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Hi. My name is Durga. Ads PPC Management is a non-commercial blog written by me, to share small tips and thoughts about Pay per click management (PPC management), Advertising, Web marketing, and business management.

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Banquet Industry Corona Virus – Looking forward is important.

Banquet industry Corona Virus days – You can still generate business even when the spread of Corona Virus is making everyone stay indoors.

You need to focus on future bookings.

Corona Virus is not going to stay here for long.

It is a difficult time, but it will pass.

People, especially optimists, are certainly planning ahead for their wedding, parties, sometime in the future, once the Corona Virus problem subsides.

Yes, it is true that banquet hall business cannot run as normal in these difficult times. However, that does not mean that you cannot think ahead and take bookings for new business.

I know it can be tough for many businesses to think long term in these difficult times, but that’s the only way when the short term makes it hard to operate.

I happen to serve a banquet hall client in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) has had 239 cases of COVID-19 reported in Toronto so far, and yesterday, March 23, 2020, Mayor John Tory declared an Emergency  in the city of Toronto. ( https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/8643-MOH-Statement_23March2020.pdf )

Banquet hall business prior to Covid-19 Corona Virus

Earlier I was averaging around 40 form fills every week ( at around $3.55 per form fill) and numerous phone calls, and inquiries over social media for which I do not have proper count because of difficulty in tracking them ( without client investing in client tracking etc.).

banquet hall industry corona virus

Banquet hall business in times of Covid-19

Last week, corona virus took all the news space. Corona Virus patient’s numbers kept on rising everyday. Bad news kept on coming like a tornado.

However there were still some people planning ahead, for their weddings, events and birthdays. – THIS IS IMPORTANT.

We got queries from people planning weddings in July, August, September and beyond.

Even a fund raiser was being planned.

Someone was planning a bridal shower, someone else was looking for a quote for engagement.

There was even a query for a little girl’s sweet sixteen being planned for mid April and they came to us because the girl was heart broken that other venue had cancelled the event.

Given the current situation, we could not be sure whether the government orders would allow us to host an event in April, but my point is that people still think of events in future.

Most banquet halls will just switch off their advertising to cut their losses but this is exactly what you should NOT do.

Think long term.

Think positive.

Things will change and be normal again.

Your business should be the one to hit the ground running once things normalize.

Get your bokings today.

Yes the cost to get leads has risen up because consumers are in a different mindset. Very few are thinking positive and long term but you must connect with those who are, so that your order books are ready once the Corona Virus problem subsides.

catering business corona virus covid19 banquet hall

Last week, amidst all the Corona virus gloom, we managed to get only 14 form fills, at alomst $15/form fill. I am hopeful of reducing this cost per lead due to an improvement in targeting which I have now implemented but it is not going to be like normal times for sure. The phone calls have reduced too. BUT I think it is very important to have those order books ready.

This applies to other business too

While this article is for banquet halls but I am sure there must be something positive for other business too, who might teporarily be facing huge loss in business.

Think positive. Think long term and stay in front of those looking for your services in the near future is my message to all businesses like Banquets Halls in Corona Virus days. Banquet Industry Corona Virus problems would hopefully end soon.  

Google ads target by age (Feb 2020)

Google ads target by age (or Google ads demographic targeting)

Age targeting is not available while creating the search campaign

When creating a new search campaign, if you try to look for age group targeting in the “Audiences” section of campaign buildout then you will not find age group targeting in the “Who they are” (Detailed demographics) targeting.

google ads target by age

 

How to target by age?

First create a new campaign, without trying to do any age targeting at the campaign creation stage. Now open this new campaign.

Go to “Demographics” – it is an option on the left hand side bar (left hand side page menu) when editing campaigns. See following screenshot.

google ads target by age - demographic targeting

Since you want to set the age (demographic) targeting at the campaign level, please make sure that campaign view is selected in the drop down on the right hand  side of the screen as marked by an arrow in the above screenshot. (You can set age group targeting at ad group level also.)

Now select “More” and then select “Exclusions”. Please refer to above screen shot – More is marked by an arrow.

Once “Exclusions” is selected, you might see something like the following screenshot –

google ads target by age - google ads demographic targeting

Select the age groups or other demographics you want to exclude and you are done.

Further resources

If you want to read more, please see these Google support article –

Read Google’s article on excluding demographic groups – https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/2601123?hl=en&ref_topic=3122881

Read about demographic targeting options, how Google determines demographic information, and more details about the “Unknown” category in this article – https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/2580383?hl=en&ref_topic=3122881

How to add demographic targeting to an ad group – https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/2580282?hl=en&ref_topic=3122881

 

Google Ads Display Campaigns – Better audience available for a long time now

Summary : If you have not recently checked the audience targeting of your Google ads display campaigns, then please do so and (if suitable) please make use of the new targeting options like custom intent audience and life events which were not available earlier. 

This post is not for someone who regularly creates new campaigns. If you do, then you already know about these features.

This post is for the Do-It-Yourself business owners who may not have time to regularly check their accounts.

If you are managing Google ads and if you have not looked deeply into your ad account for a long time, then I urge you to definitely try and create a new campaign, just to see and use the new ad types, optimizations and targetting available in Google ads now.

Example, please see the following screen shot from the Google ads account of a basement renovation company in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. ( This screen is presented when trying to edit audiences of their currently running display campaign).

On the right hand side are the 7 audiences being used by this account’s display campaign.

Do you think that the audiences listed on the left hand side might be more relevant for the basement renovation market?

I definitely think so and in fact I have seen that custom intent audience can work really well.

I am aware that these audiences were not available some time back.

