Posts about paid search, display and other online ads.

Coding Series: Part 2 – AdWords Conversion Tracking

This is the second post in Leverage Marketing’s five-part instructional series on coding. AdWords Conversion Tracking is a tool that helps advertisers measure how effective their ads and keywords are by accruing data on monthly conversions, cost per conversion, and conversion rate. It also provides a snapshot of what visitors do after clicking on an ad.

By implementing the conversion tracking code on your website, you will be able to better evaluate the account’s performance. Conversion Tracking will also help the Leverage Marketing team spot further ad opportunities within AdWords. This combined with Google Analytics’ extensive reporting will allow Leverage Marketing to calculate return on investment and understand what weaknesses there are in the conversion process.

Benefits: Conversion Tracking

Conversion Tracking provides advertisers with information on which keywords are helping to meet their campaign goals by connecting keywords with conversions. This performance data assists advertisers in determining what keywords are serving them best, which allows them to invest in those keywords that are bringing in business and avoid those that aren’t.

Much like goals in Google Analytics, Conversion Tracking allows advertisers to define up to 100 actions per account. An action is one that advertisers hope visitors will complete upon visiting the website, such as a purchase, email newsletter signup, or contact form submission. By setting up actions, advertisers can track many separate goals by placing the associated conversion tracking code snippet on their website for each of these actions.

How it Works: Conversion Tracking

Once goals have been defined, Google provides a JavaScript snippet to install on pages where tracking is warranted. The code passes the specified parameters back to Google. These parameters include the following data, which is implemented into the JavaScript code snippet:

google_conversion_id: a unique value associated with the advertiser

google_conversion_value: a numeric value associated with the value of the conversion

google_conversion_label: the type of conversion

google_conversion_language: the language of the text that appears on the website

Technical Details: Conversion Tracking

The conversion Tracking tool works by placing a code on users’ computers or mobile devices once the code has been installed on the website. Then, when the user reaches a conversion page, the cookie connects to the web page and Google records a conversion. With this, a small conversion tracking image is displayed on the advertiser’s site. After 30 days, the cookie expires. Statistics will be collected and can be viewed in reports.

Google Site Stats text is a text block that appears after the transaction is completed if the code snippet is properly placed on the confirmation page. Such text may read, “Thank you for your purchase / subscription / visit page, etc.” Advertisers have the option to opt out of Site Stats but it could undermine users’ trust and privacy.

Leverage Marketing will pull the Conversion Tracking code from the AdWords account and provide our clients with the code and instructions on how to correctly implement it on all conversion pages.

Conversion code sample:

<!– Google Code for Purchase Conversion Page –>
<script language=”JavaScript” type=”text/javascript”>
<!–
var google_conversion_id = 1234567890;
var google_conversion_language = “en_US”;
var google_conversion_format = “1”;
var google_conversion_color = “666666”;
var google_conversion_label = “Purchase”;
//–>
</script>
<script language=”JavaScript” src=”http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js”>
</script>
<noscript>
<img height=1 width=1 border=0
src=”http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion/1234567890/?value=1&label=Purchas
e&script=0″>
</noscript>

Code Implementation: Conversion Tracking

Code installation will not effect the website unless a conversion is completed. The code snippet should be placed between the <body> tags, closer to the </body> tag, so that the image appears further down the page. Do not place the code in the page header or footer because it can overstate the conversion statistics.

Example of correctly implemented code on HTML document:

<html>

<head>
<title>Sample HTML File</title>
</head>
<body> This is the body of your web page.
<!– Google Code for Purchase Conversion Page –>
<script language=”JavaScript” type=”text/javascript”>
<!–
var google_conversion_id = 1234567890;
var google_conversion_language = “en_US”;
var google_conversion_format = “1”;
var google_conversion_color = “666666”;
var google_conversion_label = “Purchase”;
//–>
if (1) {
var google_conversion_value = 1
}
</script>
<script language=”JavaScript” src=”http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js”>
</script>
<noscript>
<img height=1 width=1 border=0
src=”http://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion/1234567890/?value=1.0&label=Pur
chase&script=0″>
</noscript>
</body>
</html>

AdWords Conversion Tracking with Google Analytics

By linking AdWords to Google Analytics, advertisers will be able to obtain detailed tracking information and create customized statistics to help in calculating return on investment. It will also enable advertisers to spot further ad opportunities by viewing AdWords conversions alongside Analytics goals/transactions.

