How to Conduct Quarterly Audit on Your PPC Accounts

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in Advertising
How to Conduct Quarterly Audit on Your PPC Accounts

So you created an ad account last quarter and it’s still running ads. You’re still good to go, right? Well, if you’d like to avoid wasting spend and prefer not to lose your sanity in the process… you probably want to revisit those settings to ensure your account is still aligned with current goals.

Unless you’re advertising to a stale audience list with an unchanged product/service (psst… this should actually never be the case), you’ll need to make sure your ad campaigns are evolving with your business goals.

Being able to find and make changes to specific components of your campaigns is the key here and a cleanly organized account is the way to accomplish this.

Of course organization can mean different things to different people, but here are the 7 essential components you need to keep in mind when doing your quarterly ad account clean-up.

Campaign Naming Conventions

Are the accounts themselves sorted into clear campaigns and ad groups? How can you tell? Much like a grocery store groups similar items into the same area, it’s helpful to group the content in the accounts into units that make it easier to find what you’re looking for and name them appropriately.

Ad Naming Convention via Search Engine Land

[Image Source]
To implement a sound naming convention for your account, think about the account’s structure – what separates each campaign from other’s you’ll create in the future.

The more specific you can be with your campaign names, the more manageable your account will be. Choose a naming convention and be consistent with your verbiage between different accounts, campaigns and your general work.

{READ MORE: NAME YOUR CAMPAIGNS LIKE A PRO}

User Permissions: Users vs. Admins

Keep an eye on your user list to be sure only the correct people have access to the account and with the correct permissions. Be sure to remove any old employees who might have retained their account information and add anyone who will be helpful to have on your team.

Users and Admin Ad Account via blog.adstage.io

Campaign Scheduling

Determine the campaign run time using the account or campaign goal as a guide. Are you running an e-commerce limited time only sale? Are you a SaaS company trying to increase in-trial sign ups and demo leads?

Understanding your campaign KPIs will guide how you schedule, budget and optimize for each campaign’s corresponding goal. It also provides clarity into campaign health and quickly highlights immediate changes.

Campaign Schedule for Ad Account via blog.adstage.io

Before you start scheduling all your campaigns away, make sure that you have done your due-diligence and researched the optimal times for target audience engagement. Apply this handy Paid Ad Dashboard by Tom Edmondson to your Google Analytics for a clear view of best conversion times / days, then adjust your schedule accordingly.

For AdStage customers, you can easily schedule your campaigns, ad groups/sets, and ads to automatically turn on/off based on the times and/or day you’d like to show your ads.

Budget Pacing

By far the touchiest part of the process. If you’ve got an unlimited budget then you’re probably all good here… But the chances of that are pretty slim, right?

Most paid advertising companies have an auto-bid function calculating the recommended price per click they, but it’s up to you to determine if that fits within your budget. Again, check your analytics reports and increase or decrease budgets as needed.

Increase or Decrease Budget on Specific Date/Time via blog.adstage.io

The key here is to be aware. You should never hop into your campaigns only to learn you’ve overspent your budget or bids. Know what you have to work with, know which campaign each portion is going to, and monitor it regularly.

If you’re an AdStage customer you can use Automated Rules to perform campaign tasks that trigger based on performance criteria you set. For example, you can easily pause/start campaigns, and even increase/decrease budget or spend, based on metrics like cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition, click-thru rate and much more.

[cta id=”11159″ align=”none”]

Conversion Tracking

What’s the point of watching a baseball game if no one is keeping score or stats? The same could be said for creating an ad campaign without measuring the results. Review the goals of the campaigns and decide what metrics will signify success. Make sure the conversion tracking is properly applied! This is a common mistake that can cost you valuable data.

There are multiple types of conversions you might want to track – do you care about form submissions? Purchases? Engagement? Decide what metrics you want to know and make sure the tracking code is linked to those specific parts. For example, having your conversions tracked on your landing page won’t tell you if a customer completed their transaction.

