AOL Web Search Powered by Bing

As Rik announced in a recent blog post, as of January 1, Bing now powers AOL web, mobile and tablet search, providing paid search ads and algorithmic organic search results to AOL properties worldwide and exclusively in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Most major Bing Ads products are enabled for AOL search traffic worldwide, providing our clients with additional high-quality volume and more ways to reach their desired audience.

Key takeaways for advertisers

  • Bing now powers web search traffic across all devices for AOL: mobile, tablet and PC.
  • Our partnership with AOL brings a greater market share to the Bing Network. Currently, one in five searches are powered by Bing. By integrating Bing with the number three and five top search providers in the U.S., Bing now serves nearly one-third of all PC web searches in the U.S.
  • AOL has many established web properties, such as AOL.com, with strong brand names and an affinity among its user base who generate several billion search queries each year.
  • AOL’s high-quality audience is similar to the audience Bing and Yahoo offer today – both audiences have higher household incomes, the majority have attended college, they skew slightly female and the majority of users are ages 35+.2 Both audiences also spend more online than average Internet searcher.
  • In general, we anticipate a 5-8% increase in click volume in the U.S. In order to optimize this expected increase in click volume, we recommend that advertisers consider increasing their budgets to take advantage of the incremental quality volume available.
  • Most current ad products will be enabled for AOL’s search traffic, such as:
    • Ad extensions including Sitelink Extensions, Dynamic Sitelinks, Location Extensions and Call Extensions.
    • Annotations including Long Ad Titles, Bolding and Merchant Ratings; Customer Ratings will be in beta at the time of launch.
    • Product Ads will be in beta at the time of launch.

As Prince called out in this blog post, you’ll notice several changes within Bing Ads, including the Campaigns page, Reports page, the Google Import experience, and Keyword and Campaign Planners. We have also made changes in Reporting API. Read this blog post to find out more.

Call to action for advertisers

All existing campaigns are automatically opted-in to take advantage of additional volume available on the Bing Network. To ensure you are taking full advantage of this opportunity:

1. Increase your budgets. In general, you can anticipate an increase in click volume of 5-8% with additional AOL web search traffic available through the Bing Network. Make sure your budget allows you to take advantage of growing volume availability.

2. Monitor and adjust your bids, ads and keywords soon after Bing begins to power search traffic from AOL beginning January 1, 2016.

We believe that the extended reach combined with the controls within Bing Ads will give digital marketers additional opportunities to reach even more customers at the right ROI.

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#PPC Worst Practices: 5 “Smart” Strategies That Are Actually Dumb

As digital marketers, we have the “pleasure” of being part of an ever-changing industry. Consider Google AdWords, which has changed drastically since its inception back in 2000. It started out as an internal service, eventually became a self-service portal and has evolved rapidly from there. As paid search platforms become more complex and sophisticated, it’s critical that account managers remain flexible and adjust their strategies to match these changes. But I can’t tell you how frequently I encounter advertisers who are dead-set in their outdated ways, which drives me completely insane.

So, here’s my list of the top five outdated “best practices” that you should eliminate from your PPC repertoire immediately.

Worst Practice #1: Stuffing Your Account with Every Keyword Under the Sun

Back in the day, it was trendy to build expansive accounts with a gazillion keyword variations. I actually remember one of my first tasks when I started at Wordstream was to create a list of long-tail keywords for a cosmetics site. I spent hours dreaming up makeup-related keywords and when I finally submitted my list, my co-worker sent it back to me asking for permutations of EVERY SINGLE TERM. New to this whole shebang, I spent nearly two days developing a keyword list for only a few ad groups. It was so painful that I haven’t shopped online for makeup since.

Nowadays, keyword-heavy strategies on the Search Network are becoming extinct. Since the rollout of mandatory close variant keyword matching, we no longer have to obsess over adding every permutation, misspelling, plural and singular version of the keywords in our account. In fact, in doing so, we may actually be putting ourselves at risk. If you have a number of extraneous keywords, it’s likely that many of the low search volume terms are suffering from poor Quality Scores.

These can negatively impact the scores assigned to new keywords in your account, making it even harder to achieve good scores in the future. Moreover, if your account is cluttered with zillions of keywords, it can be challenging to manage it effectively.

5 "Smart" PPC Strategies That are Actually Dumb | SEJ

Our founder, encourages advertisers to delete the bottom third keywords in their accounts (the ones that are NOT converting) and re-deploy that portion of spend to a more fruitful strategy like remarketing, which brings me to my next point.

The industry is shifting away from keyword-based strategies altogether. More and more advertisers are dedicating significant budgets to networks using identity-based targeting. For example, through paid Facebook ads, you can market to an audience that fits very specific criteria. These settings range anywhere from basic demographic/geographic/interest-based categories to custom lists (based on prospect information that you already have).

Here’s an example—last week, I got the (somewhat bizarre) ad below while I was perusing Facebook.

5 "Smart" PPC Strategies That are Actually Dumb | SEJ

At first, I was like, why the heck is Facebook encouraging me to attend an EGG FREEZING PARTY?! And then I realized, the platform knows I’m single, I live in Boston and at 27, I fall right into the “baby fever” age group. Boom. This advertiser hit their perfect target. Pretty savvy, huh? As these methods continue to become more sophisticated, I predict that they’ll become even more widely used.

