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Archive for the ‘PPC’ Category

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
– 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.

Structure > Keywords

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, granularization, PPC

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

In Adwords keywords are, well… key. There’s no denying that. Personally however, I believe that structure is ultimately more important than the keywords. Picking keywords isn’t really where the magic happens. Most business owners can come up with a semi-decent keyword list on their own, but the disconnect is in the implementation. Deciding how to structure these keywords into groups is where you go from a dude with a bucket full of keywords to a man with a plan.

We take over a lot of existing Adwords accounts and one of the most common mistakes we see is the Bucket campaign. A bucket is where you have done all your keyword research and then dumped all the keywords into one ad group. This isn’t a good way to run an account. In Adwords the goal is to match the topic of your ad as closely to the user query as possible. To succeed at Adwords you need to divide your ad groups down to the smallest unit possible and then target your ad text to that subject and land your visitors on the most relevant page possible. To take the time to do it right is good for your click through rates, your quality score, the user’s experience, and most importantly your conversion rate.

What I do first when setting up an account is pull together every possible keyword. I parse through the site, the individual products, competitor’s sites, enthusiast sites, and industry sites looking for keyword inspiration and collect it all in an Excel file. Once that monster list of keywords is in place, start looking for themes and trends in it. When I start to find trends or clusters of similar words I drag them into their own columns (having a dual monitor set up can be really useful for this!). To help illustrate, let’s pretend we’re working on a surf shop’s web site. You would break their keyword list into: surfboards, wetsuits, board shorts, footwear, t-shirts, hats, etc.

Once you have your first sort completed start looking at your columns of keywords, how can this be separated even more? Let’s start by looking at wetsuits. Your wetsuits can be broken down into general keywords (wetsuit), branded keywords (Body Glove, O’Neil, Blueseventy, Billabong, Aquasphere, etc.), and style of wetsuit (full suits, hooded suits, spring suits, triathlon suits). If appropriate you may even want to take some of these groups and break them into even smaller pieces by product within your brands (Blueseventy Helix, Blueseventy Point Zero, Blueseventy Reaction), or whatever logical grouping you may have available. An ad with a headline like “BlueSeventy Helix Wetsuit” is going to capture a lot more quality traffic than one that reads “Surf Shop Deals Here.”

I realize what I’ve laid out here is a lot of work, but right and easy aren’t typically the same thing. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and make the process from search to purchase as easy as possible. Doing things right the first time will save you a lot of time and money down the road.

Yahoo will make every effort to not optimize my account at a future date

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in PPC, yahoo-search-marketing

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I don’t think that it’s a secret how I feel about the companies that sell PPC ads also optimizing them for you. I don’t like it. It’s a conflict of interest and I think it’s awful and usually does more harm than good. There I said it.

How is someone that 1) has never talked to you and 2) knows nothing about your business, going to effectively market it? I realize that marketing is not an exact science, but optimizing blind to the actual goals of the advertiser? C’mon! You can’t do that!

It used to be that Google was really the only one that I had to worry about offering new “innovative” ways to automatically optimize more of my adspend into their wallets if I forgot to opt out. Now Yahoo wants a piece of this PPC ignorance tax Google has been charging with their budget optimizer and automatic matching. The problem is Yahoo is one upping Google when it comes to sneaking in with the “optimized” goodness. They put together an automatic opt-in system with no easy way to get out. At least Google gives you a check box!

We’ve been aware of the impending program for a little while now and some of our clients are starting to get e-mails about this new service that they never asked for. I would be very unhappy to get an e-mail from Yahoo saying “Surprise we optimized your account! Aren’t you excited?”

No. As a matter of fact I’m not.

SMS has already traded some e-mail with Yahoo over this whole debacle. Our first volley was something along the lines of: why on earth would you try to optimize the accounts of businesses that you don’t know anything about? We think you’re nuts. Leave our accounts alone!!!!

It came out slightly nicer than that but not much.

Here’s a snippet of what we got back:

    We can understand your concerns about our program. Rest assured that the program is designed to help optimize your account to its fullest potential. While we may not understand the intricacies of certain businesses, we do optimize accounts on a daily basis and are in tune with dynamic changes in the marketplace. We know the tactics and strategies that have proven successful on the Yahoo! network. Any changes we make to your accounts are carefully selected, and are designed to help you become a more successful advertiser with Sponsored Search.

    While we do feel this will benefit your accounts, we understand that the service does not appeal to every advertiser. This is why if you request that we not make any optimization changes in the future, we will gladly note this in your account records and make every effort to not optimize your account at a future date.

