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Thursday, March 29, 2007

AdWords Site Targeted CPC Will Replace CPM...Maybe

I've been testing the AdWords site targeted CPC ads. I started slow but yesterday added a few hundred sites and upped the budget to see what's out there in terms of volume. After the new site additions yesterday I received 232,182 impressions for a total cost of $6.81.

Considering that the minimum bid for AdWords CPM ads is $0.25/M it really makes me wonder why anyone would use the CPM model if the site targeted CPC model is rolled out to all accounts.

Anyone care to speculate?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Domain Level AdWords Quality Score...Yes or No?

Anyone who play around with AdWords much knows about the quality score and it's importance in the overall success of a campaign.

In the past 6 months or so I've seen more than one conversation related to a domain level quality score, although this has never been confirmed by G. I've personally never seen any evidence to support the existence of a domain level AdWords quality score...but I honestly haven't spent a ton of time looking into it.

What do you think? Is there a domain level quality score is the landing page quality score really assigned at the page level? You could read between the lines here and say yes, there is a domain level quality score:

Some factors have continued to appear every time we evaluate the most relevant ads and keywords within AdWords. These factors include performance variables like keyword clickthrough rate (CTR), ad text relevance, overall historical keyword performance with Google, and even the user experience on the landing page or site associated with an ad. We put all of these factors and more together to create a Quality Score - the measurement of an ad's quality in relation to each of your keywords.

That's from here: https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=10215

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Things You Shouldn't Care About in PPC

I spend quite a bit of time reading various blogs and forums relating to PPC. One common theme in a lot of these places is the PPC questions asked by folks new to the PPC game. Here are a few common PPC questions that you quite frankly should not care about.

Question: What's an average CTR or is (insert % here) a good CTR.

Why it doesn't matter: I always advise people to focus on attaining the highest possible CTR they can, while of course keeping ROI in mind. A higher CTR will lead to a reduced CPC which if everything else is being done correctly should have a positive impact on ROI. Knowing what an "average CTR" is - even if it was possible to get that info (it's not) would do you and your campaign no good. In terms of a "good ctr", that's another metric that won't do you any good. To me a good CTR is one that gets my ad in the position I want for the price I want. Sometimes that's a CTR of less than 1%, other times it's 20 - 40% or more.

Even if someone could tell you the average CTR, or what a good CTR was it would do you no good.

Question: How can I get my ad in the top spot everytime?

Why it doesn't matter: Unless you're asking that question because you know, based on the data, that the top spot provides the best ROI for your campaign you're most likely wasting your time & money. Outside of brand terms, I've found the top spot in the majority of work I've done to be far from the best performing position in terms of ROI.

Question: Keyword tool XYZ told me I could get X number of clicks/impressions for keyword ABC. I set up a campaign to target that phrase but my numbers are no where near what the estimation said they would be. Is there a more accurate keyword forecast tool? How can I better estimate the amount of traffic I'll get/spend?

Why it doesn't matter: Keyword estimation tools, at this point, can't take into account all the variables associated with a campaign. People make the mistake of thinking that if keyword tool XYZ says a terms gets 100,000 impressions a day you can estimate a % of clicks you should get. Nothing is further from the truth. Aside from the where the data comes from question, there are a number of other variables (like all the other stuff on the serps for 1) that influence the actual traffic delivery. When asked for keyword estimates I have three possible answers I provide ~ high, medium or low. Anything more specific than that is just make believe. Run a small trial campaign and use the data gathered from it to arrive at an estimate.

Question: How many keywords should I bid on?

Why it doesn't matter: The number of keywords is in no way directly related to the success of a PPC campaign. You want to bid on the right keyword(s) for your situation. In some cases that may be 1. In other cases it may be 1,000,000. There's no "bid on this number of keywords and you will be successful" magic number.

Question: What do you think of ebook/book from AdWords Guru XYZ?

Why it doesn't matter: Unless you're asking a friend or associate you have no way of knowing if the person giving you the answer has any idea what they are talking about. This kind of advice is almost as worthless as keyword estimation tools;-)

Question: Where can I see what my competitor is bidding?

Why it doesn't matter: You can't, and even if you could it wouldn't do you any good.

Question: Can I find out what keywords my competition is bidding on?

Why it doesn't matter: Do some searching and you may be able to find some tools, if you're good enough you can probably build one of your own. I'll say this - the competition may not be as sophisticated as you think. Don't think just because they are bidding on something means it's working. Spend your time focusing on what you're bidding on and making it work. There's more to a successful campaign than just the keywords.

Those are just a few of the questions I see again and again that I don't think having the answers for would do anyone any good. Feel free to disagree:-)

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Would You Hire a PPC Company That Was Breaking the Rules?

Just curious. I was contacted by a search company that was trying to sell me on managing paid search. I did some research online and found them triple serving serving (to promote their own site), violating the display URL policy and making false claims in their ad text. Needless to say I won't be working with them, but that's just me. Maybe those tactics are working for them and that's all they are concerned with.

How about you? Would you let a company manage your paid search when they clearly are ok with working outside the guidelines?

If you manage paid search for clients would you violate the program guidelines if it was producing the desired results?

