter the auction. This means more competition for what was display-only inventory and higher ad prices.
What do you think about this news? Share your thoughts in the comment below.
When a marketer logs into an AdWords account, their eyes are fixated on the converted clicks and cost/converted clicks columns. They start incessantly drilling into campaigns, ad groups, and finally ads/keywords—looking for opportunities to yield additional conversions, at lower prices.
The next time you log into your account, pause at each level, and take a sip of coffee. Before you’re tempted to drill down further, click the “segment” tab to reveal additional viewpoints.
New Views for Optimization
Segments provide additional slices into your performance data that help you identify new areas to improve results.
Campaign Table Segments to Explore
1. Time -> Hour of the Day
*Note: The metrics will display in military time
Performance by hour can give insight into two powerful optimization strategies:
A) Should you day part your advertising?
Buying habits might fluctuate by time of day. For lean budgets, it might not be worth displaying ads 24 hours a day, instead focusing on the hours that either provide high volumes of conversions, or conversions at attractive prices.
B) Do you need to inflate bids at peak hours?
For example, emergency services can be fiercely competitive at peak morning and evening hours. You may look to increase your bids to ensure prominent placement for these searches.
2. Segment by Network with Search Partners
Google’s Search Partners are a great way to gain additional traffic, often at a lower cost-per-click, and aid in driving more conversions.
At the default campaign level, the results between Google search & Search partners will be blended. By segmenting by network, you can understand if Search partners is yielding positive results or if it should be shut off.
Within the settings tab in a campaign, you have the option to include or exclude Search partners.
Ad Group Table Segments to Explore
1. Click Type
Click type will reveal if the searcher click through happened on the ad copy or extension level.
This is a great way to understand if your extensions are having a positive effect. Extensions such as sitelinks, act as additional reality space that can be used to include additional incentives or calls-to-action to draw attention.
Look to revamp or exclude extensions that are not aiding the overall ad group.
Keyword Table Segments to Explore
1. Device Type
Understand how mobile devices perform versus desktop and tablet searchers.
Based on performance, should you be increasing or decreasing your mobile bids?
You can adjust mobile device bids within the “settings” tab:
2. Top vs. Other
Learn if the best placement for your ads are within the top 1-3 placements, or on the right hand rail; based on conversion volume, or lowest cost per conversion.
If your ads perform better within the top spots, weigh the option of increasing your keyword bid. If the cost/converted click is higher in the top spots, explore possibly lowering down your bids.
Are there segment views you love more than others? Let us know!
The elusive Quality Score… it’s all some search marketers seem to think about when optimizing their PPC campaigns. But there’s no reason to be intimidated. While it’s important to be aware of it, Quality Score is nothing to lose sleep over. In this post, we’ll take a look a look at how Quality Scores work, how they affect you, and learn some best practices to optimize your campaigns with it in mind.
About Quality Score
Quality Score is an estimate of how relevant your ads are. Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads assign your keywords with a Quality Score and you can use it to create more relevant ads.
How Quality Score is Calculated
It’s measured on a scale from 1 to 10. A Quality Score of 1 means your ad for that keyword is extremely irrelevant and it’s unlikely your ad will show regularly. A Quality Score of 10 means your ad for that keyword is extremely relevant and your ad will be shown frequently when eligible.
Although it’s assigned on the keyword level, Quality Score mostly takes your keyword, ad and landing page into consideration when estimating relevance.
Here is the full list of factors according to Google:
- Your keyword’s expected clickthrough rate (CTR): The expected CTR is based in part on the keyword’s past CTR, or how often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
- Your display URL’s past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
- Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
- The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
- Your keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
- Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for
- Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you’re targeting
- Your ad’s performance on a site: How well your ad’s been doing on this and similar sites (if you’re targeting the Display Network)
- Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, like desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets – you get different Quality Scores for different types of devices
Example: Let’s say you’re promoting a website that sells backpacks. If a customer searched Google for “waterproof backpacks,” your ad should talk about waterproof backpacks and point to a page on your site about waterproof backpacks. That level of relevance should earn you a high Quality Score. But if your ad was just about backpacks in general and pointed to your home page, you’d likely earn a low Quality Score, since that is an irrelevant ad to show searchers.
Why Quality Score Matters
Ad networks prefer relevant ads because they offer searchers a great user experience by showing search results with exactly what they’re looking for. If your Quality Scores are high, you can expect to:
- Earn more impressions and clicks on your ads.
- Earn a higher position among the sponsored search results on the page.
- Earn a discounted cost per click as your Ad Rank improves.
- Include more ad extensions as many extensions require a minimum Quality Score to show.
How to Check Your Quality Score
You can check your Quality Score for campaigns in Google AdWords & Bing Ads by adding it as a column to your keyword table.
Check it in Google AdWords:
- Open a keyword table.
- Click “Columns,” then “Customize Columns.”
- From the “Attributes” metrics, add “Qual. score.”
Check it in Bing Ads:
- Open a keyword table.
- Click “Columns.”
- Add “Qual. Score.”
