• 29 Oct

    What is a DSP?

    I’ve been in the PPC game for over 11 years now and boy has it changed.

    We’ve seen new ad platforms, new match types,  geo-targeting, scripting, an abundance of new keyword research tools, numerous optimisation platforms promising to better our accounts, consolidation of tracking with Google Tag Manager, bid strategies and most recently media buying by the form of a DSP or Demand-side Platform.

    If we ask Google what a DSP is:

    demandside platform (DSP) is a piece of the technology puzzle that fits into the larger real-time bidding (RTB) ecosystem. Specifically, a DSP enables advertisers to purchase display ad inventory via RTB exchanges. The most well-known DSPs are: MediaMath; Turn; Invite Media; and, x+1.

    Oh that makes perfect sense, right?……

    In my latest post I aim to translate the above into something resembling plain English.

    So what is a DSP?

    A DSP – or in its full attire, demand-side platform – is a piece of software that allows users to purchase media/advertising space on the web in an automated fashion based on pre-set targeting. This method is often used by digital media agencies such as ourselves to assist in purchasing large volumes of space at small prices. At least that’s the aim.

    How do they help?

    Think back a couple of years; did you ever visit a website and think ‘Yeah I’d like to advertise on their site‘?

    You process would probably be to have made contact with the webmaster and asked for a rate card, which looking back was ludicrously expensive. You’d have negotiated the price down saying to yourself ‘Yeah I’ve got a good deal here!

    Well how good a deal was that really retrospectively? I’ve actively paid £3,000 per month to advertise two banners on a news site for one month and received a few hundred clicks for the privilege. (This was some years back now!)

    Well, DSPs take out the people part of the ad buying process making it a cheaper and far more efficient process.

    How does a DSP work in practice?

    Well, in plain english a DSP allows advertisers to buy impressions across a large range of publisher sites targeted to users based on their location, previous web behaviour etc. Those publishers make their ad spaces available through ad exchanges which DSPs use to automatically decide which impressions are viable for the advertiser and purchase that space as required.

    The price the advertiser pays for that space (impression) is decided in real-time by a practice know as RTB, or real-time bidding. RTB means that there is no human negotiation on pricing, the RTB process automatically auctions off the impressions to the highest bidder (similar to what takes place in AdWords with its AdRank algorithm).

    This system is the same as the Google Display Network (GDN), which is restricted to only sites serving GDN ad space. The second advantage of DSPs is that they encompass these ad networks but also offer reach to wide range of other websites that do not offer ad space through the GDN.

    Are DSPs here to stay?

    Well, in my opinion yes.

    We are seeing more and more publishers making their inventory available for real-time bidding, which for advertisers makes for good reading as RTB is a far more cost-effective way of advertising. This is not to say that humans will be pulled from the process altogether as they are still required for the optimisation side of things.

    An example of how DSPs can work

    So I wanted to set-up an example campaign, to show you how we can use a DSP to actively target an audience which would otherwise be unattainable via GDN and other more domestic platforms. In the example you will see how we combine lateral targeting to form our target audience.

    The scenario is a van dealership looking to extend its reach but at a controlled cost. The main challenges from the off are that the is no such audience as ‘people interested in vans’. So how do we reach those van lovers?

    Well, we identified three main audiences that work together to highlight the white van man. These are:

    • Auto Lovers (loves all cars,direct message, all about deals)
      Targeting sites such as: pistonheads.com, carthrottle.com, teslarati.com
    • Sports (football, white vans, lateral targeting)
      Targeting sites such as: football-league.co.uk, 90min.com, givemesport.com, whynotsport.com
    • News (huge reach, wide audience, keyword targeting)
      Targeting sites such as: mirror.co.uk, dailystar.co.uk

    Perfect, so what formats would we use?

    Native – Native ads are those ads that don’t look like ads, but actually are ads that fool us into thinking that they’re content, when actually they are ads.

    Example of a Native Ad hard at work

    Banner – Exactly what it says on the tin.

    Banner_Ad

    Where do we target those audiences?

    Service Stations: Targeting users by service station location is great as we can advertise to them whilst they are on rest periods.

    Service_Stations

    Ports: As above, we can target based on user location to ferry ports for example. Effectively targeting drivers in key areas where we know typically the audience would be using their smartphones, allowing us to bid harder in these areas.

    Ports

    Costs

    So that’s all well and good, but DSPs are expensive right? Well, in reality no, not really. For the demo campaign we set-up here, the following costs were quoted by the DSP we use internally at White.net.

    CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions):

    • Auto: £2.00
    • Sports: £1.60
    • News: £1.40

    I was very happy with the CPM estimates, now you could argue that they do not look to dissimilar to that of the Google Display Network, but, lets not forget that we are targeting our exact audience here and not using a hit & hope method that we would otherwise use with GDN as white van man is not a typical audience.

    Now of course using a Demand-side Platform is not free, product fees vary by provider. Some provide a % of spend fee, others fixed fees based on spend thresholds per month. Do your research to see which works best for you, not what works best for the provider.

    Are DSPs for me?

    If you want to broaden your reach, extend your re-marketing efforts and bring down advertising costs then yes, yes they are.

    I’d like to know a little more

    If you would like to learn more about DSPs and harnessing their power for your gain then reach out to us, we’d be more than happy to discuss your needs.

    I hope the post was helpful, and as always I welcome your comments below.

    By White.net PPC
  • 12 Aug

    Gallery: Slider

    Dipiscing lorem felis a ante. Proin consequat a justo sed ornare. Vestibulum quis magna vel nunc vehicula mattis id. More →

    By White.net Uncategorized
  • 06 Aug

    Gallery: Grid

    Dipiscing lorem felis a ante. Proin consequat a justo sed ornare. Vestibulum quis magna vel nunc vehicula mattis id. More →

    By White.net Video ,
  • 20 May

    #SMX London 2015 – SEM Key Takeaways

    SMX London 2015 – Search Marketing Expo: Our takeaways from the 2-day event. Jason Denny & Holly Martin will be live blogging and tweeting from the #SMX conference in London. To make things easier we have organised the sessions by speaker so that you can click on the internal anchor below.

    Notes are added live throughout the 2 day event and will be filled out further, so be sure to check back for more in-depth content and examples.

