PPC Streamcap – PPC Campaign Settings For Success

This week, with @adCenter watching in, Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosted a lively PPCChat with the theme of “PPC Campaign Settings For Success.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1:What is your preferred method of ad rotation: “optimize for clicks”, “optimize for conversions” or “rotate?” Why?

  • Rotate for testing. – Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe) +
    • So I can see the data & make my own choice. – Katie Saxon (@ksaxoninternet)
  • Absolutely rotate. It gives you the ability to evenly test ads against each other whereas the other options don’t. – PurePPCCom (@pureppccom)
  • Rotate – so that I can test ads accurately. – John Lee (@John_A_Lee)
  • Mostly try to work on ‘rotate’ for ad optimisation – ensuring a fair test all round but must be kept on top of! – Anna George (@AnnaGeorge)
  • I like to manually decide based on the results. If testing I start even rotation. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • “Rotate” all the way. Only way I get a true sense (and can analyze) what is working. Don’t want to give that control to Google. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Rotate Evenly as default. I like to gauge ads and make the call to pull them myself. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Rotate, Rotate, Rotate. Can’t evaluating testing w/skewed data. – Crystal Anderson (@CrystalA) +
  • Rotate with human control. Can’t a/B test with the others, so should always be on rotate imo. – Eloi Casali (@Eloi_Casali) +
  • Rotate! If using ad level URL’s, test each url beyond CTR/CPC, and see which ads are driving more conversions/higher ROI. – Joseph McConellogue (@DigitalMrktr)
  • Even rotation, always. The software can’t make value decision on the quality of a click, but w/post-click data analysis, I can. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Optimize for conversions when enough data is available after allowing ads to rotate. Our goal is to optimize to conversions. – Nicole Mintiens (@Tregesy)
    • Agreed, but do you trust that Google and/or MSN feels that way also? – Matt Umbro
  • Just like everyone else, rotate! Too many factors to let the googlerobotmonster make choices for me. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • For testing purposes it’s best to rotate ads evenly in order to determine the best performing ads. – Brian Gaspar (@BGaspar)
  • Also, revenue isn’t fixed for most of my clients, so good to optimize based on ROI of indiv ads & not just use # of convs. – Claire Remmetter (@cremmetter)
  • Initially rotate evenly ads to gather data. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
  • Letting Google optimize for me is like letting the gov’t choose which laws to pass: No thank you. – Tally Keller (@tallykeller)
  • Rotate: first you need data, then you may optimize. Not optimizing while testing. – Bart Schuijt (@BartSchuijt)
  • Q1a: Aside from the obvious reason ($$), why do you think Google is so intent on having you optimize for clicks and/or conversions?
    • It is the assumption that an ad with higher CTR is more relevant and therefore will give better user experience. But this isn’t always true. – John Lee
      • B/c unfortunately there are a lot of non-testers out there. – Crystal Anderson
    • Interestingly my ‘Google Professional’ asked why I ‘rotate’ and not optimise – didn’t understand why I want to split test. – Anna George
    • Automated tools can be good, this is one that I feel is often best left unused. Main problem with this tool is incomplete environment data from ad to all analytics conversions. – James Svoboda

Q2: How has the advent of advanced Location Targeting on Adwords affected your campaign targeting?

