PPC Chat Streamcap – PPC In 2011 – Highs, Lows & More

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) was back in charge with the final PPCChat of 2011 with the theme of “PPC In 2011 – Highs, Lows & More.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What 2011 PPC update have you found to be most beneficial, either for your clients or your own PPC management?

  • Broad modifier match is my favorite, but I do like sitlelink extensions, too. – Mark Kennedy (@markkennedysem)
  • Top vs. Other Segment. Hands down. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Modified Broad Match by a country mile. – Andrew Baker (@SEOEdinburgh)
    • Technically Modified Broad Match came out in 2010: http://t.co/DXCqXVDT – James Svoboda
      • OK James, in that case – AdWords integration with Google Analytics v5, MCF’s, better MSQ reporting, Mobile/Tablet Segmentation. – Andrew Baker
    • Modified broad match has led to different strategies at times (for the best!) – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • Tough one, but I’m gonna go with Broad match modifier. Saves soooo much time in SQ town. – Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea)
  • Broad modifier has given us so much more access and leverage for 2011. – Lawrence Aaron (@CrazyFingers)
  • Extended headlines! Extended headlines! Love this feature. – Matt Umbro
  • Broad Match Modifier and Longer headlines. – Michelle Morgan (@michellemsem)
  • sitelinks, MBM, dimensions tab. – Crystal Anderson (@CrystalA)
  • Am I the only one who’s really happy the reporting tab is gone? I greatly prefer the new layout. – Aaron Levy
    • I think they are both good options, but I do like the new layout. – Matt Umbro
  • Concurring with modified broad match. – Shawn Livengood (@slivengood)
  • @adCenter UI and desktop tool updates have been very helpful in reducing frustration levels on my team. – Lisa Sanner (@LisaSanner)
  • Product Listing Ads look promising – new here in Germany. – Martin Rottgerding (@bloomarty)
  • I’d say all the ad extensions. Generally more ad copy room, but also more control. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
  • How about URLs in headlines? Anyone see performance skyrocket with this new feature? – Matt Umbro
  • Also really happy about product extensions for e-commerce clients. – Lawrence Aaron
  • We’ve used product listing ads and we’re getting great CPA. pain to set up properly though. – Mark Jensen (@Just_Markus)
  • It might be fair to say that Modified Broad Match was one of the greatest features USED in 2011. – James Svoboda
  • Really loving instant preview for ads””it can really help qualify clicks. – MyNextCustomer (@MyNextCustomer)
    • I wonder how many people using Instant Preview. Seen any recent stats on that? – Jeremy Brown
  • My fav addition to PPC this year is PPCChat, a really great collection of smart marketers! – Chris Kostecki (@chriskos)
    • True. Generally worth extra traffic on main terms. Plus, ppc has positive effects that can’t always easily measure. – Jeremy Brown

Q2: What 2011 PPC update has shown negative ramifications in your accounts or was an update that you just don’t agree with?

  • I’ll say it again. I hate that they took away custom shape targeting. – Mark Kennedy +++
    • I think that custom shapes are gone is a good thing. It probably never worked. – Martin Rottgerding
  • “Other” Ads … Grrr – Cassie Allinger (@_CassieLee_)
  • All lower case letters in display URLs anyone? Though uppercase will show when URL is in headline. – Matt Umbro
    • Lower case in URL was annoying. PenIsland.com. – Jeremy Brown
    • I like the lowercase URL & get better results, in most cases, when I convert ads to a completely lowercase display URL. – Dennis Petretti (@Denetti)
  • Top page minimum bids. Even though they are totally inaccurate, it feels manipulative that they are there & a bid option in AWE. – Lisa Sanner
  • Google deciding what ad rotation options are best for us. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Not digging #google making broad match…broader. – Mark Jensen
  • Not being able to see conversions in the UI for product extensions real time. – Lawrence Aaron
  • I don’t like that you have to put the radius pin in a formal city or town now either. – Mike Shollenberger (@webjock)
  • Sin of Commission – (not provided) in GA. Sin of Omission – Separate Search Partners still not n Adwords. – Jeremy Brown
  • Creating tablet specific targeting, then opting all of us in. you know, because they’re the same as computers. – Aaron Levy
    • Performance has been very similar to desktops. Agree in concept, but don’t think did much damage. – Jeremy Brown
      • Depends on the campaign; I’ve seen HORRIBLE performance from content-tablets bc of in-app placements. – Aaron Levy
        • Oh yeah, completely agree on Content network. I had my folks shut them off on those. – Jeremy Brown
  • Not new for 2011, but just modified a bit – call metrics are highly inaccurate and cause more trouble than good. – Matt Umbro
  • +1’s – Andrew Baker +
  • I can’t come up with an update that really bothered me. – Martin Rottgerding
  • Automated sitelinks have not provided a meaningful lift for me, and are a pain to have to go back and correct. – Mike Shollenberger
  • Anyone look at the “Free Clicks” option in the dimensions tab? – Matt Umbro
    • I used to but not much to look at these days to be fair. – Andrew Baker
    • You mean “$hit We Shouldn’t Have Charged You For”. – James Svoboda

Q3: Talk about a surprising trend (good or bad) that you noticed this year.

