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https://relativityseo.com/seo-services/ Sponsored Content: Optmyzr – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Thu, 21 May 2020 11:38:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 17 ways PPC can help your business survive economic crisis /17-ways-ppc-can-help-your-business-survive-economic-crisis-333882 Mon, 04 May 2020 11:30:00 +0000 /?p=333882 Nimble, measurable, and cost-effective ways to market in challenging times

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People are clicking, but are they buying? WHEN will they buy? Are they buying too much too fast? When will stores reopen and foot traffic resume?

Consumer demand is evaporating for some businesses, while others may be unable to fulfill orders due to supply chain disruptions or shipping challenges. Dynamics shift daily, if not hourly.

Now some good news: Search marketing is adaptable, measurable, and when done correctly, cost effective. Even with shifting data models, PPC pros can use timely trends to guide strategic decisions. 

COVID dashboards

Tinuiti has created a useful dashboard that provides a look at trends in paid Facebook media since the pandemic took hold. It requires you to sign up (free, with your email) and offers insights into media spend by key verticals.

Tinuiti advertising spend tracker shows changes in ad spend week over week and month over month.

The dashboard is regularly updated with week-on-week as well as month-on-month data that shows how different segments are adapting their digital marketing spends to what’s happening.

Optmyzr also created a COVID analysis tool showing the impact of local regulations on search performance. The start date and projected end date for government regulations, such as store closures are included to help advertisers make sense of anomalies in search data. 

The Optmyzr COVID-19 PPC Analysis tool shows data about local measures to fight the virus alongside PPC performance data.  

The Optmyzr tool is a free script for everyone and an easy-to-use, code-free Data Insight tool for subscribers to Optmyzr’s PPC management and reporting software.

Trends emerging

The Tinuiti data shows interesting trends across some volatile sectors. April proved far different compared to March; May will undoubtedly look far different compared to April. 

  • Automotive: Spending plunged month over month by 41%, but surged almost 50% week over week across the past two weeks.
  • Travel: Spend almost evaporated, down 82% month over month, but is showing signs of a cautious uptick.
  • Consumer packaged goods: Up 27% month over month, and up 50% week over week.

Microsoft Ads also has published some great COVID-19 reports with useful data for particularly impacted verticals. 

In some cases, a natural knee-jerk reaction to slash media spend is expected. But data and cooler heads prevail to figure out the best strategies.

For example, knowing travel-related queries are down over 60% for the Carribean compared to around 30% for most US domestic destinations can help inform the strategy for travel providers.

Microsoft Ads internal data based on travel searches in the US, 1st – 10th March 2020. Source.

Let’s examine adjustments happening in some sectors to spark creative ideas for your business or clients. We’ll provide tips to easily enact these strategies using Optmyzr.

Hospitality

It’s understandable travel spend would evaporate temporarily. But history tells us that people will venture back out. Human nature dictates it.

What changed in three weeks to go from an 80+ percent drop in spend to a resurgence?

  • People need hope. Travel is a necessary escape, and essential for business at times.
  • Inventory is remarkably cheap! Now is a great opportunity to build audiences for retargeting when travel begins to pick up.
  • Marketers are shifting messaging to fit the time. Messages such as “we’re here when you are ready” remind people that their favorite destinations are still waiting for them.
  • Hard selling? Don’t do it.

Optmyzr smart tips

  1. Stay on top of shifting search queries to avoid paying for ad clicks from consumers looking to cancel. Optmyzr launched a new prebuilt strategy for Rule Engine called “New search queries” that reports search terms that went from 0 impressions to some impressions.
  2. Consider shifting away from last-click conversion attribution. When you use Optmyzr’s bidding capabilities, you’re valuing searchers who may take longer than usual to convert. Even those consumers who are ready to buy today may simply not be able to due to local regulations.
  3. Use the Customer Match Lists Update tool to keep audiences for Google Ads up-to-date with your customer/prospects database to show them more relevant ads across search pages and the Display Network.
Optmyzr Rule Engine results for the prebuilt strategy “New search queries” which points out queries that started getting impressions for the first time in an ad group.

Automotive

Job loss fears put big-ticket purchases such as new vehicles on hold. Also, vehicle sales are traditionally face-to-face transactions. Tough when people aren’t flocking to showrooms.

  • Automakers and dealerships shifted quickly to online shopping for those still looking to purchase.
  • Long-term financing expanded, along with other manufacturer incentives to drive sales.
  • Messaging shifted to address the safety of making purchases, financial incentives, and “in this together” sentiment.

Optmyzr smart tips

  1. Use the Optmyzr Ad Text Optimization tool for Google or Bing Ads to enact bulk updates to messaging, such as replacing “Visit our showroom” to “touch-free delivery.” Consider appropriate impactful messaging shifts for your customers. 
  2. Deploy Campaign Automator to easily keep ads aligned with special incentives. For example, 0% interest or deferred payments on specific product types can help spur sales. Optmyzr has updated this tool with additional COVID-19 related capabilities, based on user requests.
Optmyzr Campaign Builder can be used to templatize ads from business data, making it quick and easy to update accounts of any size when the offer, inventory, pricing, or other information changes.

E-commerce

Short- and mid-term impacts on e-commerce providers is dizzying at best, because e-commerce covers pretty much everything on the market.

  • Month-over-month or week-over-week search volume shifts can be highly instructive regarding consumer behavior for any given product or service.
  • Market-dominating providers are suddenly prioritizing what gets shipped and when. Smaller providers that can ship fast may have an edge over Amazon, Walmart and others.
  • Product hoarding has shifted to “next best alternative” purchasing. People got pretty creative about toilet paper shortages, driving interest in bidets and other solutions-oriented products.
  • Demand for certain products is suddenly lower, but not gone. Marketers have to orchestrate smarter campaigns for that interest.
  • Google announced search results on the Google Shopping tab will now include free listings, so any business that sells things should fast-track getting their Merchant Feed into Google

Optmyzr smart tips

  1. Deploy Campaign Automator and/or Rule Engine to automatically show only the ads for things people can actually buy. There’s no point showing ads for toilet paper if none is in stock, or for diamond jewelry if your warehouse is on lockdown.
  2. Tap Conversion Grabber to set better bids and prioritize the campaigns that can still convert. People need walking shoes to satisfy their newfound desire for walks, but don’t need new dress shoes for going to the office or a big event.
  3. Use the Optimize Budgets tool to efficiently reallocate budgets against search volume changes. Campaigns that previously commanded the most budget may now lag due to reduced search volume.  Excess budget can support campaigns with great ROAS where search volume still exists or is rising.
  4. Use Optmyzr’s new Shopping Ads Builder to craft perfectly structured shopping campaigns and maintain the right bids with our shopping ads optimization tools.
  5. Project future ad spend based on current trends with the Spend Projection tool to help plan future ad budgets.
Optmyzr budget tools can help forecast future spend by taking recent performance changes into account.

Home services

Being cooped up at home all day has people noticing household needs more: Carpet cleaning, painting, dusty air ducts, spring prep for outdoors. Some are DIY projects, but many are best handled by pros, including emergency repairs. 

Many home services businesses are critical services, still allowed to operate, while many states are easing restrictions on landscapers, painters, and other home services.

Optmyzr smart tips

  1. Enact the Geo Bid Modifier to quickly adjust bids based on data for your specific region or city.
  2. Connect your business data to the Rule Engine to automatically throttle ads when your limited staff is fully booked. There’s no point showing ads when all you can do is disappoint a prospect with the inability to fix their problem soon.
  3. Try our new free Ads script to report geo-based performance anomalies to stay on top of local regulations impacting performance in your service areas.
Optmyzr Geo Bid Modifier tool identifies opportunities to change bids to improve overall performance. This example shows how boost conversions 75% for a 41% increase in cost by adjusting bids for 29 locations.

Local brick & mortar businesses

Perhaps the hardest hit in the near term are Main Street brick and mortar businesses. Independent and franchise gyms, yoga studios, or boutique shops may not be well versed in e-commerce. Family-owned restaurants may lack infrastructure for delivery services at scale. Many have quickly reinvented how they operate, with some impressive results.

Plus, all those years providing highly personalized, top-quality service may finally pay off in tangible ways.

Optmyzr Smart Tips

  1. Use Customer Match List Updates to build audiences from customer data. Even your manual customer email list in Google Sheets can feed into Optmyzr for better campaign management.
  2. Agencies supporting small brick and mortar businesses can use Campaign Automator to sell quick account buildouts to first-time advertisers. The build-out can be dramatically faster and affordable for the business, yet worth the effort by the agency.
  3. Agencies can deploy Rule Engine (for Google and Bing) to automate optimizations. It’s another way to offer lower-cost agency services that can scale.
  4. Set up scheduled reports to demonstrate agency value without spending needless hours manually compiling data. Spend more time being a strategic provider.  
Use Optmyzr to create appealing reports that are automatically shared with clients, informing about the great work you are doing for them.

