What’s New in AdStage: May

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Automation, Product Updates, Reporting
What’s New in AdStage: May

Welcome to the May edition of What’s New in AdStage! We spent the last month building a ton of feature enhancements in Report and Automate.

Let’s take a look at the latest and greatest in Report and Automate below👇.

Report

Bring All Your Marketing Data into One PPC Report

New Table Upload Widget

Take any excel, csv, or google sheets data table you have and upload it directly to Report!

Use Table Upload Widgets to Help You:

(1) Measure Return on Ad Spend by Opportunities Closed

  • Drop in your monthly opportunity and revenue reports from Salesforce into your cross-channel reporting views.

(2) Track Top-of-Funnel Conversion Trends

  • Pull a campaign level performance report from your marketing automation system to see the landing pages or content driving the most conversions from your campaigns.

(3) Get a 360º View of Cross-Channel Top Performers

  • Add in metrics from other channels, such as email, event, or organic social performance data.

(4) Add Custom Tables with Google Sheets

  • Customize your reporting views using Google Sheets to show data from your custom formulas. When uploading a table from Google Sheets, you’ll always have the most recent data – no need to worry about data accuracy problems 🙌 .
  • Get step-by-step help with Google Sheets 👉  How do I upload a Google Sheet into Report?

Save Time Creating Reports with Dashboard Settings

Set Default Data Source at the Dashboard Level

Now you can choose to view data from specific account groups, accounts, folders, campaigns, ad groups, or ads at the dashboard level by setting a ‘Data Source’.

The data source you select in the dashboard settings, will now be the default level for any newly created widget.

Filter Your Performance Data Views Faster

New Widget Creation Layout 

The widget fields now have natural language making it easier to breakdown performance data by any level of your ad account, and uncover deeper KPI insights from your reports.

New Widget Creation Layout Filter Performance Views via blog.adstage.io

Easily Identify Top Performing Networks at a Glance

We Standardized Network Colors!

Now when you create a cross-network widget, you’ll see each network has a standardized color. These network colors will be consistent across all dashboards and reports.

Standard Network Colors AdStage Report via blog.adstage.io

Standard Network Colors AdStage Report via blog.adstage.io

See Your Copy Next to Your Ads in Performance Tables

Add Headline, Image, and Description Columns to Ad Tables

We added the ability to see ad creative next to performance metrics,  so you can diagnose which creatives are working, and what’s not, faster.

Add an ad level table widget to your reports for a side-by-side comparison of winning headline, image, and description combinations.

Automate

Sequence Ads Together to Tell Your Brand Story

New Automate Flighting Feature!

Drum roll please……introducing the latest addition to Automate: Flighting!

Now you can show campaigns, ad groups, and ads in an ordered sequence to reach your target audience at every buying stage (resulting in higher CTRs and conversion rates🤑 ).

Top Direct-Response and Brand Awareness Flighting Strategies

(1) Funnel-Based Storytelling

  • Increase CTR and conversion rates using a specific series of sequenced ads to walk potential customers down the purchase funnel with relevant call-to-actions.
  • For example start with a brand awareness message (Step 1), product information / value proposition message (Step 2), and finally use a targeted CTA to convert potential customers via signup form or make a purchase on product page.

(2) Prime-and-Remind Storytelling

  • Use different ad formats to both “prime” people with the brand’s story using video ads, and “remind” people of the video narrative with display ads.

(3) Progressive Promotions

  • If you are running a promotion with different percentages off per week, you can flight your ads to show accurately and timely.
  • Easily schedule specific times to run your first week 10% Off Promo (Step 1), second week 20% Off Promo (Step 2), and third week 30% Off Promo (Step 3).


Have questions about Flighting? Check out the full product update for Flighting templates and getting started guides.

Let Your Alerts Do the Optimizing for You

Convert Performance Alerts into Optimization Rules with Just One-Click

Now you can easily convert your existing alerts into rules to automate the same actions you’re already taking on your accounts after you receive an email notification.

AdStage Automate Convert Alert into Rule via blog.adstage.io

Automate Convert Alert to Rule AdStage via blog.adstage.io

Your converted rule will have the same conditions as your alert, but now you can specify an optimization condition to apply once the rule is triggered. In other words, you can save yourself a ton of time on performing tedious management tasks.

Common Alert → Rule Use Cases to Save Time & Boost Results

1. Avoid Wasting Spend on High CPA Ad Sets

  • IF Cost Per Result > $100 AND Spend > $250
  • Using Data from Last 30 Days
  • THEN Pause Ad Set
  • Run Every 6 Hours
  • RUN & EMAIL results

2. Pause Low Performing CTR Ads

  • IF Status is Active AND Impressions > 5000 AND CTR < .05%
  • Using Data from Last 7 Days
  • THEN Pause AD
  • Run Every Monday at 10am PST
  • RUN & EMAIL results

3. Maximize Your Daily Budget

  • IF Spend < $15
  • Using Data from Today
  • THEN Increase Bid Amount by 30% with Max. Bid = $10
  • Run Daily @ 2pm PST
  • RUN & EMAIL results

Common Alert → Rule Use Cases to Save Time & Boost Results via blog.adstage.io

Wrapping Up

We always love hearing from you! Let us know what you think about the May product updates in the comments below.

