Acquisio’s Mad Scientist of Paid Search, Bryan Minor, to Present at SMX Seattle

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tshirtYou can always trust Acquisio to be at SMX Seattle with our stand-out t-shirts (come grab one from our booth), but this year we’re excited to have Chief Scientist, Bryan Minor, share his story and insights along with the other “Mad Scientists of Paid Search” on Day 1 of the Expo.

Since last year’s SMX Seattle event we at Acquisio have many things to be proud of, including our ever expanding team, making the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ Program list as one of Canada’s top 10 fastest growing technology companies for the third consecutive year, and our resident rocket scientist, Bryan Minor’s, game changing Bid & Budget Management technology.

Listen to Minor describe the experiments, testing and analysis behind his insanely successful discoveries and creations at Acquisio and beyond, and learn how you can uncover similar insights at your own business.

Search Marketing Expo – SMX Advanced 2014

9:00am -10:15 am
Room 11B
Paid Search Track
The Mad Scientists of Paid Search
Sponsored by:
channel advisor

About Bryan Minor
Bryan Minor, Chief Scientist, Acquisio (@BryanMinorPhD)

Bryan’s entire career has been focused on developing algorithms. He previously worked with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) on space physics nuclear threat mitigation and with many top flight biotech firms (Merck, Pfizer, ABI etc.) before focusing on internet marketing.

In 2001, Minor formed ScienceOps, a division of Tethers Unlimited Inc, to service algorithm development software projects for private industries. Over time ScienceOps clients evolved from space physics and biotech firms to internet advertising agencies.

In 2007 Bryan came up with the concept for AdMetrica for optimizing Google Display advertising and, at Ad-Tech SF in 2012, Bryan met with Marc Poirier of Acquisio. This resulted in Acquisio purchasing ScienceOps. Minor then formulated the idea of using AdMetrica technologies to optimize Google Search with Bid and Budget Management, and hence Acquisio’s BBM was born.

BBM continues to grow, with thousands of clients using it successfully every day.

Thanks Bryan and good luck at SMX! We’re looking forward to it.

Acquisio provides digital marketers with a performance media platform that enables them to optimize the results of their search, social, mobile, and display marketing programs with speed, accuracy, and efficiency, and with full control over every aspect of their online marketing initiatives.

Microsoft’s Free Windows OS + Bing Ads Could Change Everything

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In a world where Google is a common verb and where Apple iPads are toddlers’ favorite toys, it’s hard to imagine anything that can crumble the Google/Apple empire. But there’s been a new development, one that could potentially turn into a digital David and Goliath story.

Microsoft’s announcement

windows_bing_0_1Microsoft announced last month that it will soon give away a free version of Windows (yup, completely free) for small devices like smartphones and tablets. Recently Microsoft shared more details about the plan, saying the free OS will be a new operating system called “Windows 8.1 with Bing” and will be available for small devices (including low cost computers) with screens of less than 9 inches.

“Windows 8.1 with Bing” will be preloaded on small devices and in some cases may come with a free subscription to Office. In all cases, when a users opens their internet browser, Bing will be the default search engine.

This announcement is great for Bing, and if Bing does well that’s great news for Microsoft who will soon rely on Bing Ads as a new source of revenue once their OS is available for free.

While many people may dismiss this announcement, Marc Poirier, SEM expert and founder of Acquisio, sees the potential in the new Microsoft/Bing strategy.

Why is this meaningful?

Right now Microsoft generates money by selling licensing to their Windows software and programs, but Microsoft is in a position where they can no longer hope to grow their company by selling licenses alone.

“The world has changed,” explains Poirier, “Google is out there with free Google apps and people can use Microsoft Office-like environments in the cloud.” Microsoft needs to think of alternative ways to exist or else the company will face the same problem Yellow Pages once did.

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Yellow Pages was in denial about the success of the company up until they hit a wall. Realizing that no one wanted a paper book anymore, the directory restructured themselves, and with a lot of work they successfully transitioned online to new media.