  • I hate that they took away a custom shape. – Mark Kennedy ++++
  • Frankly, I don’t trust any of it. Get too granular and you lose audiences. All based on IP; to a point IP’s guess on locations. – Aaron Levy +
  • Find that the feature has limited my ability to pick and choose which areas to target and/or avoid. – Brian Gaspar
  • I like the loss of the custom shapes. Cld never convince clients that wasn’t the way to really find & serve customers. – Theresa Zook
  • Geo-targeting is good if are hyper-focusing on a local product or service. But it can become problematic for larger campaigns. – Bryant Garvin
  • I always worry about what I am missing out on, and not what I am targeting! I find kw targeting more effective. – James Luty (@jamesluty)
  • Targeting using physical location has trimmed substantial amounts of unqualified traffic from campaigns. – Joseph McConellogue
  • Custom shapes never really worked. If your “shape” touched a city, you targeted the whole city. – Aaron Levy
    • True, but It was good for the small clients outside the metros, though. Franchisees and such. – Mark Kennedy
      • Target the entire metro, exclude specific cities you don’t want. – Aaron Levy
  • It’s been great for segmenting GEO-Keywords from GEO-Targeted Campaigns. Often have different CTR & Conversion metrics. – James Svoboda
  • All custom shapes have to be converted to the new settings by 2012 or Google will pick for you. – Mark Kennedy
  • Though, the ability to show for your geo-terms based on geo inclusion in query I’m a fan of (in some cases of course). – Crystal Anderson
  • I still find it very difficult to 100% trust the settings, I’m always testing to make sure they are serving as they should. – Andrew Baker (@SEOEdinburgh)
    • Yes, I recently discovered 95% of impressions were outside targeted area. But spoke to Google and they admitted tech error & are ‘working on it…’ (slowly, I might add). – Claire Remmetter
    • Yes, I spot-check accounts occasionally, just to check for geo problems. – Theresa Zook
  • Like all targeting options this is a “control” lever. It has + & – and you need to know when to use it & when to avoid. – Bryant Garvin +
  • Targeting using physical location resulted in lower CPC’s, higher CTR’s, on site engagement, and ROI. – Joseph McConellogue
  • Haven’t used the new geo-targeting options myself yet. – Dennis Petretti (@Denetti)
  • I think it’s like anything. Give it a test and evaluate. All verticals & markets are different, and so are techniques. – James Luty
  • I like the new feature cause they give you the option. B/f Google use to just assume you wanted to come up for the geo terms. – Bonnie Schwartz (@bonnieschwartz)

Q3: Do you find added value within adCenter campaigns when targeting by gender and age?

  • No. But I do it anyways in the hopes that someday I will. – John Lee
  • With prior campaigns I’ve found Bing to target higher AOV’s when using the gender/age target feature. – Brian Gaspar
  • Not very much due to current traffic levels. Should be great someday! – James Svoboda
    • For some clients that have a very specific audience yes. – Crystal Anderson
      • Audience types that you’ve seen good results? – James Svoboda
        • Yes..saw a positive impact on overall metrics once bid up our target audience and it was for targeting a Female audience. – Crystal Anderson
  • Nope. No added value whatsoever. IMO they might as well turn it right off. – Joseph McConellogue
  • I haven’t had much success with gender or age target yet. – PurePPCCom
  • Volume is so low as it is, that I haven’t dared restrict by gender/age while ROI is so high. – Claire Remmetter
  • @adCenter What value do you hope to add with this feature? – Matt Umbro
    • adCenter offers geo at various levels including radius targeting around biz location. add’l functionality in the wrks. To advertiser w/ age/gender skew to target customer, we offer this ability as a way to increase placement when we have the data. Boosting is the best way to use our age/gender. this allows for prominent placement for target, while not giving up unknowns. – Paul Corkery (@c0rk)
  • Gender/age not as applicable to our verticals but noticed big CTR boosts by using biz info in local geo-targeting in. – Nicole Mintiens
  • I think it’s just a ruse…making me feel like I have more control over my ad placement than I really do. – Tally Keller

Q4: If your client DOESN’T have a mobile site, how does device targeting change (if at all)?

