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Monday, June 30, 2008

AdWords Pay-per-action beta is ending

Logged into an AdWords account tonight and noticed a message that says AdWords pay per action is ending;

"The pay-per-action beta will be discontinued the last week of August 2008. After this date, your pay-per-action campaigns and ads will no longer be active. If you wish to retain permanent records of your pay-per-action data, please export it from the Report Center before all pay-per-action campaign data is removed the last week of October."

A link was provided that includes more info: What's happening to the pay-per-action beta? The summary states;

"As part of Google's recent acquisition of DoubleClick, the Performics affiliate network is now a part of Google. To consolidate our offerings, we will be phasing out the AdWords pay-per-action beta, and the product will be retired on during the last week of August. Pay-per-action campaigns and all related data will be removed from all AdWords accounts the last week of October. More specifically, you can expect to see the following changes in your account and campaigns in the coming months:" Read the full announcement.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New AdWords Content Network Feature - Keywords + Placements

I came across a new AdWords content network feature in an account today. I'm a fan of the content network and am always interested in testing new ways to target users with my ads.

Anyway, the message in the account said they are testing a new feature that allows advertisers to use keywords and placements in the same campaign. It's being called an "advanced content network option". Google's offering a simple explanation and example that explains what this option is and how it works.

According to Google;

"Instead of creating separate campaigns for keywords and placements, you can now include both in any campaign. All ad groups now have tabs for both keywords and placements, and the two can work together to target your ads on the content network.

Here's an example: You might target the keyword roses and the placement *www.example.com*. You can let the keyword roses display your ad across the content network, and use placements to raise your bid whenever roses triggers your ad on www.example.com. Or you can choose to have your ad appear only on www.example.com, and only when its content is a match for roses.

Placements are still entirely optional. They affect your ads on the content network only. You can do nothing and your existing campaigns will continue running just as they have. But these new options can give you better control of ad placement and pricing on the content network."

I'm a heavy user of the content network and placements...having them available in the same campaign will definitely, at least for me, bring some efficiency to the table. I'm looking forward to testing this feature out over the next few weeks.

Here's the page with all the information about this new feature.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

The In-house vs. Outsourced SEM Debate

"I’ve been doing SEM for more than 10 years, and I’ve never, not once, seen a search campaign created by an in-house team outperform one crafted by a competent SEM agency."

Yep, someone actually wrote that down. If you want to see who it was (I won't bother linking) copy the above sentence and Google it. It's nothing more than a fluffy link bait piece full of opinion presented as fact. Anyone who's been in the search game for any significant length of time knows that in-house vs outsourced has nothing to do with how successful a paid search campaign is.

Want to know what makes a search campaign successful? Here are a few hints. It's not bid management tools, keyword research, ad copy, landing pages, geo targeting, match types or search engines. Success also has nothing to do with whether your paid search is managed by a well known agency or by a team of internal folks. All of those elements, while important, can't make a campaign successful.

People are what makes a campaign successful. It doesn't matter if those people (or just one person) work at an agency, as part of an in house team, or out of their house in their pajamas - people are what make campaigns successful. Over the years I've seen one man shops absolutely obliterate paid search campaigns that were built by agencies...both large and small. I've seen it go the other way (agencies outperform internal teams) just as many times.

Apply that same logic to other areas in your life outside of search and you'll see just how ridiculous of a comparison it is. Are the "big shops" always the best? For years my auto mechanic basically worked out of his garage. Sure, he didn't have access to all the newest tools and didn't give me a fancy brochure and business card every time I came by. You know what he did do? He fixed my car every time I had a problem for less than the dealer quoted using the same quality parts as the dealer would. He did it for less $$$ too. The wrench didn't fix my car, my mechanic (a person) did.

I have two dogs. For years I had them groomed at one of the larger national pet store chains. They should be the best right? They have the newest equipment and a nice looking store in the best part of town. They charge a little more but it must be worth it, no one could as good of a job as they do. Last year a friend recommended a local place down the road from my house. I was in a pinch one day (lots of company coming in town) and the large national chain couldn't get my dogs in for two days. I went to the local place down the road and despite the fact they worked out of a tiny space only had two employees and charged less than the national chain guess what...they did the best job anyone had ever done on either of my dogs.

I could go on and on and I'm sure while you've read this you have likely thought of some time in where your life where the "big" service provider didn't do as well as the little guy and vice versa. In other words, you too realize that the size of the business is in no way an indicator of the level of service you will receive. The same applies to paid search - agency does not equal success any more than in-house does. People make paid search successful, and it doesn't matter where those people sit each day. A paid search pro is a paid search pro - in house, agency, independent or other.

In closing I would just say to the author of the original article...if you've truly never seen an in-house campaign outperform an agency campaign...get out a little more, you're missing a huge part of our industry.


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AdWords Cross Channel Data will be Deleted

A few months back I heard that cross channel conversion tracking in AdWords was not going to be made available to new advertisers. Google indicated the decision was made based on user feedback which I completely understand. Of the hundreds of advertisers I have interacted with over the years and the hundreds of accounts I have personally worked on I could count on one hand the number of people that were actively using cross-channel tracking in AdWords.

Last night I noticed a message in an account that has a slightly different message than the help/faq page I linked to above. The message read:

"As of August 25, 2008, the cross-channel conversion tracking feature and all related data will be removed from all accounts. If you'd like to keep a copy of your data, please make a record of it before its removal. AdWords conversion tracking will not be affected."

The key difference being the first message indicated it won't be available to new users and the most recent message states that all cross-channel related data will be removed from all accounts, old or new. If you're using or have used cross channel tracking in AdWords and want to keep your data make sure to log in and get everything downloaded prior to August 25, 2008.


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