SES Toronto 2010 Live Blogging: Advanced Paid Search Tactics

Anne F. Kennedy, SES Advisory Board, International Search Strategist, Beyond Ink USA

Matt Rogers, Manager, Online Sales, Google
Andrew Goodman, SES Advisory Board & President, Page Zero Media
Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board & Head of Search/Associate Director, Mediavest
Jeff Lancaster, Managing Director, Outrider

First up Matt Rogers from Google

The next generation of adwords bidding – conversion optimizer is a new tool by Google Adwords. Matt feels the potential this tool has is really outstanding. It automatically manages your bids to increase conversion with a target CPA feature.

They’ve seen this tool increase conversions by 21% and decreased CPA by 14%

Like most predictive tools the more volume you push through it the better it will work. You set your target or maximum CPA, conversion optimizer analyzes each auction. The tool analyzes why users convert sometimes, and others don’t, including things like user location, browser operating system, time of day, and applies these metrics to refine your campaign.

for every auction it analyzes things like specific words in the query, broad vs exact match, historical performance, match quality between the ad and site content, current content on the site – all of these things together allow the tool to make fairly good predictive measures.

Of course it’s a free tool, because this is Google after all.

Quality Score

what do you not know?
quality score determines thee eligibitliyt of your ad for any auction, and position. It also determines if your ad is of high enough quality to show ad sitelinks – those ad sitelinks are a lot like organic search site links. Ads with a high quality score might get extra exposure via ad-sitelinks.

Obviously high qa reduces price, and allows you to get to the top spot, but also, you need to have a high quality score for dynamic keyword insertion to be enabled.

click through rate, other relevance factors and the landing page combine to produce your quality score. It’s better to focus your time on quality scores that are less than 7, and focus on getting them up to a 10 – he recommends not worrying about 8s and 9s.

Landing page quality is only really used to police serious offenders of landing page guidelines, but doesn’t help to boost your quality score.

Impression share reporting

impression share is a new adwords metric that represents how much your ad was shown of all impressions available for that keyword. You can improve your impression share by increasing budget, or improving quality, or refining targetting.

Next up is Andrew Goodman

Andrew says things are getting more complicated, and a lot of people are ‘underthinking’ things in PPC these days.

How to be smart vs just rational – it’s natrual for us to be as stupid as we can get away with. For example, trying to get to a target CPA, our first instinct may be to reduce our bid amount.  Rules or random? We create some basic mental rules, and naturally we don’t always follow the rules we set out for ourselves – so use software, he mentions Acquisio creating a bid management tool that lets you create your own rule sets. Rules based tools have evolved and allow things like simulations, and of course e-mail notification when your specific rule targets are met.

Quality score promotes relevance

  • ad position determined by AdRank
  • adrank = QS x max bid, by keyword
  • quality score recomuted each query, each auction
  • makes money for google
  • makes search users happy
  • new accounts need to establish history.

what google actually says – CTR is mentioned over and over again – landing pages are mentioned, but really landing page quality is not a factor for calculating a keywrod targetted ad position, it’s only a factor in extremes.

So why do we have low quality scores? Sometimes a 4 or a 5 seems endemic to an industry – looking at an example of a company bidding on anything to do with ’salary’, QS clearly shows the keywords that appeal to employees searching for information performing worse than those appealing to employers.

New accounts need care and feeding – new accounts are different. You have to really get granular, pause or just don’t launch the larger broader keywords at first, build up some history on the granular. Be very tight for new campaigns to get the QS ball rolling

Match types – new modified broad match allows you to require multiple individual keywords, so +candy +wholesalers will match for “candy cane wholesalers” and “rate candy toronto wholesalers” – this is often an easier way to get a better CPA, but unlike the old broad match it’s harder to discover terms and extend campaigns.

What makes ads work? Test ads against ads – you want ads to filter well, but you want a high CTR – this isn’t a natural match, so you really have to test test test your ads against one another to try and find the very few ads that can seem to do both, filter out the useless traffic but manage a good click through rate. This is a combination of testing ads against ads and being diligent with their match types. provides a free tool to compare multiple ads against one another – Andrew recommends this tool.

Jon Myers is up next from MediaVest UK

Tip 1 – budget optimization

a useful process is to use something like a PPC decision tree, almost a flow chart – a paid search is either converting for you or not converting for you. Is it not converting, is it getting a lot of clicks? It’s really about how are my keywords working ofr me or how are they not working for me?