    Day 1 – Wednesday , May 20, 2015

    Live blogging

    Maile Ohye – Developer Programs Tech Lead – Google Inc. (@maileohye) – Keynote

    “Data comes from down up, not dictated from up down.” – Maile Ohye

    Maile kicked off today’s #smx expo with a history of Google search:anchorman_smx

    • Back in ’98, Google SERP displayed 10 blue links, which were all derived from indexing search strings.
    • Leaping forward to 2006 Google launched the Sitemap protocol. Google believed that site owners should be able to submit details of content on their site as they were best-placed to understand the content presented on each page – such as news updates.
    • In 2007 Google unveiled Universal Search, blending images, news and web content onto one screen for mobile.
    • Search ‘Prince Charles’ on Google and you receive an increased amount of information relating to the Prince.
    • 2011 saw the launch of Schema.org taking unstructured content and allowing the site owner to provide ‘entities’ of data for a particular subject, rather than Google reading it as a bunch of random data strings. Schema defines relationships.

    Ask Google, ‘OK Google – What are the names of Prince Charles’s sons?’ and what you will receive is a bunch of linked entities to your query. Similarly, asking Google ‘OK Google – When is flight BA3024 due from New York?’ it will provide you with your answer on-screen without the need to load and navigate the British Airways site – perfect for people on-the-go. Alongside your answer you now see ‘actions’, such as ‘Book Flight’ buttons etc.

    Another example of this is searching for ‘comedy films’, and the results provide more than just a list of films… clicking ‘Anchorman’ from the results provides the user with a plethora of data and actions that can be taken…

    “We used to dial; now we speed dial. We used to read; now we speed read. We used to walk; now we speed walk. And of course, we used to date, and now we speed date. And even things that are by their very nature slow – we try and speed them up, too.” – Carl Honore

    5 Steps to Building a Mobile Site:

    5_mobile_smx

    5 Steps to Building a Site for Tablet:

    5_tablet+smx

    Vivien Tombs – Associate Head of PPC – Periscopix (@vivtombs)

    “Nothing is a secret.” – Vivien Tombs on Google Adwords

    Today’s talk from Vivien took us through a couple of tools with AdWords that she likes and could help cut down the admin time that we spend within our Google AdWords accounts.

    Labels

    When reviewing accounts, few account managers appear to make good use of labels. These are a godsend when it comes to helping with account management. Manage large scale changeovers in accounts, such as sales and promotions – sale for weekend, allows for scheduling creatives by labels. Use labels to make notes of problem areas or particular success areas, labels allow you to come back at a later date to review easily rather than trawl though the whole account to locate those areas. Consider labeling based on CPA areas, or based on internal teams for easy reporting for last minute meetings etc. Label based on bid strategy, or analysis based on match types.

    • Assign labels to team members – accountability.
    • Keep them short and snappy.
    • Labels cannot be automatically created by set parameters. Not currently supported in Adwords.
    • Labels are now available in the latest version of AdWords Editor making it easier to label in bulk.

    Ad Customisers

    Standard text ads that are customisable elements that can be dynamically updated based on custom elements. Ad customisers are parameters that go within curly brackets {like this}. The parameter gets replaced by dynamic text when your ad is triggered by a user’s search. You can include ad customisers within any text ad on the search or display network, anywhere except for the URL fields. The benefit of Ad customisers are that unlink standard ads, when the customiser updates it does not erase/overwrite your historic ad data, instead it keeps history allowing you to later analyse for other upcoming events etc. Ad customisers can be used to create a sense of urgency for sales and keep users up-to-date based on latest product availability, in comes ‘Coundown Ads’.

    Countdown ads  for retailers has proven to deliver up-to and over 50% increase in CTR when ads counted down within last hour of a sale.

    Customisers fill in your ad text using ad customiser data that you upload, the COUNTDOWN function or both.

    countdown_ads_smx

    • The COUNTDOWN function: Customisers with a COUNTDOWN function include arguments, or directions, for that function within parentheses (like this). The customiser {=COUNTDOWN(Discounts.CountdownDate,’en’)}, for example, includes a COUNTDOWN function with 2 arguments.
    • The first argument (Discounts.CountdownDate) tells the customiser what date and time to count down to, which is specified in a file named “Discounts”.
    • The second argument (“en”) tells the customiser to display that time in a particular language (English).

    Key Takeaways

    • Label Everything, always have a standard ad set-up in case customised ads are not running.
    • Be careful of your character limits!
    • Be creative!
    • Remember, customisers are a short-term pain, but long-term gain.

     

    Daniel Gilbert – MD – Brainlabs (@danielgilbert44)

    “1,000+ changes in AdWords interface last year alone – Automation is not optional, but necessary.” – Daniel Gilbert

    AdWords scripts are a game changer. Managine accounts manually takes time… and on larger account, a significant amount of time. Daniel lead us through some AdWords scripts which help alleviate some of the time required to manage your account, with the bi-product being increasing account performance. The main script discussed was Ad Scheduling.

    Optimising your keyword and ad group bids in order to maximise performance can be a tricky affair and very time consuming. Setting up a schedule to manage your bids is a great way to make sure that you’re not spending too much at the wrong times and more importantly that valuable traffic is getting to you at the right times.

    AdWords built-in tool for modifying bids based on the time of day — ad scheduling — but the limitation of this tool is that it only allows you up to six bidding windows per day, and as we know, our traffic trends can vary significantly from one hour to the next. So we need greater ability to optimise bids for more than six windows throughout the day currently available within AdWords.

    For large-scale accounts that demand a more granular approach, with bids that need to be changed every hour, the above limitations just won’t do. As an example, conversion rates for Domino’s vary dramatically during different hourly slots on different days; the company doesn’t want to bid at the same levels at 7:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    adwords_scripts_smx

    Here’s Daniel’s step-by-step guide on how to implement the AdWords Script That Lets You Optimize Bids Every Hour Of The Day.

    Daniel then went on to discuss the benefits of the Google Anomoly Detector Script. The Account Anomaly Detector alerts the advertiser whenever an AdWords account is suddenly behaving too differently from what’s historically observed. When an issue is encountered, the script will send the user an alerting email. Only a single email for an alert is sent per day.

    The script by default is comparing stats observed so far today with historical stats for the same day of week. For instance, stats for a Tuesday, 13:00 are compared with stats for 26 previous Tuesdays. Adjust the number of weeks to look back depending on the age and stability of your account.

    account-anomaly-detector_smx

    Schedule the script to run hourly in order to get the most out of alerting. If the alert is too noisy, scheduling it Daily around mid-day might also make sense.

    Suppose the script runs at 7pm on a Tuesday. Since AdWords statistics may be up to 3 hours delayed, the script will only consider stats up to 4pm.

    The script will then fetch stats for 26 preceding Tuesdays, average them, and compare with today’s stats.

    No subsequent alerts of the same type will be triggered for the day. If you’d like to reset the alert, delete the Alerting cell value.

    Here’s a link on how to set up the AdWords Acount Anomoly Detector script.

