Optmyzr – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:28:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 3 tips for winning with real-time, inventory-driven ads /3-tips-for-winning-with-real-time-inventory-driven-ads-375038 Tue, 12 Oct 2021 11:00:29 +0000 /?p=375038 Automating search ads is the secret to success against supply chain challenges, rising shipping costs, and pandemic pandemonium.

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Q4 is here, and it’s time to ensure your paid search programs drive the success you need for a strong finish in 2021. 

Two short years ago, typical steep discounts and strong promotions were big factors in driving Q4 e-commerce success. Then COVID hit and upended the world. Then 2021 hit with massive strains in supply chains and escalating shipping costs. These factors mean marketers cannot assume vast inventories or even alternative products to satisfy their customers. 

Take, for example, the auto industry. Dealerships cannot get adequate inventories of new vehicles. They are pre-selling allotted vehicles before they even hit the lot, and they wish they had more cars to satisfy huge demand, including for used vehicles. It’s more crucial than ever to reduce ad waste and connect a buyer’s search with THE specific car they are searching for online. Similar challenges confront countless other industries in 2021. 

To win during Q4, your PPC campaigns need to be far more responsive to real-time inventory and other stressors that are flummoxing many marketers. Here are three tips for executing on the new game plan that can help you win as supply chains wreak havoc on your competitors’ campaigns.

The three steps outlined below won’t solve every problem in Q4, but these steps can help you conquer some of the most pressing challenges marketers are facing in the coming few months: 

Step 1: Connect your ads to real-time supply chain and inventory data

After all, you can only sell what you’ll ACTUALLY have on hand or on the way. By connecting real-time data right into a PPC workflow, marketers can pivot quickly and automatically when one line of product sells out, and a much-delayed shipment finally arrives. 

Automated ad creation instantly reflects the new inventory and makes it possible to serve up ads for only the items you can actually deliver. And when automating ads from inventory, there’s no need to stop at simple text ads. Extend the automation to also create RSAs (Responsive Search Ads), RDAs (Responsive Display Ads with images), and DSAs (Dynamic Search Ads). 

Next, use the automation to add hyper-relevant targeting criteria like keywords to serve ads against product-specific searches, including for users who are searching for attributes that align with your inventory data (in the instance of vehicles, think about make, model, color, year, mileage, etc. – or size, color, and other attributes relating to apparel or other products). 

This alignment of inventory data and your PPC programs also allows for automated creation of ETAs and DSAs along with the most popular ad extensions. With RSAs becoming the default ad format, this is a great time to add RSA to your whole account and align your inventory data with ad creation. 

Another nice outcome – when inventory is gone, ads for that product stop, which helps eliminate wasted spend (and frustration for customers). This simple first step gets you on the right track, and you should see benefits quickly. 

Step 2: Optimize your feed to show better ads

While structured data like that found in spreadsheets is commonly used by PPC teams, automatically turning that data into ads may present some problems, especially when the data feed wasn’t built specifically with PPC ads in mind. The problem is that data may be formatted inconsistently, incorrectly, or certain required fields to run ads are simply missing. This is when the need arises to optimize the feed data, a process that must be automated with rules if the advertiser hopes to gain the full time-saving benefits of data-driven ads. 

The data advertisers have access to usually originates from a shopping cart system and may not follow all the strict requirements for what Google needs for ads. For example, the product titles may be too long to fit in an RSA headline component or to fit the title element of a shopping ad. Or the product category data may not map cleanly to Google’s product categories. This is when you will need to optimize the feed before using it to advertise.

Optmyzr’s Feed Optimization is used to fix an inventory data feed so it plays more nicely with Google Ads

The Feed Optimization tool simplifies things like:

  • Creating product titles that follow Google’s best practice guidelines. Many data sources are not inherently Google-friendly. Feed Optimization is designed around those guidelines. 
  • Standardizing attributes such as colors and sizes. For example, simply replacing all instances of “M” with “Medium” or replacing unusual color names such as “cardinal” with more common references such as “red” result in more impression volume because your keywords are better matched to how users search. 

Think of the impact on automatic creation of relevant ads when the source data is aligned properly. Cleaner inputs = more powerful outputs. 

Step 3: Use Google’s Drafts and Experiments to explore what works best. 