Once linked, the Analytics data will automatically be imported into AdWords’ Conversion Optimizer, which streamlines bidding for conversions at a lower cost. This tool optimizes advertiser’s placement in the ad auction to ensure they get cheap, low-converting clicks while still getting as many high-converting clicks as is profitable.

Technical Details: Google AdWords with Google Analytics

In order for Conversion Tracking to work with Google Analytics, advertisers must link their AdWords account and opt into Data Sharing to import Analytics data into AdWords Conversion Tracking. Please refer to Part I of the coding series for instructions on how to link Google Analytics to your AdWords account.

To import AdWords cost data:

  1. Select the Reporting tab in the AdWords account and click ‘Google Analytics.’
  2. Click ‘Edit’ next to the profile you wish to edit.
  3. Click the ‘Edit’ link in the upper-right hand corner of the ‘Main Website Profile Information’ box.
  4. Check the ‘Apply Cost Data’ checkbox.
  5. Click ‘Save Change.’

To import Analytics goals and transactions into AdWords Conversion Tracking:

  1. Click ‘Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings’ in Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the ‘With other Google products only’ option under ‘Share my Google Analytics data…’
  3. Click ‘Save Changes.’
  4. Navigate to the Conversion Tracking page from within AdWords. The Conversion Tracking page will show a message alerting you that goals and transactions are ready to be linked. *Please note that it may take up to two weeks for your Analytics data to be imported into AdWords.
  5. Click ‘Import from Google Analytics’ from the Conversion Tracking table.
  6. Select the goals or transactions you want from the list. Edit the action name and tracking purpose here so that you can identify the goals once they show up in your AdWords conversion reports.
  7. Select ‘Import’ from the bottom of the table.

With a linked AdWords and Analytics account, you can set up new reports that track the progression from an ad click / impression to a final conversion and all of the behaviors in between that a visitor takes before making their conversion decision. This “upper-funnel” keyword data that assists the final conversion before the last ad click will help determine which keywords are most valuable.

AdWords Conversion Tracking is another one of Google’s free tools that allows you to easily determine which keywords are meeting your goals and which keywords perform best so that you can better allocate your budget to high-performing keywords. To find out more visit: http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=16344. If you have any other questions about AdWords Conversion Tracking or how to install the code, please feel free to follow up with your Leverage Marketing account manager.

Coding Series: Part I – How To Install Google Analytics

This is the first post in what will likely be a five-part instructional series on valuable codes that can easily be installed, and if done so correctly, Google Analytics will provide substantial insight into your website traffic and your return on advertising dollars.

Google Analytics is one of Google’s free tools that allows advertisers to customize over 80 reports to track all activity on their website. Advertisers can gain key insights into what visitors do and how those actions contribute to the success of their business through these customizable reports focused on visitors, traffic sources, content, goals, and ecommerce.

Code Implementation: Google Analytics

Signing up for Google Analytics is simple and free, with four easy steps to complete before accessing a world of analytics. Go to https://www.google.com/analytics/provision/signup to get started. Once the account is set up, you can find your personal code snippet within the Profile Settings of your Google Analytics account.

To access your tracking code from Google Analytics:

  1. Log in at http://www.google.com/analytics.
  2. Select the profile from the accounts Overview page.
  3. From that profile’s Actions column, click ‘Edit.’
  4. At the top right of the ‘Main Website Profile Information’ box, click ‘Check Status.’
  5. The tracking code can be copied and pasted from the text box in the Instructions for Adding Tracking section.

Code snippet sample:

<script>
var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl/.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“”));
</script>
<script>
try{
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}
</script>

For basic installation, copy and paste the code segment into the bottom of your content, immediately before the </body> tag of each page you are planning to track. You will need to update the “xxxx-x” in the sample above with your own Google Analytics account number.

Gauging Performance: Google AdWords with Google Analytics

In Adwords, a user’s action is labeled a “conversion,” whereas the same activity in Analytics is listed as a “goal.” In order for Google Analytics to calculate goal conversion metrics, you must create one or more goals.

