Waste-Per-Click: 10 Ways You’re Losing Money in PPC [VIDEO WEBINAR]
Elizabeth Marsten Oct 9 2013
This webinar was given June 27, 2013.
Ariana: Hello, and welcome, everyone, to the next installment of the Portent Webinar Series. My name is Ariana and I will be your moderator for today’s webinar, which is Waste-Per-Click – 10 Ways You’re Losing Money on PPC, with our very own Elizabeth Marsten, Senior Director of Search Marketing at Portent, Speaker PC – [laughter] PC – PPC Wiz, and Co-Author of Web Marketing: All-In-One for Dummies. Uh, um, we would love it if you would join us all in this awesome webinar. There are a couple ways you can do that.
You can ask questions within the Go-To-Webinar Questions window, or Tweet your questions using the #portentu. So that’s #P-O-R-T-E-N-T and the letter U. And just so you know, in case you miss out on any of today’s webinar, or you want to review it later, don’t worry; you will receive a follow-up e-mail, which will contain a link to this recorded webinar, a Slideshare link to the presentation slides, and a bit.ly bundle for any resources that Elizabeth will be using in her webinar.
So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Elizabeth. Hey, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Hello. Thank you for having me today and thank you everyone for joining us. And as we said, today’s – today’s focus is on waste-per-click, or the 10 ways that you’re losing money on paid search. It will focus on the Google AdWords platform, but I also snuck in some things about Bing Ads as well. I do anticipate that this will be on the shorter end of our Portent U webinars, just because, you know, it doesn’t take that long to talk about 10 things. But also, what I would like is at the end of the presentation, if you have time before noon before lunch, I would like you to go back into your AdWords and Bing accounts and double-check on a lot of the things that I’m going to talk about today and make sure that you’re not in violation of any of these, um, points that I’m going to bring up today.
And so you’ll have some time to go in and change your account if – if you should need to. Uh, without further ado, let’s see. This is the Portent U hashtag once again, so those of you that missed the spelling of it or tried to put in Y-O-U, it’s just #portentu, and we’ll have those – Tweet those in and we’ll get those to us at the end of the presentation. And so first things first, what is this all about? Um, there’s a lot of wasted – there’s a lot of money in – being wasted in PPC, and it really personally drives me crazy. It seriously is a personal pet peeve.
And I would like to stop the madness. But first, who am I? Why should you even listen to me? I, as Ariana was saying, am the Senior Director of Search at Portent. That is me. I do write about paid search a lot; um, a lot, a lot. And I also like to talk about it obviously ‘cause I’m here today. I have about seven years’ experience in the paid search field now. I actually started as what I thought was a paper-clip manager because I didn’t even know what it was, so that does go to show you that if you, uh, if you really want to, you can pick this stuff up pretty quick.
I work here. This is the Smith Tower in beautiful downtown Seattle. This is not what the weather looks like today, but this is what – where Portent is approximately located, and I did try and put the, uh, little pointy there where – about where the 17th floor is. And I actually think that might be my office there on the corner. So I actually, over the seven – over the seven years, I’ve managed millions of dollars literally. I’ve seen millions of dollars. I’ve managed millions of dollars.
I’ve seen other accounts and I’ve owned accounts. And then the one theme that I see across the board is even if it’s a small one-person business and/or a large multinational, you know, Forbes 500 company, they make a lot of the same mistakes when it comes to PPC. And these are the kind of miss – what we call the kind of mistakes that no one likes to admit. These are the – the secret shame – or are what I refer to as the secret shame kind of PPC mistakes. These are the kinds that no one likes to talk about when they find them.
They just kind of quietly fix ‘em, and that’s why at the end of this presentation, I highly recommend that you go and, uh, take a look at your account settings and make sure that you’re not doing any of these, uh, shameful, shameful tactics. So without any further ado, here are the top 10 things in Google AdWords that I’ve seen repeatedly in PPC accounts that only do one thing, and that is they burn money. They really do. And I love this graphic, so I hope everyone else also does.
Google AdWords, number one – targeting the search and display networks together. So this was an oldie but a goodie, and unfortunately, one that I’ve seen repeatedly. In fact, I was at the SMA West Conference just this last March. We had somebody submit their account to be looked at. Uh, the account was actually in Spanish as it was being run in Mexico, but we didn’t actually need to be able to speak Spanish in order to see that these search and display networks were being targeted together. They were racking – the display network was racking up thousands and thousands of impression and clicks.
They had spent 90 percent of their budget, their monthly budget for this month-long comp-; uh, contest that they were running on the display network, and they couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t get it to perform. And the reason was because they were targeting the search and display networks together. The display network was taking all of the budget away from the search terms, and they just didn’t have the money go for search. So the difference between the two, search would be where you go to Google.com and you type in the query and you hit go and you see the text as there and someone clicks on ‘em, which is a much more targeted, uh, method in, on acquiring a visitor versus a display network – where the ads are being shown alongside or inside of content, and it’s a lot noisier space and you’re trying to pull somebody away from the content that they’re already viewing.