     Key Takeaways

    • PPC Managers, learn to code! Tool-sets are available online to help you get over your ‘codephobia’.
    • Automation not optional but a essential.
    • Scripting is easy to learn, don’t dive in at the deep end.
    • A little customisation of already available scripts can provide powerhouse tools for optimising your account.

     

    Day 2 – Thursday, May 21, 2015

    SMXLondon_day2

    Bas Van Den Beld – Chief Editor – State Of Digital (@basvandenbeld) – ‘Better Together: Search and Social’

     “And to think our attention span is less than that of a goldfish.” – Bas Van Den Beld

    If you watch this video:

     

    Can you now tell yourself what the name of this talk is that was given in the intro?

    Bas kicked of day 2’s agenda with an in-depth talk about how we are always looking to try and create fan bases… when actually we are the only fan. We are the fan of our own ideas. We as a race crave for information, be it at home, at work, on the tube, at the pub… we are always digesting data. But how do we get our ideas, our content over to users to digest… knowing that they have the memory span as a goldfish? It needs to be engaging and shareable.

    But why in general does our content not get the attention we feel it should? Because we are not looking at ‘why’ people are buying, only when.

    This ad from Reebok is a fantastic example of engaging and shareable content… it addresses the ‘why’ and it was first published in-line with the ‘when’…

     

     

    Great huh? We need to understand and be ‘where’ the customer is in the buying cycle, not where we think that they should be or want them to be. Don’t try to get too fancy, aim to get the right attention at the right time for the right people. Answer their needs. If you want success in marketing you have to understand what they want and what they need, talk in the consumers language. Be passionate and engaging with topics that interest your target audience and gain their attention.

    There are 4 types of audiences:

    1. Seekers – Researchers, looking for information that answers their needs.
    2. Amplifiers – This is the audience that can share your content which answer their needs.
    3. Joiners – These are the ‘I like it, I’ll subscribe’ consumers. Activing looking for more content from you.
    4. Buyers – These are the consumers that actively purchased(d) your products.

    We focus mainly on the buyers when it comes to marketing, which yes can and dos work, but we need to understand that actually it is the other 3 audiences that create they buyers audience. We need to tap into these audiences as they all work hand-in-hand. truly research your audiences, what they ‘do’, what they ‘say’ and what they ‘read’.

    You may be asking yourself.. OK well that all a good read but how do I know ‘what’ my consumers are asking and ‘what’ can I answer? Well, we all have keywords in our accounts, and we know which works well for buyers. So, two examples on how to identify questions from our keywords are below:

    quora_smax

    Quora – This is a great place to find such questions. In-short, sign-up, and start searching for your keywords. What Quora then does is locate and present questions to you (that have/have not been answered within the Quora community). It is these questions that you can then create your answers… answering your consumers needs. With some great content that is engaging and shareable, you’re tapping into the Seekers and Amplifiers audience lists mentioned above.

    Google – We all use Google and you know when you start typing into the search bar you get this:

    google_search_smx_1

    Well, amend this with some insight from Quora and you can do this…

    google_search_smx_2

    …finding questions that are commonly asked with Google that you have the opportunity to create engaging and shareable content to reach the Seekers and Amplifiers.

    Key Takeaways

    • Create something people will recognise, engage with and share.
    • Remember, not every piece of content needs to sell.

     

    Mark Mitchell – Senior Director of Client Services EMEA – Brightedge (@searchmitch) – ‘Better Together: Search and Social’

    “Start small, prove the concept, then drive larger scale” – Mark Mitchell

    Mark guided us through his take on shareable content and the value of creating engaging content. A real head-turner was the run-through of this site below:


    Click the image to open the interactive version (via Penny Stocks Lab).

    5 Top Tips:

    1. Integrate your teams around your content. Focus all your teams, internal and external, on content campaigns. Bring all of your assets together to create and share a great piece of content.
    2. Social signs can help you drive up content rank. Can your content be shared?
    3. Benchmark against your competitors and ask yourself, ‘OK, so what does success look like?’
    4. Understand your social media assets overall ability. Create content that drives social engagement.
    5. Use your social assets to dominate your brand space. If a user searches for your brand, can they locate your social assets too? Searching ‘John Lewis’ on Google provides a great example of brand space ownership:

    john_lewis_smx

    Key Takeaways

    • Create engaging and shareable content.
    • Start small, create a piece of content and prove the concept. Then drive larger-scale content campaigns.
    • Own your brand space.

     

    Kelvin Newman – Founder and Managing Director – Rough Agenda (@kelvinnewman) – ‘Building Your Search Marketing Technology Stack’

     “By 2017 the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO” – Gartner

    Kelvin’s talk today was around tools, platforms and suites, outlining the pros and cons to all.

    kelvin_pros_smx

    Before jumping in and buying what you think is best for you, establish your criteria, what does the solution need to solve? Then evaluate against the above pros and cons.

    “Somany of our marketing decisions are derived from data, purchases are often not.” – Kelvin Newman

    I guess reviewing the quote above, it demonstrates the need to ensure all users are involved during the purchase decision.Who will be using the tool? The CMO or marketing manager?

    • Silver bullets do not exist. They can all help but the best tool is actually the one that gets used the most, not the most ‘fancy’.
    • Time saved is often more important than % account performance increase.
    • The benefits and savings of changing a solution are often lost by the cost of changing.
    • More campaigns fail from poor execution rather than poor strategy.

    Two great tools that Kelvin discussed were IFTTT and Zapier. Both tools designed to help save you time, well worth a look.

    Key Takeaways

    • More campaigns fail from poor execution rather than poor strategy.
    • There is no ‘best tool’, only the best tool for you and your needs.
    • Invest in yourself, automate some tasks to save you time.

     

    Alistair Dent – Head of Product Strategy – iProspect (@alistairdent) – ‘What You Should Be Doing In Search & Mobile’

    Alistair’s talk later in the afternoon was all around mobile, and what we should be doing, oh, and what we shouldn’t be.

    What’s Different About Mobile?

    • Bid Modifiers
    • Mobile Preferred Ads

    It gives you a signal to talk to the user differently as they are not at their desktop. CTAs should be tailored to the ‘on-the-go’ user in effect.

    What To Look Out For

    • Web vs. App – They perform differently, but work together. Look at the conversion relationship.
    • Ad formats – Mobile formats need to be carefully designed for screen size.
    • Campaign structure – Think carefully about structure, separate keywords to allow for modifiers.
    • Enhanced CPC (ECPC) can help edge you above your competitors on the SERP.
    • Cross-device conversions – Be careful here, Google ‘thinks’ about cross-device conversions, but cannot formerly back these up with data.
    • Ad positions – Look to bid to position. Big gap in CTR between positions 1-2 and 3+.

