Saturday, 20 April 2013

Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 8:59 am by Rich Funk in Paid Search

Over the last week or so, you might have seen a cheery box staring back at you when you logged into your Google AdWords account asking you if you want to upgrade your account to take advantage of Google’s new “Enhanced Campaigns.”

Upgrade! Enhanced! These are two of the ultimate trigger words for any search marketer, so if any of you reading this have already clicked on the button to upgrade, even without knowing everything about Enhanced Campaigns, I cannot blame you. I just hope that Enhanced Campaigns are for you. Some accounts will see a lot of benefit from this change. Others may have to deal with being opted into targeting they might not want.

So are Enhanced Campaigns for you? Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks to see whether this upgrade is actually an advantage for you.

The Good

If your PPC account has a different targeting or messaging strategy for multiple devices or geographic locations, you probably have a large number of campaigns in your account. After all, a good search marketer will manage separate campaigns for desktops, mobile phones and tablets if there is a different strategy for each.

Well get ready to clean up all of that. One benefit of Enhanced Campaigns is that you’ll now be able to manage bids across location, time of day, device type and more from a single campaign. For those of us who have accounts with 30-50 different campaigns, this is potentially a huge time saver.

You’ll also be able to show your ads across all devices while being able to designate specific ad text, sitelinks or extensions to show only on specific devices. On top of that, you’ll be able to specify location and time of day. You’ll no longer have to create a brand new campaign for every combination of geo-targeting, device and time of day. Here’s what this will look like (Click to enlarge):

Google AdWords Enhanced Campaign

The last major update of Enhanced Campaigns is having additional types of conversions. Now you’ll be able to track conversions such as app downloads and phone calls from smartphones directly within the AdWords interface. Google also mentioned that in the future, store visits could be tracked as well, which would close a giant blind spot in a lot of location-based PPC campaigns.

The Bad

Not everything is sunshine and roses for everyone. The reason you have to opt in to Enhanced Campaigns right now is because it introduces some major changes to your campaigns. These are changes that may not benefit many businesses without mobile-optimized sites.

One of the more significant changes is that tablets and desktops are now considered the same as far as AdWords targeting goes. On the surface this makes sense, with most popular tablets like the iPad and Nexus 7 having desktop browsers as opposed to mobile browsers. However, there are some companies that have found low-cost, high converting traffic on tablets specifically over the last few years, and those tablet-specific campaigns will now have to go out the window. For example, if you have an app that’s designed specifically for tablets, you’ll have to find a way to get that strategy to work with desktop searchers seeing the same ad copy or landing pages. On the flip side of that, you also cannot opt out of targeting tablets. Those of you who have conversions that involve software or whitepaper downloads, which don’t work on tablets, will just have to work around it. Same with those of you who have Flash-heavy sites that don’t display on tablets.

One potential solution would be not targeting iOS or Android operating systems, but Google is doing away with operating system targeting, too.

The Ugly

The worst part of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns is the fact that you cannot technically opt out of targeting mobile devices. Instead of being able to choose whether you want to target mobile phones and adjusting your mobile bids accordingly, all Enhanced Campaigns require targeting mobile devices. Instead of bidding with a dollar amount on mobile traffic, you’ll use a percentage of your desktop bid.

For example, if you bid $3 on a keyword on desktop, but you only want to bid $1.50 for the same keyword on mobile, you’ll have to set the mobile bid at -50%. Technically, you could set all of your mobile bids to “-100%” if you don’t want to target mobile devices, but that seems like a very complicated way to do something that currently exists within Google’s interface.

An unfortunate side effect of forcing all AdWords users to opt into mobile targeting is the fact that mobile click prices will probably rise over the next few months. One reason search marketers love mobile PPC is because for the most part, mobile traffic is less expensive since there isn’t as much competition. Now that more people are going to be present in the mobile auction, whether they like it or not, prices will shift because of the increased competition. This is good for Google. This is bad for you.

So How Does This Affect Me?

If you have three or more campaigns that are cloned versions of your desktop campaigns, one for each targeting segment you do, Enhanced Campaigns are a godsend. It’s going to streamline your setup process and cut down on the day-to-day upkeep that goes into supporting all of those campaigns.

If you’re not doing any mobile targeting, you will need to start soon. (See other reasons your business needs a mobile-optimized site.) Yes, there are ways to avoid having to pay for mobile traffic, as I explained above. But that might not last too much longer. The future of paid search is here, and we’re all along for the ride, even if we aren’t ready quite yet.

Rich Funk is 435 Digital's PPC specialist.

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Tags: , Google Adwords, paid search

435 Digital helps businesses build brands on the web. Visit here for inspiration on how to stand out and grow your business.


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Google Adwords New Feature: Call Extensions

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 9:10 am by Rich Funk in Paid Search

Putting your company’s phone number into the ad copy of a PPC ad has long been a best practice. If you have the space within the ad, why not? It kills two birds with one stone: Not only do you have the potential to get a phone call from a prospective client, it also doesn’t cost you anything since your ad was never clicked!

Sadly, those days are disappearing, but only partially. When logging into your AdWords account any time over the last few weeks, you probably saw this message:

Google-Adwords-Call-Extensions

Fear not, true believers! This is just Google’s way of nudging — forcing — you into taking your business’ phone number out of the ad itself and using Google Call Extensions. In their official announcement, they said, “We are making this change to foster a safer, more consistent user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.”

