4 Tips to Write Your Best Google Ads Ever

My Post - 2019-07-16T174210.459.pngFor those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer’s in full swing.

If you’re anything like me, the warm temperature and glorious sunlight has erased the appeal of anything that doesn’t involve drinking outdoors and listening to OutKast’s catalog on repeat.

As tempting as it is to grab an overpriced sixer and throw on Stankonia, you’ve still got leads to generate and sales to make. Even if you’ve created watertight keyword lists and razor-sharp lookalike audiences, something still stands between your prospects and your business: ad copy.

At the end of the day, you need people to click on your ads—awareness campaigns on YouTube and the GDN notwithstanding. To be more precise, you need the right people to click on your ads. In order to make that happen, you need to elevate your copywriting game.

Writing ad copy for Facebook isn’t quite the same as writing ad copy for Google—different platforms favor different techniques.

1. Align your messaging with the customer journey

Google strives to serve users the most relevant search results possible. When judging the relevance of the various ads competing in a given auction, Google relies on keywords. In a nutshell, keywords help Google determine which ads are relevant to a particular query. That’s why it’s considered best practice to target specific keywords with your ad copy.

Now—I’m not about to argue that you shouldn’t include target keywords in your ad copy. However, I am of the opinion that keywords shouldn’t be your main focus when writing ads. Instead, you should be focused on meeting the unique needs of whoever’s searching for something related to your business—and that means aligning your messaging with the various stages of the customer journey.

Here’s what I mean by that. Across the pool of search queries triggering your ads, the users making those searches are at different stages in the customer journey—the path people take from the realization of a problem to the purchase of a solution. Whereas someone at the very beginning of their customer journey—known as the awareness stage—is mostly interested in learning more about the options they can choose from, someone nearing the end of their customer journey—known as the conversion stage—is far more likely to make a purchase. – Read more

Why Last-Click Attribution Is Killing Your PPC Performance

My Post - 2019-07-12T174202.673.pngDo you sometimes find yourself frustrated by the lack of results when trying a new automation, whether it’s Smart Bidding from Google or something you created yourself using a script or a macro in a spreadsheet?

You aren’t alone.

When the engines share case studies about amazing results from their latest automated account management system, what’s often left unspoken is all the work that went into creating the right conditions for the automation to shine.

For automations to be effective, some prerequisite conditions have to be met.

Here’s a simple way to illustrate the point that the effectiveness of automation depends on external factors. I picked up this concept from a presentation given by Russell Savage who founded FreeAdWordsScripts.com (which Optmyzr now owns).

Why Last-Click Attribution Is Killing Your PPC Performance

Savage said that for an automation, like a self-driving car, to be effective, it helps if the roads are clearly marked.

Seems pretty obvious, right?

But now what if we had this perfect road but our GPS was off and tried driving to the wrong place?

We need clear goals and the correct measurements and sensors to get us there. – Read more

How To Track Phone Calls From Your Google Ad Campaigns

My Post (66).pngGoogle is very good at tracking a lot of valuable information for a website, but a robust modern business includes channels beyond a simple web score.

A good sales funnel includes other means of contact, up to and including phone calls.

How do you know where those calls come from? Asking your sales team to ask potential customers where they found your phone number could be needlessly distracting, and maintaining different phone numbers for different marketing channels gets expensive. Imagine trying to track different phone numbers for different PPC ad variations.

Thankfully, Google Ads includes call tracking, once you configure it. It’s actually quite simple in its execution. You have a phone number, either in your ads directly or on your website, tagged with a Google call extension. When a customer views your ads — or clicks through them to your website — the phone number they see is a Google forwarding number. When the user calls this number, their information is tracked and their call is forwarded to your business number, to be answered by your sales team.

There are two different ways to set up Google call tracking. One applies to your website and works when users click through Google Ads. The other applies directly to Google Ads, where the goal conversion is a phone call. – Read more

10 Amazing Tips to Write Better Mobile PPC Ads

My Post (65).pngIn the not-so-distant past, PPC managers created multiple campaigns divided up by device to easily differentiate and customize messages to desktop and mobile users.

