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Paid Search Techniques and Updates from #SMX London Day 1

17 May 2013 BY

A wealth of information was shared at the first day of the SMX London conference. From a paid search perspective the speakers shared knowledge and ideas on a wide range of areas pertaining to paid search. Below are some of the most valuable tips and information gathered on day 1.

Paid Search Updates and Tactics

Ann Stanley was the first speaker to talk about paid search, and dived into details pertaining to Enhanced campaigns.

Ann went into detail about the pros and cons of the launch of Enhanced campaigns highlighting specific areas that can be beneficial and other areas that can be a hindrance. While Google has mentioned that automatic changes to Enhanced campaigns will begin on the 22nd July 2013, Ann highlighted that the practices most agencies are seeming to use is to wait until the last possible moment before changing campaigns to Enhanced.

Advertisers are preferring to keep the campaign on the Legacy setting as long as possible in order to limit the risk of unwanted changes that could occur when activating Enhanced campaigns.

Product Listing Ads Update and Best Practices

Ann Stanley also discussed the benefits of Google Product Listing Ads. Product listing ads are going to be the only way to get into the shopping results, and product extension ads are disappearing and will soon no longer be available with search text ads.

When it comes to structuring the PLA campaign Ann recommends 1 campaign being setup for PLA’s with adgroups focusing on products as well a ‘general’ adgroup to broadly target all products. It was recommended to bid very low on the ‘general’ adgroup and bid higher for more specific products.

When it comes to optimising PLA campaigns it is best to examine Search terms reports in order to see which search terms triggered the product ads. These search terms should be examined and negative keywords added to eliminate irrelevant searches.

It was highlighted that Product Listing Ads have CTR’s that are unpredictable and often depend on the competition of products and sectors. Competing with large retailers, such as eBay and Amazon, who almost constantly have more than 1 PLA being displayed, results in driving up of overall CPC rates.

This is a concern as smaller retailers are having to pay high CPC rates in order to compete against the likes of eBay and Amazon It is also vitally important to test PLA campaigns and adgroups.

PLA campaigns should be setup and tested for each category and brand. Using PLA’s do not work every time, it is unpredictable and testing is recommended.

Science of Conversion

George Popstefanov went into great detail about the growth and benefits of mobile advertising, having a mobile site and driving mobile traffic.

Mobile traffic cannot be ignored and should be embraced. An example given was that Amazon saw 25% of their revenue coming from mobile and tablets in December 2012.

George also highlighted that mobile sites should be on separate servers to your desktop site, as increase speed often results in higher conversions.

Give the same priority to mobile site optimisation and maintenance as to your desktop site. Similar rules for desktop websites can also be relevant for mobile websites, such as not having pop-ups on your mobile site, and avoid multiple redirects.

George also had 4 top tips that he recommended for mobile sites:

  • Build fully responsive website
  • Build dynamically served alternate experience
  • Build mobile subdomain experience
  • Use mobile providers

These tips will allow for a positive user experience when users land on a mobile site, which will increase the possibility for users converting on your mobile site.

Manny Rivas delved further into the science of conversion, and quite bluntly stated, “crappy input equals crappy output”, meaning if you bring in terrible traffic you will get terrible conversion rates. This means that the first stage of conversion science is bring in relevant traffic. Then, once the relevant traffic lands on your site, the first stage of onsite conversion science would be great content.

Great content speaks to your audience and is impervious to algorithm changes.

The Death of Trial and Error in AdWords Advertising

Sean Malseed gave a great talk on how vital research before creating relevant campaigns and adgroups is. What stood out about Sean’s method is that he does not support the idea of trial and error. Sean recommends looking at your competitors and getting as much info from them as you can, and learning from their trial and error. Let your competitors make the mistakes, while you learn from them.

The very first step before creating new campaigns is to identify who your competitors are, and then look at what they have done and what they are currently doing.

Steal your competitors’ experience, avoid their mistakes and where possible use tools to aid your research. Sean was the first speaker that really pushed the use of tools.

While previous speakers mentioned the use of tools, Sean actively showed examples of the use of various tools in his research and actively pushed their use.

Creation of Ads

Rebecca Hansson spoke about the importance of ads and ad creation. While the importance of constant testing was an underlying theme throughout the talk, Rebecca did give advice on ad creation before testing would be required.

Before creating an ad it is important to first ask the questions “who is searching?” and “who is the ad for?” The way a teenager searches is different than the way an adult searches, even if it is for the same topic.

If you know who you are targeting then it is possible to create ads that speak to the audience you want to target.

Following up from what message the ad communicates, ads need to live up to expectation of the landing page/website.

You can’t have modern slang in an ad that promotes partying, for example, but then directs to a site that is dull and boring and doesn’t relate to the ad or user who clicked on the ad. This will result in the visitor bouncing off the site.

Forget What You Know About AdWords & Paid Search

George Popstefanov was back for another topic of discussion, this time focusing on Enhanced campaigns. George spoke about his experience 10 years ago when Google would make a change in AdWords every 6 months it used to cause panic, but now we are seeing AdWords changes almost daily.

George did make his opinion vocal on the negatives of Enhanced campaigns, however during this talk he decided to try and focus on the positives.

George reiterated the fact that every paid search marketer has always had struggles with AdWords. AdWords has never been perfect, but paid search marketers always made it work, and even though Enhanced campaigns aren’t perfect and has flaws, paid search marketers will make it work.

An example of a positive area that George focused on are the new sitelink options in Enhanced campaigns, which allows for scheduling which was never available before. This will allow for less sleepless nights as specials and promos can be scheduled and allows for less late night manual work, especially when it involves very large accounts.

The first day of the SMX conference saw a vast range of speakers from all over the world discuss and share ideas and opinions. While there were minimal discussions on actual strategy, the discussions mainly revolved around fact sharing about the latest updates, tools and news involving AdWords and Google. Enhanced campaigns was an undercurrent throughout the day and saw many worries about Enhanced reiterated as well as some other fears soothed.

Guest Author Bio

KyleThis post was written by Kyle Pretorious the PPC Manager at Media Vision. Kyle has spent the past six years in the online marketing industry, gaining experience in social media, SEO and copywriting, allowing him to bring a wealth of experience to his role at MediaVision, where he specialises in PPC.

Twitter profile - https://twitter.com/Kyle_Pretorius

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This post was written by an author who is not a regular contributor to State of Digital. See all the other regular State of Digital authors here. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of State of Digital.
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