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Lesson #29: Don’t Only Run On Exact Match

February 4, 2016
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We’ve talked about not running too many keywords (if any) on broad match, but recently we’ve seen a lot of cases of the inverse – people wanting to run only on exact match. Don’t do this either! If you run too many keywords on exact match, you won’t be able to gain any query information — if users don’t type in the exact keywords you put in (and only those) the ads won’t show up. You’ll miss out on potential customers and potential learnings. Phrase match should be your keyword match type of choice – and the match type of the majority of the keywords in your AdWords account.

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Lesson #28: Don’t Turn On Conversion Optimization Too Soon

February 3, 2016
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When setting up an AdWords campaign, it is very tempting to check the box to optimize based on conversion data immediately. While you usually can’t choose CPA bidding when you start, you can check the box that says eCPC, and we see that many clients do this. However, don’t! Google’s conversion optimization algorithms need at least 15 conversions in a campaign in a 30 day period to work for that campaign. If you turn them on too early, they won’t work and can actually hurt your performance as they try to optimize on not enough data. Wait until you have at least 15 conversions in a campaign in the first 30 days to turn on eCPC or CPA bidding.

(And by conversions, I mean conversions that are registering in Google AdWords – if you have conversions from another system, Google AdWords won’t be able to see them and optimize to them, so no matter how many conversions you have, the algorithms will still be off).

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Background: Facebook Insights Definitions For Facebook Posts

August 20, 2012
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Sometimes it’s amazing what a Google search won’t yield. With all the changes going on on Facebook, it’s important to understand the definitions of the metrics they provide. Below are the definitions of the metrics provided when you export data from Facebook Insights at the Facebook post level:

Total Reach: Total FB Users who saw and/or interacted with this post.

Organic Reach: Total # of  FB Users who saw and/or interacted with this post because they were fans

Paid Reach: Total # of FB users who saw and/or interacted with this post from an ad/sponsored story/sponsored post.

Viral Reach: Total # of FB Users who saw and/or interacted with this post because their friends interacted with the post

Total Impressions: Total # of times the post was displayed to users

Organic Impressions: # of times the post was displayed to users who were fans

Paid Impressions: # of times the post was displayed to users as an ad, sponsored story or sponsored post.

Viral Impressions: # of times the post was displayed to users who saw and/or interacted with this post because their friends interacted with the post

Engaged Users:  Engaged Users is the number of people who have clicked anywhere on your post.

Talking About The Post: People Talking About This is the number of people who have created a story from your post. Stories include: Sharing, liking, or commenting on your post

Stories About The Post: Number of stories created about the post

Post Consumers: Total # of people who clicked on and viewed the photo.

Post Consumption: Total # of times the photo/link in the post was clicked on and viewed.

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Update: New-ish Option Changes Google Match Types

July 30, 2012
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Over the last few months, Google has released a new feature that affects the way keyword match types (and therefore the strategy of using match types to organize a campaign) works.

In the setting option under each campaign, users can now find a drop down for “Keyword matching options.” When selected, the following option appears:

If you remember, the following had previously held true for the phrase and exact match types on Google:

1. Plurals were considered separate keywords and needed to be listed as such. Before, if “shoe” was in a campaign, but not “shoes,” then a search for “shoes” would not yield the ad.

2. The only way for an ad to show for a misspelled keyword was to run on broad match or broad match modifier. Ads on the phrase match keyword “shoe” would not show up for “sheo”.

3. If an advertiser wanted to show for close variations of a keyword (i.e. heels instead of shoes or pony instead of horse), the advertiser had to advertise the word on broad match or broad match modifier.

Now, however, if the selected box is checked (as is now the default), the above no longer applies to phrase or exact match.

What It Means (In My Humble Opinion)

Having the box checked is better for Google because it enables them to show ads for more search queries. Since advertisers only pay on a pay per click basis, Google makes money the more competitive a pay per click auction is.

From an advertiser’s perspective, the change is better and worse. While it makes it less likely that an advertiser won’t show up on a crucial keyword, it also serves to help eliminate query control. It used to be that if an advertiser wanted to advertise on a very specific keyword, an advertiser could put all their budget into that specific keyword (by putting the keyword in its own campaign and placing the keyword on exact match). With the box checked, this would no longer be the case, as exact match essentially would be the same as broad match modifier used to be.

For those traditionalists, I recommend not checking the box. If an advertiser wants to be absolutely sure they show up on everything, checking the box might be ok, but be sure to keep an eye on search query reports to make sure that the queries remain as targeted and relevant as desired.


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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 #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.


– 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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