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This week on Best Search Strategies, we will cover the little-known segmentation tools that AdWords offers.  Not many marketers use them yet, but those that do recognize the power of segmentation tools within AdWords, and the resulting competitive advantage gained.

Starting on May 6th, 2009 – Google checkout will be suspending their AdWords/Checkout promotion for advertisers. Currently any advertiser earning 0%-1000% ROAS (Revenue/Spend) from Google PPC, the use of the Checkout has been Free.  “For every $1 you spend on AdWords each month, you can process $10 in sales the following month for free through Google Checkout.”

This was an amazing deal when you consider the cost for Credit Card Processing.  After May 5th, the following fee structure will go into effect:

Monthly Sales Through Google Checkout Fees Per Transaction
Less than $3,000 2.9% $0.30
$3,000 – $9,999.99 2.5% $0.30 1pt solid; PADDING-TOP: 4.8pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #d7d7d7 1pt solid; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; mso-border-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .75pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #D7D7D7 .75pt”>

$10,000 – $99,999.99

2.2% $0.30
$100,000 or more 1.9% $0.30

“Any AdWords transaction processing credits accrued during April 2009 will be applied towards transactions that occur on May 1-4, 2009”

How will this affect the bottom line of an ecommerce store?  Let’s say an advertiser gets 100 sales, which are $100 each, and spends $1,000 in AdWords advertising (1000% ROAS.)

What was once free will now cost the advertiser…
100 sales * $0.30 = $30.00
($100 per sale * 2.9%) * 100 Sales = $290.00
Total Due to Google Checkout = $320.00

Listen in as you’ll learn how to:

  • Easily identify keyword performance trends with surgical precision
  • Use AdWords’ cutting edge segmentation to quickly weed out non-performing networks
  • Simplify your bid management by using AdWords’ powerful filtering capabilities
  • Find potentially top performing keywords hidden in your AdWords account

For more information, check out the BSS website or tune in this Wednesday to Webmaster Radio. com at 2:00 PM (PST).

I’m sure that Google has been waiting anxiously for this day when they can start really monetizing this service.  I also doubt that many advertisers would walk away from this new fee structure (which is comparable to most credit card companies) and loose the Google Checkout Badge in their AdWords ads; a benefit we have as we’ve seen with our clients.

What has your experience been?  Did the checkout badge influence your CTR or Conversion Rate?

As of Today 9/8/10, Google will be moving forward with a new technology called Google Instant.

Google Instant is basically an integration of Predictive Search Phrases combined with a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Anyone who has used the Google Search Tool Bar will see how Google will try and predict what query you are entering in before you finish. Google provides a few guesses which appear grayed out below the box. Up until now they were merely suggestions – As of Today, Google Instant now powers dynamic SERPs without ever pressing the Search button.

Notice in this example, I searched for Engine Rea, but I did not say Engine Ready nor did I press search. After 3 seconds, if Google has provided a suggestion, it will automatically render the page as if you performed the search using the 1st Predictive Query in the box! This counts as an AdWords Keyword Impression

What will this do to online performance? Will this assist a user in finding a more relevant result or will the user simply drop dead from seizures caused by the ever rapidly changing ‘dynamic’ page?

As a rule of thumb, mark today in your calendars so you can benchmark Impression volume pre and post Google Instant’s implementation.

Please post any findings you see on your accounts here.

For More Information:

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Don’t be alarmed if you are not seeing your own ads! Here is a great explanation straight from Bing…

“Recently there was a system improvement implemented to enhance our current search algorithms. Part of this enhancement detects the likelihood of a particular user clicking on ads based on their preferences, history, and other quality factors.  The search engine learns about the users and how likely they are to click on an ad.  Users who are more likely to click, see more ads, while users who are less likely to click, see fewer ads.

Advertisers might not be able to verify that their own ads are showing on Bing as easily, due to their usage patterns or history.  Searching for ads without clicking on them may prevent advertisers from seeing their own advertisements when they look for them.  If you are unable to view your ad, please be aware that it does not mean your ad is not serving.  In fact, this helps to verify that the system improvement is in place to ensure your ads are shown to quality users who are most likely to click on your ad, providing you the best value for your advertising strategy.