With new data-driven ad strategies in place, it’s time to start testing what works best and prove to your stakeholders that the new strategy is paying off. Drafts and Experiments is a feature-rich tool from Google that offers a lot of horsepower for search marketers but isn’t the most intuitive, fluid add-on in the Google environment. For example, monitoring experiments in Google across more than one account or across multiple experiments can be cumbersome. 

Free scripts or PPC tools like those from Optmyzr can help you see all experiments across accounts in more user-friendly ways, with results and recommendations served up on a single page. The streamlined views via Optmyzr make it much easier to monitor the experiments and take actions according to the results. 

Optmyzr’s Campaign Experiments Dashboard brings together all the experiment results from across an entire MCC account to make it easier for PPC pros to test and iterate more quickly. 

The best PPC practitioners are really good at experimenting. They test, learn, and iterate – and the faster they can do all of that, the more they leave competitors in the dust. 

Masters of automation & optimization become masters of PPC

Paid search pros benefit when they are in the greatest control of the automations at their disposal. The steps noted above can really help position PPC pros to tackle the ever-evolving challenges that confront marketers in Q4 of 2021. The challenges are big, but so are the opportunities to drive exceptional results. Approach Q4 methodically and think automation and optimization at every turn:

  • Connect real-time supply chain and inventory data with PPC ads
  • Supercharge your data with feed optimization tools that sanitize and standardize the info your PPC management system needs for higher-performing ads
  • Experiment, test, react and optimize faster if you want to grow faster

Remember – focus on using automations to remove those task-heavy activities of PPC from your plate. Those who master the automations and then use powerful tools that further free up time and energy for more strategic endeavors are the ones who will have the advantage in the daily battle for paid search dominance. 

We’d love to talk to you 1:1 and give you a demo of how Optmyzr and Campaign Automator go beyond platform-level automations. Empowered PPC pros are the ones who will win! Talk to us about how to get that empowerment right on your desktop. We even offer free trials so you can get started without risk.

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The 2 new factors you should be optimizing in PPC /the-2-new-factors-you-should-be-optimizing-in-ppc-350267 Tue, 13 Jul 2021 11:00:00 +0000 /?p=350267 Learn the factors that are more important than ever to optimize for automated PPC.

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As PPC management becomes more automated, there are some tricks for setting your campaigns apart from everyone else who has access to the same automation tools. Everyone can now get average results thanks to machine learning, but if you’re aiming for stellar results, that requires knowing how to collaborate with the machines.

One way to help the machines is by teaching them more about your business — be the PPC teacher to the learning models behind today’s most popular automations. There are two factors that you may not have optimized before that have now become critically important: how you communicate your goals and how you report conversion values. In this post, we’ll review how to get started with this new way of optimizing.

A shift in how PPC is optimized

Optimizing goals and conversion tracking may not be the PPC optimization tasks you’ve been doing for years. But in this new world, they’re taking on the same importance as what advertisers are more used to, like selecting keywords, making bid adjustments, and doing ad optimizations.

Think about the machine as a key new hire on your team. To get new team members to perform at their peak, you teach them the ins and outs of your business. What is it you’re trying to achieve, and how do you measure the outcomes? Machines, like humans, benefit from this training and makes it more likely they will deliver the sort of results you’re after.

Value-focused PPC optimization 

Ad platforms like Google Ads provide advertisers with ways to control goals and value reporting. Let’s review how to use these to teach the machines better what they should do to make you happy.

Say there’s a retailer with a catalog comprising thousands of products, and their goal is to increase profits for their company. We’ll encounter their ROAS goal in a moment, but keep in mind that the target ROAS should be just a setting the advertiser uses to achieve their true goal of profitable PPC. 

There are two basic ways to direct the machines towards meeting this profitability goal, and both have to do with helping the machines understand the advertiser’s break-even point:

  1. In the first scenario, the advertiser has many campaigns, each with a different tROAS target based on profit margins. They also use conversion tracking to report the order value of each sale.
  2. In the second scenario, they maintain just one campaign with a single tROAS. They report profit value through conversion tracking.

Scenario 1: optimize the goal to reach profitability

Scenario 1 feels more natural to many advertisers because it is built on the existing account structures they’ve had for years. There is a lot of structural granularity, and performance is optimized by setting different targets for different elements, e.g., by setting a different tROAS for every campaign. This is very similar to what advertisers used to do in the days of manual bidding, where each ad group or keyword had its own bid.