Conclusion

While the examples above cover only a portion of the economy, lessons learned adapting to sudden and dramatic business pressures can apply to virtually any business.

People still have needs and wants. They are online searching for things right now. Spend time thinking creatively about how you can survive and ultimately thrive after the pandemic eases. Look to tools such as Optmyzr for ways to use data and enact leading edge PPC technology to capture that search for branding — and ultimately, conversion.

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3 Easy steps to complete your annual PPC checkup /3-easy-steps-to-complete-your-annual-ppc-checkup-327475 Tue, 14 Jan 2020 12:30:02 +0000 /?p=327475 Use these techniques to make sure your PPC accounts are in great shape all year long.

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The crazed dash to wrap up 2019 and close the books on a banner year for PPC may have left search marketers feeling wiped out right about now. Buck up, search marketers! 2020 is here and those who want to dominate search marketing need to start the year on the healthiest footing possible.

Great planning and powerhouse strategies require deep analysis of what has been working and what hasn’t. You need to identify early signs of problems, know where opportunities exist, and be even more crisp at keeping key stakeholders posted about how your hard work is ensuring the overall health of their campaigns. Sounds a bit like an annual checkup at the doctor!

2020 promises to be another year of change for the tech and data we rely on daily, so our team has developed a health plan for your paid search programs — a 2020 checkup that can put your programs on the right trajectory from day one.

From checkup to preventive care to reporting, with the right technology, it may be easier than you think to make your PPC account the healthiest it’s ever been.

The Account Checkup: Assess your overall changes in health

The first thing a doctor does before developing a plan for your physical health is order a full health assessment. This can be tedious in PPC if done manually, but tools can make the process virtually painless.

Optmyzr has a powerful one-click annual report to review last year’s account health. For those who have been using Optmyzr reports for a while, the assessments run quite deep with a variety of unique data visualizations in addition to all the standard PPC reporting widgets one would expect.

While the one-click annual report for 2019 in review is a great first step, PPC pros will want to take advantage of multi-account reporting capabilities that tap into the data across all accounts and campaigns to provide a flexible view into the most critical data about all PPC programs. Of course, good PPC pros excel at ongoing reporting for clients at regular intervals, whether daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Great PPC pros, however, use the transition to a new year to do a more full-blown assessment for their own well being.

What can the annual one-click report tell us? More than you might think.

Start with year-over-year data. Compare how 2019 overall stacked up against 2018. This full-year view can unearth a lot about subtle trends, cyclical activities by client, slow erosions across critical metrics, and much more.

For PPC agencies, the full-year report may help identify aggregate changes by industry, efficiency gains or gaps in how clients are managed, performance comparisons across Google, Bing, Facebook, and Amazon, or a wide range of other views into the overall health of the business.

Here’s a prime example.

In this screenshot from an Optmyzr report, one can see that conversions went up despite a decrease in clicks. This points to a more targeted ad buy in 2019 compared to the year before.

As with your personal physician, the longer you keep seeing a great doctor and follow her advice for getting healthier, the more you’ll see improvements to your overall health. The same holds true for Optmyzr. The longer you drive your PPC programs through our tool, the better optimized the account will be and the deeper your own insight into your PPC health. 

Preventive care: Set benchmarks and track them 

Account audits foster exceptional discipline and adherence to plans. Trouble is, fully auditing a wide range of campaigns and programs can appear to be a daunting task. As a result, many PPC pros think of audits as a year-end concept — one of those “must do” items that feels more like drudgery than anything else. 

Break that line of thinking and redirect to a productive, strategic cycle in 2020. 

Auditing accounts is much easier than you may think. In fact, auditing should be viewed as part of the ongoing practice of running accounts across all clients. The Optmyzr Audit tool can serve as the year-round guardian for search marketers, uncovering mistakes, anomalies, and other issues long before they become big problems. 

The PPC Policy & Audits tool makes it easy to set up repeatable audit reports that scour your portfolio of projects. It automates analysis of critical structural elements and overall campaign metrics at a much deeper level. Use the tool to uncover structural problems earlier, such as not having sufficient ad variations in ad groups, repeating the same headline too often, using the wrong attribution models, or finding which ad extensions are being used inconsistently across campaigns. 

If you’d like to see a sample audit for an account you manage, you can try the tool for free here: https://tools.optmyzr.com/free/signup

The following example underscores the value of regular auditing. 

This screenshot shows a detail from an Optmyzr audit and policy report and points to a possible issue with geo targeting where some campaigns are targeted overly broadly.

The more frequent audits are done, the faster you and your team can redirect and solve problems. Far too often, PPC pros find themselves in Q4 thinking “I wish we knew about that back in Q1.” 

Audits are the key to effective preventative care and maintenance throughout the year. 

Reporting: Surface the data and metrics that improve your life

When you meet with your physician throughout the year, they keep the critical data points close at hand. Having the complete picture of health is essential, including a view into the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Think of this framework for how you structure reporting throughout the year. Avoid the temptation to only report on the things that make you look good. If a physician only reports back to a patient that they have lost weight while ignoring dangerously high blood pressure, they do their patient a gross disservice. 

In PPC, holistic reporting is essential for long-term success and growth. Critical metrics on a single dashboard with capability to maneuver within the data for cause-effect relationships can build trust with clients and empower the PPC practitioner to become much more strategic and a value-add in the marketing mix. 

Optmyzr Campaign Reports include data insight visualizations that go beyond numbers in spreadsheets. They illustrate trends and knowledge through trend charts, geo heatmaps, hour-of-week performance, Quality Score tracking, and word clouds — just to name a few. 

The n-grams word cloud from Optmyzr is a data insight that uses a visualization that helps advertisers more quickly understand the data from a table, like which word pairs are getting the most clicks (the biggest terms) and which ones are best at driving low CPA conversions (the most lightly shaded terms)

Powerful reporting uses easy to understand visuals that use commonly understood terms rather than industry jargon to help clients and internal stakeholders see the full picture (literally) and keep everyone on the same page. PPC pros become higher value strategists, with the ability to author defensible strategic recommendations based on data and insights that everyone can better understand. Powerful reporting then allows that same PPC pro to prove or defend their strategic decisions.

An apple a day…

The old adage about apples being the key to good health may seem like something Grandma would say, but it holds very true in many areas of life. Take that same concept to the world of PPC for unprecedented foresight in 2020. Start early with the one-click report for your full health checkup looking back at 2019 and even earlier. Get yourself on a preventative care regimen with tracking and auditing that keeps you in-the-know about PPC health much faster than in years past. Then set up essential reporting that illustrates critical information in an easy-to-use format. 

Optmyzr has invested heavily in tools that promote great PPC health. They are designed to be easy and fast to set up and use. The end result can yield exceptional results and keep you several steps ahead of problems that, if left unchecked, could be devastating. 

Healthier PPC living in 2020 with Optmyzr. Check out how easy it is with a free trial, or talk with one of our reps. We want to make this year your healthiest and most prosperous one yet.  

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3 ways to take back control from PPC automations /3-ways-to-take-back-control-from-ppc-automations-323380 Tue, 15 Oct 2019 11:30:44 +0000 /?p=323380 When Google and the engines automate PPC tasks, you can still remain in control with "automation layering."

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“Machines are better than people!” 

While true in some instances, such a provocative statement conjures B-movie imagery of machines running rampant and destroying humanity — foretelling a time in which great intentions actually destroy the future. 

Not the case in PPC. It’s true that, in certain functions, machines ARE better than people. The brilliant minds at Google, Bing, Amazon and Facebook are in a pitched battle to drive time-saving automations to ease the burden on PPC pros. So much so, that many people in our industry understandably fear being automated into a totally different career. 

Reality? The more the big engines automate, the more value a smart PPC pro can bring to the game. Over the past year, we’ve made automation standard in our platform and integrated it more closely with automations from Google so that advertisers can do two things more efficiently:

  1. Advertisers can create their own automations using rules. Think of it as a simpler way to achieve what you may previously have tried doing with scripts. 
  2. PPC experts can take back control as the engines introduce more automation using “automation layering“. Think of it as setting your own boundaries that the engine’s automations have to stay within. E.g. better control of automated bids, close variants, budgets, etc.

People often challenge us with understandable questions: “If Google has automated everything, why do I need a third party like Optmyzr?” That’s rational. However, Google and the others are automating the very things that should be automated. Repetitive, task-oriented activities that take up far too much of a PPC pro’s time and energy. What they haven’t automated is setting goals, picking strategies, making course corrections, and the many other things humans are good at.

What we all tend to agree on at face value is that humans + machines are always better than machines alone. But do we really mean we want more manual work to oversee the machines? Of course not! What we really want is some oversight over the algorithms built by the likes of Google and Microsoft. 

This oversight could be done manually by advertisers, but that’s time-consuming. A better solution is for advertisers to create their own automations that monitor the automations of the engines. That’s what we call “automation layering.” 