P.S. Want to check out the full product release?

Visit our product updates portal, where we’ll be keeping you up-to-date with the latest and greatest from the AdStage labs!

When and How Use Facebook Sequential Advertising

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Automation, Social
When and How Use Facebook Sequential Advertising

The concept of sequential advertising first started buzzing in 2013 but failed to gain momentum. That could be changing as platforms finally begin to build ways for marketers to more effectively deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

What Is Sequential Advertising

But first, let’s take a small step back and look at what sequential advertising is. Essentially, it’s a way to show your targeted audience a group of ads by step, with the goal of one day following consumers’ eyes as they jump between devices. It’s different (and more advanced) than rotating ads in that it uses technology to determine which ads someone has already seen and automatically serves up the next one in the series.

So instead of running the risk of someone seeing the 4th ad in your campaign multiple times (hello, ad fatigue), sequential advertising guarantees a person will see Ad 1, then Ad 2, then Ad 3, and so on, even if they’re switching between many devices.

It’s a complicated process, which is why advertising platforms have been slow to implement it. But progress is being made, like Snapchat now allowing marketers to run sequential video ads in its Discover hub. And consumers like what they see.

Facebook, Refinery29, and Adaptly held a study that found campaigns that tell a brand story before presenting a CTA were more effective than ads that only focused on a CTA. In fact, according to the study, view-through rates for sequenced ads were 87 percent higher than standard ads.

Now we’ll go over when’s the best time to use sequential messaging, how to get a campaign going on Facebook, and how to tailor your ads to this new medium.

When To Use Sequential Advertising on Facebook

The best time to start testing a new ad unit is before the rest of the digital marketers catch on, right? But seriously, sequential advertising is proving itself to be a means to forge deeper relationships with customers thanks to the storytelling structure it provides. Even if you’re just running some light tests, early adoption could give you a huge leg up.

Sequential also works exceedingly well for less well-known brands who need to build awareness before serving a CTA, and companies that are selling a complicated product or service that’s difficult to sum up in one ad. Instead of having to jam everything into one ad for fear it may be your only chance to catch someone’s attention, sequential ensures your messaging is guiding consumers down a natural funnel.

Advertising often is too focused on acquisition and ignores lead nurturing. Sequencing helps here by providing a way to better pair blog posts and email campaigns with advertising to offer more helpful, relevant ad messaging based on where a prospect is within the buying cycle.

One example is taking low friction content such as a blog post, which often doesn’t introduce your product or service, and moving on to items like a gated whitepaper, case study, then a webinar or demo.

Sequential Funnel

How To Get Started Using Facebook Sequential Advertising

Facebook is slowly rolling out access to sequential within reach and frequency campaigns, but there’s no word on when it might be more widely available. To check if you have access to sequencing, see Facebook’s step-by-step instructions and note “sequencing isn’t available until after you’ve reserved and uploaded your reach and frequency ad set.”

Because Facebook and Instagram share data, sequencing is available on both platforms, and your ads will show up on both, but you cannot control which ads are delivered to which platform.

If you don’t yet have access to sequencing directly through Facebook, AdStage recently introduced a new Flighting Feature that gives all customers access to sequencing! It includes funnel-based storytelling and prime-and-remind storytelling, discussed in more detail below, as well as progressive promotions, which allows you to run a promotion with different percentages off per week. For example, 10% off the first week, 20% the second week, and so on.

Facebook digs in deeper on funnel-based and prime-and-remind storytelling in this great overview and data booklet on tests they conducted for sequential:

Funnel-based storytelling = messages guide consumers down the purchase funnel:

Funnel

Priming-and-reminding storytelling = multiple ad formats “prime” people with the brand’s story via video ads and “remind” people of the info in the video with display ads:

PR

In the funnel-based test, Facebook used Refinery29’s conversion rates for email sign-ups. One set of ads used direct-response messages, while the other set used sequential storytelling. There was a 49% greater conversion rate using a funnel-based marketing approach. And for the priming-and-reminding test, Facebook looked at a nonprofit advertiser that used a video ad with a display ad to return a 5.97% better rate of donations. Approaches and ad combos will work differently for every brand, so test small and tweak.

Tips to Tailor Ads to Sequential

Sequential offers many more options for creative than standard ads. Because it effectively guides consumers along the funnel, test different ad formats at each point – brand awareness, consideration, conversion.

Video can help deliver more info upfront, and carousels can showcase multiple products before you serve up a simple CTA. Also, test the pacing of your ads. You don’t want to move too quickly for larger purchasing decisions, or too slowly for low price points that don’t need much consideration. Always print and lay out your creative to ensure it tells a cohesive story.

