Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar Announcement]

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Advertising | No Comments
Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar Announcement]

Have you begun planning your PPC strategy for 2015 yet? Do you know what the future looks like for the digital ad space in the coming year? In this webinar, experts will talk you through some of the most popular trends from this year, what predictions look like for 2015 and give you tips and tricks on why and how you should be analyzing the data for your PPC strategy.

Join the experts from AdStage and PPC Hero as they discuss the future of PPC and offer tips on how to formulate an all-around knockout PPC strategy for 2015.

When: 10am – 11am PST on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

planning a knockout 2015 ppc strategy

You’ll get expert-level PPC tips like:

  • An inside look at what the future of PPC holds
  • How to analyze trends for an organized and lucrative strategy
  • What channels have grown and why they are important

Save Your Seat

Why Google’s New Custom Affinity Audiences Matters to You

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in How-Tos | 4 Comments
Why Google’s New Custom Affinity Audiences Matters to You

Last week, Google announced that Custom Affinity Audiences is available for everyone on the Google Display Network. Google’s Custom Affinity Audiences gives advertisers more flexibility in how they target across the Display Network.  It’s been a busy few weeks for advertisers with the release of new targeting toys; In addition to Google’s announcement, Facebook also recently announced their Audience Network expansion. In this post, I will share my insights on how Custom Affinity Audiences will impact you as an advertiser.

What is it?

Custom Affinity Audiences allows advertisers to reach the exact people they are looking for as they create the audience parameters. This feature is the culmination of two years of Google launches, including affinity and in-market audiences.

  • Affinity – Someone with a strong history of viewing a subject, i.e. a technophile
  • In-market – Someone who is actively browsing, researching or comparing the types of products you sell, i.e. a new technology

Now, Google is providing advertisers with this information in a way that allows them the ability to define their audience with a combination of interests and sites.

What Are the Benefits?

  1. No longer dependent on Google’s pre-defined audiences
  2. Couple numerous ‘personas’ together to target an audience specific to your business
  3. More control of how you want to find customers online

How to Set It Up in Google AdWords

1. Create a new Ad Group within a AdWords display campaign

2. Select “+ Targeting” to add new targeting

adwords custom affinity audiences

3. Name your Ad Group

4. Choose “Interests & Remarketing” for targeting and select “Affinity” as the category

adwords custom affinity audiences category

5. Below the list of affinities, select “+ Custom”

adwords custom affinity audiences create

Now, you can start designing your Affinity.

  • Be sure to hit enter between each target. For placements, make sure it’s in URL form; if not, it will default to an Interest.
  • This screenshot below shows what it might look like if we wanted to target people for our blog.

adwords custom affinity audiences example

My Take on Custom Affinity Audiences

It’s interesting that this feature launch happened so soon after Facebook’s Atlas announcement and the aforementioned Audience Network expansion. It seems Google is getting closer and closer to “persona” targeting.

As an advertiser, I love the ability to hone in my audience as tight and specific as possible, so I can say firsthand that this  play is very appealing for anyone looking to create Display Campaigns.  I’ve always been a fan of the Google Display Network (GDN) and have seen some very good results from advertising on it. Google Display Network to many is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks; hopefully, this new way of targeting will help alleviate some apprehension to advertise on the GDN. The GDN notoriously has been used as a way for companies to brand, and according to ComScore, it reaches 94% of the web in the U.S. and 89% of global users, so hopefully we’ll see more responsiveness from consumers in terms of conversions.

Custom Affinity Audience targeting gives advertisers an extra layer of targeting and customization, and rightfully so since Google took a lot of customization away with enhanced campaigns. It will be interesting to see how Google uses this data to form other targeting options, i.e. lookalike audiences. Have thoughts on Custom Affinity Targeting? Please share in the comments.

Analyze Your PPC Competition with AdWords Auction Insights

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in How-Tos | One Comment
Analyze Your PPC Competition with AdWords Auction Insights


Have you ever searched Google to see which of your competitors also appear for the keywords you’re bidding on? You can get a much clearer picture of this data with the Auction insights report in Google AdWords. In this post, I’ll give you an overview of this report to help you understand your competitive landscape and optimize accordingly.

