Adwords Ads disappear from Google’s right hand margin

AdWords competition just hotted up significantly!

No right hand column ads

Google are no longer showing ads on the right hand column of Google searches on desktops.
This means the number of ad slots to show your ads has reduced from 11 to 3 or 4 at best.
Previously up to 3 ads were shown at the top of each page (these usually attract most of the clicks) and the remainder were shown in the right hand column to a total of 11.   Previously it was possible to tune ads to appear in positions 4-6 – the top positions on the right hand margin – but no more.
Now to be seen you’ll need to bidding for one of the top 3 or 4 slots or try to sneak into the 3 ads at the page bottom.

What does this mean for your online campaign?

Google have removed the option to place ads in ‘cheaper’ ad slots by removing them altogether…
Click costs will jump significantly in the scramble for visibility in the remaining ad slots which of course wont hurt Google’s revenues…

Is it the end of ‘budget bidding’ ?

‘Budget bidding’ ads can be now placed at the bottom of the search page
I’m not convinced. Who scrolls to the bottom of a Google search ?


Monitor your campaigns ad impressions/clicks to make sure you are getting the exposure you need to generate sales
Steel yourself for a click budget review

Using Adwords Ad Extensions? If not, why not!

Paying good money to Google to show ads to attract prospective clients? Then it’s definitely worthwhile investing a couple of minutes to understand how Adwords Ad Extensions can attract more leads for you and your business.

Ad Extensions are small snippets of additional information added to your ads to encourage punters to click your Ad rather than a competitor’s. Here’s a brief video overview on Ad extensions:

Now you know more about Ad Extensions, this video shows you how to find out how well they are performing.

Cant see any Ad Extension data ? rush out and set them up now
Or maybe your Adwords Service Provider hasnt set them up for you!

Get them to do it now! Alternatively give me a call and Ill do it for you.






AdWords announces integrated Call Tracking

Google is now providing Call Tracking in its AdWords campaigns.

Prior, you would have to engage an external digital telephony provider to get a trackable number and Analytics integration to trace call leads from your Adwords campaign. Now you can manage this from within the AdWords campaign – and it is ‘free’… Well you don’t have to pay any more than the the click costs…

This will allow you to track inbound calls generated as leads from your AdWords campaign to reveal your best converting keywords etc a key piece of online marketing data.
When you’ve established this, you can then apply this in your organic search effort as well. Read more in Google’s announcement.

Mobile phone callers are an important channel, with smartphones used increasingly for online product research, followed by the seductively convenient “click to call” to make a call based enquiry direct from your website & or Ads. The new Adwords offering also works for inbound landline calls too although it does take a bit of digestion to get your head around how and why Google have used dynamic telephone numbers generated ‘at each ad click’.

Avanser a prominent Australian digital telephony provider noted that the Adwords Call tracking was not a fully rounded offering such as their offerings.

Why AdWords ‘Close Variants’ removal might Cost You More

Google AdWords has announced that they will be removing the option to choose a Close Variants Only setting from your Adwords campaign. Even if you’re busy, don’t have time or energy time to digest this gibberish, take a second and you might prevent wasting your AdWords budget.

This background might help you understand why this change is important for you:

A KEYWORD is not (always) the same as a SEARCH TERM

Understanding the difference between a KEYWORD and SEARCH TERM will help retain your sanity in this discussion:

  • Keywords: You want your ads to be displayed for these words.
  • Search Terms These are the searches that Google decides to show your ads  for


Why is there a difference ?

AdWords loosely matches your campaign keywords with punter’s searches, which can be helpful for your ads to be seen in related searches such as:

  • typos
  • misspellings
  • synonyms

But as smart as Google tries to be, is it doesn’t always get the matching right. In fact in some AdWords Account reviews, I’ve identified up to 30% of clicks that are not relevant. You might also be interested to know that the largest amount of work for ongoing AdWords support is identifying search term mis-matches (ie wasted clicks) then applying negative keywords to prevent Google from using that dead expense again.


What are Close Variants?

No it’s not about a friendly group of related people… Close Varants is  abasic setting minimising mismatch between your selected keywords and prospect searches. It was one step toward bounding Google’s enthusiastic attempts to attract more, often unrelated clicks.

They’re just being helpful.. oh and taking more of your more money too…


What is AdWords changing?

“In late September’ Google are removing the Close Variant option in AdWords accounts.

How will this impact me?

If your campaign AdWords campaign uses the Close Variants Option, you will notice a jump in ‘loosely matched’ clicks with the possibility that many will not be sales leads. Even though you’re busy you might still notice your sales leads drop slightly, so you’ll throw more money at AdWords to compensate.

Your most cost-effective approach will be to:

  • reduce/avoid broad matching in your campaign
  • monitor search term reports closely
  • frenetically add negative keywords to prevent future irrelevant search term matching
  • monitor conversions to target and benchmark your best converting search terms


Mobile Advertising is ramping up

Mobile advertising is increasing at a blinding rate, reflecting the dramatic increase in use of mobile internet devices to research and buy online.  eMarketer’s report says mobile advertising will be around $17.73 billion in 2014  so we should be considering how to leverage this massively increasing market going forward.

Yes the advertising spend is enormous, and notably Google is loosing marketing share (although not revenues as Greg Sterling adeptly points outs) because:

Google rules the desktop
On the desktop Google is the gate-keeper between you and the info you seek. If you want to find something you use a search engine, and most people use Google.

Apps rules mobiles
On a mobile, info is directly delivered to you typically by apps, effectively bypassing Google.

