Are you changing keyword bids too often?

The AdWords advertising system utilizes an auction-like process to decide which advertisers’ ads get to show and in which order. By bidding higher or lower, you can appear at higher or lower positions — depending on what your competitors are bidding.
Account managers use many approaches for setting and tweaking bids over time, and bid optimization is one of the oldest features in the SEM software industry. Automated bidding can work great, but many account managers (particularly agencies and consultants) have neither the budget nor the inclination to pay for an additional system to help them manage their AdWords account, so often the account managers must set bids themselves, which can be a daunting task.
I recently audited a large enterprise account and saw that the account manager had been very busy making bid changes, every three days or so, for the same keyword in many cases ($2.00 –> $12.00 –> $8.00 –> $15.00). Frankly, it looked pretty crazy.

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Four key holiday paid search trends to keep an eye on

During the holidays, there are a million different data points advertisers can look at to see how paid search is performing throughout this crucial shopping period. Depending on business goals and the type of products sold, which of those data points are most important for a particular site can vary widely from one brand to the next.
That said, there are a few overarching trends that apply to many advertisers and which help to set the stage for performance expectations over the coming weeks. Here I’ll outline four interesting paid search trends I’ll be keeping an eye on.
Will Black Friday continue to close the paid search sales gap on Cyber Monday?
Black Friday is for doorbusters. Cyber Monday is for online deals. That’s the way this thing is supposed to go, right?
The lines are blurring on those distinctions, with Black Friday Google paid search sales growth far outpacing that of Cyber Monday last year.
Paid search sales growth from 2015

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9 reasons why search marketers have been at the cutting edge of marketing technology

As marketing functions increasingly rely on technology, Scott Brinker, aka “Chief MarTech,” laid out nine reason he believes search marketers are poised for leadership as marketing becomes increasingly technology-dependent in a keynote presentation at SMX East in New York City last week.
Search marketers, of course, employ any number of tools and technologies in their work, and the industry has spawned hundreds of products and solutions. Brinker outlined how the work of search marketers touches 22 of the 49 categories he has identified in the Marketing Technology Landscape infographic he has been compiling to track the growth in marketing technology companies.
Search marketers engage with the marketing technology categories circled in blue.
Brinker, program chair for the MarTech Conference series and editor VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot, highlighted the core functions of search marketing — testing, analysis, conversion optimization and so on — that encompass the overlap of marketing, technology and management.

With more and more companies creating the role of chief

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The nitty-gritty paid search account health check: Part 2

Welcome to the second and final post in a two-part series about paid search account audits. If you haven’t read the first post, be sure to check it out here! Without further ado, let’s dive right into the good stuff — the remaining analyses standing between you and a perfectly manicured paid search account.
Keywords and negatives
Keywords are essentially the building block of your search campaigns, so needless to say, there’s always room for an audit. Here are some things to review:

Are there any keywords that are spending money without converting?

I look at this in different time frames, including the past 30 days or longer time frames, such as “all time,” because there could be keywords flying under the radar that may not be spending money quickly but that are slowly spending — like a small leak that can do damage over time.

Are there any keywords that are below the first page bid?
Are there keywords that haven’t really

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How to capture urgent leads with call-only ad extensions

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If you find yourself facing an overflowing toilet, you’re not going to deal with it from the confines of an ergonomic desk chair. There’s no time to sit in front of the computer and do your due diligence. Unless you happen to be deft with a plunger and a snake, you’re going to pull out your phone and look for a qualified problem solver as quickly as possible.
But what happens when that first search result is nothing more than a phone number and two disjointed phrases, an incoherent mess reminiscent of what’s clogging up your pipes?
You’re going to skip to the next item on the SERP in search of a solution.
If you’re the plumber, how do you fix this problem? How do you make sure the person with the overflowing toilet calls you and not your competitor?
Today, I’m going to dive into how the recent addition of ad extensions to call-only ads can help you