  • Google+ Really excited about what it can do for SEO and PPC. Really excited for 2012. – Lawrence Aaron
  • I guess I’ve been doing PPC too long – nothing surprises me any more. – Melissa Mackey
  • Well, it’s definitely been the year of PPC advancements. – Mark Kennedy
  • Top vs. Other and Search Partners segments have completely changed the way I analyze everything. – James Svoboda
  • At the beginning of the year it was declared “the year of mobile”. It hasn’t quite turned out that way, but it’s getting there. – Dennis Petretti
  • Kind of surprised at the weight #google threw behind +1, after Google Wave died I guess it’s hard to see another project fade. – Mark Jensen
  • Not surprising–but more focus on ROI is always a good thing. – MyNextCustomer
  • Seeing rebecca black, steve jobs and dr oz take over search queries. Gotta use Insights people! – Aaron Levy
  • Quite simply the “Top vs. Others” report, knew top ads could have more features, but CTR numbers were astonishing. – Matt Umbro
  • No big surprises for me. My job is to be not surprised. – Lisa Sanner
  • A rise in one-word search query frequency. – Shawn Livengood
  • More competition especially folk who don’t know how to target effectively making it tougher for us all, sign of the (hard) times. – Andrew Baker
  • How about #ppcchat? This sure has been a nice surprise meeting all you smart folks. – Lisa Sanner
  • Mobile traffic is up quite a lot and if you count tablets, then it’s definitely mobiles coming out party. – Dennis Petretti
  • The full benefits aren’t seen yet, but +1 annotation I think will be huge if Google+ can takeover. – Peter Gent (@PeterLGent)
    • I don’t think they need to takeover Facebook, just get greater adoption. Social signals in search are important. – Jeremy Brown
  • The shift Google has made in making paid more predominant and Organic less so. Have seen Canibalization because of it. – Bryant Garvin (@BryantGarvin)
    • Good point on Google making #ppc more prominent over organic. Large change. – Jeremy Brown

Q4: How has the “Top vs. Others” report in AdWords altered your view of ad placement (if it has)?

  • Definitely makes me want higher ad position. – John Lavin (@Johnnyjetfan)
  • New accounts MUST get the top spot or else their QS is doomed. – Melissa Mackey
  • Honestly the results aren’t surprising, but it’s interesting to be slapped in the face by data. – Aaron Levy
  • For me, it means being Statistically Significant with fewer impressions & clicks by gauging where searchers are looking. – James Svoboda
  • Not much. Already knew there were big differences. Mostly for analysis…you change bids and drop position. – Jeremy Brown
  • It hasn’t it just confirmed what I assumed wrt to ad position and CTR. Top 3 spots offer so much more (especially e-commerce). – Andrew Baker
  • One interesting note is that conversion rate & cost per conversion can remain consistent top vs side. – Matt Umbro
    • Google always claimed that conversion was generally consistent, but good to see more data. – Jeremy Brown
  • Shows the power of Top and gets us all competing to be there, which helps GOOG$. No surprises here. – Lisa Sanner
  • It shows one more reason why calculating statistical significance with total numbers is useless. I find Top vs Others especially helpful to view Google and Search Partnerss separately. – Martin Rottgerding
    • I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this as well. – James Svoboda
  • Do you think the flashiness of tops ads (vs side ads) results in less qualified visitors (vs those who take time to view side ads)? When I say flashiness of top ads I mean searchers see these first and might not necessarily read the whole ad. In other words, these are the first ads they see and don’t take time to view others which may be more relevant.– Matt Umbro
    • Possibly, but the #’s are so much smaller w/side ads, it almost outweighs the benefit. – Melissa Mackey
      • Almost a haves vs have nots situation where top ads get more features. – Matt Umbro
        • For sure. Seems like the barriers to entry are a LOT higher now than they were even a year ago. – Melissa Mackey
    • More tire-kickers and browsers, but top does get bounce from authority (higher = more relevant). – Jeremy Brown
      • if top ads drive tirekickers, then I’ll remarket the hell out of them (w freq caps of course). – Chris Kostecki
        • Yup, remarketing is good for recapturing initial browsers. – Jeremy Brown
    • Not if you do Top ads “right.” Need to think about your flash without being annoying. – Lisa Sanner
    • Our job is to make it so that’s NOT the case! – Aaron Levy
    • I’ve not really seen this. It all depends on relevancy. I like my ads keywords to be highly relevant. AKA no Broad. – James Svoboda
    • Not really Matt, my ads are highly relevant to a product & display the specific product being searched so high Conv. – Andrew Baker
    • Top features get balanced by people doing more hunting (more effort to see/click side ads). Thus, similar conv. rates. – Jeremy Brown
    • Display is flashy interruption marketing, best practice is prequal on ad, more flash = more prequal on ad. – top ads. – Mark Jensen

Q5: Did remarketing and/or display advertising play more into your PPC strategy in 2011? Why or why not?