Microsoft is at that same critical stage. Revenue from sales is limited, too many users have access to free alternatives, or even hacking, and the incentive to pay for operating systems is shrinking. Free OS is the way to go for Microsoft, it’s just a matter of executing it well.

If Microsoft changes their business model and gives away their OS, they need to make money somehow, and that is where the partnership with Bing comes in. By partnering with Bing, Microsoft will benefit from income generated through Bing Ads. Ad money will become their new source of revenue when sales profit no longer exist.

The Microsoft + Bing Potential

Bing has limited traction, with 30 percent reach in the Unites States and a mere 2-5 percent reach in other countries around the world. However, Microsoft has a popular OS that is used on the majority of computers worldwide.

Approximately 90 percent of computer owners have PCs and use Microsoft’s operating system. Because Microsoft Windows has such presence on computers all around the world there is a very significant opportunity for the Microsoft/Bing pair to upstage Google really quickly.

“If Microsoft effectively bolts Bing into the OS experience and the Bing search engine works well, users should have no reason to open up a new browser window with Google for search, and at that stage Bing Ads would become a real threat to Google as the next big global ad network,” explains Poirier.

The release of the free OS is not for PC computers, it is for small devices, and it’s no secret that Microsoft has not been very successful in getting people to adopt their mobile platforms. Giving the mobile operating system away for free, the way Apple does with iOS, may change that. More people may bundle the Microsoft OS, using it both on their PC and mobile or tablet devices. We’ll have to see how Microsoft handles it, but there is definitely strong potential.

Microsoft will also share the free OS with low cost computers, which are becoming more and more popular for audiences with low income or even those in developing countries. With the free OS available on these devices, Microsoft and Bing will reach a wide international audience, which is key to their success.

If people all over the world start using Bing rather than Google, Bing Ads will increase in value and popularity. With this massive potential  to change the way marketers distribute advertising efforts, if things go as Microsoft hopes, get ready to split your advertising budget between Google and Bing Ads.

Maybe we’ll even start saying “Bing it” instead of “Google it.” Who knows?

New Pinterest Ads Not for Performance Marketers

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We hear the buzz about Pinterest ads and we’re telling all you performance marketers to quiet down. Here’s what you need to realize about Pinterest’s latest release on promoted pins.

After the initial announcement last fall, Pinterest’s product manager, Julie Black, has confirmed that the photo sharing platform is moving forward with promoted pins with select brands. The keyword here is “select.”

Joanne Bradford, Head of Partnerships at Pinterest, released the list of brands taking part in the first paid test. Here are the brands within the small group:

  • ABC Family
  • Banana Republic
  • Expedia.com
  • Gap
  • General Mills
  • Kraft
  • lululemon athletica
  • Nestle
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Ziploc®

Unless your brand ranks among these giants, it’s unlikely Pinterest will allow you to advertise on their platform. Here’s why.

Pinterest wants brands to commit to spending between $1 and $2 million on promoted pins and the image platform intends on pricing CPMs between $30 and $40 according to AdAge. We can assume that range is out of most performance marketers budgets.

The iAd approach

“This reminds me of apple iAd, ” says Marc Poirier, SEM expert and founder of Acquisio.

“Apple invested a lot of money and made a lot of noise about the ad network that they created for iOS, iAd, but there were a few problems. For one, they insisted on maintaining control of the look and feel of everything and secondly, the cost of entry was absolutely prohibitive, so if you wanted to test you had to be a really large brand with millions of dollars to spend on digital media.”

It sounds pretty familiar, but what happened with Apple’s iAd strategy? Well, Apple lowered their minimum amount of advertising from close to $1 million to $50, abandoning their premium appeal and introducing self service tools to attract developers.

Pinterest may do something similar in the future, but as it stands right now performance marketers are not invited to the promoted pins party – it’s restricted to VIP only.

Why so expensive, Pinterest?