But most marketers can’t write code, so how can they build their own systems that automate working with the engines’ algorithms? At Optmyzr we provide a framework for advertisers to create their own scripts, alerts, and rules without writing a single line of code.  Here are some examples of how our award-winning PPC tools can help you get started with automation layering for your ads account. We’ve put each of these examples in the context of the 3 future roles of PPC experts as explained in our book as well as several blog posts on this site.

1. Monitor correct implementation of your PPC strategy

PPC pros can think of themselves as the doctors of PPC and the automations created by Google as the medicine. It’s the doctor’s role to find out what ails the patient and what course of treatment might make them better. Likewise in PPC, the human expert understands the goal of the advertiser and chooses tools and automations that are most likely to help achieve the desired outcome.

Picking the right tools isn’t always as simple as it sounds. For example, advertisers may decide to test automated bidding, also called “Smart Bidding” by Google. But they may forget to take care of some of the recommended prerequisites like upgrading to a more sophisticated attribution model.

If an advertiser automates their bids with an unsophisticated attribution model like last-click attribution, the results are likely going to be sub-par. We’ve explained that in detail, but the crux of it is that the automations from the engines really aren’t all that smart and are meant to do one specific thing very well. 

Case in point, automated bidding is not smart about attribution models and an advertiser using last-click attribution will see important keywords that are typically part of the earlier stages of the consumer journey getting bids that are too low. As a result, overall sales may decline after automating bids.

A good doctor understands the journey towards healing and the different treatments along the way. PPC doctors, too, must know when to use each of the tools from the engines and how to layer their automations for maximum impact.

Optmyzr helps PPC experts be good PPC doctors by offering a way to stay on top of what tools and settings are in use across many campaigns, or even many accounts. The PPC Policy and Audit tool is used to specify how an account should be set up and then automatically monitors for deviations from what is expected.

Optmyzr’s PPC Policy and Audit tool can be customized with your own PPC strategies, for example, what type of conversion attribution model to use.
The automated Policy and Audit reports point out when there are problems with settings and account structure so that the PPC expert can quickly resolve issues that can lead to declines in performance.

2. Monitor the automations from the engines

Once all the right tools and automations have been put into place, the PPC expert’s role shifts to that of a pilot who needs to monitor that the systems are working correctly and things are staying on course.

The PPC professional, too, needs to monitor their automations because as good as automated bidding may be at the math of predicting conversions, it’s horrible at flagging unexpected things. So automated bidding will likely do a good job of reducing CPCs when it notices a drop in conversion rate, but it won’t do anything to notify the advertiser that there is an anomaly in conversion rate or suggest what may be the root cause of the anomaly.

Optmyzr helps with monitoring by providing tools that can be layered on top of the PPC engine’s automations. Some examples include the anomaly detection script, a root cause analysis in the PPC Investigator, and fully customizable rules in the Rule Engine.

The PPC Investigator can be used to monitor the root causes of why conversions are going up or down when advertisers have turned bidding over to the automated bid management systems from the engines.

Automation layering is a critical concept for all PPC experts because there are changes to how Google Ads works every month and the easiest way to check if these changes are producing good results is to add an automated monitor from a 3rd party to check this. 

The expansion of close variants to also encompass words with the same meaning comes to mind as a good recent example of where advertisers may want to deploy a tool to monitor the machine learning system from Google that determines what close variants are. By layering your own automation on top of that from Google, you can benefit from all the advances made by Google while resting easy that you’ll know when it’s not working as expected.

Use the Optmyzr Rule Engine to build custom reports, alerts or optimizations that pull from a variety of data sources. In this example, you can monitor the performance of keywords and their close variants, an ideal use case for automation layering to make sure the engine’s automation is working well.

3. Teach the engines how to use your business data better

The third role humans will play in a PPC world where automations are everywhere is that of a teacher. Remember that many automations are driven by advances in machine learning and, as we all know, teachers are needed for learning.

So PPC experts need to use their own tools and automations to layer on top of what the engines are doing.

A cliche but easy-to-grasp example is that of bidding by weather. If you run a ski resort, you may have historical ski-lift sales data about how many lift passes you sell when the weather is sunny versus when it is snowing. Chances are that Google may not be taking this data into account when its automations decide which users to show ads to and how much to bid. So it would make perfect sense that the advertiser should help the Google system deliver better results by teaching it to do something different based on the weather.

Advertisers can and should still use smart bidding from Google, which is really good at determining patterns when users are in different locations, using certain types of devices, etc., but they can take control by varying the targets that these automated systems work with.

In a simple example, if an advertiser expects conversion rates will be double what they normally are, they can set a target CPA that is twice as high or a target ROAS that is half. These advertisers are NOT changing their target, but rather adjusting the part of the equation they can control to achieve the same targets as usual. So when conversion rate doubles and bids were higher thanks to an increased CPA target, the effective CPA will remain the same as always, but the advertiser will have gotten more conversions thanks to a higher position on the page.

Optmyzr’s Rule Engine can be used in a variety of ways to monitor and improve automations from Google and recently we explained how it can be used with external data, like weather, to add a layer of intelligence on top of Google’s automated bidding to help advertisers set themselves apart from their competition.

Optmyzr’s Rule Engine provides a flexible and customizable framework for building many types of monitoring and automation systems for PPC engines. Here a user has built a rule to change bids when a certain temperature is reached.
The Rule Engine can make changes to PPC accounts automatically or present the advertiser with suggested changes that can then be further refined or applied to the engines with one more click.

The bottom line on why you need automation layering

Automation layering provides a powerful path forward as PPC pros navigate an AI- and machine learning-infused world. Rather than making PPC pros obsolete, automation can redefine PPC pros as doctor, pilot, AND teacher — all in one. 

  • The PPC doctor taps technology to monitor, diagnose, and prescribe treatment of campaign problems.
     
  • The PPC pilot stays on top of emerging issues and opportunities to guide programs to a successful conclusion — smoothing out bumps and addressing unexpected problems while in flight.  
  • The PPC teacher feeds information and data back into the machines to help them “learn” and drive more automations and machine-driven advancements. It’s the human being who crafts and understands objectives, knows the statistical modeling needed, and teaches the machines to be stronger and more effective.

The vast majority of automations at the platform level are really there to free up the PPC pro to continually migrate from the tactical to the strategic. While they save time with particular actions, they actually create a greater need for a centralized command center from which to manage programs, enact layered automations, and drive even greater outcomes. And these new tasks and processes that are part of modern PPC management can be automated and layered on top of the engine’s automations.

Optmyzr stands in that gap to turn PPC pros into PPC rockstars with better technology that saves time.

The post 3 ways to take back control from PPC automations appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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The 4 optimization techniques from Google you can use with Amazon Ads today /the-4-optimization-techniques-from-google-you-can-use-with-amazon-ads-today-321451 Tue, 10 Sep 2019 11:30:53 +0000 /?p=321451 Amazon ads are surprisingly easy to master for anyone who’s familiar managing Google Ads and tools can streamline best-practice optimizations.

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PPC rockstars have virtually perfected the craft of serving up conversion-friendly search ads against intent-heavy web searches. In the last few years, in particular, AI and machine learning have fueled extraordinary advancements in PPC by enabling unprecedented targeting and the improved performance that results when ads are shown to the right audience. 

Everyone working in the industry has learned a lot from working with Google Ads along with related channels, like Microsoft Advertising and Facebook, whether they’ve been doing PPC 2 years or 2 decades.

In fact, we’ve all learned so much in those powerful channels, PPC pros are more than ready than they may think to take on the conversion wonderland of Amazon Ads. The similarities of how to manage traditional PPC and Amazon PPC are so plentiful, and Amazon’s ad platform is growing so quickly, that PPC professionals would be remiss not to extend their PPC services to Amazon Ads.

Of course, there are skills and nuances specific to Amazon, but overall, the management techniques that elevated great PPC marketers in Google Ads also work in the Amazon advertising system. People search in much the same fashion on Amazon as they do on Google and Bing. They may start broad with searches such as “women’s dress shoes,” but they’ll also get highly specific such as “[brand] [model] women’s shoe size 7 ½ turquoise.” 

Like the big search engines, Amazon is a phenomenal platform to guide a customer on their journey to a conversion. It is perhaps the most powerful tool to do so from a consumer goods standpoint. 

The four optimizations you can’t miss doing on Amazon

Here are four specific PPC techniques that will help you master Amazon Ads, and chances are you’ll be very familiar with these concepts from your time managing Google and Microsoft ads: 

  1. Add negative keywords: Be proactive about stopping wasted spend on irrelevant queries. In Google, we mastered this process with negative keyword mining for Search and Shopping Ads. We can increase profitability by cutting out clicks that cost money but don’t convert. 
  2. Mine search queries for new keywords: Identify good new keywords and manage their bids to reach your goals, for example, a target ACOS that helps reach profitability. Essentially, if a query looks promising — driving conversions, for example — add it as a keyword. This signals to the engine you like this keyword and want to continue showing for it. When you add the query as a keyword, you’ll gain greater control of the bid and be able to more readily hit your target.
  3. Manage bids to keep ads visible: Think of the value of ad slots above the organic content on Google. In a similar fashion, Amazon helps you set bids to maintain strong visibility. In Amazon lingo, these are called “suggested bid” and “suggested bid range,” and their values are updated daily. Update your own bids on the same daily schedule to remain in the competitive sweet spot.
  4. Manage bids for profitability: Focus your goals on profit. While this seems absolutely intuitive, it can be easy to lose sight of the profit goal in the complexity of all of the automations of the various platforms. Amazon advertisers can set bids based on a target ACOS that delivers profitability. It’s similar to using target ROAS on Google. We’ll explain this below.