So even Google has admitted that this is a best practice to target the search and display networks separately. When you go into your settings account here at the campaign level, you need to say not search and display, like I have circled here in the red, what you want to have is search only or display only. And as I said here in the little box; if you only remember one thing out of all 10 of these for Google AdWords, this is the number one thing. And so yes, I did start out with the big one, so anyone who signed in late, I’m sorry.
Alright, number two, you want to start with a new campaign – uh, you do – if you start with a new campaign, do not do enhanced CPC bidding right away. Wait until you have some conversion – conversion data first. Then you try it. Enhanced CPC is a tool that Google AdWords allows at the campaign level automatically with a new – new campaign or an old one that tries to use your conversion tracking data to optimize your bids for conversions. You do pick a max enhanced CPC, but what I’ve seen over time and account over account is the system is not that smart.
It is actually too stupid to figure out what a good CPC is for your data because you don’t have any data yet. So make sure that you have some data first if you’re going to try enhanced CPC. Do not do it on a new campaign. It is one of the most wasteful things that I’ve ever seen. Number three, not setting any mobile bid modifiers. So with enhanced campaigns, for those of you that don’t – aren’t already aware, on July 22nd, Google AdWords – AdWords will be transitioning all campaigns to enhanced campaigns that have not already been manually transferred over. So if you don’t know what enhanced campaigns is, you better write this down and Google it because it is a really, really important thing.
Any campaign that is – or any account that’s been created ever and has not already been manually switched over, what’ll happen is computers and – or desktops and tablets will be combined into one. So here in this screenshot, you can see them separated out, but you cannot bid separately for them. They will be lumped together. Uh, mobile devices are automatically put at the same bid as computers and tablets within that campaign unless you set a mobile bid modifier. So in this case, we have a plus zero.
Google wants you to do adjustments in the – in the upwards directions. You might actually want to do it in the downwards direction. So if your site is very, very terrible looking on mobile, you’re going to want to bid down on mobile bid modifiers. So for example, I do have a client whose – whose site is very, very awful, um, when looked on a mobile device, and in order to counteract rising CPC costs and spend on mobile devices that doesn’t – don’t – don’t convert, we actually put negative 100 percent as the mobile bid modifier to keep it from showing as much as possible.
So if you have enhanced campaigns, make sure that you have a mobile bid modifier. If you haven’t moved over to enhanced campaigns yet, make sure that you start looking at that ‘cause July 22nd, they’re going to do it for you. And if they do it for you automatically, this is what it’s gonna say. It’s gonna say plus zero. It’s going to inherit what the rest of the campaign has, and you’re going to be saying, “Ouch,” at the end of July.
Number four, no negative keywords. This one is also an oldie, but people repeatedly don’t do it and it makes me very sad, and that is why there’s the very ugly-looking sad face there because it just – you have to have negative keywords at some level; either at the campaign level, at the ad group level. You can do it as a single word or you can do it in a list format. So for those that aren’t aware, if you have keywords that are – happen – apply to multiple campaigns, so let’s say, you know, the cheap, wholesale, inexpensive, clearance, discount kind of list, you can make a list out of that and apply that same list to multiple campaigns.
You don’t have to add those one by one by one to every single campaign or ad group that you would like to have them applied to. Use negative keyword lists, use negative keywords. You should go into your account, go under the keywords tab, click the button that says CL Search Terms and it’ll show you what is – what’s – what – what queries triggered your ads. You will find negative keywords in there if you don’t know where to find them.
Number five, [sighs] clicking on your own ads. This one makes me laugh so much but I cannot – cannot stress how many times I have had clients – I had one client who racked up $500.00 on himself because he just couldn’t stop clicking on his ads. He had to see where they would go. Just – just don’t do that. There is an ad preview tool within the AdWords interface that you can do to see what your ad will look like as it – as it shows, and then you can check the URL there. Do not click on your own ads. But honestly, Google has made it so you can’t really miss.
Okay, time out since we’re about halfway through the Google piece. I’m going to take a short break. We’re going to look at these kittens. Uh, thanks to Katie for putting this together. I’m sure it took at least an hour of – of well-spent time. We also have my puppy, Lumi. Everyone, welcome to summer. Anyway, as I was saying about PPC, number six, using broad match for all keywords. Now, [sighs] a lot of people when they first start PPC, they just put the words in. They don’t think about the different match types. Different match types really do make a difference, especially if you’re trying to do what I – we call head terms or single – eh, what could be considered like a single word term or something that’s very, uh, high-traffic, like innovation.
You should never, ever, ever bid on innovation by itself. This is terrible. Collaboration, these are some – this is a screenshot from something I actually found. These are terrible. You can see the amount of impressions I got racked up; I didn’t even want to reveal the cost on these kind of stuff, and the – obviously, the conversion rate was horrific because the – a single word collaboration in a broad match means that it pulled in anything and everything that was even remotely close to around collaboration. Now, Google will do some filtering as far as relevancy to – to the account and to the page, but you’ve basically given them a blank check in which to say, “Alright, for anything, you know, related to collaboration, go ahead and show my ads.”
And that is also why you see in the quality score column on the right a 1 out of 10, which is about the worst that you can do other than not showing at all. So do not use broad match for all your keywords. If you’re not sure when you start a – start a new keyword list or new ad group, start with the phrase match. Work your way down or up from there. Phrase is a good place to start.