There’s a big up side to Pinterest’s premium ad strategy. If Pinterest maintains control of what people put on their platform, the way Apple did with iAd initially, they shouldn’t disrupt their audience experience. This is great for users who get ticked off whenever their favorite platform starts releasing advertisements, clogging up their screen with ads they don’t want (and let’s face it, that’s all users). With this strategy Pinterest fans shouldn’t notice any difference between promoted pins and the ones they usually see on their page.

If a company introduces paid advertisement, users may likely be turned off by the ads and leave. Pinterest doesn’t want their loyal pinners to run for the hills, and they don’t want their beautiful organic photos to be replaced with salesy banner ads, so they’re probably right in controlling which brands use promoted pins.

Pinterest is able to set their standards so high because they have something big brands want – a highly concentrated audience of women. The idea of having ads on Pinterest, where you can so accurately target women aged 25-34, is intriguing, so intriguing that the big brands listed above are willing to dish out a million big ones (potentially) to connect with these ladies.

We’ll just have to see how long Pinterest limits promoted pins to premium brands. Right now this seems like the only move the not yet profitable platform can make to generate revenue without sacrificing the integrity of the product.

But is there another option?

“I think the real play for Pinterest is in their data more than how they’re going to sell ads themselves,” says Poirier.

Pinterest is sitting on a goldmine of information concerning their mostly female audience, and selling that data may be just as important as putting up ads in their own environment.

“In other words, explains Acquisio’s founder, “leveraging Pinterest data to target women outside of Pinterest is probably a bigger play for the company. If Pinterest wants to go big into performance marketing it will be with an external network (like Google with AdSense). Or Pinterest could just resell their data for people who want to buy display ads with real time bidding based on Pinterest data.”

Today the news of promoted pins on Pinterest is not so exciting, but the promise of it for a greater audience of advertisers, extending outside of the Pinterest area into other websites, may be worth buzzing about when and if that time comes.

Measuring Does Matter: Acquisio’s New Agency Level Reporting

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You asked for deeper more aggregated internal reporting for your SEM agency and you got it. Agency Level Reporting allows your agency to build reports on both client and staff performance to see which accounts and employees are excelling.

This internal reporting feature was our most requested feature ever and we promise it won’t disappoint. Our updated reporting system will help your agency’s performance go from good to great, or better yet, from great to greater, thanks to all the new report components.

Using the new Agency Level Reporting feature from Acquisio will:

  • Allow account managers to translate the relevant data into profitable changes and improvements within the agency.
  • Measure progress of accounts and employees in a way that surfaces how individuals are doing and how the agency is doing as a whole.
  • Create clear and customizable reports, that Admin users can feel comfortable with, to better organize, present and share all the agency data.

For these reasons, and so many more, good internal reporting is essential for SEM agencies.

What have we added to our internal reporting?

In addition to new report components like the Top Accounts grid, you can now leverage old time favorites such as Line/Column Charts, Pie Charts, Executive summary and Pivot Tables at the agency level.

With Agency Level Reporting you can now:

  • Calculate the amount of revenue each client account generates for your agency, based on markups
  • Show agency revenue by account and by month
  • Show how much global ad spend your agency has
  • Aggregate agency level trends so you can easily find your average CTR
  • Show cost by publisher
  • List the accounts with the top agency revenue

and too much more to list.

How does this help your SEM agency?

To get you started, a best practice template has been pre­loaded to the new Agency Templates tab in the Report Manager. It is there for your convenience but you also have the power and flexibility to build your own templates and reports to ensure that the information most valuable to you is highlighted and clear.

For example:

  • You can build multiple templates, including agency wide templates to track performance
  • You can now build reports that span all accounts or a subset of accounts
  • You can regroup reports by campaign manager

These additions will reveal everything you need to know about your SEM agency’s performance and will clarify where your agency’s strengths and weaknesses are. This will make it clear where additional effort should be focused in the future.

Lastly, these agency level reports can be manually shared via published URLs. Everything in this new Acquisio feature is designed to share insights and make internal reporting easier and more beneficial for your SEM agency.

If you want to learn more, or try it for yourself, check out Acquisio’s Editions.