Caption: In the first approach, advertisers set different tROAS goals to help achieve profitability for their existing account structure and using their current conversion tracking setup. 

The tROAS goal of each campaign is a factor of the average profit margin for the products in the campaign. A campaign with higher-margin products can break even at a lower ROAS than a campaign with lower-margin products.

Because conversion tracking reports the value of the order, the margin-based tROAS steers the campaigns towards profitability. For example, the campaign selling products with a 50% margin can break even at a 200% ROAS. So a $100 order in that campaign equates to $50 of profit. Because of the 200% ROAS target, the campaign should return roughly $2 in sales for every advertising dollar spent, or it can spend $50 to get the $100 sale. So $50 was spent on ads to get $50 in profits from a $100 sale. The campaign breaks even. Goal achieved!

Scenario 2: optimize conversion values to reach profitability

Scenario 2 is more in line with what Google advocates in the age of automation: a flatter structure. But for this to work well, it assumes advertisers do a good job communicating the correct value they receive from conversions. 

Caption: In this scenario, advertisers achieve profitability by changing how they report conversion values and deploy a flatter account structure.

When advertisers use conversion tracking to tell Google how much profit they get from a conversion, then any performance at or above the 100% ROAS target will be profitable. If, on the other hand, the advertiser reports the order value rather than the profit of that order, a 100% tROAS won’t deliver good results because it will treat sales of high and low margin products the same.

Continuing with the example from scenario 1, if the $100 sale resulted in $50 of profit and that $50 was reported as the conversion value, then the 100% tROAS of the campaign means that the system can spend $50 to get that sale. It’s the same result as in scenario 1, but using different settings to achieve it.

Reporting profitability through the conversion value field has the added benefit that it optimizes for scenarios where a user buys something else than what was in the ad they clicked on. It handles the issue of users jumping between products of different margins once they reach your site from an ad.

Optimize both goals and value reporting

Both scenarios above are used to achieve an advertiser’s true business goal: delivering profitable PPC clicks. But either implementation is imperfect because it doesn’t take full advantage of all the ways you can teach the machines what you truly want. 

That brings us to the third scenario where advertisers leverage both controls: the target will reflect a true goal, and the value will reflect a true measure of contribution.

Caption: In the perfect scenario, advertisers optimize both goals and conversion values to increase their level of control over automated PPC.

Advertisers with granular account structure and optimized value reporting are in the best position to teach the machines about their business goals. 

For example, they can set different profitability goals for different business lines. An advertiser might notice that patio furniture is nearing the end of the season and that it’s better to forego profitability in exchange for not being stuck with unsold inventory in winter. Granular account structure allows them to treat different items with different goals.

But because they also report the true business contribution value of a sale of a deck chair, when they say they are okay with breaking even rather than making a profit on that sale, the automated bidding process can set a good bid, meanwhile continuing to optimize other parts of the account towards higher profits.

Now let’s take a look at implementing a strategy that optimizes PPC with an account structure that supports setting correct business goals and reporting conversion values that reflect the true business value.

Create PPC campaigns faster

Setting up many campaigns to support a variety of business goals is something well understood by PPC advertisers. There’s no magic to it, just lots of hard and repetitive work unless you have tools like those from Optmyzr at your disposal. For example, the Campaign Automator can take business data like a product feed and turn it into thousands of neatly organized ad groups in campaigns focused around common elements like product category, brand, and sales priority. The Optmyzr Shopping Campaign Builder and Refresher can do the same for shopping campaigns and product groups. These tools can also restructure campaigns with ease if the PPC team decides to pivot their strategy on different attributes that require a different structure.

Caption: Use tools to speed up campaign creation based on your business’ rules for the ideal structure.

Once advertisers have built out the perfect structure to support their business goals, they can move on to optimize how they report conversions to Google.

Optimize value reporting

Optimizing conversion values is new territory for many advertisers. The value data already flows through conversion tracking, and using that as an optimization lever has traditionally not been top of mind for many advertisers.

But now that it is a priority, there are three options for advertisers to report better conversion data to Google when they can’t send the correct value in real-time with the conversion tracking pixel. Those options are:

  1. Offline conversion import (OCI) lets an advertiser create additional conversion signals using the Google click ID (gclid).
  2. Conversion adjustments let advertisers restate the value of a conversion with a transaction ID.
  3. Conversion value rules (beta) lets advertisers build rules to modify the reported value based on criteria like audience, location or device.

