How to keep PPC accounts healthy

This article on PPC Hero is a good pointer.

You could vary the frequency of executing the suggested steps as per your account’s requirements but the steps mentioned herein are all very relevant towards maintaining a healthy PPC account.

https://www.ppchero.com/ppc-task-checklist-for-account-success/

 

Google ads – Ad rotation “Optimize for clicks” does not always deliver the best results

  1. If you have a new ad that MUST run along side an old ad, it is advisable to manually switch campaign ad rotation settings from “Optimize for clicks” to “Rotate indefinitely” for some time.
    • Do NOT rely on “Optimize for clicks” because sometimes it does not give any impressions to the new ad – it does not test the new ad as it should. In my experience I have seen the algorithm fail too many times!
    • Sometimes the ad rotation algorithm decides in favour of the old ad in so few impressions that the new ad just does not get sufficient impressions to make any impact on the audience.
    • So manually switching ad rotation settings is advisable if you want to make sure that the new ad get a good chance to run along side the old ads.

  2. If you want to test a new ad, then also “Rotate indefinitely” might be better for some time. After some performance data is collected, then you could hand over ad rotation to the “Optimize for Clicks” algorithm if you want.

  3. In certain cases, where you want multiple messages to be shown to the same audience (for example if you want to highlight all the multiple product/ service benefits to your remarketing audience), again rotate indefinitely” might be a better option for you.

Without going into any details I will just link to an excellent article written on Adalysis in Sep 2018 –  https://adalysis.com/blog/google-ads-optimize-ad-serving-often-fails/

It’s over one year but the observations in this article are still very true. “Optimize for clicks” is not the best solution for all situations.

Adwords country blocking and wordfence settings in WordPress

Wordfence is a very useful plugin for wordpress. However on most sites I have worked on recently, I have realized that most webadmins just install wordfence with default settings.

However if you are using Google Adwords, then do remember to uncheck the “Block access to the rest of the site (outside the login form)” in the “Country Blocking Options” within the “Blocking” submenu of Wordfence settings.

adwords country blocking policy and wordfence settings in wordpress

 

Wordfence also explain it here.

 

AdWords conversion tracking tag vs importing Google Analytics goals

Two useful resources

Differences Between AdWords Conversion Tags & Google Analytics Goals Import

Above article is a definite read to understand differences between using the AdWords conversion tags & importing Google Analytics goals into Adwords.

However, after reading above Lunametrics article you must read this detailed Google resource at

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2679221?hl=en

Does the new Global Site Tag (gtag.js) change anything mentioned in the above articles? (as in October 2017)

In my opinion, the new gtag.js does not change any of the details mentioned in the articles. It is just a new tracking code but GA and Adwords continue to handle data in the way explained in both above articles.

What do I prefer?

I prefer using both GA and Adwords tags together.

I set up interaction related goals (which are not real business goals but still important like “Viewed more than two pages”) using Google Analytics. I import these goals into Adwords and treat them as “soft-conversions”. These type of soft-conversions can be helpful in various cases, for example in analyzing the value of display clicks and other such cases. Mostly, I do not include these soft conversions in the conversions counted by Adwords, so these would show in “All conversions” column in Adwords but not in the “Conversions” column.

However in most Adwords accounts, I prefer the Adwords tag for counting hard conversions like form fills because if a paid click plays any role in a hard-conversion like generating a lead (form-fill), then I prefer attributing it to Adwords, rather than Organic search or anything else. (I understand that many people may not agree with this approach and neither am I advocating it as a definite best practice.)

I could still set up the hard conversions (like form fills) in Google Analytics too but I wont import them into Adwords. This would allow me to see the same data in a different perspective without messing up data.

As with most things concerning data analysis, there is no definite best method for all accounts, so it is good to understand differences between AdWords conversion tags & importing Google Analytics goals and using them appropriately.

Automation is changing the way Adwords accounts are managed

Matt Lawson currently Managing Director, Ads Marketing at Google has written a very interesting article on account structure.

Many PPC Managers, including me, are what can be called “control freaks” – we like to tweak accounts in the hope of making them as relevant as possible, to squeeze as much performance as possible. This is of course time consuming but so far it has been very rewarding.

