February 2017 -
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Archive for February, 2017

Display Network Do’s & Don’ts

Posted by Ryan in adwords expert, PPC

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Display Network Do's & Don'ts

The dictionary defines a double edged sword as “something that has or can have both favorable and unfavorable consequences.”

Depending on how it’s utilized, the same could be said of the Display Network based on the settings that are in place. Today’s tip involves some do’s and don’ts to help give you the benefits of Display Network advertising while avoiding the unfavorable end of the double edged sword.


Make Remarketing Part of Your Strategy

The reality is that amongst visitors going to your website for the first time, the vast majority will leave the first time without doing business. Remarketing is an excellent way to re-engage these visitors and has been proven to be an excellent and cost-effective source of traffic. The cost of this traffic is typically much lower (25%-50%) than regular search traffic and is highly effective in engaging past website visitors and helping to build brand name recognition.


Over Advertise

While Remarketing is an excellent way to engage visitors, you don’t want to alienate these people by forcing your ads down their throat. The good news is that there is a way to easily control this.

– Go to Your Remarketing Campaign
– Select Settings
– Scroll down and find Advanced settings
– Select Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping

Display Network Advanced Settings

– Click Edit next to the section that says Frequency capping

Display Network Impression Capping

Typically, the balance we find that works best between helping businesses build brand name recognition versus people getting tired of seeing your ads is to have the frequency capping in the 3-5 range. This in turn helps us control how often each individual user is seeing your ads


Check which websites your ads are showing on

It is good to know what sites your Display Network ads are showing for quality control purposes. For example, if you are running a Remarketing Campaign, this will show you the other websites that are visited by people who have been to your website. One example of how this could be utilized is that you could set up a Managed Placement Campaign based on the websites being visited from these people. One example of this is if you run a carwash, there is additional value in local news & weather websites.
Another critical area to look at is the traffic volume coming from visitors who arrived from Mobile Apps. This is an area that is very capable of undermining Display Network Performance which leads us to our next point.


Let Mobile Apps Destroy Your Budget

One pitfall you will want to avoid is letting the Display network burn through most of your money on mobile apps. Display Network traffic from apps has a track record of poor performance. Thankfully, this traffic is easily excluded by doing the following:

– Choose the campaign you want to work on
– Go to the Display Network tab
– Click on Placements

Display Network Placements Tab

– Go to bottom of the screen where it says Campaign Placement Exclusions
– Click the +Exclusions button
– In the box labeled “Enter one placement per line”, enter adsenseformobileapps.com
– Click Add placements

This will help ensure that your Display ads are showing on other websites and helps avoid the issue of being wasted on mobile apps.

Agree to Disagree

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords expert

Monday, February 6th, 2017


Digital Marketing is often more art than science and reasonable professionals can disagree when looking at the same set of data. Based on this it should be no surprise that we do not agree with every “Best Practice” published by Google. I recently ran into one of these conflicts and I thought I would share it.

Google has a best practice that includes having 3 or more ads for each ad group and they claim that it improves CTR by 5%. This is followed by another best practice that ad groups should be set to optimize by clicks. The claim here is that this improves CTR by 5% and I accept that this is what they believe and there is no attempt to deceive anyone. It should be noted that I would propose that both of these are the same 5% because you need both of these setting to get the effect. I do not question their data only their conclusion. As you might have guessed I do not agree with this “Best Practice” and here is why.

CTR is a measure of performance that is important to Google because that is how they make their money. Google makes impressions but they sell clicks and the effectiveness of that conversion is expressed in the CTR. The challenge is that for my clients CTR is not the key metric. Their metric is always some form of conversion where business value is created for them. CTR is a measurement on the way to the value creation but it is not the creation itself. This fundamental difference is part of what causes us to look at the data from a different perspective.

Let’s look at the multiple ad copy recommendation first. The reason they get the result they want with multiple ad copy is because they get to pick the rotation method and as they say in Vegas – the house always wins. Odds of finding an ad that increases the CTR increases with the number of ads they have to give the clicks to. The downside to this is that it destroys the AB test that advertisers should be running to find the best copy. The Google algorithm is very fast to pick a winner, much faster than any professional recommendation we have seen on split testing. There is no doubt that at a Big Data level this is a winning process for Google but at the small business level that is not so sure. We believe that our goal should be the best copy not just the best CTR. Good ad copy is designed to get clicks from the right people not just the most people.  Remember most people – good for Google; right people – good for advertiser.

Rotation is an area where Google and Advertisers have had conflict in the past. There was a time when Google went beyond recommending rotation and removed the option forcing advertisers to do it their way. The push back from advertisers was so strong that Google backed off and put the option back and made it a best practice not to use it. Not their finest moment but it shows how valuable Google thinks this option is. The reason that we commonly run this with forced rotation is because we are running split tests and we want to make the call as to who the winner is. Google calls a winner much faster than we would recommend. We normally want to see a confidence level over 80% on an AB test before we decide which ad is the winner.

Google believes that CTR is the way to measure performance but they will do conversions, if you have enough data. The problem is that they are not considering all the other variables that are important to your data. We propose that AdWords is a conduit for demand and not a demand generator so the results are subject to outside influences. This is why it takes time to test. It is demand in the mind of the searcher that starts the process and nothing in AdWords Search influences. The best example of this was the Snow Removal Client who tried everything to get his conversions flowing but nothing worked until a huge snow storm hit. Trust me when I tell you there is no “Start A Snow Storm” feature in AdWords.

Testing is a complex process and it is never as easy as a single number. Test results are impacted by many variables and we have seen many conflicting test results. This is where “A” won the first test but lost the second. We often run margin of error tests with exactly the same ads at the same time and we get different results. In margin of error tests, we have found on CTR that a range of plus or minus 10% is common so when someone tells me that something is 5% better; I want to see how big the data are. If your normal CTR is 5% then the real CTR is somewhere between 4.5%-5.5% and anything in that range is too close to call.

Does this mean that Google’s approach is wrong – NO! It just means that there can be different right answers. Google’s method has some strengths and for some accounts it could be the best answer. The key here is to understand the strengths and weakness of each option and then apply the process that is a best fit for your specific situation. In a very broad sense Google Best Practices work best for large high volume accounts but are not always a great fit for small businesses with highly constrained budgets.

Smart professionals with good intent and the same data can come to very different conclusions. This is what makes marketing such an exciting occupation.