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June 5, 2007

Pump Up Your Paid Search

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Jeffrey Rohrs is moderating this morning’s Pump Up Your Search panel with speakers Brad Geddes (Local Launch), Ben Perry (iProspect), and Matt Van Wagner (Find Me Faster). If these gentlemen talk as fast as Misty Locke, I’m quitting and taking my giant cupcake with me.

The sound in this room is seriously strange. It sounds like Brad is speaking into a fan. It’d be funny if I didn’t have to actually hear what he was saying.

Okay, Brad decided to start while I was contemplating the silliness of his voice. He begins by talking about day parting. With day parting, marketer can display their ads based on the time of day or specific days of the week. You can also change your bids by the same variables.

Who should use this? Businesses who only want advertise during business hours, businesses who advertise based upon their buying cycle, and advertisers who track their ROI on a daily or hourly basis.

This is relevant because it allows marketers to target ads based on their understanding of their users buying cycle. Do they buy at night? On the weekend? Every industry will have a relative conversion rate. How does that affect your business? Is there a huge different between 4am and noon? Probably.

Brad presents a case study for a B2B lead generation company. Tuesday was the highest day of lead generation, then Sunday. Knowing this, you may want to place a higher bid on those days to ensure your listing gets in front of your audience. Should you be bidding lower or not at all when you know your customers aren’t likely to be surfing?

Time zones matter. If you were in Seattle and you’re in stocks, you’re going to get conversions early in the morning since the stock market opens at 8am on the East Coast. You want to make sure your ad appears during those times.

When do you get paid? Looking at an electronics company, conversions were organized by pay dates. Change bids upon buying cycle.

Short term results: Accounts were reorganized and bids were changed by ad group, time of day and day of the week.

How are the engines helping marketers? Google AdWords has ad scheduling and Microsoft has day parting. He notes that Yahoo Search Marketing is still working on their program.

To take advantage of ad scheduling in Good AdWords, simply go into your campaign settings and play with the different options. Simple mode allows you to pause and resume campaigns based upon time of day and day of the week. Advanced mode also allows bid changes by the time of day or day of the week. You can change bids based on a percentage. For example, maybe on Monday at 1:00pm-5:00pm you want to use 60 percent of the bid.

Microsoft adCenter allows day parting. When you log in, you can choose what days you want to run your ads. Microsoft will pre-select times for you so you’re somewhat limited there. When you go to actually bid, you can set what you want to pay. If unchecked, ads will only appear if you’ve selected the day of the week or hours of the day. If checked, ads will appear at all times at the default max CPC. Microsoft uses an incremental bidding system.

You can also use day parting for time sensitive offers. It’s not just your current CPCs and conversion rates. You can also use the data to connect with individuals. For example, in the service based industry, Friday afternoon is a dead afternoon. Maybe you want to increase business but putting out different ads to engage those buyers.

Or maybe you’re not trying to target a day that is slow, maybe you want to simply beat the competition. Offer free delivery before noon or present some other immediate call to action. Look at your sales cycle to see how people interact. There are times when you need to change your conversion metric. You don’t want the same thing from customers at different times of the day. You need to know who you’re marketing towards.

Up next is Ben to talk about campaign set up considerations. He gives attendees a series of tips.

Set up your campaign correctly: Map out your account structure before even touching the engine interface. It makes life a lot easier, improves quality score and the big three have essentially the same structure. This will help you to streamline the entire process.

Consider ad serving, reporting and ease of use: Don’t mirror your sites structure unless that is the best structure all around. Use as simple a structure as feasible.

Do not use engine daily budget to guide your spending: Hitting your budget or even coming close throttles your ad serving. You want to serve ads as if you have an unlimited budget. Otherwise, you’re paying too much per click,

Use Google’s Website Optimizer to test new traffic sources: Get as much volume as possible. How do you do this? Create a new landing page. Create an MVT test that taps each of your main customer types. Send all traffic from a new source to that page only. Let the results tell you whether the source has value and to which customers.

Buy tangential keywords carefully, or not at all: Search marketing works because of direct relevance. Contextual ads are usually a cheaper way to accomplish the same thing.

Use broad match (with negative keywords) to reach maximum volume under a CPA target: You can’t predict all the ways people search. This gets you to an optimal volume state faster. However, it depends on good keyword selection. You must mine your data for negatives.

Think about your ad position as a side effect of your ROI equation, not as a level for driving the campaign: There’s nothing magical abut position. Using it as a level for driving campaign makes you lose money. Calculate your bids based on your ROI equation and let position fall where it may.

Use geo-targeting strategically: When targeting most of the country, use a national campaign as the base with geo-targeted "overlays". Why? Because often using only geo-targeting leaves so much volume on the table that it’s worth paying for clicks you can’t use.

Last up is Matt with a presentation titled "Used Fish, Old Socks and a New Attitude". Sweet title, Matt. Matt is going to talk about dynamic keyword insertion.

DKI has become more important because the three majors now offer the ability the opportunity to do things with dynamic keyword insertion. Microsoft put DKI on steroids.

Yahoo never invested in DKI because until they rolled out Panama they didn’t need it. They had the perfect formula for determine relevance: one keyword, one ad.

Pros of DKI:

  • Improves your click through rate
  • Improves quality score
  • Improves ad relevance
  • It’s the secret sauce that all experts use

Cons of DKI

  • You lose control of what your ad is going to look like
  • Too complex to understand
  • Decreases your conversion rate

Matt looks at some DKI ads gone wild, examining queries for used cigars, used fish, used underwear, and paid search advertisements.

Dynamic keyword insertion is when you have a campaign with a lot of different words and instead of having one static ad you can customize your ad in an automated way. It’s a way to save time. Who wants to write a billion ads? Susan!

Yahoo says that the insert keyword feature reduces the number of ads you have to manage and can help increase the relevance of an ad by automatically including the appropriate keyword.

How does DKI work? You have a user search query. If a user puts in Starbucks, your keyword list will pick up their query in your keyword list.

On Google, you can insert dynamic text into titles, headlines, descriptions and the displayed URL. Default text is displayed if title, descriptions or Display ULR exceed character limit.

How to control word casing for dynamic text,

[keyword] – starbucks coffee — all lower case
[Keyword]-Starbucks Coffee — 1st world initial caps, all lower case
[KeyWord] – Starbucks Coffee — all words initial caps
[KEYword] – STARBUCKS coffee – 1st work caps, all other words in lower case
[KeyWORD] – starbucks COFEE — last word caps, all others init caps
[KEYWORD] – STARBUCKS COFFEE — all words, all caps

For proper casing of acronyms:

Instead of this {KeyWord: Driving Scholls in NH}, use this [KeyWORD Driving Schools in NH]

Remember that Google DKI inserts the keyword from your ad group, not the user query. So, it picks the word in your ad group that caused the match.

Yahoo did not need DKI until Panama was released. Panama options for dynamic text – title and description. Ad controls features include the ability to put in default text and alternative text.

Microsoft went all out on dynamic text. Full set of text insertion tools. Word casing is completely in your control. Set of parameter available at keyword level. Works with content ads, too. Online help is very good.

You don’t need to know syntax, Microsoft pre-programs it for you. You can put dynamic text in title, text, display URL. You can set dynamic text at the keyword level.

He encourages attendees to play and go create some crazy ads.

Best practices

  • DKI works best when your ad groups are tightly organized.
  • Phrase Match is used, rather than broad.
  • One dominant word that varies only by part number, size, color, model, etc.

DKI is less successful when paired with conceptual campaigns (things described different in different parts of the country) and when branding is more important than clicks.

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