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Using Bing To Support Your Google PPC Search Marketing

For most people, whether they are website owners or consumers, search begins and ends with Google. As users we Google products, services, people and all manner of topics every single day, while website owners are focussed on using SEO and paid search to maximise the visibiity of their sites in Google’s search results.

In natural search many agencies and freelance SEO professionals will focus their efforts exclusively on Google, particularly when budgets are limited. And more often than not it’s a similar approach when it comes to paid search. However if you’re not using Bing as part of your paid search marketing then it’s probably time to think again.

In the world of PPC it was often argued that the same amount of time should be required to manage similar sized campaigns on different search engines. Therefore managing campaigns on Google would see a much better return on the time invested, given Google’s approximate 90% market share. Whilst it was generally accepted that Bing and Yahoo represented viable opportunities to drive cost effective traffic and sales, the time investment required has often been a barrier to running sucessful campaigns on these platforms.

Recently Google has seen its share of the UK search market fall to its lowest level in five years as competition from rivals, notably Bing, continue to erode its lead. According to figures from Experian, in December 2012 Google held 88.35 percent of the UK search market, down from 91.15 percent in December 2011. In contrast, Bing saw its year-on-year UK share improve by 1.15 percent from 3.84 to 4.99 percent of the market. Yahoo also improved, up to 3.58 percent, a rise of 0.86 percent over twelve months.

Microsoft have made a number of positive steps, with Bing becoming the default search engine on sites such as Facebook, and their team has also been working hard to make it easier for AdWords advertisers to port their campaigns over to Bing Ads.

My advice to clients is to always consider rolling out successful Google campaigns onto Bing, and where necessary invest in the additional costs of managing multiple campaigns across both platforms. The search volumes on Google will enable you to test and optimise your PPC campaigns and potentially transfer a ready optimised campaign, which needs less management time, onto Bing.

Whilst Bing will generate significantly lower traffic levels, it’s not unusual to see strong conversion rates. And whilst sales revenues from Bing may not have a huge impact on your overall business, Bing can contribute significantly to your overall online marketing efforts. One client campaign I work on saw almost £2,000 of sales revenues from Bing last month – from a spend of less than £100. Meanwhile the Google campaign spent around £2,000 to generate sales approaching £10,000. Arguably the small spend on Bing partially subsidises the Google campaign – or could potentially subsidise additional SEO activity. Either way I’d argue that it’s £90+ that’s very well spent.

Google Launch Enhanced Campaigns For Multiple Devices

Google has announced a new upgrade to their Adwords PPC platform, launching “enhanced campaigns”

Google are calling this a first step to help advertisers manage ad campaigns more easily, and more effectively, in today’s multi-device world.

The announcement today references a recent study of multi-device consumers that found that 90% of users move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task. With a proliferation of new devices — PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, hybrid devices, mini-tablets, televisions, and more new digital screens and devices still to come, today’s consumers are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained.

Google highlight the new opportunities this creates for businesses, but also points to the fact that this can make marketing more complex and time-consuming than ever before. They offer the example of a pizza restaurant that wants to show one ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 1pm on their PC at work (perhaps a link to an online order form or menu), and a different ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 8pm on a smartphone a half-mile from the restaurant (perhaps a click-to-call phone number or restaurant locator). This means that key factors such as location, time of day, and the device a consumer is using have become increasingly important in showing them the right ad.

With Google’s new enhanced campaigns, instead of having to cobble together and compare several separate campaigns, reports and ad extensions to do this, the pizza restaurant can easily manage everything in one single place. The new enhanced campaign functionality enables advertisers to reach searchers with the right ads, based on signals such as location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.

http://adwords.blogspot.co.uk/

£125 Of Clicks Free From Bing & Yahoo

Bing and Yahoo are currently offering £125 of free clicks to businesses who sign up as new advertisers between now and 15th July. With Bing search ads now being served across both Bing and Yahoo’s search platforms and networks, we’ve already started to see some great results for clients.

If you’ve not used Bing before, and don’t know where to start then please give me a call. Alternatively, just check out the deal for yourself at: http://advertising.microsoft.com/uk/small-business/bing-and-get-noticed-online-now

Spend 10 Minutes A Day On Your AdWords Account

This is a really useful video showing how you can take just 10 minutes to optimise your AdWords campaigns. It’s targeted at smaller businesses and Adwords accounts, but the principles are absolutely spot on for all campaigns.

Here is a brief summary of the main tips:

Update your keywords
AdWords uses your keywords to determine who sees your ad. The more relevant your keywords are, the more likely it is that anyone who sees your ad may be interested in your products or services.

Monitor your clickthrough rate (CTR)
If your CTR is less than 1%, your keywords may be too general or too specific. Consider editing, pausing or deleting keywords with a low CTR.

Use 2-3 word phrases
Keywords that consist of two or more words tend to be more specific and therefore may better speak to what a potential customer is searching for. Example: Instead of “boots”, a more relevant keyword may be “men’s leather boots”.