Conversion Tracking Ad Account via blog.adstage.io

{READ MORE: CONVERSION TRACKING}

Ad Copy

Are all your ads approved to run? Or are there some lingering in the unapproved list that need to be updated and resubmitted? Remember that relevance is fleeting so you’ll probably want to make sure all keywords and ad copy are still applicable to your goals.

Check that each ad has consistent copy across your headlines and landing pages – also don’t forget to include edited a prominent CTA.

Placement/Targeting

As daunting as it can be to jump into someone else’s frame of mind and organizational structure, taking over an account usually has some benefits – the leg work is done and the waters have been tested. Once again, refer back to your data. Is your targeting on point? Are you seeing a more specific audience converting? Tailor your ads and targeting to reflect that.

Placement_Targeting Ad Account via blog.adstage.io

Quick Recap

To easily do a quarterly cleaning, check these 7 things in your ad account:

  1. Campaign Naming Conventions
  2. User Permissions
  3. Campaign Scheduling
  4. Budget Pacing
  5. Conversion Tracking
  6. Ad Copy
  7. Placement and Targeting

After you’ve performed all these audits try to document the changes you made if the original campaign owner will be returning. If the campaign is all yours now… Relax!

Everything is organized and should run itself with minimal oversight, just don’t forget to revisit these items every so often to keep things relevant and organized.

Tackling Bing’s Upcoming Keyword Match Updates

Posted by on Apr 28, 2015 in Advertising, Search
Tackling Bing’s Upcoming Keyword Match Updates

Bing recently announced a number of forthcoming updates that will affect the way keyword matching works. Make sure you understand what’s happening, how this will affect you, and what action items you can take to mitigate any drastic changes to your campaigns.

Starting May 21, 2015 on Bing, here are the updates you’ll need to prepare for.

New Normalization Process for Bing Queries

What’s Happening

Bing is updating its normalization logic into their auction process.  In the table below, you’ll see the affected keyword types, examples of how raw user queries are normalized today, and what the query will look like after the normalization change.

normalization-updates

Action Items

Moving forward, your ads will not qualify for any queries containing stop words or special characters unless you bid on them directly in Bing Ads. Review your keyword list, and add any relevant characters or words into your account to ensure you maximize traffic from your ads.

Another way to figure out what words to add is to opt into broad match and review search query term reports to see what users are searching for.

Ads Will Deliver on Close Variant Queries for Exact and Phrase Match Keywords

What’s Happening

Similar to the way Google updated broad match and phrase match keywords to include close variants, Bing is doing the same.

Action Items

You’ll want to keep a close eye on click volume. If there is an increase in clicks, this will affect your spend. Run a Search Query report by date range to see which keywords have been steadily spending more. To control this in the short term, you can lower your bids.

Negative Keyword Conflicts

What’s Happening

Negative keywords are intended to selectively suppress ads when your keywords are matching to queries that may not be relevant to your products or services.  Sometimes, however, negative keywords are added that completely block one or more of the keywords that you’re intentionally bidding on.

For example, if you have the keyword [discount shoes], adding the negative keyword “discount shoes” will cause [discount shoes] to never match.

Moving forward, your bidded keyword will take precedence over your negative keyword when there is a complete conflict. For partial conflicts, your negative keywords will be prioritized and suppress ads, as this configuration of keywords is common and often intentional.

The different kinds of keyword conflicts are summarized in the following table. The keyword match type is noted with these symbol conventions.

  • keywords are broad match
  • “keywords” are phrase match
  • [keywords] are exact match
  • +keywords are modified broad match

bing-negative-keyword-updates

Action Items

If you have keywords affected by these changes that you would prefer not to match, you can use the negative keyword conflict report to discover these keywords and then either pause or remove them.

Get Started on Bing

If you’re new to Bing Ads and are looking to start some test campaigns, Bing makes it easy to import your AdWords campaigns over. Overall, it’s a cheaper traffic source than Google and owns over 20% of the US market. If you’re new to advertising and need hands-on support to get up and running, Bing has a world-class support team as well.

Take advantage of Bing Ads with this $400 ad credit. Happy advertising!

