PPC Tools

New KeywordEye™ Keyword Visualizer Shows Promise

3 Comments Written on July 26th, 2010 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Keyword Research, Marketing, PPC Tools

Keyword Eye LogoMatt from KeywordEye™ sent me a ping last week to have a look at a new, free keyword ‘visualization’ tool that he’s been working on for some time now and asked me to give it a look.

It’s a pretty neat concept: pulling from the Adwords API, KeywordEye™ pulls up associated keywords to your search and displays the results in a 2D or 3D ‘cloud’ format, with higher traffic keywords displayed as larger words in the cloud, and color-codes the keywords in the cloud green, yellow, or red depending on the amount of competition.

An even cooler part of this tool is the ability to view the visualized data by country, match type, and a few other variables.  As you hover over each of the keywords in the cloud you see the individual search volume (per month) for the local region selected.  Simply click on a keyword in the cloud to add it to the scratch pad on the right for export.

keyword eye screenshotClick to Enlarge

The data in the tool is no different than what Google provides via their internal Adwords Keyword Tool, but I found that the way the data is presented helps you to visualize the scope of keyword possibilities for new niches you’re looking into (particularly the 3D cloud view).

This unique way of viewing new keyword possibilities reminds me a bit of Google’s Wonderwheel, a great way of viewing things as Google does from a relational standpoint.

Give KeywordEye a spin here!

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:


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:


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.

Are You Paying the Google AdWords Tax?

2 Comments Written on January 24th, 2010 by
Categories: PPC Tools

Many experienced advertisers realize that there are many gotchas in the AdWords system…optimization tools and default setting which optimize to boost Google’s yield at the expense of unsuspecting advertisers, who don’t yet know what match types are or that their ads are syndicated to content sites by default.

To help new advertisers get past many of the gotchas we created the Google AdWords tax calculator – a free utility which highlights many stumbling blocks that catch new AdWords advertisers.

AdWords tax calculator.

Given that each keyword market is unique it would be impossible to make a tool that was 100% accurate in every situation, but the goal of this tool was to simply highlight common issues, and help new advertisers address them. Individual efficiency gains may be greater or smaller than the rough initial estimates the tool provides.

Please let us know what you think, as we will gladly iterate this calculator to make it better if you have some great ideas you think we should include in it. Like all of Google’s products, our calculator is starting out in beta 😀

Two New Free PPC Keyword Tools: WordStream’s Free Keyword Niche Finder & Free Keyword Grouper

No Comments » Written on December 16th, 2009 by
Categories: PPC Tools

Guest post by Tom Demers

At WordStream, we just launched a couple of free tools I think paid search marketers can get a lot of utility out of. I’ll walk through how both of them work and what you might be able to use them for.

The first tool is something we’re calling The Free Keyword Niche Finder. Basically the premise is that rather than offering you single keyword suggestions we’re showing you the pockets of keywords (or “keyword niches”) that are the most popular.

This is valuable for a few reasons:

  1. Keyword Niches Versus Single Keywords – It helps you prioritize your content, keyword targeting, and campaign/AdGroup creation based on an entire “keyword universe” surrounding your topic. Many times you’ll find the most popular keyword you could target will have the “longest tail,” but not always.
  2. Suggested Keyword Variations – It shows you popular variations within a given keyword cluster, or niche – this helps you to vary page content and anchor text: something real SEOs advocate – and it helps you to structure comprehensive PPC campaigns or Ad Groups
  3. Campaign Structure Suggestions – It helps you to create a nice semantically-themed campaign and/or Ad Group structure for paid search account creation

I’ll walk through each of these advantages, and then introduce another tool we’re introducing called The Free Keyword Grouper.

1. “Keyword Niches“ Versus Single Keywords

It’s interesting to compare the results of a traditional keyword tool to The Free Keyword Niche Finder.

Here is the list of results from our Free Keyword Tool:
WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool

Now let’s look at the results for the same topic using The Free Keyword Niche Finder:
WordStream’s Free Keyword Niche Finder

The interesting thing here is in the difference between the two results, and the way that the two tools function. The Free Keyword Tool looks at the volume of results across a variety of sources (ISPs, search engines, and toolbars). The Free Keyword Niche Finder, meanwhile, takes the same data that The Free Keyword Tool is using (our own database) and then clusters that information semantically.

So what we’re seeing here is that some keywords have a longer or more substantial “tail”. Look:
A look at the difference between a single keyword and the keyword’s entire long tail

The aggregated keyword “niches” are more centered around brands. If we dig deeper into the refurbished laptops – ibm cluster we get a pretty good idea of why the tail for brands is longer:
Image depicting the keywords that may be hidden in the long tail of a word or phrase.

