What We Learned From IMSLC

By | Content Marketing, How-To, IMSLC, Inbound Marketing, PPC, Uncategorized, Video | No Comments

We had a crazy-fun time last week, bringing you the first ever IMSLC event, hosted by Stryde! Things started off a little shaky with some technical issues, but our speakers’ on-the-fly skills pulled through to hopefully give you some new insights into this content marketing game.

Many thanks to everyone who kept it lively and held a good sense of humor throughout!


In case you missed it…

Or if would just like to revisit the presentations, here is a recap of the event. We want to keep you in the loop on where we are and where we’re going with IMSLC.

Bryan Brandenburg, CMO and Co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con shared his successes with video marketing and how investments in Facebook marketing have dominated referral traffic for SL Comic Con.

Tyler Whittingham and Michael Query, the brains behind Admind, illustrated the importance of PPC and covered everything from targeting and bid strategy, to optimization and reporting.

Emily Burkhart, our very own Marketing Manager at Stryde, drove home the value of proving content marketing ROI. With a content marketing budget increase across the board, and 79% of B2B firms not tracking ROI or feeling mediocre about their tracking abilities, it could be a perfect time to reassess where your efforts are leading you.


The Future of IMSLC

We get a lot of work done in front of a computer screen but that can never surmount the value of face-to-face communication. Offline events allow the marketing community to connect in a more personal learning environment. This was only our first rodeo, and we’re not hopping off yet! Here are some ideas we’ve brainstormed for coming events:

  • Smaller groups or conferences
  • Structured group networking session
  • Single centralized theme
  • Targeted based on audience experience level
  • Single keynote speaker
  • Panel discussion
  • Changeable location

As always, the direction of our next chapter depends on you! Please share with us your feedback from the last IMSLC in this short survey so that we can bring you an even better event!

The future of IMSLC may take a new name, structure and venue, but the goal will always remain the same; to bring valuable, actionable insights to our marketing community. We’d like to thank our sponsors once again. And thanks to you for your continued support! What would you like to see at the next free inbound marketing event?

Everything You Need to Know About Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns

By | PPC | No Comments

What are Enhanced Campaigns?

AdWords Enhanced campaigns are a new and more advanced version of what we all know and love [or insert word of choice here]. Everyone will be upgraded on July 22nd, whether you like it or not. There will be no more separation between desktop, tablet or mobile campaigns, or separately geo targeted campaigns. Everything will be managed through a single campaign. For those of you currently running 20 or more campaigns targeting different locations or devices, this means some significant changes are in store for you. If you’ve ever wanted to be more specific with a single PPC campaign, you’ll love Enhanced campaigns.

What Makes Enhanced Campaigns Better?

Enhanced campaigns give you the near complete control when bidding across all types of devices and locations. Better reporting. You are able to display different ads/extensions based on device, time, or location. You can adjust your bids to be higher or lower based on a searcher’s location, device, or time of day. Reporting on phone calls will be better and easier than before, along with free call tracking numbers for each ad, though I wouldn’t throw out your current call tracking provider if you’re already using one.

What Drawbacks Might You Encounter?

Well, if you’ve spent a lot of time creating separate mobile and desktop campaigns, you need to merge the two campaigns very carefully. This may create a bit of headache – but don’t worry, the pain is temporary. Follow Google’s guide very carefully when merging campaigns and making the upgrade.

Also, as far as I can tell, there isn’t really a way to opt-out of bidding on mobile devices. You can set your bid multiplier to “-100%” but it would be nice to just opt-out. There will be no separation between bidding on desktop devices and tablets in Enhanced campaigns, so while you’ve been given complete control over bidding on mobile devices, all of your control of bidding on tablets specifically has gone away. Good one, Google. While bids can be set by device, daily budgets cannot. Those are still determined by the campaign itself – so where you’ve been given more control in some areas, all control has been taken from you in others.

Should You Upgrade?

Yes. Well, you don’t really have a choice. Everyone will be upgraded on July 22nd this year. The difference is that you can customize your settings and carefully merge your campaigns before Google does it for you. This gives you just enough time to get all your ducks in a row and make the switch on your own. Google put together a great guide on making the transition from your current campaigns to Enhanced campaigns.

Have you had experience upgrading to Enhanced campaigns or have questions for someone who has? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Increase Your ROI in 2013 with Facebook’s Partner Categories

By | PPC, Social Media | No Comments

 Have you begun experimenting with Facebook’s Partner Categories yet?
If not, I encourage you to start today.

