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Lesson #27: Beware Of Keywords With Multiple Meanings

July 16, 2012
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Some brand names are fairly common. Others are named after common objects. But unless you’re “the Cheesecake Factory,” many of these brand names may not work well for search.

For example, a search for “Sound-Bar,” the popular Chicago nightclub, yields many ads for sound bars, a now popular piece of electronic equipment. “Next,” the amazing Chicago restaurant, yields ads for NextDirect.com, and Next.Co.UK.

If an advertiser’s brand name has multiple common meanings or businesses, such as the ones above, advertisers may need to handle their brand terms differently.

While normally, one would be encouraged to advertise on brand terms, in the cases above, it is better not to do so. Rather, focus on the specific term that makes it clear that it’s your business. For example, advertise on “soundbar nightclub chicago” or “next restaurant” or even “fox.com.”

Brand campaigns can normally help improve an account’s quality score and provide high quality traffic at a low cost. They can still do this if a brand term has multiple meanings. Just beware, be smart, and be creative.

A Word With Many Meanings

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Lesson #26: Don’t Just Put Everything On Broad Match

July 12, 2012
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Ok, I’ll give it to you: broad match has its appeal. No need to worry about plurals or all the various ways a phrase could be created. Lots of impressions and therefore better odds for more volume. Less keywords. So the thought is, less work. But that’s just not true.

Do not just put everything on broad match. When advertisers do so, they remove all (or most) query control from the account. As a result, they don’t know what keywords are appearing for which queries and driving which clicks. This makes it hard to optimize, and almost always means the advertiser is paying more for their keywords than they should be.

There are four different match types on Google and three on MSN. Use them all (in separate ad groups) to create the query control every account desperately needs. Budgets, wallets, managers and clients will all be grateful.

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Lesson #25: Look to Impression Share For Missed Opportunities

June 26, 2012
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Impression Share may be one of the most useful and least utilized metrics in search marketing – exact match impression share, that is.

Utilizable for the search network only, exact match impression share tells the advertiser what percentage of the possible impressions for their keywords (taking match types into account) the ads are showing up on. A 100% impression share means the advertiser’s ads are showing up for every search on the keywords in the campaign. A 25% impression share means the advertiser’s ads are only showing up 25% of the time.

The two main reasons an impression share might not be 100% are budget and rank. While there are metrics to these effects as well, it is important to consider them in conjunction with the exact match impression share.

To view impression share, add exact match impression share under columns (it’s listed as a competitive metric in  the new interface) on either the campaigns or ad group tabs.

 

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Lesson #24: Bidding on Generic Keywords

June 25, 2012
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When bidding on generic keywords, the most important thing is not to get too carried away. What do I mean by this? Advertisers who make mistakes bidding on generic keywords tend to fall prey to one of three possibilities:

1) Bidding Too Much on a Generic Keyword: Just don’t do it. Make sure you are keeping an eye on the ROI of the term to your company, and do not let the bids become over-inflated accordingly. For example, with bid rules, especially position based bid rules, it is very easy for an advertiser to inadvertantly wind up increasing their bid significantly, even when there is no competition. For more information, please see Bid Rules Are Not Set It And Forget It.

2) Bidding Too Little on a Generic Keyword: Generic keywords are often competitive terms. Depending on the industry, they can be extremely competitive terms. As a result, it’s important to make sure that, while not overinflated, the bid on the keyword is in fact realistic so that ads do show up for the keyword. For example, the keyword “mesothelioma” regularly wins as the most expensive keyword within adwords. The average CPC for “mesothelioma” is generally around $100. As a result, an advertiser bidding $20 will not show up. “Mesothelioma” is an outlier in terms of how much it costs, but the same is true of nearly all generic keywords; if there is a lot of keyword volume for a word, and the advertiser’s bid is under $1, be sure to check impression share and position. It is likely that the advertiser needs to increase their bid to receive the maximum benefit from showing on the keyword.

3. Bidding on Irrelevant Keywords: When picking generic keywords to bid on, there are a lot of possibilities. However, it is important not to disregard the search query report when evaluating keyword performance. If the keyword is not leading to relevant traffic or not performing well, don’t get carried away bidding on it. Focus on keywords that perform the best and yield the most relevant traffic – doing so will improve both account and site performance, while reducing cost per acquisition.

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Lesson #23: Rotate Your Facebook Ads Every 3 Days

June 22, 2012
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When it comes to Facebook ads, one rule applies above all others: rotate your ads often. The rule of thumb is generally 3 days – sometimes a little bit more, and sometimes a little bit less. It doesn’t matter whether the ad is performing well – even the best performing ad will stop performing well on Facebook after a few days.

Examples of Facebook Ads

As a result, it is important to refresh all of an advertiser’s Facebook ads after a few days and to monitor their performance regularly to ensure that the ads are being refreshed at the appropriate time.

Remember: Facebook is not like any other media network. Ad fatigue occurs much faster than normal, users are on the site expecting to see new and breaking content, and users are generally not looking to leave Facebook during their visit.

 

 

 

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Lesson #22: Remove All Duplicate Keywords From Search Campaigns!

June 21, 2012
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When it comes to search, a keyword should only ever show up once in an account. Having keywords in different places eligible to show ads for the same search query can lead to two key things. First off, the advertiser is bidding against themselves in the bid auction, increasing the amount they are paying per click. Secondly, a keyword or ad may perform better with the copy in one ad group than with another.  Duplicate keywords lead the advertiser to lose their ability to control messages as clearly.