So while “used refurbished laptops” is a more popular single query than “refurbished laptops ibm”, the sum of the refurbished laptops keyword niche is actually greater, and it contains more specific, buy-focused terms.

By looking at the data side-by-side, it definitely appears that IBM refurbished laptops is a more profitable keyword niche to attack.

2. Suggested Keyword Variations Within a Group

The tool also shows you closely related variations, as you can see above, so that you can structure a single landing page and Ad Group/ad text to target a variety of phrases, allowing your campaigns to generate more ROI and to become more scalable.

3. PPC Campaign Structure Suggestions

One of the neatest things about this tool from a PPC standpoint is that if you’re starting a new paid search account or campaign, you can get some great suggestions for either high-level campaign ideas, or even for actionable Ad Groups (depending on the term you put in). Following our example from above, we might turn each of the top ten suggestions into high-level campaigns. From there, we could drill down to find specific Ad Groups for each of our campaigns. Let’s take one of the more popular niches, refurbished laptops – dell, and enter that keyword into the Niche Finder:
Using WordStream’s new free tools for a stronger PPC campaign structure.

Assuming were using Refurbished Dell Laptops as a campaign, these would make for a series of pretty tight Ad Groups, ranging from around 10 keywords to around 35, and allowing us to write a very targeted ad and create a very specific, compelling landing page for each group.

The Free Keyword Grouper – Finding Keyword Niches in Your Own Lists and Data

Our other free tool, The Free Keyword Grouper, offers pretty similar functionality, but instead of asking for a keyword as input, it groups your existing data (whether you generated a list from a keyword suggestion tool like the SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool or WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool), or allows you to export data from your analytics or a search query report, drop it into the tool, and then The Free Keyword Grouper segments that data for you:

An image of WordStream’s Free Keyword Grouper.

If you drop in a list of keywords, it’ll spit back a list of results similar to what you would find with The Free Keyword Niche Finder. This is a nice way to look at either a list you already have, or to examine historical data on a client site or an existing site you may be taking over. You can then leverage the same advantages The Free Keyword Niche Finder offers.

So What’s the Catch?

As with anything, our new free tools are imperfect. While they’re free, you do have to spend a few seconds creating a free WordStream account to use them, and once you do we’ll occasionally send you relevant Email communications about the tools themselves, or about some of our products you might be interested in.

The Free Keyword Niche Finder works off our own database, and as with any keyword tool, you have to be careful not to be over-reliant upon keyword suggestion data. That’s one of the neat things about The Free Keyword Grouper, though: you can take blended data from multiple tools, or even your own log file or analytic data (which you know to be accurate) and run the tool against that.

Finally: this is just a start. If you’re going to develop really effective paid search campaigns, you need to do a lot more work building out specific Ad Groups and then monitoring their performance to have a really effective paid search account structure. That said these tools are free and easy to use, and we think you’ll find a good deal of utility in them. If you have questions, feedback, or future feature requests, please leave them in the comments!

Google Bid Simulator

2 Comments Written on September 16th, 2009 by
Categories: PPC Tools

Google have announced a new Adwords feature called Bid Simulator.

From the Google Adwords blog:

Bid Simulator takes some of the guess work out of cost per click (CPC) bidding by estimating the number of clicks or impressions you could have received if you had used a different maximum CPC bid.

Google have also provided a tutorial video showing you how to work out your value per click, and how to use this value to maximize your profits.

This video provides a great overview of the economics of PPC bidding, then goes onto show you how to use the Bid Simulator tool to arrive at the most profitable bid.

In summary:

  • Determine your max profitable CPA
  • Determine your conversion rate
  • Calculate your value per click
  • Adjust your bids so value per click = ICC (Inceremental Cost Per Click)

This tool, whilst useful in terms of taking a lot of trial and error out of bid setting, will provide marginal benefit in areas where the keyword auction is fierce. If the auction is busy above you, then you’re still going to need to raise you bid a lot for minor increases in volume.

Indeed, some of the recommended bid prices seem very high. The danger is that some people may see this as a helpful autopilot, when really it’s just another “suggestion” tool. Be wary.

The tool is possibly most useful when there is moderate activity in the bid range. Andrew Goodman suggests that Bid Simulator might help a lot in terms of saving cash on the low side:

Case by case, it gets interesting. Take, for example, an account where you figure you’ve done a great job whittling average CPC’s down to 23 cents. Now on a lot of the keywords that you’re getting for 15 cents, you’re not doing great ROI-wise, but you’re reasonably content since the price is low by historic and industry standards, you don’t feel like risking the effort to go down to 11 cents. I think the bid simulator may be helpful in helping advertisers decide when to take risks like that. Shaving those few pennies on lukewarm keywords, across several hundred keywords and a thousand clicks a day, can add up to a lot of saved cash you can then turn around and devote to better performing keywords or channels (or simply, profitability).

