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How to Create Your First Video Campaign for AdWords

More people are on YouTube than any cable segment in the United States, which means there is a huge audience there that will only continue to grow. And when you create your campaign, remember that mobile is just as important with video as it is for other AdWords ads since more than half of video views are on a mobile device.

Video presents such as a unique way to connect with the right people. Since they can like, share, and subscribe to your videos – rather than simply click – it’s a much different experience than user behavior on a typical Google.com search. With keywords, demographics, and topics, you can connect with the right customers at the right time.

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Getting Started with Attribution Models in AdWords

With Attribution Models in AdWords, you decide how to assign credit to keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that influenced a conversion. For this to be meaningful, you need to first start recording conversions in AdWords.  If you are unsure if conversions are recording, go to Tools > Conversions from your AdWords account. If you do not see any, you can set up conversion tracking in Google AdWords or import goals from your Google Analytics account.

If you do see conversions recording, you can then choose “Attribution” in Conversions (or by going back to the Tools menu in AdWords).  Once you are in that sub menu, you will see options for Conversions, Cross-Device Activity, Paths, Click Analysis, and Attribution Modeling.

Attribution Overview

The overview shows the average period of time it took for people to convert. In the example below, you can see that it was within a day, so a strong-call-to-action for an immediate purchase works well for this account.

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Conversions

An Assisted Conversion demonstrates the impacts of your AdWords account in cases where someone did not purchase immediately.  Clicks and impressions may have influenced someone’s decision to convert at another time. The table below shows metrics for impression-assisted conversions and click conversions.

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To use a specific example, let’s imagine a customer clicked on two ads for the keyword “clothing” before clicking on an ad for the keyword “shirts” and making a purchase. In this situation, it would count as two assisted clicks which is the number of times the keyword “clothing” appeared in the conversion path and one assisted conversion.

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Cross-Device Activity

The Cross-Device Activity shows how customers use their devices before converting. In the example below, this account has primarily same day purchases, so it is not a surprise that no cross-device activity is available.

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This next screen (from a different account) shows last click and click-assisted conversions for each device used in the searcher’s journey. Even in this account, most of the conversions happened on a single device.

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Paths

“Paths” looks very familiar to Google Analytics users because it shows the route people took before converting.  With the campaign, ad group, or keywords, you can see the path a user took on the way to a conversion. Below is a very small sample size but shows some things you may see in your account.

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Although the details  are blurred out, you can see that some searchers clicked on the same campaign more than once on line 2 and 3. On line 1 and 4, the searcher had the same last-click campaign before conversion. With this account, it’s possible that words or groups in the earlier campaigns could be paused if the trend leans towards a specific one that influences conversions. More data should be collected, however, before account changes are made.

With next report, Path Length, you can see that it only took one click for most visitors to convert.

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Click Analysis

With the Click Analysis reports, you can see which keywords introduced people to your site (first clicked) and which ones sealed the deal – meaning led to a conversion (last clicked). This is available for campaign, ad group, keyword, and match type.

The match type report is especially helpful in demonstrating the importance of targeted keywords. Although a broad match will bring in a lot of keywords, in the screen below, you can see it was the phrase match that led to more conversions.

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Attribution Model

Next select “Attribution Modeling” to compare two different models next to each other. Your options are first click, last click, linear, position based, and time decay.

Attribution is not an easy concept in Google AdWords, but is important in understanding what your ad dollars are really doing for you.  Using the above as a reference, walk through each of these steps in your account to see details about your ad performance. And remember, it all starts with conversions. If you do not have any in your AdWords account, set that up first by following the links referenced at the beginning, so you’ll have meaningful Attribution data to work from in your reporting.

Options for Device Bidding in AdWords

When Enhanced Campaigns were rolled out by Google several years ago, advertisers had less control in AdWords since they could not separate bids for mobile, tablet, and desktop. Although the intention was to make campaign creation and maintenance easier in Google AdWords, it was frustrating for advertisers who had a very different strategy for mobile versus desktop.  In the three years since Enhanced Campaigns were introduced, mobile clicks have increased significantly and some advertisers want to take advantage of that.  Fortunately, with the recent updates in Google AdWords, the ability to set bid adjustments by device is available again (to the joy of many advertisers).

