Devon’s Design Dish #5

DDC

 

Below is a weekly roundup of design articles I pulled this week that I thought were A) very interesting or B) useful in our PPC world. Comment below with your thoughts on the articles or what you would like to see in next weeks Design Dish.

The Perfect Execution Of Conversion Rate Optimization
Did you know only 1 out of 7 A/B tests actually improves conversion rates? Its true. If you want to see significant results, you need to know what are the right tests to run and that comes with a better understanding of the conversion rate optimization process. This article breaks down that process into five important steps (and sub steps) that should be followed when setting up every A/B test:
1: Define the important conversion points and set goals
2: Establish a baseline
3: Form testable hypotheses
4: Design your test
5: Run the test
But CRO is about more than just A/B testing, you have to also approach it from a user experience standpoint and ask yourself some key questions. All-in-all, the articles main take away is in order to make a real impact you must make sure your tests and ideas are all backed by user feedback and data.

Site Design Spotlight: Stripe Connect
You know I love to give praise to cool websites I come across. This one really stuck out to me because it showed how motion and animation can be used to keep visitors engaged, while focusing the eye on certain areas. Animation doesn’t have to be over-the-top and crazy, it can be subtle and still have quite an impact on conversion and design.

The Ultimate Guide To Creating Visually Appealing Content
Visuals are vital to online success. Content with images that are relevant, will get 94% more views than content without. People are naturally predisposed to take in visual content faster, and more effectively, than just words. This Article breaks all of this information down and presents the best ways to create visual content in an infograph style. A very easy read, but full of useful information and tips to creating the best visually appealing content. If nothing else, the design of the article is enough for a click and read.

Why You Should Replace Image Sliders with Hero Images
A very thorough and insightful read behind why image sliders should very rarely, if at all, be used in your pages. The idea is simple. Automatic sliders never actually performed that will in terms of conversion, and this idea has been proven by eye studies and A/B Tests. “99% of people ignore sliders because they simply have no time for them…they distract users and reduce content visibility.” So, when optimizing for conversions, hero images are likely to be a better option when graphics and copy can be combined efficiently.

Introducing Layout From Instagram
Everybody’s favorite photosharing app has just expanded its reach. Instagram has just announce their new app that lets you combine multiple photos into once single image. No longer will you have to use various third-party apps to flex your creativity and show off your budding design interests. Layout from Instagram is available today for iOS devices in Apple’s App Store. It’s currently only available for iOS, but will be available for Android in the coming months.

Devon’s Design Dish #4

DDC

 

Below is a weekly roundup of design articles I pulled this week that I thought were A) very interesting or B) useful in our PPC world. Comment below with your thoughts on the articles or what you would like to see in next weeks Design Dish.

5 Free Tools Every Conversion Optimizer Should Know About
This article by Crazyegg introduced me to two online tools that I had never heard about. First, Portent’s Conent Idea Generator. Here’s how it works, you write your subject in the box box, and the Idea Generator will spit out different headline possibilities. “Great headlines get more inbound links, earn more clickthroughs, gain more shares, garner more sales, and improve your revenue. Simply put, everything depends on a great headline.”
The second tool I was introduced to was ButtonOptimizer.com. Your page is only as successful as your Call To Action buttons, and the success of those buttons depends on a huge number of things. With this site you are able to get design ideas and even ready-made PNGs and CSS to put directly on your page. The article also lists 3 other tools that would be useful to any marketing designer.

22 Awesome Websites With Stunning Free Stock Images
Who doesn’t love free things, especially free things of quality that makes our lives easier? Shopify pulled together 22 websites that provide free stock photography. Yeah, you might have to wade though the libraries to find something you want to use, but its FREE! So sit back, and start browsing!

The Top 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Mistakes That Marketers Are Making
A really insightful article by Unbounce that comes from a 25 questions quiz that was meant to be a fun exercise that ended up revealing some very interesting insights from the marketing community. I challenge you to take the quiz and see how you stack up, and if you too are making those top 5 mistakes. You may be surprised.

