Preeminent Productions

Preeminent Productions | Portland, Oregon Search Engine Marketing & Web Consulting Experts

Tag Archive: adwords

  1. Adwords Remarketing Using Google Analytics Custom Audience Targeting

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    Custom audience targeting using Google Analytics can be a powerful addition to Google Adwords remarketing campaigns.

    Remarketing isn’t a new concept at all, but I continue to meet marketing folks who are surprised when I tell them about Google Analytics (GA) Custom Audiences. It’s my favorite feature of GA, and I want to show you how simple it is to get started, as well as begin to create segmented, granular audiences that you’ll use in your Google Adwords campaigns.

    Head over to Google Analytics, login, and then click on the Admin link:

    Google Analytics Admin

    Then you want to look in the Property column for “Audience Definitions”:

    Google Analytics Audience Definitions

    Click on “Audiences”, and once on the next screen click the orange “New Audience” button to begin:

    Google New Audience

    On the next screen you’ll need to choose which Adwords account you’ll be using this new audience with. If you’ve yet to link an Adwords account to your Google Analytics account, you’ll need to go over and take care of that now. Google explains how to do this here in this help doc. Once you’ve got your Adwords account linked with GA, you’ll be able to choose it from the dropdown here:

    Analytics Adwords Link Accounts

    Once you’ve picked the Adwords account, hit the blue “Next Step” button. On this next screen you’ll see some default audience definitions that you could choose, but you can also hit the “Create New” button to begin putting together your Custom Audience Targeting:

    Create New Custom Audience

    Now you can really start to have fun with this! The options available here are fantastic and powerful, but do keep in mind that your website may not receive enough traffic for every custom audience definition that you create here. In order for your remarketing ads to run on the Google Display Network, your targeting list must be made up of at-least 100 active users from the last 30 days.

    If you have a low traffic website you’ll need to begin thinking about how you can get enough new traffic to the pages you want to add into your custom audience targeting.
    You may need to run some Adwords search campaigns first.

    Another thing to note is that some options here are not allowed to be used with a remarketing campaign. At this time Google doesn’t allow the “IN-MARKET SEGMENT”, (but interestingly does allow us to use the “OTHER CATEGORY” segment for our custom audiences). Another option that’s currently not available is the “DAYS SINCE LAST SESSION”, which is under the “BEHAVIOR” section.

    Custom Audience Targeting

    Get creative here. What do engaged users look like for your business? Start building that out here. My go to is the “CONDITIONS” section:

    Custom Audience Targeting Conditions

    In this example we’re building an audience of users who visited 3 valuable pages of our site, but EXCLUDING users who also made it to our Thank-You page URL. After this I usually go to the “BEHAVIOR” tab and add one more part to this audience. I include “SESSION DURATION > 60” too. This says that I want users who have been to my important pages, didn’t convert, and were also on site for more than a minute. Engaged users. Now we can start remarketing and “nurturing” them along with additional messaging and content.

    How about referral source. Do you drive consistent business from your Instagram account? You can create an audience of users that come from your social networks.

    Better yet utilize the awesome targeting options available in Facebook and Linkedin advertising first, then add the non-converters to a custom audience for retargeting!

    custom audience referral source

    Here we added users from this paid Facebook campaign to our custom audience. The Facebook settings were women in the US, between the ages of 24 and 45, live in Portland Oregon, and have “online buying” habits. Think about how powerful that is! We’re extending those amazing targeting options that Facebook allows over onto the Google Display Network.

    So analyze what content your converting users interact with most, or the traffic sources they consistently come from, and create these audiences here. Once you have these audiences created you need to jump over to your Adwords account.

    Once signed in to Adwords go ahead and click on the “SHARED LIBRARY” link in the bottom of the left side menu. On the next screen click the “VIEW” link under “AUDIENCES”:
    adwords shared library audiences

    Now you should see your custom audiences that you created in GA listed here for use in your campaigns now. If you just created the audience(s) in GA recently, you’ll most likely not see the list size just yet. Give it some time to calculate. Again, you’ll need at least 100 active users on a list to use it on the GDN.

    While your lists are calculating you can begin setting up your remarketing campaigns though. Create a new campaign for DISPLAY NETWORK ONLY. On the first section you’ll be naming the campaign and choosing your location settings. The second page of setup is your first Ad Group:

    Adwords remarketing ad group setup

    Name your ad group – most likely something around what custom audience you’ll be using – choose your max CPC to begin with, and then choose one of your custom audiences that you created in GA. Save and create your ads in the next section.

    You’re now all set and ready to keep the message going to your most important, relevant users who might just need a little extra push to convert. I hope this successfully helps you get started with Custom Audiences, but please don’t hesitate to contact me here at Preeminent Productions if you need any additional assistance getting things set up properly!

  2. How to Sell Your Products on Google Shopping

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    Out of all the Google Adwords campaign types available, we feel that Google Shopping has to be the hardest one to set up. Many new Adwords users give up and just contact us for Google Shopping management. We can do that for you as well, but if you’d like to jump into it yourself, then let’s get started!