    What not To Do

    • Do not apply negative bid modifiers from the start. Obtain data and experience, then make an informed decision. Do not assume mobile will not perform.
    • Do no fear greatness, instead of applying a +5% bid modifier for mobile, why not try at +25% or +50%? With data you can always decided to increase or decrease rather than take little steps.
    • Don’t rush – Use data to make sound judgements. Do not accommodate knee-jerk reactions.

    Complications

    • Bids affect modifiers. Here is a great article around how multiple modifiers can work.
    • Modifiers over-lap, keep track of them or spend could leap out of control quickly.
    • The lifetime value of a consumer is important to mobile bids.

    bid_modifiers_smx

    Key Takeaways

    • Mobile is often the upper funnel in a process.
    • Track everything and watch closely.
    • Sometimes it just doesn’t work, don’t force it.
    By White.net Events PPC Social Media
  • 12 May

    Your Competitors Are Optimised For Mobile Devices – Are You?

    We’ve all heard of #Mobilegeddon in the digital news of late… if you haven’t where have you been!?

    It was deemed that the Google organic sky was blackening for those businesses whose site was not optimised for mobile devices, or deemed mobile friendly, with the fear of being dropped from Google SERP altogether.

    This begs the question, Your Competitors Are Optimised For Mobile Devices – Are You? And do you need to be for PPC?

    In this post I will look at what it is to be mobile ‘friendly’, or optimised. There are examples of what is and what is not, along with my tips on how to approach optimisation for mobile from a organic and paid POV.

    I will say at this stage that I had a decision as to whether to use stats from Bing or Google…. I decided on Bing for the sole reason that they seem to receive far lower coverage in the media than the giant that is Google. So, the figures you’ll see displayed throughout the post are taken from Bing on-line publications.

    So… the first question.

    Why invest in mobile?

    Well to start with, CPCs on mobile are typically 30% cheaper than desktop/laptop CPCs with 3 out of 10 searches on the Yahoo Bing Network undertaken on a mobile device(1).

    We’ve seen search become more intuitive on mobile devices of late than desktop, and the recent(ish) introduction of Siri and Cortana has enabled us as a user to find the information we desire via voice command (is it me or are those keyboards on mobiles devices getting smaller? That or my fingers are getting fatter!)

    Customers are spending more and more time on mobile devices, with average time on device increasing by some 5 times from 2011 to 2014.

    Consumers in general are spending more time on their mobile devices than watching TV or reading a book (OK so they could be reading a book on their mobile device, but you get my drift). As smartphones become more and more the norm to own, over 82%(2) of owners search on and browse the web using their mobile device during the day.

    Search is shifting to mobile; over 40%(3) of internet searches on the Yahoo Bing Network are through smartphone devices and it’s estimated by 2017 that searches from mobile devices will outpace those via PCs and laptops.

    mobile-time-on-device

    Smartphone searches drive conversions at home, in-store and on the go with 70%(4) of mobile conversions occurring within five hours of a mobile search.

    This does vary by sector but this is very true for online shopping. Sectors such as travel see a very different conversion path with mobile/tablet searches being undertaken for research purposes and generally conversions following on a desktop/laptop device.

    So, we have looked at some impressive stats, but before you consider mobile advertising, ask yourself, ‘Is my site mobile optimised?’

    What is a mobile optimised website and why do I need one?

    In plain English, a mobile optimised website is a simplified version of a site, designed for smartphones and tablet devices for ease of navigation and readability.

    The whittard.co.uk site is mobile optimised, and is shown below on the left. TheMissingBean.co.uk website is not optimised for mobile, and is shown on the right:

    mobile-optimised-non-optimised

    As you can see, the site with a desktop optimised layout is more difficult to navigate than the mobile optimised version.

    Mobile users need, no demand, a suitable experience on your site; it needs to be:

    1. East to load
    2. Easy to read
    3. Easy to interact with

    The benefit?

    Users are more likely to convert on sites optimised for mobile devices; Bing Ads reported that the smartphone conversion rate was 23% for those not optimised for mobile and 60% for mobile optimised sites(5)… the stats speak for themselves right? If your site is not optimised for mobile you’re losing customers!

    30% of users will abandon a purchase from your site if the shopping cart is not optimised for mobile. I’m part of that 30%.

    There is nothing more frustrating that attempting to make a purchase and constantly having to zoom in/out of fields within the cart or hit the wrong field as they’re so so small to read, I would much rather skip to a competitor and pay that extra £1.00 if it meant that the shopping experience was optimised for me and my purchase. Have you done similar?

    Now, when I say ‘mobile-optimised site’ I do not necessarily mean you need to rush out to your developers and design a new site, you have two options really. Either create a separate site for mobile screens (m.example.com) or create a mobile-friendly responsive design.

    Option 1: A separate site for mobile screens

    Typically a separate site served on an alternate URL, m.example.com for mobile users.

    Pros:

    • A design that is fully optimised to work on smaller screens
    • You have the ability to adjust content to respond to top ranking mobile search queries or products purchased more often on mobile tan desktop
    • Faster load time for the user

    Cons:

    • Cost and management time required to monitor and optimise two separate sites
    • SEO is managed seperately on a mobile site
    • Can lack flexibility to adapt to new screen sizes as they’re released

    Option 2: A responsive web design (Like the one you’re on now 🙂 )

    A responsive design automatically adjusts to different viewing conditions, such as screen size and orientation. Try viewing this post on your tablet and switch between portrait and landscape orientation.

    Pros:

    • Management time and costs are lower due to a single URL, sitemap that adapts to all device types automatically and updates apply to all device types

    Cons:

    • The site will require a complete overhaul in-terms of architecture and design – a one-off investment

    How can I make the most of my mobile optimised site?

    There are three key things to remember here, your site must be easy to load, easy to read and easy to engage with.

    Optimise the site for speed, I would probably say this is one of very key things to ensure you adhere to at all times. Mobile users want content that is easy to read and engage with yes, but, the very first thing they want is the page to load quickly!

    Typically if your page takes longer than 5 seconds to load that’s going to be a bounce and possible an exit. Here is a great post by Pauline Jakober on Site Speed & PPC Performance: Why You Can’t Ignore A Slow Site Anymore. A great read.

    Make it easy to read by only using content that is accessible on mobile devices. For example, its no good using Adobe Flash as this is not accessible on iOS devices, instead consider HTML5.

    Ensure that any plug-ins you are using are also mobile friendly, otherwise you may end up with a mobile site with a lot of inaccessible content which to a user is a reason to bounce/exit right there and then. Typically HTML5, JPG, GIF and jQuery are good formats to stick to.

