How to Seduce the Cash-Strapped Shopper – adCenter Staff

How do you stand out to the ‘credit crunched’ customer? The growth of online sales has slowed down in recent months as a result of the current financial climate. The Creative Services team believes creative ads could be the saving grace for your search campaign.

Online Growth Slows Down

The IMRG Capgemini Index shows that UK shoppers spent just over £4.8 billion online in July. This meant a year-on-year financial growth of about 15.2%. A slowdown compared to the 75.6% year-on-year growth reported in January this year.

Communicate Credit Crunch Defying Deals!

As your online ads and offers are so easy to update at no extra cost, it’s worthwhile ensuring your campaigns are targeted to the current situation.

Creative, smart ad copy will boost your CTR, brand awareness and visibility at any time and will make you stand out from the competition. When growth slows down it is even more important to keep a competitive edge.

One of the reasons why online sales still are still growing in contrast to the high street where sales are down*), is that the internet is the place to be to pick up a bargain. People are looking for discounts and to compare prices to ensure they get the best deals. Shops and online services respond with attractive offers.

A 5-minute spot check on some of our advertiser’s websites shows that great offers are definitely out there: ‘free delivery on everything’, ‘2-day delivery times on electrical goods’, ‘reserve online and pick up in store against online prices’, ‘buy one get one free’ and ‘5 year interest free credit’.

The challenge is to ensure these deals are reflected in your ad copy and that the ads appeal to someone who is likely to be looking for a deal instead of indulgence and luxury.

Here’s how:

· Ensure your deal is mentioned in your ad but be careful not to sacrifice clarity for creativity. Stay clear and to the point as well as being imaginative.

· Describe your product or service in an appealing way. Think about how your product, service or deal could appeal to more shrewd searchers (if appropriate). Think of using words such as ‘affordable’, ‘low-priced’, ‘pre-season-sale’ and ‘early bird bonus’.

· Think how your offer or service may actually help your cash-strapped customer.

Save money, save time (you don’t have to rummage through racks to find a deal) or offer alternatives (self-catering cottages as opposed to opulent hotel rooms).

· Use tempting adjectives.

Here are some powerful examples:


Read adCenter’s previous blog on how to prepare your search campaign for the Christmas holiday period.


*The IMRG Capgemini Index reports high street sales are down by 0.9 % year on year compared to July 2007.

Find your adCenter ad on Live Search: “Where is my ad?” Flash tutorial

Here on the blog I've been writing about a new section of the Microsoft Advertising website that can help you find your ad in Live Search results. The Find Your Ad pages include tips for what to do when you don't see your ad in Live Search results. Last month in Finding your ad on Live Search , I spotlighted the "Where's My Ad?" Checklist . This month I want to call your attention to the Where Is My Ad? Flash tutorial . During the research the team conducted earlier this year…(read more)

The Smart Way To See Your Own Ads In Google AdWords

Users of AdWords almost all universally suffer from the drive to see their own ads – just to make sure they’re there. However, “googling” yourself can actually damage the performance of your account over time because it gives Google the wrong idea about your ads. Imagine if everyone in a small company with 15 employees looked their own company up in Google three times daily as a part of their discussions with their customers. They never click on those ads but they have caused 45 impressions a day, plus any impressions the customers themselves might have caused (which also did not get clicked on). At the end of a month, this number becomes large enough to cause problems.


This decreases your CTR – click through rate – which is a major component used by Google in determining your quality score. What this looks like to Google is that a lot of people are looking up the terms you use but not clicking your ads, so your ads must not be as good in quality as other ads which are getting clicked on. {editor’s note: this is also a very good reason not to “google” your own keywords and then click on your competitors ads. This makes Google think their ads look better than yours. – michelle} Once you start suffering poor quality scores, you end up with higher costs per click and you’ve made it harder on yourself to raise the quality score back up to an acceptable level.


Fortunately, Google understands that sometimes you need to see how your ads look and to make sure they’re showing. There are two tools that assist with this – the Ad Diagnostic Tool and the Ad Preview Tool.

They’re both accessible from the Tools tab in the Google Interface. If you have regionally targeted your ads, you must select the correct region – and be sure to also select a specific city if you’re using City, Metro or Map Area targeting – and then type in the keyword to see your ads. The Ad Preview tools will show you an actual Google page layout with your ads in their proper position, as long as they’re showing on page one. The Ad Diagnostic tool will give you more detailed information about how many possible ads that term might have triggered and which ones may not be showing, along with the possible reasons (like budget restraints or ad schedule limits).

Some points to keep in mind when using these tools:

  • you need to be aware of the regional targeting settings, if there are any, as any sort of city, metro or map area form of targeting will require that you enter in the target country, the target state, and the target city. If your ads are only nationally or state-level targeted, you can get away without entering a city for testing.
  • you need to be aware of ad scheduling, and make sure you’re testing your ad appearance during times when your ads are supposed to be running.
  • you need to be aware of your budget – your ads may not show if you’ve hit your budget for the day.
  • you need to be aware that these tools only pertain to ads that are on page one SERPs – if your ad position fluctuates at some point to position 11 or 12, you won’t be able to see your ad consistently in these tools until your CPC allows it.

Remember, Google has one of the most sophisticated algorithms in the world, and it’s all based on statistics – anything you do to cause a metric to be inconsistent or even wrong will adversely affect your PPC accounts in the long run. The best practice is to fight the urge to “google” yourself, and train yourself and your staff to use the tools provided to check on your ads.

Where’d My Ad Go? – Yahoo Search Marketing

Why your ads may disappear, and how to give them more time in the spotlight

You’ve probably felt a certain thump of pride when you do a search on your product and see your ad pop up in the Sponsored Results.

But at other times, you might have experienced a “where did it go?” moment. This occurs when your ad is nowhere to be found, and yet you know there’s still money in your budget. One answer to the question might be what we refer to as “budget smoothing.”

Here’s what’s going on: Our system is designed to check your click charges to see how close you are to your spending limit, and adjusts the display of your ads to ration your spending throughout the day. That way, your whole budget isn’t blown in the first few hours that the ad is online.

Female marathon runnerA good comparison is a marathon runner. If she uses all of her energy by sprinting full speed from the get-go, she’ll quickly run out of gas and never make it to the finish line. We want to help you keep your ads available around the clock for searchers to find, no matter whether they’re jumping on the web before they go to work, during the day, or in the wee hours of the night. So we developed a way to pace those ads like a marathon runner, without you having to use one extra ounce of energy to get the most out of your budget.

How to Compete With the Big Boys

If your ads are not being displayed as often as you like, it may be time to take a look at how your spending limits and bids are set. To help get your ads displayed more often, consider increasing your spending limits. If that’s not possible, there are ways to work within your means and still compete with the deep-pocket competition.

While you may not have the advertising budget to maintain round-the-clock ads in top positions, there are ways to help get your ads in front of searcher eyes more often at lower cost. First, go for specifics. Consider selecting keywords that have lower minimum bids and are targeted for a specific service or product that a searcher may specifically type in. Not only are these “tail” terms likely to be more affordable than general terms, they are less liable to blow your budget.

With a few smooth moves of your own, you can keep your ads online and break the tape at the marathon finish line—without breaking the bank.

— Kastle Waserman, Communications Manager, Yahoo SM

Photo courtesy of Shannon Bullard, Go Boston Card Blog