    What Is Google Shopping

    If you’ve done any sort of product related searches on Google then you’ve no-doubt seen Google Shopping results yourself. Here’s an example:
    Google Shopping Results
    When you click those results, you’re taken into the Google Shopping area where you can do more searches with more refined settings. Not exactly, but in a way It’s Google’s answer to Amazon. If you’re reading this we’re assuming you’re looking to get your products shown here as well.

    Setting Up Your Merchant Center Account

    Your first step to selling in Google Shopping is to head over to the Merchant Center. This is where you’ll be uploading your products and letting Google know that they exist. It’s a little easier said than done, but we’ll try and do our best to explain it clearly for you.

    Like the video above says, sign into Merchant Center with your Google account that you’d like to use. If you happen to already use Google Adwords, use the same sign-in here.

    You’ll be filling out details on your business name and contact information. You’ll also need to verify and claim your website. The website where users will be taken to when clicking on your product listings. This requires that you have an account on Search Console set up and ready to go. If you don’t, click that link(opens in new window) and take care of that first. If you’ve never heard of Search Console (formally called “Google Webmaster Tools”), here’s a great rundown on what it is.

    Google Shopping Feeds in Your Merchant Center Account

    (Selling on a platform like WordPress or Shopify? Skip down to the tools section below!)

    Once you’re signed into Merchant Center click on “FEEDS” in the left menu, and then click the orange +Data Feed button:

    merchant center data feed

    This is where you’ll upload your products into your Merchant Center account by registering a new feed. You can choose to upload a test to get the hang of it first. Just choose that option from the dropdown if you’d like to do that. If not, pick “Standard”.

    Then you’ll be choosing if this is an update to existing products, or a brand new Product feed. Most of you reading this will probably be uploading a brand new feed, so you’ll choose, “Products” as the Feed Type.

    Finally give the feed a name.

    Now you’ll be met with a screen that looks something like this:

    merchant center feed input

    1) If you use Google Sheets then there’s a really convenient option to choose from here. Choose the GOOGLE SHEETS option, and then hit the CONTINUE button. On the next screen you can choose to have a template generated for you. I highly recommend this method. If not you’ll be doing more manual work than needed.

    2) The next option you see there is where you can host a product feed template somewhere online, and then tell Google to regularly pull from it on a scheduled basis.

    3) Your third option is to manually upload a product feed template via Excel or TXT file. If your file is under 20mb you can quickly upload it right there at the push of a button. If your template is larger than that you’ll need to go the FTP route. Most of you just starting out will probably be able to use the easy upload button method here. If not you’ll need to follow the directions here in order to get FTP set up correctly.

    The quickest way to get started with #3 is to grab one of the the example templates mentioned here in this Google help page.

    But wait, there’s more! A lot more. We told you this was a rough campaign type to set up!

    Now that you have your example template ready you’ll now need to read up on what is required to go in your feed template. A few things are always required. Others are needed depending on the type of products you’re selling, as well as what country you’re selling in.

    Get started reading this Products Feed Specification article here.

    But here is what’s required for everyone:

    1) ID
    2) TITLE
    4) LINK
    8) PRICE
    9) BRAND

    The one which gives people the most problems is that last one, Unique Item Identifier.
    Google does a pretty good job going over it all right here.

    Tools For Easier Google Shopping Feed Management

    If your website is built on a platform like WordPress, Shopify, or BigCommerce, then you want to pay close attention to this part. It will


    Many of these popular platforms have easy add-ons and plug-ins that do most of the feed template setup work for you. You’ll still need to sign up for your Merchant Center account, but you can let these tools do the rest of the work.

    Sell with WordPress and WooCommerce?

    woocommerce google merchant center

    A plugin like this one is what you’re looking for!

    Many people are selling with Shopify these days.

    google merchant center shopify

    This Shopify app is a must!

    If you’re a BigCommerce user then they do have a similar tool, but it looks to be only available for Plus and Enterprise plans. You can read the details here.

    After Your Feed is Submitted

    Once you’ve got your feed uploaded to your account you’ll then need to wait a bit before it’s reviewed and processed. On average, our clients’ feeds take at least 24 hours before any new data is showing under diagnostics:

    merchant feed diagnostics

    Shortly you’ll know if there’s any warnings, or if there are any major errors. Warnings won’t prevent your feed from being used, but errors could.
    Once you see that your feed is active with no major errors, it’s time to jump into the actual Adwords platform!

    In part two we’ll show you exactly how we save our clients’ money on Google shopping campaigns.

  3. Conversion Tracking In Adwords

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    Adwords Conversion Tracking

    One of the definitions for the saying, “Shot In The Dark”, is: “An attempt that has little chance of succeeding”. You don’t ever want to start an Adwords campaign without conversion tracking setup! Without it there’s a lot of guesswork involved, plus it just makes figuring out your campaign return-on-investment much more difficult. With tracking installed Adwords will do a lot of the work and calculations for you, and you’ll know which specific keywords and keyword match type variations are performing best.

    How Adwords Conversions Work

    A conversion is an action you want users to take. Every campaign you run should have an ultimate goal of the user requesting your service, purchasing, downloading, or signing up for your email newsletter. Google provides you with a snippet of HTML and Javascript code that you’ll place on your website, or within your app, and it tells the Adwords platform a conversion has happened when that code is “fired”.