Also, as it is a simulator, your actual mileage out on the real Google may vary.

Here’s a presentation on how to use the bid simulator within your Adwords account.

New Pay Per Click Tools

11 Comments Written on January 5th, 2009 by
Categories: PPC Tools

A couple weeks back we created a few new tools that I think I forgot to mention here.

People also send us lots of links to new tools. A couple of them that were sent in recently are a French company’s ad copy brainstorming tool, a cool City Concatenator tool, and a cool neighborhood Concatenator tool.

The Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing Flowchart

26 Comments Written on November 5th, 2008 by
Categories: PPC Tools

Aaron recently showed me his cool flowchart software and I made a flow chart for PPC.

Let me know what you think. 🙂

Why You Must Test & Change Your PPC Bid Strategy

5 Comments Written on September 29th, 2008 by
Categories: PPC Tools

Years ago some noted PPC experts like Perry Marshall recommended bottom fishing AdWords for deals in some competitive markets, claiming that as searchers moved down the listings they were more pre-qualified to make a purchase.

Google’s ad quality score algorithms, bid prices, editorial standards, and the competitive landscape of paid search have changed to where it is much harder to find deals with nickel and dime clicks. Google favors smaller tight lists of keywords over broad mix and match ad groups. And, in an attempt to kill off many forms of ad arbitrage, they made a decision to recycle leading ads against the long tail vs letting longtail advertisers get those clicks for cheap.

27 minutes into this video Dan Thies claims that their sales per click dropped off as their ads moved down the page.

Today George Michie published a blog entry on Search Engine Land about why position bidding wastes money, claiming that the value of traffic doesn’t vary by position (though stating it does vary by time of day and day of week).

The next time someone tries to engage you in a discussion about “finding the right position” for a particular term, remind them that the value of the traffic is measurable; but the cost of a position is unknown, and unknowable, changing based on the whims of your competition. Bottom line: don’t let your competitors run your search program.

Mr. Michie linked to a PDF titled An Empirical Study of Search Engine Advertising Effectiveness – though that statistical study focused on one advertiser in the automotive group. None of these citations should give you a clear optimal bid position strategy, but all should give you encouragement to test your market and find out what works best for you.

Free Self-Hosted Analytic PPC Tool and More

7 Comments Written on July 10th, 2008 by
Categories: PPC Tools

This giving away a fully functional, leave on your server, analytic software started with a hosted program called tracking 202. I guess the fact that tracking 202 was hosted caused a bit of confusion at one of the marketing forums. It really sucks to create tools from your own pocket and then get accused of potentially stealing keywords.

That’s when Wesley Mahler, CEO of prosper 202, listened to his user-base feedback and immediately developed a free self hosted analytics software. I liked tracking 202 because it’s easier to set up. However, after playing with the self hosted program on Wesley’s Mac, I was instantly sold on the product. The weird thing is that the product is free. You can download here. This is not mandatory but if you like the product you can help out by donating here.

Aaron did this something similar to this two years ago by creating an entire suite of search marketing tools and not charge a penny for it. I honestly feel that our seo tools and prosper 202 are better than some of paid and expensive products in the market.

Take advantage of these tools. They will save you time, money and help you gather the right data so that you make more.

Review of Google Ad Planner: Site Targeting Cheat Sheet

15 Comments Written on June 29th, 2008 by
Categories: Google Adwords, PPC Tools

I recently spent hours playing with Ad Planner Beta, Google’s newest Adwords tool. If you thought Adwords Editor made your life easier, consider being spoon fed with Ad Planner. The program is amazing, especially if you site target on Google’s content network. It’s a lot like Quantcast, only much more accurate.

Google Does the Work for You

Demographic Filters

Just type in any URL and the tool will group it with other relevant sites. To get even more laser targeted, there is a demographics option where you choose:

  • location
  • language
  • age
  • education,
  • income and
  • gender


Site & Category Filters

After getting the results, you can sort through the data according to

  • impressions
  • page views
  • unique visitors
  • index
  • category

You can find sites with audiences related to any particular site. Here are sites related to seobook.com

And for any particular site you can find audience details, similar to those provided in Google Website Trends, but with the addition of demographics information.

Filter by AdSense Formats

Here’s the fun part – You can easily handpick relevant sites that are involved in the Google content network. It even allows you to choose the types of media available.

Tons of Great Opportunities

While site targeted advertising tends to be less profitable than keyword targeted ads, if you’re using the content network for brand exposure or e-commerce, the Ad Planner can help you research and reach your target market.

And there are a variety of great non-AdWords related uses for this tool

  • compare your traffic levels to competing sites
  • find sites worth doing direct ad deals with
  • find affiliate sites worth emulating
  • find sites worth pitching stories to or writing guest columns for
  • find sites worth buying links from or buying outright