However even I am noticing that with automation algorithms becoming smarter, we can now stop tweaking a lot of small controls and start focusing at the big picture.

There is a definite need to give up the old way of managing accounts and start considering automation algorithms as a partner. The automation is still far from perfect but it’s worth a try as an experiment for sure. As we all know, more automation is definitely the way forward.

Analyzing what is happening is even more important when we give away some part of control to the algorithm.

Our role as PPC managers will now be even more focused on the big picture, analysis and making sure that automation is doing what we want it to do.

As of now, at least for some more time, I will continue to keep a mix of management style – some controls and some amount of let-go to the automation algorithms. However I am definitely convinced that it’s time to start thinking the way Matt is advocating in this article on Search Engine Land.

Value track parameters can be very useful with third party tracking tools like Hotjar

Auto tagging works well to communicate data between Google AdWords and Google Analytics, when both are linked together.

However if you are using third party analytics or tracking solutions like HotJar, then value track parameters can be very useful. ( You should not use UTM parameters along with auto tagging.)

For example, a useful tracking template for a search campaigns could be

{lpurl}&kwd={keyword}&mt={matchtype}&nw={network}&dev={device}&crid={creative}

which would tell you the keyword responsible for the click, the match type , the network (search, search partner or display), the device and the creative id (the ad which send the traffic to you).

Suppose you are watching a visitor’s video recording in HotJar to understand customer behavior on your website. Now without value track parameters, it’s difficult to guess what might be the intent of the visitor.

However if you have value track parameters set up, then you know the keyword that bought the person to your site, the creative id, the network and other information as relevant. All of this is useful information which can help you analyze better.

Similarly for display campaigns, the following tracking template could be useful as a campaign level tracking template :

{lpurl}?placement={placement}&network={network}&dev={device}&adgrpid={adgroupid}&targetid={targetid}&creative={creative}

Your usage might require more customization.

Do check the list of Adwords value track parameters available at – https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6305348?hl=en

The AdWords interface keeps changing but currently you can set value track parameters at campaign level by accessing the Settings > All Settings tab at campaign level. Look under Advanced Settings > Campaign URL options (advanced) > Tracking Template.

Most websites including WordPress websites usually work perfectly with value track parameters. However you should be especially careful if you are using some third party website ( like may be a ticket booking site) as your landing page in some ads. There is a rare chance that these sites may not work correctly with value track parameters.

So, when you enter the tracking template, always use the “Test” button (given in the AdWords interface) to make sure the landing page is still accessible with your value track parameters. It takes only a few seconds but you will be sure that your tracking and ads are working correctly.

I hope value track parameters will be useful to you.

Attribution model choice in Adwords

Attribution is about putting the performance of your keywords into proper perspective.

Advertising should always target higher volume of profitable conversions. Choosing the right attribution model can help in improving advertising returns

Attribution across every single customer engagement is currently impossible.

However, choosing the right model can help in identifying successful keywords and messaging that play important role in generating business. This can help all parts of your marketing efforts, even beyond search and online advertising.

adwords attribution models compared

You can read more about selecting the most appropriate attribution model in this Google support document  https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/7002714

Ignore Quality Score. Focus on UX and conversions.

I have always used Quality Score as a guide only – never a performance indicator.

QS is definitely important from the Adwords algorithm point of view but practically, in my opinion and my practice while optimizing accounts, I usually find that there are other aspects to track and focus on to improve business results, other than QS.

This excellent article published on PPC HERO confirms that opinion – http://www.ppchero.com/determining-the-weight-adwords-puts-on-quality-score-factors-a-case-study/

The study by By Natalia Biel (In-House PPC Manager at TitanHQ) confirms that QS is at best a guide (and sometimes not even that).

Affinity audiences list & the list of In-market audiences available in AdWords

Affinity audiences list and the list of In-market audiences can be quickly browsed on this AdWords codes and formats page in the AdWords API documentation.

affinity audiences list adwords

Although nothing extraordinary but this list could be very useful in some cases.

For example, you could be outside meeting a new prospect and suddenly if they want to consider the possibility of advertising on the display network, then, instead of loading the AdWords interface, the above page could be quickly loaded on your mobile, to easily see the list of available in-market audiences or the affinity audiences list.