Conclusion

To optimize PPC in an automated world, it’s increasingly important to know how to set the high-level inputs that teach the machines about our businesses. By better communicating true business goals and the value a business derives from a conversion, the machines can be taught to prioritize the right types of conversions at the right cost. And to achieve this, you can deploy a mix of solutions like Optmyzr’s tools for creating advanced account structures that align with business goals and free tools from Google for fixing conversion values once you know more about the quality of a conversion.

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Smart bidding updates in Google Ads /smart-bidding-updates-in-google-ads-347609 Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:00:50 +0000 /?p=347609 When the ad engines change how automation works, an effective toolset can help advertisers minimize the impact.

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Google Ads plans to reorganize their Smart Bidding strategies and bundle the current Target CPA (tCPA) and Target ROAS (tROAS) strategies with Maximize conversions and Maximize conversion value, respectively. For most advertisers, the only change will be a switch to a different bidding strategy with little impact on performance. 

However, with changes like this, it’s always a good idea to review that your account is well set up for a smooth transition and that you have the monitoring and alerting capabilities in place to find out quickly if any issues arise.

What is changing

Starting later in April 2021, some advertisers will no longer be able to create tROAS or tCPA bid strategies. Instead, they will see a new field to add a target CPA when using the ‘Maximize Conversions’ strategy and a new field for target ROAS when using the ‘Maximize Conversion Value’ strategy. If all goes well, this transition will ultimately lead to the tCPA and tROAS strategies becoming fully absorbed in their new counterparts.

Bid strategy creation workflow before and after the April 2021 changes.
Image courtesy of Google.com

What this means for advertisers

Effectively, very little is changing in terms of how Google Ads bid management works behind the scenes. It’s just that you’ll have to use a different setting to achieve the same thing as before. In fact, smart bidding for search will simply start to resemble smart bidding for shopping a bit more because advertisers with smart shopping campaigns and a target ROAS are effectively already using a Maximize Conversion Value strategy with a tROAS.

This table shows the new settings (post-April 2021) that will be equivalent to the ones you may be using today (pre-April 2021):

Watch out for budget constraints

How bidding strategies work depends on their constraints. Some typical constraints you’ll encounter when working with automated bidding are the target (tCPA or tROAS) and the budget. But geotargets, keywords, and other targeting options also serve as constraints. Google’s recommendation is to remove as many constraints as possible and give the bid automation a single clear goal that is supported by unambiguous conversion data.

It’s important to remember you need targeting constraints as a way to ensure your ads are served to an audience you’ve already identified as higher value. Yet we’re still left to decide what to do about the target CPA or ROAS and the budget when they are both constraints.

In the past, Google recommended that advertisers with the old tCPA strategy and a constrained budget either remove the budget constraint (by increasing the budget) or switch to the old Maximize Conversions strategy. This obviously won’t work when tCPA and Maximize Conversions are merged and become the same.

After the change later this year, this means that advertisers using Maximize Conversions with a tCPA setting and who have a constrained budget should either raise the budget or remove the CPA setting. 

Why Maximize Conversions should not have both a target CPA and a limited budget

While not directly saying it, PPC influencer Martin Röttgerding alludes to what may happen behind the scenes if advertisers run their bid strategy with two constraints. They create conflicting goals.

A Maximize Conversions strategy is pretty clear in what the stated goal is: buy as many conversions as possible. If there is no budget constraint, then buy every single conversion (which is risky because you effectively have no guards against exceedingly high incremental costs per conversion). 

If there is a limited budget for this strategy, then it will only keep buying the next cheapest conversion until the budget is spent. When you also introduce a target CPA constraint, you are setting conflicting goals because the system could either buy more conversions for lower prices or fewer conversions closer to your target CPA. So which is the advertiser’s real goal? The most conversions within a limited budget, or hitting the target with possibly fewer conversions?

When you introduce conflicting goals, you lose one of the few controls you have over automation. One day it may decide to prioritize one goal, and the next decide to prioritize the other goal. When results aren’t as expected, it’s hard to track down what happened because the system doesn’t tell you what it prioritized.

If you’re going to use Maximize Conversions with tCPA setting for a budget-constrained campaign, at the very least you need to monitor the quality of conversions after the switch.

