A PPC Do: Know Your PPC Don’ts

10 Pay Per Click Steps to Reduce Costs and Increase PPC Conversions

If you’re in the communications industry even if you’re not a search marketing pro, chances are you’ve heard the acronym PPC thrown around more than a few times. PPC, or pay-per-click, is one of the most common models of internet advertising. PPC ads are those display or banner ads you see down the side of most websites like Google and Facebook.

Like most things in life, the PPC advertising model can garner immensely successful results just as easily as it can lead to unsatisfying ones. They can provide a huge return on investment or they can quickly sap the advertising dollars while providing few results.

Beyond cultivating the best of the best PPC practices, it is also important to avoid some common mistakes. As such, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes every PPC manager should be aware of when managing a client’s account:

1. Budget Management

Deciding how much you’re willing to spend on certain keywords isn’t always easy. If the budget is too high, clients aren’t happy; too low, the keywords may not be competitive. The goal is to find that happy medium: to make full use of the budget and have the ads displaying as long as possible. Long-tail keywords can often help in lowering the cost as they’re less competitive.

2. Bing

Everyone knows advertising on Google, but have you considered Bing? Bing is worth paying more attention to. We can move the successful ad campaigns from Google to Bing and optimize them to perform better, since the way Bing’s audience response is always different from that of Google. Hence, those poorly-performed Google ads may be successful after optimizing on Bing.

3. Keyword Match Types

There are 3 different match types (or 4 if you count Broad Match Modifier separate from Broad Match), as well as negative keywords. Carefully choosing which match types are best to use is important for finding the right balance between maximum reach and maximum efficiency.

4. Campaign Settings

Make the most of all of the targeting options at the campaign level. Make sure you are geo-targeting correctly, targeting the right language, and breaking out search and display campaigns separately.

5. Ad Group Organization

Separating different products or services into different ad groups allows their associated keywords and ads to be more relevant to each other which increases the chance that the ads will get clicked on.

 6. Keyword Considerations and AdWords Quality Score

AdWords Quality Score not only gives an insight into the likelihood of the success of ad campaigns, but also determines the pricing and placement of ads. Poor keyword relevance between ads and landing page will translate into expensive ads. Remember, it’s an inverse relationship: the lower QS, the higher bid. Be willing to make the necessary changes such as including the key terms on the landing pages, adding negatives to the account, and writing ads that are tailored to the keywords in an ad group.

7. Landing Pages

Landing page should be very specific and tailored to the PPC ad that brought people to the page. If people have to look through the website to find what they are looking for, they may just leave. You should focus landing pages on the specific product or keyword the ad is referring to and be sure to create a specific call to action.

Remember target audience when creating your landing pages. Take into consideration their level of understanding of the keywords used. Make sure to have a call to action on the pages and place trust factors/testimonials on the pages themselves.

 8. Conversion Tracking

At a bare minimum, you should be utilizing AdWords tracking as well as Bing tracking (if you’re advertising on Bing). You should also make sure the tracking is accurate. Another free tracking option is Google Analytics. It takes a little more sophistication, but easily determines Cost per Acquisition and/or ROAS goals using this.

 9. Visually Unappealing Website

Many small businesses don’t have large budgets for marketing and promotion and they typically try to pinch pennies on their website. What they may not realize is they are costing themselves a lot more money over the long term with a website that is ugly, confusing, and dysfunctional.

Small business owners should consider stretching their budgets a bit to improve their website design and marketing. Maybe that means hiring a professional website designer or maybe it means spending more time with a higher quality (and more expensive) website builder.

10. Ad Copy

The ad copy will be seen in the first place when searchers type the keywords. So it is key point whether the potential customers will visit the website or not. Good ads are attractive and convincing with a call to action, however, poorly-written ads are the killer of the campaign. As a result, how well the ads are written can be the determining factor to the general PPC marketing strategies.