Before setting up a goal, make sure you have the following requirements.

  • Name the goal: Specify a name that you will recognize when viewing the goals within your reports. Examples of names you might use include ’email sign-up’ or ‘article ABC download.’
  • Define the funnel: While funnels are optional, defining one can help you map where visitors drop off during the path to completing a goal.
  • The value of the goal: Google Analytics uses an assigned goal value to calculate ROI, Average Score, and other metrics.

Setting up goals:

  1. Select the account that you’ll be creating goals for from the Overview page of Google Analytics.
  2. Find the profile for which you will be creating goals, and click ‘Edit’ under the ‘Actions’ column.
  3. Under the ‘Goals’ section, select one of the four sets to create the goal (each set contains up to five goals) and click ‘Add goal.’
  4. Enter the goal’s name so that you can quickly recognize it when viewing reports.
  5. Turn the goal ‘On’ or ‘Off.’
  6. Select the goal’s position. The pull-down menu allows you to select a goal’s position in a set so that you can control the order in which it appears from the ‘Goals’ tab in your reports.
  7. Decide which one of the three types of goals you want. This can be URL Destination, Time on Site, or Pages/Visit.
  8. Once you select the radio button for the goal type, a field for ‘Goal Details’ should appear.

Here’s a great example from Google on how to set the value of a goal:

“The value of the goal: Google Analytics uses an assigned goal value to calculate ROI, Average Score, and other metrics. A good way to value a goal is to evaluate how often the visitors who reach the goal become customers. If, for example, your sales team can close 10% of people who request to be contacted, and your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10% of $500) to your “Contact Me” goal. In contrast, if only 1% of mailing list signups result in a sale, you might only assign $5 to your “email sign-up” goal.”

Defining funnels:

After entering goal information, define a funnel if you’ve selected a ‘URL Destination’ goal type:

  1. Click ‘Yes, create a funnel for this goal.’
  2. Enter the ‘URL’ of the first page of your conversion funnel. This page should be one that is common to all users working their way towards your goal.
  3. Enter a ‘Name’ for this step.
  4. If this step is a ‘Required step’ in the conversion process, select the checkbox to the right of the step. If this checkbox is selected, users reaching your goal page without traveling through this funnel page will not be counted as conversions.
  5. Continue entering goal steps until your funnel has been completely defined. You may enter up to 10 funnel steps or as few as a single step.
  6. Click ‘Save Changes’ to create this goal and funnel.

Linking your AdWords account to Google Analytics will allow you to take advantage of extensive reporting options. It will also enable you to spot further ad opportunities by viewing AdWords conversions alongside Analytics goal/transactions. You can obtain detailed tracking information by creating customized statistics that will allow you to calculate return on investment.

To link:

  1. Add your AdWords username to your Analytics account as an Account Admin.
  2. In AdWords, select Reporting tab and choose ‘Google Analytics.’
  3. Select ‘I already have a Google Analytics account.’
  4. From the Existing Google Analytics Account drop-down menu, select the name of the Analytics account.
  5. Then, select ‘Link Accounts.’

Google Analytics is a smart web analytics solution that enables you to analyze website performance, gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, and create better-performing advertisements. To find out more visit: http://www.google.com/analytics/. If you have any other questions about the functionality of Google Analytics or how to install the code, please feel free to contact us or follow up with your Leverage Marketing account manager.

Royal Wedding – Too much hype or missed opportunity?

So if you follow the search marketing world, you’ve likely seen this neat video about a branding technique inspired by a Converse campaign.  The idea is simple, the execution is fairly complex.  Essentially, the campaign targets high volume, low competition searches that fit a specific demographic.  In the case of the Conversion campaign, the target was teenagers.  It’s a really cool idea , but it still hasn’t taken off if you really follow Google Trends.

What’s hot right now that people are missing out on?  Oh just a couple of rich folks over in the UK getting hitched.   Search for things like “Royal Wedding” or “Kate Middleton” and the ads are sparse, or even non-existent.  There’s a handful of people selling memorabilia for the wedding, but they are only advertising on a handful of keywords in the US.

