Go Beyond Google Ads for PPC Success

As paid search marketers, we have a lot of tools at our disposal to get our campaigns optimized and performing at their peak. Most of those tools are designed with the big elephant in the room in mind – Google Ads (until very recently known as AdWords). However, it’s vital to remember that there are a lot of other paid channels for promoting you and your clients’ business. Today, let’s take a quick refresher on the options you have to generate traffic and business outside of Google Ads.

Bing Ads

The first place you should be sure to expand your marketing presence to is Bing Ads. According to comScore, Microsoft sites own 24.1% of search share across the U.S., compared with 63.5% for Google. While Google obviously dominates, that’s still a large chunk of available traffic that you’ll be missing out on if ignore Bing Ads entirely. And, while Bing Ads may not be quite as well developed and functional as Google Ads, they have done a lot over the years to keep up with many of the changes and improvements that Google has made to its own ad platform. Not to mention, getting started with Bing Ads is simple with their very handy “Import from Google” tool that brings your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, ads, and extensions directly from Google and sets them up in Bing. So, if you’re used to working in Google’s system and don’t want to duplicate your efforts, you can use that tool to import your initial campaign structure as well as bring in updates on an ongoing basis.

Third-Party Remarketing Tools

Google’s Display Network can get you access to a wide variety of sites and, of course, offers remarketing. However, there are other platforms out there that can also provide you with remarketing and give you access to inventory that Google doesn’t reach, such as Facebook’s ad exchange. There are many out there, so this isn’t an exhaustive list, but a few to start your search are Criteo, AdRoll, and Perfect Audience. Criteo is one of the oldest platforms out there, and while there aren’t too many controls, it does deliver results.

billboard with burger advertisement

It was also one of the first platforms to offer dynamic ads from a product feed. AdRoll is a similar platform that has gone from site remarketing to allowing you to create audiences based on a large variety of data sources. And Perfect Audience has a lot of campaign tailoring controls and allows you to partner with other businesses to cross-promote to other audiences in addition to your first-party audiences.


The other major player in the digital advertising world is the social media giant. While not a paid search channel. Facebook gives you the flexibility of reaching potential customers with almost endlessly customizable audience targeting. The interface for Facebook advertising is complex and can be daunting to navigate – especially for someone who is used to the layout and workflow of Google Ads. However, once you learn your way around, you’ll find an incredible amount of options when it comes to creating, targeting, and optimizing your campaigns. In addition to a myriad of interest and demographic targeting options, you can use Facebook’s tracking pixels to create audience lists based on minute details of user behavior on your site.

Other Advertising Platforms

The above are the major options out there, but there are other opportunities to get in front of your potential customers. LinkedIn has a lot of options for targeting professionals, and the recent acquisition by Microsoft may lead to some interesting opportunities. There are a number of programmatic display platforms for placing your ads on site across the web outside of the Google Display Network.

If you feel like you’ve been putting all of your digital marketing eggs into Google’s basket, this should give you a basis from which to branch out into some other online advertising channels.

How to Respond to Positive and Negative Google Reviews

If you own a business, there’s a good chance that you have customer reviews on your Google My Business (GMB) listing. Because customers often look at a company’s reviews before deciding whether they will give them their business, it is important to regularly practice review management. One of the easiest ways to manage your Google business reviews is to respond to them using GMB’s owner response feature. Today we’ll explore a few tips that will not only make your responses to reviews genuine and helpful to customers, but also beneficial to your overall digital marketing strategy.

Why Are GMB Reviews Important?

GMB listings help customers find and contact businesses. A well set up GMB profile can help your business rank locally for your targeted keyword. However, you’ll need more than accurate contact information and pictures to fully optimize your GMB listing. According to Moz’s 2017 survey of local search ranking factors, review signals are one of the top ranking factors for businesses trying to rank locally.

Reviews can influence customers as they search for local businesses, so it makes sense that Google would prioritize review signals as a ranking factor. In fact, in their 2017 customer review survey, Brightlocal found that:

  • 97% of consumers search for local businesses online
  • 12% search for local businesses online every day
  • 73% of respondents agreed that positive reviews make them more likely to trust a business
  • 85% of respondents said that they trusted web reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 30% named review responses from the owner as a key factor when judging local businesses

These findings show how easy it is for reviews to affect your business. Whether that affect is positive or negative may depend on how well you manage your reviews. One of the best (and free) tools you can utilize for review management is responding to reviews through your GMB account. Responding to customer reviews is a great way to build trust and can provide valuable feedback about your business, just make sure that your responses are useful, professional, and polite.

Tips for Responding to Positive Reviews

Congratulations! A customer enjoyed your business’s product or service so much that they left you a positive review on your GMB listing. Let the customer know how much you appreciate his or her business by responding with GMB’s owner response feature. The following tips will help you utilize review responses as an effective reputation management tool.

·        Acknowledge the reviewer by name

Starting your message with your customer’s name assures that your response will grab the reviewer’s attention. A greeting that includes the reviewer’s name shows that you are personally acknowledging the reviewer and his or her thoughts.

·        Reference details from the review

Your response should touch on the details that the customer mentions in his or her review. This shows that you read what the reviewer wrote closely, and you took the time to write out a genuine response. Responses to positive reviews are often generic thank you messages that get copied and pasted repeatedly. Show that your business is a step above the rest in customer service with personalized responses.

·        Give tips or advice that relate to the review

This relates to the previous tip but goes one step further. If a customer mentions something specific about your business, it can be helpful to give the customer helpful advice related to his or her review. As an example, if you own a restaurant and a customer writes a review saying how much she enjoyed your patio area, you might respond with a tip about the best times of year for outdoor seating in your area or let the customer know that she can request patio seating when making a reservation. Giving customers helpful tips related to their reviews not only shows them how great your customer service is, but also encourages the customers to become repeat visitors.

Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews

google my business map iconNegative reviews online can be especially harmful to small businesses that only have a few reviews. If you only have a handful of reviews and a disgruntled customer leaves you a one-star rating, your overall rating can be dramatically affected. While you can’t delete these reviews, you may be able to defuse the situation appropriately responding to the review. The tips given for responding to positive reviews are still relevant for negative reviews, but you can take your response to the next level by following this advice:

·        Respond promptly

If you are dealing with a recent negative review it is important to respond quickly while the experience is still fresh on the customer’s mind. However, make sure to investigate the problem thoroughly before responding so that you are adequately prepared to give a thoughtful response. The quicker you are able respond to the review the more likely it is that you and the customer can come to a resolution.

·        Offer sincere condolences

If your customers have negative experiences with your business, you should use your response to sincerely apologize that their visits were not up to expectations. Offering genuine condolences can show the reviewer that you truly regret that he or she had a negative experience when dealing with your business. This can make your business seem more human and approachable and even win back customers.

·        Resolve the situation if possible

If the reviewer is complaining about something you can fix, it is best resolve it. By responding to the review and letting the customer know that you are actively working on a resolution, you will show the customer (and others reading the review) that your business takes customer satisfaction seriously. If the issue is resolved, there is a chance that the customer may edit or delete their review. If the customer doesn’t delete the review, you still get the benefit of other customers seeing how professionally you handle customer complaints.

Reputation management is an important for businesses, especially local ones. Respond to Google business reviews to alleviate the stress of customers who had poor experiences and thank those who wrote to say they enjoyed your service. Use these tips to show existing and potential customers that your business’s customer service doesn’t end at the register.