Posted on: December 13th, 2012 by Nikki Kuhlman
If you have an ecommerce website, I’m seeing big changes for those clients who are NOT advertising on the Google Shopping Network using Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Google Shopping is one of the top comparison shopping engines, based on sheer volume of traffic. If you do a search on Google for something like “floor mats” you should see small thumbnail images of products with the price, title and website under them. Those are PLAs. Clicking on the image takes you directly to buy that product.
Google for years has offered both a free version and a paid (PPC) version, but started transitioning to a 100% paid platform in the US in May. The transition completed mid-October. Google has been experimenting with position (PLAs may be in the upper right, pushing search ads in positions 4 and higher further down on the page) and number of images (as few as two to as many as eight).
I noticed that those clients that do not have PLAs are seeing a big drop in impressions, clicks and conversions. The change was gradual, starting in June, but October saw the most impact. It’s particularly impacting those clients who were quite successful in positions 4 and higher.
If you have an ecommerce website and you are not doing PLAs, I highly encourage you to start. You can find out more information at http://www.google.com/ads/shopping/.
You’ll need to create a Google Merchant account and load your feed in Google-approved formats, and then keep the feed current, at minimum every 30 days. Once that’s done, you’ll also have to create PLA campaigns and manage them. The PLA campaigns are pay-per-click and there are ways to optimize them, just like regular Search and Display PPC. Just like any PPC campaign, don’t set-it-and-forget-it. If you’re looking to hire a PPC management company, make sure that they also have experience with successfully managing PLAs.
Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Nikki Kuhlman
I’m excited about the new Google AdWords option Shared Budgets that was rolled out starting September 17. I have to admit that when I first heard about it, I really wasn’t that impressed, as the way it was explained to me was that it was shared across the entire account. The reality is that you get to pick and chose which campaigns you want to share the budget for. And that’s what makes me excited.
Let’s say I have a client with a PC campaign, a mobile campaign and a tablet campaign, and wants to spend $100 per day. Before Shared Budgets, I would have to decide the budget for each campaign. In theory, if I know the volume that the client gets for each device, I can allocate the budget to each campaign. But it’s not a fool-proof method. What happens on days when mobile sees a spike in traffic and could use extra budget? The Desktop or tablet campaign might not have hit that budget and it would have been great to add that extra spend to the mobile campaign. With shared budgets, I don’t have to worry about some campaigns under spending and some always hitting their budget.
Setup is very easy and can be found in the Shared Library > Budgets.
Make sure to check your Bidding and Budget Delivery Method. Per a Google post on the AdWords Community “Please make sure that your delivery method in the campaign settings of each of the linked campaigns all reflect the same delivery method setting. This is important as one linked campaign with an accelerated delivery method could easily burn through all shared budget, leaving any other linked campaigns setup on standard delivery with no budget to show their ads throughout the day.”
And make sure to watch actual performance. Similar to the delivery method issue, if one of your campaigns burns through budget faster than others, it may leave the others with nothing. As with all Google options, don’t set it and forget it – you need to make sure you evaluate performance and see if the option is working as you want it to.
It’s not an option that needs to be set for everyone, so I’m starting cautiously with just a few accounts where it really makes sense to see how it performs.
Posted on: September 27th, 2012 by Kelly Spryszak
As advertisers, we are always looking for ways to reach our customers. In PPC advertising, that way begins with choosing the right keywords. There are many online tools available that can help you generate lists of keywords that are closely related to your products/services. Some are free, like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, some require monthly or even yearly memberships, such as products like Wordstream and Keyword Discovery.
Most of us are familiar with the available keyword research tools that are out there, but there is one more that deserves a mention. It is a free plug-in from the people of Microsoft. As long as you have a Bing Ads account, and use the ’07 or newer versions of Excel, you’re just a few clicks away from a quite powerful, insightful research tool – Bing Ads Intelligence.
With Bing Ads Intelligence, you can generate keyword lists while working in Excel. This intuitive interface allows you to pull fine-tuned search data from Microsoft and Yahoo! websites, create and customize keyword research templates that apply directly to your business, as well as find more affordable keywords to maximize your investment. Not only can you gain insight into average performance, demographic targeting, bid estimation and traffic volumes, but this great tool also automatically organizes the information so you can easily understand the data that is being provided.
If you’re like me, finding the best keywords possible is the goal. If you feel like you’re just not getting the results you crave, I suggest adding the Bing Ad Intelligence tool to your keyword research arsenal. You won’t be disappointed.