For years, marketers have talked about the possibilities and implications of sequential advertising but had no way to execute. If advertising platforms continue with the progress they’ve already made, 2017 could be the year we finally have a way to form deeper and richer relationships with customers.

Have PPC expertise to share? Join us for a guest post!

Have PPC expertise to share? Join us for a guest post!

Write for The AdStage Blog

Have an opinion about Facebook’s newest feature release? Want to share your tips on managing Demand Gen teams in modern agencies? Think you have a game-changing hack for optimizing your AdWords campaigns? Then we’d love to have you write a guest post for our blog. We’re always looking for fresh perspectives from the sharpest minds in search and social digital advertising to provide our audience with actionable, in-depth content that helps them better plan, execute, optimize, and report on their PPC campaigns.

A few of our favorite guest posts to date include:

How to Write an AdStage Guest Post

  • Submit your contact information and your blog post idea in this Google Form. Please allow us 7 business days to get back to you.
  • Next, once we give the go-ahead, send us a full draft of the post in google doc format. Include images! Please allow us 7 business days to review and provide edits/feedback.
  • Include a bio (50 words max), include 150 x 150 high-res photo of yourself.
  • After final edits are made and the post is approved, we will queue it up in our content schedule.
  • Lastly, we will let you know the publish date and time so you can co-promote on the launch date.

Who are our ideal guest post authors?

We accept pitches from PPC marketers of all stripes. Whether you’re working in an in-house, agency, or consultant role, everyone brings unique perspectives that are valuable to our audience.

You should have at least a couple years of experience in the PPC world. Previous pieces in published on other high-authority blogs are a plus.

Which Topics Do We Cover?

Our audience consists of data-driven marketing directors, in-house PPC managers/specialists, and PPC agency marketers from around the world. The types of articles that do well with our readers include:

  • Anything to do with planning, organizing, or executing PPC campaigns or accounts.
  • Specific Ad Network features digital advertisers can take advantage of to get the most bang for their buck (top Ad Networks include Facebook, Instagram, AdWords, LinkedIn, Bing, and Twitter).
  • How-to guides for medium to advanced PPC professionals.
  • Bonus points for focusing on PPC reporting or automation!
  • Tips for PPC Reporting for Agencies, A/B testing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Automation, B2B Lead Generation, PPC Landing Pages, Ad Creative, Re-Targeting–if it’s PPC, are all great topics!

Guest Post Requirements

  • Your post must be at least 1,000 words.
  • You must propose a target keyword.
  • We request that you use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to come up with your headline, and submit one with a score of at least 65.
  • Your post must be original content.
  • If your post is published, we’ll ask that you respond to all comments for the first seven days after it’s posted.

What’s in it for you?

  • Exposure to our ever-growing audience of PPC experts
  • A potential feature in our weekly newsletter
  • Shoutouts from AdStage social media accounts
  • A chance to share your expertise and build your reputation as a PPC thought leader

We look forward to hearing from you!

Have PPC expertise to share? Join us for a guest post! via blog.adstage.io

 

Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Advertising, Automation
Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move

Running a PPC campaign involves so many tasks and can’t-miss details that having a checklist is necessary to keep from overlooking an important step. But, often, a comprehensive PPC checklist can turn into multiple pages of bullets and sub-bullets. Surely, every PPC professional dreams of editing the list down! But how is that possible without losing crucial details? The answer is automation. As you’ll see below, implementing a single point of automation can eliminate multiple steps, and in many cases, optimize performance for better results.

1) Triggered Emails & Texts

If you totaled up all the time you spend monitoring simple milestones for accounts and campaigns, you’d probably gasp at the number. Whether it’s checking in on spend, key performance indicators, or troubleshooting red flags, logging into accounts to look at the numbers is time-consuming. Triggered emails do all the work for you, sending updates and alerts so you can combat over/under spend, make adjustments mid-run, and anticipate problems before they happen.

Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move via blog.adstage.io

2) Automated Bidding

You’re not alone in feeling that bidding can be overwhelming and confusing. Google AdWords and Facebook Ads offer bidding options that let you set your goals for CPA, CPC, CPM, and specific objectives, in the case of Facebook. And because both bidding systems continue optimizing 24/7, you can feel confident you’re getting the most for your money without having to monitor and tweak around the clock.

3) Employ If/Then Logic

It’s always exciting to reach a milestone in a PPC campaign, but mindlessly clicking buttons to keep things moving can be a buzzkill. Optimization rules built on if/then logic will automatically roll progress along. For example, if you’re A/B testing ads and want to divert remaining budget to the better performing ad once it crosses a certain threshold, you can set an optimization rule instead of logging in, monitoring, clicking, tweaking, and so forth.

Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move via blog.adstage.io

4) Dayparting and Flighting

Scheduling is one area where it’s extra nice to set it and forget it. Instead of logging in to manually launch ads, you can set your calendar for an entire campaign before the first ad is even published.