    How To Setup Adwords Conversion Tracking

    To get started login to your account and click on the link that says “tools” at the top. Then choose, “conversions”.
    You’ll see a screen that looks like this:

    Adwords New Conversion

    Click the button that says “+ Conversion” on it, and you’ll be asked to choose which type of conversion you want to track.
    Website, App Downloads, or Phone Calls. Most of you will probably want Website, but if you’re looking for app or phone conversions, you can skip ahead to those sections a little further down: App Conversion Tracking | Phone Call Conversion Tracking

    So let’s click on “Website” for now then and you’ll see this screen next:

    Google Adwords New Website Conversion

    Currently there’s 6 parts to setting up a new website conversion:

    NAME: Just pick a unique name for your conversion and hit the “done” button.

    VALUE: How much is each conversion worth to you? Is it the same amount each time? If so this step is very easy for you. Just pick the first option, “Each time it happens, the conversion action has the same value”, and enter in that amount. If you don’t want to enter a value for your conversions for now then you’ll pick the third option, “Don’t assign a value”, and click the “done” button.

    If you sell multiple products/services and they all have different values then instructions on how to properly track them all will vary depending on what platform and web technology your website is built with. We’ll cover most of the popular platforms further down below. First pick the option, “The value of this conversion action may vary (for instance, by purchase price)”, and enter in a default amount that Adwords should use just in case a value isn’t passed when your conversion happens. This is a backup in case of issues.

    COUNT: Here you’ll be choosing how to exactly count your conversions. Do you want to know every single conversion that happens after an ad click, or do you just want to know that a certain type of conversion happened. This will depend on your business. Let’s say that you’re running ads for leads only, no sales transactions. You’ll probably just want to pick, “Unique”, here. For example, you have 3 different white papers for users to request. After clicking your ad and arriving at your website, one user requests all 3 white papers. Do you want to count that as 3 different conversions or just 1?

    Or if you’re an e-commerce store and someone clicks your ad and buys 3 different items, you’d probably want to have, “All”, chosen here. It’s just a matter of how you’d like to track it.

    CONVERSION WINDOWS: Two different settings here. The first one, “From ad clicks on Search or Display Network”, is how long you’d like to allow a conversion to be tracked after a user clicks on your ad, doesn’t convert right then, but comes back and does convert at a later time. The second one is, “From impressions, not clicks, of your image or rich media Display Network ads”, and this is when a user sees your ad on the Display Network, doesn’t click, but comes over to your website at a later date and converts.

    CATEGORY: Quick and easy. Just pick the conversion category from the dropdown of options.

    OPTIMIZATION: At times you may want to track conversions with little value in addition to conversions that do have high value to your business. For example, an email sign-up form may mean very little to your business compared to an ecommerce sale.

    As you get more advanced with your campaigns, you may utilize automated bid adjustments. You’ll want Adwords to use past conversions as a guideline for looking at future opportunities for your ads. In other words let’s say you’ve gotten 5 recent conversions and those conversions came from users who all visit the same sort of websites, and they all happen to be around the same age. You can set rules that tells Adwords to search for more users who look like those recent customers. When Adwords is able to find more conversions with these settings, they’ll be listed in a column called, “(“Conv. (opt.)”)”. So with this setting you’re telling Adwords that this particular conversion should or shouldn’t be included in this column. If you’re just completely unsure with this setting just leave it included like it is by default anyway.

    That does it. Hit the “save and continue” button, and next you’ll see something like the page below. This is where you’ll be provided the code that should go on your THANK YOU/CONFIRMATION PAGE ONLY. You don’t want this code on every page of your website, or every visitor will be triggering a conversion in Adwords no matter what they’re doing. This needs to go on the very last page a user sees after doing the action you want them to.

    adwords conversion tag installation

    You’ll either be copy/pasting this code yourself or sending it to your developer to handle. If you’re doing it yourself I try and cover many of the popular platforms and web technologies below.

    **Remember: if your conversion values are different every time (dynamic conversion values) then you’ll need to modify the code given to you here. If this applies to you, what needs to change is covered in each section below. Look for the platform or web technology you’re using.**

    Let’s use two quick examples to help you understand when dynamic conversion values would be needed or not:

    First let’s say you’ve got 3 different informational courses for sale on your website. $99, $129, and $159. It would probably be easier for you to just create 3 different thank-you pages and 3 different conversions in Adwords here. One for each price point.

    But now let’s say that you have 300 different items for sale on your ecommerce store. You obviously wouldn’t create 300 different thank-you pages and 300 different conversions in Adwords here. You’d go the “dynamic conversion tracking” route in this situation.

    Tracking Conversions On A Basic HTML Website

    If you’ve got a really simple website built with good old fashioned HTML & CSS you’ll just need to make sure you’ve got a “Thank You” page coded up and ready to go. The Adwords code snippet just needs to be within the body tags of the page: <body></body>. Save your file and re-upload it to your server, and you’re good to go and ready to track conversions.