About the Auction Insights Report

The Auction insights report in Google AdWords lets you compare your auction performance with competitors who advertise across the same keywords. You’ll see see how often your ads outrank your competitors as well as how your share of voice compares with theirs.

adwords auction insights

While the report does show you some interesting high-level insights about your competitors, it won’t show you the details. You won’t see which keywords, bids or settings your competition is using. Neither will you see their account metrics, like CTR or Quality Score.

How To Generate The Report

To view your Auction insights report in AdWords:

  1. Drill down to the part of your account you want to analyze, or click on the appropriate tab (campaigns, ad groups or keywords) and select the appropriate rows.
  2. Click the details drop-down, and select “Auction insights.”
  3. View the report (and adjust the date range to see how the data changes over time).

adwords auction insights menu

Once you generate the report, you can also apply different segments (like time or device) to see how the landscape changes for these different scenarios.

adwords auction insights segments menuadwords auction insights segments

Report Metrics

Here’s an overview of the metrics the Auction insights report covers:

  • Display URL Domain - This is the URL your competitor is using in their ads. Use this to identify who your competition is.
  • Impression Share - This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed in auctions you were also competing in. Use this to identify your most visible competitor.
  • Average Position - This shows the average position of your competitor’s ads on the search results page for auctions you were also competing in. Use this to approximate how aggressively your competitor is bidding.
  • Overlap Rate - This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed alongside yours. Use this to understand how frequently you’re going head-to-head with your competitor.
  • Position Above Rate - This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed higher than yours. Use this to understand how your ad rank compares with your competitor.
  • Top of Page Rate - This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed at the top of the search results page for auctions you were also competing in. Use this to determine your most aggressive competitor.

Please note that this data only applies to the section of your account which you’re analyzing and doesn’t reveal your competitor’s overall advertising strategy.

Now armed with this data about your competition, you can modify your strategy to react to competitive threats and opportunities!

AdSense For Shopping: How To Organize Your Shopping Campaigns To Compete

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in How-Tos | One Comment
AdSense For Shopping: How To Organize Your Shopping Campaigns To Compete

Google just announced its expansion of Product Listing Ads into AdSense for shopping, allowing shopping ads to run next to content on retail sites, such as

Here is an example.

Walmart AdWords PLAs

This expansion gives advertisers a whole new landscape to introduce their products to consumers, opening some interesting doors in the digital environment.  So what does that mean for you?  In this post, I will provide some insight into the future and guide you through ways to organize your Shopping Campaigns to help you succeed in this new environment.


First, let’s look at what this expansion means for advertisers.

  1. Unlike enhanced campaigns, for now anyway, advertisers can choose to opt in or out of these sites by opting shopping campaigns in or out of search partners.
  2. Advertisers will now be up against site content, leading to some very clear brand distinctions. See the stark differences in both product and price above.
  3. Space will become more competitive since these ads are now pitted against image ads, site content and partner content.
  4. Perfect competition (many buyers and sellers, prices reflect supply and demand) – By pairing a few ads next to an entire business’ site, the only way to compete is to be able to offer something very similar, or better in price.

How To Organize Your Shopping Campaigns

First, Clean Up Your Data Feed

  1. Get rid of anything that you do not want in there, such as expensive acquisition and low margin items.
  2. Correct any issues with products by looking in the Merchant Center; you can find this under Data Quality.
  3. Make sure your data feed is set up to automatically update; this will keep your data feed from expiring if you forget to manually upload it every month.

AdWords Shopping Feed Data Quality

Organize By Product Groups (Ad Groups)

Add these attributes to your data feed if you don’t already have them: id, condition, google product category, product type, brand and custom label. This will be crucial in organizing your campaign(s) in a way that will make data much easier to find and analyze. You will be able to create Product Groups (Ad Groups) in AdWords, based on these attributes.

