Branded PPC Campaigns: Should You Bid on Your Company Name?

15 02 2011

A common question that arises while working with and managing a company’s PPC efforts is whether or not they should be bidding on branded keywords if they are already ranking number #1 organically (for their company name).  Logically, it doesn’t seem to make sense to pay for keywords your website is already ranking #1 for in the search engine results, for free.  However, it’s important to consider some of the reasons why a company should enhance their online presence with the help of a branded PPC campaign.

  • Own the search engine results page (SERP) – Bidding on branded keywords can help your listings (paid and organic) own the first page of results for your company name.  Not only do multiple listings help to reinforce your company’s presence, but in some cases it can help simulate brand authority and credibility when a user sees your brand all over the first page of search results; also helping to increase organic click through rate.
  • Protect your brand from competitors – Consider a branded campaign as an online reputation management (ORM) tactic, particularly if you’re in a competitive market space – but even if you’re not.  Branded keywords are often considerably cheaper in comparison to a company’s top, general keywords and can help ensure that you are preventing competitors from appearing above your #1 organic listing for your company name.  Even if competitors are not bidding on your company name now, proactive ORM can ensure your company is being perceived accurately; and keep those pesky competitors from appearing above you.
  • Not all users click on the organic listings – For savvy web users who typically click on organic results over paid results, it’s important to realize that although approximately 70% of users click on organic results, the other 30% or so click on the paid results, not realizing there’s a difference.  It’s critical for your company to be visible to 100% of searchers, not just the 70% that click on the organic results.  With sponsored listings (especially those with ad extensions such as sitelinks or location extensions) taking up a significant portion of top of the page real estate above organic listings, it’s important for your company to be visible in this space too.
  • PPC ads allow you to control your messaging – While you do have control over your organic listing’s title and meta descriptions, PPC ads give you the ability to nimbly change messaging to highlight offers, competitive factors, and different value propositions within minutes.
  • PPC ads allow you to control your targeting – Unlike organic search, PPC ads allow you to control where and when your ads are shown, which keeps your audience targeted, relevant and costs down.
  • Milk that good quality score – Branded keywords often secure the highest click-through rate (CTR), the best quality score and overall performance history, which can help improve account quality score, boosting your overall PPC account history, performance and potential.

In any case, before you rule out bidding on branded keywords, consider the above benefits and conduct a test.  By testing and analyzing the results, it’s undoubtedly a win-win situation, as the proof will be within the data (one way or the other).  If branded keywords are driving up your paid search cost, lowering ROI, or affecting your other traffic sources negatively, then you can decisively rule a branded campaign out of your paid search mix for the time being and not second guess whether you’re missing out on traffic, conversions or revenue – win.  Moreover, if branded keywords help improve your online visibility, traffic, ROI, or conversion activity – another win!

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Prep Your PPC Campaigns for 2011 (Formic on iMedia Connection)

20 12 2010

Amidst your 2011 planning and the year end rush to the finish line, don’t let your PPC campaigns take a back seat to last minute deadlines.  As an advertiser, your campaigns may be long overdue for tune up and there is no better time than the present to prepare them for the new year.  Start planning ahead for a successful PPC program in 2011 by giving your campaigns the gifts they need to be successful.  To help your campaigns perform to your advertising goals and objectives, consider a few of these gifts that are most certainly at the top of your PPC campaign’s wish list this holiday season:

  • Stocking Stuffers: Even if your campaigns have plenty of traffic driving, high converting keywords in their repertoire, they can never have too many negative match keywords to keep unwanted search traffic from wasting budget (by way of un-targeted search queries).  Throw a handful of negative keywords into your PPC campaign’s stocking with the promise of more to come throughout the new year.  These easy and often overlooked additions are simple to find through a process that is right at your finger tips.  In AdWords, navigate to the “Keywords” tab and select “See Search Terms > All” from the drop down.  Start browsing through the results to find negative keyword choices (untargeted search queries that are triggering your ads) and pick out the perfect additions for your campaigns this season.   And, there are plenty of online tools that help generate negative keyword suggestions with your specific campaigns in mind.