Number seven, okay, this one is a little bit trickier and not a lot of people know about it. So this is people in my targeted location versus people searching for or about my targeted location. By default is people in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location. This is not good if you’re trying to do any kind of geo targeting whatsoever in – at the campaign level. So if you’re just targeting the United States for your campaign level, it’s okay. It’s not great. I recommend people in my targeted location, especially if you’re watching the pennies at all, usually Google’s pretty good at the country level as far as targeting.
But when it comes to just, say, the Los Angeles area, you want people in my targeted location because that – this setting can trigger then for someone in like Virginia who might be searching for Los Angeles car rentals, which you may or may not want to be advertising to them for, but it does mean that it can show up in Virginia and maybe perhaps you were trying to segment Virginia traffic separate from Los Angeles traffic ‘cause people searching in Los Angeles are looking more for like a zip car kind of thing, whereas – or a replacement car ‘cause they got in an accident, where someone in Virginia is looking more for a rental car because they’re visiting or, uh, becoming a tourist.
So you may have different goals in which that you’re trying to segment these audiences. This default can pull in people from other places around the country as far as that goes. So if you are tight on your money or you are really trying to really narrow down – let’s say you only deliver to people in the Hollywood area, you want people in my targeted location. You – especially if that’s the only area that you serve.
Number eight, ads set to optimize for clicks when you have conversion tracking. So this is the default, optimize for clicks, shows ads expected to provide more clicks. You have a couple ways – you can see you have about four different options here. If you actually want conversions over clicks, I would recommend optimize for conversions or the rotate evenly or indefinitely, depending on how – if you’re doing active ad testing. If you’re doing active ad testing, you want the rotate evenly. If you are not doing active ad testing, let’s say you have your – your – your set group of ads. You have three ads that you’ve continually, um, depend on, you want to go – and you have a conversion-based goal, go with optimize for conversions.
Clicks is just the one that, uh, ideal for most advertisers is actually pretty much a lie unless you’re just trying to get piles of traffic. If you want optimized – if you want conversions, pick optimize for conversions. You don’t have to set a separate bid or anything else. You’re just telling Google, “Go with the better ad as far as conversion rate.” Or if you’re doing a test, rotate indifferent – indefinitely.
Number nine, targeting the U.S. and Canada together. Uh, this is also a default that applies to new campaigns. So if you have an account but have some – some history to it and you start a new campaign and all the other campaigns are targeting the United States, Google usually picks that up and puts the default as United States. If it is a brand-new account or you’ve only got a couple campaigns and you go in and you start a new one, this is – this will show up. They will bundle the United States and Canada together unless – and if – this – this could be something that costs you a lot of money if you don’t ship to Canada, if you – for example, we have a client that does ship to Canada, but the shipping rates are incredible – uh, like basically triple what they are in – in the Continental U.S.
So Canada needs to be separated – separate and targeted separately. And this also goes for maybe you have a Canadian website so you want to make sure that you have the Canada traffic going to the Canada website and the U.S. traffic going to the U.S. traffic – U.S. site. And number 10 for Google, ignoring Google search partner network performance. This was one that a lot of people forget about, especially if they’re new to the PPC game and they just start digging around, this is not something they often dig around to. So the difference between a Google search and a search partner is that Google search is the Google.com; you go there, you type something in, you hit go.
That is all things that are – occur on Google.com. Search partners are – is a nebulous list that we kind of have partial glimpse into out there in the world. So AOL is one. Ask.com is one. These are all places that use the Google search results to display organic results but also ads, but it is technically not a Google property and it is not a Google.com result. So in this case, this is a real example of someone who, uh, is using Google search and Google search partners, and as you can see, the search partner network is really driving a lot of their impressions. And in the case of another, uh, campaign there, only 23 percent of their overall traffic is actually coming from Google search.
Now, you can see the CTR’s pretty low across the board, but at the same time, look at the cost differential between how much you spent on Google search versus search partners. The next level to be – that isn’t on this screenshot, the next level to look at, would be what is your conversion rate for each one of these, what is your CPA for each one of these. It may be in your best interest to actually disable the search partner network from – at the campaign level. So when you go into the campaign level and you go under the settings, there is a checkbox essentially where you can undo search partners and just target Google search.
So if you haven’t ever looked at this, you really should. And on some cases, we have clients that do quite well on the search partner network, and it is perfectly fine to leave them paired together and let them run and everything’s hunky-dory. But in some cases, if you were – especially if you’re tight on budget and especially if you can’t figure out, you know, maybe your CPAs start – your CPCs started, your CPA just dropped off the face of the earth, this is a good place to come look and see for troubleshooting if maybe all of a sudden AOL decided to like you a lot and show your ads repeatedly.
Okay, so pro tip; half of these tips are settings-based. You can go fix them right now. And – well, actually right now; you should wait until the end of this webinar and then go do it, maybe in the last 10 minutes or so. Um, but these are a lot of things that can go in your account at the campaign level settings, at the account level settings, the ad group level settings. Go take a look and see what it is that you can fix.
