Digisemestr #3 (2019-03-09) – PPC

I’m studying Digisemestr and blogging every week to help me memorize it all. What’s Digisemestr? It’s a prestigious semester study of digital marketing happening every Saturday. And what are learning there? To name a few: SEO, Link building, PPC, RTB, Retargeting, Social media, Marketing tools, Analytics, Branding, Copywriting, Content marketing, NPS, Loyalty programs, Marketing strategy, CRO, A/B testing, UX, Emailing, Growth hacking.

One last thing before we begin, if you notice any mistakeZ, please get in t0uch with me (comment here, send me an email, message me on LinkedIn, etc) so I can fix ‘em. Don’t let me spread nonsense! Thanks!

This time we were talking about PPCs and our teachers were Karel and Petra. Mainly, we discussed Google Ads (previously AdWords) and sometimes we mentioned similar Czech platform Sklik.cz. There are others though.

We should think about SEO and PPC as yin and yang. They complement each other. PPC doesn’t create demand, it targets those who already search for a specific product.

Types of PPC

  • Text
  • Partner networks (eg. ads in search results at centrum.cz)
  • Contextual (ads next to an article, based on keywords, sometimes funny eg. La Chia match with ad for chia seeds, sometimes disturbing or crazy)
  • Remarketing (based on visited product)
  • Youtube ads (in video, banners and ads for specific videos)
  • Ads based on COS (Cost of sales) [PNO in Czech] (ratio between how much is spent on ads and how much revenue does your company earn)
  • Ads based on ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend) (how much revenue per dollar spend on the campaign)

Basic principles

The price is not set in stone. Its value is decided by an auction. Criteria for ad position (AdRank) are price (bid) and quality (QS = Quality score). It used to be quite simple, just multiply QS with the bid to get rank, but nowadays rank is a function of those two. You can still use the old multiplication formula for rough estimates. Rank is calculated each time a search is performed. Higher rank, better position. Top positions get disproportionately more clicks than lower positions.

If A bids $10 and has QS of 5 its rank is 50.

B bids $6 with QS of 9, its rank is 54.

So B gets the first spot even though it bid just 6.

eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) – Is it worth it for Google to offer you impressions? More clicks, more money for Google. If people don’t click your ad, you should do something about it.

Quality score

Quality score influences price. High QS discounts the price by 50%. Low QS increases it by 400%. Yikes!

What goes into QS?

Expected click-through rate, ad relevance, landing page and its relevance to keywords, website technical optimizations (speed, mobile friendly). There are columns for each “component” in Google Ads portal.

source: https://business.yell.com/knowledge/ppc/google-adwords-quality-score-company-googles-best-interest/

Google Ads and Google AdSense are separate. Paying for ads and offering space for advertising does not influence each other.

CPC

Setting the price to $0.5 means we are willing to pay the maximum of $0.5. We will pay what competition offers plus a few cents. We can also set a daily budget. This budget is averaged out over a month. On day 1, there might be fewer clicks (our budget isn’t spent). On day 2, there might be a lot of clicks (our budget is spent), however, we want to take advantage of this increased interest, so Google automatically spends a bit more. This is called overspending.

Click fraud

Why? To make competitor’s budget go “Insufficient funds!”. To earn money by clicking ads. There is a 3 phase detection: Automatic, manual and complaint handling.

Ad planning and goals

It’s important to set goals. For example: keep Cost of sales constant (without a budget). As I understood it, the actual value of COS is not important. Sometimes customers say that they want to keep it at x%. However, that would be a mistake. You can lose a lot of money when you don’t advertise enough. Your profit could be so much higher if you only spend a little bit more. So optimize COS according to your revenue and margin.

Tagging

What are tags? And why use ‘em? Tags are those ugly long parameters in URL like utm_source. Tags help track where are users coming from, type of link, marketing campaign, search terms and element clicked.

PPC campaign lifecycle

There are general keywords, longtail keywords, product keywords. Longtail and product are very similar, but product is for a specific item from a specific vendor (like “Nike Zoom Pegasus 35”). Longtail are more descriptive (like “red dress with black stripes”).