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However, even though this feature is available, Google’s recommendation is to not separate campaigns by device. This means advertisers need to consider what these changes mean before implementing them in an account. Going the route of separate campaigns for each device also means managing multiple campaigns with the same messaging. This increases the amount of work required to maintain an AdWords account.  If a separate campaign is created for each device, it requires additional time to monitor keywords, ads, ad extensions, negative keywords and more work when testing ads.

Many of the things that appeal to advertisers about device specific bid adjustments are actually available by utilizing existing features in AdWords.  Instead of a separate campaign for each device in Google AdWords, bid adjustments can instead be used with tightly themed ad groups, which results in a much more manageable account. And bid modifiers now provide more options with a range of -100% to +900% for the bid amount. (With Enhanced Campaigns, the max bid adjustment was 300%). Even if ads do not perform as well on mobile devices as they do on desktops, mobile ads should not be completely removed. Instead, an adjustment can be used to decrease the amount of budget put into them.

And with AdWords Smart Bidding (previous known as automated bidding), a number of signals are considered utilizing machine learning with the optimal bid being set for each auction based on those signals. For example, a signal may differentiate behavior based on someone in New York searching during the lunch hour on his or her phone compared to someone in Los Angeles searching after 6:00pm from a desktop. As a result, device is a bidding signal in the AdWords auction. This may be enough for many advertisers who do not know how to best approach bidding for different devices. Google’s Smart Bidding does override manual bids, so there should be at least 50 conversions over the past month for meaningful results.

If you’re not sure what to do with this update on device bidding, you can do nothing! Or if you’re not clear on what makes sense for your business and like the idea of setting device bids separately for campaigns, start testing. With drafts and experiments, you can test these device level campaigns side by side with campaigns that are that are already running with bid adjustments to determine the best bid methodology.

The simplest route may be to start by segmenting performance by device in your AdWords account. The data there is based on your actual data and is probably the best route for determining how you want to address device bidding. (You can view device performance in an AdWords campaign from Settings tab > Devices.)

One final feature that can help make that decision is the cross-device attribution report. This enables you to examine the full value of a click by seeing conversions beyond the one initial conversion listed in standard AdWords reporting.  You can see how much activity happens in your account, how devices assist each other in a conversion, and the top paths for users utilizing more than one device in their search. Reported conversions and full value conversions should both be considered before deciding what to adjust in your account.

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Like many features in Google AdWords, the fact that something exists does not automatically mean you should implement. Spend time reviewing these account options, your data, and your overall business model before making changes to your account.

How to Manage Your Google AdWords Account

Whether you are getting started with Google AdWords or are ready to bring your account management in-house instead of outsourcing it, follow these best practices to ensure that you are getting the most for your AdWords dollars. 

Create a negative keyword list 

Negative keywords are words you do not want to pay for with  AdWords. For example, if you offer a resume class for $200 with no free options, you do not want your ad to show up for a search on “free resume class”.  With that example, your negative word is free. Creating a solid negative keyword list at the very beginning of your campaigns will save you money spent on irrelevant clicks

Continue checking for negative keywords 

Even if you start out with a solid negative keyword list, you may still find negative words in your account that you did not think about when you set the account up.  Staying with the example above, let’s assume your classes are only offered in person.  Over time, you may discover a search for “online resume class” that triggered your ad. You would know to add online to your negative keyword list in order to prevent that from happening in the future. To check for negative keywords once your account is running, use the Search Terms report. (more…)

How to Get Started with Expanded Text Ads

Google’s announcement about Expanded Text Ads was a huge day for marketers. Their new format provides an opportunity for better messaging on the AdWords platform.  There are now two headlines rather than one, with a character count increase from 25 to 30 characters. The ad description is 80 characters which provides more space for an offer, and the URL can be customized, allowing up to 15 characters. This Expanded Text Ad announcement is one of those changes that advertisers must pay attention to since standard text ads cannot be created or edited after October 26th. For now though, you will see both expanded and standard text ads on Google.  However, since Expanded Text Ads will likely perform better than the standard text ads, do not wait until October to make this change. Here are some considerations for making the most of this new format. (more…)

Analytics and AdWords – Not Always Perfect Together

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If you are advertising on Google AdWords, connecting it to Google Analytics is a must so you can view what happens after someone clicks on your paid ad. Getting to your site is nice, but seeing an action that may result in revenue is more important.