Check Google & Bing Quality Scores together in AdStage:
You can see both Google & Bing quality scores together through AdStage.
- Open a keyword table (from the folder, campaign or ad group level).
- Click “Configure Table.”
- Add “Qual. Score.”
Diagnose Your Quality Score (AdWords Web UI only)
When looking at a keyword table in the AdWords, you can get diagnose your quality score with additional information about each of the scoring factors. Just click the white speech bubbles next to keyword status to see Google’s estimate of:
- Expected Clickthrough Rate - The estimated percentage of searchers clicking on your ad when it is shown.
- Ad Relevance - The estimated relevance of your ad copy to this keyword.
- Landing Page Experience – The estimated relevance and usefulness of your landing page to searchers.
What’s a Good Quality Score?
Your quality score will vary based on how relevant the keyword is to your offer. If the keyword is your brand name, your Quality Score should be closer to 10. If you sell backpacks and the keyword is “duffel bags,” you quality score could be closer to 3.
Here’s my personal interpretation of Quality Scores:
- 7-10 – Great Quality Score. Your ads are at an advantage in the auction.
- 4-6 – Good Quality Score. Your ads are relatively unaffected in the auction.
- 1-3 – Bad Quality Score. Your ads are at a disadvantage in the auction.
Tips to Improve Your Quality Score
Because Quality Score can offer meaningful improvements to your campaign performance, it’s important to build campaigns with it in mind. The most important being steps that improve your clickthrough rate (CTR).
Reminder: You didn’t start advertising to optimize Quality Scores… so don’t lose sight of the KPIs that matter to you. You want to grow your business, not game your Quality Score.
Here are the top ways to improve your Quality Score:
- Add Negative Keywords – Add negative keywords to reduce out irrelevant impressions. Learn more about negative keywords.
- Make Ads Relevant - Break out keywords into smaller ad groups and populate them with more relevant ads. Learn more about creating ad groups.
- Make Ads Inviting - Ad Create more effective ad copy that encourages clicks. For example, offer an inviting call to action in your ad like “Try our demo free.” Learn more about creating effective ads.
- Use Relevant Landing Pages - Choose the most relevant landing page for this keyword, or use a tool like Unbounce to create a new landing page devoted to this keyword. For the example of the keyword “waterproof backbacks,” I’d build a landing page that features content about waterproof backpacks. Learn more about choosing a landing page.
Do you have other tips to improve Quality Scores? Please share it in the comments!
Savvy marketers utilize Facebook’s Lookalike audience targeting to reach new users who are similar to fans or lead lists. But, did you know you could do this in Google AdWords? Google has recently rolled out Remarketing using Smart Lists – allowing you to target potential customers similar to converting visitors.
Use Smart Lists to Drive New Conversions
Within Google Analytics you can create lists that are used for Google Remarketing targeting.
D: Remarketing (aka Retargeting) -
The ability to target people who have previously visited your site, and show them relevant ads across websites or Google search.
Google Analytics Remarketing have many list types:
All of my site users
Users who visited a specific page/section of my site
All users who completed a conversion goal
Create your own with segments (custom)
Smart lists target a focused group of users who are most likely to convert on your website, based on previous visitors’ conversion patterns. This list is created by Google, requiring no heavy lifting by the user.
Before you can create a Smart List, ensure two things are already in place:
1. Display Advertising is enabled for Website Tracking
2. Your Google Analytics Code is appended to support Display Advertising tracking
Find this snippet within your Google Analytics code:
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) +
Ensure it’s replaced with:
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) +
How to Create a Smart List in Analytics
Once logged into Google Analytics:
1. Click the Admin tab
2. Under the Property column click on the “Remarketing” button, then select “Lists”.
3. Create a “New Remarketing List”
4. Select your list type as “Smart List”
5. Give your Smart List a name
6. Select your AdWords account
7. Save your audience
You are now are advertising to a very fine-tuned audience who has a high likelihood of converting.
Today at the AdWords Performance Forum, Jerry Dischler, the VP of Product Management for AdWords at Google, presented a slew of new AdWords features that are scheduled to roll out over the next few months including new mobile app ad types, improved tracking, and a suite of new tools to manage and optimize campaigns. Here’s a roundup:
Mobile App Ads
Perhaps playing catchup with Facebook’s successful mobile app ads, Google is beefing up their own mobile app ads to help developers promote discovery of and re-engagement with their apps across Google search, the Google Display Network, and YouTube.
To address the fact that 60% of apps are never installed (according to Google), AdWords advertisers can now use AdMob for advanced targeting of people who are most likely to be customers by looking at which apps they use, how frequently they use apps, and what types of in-app purchases they make.
AdWords is also adding a TrueView companion ad type for promoting app installs with YouTube preroll ads.
And to address the fact that 80% of apps are only used once (according to Digital Trends), AdWords is also introducing re-engagement ads for search and display. These ads are incredibly useful for driving increased engagement from users that already have your app installed by deep linking them into different sections of your app.