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Question

Dynamic keyword insertion can be a great tool in AdWords (and other PPC engines that offer it) when used properly.

An interesting question about DKI popped up at DP today.

"What I want to know is this - since having the search term in your advert improves its relevance (particularly in the headline), does DKI ensure a very relevant advert, or the opposite (does Google penalise you or reward you for using DKI to put the search term in, rather than writing a genuinely relevant advert)?"

So does using dynamic keyword insertion help, hurt or have no direct impact on the quality score?

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Use "lousy content" for your ppc landing pages

And pay a lot more than you need to.

I read SEL pretty much every day. Lots of great stuff out there. I was reading an article on duplicate content today and was a bit surprised to see the following;

"The bottom line is that the engines are actively seeking out lousy content and removing it from their main results. If this sounds like your site, don't be surprised to wake up one day and find you've lost some or all of your rankings. It's time to bite the bullet and use them as PPC landing pages instead. There's definitely some irony in the fact that those types of pages are welcome in Google if you're willing to pay for each clickthrough you receive, but those are obvious moneymaker pages, and Google has a right to demand their cut."

Go read the whole article so you can see that in it's original context.

A few years back that was pretty much spot on...you could get decent traffic at a reasonable price (regardless of the landing page) so skip the organic route and just buy your way in. Things have chanced over the last few years (heck, even over the last few months) and "lousy content" doesn't fair much better in the paid results (talking AdWords here) than it does in the organic results. Sure, you can bid $10 per click and get clicks all day but odds are that won't be profitable for anyone...except of course Google.

The article is a nice explanation of duplicate content but misses the mark in terms of what will and won't work in paid search. Lousy content will cost you - one way or the other. If you want to compete in the paid search space take the time & learn how build and optimize your landing pages. It may take a little more effort to set up but will pay for itself in the long run.

It's time to bite the bullet and fix your lousy pages...organic, ppc or otherwise.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

AdWords CPC Bidding for Site Targeting


Noticed in my AdWords account this morning a message saying I can try out the AdWords CPC based site targeting.

The exact message:

"New! Bid for clicks in site-targeted campaigns
Now you can bid for impressions or bid for clicks when you use site targeting to place your ad on specific sites in the content network."

The "Learn More" link took me to this page, which is basically a FAQ about cpc based site targeting. It covers some questions like;

- Can I also bid CPM for keyword-targeted campaigns now?
No. Keyword-targeted campaigns accept only CPC bidding at this time. Site-targeted campaigns accept both CPM and CPC bids.

- Can I convert an existing CPM campaign to CPC bidding?
Yes. For instructions, see this help center entry.

- Does CPC pricing mean I get charged both when the ad appears and when it gets clicked?
No. With site-targeted ads you can now choose to pay either per click (CPC) or per thousand impressions (CPM). You'll be charged only in the manner you choose. If you choose CPC pricing, you'll pay only when the ad is clicked, no matter how often it appears.

- Is there a minimum price when bidding CPC for site targeting?
Yes. With CPC pricing, ads have a minimum bid of $0.01 per click. With CPM pricing, the minimum bid remains $0.25 per thousand impressions.

- Which ad formats can I use with CPC-based site targeting?
Site-targeted ads can take all these formats: text, image, flash, and video. This is true whether you bid CPC or CPM for your ads. See the AdWords Editorial Guidelines for more details about ad formats and sizes.

That page also links to another page, How do I create a new site-targeted campaign with CPC bidding? That page includes step by step instructions for setting up cpc based AdWords campaigns, and, links to a page that shows you how to switch existing site-targeted campaigns from CPM to CPC bidding.

I plan to set up a few test campaigns today. More to follow.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

New AdWords Promotional Credits Policy

Got a little pop up in my MCC today about AdWords promotional credits that lead me here.

Here's a snippet;

"Beginning March 31, 2007, promotional credits will only be available to Qualified Individuals and Qualified Companies in the Google Advertising Professionals program. Program participants without qualified status will no longer be eligible for promotional credits.

If you currently have promotional credits but are not yet qualified, your existing credits will be no longer be valid after this date,and no new credits will be issued unless you become qualified."

Read more about the new AdWords promotional credits policy.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic Keyword Insertion, also referred to as "DKI" is a very useful yet basically "hidden" feature of the Google AdWords system. As of today Google provides no official documentation on it's functionality or intended uses...and information around the web is somewhat fragmented and incomplete.

Taulath, a member of the DP forums, posted a new thread today entitled:

Guide to AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion

The thread covers topics such as;

What is Dynamic Keyword Insertion? (DKI)

Where can I use Dynamic Keyword Insertion?

How do I use Dynamic Keyword Insertion?

The thread also includes some examples, an FAQ and other tips...as well as comments and questions from other Digital Point members.

If you have question about Dynamic Keyword Insertion or if this is the first time you're hearing that term - head over to DP and check it out. It can work wonders in your AdWords marketing program.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Block Competitors from Clicking Your Ads

Well, at least to a certain extent. According to a few different sources Google is set announce today on the AdWords blog that starting this month you'll be able to block certain IP's from seeing and therefore clicking on your ads.

Nice move and long over due.

More to follow as more details are released.

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