Monthly Archives: August 2007

How To Dominate The Last 2 Days of the Month


I have a few questions to pose to you: How often do you hit your PPC budget before the end of the month? If so, how far in advance have you hit your budget: a day, perhaps two, maybe three? If this has happened to your campaigns before, wouldn’t this happen to other campaigns as well? Perhaps even your competitors’ campaigns?

These questions lead me to meditate on a new management strategy and I thought I would share it with you. Here’s the idea: you could save a portion of your budget for the last 2 days of the month, and when your competitors’ ads are inactive due to budget constraints, you could increase bids slightly to dramatically gain visibility, and increase your click-through rate.

Now, keep in mind that this a theory. I know that not every PPC campaign hits their budgets every month, and some may not even have budget ceilings. Also, I know that this practice would be a shot in the dark since you don’t have a great deal of insight into your competitors’ PPC budget. And, let’s not forget that other competitors may even be executing this strategy. Okay, have I poked enough holes in my swiss-cheese-theory? Good.

However, I have been managing PPC campaigns for a while and this idea hadn’t struck me until recently, so I doubt many PPC campaigns employ this method. If your core keywords are highly competitive, then why not give this a try? If you employ this method and for those two days you see a dramatic increase in your rank and click-through rate, wouldn’t that be telling?

At least within AdWords this method would be rather simple to test. Using AdWords’ day parting/ad scheduling tool you can set your bids to automatically increase two days before the end of month, and then automatically decrease down to their usual settings on the first of the next month. For the rest of the search engines you’ll have to adjust bids manually.

I know this sounds crazy, but it just might work! As I stated earlier, I have run into this problem in the past and it leads me to believe others have as well – and you can capitalize on it!


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AdWords Top Ad Placement Formula Is Set for a Facelift


formula.bmpUpon logging into my AdWords accounts this morning, I was greeted with an alert: “Coming Soon: Improvement to the Top Ad Placement Formula.” Quickly thereafter I found the official FAQ and AdWords Blog announcement to fill in the gaps. The current formula involves Quality Score and your actual CPC. Google feels that this leaves you, the advertiser, without much control over which of your ads make it into the top positions. The new formula will still consider Quality Score, but it will instead look at maximum CPC for pricing.

How does this new formula change things? The way Google explains it is that in the current model, competitors who are below you in rank are also bidding lower then you. Thus lowering your actual CPC and limiting your ad’s chances of reaching the top positions. In the new model, Google will look at your maximum CPC. This would take your lower-bidding competitors out of the ranking equation and allow your higher quality (score) ads to elevate in the rankings on the basis of how much you’re willing to pay for each click.

The Lonely Marketer posted on this subject last night. Their first reaction was that this is another attempt by Google to ensure that “you’ll need to dish out more to hit the top spots.” While my gut tells me that this is more along the lines of an algorithmic, ad quality shift, I can’t help but agree with The Lonely Marketer on this. In the old model (actual CPC), advertisers were saving money by maxing out their position with a lower CPC. The new model gives Google license to charge you for each click at the maximum CPC under the guise of improving user quality and ad rank.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your thoughts are about Google’s intentions with this formula change!


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PPC News Roundup for August 8, 2007

  • An article by Brad Geddes talks about how to minimize click fraud by blocking low quality traffic. In the article you will learn how to block your ads from showing in certain countries, how to block competitors from clicking on your ads, see which content network sites are sending you traffic, how to keep yourself from showing for keyword searches, how to block content network sites and determine how many clicks you did not pay for.
  • Kevin Ryan from the ClickZ Network talks about the comparisons between yellow pages and search. He says 90% of yellow pages traffic comes from search engines like Google and Yahoo.
  • Search Insider asks, “Do special shipping offers really add to your bottom line?” The short answer is yes. This test looked at a 3 month sales period where 50% of the time a “Free Shipping” tag line was used in the advertisements. When the tag line was used, the average order value decreased while overall orders increased. There was also a decrease in return on ad spend due to the increased order numbers. While this wasn’t a true A/B test, it is still interesting to see that pointing out your “Free Shipping” attributes does make a difference.


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Hispanic Targeting with Spanish Speaking Ads – Is It For You?


According to a Google study, the US Hispanic Market ranks 15th in total internet population. It is said they are also better educated, heavier online users, more likely to have a broadband connection and more inclined to search and click on ads in English compared to other minority races.

So I ask myself, is Hispanic targeting for me? Here’s what I found out: There are several different attempts one can make to target the Hispanic market. One, is to create a new site-targeted ppc campaign with your ad text in English. The sites you should target should include should be Hispanic targeted sites like these:

For Life Style or Entertainment:,,,,, and

For Automotive:,,,,, and

Additional Hispanic targeted sites:,,, and

You can also enter another ad group within this campaign only with your keywords and ad text in Spanish. Hispanic people living in the US mostly use the English language as their main language. But they can also speak Spanish. If you run ads in both English and Spanish, you’re more likely to generate more traffic by catching Hispanic people who only speak in one language. Also, a lot of these Hispanic sites convert into English giving the user an option.