Data Feed Example

  1. ID

    • You may need/want to re-organize this attribute for your products, but it will allow you to identify products easily in the group. For instance, all products with an Id 1-100 have free shipping. Now, you can easily promote free shipping in your ad. This capability will help you stand out against competitors on their sites.

    • You could also organize the id numbers by product. For instance, for a golf store, putters could have a product number ending in 01. If you can’t compete in some areas, you can exclude these product id’s from the campaign. This way, you will be able to focus on the products which stand a chance against your competitors. You can also easily turn product id’s back on if you are having a sale or clearance event.

  2. Condition

    • Very easy concept here, but really useful if you sell new, used and refurbished products. You can set up product groups to easily find these products.

    • This could be a particularly powerful group for some used or refurbished products. I could see it doing well on a site pitted against some new very expensive products; e.g., sporting equipment.

  3. Google Product Category

    • This attribute is one of the main drivers for Product Listing Ads. Nailing the category helps tremendously; organizing by category will allow you to position products next to similar products in the new AdSense for Shopping landscape.

    • You can also bid more aggressively or introduce more sales in these categories to help standout on a competitor’s site.

  4. Product Type

    • Similar to Google Product Categories; however, these are specific to your business and can be manipulated, so you can organize them in a way that will allow you to easily track and compete on competitor sites.

    • It will also help you bid more or less aggressively on products, and make better decisions on products as more data is available.

  5. Brand

    • Organizing by brand will help to ensure that you are competing aggressively on the brands that warrant the most return, and less on those that don’t– the goal being to maximize ROI.
    • It will also allow you to quickly change promotional text for when a specific manufacturer has a sale, or quickly exclude a brand that is not performing.
  6. Custom Labels

You can add up to 5 custom labels and only one value per label.

AdWords shopping custom labels

    • You will be able to use these labels to create product groups so you can customize bids and specialize promotions for these groups at any particular time (great for seasonal retailers).
    • Very useful to help identify products that produce very well or not so well for your company.
    • Also, it will help you exclude groups that you don’t want to run in a current campaign; for instance, if you are running a sale on specific items and you don’t want other items to run as well.
    • Labels are also nice if you work with a variety of products that are hard to define using Google Product Categories.

* Your definitions will not import into AdWords; they are there for your reference. However, you can utilize AdWords labels to help you stay organized and keep you from switching back and forth in AdWords and the Merchant Center.


Create campaigns with either the intent to include search partners, or not. This will give you the ability to manage your products more efficiently. Keep in mind that you are still running on search as well, so excluding content that you don’t want to run on AdSense For Shopping sites will help keep products off sites on which you can’t compete. Structure is going to be very important when competing on AdSense sites, it will help make optimizing and decision making much more manageable. Have other strategies for success with Product Listing Ads for AdSense for Shopping? Please leave your comments below.

The New Must-Have AdWords Extension: Callouts

Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in News | 6 Comments
The New Must-Have AdWords Extension: Callouts

Move over, sitelinks. We have a new contender in the battle for AdWords extension prominence. In this post, I’ll show you what callouts are and help you make the most of them for your AdWords campaigns.

About Callouts

Just last week, Google announced the callouts extension as a way to highlight information about your products and services with your search ads.

Google AdWords Callout Extensions

Callouts are plain text, which may look boring on the surface, but it offers some compelling benefits:

  • Nearly doubles your ad copy
  • Helps draw attention to the most important benefits
  • Helps you present a more compelling offer
  • Helps potential customers make informed decisions
  • Helps position your offer above competitors
  • Improves Ad Rank

How Hilton Used Callouts

The use of callout extensions has meant we’ve been able to let our customers know how much more our hotels have to offer than just rooms. Spas, restaurants and meeting facilities are just a few of the attractive options our hotels have to offer, which may not be seen through a traditional revenue driving campaign. In just one month after implementing callout extensions, we’ve seen a 9% increase in conversion rate.

