Welcome to 2009! It’s back to life, back to reality for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising after the holidays. First things first, turn off those Christmas ads – I’ve still been seeing a lot of “Free Shipping in Time for Christmas” and “Start Planning for 2009 Today” ads out there.
Have you looked at your PPC ad copy lately? Now is the time to take a look at your ad copy and make changes. If you have multiple ads running, is there a clear loser that you can pause? Is one of them performing really well? Can you test a variation of it to see if you can beat it, or use it in other AdGroups to improve performance elsewhere? If you are planning a Winter Sale, go ahead and do new ads to highlight it.
One thing I really wish the search engines had was start and end dates for ad copy. It would be wonderful to know a client was going to start a sale on a certain date, create the ad to start running on that date (instead of creating it and pausing it, then going in to make it live when the sale starts) and then having it end when the sale ends (instead of manually having to remember to pause the ads). In fact, Google is usually so far ahead of the curve on things like this, that I’m amazed they don’t have that feature already.
But until the search engines add this functionality, you’ll just have to remember to end your holiday ads and start and end your sale ads.
Another thing to check is your PPC advertising budget. Did you raise it for the holidays? Do you need to bring it back down to a lower level? That’s another thing you can look at. Did you do a new marketing budget for 2009? Now is the time to make changes to your PPC budget to be in line with your overall marketing strategy.
I wish you much success in your PPC marketing in 2009. If you are managing your own PPC accounts and spending over $1,000 per month, you should definitely consider starting the new year with a free PPC account review from a qualified PPC management agency. Many advertisers needlessly and unknowingly waste a large portion of their budgets by improperly using the constantly changing PPC platforms. Don’t be one of them.
Google recently published a Retail Holiday Study that we found very interesting here at JumpFly. Granted it was conducted in September, and some answers might be different now, but there were some key findings I wanted to share.
1. Researching Starts Early: 31% of consumers planned to start shopping before Halloween, and 57% are researching right now, before Thanksgiving.
2. Research is Increased Due to Economy: 43% of consumers say they plan to spend more time this year shopping and researching gifts because of the state of the economy.
3. Online Research is King:54% of people go online to research than go to the store to buy, 49% research online and purchase online and another 28% research online, go to the store to check out the products and then go back online to actually buy the products.
4. The Internet is Key Influencer of Holiday Purchases: 86% of users will use the Internet to plan their holiday shopping and 63% of users plan on paying attention to advertising while planning or doing holiday shopping.
5. Post Holiday Sales Are Important: 63% of consumers say they plan on taking advantage of holiday sales.
A few other key nuggets of information, online shopping will gear up right on Cyber Monday, which is the first Monday after Thanksgiving, or December 1st for 2008. It continues to climb until right before Christmas.
And what are consumers looking for when they are online? 86% of users are looking for and plan on taking advantage of price discounts and sales, while another 75% of consumers are looking to taking advantage of free shipping. What does that mean for you? Unless you are the only player in your market, you better be offering some kind of special like a discount or free shipping or you are going to miss out on customers, plain and simple. Now is a great time to adjust your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising ad copy to reflect any available incentives.
The holidays are coming, so be ready. Plan now because waiting even a bit longer will be too late.
As you might know, click through rate (CTR) is arguably the most significant component of Quality Score, and ads in higher positions tend to earn better CTR than ads that display in lower positions. Google decided that to accurately calculate the Quality Scores, the “influence of ad position on CTR be taken into account and removed from the Quality Score.”
As a result, Google has now updated the portion of the Quality Score algorithm that accounted for ad position. It is their belief that this new adjustment will result in a more accurate Quality Score and ensure that ads compete fairly for position based on their quality and bid, while rewarding high-quality advertisers with better ad positions.
In the past, here at JumpFly, we have certainly seen the advantage of placing some clients’ new keywords in prominent positions to start, and then pull them down later based on performance. The advantage of the increased CTR from the higher initial positioning would work to their advantage down the road. From the sound of this latest update, this particular strategy may no longer be necessary. It will be interesting to see.
The second update going live today is an “improvement” in the way Google determines which ads show in the prominent yellow region directly above the search results. Google believes that given the prominence of these positions that it is especially important for ads to be high quality. Therefore, to appear above the search results, ads must meet a certain quality threshold.
You may have noticed that sometimes Google chooses not to display any ads in this position. Previously, if the ad with the highest Ad Rank did not meet the necessary quality threshold, they would not show any ads in these positions. With the new update, Google will now allow an ad that meets the quality threshold to actually jump over an ad in a higher position and be displayed in this prominent position. Again, quality plays a very important roll in being able to show in higher positions.
There is no doubt that these new algorithm changes by Google will cause some ads to experience a change in position, spend, and/or performance. Changes in Google’s ranking algorithms can affect even the most stable Google AdWords PPC account. Talk to a professional PPC Management Company today about how this recent update might affect your Google AdWords account.