I want to close this blog with a couple of shout outs.
First: Happy Birthday Photoshop! Adobe Photoshop is celebrating 25 years of creativity and designers who make dreams reality.
Second: If you haven’t done so yet, you need to subscribe to Unbounce’s Call To Action podcast. Averaging 15 to 20 minutes, each episode focuses on success stories and how you an apply the lessons learned to your own marketing campaigns. Seriously, go listen.

Facebook Multi-Product Ads: Not Just For Multiple-Products!

alloftheimages-blogpost

Facebook recently launched a new (Newsfeed Only) ad type called “Multi-Product Ads”. As the name suggests, these ads allow you to promote up to 5 products or services with unique destination URLs in one ad.

Although their intended purpose is to showcase different products or services, who’s to say that we can’t get creative with their use? As long as your campaign objective is set as “Clicks to Website” or “Website Conversions”, you can use the additional images and URLs in a variety of ways. Below are just a few that we are excited to start testing.

1. Show Multiple Images For The Same Product

Rather than displaying a single image of several product, why not show multiple images of the same product?

If you’re selling a clothing item — let’s say a tie — you could show: a medium-range shot of the tie, a close-up shot of the tie’s pattern or design, and 2-3 images of someone actually wearing the tie. By the time they’ve scrolled through your ad, a potential customer has a very clear picture of what this tie is all about.

While clothing is a logical place to start, this same concept applies to countless products. Whether you’re selling cars, sofas, hotel rooms, food, or virtually any other product, you now have five times as much real estate to show it off.

2. Use Them Like Sitelinks for Facebook

If you’re familiar with Google ad extensions, you’ll understand the value of Sitelink extensions. Just like Google’s Sitelink extensions, Facebook Multi-Product ads are a great way to show more details about your product, service or company, and provide direct links to that information on your site.

For example, if you are promoting an event, you could use a Multi-Product ad to provide relevant details about the event in order to remove friction from the buying process. Think of all the information that a potential customer would need before making a decision about whether or not to attend: ticket prices, event schedule, travel information, etc. (see example below). If you were to use the standard, single image ad, you would have to either rely on the customer to find these details on your site, or run separate ads for each topic and hope that they reach the right person at the right time. Now, you can create separate images and URLs for each topic and run them all in one ad, removing barriers and frustration.

Multi-Product Ads - Event Promotion

The same applies for virtually any business: Think about what information your potential customers need before they can take your desired action, and provide them with links to all of those details in one ad.

3. Advertise Your Multiple Locations

If you’re a restaurant, retail store, car dealership, or any business looking to generate foot traffic in multiple locations, this can be a very powerful tool.

As an example, let’s say you’re a restaurant owner looking to increase lunchtime sales at each of your 3 locations. You can use the ad text to quickly highlight your offer (“Joe’s Has 10 Lunch Specials Under $8! Visit Our 3 Convenient Locations!), and use your images to show off your locations.

Each image could include a photo of the outside of your restaurant, with the supporting text sharing info on the location (Downtown, Main Street, East Side, etc.). You could schedule these ads to run only during the morning, to plant the lunchtime seed with people in your target market.

 

Regardless of what you use these multi-product ads for, they should provide solid hypotheses to test in your copy, creative and strategies across all networks. For example, if you’re selling pizzas and you see an image of a delicious pizza in the oven is clicked on more than when it’s shown on the dinner table or mid-bite, perhaps that says that your audience is looking for “hot, fresh out of the oven pizza”. Test that copy in your next ad test! Great, now I’m hungry.

Devon’s Design Dish #3

DDC

Below is a weekly roundup of design articles I pulled this week that I thought were A) very interesting or B) useful in our PPC world. Comment below with your thoughts on the articles or what you would like to see in next weeks Design Dish.

6 Ways To Redesign Your Forms And Get More Leads
“The seemingly simple process for collecting information can have an huge impact on the number of inbound leads you can generate”

  • Don’t request more information than is actually necessary
  • Do use a balance of clean, airy form design with condensed information
  • Do place the form above the fold and surrounded by supporting content that will encourage the user to proceed
  • Do use trust badges that speak to data security or product guarantees to speak to the potential concerns of your customers
  • Do use effective form messaging: “It needs to establish why someone should complete the form, how to complete it, and what happens next”
  • Do use an active call to action that focuses on a positive outcome of the form submission. Also use a contrasting color on the button to make it pop and draw the users eye to the desired action.