Now, we have our Bing bonus round, so technically, the webinar was called 10 Ways, but you know, that doesn’t take very long, so let’s go ahead and get some Bing Ad stuff in there too. I mean, they are – they do – they count. There’s traffic in there. So number one, separating search from content network performance. So, uh, Bing Ads has three, uh, areas in which you can target, and so I’m going to go – there’s a couple of ‘em in here. So the first one is search from content network. Now, once upon a time, the Google display network actually used to be called the content network.
They rebranded it and that’s how we know it today as the display network. Very good job, Google. Now, MSN also has the same kind of content network. So these are sites that are, um, belong to the – to the network they’ve applied. They show Bing Ads ads on their pages and they receive, you know, a piece of the – the piece of the click if – if somebody – somebody clicks. But you should treat it the same way you would a Google search versus a display network and separate them, uh, the search network from the content network.
By default, these are all enabled, so you want to uncheck the content network box. If you do want to target content network Bing Ads, do a new campaign. The content network on Bing Ads is far less traffic than AdWords. AdWords has a tendency to just drive up impressions like crazy. The content network on Bing is a lot less, um, robust in that way, so you won’t need to watch it as heavily. But it is something you’d definitely want to separate because you want to be able to tell the difference in performance between the two.
Number two, alright, separating search from search partner for network performance. So as I was saying, there are multiple aspects to the Bing Ads, uh, interface, so there’s search network or all search networks, as you can see here; Bing and Yahoo! search; Bing and Yahoo! syndicated search; and the content network. So we already went over the content network. The one here that I’m talking about is by default, that button there is checked; all search networks, which is Bing and Yahoo! search and syndicated search partners. Do not advertise on the search partner network with the same – in the same campaign as Bing and Yahoo!
So Bing and Yahoo! search owned and operated only is – are ads that show on bing.com and yahoo.com. And no, you can’t actually segment the traffic from between the two, so when an impression or a click shows, uh, from Bing and Yahoo!, you don’t know if it was Bing or you don’t know if it was Yahoo! They call it the unified marketplace and you will never know. It will always be a mystery.
But the syndicated search partner network is – is a little bit different. It is [sighs] they have sites, for example, I believe it’s [sighs] PC World belongs to this, uh, is a syndicated search partner. So when you search on PC World, you will see ads within the search results. That is a syndicated search partner. Some of those are more accurate than others. My experience personally has been pretty horrific as far as the – the targeting capabilities. It’s not been as accurate as we’d like to see it. There have been improvements in the recent past, but whatever you do, if you’re going to check – test the syndicated search partner network, separate it out; do a new campaign. Keep it the heck away from your Bing and Yahoo! search.
Number three, over-layering the demographic and time of day and day of the week bids. So hang on; let me break that down a little bit ‘cause I think somebody’s eyes just rolled in the back of their head. So on Bing Ads, you can segment or you can increase bids based on the day of the week and the time of the day and demographics. So you can do all of these things at once. But if you do ‘em all at once, you actually just told Bing Ads increase whatever my last max CPC is that I’ve set forty percent if you over-layer.
So be very cautious about how many of these you layer on at a time because you could literally throw yourself, you know, 100 percent or more of your original max bid. So in the case here, you know, on Wednesday, I did plus 10 percent. And – and the other thing is you can only go up in 10 percent increments, so you can’t just pick 5 or 17 percent or, you know, 3 percent here and there. It’s 10, 20, 30, 40. So you can see how that can stack up pretty high pretty fast.
So if you don’t have, um, if you don’t have the – the need to stack up all of these, then don’t do it. If you want to test it, that’s fine, but just watch out that you’re going to be layering that up a good 40, 50, 100 percent in some cases. Uh, if you’ve got time – and you can also at the same time, if you see these checkboxes here, you can uncheck, uh, certain times of the day and days of the week as well if you needed to help balance out, um, the layering of the demographics and time of the day. Number four, okay. So this is also one that a lot of folks don’t know.
You actually trump, if you have ad group settings, campaign settings. So if at the campaign level you had, you know, location and, you know, your time of day and day of the week and all that kind of stuff set up, and then you went into your ad group and you’re like, “You know, I think I want to have my ad group show at certain times of day that’s different,” that’s great ‘cause it’ll – it’ll trump the campaign settings.
But let’s say you did that and then you forgot and then you wanted – in that one single ad group, you had changed, you know, the day of the week – the ads not to show, you know, Monday through Friday and you forgot, you’re like, “Man, I want to turn that back on for all of the ad groups.” And you go into the campaign setting and you change it there and you think, “Oh, yeah, it’s good,” it’s not good. You need to go in the ad group and either have it so that it defaults to the campaign settings or matches up with what you want to do.
Just – so just know that whatever you set at the ad group can trump what is at the campaign level. And last but not least, number five on Bing Ads, new ad groups may default to all locations worldwide. So this doesn’t always happen, um, with, uh, continued accounts. You do – if you do a new ad group, it may default to just whatever your other ad groups are targeted to, so like in United States. But if it’s brand-new, this sometimes comes up where you have all locations worldwide. So make sure, and if you create a brand-new ad group, that it doesn’t say all locations worldwide, but it has the United States or the – or that you have this little thing underneath here that says, “This uses your campaign setting.”