    Ensure that the design is easy to navigate, limiting distractions You want your user to follow a sales/conversion path so don’t consider bombarding them with 101 reasons to click elsewhere. Less is more.

    Keep your content concise  and to the point. Talking of points…. use bullet points to get key messages across. This may sound silly, but consider your font size also, minimise the need for the user to zoom. Make sure that the CTA is clearly visible at all times, having a ‘Menu’ button at the top of the screen makes it visually hard for your user to miss.

    mobile-optimised-nav

    Make sure your site is touch-friendly, fingers and thumbs, keeping the need to click at a minimum. Buttons are a clear path for users to naturally recognise and follow, so integrate them. Speaking of buttons, make sure these call-to-actions are strong, ‘More info’, ‘Add to cart’ for example.

    Mobilise Your PPC Activities

    As above, it is important to signal to users that you recognise that they are searching via a mobile device and that they can expect an optimised experience when visiting your site and converting.

    Tell potential customers that you are mobile-first.

    • Use keywords and ad text like mobile and smartphone where possible. “Order now from your mobile” for example
    • If you have a mobile-specific URL, be sure to use it… “m.example.com”
    • Utilise mobile-friendly ad extensions such as location, call and app

    I guess what I am trying to say here is extensions, extensions EXTENSIONS. Help your customers find the pages they’re seeking with sitelink extensions. If you have bricks and mortar stores then utilise location extensions to allow users to locate their nearest store.

    Get more customers on the phone with call extensions, it is sometimes easier for the user to call than browse your site, and example here would be a user looking to locate a last minute hotel room. It’s quicker to call and ask than fill in mobile forms to only then be told no.

    starbucks-ad

    If we analyse the Starbucks ad to the right, we see that the ad text fits perfectly for mobile screens, we have the options to click-to-call, click to get direction to the nearest store and also to download the app.

    All of these options are designed to assist us as a potential customer. The major benefit of engaging the user to download your app is the potential log-term gain of repeat custom. A recommendation here would be optimisation of the sitelinks.

    “Conversion rates for smartphone shoppers on mobile-optimised sites is 160% higher than on non-optimised sites” – Bing

    If an ad group has both mobile preferred and regular ads, only mobile preferred ads serve on mobile devices, and only regular ads serve on PCs and tablets.

    Don’t forget to set up mobile-only ads, this will ensure that you can deliver your desired message to searchers rather than potentially losing that message when not all ad text is displayed on a mobile device from a non-mobile preferred ad.

    Make sure as well that you have both mobile preferred and non-mobile preferred extensions set up correctly to ensure they are displayed on the correct device type. Note: mobile preference cannot be set at the ad group level. If all sitelinks in an ad group are set to ‘mobile preferred’ some may be displayed on tablet/PC if there are no other sitelinks available to use.

    mobilepreferred

    As mentioned above, if you have a mobile site (m.xxxxxxxx) ensure that you utilise the {if mobile} destination URL query string so that you direct mobile users to your mobile optimised site. For example {ifmobile:m.thisis-anexample.com}.

    To re-cap then, I hope the above is enough to encourage you to optimise your site and ad campaigns now.

    The time we as a user spends on mobile devices is expected to increase even further through 2015 with an estimated 42% of digital media time occurring on smartphones and 12% on tablets(6). Mobile ad performance is accelerating also by 57% growth in year-over-year mobile conversion rates.

    As always, I’d love to hear your experiences of optimising for mobile. Have you taken the plunge? Has it worked? Get in-touch using the comments section below.

    *1 - Yahoo Bing Network CTR and CPC, Apr - Sepetember 2014 Internal Data. 2 - Nielsen. "The mobile consumer. A Global Snapshot". 3 - Microsoft Internal Data. 4 - xAd/Telmetrics Study, "Mobile Path to Purchase" and Microsoft research. 5 - NetElixir study of 180M shopping session on 53 retail client's sites. 6 - comScore Media metric Multi-Platform.
    By White.net PPC
  • 18 Apr

    Bing Ads – Universal Device Targeting – The Lowdown

    Bing announced the roll-out of Universal Device Targeting (UDT) on Tuesday, along with details of the latest updates to the Bing Ads platform.

    I had the pleasure of attending the Bing Ads latest ad formats and device targeting capabilities webinar chaired by Katrina Morris (Bing Ads Program Manager) and Joseph Bergin (Bing Ads Technical Support).

    Katrina works as a Release and Supportability Program Manager, helping to enable pilots and releases in the EMEA markets. Her main focus is to ensure the Bing Ads releases meet your needs and requirements, and that you have the features you need to succeed in search.

    Joseph works as a Technical Support Engineer (TSE) on the Bing Ads Support Team based in Dublin. His main focus is campaign and ad delivery covering Bing Ads Editor, API, campaign creation and management, and answering questions like “Where is my ad?” or “How can I get more clicks?”. If you have had such questions you may already have “met” him or his colleagues on-line. Joseph likes nothing better than setting up a call with a customer and helping them out in real time.

    The webinar kicked off with the confirmation that Bing consolidated desktop, tablet and mobile targeting into one interface at the end of March, UDT. Were were advised of the three main reasons for this move:

      1. Simplicity: less complicated user interface
      2. Reduced friction: structural similarity across SEM platforms make it easier to manage across campaigns. Easier to copy over from AdWords accounts
      3. Controls: introduced table and mobile bid adjustments

    The changes brought in are designed to help with copying campaigns over from Google AdWords, to ensure that similarity in terms of platform usability and features remains whilst boasting some additional features not yet available in Google AdWords:

    bingVSadwords

    Why not -100 percent bid adjustments for tablet traffic? – Bing Ads and industry sources report tablet conversions to be consistently within 15-20 percent of desktop/laptop (“traditional”) conversions.* Given that PC and tablet campaigns perform very similarly, allowing for bid adjustments to span from -20 percent to +300 percent should give advertisers the controls they need to maintain their campaign return on investment (ROI).

    In short, Bing Ads have moved to make the campaign structure parallel that of Google AdWords, reducing account management overheads. Bing were quick to inform that they have not and do not want to be seen as merely copying Google, they have also enabled bid modifiers for tablet which is currently unavailable in Google AdWords.

    To be able to apply modifiers to tablet and mobile independently is fantastic; much of the client data we analysed post-call showed clear splits between these mobile devices in terms of conversions. Another great addition to the Bing Ads platform is the option to include {if mobile} URLs and the option for mobile preference (detailed further down this post).

     

    So, taking UDT into account, what are the three things we should now be actioning off of the back-end of this update?

    Top of the class

    Boost the winners, dump the losers. If you previously utilised separate mobile and desktop campaigns you may need to look to update the keywords used as they may now be duplicated post UDT update. These need to be removed. Clearly you will need to keep those that have the highest CTR/CR.