    Since you’ve indicated that you would not like the service on this account, we have noted your request to opt out on your account. We will make every effort not to perform the optimization.

First off “We will make every effort not to perform the optimization.” Wow, thanks for your efforts. Seriously, I can’t even opt out completely? So even though I asked you nicely to mind your own business you might still optimize my account just for fun? Notice how they had to say it twice to really sell me on not worrying about it…

Secondly, increase performance and make me more successful according to whose standards? Every automatic optimizer program I’ve seen tunes to click through rates, I tune to conversions. One puts money in Yahoo’s pocket and the other puts money in my client’s pocket. Don’t try to pick on little advertisers to pump up your earnings with sneaky programs are advantageous to you in the guise of free help.

So I would like to politely request to Yahoo that you make this a true opt-in process instead of forcing people to figure out how to opt-out so that you will “make every effort not to perform the optimization.” This is a weak move and if you want to gain search market share this is not the way to do it.

Join SMS’s CEO at the Central Coast Code Camp

Posted by Bob Dumouchel in Code Camp, Geek Dinner, PPC, SEO, Softec, speaking

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

The Central Coast Code Camp has invited me to speak at their event on September 27-28. This is an annual event that last year attracted 120+ attendees to listen and learn from some of the region’s best technical minds. We are honored to be speaking on “SEO versus PPC a technical discussion.” Last year the event drew 40 speakers for the two day event. Speakers last year came from all over California and included technology leaders like Amazon and several other leading names. The event is supported by the San Luis Obispo .Net User Group and Softec the leading technology trade association in the region.

The event includes the now famous “Geek” Dinner, Saturday Night, September 27th, 6:30 pm at the Embassy Suites.

The original Code Camp was a conglomeration of ideas by many different people across the development community. The idea was simple provide an off hour forum for the development community to speak and share ideas for them to come and enjoy. The results have been astounding with many events at many different cities across the nation.

Facebook Flyers PPC Program

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in Facebook, PPC, SocialMedia

Monday, November 5th, 2007

SMS is always looking for new opportunities to market ourselves and our clients on the Internet. Recently we’ve begun to experiment with Facebook Flyers. Facebook has millions of members and now offers a PPC program with a lot of potential!

For the uninitiated, Facebook is a social networking site where you can create a profile about yourself and link it to all of your friends. This type of site has exploded in popularity in the last few years and Facebook is one of the biggest in the market space. To give you an idea of the size of the Facebook user base, the network currently shows 20,665,600 people for the US. It’s also become very popular overseas. For example, I got into Facebook after one of my Swedish friends asked me to join. The network for Sweden is now almost 1 million people in a country of only 9 million! Facebook continues to grow at a staggering pace and if your customer base includes 18-34 year olds (Facebook has 15,788,600 of them) you can’t afford to ignore the opportunity this marketing channel presents.

The coolest thing about this new offering is the targeting. Some PPC engines attempt to give you the ability to target demographics but can’t really guarantee their guess will be correct, Facebook knows for sure who you are advertising to. The Facebook Flyer platform allows you to target by a country or cities, gender, age, keywords, political views, relationship status, educational status, school, major, and workplace!

So for example you could target single Men ages 18-24 in San Luis Obispo, CA enrolled in Cal Poly majoring in Mechanical/Electrical/Computer/Civil engineering who have moderate to conservative political views. In that particular example I get about 340 very specifically selected guys that would be able to receive my flyer.

Facebook has made this a Pay Per Click system so you only pay for the people who click your ads and visit your site, which is good because in our tests we have gotten huge impression numbers in very short amounts of time. Currently The minimum bid you can make is $0.10 and the most they will let you spend in a day is $50.

For our new and existing clients, we are adding Facebook Flyers to our PPC repertoire. If you want to try out this new media give us a call or send us an e-mail at and we can help you figure out if this new advertising platform will benefit your business.

So far Facebook’s program isn’t perfect, and I think we’re in for some big improvements soon, but the one thing that won’t change is the potential in this new way of getting your message out. We’re excited to see how this platform and its traffic patterns evolve, and if you’re a 25-65 year old interested in marketing, advertising or the internet keep an eye out for the Adwords monster!

Understanding the Potential Power of a Click… or a Man with no Hat

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, PPC

Monday, October 8th, 2007

A lot of us that deal in clicks and impressions and conversions have a tendency to get lost in the numbers presented to us. Seeing as we don’t function in a vacuum, you have to take into account a lot of what ifs when determining cost per conversion and return on investment numbers. What if someone clicked my ad and bookmarked it to make a purchase later? What if they saw my ad and called in an order? What if they saw my ad and then came to the store?