I actually don’t trust this too well. If – if I were you, I would just go ahead at the ad group level and put the United States just because you never know, although the ad group, as we were saying, even though it says this uses your campaign setting, with that ad group trumping the campaign setting, I would just go ahead and put it to United States. Okay, so questions. I want to remind everyone as we said, it was going to be on the shorter – shorter end of things. I only had 10 things to say about AdWords 5 things to say about Bing, but I wanted to leave lots of time for questions, and I also want everyone to go back to their accounts and check their settings.
So if you have questions, let’s get ‘em in to #portentu, or type ‘em in the, uh, WebEx question box here. And just for everybody to know, these are the links if you want to go check it out. I actually didn’t have any resource links within this webinar in particular, but this is my – what I call my modest bragging bundle, which has all of the information in there for all my other slide show – share, uh, presentations, the Dummies book, all those other eBooks I was bragging about at the beginning, the Portent blog; there’s a lot of good things in there, uh, so why don’t we go ahead and go with questions.
Ariana: Thank you, Elizabeth. [Clears throat] Those were – excuse me – [clears throat]…
Elizabeth: Technical difficulties.
Ariana: Sorry about that. Those were some great twit – tips. I’m sure that some pocketbooks are going to feel a little bit better after implementing those tips there. Um, so don’t forget, the resources at the bundle and, uh, we’re open for questions. Um, put it in the webinar question box or Tweet us, um, with the hash-tag portentu. Uh, I have a couple questions already in.
Um, Chris asks, uh, “I’m wanting to use PPC to drive people to turn on the radio, not click. I could design creative to drive that message. Here’s my question. Would you buy that CPC or CPM? Uh, CPC seems to – seems like I’d get more impressions since I don’t want, um, want it to be a click.”
Elizabeth: Great question, Chris. CPM, don’t ever do it unless it’s like a media buy or some kind of run of site thing and you’ve really got no other chance. If you’ve got the chance to choose between the two, always pick CPC ‘cause anything after that is a free impression.
Ariana: Great. Uh, question from Chad here. “Do you need conversion tracking and so on to optimize for conversions?”
Elizabeth: Yes, you do. So the AdWords conversion tracking actually is pretty easy, uh, comparatively to a lot of the other conversion tracking codes you might have to do. You literally just go under tools and analysis. Conversion tracking is there. You set up what it is. I recommend one, maybe two at most, because it does aggregate the conversions. So if you have like a sale but you also want to track downloads, pick which one you want or – or be very cognizant when you go in and you start looking at your number of conversions because obviously, a download is going to be worth less than a sale, uh, and you might actually – accidentally, uh, inflate your conversions.
So if you get that little bit of conversion code, write that in; you know, set up a new conversion in AdWords. You’re going to get a little snippet of code. You grab that and you put it on your conversion page, which is probably like a thank you or receipt page, and then every time that fires, it goes and hits back into AdWords and lets it know that one conversion has been recorded.
Ariana: Awesome. Uh, Dror asks, “Will – will you post the – the webinar?” And yeah, we’ll – there – at the bundle here and, um, the e-mail follow-up, you will get a copy of the link to the slide share and the recorded webinar. Um, Nildari – sorry if I say that incorrectly – um, “How much conversion data do I need to collect before activating enhanced CPC?”
Elizabeth: Excellent question, and unfortunately, it is really on a case-by-case basis. Um, enhanced CPC is something I approach with – with caution, uh, as far as the amount of conversion data required. What I’ve found repeated is you at least need to have more consistency than, uh, an actual number. So if you were consistently having conversions like a daily – on a daily basis, like two to three, and you get like a couple of weeks in, that should be enough information for data – for – enough data for Google to start making smarter decisions. But if you’re really sporadic, so let’s say on Sunday, you have five conversions and then Monday and Tuesday you had zero and then Wednesday you had one and then Thursday was like three, that’ll take longer.
I recommend if you’re going to be really – if it – if they’re coming in really sporadic like that, I would say at least a month before you start approaching that. I would do it on one campaign and I would watch that campaign first before just applying across the board.
Ariana: Uh, question from Ryan. “I’m on a small budget and my average cost per click is high, resulting in less clicks and less leads than I’d like to see in my investment. [Clears throat] What’s the best way to go about mark – making improvements?”
Elizabeth: Ooh, my favorite, so the – the small business question. So first and foremost, I start looking at times of day and day of the week. When do I not need to be spending? So take a look at your conversion data. Is anybody even looking at Sunday at 3:00 in the morning? Uh, when are you high? When are you low? That’s one thing you can start doing right there is kind of cutting off when.
The next thing you can start looking at is if you don’t want to cut it off is adjusting the bid, like by percentages during the – those parts of the day. So maybe you cut it back by about 50 percent. You can show up, but you don’t need to necessarily fight for the first position. That’s a couple – one thing I would do. I’d also take a look at maybe even shutting off entire days, like if I don’t even convert on Sundays, maybe just turn it off. Uh, let’s see. What else?