  • Remarketing is definitely a growing strategy for some clients. Depends on the product/services. – Mark Kennedy
  • Remarketing absolutely. I now discuss remarketing with all clients. – Matt Umbro
  • I don’t think any more so than previous years, just nice that we can do it all in google now. – Aaron Levy
  • Lovin’ display. Great for small local clients that need more reach. – Mark Jensen
  • Because of scope for existing campaigns, they did not play a big role in 2011. Will in 2012 though. – James Svoboda
  • Re-marketing definitely, second bite at the cherry and will be an even bigger & complex part of my strategy for 2012. – Andrew Baker
  • Remarketing is a huge part, and is actually doing more to redefine my role as a “search marketer” to get more business. – Chris Kostecki
  • Display playing in more for sure. Remarketing is harder to explain to SMBs so have had less uptake w/that. – Melissa Mackey
  • We have loads of e-commerce clients, so it’s vital for us to use various remarketing strategies. – Stephen Harrington (@harrington82)
  • Display is growing, especially as Google has given more control. Google sees this as their next growth area. – Jeremy Brown
  • Yes …especially Topics & Interest targeting in Display Campaigns. – Manoj Pandey (@_Man0j)
  • These days if your clients AREN’T doing remarketing they are behind. – Matt Umbro
    • True, but it’s easier said than done unfortunately. – Melissa Mackey
      • No doubt, especially because you have to almost always get a designer for the image ads (unless you want to use G’s tool). – Matt Umbro
        • Exactly; and a developer to set up tagging… gets overwhelming for small to mid size clients. – Melissa Mackey
          • Some platforms are now partnering with co’s like criteo to offer remarketing mgmt and optimization too. – Lisa Sanner
        • True…hard to get clients to take the time to insert remark code. Especially hard if expanding remark into segments. – Mark Jensen
  • I’ve learnt a lot from my own re-marketing experiences as well this year, ie be specific, don’t over do it. – Andrew Baker

Q6: Did you run more FB & LI campaigns in 2011? Do you believe the effort was worth the reward (brand awareness, etc)?

  • HELL YES, and def worth the reward. Huge results for the right clients. – Melissa Mackey
  • Yes & ehh a little. we saw better ways to engage & grow the social channel that outpaced advertising. – Chris Kostecki
  • Yes we ran a lot of them. Reward was more branding and increasing client awareness of how important social is. – Aaron Levy
  • HUGE payoffs in FB stories, but only when clients are socially active. – Mark Jensen
  • Mixed bag. Some were okay, some were great, some underperformed expectations. Really case by case, but will continue to test. – Mark Kennedy
  • Their ad mgmt interfaces are like Google circa 1995. So much more to do, but I do see the potential. – Lisa Sammer
  • Yes and yes. Both are not always good for B2B or B2C, but when used correctly… – James Svoboda
  • If you’d asked me that 3 months ago I’d say no, however recently I’ve seen some successes for clients who are social savvy. – Andrew Baker
  • I’m pretty confident with FB ads for brand awareness ..it was success for my clients. – Manoj Pandey
  • I’d say we ran about the same amount of Facebook campaigns as the previous year. Better engagement this year though. – Dennis Petretti
  • 100% Yes! LI and FB have been amazing for ua All worth it. LI backed out the best for B2B clients that are lead gen. – Lawrence Aaron
  • Did the new Google Analytics multi channel funnel report help justify the costs and exposure?– Matt Umbro
    • It helps a little. – James Svoboda
    • MCF reports are ok. Generally useful for highlighting channel interaction, but not useful for actionable attribution. – Jeremy Brown
  • Follow-up: How are folks charging for FB? %of spend? Set fees? Much of client spend still seems small. – Jeremy Brown
    • Good question, we are wrestling with that too for clients who aren’t doing other PPC at the same time. – Melissa Mackey
    • For us it is Set Fees based on Predicted Hours. – James Svoboda


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.


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About the Streamcapturer

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe, Search Manager at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap transcriber, rare SEO Blogger, Tweeting from @PaulKragthorpe, and Google+’ing from PaulKragthorpe.

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