    Tracking Conversions With WordPress

    I’m willing to bet a lot of you are using WordPress to power your websites. If so you’re probably aware of how easy it is to install plugins instead of dealing with code. It’s no different with conversion tracking either. Go ahead and copy the code snippet Google provides you with and go to your “Thank You” page within your theme. Within your page editor, up at the top right corner, make sure that the “text” tab is active:

    wordpress text tab

    At the bottom, below your content, you can paste the code in here. Again, make sure it’s on a page that your customers see AFTER buying or signing up for something. As long as your editor is in “text” mode and not “visual” mode, then the code won’t be visible to your users.

    If your conversion value changes each time (dynamic conversion values), you’ll need to edit the code snippet some. Remove what’s crossed-out here and add in what’s highlighted:

    Adwords Dynamic Conversion Tracking For PHP

    Once that’s done, save the page and you’re all set!

    Tracking Conversions With Woocommerce

    If you’re selling with Woocommerce and all products are just one price-point go ahead and install this add-on plugin here. Once it’s installed hover over “Woocommerce” in your admin panel, and then click on “settings” as seen here:

    conversion tracking woocommerce

    Once inside you’ll see this:

    woocommerce conversion pixel

    Click on the “Integration” tab up top and then you’ll paste the conversion tracking code into the “Checkout Scripts” box. If your conversions have no values or they don’t change each time, then you’re all done. Just save!

    If you need dynamic conversion tracking then you can install this plugin here: which should track conversions that change in value each time.

    Tracking Conversions With Contact Form 7

    Contact Form 7 is a very popular contact form plugin for WordPress with over a million installs. If you’re using this and want to track form submissions as conversions in Adwords, just install this Contact Form 7 add-on that redirects users to a thank-you page after submitting the form. On that thank-you page is where you’d have your conversion tracking code that Adwords has provided for you.

    I’m writing an Adwords book that goes into full detail on how common beginner pitfalls can burn through budgets overnight. I’m giving away early copies!
    Request your Adwords book here

    Tracking Conversions With Shopify

    Once you’re logged into your Shopify account, find the “Settings” link in your admin panel:

    shopify admin

    And then you’ll need to click on the “Checkout” link:

    shopify admin checkout

    Once inside the checkout area scroll to “Order Processing”:

    shopify adwords conversion tracking script

    You’ll see a box that says, “Additional content and scripts”. This is where your Adwords conversion tracking code will go. Paste in here and save.

    For those that need dynamic conversion tracking:

    Within your conversion tracking code replace this: var google_conversion_value = 1; with this: if ({{ subtotal_price }}) { var google_conversion_value = {{ subtotal_price | money_without_currency }}; }.

    Hit save and you’re done!

    Tracking Conversions With BigCommerce

    Login to your account and over in the top right-hand corner you should see this “Setup & Tools” link:

    bigcommerce admin

    Within the dropdown find the link that says “Conversions”:

     adwords conversion tracking

    You’ll be given a box to paste your conversion tracking code into.

    For dynamic conversion tracking:

    Find this line in your code snippet: var google_conversion_value = 0.00; and replace it with this: var google_conversion_value = %%ORDER_AMOUNT%%;

    Don’t forget to click the save button!

    Tracking Conversions With MailChimp

    If you’re counting Mailchimp form submissions as conversions then you need to redirect users to a custom thank-you page after doing so. Mailchimp already has a perfect guide on setting this up here.

    Once you’ve got that setup, just make sure that your conversion tracking code snippet is installed on this page. After a user has signed-up or sent a submission they’ll be sent to this page and Adwords will record a conversion for you.

    Adwords Conversion Tracking For Mobile Apps

    First you’ll need to create a new conversion. Once logged in to your account click the “Tools” link at the top and then pick “Conversions”.

    On the next screen you’ll pick “App”:

    app conversion tracking

    You’ll need to pick which type of app you need tracking for. Android or iOS.

    App Tracking For Android

    You can track your app downloads, opens, and in-app actions that happen because of your ad campaigns.

    App Tracking For iOS

    It’s a little harder to track your iOS apps. iOS conversion tracking is currently available only for ads that show in mobile apps on the Display Network. You can track first-opens and in-app actions.

    Android downloads

    1) Name Your App.
    2) Give It A Value. (usually the price of the app)
    3) Package Name. You can find it by looking up your app in Google Play. It’s the part of the base URL that identifies your application:


    Once you’ve entered the package name, click on “View in Google Play” and make sure this takes you to your app’s page on Google Play. Click Done.

    Android and iOS opens (advanced)

    App open tracking starts the same as download tracking:
    1) Name Your App
    2) Give It A Value (usually the price of the app)
    3) Package Name.
    4) Postback URL (This option allows you to send conversions information back to your Android app analytics package. Enter the postback URL that your app analytics provider has given you.)
    5) Click “Save and Continue”.
    6) Google goes on to describe what you’ll need to do next: Select one of the two options under “Set up your tracking method.”

    A) Put tracking code into the app: Select this option if you want to use the Google conversion tracking SDK to add conversion tracking code to your app.

    B) Set up a server-to-server conversion feed from an app analytics package to AdWords: Select this option if you use a 3rd-party app analytics server and want to use it to track AdWords install conversions. Select whether to save the information or email it to your developer.

