Local Search

10 Killer Adwords Strategies for Startups

Acquisitions aside, a big part of the reason Groupon is growing as fast as it is is because of their massive Adwords push, particularly on the Google display network.

Skillfully executed Adwords display and search campaigns can help your startup:

  • Maximize launch buzz and get people coming back to their new beta accounts
  • Help tweak and test new feature ideas
  • Tip you off when you need to pivot
  • Grab investors’ attention

Here are ten quick tips in three main areas detailing how startups can use PPC to boost their success rate pre-launch, during launch, and post-launch:

- Pre-Launch -

Capturing Investor Attention

Looking to catch some eyeballs on Sand Hill Road? Carpet-bomb your display ads across specific parts of the Silicon Valley (or anywhere you like really) using tight campaign geo-targeting.

Build custom banners specifically designed to speak directly to VCs as they browse their favourite blogs, many of which participate in the Adsense (or Doubleclick) content network.

Sites will often backfill inventory at pennies on the dollar via various ad exchanges like Doubleclick’s, giving you the chance to slip sideways into premium placements as other monthly direct-buy ad campaigns reach their caps. (See the below ideas on retargeting to make sure your ads ‘follow’ your potential investors.)

Testing New Feature Ideas

Wondering if adding a new feature to your product or service will really make a difference to sales? Try running Adwords traffic to a split test pitting your typical landing page against a variant that highlights the potential new feature. Next, measure the difference in Call-to-Action clicks: Did it move the needle? If not, the new feature might not have the draw you’re hoping for.

Naming Your Product

Tim Ferriss has been a huge proponent of testing everything from potential book titles to business and product names using Adwords. I completely concur.

Try creating multiple ads with different product names you’re considering and compare the various ad click-through-rates (and/or beta registration rates) to vet the catchiness of your company, product or feature names.

You can use the Adwords ad text display URL field to mix up the naming variables (eg, %idea%.companyname.com, or companyname.com/%idea%), or better yet, test using the ad headline to grab the results more quickly.

Crafting Your Pitch

Searching for the perfect brand or product tagline? Trying to accurately align your messaging with the most common customer pain points? Ad split testing and CTR evaluation can help you find the most attractive taglines.

Additionally, bidding on specific sets of keywords that reflect different ‘types’ of customer pain points and evaluating the click through interest and traffic for each keyword theme can help you quickly determine what pain points are worth hammering on in your marketing and messaging.

Be aware however that you might find that the types of customers you thought your service would appeal to don’t really have much interest in your pitch or your beta. It pays to listen to the market. If the interest doesn’t seem to be there, retest and see if you end up with the same results. If so, it may be time to consider a pivot.

Beta & Pre-launch Email List Building

Groupon used the Adwords display network in launch city after launch city to drum up a huge email list before they even had offers in those markets. How much would it rock to have a massive list of beta testers and potential launch customers ready waiting the minute you’re ready to drop?

- During Launch -

Combine Launch Buzz with Site Targeting to Generate Expanded Visibility

Adwords is also a great way to extend the your awareness and reach during your launch. Often, sites that would editorially cover your launch announcements also running some form of Google/Doubleclick-powered display ads on their sites.

Look up your PR-hitlist of sites ahead of time using the Google placement targeting tool and create placement-targeted display ad campaigns you can use to blanket these top sites with your ads right at launch time.

Additionally, create a keyword-targeted version (using your brand keywords) of your campaigns to reach sites you hadn’t thought would cover that ended up picking up your launch.

Stalking Hesitant Visitors

Use Adwords Retargeting feature (also called “remarketing”) to cookie users who check out your site at launch time but don’t sign up. Your display ads will follow them around the Adsense and Doubleclick banner network for weeks afterward, giving you a chance to change up your banners until you find something that finally convinces them to buy or sign up.

Pissing Off Your Competitors

Want to put your competitors on notice? Use Adwords to bid on their brand name and URL using a clever or striking ad that diverts their potential visitors’ attention your way.

