Monthly Archives: July 2011

Potential Issues With Transitioning to Bing’s Invoice Billing

If you’re a high-spender, it can be annoying, even frustrating, to have a multitude of charges on your account from Bing or AdWords because you’ll later have to reconcile all of those charges with your bank account. (Note: AdCenter billing threshold is initially set at $50 but will later increase – still for large advertisers that means being charged quite a few times a month.)  If you’re the person doing the books, you’d likely rather have one simple bill with the total charges.  Both AdCenter and Adwords offer invoice billing, so that advertisers can be charged at the end of the month for the sum of their expenses rather than multiple times throughout the month.  Unfortunately, it can be tricky to switch from one method of payment to another, so read on as we talk through the risks.

Current Accounts Wishing to Transition to Invoice Billing

If you currently have an account that utilizes threshold billing but want to switch over to invoice billing, read on.  Depending on the way your account was initially set up, there may be risks associated, as certain accounts will need to be re-created in order to correctly invoice.  If the account is re-created, you will lose all history and, of course, quality score.

To understand why a new account may need be created, we must first understand how an account is initially created.

When an account is created, Bing assigns 4 “roles” to the account: Parent, Using, Managing, and Billing.  Master accounts (company records) are linked to this account through these fields.  The Parent field is the end owner of the account. According to our rep, the Using field is generally the same as the Parent.  The Managing field is where a master user name from a different company master record, such as the Hanapin master, can be linked so that another company can use their super admin username to view the accounts.  The Billing field is for the company that is responsible for billing, this is usually the Parent or Managing company but can be another company altogether.

Once these fields are set, Bing cannot change them without recreating a new account.

In this instance, for example:

Parent: Client

Using: Client

Managing: Agency

Billing: Agency

If you wanted to switch to invoice billing where the client would be billed directly, a new account would need to be created.  Keep this in mind as you build accounts from the ground up because as you grow you may very well wish to switch to invoice billing and the best case scenario would be a seamless transition, without losing hard-earned data.

Setting Expectations For Re-Creating Accounts

Unfortunately, the debate between creating a new account and better managing billing or keeping the old account and all of it’s statistical glory can create a conflict of interests.  If the client manages the billing and an outside party manages the account – the client will likely want to switch to invoicing in order to better manage finances, while the outside party may not want the account to start fresh with no data.  As all agencies know, the customer is always right.  Feel free to throw vegetables at me for saying this but I’m going to say it anyway.  Do what the client wants because, in the end, it is their account and it’s just good business.  With that being said, if a new account will need to be created – be up front with the client.  Talk to them about what to expect and keep in close contact with the client and your rep, to ensure a smooth transition.  The last thing you want is to catch your client off guard with a downturn in stats that was outside of your control.  As always: set expectations.

On a positive note, if you do have to create a new account, Bing will gladly create a new account for you, by duplicating your current account.  Everything will be exactly the same, although it is likely that the account will take awhile to ramp up to the performance of the other account because the lack of data will put a hurtin’ on your quality score.

New Accounts

If you are currently setting up an account, you should review your billing options (threshold or invoice billing) and create the account as best suits your needs.  Note: you will not be able to set up invoice billing on your own behalf, an adCenter representative will need to do that for you. As I said earlier, if you think threshold billing is better suited to your needs: keep in mind that you may later want to switch to invoicing.  Be deliberate in the way that you set up your account, so that, should you ever decide to switch, you won’t need a new account.


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What’s Your Opinion On Alternative Advertising Networks?

This is part 4 of PPC Hero’s advertising expansion series, focusing on improving return on investment by advertising through multiple channels.

Throughout the week PPC Hero has provided you with information about the alternative advertising networks available for PPC. Now we want to hear from you! We want to find out if you have had good or bad experiences with these alternative advertising networks by filling out the survey below. If you’d like to share more information on your experience, leave a post in the comments section.



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Heroview – CRO & Analytics for PPC with James Svoboda

Today’s #Heroview featured James Svoboda (@Realicity) as he put the 140 character limit to the test and shared some of his insight towards Conversion Rate Optimization & Analytics for PPC. The interview was full of great information and interesting new ideas to add to your PPC arsenal. But you don’t need me to tell you, check out the streamcap below!

Thank you to everyone who participated in this month’s Heroview – real-time discussions with PPC industry experts via Twitter.  Stay tuned for next month’s Heroview!

July 21, 2011

PPC Hero: Welcome to #Heroview everyone! To get started, tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been working with PPC?

James: Thanks! I’m excited to participate in the #heroview today. Let’s see, my intro to PPC came during my 1st year at @WebRanking in 1999. was my first PPC platform- the “AdWords” of the time. They had a transparent & reliable keyword tool that I still miss most of GoTo’s CPC’s were sub $0.10 at the time. We bought cheap traffic in bulk, which helped make up for the lack of analytics.

PPC Hero: Excellent, well we’re excited to hear your advice today! Today we’re going to talk about conversion rate optimization, and using Analytics for PPC. Aside from landing pages, how can a company’s website be optimized for conversions?