Top 5 Excel Features for PPC

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Advertising, Search
Top 5 Excel Features for PPC

There’s probably no tool more dear to a digital marketer’s heart than Microsoft Excel. It’s the must-have data analysis program that helps turn raw numbers into actionable insights. Here are five of my favorite Excel features that I’ve learned to love over the years.

5. Table Formatting

Difficulty: Beginner

Table Formatting lets you apply a beautiful table style to your raw PPC data quickly.

Excel Table Formatting

For example, you can use it to convert your plain AdWords campaign performance report to a presentation-ready table.

How to set it up:

  1. Remove any extra title and total rows
  2. In the Table ribbon, select a predefined table style
  3. Your table will now feature clear formatting and filterable headers

Learn more about table formatting for PPC.

4. Macros

Difficulty: Intermediate

Macros let you automate repetitive tasks in Excel by recording your manual actions so you can replay them in future worksheets later with a single keystroke.

record excel macro

For example, you can create a macro that removes title and total rows from your AdWords spreadsheets for easy analysis with pivot tables.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open an AdWords campaign performance report in Excel
  2. From the Developer ribbon, click Record
    1. Assign a keyboard shortcut (e.g., Opt+Cmd+S)
    2. Store the macro in your Personal Macro Workbook
  3. Begin performing the manual tasks you’d like to repeat automatically in the future
    1. Delete the first row in your table (the AdWords report title)
    2. Delete the last 4 rows in your table (the AdWords total rows)
  4. Click Stop to conclude recording
  5. You can now strip the title and total rows quickly by running this macro

Learn more about Macros for PPC.

3. Text to Columns

Difficulty: Intermediate

Text to Columns lets you parse through the data from one column and distribute it into multiple columns.

excel text to columns

For example, you could use Text to Columns to remove UTM tracking parameters from your destination URLs. This would make it easy for you to analyze landing page performance in a Pivot Table.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open an AdWords ad performance report in Excel
  2. Select your Destination URL column, and launch Text to Columns (Data > Text to Columns)
    1. Leave your data set to Delimited, and click Next
    2. In the Delimiters section, type “?” into the Other field, and click Next
    3. In the Data preview section, select the new column (with your tracking parameters)
    4. In the Column data format section, select “Do not import column (Skip)” and click Finish
  3. Your Destination URLs no longer contain any of your tracking parameters after the “?” and are ready to be analyzed with a Pivot Table.

Learn more about Text to Columns for PPC.

2. Pivot Tables

Difficulty: Intermediate

Pivot Tables make it easy to summarize, analyze, explore, and present large sets of data. It’s a great way to reformat your raw data into interactive tables.

excel pivot table

For example, you can use a Pivot Table with the Ad Performance Report from AdWords to quickly discover the best-performing headline of your ads.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open your AdWords ad performance report in Excel
  2. Prepare the table by deleting first row (the report title) and the last 4 rows (the totals)
  3. Highlight the table, and insert the Pivot Table (Data > Pivot Table)
  4. Use the Pivot Table builder to dynamically structure the new table
    • Segment performance by campaign and headline by dragging “Campaign” and “Ad” into the “Row labels” field
    • View relevant performance metrics by dragging “Clicks,” “Impressions,” and “Converted Clicks” into the “Values” field

Learn more about Pivot Tables for PPC.

1. Formulas

Difficulty: Beginner

Finally, we get to the most beloved Excel feature of all: Formulas. Formulas allow you to perform calculations and take actions on data in your worksheet. There’s a myriad of formulas that you can combine to make incredibly powerful spreadsheets.

excel formulas

For example, you can use the simple LEN formula to count the number of characters in a cell. This formula is especially useful when writing ad headlines and descriptions.

How to set it up:

  1. In a cell, type =LEN(
  2. Then type the reference of the cell you’d like to count (e.g., your ad headline in A2)
  3. Now, you’ll have a real-time count of the length of your cell

Learn more easy Excel formulas for PPC.

Share Your Favorites

Did I miss your favorite Excel feature? Share yours in the comments below!