Yet the searches keep on coming.  Thousands of opportunities for a gossip site to get cheap exposure in an insanely crowded space, lost.  Plenty of chances for a clothing boutique or jewelry retailer to drive traffic to a page with styles similar to the royal couple, missed.  Maybe a creative bookstore could be trying to persuade people to stimulate their minds with something more challenging, but they’re not.

The people are out there and they’re eager to click. What’s your excuse for not capitalizing on this traffic?

What’s in a Report – Continued.

Earlier this week we discussed what you should expect from reports that you receive from your online marketing partner.  We wanted to provide you with a few more updates and urge you to work closely with your agency to get the exact type of report that meets your needs.

Cost Per Click (CPC) – It can be important for some advertisers to receive this information, but for other advertisers just knowing the total cost and number of conversions is all that is needed. Before requesting this metric, I would suggest that you think about your overall goals that you are interested in – because many profitable campaigns have CPA goals that step outside the boundaries of what some may consider an acceptable CPC.

Example: You have a target cost/click of no more than $4.00 and a target CPA of less than $80.

·         Keyword A – Costs $3.50 for each click

·         Keyword B – Costs $6.75 for each click

·         The conversion rate for keyword A is 3%

·         The conversion rate for keyword B is 9%

·         The CPA for Keyword A is $116, while the CPA for Keyword B is $75.

Tell me again why you would not want to bid on Keyword B? Setting CPC goals without taking the full picture into account can produce undesirable results, so tread lightly if you want to view this metric.

Click Thru-Rate (CTR) on various keywords – Some advertisers find this information useful, but this information must be taken in stride. For example, a CTR of .02% in some cases could be considered good, while a CTR of 2.1% in other cases could be in need of improvement. Although, CTR can be used to help find areas of improvement in ad copy or keyword relevance.

Average Position of Keywords – Average position is a great metric for many advertisers and can be a metric that must be reported in other cases. For example, if you have ads that must appear below the manufacturers ad within pay per click search results – you will want to make sure this metric is included within the reports you receive by your search team.

Bounce Rate – Bounce Rate is is a metric that your search team can provide information on – if your website is configured with the correct tracking codes. Bounce rate is often not shared with advertisers, because very few advertisers are willing to make changes to lower the bounce rate on pages, as this metric can help pin-point landing pages that may need to be updated.

Placements that are working – If your agency is targeting the content network you should receive updates if certain placements are working out extremely well. At times it may be advantageous for you as an advertiser to go directly to these sites and negotiate advertising with them directly. Your search team will lose some revenue by making this suggestion – so be sure to reward them with referrals or an extended contract. This is certainly a partner that you will want to work with for some time to come.

Transparency

Some agencies give you 100% access to your search account, while others have limitations to the amount of access you have to your paid search account. Whether you have access or not to your account – your search provider should happily and quickly provide you with a download of any information you request.

Example requests could include

List of all keywords within your account – Beware this list could be in the thousands!

Ad Text – This is a great way to find out which slogans are working for offline advertising initiatives.

Performance of your account by time of day – This report can be very useful if you have a need to know when additional staff would be needed at your business. Maybe you will find that half of your staff can come in early to help staff for an influx of calls from the East Coast.

Performance of your account by Geo Location – This is another great metric to view if you have the ability to provide support in particular geographic areas that many of your potential clients are located within.

Anything you want – A good agency should speak with you about your overall goals and objectives and provide suggestions or solutions to help you meet your needs.

How Google’s Real-Time Web and Personalized Search is Re-Shaping the Search Landscape

The internet is abuzz with news of Google’s real-time Web and personalized search queries and the potential implications for users and search marketers vary across the board. With live updates from Facebook, Twitter and Myspace appearing in the search results, marketers may need to add a stronger emphasis on social media to their rosters in the coming months.

In the initial rollout, the feeds show in a real-time scroll box above and below the fold. While these live updates don’t currently use a large amount of retail space, the ubiquitous nature of social media and the influence these feeds posses may urge retailers, especially business to consumer, to implement overarching and in-depth social media pushes. As the updates appear on the first page, this change could also push weaker sites to the second and third pages of search results indicating businesses may make a heavier push to PPC marketing to boost first-page present.