Search for information – “How…”, “When…”. This kind of queries is used by people while investigating and looking for information. It’s great to have a guide, how-to, or other similar content on your website because it answers their problems. Don’t link to list of your products.

Competition – targeting competition’s keywords can be done in a clever way. For example, there is a Czech delivery service for food called Košík [pronounced Kosheek] (= Basket in English). Tesco, Košík’s competitor has an ad saying “Košík potravin – Tesco” (= “Basket of groceries – Tesco”). It works with general words, but be careful with trademarks. Advertising for your own brand is recommended because of competition.

How to find keywords?

Right in Google Ads there is a Keyword planner with a keyword suggestion. It also shows avg number of searches, trends, suggested CPC, etc.

Where else? Research online, competition, Google Analytics, search suggestions, discussion boards and forums (market specific slang), Marketing miner.

Keyword Match Types

  • Broad match (CZ: Volná shoda)
    This type of match is too general, it’s impossible to track performance, do not use.
  • Broad match modifier + (CZ: Volná modifikovaná)
    It specifies that all words must be included.
  • Phrase match “” (CZ: Frázová shoda)
    The query must include certain phrase, there could be pre- and suffixes to this phrase.
  • Exact match [] (CZ: Přesná shoda)
    Only this specific match. However, included are closed variants (ie. synonyms, added prepositions, articles, etc).

There are also negative keywords for excluding words.

Source: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7478529?hl=en

Ads showing for the broad match could lower QS. Why? People aren’t clicking, it’s not relevant enough. This can be alleviated with negative keywords.

Adding modifiers, quotation marks or brackets manually would be slavery, so there are tools (such as this one) to help you with that. With it, you create a batch of keywords and put it in Google Ads where you can look at their QS.

Account hierarchy

Account > Campaign > Set > KWs + text pairing

Campaign structure

Various options: according to the phase of the shopping cycle (eg. think and do phase), categories, goals, performance (segments, kw match). For example, we want to distinguish between a brand with high CTR and with a competition with low CTR and low QS. They differ a lot so we want to keep ‘em separate. Separate search for info from product search too.

Coming up with a campaign structure is a creative process. Use post-it notes 🙂

How to write ads

Well written ads have a high QS. There are best practices, however, it depends heavily on the target audience and other factors. Keep testing! It is important to have a landing page.

Extended Ads (ETA) consist of 3 headings (each 30 characters long), visible URL (it can be fake, make it look like organic), 2 descriptions (90 characters each).

Question marks are allowed, exclamation marks are forbidden. Mentioning discount works on people. Include Call to Action (CTA) – actionable verb what they gonna get when they click or buy (eg. “Improve”). The goal is to engage them. Differentiate yourself from others. What works very well is a countdown. For example: “only 6 days left till the next workshop”. There are rules, but it’s a great opportunity to look for loopholes. Eg. “ajPhone” or “Ad1das”.

Make sure to check how are your ads displayed abroad. Use A/B testing. Prepare several versions and let them fight each other! Some versions might not be approved, so you’ll have a backup.

Extensions

Sitelinks – adds links below the main link (“BBC News and BBC World News”), the advantage is that your page occupies more space on the search results page, increasing CTR.

Others are Location, Callout, Structured Snippet, Call, Message, App, Price and Promotion extension. All add extra elements to your results and make it more attractive. Location extension needs Google My Business. Call adds your phone number, which is clickable on mobile phones. There are also automatic extensions which you can’t influence – eg. e-shop rating stars.

Targeting

Best practice is to target all languages. People might have Google in a different language.

Locality can be specified down to city quarters and there is also an option to target around your company location. Both radius and areas are supported.

Sometimes, people are away from their hometown but want to see results for their city. For example, I could be googling “flower delivery Brno” while sitting in Prague. Make sure your ads can handle these cases.

We can target mobile devices or we can bid more for mobile phones, so ad shows up more often there. This is called bid adjustments (available for device, location, etc).