What can be a bit confusing initially when using the products is seeing different data in Analytics compared to AdWords for the same day. If searchers clicked on your ad 100 times on Monday, you would expect to see 100 visits to your site from AdWords on that date in Google Analytics, but that is not always the case. Most of the time, those numbers will vary. Although a small difference may not seem that important, you still want to know what your marketing budget is doing for you so you allocate it to the right channels and/or make necessary adjustments to your landing page.  Let’s take a closer look on how those two products work together so you understand what these different metrics really mean.

First ensure you understand how metrics are defined in Google Analytics. A click in Google AdWords is when someone clicks on an ad. This action is recorded immediately and invalid clicks are removed.  Google Analytics has all the activity that happens after this ad click.

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Performance (Active View) Metrics in AdWords

google-adwords-featuredIn the available columns option on the Ads tabs in Google AdWords, you will see Performance metrics and Performance (Active View) metrics. The Performance metrics were discussed in an earlier post and refer to the numbers every advertiser reviews, such as clicks, impression, cost, and click-through-rate.  Performance (Active View) metrics are available for YouTube ads as well as select ads on some Display Network websites. With Active View, advertisers can see if an ad is viewable by potential customers, which is measured when 50% of your ad can be seen on a user’s screen for a second or more.

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Measuring YouTube Ad Performance in AdWords

Over a billion users are on YouTube, which accounts for one-third of people online. This is a potential goldmine for savvy marketers. With AdWords, you can promote your YouTube videos with paid placements to increase the chance of people learning about your brand. 

In Google AdWords, there are a set of metrics specifically for earned actions on YouTube: views, subscribers, playlist additions, likes, and shares. “Earned actions happen when a viewer watches a TrueView video ad and then takes a related action on YouTube.” In other words, you pay for that first click on your ad, but not additional actions which are “earned” as a result of people engaging with your video initially from an ad.

Here are brief definitions of the different earned actions available in AdWords:

  • Earned view: A viewer watched another video on your channel within a week.
  • Earned subscribers: A viewer subscribed to your channel within a week.
  • Earned shares: A viewer shares a video from your channel within a week.
  • Earned likes: A viewer “likes” a video after watching your paid placement.

This alone gives you a wealth of data about how interested people are in what you offer, but don’t forget about Google Analytics. As long as your Google products are connected, you will see Video Campaigns under Acquisition > AdWords in Google Analytics.

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Performance Metrics in AdWords – What Should You Look At?

There’s no shortage of data in AdWords.  The data my clients are most interested in are clicks, impressions, and costs. How many people see the ad (impressions)? How many people clicked on the ad? What does this cost for both overall costs and individual clicks? Some also view conversions, whether they are set up on the AdWords side or come from goals imported in from Google Analytics.  There’s a whole world of hidden data that is accessible from drilling into AdWords. When you click on a tab – Ads in this example – you can choose additional Columns to add to your view of the data. In this post, we’ll look at the Performance metrics.

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The first few should be familiar to everyone who uses AdWords – clicks, impressions, cost, and CTR (click-through-rate).  Avg. – average – is the average amount you pay per click or per impression. Keep in mind that the average will constantly change (like the other metrics in the account). If you look at Avg. CPC data over a week, it could be unusually high or low depending on how many competitors were in the auction, along with any seasonal changes relevant to the time of year. When you view Avg. CPC over a longer period of time, such as three months, it will probably look very different, so keep in mind that this is a moving target.  This is where a date comparison could be helpful because it gives you a view on the competitive landscape for your campaign across different periods. Note whether it has increased or decreased over the past year. Avg. CPM is a similar metric to Avg. CPC, but is based on how many times an ad was shown on the Google Display Network.

Avg. Pos. is the average position for an ad on Google.com. This number has a new meaning as of earlier this year, when Google announced they are no longer displaying side ads. With the removal of side ads, it is now crucial to be in the top few positions rather than below the fold, which requires viewers to scroll to the bottom to view ads. If you compare this metric over time, keep this adjustment in mind when comparing to a time period when side ads were in use. If you compare average position of this year to last year, note whether or not the position impacted conversions.