Recently I lived out one of those untrackable what if conversion tracks and thought it would be a good example of how there is more value to your advertising than what is tracked in your Adwords campaign.

I have what I would categorize as a slight internet addiction, and a taste for hard to find products… luckily these are complimentary problems. Being bald and Californian, also complimentary problems, necessitates the acquisition of a good hat… unless you look good with a red, peeling scalp. Since I have a general distaste for regular baseball hats, especially seeing as any team I like is pretty much horrible (Milwaukee Brewers anyone?), I’ve made a move to fedoras. So far I’m a fan, they’re fun and different, keep my head and ears (bonus!) covered, and …if I may say so myself… look pretty suave on me 🙂 Here’s the problem, when’s the last time you came across a fedora store in the last 40 years? Yeah me neither.

So here comes the internet to the rescue! I did my initial Google search for Fedora and got all kinds of Linux related stuff, not helpful. So I expanded it to Fedora Hats and hit pay dirt. I clicked on one of the Adwords ads and found a site that I really liked. It was easy to navigate and had a good selection. Problem was I didn’t feel comfortable dropping $200 on a hat I couldn’t try on first. Feeling somewhat defeated, I proceeded to sulk through their site a little more. Eventually I came across their Location page and realized I was going to be in their state and driving past their store in about a month, problem solved! I bookmarked their page and printed directions on Google Maps of my little side trip before I flew out.

Fast forward about a month and there I was about 2000 miles from home in their doorway with cash in hand. Unfortunately for your friend and humble narrator, they were closed… and I burnt my head sitting on the 3rd base line of a Cubs game the next day.

So there are 3 lessons to learn here… One little click can do more than you think! Make sure the days you’re open on the website actually correspond to how locked your doors are on the day a bald guy shows up from half way across the country to buy a hat. And finally, Lesson 3, if you’re bald pack sunscreen irregardless of your destination.

I Left My Brain in My Other Phone

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, PPC, User-Query

Monday, October 1st, 2007

I was reading an article in Wired Magazine (Human Memory and the Outboard Brain by Clive Thompson) this weekend about how computers, PDA’s, cell phones, and Google have replaced quaint and outdated things like actual human memory. In a recent study, respondents over 50 years old were substantially more likely to be able to recall information like phone numbers and birthdays than those 30 and under. A full third of the younger set didn’t even know their own number off the top of their head. It’s enough to make you wonder if your business has enough visibility on the web for those who use Google as an external hard drive for their brain.

As a member of that under 30 group, I can vouch for our collective inability to remember dates and numbers. Case in point – my old cell phone is roaming the streets of Milwaukee in a cab somewhere with how to get a hold of pretty much everybody I at least sort of know. Once I flew back into San Luis Obispo and bought a new cell phone I proceeded to put 3 numbers into my phone from memory: Mom, Girlfriend, Work… pretty much everybody that might yell at me, and then I hit the wall. Luckily the Internet knows everything I forgot. A bunch of e-mails, a Myspace bulletin, and some Google searches later I’m at least half way back to my original phonebook glory.

Notice not once did a physical phonebook come into play. That’s because we all rely on websites, devices and search engines to find things.

So how does this apply to Internet Marketing?

If you’re not in Google you don’t exist. It sounds a little harsh, but for most people if they can’t find you in just a few minutes they’re done and on to the next thing. If you like customers and you like money, it’s in your best interest to make sure that someone searching explicitly for you will always be able to find you.

Now some of you will say “but I’m first on Google for my business!” Well that is all well and good, but unless you’re a major company like Microsoft or Wal-Mart an unfortunate tweak to the algorithm could send you off to the outer reaches of page 10 never to be seen again. What we recommend to any business is to have a Pay Per Click phonebook style listing for your business. Google is the new phonebook! Advertise on your business name, important people associated with your business (owner, founders, sales people, etc.) and the type of business you run plus the street/mall/plaza that you reside in. For example you could advertise on “car wash Grand Ave Arroyo Grande,” that way if someone knows you but forgot who you are; they still have a shot at finding you. How many times have you tried to explain what business “that great place over on main street” is that really like but can’t remember the name of?

Not advertising online is like not putting a sign on your store… a good way to save money and a bad idea. And you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to get in the game. A small PPC campaign like this won’t cost you much money, and won’t get huge amounts of traffic. But it will tend to be of the highest quality traffic which is more likely to result in a purchase. They were specifically looking for you by a very specific search, which in my book is money well spent. Now if I could just do a Google search for my phone…

Self Induced Content Inspiration

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in analytics, Content-development, PPC, SEO

Monday, August 27th, 2007

One of the hardest things about running a web site is keeping it fresh. If you have new interesting content on your site at a daily or near daily frequency, visitors have a reason to come back often. More visitors usually mean more money, so this is a good thing. Plus on a side note, this is great for SEO. The only problem is where do you find the inspiration to do all this writing?