    Android and iOS in-app actions (advanced)

    1) Name Your App.
    2) Give It A Value.
    3) Package Name.
    4) Count. (Select whether to count all or unique conversions. “All” is best for sales; “unique” is best for leads.)
    5) Category.
    6) Hit “Save and Continue”.
    7) Choose how to setup your tracking. Place it right within the app or let Adwords know you’ll be using a 3rd-party analytics server.

    How To Setup Adwords Call Tracking

    Not all conversions have to be digital only. You can even count phone calls to your business as conversions too!

    Login to your account and click on the “Tools” link at the top. Then choose “Conversions”, and then pick “Phone Calls” on the next screen:

    adwords phone only conversions

    Next you’ll need to decide your situation:

    Calls from ads using call extensions or call-only ads. There’s a campaign type where you can run ads that only allow phone calls and no website visits. If that’s what you’re doing then this is the setting you’d choose. In addition to that, if you have call extensions running on your ads, (I talked about them here) you’ll also pick this option. Note: This requires a Google Forwarding Number in order to work.

    Calls to a phone number on your website This option is for those of you who are sending traffic to a page on your website that lists your phone number. If you want Adwords to track phone calls once users are on your website, then you’ll be choosing this option. Note: This requires a Google Forwarding Number and some custom code in order to work. Google walks you through it in 3 parts here. Google will provide you with another code snippet to add to the area of your web page where the number is displayed. You’ll also be provided a little bit of Javascript that needs to be added to the page as well.

    How To Track Link And Button Clicks As Conversions

    In some situations you may need to track link or button clicks as conversions. If so you’ll setup a new website conversion as described up at the very beginning of this article. Where things change though, is after the conversion is saved and you’re given your code snippet:

    adwords advanced tag settings

    Click the “advanced tag link” and then choose, “Click”:

    adwords conversion tracking for clicks

    Now you’ll edit the page’s HTML where the button or link lives at. Open the page and you’ll paste in your Adwords code snippet somewhere within the <BODY></BODY> tags of the page. You’ll also need to add something called an “onclick” to the button or link that you want to track. Here’s a link example:

    <a href="#">DOWNLOAD NOW</a>

    Now here’s what that link would look like after adding the onclick:

    <a onclick="goog_report_conversion ('')" href="#" >DOWNLOAD NOW</a>

    Now whenever your users click on that link, a conversion will be recorded in Adwords.

    Be careful with this. If this page has other traffic sources (non-Adwords traffic) going to it, Adwords will be counting their clicks as well. So make sure this page can only be accessed by your Adwords traffic.

    (For you more-advanced users who want to use this method with Ajax, this conversation here should be helpful.)

    That does it folks! Let us know your thoughts. Need us to cover more scenarios or web platforms? Need it done for you? Request Adwords management, or let me know on Twitter

  4. Adwords Search

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    Adwords Search Network

    The Google Adwords Search Network. You’ve no-doubt seen it and used it. When you go to Google and search for something you’re using the network. Here’s what Google has to say about it:

    “When you advertise on the Google Search Network, your ad can show next to search results when someone searches with terms related to one of your keywords.”

    The search network also includes Google Maps and Google Video which are part of something they call the “Search Partners”. Like I mentioned in How To Use Google Adwords, you can opt-in or opt-out of having your ads included on search partner apps and websites. Here’s a Google video that quickly explains their networks (search and display):

    If you watch that video you might notice that they mention the default for a new Adwords campaign is for both Search and Display networks. In other words your keywords and ads would be triggered and shown on both networks. The video is a little old, so now you have to manually choose which type of campaign you’d like. Which is good, but the first option is SEARCH NETWORK WITH DISPLAY SELECT with the message, “Best opportunity to reach the most customers” below it. Please take my word for it, don’t use this terrible campaign type! Users on the search network and users on the display network are vastly different, and shouldn’t get the same strategies thrown at them. Keep both networks separate by starting completely different campaigns for each type.

    I won’t go into too much more detail for search here, because I explain how to setup Adwords here with a focus being on the search network for your first campaign. Here’s a few things to remember:

    1) Think of your campaigns as folders. (Within these folders are your ad groups, and in those are your keywords.)

    2) Don’t bid on really broad keywords, unless you have the budget and want general exposure. ( “subaru dealer in Portland” instead of just “subaru” or “car dealer Portland”, for example.)

    3) Try to match both your ad and landing page titles and copy which should include the keyword you’re bidding on.

    4) Make sure you’re aware of ad location settings. (Don’t run ads to places you don’t do business in!)

    5) More often than not, take advantage of free ad extensions to take up more “screen real estate”.

    top image & Google quote source

  5. Google Display Network

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    The Google Display Network is massive! This unprecedented network of websites and platforms allows you to put millions of eyeballs onto your products and services. Unless you know what you’re doing, it can also burn through your cash like crazy. Read on for a quick overview of this network and what you can do to save yourself a lot of money! (If you’re brand new to the platform, be sure to head over to the How To Use Adwords article on proper setup too.)