Worst Practice #2: Using DKI for All Ad Groups

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not suggesting that Dynamic Keyword Insertion(DKI) is a bad technique, but it should never be your go-to method for creating ad text. DKI is a fundamentally lazy approach to ad copy. When you’re pressed for time and looking to bang out some halfway decent ads, DKI is a temporary, quick-and-dirty solution.

However, it can introduce quite a few problems in your account. For example, if you are bidding on misspelled keywords, you could end up with disastrous, sloppy looking ads. Or, if you’re bidding on your competitors’ branded terms, you could end up with a nasty disapproval (or lawsuit, god forbid).

5 "Smart" PPC Strategies That are Actually Dumb | SEJ

The reality is, you may see decent performance for DKI ads, but they will never be your superstars. You’re much better off taking the time to create tightly knit, granular ad groups centered on distinct keyword themes. This enables you craft highly relevant ads that are guaranteed to be a good fit, regardless of the keyword match.

5 "Smart" PPC Strategies That are Actually Dumb | SEJ

If you’re attached to DKI because you love the idea of automated customizations, let me introduce you to the new “DKI on steroids,” ad customizers. These scripts give you the ability to tailor your ads based on sophisticated custom attributes, such as product brand and model, pricing and even a countdown functionality urging users to make a purchase sooner than later. Layering this on top of well-crafted ads is a true slam dunk for advertisers.

Worst Practice #3: Using the Same Strategy on Domestic and International Campaigns

Often when companies are ready to expand their marketing to international markets, they assume that whatever works in their current account will generate similar performance abroad.

What’s worse is their inclination is to dump their account into Google Translate and bid on whatever it spits out. This is PPC seppuku! Google Translate may suffice for basic translations, but it neglects to account for regional nuances. Mistranslated keywords can result in little to no traffic or worse — unqualified traffic – making a mockery of your PPC efforts.

Moreover, when targeting a different audience, it is critical to take cultural trends into account. For example, Americans tend to be attracted to bargains, so we commonly highlight deals and discounts in our ad copy to encourage high CTRs. This tactic would actually negatively impact CTRs in Switzerland, where consumers prioritize quality and are more likely to click on ads offering high-end, luxury items.

Given these cultural diversities, it’s critical to design campaigns that are catered toward your target marketplace. If you’re looking for guidance with this, I highly recommend checking out Katy Tonkin and Michael Stricker’s recent presentation on International PPC from HeroConf, which breaks down cultural marketing trends by location.

Worst Practice #4: Focusing All Efforts on Google’s Search Network

The Google Search Network is a wise place for advertisers to launch their initial PPC efforts, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of the PPC universe. In fact, if you’re solely targeting searchers on Google, you’re likely missing out on tons of opportunity.

The number one reason advertisers are hesitant to break out of this space is because they’re unsure of which avenue to pursue next. Don’t be paralyzed by choice, embrace it! Here’s a breakdown of some of your top options:

  • Bing Ads Search: Bing Ads is easy to experiment with because it follows a nearly identical format to AdWords’ search marketing. In fact, you can even go as far as to import your AdWords account into Bing and adjust it from there. On Bing, you can expect less volume, but cheaper CPCs.
  • Google Shopping: If you are an e-commerce advertiser, you should be running Shopping campaigns, which allow you to display images of your products on the SERP. While setting up and maintaining your feed can be an onerous task, the results are typically stellar.
  • Remarketing: I’ll be honest, I think remarketing is one of the most genius things you can do with digital marketing. It allows you to launch ad campaigns targeted to those who have visited your site in the past and therefore are more likely to engage with you. It works well for a wide variety of businesses and is easy to set up.
  • Google Display Network: The expansiveness of this network alone is appealing—it reaches nearly 90% of online users and nearly 2 million sites. This makes it a great venue to pursue a more passive, top of the funnel audience and promote your brand.
  • Paid Social (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn): Paid social advertising is becoming an increasingly popular way to build brand awareness and entice users to your site. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this channel is that you can layer in sophisticated targeting to reach your most ideal audience.
  • Yandex/Baidu/Seznam/Daum/360/Sogou/Yahoo! Japan: Living in a Google-obsessed country, it’s easy to forget that the Goog isn’t actually the top dog in other countries. If you are focused on foreign markets, it’s critical to understand the user behavior in those zones and adjust your strategy accordingly. The engines listed above are some of the most popular engines in Asia and Europe.

Worst Practice #5: Basing Account Management Decisions Solely on Quality Score Data

Before I giveLARRY KIM (our Quality Score-obsessed founder) a heart attack, let me quickly point out that I don’t want to downplay QS completely. It IS an important metric to keep an eye on, and the savings associated with higher scores are palpable. However, when optimizing an account, I believe that managers should first consult more concrete data, such as conversion rates, CPA, etc.

It’s important to remember that Quality Score assignments are somewhat subjective. It’s Google’s way of incenting advertisers to create customer-centric experiences free of spammy, irrelevant ads and landing pages. So, if you have a history of poor performance, even new keywords will start with low scores. We’ve even noticed that certain industries have lower average QS than others. My point is, just because a keyword has a low Quality Score doesn’t mean it’s necessarily yielding a low number of conversions (and vice versa). So, you should never look solely at QS when making big decisions.