Review your conversions as part of this change

Remember cheap conversions may not be good conversions. Targeting lower-cost conversions can be risky because there is no such thing as a free lunch. When a conversion is cheap, there is an economic reason for that. Typically, not as many advertisers value that conversion highly so there’s not as much competition for it. And remember Google Ads is the world’s biggest auction so when a conversion doesn’t attract a lot of bidders because they believe it to be a less valuable conversion, then that conversion will be available to buy at a lower price.

So remember when you use Maximize Conversions with no tCPA setting, you may be buying some of the conversions that are of the less-good kind.

One way to ensure you’re buying conversions that you want is to help Google understand what you truly value in a conversion. Too many advertisers don’t tell Google anything more than they got a conversion, like a lead who submitted a form on their site. But they never update Google about what happened with that lead once the sales team contacted them. By using offline conversion import (OCI), advertisers can tell Google which conversions were more or less valuable and that will help their machine learning systems target more of the good kind of conversions. Check out our recent PPC Town Hall about Smart Bidding where we discussed this topic.

Panelists at PPC Town Hall discuss Smart Bidding tactics, including how offline conversion import can boost the quality of conversions

Even with tCPA or tROAS, Google Ads still charges advertisers a CPC 

Technical detail: Remember that even with tCPA or tROAS, the ads auction uses cost per click (CPC) pricing. So advertisers are always being sold clicks by Google. Google’s automated bidding helps advertisers buy more of the clicks that have a predicted conversion rate or conversion value that when combined with the CPC will help them meet their targets for CPA or ROAS.

Conclusion

For most advertisers, not much will change in terms of how their bids are managed, even after Google combines their tCPA and tROAS strategies into their updated Maximize Conversions and Maximize Conversion Value strategies. Advertisers will still be able to use Optmyzr to optimize manual or smart bids as they did before and use sophisticated tools like Rule Engine and Account Blueprints, to quickly implement new strategies in response to this or any other change from the ad engines.

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3 critical PPC lessons from 2020 for a brilliant 2021 /3-critical-ppc-lessons-from-2020-for-a-brilliant-2021-345422 Tue, 19 Jan 2021 12:00:27 +0000 /?p=345422 With the right tools, PPC pros can set the strategy for automations to follow when unexpected shifts happen.

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The past 10 months or so have given PPC pros a crash course in adaptability, ingenuity and nimble marketing. Those who thrived in pandemic-era PPC deserve some sort of advanced honorary degree in “PPC’ology.” In many instances, smart, effective PPC has literally saved brands from the brink of devastation. 

But let’s face it, PPC pros have been in a near-constant state of reinvention since PPC first became a thing. Compared to other marketing disciplines such as print and broadcast, we’re in our adolescence at best, which is actually an exciting place to be. 2020 just made us do a lot more reinventing and adapting in a very short amount of time. 

The tumult of the past several months may be a hidden blessing. Smart PPC pros are now well-positioned to use the tools at their disposal to help brands ride a wave of recovery while adapting to new normals in the way people use search to do commerce. 

PPC automation: 2020’s lessons for a banner 2021

We’ve discussed the power and pitfalls of PPC automation at great length over the past year, in particular. It was the main topic of our October 21, 2020 Search Engine Land article and was a recurring topic during our now-bi-weekly, virtual PPC Town Hall, which launched in response to the pandemic.   

Now, we want to advance the discussion beyond how we work in highly automated channels and tie in lessons learned during the wild and unpredictable months of the recent past. Sure, automation makes it easy to do basic PPC, but it also makes it easy to be lazy. Don’t be lazy. Take some cues from 2020 and learn to adapt and be great. Predicting and responding quickly to behavioral changes using a smart mix of automated tools and manual controls can keep you ahead of the pack.

Lesson 1: Homebodies still do commerce

Early in the pandemic, many people feared that economic and employment concerns would wipe out spending. In many instances, it did the opposite. Pandemic purchasing skyrocketed in many areas. Those who anticipated the shifts won. 

  • More time at home led to more spending on home improvement, home office goods, consumer electronics, landscaping services, and other things to make quarantining more bearable. 
  • Closed gyms led to skyrocketing demand for bicycles, home fitness gear, kayaks, and online health coaching. 
  • Less air travel and more ground travel helped push people to get a nicer ride. Auto dealers who understood changing motivators and used tools like Campaign Automator to prioritize the right inventory cashed in big during 2020. 