Try Google’s Keyword Tool
Use the Keyword Tool at adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal to find new keywords for your products or services.

Manage your bids and costs
Keep an eye on your bids and budget to make sure your ads stay competitive. Get more clicks and customers with AdWords by setting aside a few minutes each week to review and manage your keywords, bids and ads. You may not need to make changes every week, but keeping an eye on your results is ultimately the key to success.

Invest in high-performing keywords
Devote a greater percentage of your budget to keywords that deliver a greater number of customers to your website. Increase bids on your best-performing keywords and lower bids on lower-performing keywords. By doing this, you can get more customers without spending more.

Ensure your bids are competitive
Take a look at your keywords’ average position. If an average position is below eight, your ad may not appear on the first page of Google’s search results when someone searches for that word or phrase — and therefore it won’t be visible to many potential customers. To increase your ad’s position, consider increasing your keyword bid – or take a look at how you can automate bid changes based on position in the keywords tab.

Improve your ads
Take a look at your ads. Are some ads performing better than others? Are all your offers or promotions up to date? Did you include a call to action? Here are tips for improving your ads.

1. Attractive, relevant headlines
Get noticed with a short, simple headline that describes your product or service and includes your most important keywords.

2. Descriptive text with keywords
Why would someone choose your business over another? Focus on the details that make potential customers search for your product or service and remember to include relevant keywords.

3. Strong call to action
Ask for the sale. Drive business to your site with a call to action like “Shop now,” or special offers.

These tips should help you to improve your Adwords campaigns, but if you feel you need more help to improve your online marketing, particularly PPC search and online media, then I can provide search marketing training and offer bespoke online marketing workshops – please feel free to get in touch.

Mobile PPC Search Sees Significant Growth

Marin Software’s latest UK Online Advertising surveys reports that mobile paid search volumes leapt 49% in the last quarter of 2011, with 12% of all UK paid search clicks in December attributed to smartphone and tablet devices.

Interestingly the report also suggests that the number of consumers searching via mobile devices is growing faster than the amount being spent in this channel. According to Marin, paid search click-through rates rose 24% across all devices during the last three months in 2011, while click costs dropped 5% year on year. The report suggests that desktop search volumes are growing faster than budgets, and as a consequence less budget is being allocated to mobile search, with mobile click share at 12% but mobile spend share only 7.5%. This in turn seems be resulting in less expensive clicks on mobile PPC search campaigns.

Industry experts believe that mobile search ad spend is lagging behind behind consumers’ adoption of new mobile devices and that in the main, advertisers have been slow to react to the growth in consumer demand. However, what isn’t completely clear at this stage is how user behaviour is evolving across a proliferation of different devices. For example, are iPad searches in front of the TV replacing laptop searches? And is the growth in smartphones driving incremental searches and changing the length and shape of the conversion funnel?

As we enter 2012 there are some certainties; mobile searches and searchers need to be considered within your search strategy; and ensuring your site is properly optimised for all devices is paramount.

Check out NMA’s story here.

Ten Top Tips for Effective PPC Search Engine Marketing

It’s widely recognised that Pay Per Click search marketing (PPC) is an invaluable form of online marketing. A well-managed PPC search campaign helps connect your business with potential customers in exactly the right place, and at precisely the right time, by delivering relevant ads when people search for terms related to your products and services. And, having already searched for relevant terms, these searchers arrive on your website as potential customers and not just browsers.

PPC search marketing is also constantly evolving, whether it’s Google introducing new tools for both consumers or marketers, or consumers demonstrating changes in how they search, the devices they use, and what they search for.

So the following is not a definitive Top 10 tips for PPC search, but more a selection of 10 tips based on my own experience of planning and managing PPC search campaigns, and indeed training staff and clients to manage PPC search campaigns. Hopefully you’ll find something useful for your campaigns.

1. Understand your objectives
Before commencing any campaign it is essential you understand what the campaign needs to achieve. Some campaigns may have multiple objectives and your search campaign should be structured accordingly to allow full control – anything from high visibility branding (ensuring your adverts are in top position) to direct sell (controlling bids to come in at a set cost per conversion).

2. Long-tail keywords are key
Any campaign can be set up with 50 very generic keywords on a broad match setting and cover a whole range of search queries a customer may make. This, however, is a very expensive and inefficient method which can prove very costly with little control. Expanding out to a large number of long-tail search queries will not only help to improve the quality score of a campaign but will also enable very specific ad creative to be displayed against a relevant search query.

3. Group your keywords into relevant campaigns & ad groups.
Relevant grouping of keywords ensures that many variations of ad creative can be used which relate more closely to a customer’s search query and also mean that bids can be quickly amended to reflect high conversion rates or seasonal activity. Setting up the campaign to reflect the website you are sending customers to is an easy and effective starting point and means that you can deep-link to a web page which mirrors the search query used and enables you to display ad creative which is relevant to the page a customer lands on. For example creative saying ‘get a quote now’ should send customers to a (preferably pre-filled) quote page whilst creative saying ‘find out more’ should send customers to an information page with a clear call to action once they have found what they are looking for.