Not familiar with Partner Categories?

In short, they are a new ad targeting option that allows you to target Facebook users based on spending patterns. So, for example, you can target people who have purchased specific items like dog food, a certain type of car, organic products and so on.

You can see a list of all of Facebook’s Partner Categories here.


A Facebook Partner Categories Case Study

Because Partner Categories allow advertisers to really hone in on their target audience, these ads are more costly than traditional Facebook ads.

Before I started using Partner Categories, my average CPC and CPM for a particular client in the luxury travel and health industry was: $0.35 CPM and $0.87 CPC.

When I first began using Partner Categories in May for this same client, the CPC for my Partner Category ads was $1.48 CPC and $10.83 CPM.

That’s a 187.5% increase in CPM rate and 51.9% increase in CPC rate for the ads that used the Partner Category targeting options…

If you were judging a book by its cover you would probably stop running those Partner Category ads right away. However, it was my guess that the people we were reaching through Partner Category ads were really good for us, so I let them keep running.

The bidding prices for my Partner Category ads have since auto-optimized and are down significantly. I’m now looking at a CPM of $2.50 and a CPC of $0.29.

Note: most of my Partner Category ads are run at a CPM rate.

A $2.50 CPM is still a 150.9% increase over the old CPM of $0.35 which is pretty hefty, but as I suspected the people we are reaching through the Partner Category ads hit the sweet spot.

Before we started running Partner Category ads, with a Facebook advertising budget of $2000/month we were reaching more people but less of them were converting.

For example, in January of this year we had over 5 million impressions and over 2,000 clicks but we only had a 1% conversion rate.

Since we started running Facebook ads using Partner Categories, we are reaching less people with our budget (because the CPM rate is higher), but we are converting at a 10% rate now! WOW!

Essentially, we are reaching less people but because those people have shown a tendency to purchase services similar to the ones we offer, they are converting at a much higher rate!

This is why I highly suggest that you start using Facebook’s Partner Categories today. You should expect to spend more per campaign but may also see a significant increase in conversions from the same amount of spend you were previously putting towards Facebook ads.


How to Set Up Facebook Ads with Partner Categories

When you log into your Facebook ads dashboard you will not see an option for creating ads using the Partner Category targeting options.

In order to create ads using Partner Categories you must use Facebook’s Power Editor tool. You will find access to Power Editor in your Facebook Ads sidebar:


If you are using Power Editor for the first time you will need to allow it to download all of your campaigns. This may take a few minutes but once it’s done you’ll be ready to start creating your new ads.

In Power Editor click over to the Campaigns Tab and create a new campaign and give it a name. Then click over to the Ads Tab and create a new ad within that new campaign and give it a name.

Then write copy and add an image for your ad just like you normally would.

Once you’ve added your copy and creative, you will move on to the Audience targeting section which is where Partner Categories come into play:

Look through the various options and select the ones that you think will work best for reaching your target audience.

Once you’ve finished choosing your targeting options and have set your budget hit the Upload button in the top right hand corner of your screen to upload your new ad campaign to your regular Facebook Ads dashboard. After that is done you just need to wait for approval for your ads. At this time though you should be able to see your new ad campaign in your dashboard as pending.

It’s a good idea to create a few campaigns using different Partner Categories to see which work best for you.

No One Cares About Your Display Ads (and How to Fix It)

By | PPC | One Comment

This ad terrifies me.

Did you know that 31% of all online display ads are never actually viewed by visitors? Yikes!

According to ComScore’s latest research report 31% of all display ads go unseen.

What do we mean by unseen?

ComScore counts a display ad as being seen as long as a site visitor views 50% of its pixels for at least half a second.

I don’t know about you, but half of an ad viewed for half of a second hardly counts as being seen. That means the percentage of all online display ads that go unviewed is actually greater than 31% if we go by my “high” standards.

Tips for Getting Your Display Ad Viewed

So, how can you make sure that when you buy a display ad that it gets viewed?

Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure the site you’re purchasing from has anti-ad block technology built in.
  2. Customize your ad so that it stands out against the background of the site.
  3. Hire a copywriter to come up with a clear but punchy headline for the ad.
  4. Include a call-to-action button that grabs the eye.
  5. Use directional cues like arrows to draw attention to your call-to-action.