7 Cheat Sheets Every Content Creator and Editor Should Bookmark
As a content creator for my company, and for my own personal hobbies, I am always looking for things that will make my life easier and my tasks more manageable. Anything that I come across that could potentially optimize my process is immediately getting bookmarked and referenced daily. This article, put out by kapost, has turned me on to a few new tools for my design arsenal. Included in the article is a social media image guide, an HTML cheat sheet, the best times to post on social media, and a proofreading checklist.

Where Should You Start Testing?
A very insightful article helping the reader work through where they should run their first tests, and the answer is: where it hurts the most, and where you can learn the fastest. Once you’ve figured out where you should run your tests, you have to decide what to test on those pages. The biggest take away: “Ignore generic advice. Your job is to figure out what specific problems the pages in questions have.” There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to testing. Get some insight into the doubts and hesitations that YOUR audience has on YOUR page, and then come up with a test hypothesis to address those issues.

Featured Website Design: ibrewmyowncoffee.com
I stumbled across this website through a design spotlight on Panda (a daily news and inspiration app). What stuck out to me, other than being an entire site about brewing coffee, was how minimal it was in its design. It only uses three colors, white, black and blue to break up the sections. Yet, it doesn’t come across as boring. The typeface selected complements the architecture of the design and the information is displayed in an easily digestible way. The color changing navigation bar, and strike-through text, gives just enough animation to keep your attention during the scrolling and navigation through the site. Everything is laid out in a clean, simple way that makes sense. I think its refreshing to see a website that seems so minimal, yet it works. I think it’s easy to get caught up in adding different elements to a page to “spice things up,” but ibrewmyowncoffee.com proves that when you strip all of that extra fluff away you can be left with something that works a hell of a lot better.

A Case For Display Ads & Attribution Modeling

typical-roas-shareWe’ve known for a while that display ad impressions and social media ad impressions have value. But without solid data, how do you explain that to direct response and lead generation marketers that demand high Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) and exact Cost Per Lead data?

The truth is, until recently, we couldn’t. Not without huge data sets and proprietary attribution modeling software…things that most (okay, all) of our clients don’t have.

Increasingly, we come across studies like that conducted by Datalicious that suggest display ads and social media ads (Facebook, in this case) have demonstrable value for financial services marketers.

Here are the key findings from the study, but I would encourage you to download and read the entire report to get the full story.

  • Facebook and display advertising are significantly undervalued and on
    average deliver 830% more revenue than anticipated once measured
    accurately with multi-touch attribution.
  • Given most advertisers have very mature search marketing programs
    that offer little opportunities for additional incremental growth, display
    advertising in general represents one of the most attractive growth
    opportunities.
  • Facebook advertising in particular still holds significant growth potential
    compared to other more established channels as it provides a high
    average ROAS yet comparatively does not receive a lot of media spend.
  • While Facebook and display advertising do generate clicks, they are
    not typical direct response channels, but instead indirectly influence
    conversions and build awareness that is then captured further down the
    purchase path by other channels such as search.
  • Search, whilst important in capturing awareness generated by display
    advertising or other channels, is overvalued in the amount of impact it
    has on the consumer purchase decision.
  • Accurate multi-touch measurement and the ability to exploit the resulting
    media optimisation opportunities at scale holds tremendous potential for
    advertisers to develop a strategic competitive edge, build market share
    and deliver incremental growth.

Our experience with trying to explain attribution modeling and assisted conversions is that clients really only understand last click metrics. Even those that believe in the value of display impressions are more likely to max out spending in last-click channels first (primarily search), before spending on display or social ads.

As the industry begins to accept and integrate display & social contributions to ROAS, it becomes incumbent on agencies like ours to understand how and when to shift media dollars from direct response to branding and awareness channels to boost the overall performance of a campaign. Looks like we have a lot of work ahead of us in 2015!

Do You #ppcchat? Tell Us About Yourself!

As communities grow, it often becomes harder to keep track of who’s new, who’s returning after a hiatus, and the backgrounds of people that you are interacting with. The #ppcchat community is no different. Not only has the audience grown considerably over the past year, but the content and format has become increasingly useful as the “wisdom of the crowds” kicks in. There’s still room for n00bs but it feels like we have reached a critical mass of active contributors.