5) Bulk Action Cleanups

Click. Click. Click. Click. When you have bigger fish to fry, performing the same action over and over can be infuriating. With automation, you can perform bulk actions, so you can get rid of the old and getting started again with a clean slate quickly.

6) A/B split tests

Any good marketer knows testing ads before pulling the big trigger is a must. But running multiple mini-campaigns at once is just double, or triple, or even quincentuple the work depending on how many ads you’re testing. Automating A/B split tests allows you to set up many ads in one go, and pull one complete report.

7) Fresh Creative

We’ve talked about ad fatigue in previous posts, but what can be equally tiring is manually shuffling new creative into the mix when performance stalls. Your dreams of an easier way to keep creative fresh have come true thanks to automation. Set your KPIs, load your creative, then watch as customers are wowed by a seemingly never-ending stream of new ads.

Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move via blog.adstage.io

8) Custom Optimization Rules

The core of your PPC checklist might not change, but you’re likely constantly making revisions and additions based on your own data and learnings. Revising your checklist takes time, and you’re probably only expanding it as you add more details. With automation, you can plug in your data to create custom optimization rules, cutting out tiresome manual steps and ensuring you’ve saved valuable information for future campaigns.

Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move via blog.adstage.io

9) One Control Center

Even with saved passwords, logging into dozens of accounts to make the same change is tedious. Automation software lets you adjust your ads on different networks from one account. This capability makes it much easier to be nimble, and test without investing a ton of time.

 


Cut Your PPC Checklist In Half With This Simple Move via blog.adstage.io


There’s no magic wand to eliminate all the to-dos on your PPC checklist, but letting automation take care of the small stuff means you have more time to focus on the big stuff. AdStage offers powerful automation tools to help you save time and optimize performance.

With AdStage’s Automation, HIRED has decreased CPA by over 30%, and Inflow has used simple if/then logic-based rules to increase conversions by over 20%. Test it out with a 14-Day Free Trial, or request a demo.

 

Why AdStage Automation Beats Facebook Automation Every Time

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Automation, Social
Why AdStage Automation Beats Facebook Automation Every Time

If you’re a smart PPC advertiser, you have a whole lot of Facebook ads running at once. And, if you’re a savvy PPC advertiser, you know exactly how you want to optimize your ads given your campaign objectives. That’s where Facebook automation comes into play.

Automated rules allow you to track under and over-pacing ad sets, schedule ads for certain days/times, pause or boost ads based on performance, run tests, and automatically rotate new creative in after a certain period of time.

The number of hours you can save using these automated rules is huge and the more chances at automation you have, the more that number grows.

That’s why we wanted to break down exactly what you’re getting with the automated rules in Facebook’s ad manager and with AdStage’s Automate product. That way, if you’re looking for more Facebook automation or a specific feature, you know where to find it!

What Facebook Ads Manager Offers

Facebook released automated rules in 2016, allowing advertisers to optimize campaigns with simple rule-based automation. They currently offer four Facebook automation rules:

  • Pause campaigns, ad sets or ads based on performance
  • Increase or decrease campaign budgets based on performance
  • Increase or decrease manual bids based on performance
  • Receive email alerts based on ad performance

Why AdStage Automation Beats Facebook Automation Every Time via blog.adstage.io

 

What AdStage Automate Offers

Facebook’s automation offerings are a fantastic start, and that’s why AdStage offers them, too. But why stop there? These automated rules are helpful in catching and taking action on performance changes, but there are ways you can optimize your campaigns at an even more granular level.

In addition to the rules offered natively on Facebook, AdStage Automate offers a set of optimization tools for Facebook Ads that can give you greater flexibility, chances for optimization, and time saved.

Stay Up to Date on Ad Performance

With email performance alerts, you can monitor your ad accounts and campaigns around the clock. Stay on top of campaign trends like over or under spend, CTR, and high cost per conversion. And, you can use alerts to be sure you know when ads are live, so you can better control budget pacing. Know when an ad is down, banned, or awaiting approval and when that issue is resolved.

Also, you no longer need to export campaign performance and analyze the data in an Excel file. Your email notification includes a complete list of underperforming accounts and campaigns straight to your inbox. You can also get alerts like these through Facebook Ads Manager, but you may be limited as they only allow up to 100 automated rules in each ad account.

Efficiently Optimize Your Ads

Using simple IF/THEN logic, you can create flexible and powerful optimization rules and apply them to multiple campaigns and ad sets simultaneously. AdStage’s automated optimization tasks fire based on the performance trends you choose so you’re always in control, and have the ability to optimize campaigns as soon as the performance conditions apply.

In addition, you can apply as many rules as you wish, while Facebook only allows each ad account up to 100 automated rules.

Why AdStage Automation Beats Facebook Automation Every Time via blog.adstage.io

Schedule Campaign Budgets to Increase or Decrease

Unlike Facebook automated rules, AdStage does not limit you to simple automated bid and budget changes when performance changes occur. For seasonal campaigns or end of quarter pushes, you may want to increase your budget to make specific revenue goals.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to drive more impressions before a sale is over, you can schedule an increase in your bids during any given week. The budget can be flexible and updated automatically with the AdStage campaign scheduler.