As the rollout for the real time search was only recently launched, only keywords such as Taylor Swift and Tiger Woods prompt the real time search.  Keywords such as Oprah and Obama SERP still do not contain the scroll box.  This demonstrates that although having the social media presence on the result page, that the real effects will not be seen until the update is fully integrated.  In the future if this real-time scroll bar does take up more real-estate, this will make the top organic listing highly competitive and a SEO campaign almost crucial for all online marketers.  It also seems that a social media marketing campaign is needed for online campaigns as well as top search results will show tweets from Twitter.  It almost seems that the roll out of this product creates the need for a blended online marketing campaign including PPC, SEO, and SMM.

2010 Online Advertising Forecast

Here is an interesting article that I came across.  The article takes a look at the forecast for online advertising for 2010.  You can read the full article and we have also listed some high level insights below:

Video Usage:

  • Senior Analyst David Hallerman suggests that more marketers will embrace online video advertising, and that more sites will support the growth of video.

Ad Targeting and Privacy

  • With the main stream availability of consumer behavior online comes more scrutiny about privacy policies:  What this means to us is users are becoming aware of ad-blocking software or add-ons and more deletion of cookies that makes the availability of what you’re doing, where you’ve been, and where you go online a lot harder to companies to gather.
  • On the government side there is potential for more federal legislation limiting website tracking
  • Again what does that mean: in order for search engines to get ahead of this legislation there needs to be a greater deal of transparency
  • In 2010 we should start seeing websites letting users know what data is being kept about them and give them access to remove themselves
  • Ultimately publishers will need to come up with better trade-offs if they want to garner any information from an individual

Search

  • Social sites and video results is something to change in search.  You will start seeing more of these results as part of general search queries.
  • Advertising is also predicated to continue increasing as we come closer to 2010
  • 2010 spend = $11.4 billion
  • 2011 spend = $12.2 billion
  • 2012 spend = $13.6 billion
  • 2014 spend = $15.8 billion

Internet Users and Usage

  • As we move into the new year internet usage is predicated to increase as the ease of accessing the internet continues to grow with the use of laptops, smartphones, and gaming consoles.
  • It is predicated that we see the most change within the adults ages 55 and older, who are now discovering social networks.
  • Number of internet users will begin to stabilize, as penetration reaches 66% of the US population, or 205.3 million people.

 

Direct From Google – Display URL Policy Change

In an effort to provide more relevant results and a higher quality experience for users, Google has made the decision to no longer allow multiple domains within a single ad group. Going forward, all display URLs within an ad group must be for the same top-level domain.  In an effort to ensure the least amount of down time for our clients, the team here at Leverage Marketing has been busy updating URLs for this coming change to Google’s policy.

It is important to note that this amendment to Google’s policy applies to all advertisers, regardless of previous exceptions or acceptability of any campaigns. While Google understands there are legitimate use-cases for multiple domains within one ad group, they ask that separate ad groups be created for any given domain.

PPC and SEO Work Well Together

When dealing with the complicated world of internet marketing, there are numerous headaches to getting a web site noticed. Whether it is the competition or the clutter, really driving prospective customers to a site can be a hassle. Some seem to think internet ads are the best way to go, while others would rather crawl their way though the ranks of search engines to come out on top. While many internet companies search intently for the solution, the true answer is easier than it may appear. The answer is BOTH: Paid search ads and natural search optimization together work more effectively and efficiently than either by themselves.

*12.6% of conversions credited to natural search were preceded by ad clicks

*Searchers use nearly as many branded searches as non-branded searches

*Branded ads increase new visitor traffic by 12%

Some internet businesses stick to one or the other, but the truth is that they are an effective tag team for many reasons. Most companies aren’t the number one result in an online search results page immediately when they begin their search engine optimization, so while your web site climbs in search rankings internet ads keep you in the customers immediate search results.While your natural rank may not show immediately, your ad will. This supplementation will lead to valuable traffic as your ad can drive interest to your web site. Many companies believe they are done with advertising once their site has a sufficient rank. Sadly, this is not the case. Many times customers’ searches are too long, too specific, or just to general. Paid ads can help insure that your relevant page is still displayed even in these instances. Another benefit with the saturation and supplementation of both elements is it can aid in brand association, so that customers think of your product or service in a particular category due to its dominate presence in a search.