As an added bonus, your competitors are likely to check out your site when you launch, so using retargeting you can cookie them and follow them around the internet as well, taunting them daily:)

- Post-Launch & Beyond -

Price Testing & Funnel Optimization

Use Adwords to send specific traffic streams to new checkout flows, different registration path tests and more. Adwords search traffic comes in through a pretty silo’d channel so you can try new things without rocking the boat with existing customers (especially helpful when price testing or including new bonus concepts etc…)

Regaining Post-Signup Mindshare

Often, getting free trial signups for your new service isn’t the hard part, it’s getting people to come back and actually use their new accounts, hopefully leading to a paid conversion. Cookie your new users via Adwords retargeting and create banners designed to lure them back to log into their accounts and actually use your service.

Final Note: Build Adwords Spend Into Your Funding Plan

All of this is wonderful if you’ve got the resources to be able to pay Google for traffic. A lot of startups recognize that SEO is an important part of their user acquisition strategy, but how many bake Pay Per Click into their plan right from the start?

How does it work in practice?  ”Adwords was always part of our marketing plan from the beginning.  Bidding on tail terms worked extremely well for us in addition to using retargeting banners.  I can’t understate the importance of factoring in PPC to your launch.” – Jason Morehouse, founder of Checkfront Inc., a fast-growing online booking system.

If you’re raising funding, make sure allocate some budget for Adwords to make sure you can leverage all of these handy tactics to improve your product, snag early users, and pitch additional potential investors. SEO can seemingly take forever to move the traffic needle when you’re desperate to get traction with your launch. Adwords gives you traction right away, on-tap when you need it. Plan and budget for it, and you’ll be able to use PPC to seriously disrupt your market.

Fascinating New Adwords Placement Test

Google announced on their LatLong (Maps) blog today that they’re experimenting with placing pricing for hotels directly next to the hotel listings in Google Maps.

At first glance, it looked like another Google-internal affiliate marketing initiative, but it’s actually quite clever.

Here’s the official sample screenshot – Look closely at the price listing drop-down box in Adwords yellow:

hotelad

If nothing else, it’s an innovative way to roll in Adwords results directly into the organic SERPs.

Paid Placement With a Twist

Interestingly, Google’s post points out explicitly that these listings are not traditional paid placements:

This new feature will not change the way that hotels are ranked in Google Maps. Google Maps ranks business listings based on their relevance to the search terms entered, along with geographic distance (where indicated) and other factors, regardless of whether there is an associated price.

So the blur between paid and organic continues it’s inevitable march forward.

It’s also of note that Google has chosen affiliate sites like Expedia and Priceline as their preferred advertiser testing partners for this experiment, not the hotels themselves…

It will be interesting to see how this progresses, and what other verticals it shows up in.

Facebook Conversion Tracking: Now With Extra Impression Sauce

11 Comments Written on March 11th, 2010 by
Categories: Local Search, Marketing, PPC Tools

Facebook has lagged behind MySpace when it comes to conversion tracking, but they’re catching up, releasing their conversion tracking beta program to select advertisers.

Until now, to track which campaign or particular ad was converting you had to tag your ad destination URLs with a tracking ID or parameter, then go back and reference that manually to figure out if a given ad was converting or not…Ugh.

Conversions Without Clicks

Facebook has put their own spin on conventional conversion tracking however by allowing advertisers to track conversion events that happen on their site even if the user didn’t click any of their ads, tracking on an ad impression alone.

Similar to Google’s reasoning behind implementing “View-Through” conversion tracking, under the “Post-Impression Data” heading in Facebook’s PDF ‘Conversion Tracking Guide’ they point out the motivation for this level of tracking:

“The ability to track Post-Impression…enables you to measure conversions from users who saw your ads without clicking them and so gives you insight into the true value of your ads.

i.e. “Keep buying display ads from us even if your CTR sucks…”

It’s hard to imagine the amount of data crunching and storage they’ll have to do to be able to reference what ad you’ve simply seen and successfully tie it back to conversion pixels firing on vendor sites’ everywhere. But hey, if Google can do it, they can too.