Engagements, Engagement Rate, and Avg. CPE were added last year for people using Lightbox Ads, which “responsively combine ad assets — like videos, image galleries, and maps — to fill available ad spaces.” Clicks are Engagements, CTR is Engagement rate, and Avg. CPC is Avg. CPE with the E measuring expansions of the ad.

The next set of metrics: Views, View rate, and Avg. CPV measure performance of your videos. Views are exactly that – how many times a video was viewed. The view rate is very similar to a CTR – views divided by impressions. And the Avg. CPV is how much is paid – on average – when someone watches 30 seconds or more of the video.  This is an important distinction. If you have a longer video and can get your message across in those first seconds, it’s not a bad thing if someone does not watch the whole video because you don’t pay for the view if it’s under 30 seconds (unless that’s the full duration of your video).

Checking the Video played to: stats will show you how much of your video is viewed. If you feel your 8 minute video is wonderful, yet the majority of viewers drop off at the 2 minute mark – Video play to: 25% –  then you need to redo your video, possibly breaking it up into segments. Or at least make sure your core message comes across in those first 120 seconds.

And finally we have Interactions and Interaction rate. This simply means the user interacted with your ad in some capacity. With text ads, it’s a click. With videos, it’s views. The value in this metric is the ability to have a combined metric in one column for all campaign types.

There are many more metrics than what’s mentioned above. This is a breakdown of the Performance metrics only. Additional posts will taken a deeper dive into the other options available in Google AdWords.

How to Write AdWords Ads That Get Results

There’s a lot of noise online when it comes to AdWords. Not only are you competing against other advertisers, you are also going against those organic results that come up on the first page. So how can you write an ad that gets noticed?

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Answer the question. Don’t ask it.

I just did a search on “remodel my kitchen” and of the top three ads (as of now), two of them had a headline of “remodel my kitchen”. I see what the advertiser is doing. They are using my search terms to make the ad appealing to me. However, in this example, they are using those few characters available to repeat my question back to me. I’ve indicated a question around remodeling my kitchen so the results should help answer that question. Headlines that indicate “ideas, plan and design layouts” could serve as an answer.

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Influence: The psychology of persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini appeals to the fear of missing out. People are especially interested in obtaining something if it is available for only a limited time. They don’t want to be the only person without it.  Not only can you indicate the quantity or time limited nature of the offer, but you can also use the ad customizer to appeal to searchers by showing a countdown timer in your ads.

Have a low-risk offer

Cialdini also discussion the reciprocation rule which is about the obligation people feel to give something back after something is given to them. Your low-risk offer can be a simple as a white paper download. To get the download, people need to sign up for your email list. And once they are on the list, they may consider signing up for another low-risk offer, such as a 7-day trial of your service. The sign-up for the download is the first low-risk offer that opens the door to reciprocation with the next offer.

Talk to the searcher

The searcher does not care about you. Not how great you are. And not about how you work. The only things searchers care about is solving a problem. You need an ad that is about them, and not about you. “You can…” “You will…..” “You need….”. Those phrases are much more appealing that “We”.

Complete a phrase in the first description line

There are two description lines available in your ad which can be one long sentence or several short ones. If your first description line is a complete sentence or phrase, Google may add part of the description to your headline if it ranks in the top results. These extra words obviously create a longer headline that stands out. A way to test ad performance based on this concept is to write a complete phrase on each of the two lines and have two separate ads where you switch which description is on the first line. Do not change anything else about your ads to see how these two ads perform against each other.

Appeal to emotions

While we all want to think we make logical decisions, the truth is we buy on emotions. Logic comes later when we use it to justify our decision to make a purchase.  Are you writing for a new mom? I bet she’s tired. Has your audience already tried multiple solutions for their problem and yours is different? That group is probably frustrated. Whatever it is you offer, make sure you speak to how the person feels about what they are searching for, such as tired or frustrated.

Be specific

Do you have a “great” training program? No one cares. Everyone thinks their training program is great.  Do 95% of your students pass a certification exam the first time after going through your program? That matters. Specificity sets you apart from other people advertising the same thing and catches the eye of the person searching.

Your psychology classes or sales training are extremely valuable when it comes time to write your ads. But never, ever forget to test. Although these general principles are useful for all accounts, you will not know what works best for your specific business until you take the time to test after you implement these ideas.

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