Daypart Campaigns to Deliver During Specific Times

While Facebook also offers dayparting in Power Editor, they don’t make it easy for you to turn off your campaigns. They are, after all, incentivized to have you keep your ads on all the time. So, if you’re not using Power Editor, you miss out on this opportunity to optimize your ad delivery.

In AdStage Automate, dayparting is available through the campaign scheduler. Based on the top converting times of the day, or when your audience is likely to be on Facebook, you can deliver Facebook Ads at the most optimal times of the day or week. This ensures your budget is spent as efficiently as possible — by simply choosing which hours and days to show your ads for the best conversion rates.

Campaign scheduling in Power Editor also requires a lifetime budget, while in AdStage, advertisers have no restrictions on what budget types can be used for scheduling, and can use the more popular ‘daily budgets’ in their set up.

Keep Your Ads Fresh

While Facebook is supposed to automatically rotate your ads, you don’t get very much visibility into why they choose which ads to rotate. Automated ad rotation in AdStage allows you to cycle through sets of ads, ad sets, or campaigns based on your desired KPIs, rather than Facebook’s black box algorithm.

You will most likely want to keep your ads fresh, with either new ad copy, ad images, new calls-to-action, or new landing pages, and this solution allows you to engage your audience with different messages at scale.

Take Action in Bulk

Quickly get the best view into your data and take an optimization action in bulk. If you’d like to do a one-time performance clean up of an account or campaign, it’s easy to do that bulk action through a simple workflow in AdStage Automate.

Unlike Facebook Ads Manager, where you have to select each ad set or campaign to take bulk actions, AdStage lets you filter by specific parameters, saving hours of manual time filtering performance views and making edits.

Scale Automation Beyond Facebook Ads

As a cross-network platform, AdStage allows you to create automated rules for other paid channels such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads, and LinkedIn Ads. This is a great upsell tactic for agencies who are growing their book of business.

Once you’ve gotten your strategy down in Facebook Ads with our set of Facebook automation tools, expand your campaigns across the other networks to gain more syndication.

Get Started with AdStage Automate

AdStage Automate brings additional flexibility, more in-depth metrics to optimize/monitor, and incredible amounts of time saved through bulk actions with running Facebook automation. Improve your workflows and get organized today with your free trial of AdStage Automate.

Why AdStage Automation Beats Facebook Automation Every Time via blog.adstage.io

The 10 Best AdWords Scripts to Scale your PPC Accounts

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Automation, Search
The 10 Best AdWords Scripts to Scale your PPC Accounts

When you scale your AdWords accounts, you start to find even some of the most basic tasks start to take up huge amounts of time. I remember stepping up from managing smaller AdWords accounts with a few hundred ads (where I could easily keep track of my split tests in a few minutes per day), to some much larger ones where there were tens of thousands of ads. It would have taken me literally hours a day to review each one by hand.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The key to keeping on top of your AdWords accounts when you scale is Automation. And, one of the most straightforward ways to automate tasks is to use AdWords Scripts.

AdWords Scripts are pieces of Javascript code that you can literally copy and paste into your account without any coding knowledge. You can learn how to implement AdWords Scripts step by step here.

So what are the best AdWords scripts? Here are the 10 I absolutely could not live without:

1. Quality Score Tracker by PPC Epiphany

This is hands down one of the best AdWords scripts ever written. It allows you to automatically record your Quality Score once per day so you can keep track of your historical quality score without having to purchase any software.

And, not only does it help you keep track of your historical Quality Score,it also allows you to create a dashboard within Google sheets that shows you your current quality score distribution and impression weighted Quality Score.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

The script provides a number of settings that you can change to add further charts to your dashboard, such as click-weighted Quality Score.

2. Automated Ad Testing Script

Split testing when you have a few ads is not a problem, but when you have 10,000 or even 100,000 it becomes a big problem. This automated ad creative testing tool makes it easy to keep track of all of your split tests.

It works by analyzing the ads within an ad group and making a calculation as to whether there is statistical significance. This can be set to test a range of different metrics such as CTR and conversion rate.

Once statistical significance has been reached the script labels the ads as either “Current Champion” or “Loser 95% confidence”. It can also be configured to email you to say that a split test has finished.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

3. 24-Hour Bidding Script

One of the limitations of AdWords is that you can only use 6 different bid buckets per day, but you are likely to find that your conversion rate changes hourly.

There is however a workaround for this using AdWords Scripts and the Google Sheets API. It allows you to set the different bid modifiers for each hour within Google Sheets and then import them using the API into AdWords to change bids 24 times per day.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

4. Weather-Based Bidding Script

There are a significant number of industries where AdWords performance is affected by the weather (literally!) such as automotive, travel, home improvement, retail and many more, and for maximum ROI is it essential to change bids to reflect what’s going on outside.