A successful marketing campaign must include both advertisements and a high ranking natural search result. In the highly competitive internet market no company should simply be satisfied with a decent ranking or clever advertisement. Using both strategies ensures that you are receiving the maximum return on your investment. – J

Is Your Pay Per Click Account Holiday-Ready?

{Editor’s Note: This is one of a set of articles on ways to approach and prepare for the traditional Holiday Shopping season. I’ve dubbed these articles as “The Marketer’s Perspective” and “The Analyst’s Perspective.” A smart online marketer will use both of these approaches. Here’s the Analyst’s Perspective — Michelle}

As the weather cools down, leaves change color and football takes over the television it is clear that Fall is here.This can only mean one thing to any Online storefront….the Holidays are near!!!Over the years I have experienced the Highs and Lows of proper planning for what can be the busiest time of year for any online business in retail.Are you Prepared?Will you see December come before you realize the missed opportunity?Not if you follow the 3 steps that have helped me to prepare my clients for the Holidays:

1.Know Your Trends

The biggest mistake that any business owner can make is not knowing the online trends for search volume.Tools such as Google Trends:http://www.google.com/trends can help you to prepare for the significant increase in traffic that comes with the Holidays.Knowing when the traffic picks up will allow you to make the following adjustments to your accounts:

  • Adjust Budget so that you don’t lose out on impression share
  • Keep an eye on the competition’s strategy for possible marketing advantages
  • Knowing which regions/cities to target for regional targeting strategy

Let’s use the term “video game” as our example for the holidays.Here is the results that I get when I use that term:

The immediate trends that you can see circled above are definite increase in traffic volume which starts in October for this term in the US.This traffic hits its peak throughout November and starts to fizzle out during December.If you wait until December to run more ad budget, you will have missed the boat. The top cities and states that search for this term are below which may help allow for a regional targeting test to focus on areas which have a bulk of traffic for testing. This would be especially helpful if you are working with a limited budget during the Holidays and want to maximize impression share.Now that we know the trend of our term, lets move on to the next step, preparing our account.

 

2.Prepare the Account

Now that we see our trending, we need to prepare the account for what’s to come.The first area that I would get started with is a Competitive Analysis to see if your competition is offering anything like FREE SHIPPING, SALES, MONEY BACK GUARANTEES which all may provide them with an advantage.Also look at their ad text and landing pages to see if they using any of these benefits to draw the visitor’s attention.

Once you have the Competitive Research done, look to prepare your Content and Search Campaigns. Start with the Content Network Campaign that targets people that are in the “researching” phase of their shopping. Remember to always “think out of the box” and not target keywords, but themes for the Content Network.Think about the type of traffic that would be interested in video games and where they would be likely to visit on the internet.I would recommend testing out the products with the term “review” as well as use the site/placement tool to find where your target, “parents” would be researching games that their kids are asking for.Early in the buying cycle is the “researching” phase where the Content Network can provide branding for your site, so use it to its full advantage and make it work with your Search Network.To prepare the Search Network, always review the following:

  • Keyword Refinement: Always look to see if keywords have changed to add new Negatives or Longtailed terms
  • Refine Ad Copy: Make your ads stand out based off what you found in the competitive analysis {this does not mean copy other people’s ads – make yours stand out — Michelle}
  • Landing Pages: Update landing pages with any sales or offerings that you are adding for the Holiday Season
  • Have Analytics implemented to collect the Interaction Metrics on your traffic

I would always recommend starting the Holiday rush with a big net and once you collect initial data, you are on to the next step… weeding out the unqualified traffic.

 

3.Weed Out the Unqualified Traffic

The holiday rush has started and you have the first7-10 days of data to review, it is now time to adjust quickly to the data.The first step is to run the following reports:

  • Ad/Keyword Reports
  • Placement Reports

Starting with the ad report, we are going to look to see which of our ad tests is performing best and run it with a new test based off the results.We don’t want to have an ad that is converting lower to be in rotation longer than necessary during the busiest time of year.Once you have made the adjustments to the ad text, look over you keywords to see which ones are performing well and which aren’t.Once you have that information, simply adjust by taking those that aren’t performing out of the mix and getting those that are performing more exposure.The placement report will show you all the sites that the are leading to conversions and those that are just costing you precious budget.The adjustments to this is quite simple as well; take out anything that isn’t performing and give the sites that are performing more exposure by creating an Enhanced Placement Targeted Campaign that focuses your spend on the sites that are converting well for the account.