Targeting demographics is an option too. There is a group “unknown”. These are people who are anonymously online. Target them to sell relevant products (use your imagination what would they probably want).

Evaluation and Optimization

Don’t launch new campaign before the weekend. Sounds familiar? It’s the same thing as Do not launch your game on Friday (but Release Your Game On Friday). In my humble opinion, it’s all about pros & cons. After launching your marketing campaign don’t stress about it. It won’t work 100% at first. Have a limited budget. There are keywords you didn’t think of yet. Texts, headings and descriptions probably need some tweaking. Don’t make any conclusions from the first 100 clicks. Don’t shut down your campaign after the first day.

Different performance in different segments is to be expected. Weather (“It’s cold, let’s order pizza instead of going to a restaurant!”), seasons, ads can all influence it.

Search Query Report

SQR shows the reality of how ads are displayed. It can be used to find out about:

  • Your ads having low CTR because of displaying to irrelevant search queries.
  • Lack of kws for relevant queries.
  • Poorly paired kws (from wrong set).
  • Same kw repeating in many different queries (large volume in total).

Auction Insights Report

The most valuable is tracking competitor’s position in time. We can find out why our position has changed (eg. they turned off ads before xmas).

Bid strategy

There are several options. eCPC is based on the probability of user converting (based on historical data). ROAS is about % of how much we wanna make and Google makes an offer (based on historical data). Disadvantage: reacts with a delay to seasonal stuff. Target outranking share is great when we want to jump ahead of competition or when we would like to know our profit if we jump. You can set amount of percent (don’t set it to 100%). Don’t use for competitor’s keywords!

Optimization steps

Improving the relevancy of ads and targeting (demographics, remarketing, negative keywords). Think about ROI. Focus on the thing which will give you the most bang for your buck. Find good and weak performance and tweak it.

Shopping ads

Shopping ads are great. You can advertise multiple times for the same query (like CZC.cz in the screenshot). They also get more clicks because of images and the amount of information they show. Customers can see the price and other information before they click – this makes them more qualified visitors -> more likely to buy.

What do you need to start with shopping ads? Create XML feed with products, set up Google Merchant Center, connect it to Google Ads and create campaigns.

The advantage is that descriptions are already in your e-shop so you don’t have to create them. It’s possible to create rules and tag them. Make sure to tweak your feed to show what your customers need to see. Beware of synonyms (eg. use “pink” instead of “salmon”). Make product images standout. White fridge on the white background is bad. Target different price segments with multiple products (eg. cheap, medium, expensive).

Automatization

Creating campaigns from the feed (including prices and whether products are in stock). There are tools such as PPC Bee and AdBoost. Set up tags to put products into the most suitable campaign. It’s possible to use variables for both kws and texts. Texts should be short enough to fit. Gradually reduce it’s length until it does.

Set up automatic rules to notify you when your campaign isn’t running, the budget is almost exhausted or there is an extreme offer for a click. You can think about your rules as a “tree” of rules. Each condition creates yes and no branch. It’s great for visualizing all your rules.

There is one mistake PPC experts do: they do not notice long-running expenses. They creep up on them. So watch out!

Apparently, AdWords Editor is an amazing tool for more advanced PPC experts. One day. One day.

DSA

Dynamic Search Ads automatically generate ads from your website. Do you have great SEO? Do you have an e-shop? DSA will work for you. It saves a lot of time and effort. PPC experts are now jobless, right? Well, not really. They can focus on the overall strategy and optimizations instead of manually creating all those ads.

DSA creates ads from everything on your page. This includes “We no longer offer Blabla”. So ad says “We no longer Blabla for a great price. Visit domain.com”. So tweaks are needed.

PPC business

In the last part of the presentation, we talked about why Karel and Petra like doing PPC and what are the suitable skills for this job: empathy, good at math & analytics, like money, proactive, taking risks without panicking, asking why, innovative, systematic and collaborates with others.

And that’s all folks.

 

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