Another way you could target to the Hispanic market is if you have a Spanish speaking landing page. Most companies don’t have on-site translators to create these Spanish speaking landing pages for them. That’s why there are numerous English to Spanish and visa versa translation services available today. Some cost, some are free, and some just require you to register to their site.

But I encourage you to be cautious of these free translation services, they may not be entirely correct. I would recommend finding a Spanish speaking person to check over the translations if you’re thinking about using it for a landing page.

If you do have a Spanish speaking landing page or a site that converts into Spanish, you should definitely consider having keywords in Spanish in your ppc campaigns. This would work like any other ppc campaign you would set up, except the keywords and ad text are in Spanish, and the destination URL should lead visitors to your Spanish speaking site.

So could Hispanic targeting be for you? YES! Hispanics shop for the same things online that non-Hispanics do. They need services, products, insurance, cars; I could go on and on.

“There’s a relatively slim inventory of Spanish-language content and content in English that is culturally relevant. When you look at the content, it’s a limited fraction of the potential it can be given the hunger this audience has,” says Mark López, publisher of AOL Latino.

In other words, right now is a great opportunity to tap into the Hispanic market because it is virtually un-traveled territory, and competition is minimal.


If you are in an industry where you GEO-Target your ppc ads, you may want to look up the Hispanic population in your area before you start building that Spanish speaking landing page. According to Search Engine Roundtable, the top 5 markets for reaching Hispanics are: New York, Chicago, LA, Houston and Miami.

When it comes down to whether or not you should target a specific group of people, wouldn’t it make you feel better if you just try? Perhaps if the Hispanic market is minimal in your area, you create a small, site targeted campaign with low bids, and see if anything comes of it. At least you can say you tried. I do believe that companies targeting Hispanics online will grow larger and larger in the future. Eventually, it could get just as competitive as English speaking websites.



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Get Your PPC Questions Answered By a Googler, In Person!


At the end of August, our company’s dedicated Google AdWords representatives will be paying us a visit. We will have several hours of uninterrupted face-time with these fine folks to learn as much as we can about AdWords. Naturally, we have a lengthy laundry list of questions just waiting for this opportunity. But before we finalize this list, we wanted to give all of our readers (yes, you!) the opportunity to pass along your burning questions.

Please leave us a comment with your AdWords-specific PPC question(s) and we will pick the best ones to include in our “Googler interrogation” (well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch). We will be accepting your questions until Wednesday, August 8th at 12:00 PM (EST). After the meeting we will post a synopsis of our discussions with the Googlers and include as many direct quotes as we are allowed.


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Let Google Write Your Ad Texts! Now in Beta.


Google AdWords has a new feature in the tools section for ad text ideas, under ‘Ad Text Ideas (beta)’. This is currently in beta so not everyone may have this feature yet. The idea is for you to describe your product or service in as much detail as possible, and AdWords will give you suggestions for your ad text. People who are new to Google Adwords may find this useful when beginning to write their ad text, and it can give existing users new ideas for ad text testing.

In the first screen shot it shows you the steps you’ll need to take in order to get ideas for your ad text.

  1. Identify your business type
  2. Choose words and phrases for your ad
  3. Get ad ideas! Keep them or just use them for inspiration!

get ideas now
Once you click ‘Get Ideas Now’, you are asked to describe your product or service in a few words. They’re really not asking for much here. Their examples are ‘Chinese restaurant’ or ‘tennis equipment and clothing’.

describe biz

You’re then asked what type of template they should use to write the ad. Examples are: retail stores, general product, health products, etc.


The next box asks you a series of different questions:

  • What is the name of your Company?
  • Where is your business centered? You can either check the box for locally, nationally, internationally, online or fill in the location yourself.

The next series of questions are more targeted to the information you’ve already given.

  • Since I entered ‘medical supplies’ in the first two questions, they ask: What types of health products does your company carry?
  • Does you company specialize in a specific product or products?
  • How would you describe your products?
  • Does your company offer any online services?
  • And the last, Please select (or create) some appropriate messages to engage your customer.


At this point Google delivers (in my case) eight different variations of ad texts from the information I filled out.

step 1

If you decide you like one of the ad texts, you have the option to check a box that says, ‘choose’. You’re then asked to enter your display and destination URLs, and then select which ad group you wish to have the ad text displayed.