They appear to hold onto that impression-recording data for at least a month as their new Conversion Time reports can tell you how far out the conversion was from the time a user saw an ad.

Nice Metrics You Have There

In addition to allowing advertisers to count conversions as they come in (FB says to expect roughly a 24 hour delay on conversion data), advertisers can dynamically add additional parameters to the FB tracking scripts included conversion values in dollars (“VALUE”) as well as “SKU” to let you figure out what exact product the user ultimately bought or signed up for.  Definitely a nice touch.

Configuring Facebook Conversion Tracking

If the tracking beta has been enabled in your account, you’ll see it in the sidebar of your Facebook Ads interface:

facebooksidebar

Next, select the type of action you’d like to track and give the a “tag name”, or an easily-referenced nickname.  You can also add the conversion value amount to help evaluate ROI later on:

createconversionevent

That’s it, you end up with a small piece of javascript to insert before the ending </body> tag on your landing page:  (sorry for the tiny image)

Facebook Conversion Tracking Code

Conversion Reporting – Apps, Fan Pages, & Events Now Included

When you run the conversion reporting, or “Conversions by Conversion Time” report, you can drill down to the account, campaign, or individual ad level, viewing how many conversions took place during given time frames and/or how long after impressions or ad clicks conversions happened.

If you’ve been using the ‘VALUE’ and ‘SKU’ parameters, you’ll be able to see revenue figures as well as particular sale or lead type data.

Conversion metrics (conversion counts, rates etc…) have also been added to the regular campaign and ad reporting, adding the big piece that’s been missing from these regular campaign reports.

Another nice touch to the new system is that if you are running ads with ‘Inline Actions’ such as “Become a Fan” or “RSVP to this Event”, you’ll automatically see “Conversion by Impression Time” and “Conversion by Conversion Time” reports including how many users responded inline by becoming a Fan of a Page or RSVPing to an Event from the ad itself.

These conversions show up in your reports associated with SKU values like “fan_page” or “rsvp_event”.

App developers can add their FB conversion tracking codes on any Facebook apps hosted on your Page the same way that you would place tracking tags in the application independently where you have control over the page code.

A Great Addition, Lots of Data to Crunch

Facebook has taken conversion tracking up a notch here, particularly with the impression-only tracking capability.  It’ll be interesting to see what kind of custom reporting can be crafted from the huge amount of data points Facebook’s allowing advertisers to empty out of their reporting.

It has been pretty difficult getting Facebook ads to convert without advanced demographic and keyword segmentation, not to mention the reams of ads you need to continually load to beat user ad-fatigue and keep them clicking.  This new Facebook Ads feature will make that job much, much easier.

Tips For Mobile Search & Adwords

5 Comments Written on March 4th, 2010 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Local Search

We may be in a recession, but one area is booming.

Smart phones.

As handset costs are driven down, more people are switching to smart phones, such as iPhones & BlackBerrys. Internet usage on mobile phones is increasing, and may well displace much PC and laptop usage.

There are already phones on the market using 1 gigahertz chips, says Andy Rubin, who works on Google’s Android platform. Soon we’ll have mobile phones with 2Ghz processors, which is more than in a lot of laptops,” he predicts, pointing out that a PC is no longer necessary to access emails, to quickly check the net or to update your Facebook page

Google even goes so far as predicting the desktop will be irrelevant within three years:

In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant,” sais John Herlihy, Googles vice president of Global Ad Operations. “In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs. Mobile makes the world’s information universally accessible. Because there’s more information and because it will be hard to sift through it all, that’s why search will become more and more important. This will create new opportunities for new entrepreneurs to create new business models – ubiquity first, revenue later.”

Marketing-speak perhaps, but we do live in interesting times when it comes to new opportunities in search. Google bought mobile advertising network, AdMob, last November for $750m, so expect much integration and new features this year.

Usage patterns are also changing. Because smartphones were more expensive, they tended to be used mainly for business. Now, usage patterns are becoming increasingly consumer oriented. If more people do adopt smart phone usage, what does this mean for PPC advertisers?

