Tag Archives: search and display

Is your AdWords Account Set Up for Failure?

I clearly remember my first day as a junior PPC analyst where I was eagerly sitting in the meeting room with a metaphorical funnel in my hand, awaiting a waterfall of knowledge to rain down upon me. Instead I was told the three words that would hang over my head as a noose for as long as I was in PPC:


We all know the feeling. That word “OVERSPEND” makes your heart stop, stomach sink and that falafel wrap you had for lunch start to claw its way back up your throat.

However, there is something that has always been more important than overspending – something which if PPC people started to pay more attention to at the start of a campaign, they could significantly decrease the chances of wetting their desk chairs: campaign structures.

When mentioning campaign structures “Measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once” comes to mind. There is such little time for PPC people to get new accounts up and running that they don’t have time to philosophize over which campaign structure will work best for their client in relation to the budget they have.

Although it may not always be apparent, every half decent PPC person knows that any budget can become considerably easier to manage and oversee when you actually put thought into the campaign structure of an account you are about to set up.

Coming over to the technology side of the industry, I have had the opportunity to speak to some of the greatest minds in search and get a peek into hundreds of different AdWords accounts. So I’ll take this opportunity to put my newly gathered wisdom to good use and give you the top 3 tips about how campaign structures can be used to keep a tighter grip on your budget.

1) Priority Campaigns

We all know most clients don’t have unlimited budgets, and sometimes the number of keywords in an account or the number of products offered is just not proportional to the amount of budget available. Logically, the majority of the budget should first be spent on brand, but once you have gained 100% impression share on these terms, what next? Which generic keywords should you target and which ones should remain?

In times like this, priority campaigns can become your saviors. By dividing the generic campaigns by priority, you can make sure that you are spending money on generic keywords that matter the most! For example, a holiday client may have a variety of different countries on offer. Time should be spent with the client on understanding which countries generate the highest amount of ROAS or which countries have still have spaces to fill.

By splitting generic campaigns up into P1 (Priority1),P2,P3 etc. you are able to fully dictate how much of your spend should be allocated to each set of priorities. Thus making it easier to manage the more volatile part of your account.

2) Spreading it Too Thin

No one likes that part of the sandwich that has no filling and is all bread; the same goes for your AdWords campaigns. Having a large number of highly granular campaigns is a great idea, because you can have even more granular ads. We all know granular ads equal higher CTR and a higher CTR is likely to mean higher quality traffic to site, and more high quality traffic to site means potentially higher conversion rates and higher conversion rates equal to more revenue. No. Just NO.

The above statement is about as one sided as the Germany vs Brazil World cup game. Yes, all of the above is true in an ideal world where budget is unlimited, however the majority of clients do not have unlimited budgets and therefore the above is irrelevant.

Using the same example as before, if we were to create a campaign for each holiday destination for our travel client and set each campaign at a budget of $5 a day, very quickly we could end up with an insane number of campaigns to manage.

Let’s say we have 200 destinations (that is 200 generic campaigns based on an individual destinations). Some days they may spend a combined $5 , other days they may spend a combined $1000. You can see the volatility issue here quite clearly, especially if a client’s budget is only $10,000 for generic keywords in the month! You could potentially blow a tenth of the month’s budget in a day. Yes, shared budgets could be used to alleviate this giant pain, but everyone I have asked have still found them to be more of a liability, but that’s a whole post on its own!

If you have bigger and less fluctuating budgets feel free to take the time and build out more targeted campaigns. For smaller and more volatile budget clients, stick to splitting out on an ad group level and break out any particular ad groups that are taking majority of the campaign budget into its own campaigns as time goes on.

3) Broad Match Modified & Negatives

A colleague of mine once told me “you only need one broad keyword in an account, if your negatives are good enough.” As absurd as it sounds, in principle, this is correct. Negatives play a large role and many a time are overlooked in their importance within a strategy. They can also help to manage budgets more tightly if used correctly by making sure clicks are being directed to keywords with campaigns/ad groups with the lowest bids, especially when match type integrity is of question.

The way forward is to build out your exact match keywords extensively, and only have a handful of broad match modified keywords from which you will negative all of your exact match keywords, leaving your broad match modified keywords to only fish for keywords you have not yet come into contact with. Although with the latest upcoming Google update, which makes true Exact Match obsolete, this method may not be as effective as it once would have been, but nonetheless it is still by far one of the most efficient ways to manage your keywords and bidding.

The smaller the number of keywords in an account, the clearer the indication will be of which keywords are working and which keywords are simply a liability.

In conclusion:
“Measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once”
– (John, my very wise builder)

Search Marketing for Retailers: Media Levers

Nobody wants to be marketed to. In fact, society is developing workarounds to avoid unwanted marketing interruptions almost as quickly as markets are finding new ways to interrupt consumers. However, unlike television commercials, street teams of guerilla marketers or even radio advertising discretely delivered by your favorite on-air personalities, search marketing is designed to reach consumers who actually want to be reached.

The challenge for retailers is to deliver the right message to the right consumers at the right time. In order to meet these objectives, retailers must start thinking like the consumer.

IgnitionOne works with many high profile retail clients whose primary KPI is to increase ROI. While our algorithmic optimization team can quickly deliver a lift in performance using our Proprietary Portfolio Optimization strategy, there are many levers you can pull on the media side to amplify this effect.

1. Audit Your Account & Ensure Quality Keyword Coverage

Bigger is almost never better. While building out long-tail & obscure keyword coverage may provide incremental value, it is important to pause or remove keywords with a negative ROI over the long term. If your keyword set alone cannot spend your budget, consider expanding your account with new tactics, such as mobile or remarketing for search, which will increase your spend and potentially your profit margin too.

2. Restructure Your Account To Match The Granularity Of Your Website

For retail clients, your search structure must match the granularity of your website. This will allow you to deliver very targeted ads and landing pages at the ad group level. When the site structure changes or the client is running a product-specific promotion, both landing pages and promo ads can easily be updated.

3. Dominate the page

I cannot express how valuable real estate is on the search engine results page. You should strive to maximize your brand’s presence using some or all of the following tactics:

  • Start a Google + page.
  • Run sitelinks (enhanced sitelinks are even better).
  • Manage your Google Places account.
  • Enable location or call extensions when applicable (particularly on mobile channels).
  • If you manage two complimentary brands, consider bidding the primary brand into first position and the secondary brand into second position. You will only pay once for the click but will garner free impression share for the secondary brand.
  • Consider running Paid Listing Ads (make sure they are semantically optimized; consumers do not want to read through product SKUs).
  • Try Remarketing for Search on non-brand terms only. These ads will target users who have already visited your site, which means they have a high propensity to convert.

4. Go Mobile

Consider the searches you conduct on your mobile device and your desired results. Most often, you are looking for quick answers with the intent of taking immediate action.

  • Differentiate your ad copy. With the rollout of Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, you can set mobile-preferred ad copy and landing pages. Use this to your advantage and deliver text ads specifically targeted to mobile users with location and/or call extensions enabled. If you do not have a mobile optimized site, consider opting into the “Phone Only” option.
  • Keep in mind that mobile ads only make sense in top positions. Mobile users rarely scroll to the second page, so be sure to review device-specific analytics to ensure mobile is profitable for you.

Now that you have fully optimized your search account, start Googling! You heard me right. Though it may sting a little to pay for your own click, online marketers need to experience their ads from the consumers’ point of view, and the best way to do that is to get out from behind your database and follow your own carefully crafted path to conversion.