Instead, Quality Score should be used as a secondary, “health-check” metric. I like to think of it as an indicator of which keywords need a little extra attention. For example, if you have a keyword with a low Quality Score, it may be worthwhile to assign it to a new, more targeted ad group with more catered ad text and relevant landing pages. By making changes to strive for better scores, you are cutting costs and taking action to improve your searchers’ experience—a win-win.

How Effective Is Your Ecommerce Campaign?

Are you getting the most bang for your buck?

PPC management for ecommerce campaigns tests the skills and bidding strategies of even the most seasoned expert. You may be thinking “my campaign is doing ok right now,” but take a step back – Is it as effective as it can be? Is it efficient and structured in a way that isn’t a chaotic mess? Are you continuously enhancing your ROAS?

At Hanapin, we ask ourselves these questions all the time and with some big brands as clients, we have to be up to snuff with our tactics, strategies, and expansion ideas. We also realize how important conversion rate optimization is when it comes to any PPC campaign and making sure that everything is cohesive (particularly for ecommerce…I mean how mad does it make you when you click an ad for those cute red high heels and end up on a product page with Nike running shoes??). And even more, optimizing your product pages, category pages, and your product feeds.

So we teamed up with experts from Visual Website Optimizer (also known as Wingify) for a new webinar today to lay out some advanced tactics for both PPC and CRO to supercharge the effectiveness of your ecommerce campaigns

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect from the webinar:

We’ll be talking about how you can front-load your most valuable terms utilizing SQRs and how to highlight the differentiators.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 8.13.53 AM

We’ll be talking about why looking at just the last click is misleading and could negatively impact your sales if you aren’t careful. We’ll also be going through different attribution models you SHOULD look at and the important info you can glean from it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 8.15.26 AM

A Visual Website Optimizer expert will be talking about how you can optimize your product pages and your category pages and the specific areas you need to focus on for these pages to improve effectiveness.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 8.14.32 AM

Pros And Cons Of Hiring A PPC Agency Or Traditional Agency To Manage Your PPC

Hanapin is running into more and more sales deals where the prospective client is basing their decision on whether they want to hire a specialist, which is us, or a generalist, which is sometimes their traditional agency of record and sometimes a full-service digital agency. This post will go through the various aspects of that decision-making process.

 

Client Request – “We Want A Single Point of Contact”

 

Pros: Clients are rightfully concerned about their workload. They’re outsourcing the work, which is one of the main reasons why – beyond expertise – they’re hiring an agency in the first place. The thought is that by hiring an agency for all of the various disciplines they need help, there’s a single person they can communicate with, streamlining the communication process and also decreasing the chances of miscommunication. It’s also a single point of contact that, in the case of poor performance, you have one person to “yell” at.

 

Cons: Various digital disciplines are becoming so competitive that, while having a single point of contact is ideal for communication, it’s not practical for performance. The person communicating with you cannot be an expert in every discipline, so they’ll bring in a subject matter expert (SME) to speak with you. In many of those cases, while that single point of contact can coordinate meetings on your behalf, which is one less thing you’ll have to do, you’ll still need to speak with the SME in those meetings and one-on-one in follow-ups to get the type of detail you may need.

 

Client Request – “I Want An Agency Who Knows My Entire Business”

 

Pros: For obvious reasons, you want an agency that knows as much about your business as possible. You want them to understand:

 

  • Your branding
  • How you want to be presented to the world
  • How various parts of the business interact with each other

 

In general, you want a confidant who can help you with big problems or troubled parts of the business because they know as much about your business as you do.

 

Cons: Agencies, by their very nature, will never know as much about your business as you do. Because they’re not working in your business on a day-to-day basis like you are, they will only know what you tell them. Boutique agencies, like Hanapin, will know their discipline extremely well and while they won’t know your business as well as you do, to win your business, they should know it better than other agencies. The confidant that prospects are looking for when they want a generalist is actually a business consultant, someone who is trained in the art of business and management consulting and has a good financial background to help you make and think through those decisions.

 

Client Request – “I Want Somebody Who Can Manage Both My PPC and SEO Because They’re Both Search”

 

Pros: From a macro perspective, PPC and SEO are both information retrieval, aka library science. And while one is advertising and one is public relations, in their most basic forms, they’re both website traffic. And, because the results for both PPC and SEO are intermingled on the page, the client feels they need an agency that can manage and understand both.

 

Cons: Managing PPC and SEO require different skill sets, even though to the client they’re both based on keywords.

 

PPC is analytical and requires a person who can sit in front of a computer in Excel for eight hours a day. There are some creative aspects to it, i.e. ad writing, but it’s less of a marketing / creative activity and more of an analysis activity.

 

SEO, while some aspects are analytical, is much more creative and nonlinear in nature. The goal is to create enough good content that attracts links and visitors to your website, which in turn increases your rankings. There are also many more technical aspects of programming and web technologies that are required in SEO than PPC. So while a PPC agency works with and builds landing pages, there are fewer technical aspects because those pages aren’t required to be crawled by a search engine.

 

My last three points aren’t so much pros and cons about whether to choose a specialist or generalist. They are about how certain characteristics of your account should inform your decision to hire a specialist or a generalist.

