6 AdWords strategies businesses can use to make love, not war on Valentine’s Day

If you’ve visited any local pharmacy recently, you have a pretty good idea of what holiday is coming up. Yup, that one with the hearts, chocolates, flowers and teddy bears.
It’s not Christmas or New Year’s, but Valentine’s Day is a huge opportunity for all businesses, not just flower delivery and giant teddy bear manufacturers. There’s just as much opportunity to optimize your return on investment (ROI) improvements if you know the right strategies.
Let’s dig into the following pay-per-click (PPC) tactics so you avoid situations like this one and learn how to maximize your advertising efforts on Valentine’s Day.
Is advertising on Valentine’s Day worth it?
Look, people aren’t only looking for flowers, chocolates and cute cards on Valentine’s Day; there are plenty of people who want to spend the day out treating themselves, reserving a nice day at the spa or grabbing a drink with friends. Using Google Trends and the Keyword Planner, we see there is a market

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Merkle Q4 2017: Search ad click growth fell, ad spend rose 23% across Google, Bing, Yahoo

Overall, in Q4 2017, search ad click volume growth slowed by 9 percent as the average cost per click (CPC) increased 14 percent. Spend rose 24 percent year over year. Engagement and conversion performance from search ads improved, however, and clicks from phones accounted for 50 percent of all clicks for the first time. Those are among the findings reported in Merkle’s Q4 2017 Digital Marketing Report.
Source: Merkle
These search ad trends are consistent with the Q4 performance trends reported by Marin Software last week.
Google ad spend growth slowed slightly from Q3
Spending on Google search ads increased 23 percent overall year over year in Q4 2017. Retail and consumer goods spending on search ads rose 24 percent during the holiday season, according to Merkle’s Q4 2017 Digital Marketing Report.
That growth in search ad spend is actually a slight deceleration from Q3. Search spend jumped 38 percent on mobile and 21 percent on desktop. Click volume growth slowed sharply to 8

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Marin: Search CPCs outpaced spend growth in Q4 2017

Paid search spending increased by just over 10 percent year over year in Q4 2017 across Marin Software’s customer base. CPC growth doubled that of overall spend with an increase of roughly 20 percent year over year.
Mobile CPCs increased 25 percent year over year, accounting for 53 percent of total spend. Google took 89 percent of search spend share, with 11 percent going to Bing. The findings are part of Marin’s Q4 2017 Digital Benchmarks Report highlighting some of the key metrics realized across the accounts running campaigns through the platform.
Click volume was off roughly 7.5 percent from Q4 2016, while click-through rates increased from roughly 1.75 percent to more than 2.5 percent.
Source: Marin Software
Given the holiday season, it’s not surprising to see investment and activity in Shopping ads increase. Marin saw Google Shopping ad click share increase by 31 percent from Q3 to Q4 2017.
Looking more closely at CPCs by industry, education continues to stand out,

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Side by side: Comparing two performance marketing tools/agencies

As performance marketers, we’re conditioned to want to test everything. From the impact of feed titles to the incrementality of each channel, we want to be sure that we’re making the right choice before we commit all our resources to something.
That goes for deciding which tools/agency to use as well. Moving your performance marketing activities from one tool/agency to another (or picking one to start with) is a big commitment and not one you should take lightly.
Most (probably all) tools/ agencies claim to do the same basic thing: improve your campaign performance. The way they do this or the methods they use will differ, but with so much choice out there, how are you to know which one will actually deliver?
To help them make the right decision, many companies will ask for a side-by-side comparison test between two tools/agencies. We were recently asked to participate in a split comparison test against a Philadelphia-based product ad technology for

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Google adds keyword functionality to the AdWords app

We haven’t heard much about development on the AdWords app lately, but there’s a new update out today that makes the app more useful.
Advertisers can now add, edit and remove keywords from their campaigns using the AdWords app.

You can now add, edit or remove keywords on the go using the AdWords app. Learn more: https://t.co/CHjsn1uZHr pic.twitter.com/ZhMzM6IaiL
— Google AdWords (@adwords) January 18, 2018

To add a keyword, simply click the new round blue “plus” button that appears in the bottom right corner of the various Keyword views in the app.
To delete existing keywords, click on the keyword you want to delete and then on the trash can icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
From that same specific keyword screen, advertisers can edit the word itself or change the match type. That’s also where advertisers can pause or enable a keyword and change manually set bids.

