3 Things I Learned About PPC This Week
At Red or Blue, we’re a very mixed bunch – some of us come from e-commerce backgrounds, others from more technical positions, and Kun even started his technical career by working in a consumer electronics factory. In a previous life I was a paid search wizard, and have been fortunate enough to carry on this skill for some of our organic search clients.
As the old saying goes, you never stop learning; one of our clients had some very specific needs which took some creative thinking – If you’ve found this page through the magic of Google, here are some solutions to weird Adwords restrictions (and one competitive analysis method)….
Using the display network to get competitive & reputation metrics
We’ve known for a long time that the best statistics about search volume for specific keywords come from running PPC campaigns for those keywords; what I’ve learned this week is that we can measure the effect that bad reviews or discount sites are having on us by running PPC campaigns too.
When it comes to gauging the traffic of sites which are out of our control (for instance, competitors or third party review sites), we are often forced to use metric sites who take a “best guess” approach. However, if the site uses Adsense to monetise a certain page (perhaps it’s a forum with a bad review, or a discount code website, or maybe your competitor just likes money a little too much) we can easily gain accurate statistics about the effect of that page using Google’s display network.
If it’s a competitor site – create a quick blog on WordPress.com (we don’t want them to know you’re snooping on them), create an uninteresting image ad, and target it at the site using the delivery method ”Accelerated”.
For maximum accuracy, run the campaign on a CPM basis, and set the budget relatively high (a few dollars per 1000 impressions) – you’ll now have loads of data about the amount of traffic going to the site, and the time of day. For even better data, duplicate the campaign many times and target each one either by country, language, device.
For bonus points, run remarketing adgroups at a higher CPM/CPC than the others – that way, you’ll be able to segment the site’s impressions by those visitors who’ve also visited you in the past few months, and those who haven’t.
Target and Exclude the same location
Our client sells widgets. These aren’t just any widgets – they’re the best widgets in the country. They’ve been cited as changing the widget world with their innovative features. It goes without saying then that their widgets fetch the highest price – there are plenty of others who will happily market their widgets for a little over £25, however our client asks for a minimum of £10, 000 for theirs. Obviously then, we’re only targeting those users in the UK who’ve searching for the “best widgets”. We’ve also found though, that overseas customers who specifically search for UK widget sellers are also looking for the best – even if they use a generic search query like “UK widgets”.
So it’s easy – we target our ads at two markets – UK-based visitors searching for the “best” and “top” widgets; and overseas users who are using a generic “widget” search query, but have a search intent inside the UK – i.e. “UK widget store”. This is where we hit a big problem – while Adwords will let you specify that you want to exclude by the user’s location (i.e. target the entire world except the UK), and it will let you target users with a location based search intent (i.e. target users who use words like “in England”, “uk” etc.), it will not let you do both for the same location at the same time.
Here’s where we need to get a little creative –
Listing the individual countries does not work – it causes an exclusion conflict, and Adwords defaults to excluding everyone. The way I found to solve this issue is to use radius targeting to target only users with a search intent inside that radius – this isn’t super accurate (perhaps you’ll pick up some users who were looking for the best widget store in the North Sea), but is the best way under the current system.
We also had to exclude Ireland to avoid showing up as local widget sellers.
As Google wouldn’t want to miss out on an ad click – they’ll happily round this radius up to include the UK for search intent purposes
Remove an Adwords account from an email address
As a search marketer, one of the first things I did with my new work email address was sign it up to Adwords so that I could use the keyword tool. A few weeks later, I regretted this as google then refused to add an MCC (agency) account to the same email address – and getting an Adwords account removed from an email address takes days to do it officially – there’s procedures, paperwork, and phone calls involved. It’s just not worth it.
The trick to get around this is essentially to play pass-the-parcel with the account data; create a disposable email address, add it as an admin to the adwords account, then boot the original user out of the account by using the ‘Terminate access’ option. Hey presto, your email address will no longer be associated with the adwords account. After you’ve signed up to MCC, you can re-add the original account to your dashboard using the account number.
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