This script allows you to increase or decrease your bids based on the weather in the location where a user is searching.

5. Disable Ads for Out-of-tock Items in Search

Most merchant feeds allow you to pause your Google Shopping ads when they are out of stock but there is no similar functionality built into Google search.

This script allows you to pause ads that are linking to out-of-stock products by scanning the page for the “out-of-stock” piece of code.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

6. N-Gram Search Query Reports

Seeing trends within your search query reports is fairly straightforward when you have a small AdWords account, but this becomes a lot more complex when you have millions of different search queries to review.

The solution here is to use something called N-Gram analysis, which allows you to see the aggregate performance of individual words or phrases. So, for example, if you are selling Alloy wheels, you would be able to see the performance of all of the search queries that contain the color “silver” for example.

7. Competitor Tracking Script

Keeping track of your competitors is fundamental to AdWords success, however, it can be time consuming on larger accounts. The solution here is to use this competitor tracking script that allows you to map your competitors’ impression-share over time.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

8. “Split Test Anything” Script

There are several limitations of using AdWords experiments. For instance, not being able to test the campaign settings themselves. This AdWords script provides a workaround in that it allows you to test virtually anything.

It works using labels. The results of the tests can be reviewed within the dimensions tab and will look like this.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

9. 24-Hour Heat Map Script

This AdWords Script allows you to see how your AdWords performance changes hour-by-hour in the form of a heat map so that it is easy to visualize.

This script has also been updated so that you can see the performance of each device (mobile, desktop and tablet) hour-by-hour.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

10. Analyze Quality Score in Detail

Most readers will know that visible Quality Score is made up of “expected CTR,” “landing page experience,” and “ad relevance”. This script allows you to visualize how your account is doing based on these three metrics so you can see which aspect of your account needs to be improved.

The 10 Best AdWords scripts to scale your PPC account via blog.adstage.io

If you are interested in learning more about AdWords Scripts here are some good resources:

 

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Automation, Reporting, Social
LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One

Does this scenario sound familiar?
You read LinkedIn’s post about testing your Sponsored Content.
You thought you’d give it a try and wrote a few ads which have been running ever since…
…and you never got around to testing them.

If this is you – don’t worry – you’re not alone. Taking time to create, run, and revisit test ads is one of the things marketers love to forget to do. Or, if you are at an agency and you’re juggling dozens of clients, you simply may not have the time to give LinkedIn the attention it deserves. I get it, believe me.
So, let me show you how I set up my latest LinkedIn Ad tests in the hopes of giving you another bump to give it a try. Obviously, having AdStage would make all of this a lot easier, but I’ll give you step by step instructions in case you do not. (Sales Pitch: At least start the AdStage trial to use it for this test…it’s free and does not require a credit card.)

Step 1 – Creative Strategy

If you already have creative running and you just want to try some new images or copy, it’s easy. Pick your best performers and write some ads with new images or updated text.
In this example, I was starting from scratch and needed to spend a little time thinking about my audience and what my ads were trying to achieve. So, I took the time to jot down answers to these questions:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is their goal and how can I help them achieve it?
  • What emotion do I want to appeal to?
  • What tactics will I use to convince them?

LinkedIn says, “Consider running at least four [ads] for any major campaign” and “two weeks is the minimum amount of time recommended [to run a test].” Since my goal was to set up this test and walk away for more than a month I wanted to run at least 12 ads. That way, I could run 4 ads every two weeks. I’m also assuming you have a “control” ad that will always be running (just in case your test ads are terrible) so that leaves 9 new ads to be created.

After 6 weeks, that’s a lot to review.

Step 2 – Mad Men Time, Write Those Ads

I chose three images, and wrote three updates. 3 Images x 3 Updates = 9 ads. Math! Here’s a few of those ads:

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One via blog.adstage.io

Note: There are three ways to build these ads:

  1. LinkedIn (free) – Just go to an existing campaign and build some Direct Sponsored Content (DSC). I would keep all my creative in a spreadsheet to start and do a lot of copy and paste. Submit one by one. This will take you maybe 15 minutes.
  2. AdStage (paid subscription) – We offer an ad combination builder. Drop in a bunch of images and text, and then choose from all the possible combinations.
  3. B2Linked Bulk Editor (freemium with AdStage subscription) – If you want to upload multiple ads to many different campaigns, then use this tool from B2Linked to avoid having to spend hours creating ads one by one. B2Linked themselves use it to upload 3,000 ads each month. You fill out a spreadsheet then upload it and poof: Ads!

Step 3 – Wait for Creative Approval 😴

Be sure your ads are in an Active campaign so they get reviewed. Once they make it through approval they will go live, so don’t be surprised if all your ads start getting impressions all of a sudden.