Bid Management for Niche Products: Low Traffic and High Profit Margin B2B Clients

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A successful bid management strategy for low traffic & low converting B2B campaigns can be a challenge to deliver and will require a bit more of your attention. Here are some recommendations and ideas to improve your bid management strategies for low traffic and high margin niche products.

1) Revenue is key to your bid management strategy.

Make sure to implement revenue within your conversion tags or Google Analytics Goals when you set your conversions. Even though conversions are not necessarily sales in a B2B campaign environment, it helps to measure potential profit margins and lead valuation.

When you ask your client their closing rate and margin per closed lead, follow this rule:

If the client tells you that a closed lead generates $10,000 in profit over a 12 month period and their effective closing rate is 10%, your effective revenue per conversion should be set to $1,000 and not $10,000. You can use this revenue percentage instead of profit margin, depending on the client’s PPC accounting measurement. Using this quick easy measurement in your bid management campaign can help you set bids and monitor CPA properly.

2) Higher bids means higher CPA

In general, B2B has been known to have large margins and recurring revenues over medium to long term time frames. This affects bid strategy because the break-even CPA is often high. Rather than focus on a low CPC at the beginning of the campaign to save money, with this type of B2B it is better to invest more in CPC in order to get the #1 position in search engines and dominate the niche industry. Hence a higher CPC, or higher bid, will get more exposure and a higher CPA that the niche client needs.

This campaign strategy is quite different from highly optimized low CPC/CPA business-to-consumer campaigns. With B2B and low traffic niche clients the campaign manager has plenty of ad dollars to reach the conversion, so why not go for the big fish?

3) Make use of the Display Network

Should very niche B2B products take advantage of the display network even though their  target audience is smaller? The answer is Yes! Build nice graphic ads with a strong call to action, as well as text ads, and build custom audience targeting . I usually recommend starting with at least 3 to 4 different type of display campaigns:

1 – Placements + Keywords

2 – Topics + Keywords

3 – Similar to Remarketing list + Keywords

4 – Placements + Topics + Keywords.

Use CPC bidding and bid high to start, then enlarge or refine your target based on the metrics. The Display network is definitely a channel you want to use, whether you are niche or not.

4) Use local Bidding

Even though B2B products or services are more “national” like SaaS Companies, it’s best to divide your campaign into sales territories. The client’s sales data can help you when building your geo strategy. You can increase or decrease bid based on the lead generation volume of each sales territory. If the profit margin is high, do not be shy using large incremental percentage, such as 50% to 75%.

5) Build a predicted Bid Strategy with your client

We always pride ourselves as being top of the line in the field of optimization (we lower CPC or CPA and increase Conv. Rate). For B2B campaigns with high margins and low traffic, this optimization concept remains true, however the time to success might be different than the B2C campaign for an Online Financial Service for example. Under promise, over deliver! Set your client’s expectations using this example of a predicted bid strategy graph.

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Notes: This is an example of Conversions & CPA projections. You can see the bid management is aggressive at the beginning and as we move along the graph, it becomes slightly less aggressive. It is also assumed that the average position is 1.00. CPA is slightly below the objective threshold at the first conversion point and goes down for the second one with regular optimization.

(Your clients’ campaigns may differ from this example depending on the product or service complexity, the niche market, the profit margin, the sales volume andother factors.)

 

In summary, the essential points to keep in mind for your bid management approach are:

  • Go big to get the first conversion and set a solid footprint in the client’s industry PPC environment.
  • Then use the data to exceed the client’s objective. Remember to build this model with your client’s participation as they have a lot of sales data and projections.
  • Lastly, remember to under promise and over deliver.

Boost your site’s visits by 66% with AdWords review extensions

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Hayley Coutinho, a PPC expert at Receptional Ltd shares her experiences using Google AdWords review extensions.  This article includes advice on how to setup review extensions to get the most out of them.

The Google Adwords Review Extension is a must-have for businesses looking to boost their return on investment. Our trials of review extensions have seen improvements in click through rates (CTRs) of up to 66% – a significant increase.