4. Make sure your campaign uses negatives.
Effective use of negative keywords will help to ensure your adverts do not appear against non-relevant search queries. Running regular search query reports will help to identify phrases which customers are using and clicking through on which may not be relevant to your offering.

5. Good creative = good click-through rates = good quality score.
Regular optimising of ad creative will also greatly assist in improving a campaign’s quality score. Adverts on sponsored listings are much quicker to update than natural listings and allow advertisers to quickly and easily promote last minute offers or seasonal messages. Online creative can also be a great and inexpensive way to test sales messages which you may be looking to use in an offline campaign – the advert with the best click-through rate will be a good indication of which terms are most popular with customers.

6. Target different customers in different ways.
No one customer is exactly the same and any marketing campaign needs to reflect this, whether it’s a different terminology they use to undertake their search query, or the time or day they are likely to search (weekend research leading to Monday purchase). All of these potential customers will use different search phrases, be attracted to different sales messages and require different information to help them make their purchase decision.

7. Deep-link your campaign.
Nothing annoys a customer more than having to search again when they have been very specific in their search enquiry but get sent to a non-specific landing page. Deep-linking from a search listing to a page which is relevant to the customer’s enquiry will greatly improve the conversion rate.

8. Be ‘on trend’.
Remember to take into account seasonality and special events which customers will be searching for. Ann Summers are a good example of an advertiser who have used current events or topics with cheeky ads to create stand out for their campaigns. Another example might be using royal wedding related keywords and creative in the run-up to William and Kate’s big day.
Be aware, however, that using event or seasonal related creative without any real relevance to your product can be confusing and may attract the wrong customer. Valentines related creative is great if you are advertising a romantic holiday but not so relevant if you are advertising car insurance!

9. Track everything.
PPC search is probably the most measurable online media format and the key to a great search campaign is detailed tracking. Everything can be tracked from the individual keyword to the creative used and even through to the preceding activities a customer undertook online before they made the final conversion.

10. Think beyond the search network.
Google Search is only part of the Google network upon which advertisements can be placed. It’s possible to run some very effective campaigns using content targeting (your advert appears against relevant editorial pieces on a website) and site targeting (you can choose which sites your advert appears on). For both of these forms of advertising you’re not just limited to the standard text ad creatives but can utilise a variety of formats, including Flash animated creative of all sizes and even rich media video.

Google AdWords Changing from Sponsored Links To Ads

A short while ago, Google began testing labelling AdWords ads as “ads”. Previously these AdWords ads were headed as “sponsored links”.  Google have confirmed this rollout to Search Engine Land, the search industry’s leading online publication for the latest search news, research and anaylsis, commentary and expert advice.

A Google spokesperson said: “Yes, I can confirm this rollout. We are always experimenting with the look and feel of our search result pages, including the delivery of relevant advertising. This is on English language domains now and rolling out to all languages and domains”

Will this make a difference to ppc click rates? My first guess is no, whilst the cynic inside me thinks that it’s unlikely to happen (or last) if it proves to have any kind of negative impact on Google’s revenues.

US advertisers measure phone calls from search marketing

Google are extending their AdWords call metrics product to more US advertisers, with plans to extend it further in the future.

Google’s call metrics enables advertisers to measure the phone calls that their Google AdWords campaigns generate. Using the technology behind Google Voice, call metrics assigns each campaign a unique phone number which is automatically inserted into ads on both desktop and high-end mobile devices, where the number is clickable.

When a user calls the number in the ad, the call is automatically routed to the client and AdWords notes that the call took place. AdWords reports then show the number of calls generated by each campaign, call duration, and in the near future, caller area code.

Once advertisers know where their calls are coming from, they can refine their marketing strategy – testing different ad text variations to see which drives the most calls or reallocate budget to campaigns that bring the highest ROI.

For now advertisers still only pay for clicks on ads, but Google intend to charge for call metrics in the future.

Google gives a Boost to small businesses

This week Google announced a new online advertising solution to help local businesses connect with potential customers in their area. Google Boost enables business owners to easily create online search ads from directly within their Google Places account, with automated ongoing management. Boost is initially being beta tested in the US in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago.

Boost ads will appear in the “Sponsored Links” section of Google and Google Maps search result pages. As well as basic info like your company name, address, phone number and website, your ad can also include the number of reviews you’ve received, an average star rating and a link to your Google Place page to help potential customers find additional useful information about your business.

Research shows that 97% of people conduct research online before buying locally – demonstrating the need for small business owners to consider local online marketing activity to reach both new and existing customers.

Check out http://goo.gl/b7tq for more