- James Harrower, Senior Search Manager, Hilton Worldwide

How To Create Callouts

adwords extensions tab callouts

  1. From the AdWords interface, click on the “Ad extensions” tab.
  2. From the “View” dropdown, select “Callout extensions.”
  3. Click the red “+Extension” button.
  4. Click the “+ New Callout” button.
  5. Enter the text of your first callout (there is a 25 character limit per callout).
  6. Save and repeat for all callouts.
  7. Select the callouts to include in the campaign. You can select many callouts, but a maximum of four can be displayed with your ad. Callouts can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level.

Create a Google AdWords Callout Extensions

Example Callouts to Get Inspired

  • 1 year warranty
  • 10% off site-wide
  • 24×7 customer service
  • AAA discounts available
  • BBB A+ Rated
  • Cancel anytime
  • Easy returns
  • Featured in TechCrunch
  • Free delivery
  • Free quote
  • Free shipping
  • Handmade
  • Instant download
  • Join free
  • Limited-time offer
  • Locally-sourced
  • Money-back guarantee
  • No contracts
  • No hidden fees
  • Official dealer
  • Order online
  • Pickup from store
  • Price matching
  • Trusted by professionals


Callouts have already begun rolling out to the native AdWords interface. Learn more in AdWords Help.

10 Things Every PPC Account Should Have [Webinar]

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Advertising | One Comment
10 Things Every PPC Account Should Have [Webinar]

Webinar host logos

Are you just starting out as an advertiser? Maybe you just need a refresher on things you should be doing? Do you have a clear vision of your goals and all the bells and whistles available, set-up for your account(s)? It’s easy to get wrapped up in big projects in your accounts and forget about the smaller, yet still very important, tasks that keep your account healthy and up to speed.

This new webinar from the experts at AdStage, PPC Hero and Hanapin Marketing, provides tips on building the structure and goals of your account and list out the daily tasks and extra opportunities available to optimize your account and boost performance.

Webinar Recording


Webinar Slides


10 Things Every PPC Account Should Have [Webinar Announcement]

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in Advertising | 2 Comments
10 Things Every PPC Account Should Have [Webinar Announcement]

Webinar host logos

Are you just starting out as an advertiser? Maybe you just need a refresher on things you should be doing? Do you have a clear vision of your goals and all the bells and whistles available, set-up for your account(s)? It’s easy to get wrapped up in big projects in your accounts and forget about the smaller, yet still very important, tasks that keep your account healthy and up to speed. Join the experts from AdStage, PPC Hero and Hanapin Marketing as we discuss the ten things your PPC account should definitely have.

This new webinar will give you tips on building the structure and goals of your account and list out the daily tasks and extra opportunities available to optimize your account and boost performance.

When: 9am – 10am PDT on Thursday, September 4th, 2014

You’ll get expert-level PPC tips like:

  • Defining your goals and audience and how to test for success
  • Easy and quick ways to boost CTRs and ROIs
  • How to identify opportunities for optimization and expansion

Register Now

Automate Campaign Management Tasks Across AdWords, Bing, Facebook & LinkedIn

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Advertising | 3 Comments
Automate Campaign Management Tasks Across AdWords, Bing, Facebook & LinkedIn

adstage automated rulesManaging ad campaigns can get pretty repetitive when you need to run through the same handful of steps every time you optimize a campaign. And when going through these steps is a chore, you’ll be tempted to procrastinate which can result in a real hit to your ROI.

Fortunately, we just launched a brand new app that automates these tedious campaign optimization tasks for you. You can now edit your bids, pause low-performing ads, schedule/day-part your campaigns and more automatically! We’re incredibly excited about our new Automated Rules app and can’t wait for you to try it out. In this post, you’ll be able to check out some of the app’s features and see examples of it in action.


Intuitive Rule Creation

It’s easy to create custom automated rules in AdStage. Just follow our simple “if this, then that” format to define the action and required conditions.

intuitive automated rule builder

Cross-Network Compatibility

The Automated Rules app isn’t limited to any one network. You can create rules for Google AdWords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads or even Facebook Ads

build automated rules across google adwords, bing ads, facebook ads, or linkedin ads

Easy Rule Management

Making adjustments to your rules is easy with the management page. You can edit, pause, delete and even duplicate your rules quickly in order to automate your full portfolio of campaigns. You can even add and remove campaigns from your rules after you’ve created them.