Since it helps to know who you are talking to, we put together a very brief, informal (read: not scientific) survey of #ppcchat users. We asked a few basic demographic questions and received 30 responses. None of the data below are statistically significant, but there are some interesting nuggets of data that would be interesting to extrapolate to the entire PPC community (whether or not they participate in #ppcchat).

Here’s what we learned…

Geographic Distribution of #ppcchat Contributors

Folks tune in from all over the world! It’s great to see so many countries and continents represented. PPC is different by country, time zone, and across cultural divides. Personally, I’d like to hear from more non U.S. participants, but it seems that there is no easy way to pick a time slot that works for people across time zones.

ppcchat User Locations

#ppcchat User Locations

 

#ppcchat Job Titles

Job titles are nearly impossible to compare across companies, so we didn’t even try. A Director at one company could be a Specialist or Manager at another. The best we could do is a simple word cloud showing the most prominent titles from our survey respondents.

PPC seems to be slightly more prominent than Search, Online, or Digital, and we even have one Anarchist in our midst!

 

ppcchat Job Titles

#ppcchat Job Titles

 

Company Type & Company Size

Perhaps a little more telling about #ppcchat folks are the types and sizes of companies that we come from. Again, this data set is not large enough to draw any significant conclusions, but it does seem pretty clear that most of us are in some sort of PPC or digital marketing agency, with healthy representation from in-house marketers and independent PPC pros.

My hypothesis is that agency folks have a little more leeway in our schedules and incentive to contribute to (and learn from) #ppcchat so we might be over-represented as a percentage of the actual PPC universe.

ppcchat Company Type

#ppcchat Company Type

 

Company size ranges dramatically, but most of us are in small-to-midsize companies (1-100) with a pretty healthy group of large/enterprise PPC’ers. Definitely some different challenges and opportunities in the enterprise space, but the day-to-day PPC tactics are often the same.

ppcchat Company Size

#ppcchat Company Size

 

So, What Did We Learn?

It’s hard to draw a lot of insights from a small sample size, but the #ppcchat contributors are as diverse as any group of data geeks can be. We come from companies large and small, countries far and near, but we all speak the same language.

I am constantly amazed at how helpful and sincere the PPC community is. In a world where we focus so much on competition and out-performing our (or our clients’) competitors, we certainly do share a lot of information. This, in my opinion, is what has helped the #ppcchat community survive and thrive.

Thanks to all who submitted their survey responses, and especially thanks to Matt and James for organizing and MC’ing each week. It has certainly helped our team feel more connected to the PPC world!

Pimp Your Ads: Guide to AdWords Ad Customizers

Pimp My Ads

Remember the sheer TV genius that was MTV’s Pimp My Ride? When it came to customizing cars, there was not a paint job too outlandish or shag carpet too tacky for Xzibit and his crew at West Coast Customs. Well, move over Xzibit – Google’s new Ad Customizers are giving you a run for your money! As exciting as Ad Customizers are, they can be a bit scary. That’s why we put together this rundown on what exactly they are, how they work and a few examples of how you can put them to use. Think of this as an Ad Customizer FAQ.

Kevin O'LearyIf at any point you feel your inner Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank coming out, feel free to say “Stop the madness!” and scroll down to the examples (with images) provided below. Seeing these bad boys in action can really make it all come together.

What Are Ad Customizers?

Think Dynamic Keyword Insertion on steroids: Using a series of parameters, Google automatically updates your ad, in real-time, by inserting a keyword, countdown timer, or any other information that you want. That means you upload one ad and get nearly unlimited variations, automatically. Pretty cool right?

Where Can I Use Ad Customizers?

You can use Ad Customizers in any text ad on the Google Search or Display Networks. They can be used in any part of the ad except for the display URL.

How Do They Work?

Ad Customizers work using parameters that sit within brackets {like this}. These parameters get replaced in real-time by information that you have previously designated using Ad Customizer Data, COUNTDOWN functions, or both.

How Are The Parameters Structured?

Parameters are made up of two parts; a data sheet reference and a column reference.