Now, device targeting is streamlined. We can use a one-size-fits-all approach to ensure ads are shown on mobile devices with little effort.

But does one size fit all?

In gaining convenience, some of us advertisers may have become a bit lazy in customizing our mobile ads to bring their customers the best mobile experience.

For example, someone searching for an Italian restaurant on their desktop might be interested in the menu, so the ad should be written accordingly.

But the same search on a mobile device might be best served by an ad with messaging that includes the restaurant’s location and hours of operation.

Take the Time to Customize Your Mobile PPC Ads

Doing so is incredibly beneficial.

How do you do it?

First, define your mobile value proposition and how that messaging will vary from general desktop ads experience.

For example, a mobile ad might include mobile ordering, store locator, connect with customer service, apps/games, mobile appointments, etc.

Second, whenever there is a mobile device preference box to select for an ad or ad extension – take it! This means serving the ads on mobile will be given preference. If this isn’t immediately visible, look under “advanced options”.

Both Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising offer the ability to use a mobile URL, allowing you to land searchers on a webpage that is optimized for smaller devices and mobile functionality.

Overall, a mobile ad will contain various elements. You’ll want to optimize each of the following 10 elements to improve the ROI of your mobile PPC ads. – Read more

How to Use Keyword Intent to Boost PPC Performance

My Post (57).pngThe choice to actively target a keyword versus allow associated queries to happen naturally through other terms is a constantly evolving equation of:

  • Auction price.
  • Perceived association in your customer’s journey.
  • Potential for volume/value.

While no one component should decide the fate of your budget and account structure, it is important to understand the impact of each, as well as which strategies will set you up for keyword success.

Let’s dive into the triforce of keyword planning.

Auction Price

My paid search philosophy heavily revolves around balancing auction prices of keywords with the forecasted value of the customer.

The factors of auction price include:

  • Industry.
  • Close Variants.
  • Devices.
  • Locations.
  • Time.

Every industry has different auction prices, or what advertisers in that industry are willing to bid to secure clicks.

A lawyer, a dental surgeon, and an IT firm are going to have drastically higher auction prices than a gym, a shoe store, and a hotel because their customer values are drastically higher.

When you’re in a high-cost industry, it’s vital you ground your keywords in the specific vertical you service.

Bidding on “lawyer” may be cheaper than “truck accident lawyer” but will cost you more in the long run (via bad leads and diluted CTR leading to a lower quality score).

It can be tempting to go after high volume terms. Yet those terms are usually highly competitive and have artificially high auction prices because the big players want them.

Close variants, the bane of single keyword ad group (SKAG) lovers, is a lifeline for these concepts.

When someone types in “training” they may be looking for a DIY solution or a certification. – Read more

How to Optimize Your Paid Search Keyword List in 3 Steps

My Post (56).pngWhile PPC automation is all the rage, one of the best ways to improve account performance is to optimize your keyword lists – manually.

Not in the habit of optimizing? It might sound like a vague buzzword, so let’s get clear on what we mean. My favorite working definition of optimization is:

“Doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.”

While it might be tempting to scale up or down with a script, it’s not the best approach – at least not at first.

Keywords aren’t “profitable” or “unprofitable” by themselves. As we reviewed in the prequel to this article, How to Do PPC Keyword Research in 2019, keywords and search terms are just indicators of audience intent.

Getting clicks on a keyword that didn’t drive conversions doesn’t mean you should ditch the keyword.

It might mean you need to make improvements to your customer experience, like your offer, messaging, landing page, ads or other targeting.

As you go through these steps of optimizing your keyword list, you’ll uncover new areas to fix your account for even better performance.

Getting Started: Do This Before You Optimize

When you optimize smartly, you’re looking at what actually drives results.

Google Ads has hundreds of metric and segmenting combinations, so it’s easy to find highs and lows in the performance of anything you look at.

