Google’s new custom intent audiences and you

In mid-November, pre-empting the hellish holiday shopping season, Google unveiled a slew of new features designed to help advertisers maximize their AdWords budgets. While promotion extensions and ad variations are neat and all, the thing I’m most stoked about is the new custom intent audiences feature on Google Display Network (GDN).
If you haven’t checked out Ginny Marvin’s quick summary of what they are (linked above), here’s the gist: Custom intent audiences offer advertisers the opportunity to use the GDN to find “people who want to buy the specific products you offer — based on data from your campaigns, website and YouTube channel.” They come in two distinct flavors:

Create-your-own. Like a trip to your favorite pizza chain (but for the GDN), you can mash topics and URLs together like mushrooms and pepperoni in order to target net-new prospects who are probably into your product or service.
Auto-created. No idea where to start with the Display Network? Let your ol’ pal Google help!

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How to bring your potential customers back with retargeting

Retargeting is a pretty big deal these days. In fact, AdRoll reports that over 80 percent of marketers ran retargeting ads last year.
And really, that’s no surprise.
As a business, there’s nothing quite so frustrating as a potential customer who comes to your site, pokes around a bit… and leaves. So, it’s natural that we would want to get our ads back in front of these people, hoping that they’ll come back and actually convert this time.
The only problem is, for our potential customers, there’s often nothing quite so frustrating as a poorly timed, overly pushed retargeting ad.
How do you fix this problem? How do you get those non-converting visitors to come back? How do you create retargeting campaigns that give your potential customers what they want, when they want it?
Retargeting: Are you doing it wrong?
If you’ve ever done any research into retargeting, you’ve probably read that 92 percent of your website’s first-time visitors aren’t ready to buy.
Isn’t that frustrating?
I mean, you spend a

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How marketers’ influence can expand beyond lead gen: Utilizing remarketing for nurturing leads

When it comes to lead generation, quality is the name of the game. A paid media campaign may generate a record number of leads, but if they don’t turn into sales, the media spend has been a waste.
Many marketers feel their hands are tied. Once the lead is generated, the typical nurture process is handed off to the CRM team. Can anything be done — from a media perspective — to assist with the lead nurture process and turn leads into sales? The short answer: Yes!
Here are three steps digital advertisers can take to nurture leads into sales.
1. Utilize RLSA targeting for lead advancement
Remarketing for Search Ads (RLSA) is a great way to reach previous website visitors when they are searching. You can use RLSA to continuously reach prospects after they have completed a lead form.
First, I recommend that you create a remarketing list for users who have filled out your lead form. Second, identify what searches these potential customers

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The AdWords 2017 roadmap is loaded with artificial intelligence

Google recently shared their 2017 AdWords product roadmap at Google Marketing Next. Because the audience is primarily comprised of executives at big agencies and big brands, and Google is doing its best to get them excited about all their capabilities, the event sometimes skims over some of the details that matter to those of us managing accounts day-to-day.
I’ll share my take on the announcements and what excited or frustrated me the most. Even though it’s now been five years since I left Google, all but one of the presenters are people I used to work with, and they were kind enough to invite me backstage to get a bit more detail than what was covered in the keynote.
Custom in-market audiences for search
I’m a PPC geek, so I obviously love better targeting. That’s why the announcement of in-market audiences for search got me so excited. How often have we all wished for a way to look beyond the query

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The eerie future of AdWords targeting

“OK Google, tell me how creepy things are going to get.”
How would your 2006 selves respond to our advertising toolbox of today?

You can target ads to people based on their income level who are also currently at the airport with advanced geotargeting!
You can follow your potential customers around with the very products they looked at but decided not to buy with dynamic remarketing.
You can trigger ads to people based on what they say inside their emails with Gmail Ads.

Much of what we internet users and advertisers deem as normal would have been considered creepy or just plain impossible 10 years ago.
With demographic targeting for search, cross-device attribution and much more rolling out this year, it’s time to ask: What’s next? What will be the new norm of 2026?
Since 2001, Google (and now its holding company, Alphabet) have acquired about one tech company per month. Some, like YouTube, have gone from media storage companies to cultural cornerstones under Google’s wing.