Ad Customizer Parameters

If you’re using a Countdown, refer to the section “How Do Countdowns Work?

What Is Ad Customizer Data?

Ad Customizer Data is a spreadsheet that you upload into the Business Data section of your Shared Library within your Adwords account. (You can download Google’s CSV template here). The spreadsheet must be uploaded as a .csv, .tsv, .xls, or .xlsx file.

What Goes In The Data Sheet?

The Data Sheet is made up of columns containing information like price, models or any other relevant data. You tell Google how to format the data by listing one of four attributes in parentheses next to your column headers: text, number, price, or date.

What Kinds Of Things Can I Use As Customizers?

Here are the Ad Customizer standard attributes. Of course, you can add any type of data you want, but these are the essentials.

Ad Customizer Standard Attributes

How Do I Target My Ad Customizers?

Google locates the appropriate Ad Customizers by referencing specific keywords, ad groups, campaigns or your entire account. You set this in advance by including targeting columns like “Target Keyword” in your Data Sheet. If you want your customizers to apply to your entire account simply leave out the targeting columns.

How Do Countdowns Work?

Countdowns work two ways depending on whether you are counting down to one event or multiple. If you are counting down to a single event, simply use the COUNTDOWN function:

{=COUNTDOWN("YYYY/MM/DD 09:00:00")}

UPDATE: Google has launched a tool that allows you to more easily create a one time countdown timer. In order to use this feature you must create the ad in Google AdWords native. When you get to the point in the ad where you want to insert the countdown, simply start typing code like this: {=  Once you do this, a drop down (like the one below) will appear then you just fill in the details. If you have multiple one-time countdown ads to create you can then import changes to Google Editor and copy and paste the ad you just created wherever you want.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 3.19.51 PM

If you are counting down to multiple events, you’ll need to upload a data sheet with all of the dates and then use the countdown parameter like this:

{=COUNTDOWN(Discounts.CountdownDate)}

How Long Do Countdowns Run?

Countdowns run 5 days in advance of the end date by default and stop afterwards. Start dates can be changed by adding the desired number of days after the function. In the example below, I changed a countdown function to start 3 days in advance of the end date:

Ad Customizer Countdown

How Do Countdowns Interact With Timezones?

Countdowns can either adjust to the user’s timezone (using the COUNTDOWN function) or they can end at a universal point in time (using the GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN function)

  • COUNTDOWN example – If you’re running a sale that ends at 11pm Eastern and someone in Atlanta sees your ad at at 9pm, they’ll see “Sale Ends In 2 Hours” while someone in LA would see “Sale Ends In 5 hours”.
  • GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN example – In the example above, the user in Atlanta and LA would both see “Sale Ends In 2 Hours”.

What Happens If A Customizer Breaks or a Countdown Ends?

Google requires you to have one text ad without customizers enabled in any ad group with ad customizers. This serves as a backup in case something goes wrong, a countdown ends or has not started yet.

How Do I Set Up Ad Customizers?

  1. Open the Ad Customizer Data CSV Template.
  2. Define your custom attributes – make sure you include an attribute type (text, number, price or date).
    1. Google recommends not using spaces in the attribute names.
  3. Define your targeting (if you’re targeting by keyword, ad group and/or campaign or entire account).
  4. Enter your data & upload to AdWords – Shared Library – Business Data (.csv, .tsv, .xls, or .xlsx).
  5. Write your ad using appropriate parameters (character limits still apply to the final ad).
  6. Upload a standard text ad in the same ad group that has no ad customizers.
Ric Flair

Wooooo!

How Do I Celebrate The Launch Of My Ad Customizers?

Oh you just uploaded your first Ad Customizers? Celebrate like Ric Flair!

Examples & Use Cases

Example 1: Keyword-Targeted Sale Countdown

Problem: You have a large inventory and want to show specific product details based on keywords. You also want to countdown to the end of a sale.

Solution: Upload a data sheet with details about each product then create one ad with a countdown and customizers that reference specific columns of the sheet.

Ad Customizer Example 1

Example 2: Campaign & Ad Group-Targeted Ad

Problem: Your account is structured with category specific campaigns and brand specific ad groups. You want to highlight your selection of products.