 

Small Budgets

 

If you have a relatively small budget, let’s say $15k monthly or less, and you already have a traditional agency of record, I would advise you to hire the traditional agency of record (or full-service digital agency) to manage your PPC. The reason for this is because no matter how good the PPC agency is, if you’ve hired a traditional agency of record, it generally indicates you’re a larger business and a $15k monthly budget would have a very small impact on your business. And regardless of the impact that a PPC agency has on that portion of your budget, it’s not likely to offset the cost in a meaningful way.

 

(If you’re spending $15k monthly or less and don’t already have a traditional agency of record, the advice in the previous paragraph doesn’t apply to you. Consider hiring a specialist or generalist based on the advice I give in the rest of the article.)

 

Large Budgets

 

If you have a relatively large budget, let’s say $500k annually or more, regardless of whether that is a small or large portion of your overall marketing budget, it’s a large enough number in and of itself that you should likely hire a PPC agency. The agency will be able to impact your business enough, spending between $40-$50,000 a month, that they should be able to make up for their fees both in terms of saving wasted spend and increasing account performance overall.

 

Complexity

 

If your account has an array of technical issues (i.e. tagging or tracking), or:

 

  • There are multiple accounts with multiple brand managers
  • There are a million keywords or a million ads
  • You need to track from click to sale for lead generation
  • If there’s any demonstrable amount of complexity

 

I won’t say that you should hire a PPC agency, *but* you should at least speak with them to validate the depth of complexity in your account. Maybe they’re simple problems that, to someone not familiar with search, seem like complex issues and can be fixed easily. Or maybe there are blind spots you’re not aware of that a PPC agency could identify and help you manage.

How to Advertise on Pinterest

So you’re interested in learning how to advertise on Pinterest?

Rand Fiskin from MOZ is predicting that Pinterest advertising will be a juggernaut in the upcoming 2015 year for social media advertising. He’s predicting that advertising spending on the social media site will reach $50 million dollars.  And I predict that the amount of advertising dollars on Pinterest will continue to grow as well. So how do you take advantage of this juggernaut opportunity?

The Tale of Two Promoted Pins

Currently Pinterest offers two types of advertising systems, also known as Promoted Pins.

The first type of Promoted Pin, is known as reservation style Promoted Pin.

This style of Promoted Pin was in beta testing in the later half of 2014, and a few select Pinterest partners, that had millions to spend on advertising, such as the Gap, General Mills and Target were part of this exclusive club.

As of January 1st, 2015, all U.S. based Pinterest advertising partners were allowed access to the reservation style promoted pins.

What’s wonderful about reservation style promoted pins is that these promoted pins can be seen within a user’s board.

For example, Kraft, one of Pinterest’s advertising partners, may want to advertise a new BBQ sauce. They create a pin for it, and using the reservation style promoted pins, the BBQ sauce promoted pin may show up in boards titled, “BBQ Ideas, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Party” and more.

Pinterest announced that reservation based promoted pins were open to “all U.S. based partners.” What this means is this type of advertising is NOT open to everyone, just people who have been established as advertising partners and have a pre established relationship with Pinterest.

These types of promoted pins are charged based on the number of times the promoted pin is shown, also known as CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

In an article written by AdAge, the reported price to become this type of advertising partner requires that your company have at least one million dollars to spend on Pinterest advertising. Now if you don’t have the funds for this type of advertising then the second type of promoted pin is more for you.

Could Promoted Pins be Shown Next to Clicked on Pins?

However, it seems that Pinterest may be changing the way that people see their pins on the desktop version of Pinterest. The picture below hasn’t been rolled out to everybody yet.

With the new version, related pins are shown on the right hand side, which takes away attention from the main pin. This is prime real estate for a Promoted Pin since this is above the fold and doesn’t require scrolling.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing

I believe it’s truly something to watch out for in 2015. But if you don’t have millions to spend, but you still want to get in on the action as a small business, then read on my Pinteresting friend.

How Small Businesses can Advertise on Pinterest

Before you start reading everything. I have to make it clear that Pinterest advertising and Promoted Pins in all its glorious forms are only available to U.S. based businesses, so good hearted Canadians like myself who have a Canadian based business, or if you’re like my friend Maarten Boribedi from Spain, well…we’re out of luck.

But if you’re like my friend Jeff Sieh, of the Manly Pinterest Tips show, who happens to be from the U.S. and has access to them, then you’ve got better luck than me.

The second type of Pinterest advertising is known as auction based Promoted Pins or self serving Promoted Pins. These types of pins are based on a bidding system. The more you pay for your advertising, then generally the better the position of where your Promoted Pin will be placed.

These type of ads are based on how much you’re willing to pay for per click, also known as cost per click. You don’t get charged unless someone clicks through to your website.  You don’t get charged based on impressions, nor does Pinterest charge you for repins when it does happen.

If you are a U.S. based business here’s a step by step guideline on how to get started with Pinterest advertising and Promoted Pins.

Step 1: Get Your Pinterest Business Account

First you have to have to have a Pinterest business account. If you have a personal account, all you have to do is switch over to a business one and fill in the new information.

Step 2: Get Approved for Promoted Pins by Pinterest

Once you have a Pinterest business account, what you want to do next is apply to be approved for promoted pins. One of the most common questions I get is how long it takes to get approved.

For some it takes about three weeks (could be shorter), while other businesses never get approved.