Read the Full Post: http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2010/12/20/prep-your-ppc-campaigns-for-2011/





AdWords Ad Text Wrapping

22 09 2010

One of the trickiest aspects of writing PPC ads is finding a way to confine your advertising message within Google AdWords’ strict character limits.  In some cases, the use of necessary punctuation is omitted in an effort to fit more words into the ad text copy.

The traditional AdWords ad text character limit follows the below guidelines:

Line 1 or TITLE = 25 characters

Line 2 of AD TEXT = 35 characters

Line 3 of AD TEXT = 35 characters

DISPLAY URL = 35 characters

It’s easy to begin writing a PPC ad, arrive at the end of your Line 2 character limit, and decide it’s not worth re-writing to fit a period at the end of the sentence.  You think, no big deal, searchers will understand it’s the end of a sentence because the second sentence begins on Line 3.  Wrong – to some extent.  It’s time to get back into the habit of best practice ad copywriting, specifically when using correct punctuation.  Here’s why.

  • Google has recently started “text wrapping” (think Microsoft Word/Excel) sponsored listings in SERPs (as well as organic listings), as the browser becomes narrower or wider.  Depending on the width of a searcher’s browser, your ad may not be displayed in the typical 25-35-35 fashion.
  • Additionally, text ads in the top positions (purple box) on Google.com also have a similar issue, as Line 2 and Line 3 of the ad text are normally displayed on a single line regardless of how you have previously configured the characters within the AdWords interface or using AdWords Editor.  These ads are also affected by text wrapping.

In some circumstances, an advertiser’s neglect to add the appropriate punctuation may compromise the readability and messaging of a PPC ad.  Google’s display of variable AdWords line lengths in SERPs can return confusing, run on sentences to searchers.  The last thing you (as an advertiser) want to do is to have your first impression with a potential customer be a lackluster one.  Poor use of punctuation, or lack thereof, can rub searchers the wrong way.  Your potential customers or clients may dismiss your unpolished ad for a competitor’s ad, which reads more professionally.

Figure 1 below shows ads that are displaying lines of text that exceed the 35 character length as a result of text wrapping:

Figure 1: AdWords Ad Text Wrapping

Ad Text Wrapping

The current AdWords interface and most recent version of AdWords Editor do not allow advertisers to manipulate how their ad text length will display in variation from the traditional 25 and 35 character limits.  The takeaway – it’s up to small business advertisers to create ad text accordingly, using punctuation that reads correctly regardless of what AdWords line length is shown.  With the holiday advertising season closing in, now is the time for advertisers to audit current PPC ads and fix punctuation anomalies.





Latest Version of AdWords Editor Released

3 09 2010

As discussed last week in the post on AdWords’ latest update to their location extensions, I mentioned that regrettably, AdWords Editor did not yet support location extensions (but hinted they would be upgrading shortly).  To manage location extensions, advertisers still needed to configure and update them through the AdWords interface.  Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long.  Google has just announced their release of the latest version of Editor 8.0.1, which supports location extensions.  Fabulous!

Other nifty new features include (read more from Google):

  • Collapsible and expandable panels
  • Progress bars for lengthy tasks
  • Easier linkage to My Client Center (MCC) accounts
  • Support for campaigns using target CPA and enhanced CPC bidding
  • More helpful error messages

If you’re not already using AdWords Editor to manage and configure your accounts, download it here!  Otherwise, the next time you login, you will be automatically prompted to upgrade to the newest version.





AdWords Location Extensions Get a Makeover for Multiple Locations

25 08 2010

Google recently introduced its newest upgrade to the location extensions feature, in a makeover that allows advertisers to showcase multiple business locations beneath their sponsored listing, within a relevant area.  For local businesses running paid search campaigns, this feature extends the capability of a sponsored listing to include up to four nearby business locations shown on a Google map alongside their PPC ad and gives searchers the ability to search for the location nearest to their address (within that paid ad).  This upgrade comes as an improvement to last year’s debut of the first generation location extension feature, which allowed advertisers to dynamically attach just a single business address to their paid ads using location extensions (note: location extensions replaced the previous “local business ads”).