Solution: Customize your ads by ad group by using the “Target Campaign” & “Target Ad Group” columns.

Ad Customizer Example 2

Example 3: Countdown to Multiple Events

Problem: You host a wrestling match featuring a pro wrestler at your sketchy, run-down warehouse several times a month and want to run countdowns for each one.

Solution: Upload a data sheet (in this case we’ll call it “Matches”) with all scheduled dates and any text you want to replace.

Ad Customizer Example 3

Example 4: Countdown to a One-Time Event

If there is a one-time event that you’d like to run a countdown for, there’s no need to upload customizer data. Simply include this function in your text ad:

{=COUNTDOWN("YEAR/MO/DY 09:00:00”)}

Ad Customizer Example 4

 

We Just Don’t Click Anymore: When PPC Relationships Fall Apart

PPC BreakupBreaking up sucks. We’ve all been there. It hurts, even if you’re the one initiating it. The nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach that something just isn’t right. You’re not clicking. The relationship isn’t going anywhere. It has to end.

Just like relationships between people, relationships between PPC agencies and their clients can fall apart. The initial honeymoon period after a new client win can take you to the highest highs while the dreaded, “It’s just not working out” phone call can ruin your week.

If a client doesn’t get what they need from the relationship (i.e. sales, leads, or ROI), they’re going to break up with you.

After 7 years in PPC, I’ve experienced all of this and it is still hard to acknowledge that all good things must come to an end. After a lot of soul searching (and a few cartons of ice cream), I realized there are 3 primary reasons that agencies and clients split up.

Agency Meets Client, Client Meets New Agency

PPC is hard and we don’t always achieve the results we expect for our clients in a reasonable timeframe. I’m not going to lie and pretend like every campaign is a home run. We suffer the occasional strikeout. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually unsatisfied clients will find a hotter agency that can fulfill all of their KPI needs.

I Need My Space

Some of our most disappointing client breakups weren’t over another agency at all. Our clients liked the results and potential so much that they decided to bring PPC in house. We call this, “The Kidney Punch” because things seemed to be going well…until they’re not. We were clicking, you know? Then they decided they didn’t need us after all.

A little bonus – these often turn into “Boomerang” clients that leave briefly then come back when they realize how hard PPC is and how much they need you. We have several former clients that continue to refer high-quality prospects to us. Don’t burn any bridges, ever.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

There’s an often-overlooked (and under-utilized) reverse breakup scenario: agency fires client. Most likely this is due to one of three scenarios:

  1. The scope has exceeded the fee with no room for re-negotiation
  2. Client places unrealistic demands on the PPC agency
  3. Agencies shift course and some clients no longer fit in the roster

I’ve talked with many, many other agency leaders that would fire a few clients if they could. I say you should! There’s no reason to waste time, overload your staff, or sacrifice quality for your other clients. Just like learning to say “No” to new business that might not be a good fit, it’s even harder to walk away from paying clients. Sometimes it has to happen, and I have ended up happier and better off every time we’ve had to exercise our right to terminate a contract.

But it doesn’t have to end on a bad note. Coming soon, check out our next post on How To Gracefully Part Ways With A PPC Client (A Checklist).

CC Photo Credit

eBay Takes Swing At PPC; Misses.

Sensationalist journalism has once again found its way into the PPC world. Published on The Guardian earlier today, this article cites a research study conducted by eBay, and leads with the headline, “eBay study warns search ads have ‘no measurable benefit.’”

Come again? You are talking about the same “search ads” that allow you to track ROI down to the penny, right? As egregious of a statement as that headline may be, it is just one of many misleading points made in the article, as well as the study itself. Tim_Meme The study’s main point is essentially that bidding on your own brand name — in this case, eBay — is a waste of money, as people looking for you by name will find you anyway. They boldly hypothesize that “users searching for ‘eBay’ are in fact using search as a navigational tool with the intent to go to ebay.com.” Keanu_MindBlown In addition to eBay, the researchers used five other well-known brands as examples: AT&T, Macy’s, Ford, Safeway, and Amazon. Once again, their point is that paid ads on those brand names are unnecessary, and that any money spent on those clicks is wasteful.