Content development can be difficult and time consuming, especially if you have no idea what to write about. As it turns out, if you are running any kind of analytics program or PPC account you have a tons of possible ideas just waiting for you. The stats in these accounts will tell you what words and themes are most popular on your site and on the web. This is great inspiration because it allows you to see real searches, not just what you think would be popular.

The first place to look for content inspiration is your analytics account. If you don’t have one in place, Google Analytics is a free and easily implemented option. What you want to do in Analytics is find your traffic sources, and then search engines. You should be able to access a list of keywords used to visit your website. There will be a lot of words that make sense to you in there, some relevant surprises, and some that are completely out of left field. One of my clients that does general contracting and clean up had a number of searches on how to clean egg off of windows, cars, and driveways. It’s on the very edge of what they do, but it might be worth writing about seeing as a good number of people are interested. However if a phrase or keyword doesn’t make any sense just disregard it.

Now start really looking at this list. Are there predominant words, phrases, and ideas? And are these themes relevant to your business? If there are, you’ve just found some great possible content development ideas. Make sure you scour this list for any potential topics, you have a lot of content to create and every relevant little bit helps.

Now your other content goldmine is your PPC account. This is a collection of words and phrases you want people to use to get to your site. The best part about this is you can see the total number of searches done even if they didn’t result in a visit to your site. So say you sell fruit and you get 40 visits a day for ‘apples.’ ‘Oranges’ only gets 4. If you’re only looking at analytics ‘apples’ is clearly more popular and content development should be focused there. But before you start your research into the wild world of applesauce, check out your PPC account. There’s a chance that ‘oranges’ is searched far more often than ‘apples,’ you’re just not getting a proportional piece of the traffic. Always keep an eye on which words get the most impressions.

Now that you have a better idea of what you should write about, make a plan. As I get ideas I write them all down in the same place. Then I try to figure out what topics have priority and how to best space them out. You don’t necessarily want to ride one topic at a time. If you run 2 weeks of articles on the same topic and you have some regular readers that like your site but not the current topic you’re riding at the moment, you might break their daily reader habit.

So in short, keep it fresh, keep it interesting, keep it relevant, and don’t forget all the inspiration you need is right under your nose!

The Granularization of Keywords

Posted by Rob Dumouchel in adwords, google, granularization, PPC

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

There’s a good chance Granularization isn’t actually a word, yet. However the principle behind it is more important to your Adwords account than the actual existence of the word, kind of like ‘truthiness.’

The more specialized your ad group, the more effective your campaign will be.

That’s my campaign building mantra. A common mistake people make in setting up their accounts is to decide on campaign topics and then throw all the related words in one ad group. I call this the ‘Bucket Approach.’ Once all your words are in the bucket, your ad or ads will be shown for any keyword in the bucket. Because of this you’re going to have to write a pretty generic ad. This is going to hurt your relevance, quality score, click through rate, and ultimately your wallet.

Now I’m not saying you can’t use a ‘bucket’ group every once and a while, it has its uses. They can be good for testing the impression levels of new words for an existing account. After they’ve gained some data you’ll be able to tell if the words deserve their own ad groups, should be dropped completely, or may be fit for an existing ad group.

So how do you set up your account for maximum effectiveness?

Keyword research is a lot of work, and you’re going to amass lots and lots of words. Having the right words is just the first step… fight the urge to toss them in a bucket! Start looking for themes and key root words in your list. Divide it into as many reasonable, logical, relevant groups as you can.

One example of granularizing a campaign is if you carry foreign languages. An ad group that covers all of them at once isn’t going to be very effective, but if you break it into 1 or more ad groups per language you’re going to do much better. Your word groupings will be tighter, your quality score should be higher, and your ad can be more targeted and thus get better click through rates. If a query for “Learn Swedish” triggers ads for “Learn a Language” and “Learn Swedish Today” you can guess which one is going to perform better. “Learn Swedish Today” is more relevant to the search engine and the searcher. You get the click because you’re giving the people what they want.

Kick the bucket, Granularize, and give the people what they want!

Those three things will help you succeed in the PPC game. Put in a little extra work up front in structuring good campaigns and delivering relevant solutions to user queries PPC, and you’ll be able to break out your old bucket to carry money all the way to the bank.