With the exception of the cases outlined below, do not use duplicate keywords.

Exceptions:

– If a campaign is duplicated with different targeting (i.e. geographic or device oriented campaigns), it is ok to use the same keyword and match type in both campaigns.

– When using more than one match type, it is ok to use the same keyword with different match types as long as the keywords are in separate ad groups and query control is being utilized. (As in, all queries for the exact match are leading to the exact match ad groups while all broad match queries are leading to the broad match ad groups)

 

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Lesson #21: Bid Rules Are Not Set It And Forget It

June 19, 2012
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Yesterday, we discussed bid rules. But while bid rules can carry out a logic indefinitely, they do not regulate themselves. As a result, it is important to keep an eye on bid rules, and actively manage them. They are not “set it and forget it.”

For example, many an advertiser has accidentally competed against themselves in an auction, inadvertently pushing the bid on their keywords up to an obscenely high level. Others have let a bid rule prevent a keyword from showing up. Let’s discuss each case separately.

Bid Rules Can Prevent Keywords From Showing

A bid rule that has terms for reducing the bid on a keyword can be a great tool, but it can also be a hindrance. Without a position cap, it is possible that a keyword that does not perform as well by some metric can have its bid pushed down to such a degree that it no longer shows ads for the term. An example of this would be a keyword that was in position 3 at a $1.00 bid having its bid reduced to $0.10 and suddenly being in position 12.

There are times when such a strategy makes sense, but there are other times when the keyword not showing up is a crucial part of the campaign. So it is important to make sure that even if there is a bid rule running, the advertiser is aware which keywords are taking which actions. If a keyword is being bid down, and yet it is crucial to the advertisers campaign, the bid rule needs to be altered.

Bid Rules Can Cause Advertisers To Overpay

Bid rules can also bid advertisers up against themselves. Many an errant bid rule has led advertisers to pay 10x or more what they would otherwise pay for a particular keyword, by constantly bidding them up against themselves or continually raising the bid on a keyword that is already performing well. Again, check accounts regularly for any absurdly priced keyword.

Remember, bid rules are not set it and forget it. Check bid rules constantly, and be on the look out for any anomalies.

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Background: An Introduction to Bid Rules

June 18, 2012
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Bid rules are automated rules that an advertiser can put in place to regulate the bidding on a particular keyword. For example, a bid rule could tell the search engine to pause a keyword whenever its ROI drops below $1.00 or to increase the bid on a keyword whenever the keyword falls below an average position of 2.

For advertisers with extensive keyword lists and/or extremely clear goals, bid rules can be a good tool to manage accounts. Even better, they are now available for free within the Google interface, and come standard on such third party platforms as Kenshoo. However, bid rules can also cause a lot of problems, and consequently should be used with caution.

 

 

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Lesson #20: Don’t Forget Long Tail Keywords

June 15, 2012
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As we continue this week’s foray into keywords, it is important not to forget about long tail keywords.  Long tail keywords are keywords, generally 3-5 words long, that a user would encounter when looking for a more specific query. While “shoes,” or even “red shoes,” are not long tail keywords, “red steve madden pumps” is a long tail term. Why? It contains more words and, due to its specificity, it has less search volume than the broader, high-level keywords.

At the same time though, a user searching for “red steve madden pumps” who is taken to a relevant landing page is far more likely to convert (i.e. buy the pumps) than a user who is searching for “shoes” or “red shoes.” As a result, it is important to always be sure to include long tail terms in an account. Whether those long tail terms are every product number being sold, specific products, or even a specific thing about a topic, including them in an account can lead to higher quality score and a better conversion rate. At the same time, since long tail terms are usually less competitive than their short term counterparts, these terms are cheaper and will likely show the ad in a higher position accordingly.

 

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Lesson #19: Never Put More Than One Keyword Type In the Same Ad Group or Campaign

June 13, 2012
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Earlier this week, we discussed the four different types of keywords: brand, non-brand/generic, competitive and long-tail. Since long-tail keywords can fall under any of the other three categories though, for today’s discussion, we will only refer to the three main keyword types: brand, non-brand/generic and competitive.

When it comes to these types of keywords, never put more than one keyword type in the same ad group as each other, or even the same campaign. Each keyword type demands a different keyword strategy, bidding strategy, and, most likely, a budget. In addition, each keyword type will perform differently from one another – by separating them into their own campaigns, the best performing keywords will benefit while the worst performing keywords will have the least effect.

To explain in greater detail: Brand keywords generally have the best performance and the highest quality score, as they are most directly relevant to the content on the site and the place a user searching for a brand term is most likely to click. As a result, they have low CPCs, high CTRs, and lead to great account history. All the benefits of their strong performance serve to lower the CPCs of all the keywords and ads in their campaign.

Competitive or conquesting keywords tend to perform the least well. The opposite of brand terms, they are the least relevant to a site’s content, and searchers are least likely to click on them. Consequently, their low quality score and poor performance history can (and will) hurt whichever campaign and account contains them.

So mitigate the damage by putting competitive keywords and brand keywords in separate campaigns from one another. The strong performance of the brand keywords will continue to help them, driving the CPC down further, while not being tainted by the poor performance of the competitive keywords.

Generic or Non-Brand keywords are generally more expensive than brand terms. They are more plentiful and competition on the terms is greater. In addition, the budget for non-brand keywords may be different from the budget for brand keywords. Given all of the above, it is again best to separate the generic keywords into their own campaigns.

 

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