If you’ve waited for a while, and haven’t heard anything back from them, then give Pinterest a shout and ask them about the advertising application. This may speed up the process.

Step 3: Create Your Pin for Pinterest Advertising

You can only advertise pins that have already been created onto one of your boards. You cannot custom make a pin exclusively for the use as a Promoted Pin and have it disappear into the night like a Snapchat after the campaign is over. 

Now before creating your pin, you need to ensure you follow Pinterest’s rules for advertising. It seems like a lot, but in reality it’s not too bad.

Some of the rules you need to be aware about are:

  • You’re not allowed to have a call to action button on your pins, such as “Click on this wonderful amazing pin, because it will lead you to Batman’s bat cave.” Not happening.
  • No advertising drugs, booze, guns or porn.

Say No to Drugs!

  • Can’t have more than one hashtag in your Pinterest description, and that hashtag should be related to your brand, not a generic one, like #SocialMedia. (One of my most popular articles on my blog is about best practices with Pinterest hashtags.)

How to do Pinterest Advertising.

Step 4: Choose the Right Pin to Promote

Once you’ve created your pin, you need to have that pin belong to a board you created. Then you can select that pin to be promoted.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing. Discover the two types of Promoted Pins on Pinterest, and which one is right for your business.

Here’s what not to do….

It’s important to ensure that you choose a pin coming from one of your own created boards, not from a group board you joined.

A client I worked with in the past didn’t pay attention and chose one of their pins that happened to be pinned to a group board that he didn’t create. So when his Promoted Pin started getting pinned hundreds of times, it also attracted new followers to the board.

Guess who got the new followers? Unfortunately it wasn’t my client, it was the person who created the group board. Make sure it comes from your Promoted Pin is chosen from your own board because every time that happens I shed a tear in my dreams.

Step 5: Choose Keywords Your Customers are Searching For

Choose the keywords you want to target that customers are searching for.

Pinterest offers some estimated numbers for weekly searches for search terms, but for any search that’s lower than 5,000 then it won’t tell you.

If you don’t have access to the advertising platform, then you won’t have access to the search numbers.

The good thing is that if the search terms you want to advertise for add up to more than 5,000 Pinterest will tell you these estimated numbers.

When I typed in the search term, natural make up, the estimated amount of times it was searched on Pinterest was approximately 10,000+ times each week.  However if you choose more options such as city, device, gender and language then you’ll get a lower number as you’ll see in step 6.

How to Use Pinterest Advertising by @mcngmarketing. Find out the two types of Promoted Pins on Pinterest and which one is right for your business.

However, while some of your promoted pins will show up for searches, you may also find that some of them will be put into specific category feeds. For example if you choose the search term, “coffee table” for your Promoted Pin, the pin may show up in the Home Decor category as well. So along with being shown in search results, Promoted Pins will also be showing up in category feeds on Pinterest.

Nifty Pinterest Tip for Finding Out Estimated Numbers:

When you’re using estimated Pinterest numbers, you’re probably going to run across a lot of searches that are less than 5,000.

The search term, marketing ideas, is searched for less than 5,000 times a week. But I still want to know how many people are searching for it.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing.

I will then search for a term that has move than five thousand weekly searches. In this case I decided to use the search term Pinterest fail. The total amount of estimated searches then jumps up to 15,000 plus for both terms, this because you can choose multiple keywords for your promoted pin. There’s no limit to the amount.

From there, I delete the search term “marketing ideas” on the side, and it tells me that the estimated amount of search is 11,000 for the search term Pinterest fail. I then subtract that number from the cumulative total from both terms and I’m left with knowing that the search term marketing ideas has approximately 4,000 weekly searches.

Which means that marketing ideas is searched for approximately 16,000 times a month on Pinterest.

Step 6: Choose Your Location, Language, Device and Gender.

The next part is where you can choose some of the nitty gritty details of who you want to target.

With your promoted pin you can choose which U.S. cities to target (not all are available, but major ones are), which language the Pinterest users have chosen for their account, as well as their device such as iPad, or desktop and their gender as well.

You can also choose the language in which you want to target users. So if a user has their account in Japanese, but living in U.S. you can exclusively target these users.

As you start getting more granular with your details, you will notice that the amount of searches for that search term will decrease.

Step 7: Choose a Max Cost Per Click Budget for Your Promoted Pin

This is where you can bid on how much you want to pay for your clicks. I would advise that as a small business to choose a low CPC. Not too many people are advertising on the site right now, so there isn’t a lot of competition.

Here’s a bonus tip. If you find that you’re not getting results for a CPC, slowly raise the prices of CPC bidding. You may be surprised to find out that just by adding one more cent to your CPC that you may see dramatic results.

Another aspect to keep in mind for these types of promoted pins is that each pin has their own rate for CPC. So if you want a particular Promoted Pin to show up in a more prominent position then you will want to up your bid for that pin.

Ensure that you have the right URL destination. If you want to see how successful a particular pin is at converting to sales, then you may consider using a UTM tracker.

Now if you were hoping that  Promoted Pins to lead back to a landing page that requires a sign up, Pinterest says that’s a big no no, because they want to preserve the user experience and integrity of Pinterest.

How to Advertise on Pinterest by @mcngmarketing.

