SMX East: Amazing PPC Tactics

By Paige Payne | Oct 6, 2009
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Session three for Monday Oct 5th was focused on, “Amazing PPC Tactics,”What’s hot and happening with paid search? The session was designed to offer some new ideas for your PPC campaigns. The Moderator for the session was Matt Van Wagner, President, Find Me Faster. Speakers were: Addie Conner, Director of Search Marketing, Course Advisor Inc.; Brad Geddes, Founder, bg Theory, LLC; Dan Soha, CEO, Five Mill, Inc.; David Szetela, CEO, Clix Marketing.

Brad Geddes was the first to present; he discussed the benefits of location targeting using cities for nationwide campaigns. His point was that even if your brand is global, your consumer varies greatly from country to country and city to city.

Brad illustrated his point by showing examples of how great consumer preferences can vary for country, state levels, and city levels. He showed copy for two ads which had subtle differences in text but the same general message targeting New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania alone, the same ad copy CTR varied by anywhere from 3 to 10 percentage points between the two messages- tested at the state level and between the city of Philadelphia.

Brad pointed out that a great way to really see the differences in geographic regions is by taking a look at the geographic report in Google Analytics.  Incorporate the data into some sort of pivot table in order to draw comparisons. Also, look at Google Trends which allows you to compare data by state and break down to the city level. With the data you find target areas based on returns for the various state and city levels.

Given that the maximum number of campaigns you can run within AdWords is 25, keep in mind that about 1/3 of the US population resides in the top 20 metro areas.  This will allow you to manage large global accounts more efficiently.

The next presenter was Dan Soha who provided useful tips and tidbits you can use to gain an edge over your competitors. For example, did you know dynamic keyword titles can allow you to gain three extra character spaces over non dynamic headlines? Traditionally you are allowed 25 characters, but if you use dynamic keyword insertion you are allowed 28 characters. He then pointed out an easy way to find potential headlines that just might not make the character count cut: take search query reports and sort the keywords by character length.

Dan also discussed that it is important to take advantage of sub domains in the display URL to help set expectations and achieve more targeted potential customers.

Other key tips Dan pointed out:

  • Dynamic keyword insertion in Yahoo will increase your quality index
  • Yahoo gives extra points for the use of dynamic keyword insertion
  • On Google, it is often a mistake to run multiple ads for too long. He went on to say that the lesser performing ad of the two in an A/B test seems to somehow manage to achieve many impressions, thus negatively affecting the historical CTR of the ad group. He suggested instead duplicating the ad group’s keywords and assigning each separate ad group different ad copy. Allow the ad groups to generate and substantial amount of conversions and make your decision. (On a side note, though, I think it’s important to point out that if you take this approach, your keywords will be effectively competing against one another).
  • In response to the Q&A question, “would you suggest using tools such as Google bid optimizer and if so do you use them?”, all panelists said they always use bid optimizer. The logic was that no matter what, Google is going to win the bid battle and you might as well focus your time on other aspects of your campaigns rather than wasting your time updating bids daily.

The next presenter, David Szetela, focused on winning at PPC content advertising. He pointed out that the content network is growing faster than the search network click inventory (50% growth versus 30% growth).  The number of placements have doubled recently with Google’s new content bid exchange.

According to David, clicks are cheaper on the content network, and the overall campaigns are faster and easier to create and make successful at accomplishing certain tasks.  The problem is that people have focused the majority of their time to figuring out the search network and really haven’t quite figured out how best to use the content network.  David went on to discuss the common mistakes advertisers make when advertising on the content network:

  • Search and Content should never exist in the same campaign.  Contextual is not regular search, as users are not actively searching for your product or service at that moment.  The content network is more like banner or print advertising; the first job of your ad is to distract.
  • Keyword targeted placements should describe the kinds of pages where you want your ads to appear- not necessarily keywords you wish to target consumer with.  Be sure to use words that appear most frequently on such pages. The keyword list need not (and frequently should not) include names of your products/ services.
  • Do not use more than 2-10 keywords per ad group.
  • According to David, match types are irrelevant on the content network (except negatives).
  • And for the most part Individual keyword bids are irrelevant on the content network.
  • A common problem with placement targeting is that Google neglects to show 40 % of available placements in the placement tool.  You should use placement performance reports which show performance by site where ads were served, use site exclusion to eliminate poor performing sites, and look at duration.

Overall, David suggested that it is vital on the onset of a content push to set up two separate content campaigns for keyword and placements.

The final speaker of the panel was Addie Conner. She started off her presentation discussing

ANOVA or ANalysis Of VAriance which is a statistical technique to compare multiple independent variables at the same time (used for ad copy testing with more than two variations). That being said, I won’t try to go into all the details here of how to conduct ANOVA testing.  But another piece of advice Addie gave which I did find interesting was that once you get your campaign settled in, split the various match types into different campaigns. She has found that almost always without fail she is able to achieve higher performance metrics across the board.

Also, err on the side of over-bidding drastically at the onset of a campaign to achieve a significant positive effect on your long term campaign performance; however keep in mind Dan’s advice that Google only gives you one chance to start a campaign properly.  Historical data starts accumulating immediately and indirectly affecting all subsequent performance.

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