  • I still break out campaigns by device for ad purposes and tracking purposes and budget. – Mark Kennedy
  • If no mobile site, primarily target PCs and tablets. – John Lee
  • We build mobile sites for our clients — no point in #mobile ppc without optimized site IMO. – Claire Remmetter
  • Working with larger brands, I tend to direct more searchers to store locator tools. – Joseph McConellogue +
  • Check initial conversion rates for mobile ads (analytics), if much lower than desktop & tablets, deactivate. Often the case. – James Svoboda
  • We have seen great success with Call Only for mobile. – Bonnie Schwartz
    • Depends on what your KPI’s are. From a lead gen perspective I’ve seen great results. – Brian Gaspar
  • Even if client doesn’t have mobile site I target to all devices for the click to call action. – Matt Umbro +
  • Depends if site displays okay on a phone as is. If not, consider testing call-only. Either way, break out into sep campaigns. – Aaron Levy
  • If a call is a conversion, no need for mobile site, use call extensions and drive to calls! Have seen HUGE success w/this! – Crystal Anderson +
    • I have been severely disappointed with Google’s call metrics/click to call features (and so have clients). – Matt Umbro
      • Be sure to get true cost-per-call, as they can be less than CP online conversion, even if calls drop off. – Joseph McConellogue
    • I’ve found hispanic markets respond particularly well to click-to-call. – Claire Remmetter
      • Google has data that shows hispanics convert better on mobile in general. – John Lee
  • Always have separate campaign (even for discovery KWs & volumes) and use click-to-call if no usable landing page. I use data to allow business to make decision whether to invest in Mobile Landing Page. – Andrew Baker +
  • Have still tested mobile w/o mobile site, but usually test will fail. – John Lee
  • Would still create separate mobile campaigns as found some with lower cpc and better cpa for different device with ad extension. – Anna George
    • Probably good to segment out with separate search and content mobile campaigns as well. – Brian Gaspar
      • Yes sorry meant device was another element for segmentation of campaigns. – Anna George
  • A bad mobile experience can be REALLY BAD. I would stay away from mobile targeting if you don’t have a mobile site. – Tally Keller
  • Separate campaigns for each device, enough volume is required IMO. – Bart Schuijt
  • I sometimes select tablet as some landing pages work fine, this will grow very quickly so worth it’s own campaign. – Andrew Baker
  • Evaluate your LP.. if it renders nicely on mobile and convs. actions can be taken, worth a test! – Crystal Anderson
  • Yes, smaller campaigns for certain but overall cpa has been better. – Anna George
  • Using device/network segmentation on new acct. Desktop/tablet/mobile Search/Content breakdown. Revealing results & optimization. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Don’t forget #PPCchat Google can get confused if tablets/mobile share an OS. Ipod touch = mobile. My droid tablet = mobile. – Aaron Levy
  • Q4a: Do you use same conversion tracking code on mobile site or designate it as “mobile tracking code”?
    • Never used separate codes, I guess I should try that. – Mark Kennedy
    • Me neither, there is mobile analytics code, would make sense to have mobile conversion codes. – Matt Umbro
    • Hate that duplicate calls & abandoned calls get tracked as conversions w/Google tracking, tho. – Theresa Zook

Q5: When dayparting & adjusting bids by times, do you find more value in spending more efficiently or improving conversion rates?

  • Spending more efficiently, if budget weren’t an issue I would run ads 24/7 (unless it absolutely didn’t make sense for client). – Matt Umbro
  • Yes, there are certain hours that create bogus leads for us…waste of money! – John Austin (@J__Austin)
    • Good point in lead gen campaigns, different in ecomm. – Matt Umbro
  • Normally to spend more efficiently, clients tight on budget! – Anna George
  • Conserve $. Like to serve off-peak hour “research” traffic but not willing to pay as much as for a click w/sales potential. – Theresa Zook
  • I think it’s a little bit of both. I only want to spend money during times when $ will convert for my clients. – PurePPCCom
  • I think it’s both, usually trying to spend more efficiently, does mean cutting out low converting times. – Crystal Anderson
  • Not just conserve money, but boost bids during high-converting times. Get more clicks when users are more likely to buy. – Aaron Levy
  • Instead of eliminting times all together, I often increase/decrease bids based on cpa/conversion rate by time. – Bonnie Schwartz
  • Really a case by case scenario which hinges on budget and identifiable high conversion times. – James Svoboda
  • Depends on cost per conversion. I focus on capturing the most traffic during the hours/days that drive the lowest CPConversion. – Joseph McConellogue
  • It really does depends goals/client. Eg… some conversions require staffed office phones (daytime). – Andrew Baker
  • I thought spending more wisely WAS improving conversions. – Eloi Casali
  • Feel like you can’t really do one without the other. More like spending effectively in improving conversion rates. – Brian Gaspar
  • If you are available 24/7 then it is about efficiency, if not then it is about making sure spend only when can convert. – Bryant Garvin
  • A client who generated most business via phone calls, Mon-Fri, will often get day parting set from 7 am to 7 pm. – James Svoboda

Q6: Describe a situation where you would choose to deliver your ads at an accelerated pace compared to a standard delivery?