Tip  – google’s search query tool

search query reporting provide highlights of negative keywords you may want to apply – the way to get reach is to use broad match, but that can be detrimental. He likes to start with a lot of broad match in a campaign, then use the search query reports and start adding a lot of negative keywords, and pluck out a lot of exact matches. So it’s a transition from braod (with reach) to exact (with better CTR and QS)

The search based keyword tool can also be useful – it looks at your landing page, suggested search terms, suggested bids and a lot of other information that applies to paid search. It’s not just about keywords in the market, but a lot of specific information about your own site and setting up an effective campaign

Tip 3 – adgooroo by true visibility

Adgooroo is a tool that looks at what your competitors are doing in the marketplace – it fairly intuitively maps your efforts against the competitors. It’s a great way to see how, and what, your competitors are doing. It also allows you to do creative comparisons, again, against your competitors. Which ads are working best ofr your competitors? Good information.

it’s about fifty dollars a month and worth every penny. Google themselves have just released an ‘alayze your competition’ feature right within your Adwords account. This is a little bit like what adgooroo offers. It’s not specific, but they agregate data and let you compare your work against non-specific competitors

Tip 4 – site links

if your QS is high enough you’ll have an option in your account to enable or implement site links on your ads – they look a bit like organic site links, but of course if you’re lucky enough to be able to enable them, they certainly help CTR. One tip, you can’t differentiate the site links that you include, so slap on some tracking to the URLs you supply for your site links if you want to gain specific insight.

Sitelinks are just working on brands right now, but they’re definitely going to expand to non-brand related keywords in the very near future, so start bidding.

tip 5 – google ad planner and content network

ad planner allows you to

identify websites your target customers are likely to visit

define audience by demographics and interests

search for websites relevant to your target audience

access unique users, page view,s and other data for millions of websites

crete lists of website where you’d like to advertise

Ad planner’s best aspect is allowing you to sift through sites by demographic, look at a number of metrics abou the specific sites, and then directly import these sites into a targeted content network campaign in your adwords account. This includes things like placement targeting and ‘above the fold’ targeting, which is quite handy.

tip 5.5 – look at your change history – it shows you every little change that gets made to your campaign. If you don’t run it hands on yourself, you may gain a lot of insight into what exactly the managers of your campaign are doing day to day.

Jeff from Outcaster is up next

another 5 tips presentation

tip 1 – consider account restructuring – taking your top performers and creating ‘hero’ campaigns. A good approach is to take the best performing aspects of your campaign, and literally break them off into separate top-performing ‘hero’ campaigns. Give them their own ads, specific landing pages etc. For the most important keywords give them their own ad-groups for really granular control over things. SEO the heck out of the landing pages you’re using (a lot of classic SEO techniques apply to PPC landing pages).

Tip 2 – make adding negatives a regular part of your weekly routine

this may be a basic tip but it bears repetition – the search query report should be part of your weekly routine to find new negative keywords regularly. Intent might change as markets change, news and current events can cause account pollution – but if you’re consistently checking the query report, you’re in the best position to keep your campaigns lean and mean. Pretty soon there are going to be no restrictions on negative matching for Yahoo and Microsoft.

3 – Funnel reporting

Funnel reports only came out in march – they allow you to see which keywords had the most ‘assists’  (impressions, click through etc) further up the funnel, and what keywords might have affected a conversion beyond the ‘last click’ that result most directly in it. People don’t always convert the very first time they come across your site, so this tool lets you see the larger process of what happened, which can shed light on how your conversions are actually occurring.

Sometimes a very generic term can be the initial point of contact with a new surfer, and you wouldn’t realize that if they don’t convert until they come back and search for your brand name – so eliminating those generic terms could be a negative thing to do, but you wouldn’t  know it if you’re only ever looking at the last click before conversion. These ‘assist’ metrics can help you understand your larger campaign from a better perspective.

4 – Ad group transition path report

This is a report within funnel reporting called ‘top paths’. This needs to be linked to your Analytics account or you have to be using Adwords conversion tracking – it lets you basically get a sense of the paths that conversions are taking through your website. This provides opportunities to refine your landing pages – if you notice people who convert always clicking away from your initial landing page to a specific piece of information located elsewhere, it’s a good sign that you might want to include that information directly on the initial landing page they surfer is presented with.

5 – Test Facebook PPC ads

Facebook is almost an emerging content network – you can do ‘uber-targeted’ campaigns which combine geographic and interest targeting which sometimes works great for specific advertisers achieving a solid ROI. Engagement ads direve to fan pages, but standard ads can drive off network to your website – and a major bonus is that you can get tonnes of cheap impressions and spread awareness. It’s good for branding in other words. It doesn’t work for every advertiser, but every now and then you’ll find a sweet spot for a specific advertiser where Facebook is just the right network.

Jeff also has a slide on Adgooroo, and mentions that it’s a particularly good tool for Canadian advertisers, because they give CND specific stats and information. It’s got great regional perspective information, better than many US-centric tools and networks.

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