A modified approach is needed.

Think Ergonomics

The biggest change will be in terms of ergonomics.

Factors such as small screen real-estate, lack of keyboard, and different modes of interaction will mean whole new search and interface paradigms will be adopted for mobile. Expect a lot more voice commands, and point and click driven functionality. People probably aren’t going to be doing a whole of typing, such as form filling, and they aren’t going to be reading long screeds of text.

Optimize Landing Pages For Mobile

Create pages specifically for mobile users.

Think old-school. Think small and resource-light. Don’t assume Flash or other fancy graphical scripting capabilities. Pages should be short and lean, and code should be optimized and basic.

Avoid making the user scroll too much.

Mobile usage tends to be search dominant.

Make your call to action crystal clear, and easy to tap with a finger. Include your phone number, so people can tap it to call you. Google are also rolling out a click-to-call feature (again) which displays a phone number next to your mobile ads.

Bullet point lists work well on mobiles. Dense text – not so much.

Here are a few helpful tools for testing landing pages on mobile devices:

Testiphone: web browser based simulator for quickly testing your iPhone web applications.

Opera Mini’s Simulator: live demo of Opera Mini 5 beta that functions as it would when installed on a handset.

Run Through Google’s Help Files & Data Options

Google is pushing mobile advertising and will be encouraging existing PPC advertisers to migrate their activities. Check out their official tips.

Also sign up to their Official Mobile blog. Not strictly Adwords related, but may provide insights into their broader global strategy, which is, of course, driven by Adwords.

Another useful source is Mobile Marking Watch, a blog that covers the mobile marketing community.

Google is also now splitting out stats for mobile devices. Here’s how to find them.

Adjust Bid Prices

Just as you bid differently on the content network, you should also adjust bids focused on mobile advertising. The bid competition still isn’t as fierce as on the search network, so you should be able to adjust your prices down.

Think Local, Think Navigation

People on the move tend to be thinking local. In terms of commerce, they want to know where to find restaurants, shops, and attractions. Consider navigational based search activity. Consider geo-targeting. Consider adding geo-specific variables, such as town and city names.

Optimizing PPC Campaigns For Non-US Markets

5 Comments Written on March 1st, 2010 by
Categories: Local Search, The World Around Me

Do you sometimes feel you can’t squeeze any more performance out of your campaigns? You’ve optimized everything, and you just can’t boost performance much further?

Have you looked at your international options?

Articles on PPC tend to focus on the US market. Let’s take a look at the massive opportunities in the international market, from a US perspective.

Untapped Markets

The US, whilst the biggest search market, still only accounts for approximately 17 percent of searches conducted globally.

According to ComScore’s 2010 search survey:

China ranked second with 13.3 billion searches, followed by Japan with 9.2 billion and the U.K. with 6.2 billion. Among the top ten global search markets, Russia posted the highest gains in 2009, growing 92 percent to 3.3 billion, followed by France (up 61 percent to 5.4 billion) and Brazil (up 53 percent to 3.8 billion)

As you can see, there’s a lot of search volume to be had beyond the US, even if you limit your market to the larger English speaking nations, like Australia and the UK.

Also, being a US-based PPC operative, you may have a serious advantage in those markets.

If you’ve been doing PPC in the US for a while, and you’ve mastered intermediate-advanced techniques, you may be able to out-compete international PPC operators in their local markets, because they haven’t had to fight so hard. Lower levels of competition means campaigns may be run a bit looser than what you’re used to. A generalization, of course, but generally true of less competitive markets.

And there’s another advantage: exchange rate.

Given the US dollar is currently weaker against some other major currencies, you can make bank on the exchange rate alone.

For example, the UK pound is, at the time of writing, worth $1.54 US. If you price your merchandise/services in pounds, without converting, you gain a 50% margin. People spend a UK £ pretty much like you spend a US $, so, depending on your market, you may not have to adjust your price figures.

But before you think it might be too easy, here’s where the locals may out-gun you….