The review extension does what it says on the tin – allows users to opt to display website, service or product reviews as part of the Google AdWords PPC advertisement. After all, what business doesn’t want to let the world know when they’ve got a host of 5-star ratings to their name?

After its initial beta release in 2013, the review ad extension has now been rolled out universally, so anybody with an AdWords PPC campaign can opt in. Yet many businesses haven’t grabbed the opportunity to amplify their ads’ CTRs using this simple but effective tool.

Quick, Easy and Effective

Since around 90% of consumers claim that online reviews influence their buying decisions, when it comes to displaying your stellar reviews in premium advertising space, it’s a complete no-brainer.

Just as call extensions (telephone number), sitelinks (website address) and location extensions (address) add vital data into a Google AdWords PPC ad, the review extension provides the opportunity to display another vital piece of information that will build trust and entice potential customers to make that all-important click through.

Using the example of a fictional gym company, here’s how the review extension looks in situ:

AdWords Extension Ads

Adding the information into the review extension is a relatively painless process:

New Review AdWords Extensions

A beneficial investment

For the sake of a few minutes’ work, there are a whole host of benefits to be reaped from opting into review extensions.

Firstly, with many paid search advertisers yet to take up the review extension, there is an opportunity for early birds to stand out from the crowd.

Secondly, implementing review ads could set off a positive chain reaction – the increase in CTR provides an opportunity to really boost conversions and increase traffic to your website, which in turn can positively impact quality score, ultimately resulting in a reduced cost per click (CPC).

The review ad extension also presents an opportunity to enhance customers’ perceptions and preconception of the brand. And with around 44% of shoppers having abandoned orders at the shopping cart, bolstering brand recognition and building trust is a core component in obtaining successful conversions.

Setting up review extensions

Google’s policies on review extensions are relatively strict, so make sure you’re appropriately prepared before making the final review extension submission. Here are some top tips:

  • Reviews must be generated by a third party, which excludes paid endorsements, individual user comments or reviews from sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp.
  • The review extension should relate to a specific award or accolade
  • The review extension should also link directly to the third-party source of the review. This means that only online reviews can be utilised in the extension, so any outstanding offline recognition, reviews or awards in newspapers, magazines or journals have to be discounted.
  • You will also need to be aware that the review ad extension will include a link to the third party review. In terms of user experience, the third party link could be mistakenly selected, instead of your ad’s title. So you really need to make your ad title pop to drive traffic in the right direction.

Putting review extensions to the test

We put review extensions to the test over a 4-5 week period, during which time we collected some enlightening results. Initially, the ads running the review extensions were shown on about 10% of all ad impressions. In terms of CTR rates, the evidence was generally positive, with one review extension increasing CTR by 66%. The upward trend was also evident in terms of conversion rates.

Review ad extensions are one of the most effective ad extensions available, and should definitely be trialed. Positive reviews can only serve to increase credibility, brand recognition and brand loyalty, all of which have high potential to increase CTR.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the different ad extensions that are available (we reckon there are 16 types), you can download Receptional’s free PDF: The Complete Guide to Ad Extensions.

Bidding to Win: The Art of Building a Great Bid Rule

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“And the winner is….. The guy in the yellow hat!”. We’ve all been in auction environments where we’ve heard an auctioneer declare a winner with the chant above. As PPC managers, we actually deal with this situation every day. The difference from a regular auction, of course, is that we’re dealing with thousands (if not millions) of auctions every single day, as we bid on keyword phrases to drive traffic and conversions. With so many keyword phrases doing so many different things in a dynamic auction, it’s all but impossible to keep track of things accurately by hand. That’s where campaign automation comes in.

At its core, campaign automation, as its name suggests, automates the process of setting your bids. Essentially, you (as the PPC manager) develop a rule (or set of rules) and then apply it to specific campaigns or ad groups. A bid rule basically takes the work that you’d do manually and automates the tactical bid changes that you’d be forced to implement manually into AdWords, Bing Ads, or even Facebook. While it sounds great in theory (and it is!), keep in mind that bid rules will simply automate what we tell them to automate. So it’s up to us to define our rules properly.