These concepts are nothing new but how you implement them on Amazon is a bit different from Google Ads. In fact, Amazon’s system is probably more similar to the earlier versions of AdWords where management was tedious because the data needed to make good decisions was in a different part of the tool (reports) than where it could be used for optimization (campaign management). 

But with a solid PPC tool like the award-winning Optmyzr suite, those inefficiencies are quickly resolved and PPC pros can do account optimizations in record time and move on to more strategic work.

What’s the difference between Google’s ROAS and Amazon’s ACOS

Google advertisers can target profitability by setting the right target ROAS (return on ad spend) based on margins. 

Remember ROAS is defined as: 

value of sales from ads/cost of those ads

Amazon has a slightly different approach to how they use these same metrics. They define ACOS (advertising cost of sales) as follows:

cost of ads/value of sales from those ads

So ACOS is the inverse of ROAS. So if you know how to use ROAS to buy profitable clicks on Google Ads, you know how to do the same on Amazon.

Managing Amazon alongside Google, Bing, and others

Amazon has already claimed its place in the upper echelon of search and e-commerce platforms, now ranking as the third-largest in share of net digital advertising revenue in the U.S. 

Forward-looking PPC pros see Amazon as the next great field of opportunity, which is why Optmyzr has introduced Amazon Ads Management as part of our PPC Management Suite. We now make it possible to run core aspects of Amazon Ads directly from the same platform used to run and optimize ads in Google and Bing. 

The key is Optmyzr Rule Engine. Using Rule Engine, PPC pros can manage things like bids and keywords for Amazon Advertising campaigns and readily toggle ads on and off based on ever-changing promotions, competitive pressure, and campaign performance. 

How to automate Amazon bid management without ceding control

As noted in the 4-point task list above, it’s essential to manage bids for optimal visibility in Amazon. Amazon even provides the necessary guidance, so it’s a simple matter of constantly adapting bids to Amazon’s suggested bid range. Optmyzr Rule Engine includes a pre-built recipe specifically to set bids to the correct range. 

Optmyzr’s Rule Engine for Amazon Ads shows a preview of new bid changes based on Amazon’s suggested bid range. Advertisers can preview suggested changes and automate the optimization once they are satisfied their custom rule is making the intended changes.

The recipe can easily be customized to take into account many business factors, like different product lines, different profitability margins, and historical data. Rule Engine empowers the PPC pro to ensure he or she is not skimping on bids and missing out on critical above-the-fold visibility — at the same time providing confidence the PPC pro isn’t wasting spend just for the placement. Manually managing bids in this fashion, directly in Amazon, is too time-consuming and, as a result, prone to being skipped periodically. 

Leveraging a tool like Optmyzr that offers the best of automation with customization enables advertisers to stay a step ahead of their competitors, thereby driving more sales at the right cost.

Also recall the crucial goal of maintaining profitability through ACOS. Again, Rule Engine provides pre-built recipes that essentially provide one-click bid management to hit that target ACOS. The Rule Engine can constantly monitor changes in conversion rate and average order value, and use this dynamic set of metrics to adjust bids based on the advertiser’s business goals related to profit targets and revenue.

The Rule Engine works with all Amazon ads metrics and entities, including campaigns, ad groups, keywords, product ads, ASINs and search terms. It can add positive and negative keywords, set bids, pause or enable, and generate reports and alerts. With this broad range of capabilities, it is the foundation for virtually any optimization.

The Rule Engine from Optmyzr lets advertisers write custom if-then logic for their Amazon Advertising account. In this example, negative keywords are created when search terms prove to be too expensive relative to other search terms in the same campaign, or too expensive compared to a specific maximum value.

Tools free up your time to focus on bigger wins

Imitation is, of course, the ultimate form of flattery. Much like Microsoft Advertising and Facebook, Amazon has intelligently taken cues from the evolution from AdWords to Google Ads to understand the human behaviors and effects of powerful search marketing on conversion. At the same time, each platform has had to develop and evolve on its own to experiment and differentiate in the marketplace. 

Each platform has also been on a years-long bender of AI-infused advancements, tapping the power of data and machine learning to predict, make decisions, and automate core functionality. On the surface, it may seem as though PPC pros could become irrelevant — automated into oblivion. 

Interestingly, the exact opposite is becoming manifest in PPC’s new world order. PPC rockstars see the opportunity and need to become the conductor of grander, higher-level marketing strategies. Platforms such as Optmyzr allow the PPC pro greater flexibility and visibility across search platforms. Easier creation of campaigns across platforms, repeatable processes, greater visibility, and the ability to connect the dots of each channel’s unique strengths and opportunities. 

Machines today are amazing. Humans are extraordinary. Machines PLUS humans make for an unprecedented opportunity for bold marketers to stake a higher-value, more relevant role in the overall marketing mix. 

We take what we learn in one channel and apply to others. Now you can do the same from a singular platform in the Optmyzr PPC Management System

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How to check why PPC performance changed /how-to-check-why-ppc-performance-changed-316778 Tue, 21 May 2019 11:30:13 +0000 /?p=316778 Finding why performance of a search advertising campaign changed can be maddeningly difficult but tools like Optmyzr can help.

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There are lots of moving pieces in PPC campaigns and that can make it challenging to pinpoint the cause when performance changes. An investigation into the cause of the change can either be top-down or bottom-up. Here we’ll cover both ways to investigate the root cause and we’ll also share tools that make this process faster.

The difficulty with investigating PPC performance changes

What makes it so hard to know why results in PPC change is that all ads run through an auction every time a search happens and every auction has different parameters — like where the searcher is located, what time it is, what else they’ve been researching, and much more. Every time the advertiser makes a change to settings, it changes how they participate in the auction and that can lead to different outcomes for the main KPIs. A few examples:

  1. The advertiser changes their bid and this causes a change in performance because their ad is now shown for a different set of queries.
  2. The advertiser enables a new ad type like RSAs (responsive search ads) and the performance changes when Google’s Machine Learning system starts to show the ad to a new audience that wasn’t exposed to the old type of ad before.

Top-down investigation

Investigating why performance changed usually starts with a question about a primary KPI. For example, you might ask, “why did we have fewer conversions last month than the month before?” Pulling this data can be done straight in the Google Ads interface by adding a second date range to the campaign pages. It’s simple enough when you want to know the size of the change but it gets cumbersome quickly when advertisers start looking for interactions between metrics in an effort to connect the dots to determine the underlying cause.

A manual investigation of why performance in an account changed involves several steps in the Google Ads interface

For example, if you find that conversions have gone up, you may want to learn why this happened. As we all know there are two direct drivers of conversions: clicks, and whether those clicks converted, i.e. whether they had any conversion rate. Next, if we want to know why clicks changed we have to look at the two primary things that drive clicks: impressions and CTR. This quickly becomes difficult in the Google Ads interface where everything is in a big table that is very wide and can’t be read without scrolling from left to right.

A tool like Optmyzr’s PPC Investigator greatly simplifies this type of top-down performance investigation. Its visualization closely mirrors the steps a PPC pro would normally go through manually.

The PPC Investigator tool from Optmyzr connects the dots so an account manager can quickly understand the main reason why their KPIs are changing. In this example, conversions are down primarily due to a drop in conversion rate.

The tool has many filters that enable a deeper analysis, like filters for campaigns, labels, date ranges, networks and device types. It takes just a few clicks to re-run the entire analysis when one finding leads to further questions. For example, when an advertiser finds a drop in conversion rate, they may wonder if this is due to differences between their mobile and desktop sites.

This further analysis is just a click away by adding a filter for device types. With a clear visualization, the advertiser can quickly understand that a poorly optimized mobile site is a big reason for declining performance. As more search volume shifts from desktop to mobile, their bad conversion rate on mobile devices is leading to fewer conversions despite the overall click volume being relatively steady.

The PPC Investigator also allows quick drill-downs into a root cause analysis where the user can get a sense of what elements of an account are major drivers of big changes in the metrics. For example, if it appears that a drop in conversions is due in large part to a decrease in impressions, a single click on the box for impressions brings up the root cause analysis that shows top movers for impressions.

With a single click on a metric that has changed, the user can find the main components of the account that are responsible for this particular shift.

Once an advertiser determines the metrics that need an investigation, they can drill down to the root cause analysis tab to see which parts of the account are most responsible for the shift.

The Optmyzr root cause analysis tab in the PPC Investigator highlights the main elements of the account responsible for a change in performance, e.g. which campaigns, ad groups, keywords, networks or device types are causing a change.