The Challenge

Whilst most aspects of your PPC campaign will remain the same – your bidding strategy, CTR, Quality Score etc – there are differences you need to consider.

1. Pitch

Generally speaking, advertising targeted at US consumers is different to the advertising targeted at, say, UK consumers.

US advertising tends to be seen by more reserved cultures as brash and over-the-top. In order to appeal to consumers in the UK, tone down a hard pitch a few notches.

The easiest way to find the right level is examine the landing pages of competitors in your target market. It’s not just that spelling is different i.e. color vs colour – the underlying psychology is different. This is a generalization, but notice that not all cultures are as optimistic and motivated by personal success as the US. Benefit propositions tend not be pushed quite so hard.

An article in the Independent, a UK newspaper, highlighted the differences in the advertising world: Less business, more arts and entertainment:.

In Britain, advertising and its people are socially smart in the wider world in direct ratio to their distance from hard selling and their resemblance to the arts and entertainment. And advertising people definitely take their place in our great world.

In America, advertising isn’t that socially glamorous – they’ve got Hollywood after all – and its practitioners aren’t so famous, but they make millions and it’s an acceptable career choice for a decent MBA graduate who thinks creativity is something best left to window-dressers.

That’s not directly applicable to the direct marketing channel, but it gives you some idea of different underlying culture behind advertising and acceptance thereof. The good news, for US advertisers, is that the web is making everything more American. People are growing more accustomed to the hard sell, online, at least.

Again, study your competitors in terms of pitch, and revise accordingly.

If your budget allows, try to hire a copywriter based in the target market to adjust your copy.

2. .co.uk and com.au

Having a local domain name, and indicators of local presence, can help.

Just as you are likely to notice domain names that don’t end in .com, people in other countries are typically more comfortable buying from domains with local extensions, particularly when it comes to the delivery of physical items. It doesn’t tend to matter so much for merchandise or services that are delivered digitally.

It also helps if you can provide a local free calling number, and if possible, a local service address.

This is not to say any of this is necessary. People will buy from anywhere, if the deal is right.

3. Price In Local Currency

How do you feel if you see a checkout denominated in a currency other than US dollars? It can be off-putting. It can feel more risky. Same goes for people in local markets.

If you can, provide local pricing information. If not, at least provide a currency exchange widget.

4. Translation English To English

If you’re doing the ad writing and copywriting yourself, don’t forget the obvious stuff – terminology and spelling.

Here’s a useful translation dictionary for different spelling and terms.

Local PPC Strategy

2 Comments Written on February 18th, 2010 by
Categories: Local Search

Local search, in all forms, is becoming increasingly popular.

In the past, it has been difficult for local businesses to advertise on search services because there were barriers – such as knowing how to use cryptic technology – but recent advances, like Google Maps, have helped make local advertising more approachable.

It’s now reasonably easy for a local business to get listed, simply by claiming a spot on the map. The more businesses who register, the greater the resource, and the more people will use it. Also, the more people will come to expect to see local resources.

With the widespread use of smart-phones with inbuilt GPS services, the global local search market set to soon surpass $31 billion.

There is a lot of potential coming up in local PPC.

Slicing Local

Local PPC campaigns require different strategy approaches than national or worldwide campaigns.

Local, in terms of search, means one of two things:

  • Targeting people who live in a geographic area
  • Targeting people who seek information on a geographic area

Let’s look at targeting people who live in a geographic area first.

Within Adwords, you can target by searchers location. Google determines this information by looking to see where the searchers internet service provider is located.

The problem is that some users may connect via a server that is not physically in their geographic area, or they may be surfing from work, which could be some distance from where they live.

The way to cover this issue, and target people who seek information on a geographic area, is to run two separate but related campaigns simultaneously, one at the local level and one at the national level.

Local Level

Target by geography, using the Google settings under Settings > Locations >

Pay Per Click Area

Here’s an example for real estate:

  • Real estate
  • houses for sale
  • homes for sale
  • realtor

Note the use of more general terms that would be too unfocused at a national or worldwide level.