There are four core components of a bid rule:

  • Scope – This refers to the set of campaigns or ad groups that the rule will apply to. Keep in mind that different campaigns across publishers often have different goals and targets… So it’s rare that a single rule will apply properly to all of the campaigns in your account. Just as we group similar keywords together into ad groups, you should group similar campaigns together into bid rules. You can apply bid rules at the campaign or ad group level.
  • Lookback Period – This is one of the most important parts of the bid rule. Essentially, the lookback period is defined as the amount of data (in terms of days) that the rule will look at to make a decision. You need to determine the lookback period based on a number of factors:

• Volume of clicks and conversions – If your account gets a high volume of clicks and conversions, you’ll generally need a shorter lookback period to get to statistical significance. That is, you don’t want your bid rules making decisions off of only 1 or two clicks, so you may need to set a longer lookback period for a rule that’s scoped to low-flow campaigns or ad groups. I like to use Thumbtack’s A/B calculator  to estimate statistical significance on an ad group or campaign level to determine if my lookback period is appropriate

• Conversion Cycle – Some businesses have longer conversion cycles than others. If your company has a longer cycle, be sure to use a longer lookback period. Remember to integrate in attributed data into your bid rules so that you are factoring in keywords and ad groups that may introduce or influence (rather than close) conversions. In a future blog post, I’ll cover how to actually define the length to conversion for a website using data from Google Analytics as well as paid search.

• Seasonality of the business – Businesses that see seasonal trends need to change their lookback periods incorporate the seasonality. If, for example, your company is a retailer that sees a major uptick during Q4, you don’t necessarily want to use data from 90 days ago to make a decision.

  • Execution Frequency – Quite simply, how often do you want your rule to run? This goes hand-in-hand with lookback period, generally. Typically, you won’t want your rules to run every day off of 14 days of data (for example), as there won’t be enough variance to make a good decision. As a starting point, I like to set my execution frequency to the same time as my lookback period
  • The Actual Rule – Bid rules work on a series of “if, then” statements. Examples:

• If cost >$50 AND conversions <1, THEN decrease bid by 15%
• If conversions >3 AND ROAS >2.5, then increase bid by 20%

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I want to leave you with a couple of other tidbits of information about setting the perfect bid rule:

  • Don’t be afraid to integrate in data from different sources. You can use click conversion data, phone call data, and even engagement data from Google Analytics (or other web analytics packages) to make your rules richer and more targeted to your goals.
  • If your account is comprised of many long tail phrases which don’t each send a lot of traffic, you should consider setting bids (and your bid rules) at the ad group level rather than the keyword level, so that you can aggregate statistics together to get to a higher degree of statistical significance. This does require that you have a good account structure so that you can be sure that all of the keywords in your ad groups behave similarly. Also, you’ll generally want to have a longer lookback period for rules scoped to long-tail ad groups or campaigns, so that you have more data to work with in making a bid decision. I actually like to have totally separate rules for my long tail ad groups.
  • Don’t overlap rules. This is one of the most frequent mistakes that I see. You don’t want too many rules touching the same ad groups or keywords. You won’t know which rule is driving a change in performance. Keep your scopes clean.

So there you have it… A couple of surefire ways to automate the process of bidding on millions of keywords in a dynamic auction. Set up your rules properly, and you’ll not only win the auction, but you’ll win a higher ROI on your campaigns as well.

Reach Users in Specific Locations More Easily with Location Group Targeting

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The world of PPC advertising is a tumultuous one, with numerous changes, updates, and “enhancements” coming down the pipeline from the search engines we all hold so dear. Just last week, Google made a big announcement regarding several new features that will be coming to AdWords over the next several months. But not every new feature rollout gets a big fanfare announcement. Some just sort of appear and you hear about them through the grapevine. One such feature is Location Group targeting.

Where and What Is Location Group Targeting?

Location group targeting allows you to set your location targeting according to special location conditions, allowing you to reach customers based on their proximity to certain place types or by certain demographics. There are 3 different location groups to choose from: places of interest, location extensions, and demographics.