Bottom-up investigation

Another way to investigate why PPC performance changed is a bottom-up approach that starts from the most granular elements of a PPC account. While a top-down approach may hide good and bad changes so long as overall averages are steady, a bottom-up investigation will uncover these more granular changes.

An in-depth bottom-up investigation usually requires processing lots of data through a spreadsheet, a time-consuming task that PPC pros are all too familiar with.

The process of finding things that changed usually involves these steps:

  1. Download data for the date range where results changed
  2. Download data for the same entities from a previous date range where things were considered ‘normal’
  3. Combine the two sets of data by doing a vlookup
  4. Add a few formulas to calculate the amount of change and add these in additional columns to the spreadsheet
  5. Add filters and sorting to bring the most important changes to the top

While this process works great in spreadsheets, tools like Optmyzr’s Rule Engine can make it faster and more repeatable, both important considerations for time-strapped agencies and in-house PPC teams.

The Rule Engine automatically grabs the necessary data from the ad engine and offers a simple graphical UI for building if-then statements with it. The following example shows a rule where Optmyzr automatically grabs data for two date ranges, does an automatic joining of the multiple date ranges and then presents it in an easy to read report.

The Optmyzr Rule Engine lets advertisers create advanced If-Then statements to automate complex optimizations and analysis of PPC accounts.

Example rules for investigating PPC performance

Optmyzr has created predefined ‘recipes’ in its Rule Engine so that PPC pros can run common investigations and optimizations with a single click while still allowing access to the underlying methodology to those who want to customize the logic.

Drop in impressions – due to lost queries

The primary way to target ads in PPC is through keywords. But those keywords are really just a means to target the queries that users are doing. A simple change like a new bid for a keyword can impact what queries that keyword shows for. And when the results look different, it’s hard to know if the bid or the new query mix is the main cause. To investigate this, advertisers can use the Rule Engine to compare queries across two date ranges. Of particular interest may be queries that went from low volume to high volume and vice versa.

A prebuilt Rule Engine ‘recipe’ helps advertisers find queries that used to perform well but that no longer do. By writing the logic into a rule, advertisers can run the same analysis automatically on a regular basis, and apply the same methodology across many accounts.

Slow decline in performance

Another good investigation is to find entities in a PPC account that are slowly but steadily trending the wrong way. In a week-over-week or month-over-month investigation, most attention is usually devoted to things with big changes. But that lets slowly degrading components of the account slip past the manager’s attention and eventually these small changes can really add up.

Google wrote a sample script for this, the Declining Ad Groups report. And while scripts are great — Optmyzr even has many that you can simply copy-and-paste into your account — there are still many advertisers who’d rather not work with scripts. The Rule Engine is a great solution that gives advertisers the power of scripts in a more familiar interface for specifying their logic.

Rather than having to write the logic for the investigation in JavaScript code, it’s now possible to create the logic in a graphical rule builder. Taking the example script from Google, what if the advertiser wanted to find declining keywords or shopping product groups? What if they wanted to set a threshold for when a decline is significant enough to worry about? Making these improvements to the methodology is easy using Optmyzr’s Rule Engine.

 

The Optmyzr Rule Engine provides an easier way to create a report of declining performance than using a Google Ads script. The logic shown here looks for 4 straight weeks of declining CTR where impressions were significant enough to make the CTR meaningful.

Close variants

A bottom-up investigation doesn’t always need to start with a question about performance. It can also analyze whether ad targeting is remaining focused enough. In this example, a rule can be created to flag cases of exact match close variants that need to be investigated. In September of 2018, Google made close variants broader than before by allowing exact match keywords to show ads when the query is considered the ‘same meaning’ as the exact keyword.

This Rule Engine recipe finds queries that close variants for exact match keywords in a Google Ads account. It can be extended to add negative keywords when needed.

While this is just a report, the beauty of a Rule Engine is that it’s easy to take findings and act on them. For example, this rule could be enhanced and use performance attributes to decide when to add a negative keyword for an undesirable close variant.

Conclusion

Explaining why performance in an account shifts can be tremendously time-consuming for PPC teams. Whether you prefer a top-down or bottom-up investigation to find the root cause, there are tools like Optmyzr that can streamline the process and make it more consistently repeatable so that PPC managers can provide the high level of service expected by the companies whose marketing they support.

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How to keep PPC accounts healthy when using automation /how-to-keep-ppc-accounts-healthy-when-using-automation-311515 Tue, 05 Feb 2019 12:30:18 +0000 /?p=311515 Why reports alone don’t cut it anymore in the fast-paced world of automated PPC.

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Machine learning, artificial intelligence, Moore’s Law and ongoing automation by the big search engines are accelerating the evolution of PPC. So much so, the role of the PPC pro has to evolve just as rapidly.

Optmyzr co-founder Fred Vallaeys recently encapsulated the new roles humans will play in an AI world to help PPC pros ride the wave of innovation to become PPC rockstars (as opposed to being PPC roadkill).

In that blog post, Fred likens the role of the PPC pro to being an airplane pilot — the crucial professional who spends a lot of his or her time monitoring vital data and events to ensure things go according to plan. That pilot is in charge of a fast, complicated, and potentially dangerous machine and has to act decisively if trouble starts brewing.

PPC pros today are much like that pilot, responsible for another type of fast and complicated system: machine learning-driven PPC. To do that job well the PPC pro requires three critical systems: Reports, Alerts, and Audits. Let’s look at how each of these solves some of the specific challenges associated with managing ads on Google or Bing.

PPC Reports

Virtually all account managers have reports of some sort set up. Most of these reports focus on what has already happened, such as how many conversions happened last month, how conversions are trending and how data compares to the same period last year.

These reports can inform the PPC Pilot whether their strategies are paying off, e.g. “Is that new bid management system improving the ROAS as expected?” These reports are also essential for keeping stakeholders appraised of the results of your work for them.

Reporting can, and should, go much deeper. One particularly helpful report in the Optmyzr library, the Annual Performance Report, keeps clients much more informed about your total value as a PPC pro. With one click, advertisers can see a summary of their 2018 PPC performance and share it as a PDF, an Excel download, or as an interactive link.

Reports are great for summarizing longer-term results and showing if management strategies delivered the expected results. (screenshot from Optmyzr)

While reporting is one essential tool for  PPC managers, it only goes so far to meet the needs of sophisticated search marketers. Because of the minute-by-minute PPC world in which we live today, many traditional reports are too static — too slow when decisions are being made instantaneously by ever-faster automated systems.

Imagine if airline pilots functioned like old school PPC managers, relying primarily on static reports. After every flight, the pilot could generate a report summarizing how much fuel they burned and how many passengers were on board. Helpful information for the airline when it comes time to report earnings and helpful for the pilot to understand if a decision to burn a little more fuel actually paid off with a closer-to-on-time arrival. Unfortunately, that basic and necessary information doesn’t help at all when the unexpected happens.

Enter the need for two other critical tools a pilot needs: automated alerts that flag performance anomalies, and indicators that show that systems are online and working. In PPC, these equate to dashboards with alerts and policy-based audits.

PPC Dashboards and Alerts

PPC is a fast-moving industry. Every search that happens on Bing or Google is a new auction with thousands of advertisers competing for a valuable top ranking. A static, scheduled report won’t be of much use when a competitor unexpectedly does a mid-month strategy shift. In this scenario, an immediate and timely interactive dashboard offers several benefits compared to a scheduled report:

  1. The data is updated almost instantaneously to reflect the current state of the business.
  2. Automated alerts draw quick attention to what the human PPC pilot needs to focus on.
  3. Interactive data lets the PPC pilot quickly investigate by zooming in and out of the data.

In Optmyzr, the MCC dashboard (shown below) provides all of these capabilities. For example, advertisers automatically get alerts for things that seem out of the ordinary, such as a huge decline in impressions or a sudden spike in cost. An agile PPC pro can also set their own thresholds for alerts when they have specific goals in mind, like a target CPA, a minimum number of clicks or any other target.

Dashboards can highlight problem areas in real-time and encourage account managers to take corrective action before issues spiral out of control. (screenshot: Optmyzr)

Alerts can have drawbacks, however. False positives can cause the alert recipient to start ignoring them. In PPC, it’s fairly common to get false alerts about CPA, ROAS or conversions when not accounting for the typical conversion lag of a campaign. For example, you can’t have a real-time alert for declines in conversions when it takes half your audience more than 7 days to go from a click to a sale.

To help reduce false alerts, advertisers can customize a date offset in Optmyzr so data from days where conversions have not yet been fully reported will be ignored. Finding out how long a typical conversion takes from click to conversion is now easy thanks to Google’s reporting metrics for “days to conversion.”

Optmyzr even offers an automatic budget pacing capability that helps advertisers continuously stay on top of whether they are on target to hit their budget targets for the month (even if they run budgets on a custom monthly cycle, for example starting the 15th of every month and ending the 14th of the following month).