Um, take a look at your keyword list. See what it is that you can cut as far as what’s been a high cost and what’s been, um, not converting as well as the other things. Where can you spend more money? Another thing you might take a look at is do you have a single campaign – did you stick everything in a single campaign and you’re making every ad group in there fight for the budget that’s left? Move things out that are doing well for you so that it has enough room to breathe and potentially get more conversions for you in order to make – maybe make enough money to do – try other things.
Ariana: Um Mari– [clears throat] excuse me. Hang on. Uh, Marianne asks, “Any advice for us listeners managing a Google foundation grant campaign?”
Elizabeth: Ooh, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of clients that come across the board with Google foundation grants other than, uh, it’s a really cool program and they have a pile of money, uh, in which to go for. So I mean, if you have come across Google grant money, use it all. Get all the data that you can because eventually, you may get cut off, in which case at least you have the data to make better decisions with going forward.
Ariana: Um, so you were talking earlier about people clicking on their own ads. So this kind of was in that same – I’m sure the people that do that also do a search for their Google. So Chad asks, um, Chad asked, “Why do I not see my ad when I Google a particular keyword?”
Elizabeth: I hate this question. Um, because it’s always the one that – ‘cause it’s always at that certain – somebody always does it right at the most inopportune time. So there’s a – there’s a myriad of reasons on why you might not see. So one might be geographic restrictions. You may not be in the area in which you were targeting. I’ve had that happen before. An East Coast client – or actually it was a West Coast client who was visiting his mom on the East Coast and asked me why he couldn’t see his ads. And I said, “Where are you?”
And he said, “New York.” And I said, “Where are your ads targeted to?” And the answer was Washington. So that would be one. Uh, another one might be time of day. You might’ve run out of budget, and so if they ask you at like 4:00 in the afternoon, they might’ve run out of money at like 1:00. Another thing just could be site and search – search behavior. So Google does kind of track your search behavior. If you’re more, um – so for example, if you go to your site a bunch of times and then you Google yourself, do – you actually have a higher chance of showing up, uh, because Google is tracking the kind of behavior that you are doing and you’re – it’s going to show you ads for sites that you’ve already been to because they know that you were – you have a propensity to go there.
Um, any other things might be sometimes it just doesn’t show every single time. You just have to have a little patience. I really – like I said, recommend if you’re going to Google yourself, do it first thing in the morning and don’t click on it.
Ariana: Uh, Mike asks, “What’s the best way of determining how much to spend each month?”
Elizabeth: Okay, so that is actually less of a paid search question and more of a marketing and business question. So I kind of liken paid search budgets to a craps game. You set amount of money – set – set aside a certain amount of money and that is the money that you spend on PPC. And if it doesn’t work, you don’t spend more. So you don’t go to the ATM and get more and spend on a cold table. You – you take a step back and you need to reevaluate. When it comes to picking the initial budget in the first place, you can do a lot of keyword research through just the AdWords tool with the traffic estimator or the keyword planner and get a look at what the CPCs might be.
Take those CPCs, kind of multiply that by the amount of clicks that you think could – you know, across the – that are projected for the month, and then you kind of have a general budget of at least how much Google thinks you could spend on those words. Take that and then the next thing I say is if that number makes your – your stomach drop into your knees, that’s not the right number. You need to have something – or you need to select a budget that won’t make you paranoid and make – won’t make you log in every five minutes to make sure you didn’t spend more than a certain amount.
Always set daily budgets in a way that make it so that you can sleep at night.
Ariana: Uh, Maryanne asks again – uh, “Any advice for customers that want to launch PPC campaigns targeted to foreign countries?”
Elizabeth: Ooh, okay. So you can do a couple different things. So if it’s a massive amount, then you might want to consider separate accounts. But in this case, I would say it’s probably on the smaller end. So you want to definitely set that up by campaign. So one country per campaign ideally. Uh, if you’re going to lump foreign countries together, at least keep ‘em together on the same language. So don’t put, you know, all the – don’t put Turkey in with China. That’s just a bad idea.
Uh, also the time zones kind of thing. So European Union, you can technically align a lot of those, like – so like Ireland and England you could probably put together in the same campaign. But depending on what your goals are, you’re going to want to be very conscientious about how you organize those because for one, you’re spending in U.S. dollars in a foreign country. Um, and then at the same time, you want to be able to see what the performance is across a per-country basis. So definitely different campaigns for each country.
So they will – I believe it is they click through, they take a look at it, and it’s pretty specific language that they’ll give you to put on your site. It does need to be on there. It does need to be obvious. Um, and if they kick it back, you can – the best way to get a hold of ‘em is actually using the, uh, the chat feature through AdRoll or through, uh, e-mail support.
Ariana: Excellent. Uh, another question from Mike, um, “In – are there any content networks or search engines outside of Google and Bing that are affiliated markets – uh, networks that are worth looking into?”
Elizabeth: Um, yeah, you could do – I guess, well, affiliated networks, eh, a lot of ‘em are garbage. Um, I really recommend checking out PPC Hero’s list on, uh, second and third-tier engines, so like their 7Search and ABC and, uh, Business.com, those kind of places. It really depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re trying to sell e-commerce retail kind of stuff, a lot of those don’t work very well. Or they’re just too low a traffic in order to pay off in the amount of time that you put into them. Um, but they’re definitely there if you want to look, uh, as if you’re looking for more. Like Ad Marketplace is a good one if you just want to – like for a traffic standpoint.