Step 8: Create Your Pinterest Campaign

When you create your Promoted Pin they must belong to a campaign. A Pinterest advertising campaign should be designed around one particular theme.

So if you’re doing a campaign to promote a specific holiday sale, you may want to name your campaign Valentine’s Day promotion.

Each campaign can have as many promoted pins as you want and you can have several campaigns going at one time if you like.

From there you can set the duration of how long you want your campaign to go or you can let it go for as long as you like.  From there you would be able to choose a daily maximum budget you like to spend. There are no minimums and maximums from what I can see.

And then the Promoted for that campaign needs to be approved by Pinterest, and once it does, then it’s launched and ready for Pinterest users to see.

Oh there’s one thing, you’ve got fill in your billing information and then it’s ready to roll. There’s also some really great analytics that come with Pinterest advertising to help you understand which search terms converted best in terms of clicks, how many repins a particular Promoted Pin received and so forth.

New Scripts! Enhanced Monthly Budget Projections and Display Audit

Thankfully, AdWords Scripts has made it much easier for account managers to utilize their current data to make smarter choices for their campaigns. There are tons of important areas to focus on, but predicting your budget through the end of the month is paramount in order to have a successful PPC campaign.

 

But, if you’re uncomfortable with writing and employing AdWords Scripts on your own, never fear. We have easy to use scripts just for you complete with tutorials!

 

Monthly Projections

 

  • Quickly calculate how much you need to push/pull your campaign budgets to hit your cap.
  • See projections for Conversions, Cost, Impressions and Clicks at the Campaign Level.
  • Easily calculate your projections through the end of the month.
  • Find projected conversions and CPL for the month.
  • Schedule the script to run and send you and update e-mail with all the information, straight to your inbox.

 

Why We Love It: This will help you monitor your performance and start preparing in advance for any changes, without having to log in and manually pull data.

 

Hero Pro

 

Display Audit

 

  • Auditing placements can help identify which placements to pause.
  • Cut CPA and quickly identify non-converting placements.

 

Why we love it: Set your CPA and quickly check your display placements, and outputs Cost, Conversion, View Through Conversions (or VTC), and places any over CPA limits into a spreadsheet.

 

display audit

 

These scripts are only available with a Hero Pro account, which you can try free for seven days. Hero Pro offers 10 AdWords Tools and a library of 22 AdWords Scripts.

Why We Need Control in PPC

Last week, Google announced that the option to exclude close variant match types was going away in September. The PPC community, predictably, went ballistic. But then some began to question why we are all going so crazy – after all, how many of us actually exclude close variants anyway?

That’s beside the point, though. The point is that we want, and need, the choice.

Google has gradually taken choice away from us: In 2012, we temporarily lost the ability to rotate ads evenly, although that came back after an outcry from the PPC community. In 2013, with enhanced campaigns, we lost the ability to have separate campaigns by device, something that was once considered a best practice.

Now Google is taking away close variant options. And there is good reason to be concerned.

Brad Geddes of Certified Knowledge wrote a good article on why forced close variants is a terrible idea. He shows, with actual data, that close variants do not perform at all the same as traditional matches; in fact, in his examples, close variations have much lower conversion rates and much higher CPAs than their actual match type.

Sam Owen at PPC Hero also showed actual data on close variants, and his data was similar to Geddes’, although the differences varied by account. For some accounts, the difference was minimal, and the residual conversions gained from using close variants were worth the slightly higher CPA.

But for some accounts, especially lead generation accounts, the difference was significant, with close variants resulting in overall CPA increasing from $91.01 to $111.76. As Owen points out, this difference could be enough for a client to get upset and even decide to stop advertising with Google.

Mike Roberts at the SpyFu blog points out another huge concern about losing the ability to exclude close variants: the fact that close variants essentially turn phrase match keywords into broad match keywords.

SpyFu’s data shows that “If you spend $100K per month on AdWords, and all of your keywords are Exact Match, then you can expect to spend about $102,400 after ‘Close Variants’ is switched on at the end of September. If your account is organized by Phrase Match, then expect to be spending $117,200!” Wow.

I didn’t just take these esteemed authors’ word for it – I ran my own analyses on some of our clients. I was able to validate their findings.

The first analysis I ran was for a very large lead generation client. For exact match close variants, we saw an 11 percent higher CPA than on the exact match search queries. For phrase match close variants, we saw a whopping 35 percent higher CPA.

cpa-increase-chart

We also saw a higher CPC for the close variants than for the matched keywords.

All that said, for this client we are getting 20 percent more conversions by using variants, at only a 5 percent increase in CPA. So, on the surface close variants seem worth it.

However, several of this client’s campaigns are budget-limited. It seemed to me that if we excluded close variants, we would get more conversions without sacrificing CPA. So I ran the numbers.

 Scenario Impressions  Clicks  Cost  Conversions CPC  CPA  Conv % 
Without close variants  201,583 11,937 $64,171.41  142 $5.38 $451.91 1.19%
With close variants  290,112 14,630 $80,441.72  170 $5.50 $473.19 1.16%
If close variants excluded  290,112 14,630 $78,648.55  174 $5.38 $451.91 1.19%

If we excluded close variants, we could get more conversions at a lower total cost by putting the entire budget toward traditionally matched terms. For a budget-limited advertiser, this is significant. Who wouldn’t want to get more conversions for the same cost?

