Author’s note: It’s election season again, and if political candidates can run for office again and again on the same platforms, then I figured I can dust off my own online marketing investment platform for a whole new set of voters readers. You’ll find this post just as relevant today as it was when originally published in 2012.
I often think about how companies seem to haphazardly invest in online marketing. Some throw all their budget at SEO, leaving no room for PPC. Other businesses put so much money into PPC that they leave little room for social engagement. In 2012, Herman Cain, a quickly forgotten candidate for president presented what he called a 9-9-9 tax plan. Stealing from that theme I have created a 3-3-3 online marketing investment plan that will help you move forward strategically and successfully in your online marketing efforts.
PPC dashboards are full of data, and there is no shortage of metrics that you can use to measure the success of a campaign. But with limited time and resources, every PPC campaign manager must decide which metrics are worth following and which are not.
With only a handful of metrics falling under the “important” category, I present these two as being indispensable:
You’ve got an online advertising budget. You want more of the right customers. But where should you go first, second and third? There are so many options available that it can be overwhelming, even for someone like me who follows the industry day in and day out. What platform should you choose? What kind of campaign should you choose? I’m here to help answer those questions.
I’m going to provide you with a general overview of the current campaign options available through the different PPC platforms. In this post, I’ll start with the search vendor platforms. Note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive look at each campaign type. It’s simply meant to give you some direction for what’s at your disposal and which options might be the best fit for your business. After getting a general feeling for these, you should dive deeper into researching proper set up and good strategy for each.
One big inconvenience for Google AdWords advertisers has always been that every time any part of an ad is changed, a new one is created and the old ad is deleted. For some advertisers, this might not be a big deal. But the nature of some businesses requires many different ads, as well as frequent changes to specific details. Both updating and keeping track of all these ads is time-consuming and complicated.
For this reason, AdWords developed functionality to eliminate this problem. It’s called ad customizers.
Bing Ads has rolled out a new system of tracking valuable actions that result from the ad campaigns run on their platform. It’s called Universal Event Tracking (UET). With one snippet of code placed across your entire website, UET tracks not only macro-conversions like sales or leads, but also does the following:
Tracks micro-conversions like visit duration, bounce rate, pages per visit or meaningful events (events require a small additional script, see below).
Tracks dynamic revenue numbers for sales with different values.
Abandons cookies for identifying users in favor of user IDs. User IDs provide the ability to track users across devices as far back as 90 days. The downside is they can only do this when they “know devices belong to the same user” (BingAds’ words). Translation – it can only work for users logged into their Microsoft account.
Allows for remarketing functionality rumored to be released to all advertisers in late 2015. Most sites use Google Analytics to create their remarketing audiences. But these audiences aren’t available to be used in BingAds. Therefore, Bing had to create a way for audiences to be created if they wanted to offer remarketing campaign capability. This is their solution. If you get this set up right away, users can start being tagged before remarketing capability even gets launched. When it does, it will put you ahead of the curve. To start, you’ll only be able to do search remarketing ads. This means you can target users who have been to your website previously and are doing subsequent searches within their search network.
While retargeting audiences are naturally more engaged than broad contextual or demographic audiences, it’s important to set campaigns up correctly to maximize performance. Here’s a quick overview of how to setup a retargeting campaign on an Real-Time Bidding (RTB) platform.
Step 1: Adding retargeting code to your website
To create a new audience, you need to place a piece of code on your website. You can either build an audience of all visitors to your site or create more specific retargeting lists for different pages. There are other types of retargeting – including search retargeting – but site retargeting is the most common.
Once the code has been placed, any user who visits these pages has a cookie placed on their browser. This cookie tells advertising platforms which users belong to a retargeted list so that ads can be shown. The whole process of retargeting is anonymous – only the cookie is recognized.
Step 2: Creating a campaign on an RTB platform
Once a retargeting list has been built, you can then use it as a targeting option when creating a campaign. This is usually a simple process, and other targeting options can be layered with a retargeted audience for an even more specific campaign. You might decide to retarget users in a certain state, for example, if you are running a location-specific offer.
Bidable also provides a number of additional options when retargeting a campaign. These include when to start retargeting a user (immediately or a certain number of hours after a visit), whether to target all users or specific segments, and how long after the cookie is placed to target the users. It’s important to test the effect of changing these variables on your campaign’s performance.
Step 3: Ad is served to users around the web
Whenever your retargeting pixel is detected on a placement available to an RTB network, there is a chance for your ad to be shown. Impressions on RTB platforms are sold via auctions in real-time. Whether your ad is shown depends on your bid relative to other advertisers.
RTB platforms can serve ads on thousands of different locations around the web. This makes the chances of reaching retargeted users very high. For the greatest potential reach, you should create banners of different sizes, so that your ads appear on more placements. RTB platforms can also provide information about which banner sizes have the most volume.
Why is retargeting important?
Most users who visit your website will probably never convert. The exact percentage of non-converting users varies, but it is almost certainly a large amount. Many of these users are never seen again, even though they may have been interested in your products.
Note that Retargeting as a term is not to be confused with Real-Time Bidding. Retargeting is one tactic of many that can be employed through so-called Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). Demand Side Platforms have revolutionized the online marketing industry over the last few years because instead of negotiating directly with publishers, or buying impressions in fixed rate packages from ad networks, advertisers can now purchase inventory through real-time auctions. This allows them to be a lot more targeted in their advertising and in addition that advertising is much cheaper than direct advertising.
Guest blogger Rosy Rana is a writer about all things digital marketing and specializes in online advertising, search engine optimization and social media strategy. Being in the industry for 5 years, Rosy has worked with clients in a diverse set of industries including health, electronics, real-estate and the mobile application ecosystem and is currently a writer for Bidable, the self-serve RTB advertising platform.
Pole Position Marketing was recognized among 10 other PPC leaders in the Top Pay Per Click (PPC) Agencies report released by Clutch on March 26. Clutch selected firms based on a mix of quantitative and qualitative factors, including company experience, market presence, positive client reviews, and industry recognition and accolades, according to a press release published by the company.
Despite some antecedent evidence to the contrary, Google will not give you an organic ranking boost if you run pay per click (PPC) ads. Nor will they reduce your organic rankings just to get you to turn your paid ads back on. The truth is, the organic algorithm does not consider whether or not you have paid ads running.
However, that doesn’t mean that PPC can’t impact your organic rankings.
In the realm of online advertising, “PPC” stands for “pay-per-click.” This means just what it says . . . you pay the owner of the real estate where your ad is placed (search engine, website, app, etc.) a fee for each click your ad receives. In the offline world, advertisers traditionally pay owners of advertising space based on impressions (typically cost per thousand impressions). This is because it is much harder to tie direct customer actions to specific ads, like if a billboard or TV ad caused someone to go to the store and purchase your product. But since clicks on online ads can be tracked and analyzed, paying per click is a much easier system. Therefore, you will find most ad platforms offering this bidding option as the default (although there are other options to choose from).
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The power behind running successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns lies in the knowledge of the platforms and the knowledge of how online advertising and marketing works. So when a PPC manager like myself can find ways to make the hard work of implementing our golden knowledge easier, my heart leaps for joy! One of those leaps came courtesy of Google AdWords in the form of AdWords Scripts.