An AdWords Agency – 2009 – May
SMS logo - impossible letter initials within decision box SMS logo - impossible letter font, initials within decision box

An AdWords Agency

Systems & Marketing Solutions

Because Next is Now

Archive for May, 2009

SMS Visits the Google Mothership

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in googleplex

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Yesterday Bob and myself were invited up to the Googleplex for a workshop/feedback session. We had a great time learning about new tools and giving direct feedback to the engineers working on them. There was a small group of regular advertisers and a few agency types in the meeting and I think we were actually outnumbered by Googlers! I really like how interested the Google team is in feedback from real users, and their willingness to accept ideas and consider making those changes to upcoming products. Some of the stuff we learned yesterday is definitely going to be making its way into client accounts shortly.

Oh and everything you hear about the fantastical food situation at the Mountain View campus… totally true, We left well fed and happy :)

We’d like to give a big thank you to our National Agency Team for inviting us, and to Google for putting together such an informative and productive day!

Life after the first click

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in adwords expert, converting traffic

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Recently much of my day is consumed not so much with Adwords but with what happens next. Clients are interested in results and we are part of that pipeline so it is perfectly understandable that we would be part of the team trying to solve this challenge. This process shifts my attention from the data in Adwords to Analytics. Analytics is easy to use but there is a fundamental shift from what to why and that is not easy. Visitors arrive at your web site and if you are average, 98% of them leave without taking the action you wanted and we are left with the question of why?
The first concept that we have to struggle with is that marketing data is more clue than fact. Data tells us that the visitor left but does not tell us why they left or if we met their expectations. Different data can paint conflicting messages and the perfect example of this is pages read and time on site. In most case increasing pages read and time on site are positive indicators but what if they go in different directions? Getting mixed signals from your data is common and in reality it is the balance and direction of the data you have to understand.

Businesses have expectations for their traffic and often those expectations are not realistic. We all want results and we want them now but the reality is that the market is going to give us what we earn not what we want. So once we get a visitor to the site how do we earn the goal for the traffic? The simple answer is we earn the result by providing a web experience that takes the visitor from hello to thank you. In between those two is a conversation with the prospect and many web sites fail in managing that conversation.

Just like any conversation, the web experience has to build on the prior interactions and meet the needs of the visitor. Deviate from the interests of the prospect and they will leave. This builds from what you know and this is where many web sites are challenged because visitors arrive from different keywords and with different interests in your business. The classic mistake in this process is the searcher that looks for Italian Shoes, who clicks on an ad for Italian Shoes, only to land on the home page of a department store 9 clicks away from the Italian Shoes. In most cases every time you give people a choice you will lose 50% of your traffic so it will take 256 visitors to get one person to the Italian Shoes page. This is a huge mistake and it happens every day. Even if you get a 90% success rate on those 9 clicks you still only get 38 people out of the 100 you paid for to that page and you still have to convert them. The other side of this problem is that creating a landing page for every keyword group could become very expensive and the return on this investment could be minimized.

The next challenge is that not all visitors react to your message in the same way. It is very easy to have multiple sales attributes that move different people in different ways. The classic example of this is the balance of cost and quality and this varies by many different factors. If your product is sold based on the highest quality then offering a sales price can actually hurt you. How many sales do you think they have on a Ferrari or Bentley? On the other hand if your product is sold on price and all you do is push the quality of the product you also have a classic audience to message mismatch.

There is no perfect answer to any of this and the challenge is to find the right balance for your business.

Using the Content Network without Getting Used

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, content-network

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Here in the office we tend to fall in and out of love with the Content Network. Over the last couple of years it has gotten progressively better for the advertiser. It used to be downright awful for most people, but the advent of things like the placement report has given us much more control over where on the internet your ad is served. The Content Network can be a powerful generator of traffic and leads, but it is still capable of amazing amounts of waste if you do it wrong. Like everything in Adwords, there is an ignorance tax to be paid if you don’t know the right way to deal with the system. Here are some tips on how to use the Content Network without getting used.

First things first – Do NOT mix content and search in the same campaign!!! They don’t work the same way and they need to be managed separately. Plus the value of Content and Search traffic is not equal and should be budgeted separately as well. While we are talking about budgets and money, start your bids much lower in content than you would in search. In most accounts an appropriate content bid is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 of what you would pay in search. Obviously there are exceptions, but this rings true for the majority of accounts. Oftentimes when we take over existing accounts we discover that Content has been eating up a disproportionate amount of the daily budget and no one had any idea. If you’re going to do content, set up a new campaign for only content traffic and turn off search in that campaign.

Just because you can’t track which keyword is generating a view doesn’t mean you should just toss all your Content keywords into a bucket. Group your keywords into themes. Google takes a more holistic approach to serving Content ads. They’re looking at how relevant your ad group is to the content they’re trying to match. Content ad groups don’t need to be quite as laser focused as Search, but you should take similar care when creating them.

While doing keyword research for Content, be bolder in your keyword selections. Things you could never get away with in search could be good for content. For example if you sell Nike running shoes you would never want to bid on the word running by itself. There would be way too many off topic searches, your CTR would be awful, and it would negatively impact your Quality Score. In the Content Network you want this word because it’s relative to what your target audience is reading about. A site dedicated to running or an article about a marathon is ideal real estate for your ad, a search query for running is not.

Run placement reports on a regular basis, this is a big deal! This is the only way to really know where your money is going, and individual sites have a tendency to surreptitiously run away with a big pile of your money. This is a good place to catch fraud or just sites that you don’t want your ad served on. Typically Google will catch most major fraudulent action, but we’ve managed to retrieve large sums of money for clients based on what we’ve found in placement reports.

A couple of years ago we’d advise most people to skip the Content Network, it wasn’t a very nice neighborhood. There was value in there but, it was difficult to get to. These days we are much more likely to utilize Content because it is much more controllable. The tracking and targeting has improved dramatically. It’s still a dangerous place however. Be smart and careful with where and how you spend your money and you’ll find the Content Network to be worth the effort.