The three steps above are just the ground work for being successful during the holiday season.Once the rush comes, the biggest factor will be the ability to adjust quickly to what is and isn’t working on your account using the tools available.

Christmas Time PPC for B2C

{Editor’s Note: This is one of a set of articles on ways to approach and prepare for the traditional Holiday Shopping season. I’ve dubbed these articles as “The Marketer’s Perspective” and “The Analyst’s Perspective.” A smart online marketer will use both of these approaches. Here’s the Marketer’s Perspective — Michelle}

In taking care of my nephew a few years ago I remember watching the movie, “The Lion King” and had one of my first Epiphanies in relation to PPC. The song “Be Prepared” is narrated by the evil Scar as a mantra for that which is to come. As non-intellectualized as this silly diddy may sound, it is the exact “Mantra” that should be used for PPC in relation to the Christmas Holiday Season as well as the other seasonal shopping cycles through out the year.

Christmas for most B2C retailers is by far their busiest time of year. Consumer impulse spending behavior, while it may slightly vary year to year, is generally highest for the Christmas Holidays. Because of this, intelligently designed PPC Strategies should take full advantage of the “shortened buying cycle” for consumers during this time. Not only is the buying cycle significantly shortened, but there is also a dramatic increase in online sales. In fact Christmas is the time that even “Grandma Janice,” who still doesn’t even understand what this whole “World Wide Web” thing is, will make online purchases for her grandkids! With this in mind, here are some suggestions for implementing seasonal PPC strategies:

1. Create your online campaigns early!

In measuring the effectiveness of PPC campaigns you need to be able to test, test, and re-test. Start formulating your Christmas Campaigns in September (seriously!) so that you have time to test out a couple of variables and hit them hard by mid-November. As the old saying goes, “The Early Bird Gets the Worm.” The same is true for PPC. Don’t let your competitors get a jump on you for the holiday season. Find out what works before they do so that you can capitalize and see the best ROAS!

2. Try out the Content Network

Many retailers, for whatever reason, run as fast as they can away from the Content Network. Sometimes this is due to poor experiences in ROAS and sometimes it’s just due to inexperience with the network itself. Realize that during Christmas EVERYONE is looking to buy something! This means that there will be a lot of shopper traffic that could be HUGELY beneficial to you. If you are wary of testing out the entire network, start with a very limited budget, find out which sites convert versus which ones do not, and go from there. Placement Targeted Campaigns can also show great results during this season as well.

3. Launch Image Ad Campaigns EARLY

Image ad campaigns are campaigns geared towards the Content Network in which you actually upload an image that will appear as an advertisement. Quite a bit of the time these are used for branding purposes. While I feel very strongly that PPC should not be used for branding itself, getting your name out there for the holiday season is EXTREMELY important. In fact investing a little in September, October on banner ads to get yourself recognized in your industry could definitely pay dividends at Christmas Time. You MUST be patient with this though. More than likely you are not going to see the return on your original investment until the Christmas season comes along. This strategy will not necessarliy work for everyone so really examine what type of market share and brand recognition your product enjoys currently.

4. Test New Strategies Early

Ever tested out dynamic text insertion? Try it out with a product list. Regional targeting? Try it out on a new campaign. Actually trying a few strategies you normally do not use could be VERY beneficial for you. The important aspect of this would be to test them early (once again) but give your test enough time to see statistically relevant data. You shouldn’t arbitrarily run a test for 48 hours and decide that you have relevant data. Realistic results can take weeks to realize depending on the share of the search volume you can gain during your test. Also, note that if you see a SLIGHT increase in conversion rate in October it could mean 500X in December

In conclusion, don’t let this holiday season sneak up on you. Get ready now by testing new strategies and get your Holiday Retail in order. Better yet, pull your statistical data from the last 5 years if you have it available.

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