    What is the display network

    Google calls it “the largest global network” that serves BILLIONS of users every MONTH. Crazy! Your ads can literally be shown on all types of web media within any topic or niche. Website owners all over the world can opt-in for Google Adsense. Adsense is “fueled” by people like us who want to advertise our services. We’re talking major websites like CNN, Blogger, Youtube, and even that small hobby, woodworking blog. Google’s system finds these sites, and based on many different factors, decides where our ads are shown. Here’s a video that can explain it better than I can:

    Display network best practices

    TARGETING. Targeting, targeting, targeting! Optimized targeting is what will help you find qualified leads and save you a ton of wasted money! It depends on the niche, but I usually explain to my clients that display ads come after we’ve nailed-down our search network strategy. You have to remember that these ads are showing to users who weren’t actively searching for you or your business. That’s why ad targeting is so important here. A VERY common mistake I see when reviewing client accounts is a large number of keywords being used for targeting, with no campaign exclusions at all. Unless your goal is just for broad exposure, in most cases your keyword lists shouldn’t consist of too many more than 10, and you should be telling the system NOT to show ads in certain topics. If I made custom owl necklaces for example, here’s what my keyword list might look like (and you could obviously still expand on this, but you can get the idea):

    Adwords Display Keyword Targeting

    You might be thinking that this limits your chances for ad impressions, and you’d definitely be correct on that! Again, unless you’re after exposure, you don’t want your ads shown all over the place burning through your ad budget. Here’s an example of what I see quite often:

    Incorrect Adwords Targeting

    Here’s a secret though. (Ok, it’s not really a secret, but not everyone knows about it, or they just forget to utilize this feature.): Let’s say you did want to use a keyword list like the one in the photo above. I have some clients with small budgets, but still want to work on their overall exposure by using broad keywords on the display network. What you do is make bid adjustments based on the keyword type. So for example, “handmade owl necklace” might get a 25 cent bid while “owl jewelry” might get a 15 cent bid, and “owl gifts” would get a 10 cent bid. That 10 cent bid would limit the amount of impressions, as well as be a cheaper cost-per-click since those users are less likely to buy from you compared to a user clicking on the ad triggered by “handmade owl necklace”.

    There’s targeting options other than just keywords too, like manual placements and general website topics. You can even add them all as targeting methods at once for extremely dialed-in display ads. We’ll cover the other methods in later articles, as well as walk you through the entire process in the upcoming Adwords book.

    No matter what targeting you use, properly managing your Adwords account must include constant watch over where your ads are getting shown! Without a doubt your ads will show on websites that make no sense and have nothing to do with your ad. Once your ads have ran for a day or two, start looking to see where they’re showing up at.
    Go into the campaign > Click on DISPLAY NETWORK > Click on PLACEMENTS:

    Display Network Ad Placements

    Look at where your ads are being shown to make sure you’re OK with these type of ad placements. If you see any you don’t like you’ll need to use the CAMPAIGN PLACEMENT EXCLUSIONS area to add these websites to the excluded list.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the average Adwords click through rate for display network is much lower than on the search network. This makes perfect sense though. Your ad is potentially getting shown thousands of times a month, and again you have to remember that most of those users who “saw” your ads weren’t in the right frame of mind to click.

    Adwords display network ad types and sizes

    Quick side note: You will create a text ad(s) for the display network just like you do on the search network. But remember that these users are in a different mindset, so be aware of that as you think about what your ads will say.

    One last thing we’ll cover real quick is what sort ad types and sizes that are possible. Even though text ads usually outperform image ads, it’s still a great idea to get images designed for your campaigns as well. Specially if you can design clever, eye-catching messages, or if you sell unique items that benefit from great photos of your products.

    Google says that on average wider ads perform better than taller, thinner ones. They also say that the following specific sizes have shown the best performance: 336X280, 300X250, 728X90, 300X600, and 320X100 for mobile devices. This of course will have to be tested within your own campaigns.

    What determines when each ad size gets shown comes down to your bid amounts, relevance, and what ad space inventory is available on websites where Google thinks your ad should be shown. The more variety of ad sizes you have in your campaigns, the more chances there are for your ad to be shown. Here’s an example of a 728X90 ad on

    728X90 Adwords Ad

    You might be wondering how to create your image ads? We use Photoshop for all of our client ads. Adobe now offers a monthly subscription for it if you feel that you’ll be making display ads quite often. If not there’s a free alternative to Photoshop called Gimp that you could try out. There’s a few free online “banner makers” out there, but most don’t seem to deliver great results. But I guess it all comes down to what you’re trying to design. Then the easiest of them all: Google actually has a display ad creator built right into Adwords.

    We’ll wrap it up here. Just remember that you’re not trying to advertise to the entire Google Display Network! Be clever, grab their attention, but grab the RIGHT people’s attention.

  6. How To Run A New Adwords Campaign

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    We’re continuing the Adwords campaign tutorial series in part two here. Over in part one, How To Use Google Adwords, I showed you how to get started from the very beginning. We left off with Site Extensions. If this is your first time using the platform, then I suggest that you head over to the first part before you continue here. Now it starts to get a little more exciting. Let’s go!

    In this next section you’ll be telling Google what landing page that you’re sending traffic to. Remember that you should be using optimized landing pages!