So the business owner (or the agency that created that account and then probably forgot about it) were not really wrong – they chose the best possible audience available at that time. However as you might have heard before – ad accounts are not “do-it-and-forget-it” properties.

This level of audience fine tuning is relatively new. Changes like these are one of the reasons why you should regularly check your Google ads account, to make sure that you are using all the new features relevant for your business.

So, if you are running your own ad account and have not recently reviewed your audience targeting, then it may be a good idea to do so today.

Will editing URL parameters of a facebook ad, generate a fresh ad review?

Yes. Editing URL parameters of an already approved facebook ad will again send the same ad for review. The ad will stop delivering while it is “In review”. 

Ideally one would expect that since there is no change in ad content, the ad should not go for a fresh “review” but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Usually I have seen that the ad review just for change in URL parameters gets approved fast (may be in an hour’s time).

However, if you want that your ad should keep running, you should make a copy of the already approved ad, and then change the URL parameters in the new ad. Once the new ad is approved, you can pause the old ad with incorrect URL parameters.

Required field is missing: The link field is required. Please complete the field to continue.

If Facebook ads is throwing this error on you, even when you have the link field properly filled up, then try adding URL parameters to your link. (you can read more about FB ads URL parameters here – https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1016122818401732 )

This solved the problem for me, so you could also try it!

In general also, it is always good to use URL parameters.

Positioning is important

Positioning is the foundation of every business.

positioning in business

*Image credit : https://twitter.com/randfish/status/1208135554275012608

Can Google give relevant results when search query includes “small”?

Summary – This post is just an observation (not a clear test), that Google does not understand the term “small” in banquet hall niche.

Google search works with data – Google can give better results only if it has relevant data.

There are valid niches where a person might search for something “small”.

For example someone may search for “small banquet hall in Mississauga” because they want to host a small party.

However Google results were not very useful when I tried the above query.

I noticed that Google results for “banquet hall in Mississauga” and “small banquet in Mississauga” were not much different. The rank of some pages was different, but essentially almost same pages were showing up in both SERPs and certainly they were not small banquet halls.

This is not a full test. However at least in the banquet hall niche, Google does not seem to understand “small”, at least as of now (Nov 2019).

So a small banquet hall would have to use some SEO or ads to get featured in Google search results.  Google would not show them on their own, even though this should have been possible if Google would have had better data.

Useful info on Google ads policy disapprovals

If you are a PPC pro then this article might be a useful read – https://www.ppchero.com/google-policy-ad-disapprovals-a-story-of-false-flags/

If you are a business owner managing your own PPC, then most probably you may not have time to check your Google ads account everyday. In such a case, do follow the “Email Notifications” section of the above article, to set up email notification for ad disapproval.

 

Free VPN for accessing Google Ads (adwords) web interface

Most people would not need a VPN solution to access Google ads web interface.

However if are using a VPN for accessing Google ads web interface, and if that VPN solution happens to be  Windscribe for Chrome then you would know that Windscribe is no longer working well. (as of November 2019)

You could try https://setupvpn.com/ or  http://freevpn.zone/ , instead of Windscribe.

Paid (premium) VPN solutions also exist and may be better in some contexts, but I find that above free VPNs work fine too.

Expired Domain – can I access WP dashboard?

Expired Domain – can I access WP dashboard?

If your WordPress website data is still on your old web host but your old domain name has expired you can still get your old WordPress site and move it to a new domain, as well as new web host.

Problem synopsis

1. Old domain expired hence your site is not reachable by old domain name.

2. WordPress admin dashboard cannot be accessed using old expired domain name.

3. WordPress data is still on old host.

4. Client wanted to use a new web host and new domain name, but wanted the same WordPress website as hosted on old expired domain name.

Solution Steps

1. Find out your old web host’s IP address from the cpanel of you old web host, where your old WordPress website data still resides.

2. Enter this IP address and old expired domain name in the hosts file on your computer. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file)  for more details on your hosts file location.

The file is usually present in
Windows: C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts
Linux: /etc/hosts
Mac: /etc/private/hosts OR /etc/hosts

You may Google for how to edit hosts file or follow instruction on this article – https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/27350/beginner-geek-how-to-edit-your-hosts-file/

After editing your hosts file, your web browser should be able to resolve your old expired domain name to the IP address of your old web host. So, now clear your browser cache, or use an incognito window (private browsing mode of your browser) to access your old WordPress website, using your old expired domain name.

3. Once your WordPress website and WordPress dashboard is accessible using your old expired domain name, you should install the Duplicator plugin on your old WordPress website.

4. Next use the duplicator plugin to create “package files” (the backup file and installer script created by Duplicator plugin) on the old expired domain’s WordPress install. Download these package files to your system. The plugin is very intuitive to use but if you want details, please follow the instructions on this page – https://snapcreek.com/blog/wordpress/techniques/how-to-move-a-wordpress-site/

5. Upload these package files to the new web host of the new domain, using cpanel (or FTP) on the new host.

6. Create a new database, and a new database user, on the new web host. Note down this info as it will be required while restoring from the duplicator package file.

7. Execute duplicator plugin’s installer.php script and in most cases you will be successful in restoring your old (expired domain) website on the new domain, new host.

8. Your website should be accessible on the new domain name now.

9. Undo the changes you made to the hosts file on your computer.

10. If your old domain has expired you have fewer options in terms of preserving SEO, but if you already had a Google search console account on the old domain, you should use the “Change of address tool” at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/9370220?hl=en&visit_id=637091560872705890-3050482164&rd=1 to inform Google about change of website address.