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What Google’s recent RLSA updates mean for advertisers

At the recent SMX East conference in New York City, Google’s Jerry Dischler announced a number of paid search updates that should roll out in the near to immediate future. Among them, two in particular stand to expand the footprint of Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).
Here are the changes you need to know about, starting with the most impactful.
RLSA membership duration expanded to 540 days
Since beta testing all the way back in 2012, RLSA has been restricted to include only those users who visited an advertiser’s website within the past 180 days.
This meant that there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity for using RLSA in reaching out to once-a-year converters or baking seasonality into targeting as much as many advertisers hoped.
However, that 180-day limit has now been tripled to 540 days.
What does that mean?

A lot more searchers can be targeted with RLSA, as the number of distinct visitors to a brand’s site is naturally much higher

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The right way to get dynamic with Google AdWords

To be honest, AdWords hasn’t changed much since its launch in 2000. And that’s coming from someone who spends all their time either advertising, testing, reading, or writing about all things PPC and SEM.
Sure, AdWords has added a ton of capabilities over the years — from Gmail Ads late last year to extended display networks, ad extensions and reporting — but they hadn’t made all these options easier to use or more efficient to set up. It all just took more time, more manual work and more stress — that is, until Google began launching its line of dynamic feature sets to AdWords in 2013.
At first, like some of the other PPC pros here at Search Engine Land, I hated the initial versions of Google’s attempt to automate campaign creation. (For some, figuring out ways to avoid the new features may even have created more work!)
Google’s line of dynamic features and ad sets is its way of helping with all the manual processes

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Bring Your Work Home: How To Use Google AdWords To Improve Your Love Life

If you’re like most online marketers, you know that it can be hard to strike a good work-life balance. Sometimes, that can put a strain on your romantic situation (especially at the beginning of the year when expectations are particularly high).
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’re probably stuck between making sure your campaigns are running effectively and putting a little pizazz back in your romantic life.
But what if there was a way you could do both? A way to put your hard-won PPC skills towards more amorous goals? What if you could get your love life back on track without leaving the comfort of the AdWords campaign manager?
Marketing Yourself
The secret to romance is great marketing.
As a marketer, you’re hoping that you can make your company’s offering attractive enough to win the attention and approval of your target audience. The same idea applies to romance.

You can’t stop after you get the clicks (er, attention of your significant other),

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Making the Most Of Google Analytics Audiences Within Your Search Campaigns

Since its launch in 2013, Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) has become such an integral tool for PPC marketers that it’s hard to remember what our campaigns looked like without them. Did we just… use the same bid for everyone? Madness.
Things got even more exciting in June 2015, when Google announced they were allowing Google Analytics remarketing lists to be used in search campaigns (where they’d previously been restricted to use in display).
As you may know, there are many more options at your disposal when building remarketing lists in Google Analytics (GA) than in AdWords, so this opens up a range of new possibilities for your RLSA activity. But how exactly do you get your GA account ready for RLSA? And with so many options to choose from, how do you decide which lists are right for you?
In this article, I’m going to examine some of the most successful GA + RLSA strategies we’ve implemented at Periscopix, a Merkle Company, and how

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Holidays Are Comin’: Preparing Your Paid Search Programs For The Festive Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you’re an unprepared online retailer. The lead-up to the holidays is a busy period for a lot of us, but without the right strategies in place, you could be missing out on a stupendous amount of business.
While it may be annoying that Christmas commercials start appearing on our screens before we’ve had a chance to dig out our winter coats, the earlier you start thinking about your holiday strategies, the better.
Here I’ve put together a holiday checklist that you can follow to ensure you’re ahead of the curve for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season.
1. Budgets
It goes without saying that traffic will increase around the holidays, and the same budget you had for September just isn’t going to cut it. But without a crystal ball, how can you know exactly how much budget you’re going to need?
Your biggest source of inspiration is your own data.

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