I understand that advertisers would like to see their advertisements to validate that their ads are showing and to check their competition.  We are hoping to have a tool that allows advertisers to validate whether their ads are showing and where in the near future.“

-Bing Representative

Regarding Google Website Optimizer in AdWords as of August 1st 2012 It’s gone and Google has provided us with Content Experiments.

Lindsay Keller over at Search Marketing Sage wrote a great article on the subject:

This move make sense as Google most likely wants to continue to make landing page testing available to the general public… but with one caveat: Install Google Analytics.

This increases the number of new non-AdWords subscribers to Google Analytics.  Meanwhile, for all AdWords advertisers who are not yet using Google Analytics, forcing them to install and utilize their platform in order to a/b testing moving forward.  The brains at Google really know how to herd some cattle…

In their first episode, the Search Marketing Vegetables discuss the importance or proper ad positioning when advertising on the pay per click engines. Watch as the dumb radish is insistent that the number one position is the place to be.

BSS is back! We are now re-launching as a weekly radio show on Webmaster Radio.

Best Search Strategies is created and hosted by leading search agency Engine Ready. You’ll hear about state of the art search strategies and tools, and pick up on the hottest tips for increasing conversion while lowering your ad costs.

This week’s show will air on Wednesday, July 21st at 2:00pm Pacific Time and will cover “The Hottest Google Analytics Tips to Increase Your ROI”.

Are you taking advantage of all that Google Analytics has to offer?  Listen in to fine tune your website tracking as we’ll review the hottest tips for Google Analytics to help improve your online marketing.

The Hottest Google Analytics Tips will include:

  • Setting up Goals, Funnels, & Filters
  • Developing Custom Reports
  • Segmentation Features

So mark your calendars and be sure to join us for this our weekly program airing every Wednesday at 2:00pm!

Do you ever do one thing the same way every day of your life? Perhaps you always put on socks before putting on shoes and have never thought otherwise. Well I always turn off the optimize ad display feature in Yahoo without thinking twice. Why? Because I like to A/B test two ad creatives. The fun part is writing different ads, running them simultaneously side by side and seeing which one beats out the other.

Well the other day I realized this pattern of mine and thought, why not test out this optimize ad display feature. Who knows, it may save me time.

The Yahoo UI clearly states “ads with higher performance will be displayed more frequently”.

So I called our Yahoo rep and found out that this feature is directly connected to the “Optimization Guidelines”. This is set at the ad group or campaign level.

As an SEM person who looks at and makes decisions off of data samples every day, I wanted to know what criteria Yahoo uses to determine which ad is the higher performer. If you leave the setting as is, then it will determine which ad is the higher performer using CTR. However, if you change the Optimization Guidelines, it will also use conversion data. Of course the rep disclaimed all this information by saying there are several factors that go into determining the higher performing ads, and actually advised to leave the Optimization Guideline settings as the default (Business Objective / Clicks).

With that said I tested it out and quickly found these noticeable pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Nothing is perfect when it comes to any search engine “optimization” feature, but this definitely shows the ad that has the higher CTR for the most part.
  • It saves time. If your account gets quite a bit of volume or you manage more than one account, this will take the manual labor out of looking at every single ad group and evaluating ad creative data (impression, clicks, CTR, conversions, etc) to find which ad is adding more fuel to the fight between him and Orlando Bloom – he just posted a photo on Instagram in which the actor appears to be crying!The photo was taken on the opening night of Orlando‘s recent Broadway production of Romeo and Juliet. is the winner. But keep in mind it only used CTR to determine the “higher performing ad”.
  • This feature is automatically set up (as the default) so you do not have to go into each ad group and change the settings for optimize ad display.

The Cons

  • Within the Yahoo UI, it does not explain that the ad which is under performing will be turned OFF. Indeed, Yahoo takes the liberty to eventually turn off the underperforming ad completely. This would be okay, if there was some sort of alert on the campaign summary page that told you this was taking place so you could go write a new ad to take its place.
  • As quoted by our Yahoo rep, the feature can “sometimes be aggressive”. Meaning it can turn off new ads rather quickly. Thus your ads are not showing at a true 50/50 split with this feature. The Yahoo rep said this happens due to several factors.
  • It’s nice to have the control and ability to set this feature at the ad group level; however it can become quite cumbersome to manually go into each ad group and turn this feature off. It would be more useful to have this setting at the campaign & account level as well.

