PPC roundup: April 2012

Well folks, April marked a rather busy month for Google as they implemented a variety of changes and additions to AdWords ranging from the “pretty good” to the “so shockingly bad that #PPCChat erupted with all the fury of the internets”. Bing’s paid search continues to run with that old adage, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, resembling Google’s results more and more as each day goes by. Paid search in general just continues to generate revenue like mad as people (wisely) hop on the PPC train. And to round things off, our resident derisive blogger (Joel Lumsden) has already introduced us to the concept of Google Glass but just in case you missed out, we provide a bit of PPC perspective on the issue.


paid search accounts for nigh on half of $31 billion of revenue generated through online advertising last year

Not only does search advertising maintain a massive 47% share of the 31£ billion of revenue driven through digital advertising last year, but it’s on the rise and shows no signs of slowing, increasing its percentage as more and more money is poured into internet marketing. Not to mention, the £15 billion generated by paid search alone represents a 27% increase from 2010’s revenue.


extensions, reviews, images and now badges: “Trusted Stores” joins AdWords

Retailers may be pleased to hear that Google’s Trusted Stores program, which is meant to encourage more clicks to store’s websites via a wee badge attesting that the store upholds some basic customer service standards, is now being integrated with AdWords. As Parker explains, said retailers will have to submit an application and offer up a decent performance history of their service provision — from timely shipping to satisfying unsatisfied customers.

Then again, Google alleges that becoming a Trusted Store won’t suddenly bump up one’s ad position, nor is the badge entirely clear to the average internet user. If someone doesn’t think to hover over it and review the positive information about the store, it may do no more good than the pre-existing seller reviews that you see in the form of stars on search results.


ratings are now running on Bing ads

Speaking of our starry friends, merchant reviews now display in Bing search ads (in much the same way that they do on Google). In spite of acting the copycat once again, Ballard and Brennan opine that this will make Bing more competitive against Google – at the least, I agree that this inclusion will probably get more people clicking.


Google revamps location targeting options on the heels of Microsoft

I posted about Adcenter’s location refinements earlier, but it’s all about AdWords this month, with a Google announcement that they are trying to make these options more powerful.

The changes range from the minor – clarifying the language they use, to the major – targeting people’s location regardless of their intent and expanding to offer greater control in the Display Network. Similar to Microsoft, there’s an American-centred focus in play, enabling campaigns to be targeted by zip codes. With current geo-targeting technologies being what they are in the UK, it’s unlikely that Google will attempt this level of detail over here at the moment, but we never know what’s round the corner. Sean at PPC Hero delineates the other important changes in a much more readable way than Google (IMO) over here.


the ability to actually track conversion data from your ad extensions: the future is now

With nary an official announcement, eagle-eyed marketers picked up on the fact that you can now collect data from your ad extensions – the extra hyperlinks that sometimes display under the normal ad. This means that you can see whether someone who converted on your site (bought a product, submitted an enquiry, etc.) entered your website from the main ad text or clicked on one of your extensions. Lee details the process of setting this up.

Sarah at PPC Hero breaks this down a bit more for us and is able to realize for the first time that her ad extensions enjoy a good click-through rate. This means that there is a good ratio between the number of impressions, or times that your ad displays on Google, and the number of clicks. However, she observes that these extensions aren’t really driving conversions, which leads her to conclude that she should test some different ones. As Lee notes: the good news is that you can analyze your extensions against different days of the week, the normal ads and other metrics, but the bad news is that this data is pulled together in aggregate, so you cannot test per extension.

AdWords for video has deployed on Youtube

Keeping the AdWords train rolling, Google’s put out an official announcement that they’ve created PPC for videos; a clever strategy, considering the audience that Youtube enjoys and the expense involved in airing a traditional commercial—on top of that, you’re able to manage your campaigns from your normal AdWords account.

Allen expands on this with some useful screenshots and it seems like a reasonably fair system which should pose no threat to those hoping to understand it. For a start, there are “match types” that let you choose when your ad appears in the video: pre-roll, the end of videos, in the related videos or in the search results. Combine this with Facebook-style demographic / interest / topic targeting and Analytics that will let you study what users did on your channel after clicking your ad — best of all, you won’t pay for users who skip your ad or for repeat viewings!

So, what sort of businesses do you think could benefit the most from this type of PPC?


your new ad rotation strategy options: auto-optimize, because Google knows better than you

You know how it’s common practice to split-test your ads for a good period of time so  you can collect enough data to determine which ad copy is statistically better than the other variants you’re using? You know how marketers therefore tend to rotate their ads evenly because they know what they’re doing and can make their own decisions about which ads work for which campaigns? Well forget all of that because you can now only rotate your ads for 30 days before Google locks in on whatever is generating the most clicks (because clicks are the only variable we care about, obviously) and starts displaying this text way more often than the others you use. You can read Google’s post on their blog but I would propose a more apt title for it: “All Your Clicks Are Belong To Us: Google and the Search for More Money”.


Project Glass: any step towards becoming a cyborg is a good step (unless you’re becoming a hipster cyborg)

Innovative in the same way that the Wii was or the first tablet computer, this concept will undoubtedly get ripped-off and repackaged by competitors  — all of which underscores Boyd’s point that this technology will have to be heavily adopted to become successful.

I don’t claim to know better than anyone else how good (or affordable) this technology will be or how easy it’ll be to get to grips with, but my initial reaction of curiosity isn’t much altered. I have to confess I’m mostly interested in the prospect of Google Maps at eyeball-level, considering how geographically-challenged I tend to be, but I am a bit concerned at being perceived as a sociopath when talking to my glasses (I’m aware that other products have presented this problem but I don’t as of yet own any of them) — or worse, being perceived as a hipster or general doofus.

Honestly, I’m still at the point of considering this product from the perspective of a consumer evaluating tempting, shiny things rather than a marketer craftily thinking of when and where to slide in the PPC ads. However, it’s bound to happen eventually and challenge advertisers in terms of figuring out the best targeting options for the device. For example, if you were already out and wanted to do a Foursquare-type search to find somewhere to eat, paid search ads could display alongside the organic results — and well-written ones would certainly attract your attention! If you’re out and about, you may very well want an option that provides speedy service or be keen to see who’s running a tempting special offer near you, and the copy of the ad may prove more persuasive than the normal results. It will certainly be interesting to see the form that PPC takes in forthcoming devices like this, at any rate.

Anyways, check out Project Glass here. What’s your opinion of it?

Thumbnail image courtesy of seroundtable.com

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