For full instructions, see the help center page.
The AdWords app can be downloaded

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Search strategies — Learn what worked and what didn’t for the 2017 holiday season

This Thursday, join our experts as we explore how search marketing strategies fared in the 2017 holiday season. We’ll share results of a year-end survey that reveals how marketers adjusted their search strategies in 2017 and take a look at overall results of the shopping season to see if those efforts paid off. We’ll also examine best practices for search marketing for the 2018 holiday shopping season.
Register today for “Holiday Retail Search Strategies 2017: What worked, what didn’t,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by SMX.

Brad Geddes is a co-founder of Adalysis, an ad testing and recommendation platform. Brad is the author of “Advanced Google AdWords,” the most in-depth book ever written about Google’s advertising program. He has been working in paid search since 1998.
Ginny Marvin writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny

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Understanding AdWords keyword match types for manufacturers

In a previous column, I addressed the challenges paid search advertising can present to industrial manufacturers who sell capabilities versus stock products.
Another challenge is the AdWords help files themselves. As an advertising platform, AdWords is geared more to retailers — when a platform uses common retail products to illustrate keyword strategies, it’s often hard to see how the example relates to keywords for complex manufacturing capabilities.
For example, under Basic Tips for Building a Keyword List, AdWords uses the example of men’s shoes:

If you’re a manufacturer offering a capability or products manufactured to engineers’ specifications for use in unique applications, it can be tough to come up with multiple basic categories if you’re thinking in terms of clothing items. “Well,” you might think, “we make precision machined parts,” or, “we electropolish stainless steel parts. I can’t think of another category.”
This confusion then carries over into keyword match type. “If you sell hats,” says one of the help files,

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Advanced Ad Targeting Strategies for AdWords, Facebook and Display

Join our ad-targeting experts for a crash course in the newest strategies for digital ad targeting. Using these strategies, brand marketers and agencies can improve the cross-channel customer experience, optimize ROI, reacquire customers and grow revenue.
Attend this webinar and learn how to:

target consumers with the right message at the right time with the right CTA.
find lookalike audiences to acquire new customers and grow revenue.
use phone call analytics to target audiences likely to call and convert.
integrate targeting strategies into cross-channel campaigns for better ROI.

Register today for “Advanced Ad Targeting Strategies for AdWords, Facebook and Display,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by DialogTech.
The post Advanced Ad Targeting Strategies for AdWords, Facebook and Display appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Split testing Google Shopping campaigns

Many retailers and marketers want to review the performance of their Google Shopping campaigns with split testing, whether it’s to establish if a tool will offer more efficiency than manual implementation or to compare two tools against each other.
However, the Google Shopping channel lends itself to accurate split testing only under certain conditions, and otherwise, the risk is very high that the results will be misleading or false. That said, there are a few split-testing methods that can give insights into your Google Shopping efforts.
This white paper from Smarter Ecommerce will help you answer questions like these:

Which types of split testing are there for Google Shopping?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each test?
How can I be sure that my split test will give valid, meaningful results?
Which tests provide reliable, objective conclusions?

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “Split Testing with Google Shopping.”
The post Split testing Google Shopping campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google removes addiction treatment ads from UK search results

Google has removed search ads related to addiction treatment in the UK, following an investigation by The Sunday Times (registration required).
The investigation revealed an ongoing issue with middlemen bidding on the terms and receiving large kickbacks from the private centers where the searchers are ultimately referred to, in a practice called “patient brokering.”
The companies frequently masquerade as impartial help lines without disclosing their business model to the searchers that encounter them. The move to remove them from UK results follows an earlier change in the US. Google began removing ads from addiction treatment-related query results in the US starting in September of last year.
The practice of patient brokering is illegal in several states in the US, but it is not illegal in the UK. Critics of the practice cite this as one of the reasons for the increased cost of care, pointing out the high commissions paid out to the referral agents have to come from somewhere. Those

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