National/Worldwide Level

Here’s how the same ad group might look at the national level. Use a keyword list generator to add in the location, and show ads in this group to all people, regardless of their physical location.

  • Real estate Montreal
  • houses for sale Montreal
  • homes for sale Montreal
  • realtor Montreal

Note the use of geographic qualifiers, in order to avoid clicks from people who have no interest in the area your advertiser serves.

These are very basic examples for the purposes of illustration, of course. Your campaign will include negative keywords, more geographic terms, and different forms of keyword matching. Note that they are both local campaigns – they are both qualified by region – but done in different ways in order to create both a larger net and retain focus.

General Tips

Brainstorm keyword ideas that will help differentiate local searches. There are place names, of course, but there are also zip codes, street names, telephone numbers, local attractions, landmarks, destinations and more. If applicable, your ad text should contain local markers, as should your landing page. Get all your (local) ducks lined up!

Carefully examine your business. Will people travel for some of your services? If so, how far?

Whilst it would be unlikely people would travel far for a haircut or a bar, given such services are typically plentiful, they might travel a considerable distance to see, say, a highly regarded plastic surgeon. They might even fly in from a different country.

Such services can be both local and worldwide, so be careful what you define as local, else you might miss valuable traffic.

Conversely, closely watch your ROI on services that are typically local – again, like the plastic surgeon example – that you are advertising nationwide. You’ll be competing with people in their own local markets, and businesses that do have a national presence, and you may face stiff bid prices.

Also consider time of day. Depending on the type of business you’re advertising, you may want to only run local campaigns during office hours i.e. when the business is actually open and able to respond to inquiries. You may consider bidding lower outside these hours if conversion drops away because the business can’t give an immediate response to inquiries.

By the way, there’s a cool tool that will help you keep a close eye on your competitors:
Ad Targeting Preview Tool

Ad Targeting Preview Tool

Use the local selector on the right to spy on your competitors who also target your area.

Let’s hope you find “none” :)

Local Ad Appearances

Google actually wants to help you target local by giving you a few extra lines in your ad, depending on context.

You can get your address to feature in the ad by enabling the “Allow address to show in my ads” under the Custom tab.
local address custom option

Google’s Custom area feature is handy for creating your own local geographic areas.

How might you use this? Say if you know that most of your customers come from specific locations within or just outside a geographic area, you can target these visitors precisely.

Those who are doing local targeting, it would be great if you could share you experiences in the comments :)

Google AdWords Testing New Flat Rate Local AdWords Ad Pricing Model

6 Comments Written on October 9th, 2009 by
Categories: Geo Targeting, Google Adwords, Local Search

Local businesses tend to be easy to service (because of limited competition), but tend to be hard to service profitably (due to big demands and small budgets).

Such companies are still spending billions of dollars advertising in yellow page directories across the United States because it is easy and flat rate. Search advertising makes advertising more granular and trackable, but most small businesses could not be bothered with it. While the dead tree advertising model is in decline

Only the local interactive segment will show growth throughout the forecast period. All other local media will experience marginal to rapid declines in the next 18 to 36 months. A small number of traditional media will rebound with a revived economy beginning in 2011, though most traditional media will continue to decline, albeit at a slower pace.

…Google is looking to help transition small local business advertisers over to search by employing familiar flat rate advertising services, as highlighted in AdAge:

In a bid to get more local advertisers to buy search ads, starting this week Google is trying out a new type of search ad and pricing system in the San Francisco and San Diego markets.

Rather than ask businesses to set up a campaign and bid for keywords, they’re offering local advertisers (or non-advertisers) a search ad for a flat fee. The fee is set by Google and based on the average that similar businesses are paying for a given keyword in that market.

Lets go ahead and take one more look at that last sentence

The fee is set by Google and based on the average that similar businesses are paying for a given keyword in that market.