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Beat high-cost paid search clicks by sweating the details

In some industries and sectors, the per-click cost of search keywords is notoriously expensive — so expensive, in fact, that it dissuades some businesses from even stepping into the fray. When a click can cost you $200 or more, that reluctance is understandable.
At the same time, the costs of not stepping into PPC might be just as pricey, even if they’re not as obvious. In industries where competition is stiff, you could stand to lose a lot by being conspicuously absent from PPC.
So, what’s a business to do?
Fortunately, expensive clicks — even really expensive clicks — don’t have to stop you from venturing into PPC. You just have to make sure that every click counts.
Industries where clicks are costly
Before we get into a discussion about how to make sure every click counts, let’s get clear on the industries and sectors we’re talking about.
Though most advertisers aren’t paying more than a few dollars per click, some industries have

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Competitive analysis: Making your auction insights work for you

Oh, the auction insights report. You want to love it because it comes straight from AdWords, while most other competitive data comes with a grain (or maybe a pillar) of salt. Yet, while the information in this report is all nice to know, it might not seem to be immediately useful.
Don’t throw in the towel too soon, though — with auction insights, there’s more than meets the eye.  Let’s talk about how to put the data to work.
Who has the majority of the impression share?
This is, of course, the most obvious use of the report. Who seems to be dominating impression share?  You can look at this a few ways:

Who is dominating impression share across all of your campaigns?
Who is competing for impression share for each campaign? What about your top-performing, or worse-performing, ad groups?
Who is vying for impression share on your top-performing keywords?

You can garner a few things from this report at a pretty high level.

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Evaluating PPC talent, part 2: The test

Previously, we discussed how to find good PPC candidates for your particular company, but now it’s time to evaluate those candidates.
It comes down to this: You’ve held dozens of interviews with candidates almost impossible to tell apart. They all have similar credentials. They’ve worked in the right industry or environment, have used similar tools to what your paid media team uses and didn’t hesitate to answer your questions. But what’s next?
The technical assessment of your PPC hire may be the thing you’ve most overlooked, and it can often lead to a complete disaster.

How do we evaluate PPC talent?
You cannot properly assess how someone will fit into your team and impact your business simply by reviewing resumes and asking them a few questions to make sure they speak the language.
Unfortunately, there is also no one-size-fits-all assessment your team can find online and use. You have to start by taking an honest look at your work environment and understanding

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Disclosure and transparency: The agency/client relationship twins

There is an old joke about what to do if you’re ever stranded on a desert island with only a pack of cards: The answer is to start playing solitaire, because sooner or later someone will lean over your shoulder and say, “Why don’t you put that red seven on that black eight?”
When we structure our marketing campaigns, either alone or as a well-oiled team, the last thing we want is for someone to come along and tell us how to do it better. We have our reasons. We are experienced marketers. And, let’s be honest here, the least wanted advice often comes from the client.
We can live and breathe AdWords, breakfast on Bing Ads and snack on Facebook and Twitter; but the client pays for the campaigns.
We were recently approached by a client who was unhappy with their current agency. They wanted us to take a look. But the other agency — hereafter known as “Opaque”

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This script creates Google Slides with AdWords data to automate your presentation-making

Google just introduced its latest advanced API integration for AdWords Scripts: Google Slides. That means you can now programmatically connect AdWords with Google Slides.

Leo Sei, Google’s Product Manager for AdWords Scripts, told me why they created this new integration: “The goal of AdWords Scripts is to help advertisers automate their workflow. After talking with advertisers, we found that many share scripts output through slide decks, and this involved a manual step of copying AdWords data into the presentation. So we worked hard to integrate Slides API directly in Scripts to allow advertisers to automate the entire process.”
I feel I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but here’s yet another new capability from Google that can help us with PPC reporting. And considering the amount of time the average account manager spends preparing reports for stakeholders, any new technology that has the ability to automate some of this work is worth looking into.
So, let me show you how

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