SEM growth hack #4: Grow ROI with cross-channel optimization

This article addresses the importance of optimizing your SEM (search engine marketing), SEO (search engine optimization) and PLA (product listing ads) channels together to gain monster ROI growth in the search channel.
Optimization of search advertising often occurs in a vacuum where SEM, SEO and PLA efforts are optimized separately. By optimizing these channels together, you can save money on unneeded ad spend while boosting your page visibility in the right places to generate more sales or leads — pushing you into monster growth territory!
Why cross-channel optimization matters
Search engine results pages (SERPs) feature different sections where different types of results appear. These sections include, but are not limited to, organic listings, text ads, product listing ads, local results, image results, news results and more. In implementing a holistic, cross-channel strategy, which takes into account site visibility across these different sections, we can direct our search marketing efforts to the channel where they will have the biggest impact on a keyword-by-keyword

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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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Commercial success: 3 last-minute PPC tips to pump up the effectiveness of Super Bowl LI TV ad buys

Ah, Super Bowl Sunday. There is no bigger day for football — or advertisers. And whether they’re on their couch or at a neighborhood watering hole, fans of both will be tuning in to Super Bowl LI in droves.
Sure, Super Bowl Sunday is about football. But the commercials share the spotlight. In fact, many Super Bowl viewers say they watch the game specifically for the commercials. Some (like me) skip the game entirely and just watch the commercials.
As we know, commercials can be the most memorable part of the big game, with water cooler talk continuing long after the last touchdown. It’s no wonder that brands spend an absolute fortune on them.
If you’re a brand that invested in TV for this year’s Super Bowl, how can you make the most of your TV spend? And what if your brand didn’t spend big for TV? How can you still benefit?
Read on for three tips to make the most out

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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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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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The Election: More searchers, more opportunities

In December 2015, Bing rolled out an Election 2016 experience, with data powered by Bing Predicts. You’ll know Bing Predicts as the crew that’s responsible for tearing it up at the Oscars, the NBA playoffs and the Scottish independence referendum (among others) with strikingly accurate predictions.

While the Predicts experiences have never been intended as an opportunity for advertisers, the reality is that on average they result in a 50-percent increase in search traffic year over year for those related terms and a 20-percent lift in “likelihood to use” Bing against Google in perception surveys.
As a marketer, I look at this as an opportunity. So I decided to dig into the Bing Elections 2016 experience to see what makes sense for advertisers who are looking for more volume. Here’s what I found out:
1. The Elections 2016 experience on Bing is incredibly engaging
This means searchers are apt to spend more time on the search engine results page (SERP). Not just

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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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How Much Did Countdown Ads Play Into Advertisers’ Strategies This Holiday Season?

At the end of 2014, I wrote that dynamic copy needed to be an integral part of paid search advertisers’ 2015 arsenal. I spoke to the positive results I had seen with Google AdWords ad customizers.
Then in June, I presented a case study of the AdWords countdown customizer that showed the CTR and conversion rate to be higher on dynamic ads than on their static ad counterparts. Needless to say, I’ve seen great results with dynamic copy.
As a follow-up to these posts, I wanted to see if advertisers made use of countdown ads this holiday season. As a reminder, here is what a sample countdown text ad looks like:
A countdown text ad
Along with the countdown customizer, I looked at Shopping ads to see if advertisers were using Merchant Promotions. This feature allows Shopping ad units to include a “Special offer” link, which opens a pop-up that contains the promotion. In this pop-up is a countdown of how

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Five Ways To Revolutionize Your Ad Text With Google’s New Location Ad Customizers

Specificity is a great thing, but it’s difficult to be specific in your AdWords ads for thousands of different people. Until now.
Google (my employer) recently updated an already very cool feature by allowing ad customizers based on target location. It’s a great update with lots of upside for advertisers of all sizes.
I want to talk about three things today:

Deciding if ad customizers are right for you.
New strategies to deploy with the recently released location ad customizer.
Some reminders about how AdWords determines location.

Are Ad Customizers Right For You?
When this new feature was released about a year ago, a lot of people were excited about connecting with their customers at scale. Through one single ad, you could create hundreds of different variations of that ad that would be specifically customized for that user’s search. It was awesome, and the results have been pretty great, from everything I’ve seen and read.
So why wouldn’t you want to use customizers? If there aren’t

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Does Google Really Know Where You Are?

Earlier this year, I was trading anecdotes with a couple of fellow marketing professionals who were struggling to make sense of the geolocation settings within Google AdWords.
Underlying everything we assume about geo-targeting is Google’s ability to correctly locate the user. If we are looking to serve ads to people in New York City, then (obviously) we need to target people who Google identifies as being in New York City. Equally, we need to be sure that we are not targeting people who are not in New York City.
Whilst this second statement may seem redundant, it actually isn’t — because, as we have discovered, there are two errors that Google seems to be making. The first is the false positive, the person that Google identifies as being in NYC, when in fact they are not. The second is the false negative, the person who is in NYC, but whom Google has identified as being located somewhere else.
Quantifying The Issue
To test

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