James: I think of landing pages being the main road to get to the Town Square (aka the Conversion). There are side streets to consider. There are also other roads, like SEO and Social, which can lead to the Town Square and may branch off to the same side streets. For instance, some PPL would recommend removing a site’s navigation from Landing Pages to increase conversion rates. That’s great if you only have 1 product or service that you want to convert, but not practical for most business websites.

James: For example, a client’s site is *less than ideal* for lead generation. We built dedicated landing pages with no Top Navigation & de-emphasized footer links. 10% to 20% of their monthly PPC conversions from Driving Directions to their local showroom that is 2+ clicks from the landing page. Since we identified Driving Directions as a conversion, we can measure & optimize the path to the conversion and the converting page. Driving Directions & non-lead conversions, can & should be tracked & optimized. I consider these to be part of the Marketing Ecosystem.

PPC Hero: Does this optimization differ between eCommerce sites and lead generation sites?

James: Yes. eCommerce sites often have drawbacks for landing pages based on the eCommerce platform used. This affect things like A/B testing. For eCommerce, I split CRO into three main parts:

  1. Getting visitors to Add-to-Cart
  2. Cart to Completed Order
  3. 2nd Tier Conversions

Lead Generation sites I usually build dedicated landing pages and optimize secondary conversion paths for higher returns. Three main parts for lead generation:

  1. Form Leads (highly trackable)
  2. Phone Calls (higher sales conversions)
  3. 2nd tier Conversions

There are some common CRO differences between eCommerce and lead generation, but each site & campaign should se assessed uniquely.

PPC Hero: In your opinion, what are the essential parts of a complete “marketing ecosystem” between a company’s website and its PPC efforts?

James: Good question! Essentials for me are:

  • Providing clients a unique PPC dashboard that measures and reports on only PPC metrics
  • Having a dedicated Analytics profile tracking only PPC efforts for the website
  • Measuring any & all conversions. It’s tough to optimize and prove ROI on what’s not being measured. Also, some conversions are more valuable than others and reporting and CRO should reflect this.
  • Analyzing (not just reporting) site usage, conversion rates and all conversion paths incl. Main Roads & Side Streets via PPC.
  • How do the PPC campaigns compare with non-PPC marketing and what can be learned from and applied to other channels?

PPC Hero: Do you suggest putting links on landing pages to other pages in your website?

James: Yes, selectively. I think it’s important to link to pages that will be important to visitors AND also increase Conversion Rates. This would be a win-win scenario.

For instance: eCommerce sites should link to Return & Shipping Policies, Lead Gen to Testimonials, Restaurants to menus and so on.

PPC Hero: Interesting! So which aspects of landing pages do you test most often for conversion optimization?

James: In essence everyone tests the same “easy to change” things: Headlines, pictures, buttons, copy, blah, blah… It’s not that I’m against them, or that I don’t test them, but if you ask your client’s what makes them special, so why don’t we ask ourselves, what makes my landing page testing special?

I concentrate on elements that affect visual focus and eyeflow, as well as heatmap information, such as color balance & on-page CTA placement.

There are big rewards in testing unique and creative elements.

PPC Hero: What harms conversion rates and user engagement more– having too much content on a landing page, or not having enough?

James: I believe that having too much does. Not because more information is bad, but because it affects page balance and eyeflow. I think of landing pages as a page in a 3-ring binder, where, when you turn the page you don’t see the previous page. When you look at the current page in from of you, you see all of it. Not just the above the fold, all of it. Now, visitors’ eyeflow will be balanced if all of your landing page content is balanced with a reasonable amount of call-to-action space. I may be a bit out there on this one, but I’m thinking of psychological weight. There is a reason most CRO professionals talk about increasing the size of CTA buttons beyond the attention they grab.

If all your CTA’s are the same size, you are telling your visitors they all matter the same.

PPC Hero: Great answer, we’ll finish off with one more question. What would you suggest to search marketers that want to optimize a client’s webpage but don’t have access to IT?

James: Ouch! Been there…

  • Learn HTML and how CMS platforms work. You will be more valuable to your company and your clients.
  • Assess any resources available & identify small items that can be easily changed. Little things can have a huge impact.

PPC Hero: Thanks for the great insights! To wrap things up, does anyone have any questions/comments for James?

@Michellemsem: Great stuff! Just as clarification: for landing page navigation, you’re saying to only have items that compliment the conversion?

James: I almost always try and de-emphasize the navigation, which is interpreted differently for each site. Then, selectively choose what else to link to in regards to visitor usability & CRO. Sometimes removing the top and/or side navs, but always leave the “Escape Door” footers.

@JARooney8423: By “psychological weight,” do you mean that people can become overwhelmed?

James: Absolutely. Over & under. Look for balance.

PPC Hero: That’s all the time we have for today folks. Thanks for tuning in and keep an eye out for next month’s #Heroview announcement.