I used AdStage to set up a Rule that ran every 6 hours and checked to see if my ads were approved and active. Once my ads were active, the Rule paused them. This way I limited the time my test ads ran before the official LinkedIn Ad tests started.  Once I got the email that my ads were paused, I knew I was ready to fire up my test. If you’re working directly in LinkedIn be sure to set yourself a reminder. “Siri remind me to check my LinkedIn ad approvals!”

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One via blog.adstage.io

Step 4 – Test Setup

Ok, now we’re on to setting up the LinkedIn Ad tests themselves. The goal here is to keep running your control ad (assuming you have at least one ad that’s been live for awhile) alongside 3 test ads. I always run the test ads for two weeks, or until they’ve run long enough that I know they are stinkers. If they qualify as stinkers, then I want to pull them out early.

So how exactly do we set it up? I’ll walk through one of many ways to run LinkedIn ad tests. If you want to get all scientific about it, you can run your results through a statistical significance calculator as well.  But – let’s be real – you don’t have enough budget to run every ad to stat sig. The good news is if you’ve been running LinkedIn ads for a while, you’ll have a reasonable sense of what good and bad ad performance looks like, so the plan with this test is to get to that point with the least amount of spend possible.

The goal is to rotate an ad out of circulation once it drops below your lower threshold but has had enough impressions to get an honest shot at it. Marketers use many different metrics to measure how “good’ an ad is and it depends heavily on your business and goals. Here are some typical metrics marketers use:

  • CTR
  • Cost per Click
  • LinkedIn Conversion Rate*
  • LinkedIn Cost Per Conversion*
  • LinkedIn Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)*

*Note: You can use these three metrics if you have LinkedIn Conversion Tracking setup…and you should. If you’re using your own conversion data you can send those conversions to AdStage as custom conversions or just review all your data manually in a spreadsheet.

If you’re not sure what to use. Start simple and use these test parameters:

  • One Control Ad: Already Active
  • Test Ads: Test 3 Ads until 2 weeks has elapsed or the ad has 10,000 Impressions and CTR<0.5%

Step 5 – Run the Test

Now you have a plan. Congrats! You just need to execute.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Schedule some time every few days to check in on your ad performance. If I go this route I drop invites into my Google Calendar or use a project management tool like Asana or Do.com to nag me more efficiently. Also check in at the two-week marks to make sure ads are cycling through as needed.
  2. Use AdStage Rotations. Set everything up in advance like this and then hit Done.

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One via blog.adstage.io

Regardless of which route you go, ensure you have your ads set to “Rotate Variations Evenly” in your LinkedIn campaign settings. This is one of the best hidden features in LinkedIn! Find it yet? Didn’t think so… it’s in the gear next to your campaign name.

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One via blog.adstage.io

Step 6 – Monitor

Remember, we always have our control ad running so if any weirdness happens (Superbowl, your website goes down, etc.), you have a comparison ad in place. After all your ads have reached their target or 6 weeks has passed, it’s time to review your LinkedIn Ad tests.

There are two ways to do this:

LinkedIn Ads View: Check out your overall performance trend and each ads metrics. It’s a little hard to see trends but you can see overall who did well and who sucked.

AdStage Report: Build a table and an Ad Line Widget to see the performance over time of your ads.

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One via blog.adstage.io

Step 7 – Pick Your Winners

After every ad gets a shot (either by earning enough impressions or by using their two weeks), make sure you set aside some time (even just 10 minutes) to go through the results of your LinkedIn Ad tests. Based on the metrics and goals you set, which ads performed well? What patterns and trends do you see in those ads?

Side Note: I would say I’d share my results so you can learn what works but let’s be honest…my ads work for me and your ads work for you. Pretending that ads created for my audience, product, and landing page will behave in exactly the same way as your ads is just plain click-baity. And, there are plenty of ideas to try from LinkedIn themselves. Pick a few tricks and test them…it’s the only way to know.

Then, most importantly of all, run more LinkedIn Ad tests based on these results. One test is never going to magically teach you everything you need to know. Keep refining, iterating, and perfecting your ads. Good luck!

LinkedIn Ad Tests: It’s Time to Actually Run One via blog.adstage.io

Keep Social Creative Fresh with These 3 Tips

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Advertising, Automation
Keep Social Creative Fresh with These 3 Tips

The fact that US digital ad spending reached $72.09 billion last year means consumers are getting hit with more ads in more places than they ever have before. Marketers would like to call that a good thing, but people are engaging with ads less and less. Response rates in 1997 were around 7%, but today, that response rate has dropped to about .1 percent. Ad fatigue has officially descended on the nation, sending marketers searching for ways to ensure their messages rise to the top. Before your customers start boycotting or complaining about you (as some have threatened to do to overzealous advertisers), let’s take a look at some ways you can serve messaging that feels new, relevant, and effective with minimal effort on your part.