I think this is a unique idea from Google especially for people who have a hard time coming up with new, creative ad texts. I did notice however, that the ad text that was created in my examples was rather general, and not very keyword focused. One would think that if Google were to give you an ad text writing tool, whatever they come up with will help improve your quality score in addition by at the very least making it keyword focused; But don’t get your hopes up. What is good about the product though is that it can give you great ideas and perhaps inspire more creative ad text writing.

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How to Improve Your AdWords Quality Score


The survey results I posted on Monday ranked the importance of 12 AdWords Quality Score attributes. At the top of the survey rankings were click-through rate, ad text/keyword relevance, historical performance and landing page keyword relevance. Search relevancy is the core that binds the quality score together, and our survey reflects this idea. Also, these survey results are very favorable because each of these attributes are well within your realm to control and improve upon.

Click-through rate (CTR) is the highest ranked attribute. CTR made it to the top of the list because it is a core indicator of you advertisement’s relevance to users.

Keep in mind that only your CTR within Google search and search network determines your quality score; CTR within Google’s content network is not a factor. There are two click-through rates included in the score: your advertisement’s CTR, and each individual keyword’s CTR.

The fate of your CTR is in your hands. To increase your CTR here are a few quick steps you can take:

  • Begin/continue ad text testing. Even if you feel you have an advertisement that is your clear winner, you can always find ways to enhance your message and speak to your audience.
  • When used properly, dynamic keyword insertion can increase your relevancy to users, and in turn, increase your click-through rate.
  • Adjust keyword bids to increase your ad placement (i.e. higher ranking) and this can increase your CTR.

Ad text/Keyword relevance within an advertisement is ranked second on the survey. The second place ranking was given to this attribute because it too directly contributes to your relevancy to a user’s query. If your advertisement highlights a user’s search term, then they are more likely to interact with your ad. This increases your click-through rate and your quality score.

This is another aspect of the quality score that is in your control. To make sure that the majority of your keywords appear within your ad texts, here are a few steps you can take right now:

  • Dynamic keyword insertion (DKI). If you are having trouble making sure that your keywords appear within your ad text, then this can be helpful tool. Utilizing DKI within your headline will draw more attention to your keyword and you don’t have to worry about weaving this feature into the body of your ad text.
  • If you are still finding it difficult to boost your keyword relevancy within your ad text, then you should take a step back and analyze your campaign structure. Could your campaigns or ad groups be more specific, more targeted? I bet if you look, you’ll find that you can re-adjust your campaign structure so that your keyword clusters are even tighter.

The third ranked attribute is historical performance. This attribute is important because it indicates to AdWords that your campaign is improving and becoming more relevant to users, and AdWords will eventually reward you with higher ad placement and cheaper clicks.

Let’s face facts: you can’t change history. If you had no idea what you were doing when you started your AdWords campaign and your performance was awful, don’t worry – the future is still ahead of you. To take control of this quality score factor just make sure that you are constantly improving your campaign’s performance (even if it is a slow growth) and over time AdWords will notice your efforts.

Since relevancy is the name of the game, then the fourth highest attribute is landing page keyword relevance. This attribute made it to the top of the list because there has to be consistency from keyword query, to your PPC ad text, and finally to your landing page.

This attribute is in your hands by making sure there is a logical progression for the user. If your campaign, ad text and landing page are structured in this fashion then you will see a higher click-through rate and conversion rate.

As you may have noticed, the over arching theme of this analysis is that your quality score is not a scary mystery shrouded in darkness – the ability to improve your quality score is in your power. Hopefully this survey and this analysis has given you a plethora of ideas on where to begin improving your quality score today.


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PPC News Roundup for August 1, 2007

  • The AdWords blog announced the introduction of an automated campaign optimizer tool. According to the announcement, the tool is capable of scanning your account and pointing out problems from budgetary concerns, keyword issues (bid, match type, new keywords, etc.) and even potential ad texts. While I would still prefer to do this myself, or have a Google rep. help me out, the campaign optimizer tool is definitely a solid starting point for troubled advertisers.
  • The second part to a 2-part blog post on how to optimize your PPC campaign without spending a lot of time on it, the blog post by Search Engine Land “How to Optimize B2B Pay Per Click In 4 Hours A Week, Part 2”, explains how you can improve your PPC campaigns that are performing poorly in only 2 hours a week. (The first 2 hours are spent making your strong ads even stronger). This is a great resource for those who don’t have a lot of time or resources to manage their PPC campaigns.
  • A study by Yahoo and comScore, reported on by the Marketing Pilgrim, shows that online display ads can increase dollars spent on in-store conversions and page views. When partnered with search campaigns in-store conversions were found to increase even more. Comments are already coming in.
  • ROBO, or otherwise known as ‘Research Online, Buy Offline‘ is a new term researchers are using to describe the online shopping trends. A Yahoo report saying that online research plays a huge role in offline purchases. They also mention that the “overwhelming majority of Internet-influenced sales activity is not happening online; it happens in local stores.”


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