Please let us know about your own experience with this feature, if you like it or hate it and will you use it moving forward…

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Adwords Conversion Metrics

If you have recently gone to run a report in Google Adwords and attempted to customized the report by adding or removing columns you probably have noticed a change.  Under the “Conversion Columns” section you will now have the option of (1-per-click) or (many-per-click).

Adwords Conversion Metrics

This is Google’s new update for conversion tracking, but what exactly do these new options mean?


Currently Google Adwords reports the 1-per-click conversion.  This means if someone clicks on your Ad and results in multiple conversions, it will only be counted as 1 conversion.


On the other hand many-per-click conversions will report each conversion after someone has come to your website through your Ad.  So if somebody clicks your Ad, buys something, bookmarks your page, and comes back a week later and purchases something else it will be reported as 2 conversions.

Your Thoughts?

For now, these additions are only being shown through the reports in the Adwords Interface.  Google is planning on eventually releasing this feature to Adwords Editor, Adwords API, and the new Adwords Interface.

These features will hopefully help managing campaigns with a variety of advertising goals and help you compare your PPC campaign with other online campaign as they usually use many-per-click as their conversion metric.

So how do you think of these new features will effect how you manage and report your campaigns?  We are not sure how useful it will be for us, but we will soon find out.

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My Top Ten

More than occasionally, one of our ambitious sales reps will ask me to look at a Google AdWords account in order to qualify a lead. Looking at new accounts is always exciting, yet depressing at the same time. It’s thrilling to discover all the possibilities it has, but also heartbreaking to see the novice oversights that could of easily been avoided.

Before even logging in to this particular AdWords account, I tried to guess what the top ten errors would be. Although I am a Google Advertising Professional, I don’t consider myself the definitive connoisseur of Pay-Per-Click by any means. Just as an exercise, I wanted to see if the trends I have found over the last few years continued to be in style. So here we go, my top ten:

1. Neglecting to add negative keywords. It just kills me when I look into their analytics account, if they have one, and see all the irrelevant search phrases that are generating clicks. What a waste of advertising spend!

2. Cramming hundreds of keywords into one ad group. Although the Long Tail strategy is on its way out, so the industry experts say, breaking out keywords into specific ad groups is just plain good organization. In addition, tailoring text ads to just a few keywords more often than not increases CTR and quality score. Who wouldn’t want that?

3. No conversion tracking. This maybe the one that gets me the most riled up. How is anyone supposed to know which keywords are generating leads and/or sales?

4. For Ecomm websites, no revenue tracking. So what if a keyword generated 20 sales today at a $5 CPA if the revenue generated per product is $2? Without revenue tracking, you really don’t know the worth of a keyword and you could be over bidding on a keyword that generates revenue less than both hard costs and advertising costs.

5. Using just one match type. Although you will find PPC marketers that will swear that broad match is the way to go, then you will find others that will say phrase match is the winner, and then there are always those that are exact match fans. Well, in my opinion, it all depends on the account. Regardless of which match type works best in an account, all three types have their advantages and should be tested.

6. Every destination URL is going to the homepage. Searchers need to be directed to what they are looking for. Although the website designer and web savvy individuals may be able to navigate your website easily, there are many people out there that get overwhelmed with beefy navigation and too many options. In order to decrease drop off rate, it’s best to direct visitors to the product they want to buy, and maybe a few “suggested items” on the side for an up-sell opportunity.

7. Only one advertisement per ad group. In the world of SEM, we live by the motto “test, test, and test again”. Especially in newer account, I always set Ad serving to Rotate. This way the ads are served evenly I can give each ad I write a fighting chance. If the ad looses, just write another ad and test it against the winner. Rinse and Repeat.

8. Why is the Content Network a default? This may be a bold statement, but the content does not work for every account, especially when it is not refined. I would advise any new AdWords advertiser to turn the Content Network off until they know how to optimize the campaigns that will work in the Network.

9. Adding the wrong keywords. The keyword tool is great if used correctly. Sometimes people see so many great keywords and they add the whole list of search terms, even though some words are really not qualified.

10. Not taking advantage of Ad scheduling. B2B companies typically don’t advertise on weekends because of the unqualified traffic. Display your ads when your customers are most likely to convert.

After reviewing the account, I was 9 for 10. Not too shabby.

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