In short, location extensions enhance a typical PPC text ad beyond the traditional two lines of ad copy and headline.  Here are the key features that benefit local businesses tremendously:

  • Enhances a text ad with relevant and nearby location information (business address, phone number, option to get directions).
  • Grabs additional top-of-the-page real estate (adds a Google map and multiple locations below the text ad, which is fantastic if the current Google Place Page is not ranking in the local 7-pack).
  • Business location results update dynamically when a user searches for locations near their specific address.
    • For larger companies with a high volume of locations, be cognizant when utilizing location extensions (currently limited to the four most relevant locations) as it may result in an uneven display of store locations.
    • Potential to improve CTR (click through rate), based on additional, eye-grabbing location information.
    • In certain instances, location extension ads can be displayed on the Search Network, Display Network and on Google Maps.

Take the search query “seattle moving company” for example, which returns the following result, shown in figure 1.  By searching for locations closest to a specific address, the paid listing dynamically updates to also show the nearby Tacoma location (with the ability to show up to four locations, if a local business has that many).  There is no additional fee, and an advertiser only pays for the click, based on the typical CPC bidding through AdWords.

Figure 1: AdWords Location Extensions for Multiple Locations

AdWords location extensions for multiple=

AdWords location extensions for multiple locations

And, if your ad is not capturing the first position, don’t worry.  By utilizing location extensions your ad can still look like figure 2, where the most relevant business address is dynamically attached to the bottom of your text ad.

Figure 2: AdWords Location Extensions for an ad not in the #1 position

AdWords location extensions

AdWords location extensions

How to Implement Location Extensions in your AdWords Account:

AdWords gives local advertisers the option to automatically (business owners only) or manually include business locations in ads.  To automatically include information, you must be a business owner.  This allows you to link your existing Google Places account to your AdWords account to populate your local extensions.  If you are not a business owner, you have the option to manually enter business location information for your location extensions through the AdWords interface.  Follow these easy steps from Google (shown below) to implement location extensions in your AdWords account:

  • Sign in to your AdWords account.
  • Click the campaign you want to edit.
  • Click the Settings tab for that campaign.
  • Under Ad extensions > Locations, select one of the following options:
    • Business owners – Use addresses from Google Places: Select this option to link an existing Google Places account to your campaign. Eligible addresses from your Google Places account may be shown with your ad when relevant.
    • Non-business owners – Use manually entered addresses: You can manually enter up to 9 business addresses. Again, the address may be shown with your ad when relevant.
  • Click Save settings.

And finally, Google has hinted that they will soon be adding a feature to AdWords Editor to support location extensions.  However, for now advertisers have to stick with editing and managing location extensions through the new AdWords interface.





Formic Media Free Seminar Series: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Fundamentals

26 07 2010

Formic is dedicated to building relationships with the community and helping small businesses succeed.  As such, our team has created a free monthly seminar for area businesses, covering a variety of online marketing topics including local SEO, social media marketing, website design clinics and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) fundamentals.

Up next, the Formic team is presenting the Formic Media Free Seminar Series: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Fundamentals. Learn how to generate targeted leads through desirable search terms for increased visibility.  PPC advertising can be very cost-effective, when managed properly, due to the ability to target keywords, specific geo-locations, messaging and landing pages. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have the time or resources to effectively manage PPC campaigns, which can lead to costly mistakes.

We encourage local businesses to join the Formic team as they walk you through PPC campaign research, planning, implementation and management.  You will leave this seminar with sufficient knowledge of how to optimize your existing PPC campaigns or create a new campaign from scratch.

Join us 5:30 Wednesday, August 11th at Formic’s offices (300 NE Failing St., Portland, OR, 97212) for this special event.

Visit our website for more details, and sign up as space is limited.





Landing Pages are for Winners

16 07 2009

Ever wonder why your perfectly targeted and optimized PPC campaigns which are generating good Impressions and stellar click through rates (CTR) are NOT converting?  Chances are your company needs to investigate where your ads are taking your visitors.  Let’s talk about landing pages!