Uh, and a lot of times, they’ll help you kind of optimize to what it is that you’re trying to achieve. And I’m trying to think; there was one other one recently. They’re literally popping up left and right. I would actually just take, like I was saying, take a look at PPC Hero’s, uh, second and third-tier search engine guide, and you’ll have a pretty good idea as far as to – you know, what you might want to do and what you might want to choose. And actually, one other thing; I didn’t finish Chris’ question I realize, and he asked if he needed both AdRoll and Google.
It depends entirely on how big your budget is and how much you want to – how much you want to cover. Facebook covers different – a completely different audience than the Google remarketing will. So it depends, like I was saying, it depends how big you want to go. But yes, it will cover different bases. Um, Google’s the cheaper on, and it’s the easier one to start with. Uh, AdRoll is very – the self-service platform is easy to use though.
Ariana: Okay. [Clears throat] Another question here. When does it make sense to look into placement on LinkedIn and Business.com?
Elizabeth: Ooh. Business.com I only really recommend if you’re like a B2B. Uh, I haven’t seen great returns on it, but it is there. And I’m talking about B2B like lead generation more than trying to sell something directly. LinkedIn, I’ve seen mixed results, depending on what it is that you’re trying to do and what it is that you’re offering. If you’re going to do LinkedIn, I recommend something like a download or a webinar or a free this or that ‘cause you’re trying to get them in at the beginning of a – kind of like a sales funnel.
Don’t look to LinkedIn to sell directly. Don’t look to LinkedIn to just fill a lead funnel. You’re actually just trying to get them to complete some sort of small action. I see a lot of success with, um, like recruiting companies trying to get people in that are trying to, you know, sign up for a headhunter. I don’t see a lot of success with getting, uh, services sold and, um, uh, not services – or services and products. But if you’ve got like a job that you want to advertise or a webinar, a download, free trials are good things. But otherwise, LinkedIn is quite expensive on a per-click basis.
Uh, so you want to take that into consideration on how – on how much it’s worth to you to get someone in the start of your sales funnel.
Ariana: Uh, Dave asks, “How would you approach growth for an established account that has hit a plateau?”
Elizabeth: Excellent. Okay. So one of the first things we like to do when we have something that kind of hits a – hits a plateau like that is take a look at the keyword lists and take a look at what you’re bidding on already. So you’re probably going after a lot of the obvious stuff, but some of the things you could also be going after might be behavioral, um, or how someone might use something. Uh, when’s the last time you Googled yourself as far as those keywords go, what else – and I’m talking about just like Google search suggests, like type it in slowly and see what else is kind of coming up.
Um, take a look also at the – what products haven’t you tried or maybe you’ve already tried a while ago and you maybe you didn’t do it quite right, go back and take a look. Uh, if you haven’t – if you think you’ve hit the – hit the wall on AdWords, you actually might try Bing. Um, Bing is a good place to be these days. Uh, Bing also – if you’re – it’s an e-tail or retail e-commerce; you might take a look at product feeds, if you haven’t already taken a look at product listing ads or any of the comparison shopping engines. Bing Shopping is actually free if you can establish – uh, get a feed in there.
Um, let me see what else. As far as a plateau, have a third-party person look at it. Have somebody who does paid search that hasn’t looked at – hasn’t seen it before take a look. They’ll come away with at least three things right off the bat.
Ariana: Um, Brad asks, “Are you seeing that advertising on Yelp works or not for local businesses?”
Elizabeth: I actually – sorry, Brad – I haven’t actually played with Yelp much for advertising, uh, for local businesses. I personally, as I use Yelp, can’t imagine that it’s doing that hot, uh, overall ‘cause mostly all I see is tanning. So either someone is trying to drop me a hint because I live in Seattle or it’s – requires a budget that may or may not be, um, amenable to you for local businesses. I do know that Google – Google Local or Google Maps has, um, recently come out with their – they’re finding at least study wise that the advertisements are doing better than the markers on the map, so that might be something to take a look into.
I’d be really curious to see more about Yelp actually.
Ariana: Evan asked, “What was the handle for questions again?” It’s portentu – #P-O-R-T-U – [laughter] I can’t spell today. #P-O-R-T-E-N-T and the letter U. Uh, Marianne asks, “Any thoughts on advertising on Angie’s List?”
Elizabeth: Marianne, I’ve heard that Angie’s List is the devil, so [laughter] you probably shouldn’t advertise there. Now, um, I don’t personally have any thoughts on advertising on Angie’s List. I will say it is very compelling. The amount of advert – the amount – just the pure amount of, uh, vendors on there and the amount of traffic that they pull, they do have a huge brand. They have advertising all over the place. They would have the volume. I wouldn’t completely dismiss it, but I have heard some horror stories about it.
Ariana: Uh, Dave, follow-up question is, uh, “Is it worth it to submit to – is it worth it in submitting keywords to second-tier engines to prompt growth?”
