Top PPC Tips from PPC Masters

Top PPC Tips from PPC Masters

29th May 2014

On the 22nd of May, the first PPC Masters Conference took place, hosted by Andre Alpar and Phillip Westermeyer. The event was held in the middle of Hamburg at the Clubs “Gruenspan” and “Indra”, with some of the best-known PPC marketers including Dr. Siddharth Shah, Sam Owen, Martin Röttgerding, Matt Ackley, Sebastian Grebasch and many more. State of Digital shares some of the key tips from the conference on the day.

Kick Off and Math Magic

The conference kicked-off with Dr. Siddharth Shah, @drsidshah. Dr. Sid Shah is the Director of Business Analytics at Adobe. Dr. Shah spoke about “Paid search from a multi-channel perspective: theoretical and practical foundations of attribution and media mix”.

Dr Shah shared some key points:

The impact of weather on PPC is overrated

  • To get an idea of the impact of weather on PPC, Dr. Sid Shah looked at 22 different weather events like min. and max. humidity, and, min. and max. wind speed for different regions.
  • The weather impact differs on geographical level even in a single region. Therefore, to get good data on the impact of weather on PPC it is important to be aware of the target region. Simple seasonal effects can make things more complicated
  • Weather can have a very different impact based on the market. For example: if a company is selling umbrellas, cloud cover and humidity are more important weather factors for that organisation than the Dew Point.
  • The bidding strategy and seasonal effects are 19 time more powerful than weather.
  • For those that want to see the impact of weather by themselves he shared a Dropbox Link ( ), but be warned! Some of the mathematical models he is using are very complex.

Dr Sid Shah - PPC Masters

Use Ad Extensions & Dynamic Ads

After Dr. Sid Shah’s presentation, Sam Owen, @SamOwenPPC, the Director of Paid Search from Hanapin Marketing, spoke about “Advanced Tactics for AdWords Ad Extensions & Beyond”.

The take aways from the presentation were:

  • Many companies build perfectly good PPC accounts but forget about their sitelinks.
  • A piece of research by Bing  showed that Mobile Extensions can lead to a 15-30% higher CTR on mobile devices.
  • AdWords changed the Quality Score Algorithm which means the use of sitelinks in AdWords are an additional factor in calculating quality score.
  • Pay more attention to Ad Extensions.
  • Test sitelinks as you would do with your ads
  • To write great performing sitelinks for almost every market categorize sitelinks into themes and then test.

For example in brand, category, cross selling, company related, offer related, and mobile, etc. Based on that, write 6+ sitelinks per category and test those on a weekly basis. Category brand is tested in the first week, category cross selling in the second and so on. At the end, there are some do well ,which you can use than for your Ads.

  • Never stop testing new sitelinks and add the sitelinks to your Ad-Testing cycle.
  • Use 17 characters for mobile sitelinks to achieve a good performance and be fully visible.
  • If you are using Local Extension in Adwords, link your Google Places account
  • Test Location Extensions for your market. Even if people never want to go to a local store (e.g. Software as a service), the Location Extension generates some trust.
  • Call Extensions should just be shown during the times the company is open. People that are clicking on your add to call you shouldn’t get an answering machine, because this will decreases the conversion rate.
  • Give dynamic search ads another chance if you have not been successful in the past. Dynamic Search Ads have changed and can now help you to find new Keywords for your AdWords Campaigns.
  • How to get started – allow Google to scan all pages of your site, then drill down in categories or for special landing pages. However, be aware that you have to use many negative keywords (e.g. Blog, for free etc.) and that you only use low bids for Dynamic Search Ads to prevent them to be shown instead of your keyword based AdWords Campaigns.
  • Use Dynamic Search Ads to get new keyword ideas for your campaigns and start a test with dynamic search ads in combination ReMarketing for Search Lists.

There is more than Google

Elizabeth Marsten, @ebkendo,  the Vice President of Search at Portent Interactive talked about the topic “Anything but Google: Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook & proving the ROI of Social PPC”.

  • Don’t forget about Bing Product Listing Ads (PLA)
  • Bing like Google offers now Product Listing Ads.  To do this, companies have to set up a Merchant Account at Bing and provide Bing with a Product feed. The Bing-bot has to be able to crawl your website if you want to use Bing Product Listing Ads (However, you should be aware that Google does not auto-tag your URLs).
  • Bing still has some problems with the Product Listing Ads. So, it can happen that an organisation’s Ads may not be shown because someone at Bing has to activate them in the backend.
  • Bonus Tip for Bing PLA – activate at least Bing Rich Captions, a feature that allows companies to include price and availability information in the organic search results. Clicks generated here are free and companies do not have to have an active PLA Bing Campaign to use that feature.
  • Define success for social marketing before starting the campaign and its goals so that everyone including the key decision makers are aware of the anticipated end result.

Google Shopping – all better now?

Martin Röttgerding, @bloomarty, the head of SEM at Bloofusion Germany, spoke about “Myth Product Listing Ads: Google Shopping campaigns as replacement of PLAs”. Martin demonstrated the importance of shopping campaigns, how to set them up and shared some key tips with the audience:

  • Shopping campaigns are very flexible.  Previously, with PLAs, a structural change always resulted in a loss of data in shopping campaigns. However, now it is easy to change the structure without losing the data.   Google will give the performance data on the past adverts.
  • Normally when starting a new shopping campaign there is a decrease in performance which let to Martin and his team to optimise shopping campaigns.
  • Martin shared his experience on how too build up a great shopping campaign through analysing search query reports and then categorized them into search query with brand and search query without brand.
  • Based on the results, Martin and his company created a campaign structure which is divided by search query category.
  • By doing so, they could give search queries, which were not brand, or product related, a lower CPC.  The could also allocate more budget to the better performing search queries that were product related and had a higher CPC.

How we buy online - PPC Masters

The Future or Search – Audiences?

Matt Ackley, the Chief Marketing Officer of Marin Software, spoke about “How SEA has fuelled the new age of data and technology driven marketing and the evolving searchification of other channels” and shared his key tips:

Audiences are the New Keywords

  • After years of just looking at keywords and setting up adverts based on them, Matt said they are now forced to get in contact with the user behind the search.
  • Matt showed that if companies connect social and CRM data to an actual search from a user, they can get more information and adverts that are targeted more towards the individual than just based on a keyword.
  • Costumers do not just use one channel, so it is important that companies retrieve as much information as possible to fully understand the consumers and deliver the best adverts to them.
  • Connect the marketing data with  CRM data. This way it helps organisations better understand their consumers and their target groups.

Matt Ackley - PPC Masters

Don’t Forget about Regional Differences

  • Even if there is a similar target group but in another region, they will behave differently, even if the distance between the two regions is very small.
  • Look at the target audience as a whole, age, region, income family status etc.
  • Study the data in your CRM and also try to get Ad Impression Data.  If this is not enough, you may want to consider buying data.



The PPC Masters was a great event for PPC advertisers with a bright variety of presentations and a big strategic part for decision makers. Compliments to the hosts Andre Alpar and Phillip Westermeyer on organizing a great event including delicious food on the day. I hope this kind of conferences will continue and I am definitely planning to be there next year at the PPC Master Conference.


About the author

pic_thomasThomas Hertkorn is currently Head of SEM at Netlead GmbH & Co. KG, SEM in Berlin (Germany), specializes in PPC consulting, automation of large PPC accounts and has over 6 years of experience in Online Marketing. You can reach him @ThomasHertkorn.


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