Landing pages are likely one of the most important components to creating a successful PPC campaign.  Without the use of targeted landing pages within your campaigns, you are doing your visitors a disservice and quite possibly losing a conversion, sale/purchase, form submission, etc.  When a user clicks on your ad, clearly:

  1. Your ad was highly relevant to their search query.
  2. Your ad copy and headline were enticing and resonated well with their online needs/intentions.

Success!  This user has now clicked on your ad.  However, if you are dumping all of your visitors onto your home page or some other general and irrelevant page – this can be confusing, frustrating and downright inconvenient for the user.  In short, you don’t want there to be a disconnect between the ad that a visitor has clicked on, and the page that the ad takes them to.  Online user attention spans are very short, because everyone wants to find what they are looking for instantaneously.  If you make what your ad was advertising hard to find, visitors will most likely bounce from your page immediately.

The purpose of targeted landing pages is to eliminate these problems, by making it easy for a user to complete a conversion.  Depending on what your conversion goals are (sale, download, form submission, page view, etc.) landing pages and conversion funnels will vary; however, the same basic principles will apply:

  1. Make sure your landing page has a Call to Action!
  2. Make your call to action button or link is as big and bold as possible.  We all like big, bright, shiny things – and this will help with kicking off the conversion process.
  3. Keep it Simple.  The fewer items, pictures, videos or unnecessary text on the page that could distract your visitor from converting, the better.
  4. Limit navigation.  Make it hard for users to leave your page – trap them if you have to. 🙂  However, ensure that users can navigate to your home page (a logo linking to the homepage works well here) or basic top/side navigation that matches your website.  For example, they may want to do some more product research on your site before they buy.
  5. Keep all copy above the page fold and add in relevant PPC keywords.  This not only helps with your AdWords quality score, but it improves relevancy for your visitor.
  6. Brand your landing page to your website.  This helps makes your page recognizable and builds user confidence in your company, so that the landing page is not just seen an advertising/sales ploy.

We hope this helps shine some light on the importance of landing pages and why they are essential to every PPC campaign.  Happy PPC’ing!

Ever wonder why your perfectly targeted and optimized PPC campaigns which are generating strong Impressions and stellar click through rates (CTR) are NOT converting? Chances are your company needs to investigate where your ads are taking your visitors. Let’s talk about landing pages!

Landing pages are likely one of the most important components to creating a successful PPC campaign. Without the use of targeted landing pages within your campaigns, you are doing your visitors a disservice and quite possibly losing a conversion, sale/purchase, form submission, etc. When a user clicks on your ad, clearly:

a. Your ad was highly relevant to their search query.

b. Your ad copy and headline were enticing and resonated well with their online needs/intentions.

Success! This user has now clicked on your ad. However, if you are dumping all of your visitors onto your home page or some other general and irrelevant page – this can be confusing, frustrating and downright inconvenient for the user. In short, you don’t want there to be a disconnect between the ad that a visitor has clicked on, and the page that the ad takes them to. Online user attention spans are very short, because everyone wants to find what they are looking for instantaneously. If you make it hard to find what your ad was advertising, visitors will most likely bounce from your page immediately.

The purpose of targeted landing pages is to eliminate these problems, by making it easy for a user to complete a conversion. Depending on what your conversion goals are (sale, download, form submission, page view, etc.) landing pages and conversion funnels will vary; however, the same basic principles will apply:

a. Make sure your landing page has a Call to Action!

b. Make your call to action button or link is as big and bold as possible. We all like big, bright, shiny things – and this will help with kicking off the conversion process.

c. Keep it Simple. The fewer items, pictures, videos or unnecessary text on the page that could distract your visitor from converting, the better.

d. Limit navigation. Make it hard for users to leave your page – trap them if you have to J However, ensure that users can navigate to your home page (a logo linking to the homepage works well here) or basic top/side navigation that matches your website – for example, they may want to do some more product research on your site before they buy.

e. Keep all copy above the page fold and add in relevant PPC keywords. This not only helps with your AdWords quality score, but it improves relevancy for your visitor.

f. Brand your landing page to your website. This helps makes your page recognizable and builds user confidence in your company, so that the landing page is not just seen an advertising/sales ploy.

We hope this helps shine some light on the importance of landing pages and why they are essential to every PPC campaign. Happy PPC’ing!








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