  • When you’re having a hard time hitting budgets, don’t have a budget, etc. PurePPCCom
  • Anytime I’m driving convs under goal and am not hitting budget. – Crystal Anderson
  • Clients that have no budget restraints and just want as much traffic as possible (yes, it happens). – Pamela Lund (@Pamela_Lund)
  • Large enough budget and low traffic volume. Get the clicks & conversions while you can! – James Svoboda
  • When we had unlimited budget. – Aaron Levy
  • Also when you are bidding on terms with less search volume. – Matt Umbro
  • Accelerating ad display is a great test when your IS is limited by budget. Or your budget is unlimited. – Cassie Allinger (@_CassieLee_)
  • Topical events…maximise on a given situation, you just nail that traffic while it’s hot! Smash & grab. – Andrew Baker
  • When I’m killing cost per conversion goals and not meeting daily spend targets. – Joseph McConellogue +
  • Also, if its more of a branding/awareness effort vs. strictly CPA based. – Crystal Anderson
  • Cyber Monday. Where you really don’t know what budget you’ll need & can add budget during the day if you need to. – Lisa Sanner
  • When there’s budget left and the clients’ goal is to spend x euros / day. Also, when ROI is good. – Bart Schuijt
  • I find ACE really clunky because we use destination URLs, though…not nimble enough. – Peter Hughes (@hughespjh)

Q7: Have you run experiments in AdWords (ACEs) and if so what value(s) do you find with this feature?

  • I’ve only messed around with experiments a few times and they weren’t successful. I do want to look into it more though. – PurePPCCom
  • Love love love ACE. Great for bid tests (i”why is our avg. position so low?”) and LP tests. Helps take time bias out of tests. – Aaron Levy
    • What metrics do you use to judge tests? – Claire Remmetter
      • 100% depends on the test.. conversions, conversion rate, CTR, CPA, etc. – Crystal Anderson
  • Do we as PPC specialists under utilize ACE? – Matt Umbro
  • I think “we” do not like to “experiment” and prefer to test and analyze. – James Svoboda
    • Setting up own/more personalized experiments? – John Austin
  • I have used it for ad copy tests as well. Love to be able to see stat sign automatically. – Bonnie Schwartz
  • I think so. I’ve talked to a few that use it regularly but mostly it’s pretty new. I know I need to do more with it. – PurePPCCom
  • I use ACE for bid experiments all the time. – Pamela Lund
  • I find it hard to track what you’re testing exactly with ACE. I’d like to make annotations. – Bart Schuijt
  • I definitely under use ACE, I have a clever way to remind myself to use it. –

Q8: What additional settings would you like to see added to AdWords & adCenter? Why?

  • Though technically an extension, I want to see day parting for the call extension (and call metrics). – Matt Umbro
  • Block specific sites from network in adWords. Specifically search partner sites being able to block them! I would use network much more! – Bryant Garvin
  • I’d like to see reporting functionality integrated directly into AdWords Editor! – Lerna Terpanjian (@Lerna)
    • adCenter Desktop includes a Dashboard which can visualize performance data. May grant you some reporting capacity in-tool. – Paul Corkery
  • John Lee & Joe Kerschbaum hinted towards an new AdWords match Type that I’ve been wanting for a while! – James Svoboda
  • I would love if you could do ACE tests on campaign settings – ex. before day parting/after day parting-That would make me happy. – Bonnie Schwartz
  • Ad-group level extensions, easier sitelink reporting adCenter Extensions. Consistent functionality. Scheduled ad copy, AdWords & adCenter, I wanna launch my “one day sale” ads without staying up till 3am. – Aaron Levy
  • Start and end times (not just dates) for campaigns or ad copy. Going to basting turkey & launching campaigns at the same time. – Lisa Sanner
  • Savable custom date ranges. Would make looking back at results much easier. – Dennis Petretti
  • They need to let you separate search partners from Search. One place adcenter has Google beat. – Bonnie Schwartz
  • Wow where to start… much more / easier integration & reporting of product feeds. – Andrew Baker
  • Day Parting for Text Ads … with diff call-to-actions & destination URLs Please! – James Svoboda

Resources

Google AdWords Editor (version as of today’s PPCChat 9.5.1)

Bing Ads Editor

http://www.google.com/ads/answers/

GoMo: Mobilize Your Site

Seer Interactive AdWords Campaign Experiment

More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.

Also, check out the next #PPCSpeak on Tuesday Nights at 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific.

Participants

Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

About the Author

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe, Search Manager at WebRanking in Minneapolis, MN, #PPCChat Streamcap gatherer, rare SEO Blogger, SEO Padawan, Tweeterer @PaulKragthorpe, and Google+’er PaulKragthorpe.

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