James: Thanks for having me today. I hope I didn’t ramble too much:) Looking forward to future #heroview’s and Tuesday #ppcchat’s!





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Lower Your Cost Per Acquisition By Advertising On 7Search

This is part 3 of PPC Hero’s advertising expansion series, focusing on improving return on investment by advertising through multiple channels. Today we have a post written by one of our PPC Hero allies at 7Search, one of the first search engines to use pay-per-click sponsored links.


7search PPC Logo

Life Was Easy Back in ‘98…

For those that have been around in the Paid Search Marketing businesses since the early turn of the century, you may remember visiting GoTo, the inventor of PayPerClick (PPC), who later became Overture.  One had the ability to see who was bidding on a keyword, what the competition’s advertisement said, and what the actual bid price everyone was paying.  No guessing what one was paying or what the competition was paying.  There was an art to deciphering the competitions bidding strategy, intent of their advertisement, and discover new opportunities to exploit.  Ah, those were the days.  It’s uplifting to see that a Transparent Bid Auction still thrives at, the US’s oldest and largest privately owned PPC search engine.

Transparent Bid Auction Platform

The old idea of an Open Auction, or Bid for Placement has been the platform of choice by since 1999, before Google and Yahoo.  The Transparent Bid Auction Platform, as demonstrated on their Keyword Suggestion Tool, allows one total control over setting the CostPerClick (CPC). openly publishes how much search traffic has been generated on keywords of interest during the previous month, what are the current top 5 bids on, and if you click on an individual keyword that has advertisers, it will display the actual ads and the bid price the advertiser is paying.  There are no artificial quality scores or bid manipulation algorithms.  7Search’s SmartBid Tool shows the top 5 bids on their top partner’s networks.  A refreshing touch to an industry that is increasingly becoming more monopolized as time goes on and less control over your CPC.

Low Cost Per Acquisitions

Bid prices start at a penny, and across their 4.5 million bided keywords, the average CPC is less than $.32 a click.  Most of the 3 Billion+ search queries 7Search receives monthly is not available at a penny per click, but there are some excellent opportunities to pick up new additional traffic over a competitor for a fraction of the cost of Google, Yahoo, or Bing.  Lower Cost Per Acquisitions means more $ on the bottom line per sale.  Brand building on high volume, top of the funnel keywords now becomes affordable at $.02 or $.03 a click and you pick up new high quality traffic sources and sales for less.

Whether you are an affiliate marketer or a major brand, can add real ROI performance to your online marketing efforts.

Robert Payne is a Business Development Manager at, a leading Pay Per Click Search Engine Advertising and Affiliate Network since its inception in 1999. As a Search Engine who is dedicated to value and service for online businesses, provides thousands of Web entrepreneurs with an economical and measurable opportunity to obtain Internet traffic and generate revenue through their online presence.

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Discover The 20 Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWords

On July 14th, Google announced their Q2 earnings for 2011. Revenue was up 32% from last year bringing total Q2 earnings to just over $9 billion dollars.  So how is Google making all this money? Well in large part, from us. Paid clicks on ads increased 18% from Q2 last year while the average cost-per-click has gone up 12% since then. In just the last 4 quarters, Google brought in $32.2 billion in total advertising revenue!

This inspired our good friends over at Wordstream to take a look at which keywords generate the most revenue for Google and on Monday they released the results of their survey to uncover the most expensive AdWords keywords. Check out the handy infographic they’ve created showing the 20 top CPC keyword categories (click to enlarge):

Most Expensive Keywords in Google AdWordsWhat these categories have in common is that they include businesses with a high customer value. Essentially, these businesses can afford to pay a lot of money to acquire new customers because of the high return. So what do you do if you are competing in one of these high CPC categories? Wordstream offers 4 tips for bidding in these expensive categories.

  1. Be Specific: Target specific, 3-5 word keywords. Use a keyword tool to generate specific keyword ideas, and use keyword match types to ensure you’re only paying for keywords that are very specific to your business.
  2. Use Negative Keywords: Use a negative keyword tool to help figure out what kinds of words you’re likely to be matched against and weed out keywords that aren’t relevant to your business.
  3. Be Relevant: High Quality Scores can help lower your average CPC. Tools like the Keyword Niche Finder and Keyword Grouper to break up larger keyword lists into smaller, more targeted lists which will enable you to write more targeted ad text and landing pages which should help improve relevancy and Quality Score.
  4. Landing Page Optimization: The average conversion rate for just about anything on AdWords is around 2%. But we often see landing pages converting at the 20% or even 30% range. The key to landing page optimization is to keep trying out different types of offers and testing how people respond to them.

Go to Wordstream’s blog to learn more about the survey and results and visit the “Where’s Google Making Its Money?” infographic to embed it on your site.

What are some of the most expensive keywords you’re bidding on? We work with clients in some of the industries above and know what it’s like to balance budgets while trying to rank well for these expensive keywords. We’d love to hear about your experiences and tips.


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