In addition to these tips, consider where and how to spend your online ad dollars.

Does it make sense to purchase a small ad on a very popular website where it could be easily missed? Or does it make more sense to go with a less popular website where you can afford a much bigger ad?

Knowing that 31% of all online display ads are never viewed, weigh all the pros and cons before executing your next ad buy. And if you’re not sure what to do, hire a professional marketing agency to help you (hey! We’re a professional marketing agency. Just sayin’…).

Learning About Display Advertising from the Presidential Campaign

Whether you voted for President Obama or against him, there is no doubt that he executed a strong online advertising campaign.
A large part of that campaign included online display ads.

The Obama campaign worked with Al Rotches, a self-proclaimed online banner ad specialist who designs and animates ads to “get people to click.”

In order to get people to click an ad he must first get the visitor’s attention (and get that darn thing viewed).

So, how did Rotches make sure his ads were viewed for the presidential campaign? He started where we all start. Rotches  told AdAge, “I was usually given a call to action, basic text and maybe an image.”

He would then play around with different variables and send the ads back to Team Obama who would conduct testing on them. “Over time, the call to actions are tested to a point where there’s not much tweaking to do.”

Here’s a great example of what looks like it was an a/b test for the Obama campaign:

You see the the background image, logo and call to action button are all the same. As are the colors used for the copy. In this a/b test it looks like the main body copy is what was being tested.

While Rotches is careful not to give away his trade secrets, you can see he adheres to many ofthe guidelines we provided above (make sure the image stands out, include a call to action button that grabs the eye, hire a copywriter, etc.).

You can view more of the Obama ads created by Rotches in his portfolio.

Rotches does divulge some information on his banner ads:

  • All of the banner ads were done in flash and served with a side of static backup
  • He conformed to industry standard sizes
  • All of the ads were generally under 40KB and below 15 seconds

It is really important that if you design a banner ad in flash that you also make a static backup. Many people do not have a flash player installed and will therefore not be able to view a flash banner ad. This is one of the many reasons that 31% of all display ads are never viewed.

Banner Ads Are Effective- If Done Correctly

Many people today will argue that banner ads are dead, non-effective, only good for branding purposes and so on. It’s certainly true that click-through rates on banner ads are at an all time low, but they can be a low-cost way to increase exposure and generate a few leads for your business.

The biggest key to an effective online display campaign is to choose a niche website that caters to your target audience and then build an ad that will capture their attention.

Your Thoughts

Has your business been running display ads?
How has that been going for you so far?
What has/has not been working for you?
Let us know in the comments below!

Why PPC Advertising Doesn't Work for Your Business

By | PPC | One Comment

At least once a month, I hear these words uttered from the mouth of a prospective customer: “We tried Adwords and it just doesn’t work for our business.”

Often the statement is said in passing, so I don’t get to investigate. Occasionally, though, I hear it from a customer or a friend who is willing to give me access to their Adwords account so I can dig into it and figure out why it didn’t work for them. I usually find at least one of the following four problems with the campaign that is keeping it from achieving positive results: (1) unorganized adgroups, (2) lame offer or ad copy, (3) too narrow or (4) too broad.

If you think pay-per-click advertising doesn’t work for you, it’s likely due to one of these four reasons.

business man worries with graph - isolated

1. Unorganized Adgroups

Just because you can add hundreds of keywords to an adgroup doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. You’re much better off to break up your adgroups by similar keywords. In some cases, it makes sense to have only a single keyword in an adgroup. If your entire campaign consists of one adgroup with all of your keywords, you are doing it wrong. That’s why PPC advertising hasn’t worked for you. If your campaign is a jumbled mess, you are best off to pause your current campaign and start over. Create a new campaign that is properly organized from the ground up and you’ll reap the results.

Other important parts of being organized with your campaigns includes proper conversion tracking. Set it up and test the conversion tracking to track leads from your landing page. Consider using tracking phone numbers to track phone calls generated from your campaign–especially if you encourage customers to call rather than fill out your lead forms. Understand your key performance indicators and set goals and track your progress towards those goals.

2. Lame Offer or Ad Copy

A compelling offer is crucial to success with any ad campaign. This is especially true in the cutthroat world of pay-per-click advertising. Your ad is only one of a dozen other offers, so you better give people something worth paying attention to. Pay attention to what others are offering up on the same keywords and come up with something at least as good–if not better.