Manage automated rules

Tweet About Rules

Example Rules

1) Pause Low-Performing Ads

It’s important to review your campaign’s ads regularly so you can pause the ads that perform poorly. This is because there’s an opportunity cost to showing bad ads: every time you show a bad ad, you miss out on the chance of showing a good ad. Bad ads hurt your chances of winning over customers and can hurt your quality scores. You want to make the most of every ad impression by using your best ad whenever possible.

This rule will automate the process of identifying and pausing low-performing ads so you can always put your best foot forward and improve the quality of your campaigns. You’ll want to adjust the details in consideration of your campaign’s performance trends.

  • IF Clicks are greater than 10 & Impressions are greater than 100 & CTR is less than 0.90%
  • THEN Pause ad
  • ON Mondays at 9pm, using data from the last 14 days

pause low performing ads

2) Edit Keyword Bids

Your keyword’s bid (or, in social campaigns, your ad’s bid) is an incredibly powerful variable that directly affects how profitable your campaigns are. Bid too low and you’ll miss out on valuable opportunities to reach interested customers. Bid too high and your customer acquisition costs will outweigh the customer’s value. To address this, you must audit your keyword performance regularly and adjust their bids to reach your goals.

This rule automates that process by editing your bids in light of your KPIs. You’ll want to adjust the details in consideration of your campaign’s performance.

  • IF Average position is less than 2 & Clicks are greater than 10 & Impressions are greater than 100 & Average CPC is greater than $2.50
  • THEN Decrease bid by $0.10
  • ON Mondays at 9pm, using data from the last 14 days

edit keyword bids

3) Schedule Campaigns

Ad scheduling (also known as day-parting) is another powerful dimension of campaign optimization. Scheduling lets you turn off your ads at the times of day (or week) that they’re less profitable. It’s a great way to limit wasted spend so you can devote your budget towards the more profitable times of day.

For example, if your ads have lower click through rates and conversion rates on nights and weekends, you might want to schedule your ads to turn off during that time. This rule brings day-parting to all networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn Ads.

This example below shows how a Schedules Campaigns rule could be configured. You’ll want to adjust the schedule to match the times you want your campaign to run.

  • SCHEDULE Campaigns to run Monday through Friday from 5AM to 6PM Pacific

schedule campaigns day-parting

Automated Rules in the Press

We’ve received some great press coverage about our new Automated Rules app this past week! Check out some of the featured articles below:

Get Automated Rules with AdStage

Access the new Automated Rules app and manage AdWords, Bing, Facebook & LinkedIn ad campaigns together from one place with AdStage. Start your free trial today!

No credit card required. Try AdStage risk-free for 14 days.

Promote Your App with Google, Facebook, and Twitter Ads

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in How-Tos | 4 Comments
Promote Your App with Google, Facebook, and Twitter Ads

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.

Dedicated Campaigns

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.


Increase Installs

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.

Track Conversions

Set up conversion tracking to report on total installs, cost-per-install metrics, or custom engagement metrics.

App Conversion Tracking by Network


Use a trusted 3rd party partnerLearn more.


Add a snippet of code from Facebook to your app or use a trusted 3rd party partner.


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

Test bidding types that focus on optimizing for desired actions.


Drive more installs with conversions optimizer.


Test Optimized CPM, bidding on actions. Once enough historic installs occur, then CPA bidding will be available, and it’s one of the most cost effective bid types for installs.


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.

How To Preview Your AdWords Ads Without Paying For It

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Advertising | 10 Comments
How To Preview Your AdWords Ads Without Paying For It

adstage ad on google adwordsWho 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 where the impressions are free. The links don’t work, but you’ll be able to see if your ads are running.

Google AdWords Ad Preview & Diagnosis Toolbar

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.

Google AdWords Ad PreviewGoogle AdWords Ad Preview & Diagnosis

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.

bing ads ad preview and diagnostics

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.