Keep creative fresh

Before you have nightmares about spending hours every day cranking out content, know that keeping your social creative current doesn’t require a constant stream of new stuff. Switch up ads frequently so your target audience will be saved from too many impressions of the same creative, even if you only have a few pieces to run. By predicting when click-through rates will start falling, i.e. ad fatigue setting in, (see below: Drop poor performers) you can also calculate the ideal number of content pieces you’ll need to fill the duration of your campaign. Take it one step further by creating a narrative in your messaging. If you have five pieces of content planned, instead of advertising five standalone product benefits, create one cohesive story about your product over the course of the five ads. Think of it as an extended carousel ad you can use to expand on an important or high selling point in your product. Check out this article for more ideas on how to approach your social creative within a carousel format.

Keep social creative fresh with these 3 tips via blog.adstage.io

Test your targeting

With any quantitative decision you’re considering, but especially marketing, you should always test. Running small tests will ensure you’re getting the most out of your budget when it’s time to plunk down the big spend. Run small tests on your LinkedIn campaigns, Facebook ad sets, or Twitter cards to assess the impact of using different targeting techniques. Depending on the results of the testing, you can make decisions on where to focus your funds. If the Twitter ads got minimal traction, maybe it’s better to put all the money behind the high-performing LinkedIn ads. If you tested different messaging and the pieces that ran on Facebook did so well they nearly broke the internet, run another test with that messaging on other platforms to see if it resonates with those audiences. Do as much testing as you possibly can before you need to launch the campaign. A little money spent up front will save a ton in the long run, and ensure you get the highest return on what you do invest.

Keep social creative fresh with these 3 tips via blog.adstage.io

Drop poor performers

Even with all that testing, at least one ad will be less successful than the others. We can’t all be winners, right? However, you don’t have to coach the poor performer along until your budget is drained. Stop spend as soon as you detect a drop in performance so you can put that budget toward what’s actually working. As mentioned in the Keep creative fresh section, you can use this data over time to predict how much you’ll get out of your social creative, and as a result, how many ads to create to keep messaging fresh over the course of a campaign.

Keep social creative fresh with these 3 tips via blog.adstage.io

Ready to get started with these three tips? Here at AdStage, we recently released Rotations (available in Automate) to assist and…well…automate all of the above. The power of Rotations lies in saving you time and ad spend by spitting out data you can use to calculate creative needs, get an idea about performance before stomping down on the gas, and automatically halt spend when an ad is no longer useful. In fact, Rotations will automatically stop spend on your ad once it’s reached 30,000 impressions and the CTR has dropped below your target (for example).

Want to give Rotations a try? Sign up for a 14-day free trial. If you’re already an Automate user, access your AdStage account directly through the Rotations feature, and choose the set of campaigns, ad groups, or ads you wish to cycle, then select the conditions you want to trigger the rotation. Check out our FAQ for more details on how the campaign will manage itself from there, and a click-by-click visual tutorial to get your Rotations set up.

Digital ad spend will only continue to increase as consumer eyeballs and attention abandon more traditional forms of media. The most successful marketers will be those who understand the importance of unique, compelling social creative, and can move quickly to ensure that’s what they’re showing consumers at all times.

Valentine’s Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Automation
Valentine’s Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation

We all know this Valentine’s Day trope: Hard worker forgets to buy loved one a Valentine’s Day treat and scrambles at the last minute to get them something they’ll adore. Don’t let your PPC advertising leave you scrambling on V-Day either. Coordinate and automate cross-channel campaigns ahead of time, so you don’t have to do a thing on Feb 14:

1. Set up your ad copy for months, weeks, and then days and hours before Valentine’s Day. You probably even want day-of ads for those last-minute folks (you can always give a gift certificate or shipping confirmation for that fancy watch, right?). Then, schedule your ads for the specific times they should be running and shut them down during non-peak performance windows. For those day-of ads intended for people leaving work and grabbing something on the way home, make sure you’re adjusting for the location/time zones you’re covering. 

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation via blog.adstage.io

2. Combat ad fatigue by cycling in fresh creative automatically. After someone has seen the same ad of a kitten wearing a necklace for two weeks, it’s time to feed them something new (no matter how cute it is)!

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation via blog.adstage.io

3. Automatically shift budget to high performing campaigns. The Valentine’s Day rush only comes once a year and you don’t want to waste a cent!

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation via blog.adstage.io

4. 48% of searches for Valentine’s Day on Bing in 2016 came from mobile devices. Make sure you’re optimized for mobile with ad extensions, attractive mobile ads, and automated alerts for phone calls or impressions so you can see who’s buying on-the-go.

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation via www.internetretailer.com

5. Valentine’s Day breakups happen, and so it must be with some of your ad copy. Prune and pause underperforming copy based on spend and CPC (for example), without having to lift a finger.

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation via blog.adstage.io

6. Sit back and relax (or maybe run out a buy a gift for your sweetheart with the time you saved!).

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Use Case for PPC Automation via blog.adstage.io

7 Reasons Why You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in Automation, Search, Social
7 Reasons Why You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

From there, you can refresh and send yourself and your team the report on your desired cadence.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

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 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io

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.

7 Reasons You Need to Automate Your Ads in 2017 via blog.adstage.io