    Google Adwords Ad Groups

    Enter your URL in the first box, and Google will try and return some helpful keywords for you to bid on. Usually these suggestions are helpful, BUT you should never stuff them all into one ad group!

    Short on time? Need help getting set up, or want it managed for you?
    Expert Adwords Management

    No article on running a new Adwords campaign is complete without explaining how to properly structure your ad groups. This is one of the most important steps to running an optimized campaign. Remember back in part one when I said to think of your campaigns as folders? Here’s an image to help you visualize it:

    Adwords Campaign Structure

    Let’s imagine that you sell office furniture and accessories, and a few of your items happen to be a variety of different desks. One campaign could be “DESKS” with an Ad group inside called “METAL STAND UP”, and within there you’d have your keywords specific for ONLY a metal stand up desk:

    How to Structure Adwords Campaigns

    Want to save yourself hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month? Stick to that up there and don’t get lazy. “What is he talking about”, you might be saying? Here’s what I encounter quite often when I take over accounts:

    Badly Optimized Adwords Campaign

    Don’t do this! Keep your campaigns tightly themed. You shouldn’t be trying to bid on every related keyword under the sun. You want the very best, relevant keywords that match your ads, AND the page where you’re sending users to. All 3 (keyword, ad copy, and landing page copy) should match as much as possible.

    So using the steel stand up desk as our example, here’s what you should enter into the keywords box to begin with:

    [metal stand up desk]
    +metal +stand +up +desk
    “metal stand up desk”

    This isn’t a full run-down on keyword match types, because it deserves a whole article on it’s own, but quickly here is what we just did with those 3 versions there:
    [BRACKETS] mean that a user has to search for that EXACT search query in that exact order.
    +PLUSES mean that a user has to search for at least those words in some order.
    “QUOTES” mean that a user can search for some sort of variation of those words, in any order, and isn’t very strict.

    Make sure to adjust your bid amounts depending on each match type!

    Click Here To Tweet This

    What I mean is that you should bid something like a $1.00 for [metal stand up desk], .75 for +metal +stand +up +desk, and .50 for “metal stand up desk”. You’ll be able to adjust your amounts in just a minute. You can also start entering in new ad groups here if you’d like, but you can certainly add more later. There’s no rush to do them all now. When you’re ready, hit that “Continue to Ads” button and you’ll be met with something that looks like this:

    Adwords new ad setup

    Like keyword match types, ad creation is a whole article to itself, but let’s go over some quick ad setup basics.

    Being disciplined with the amount of keywords you’re bidding on per group, like I mentioned above, and:

    1) Keyword in ad title
    2) Keyword in ad copy
    3) Keyword in ad display URL
    4) Keyword in your landing page copy

    Will result in great quality scores, which equals cheaper cost-per-clicks!

    You can do much better than this, but here’s a quick example:

    Adwords Optimized Ad

    You’ll see that we accomplished 1-3 with that ad. Another angle you should focus on is how and why you are better than the competition. How can you solve people’s problems? Your “value proposition”:
    Tough in a little ad box huh?! It can be, but experiment and brainstorm with different ad copy.

    Once your ads are all ready, go ahead and hit the blue “save” button and they’ll be sent for review. Humans – yes, real humans! – will review your landing page now and determine how relevant your ads, keywords, and copy all are. This process usually doesn’t take too long, and you should see your ads running very soon.

    We’ll stop part two here. Between this post, part one, and the conversion tracking guide, you should be ready to get started. Is there more to go over? You bet! A ton. So much that I could write a book on it. (pssst…actually I am writing a book on it, and looking for folks to give it to!)

  7. How To Use Google Adwords

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    Adwords Get Started
    You may have been told about Google Adwords by a friend, did a search for “pay-per-click marketing” and “google advertising”, or you might have received a coupon offer from Google to give Adwords a try. Either way my goal is to show you how to get started painlessly. I’ve helped MANY people who were scared off by all the settings and options when first starting out. It can be overwhelming. Start following what I teach you and you’ll be cruising through it in no time! Oh, and you’ll find out what some of the costliest mistakes are when first learning how to use Google Adwords:

    Adwords Setup

    You’ll want to head to the start page: (link opens in new tab) and hit the “Start Now” button. You’ll be met with an input for your Gmail address.

    Adwords Setup

    If you don’t yet have a Google account, just enter an address you’d like here, and on the next screen you’ll have the option to create an account.

    Google Account Setup

    On this next screen, enter your current password (for users who already have a Google account), or click the “create an account” link if you need to setup a brand new Google/Gmail account. This account will/can be used for all Google products going forward.
    Once you’re all signed in you’ll need to decide what credit card you’d like your charges to be put on. Your credit card will be charged every 30 days for any clicks that your ads receive.

    How To Start An Adwords Campaign

    Once you’ve got billing squared away it’s time to start your first campaign! Hit that orange button that says “+CAMPAIGN”:

    how to start adwords campaign

    After clicking the button you’ll have 5 choices. Yes, 5! It’s OK though. For your first campaign you’ll want to go with “Search Network Only”. These are your general text ads that show at the top and sides of Google search results that you’ve certainly seen and probably click often. (You can read a bit about The Search Network here, and get acquainted with The Display Network here.)