Along with the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns earlier this year, Google seems to be ushering their AdWords users, ready or not, into the world of customized ad delivery based on location and device.

Google does provide complete instructions on how to add call extensions to your account . Call extensions are going to show up on desktop and tablets differently than they will on smartphones and smaller mobile devices.

On desktops and tablets, they’ll look like this:

On smartphones and smaller mobile devices, users will see this:

Aside from having truncated ad copy, the real difference between the two ways your phone number will appear is the appearance of the actual phone number. In the desktop and tablet ad, the phone number is static since you cannot call directly from those devices, at least not without a third party program such as Skype. In the mobile ad, the phone number is taken completely out of the ad and is replaced with a button that will make the call for the customer. On one hand, this is a much easier way to connect to a business, but from Google’s standpoint, it also prevents customers from dialing the number themselves and denying Google the money from the “click” that should have happened.

The only other change to consider is with the phone number itself. You have two choices: Either you can have your actual number show up, or Google can auto-populate your ad with a random phone number and give you the ability to track things such as the length of call, and even time-specific conversions.

On one hand, using your own local number in the ad could build trust from potential customers, but you wouldn’t get Google’s call tracking statistics out of it. On the other hand, the Google generated numbers are not guaranteed to be local, but they come with free call tracking, which a lot of small businesses do not have. Whether you use Google’s numbers or your own depends entirely on whether you have call tracking in place and how important having a local phone number display is to you.

If you don’t use phone numbers in any of your PPC ads, this really doesn’t have any effect on you. If you do, it’s not much work to switch over to call extensions using the tutorial linked above. Either way, unlike a lot of the changes made when Enhanced Campaigns came around, Google is actually adding functionality without taking anything away. After how the launch of Enhanced Campaigns went, this is significant and welcome news.

Rich Funk is 435 Digital's PPC specialist.

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Tags: , Google Adwords

435 Digital helps businesses build brands on the web. Visit here for inspiration on how to stand out and grow your business.


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Friday, 19 April 2013

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435 Digital Seminars kicks off with PPC and SEO

After much planning and excitement, the team kicked off 435 Digital Seminars with talks on Paid Search (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — the first of many digital marketing seminars in 2013. These two- to three-hour seminars are designed to help businesses in Chicago understand all areas of digital marketing. It would only make sense to start with an Introduction to Digital Marketing seminar, focusing on PPC and SEO. In case you missed the first seminar, I will share a recap of the topics covered by our own Rich Funk and Carolyn Shelby.

Carolyn Shelby, SEO Director, Tribune Carolyn Shelby, Director of SEO

First to present was PPC Specialist, Rich Funk. Here are the four main topics he covered:

Effective Keyword Lists
Keywords are the most important to your account because that is how you choose where your ad is seen. Having the wrong keyword list is usually worse than having no keyword list; consider it a better investment to throw money down the drain.

Advanced Targeting
The people you target and where they are can be just as important as your keyword list. Efficiency is key here. Putting your ad in front of people in the wrong place or the wrong time can be wasteful. Effective geographic targeting is important to the campaign.

Proper Account Structure
Make it easy on yourself. If you have an account that is messy and disorganized, any changes you make will take longer and work less effectively. Being organized will help you make quick changes to your campaigns and give you more time to optimize.

Effective Ad Copy
Your ad copy is how you present yourself to your potential customers. If you have the wrong message you could alienate potential clients. Ad copy testing will help determine the most effective messaging. You can do this by creating A/B tests on a regular basis.

Here’s what Director of SEO, Carolyn Shelby, covered:

What Search Engines Do
Search engines want to refer each user to websites most relevant to the user’s search query. This relevancy is determined by a number of factors – all designed to ensure authenticity. Search engines do not support underhanded tactics and tricks to get to the top.

Multichannel Optimization
We can’t always control what types of results appear (blended/universal, news, images, video, etc.), so we need to optimize all of our digital assets. We also need to keep our messaging (the voice and style of our brands) unified across all channels (social media channels, web, print, broadcast, etc.). Every time a consumer is exposed to our brand, we want that exposure to reinforce our message. Unified messaging builds and reinforces branding and helps train the customers to search for you by the terms YOU want to be found under.

Business Considerations
Before getting submerged in SEO, your business needs to determine its goals on the web and make sure your web development/marketing team understands your business model. The most important question (that everyone on the team should be able to answer is): How do we make money? Do we sell impressions? Do we only make money on conversions? How do we define a conversion? Who are our customers?

Build out the right type of website functionality and content to suit your business needs.

On-Page SEO Best Practices
Many factors go into SEO and their value collectively can improve your search rankings. Carolyn discussed metadata, good and bad coding, how to brainstorm for keywords, and the importance of developing quality content for your website.

Yes, there was a lot of information covered in the Intro to Digital Marketing seminar. If you were unable to attend, we hope you will join us at an upcoming seminar in April. We will be covering Social Media, Advanced PPC, and Advanced SEO. So whether your business is just getting started in digital marketing or your team has successful experience, we are here to provide the most recent updates and strategies for success.

Austin Brown

In his role as New Business Account Manager, Austin focuses on business development for 435 Digital. He is dedicated to helping businesses understand how digital marketing is a necessary component of the marketing mix by hosting educational seminars at Tribune Tower. Connect with Austin on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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Tags: paid search, search engine optimization,

435 Digital helps businesses build brands on the web. Visit here for inspiration on how to stand out and grow your business.


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