Nuts & Bolts: Four Strategies for Winning Top Spots in Google AdWords

Nuts & Bolts: Four Strategies for Winning Top Spots in Google AdWords

Nuts & Bolts Quality Score

When Google announced changes to its search engine results page (SERP) earlier this year, marketers immediately began re-evaluating their digital advertising programs. Like highly trained athletes who were suddenly competing with a new set of rules, marketers wondered if they could learn and adjust to the new playing field fast enough.

The net effect of Google’s changes is there is now 30% less advertising opportunity on the SERP. As we said in a previous post, in any contest, who remembers the competitor who finished outside the top spots?

In this “Nuts & Bolts” post, we explain Google’s recent changes and how they affect your campaigns, then we look at four strategies you can use to capture a coveted top position or use other options to bolster your ad’s visibility.

View the slides below from our workshop. For a more in-depth discussion, read the MarketingProfs article “How to Win a Spot on the PPC Podium in the Olympics of Search,” and the posts in our blog series about Google AdWords.

SPOTLIGHT: Unraveling Your Marketing Mix Mysteries

Spotlights

MarketingProfs logo

 

 

Sherlock Holmes possessed an inimitable ability to quickly scan a crime scene rapidly, see beyond the obvious and, through his famous deductive reasoning, discover the truth of what had transpired.

What if you had Holmes-like capabilities to crack the mysteries of your search advertising performance? Analytics can help.

As I describe in an article on MarketingProfs, “Five Ways Google Analytics Turns You Into the Sherlock of Paid Search,” basic analytics like those you get with Google AdWords show you how effective your digital marketing efforts are in driving traffic to your website or landing pages.

That’s elementary. Using a dedicated analytics application, you can uncover the behaviors of visitors once they reach your site, providing you with valuable clues about how well your paid search campaigns are working. In other words, you discover the campaigns that turn browsers into buyers.

Read “Five Ways Google Analytics Turns You Into the Sherlock of Paid Search” to learn more.

Donning a checked cap, curved pipe in hand, is optional.

SPOTLIGHT: Marketers, Learn How to Hit a Mobile Target

SPOTLIGHT: Marketers, Learn How to Hit a Mobile Target

Spotlights

CommPRO LogoMany action movies entertain us with thrilling chase scenes. We dodge and weave along with the heroes and villains as they leap from a galloping horse to a speeding vehicle – or from vehicle to horse. We marvel at their prowess in hitting that moving target.

As marketers, we need to acquire or develop a similar ability to hit a moving target while operating at high speed. In our case, that “movement” comes not from stallions and V8 Mustangs, but from mobile devices.

Now that the volume of searches conducted on mobile devices has overtaken those on the desktop, marketers must understand the driving factors such as video consumption, the customer experience and content presentation. What’s more, marketers need to know how to apply analytics to improve their ability to reach their target audiences while they’re on the move.

These are the points I covered in an article on CommPRO, Before Shooting for Video Marketing Success, Learn to Hit a Moving (i.e., Mobile) Target.” Unbuckle your seatbelt and jump over there to learn more.

SPOTLIGHT: Think before Leaping

Spotlights Video

Chief Marketer logoRight now, in some industries, paid-video search campaigns are hotter than the spark trail of a soaring Roman candle. Several factors are driving digital marketers to explore paid video – from the increase in competitiveness and cost of traditional paid search to the huge growth in mobile viewing.

There’s no question that savvy marketers can capitalize on the opportunity to capture new and larger audiences with video marketing campaigns.

But are they right for you and your business?

In an article on Chief Marketer, “Think Before You Leap Into Paid Video Search,” I suggested three ways you might proceed with paid video:

  • Wait for the right time for you and your customers
  • Proceed slowly and cautiously, at a pace that avoids major gaffes
  • Run campaigns as quickly as possible; the Internet moves so fast any mistakes will be behind you quickly

Without knowing more about your organization’s goals, I can’t advise you on which strategy is best for you right now. However, I can – and do – offer guidance on how you can evaluate which approach to take. Check out the article on Chief Marketer and leave a comment below with your thoughts on the value of paid video search.

Prepping for the Digital Advertising Race

Analytics

RED INDY CAR 3For my last couple of posts, I’ve drawn parallels between the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indianapolis 500 – and the current state of digital advertising because recent changes to Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) have made competing for space a more rigorous contest. And in the last installment, I advised digital marketers to keep in mind there is more than one competitor on the track.

Sure, Google has the pole position. But other racers, such as Bing or YouTube and social-media contestants Facebook and Instagram, also are worth evaluating. These online venues can still yield excellent results. So, we walked through the garage and kicked a few tires.

OK. Some of the alternative vehicles look pretty slick. But admiring their gleaming chassis in the garage isn’t the same as jumping behind the wheel, gunning the engine and burning rubber on the track.

So, here are a few pointers for running the race…

Different Vehicle, Same Race

Just because you’re slipping into a new cockpit doesn’t mean your overall objective has changed. You want to finish in a competitive position – generating as many quality clicks as possible. To cross that finish line, you need to be comfortable in your new seat, knowing what your vehicle can and can’t handle. In other words, know what to expect in terms of performance. Don’t figuratively slam the gas pedal before you have had a few test laps in your new ride.