As you review your account, be sure to optimize for signal (useful information) rather than noise (clutter or irrelevant data).

Audit Your Conversions

Disruptive Advertising reports that only 29% of the Google Ads accounts they review are effectively tracking conversions.

The other 71% of accounts?

They either weren’t using conversion tracking, or had such poor conversion tracking that “they had no idea whether their campaigns were working.”

We can’t “do more of what works” if we don’t know what’s actually working in our campaigns.

Before making changes, review your conversion tracking (here’s how to do that). Check that you’re importing the right goals for your account, that you’re counting conversions consistently, and that your tags are active and recording conversions.

Seriously, do not pass “go” until you do that. Your optimization efforts are worse than useless if you can’t accurately measure the business impact of your changes.

How to Optimize Your Paid Search Keyword List in 3 Steps

To get more precise data for your optimizations, you can create custom columns in the Google Ads interface to review specific conversions. – Read more

3 ad copy mistakes keeping you from paid search success

My Post (47).pngAlthough Google provides data on keywords, bids and other aspects of your paid search campaigns, it tends to leave us hanging when it comes to ad copy.

When it comes to ad copy, everyone makes mistakes – even experienced paid search marketers.

After all, Google provides all kinds of helpful information about keywords, bids and search volume, but when it comes to ad copy, it’s up to you to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

So, if you feel like writing ad copy is kind of like playing “Wheel of Fortune.” You throw out a bunch of letters or words and hope you guess the winning combination – you’re not alone. Paid search ad copy is hard for all marketers.

Now, if you’re proactive about testing your ad copy, you can usually figure out some titles and descriptions that deliver decent results, but that’s often a painful, expensive process. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply start with decent ad copy and test your way forward from there?

After writing and reviewing ad copy for countless campaigns, I’ve identified three common mistakes that keep most businesses from getting the clicks and conversions they deserve. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to avoid each of these mistakes and get your ad copy off on the right foot from the beginning.

Sound like a plan? Let’s get started!

1. Keyword stuffing

Back in the early days of Google, keyword stuffing was the secret to online success. If you could discover the right opportunity, you could game the system and make millions from being the top organic result on Google.

Things simply don’t work that way anymore.

Nowadays, users expect Google to deliver accurate, valuable results in response to their search queries.

After years of being betrayed by keyword-stuffed search results, people have been conditioned to avoid clicking on spammy search results – whether paid or organic. Instead, they look for content that actually addresses their needs.

Your customers have evolved, which means your ad copy needs to evolve, too.

Now, none of this is meant to imply that you shouldn’t include your target keywords in your ad copy. Including your keywords is really important. But to understand how to appropriately use your keywords in your ad copy, we need to discuss how incorporating your keywords into your ad copy affects your audience. – Read more

10 Amazing Ways to Harness the Power of PPC Remarketing Campaigns

My Post - 2019-04-18T160632.081.jpgRemarketing is one of the strongest conversion tactics in digital marketing today.

By using artificial intelligence technology, search engines such as Google and Bing allow companies to serve display advertising or standard text ads to previous visitors of their websites.

This form of digital advertising is in a way personalized to each user and is more targeted than even a display ad that targets certain search terms.

The key word in digital remarketing advertising is relevance.

Ads for a company’s products are extremely relevant to a person who has visited that company’s website or browsed that company’s products in the past.

Remarketing is more akin to an ad-filtering program that people may use when they browse the web. It serves the user ads that are relevant to him or her based on his or her past browsing habits.

PPC remarketing is a way to re-engage potential customers who have already demonstrated an interest in a company or product.

It helps you remind these customers of the product, and to entice them to follow through and make the purchase they didn’t make the first time they visited your site.

By using the most advanced forms of digital analytics, remarketing can help companies target customers who, for example, added a product to the online shopping cart but never ended up going through with the purchase.

While digital remarketing generally won’t result in the same click-through rates as standard pay-per-click campaigns, it is a way to reinforce your brand to potential customers who have already expressed an interest in your company.