You can find location group settings by navigating to the Settings tab of a given campaign, clicking the “+Locations” button, clicking “Advanced Search,” and then choosing the “Location groups” tab. Support for location groups is not currently part of Editor, so you will need to add location groups manually to each campaign in which you’d like to run them. Local Targeting

Location Group Types

Targeting by places of interest allows you to select targeting areas around airports, universities, or “central commercial areas” within a given geographic region. Say, for instance, you were advertising for a New York car rental company, you could set targeting for airports within the New York metro, knowing that your customer base may be searching in that specific area.

If you have brick-and-mortar locations loaded into your account as location extensions, you can set up your targeting to reach users within a given radius of those locations. Want to increase foot traffic to your pizza shop on North 3rd Street? Specifically target users within a mile or two of that exact location. Want to increase phone orders and deliver within a 5 mile radius? Set your targeting to 5 miles around your location to reach all users that location covers.

Targeting by demographics is limited right now, with the only option being to set your target based on household income data. This setting is based on data from the US Internal Revenue Service, and, thus, is only available for targeting within the US. But if, say, you’re advertising high-end luxury vehicles, you can target locations that fall within the top 10% estimated annual household income. Advertising financial assistance? Perhaps targeting locations within the lower 10% estimated annual household income is a good choice.

Modifying Bids by Location Group

After you set up your location group targeting, you can then set bid modifiers for these groups. For example, if your car rental business operates throughout New York, but you know business is best near the airports, maybe you want to set your airport bid modifier to +50%. I’d actually recommend setting bid modifiers to location groups to +1% for a few weeks in order to see if performance within these regions actually warrants special bid modifying, then apply a larger bid modifier if the performance supports the idea.

Location group targeting should be available to everyone, so get in there, try it out, and let us know how it goes in a comment.

 

Why the New AdWords Features & Products are Important to your Business

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Francis Shovlin, a SEM expert at SEER Interactive shares his opinion on Google Adwords new features announcement this April 22nd. This included a new addition to its Estimated Total Conversions (in-store sales), new ways to market mobile apps, and some shiny new reporting & experiment tools. He will be reviewing a few and understand why they’re important, and if they are, to your business. 

AdWords Impact on In-Store Purchases

This will be an amazing metric to measure once it’s available, and somewhat accurate, for all advertisers with brick-and-mortar locations. Clients with physical locations often (ok, always) wonder what impact our PPC campaigns have on their in-stores sales. With this new factor in AdWords’ Estimated Total Conversions, you’ll now have more insight than in the past. I’ve heard some negative feedback on Estimated Total Conversions since they’re exactly what they say they are: estimates. However, I’d rather spend my time wisely and focus on how to use the data to grow and inform than waste it complaining. Everyone else can have fun not engaging and educating your customers at critical moments and losing budget.

Promoting Mobile Apps

For advertisers that have mobile apps, this is a big win. Google released some incredible stats saying that 80% of apps are used only once, and that 60% of apps are never even installed! That sounds like a horrible investment and easy way to make the case for not creating one. With their new capabilities though, you’ll now be able to reach users in a way you couldn’t before and attribute value back to your mobile app.

I believe the most impactful new feature for mobile apps announced today was what they’re calling app re-engagement. These new campaigns/ads allow advertisers to send users directly to their app. So you might know of some companies that have a great app experience, but a poor mobile one. Now, I can easily send a user to a specific page in my app and ensure they’re getting the service they deserve.

In addition, you can also now track in-app purchases and downloads – a huge plus for advertisers that already have strong engagement.

Advanced Reporting & Experiment Tools

Ever get sick of creating Pivot Tables? Or, ever create a Pivot Table only to realize you didn’t download all the data you need, then have to go through the entire process again? Oh, and then you still have to analyze the data once you’re done? That could be a thing of the past with AdWords shiny new “advanced reporting”. While they’re not available yet, I’m excited to get my hands dirty. This new feature looks very user-friendly and allows advertisers to analyze data through multiple dimensions. In other words, it’s a richer, more fluid version of the current Dimension’s tab. Happy data exploring!