Data visualizations like this budget spend projection can help account managers quickly investigate issues like a potential overspend issue in an ads account. (screenshot: Optmyzr)

When an alert warrants a deeper investigation, rich data visualizations make it easier to understand what elements of an account are most responsible for a performance shift.

Each metric is connected to the other metrics that influence it in this PPC data visualization, making it easier to understand why KPIs are shifting. (screenshot: Optmyzr)

A good alert system must have advanced dismissal capability. Imagine if the alerts on your phone kept reappearing five seconds after you’d dismissed them. The alerts would quickly become completely useless. In Optmyzr, an alert that has been investigated and addressed can be snoozed so it will only trigger another alert if the detected problem persists after the snooze period has ended.

AI is also changing how we interact with technology. Take the proliferation of Amazon Alexa devices which now number more than 100 million. Users are coming to expect to get all their answers by simply voicing their question. To allow PPC pros to get their account questions answered quickly, Optmyzr launched its Alexa skill in 2018, letting users interact with our PPC Investigator entirely by voice.

PPC Audits

Finally, a PPC expert must have an audit tool to support their role as the PPC pilot. But what’s the difference between reports and audits?

Reports tend to be heavy on metrics and show performance over time. Alerts tend to look at performance that is suddenly unexpected or, like a URL checker script, look for things that are broken.

Audits, on the other hand, examine the structure of an account for the purpose of identifying things that, while not necessarily broken, could be improved upon. For example, if all campaigns had sitelinks, the CTR could likely be improved, which might boost conversions.

Audits also help monitor account management policies. Many agencies and big advertisers have a preferred way for how accounts should be managed and those rules may encompass things like the maximum allowed number of keywords before an ad group should be split up, the minimum number of ad variants that should be active for A/B testing, what types of bid management is allowed to be deployed, etc.

With Google’s recent announcement that its Complimentary Account Management service may involve changing account settings, serious advertisers would be well advised to put in place an audit and policy monitoring tool like the one from Optmyzr to ensure any elements managed by a 3rd party, whether Google or an agency, conform to the advertiser’s policies. Audits help you, the PPC pro, navigate and retain essential control.

An audit can identify policy and structural account issues before they negatively impact account performance. (screenshot: Optmyzr)

It’s also important to note that PPC professionals can benefit from an audit system to double check their own work. We’re all human — prone to mistakes. With the potential for different tools and multiple account managers to all be working on various aspects of one account, it is truly challenging to ensure all the elements work together in the intended fashion. A simple automated weekly audit can let advertisers know if the account structure is deviating from what is intended.

Optmyzr is designed to be the tool that can take a PPC pro to PPC rockstar status. Our tools are designed to help search marketers build on the automations Google and Bing continue to roll out on a seemingly daily basis. Ironically, the more automation we see from the big engines and from AI and machine learning, the more PPC pros need advanced tools to become the essential strategist as opposed to day-to-day tactician. Check out our blog throughout this year for more context about PPC in the age of automation.

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Do you still need a PPC tool with the new Google Ads? /do-you-still-need-a-ppc-tool-with-the-new-google-ads-306627 Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:30:19 +0000 /?p=306627 Four ways a great PPC tool can turn you into a PPC rockstar.

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On the surface, it’s easy to wrongly conclude that Google and Bing are automating PPC pros right out of relevance. Basic PPC tasks can now happen with very little human intervention through the Google and Bing interfaces — easy enough for a novice PPC manager to create and launch pretty good campaigns.

That’s terrific. The big engines have made viable PPC accessible to the masses. Today, even a basic mom and pop shop can drive business effectively and inexpensively by tapping into the billions of searches happening daily.

The challenge, though, is that great PPC is actually becoming more challenging than ever, in part because of automation. Ironic? Yes. And while it may seem that Google and Bing have made it really easy to operate solely within their platforms, there is actually greater need for powerful third-party tools — a trend we expect to see continue.

Let’s address the obvious head-on: Optmyzr is one of those third-party tools, so, of course, we’ll say our service is needed. It’s important, though, to have an informed discussion about the true role of automation — where, how, and when to apply machines to take PPC programs from good to great.

Smart automation: The key to greatness

PPC automation via Optmyzr is fueled by machine learning and artificial intelligence. When coupled with powerful human intelligence, smart PPC pros have the power to run extraordinary campaigns with speed and agility we could only dream of a few short years ago.

Here are four powerful ways PPC pros can save time and energy automating critical tasks, freeing up time (and brainpower) to apply human expertise to strategize, refine, and elevate their craft:

Build search campaigns from e-commerce data

Yes, you can automate the lion’s share of campaign building, start-to-finish. We’re not talking about simply setting up the basics and running them. Using tools like Campaign Automator from Optmyzr, PPC pros can tap external e-commerce data, taking complex (and often messy or confusing) spreadsheets and automatically building out keyword-targeted campaigns. Essential data such as brand, price, color, size, channel — essentially any variable — can be set for dynamic insertion using templates you create.

Advertisers can specify a template and let Optmyzr’s Campaign Automator build out and maintain an inventory-driven search campaign on Google Ads.

The PPC pro can easily tie in inventory data from the Google Merchant Center Feed as well, preview campaigns to verify how they will appear and then launch. Campaign Automator even allows fully automatic campaign updates based on changes to the templates, inventory levels and a host of other attributes.

Check out our latest demos to see the automation first hand.

Streamline Shopping Ads (for Google and Bing!)

While powerful drivers of conversion, Shopping Ads can be nothing short of tedious to create manually in Google Ads and Bing Ads. The more products and product groups you have, the more time you can spend manually creating just your campaign structures. No exaggeration, PPC pros know this can take several hours, if not several days, if you’re creating Shopping Ads for thousands of products.

The Optmyzr Shopping Campaign Builder virtually eliminates the product-by-product manual creation by automating deeper levels of campaigns. Automation puts products into product groups and generates the ad groups for you. The PPC pro can then apply his or her time to actually thinking about nuances, bid adjustments and fine-tuning Shopping Ads campaigns, instead of spending arduous hours setting up the structures.

Deeper automation throughout the process allows syncing campaigns with inventory, finding product attributes that don’t perform well, changing product group bids based on various attributes and identifying negative keywords. The PPC pro still has the ability to jump in at any point in the process to apply their knowledge and skill to fine tune and make critical adjustments.

An analysis of the performance of a shopping feed for Google Ads showing the number of conversions coming from products at different price points.

Remember the tedium noted above? It gets worse. After you’re done with the manual set up in Google Ads, then you’d need to turn your attention to repeating the process for Bing Ads. With Optmyzr, the same deep automation for your Google programs can be replicated for Bing Ads.

As with Campaign Automator, spend some time getting a deeper tutorial through our latest demos.

Automate repetitive tasks with advanced prebuilt scripts

Clients of all sizes garner exceptional value implementing advanced scripts into their Optmyzr workflow. Question is — are you a PPC pro or a scripting guru? PPC pros need not spend countless hours crafting the perfect script to automate key tasks. The Optmyzr team does all of that.

By making it easy to access, find and install powerful scripts, PPC pros can find time-saving automations to improve reporting, bids and budgets, notifications, optimizations and a lot more.

Manage Google Ads Scripts without editing a single line of JavaScript code through Optmyzr.

These advanced scripts go far beyond the stock scripts available via Google Ads, adding greater depth and functionality across PPC tasks. We’ve made them really easy to install and crafted a form-based user interface that allows PPC pros to modify them to their needs — without having to do the coding yourself.

Implementing scripts is as easy as downloading the script, copying /pasting into your Google Ads account and immediately beginning to generate outputs such as spreadsheets or take actions such as pausing broken links.

One more reminder — you can find in-depth demos for the automations discussed in this article.

Cross-channel reporting

One of the most time consuming tasks for PPC pros is generating reports to keep clients informed. While Google Ads includes a reporting module, it simply cannot cover what PPC pros do on other platforms like Bing, Facebook and Amazon.

Monitoring, alerts, data visualization presets, charts and tables can all be highly automated giving extraordinary insight along with visual appeal that capture a client’s attention.

A third-party tool like Optmyzr can help with this. We routinely hear from clients who say they’ve been able to automate reports that would commonly take five hours per month per client down to 30 minutes.

Winning the paid search race

Don’t get us wrong. The automations present in the Google and Bing interfaces are great, but they only go so far. PPC Management Systems — like Optmyzr — exist to help PPC pros become PPC rockstars.

In this article, we intentionally only explored four areas of opportunity that can help you strategically automate programs. The reality is there are many more automation opportunities search pros can tap within Optmyzr’s powerful PPC management system. Most critical — look to automate tasks that eat up time and don’t really tap your brainpower.

Flexibility. Ease. Efficiency. Control. By crafting automations that go deep into the tasks and functions of paid search programs, we make it our mission to put the PPC pro in the driver’s seat of all of their campaigns. Combining the power of human intelligence and vision with AI and machine learning, smart approaches to automation will take your game to the next level and help keep your organization a step ahead in the intense paid search race.