Many indicators show that a lot of companies and employees now embrace more flexibility and remote working arrangements. People have enjoyed gaining back an hour or more of their day otherwise spent in traffic jams. And as we saw from the points above, people naturally try to make the best of their situation. It’s this combination of factors precipitated by what happened in 2020 that may well lead to a permanent shift in how people engage with brands and conduct commerce (on and off company time).   

As PPC pros, we can thrive by focusing more on our strategic roles and letting the machines handle the tedious and repetitive button-pushing that we once did ourselves. But let’s be clear, humans are an essential part of the formula for PPC success in 2021 and beyond.

As consumer behaviors continue to morph in unexpected ways in reaction to societal and pandemic-related forces, the machines cannot succeed on their own—artificial intelligence and machine learning use historical trends and data. 

While the machine can change bids in response to external factors impacting conversion rates, it cannot decide that a company should change its distribution model and rewrite all their ads to highlight a significant new trend in 2020: BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store). A big lesson from 2020 was that rapidly changing dynamics on the ground can send signals the machines can use to avoid wasted ad spend, but not always in ways to help businesses capture new opportunities. 

PPC pros have an opportunity (and a responsibility) to master the tools at their disposal AND apply deeper strategic insight to ensure the machines are doing the best they can to reach audiences through paid search. 

Relying solely on the platform tools won’t work in 2021 and beyond. The native, disparate automations within Google, Bing, Amazon, and Facebook can certainly work for basic paid search. Still, they are not well suited to the needs of advanced PPC marketers who strive for stellar results. 

The evolving landscape for digital marketing in 2021 will require PPC pros to remain at the forefront of developments and opportunities. PPC rockstars will be those who maximize all the tools at their disposal this year.

Lesson 2: People LOVE convenience, making eCommerce an omnipotent king

Okay, on the surface, the importance of convenience is self-evident. But during the past several months, the desire for safety and security made people double-down on the need for ease and convenience. Smart PPC marketers are looking more holistically at their marketing mix. Some things to consider: 

  • The notion of “search” extends way beyond Google and Bing. Searches are happening everywhere, including Amazon and Facebook (Marketplace, in particular). 
  • People don’t just search on one channel. They may start in Google before searching for an equivalent used item in Marketplace, and then may look to purchase from convenience-leader, Amazon. 
  • The shift to remote work gave most people a lot more screen time. Some may have even done a little shopping on company time! (and will likely continue to do so). 
  • People need to eat. Many might avoid indoor restaurants for a long time to come, but they might have fallen in love with restaurant food delivered to their door. 

Being a one-trick PPC pony doesn’t cut it anymore. Cross-channel PPC marketing is where the winners soar. Effective, unified campaigns managed from a single interface put more power in PPC marketers’ hands to meet customers where they are and how they are behaving.

With Optmyzr, advertisers can optimize each channel independently to make the most of its unique capabilities and then do a cross-platform budget optimization that prioritizes ad spend in the best-performing channels.

Lesson 3: Supply chain disruptions can wreak havoc on the ability to sell

Even during “normal” times, businesses still struggle with predictability in their supply chains and delivery channels. Minor disruptions can lead to huge challenges in meeting customer demand. 

From toilet paper and hand sanitizer to mountain bikes or available time slots on ski slopes, the supply chain and available inventories can put huge limits on the ability to sell. The global pandemic turned “unpredictable” into a daily norm over the past several months and challenged marketers even further to convert ACTUAL sales. 

  • Disruptions far upstream in the supply chain can make it nearly impossible to predict the ability to fulfill, particularly when demand suddenly surges. 
  • Disparate data sources across supply channels can further complicate a marketer’s ability to know what to market and when to do so. 
  • A big enough disruption, even for a short time, can have a months-long effect. 

With the newly redesigned Campaign Automator from Optmyzr, advertisers can ensure their ads are hyper-focused on just those products that are ready to be bought. After specifying templates for account structure, ad text, keywords, and extensions, the tool automatically builds the necessary campaigns and ad groups to advertise the available inventory. It even makes the ads more relevant by letting advertisers insert dynamic elements such as lowest price, number of product variants (e.g. ‘available in 5 colors’) or limited availability to instill a sense of urgency (e.g. ‘just 3 left’).