    Next you’ll be met with this screen:

    New adwords search campaign

    Give your campaign a name based on your topic or product. The level of detail in the name depends on preference and how many different campaigns you’ll have.
    For example, if my client has multiple, different items for sale then I’ll name them something like: “Cool_Widget_Search”, “Blue_Widget_Search”, “Red_Widget_Search”, etc etc. Or you can name them after the geographic location settings like so: “Widgets_UK_Search”, “Widgets_US_Search”, or “Widgets_CA_Search” depending on the Country we’re selling to. Think of your campaigns as folders.

    You’ll need to choose either “Standard” or “All Features” here as well. Just start with Standard for now.

    I’m writing an Adwords book that goes into full detail on how you should structure your campaigns, what the “All Features” option means, and so much more. I’m giving away early copies!
    Request your Adwords book here

    Adwords Search Partners

    You can leave the “include search partners” checked for now. You might be wondering who these search partners are:
    well it isn’t really public knowledge. Google explains it like this:

    “For text ads, search partners include hundreds of non-Google websites (like AOL), as well as Google Maps, Google Video, and other Google sites.”

    On average, my clients’ ads actually perform better on these search partner platforms! I’ll show you how to properly gauge how these are performing in a future blog post.

    Ads Location

    Next you’ll need to pick your geo targeting settings. Here you can pick what geographic area you want your ads to be shown in. If you’re a very local business you would pick your city, and possibly nearby cities only. If you’re an online business targeting “everybody” then you can pick to target the whole Country. This section is very important. Don’t waste money on clicks that will get you nothing in return! I see so many clients literally GIVING AWAY money to Google because of this one simple step:

    Click Here To Tweet This

    Click the “advanced search” link to get really specific with your location ads. Remember too that you can EXCLUDE areas here. For example, lets say you sell to the entire US, but there’s a city or state you can’t sell to for whatever reason. Some sort of restriction maybe. You can exclude them here, and your ads will never be shown to them.

    Adwords Bid Strategy

    Adwords Bid Strategy

    This section can be more advanced once you’ve been running your campaigns for a while. Eventually you’ll be able to let Google Adwords use your past conversion data to make bidding choices for you. We won’t be going over that in this article. We’ll stick to “I’ll manually set my bids for clicks” for now. Go ahead and put in your default cost-per-click bid amount, as well as your daily budget. These both can be changed at any time so don’t feel too pressured here. Start with $1/CPC and $25/day to get started. You’ll ultimately be experimenting on these costs as data comes in. You can do some pre-research on suggested cost-per-click costs too. We’ll be covering that in a future post.

    Ad Extensions

    Ad extensions is a feature that Google added more recently. These provide a way to not only make your ads “stand-out” more, but they can also provide users with helpful information about you or your website. These can also be added later so don’t feel pressured to set them up right away, but I do recommend that you eventually take advantage of these. More often than not they increase your ad click-through-rate, which basically means more people take notice and click on them. Of course you only want relevant users clicking on ads, but that’s a discussion for another time.

    The Location extension pulls in your physical address (and displays it within your ad) from your “Google My Business” account:

    Adwords Location Extension

    The Sitelinks extension allows you to include other website links separate from your landing page. Keep in mind that these are usually better for a brand campaign. If your brand name gets search traffic you should be bidding on these queries. Here’s an example from Quickbooks:

    Adwords Sitelinks Extensions

    This is the type of campaign that you would add Sitelinks to. Pages like your ABOUT or PRICING areas for example. This provides a way for users to go quickly and directly to other important pages of your website. Again, I recommend that you keep these to specific brand campaigns only. 99% of the time you’ll want users to go to your optimized landing page, OR make sure all Sitelinks have an optimized landing page for users to land on.

    You can also use the Call extension to display your phone number within your ads:

    Adwords Call Extensions

    If you’re the type of business that heavily relies on phone calls then this is a no brainer!

    Remember that Adwords extensions won’t always show. Google uses many different factors to determine if they’re eligible to run or not. Some are only shown when your ad appears in the top positions above search results, and unfortunately you can’t choose which specific extensions are shown either.

    Ok, that does it for part one. Over in part two we’ll continue setting up our new campaign the right way which covers properly structuring your ad groups, and how your ads should be worded for the best quality scores.

  8. Adwords Search Terms Keywords

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    Do you use Adwords? Here’s an easy, quick tip that has more than one benefit.

    When I first started using Adwords I had no idea about the “Search Terms” option under the “Details” button within your ad group’s keywords area.


    Here’s a screenshot:
    adwords keyword details

    This is a list of all the search queries users have used, that’s triggered your ads to show. Are there good search terms you can add to this campaign’s keyword list?

    Not only is this a great insight into what people are searching for, there’s an even more important use for this: It also shows you what keywords you should add to your NEGATIVE keyword list.

    You are using negative keywords, right?!

    If you see keyword search terms that are resulting in impressions of your ads, but have nothing to do with your product or service, put a stop to this now. It’s probably costing you money! There’s a bit more to negative keywords, and I’ll go into more detail in another post, but for now get started with this here.