So Google is using your keywords and your bid prices to automate setting up accounts for competing businesses. You pay them for traffic and they arbitrage your efforts by using you as a free market research tool for competing businesses. And imagine if/when Google has 5 companies in your market all bidding based on the same flat fee average strategy. Some keyword prices could fluctuate wildly as the house decides to arbitrarily bid up or down a particular keyword or basket of related keywords.

In an earlier piece Mona Elesseily mentioned a recent Nick Fox keynote where he mentioned the idea of keyword-less paid search accounts, and how Google could run them:

Nick mentioned that keywords were used as a proxy for relevance. Conceptually, there is no reason an advertiser couldn’t achieve the same results without having to directly manage a keyword list. Down the road, Google wants to state outcomes and have machine-based learning and algorithms come up with the best method of achieving specific outcomes. In the case of no keyword search, an advertiser (like a retailer) would provide information on products, product descriptions, pricing, etc. and Google would use the information to find the most effective way to place ads in front of potential customers.

Those machine-based learning algorithms need input to become efficient. What happens if you share your conversion data with Google? This is one of the areas of opportunity on the web for 3rd party analytics providers. As Google continues to make advertising easier (and seemingly cheaper – at least up front) there will be added value in operating outside of their ecosystem and/or limiting how much data you hand over to the borg.

Presumably as this gets easier to automate and test it will increase the value of related services like website design and conversion testing (until those are automated and commoditized as well). But some smart business owners who enter the search game via these automated technologies will likely eventually want more granular control of their strategy, as it is hard to build a long lasting sustainable business based on market averages – especially when the fox is guarding the hen house. Over time those who evolve their model to increase lifetime customer value, increase conversion rates, and build distribution outside of search will eventually make the average price too expensive for an average business to be able to afford advertising.

Depending on how successful this test is, there are all kinds of implications for advertisers like…

  • building and maintaining sustainable profit margins in an environment where machine learning algorithms see your max bids and work against you with every search and click
  • deciding how much data to share with Google
  • deciding if it makes sense to mix together multiple regions on 1 site to make it harder for search engines to use your campaign as a seed for competitors
  • deciding if new business lines (and perhaps some longtail keywords) should be bid on for different websites that are not bidding on keywords associated with the obvious core industry keywords

And the general theme for online service providers is that if you are not thickening out your service prepared to be commoditized. Google does not need to create more value than you can, they only need to make businesses believe that you don’t add enough value to justify the additional expense, and that it is just easier for them to go with Google. Time to invest in brand building! Sometimes the SEO and PPC markets seem like mirror images. ;)

Comprehensive Course Just for Google Adwords

2 Comments Written on August 12th, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Local Search

I just finished reviewing Mike Seddon’s/KKSmarts Adwords Course (not an affiliate link) and found it to be quite useful and loaded with lots of clever tips. His material is easier to understand than the default guide on Adwords. I was a bit overwhelmed with Adwords when I first started and a program like this could have easily reduced my learning curve. The program includes one workbook and 4 video series covering important Adwords topics. The videos can be viewed online or downloaded.

What You Will Get:

Online Version

There are 38 total videos in Google Adwords Course and each folder is conveniently sub-divided for easier access and quicker reference.

I think both PPC beginners and intermediates can learn a lot from Adwords Course. Even if you’ve been an Adwords advertiser for over a year, you can still learn by going through over-looked Adwords features. I like Lesson 3 about Landing Pages and Ads the most because it’s a good “refresher” on conversion.

For more information – (Not an affiliate link) Adwords Course by KKSmarts

I appreciated the sales letter for the program because it was straight to the point without any hype.

Database of US Town Names & Zip Codes

3 Comments Written on June 22nd, 2008 by
Categories: Local Search, PPC Tools

Recently the zip code guy blog highlighted a huge database of USA cities, towns, and counties in a wide array of formats. The database includes lists of
 
 

  • All US Cities
  • All US Counties
  • All US Zip Codes
  • Latitude and Longitude of Cities/Zip Codes
  • States and State Abbreviations

For $25 this database is a great investment if you are run geo-local AdWords campaigns using tools like Speed PPC.

This video offers more background on the United States zip code database.