Caption: Campaign Automator from Optmyzr makes it easy for advertisers to always have the right ads running based on their business priorities and inventory.

In addition to automating search ads from inventory, advertisers with a Google Merchant Feed can also automate their Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns with the Shopping Campaign Builder and Refresher. These easy-to-use tools help build advanced shopping campaign structures in minutes and are refreshed regularly to prevent wasted ad spend when popular products go out of stock.

Crushing your 2021 goals requires learning from 2020!

The lessons learned over recent months have made marketers stronger, more adaptable, and more creative. Relying on the platform level tools won’t cut it anymore. 

Before you move on to the next story, we’d like to offer some much-deserved props to all PPC pros out there. When speaking of the accomplishments of NASA’s Apollo 13-era teams, Flight Director Gene Kranz famously said he thought everyone should at least once in their life have a ticker-tape parade to honor their accomplishments.

We wish we could give PPC pros such a parade, but it’s simply not practical from a social distancing perspective, and, in reality, ticker-tape parades just aren’t environmentally acceptable to do! But in the spirit of the era, we’d like to give you all a virtual ticker-tape celebration as we collectively launch into 2021 and its promise of a move back to something resembling normal.

Join Optmyzr CEO Frederick Vallaeys with special guests from Google and leading eCommerce agencies on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, for a PPC Town Hall dedicated to practical PPC tips for eCommerce.
Learn how you master cross-channel PPC and gain greater control over your destiny by scheduling a demo or a free 14-day trial of Optmyzr’s PPR Management Suite by clicking on this link: www.optmyzr.com.

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Why PPC automation wrecks some search marketers /why-ppc-automation-wrecks-some-search-marketers-342376 Wed, 21 Oct 2020 15:38:00 +0000 /?p=342376 PPC automation is not “PPC on autopilot” so you need to keep monitoring the machines to avoid mediocre results.

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Explore Silicon Valley and you’ll see the bubble-topped Waymo minivans essentially “self-teaching” how to drive without a human in charge. In air transportation, the largest and most modern jets are becoming almost foolproof, with the pilots in command for less and less of any given flight.

Automation is great… when applied as one part of a more strategic approach to solving needs in our society. But automation isn’t foolproof. It’s not perfect. And it doesn’t fully take into account all variables, particularly intangibles.

Don’t mistake automation for autopilot

The machines are getting smarter — if not brilliant — but machine learning and artificial intelligence are not any of the following:

  • Artificial intuition
  • Artificial intellect
  • Artificial improvisation
  • Artificial insight

Humans possess those essential traits of intuition, intellect, improvisational flair, and insight. The human still plays the pivotal role in paid search. Sure, it’s possible to create functional, competent PPC by putting things essentially on autopilot. But who wants to just be functional?

Great PPC is there for the taking, but it requires PPC pros who want to use autopilot for what it’s good for, allowing THEM to remain captain of the PPC airliner.

As the pilot in command, the PPC pro needs to monitor all systems — exploring nuances and every crevice of their programs. They need to look beneath the surface information, because the myriad automations built by the ad engines can only take them so far toward their true goals.

Alerts: Your ticket to thrive

Being in command of paid search programs requires agility. Agility requires seeing subtle changes and nuances in an instant. This is where great PPC pros, armed with powerful PPC management tools, can thrive. 

When set up properly, alerts point us in the right direction to dig deeper into anomalies and subtle changes that can hamper campaign success or open doors to much more effective programs. For example, tools in the Optmyzr PPC Management suite like PPC Investigator make it easy to identify and act on opportunities, such as tweaking settings, adding negative keywords, changing tCPA or tROAS, updating ads, and myriad others. 

Custom alerts have expanded greatly, particularly over the last year or so. They generally can be categorized into five levels:

  • Account-level alerts can help prioritize time allocation, for example by working first on accounts that are missing their target conversion volumes by the greatest amount.
  • Campaign level alerts (new in 2020) can surface opportunities to make even well-performing accounts do even better, for example by pointing to a campaign that’s dragging down the account averages.
  • Label level alerts help monitor campaigns with a common theme, such as brand campaigns or campaigns for specific product lines.
  • Bid strategy level alerts allow monitoring performance of campaigns whose bids are automatically managed by the ad engine.
  • Budget level alerts help advertisers spend their whole budget without overspending on individual accounts, a specific set of campaigns, or many accounts across platforms, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon. 
Alerts overview in Optmyzr lets advertisers see all types of alerts for all the accounts they manage in one place.