And last, but not least, a feature I thought was very interesting and impactful: experiments and drafts. Similar to “advanced reporting”, parts of this feature is already available (Experiments betas in Campaign settings). The new version goes above and beyond; allowing advertisers to see the impact a change would make, such as a bid adjustment or campaign settings (new & awesome!), without ever pushing it live. Then, like with the current Experiments, you can test the impact with a specific percentage of traffic to mitigate any risk involve. If you like what you see, you can apply the changes with a simple click of a button. Happy A/B testing!

Now that you’ve had at least a day to think about the new changes coming to AdWords, how do you think these new features will help advertisers?

 

The Future of Adwords: Google Announcement

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For those of you late to the game or unable to attend yesterday’s live stream presentation by Google, the lovely folks here at Acquisio have put together a quick recap of the event with some of their own thoughts. And if you are a twitter junkie you can always comb through the #stepinsideadwords feed to see what others think of the upcoming changes.

Presenter Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management, AdWords opened the show with a brief history on how innovation and invention have changed the marketing landscape. Dischler goes on to point out that “It’s no longer about devices, it’s about connecting with people using those devices wherever they may be.”

Google framed their product announcement around three pillars: Innovative Ad Formats, Insightful Reporting, and Intelligent Tools.

Innovative Ad Formats

With smartphone and tablet apps growing substantially over the past few years, Google has recognized that it is an untapped market for online advertising.  The Innovative Ad Formats addresses the concept of promoting apps in Google Search, YouTube and GDN. One of the interesting new capabilities is “App Deep Linking”, the ability to really engage with users out of the gate and in turn provide a better customer experience across devices.

Along with the more holistic integration of apps into online ads, Google also mentions that measurement tools to examine installation, re-engagement and in-app purchases will be available.

“Adding another ad stream is always exciting” states Alexandre Gauthier, Product Manager at Acquisio. “It opens the door for more possibilities in the platform.”

Insightful Reporting

An interesting feature for advertisers, Google is beefing up its reporting tools.  While it is still unclear exactly how Google intends to track this, enhancements to Estimated Total Conversion will see the inclusion of offline purchases.  Last year’s release of Estimated Total Conversions (http://adwords.blogspot.ca/2013/10/estimated-total-conversions.html) added some capabilities for reporting on online, cross device, and mobile sales.

This may be meaningful for our clients involved in local marketing – being able to estimate offline sales beyond call tracking is perhaps the holy grail of local marketing. Very little was told about how these estimates are made but we hope these findings will apply for the tens of thousands of local advertisers who are managed through Acquisio.

Intelligent Tools

Within this pillar Google mentions four changes to the AdWords interface.

  1. Bulk Actions, to quickly and more seamlessly make bulk changes to your campaigns.
  2. Automated bidding, which will see Google take more control over managing your PPC spend with a “maximize conversions” and “maximize revenue” function.
  3. Reporting Enhancements, help reduce the dependencies many have on excel to dig deep into their data by having a place within AdWords to create graphs, examine live data and explore with ease.
  4. Drafts and Experiments, “a shopping cart for changes” it’s basically a virtual view of what changes will be applied.  The experiment feature will allow advertisers to deploy changes in an isolated fashion, monitor and later permanently commit changes.

“Automated bidding is not to be confused with Bid and Budget Optimization” reminds Alexandre Gauthier. “While Bid and Budget Optimization empowers users to optimize performance, Automated Bidding tends to give Google the keys to the car, along with the credit card to fuel it.”, he warned. “It’s not likely that Google is trying to minimize their revenue to favor advertisers with this functionality, it’s quite the opposite in fact.”

What does this mean for Acquisio’s Customers?

“I think it’s great news for everyone” says Marc Poirier, Acquisio Founder and EVP of Business Development. “Google’s announcement is meaningful in many ways, we will examine what changes we will need to bring to the platform on a rolling basis, just as we always have, and we will innovate on top of these things to bring more value to our clients”.