What they fail to recognize, however, is that eBay and Amazon — and to some extent, the other brands — are the exception, not the rule. For those of us who don’t work for eBay or Amazon, there are plenty of reasons why bidding on your own brand name can be a good idea.

Let’s say, for instance, your air conditioning breaks down on a hot summer day. You’ve used Company X before, so you search for them by name to find their phone number.

Heeding eBay’s advice, Company X doesn’t bid on their own brand name, and instead relies on its strong SEO presence to greet customers. That should be sufficient, right?

Unfortunately, Company X’s competitor is running a huge air conditioning repair special right now, and bids on Company X’s name to see if it can cherry pick any customers. Before your eyes make it down to the organic results, you’re distracted by the competitor’s $50 off coupon, and click on their ad. By simply being willing to spend a few cents on their own brand name, Company X could have have kept you from seeing that offer altogether. Mutombo There’s no question, some brands don’t need to bid on their own names. The point is, though, protecting your own search engine real estate can be vitally important for some companies. You can also use ads to promote your own special offers, make it easy for customers to call you, and even cross-sell different services with Sitelinks Extensions.

To be fair, the cited study does acknowledge PPC’s value in acquiring new customers, as non-branded searches undoubtedly play a major role in the acquisition process. Unfortunately for all of us, the average reader will see the misleading headline and draw the wrong conclusions.

Reading the article’s comments further proves the wide misconceptions around paid search advertising. Unfortunately (for advertisers AND consumers), it seems many people still don’t fully trust paid search ads.

“Nobody clicks on online ads.”

“I don’t know anyone who clicks on online ads.”

“I hate change and refuse to acknowledge this might be helpful.” (Okay, that one was made up).

Yeah, most people don’t know this, but Google’s billions in annual revenue actually come entirely from the movie, The Internship. (I assume this is clear, but just to be sure… ← that statement is in fact false. Google makes oodles of money off of ads). Internship_Movie So have no fear, marketers and business owners; paid search advertising is alive and well, bringing new customers to businesses like yours on a daily basis. Stay the course, and soon you’ll be celebrating like my good friend Pete Weber.

(Unless you’re a competitor of one of our clients, in which case you should disregard this post and stop advertising IMMEDIATELY).

Getting The Most Out Of Your PPC Tools

Ron Swanson

Ron Swanson doesn’t blame his tools; he uses them.

There’s a popular saying, which you’ve likely heard from either your grandfather or Ron Swanson, that states, “a bad workman always blames his tools.” Shooting a triple bogey, for instance, is less about the club, and more about the guy swinging it.

While the right tools will never turn a bad workman into a master craftsman, they can be the competitive advantage that pushes you from good to great.  This is especially true in PPC Advertising, as the savviest marketers are the ones who know how to leverage the best industry tools to their clients’ advantage.

In our case, we’ve established close working relationships with our landing page testing provider, as well as our phone call tracking provider. We were fortunate enough to partner with each of them on some really cool projects over the last few weeks.

ifbyphone Mobile Search Webinar

We use ifbyphone for our phone call tracking services, and love the data they provide on our clients’ incoming calls. On April 9th & 10th, Andrew Miller teamed up with ifbyphone for a webinar titled “The 7 Ifbyphone WebinarCommandments of Mobile Search.”

I’d encourage you to watch the webinar, as mobile search is an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. We’re partnered with ifbyphone on similar projects in the past, and are excited to do so again in the future.

Unbounce Landing Page Case Study

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 2.30.52 PMUnbounce, our primary Landing Page Optimization partner, recently included us in a beta test of their new feature, dynamic text replacement. This new feature allowed us to dynamically re-write the text on a landing page based on a visitor’s specific search.

We tested dynamic text replacement on a few of our clients’ landing pages, and saw outstanding results.  When Unbounce made the feature available to the public, they featured Your Search Advisor as their primary case study.

(Hint: to see dynamic text replacement in action, follow the above link, and paste ?fname= to the end of the URL. Then, add your name after the = and press Enter. Pretty cool, huh?)

Again, there’s no substitute for a smart, hardworking PPC team; however, unless you’re taking full advantage of the latest industry tools, you may be missing out on opportunities for your clients, and potentially great partnerships.