Some of the worst performing ads I’ve seen were really creative. There can be a place for creativity with PPC ads, but if you get too cute, people will ignore your ad. Your ad should make it clear that you have exactly what they are searching for. Sometimes the best approach to ad copy is to be super obvious. Tell people what they are going to see when they click on your ad. Ads that include the keyword tend to get a lot higher clickthrough rates. Some people love to use the dynamic keyword tool (DKI). If you choose to use it, be careful not to abuse it–the dynamic keyword inclusion tool can get ugly when used indiscriminately. (Remember: with great power comes great responsibility). I rarely use the DKI tool anymore. If you followed step one and broke out your adgroups properly, you can create sweet, customized ads without risking the embarrassment of a poorly inserted dynamic keyword.

Your landing page should match the ad. Don’t send everyone to your homepage. Send them to the page that is most relevant for their search query. You may already have a good landing page for a particular keyword, but often you will need to create a new landing page for each adgroup. You want to make it stupid simple for people to find what they are looking for. If you send them to your homepage or some other irrelevant page, people will get confused and leave.

3. Too Narrow

Another common reason for PPC failure is creating a campaign that is too narrowly focused. I’ve seen people who were bidding on only a handful of keywords. I asked why their campaign was so narrowly focused and they said it was because they knew the keywords people were searching for and those are the only keywords they care about. Really? Every one of the billions of people in the world are going to search on the exact same keyword to find your business. I don’t think so. Reality is that people search a million different ways, just like they think a million different ways. Expand your mind a bit and open up your campaign to include a lot more keywords to give yourself the best chance to succeed. How many keywords is the “right” amount? There’s no right answer, but most businesses should shoot for at least a few hundred keywords to start. If you’re selling hundreds of different products, it might make sense to start with a few thousand keywords. But remember to organize them into logical adgroups. Don’t slap them all into a single adgroup. You know better than that.

4. Too Broad

On the flip side of the not enough keywords camp is the opposite: too many keywords. Don’t bid on every keyword you can think of just because you can. It’s a good idea to test a lot of different keywords but stick to keywords that are actually relevant. A good place to start with keyword selection is common sense. Think to yourself: if I search on this keyword, would I expect to see my site in the results?

Adwords gives you a few different keyword matching options. Be strategic about how you use keyword matching options. If you find that a broadly matched keyword doesn’t convert at the same level as an exact match or phrase match for the same keyword, consider adjusting your bid or removing that particular keyword from your campaign. Don’t be too hasty to shut off keywords, but if you’re getting a lot of traffic and not a lot of sales, something isn’t working. Negative keywords is another sweet tool that lets you bid on broad or phrase matched keywords, but exclude certain keywords that are irrelevant or that you find just don’t convert as well. You can come up with a good starter list of negative keywords to exclude, and then you can add more to it as you see keywords that send traffic but don’t convert.

Geotargeting is another way to focus your campaign. If you have a pizza restaurant in Chicago, it doesn’t make sense to pay for clicks from people in Australia. Set the geotargeting option in Adwords to only show ads to people searching in your local area.

Another way to get too broad with your campaign is with content targeting. When you set up your Adwords campaign, you have the option of advertising in Google search, partner search and the content network. The content network includes those ads you see all over the web, typically on content pages. The ads are often related to the content of the page, but it’s NOT the same thing as a search ad. I like to separate out my contextual or content ads into a completely separate campaign. Then you can customize your bids and the ads for those content ads. The ad copy should be different than your search ads because people who see them are in a different mindset. You can get a ton of impressions on content ads and even a lot of clicks at times, but what usually happens is the content ads throw off the stats for your entire campaign. When you’re starting out, say no to content ads and focus your efforts on the search ads.


PPC advertising is a great way to grow your business. It’s also a valuable tool to gain keyword intelligence that can be applied to your SEO efforts and your content strategy. Don’t hang your head low if you’ve made one or more of the mistakes above. Learn from it and try PPC again for the first time.



Everything You Need to Know About Tumblr Ads

By | PPC, Social Media | 2 Comments

Earlier this month Yahoo! purchased microblogging platform, Tumblr for close to $1 billion dollars. At the time Tumblr users expressed widespread outrage fearing that Yahoo! would take over their favorite site and screw things up (their own words).