The bottom line here is, we need control. As Sam Owen’s data showed, for some advertisers, close variants result in more conversions for little to no additional cost. In e-commerce, for example, casting a wider net is valuable, since it’s nearly impossible to bid on exact matches for every product you sell.

But for other advertisers, close variants are costing them money, especially on phrase match close variants.

Why not give us the control we need?

To further illustrate why we need more, not less, control, let’s take a glance at the impact ofcombining tablets with desktop for the lead generation client I profiled earlier.

Device  Impressions   Clicks Cost  Conversions CPC  CPA  Conv % 
Computers 5,225,330 39,808 $122,578.89 206 $3.08 $595.04 0.52%
Mobile devices with full browsers 213,322 1,255 $7,675.78 97 $6.12 $79.13 7.73%
Tablets with full browsers 1,178,831 11,312 $16,355.79 17 $1.45 $962.11 0.15%

This client is using mobile click to call, and they get a lot of calls. That’s why the mobile conversion rate is so good. But look at tablets. The CPA for tablets is a whopping 62 percent higher than the CPA for computers. Don’t you think I’d rather use that $16,000 to buy more desktop clicks?

An easy solution here would be to add a tablet modifier. We could still bid on tablets, but set a bid that makes sense.

And how about the data for search partners vs. Google.com?

Network  Impressions  Clicks  Cost Conversions  CPC  CPA  Conv% 
Google search 1,064,870 16,231 $97,734.20 211 $6.02 $463.20 1.30%
Search partners 1,045,007 4,015 $21,250.66 43 $5.29 $494.20 1.07%

Well, this isn’t terrible. The CPC for search partners is lower, but so is the conversion rate. CPA is only 7 percent higher for search partners. But the total spend is pretty high.

A bid modifier for search partners would be great here. We could bid just 7 percent less for this traffic and be in good shape.

In fact, there are times I’d be willing to pay more for search partners! Here is data from a different B2B client:

Network Impressions Clicks Cost Conversions CPC CPA Conv%
Google search 32,606 1,057 $2,024.69 132 $1.92 $15.34 12.49%
Search partners 23,458 262 $333.76 44 $1.27 $7.59 16.79%

Search partner conversions at half the cost of Google search? Give me more, please! In this case, I’d be willing to bid 50 percent higher for search partners. Google is leaving money on the table in this instance.

New AdWords Scripts For Your MCC! Powerful Analytics Meets Simplicity

Wish you had an easier way to gather data on all the accounts in your MCC? Getting in the habit of monitoring key metrics before you start your daily routine will help quickly identify problem areas in your accounts and focus your marketing efforts on the right things at the right time. With Hero Pro’s two new MCC scripts you can pinpoint which accounts need attention first.

 

If you aren’t tracking your all your accounts KPI’s daily you are losing money.

 

If you see a sudden spike in impressions you might have an issue with keywords. If your spend spikes you might have inadvertently set the wrong budget. Whatever the reason, you’ll now have the tools in place to keep you informed and up to speed so you can fix a problem before it impacts your bottom line.

 

The Daily MCC Alerts script allows you to…

  • Identify any potential issues
  • Easily spot big swings in performance
  • Notify you of any drastic changes

Our Daily MCC Changes scripts lets you…

  • Monitor day to day performance
  • Quickly compare spend, conversions, and CPA to the previous day
  • Easily spot any abnormalities

 

Pay per click advertising isn’t a passive activity.

Hero Pro offers seven other tools and a library of 18 AdWords Scripts.

 

Protect yourself and your client.

Ad Guardian does the one thing you can’t, but should: It constantly monitors your website, detects when the site goes down, and then pauses your corresponding ad campaigns when the page goes down. When your site goes back up, Ad Guardian reactivates campaigns that were active before the site went down saving you thousands in wasted ad spend.

 

Build New Ads, Launch Multivariate Ad Experiments, Get Results.

As any PPC manager knows, ad copy testing can be a brutal, time-consuming investment, but Ad Automator let’s you Set up, execute and track a 26-round multivariate ad test down to the ad group level in only a few minutes. It then records, tracks and reports each round of ad tests each time one reaches statistical significance.

 

Tap. Swipe. View. It’s that simple.

3phonesWith the new mobile app from Hero Pro, you can keep your stats right in your pocket. PPC Headliner for iPhone and iPad isn’t the AdWords interface on a mobile, but you can use it to gain easy access to your metrics while on-the-go. With just a few clicks, you can see what your accounts are doing down to the campaign level ensuring you’re receiving the intelligence you need at all times.

– See more at: http://www.ppchero.com/new-adwords-mcc-scripts-power-meets-simplicity/#sthash.q63RIAVM.dpuf

Google Cracking Down On Bad Advertising Practices, Over 350 Million Ads Removed

Screen Shot 2014 01 17 at 9.55.56 PM Google Cracking Down On Bad Advertising Practices, Over 350 Million Ads Removed

Google released a report on their AdWords blog today detailing just how vehemently they are cracking down on “bad actors” who are abusing the online advertising services.

Mike Hochberg, Director of Ads Engineering at Google, states:

We’ve allocated substantial technical, financial, and human resources to stopping bad advertising practices and protecting users on the web.  Hundreds of our engineers, policy experts and others have dedicated their careers to this work.