HotelTonight, the poster child of Facebook’s re-engagement ads, is used as the example here. Users with the HotelTonight app installed can now see AdWords ads that encourage them to open up the app to book a room, rather than be told to install it.
Estimated Total Conversions
While there weren’t any new feature announcements for Estimated Total Conversions, Google’s cross-device conversion tracking tool, Google did report positive results from initial tests and confirmed it will continue to invest in the product.
Estimated Total Conversions promise to more accurately attribute conversions across devices, which have been historically underreported. Google reported a 7% increase in cross-device conversions and a 32% increase in conversions initiated via mobile and completed on another device.
New Enterprise-class Tools
The most exciting announcements were of new “enterprise-class tools” designed to help advertisers manage their campaigns.
Google’s making bulk cross-campaign changes easier by including more bulk actions. The full details are still a bit fuzzy, but if you’ve ever had to make sweeping changes across your campaign to reflect a new promotion or change in messaging, you’ll be glad to know it will be easier to do this in the online interface than ever before.
Automated bidding is growing beyond conversion optimizer and budget optimizer to include the ability maximize the number of conversions, or the total value of conversions.
Max Conversions – You can set you campaigns to use automated bidding that maximizes conversions (e.g., a car company can automate bids to drive as many users as possible to the build-a-car page on their website.)
Max Revenue – You can set you campaigns to use automated bidding that maximizes revenue (e.g., an e-commerce website can automate bids to generate more high-value orders on their website.)
This was my favorite part of the announcement. Director of Product Management for the AdWords front end (and my former manager), Paul Feng, showed a video of some of the steps we have to go through to prepare an AdWords csv for analysis in Excel:
- Create the report in AdWords.
- Download the csv.
- Strip the header.
- Create a pivot table.
- Format the pivot table.
- Manipulate the data.
- Then, re-download the report with data from different entities and repeat…
Enhanced Reporting replaces the offline pivot table process, with a multi-dimensional data tool. These drag and drop reports use live data, so you can change the metric (campaign, ad group, etc.) easily and get real-time results.
This reminds me a lot of custom reports in Google Analytics, but with live previews– which is a huge compliment.
In addition to tables, Enhanced Reporting includes line graphs, pie charts, and bar charts to visualize the data.
While this is a respectable attempt to kill the pivot table, advertisers will still need to merge their reports across other channels like Bing, Facebook, and LinkedIn Ads with Excel or use a third party tool like AdStage to automatically create cross-channel reports. Learn about AdStage reporting here.
Drafts & Experiments
The last feature Google revealed was Drafts & Experiments which seems to be a much-needed overhaul of AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE).
Now if you have a hypothesis to test, you can add your changes to a draft mode for review (what the AdWords product management team thinks of as a “shopping cart” of sorts). Once you’re happy with the proposed changes, you can run it as an experiment with a percentage of your audience.
As the data comes in, you can see the change in performance for the two variations side-by-side. If they changes are beneficial, you can apply your changes. If not, you can reject your hypothesis and revert your changes easily!
What do you think of these announcements? Is there a particular feature you’re excited about?
Are you trying to wrap your head around ad groups to figure out to use them? This post will help you understand how ad groups work and provide you with winning strategies to use ad groups to build highly relevant and effective ads.
What are ad groups
Ad groups are containers that hold a set of ads and the keywords (or other methods of targeting) that trigger those ads. They also contain a default bid for keywords in the ad group along with keyword-level bids, if specified.
Since ad groups live in larger campaigns, they inherit the settings and ad extensions from the campaign they’re housed in, though you can also apply unique settings and extensions to the ad group.
How to use ad groups
Here are a couple of scenarios to show how you should use ad groups to organize your ads around a common theme:
For single-product campaigns
If you have one main product you want to advertise, you could create an ad group for each search intent. This way you can write different ads for each intent and send clicks on those ads directly to the page of your website with the most relevant information.
For example, a payroll software startup could create an ad group for 1) payroll software, 2) alternatives to quickbooks, 3 ) prices 4) etc.
The ad group for prices would then contain keywords like 1) payroll software prices, 2) how much is payroll software, 3) cheap payroll software, 4) etc. along with ads that promote your product to a potential customer that’s concerned about pricing.
For multi-product campaigns
If you have many products or services you want to advertise, you could create an ad group for each product. This way you can write different ads for each product and send clicks on those ads directly to that product’s page on your website.
For example, a plumber may create ad groups for 1) pipes, 2) water heaters 3) septic systems, 4) etc.
The ad group for pipes would then contain keywords like 1) burst pipes, 2) leaky pipes, 3) pipe repair, 4) etc. along with ads that speak directly to the problem of leaky pipes.
Relevance is key
The main thing is to use ad groups to serve the most relevant ad to each potential customer. If your “Pipes” ad group is showing ads about leaky pipes to a customer that is searching for “copper repiping,” you’ll want to create another ad group about repiping so you can show them the best ads.
The main thing is to use ad groups to serve the most relevant ad to each potential customer.
Don’t have a lot of time? Not sure where to start? Focus on your high-margin and high-volume products and services. Then, expand your ad groups from there.