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Expert management of Bing Shopping Ads just got easier /expert-management-of-bing-shopping-ads-just-got-easier-305005 Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:30:43 +0000 /?p=305005 Look to Google Shopping Ads best practices for ways to maximize sales with Bing Ads.

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History has a knack for repeating itself. More than 100 years ago, Ford dominated with mass-produced automobiles until GM, and others eventually caught up. Apple OWNED the smartphone market with the 2007 iPhone launch, but Samsung and others out-innovated the giant to nab big market share.

Today, Google remains the undisputed king of search, yet we’re witnessing notable competitive evolution as Bing quietly, steadily boosts its market position against the giant. Without fail, the pros in the trenches must adapt as market dynamics shift, requiring broader skills, new tools and faster ways of doing business.

PPC pros are in the midst of an exciting industry evolution right now as they navigate a more complex marketing labyrinth. The emergence of Bing as a viable and powerful (Google-like) PPC platform gives marketers access to a larger and more amazing search pie — IF they are able to efficiently manage the complexities of both platforms.

Manage two search engines from one interface

Earlier this year, we discussed new Bing-specific optimization tools from Optmyzr that laid the foundation for Bing and Google management from one place. We focused on the fact that Bing had evolved to being very structurally similar to AdWords, which allowed us to streamline many optimizations and speed ads management between platforms.

Then, in late August, Optmyzr unveiled a deeper set of functionality that allows PPC pros to extend their focus to Bing Shopping Ads. We are digging deeper into this very purposefully because opportunities for PPC are expanding dramatically and businesses are seeing amazing results with the latest Shopping Ads advancements in both Google and Bing.

A recently released 2018 report by Adthena indicates US retailers now put more than 76 percent of their PPC spend to Shopping Ads and less than a quarter to Google text ads. UK retailers sway even more heavily to Shopping Ads. We expect this trend to continue as retailers captivate audiences with the richer ad experience.

Shopping ads demystified

The big engines are in a pitched battle to drive more business via Shopping Ads for pretty obvious reasons. Consumers have mastered search. They ask the engines for specifically what they want — “men’s black dress shoes,” or even more specifically, “Cole Haan men’s black dress shoes size 11.”

Examples of shopping ads on Google and Bing

The nature of a customer’s search gives us extraordinary insight about them — where they are in the funnel, their intent, price sensitivity, brand affinity (or lack thereof) and other attributes.

We’ve automated core facets of Shopping Ads to help savvy marketers crunch a customer’s willingly offered semantic insight to serve up the highly engaging, product-specific Shopping Ads. The customer, in turn, can click themselves right to the bottom of the funnel — right where you want them — shopping cart full, entering payment data and completing the order.

Working across both search platforms, however, has been difficult… until now.

Easily build granular shopping campaigns for Bing and Google

Optmyzr Shopping Campaign Builder simplifies how PPC pros set up campaign structures for optimal results. Because of hierarchical similarities between Google and Bing Shopping Ads, marketers are able to set up campaigns for both engines using very similar campaign structures. You’ll still set them up separately, but the process of building granular structures like Grip (groups of individual products) is greatly streamlined.

Automatically create shopping ads for new products

Optmyzr Shopping Ads Refresher pulls in newly added inventory to automatically create new ad groups and product groups. The capability streamlines the ability to push hot, new inventory quickly with the right bids and the required negative keywords afforded by a good account structure. Think of Shopping Refresher as an automated, digital version of the venerable endcap in those old brick-and-mortar retail locations: new stuff placed in high-visibility areas rather than in the bin of odds and ends in the back of the store. Better yet, in this case, it can be managed for both engines (Imagine controlling endcaps in Target AND Walmart).

Manage bids smartly using relevant commonalities

Evolved from the meat-and-potatoes of PPC, bid management now taps deep customization to allow marketers to discover and fix issues with bids quickly and easily. They can also manage bids for Shopping Ad campaigns, ad groups and product groups in one step. Our tools help ID product attribute commonalities that can help drive better bids. In fact, a marketer can now manage bids at scale and apply changes with a simple click — with similar types of experience and workflows across Google and Bing Shopping Ads platforms.

An analysis of shopping ads performance by common product attributes. In this example, Optmyzr has automatically grouped products by similar price and calculated the ROAS for each. This can inform better bidding and pricing strategies.

Query fencing

A well-managed shopping campaign usually takes advantage of the ability to do query fencing by adding negative keywords to shopping ad groups. Sometimes this technique is used proactively to steer brand queries to an ad group with different bids than non-brand queries.

In other cases, it’s used reactively to prevent low-performing queries from generating more ad impressions in the future. By using a detailed shopping structure with lots of ad groups, negative keywords can be more granularly assigned to the appropriate ad groups.

Optmyzr identifies when a query has triggered ads in multiple ad groups and finds the best ad group to keep to deliver more clicks, sales and conversion value. The losing ad group is then populated with a negative keyword in order to “fence the query.”

What’s going on behind the scenes

We don’t expect innovation from the big engines to let up any time soon. In 2017, Google introduced its Showcase Shopping Ads — an option that can help brands engage the more passive digital window shopper and help move them from passive to in-the-funnel with a highly engaging, immersive experience.

Think the R&D guys at Bing are any less busy? Guess again. They continue to drive their own innovations with determination to further edge into Google’s dominance. We monitor developments from both engines daily. PPC pros don’t have the bandwidth to keep tabs on every single development, and it’s easy to get too absorbed in one platform (Google) only to miss out on the millions of customers out there using Bing for their searches.

Smart PPC pros are adjusting their game to this ever-changing field of play. And while the search engines themselves are offering more automation and streamlined options, Optmyzr is responding quickly to new opportunities for both streamlining advanced account management and improving results by adding a human touch on top of sophisticated automations across the multitude of ad formats, including Shopping Ads on Bing and Google.

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If you’re not updating ROAS and CPA targets frequently, you’re missing out /if-youre-not-updating-roas-and-cpa-targets-frequently-youre-missing-out-299821 Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:30:57 +0000 /?p=299821 Implementing automated bids from the engines doesn't mean advertisers can forget about bid management.

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Our founding CEO, Fred Vallaeys, has written extensively about how the role of PPC experts will change as more of the day-to-day ad management will be done by automated systems driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). One task that’s particularly apt to become automated is bid management because it requires lots of math and pattern recognition, two tasks at which computers excel.

But as much as automated account management is improving thanks to increased computing power, setting the perfect bid sometimes requires something that the computers don’t have: deep insight into your business. We believe PPC pros can boost their results by combining their unique insights into the business with the massive computation power of Google and Bing’s AI algorithms.

The benefits of automated bidding

Google has explained in a white paper how its automated system calculates bids. It analyzes auction-time signals to predict the likely conversion rate and conversion value from a click. It does this using a massive amount of data from all ads, advertisers and the billions of clicks they get. Individual advertisers don’t have nearly as much data, let alone the power of supercomputers to analyze and act on it in real time. So leveraging Google’s AI is a smart thing to do for the typical search marketer who’s looking to improve their performance.

Image courtesy of Google.com. Factors analyzed for automated bidding.

But as great as Google’s bidding system is, the factors it analyzes are limited. So, while it might be able to predict the difference in the likelihood of a conversion from a user located in Germany at 2 o’clock in the afternoon versus from a user located in Canada at 7 o’clock in the morning, it doesn’t know about other unique aspects of the business that impact what results are likely to come from a click.

There are potentially thousands of factors that the algorithm doesn’t consider, simply because the data for those factors might be too sparse, too inconsistent between different types of advertisers or too expensive to include in the prediction models.

The benefits of human-assisted bids

Humans who manage PPC accounts can use their intuition to make some pretty good guesses about how these unique factors might impact results.

For example, a boat shop could reasonably expect to rent more Jet Skis when the following are true:

  • The occupancy rate of hotels near the beach is high.
  • The forecast calls for lots of sun and calm winds.
  • There hasn’t been a news story about shark attacks.

Google’s automated bidding doesn’t consider these factors, so it means that its bids, while good, won’t be perfect. Human account managers, on the other hand, can change bids based on their experience of how these factors normally affect rentals.

The problem is that you don’t really know if the factors Google considers are more important to performance than the ones humans would consider. But there is a way to measure the difference.

How to test if automated bids are better

To test if automated bidding delivers better performance than manual CPC bidding, advertisers can use Google’s Drafts and Experiments.

Take an existing campaign that’s on manual bidding or where automation is handled by a third-party tool, and create a new draft campaign from it. In the draft, change only the bidding strategy, and then launch it as an experiment.

Image courtesy of Google.com.

How much traffic the campaign gets and how much of that traffic is sent to the experiment will determine how soon results will be available. Once you find the winning bid strategy, you can end the experiment and revert to the original bidding method or adopt the new one.

The best bids are automated, but with lots of human input

It’s possible to get even better results by combining the strengths of humans and machines. After all, nobody said that automated bids are a set-it-and-forget-it method.