Even with a team that large the amount of ads they managed to remove last year is still surprisingly substantial. Over 350 million bad ads were removed from Google’s systems in 2013. To put that in perspective, Hochberg says, if someone looked at each of the bad ads for one second, it would take them more than ten years to see them all. By comparison, 220 million bad ads were removed in 2012.

What’s also notable in this report is that the bad ads are coming from far fewer sources. Just 270,000 advertisers were banned in 2013 compared to 850,000 in 2012. Google attributes this decline to scammers being stopped by safety screens and moving on to less secure targets.

The Worst Advertising Offenders

Just what, exactly, are these advertisers trying to sell? Google lists the worst offenders in their report. They are as follows:

  • Counterfeit goods: 14,000 advertisers banned for trying to sell these.
  • Illegal online pharmacies: 2 million ads removed.
  • Copyright infringement: 5,000 AdSense accounts disabled for violating copyright.
  • Tech support scams: 4,000 AdWords accounts removed.
  • Malware: 400,000 ads disabled from sites hiding malware.
  • Get rich quick schemes: 10,000 ads disabled for sites promoting these.

Advertising offenders are relentless, but Google says they are just as relentless when it comes to stopping the offenders. Rest assured Google will continue working around the clock to maintain a healthy advertising ecosystem and keep users safe.

PPC Warfare: Get Out of the Trenches & Gain a New Strategic Perspective

Getting lost in the trenches of PPC warfare is a common but dangerous hazard. Sometimes you need to take a step back and review the battleground from afar. In other words, extract yourself from keyword-level analysis and take-in the bigger picture. 

Even the most battle-hardened PPC manager can hit the wall. They may be at a strategic crossroads on how to expand a highly-optimized campaign. They may feel exhausted after slugging it out with a campaign that has been suffering from sub-par performance.

For those folks who are in the trenches, or perhaps feeling a bit aimless, here is a list of motivational and rejuvenating tactics that can get you back on track.

Look Beyond Yesterday or Last Week

Recent performance can lie. Or at least your current stats may not be entirely indicative of the account’s direction.

Continuously analyzing yesterday, last week, or even the past month doesn’t provide the entire picture. Remember to conduct a long-view analysis as well. Look at your most recent quarter performance as well as the previous six months.

Look for trends regarding click-through rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), conversion rates, and other core metrics. You may be surprised what you find. You may be doing better than you thought – or worse.

Compare the Years

Where was the account this time last year? Is your performance better or worse? Sure, the entire PPC landscape can change in a year (it can change in a day!), but looking at annual data can help you in a few interesting ways:

  • Establish benchmark goals: Review your performance peaks and valleys from last year. You should aim to accentuate your highest conversion timeframes, and mitigate the low-tide periods. You should have month-over-month goals, as well as year-over-year goals and they should be aligned with seasonal patterns.
  • Expose strengths and weaknesses: You may find that specific keyword set worked better last year. Conduct additional analysis to understand what is different: have you changed the targeting for these terms, or have users changed the way they search for your product/service?
  • Reveal search pattern behavior: You should use Google Trends or another forecasting tool to determine if search is down overall for your core terms or your entire industry.

Don’t confine your analysis within your AdWords or adCenter account. Look through your analytics data as well. Look for shifts in traffic sources and audience engagement.

Reviewing revenue stats, profit margin and conversion rates is mission critical, but don’t neglect to look at changes in bounce rate, time on site, visit duration, and other metrics that can indicate a swing in user behavior or a change on the website that is deterring people from deeper engagement.

Find Your Day of Infamy

If after studying the long-view trends, as well as annual trends, and you’re still unsure what next step to take, you should review the most recent quarter performance – but don’t look for trends.

Look for the day or week where the campaign/account took a downturn. Try to determine what changed. Why did performance start to slip?

Relive the Past

Within AdWords and adCenter you can review the change history of your account. Once you have determined the day of infamy (a marked difference in performance), then you should review the historical changes of your account.

Perhaps there was a change made that inadvertently affected your performance negatively. The most common campaign changes that fall into this category include:

  • Negative keyword implementation: When you launched a specific negative keyword it may have made sense at the time, but perhaps this has stopped mission-critical terms from appearing properly.
  • Bidding strategy adjustment: The campaign-level bidding strategy may have shifted. Bids may have been increased or decreased. Or the bidding option may have changed (from CPC to CPA).
  • New campaign launch: New search or display campaigns may inadvertently syphon traffic from an older, established campaign.
  • Campaign settings adjustment: Sometimes settings can are altered accidently and this can have a huge impact on performance.

As you’re looking back, keep in mind that you may have not made the change that impacted your campaign. AdWords and adCenter make changes to ad serving all the time. These changes can be related to keyword match types, display network updates, or ad rotation.

Keeping your day of infamy in mind, review these helpful resources to see if there was an algorithmic shift during your target timeframe:

Look to the Future

Through this process you should have a different perspective on your PPC account. You should have a stronger grasp on your recent performance and a deeper comprehension of your seasonal trends. You should understand the external (platform level) and internal changes (account optimization) that may have affected your performance.

Now, you can look to the future.

Hopefully, pulling yourself out of the keyword-level trenches will help with innovation and motivation, and for this specific PPC battle, you will emerge victorious.