Yahoo! responded by saying that Tumblr would remain largely independent and that Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo!, personally said, “I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! We promise not to screw it up.” 


Tumblr Ads Launch to Mixed Reception From Some Users

It appears that Yahoo’s first order of business was to help make Tumblr profitable as the microblogging network has just introduced Sponsored Posts, a type of ad that shows up in the user dashboard.

Denny's sponsored post on tumblr One of the first advertiser’s to jump on board is Denny’s – you can see an example of one of their ads above.

Other ads so far have shown up as animated gifs (which are traditionally very popular on Tumblr) and funny memes.

Anti-sponsored post memes have also popped up:

not one of us tumblr meme

A quick Tumblr search for “Sponsored Posts” shows thousands of people sharing their opinion on the introduction of dashboard ads.

Some people are accepting of the ads, stating that they understand the free service needs the ads in order to stay in business:

Others are complaining that they don’t mind the ads but find that they are not targeted enough to interest them, while the vast majority of people are expressing frustrating that the ads exist at all.

The Actual Stats on Ad Engagement Appears to Be High

The funny thing is, for every person that is complaining about the ads, another person appears to be engaging with them.

According to intial reports from Tumblr, “We have been overwhelmed by the incredibly positive response to our advertising approach – from both Tumblr users and our partners,” says Lee Brown, Tumblr’s Global Head of Sales. “The engagement rates on the Tumblr Radar and Sponsored Mobile Posts have been spectactular and we have taken this same carefully architectured approach to the new web in-dash opportunity.”

According to The Verge, sponsored posts on Tumblr have already reached 10 million likes and reblogs on mobile devices alone!

With initial engagement stats like these, it appears that Tumblr ads will be a success and brands big and small should begin preparing to advertise on the microblogging network.


#1 Tip for Tumblr Ads: Be Funny

Before putting together a Tumblr ad, you should sign up for an account and use the blogging network for at least a week.

The tumblr community is made up of many smaller communities that form around popular hashtags – similar to Twitter or Instagram, except your messages can be much longer.

The most popular type of post on Tumblr is the meme and the animated gif. Look through a tumblr stream for even five minutes and you’re sure to come across quite at least a handful of these.

While we don’t know much about Tumblr ads yet since the offering is so new, I think it is safe to say that 90% of Tumblr ad campaigns should be launched around funny content (that includes some sort of reminder or call to action).

Noting that the Tumblr community is averse to direct advertising, at least at this time, you may not want to make your call to action too strong. As a direct marketer, I find it incredibly hard to say that because in 99% of cases a strong call-to-action is so important, but in the case of Tumblr subtly may be the key.

For example, the Denny’s sponsored post does not include a call-to-action. It simply shows a picture of the restaurant and notes that they’re still open. The picture alone, if you’re a Denny’s fan, might make you begin salivating enough to hop in your car and go down for a Grand Slam or whatever they’re calling it these days.

Denny's sponsored post on tumblr

As more information about Tumblr ads become available, we will post about it. Until then, put your thinking cap on and start creating some funny content to share on Tumblr! With Yahoo’s money backing it, the microblogging network is sure to be around for a while.

[Crash Course] Advertising to Businesses on Social Media

By | PPC, Social Media | No Comments

If you’re marketing to businesses, targeting ads by job title extremely important.

Depending on the product or service you are selling, there are certain people within an organization that are well suited to receive your message.

For example, if you are a marketing software company like SEOmoz you probably want to target your ads at people within the marketing department – especially the people who work on SEO projects.

In many cases business-to-business (B2B) marketers will turn to Google Ads as a primary means for generating leads through online advertising. This isn’t a bad strategy, but we do suggest that you diversify your media spend and consider advertising on the three major social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter).

You may be surprised! One network may outperform the others by far.
For example, one of our client’s ads on Facebook generated 5x more leads than the same ads placed on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google Adwords.


LinkedIn Advertising


LinkedIn is the premier social network for professions and as such is a great place to purchase low-cost ads.

Using LinkedIn ads you can target people by:

  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Seniority

You can mix and match any of these parameters to expand or reduce your target audience size on the LinkedIn advertising platform.

In my experience the most effective type of B2B advertising on LinkedIn is connected to lead generation.

If you have a case study, white paper, eBook or guide that you are offering for download, you should strongly consider advertising it on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has no minimum monthly spend so you can start off with a small budget and increase it as you start seeing results come in.