Advertising on  mobiles

So how do you get your advertising message onto mobile devices? App embedded Google AdWords of course!
The advertising that free apps usually display is often sourced from Google Adwords via its Display Network

As an advertiser the same rules apply: you can target adverts by geographical regions, demographics etc but they are mainly image ads.
The click prices on mobiles are currently slightly lower than Desktops – although Im sure that will change with increasing competition. 😉

Your next sales lead could come from a prospect who was using a mobile app and saw your ad, rather than a Google search…

Now Adwords is going Dark too…

Business website owners who closely monitor their site’s performance are painfully aware that Google has been increasingly masking the searches visitors used to find your site. In a further development Google announced yesterday they are now applying search term masking to AdWords as well.

I’m steeling myself to not fall into a rant about Google controlling the internet for their own COMMERCIAL PURPOSES and will now CALMLY describe how this might impact your Adwords campaigns…

How AdWords search terms are used currently

Adwords matches your declared target terms to as many searches as possible (keyword matching syntax will influence this**), so lets say I wanted my ads to be shown to folks searching for Internet Marketing Adelaide. Adwords may match and show my ads to searches like:

  • cheap marketing ($8.25 a click)
  • seo adelaide ( $43.29 a click!)
  • marketing courses ($ $15.08)

I wouldn’t want to pay for the clicks for cheap marketing or marketing courses because they don’t relate to my business, but unless you can see the actual searches (usually via the AdWords Search Term Report) and negative these terms out of your campaign you would be blithely unaware and simply pay more money to Google for even more clicks hoping to get some real sales leads…

 ** An astute Adwords operator will use Keyword Matching to reduce the probability of this sample of mis-matching – but even after thoroughly doing this, you still can’t be certain what other mis-matches Adwords will make to reduce the effectiveness (read ROI) of your campaign unless you know what the punters ACTUALLY searched for. At that point you need to make a business decision about whether the matched search is sales-relevant and then use negative keyword(s) to eliminate that search from re-occurring in the future.

Where do we go from here ?

The critical thing with Adwords tuning is eliminating mis-matched keywords to get the best possible outcomes (ie conversions)
It’s really easy to waste heaps of clicks (ie your $$$) on terms that are close to, but are not, sales lead generators.

I think Google is in a really compromising situation here and needs to demonstrate clearly that they are not trying to rip us off, because it looks like Google has chosen to mask data that helps reduce your advertising spend with them…

Google’s financials show Cost per Click has dropped

Think your business is doing well ? Google turned over a very healthy $16.86 billion in the quarter ending Dec 2103
Unsurprisingly AdWords click revenues increased 31% from 2012, but I was very surprised to read that the Average Cost per Click dropped 11% from the previous year and approximately 2% over the previous quarter… Really ?

Delve into the detail here:


AdWords Trademark Policy Update

For years AdWords has enforced a strict policy on PPC advertisers that prevented them from using Trademarks in their campaigns as either search terms or displayed in Ads.

This has created problems for some resellers of trademarked products and there have been some notable legal disputes in Australia as well.  In April 2013 a quietly released update to the Adwords Trademark policy changed this dramatically for Australians, with Google standardising its trademark policy.

Notably Google says: Google will not investigate or restrict the use of trademark terms in keywords, even if a trademark complaint is received.
However Google may restrict the use of a trademarked term in ad text  

Trademark owners can submit complaints, but Google will do limited investigations…

One small step for man Google, one giant step backwards for Trademarks.


AdWords Ad Extensions

AdWords provides a series of Ad Extensions that additional structured content to be added to your AdWords ads. Leveraging this ability provides several significant benefits for your online advertising:

Increased visibility
The ad extensions are displayed under your ads making the ads’ over-all footprint larger. The bigger your ad, the more obvious it is and so there is a increased chance prospects will therefore notice and click on your ads. Your larger footprint ad also displaces your competitor’s ads.

Reinforce your preferred Call to Action
By judiciously selection, the ad extension can encourage outcomes that are consistent with your preferred conversion path eg

  • If you prefer clients Phone you then use Call Extensions
  • Location Extension help guide personal shoppers to your business
  • SiteLinks help coax searchers into your website
  • etc

Build your Credibility
As we all know referral sales are the best, so now you can now include testimonials in Review Extensions

There more extensions as well and new ones keep appearing, so select the most appropriate Ad Extensions to keep your ads prominent.




Adding AdWords conversion tracking to a WordPress site

If you are using AdWords, you may be painfully aware that its easy to spend lots of money on clicks and not get a result.
Measuring the outcomes from your click investment is key to optimising your campaign and of course reducing click costs. AdWords has a number of features that can help you track outcomes or ‘Conversions’ but these need to be implemented to be used.

Internet marketing jargon for measuring and tuning website sales outcomes is Conversion Optimisation

What is your Conversion?

The process starts with defining what a conversion is for your website… Maybe your site, like many, doesnt sell stuff online, so tracking ecommerce transactions is just not relevant to you. Consider your site’s online sales objective(s).  Is it:

  • Submitting an enquiry
  • Downloading a document or PDF
  • Registering for a newsletter

These sales objectives can be readily tracked as conversions, then used as input to your AdWords campaign for tuning and/or reporting.

Once the target conversion is known then the AdWords conversion tracking scripts will need to be configured and installed into your site.
These scripts are only installed only on one page – the page immediately after the ‘conversion’ .  This could be a bit of a daunting process with WordPress, but the Smart Google Code plugin makes this delightfully easy.

Once your conversion tracking code is installed sit back and wait for some data and conversions to percolate through the system
Add the conversion tracking fields into your AdWords displays

Sample AdWords Conversion Data

Sample AdWords Conversion Data

As we can see above, the Click Through Rate (CTR) shows 3.5%  which is typically all you would be able to determine.
With conversion tracking enabled, we can see that 391 clicks produced 57 conversions, resulting in a conversion rate of 14.6%  or $23.10 per conversion – this is much more commercially informative information.