So today we’re talking about the future of PPC, but PPC is changing so fast we can barely keep up with the here and now. So, I’m going to look at a couple of recent changes in the market – then discuss some of the newest things happening in the industry. I think this will lead us into some key points about the future, but honestly I think the biggest possible changes to come, might be problems with privacy regulations – as a few people keep trying to push laws through that will limit our ability to track online traffic and usage.I’m all for privacy, but if you’re a PPC veteran you’ll know that not being able to track specific results from your ads could literally kill our ability to create, or prove ROI from PPC channels. So watch out for this.
Now, I’m sure everyone in this room knows about Bing and Yahoo merging, right? So, Bing and Yahoo have merged and now you use the Microsoft Adcenter to manage ads that show up on both. One thing I can say I hope we see in the future of PPC, is that the Microsoft Adcenter upgrades to a better User Interface. – It might just be me, but it feels very archaic compared to Google and others – and needs to be updated.In fact there was just an article about this yesterday because microsoft’s Q1 revenue was not what they expected it to be after the merger – partly to due with Yahoo advertisers disappointment in lacking capabilities of the Adcenter platform.
They have already done some cool things, like made it super easy to import a Google campaign into Adcenter. This is perfect, because most companies want to be on Google first anyway, then if there is some success, move to Bing/yahoo. But just for efficiency, its great to be able to build out your campaigns and ad groups in one engine, and then port them over to another. So simply following a quick export from Google, and import to Adcenter – and bam, you’re entire Google campaign structure is live on Adcenter in about 15 minutes. And then of course, you can manage it independently from there.
The future of pay-per-click on Adcenter is basically that they will continue to add services in that Google already has. For instance, they recently announced the use of Quality Score.It may be slightly different, as they’ve discussed using asubscore system that looks at keyword, landing page relevance, and landing page user experience, which could differ slightly from how Google measures it.But, since we can assume Microsoft will continue to copy Google, lets go ahead and look at what Google has going on.
We’re probably all getting a little dizzy by the constant changes in Adwords. Seems like about every time I login there is some new message about the new interface, the new settings, the new options. Overall though, improvement is good – so I’d rather see that than no changes at all. This is one of those “future” points though… the options that google continues to implement means less and less need for 3rd party management tools. Now of course, there is always a benefit to some people for these tools, like cross engine integration, etc. – but as for google alone, if you can spend some time to learn about the settings and options in Adwords, you really have no need for these additional tools.
Some tools that may be helpful, but aren’t necessarily new, are ones like the Opportunities section which basically hands you new keywords and budget change recommendations.Of course you have to be careful – its just an automated system grabbing these items, but if used properly, its like having an assistant always looking for something new to add to your campaigns.Then there are things like the Traffic Estimator, which can help plan for expectations., and the ad preview tool where you can see if your ad is showing up, and what the overall SERP looks like with your ad and others.
How many of you have looked at the additional tabs available, and maybe used these to improve your campaigns?One that I like for tighter targeting of your network is Audience settings. Setting up your audiences does require some additional code on your site, so it’s not just a click-and-play option – but with a little setup it can be a great addition to your ability to target your marketing audience.So basically you are able to set up code that segments groups of visitors on your site into audiences, then you can use this data to fine-tune your ad message to unique audience segments.
Another GREAT one is Dimension reporting. Lots of great options in here to see your data in more valuable ways…Like, your normal reports, or campaign screens show you last 7 days, last month, this month, etc – but what about being able to see Over the course of a pre-determined time, what happens on average, on different days of the week. Like here, I am able to see that for the month of March, Tuesday is my worst performing day on average, with a lower conversion rate, and higher cost per conversion.Or how about hours of the day – where we can connect which hours of the day perform best for conversions. Another cool one is impression share… which if your from a traditional marketing background you would relate this to Share of Voice. So this metric now tells you of all of the impressions available (or search inventory) what percentage did your ads actually gain visibility. It’s a great marketing metric, that I find to be highly underutilized.
Another great tool available that I don’t see getting used very often is the Contextual Targeting Tool. This is meant for the display or content network campaigns, but is highly useful in all other areas of campaign creation as well.So you go in and insert a bunch of primary keyterms related to your campaign, and then Google finds more, AND breaks them out for you into relative ad groups. There’s more you can do with this, but I don’t have time to get into it today. Basically you choose the ones you like, export to Adwords Editor, finish them up with ad copy, or whatever else you need to do and push them up to your account.Again, great tools that have saved me dozens of hours creating high-performing campaigns.
Now this one is brand new. I’ve started using the rules in the last couple weeks, but I don’t have enough data to tell you what works and what doesn’t.The premise of this though, is that you can now set rules, which used to only be available through 3rd party management tools (or you did it all manually).Rules can be set at the campaign, ad group, or keyword level. A rule that I suspect a lot of people will use, is the CPC Bid rule. As an example, you can set a rule that says if your position drops below number 2, 3, whatever, increase your bid by x dollar amount, or percentage – and then you can set a new maximum bid for the rule itself.If you ever used Position Preference in Google, which allowed you to specify what position or range of position you want your keywords to show up in…You probably heard that this month they discontinued that feature – so this automated rule setting will allow you to do something similar.
The last tool is not a new tool at all, but one that was merged with Adwords not too long ago, is Website Optimizer.If you’re not already testing your landing pages, and using Optimizer to A/B test – you should be… especially now that its within your Adwords account, and its just that much easier to setup and manage.Simply find it under the reporting and tools tab, setup a new experiment – and bam, its all manageable right from Adwords.
The last thing I want to talk about today is the addition in Google of Long Titles. Now Google is saying that the new long title option is improving click through rate by about 6% across the board.One reason may be this… notice how the old style ads look very different from organic listings. Organic listings traditionally have longer titles and descriptions.So possibly Google took to heart studies that show 60 – 70% of people prefer to click on organic ads, and decided to make these look and feel a bit more like organic. Notice how the new structure mingles very seamlessly with organic ads?
To make your titles work in the long format, its very simple. Go into your ads. Make sure that the first line of description works well as a sentence with the title. And be sure that the first line ends in some sort of punctuation. Period. Exclamation, or question mark.The ad preview screen will show you whether or not your title will show as standard or long. In this case, notice that the only variance is the punctuation at the end. It makes all the difference.
The Future of PPC by Scott Orth
The Future of Pay-per-Click<br />Scott OrthInternet Marketing Consultant<br />www.ScottOrth.com<br />