You probably won’t see the same volume of clicks from LinkedIn ads as you do through Google or the other social networks, however there is a strong potential for really high quality clicks to come from LinkedIn.


Facebook Advertising


With the introduction of Facebook Partner Categories in the ad platform, B2B businesses now have a strong way to reach people by job title using Facebook advertising.

Under the Axciom Categories you will see the option to target by Job Title and further drill down by job category. Example categories include:

  • Admin
  • White collar
  • Blue collar
  • Education
  • Farmer
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Sales

The list is really quite extensive – logging into Facebook’s Power Editor for ads will allow you to pull up the full list for yourself.

When targeting Facebook users you will have the option to send them to your Facebook page or your website/landing page.

Another option you have is to create a very nice post for your Facebook page that has a link in it. You could then turn that post into an ad using Facebook’s “Suggested Stories” option.

Facebook really upped the ante for B2B advertisers with the introduction of job title targeting and it will be interesting to see if companies shift dollars from LinkedIn to Facebook over time.

Similar to LinkedIn ads, Facebook has no minimum spend requirement so you an experiment with as little (or as much) as you would like!

For now, we really suggest trying both out and seeing which platform performs the best for you. It could be that you continue to use both well into the future!


Twitter Advertising

Last but not least in the war for social advertising dollars is Twitter.

Using Twitter’s ad platform you cannot specifically target people by job title. However, you can target people by interest, and if you select Business related interest you should be reaching the right audience.

For example, if you marketing software you could easily target people who are interested in Marketing and/or Advertising. All of this can be done through Twitter’s Self Service ad tool.

If you have a larger budget you would like to allocate towards Twitter advertising you can go with their Full Service option which allows for targeting by search keywords.

For example, here I search for “#CRM” and the top result was an advertised tweet from ON24 promoting their new case study:

When first getting started with Twitter ads you may want to begin with their Self Service option which comes with no minimum spend requirement. If the results are good you can switch to the Full Service option.

Getting Started with Social Advertising

Social ads tend to be pretty inexpensive when compared to traditional advertising or even search ads. You can target by CPM (cost per thousand views), CPC (cost per click) or in some cases Cost Per Conversion. For example on Twitter there is an option to only pay when someone starts following your account.

The important thing to remember when jumping into social ads is that putting together the ad is only half the battle.

You also need to ensure proper targeting and that you are using an appropriate, optimized landing page.

Social advertising is fun and relatively new, but it’s not a game. You don’t get to use monopoly money to pay for your ads, so be serious about your campaigns.

If you need any help leave us a comment or give us a call and we can help!

Five Killer Tips for Optimizing Product Listing Ads

By | PPC | No Comments

It’s been seven months since Google moved to a paid model for their shopping results, now called Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Since then, advertisers and online merchants have been hard at work to find the very best possible ways to improve the performance of their PLAs and generate more revenue for their businesses.

For those who are unaware, PLAs are ads that are product specific and are displayed in the SERPs when consumers conduct product related searches. See the image below.

google plas

So far, these ads can increase your click through rates as much as 73 percent, increase conversion rates as much as 35 percent, and provide a 46 percent higher return on ad spend for merchants and advertisers. However, this is easier said than done. In order to get numbers like these, it is important to run through a few exercises to better optimize your product listing ads campaign. Let’s talk about five things you can do to improve performance.

Product Titles

Long story short, product titles indicate the search queries that your products are likely to show up for. When putting together your product titles, you should put some real time and effort into giving them a title that is not only descriptive of the product, but that also include keywords that people might be searching for. You should also remember to keep your titles to around 60 characters and put the most important keywords toward the front of the title as Google wil only show the first couple of words in the search engine results pages.

Product Descriptions

In addition to including your most important keywords in your titles, you should also include them in your product descriptions. When doing this, make sure not to keyword stuff your description, but use them naturally in your writing. Also, you don’t need to worry about where your keywords are in the description since they don’t actually show up in the PLA or the search engine results page, they are more for Google to be able to separate similar proudest you might have in your feed.

Product Pricing

When setting up your PLAs, make sure that you have the proper pricing listing for each product, as Google will penalize any listings that inaccurately list the price of the product in question. Keep in mind that if you charge for packaging or have a minimum number of products that need to be ordered, that you specify.