Elizabeth: Yes, actually. If you wisely select your second-tier engines, uh, instead of just kind of spitting ‘em out all over the place, it is worth it for – to – to try and push growth. You won’t see a ton of growth. I mean let’s face it; most of it’s on Google, then it’s on Bing and Yahoo! and then it kind of steeply drops off from there. But it is completely worth it, as most of those tend to be much cheaper. The cost per click, let’s say, on Google, if it’s $2.00; on those second-tier engines, you’re looking more at like $0.50.
Ariana: I have a question, Elizabeth. Um, how often do you, uh, rewrite campaign ads?
Elizabeth: Pretty often actually. So if we’re running a test, and it depends entirely on the amount of traffic that’s coming in; so if it’s a very slow-generating ad group because you’ve got a lot of long-tail keywords in there, it takes this a while to kind of get the – get statistical significance in which to change it. Then there is also the gut feeling. So honestly, when you look at a group of ads and, let’s say on a weekly basis, and you look at it and maybe the – the – the competition’s a little bit close, you can use a couple of things. You can use what’s called PPI, or profit per impression, and that’s something that Michael Wiegand has written about on our blog as far as how to calculate that.
So if you – it looks pretty close as far as CTR and CPA and CPC and all that kind of stuff, you can try to use the impression metric to try and break the tie. Uh, but I do tend to rewrite ads on anywhere between a one to two-week basis, uh, because I don’t rewrite them for every ad group every time. So I do rotate which ones. So in aggregate, it’s probably about more on a monthly basis that an ad group will see – that will have enough data to warrant an ad change.
Ariana: Cool. Uh, Dror, thanks for letting us know that the link, um, to the SlideShare, we’ll get that fixed, um shortly after this webinar. Um, for anybody who tried clicking on it, it says private, so we’ll get that published.
Elizabeth: I blame SlideShare ‘cause I set it [laughter] to go public at 11:00 AM. [Laughter]
Ariana: So something up with their – with their scheduling issue.
Elizabeth: We’ll fix it.
Ariana: Yeah, we’ll fix it. Um, Evan asks, “What’s your opinion on Google PPC keyword suggestions?”
Elizabeth: So Google is – and I also agree with Dave; he blames Ian for the SlideShare. I also blame Ian [laughter] for everything. Um, what is your opinion on the Google PPC keyword suggestions? So the nice thing about Google’s keyword tool or the keyword suggestion tool is that are – they are typically terms that have – they have seen in the recent past. So um, usually at the first pass through, you’ll find a few good things, maybe you know, about 25 percent’ll be useable the first time through you ever use it. Uh, what happens afterwards though, as you – you know, you get like a year down the road, it keeps suggesting the same things to you that you didn’t want the first time.
Now, you can classify certain ones as completely irrelevant and Google does try to recalibrate what it’s showing you as far as suggestions. But honestly, the older the account gets, the harder it gets to use that tool and the more the suggestions actually just become, eh, whatever. So that’s when I would turn to the like the Google search suggest and something like UberSuggest is the tool, or trying to look at other, uh, keyword places like, uh, like behaviors like I was saying earlier about behaviors or alternate, um, uses or, uh, even competitors.
Ariana: Are there any other questions out there in the webinar world? I’ll give it just a couple more minutes and we’ll wait for anybody who’s thinking on a question to put it in. Um, don’t forget you will get a reminder e-mail or a follow-up e-mail that has a link, uh, to the Slide Share and the recorded webinar so you can have all the great audio as long as – as well as the Slide Share. Um, and uh, we, um, have a webinar coming up in July as well. Uh, every month we try to do webinar the last Thursday of the month. And July’s webinar is on the 25th, uh, hosted by Katie Fetting, our Marketing Director.
Um, and I believe the title, uh, I forgot to put it down in here, but it’s Seven and a Half Ideas for Becoming a Brainstorming Genius I believe. Um, so I’m excited to see that. Um, let’s see. Uh, Evan, you say you can only link 10 analytics. Uh, didn’t get the rest of your question there. Does that make sense to you?
Elizabeth: No, sorry, Evan. You can only link 10 – he might be a wrong window thing. Um, [laughter] Katie’s website – uh, just Katie’s webinar should also be updated on the Portent site. And I do remember it has something to do with brainstorming and something to do with being a genius, [laughter] so it’s not to be missed.
Ariana: Um, okay. Uh, if you have any more questions for Elizabeth, you can directly Tweet them to her at e – I always read it, “Eb eBay”; uh, E-B-Kendo, uh, E-B-K-E-N-D-O. Uh, make sure to use the hash-tag #portentu. Um, and uh, as Elizabeth said, it’s on our website for the next webinar July 25th. It’s also on our Facebook, um, marketing tab. So if you have any further questions or want to sign up for the next webinar, check it out. Um, well that – okay. Um, thank you, everyone, and have a fantastic day.
Vice President of Search Marketing
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO, Social Media and Analytics. If you really want to know more about her check out her bit.ly bundle. Elizabeth has written several ebooks, is a ClickZ columnist, a Lynda.com course author, a Dummies book author and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences including the SMX shows, mozCon and Hero Con. Read More