New to Bing Ads? Get $400 in Free Credit with AdStage

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Advertising, Search, Social
New to Bing Ads? Get $400 in Free Credit with AdStage

bing ads logo

As your PPC campaigns grow, you’ll want to expand your reach beyond Google AdWords by creating similar campaigns on Bing Ads. It’s a great way to reach the millions of unique searchers across the Bing and Yahoo! networks.

Get Free Bing Ads Credit

To help you get started, Bing is offering $400 in free ad credit to AdStage customers who would like to start advertising on Bing Ads for the first time. [UPDATE] This offer has expired.

How Bing Advertising Works

  1. People search online for a product or service 
    They enter search terms into search engines like Bing or Yahoo.
  2. They find your ad 
    If the keywords in your ad match a search, your ad appears next to or above search results on Bing and Yahoo.
  3. Customers reach out to you 
    You can configure your ad so people can call you, visit your website, or go right to your door.

Promotion Terms and Conditions

Offer expires June 30, 2015. Valid only for paying AdStage customers who are opening a new Bing Ads account; a new Bing Ads account is one that has been open fewer than 30 days prior to coupon redemption or inactive for the previous six months. Ads must be stopped after ad credit is used up or 90 days from redemption, whichever comes first, or credit card will be charged. Any portion of ad credit not used within 90 days will expire. Limit: one offer per advertiser. Offer requires a form of payment and a valid billing address to be entered into your account at redemption, and prior to your account going live. Valid only for residents of the United States of America. See Advertisers Term and Conditions for more details at sign-up.

About AdStage

adstage logoAdStage is an all-in-one campaign management platform that integrate Bing Ads, Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn Ads into one place. It’s the easiest way to manage your online advertising across multiple channels.

adstage bing ads screenshot

With AdStage, you can

  • Optimize ads with automated rules, bulk editing and conversion tracking
  • Analyze trends with interactive performance dashboards, campaign folders and account groups
  • Build custom performance reports with recurring email delivery
  • View data-driven insights and actionable recommendations
  • Create full-featured campaigns along with ads and sponsored social posts
  • Utilize integrated apps for specialized tasks like keyword research and A/B testing

Learn more about AdStage for Bing Ads and sign up for a free 14-day trial today!

Try AdStage Free

Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar]

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Advertising
Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar]

planning a knockout 2015 PPC strategyHave 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.

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 

Webinar Recording

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Webinar Slides

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Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar Announcement]

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Advertising
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

10 Things Every PPC Account Should Have [Webinar]

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Advertising
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

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Webinar Slides

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10 Things Every PPC Account Should Have [Webinar Announcement]

Posted by on Aug 28, 2014 in Advertising
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, Automation, Search, Social
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.

Features

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.

Get $250 in Free Bing Ads Credit with AdStage

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 in Advertising, Search
Get $250 in Free Bing Ads Credit with AdStage

Ready to step beyond Google AdWords and reach even more customers? AdStage has teamed up with Bing to offer $250 in free ad credit to help you get started with search campaigns across Yahoo! and Bing. It’s a great way to reach millions of unique searchers, especially those that don’t search on Google.

Update: We’re out of coupons, but feel free to sign up to be considered when we get more.

Get $250 in Bing Ads Credit

Bing Ads Management is Easy with AdStage

Getting started with Bing Ads is easier than you’d think. You can either import your existing AdWords campaigns to Bing Ads with just a few clicks, or go straight to AdStage in order to launch a brand-new campaign.

Managing campaigns across multiple networks is easy with AdStage. You can finally manage and optimize your Bing & AdWords campaigns side-by-side in AdStage’s all-in-one interface. Sign up for AdStage today if you haven’t already!

google and bing in adstage

Offer Terms & Conditions

Offer expires December 31, 2014. Valid only for advertisers opening a new Bing Ads account; a new Bing Ads account is one that has been open fewer than 30 days prior to coupon redemption. Ads must be stopped after ad credit is used up or 90 days from redemption, whichever comes first, or credit card will be charged. Any portion of ad credit not used within 90 days will expire. Limit: one offer per advertiser. Offer requires a form of payment and a valid billing address to be entered into your account at redemption, and prior to your account going live. Valid only for residents of the United States of America. See Advertisers Term and Conditions for more details at sign-up.