Ad Groups

One fantastic way to gain better control over your bidding, copy, and targeting is to crease a separate ad group for each product category. To do this, you can either use the categories set up by Google or create your own parameters to categorize your product listing ads. Also, you should be extremely cautious when putting bids on catch all ad groups, as Google will serve the PLA from the ad group with the largest bid.

Ongoing Testing

Lastly, when you are setting up your ad groups, you should create custom targets that will focus on the first targeting option and your individual products IDs. This will help you understand what search queries each of your products are showing up for and help you understand which of your products are converting well and which are not. This will help you know which products need tweaks to ad copy as well as which products you should put more budget towards.

You should also take sufficient time to monitor the average position for your ad groups that perform well. The reason you want to do this is because if your average position changes and you haven’t done anything, this means that your competitors are probably getting more aggressive with their bids and you should do the same to remain competitive.

I hope that these tips have been helpful and try and remember that PLAs are still very new and will continue to evolve as time goes on. The most important thing to remember is to stay on top of your account and always be reading about new strategies and be testing to stay ahead of the competition.

If you need help with your PLAs or pay-per-click marketing, please feel free to reach out to us.

3 Facebook Ad Campaigns Critiqued for Conversion

By | Conversion, PPC, Social Media | No Comments

Have you been thinking about advertising on Facebook? With over one billion monthly active users there’s no doubt that media spend on Facebook can help you reach a large audience.

When it comes to Facebook advertising there is no minimum budget necessary which means you can start off “trying” Facebook ads without allocating a large portion of your media budget for the quarter or the year.

However, it is important to note that advertising dollars spent on Facebook are still real dollars (as opposed to monopoly money?) and you should aim to generate a return on investment from them.

Getting the Most from Your Facebook Ads

One of the most important ways to make sure your Facebook advertising dollars help you turn ad clicks into conversions (leads or sales) is to make sure you set up dedicated landing pages.

A dedicated landing page is a web page that is created specifically for an ad campaign. It usually sits on a subdomain of your website where it is not accessible by your main website visitors.

A dedicated landing page is NOT a deep link within your website.

Why is a dedicated landing page not a deep link within your website? Well, when you’re running online ads you’re paying for the people who click to visit your website. Those people didn’t do a random google search to get to your site, a very specific message caught their attention and enticed them to click.

When they land on your web page you want to make sure to show them only information that is really relevant to what made them click the ad. You want to make sure they stay focused on that information and don’t get lost clicking around through your whole site before bouncing away leaving you with negative ROI.

Dedicated landing pages tend to convert at a much higher rate than pages within a website because they are so relevant and focused.

Today I want to review some Facebook ads and their landing pages. I’ll point out what I like about each set and where I think improvements can be made. Hopefully these assessments will help you in thinking about your own Facebook ad campaigns (including landing pages!).

Let’s get started!

Facebook Ad Campaigns Critiqued for Conversion

Example #1: Extole Marketing

What I like:

  • The ad headline says “Referral Marketing Guide” and the headline for the landing page says “Get Your Referral Marketing Guide” this message match lets the visitor know right away that she is in the right spot.
  • The ad copy talks about “Word of mouth marketing” and the landing page sub-headline also talks about word of mouth marketing again reinforcing that the visitor has landed on a page that is relevant to her interest.
  • The landing page is very focused on one clear call-to-action and includes an easily scannable bulleted list of its top selling points.

What I Don’t Like:

  • The ad refers to viewing a “best practices guide” but the landing page refers to “the ultimate guide.” If I were interested in a quick guide with a few of the top tips the idea of what sounds like a heavy “ultimate” guide might steer me away from converting.

Example #2: Zulily

What I Like:

  • The ad provides a really compelling offer that immediately grabs my interest (55% off, from $17!).
  • The ad also provides a sense of urgency for clicking now (TODAY! Ends soon, shop now!).
  • The picture of the bright colored dresses really grabs my attention.

What I Don’t Like:

  • The landing page is gated; you have to sign up for a membership before you can even look at the merchandise. If I like the merchandise than I’ll be much more willing to sign up for an account.
  • Behind the sign up/sign in popup, I can see the dresses that are for sale. However, none of them really fall in line with the image used in the ad that compelled me to click. The dresses in the ad were all solid, bright colors and the dresses immediately shown on the landing page are mostly dark and patterned.
  • The ad indicated that the sale would be ending TODAY however the landing page shows that there is still over a day left to the sale. That might make me think I can come back later and still take advantage of it instead of converting right away.
  • The ad very specifically mentioned “55% off” and dresses “starting at $17” however, neither of these two price points are indicated anywhere that I can see on the landing page. It’s possible behind the popup I could see that dresses are 55% off but if I never sign up for a membership I’ll never know. That popup barrier to entry can be a real problem for conversions.

