How to outdo the PPC robots in shopping ads

Automation driven by improvements in artificial intelligence and machine learning will bring significant changes to how we manage pay-per-click (PPC) in 2018 and beyond.
There’s still a role for humans to play, one of which is to use what we’ve learned from years of experience to bring an account as close to perfection as possible before letting the machines take it from there.
Shopping ad performance may appear to be largely dependent on how well the automated algorithms work, with little room for account managers to optimize things. This is because the targeting is done automatically by Google, based on whatever products are in the merchant feed and how those relate to shoppers’ queries.
But there are still ways for account managers to tweak things to move the needle in the right direction.
In today’s post, I’ll explain seven ways to improve the performance of shopping ads.
Eliminate ambiguous and expensive queries
I remember several years ago, one of our customers wrote about

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Google launches Reach Planner for YouTube & video ad forecasting in AdWords

Google has launched Reach Planner, a new planning tool for video campaigns.
Currently in beta, Reach Planner in AdWords is designed to help media planners and advertisers forecast the reach and frequency of video campaigns on YouTube and the video partners on the Google Display Network.
Reach Planner provides unique reach data for all devices, core audiences and video formats for more than 50 countries.
The tool also includes product mix recommendations intended to show which YouTube ad formats will work best together based on inputs of a marketing objective, budget and ad preferences or assets available.
If you have a Google sales rep, you can request access to the beta.
[This article originally appeared on Marketing Land.]
The post Google launches Reach Planner for YouTube & video ad forecasting in AdWords appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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To make every conversion count, count every conversion

Conversion measurement is complicated. More devices, channels and touch points mean that data is exploding, and yet cross-device behavior and the use of different identifiers, like cookies across browsers, can muddy measurement on the web.
With all of that imprecision comes a thought that might keep you up at night: You might not see all of the conversions driven by your marketing. They’re still happening, but you just might not capture them in your reporting.
As a performance marketer at heart, I’m frustrated any time my measurement is incomplete. Lost conversions are just about the saddest thing I can think of, but Google (my employer) has measurement tools designed to help you make the most of your conversion tracking.
Tracking every possible conversion in AdWords
Back in the desktop era, advertisers simply installed a conversion pixel on their checkout page, and the combination of redirects and third-party cookie reading at conversion-time accurately captured performance.
To keep up with changes in browser technology

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AdWords now shows ad version history

If you’re one to edit ads in AdWords rather than pause or remove old ads, then add new ones, now you can easily compare all those old ad variations.
To get to the new version history screen, available only in the new AdWords interface, hover next to an ad, click on the pencil icon that appears and select “See version history.”

Version history shows all the old versions with the dates they were edited, how long they were in place and what changed. To see performance metrics, you’ll need to click the Columns icon and select the metrics you want to see.
The data can be exported to a spreadsheet.
The post AdWords now shows ad version history appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Chat rate is the new CTR for AdWords message extensions

Google rolled out its click-to-message AdWords extension in October 2016. Similar to call extensions, message extensions allow users to message a business directly from the ad.
Now the company is announcing formal reporting for messaging. It will be available in the next few weeks in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Brazil and Australia. Users of message extensions will need to turn on message reporting in account settings.
Three primary metrics will be captured:

Chat rate: This is analogous to CTR (impressions vs. actual messaging interactions).
Start time: When users tend to interact with you via messaging. Google says this metric will help with dayparting.
Number of messages exchanged within a single chat session: Google says to use this metric to evaluate which ad creatives are driving the most engagement.

Each session will be charged as a click.
The number displayed in the ad will be a Google call-forwarding number, which is how the company is able to track the above metrics. “Whenever possible, Google

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Keeping your edge sharp with AdWords

These are days of plenty for advertisers, with Google rolling out a new AdWords interface, AMP for ads and landing pages, Purchases on Google, updating the AdWords Keyword Planner and more.
But factor in the increasing prevalence of machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence that are now fundamental components of AdWords and keeping up with the abundance of goodies can be both time-consuming and occasionally overwhelming.
Never fear – if you’re looking keep sharp with cutting edge strategies and tactics for getting the most out of your AdWords campaigns, check out Brad Geddes Advanced AdWords workshop, running the day before SMX West on March 12 in San Jose. This one-day, hands-on workshop provides a deep immersion into everything you need to know to take advantage of everything AdWords has to offer today.
Want to know more about what to expect from the workshop? Click over to Five questions for AdWords expert Brad Geddes where he explains why this

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Keyword infringement: Edible Arrangements files $209M trademark suit against Google

Google is being sued in federal district court in Connecticut by the company behind Edible Arrangements for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The central claim is that when users search for “Edible Arrangements” (or versions of that name), they’re seeing product ads for competitors, such as 1-800-Flowers.
The company is seeking more than $200 million in damages for lost profits and trademark infringement. The company claims that consumers are confused about which results are genuinely associated with Edible Arrangements and says it has received phone calls supporting that contention.
I have not seen the specific allegations in the complaint, and I was not able to replicate the allegedly infringing search results. It does not appear that the term “Edible Arrangements” appears in ad text for competing advertisers.
Google will review and restrict use of trademark terms in ad text where there is a dispute. However, it does not restrict use of trademarks as keywords: “We don’t investigate or restrict trademarks as

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How to build a stronger, more effective PPC team

I’ve been doing pay-per-click (PPC) since 1998, when virtually every setting was manual. While it was painful to manage everything by hand, it forced me to learn the ins and outs of PPC, and that helped me build a successful career. 
Today, with automation playing an ever-more-important role in PPC, new account managers don’t have to learn all the fundamentals because tools handle the details. 
But as humans learn how to co-manage accounts with artificial intelligence, I believe that those with the strongest fundamentals will have the best opportunities for career advancement.
Automation erodes expertise
Remember the days when photography was an expensive hobby? Before digital, every time you clicked the shutter, you used another frame of film. To see the result, you’d spend more money to get the roll of film developed and printed. And not only was it expensive, it was also slow, with most labs taking an hour or more to turn the film into a print.

In

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India’s competition regulator fines Google $21.1 million for ‘search bias’ in travel results

India’s Competition Commission (CCI) today fined Google $1.36 billion rupees (roughly $21.1 million) for “abuse of its dominant position” in search. The specific finding made by CCI (in a 4 to 2 decision) surrounded Google’s treatment of flight search results.
CCI said that Google “allocated disproportionate real estate” to the box of sponsored flight results at the top of the page, which the Committee said disadvantaged “verticals trying to gain market access”:

CCI found prominent display of Commercial Flight Unit by Google on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) with link to Google’s specialised search options/ services (Flight) in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act. CCI noted in its order that Google through its search design has not only placed its commercial flight unit at a prominent position on SERP, it has also allocated disproportionate real estate thereof to such units to the disadvantage of verticals trying to gain market access. Besides, it was also found

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AdWords Express launches notifications for calls from search ads

After launching goal tracking in the platform last year, AdWords Express, the simplified ad platform designed for small business, is adding support around calls to a business with two types of call notifications.
Now, when a call received via a search ad ends, the advertiser will get a notification on their phone to leave feedback about the relevancy of the call. The feedback prompt appears as a simple question that can be answered “yes,” “no” or “not sure”:

The feedback will be delivered to Google, with the intention of improving targeting that will yield higher-quality calls over time.
The other new offering provides a solution for small business owners who are often juggling more than one thing at a time and wind up missing calls from potential customers. Now, a notification will pop up from the AdWords Express app alerting the advertiser that a call was missed. The business owner can simply hit “Call Back” to get back in touch

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