With 50% of people arriving at a retailers site from paid ads more likely to buy than those who came from an organic link, PPC ads can clearly make a difference in your sales goals. What do you think of our list?

Apple’s Growth Slows, CineBeat, and Klout Experts

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Top Story: Apple Sees Slowest Growth in Mobile Since 2007

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Despite shipping 37 million iPhones in the 1st quarter of 2013, Apple only accounted for 19% of mobile shipments to Android’s 60%. While that is not a bad number, it is the slowest amount of growth Apple mobile devices have seen in 6 years.

What seems to be holding them back the most is the increasing innovation from Android, who is putting out strong larger mobile devices that have become increasingly popular over the last year.

For Apple, being the “stale” phone on the market to any degree is a new position, and to rebound they may need a somewhat hefty overhaul of the iPhone operation system. The interface is now over 6 years old, and has not received any major changes in a long time. The next rendition of the iPhone 5 may see a larger screen as well to fight the success of phones like the S4.

What do you expect to see from Apple to rebound from decreasing growth, as well as surging growth from Android?

Tool of the Week: CineBeat

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We all love Instagramming, but the music app giant Smule (known best for Magic Piano) has an app that allows users to turn their lives into a music video with one touch.

The app, available since December for iPhone and iPad, allows users to capture and edit 15 second videos quickly and painlessly. You can transform even those with minimal musical talent into popstars by adding a host of visual filters (creating that authentic old-timey video feel) as well audio filters. CineBeat provides a musical back-drop to fit perfectly with the video, meaning you’ll never have to play a note to create a masterpiece.

After you edit your video, you can share it with the CineBeat community at large, including your Facebook friends who are currently using the app. Of course users can also favorite and comment on photos, adding an essence of community to the app. The problem with creating these videos however is that they live only within the CineBeat interface. Videos cannot be saved to your device, and if you choose not to share it once you have edited it, the video is lost in the ether.

Interested in launching yourself to super-fame? You can download the app for free in the iTunes app store today.

Under the Radar: Bing and Klout partner up to launch Klout Experts

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Both on a mission to gain traction in the internet space,  social influence analytics tool Klout and search engine Bing have teamed up to launch a new Q&A forum called “Klout Experts.” Revealed this Wednesday, Klout now prompts prominent influencers to answer questions pertinent to their field of influence in under 300 characters. The answers to these questions are both posted on Klout and highlighted at the top of Bing search results.

Why the 300-character limit? Co-founder and CEO of Klout Joe Fernandez said that while 140-characters may not always be enough for a quality answer, he still wanted to keep the answers to the point. As of Wednesday, roughly 15% of users had access to Klout Experts upon log-in. The fields open to Klout Experts to answer include travel, movies, cooking, technology, and music.

This integration of search and influence is just one way the partnership between the two companies is moving forward. The incorporation of Klout data into the Bing search engine is part of a long-term strategic investment of Microsoft into Klout. Fernandez stated, “There are hundreds of millions of queries where people can provide better results than machines … we are really inspired by the search through people concept. Klout Experts will curate what people are looking for and provide answers from experts on the topic.” He also revealed that Klout already has over 150 thousand answers from previous tests. These questions originate from Bing search results that fail to provide satisfactory answers.

What do you think of this new feature? Will this boost both Klout and Bing in their respective fields of analytics and search engine?

bing vs. Google

Alhough Google has defined and become synonymous with search – most people say they are “googling” something when they use any kind of search engine – bing is proving to be a serious contender in the fight to be the search engine of the people.  bing is slowly insinuating its way into our lives through these examples:

Through these channels, I predict that bing will “own” approximately 25-35% share of the search market by sometime in 2011.  In other words, 25-35% of us will probably be using bing, if not on purpose, then by default.  I’ve found it to be a very functional platform and it almost seems as though it’s “hipper” than Google, which has recently been embroiled in privacy concerns.  (Of course bing is a Microsoft product, which many view as monopolizing technology in general) What are your thoughts?

-Mary Smucker-Priest