    • Review your account and identify any campaigns targeting the same keywords
    • Move duplicates to higher-performing campaigns and delete or pause the lower performers
    • Consider creating “top performer” campaigns for more aggressive bidding/bid adjustments

    “The most critical action that you can take: Review and combine campaigns targeting the same keyword” – Bing

    The image below shows an example of how you may look to consolidate campaigns 1 and 2 with the keyword for ‘Lilies’ into a single campaign.

    With the PC/tablet keyword having a quality score of 9, you would keep this keyword and add a bid modifier of -25% bid modify for mobile as the bid was 25% less than that on desktop and tablet.

    Bid wisely

    Bing advised that they generally see that mobile bids are around 30% cheaper than desktop, so if you are not targeting mobile, review your strategy. Note here though that this will vary by vertical, but in general mobile now seems to be an opportunity worth exploring. Experiment with the modifiers!

    If you have legacy campaigns that are not opted in for mobile, think again. If your site is mobile friendly then not bidding for mobile may in-fact be harming your overall goal.

    Test different combinations of bids and bid adjustments to find your key mobile ROI.

    Think about your overall budget, with additional mobile traffic you will need additional budget to take into account the increased traffic volume. Note that any changes to your desktop bid in the example above will make changes to the mobile and tablet bids due to the bid modifiers in-place, so you may then need to adjust the modifiers accordingly.

    Modifiers can be set up at campaign and ad group level; note though that any modifiers set-up at adg roup level will override those set up at campaign level.

    Mobilize

    Tell potential customers that you are ‘mobile-first’.

    • Use keywords and ad text like ‘mobile’ and ‘smartphone’ where possible. “Order now from your mobile” for example
    • If you have a mobile-specific URL, be sure to use it… “m.example.com
    • Utilise mobile-friendly ad extensions such as location, call and app

    “Conversion rates for smartphone shoppers on mobile-optimised sites is 160% higher than on non-optimised sites” – Bing

    If an ad group has both mobile-preferred and regular ads, only mobile-preferred ads serve on mobile devices, and only regular ads serve on PCs and tablets. Don’t forget to set up mobile-only ads, this will ensure that you can deliver your desired message to searchers rather than potentially losing that message when not all ad text is displayed on a mobile device from a non-mobile preferred ad.

    Make sure as well that you have both mobile preferred and non-mobile preferred extensions set up correctly to ensure they are displayed on the correct device type. Note: mobile preference cannot be set at the adgroup level. If all sitelinks in an ad group are set to ‘mobile preferred’ some may be displayed on tablet/PC if there are no other sitelinks available to use.

    mobilepreferred

    As mentioned above, if you have a mobile site (m.xxxxxxxx) ensure that you utilise the {if mobile} destination URL query string so that you direct mobile users to your mobile optimised site. For example {ifmobile:m.thisis-anexample.com}.

    What is up-and-coming with Bing Ads?

     Recent Updates (Within past 3 months)

    • Unified device targeting (UDT)
    • Bing Ads Editor 10.7 – new improvements to allow edits of synced keywords, improved download logic and improved radius target management
    • Annotation launches – 3rd party data is added, including Twitter icon to your ads across Europe along with other annotations including Top Ads which is already deployed in Germany
    • Bing ads home tabs – allowing you to gain a quick snapshots and trends in account performance

     Mid term Updates (3-6 months)

    • App extensions – Allow for driving app downloads through an extension format and also includes dynamic OS detection to ensure corrects aps are displayed for each OS type
    • Search Remarketing (Pilot) – Bing are currently piloting first stage of their re-targeting product which includes audience bid boosting
    • Image Ads – New rich ad format. New extension format that will allow for up-to 3 hi-res images to be applied to your top ads to provide greater real-estate on your mainline ads
    • Campaign planner – Will allow for vertical trends and competitor trends analyses for key metrics

     Longer term (6+ months)

    • Microsoft Login Change – Migration completed for Bing Ads login to the Microsoft Account ID which will become mandatory later this year we are told with an aim to improve account security
    • New ad extensions – Form Extension with calendar input, allow users to input formats such as date, email or postcode and link directly with booking/reservations engine. Call-out extensions to showcase business USPs
    • Schedule extensions – Allow for more precise control over ad investments with start/end dates/times

    So, taking all the above in, what’s recommended to act on now?

    • Upgrade to enhanced sitelinks to allow for richer extension content, particularly for brand campaigns to gain great real-estate on the SERPs
    • Review your device targeting; if you are targeting mobile separately at the moment, look at structure and combine your campaigns
    • Ensure that mobile sitelinks are set-up and ads are selected for mobile preference
    • Once combined, look to ad in mobile/tablet bid modifiers
    • Get ready for search re-marketing (RLSA as we know from Google AdWords), deploy UET (universal Event Tracking) directly into your site or via your chosen tag manager partner (The full features of UET will not be usable, but in it will be good to analyse in the short term in light of the greater benefit when search re-marketing rolls out later this year)
    • And finally, check out the new richer insights and auction insights, bid landscape, opportunities tab, and top mover reports to help you capitalise and make well informed decisions for your investment with Bing ads

    There looks to be a lot of new features on the way and it seems Bing Ads may one day indeed be a serious contender to Google dominance in the marketplace. Watch this space…

    I’d love to hear your thoughts & experience so far on UDT and UET, so feel free to get in touch through the comments below or on Twitter.

    By White.net PPC
  • 15 Apr

    Viverra Tempor

    Dipiscing lorem felis a ante. Proin consequat a justo sed ornare. Vestibulum quis magna vel nunc vehicula mattis id eget lorem. More →

    By White.net Lifestyle ,
  • 25 Mar

    So What Makes A Good PPC Account Structure?

    I’m often asked, ‘what makes a good PPC account structure?’… well in truth, it varies from account to account. There is no real champion account structure as such. Instead, what I want to share with you is the back-bone of an account structure which should typically bode well for any account. Following the simple steps below cuts out a large amount of wasted time on what historically appear to be over complicated accounts.

    Alpha/Beta PPC Account Structure

    Firstly, if you have a good website structure, use this as a template (N.B. If you don’t have a good website structure/navigation then perhaps looks at that first; there is nothing more frustrating to a potential customer than an badly navigable website!). There are many reasons for doing this; the two main ones are that it aligns campaigns/ad groups to landing pages, as well as for ease of reporting.