And since users spend a majority of their time online away from search engines, it’s important to take advantage of Google and Bing’s powerful display ad network that serve ads on sites across the web.

Both Google and Bing offer a plethora of options when it comes to digital remarketing. Here are 10 types of remarketing you can do on their networks. – Read more

Will Paid Search Ads Ruin Voice Search?

My Post - 2019-04-16T155536.778.jpgMarketers continue to await the arrival of paid search ads to voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa with bated breath.

Salivating like a dog being taunted with a treat held just out of its reach, we wonder what voice ads will sound like, how well they will work, and what acronym we will use for them. I say PVAs, for paid voice ads. Okay, maybe I need to work on that a little. As hotly anticipated voice search ads are in the marketing set, consumers—a.k.a., you when you get home—await its arrival with equal measures of dread.

Voice search responses are blissfully ad-free today. It’s virtually the only medium you can use to look for something and not see or hear an ad while you do it. Even if you opened a phone book for a non-kindling related reason, you’d see ads. So why hasn’t this panacea been opened to advertisers? Despite over 1 billion voice-enabled devices having been sold (that includes phones), Google, Amazon, and Apple are still trying to establish trust with users and achieve the greatest market penetration possible before they attempt to monetize voice search. Being Google, Amazon, and Apple, they also don’t exactly need the revenue from voice search, especially at the risk of losing market share and alienating customers.

Consumers Aren’t Ready for Voice Search Ads

So, will people hate hearing ads on Alexa? It looks like that might be the case. A recent survey shows that 62% of consumers would reject voice search ads. That’s not a great sign. On the other hand, just under 40% said they would be open to ads from their voice-commanded helpers if they were “relevant.” There are a few problems with this data, however. First, this survey did not delineate results between devices. People might hate a voice ad on the Echo, but not mind it so much on a mobile device. Second, it all depends on individual interpretations of relevance.

On the first point, yes, getting an ad instead of an organic search result on a screenless smart assistant would achieve a new level of annoying, and poorly targeted ads could dump over the holy grail of relevance. On the other hand, the “organic” results you get now are often the result of marketers fine-tuning content to return the top (and only) result for a screen-free search query. Is that really any different than an ad? To you or me, not really. But to a consumer who would likely be told “you’re about to hear an ad,” it’s probably enough to make them say “Hey Google, have fun at the bottom of the pool.” – Read more

A Complete Guide to PPC Ad Formats

My Post - 2019-04-12T153822.490.jpgPPC ads come in many shapes and sizes.

They also change frequently, which means it’s nearly impossible to provide a truly comprehensive guide for every ad format available.

What follows is an overview of the major PPC ad formats that are available across Google Ads. Most of the basic text and shopping formats are also available across Bing Ads.

On the SERP

Text Ads

Ah, the bread and butter of PPC! Our dear text ads – with two headlines and one 90-character description.

Google and Bing both did away with the old version of standard text ads recently, and now we’re seeing larger text ads with a more varied alignment of extensions than we’d seen in years past.

Ads usually fire with the two headlines side by side, with a description line and ad extensions below.

Sometimes ads will serve with a third “headline,” most often comprised of the URL itself. The URL in the headline can read a bit weird, so you have the option to disable if you wish.

However, we know how Google loves to experiment: we’re starting to see ads smoosh together with ads to form one mega-ad. Sometimes the combinations are coherent, sometimes not, but it’s the new normal and something advertisers will have to get used to!

Responsive Text Ads (public beta)

These aren’t so much a variation on text ads, but more an automated method of powering them.

Aesthetically, they share the same appearance as “normal” text ads – there’ve been rumors that the ads are capable of showing three headlines; while possible, it’s highly unlikely to happen more than a fraction of the time.

Advertisers upload a variety of headlines and description lines, and Google will shuffle them based on best-expected performance.

It’s recommended to include at least three headline variations and two description variations, but you’re able to include up to 15 headlines and four descriptions.

Make sure the variables you use will make sense no matter the order they serve in. – Read more