Example #3: Vyvanse 

What I Like:

  • The ad headline and copy are clear and easy to understand.
  • The ad copy includes a call-to-action “Learn more…”
  • The ad copy talks about “your child” and the ad image is of a child which matches nicely.
  • An image of a child is much more compelling than a product shot of pills or a bottle of medicine.
  • The landing page headline includes the keyterm “ADHD” in it to match up with the ad headline nicely.

What I Don’t Like:

  • The child on the landing page is not the same child as shown in the ad. When an image matches between the ad and landing page the visitor has a clear visual indicator that she is in the right spot.
  • There is no quick or clear call-to-action on the landing page.
  • There is a lot of copy and no visual cues as to where you should find the most important information.
  • The copy is very sterile. I would rewrite the copy so that it is more geared towards parents who are concerned about their children. It could have a more emotional/soft element to it.

Of these three Facebook ad and landing page examples I think the first one is really great.  I could pick through it with a fine-toothed comb and come up with a few things to change or a/b test, but overall I would expect that the campaign is converting well based on the mechanics of it. 

The other two examples serve as reminders that even though something looks good doesn’t mean it is good. These campaigns look nice at first glance but there are serious usability and conversion barriers that most likely keep them from converting as well as they should.

Get Started Now! 

So what should you do now? Think about how you might set up your own Facebook ad campaigns. Our Beginner’s Guide to Tracking Facebook ROI is a great post to read if you’re serious about Facebook advertising.

If you have any questions feel free to leave us a comment or contact us today! 

Google Enhanced Campaigns: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

By | PPC | No Comments


(Image from CopyPress


The accused: Google (the biggest website in the world). You may have heard of them. 

Their pleaThey make money without being evil.

The alleged crime: They make money while being evil.

The evidence: The introduction of Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns.

Background to the Case

If your business is currently running AdWords campaigns, you should have seen Google’s new  message telling them that their account will be upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns in a few months’ time.

Towards the middle of 2013, everyone on Google AdWords will be forced to change to Enhanced Campaigns- whether they like it or not.

Advertisers previously had control over what type of device their ads were destined for.
Soon, your campaigns will not have the capability to target distinguish between desktop and tablet (big difference in some industries). However, they will  have some control over display on smartphones using “custom bid adjustments”.


The Case for the Defense

Mobile is here to stay: We should all be creating campaigns for all possible devices. All our client has done is make sure we do. Our ads will now appear all over the place and that’s the way it should be.

Context: Our client has made it easier to adjust for time of day, location as well as device, so it’s now possible to target your pizza campaign towards hungry workers within a 3 mile radius of your business at 7pm on Tuesday night.

New ad extension features: There’s an abundance of things we can do now that we couldn’t before, like showing the right ad extension on the right device. For example, showing a click to call extension to those looking at us on mobile.

It’s simple: Creating individual campaigns to target individual devices was fiddly and tiresome. Our client has made it easier.

Money? Evil?: Our client only wants the best of their customers: they’re trying to help us make money by reaching out to audiences in a relevant way, but if they happen to make some money along the way, who does it hurt?


The Case for the Prosecution

Loss of control: It’s now difficult for the unwary to run smartphone-only or desktop-only campaigns. There are workarounds using those “custom bid adjustments” but running campaigns using percentage adjustments will inevitably cause confusion and over-spending for struggling business people.

Damned inconvenience: PPC managers will now have to go back to the drawing board and restructure all their existing campaigns, basically because the accused has changed their minds again.

Motive: Profits: plain and simple. Recently, Google has experienced a hit in profits. We believe that this loss of control will result in higher CPC costs for innocent business people and more moolah for the multi-squillionaires at Google (PPC Hero have spoken about this). CPC costs for mobile and desktop are relatively low at the moment but who’s betting they stay that way?

Evidence: This is all new, but there’s one case study over a short period of time that shows an increase in tablet CPC costs

Verdict: The jury’s still out. (You knew that was going to happen, didn’t you?)