    The main purpose of the Alpha/Beta PPC account structure is to maximise quality score and conversion rate. As quality scores are also calculated at campaign level, it deems valuable that the campaign structure reflects and takes advantage of this. The price of a click depends on a metric known as ‘quality score’, which we know denotes how relevant Google thinks your combination of ad copy, keyword and landing page are to a searcher’s search query. Increasing quality score would reduce the price of clicks (and therefore the price of conversions) or improve ad rank (that is, the position the ad appears on the search results page). As we know, maximising quality score translates to higher ad positions and lower cost per clicks. By separating keywords with the highest quality score into a separate ‘cloned’ Beta ad groups, the campaign’s quality score will be further maximised and a higher ROI will be observed.

     

    In A Nutshell

    Let’s call the bare-bone ad groups our ‘Alpha’ ad groups. To implement this strategy, we would build out ‘Beta’ ad groups, containing the most successful keywords alongside the most successful ads and landing pages. The ad group should be a complete clone of the original Alpha ad group but it should only contain the winning criterion. With this likely single-keyword ad group, we can tailor the ad creative to be hyper relevant to the search term and user, and additionally can test new hyper relevant variations of these best performing ads.

    Read my my blog post on Considering Ad Copy As A Group Of Swappable Elements on how to variant test ad copy.

    The exact match keyword should then be added as a negative to the corresponding Alpha Ad group to ensure that that exact search query triggers the ad in the Beta Ad group only.

    Here’s A Visual Of What This Structure Looks Like

    ppc account structure

    This such Alpha-Beta PPC account structure will allow us to focus on the most valuable keywords that provide the most ROI. It will allow us to carefully monitor and manage the budgets where the spend is going to give the biggest ROI. Additionally, it will provide a sound platform on which we can carefully create and test hyper relevant ad creatives, to further optimise the campaigns and overall account.

    Use A Practical Naming Convention

    Naming your campaigns and ad groups in a practical way from the start will mean ease of navigation down the line. I see so many accounts where the campaigns are ‘campaign 1’ or ‘Sarah campaign’… they do not mean anything to anyone (OK, well maybe to Sarah) but you get my point, they do not instantly identify the theme. If you want to assign campaigns to certain staff then consider using labels.

    Consider a naming convention that includes the targeted network, theme of the ad groups and the keyword match type:

    Search – Theme 1 – BMM

    Search – Theme 1 – Exact

    Search – Theme 2 – BMM

    Search – Them 2 – Exact

    Display – Theme 1 – Image

    Display – Theme 1 – Text

    Re-targeting – Theme 1 – RLSA

    Re-targeting – Theme 2 – RLSA

    The size of the account can get a bit out of hand with the addition of further campaigns, ad groups, intent etc., especially when you factor in all the different types of campaigns you may want to be running:

    • Shopping
    • Search Text Ads
    • Display (Topics, Interests, Placements, etc)
    • Remarketing
    • Dynamic Remarketing
    • Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA)
    • Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)
    • Remarketing for Dynamic Search Ads (RDSA)

    The trick here is with naming conventions and to label everything. The more clearly defined and separated the above campaign types are, the easier the account will be to navigate and manage.

    So, we’ve looked at the structure, but I want to just jump back slightly here and touch on what the difference is between a keyword and a search query, and what match types are available along with their uses.

    Keywords vs. Search Queries

    We hear a lot of talk around keywords and search queries, but these are sometimes either misunderstood or misrepresented. So let’s clear this up:

    • Keywords are words or phrases that a marketer buys on Google
    • Search Queries are words or phrases that a user (potential customer) types into the Google search bar

    Match Type

    Next I want to run through what match-types are available, and what they entail:

     

    Broad Match

    This match type allows us to control how aggressively Google matches keywords to queries.
    e.g. Formal Shoes also matches to Formal Footwear, Evening Footwear, and Men’s Dress Wingtips etc.
    This form or match type gives Google almost total discretion.

     

    Broad Match Modified

    This match type allows us to specify words that must appear in a search, while capturing misspellings and different orderings of the words.
    e.g. +Formal +Shoes also matches Formal Shoes, Formal Evening Shoes, Formal Black Dress Shoes.
    BMM match type prevents synonyms.

     

    Phrase Match

    This match type allows us to control how aggressively Google matches keywords to queries.
    e.g. “Formal Shoes” also matches to Black Formal Shoes, Formal Shoes for Men, Formal Shoes for Women.
    Phrase match type requires the complete phrase to appear in the query.

     

    Exact Match

    This match type allows us to stop Google matching our keywords to certain queries.

    e.g. [Formal Shoes] matches to Formal Shoes only.
    Exact match type will only show the exact phrase.

     

    Negative Match

    This match type allows us to stop Google matching our keywords to certain queries
    e.g. -Formal -Shoes matches to Men’s Trainers, Men’s Flip-Flops, Ladies High-Heels
    Negative match type excludes any word or phrase.

     

    I recommend using Broad March Modified (BMM) to discover new and potentially profitable search queries, Exact Match to isolate the top performing queries and bids accordingly and Negative Match to exclude the unprofitable queries. Generally I do not recommend the use of Broad Match or Phrase Match: Broad Match gives the least control and so potentially allows ads to appear on irrelevant searches (especially if you do not have a tightly optimised negative keyword list applied); Phrase Match would capture fewer searches than BMM as it requires precise spelling and so is less useful for exploration.

    I have seen many an account where the PPC manager has used the same keyword on Broad, Phrase and Exact match, and I think to myself, you’ve wasted so much of your time by doing that. Also, I’ve see a lot of ad groups with long-tail (5+ keywords per line) with little to no data attributed, why? Because they had jumped the gun and second guessed what the customer would be searching rather than run BMM ad groups and analyse the search query reports (the queries that potential customers are actually using).

    By using Broad Match Modify and Exact match types only, we are able to data-mine for new an relevant queries that we want to bid on and identify those that we don’t. Using Phrase and Broad match types only complicate things.

    Creating & Analysing Alpha/Beta Campaigns

    So to recap, below is a step-by-step process, which if followed correctly, will produce your A/B structure:

    1. Create the Alpha ad group with all keywords on BMM.
    2. Review Search Query Reports on the Alpha ad groups.
    3. Identify the performing and ill-performing queries via Search Query Reports.
    4. Create the Beta ad group and move the performing queries into Single Keyword ad groups.
    5. Ensure all Beta ad group queries are on Exact Match.
    6. Create targeted ad creatives and landing pages for the Single Keyword ad groups.
    7. Add all ill-performing queries to the corresponding Alpha ad groups as Exact Match Negatives.
    8. Add all Beta queries to the corresponding Alpha ad groups as Exact Match Negatives – This prevents Google from matching an Alpha keyword to a performing Beta query.
    9. A schedule is then created to re-run through steps 2-8 for continuous optimisation of the account.