In marketing speak, this means you should move to new vehicles incrementally. If you want to explore other channels, pick one for your experimentation, rather than blanketing Bing and YouTube and Instagram and Facebook all at once. The digital world gives you hard data very rapidly, so you can conduct a test and know within days or weeks if it works for you.

Are Car & Driver Up to Specs?

No one just rolls up on race day and enters the Indy 500 field. Racing teams must qualify for the event, demonstrating that their cars and drivers are up to the challenge. In marketing terms, when you think about where to extend your digital advertising, which new channels to try, always consider your goals and your target market. As noted in earlier posts, your product may or may not play well on Instagram, and your target may or may not be more likely to be a Bing user.

One Car Can Run Two Races at the Same Time

My Indy 500 analogy finally has run out of gas. Because digital advertising is not limited by the constraints of the physical world. We’ve seen many clients who set up Bing ad accounts and put 10-20% of their budget in them, then let them run on auto-pilot while tending to the 80-90% of their campaigns in Google. As they make refinements in their Google AdWords campaigns, they don’t go back and make the same adjustments in Bing. But Bing has made it very easy to import your Google campaigns and keywords directly into Bing. So, by carefully choosing your channels and managing your digital advertising strategy, you can effectively drive one vehicle and have it compete simultaneously in two races.

That’s a feat not even the best Indy 500 driver can accomplish.

Vetting Competitors in the Digital Advertising Race

Analytics

RED INDY STRAIGHTAWAY shutterstock_141403861In my last post, I drew parallels between the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indianapolis 500 – and the current state of digital advertising because recent changes to Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) have made competing for space a more rigorous contest. And when faced with picking a winning strategy for this daunting challenge, digital marketers would be wise to remember there is more than one competitor on the track.

Yes, Google has earned the pole position. But it’s worthwhile considering other racers, such as Bing or YouTube and social-media contestants Facebook and Instagram. These online venues can still yield excellent results. By placing figurative bets on multiple vehicles, you can determine whether keeping all your money riding on Google is the most optimal strategy. Perhaps you should spread your digital advertising wagers across several “cars” in the race, which could yield a more dominant position in the field.

So, let’s kick a few tires…

Bing customers tend to be more educated and affluent. It’s the default search engine on Windows 10 devices, including the popular Microsoft Surface laptop/tablet hybrid, which are becoming standard issue in corporate suites. Bing’s share of the search market, while still much smaller than Google, is growing. It’s worth consideration, especially if the demographics of your target market align with Bing users, which are skewing toward businesses large and small.

If you want more eyeballs and increased branding at a relatively low cost, then YouTube is a solid option. After all, it is the second-largest search engine on the internet.

Depending on your product, Instagram might be a good option, too. Particularly for business-to-consumer marketers who have visually appealing products, we are seeing some strong results on Instagram. Flowers, landscape designers, foodies – these are strong plays on Instagram. However, if you are a B2B industrial machine supplier, Instagram is probably not the best venue for a share of your marketing budget.

Another avenue to explore down is remarketing campaigns on Facebook. Remarketing, if you’re not familiar with the term, is the ability to show an ad to someone who has previously visited your website or Facebook page. Since we know most consumers begin their purchasing decision process online, remarketing is an excellent way to reconnect with people who have already shown some interest in your company or product.

Facebook’s targeting options have improved dramatically, so you have many options for reaching people: standard demographics, of course, as well as tight geographic areas, interests, pages they have visited and liked. Especially useful to many advertisers are “lookalike” options – the ability to target people who share similar characteristics to a group you understand already, such as your current customer base.

Now that you’ve vetted the racers, it’s time to determine the best approach to race day. More on that topic in my next post.

Racing for the Win in Digital Advertising

Analytics

Red Indy carThe month of May ends with “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indianapolis 500. This year marks the 100th running of the race, and the race organizers have spent considerable time and money updating the facility, which is the largest sporting venue in the world.

Maybe it’s the smell of ethanol in the air, but I can’t help but think of the parallels between this event and the current state of digital advertising.

Just as the Indy 500 represents the potential for the most people to watch a race, so too does Google offer the biggest audience for search engine marketers. And recent changes at the storied track have many long-time race fans wondering what to expect when they arrive, just as digital advertisers are trying to navigate the latest updates to Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

There’s one more important parallel. While drivers yearn to be among the top competitors at Indy, it’s not the only race on their calendar. Digital advertisers likewise have many other options where they can compete.

Who Else is in the Race?

Clearly, Google is the king of search; if you can capture one of the coveted spots it can do wonders for your business.

But what if you can’t? Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) will have more and more trouble competing as time goes on, and even larger organizations may struggle. It may be worthwhile to consider other channels, such as Bing or YouTube and social-media darlings Facebook and Instagram. These online venues can still yield excellent results. By testing on multiple platforms you can determine whether you need to keep all of your investment on Google, or perhaps can branch out to others where you can gain a more dominant position.

While these channels usually don’t draw the sheer volume of eyeballs that Google commands, many advertisers are nonetheless finding them to be effective.

In my next post, we’ll take a closer look at each up-and-coming channel: Microsoft’s Bing, YouTube and the social platforms Instagram and Facebook.