AdWords Tips

Want to know how to maximize the performance of your PPC campaigns on Google Adwords? If so, then this section of our blog is meant for your. From tips on how to use the latest Adwords features to bid management and retargeting strategies, we'll help you stay ahead of the pay per click marketing curve. And if you like what you read here, consider checking out our PPC management software. It kind of helps you do it all.

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.

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”.

Changes Afoot for Google’s Video Advertising

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Starting tomorrow, April 15th, Google is making some changes to the way video ads are handled. These all new video campaigns will offer different formats and settings.

Advertisers can access the “upgrade center” to upgrade any or all of your existing campaigns to the new functionality. Starting May 15, 2014 ALL campaigns will be automatically upgraded.

The original TrueView offered three formats, the new version will now be simplified into two formats: in-stream and in-display.  The third option, in-search, will be combined with in-display.

Highlights of the new features:

Placements

  • What it was before: Placements were restricted to the network they applied to, regardless of the networks you had chosen for the ad.
  • What’s changing: Placements now apply to either the YouTube Videos Network or Google Display Network. Adding a placement will not opt you out of any network, but will only restrict ad serving on the network you select.

 Keywords

  • What it was before: You entered search keywords separately from content keywords.
  • What’s changing: The Keywords box under “Targeting people who are searching” will be replaced by one box for both search and content keywords.

Targeting

  • What it was before: The “Target people who are searching for” and “Target people watching content” settings were separate.
  • What’s changing: The “Target people who are searching for” and “Target people watching content” settings will be combined into a new setting called “Targeting.”
  • What is not changing, straight from Google’s mouth: Your bids, budget, and historical performance data will not change when your campaigns are upgraded, whether automatically or manually. You will not lose the ability to run ads on the YouTube Search Network, and you will not lose any ads or targeting criteria associated with your existing campaigns.

What kind of benefits can you expect to see? According to Google, the simplification of the ad options will allow advertisers to use the same ad format (in-display) across the YouTube Search Network and YouTube Videos Network. With some changes to network settings, advertisers will now be able to decide where video ads run on a campaign basis, no longer on a per-ad basis.

Visit Google’s official page to find out more about the Adword Video Campaign Upgrade.

Tracking Conversions Across Devices with Google AdWords

enhanced-campaigns-tracking-multiple-browsersWith enhanced campaigns, Google promised advertisers many interesting features for tracking offline conversions such as visits to stores and even purchases made in store. These will all eventually be part of Google AdWords’ new offering, Estimated Total Conversions. Some of these seemed unfeasible at that time, and still do, but it’s Google so we’ll see what they develop. In the meantime, let’s focus on their first step with Estimated Total Conversion s– cross-device conversions….

Putting Marketing Back in SEM

ad-overloadGoogle is a publicly traded company. Publicly traded companies, for better or worse, are judged by their ability to grow, and grow consistently at that. Google’s core product (search) already has the lion’s share of the market across the world; aside from their insane expansions into driverless cars and dust-powered wireless internet and phones, the majority of revenue still comes from AdWords….

Three New AdWords Conversion Tracking Features

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Image credit: aizymusic.com

Google AdWords has quickly (and quietly) released three new features and abilities to their conversion tracking over the last month, all of which give advertisers more flexibility to the data they’re analyzing. From choosing how long to attribute conversions back to a paid campaign to tracking conversions between multiple accounts, there’s something for everyone. Let’s take a quick look at each one….

Quality Score: Priority or Main Objective?

keepcalmjobI was recently at the Google Office for training on the Quality Score. I was not really motivated to follow this education session since I consider myself pretty savvy on this specific subject. However, the 3-hour session was very interesting since it brought me back to the basics of Quality Score and the priority we should attribute to this kind of metric.

Here is a short review of what learned….

Enhanced Campaigns – Yes, We’re Ready!

Over the past few months, the Acquisio product and engineering teams have been working hand in hand with Google to prepare our platform for Enhanced Campaigns.
Although we’ve been ready for many weeks already, we thought it would be a good idea to reach out to you directly and provide you with all of the information you need to ensure a smooth transition to Enhanced Campaigns on the Acquisio platform.

How does Acquisio support AdWords Enhanced Campaigns?

  • Acquisio is ready when you are – as soon as you’ve migrated campaigns in AdWords, our system will automatically import the changes within 24 hours – as long as the campaigns are linked to Acquisio.
  • If you let AdWords upgrade campaigns for you on (or after) July 22, they will automatically appear as Enhanced Campaigns in Acquisio.
  • All new AdWords campaigns created from Acquisio will be Enhanced Campaigns.
  • Although legacy campaigns can no longer be created, your existing legacy campaigns will continue to be editable in Acquisio until they are upgraded.
  • Although no action is required on your part, we recommend that you review the settings of any ECs that were migrated for you by AdWords to ensure that they are configured to meet your needs.
  • Acquisio Chief Scientist Bryan Minor and his team have been testing bid adjustment algorithms that promise to make Enhanced Campaigns the best thing Google has ever done for your ROI – so far the results are compelling. Our goal is to make them available to everyone before July 22.

What Enhanced Campaigns features are available on the platform?

  • A new campaign-level “Enhanced” column that allows enhanced and legacy campaigns to be distinguished.
  • Campaign-level bid adjustments for mobile device targeting
  • Mobile device ad preference to indicate which of your ads are intended for mobile
  • Acquisio’s bulk sheet import and export functionality supports Enhanced Campaigns
  • In the coming weeks, UI and bulk sheet support for ad group-level bid adjustments will be added. Until then, you can use ad group-level bid adjustments in AdWords safely, they will work as expected even though they are not managed through Acquisio at this time.
  • Note on Upgraded Ad Extensions: Along with the introduction of Enhanced Campaigns, AdWords introduced upgraded ad extensions. As we’ve mentioned in prior communications, we don’t yet support upgraded ad extensions and have cautioned against using them because they will not appear in our system. Currently, migration to upgraded ad extensions is optional; however, AdWords plans a forced migration beginning September 23, 2013. While we don’t yet have a firm date for for releasing support for upgraded ad extensions, we plan to be ready well before AdWords begins the forced upgrade.

How do I Start the Migration?
Google will begin forced migration of any of your remaining legacy campaign to enhanced campaigns beginning July 22. We recommend that you start planning your migration immediately if you have not done so yet, otherwise you run the risk of losing control over how mobile campaigns are handled, which can have a negative impact on your ROI.

In order to plan the migration, Google has published multiple resources:

We strongly encourage you to follow the process outlined by Google.

However if for any reason you cannot perform the work, you need to at least make sure that all of your campaigns that target mobile devices only will stop bidding against their non-mobile counterparts. The easy solution is to set these campaigns’ end date to July 21.

Are Sitelinks Morphing into Tiny Landing Pages for Searchers?

The first thing that comes to mind when I see Google’s example of the latest enhanced Sitelinks, it reminds me of typical Landing Page Optimization techniques. I know this is a stretch, but all of this customization being allowed for Advertisers is creating a much more persuasive representation of their business’s identity. I mean, who woulda thunk it that sitelinks would become such as focus of enhancement at Google. Yes, it’s an additional source of $$$ to take from advertisers, however the recent upgrade announced by Google will allow advertisers to add specific text for sitelink descriptions which will change this dominant piece of PPC real estate. This latest upgrade may not sound like much, but from my perspective, this is a HUGE improvement and will force Advertisers to re-think their sitelink strategies….