     

    By implementing the Alpha/Beta structure we can ensure that the Exact Match keyword is triggered by the users search query, resulting in a tailored and specifically related ad creative being entered into the auction to be shown on the SERP (SERP is the search engine results page, the page the user is directed to have clicking search on their search query). This will ensure that the users search query is matched most relevantly to a keyword and ad creative most likely to provide higher engagement and potential conversion.

     

    1. This should result in a higher Quality Score and Ad Rank thus resulting in a lower CPC to that of the same keyword using a different match type.
    2. This structure ensures that highly relative keywords, queries and ad creative are married up.
    3. This structure should also lower bounce rate and increase user engagement (Pages/Visits).

     

    So What Makes A Perfect PPC Account Structure?

    I am not saying the above is the answer to all our structural prayers, instead, it gives you a bare-bone idea of how to re-structure or build out your account to maximise efficiency in more than one way. Getting the structure right means you have more time to concentrate on optimisation and variant testing. Take a look at our account, how does it look? From campaign level can you clearly identify what each campaign entails? No? Well if you can’t then no-one else can. Have you segmented your campaigns / ad groups? If not, ask yourself why not.

    I hope you have found this useful. I’d love to hear your feedback, and your experiences. What structure works well for you?

    By White.net PPC
  • 17 Mar

    Consider Ad Copy As A Group of Swappable Elements

    So, we’re well on our way into 2015 and it’s time to look back on what we’ve achieved so far this year. New digital strategy, check… New programmatic targeting methods, check… Account expansion, check… Reviewed ad copy and variant tested…..no?

    More often than not we find ourselves jumping into and testing new features released by the leading platforms but end up neglecting the foundations of our accounts.

    What better time to re-visit our ad copy?

    We know that the ad copy we write depends on many things, for example, the ad group keywords and the intent of the user we’re targeting. Writing compelling ad copy initially was great and we’ve seen the fantastic results they’re delivering, but, how do we know that we couldn’t write better ads? That we couldn’t push CTR up just that little bit more?

    Re-writing our ad copy is one of simplest changes we can make in an account and a sure-fire way to improve performance, but we typically concentrate on every other aspect of the account and overlook ad copy.

    There are numerous ways to improve ad copy. It can take time to craft excellent ads from scratch, but it’s well worth noting that creating variants of our top performing ads can deliver the effects we desire.

    Here’s an ad that’s performing well:

    Alaska Holiday 2015
    Experience True Wilderness
    Plan Your Alaska Adventure Today!
    www.ExampleAgent.com/Alaska-Trip

     

    We know that the ad performs well, so we’re not looking to write entirely new copy. Instead, let’s break the ad down into its headline, description-one, description-two and display-URL.

    • We could exchange the headline ‘Alaska Holiday 2015’ for ‘Alaskan Holidays 2015’ or ‘Holidays In Alaska – 2015’ while preserving meaning.
    • We could switch desc1, ‘Experience True Wilderness’, for a close alternative (such as ‘Experience Alaskan Wilderness’, ‘Experience Authentic Wilderness’), or for a different phrase (for example, ‘Stunning Scenery, Guided By Experts’ or ‘Personal service – expert advice’).
    • The call-to-action in desc2, ‘Plan Your Alaska Adventure Today!’, could be switched for a different one (such as ‘Plan Your Alaska Holiday Today!’, ‘Call & Book Your Alaska Trip Now!’ or ‘Call Us for Your Tailormade Tour ‘)
    • The display URL could be replaced by ‘Exmaple.com/Alaska-Holidays’ or ‘Alaska.Example.com’
    • Also, in this instance, the desc1 and desc2 lines could be exchanged with one-another, or two dissimilar descriptions could be used instead of a description and CTA.

    We can then take these elements, and group them by function:

    Headlines:

    Alaska Holiday 2015
    Alaskan Holidays 2015
    Holidays In Alaska – 2015

    Descriptions:

    Experience True Wilderness
    Experience Alaskan Wilderness
    Experience Authentic Wilderness
    Stunning Scenery, Guided By Experts
    Personal service – expert advice

    CTAs:

    Plan Your Alaska Adventure Today!
    Plan Your Alaska Holiday Today!
    Call & Book Your Alaska Trip Now!
    Call Us for Your Tailormade Tour

    Display URLs:

    www.ExampleAgency.com/Alaska-Trip
    Example.com/Alaska-Holidays
    Alaska.Example.com

    These can be arranged in three ways:

    Headline – Description – Call to Action – Display URL
    Headline – Call to Action – Description – Display URL
    Headline – Description – Description – Display URL

     

    Just from these suggestions there are 312 combinations of the original ad possible. Testing all of these would be extremely impractical.

    Starting with a smaller selection of variables and then manually changing them takes time, and there are difficulties keeping track of ad testing at scale; as different campaigns get different amounts of traffic, tests would vary in length and different campaigns would be at different stages testing different elements.

    Scripting could be used to automate the process, making it simpler and more efficient.

    The testing process would be:

    1. Organise the elements into groups so that they can be combined
    2. Start with a selection of ads
    3. Run the ads for long enough to make statistical conclusions
    4. Rank the ads according to results (ties are allowed where performance is not significantly different).
    5. When an ad outranks another, look at which elements were different. The element in the losing ad(s) gets a negative score; the winning ad(s) gets a positive score (each element has a record of its scores in a Google Doc the script can access).
    6. Start a new test with the winners and new ads (automatically generated from the list of elements, giving preference to elements which are untested or have previously won).

    There are multiple options for the way to generate new ads:

    • Choose a ‘slot’ to test (headline, description line 1, description line 2, display URL, or the arrangement). Take the winning ads and vary the elements in that slot.
    • Take the winning ads and create variants by switching an element in each ‘slot’. (This has the problem that it would be harder to compare the performance of each element on its own).
    • Take the winning ads and create variants by switching an element in each ‘slot’. From this determine which slot makes the most difference, and in the next round test ads that vary only in that slot.

    When enough data has built up, it may be possible to look at the performance of pairs of elements as well as individual elements.

    As an alternative, a genetic algorithm could be used:

    1. Start with a set of completely different ads
    2. Test the ads
    3. Drop the losers
    4. Generate a new generation of ads from the winners – combine the winners’ elements (crossover), and randomly change a few elements (mutation)
    5. Repeat from stage 2 with the new generation of ads

    Identifying your ‘champion’ ad copy and generating variations for testing is one of the lowest hanging fruits. In any account there is opportunity to try out new ad variants, no two ad groups perform the same and ad copy performance will vary between each. By following the simple methods above we can ensure that we are constantly mining for the best of the best ad copy.

    Have you tried this already? What lifts (or perhaps drops) in performance have you seen? Or maybe you’re testing your copy in a different way? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.

    By White.net PPC
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