Advertisers tend to think of automated bidding as the end of their work on bid management, but we believe that target CPA and target ROAS should be actively managed. Instead of using the max CPC as a lever for optimization, target ROAS and target CPA can play that same role.

When managing CPC bids, advertisers change bids based on factors like changes in ad performance or how factors outside AdWords impact the lead-to-sales conversion rate. Likewise, ROAS and CPA targets should be managed actively based on what is happening in AdWords and with the business.

Google recommends changing CPA and ROAS targets

Even Google says this: “To accommodate … brief, anticipated changes in performance, we recommend that advertisers adjust their bidding targets (target CPA or target ROAS) proportionately to the predicted increase or decrease in conversion rate or value.”

Google is saying the algorithms need time to update their predictions and for best performance, humans should tweak the targets during periods of flux when Google’s expected conversion rate will not be close to the actual conversion rate. For example, if a special sale is expected to dramatically increase the conversion rates, advertisers should change their targets if they don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to sell more.

Here’s a simplified explanation of how this plays out with automated bids.

If a sale starts on Day 4, the actual conversion rate may instantly double, but the predicted conversion rate could take some time to catch up with the new reality.

During the time when the new actual conversion rate is very different from the old predicted conversion rate, it is likely the automated bids will still reflect the old conversion rate, and hence be incorrect (this assumes the advertiser does not change their CPA target).

Automate managing target ROAS and target CPA with Optmyzr

Fortunately, getting the best of Google’s automated bids with a layer of human intelligence doesn’t mean you have to go back to managing things manually. Tools like Optmyzr’s Rule Engine can automatically adjust target ROAS and target CPA values based on your own calculations.

A Rule Engine can be used to adjust target ROAS and target CPA bids automatically based on conditions specified by advertisers, even using data from outside AdWords.

The Optmyzr system can even be connected with your own business data, whether from a CRM, a database of product margins, a promotional calendar, the weather or something else. This data that is not available inside AdWords can then be used to make better decisions about the targets the automated Google system should hit.

Conclusion

While automated bidding tools from the search engines can take away the absolute need for human account managers to spend time on this task, there are good reasons why smart PPC pros will still want to be actively involved in changing their targets. Whereas in the past, bid management was all about changing max CPC bids, it’s now about changing target ROAS and target CPAs to optimize accounts. Tools like Optmyzr make it easier to benefit from Google’s AI while still maintaining that human touch in account management.

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Four ways to remain productive when the AdWords interface changes /four-ways-to-remain-productive-when-the-adwords-interface-changes-295547 Tue, 03 Apr 2018 11:30:14 +0000 /?p=295547 The new AdWords interface is creating quite a stir in the PPC industry because, while it’s pretty, it’s disrupting the work of lots of PPC professionals. Like Mona Elesseily says, “this is a workhorse for many of us, not a viewing platform.” Fortunately, advertisers who use third party tools like Optmyzr have a chance to […]

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The new AdWords interface is creating quite a stir in the PPC industry because, while it’s pretty, it’s disrupting the work of lots of PPC professionals. Like Mona Elesseily says, “this is a workhorse for many of us, not a viewing platform.” Fortunately, advertisers who use third party tools like Optmyzr have a chance to transition their workflows more gradually than those who rely entirely on the tools Google provides.

At Optmyzr, we know that our PPC optimization software must do two things really well: save time, and improve performance. Over the years, we’ve learned that achieving these goals requires different interfaces for different account managers. In other words, one solution does not fit all.

Because so many Optmyzr users are experts who do PPC for a living, the tools tend to have lots of ways to tweak things based on individual strategies. But even users who leverage all the customizations sometimes just want a prebuilt solution that leverages the wisdom of the entire industry. Time is often their most constrained resource, so choosing which tool to use is about optimizing time efficiency and gains in performance.

Optmyzr recognizes that account managers have limited time and will make informed decisions about which workflow is best for each scenario. Here are four ways Optmyzr gives account managers more choice about how to optimize their own time while still driving improvements in PPC on AdWords and Bing Ads.

Go broad with quick win optimizations

As much as PPC Pros might want to spend a few hours to make an account perfect, the reality is they are pulled in many directions and it can be hard to devote more than five minutes to an account at a time. Luckily, small improvements can still pay off handsomely if they are done frequently.

In AdWords, a quick win might consist of tackling one of the suggestions in the Recommendations section (known as the Opportunities tab in the old interface).

There are several third-party tools that follow this quick-win strategy from Google. At Optmyzr, we recently launched Optmyzr Express to give advertisers access to more quick wins and we added an easy to use inbox-style format.

This makes Optmyzr Express really fast, because our algorithms find new suggestions every day. When an account manager logs in, all the data is already cached and ready for instant action.

The optimizations are also very focused, so rather than going deep and fixing everything, it prioritizes the highest impact changes, making it very easy for the user to see everything that will be changed in the engine as soon as they click the “approve” button.

Go deep with One-Click Optimizations™

The second strategy is useful when a bit more time can be devoted to an optimization and it’s possible to go deeper and fix a bigger portion of an account. Whereas quick wins need to be focused on the highest priority opportunities, a deep dive based on a statistical approach can fix every opportunity, regardless of size. In AdWords this might entail downloading several reports with all account data, combining them in Excel, and creating an AdWords Editor-compatible file with the necessary changes.

A tool like Optmyzr automates all these steps and can analyze hundreds of thousands of search queries for an account and do things like automate the creation of single keyword ad groups (SKAG) for the most promising terms.

This was the original type of Optmyzr workflow, the One-Click Optimization™. We learned that as much as an algorithm can point to the validity of a certain suggestion, there are just some things that are easy for humans to pick out that algorithms have a really hard time with.

For example, an advertiser might scan a list of keyword suggestions and remember they already tried these in another account a long time ago, or that certain keywords contain competitor names and there was a recent internal policy change about what to do with these types of keywords.

Unfortunately, those things that a human can pick out very easily are often highly dependent on the vertical, or even the advertiser’s own internal policies, so it’s hard to automate it in a piece of software. So even though statistical optimizations are equally fast at generating one or a thousand suggestions, the time for a human to review the changes scales linearly.

Rather than trying to build the perfect algorithm, something that would be virtually impossible, we deploy optimizations that save time by doing all the pulling of reports, doing all the math, and all the analysis, and we leave the final step in the user’s hands.


Go deep and broad with optimization checklists

The two previous scenarios have covered options designed for when time is severely limited. But what’s the best workflow when that limitation isn’t there? Agencies sometimes have employees whose primary job is to run through optimization checklists and they tend to have more time than someone who also needs to run client meetings. They could spend a ton of time in AdWords or do things more quickly with Optmyzr’s One-Click Optimizations™, but we find that’s often not conducive to reliably high quality results.

The reason is that account managers dedicated to optimization are often newer employees who may not have the same level of AdWords skills as their counterparts who are client-facing. For them, it can be confusing to know what to do when faced with advanced interfaces like that of AdWords or Optmyzr. Knowing exactly where to click, what columns to turn on, what date ranges to select, and how to combine multiple reports to do a proper optimization is no simple task, so it may not be done consistently right.

That’s why Optmyzr developed Account Workouts, a customizable PPC workflow.

With Workouts, advertisers can add deep dive optimizations to a to-do list. The benefit of using Optmyzr rather than a generic to-do list is that it’s deeply integrated with the PPC engines. When the account manager goes through the tasks of a Workout, they are presented with the right optimizations, in the right order, with the right settings for the strategy defined by the account owners, and the right columns are shown to help inform the final decision on which suggestions to accept.

Go on vacation by putting AdWords on auto pilot

Finally, what about the scenario where we have literally no time, perhaps because we’re eager to take that long-awaited vacation. That’s where AdWords Scripts come in. We’re big fans of PPC automation at Optmyzr, but, as we said before, some automations are risky because it’s hard to build an algorithm that picks up on every nuance of a business, the way a human easily would. That said, there are plenty of PPC tasks that really don’t need that final layer of human approval since the task is so clear cut.

Take budget management for example. The business strategy may inform some of the complicated decisions about where to allocate budgets, but once the strategy is locked down, the task of making sure budgets are spent correctly is mostly a matter of checking the account spend frequently and rebalancing budgets as needed. That’s entirely automatable.

For these types of tasks, AdWords Scripts are ideal. They can check an account every hour and take the appropriate actions, whether that’s sending an email about a keyword with runaway spend, pausing a campaign that has depleted its monthly budget, or generating a back-office report about performance of the different keyword match types.

Optmyzr’s co-founder, Fred Vallaeys has written several free scripts that you can find on this site and Optmyzr also maintains the freeadwordsscripts.com blog. Anyone looking for an even easier way to get started with scripts can use Enhanced Scripts which require no knowledge of programming whatsoever.

PPC Pros need different ways to optimize accounts, depending on how much time they can devote to the task at hand. That’s why Optmyzr has created a variety of workflows to help account managers be more effective at their job. During this period of transition where legacy workflows anchored to the old AdWords interface will have to be updated, we hope to provide advertisers another option to remain productive.

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