Alerts sound great. BUT…

Creating alerts is actually quite easy in Optmyzr. The problem can be figuring out the thresholds that lead to useful alerts. It’s common for even the most seasoned PPC pro to struggle to pick a target for all the metrics when their primary focus is usually on just one or two key metrics.

Here’s the good news: Optmyzr has used insights from the millions of campaigns our suite has helped manage and used our own algorithms to simplify this process. Our PPC Management Suite has an option to select a specific target automatically, based on recent performance. This setting allows you to get notified if performance slips overall, even if you didn’t have a specific goal in mind, such as a specific target CPA. 

Create custom alerts easily in Optmyzr’s PPC management suite

Automated alert setup also helps PPC pros quickly identify negative trends, BEFORE the trend actually leads to missed targets. The alerts could surface accounts that are meeting the ROAS target today but have steadily been declining in performance, making a missed ROAS likely within the coming weeks. This helps search marketers make informed, human decisions to fix issues before a client becomes unhappy. Remember what we’ve been saying for a couple of years now: Machines + Humans = Better PPC!

Much like a pilot of an aircraft, identifying the underlying issue quickly before it becomes a true problem facilitates smart course corrections and adjustments to help achieve or beat the objective. 

Beyond alerts: Smart planning drives success

While we wanted to focus primarily on alerts for this article, it’s important to remember that any facet of the tools you use must work seamlessly with the bigger picture. Optmyzr offers a variety of ways to keep accounts in great shape while still finding out about problems when they do arise.

  • PPC Audits – functionality that helps PPC pros identify structural issues, which can lead to missed targets. 
  • Account Blueprints – one of the newest Optmyzr features that empowers entire teams to work collaboratively and flawlessly to execute the overarching strategy set by your team.
  • Insights – tools that help pinpoint the root cause of issues. 
  • Optimizations – one-click simplicity to implement bulk optimizations based on best practices and proven performance across all accounts being managed. 

Too many PPC pros miss the opportunity to maximize the highly automated PPC world. Can a PPC pro succeed by running competent, “hands-free” PPC? Of course. Many do. Those who want to stand out, though, know that great opportunity is hidden in the nuanced ways we monitor and manipulate automations. 

PPC is a game where fractions of a percentage point can be the difference between winning and losing. Subtle changes in performance, new dynamics in the market, missed creative opportunities and so many factors can come into play. Tools that constantly monitor for those subtleties, such as those found in Optmyzr, make the PPC rockstar stand out from the rest. 

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Two things you need to turn PPC campaigns into winners /two-things-you-need-to-turn-ppc-campaigns-into-winners-337848 Tue, 21 Jul 2020 11:30:00 +0000 /?p=337848 How account blueprints can drive flawless execution of your PPC strategy.

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How do you set yourself apart in PPC when Google and Microsoft are continually adding more automated capabilities that effectively level the playing field? We believe there are a few critical factors that can tip the scales back to your advantage: Better strategy and better execution, tied together with an awesome process.

On the surface, these factors may seem like common sense, “Business 101” tactics, but the real challenge comes into play when businesses attempt to build the processes that closely tie strategy to execution. We believe that companies with a great process will be the ones best positioned to deliver successful results. When your process enables you to be nimble and adapt to new strategies quickly, and you can quickly get your whole team to shift into execution mode on the new strategy without dropping balls left and right, that’s when you win.

Business case study: Why process matters

Before we share how to do this specifically in search marketing and PPC, let’s take a look at a company outside our industry that exemplifies these principles: Starbucks. Nobody can argue the fact that Starbucks is the world’s most successful coffee chain. But few would argue that Starbucks has the world’s best coffee. So how did they turn an average product into a roaring success? 

Beyond creating memorable experiences, Starbucks has orchestrated precise, repeatable processes that make people want to come back time and again. 

Starbucks even shaped the way customers specified their orders, right down to the cadence and actual sequence of how people verbalize their order. Whether you are at a Starbucks in Seattle or Singapore or Sydney, the many individual tasks and processes from sourcing and distribution to how customers place orders to how baristas make and serve the coffee have been carefully crafted and perfected. Every task defined, assigned, and perfected for flawless repeatability. 

Now let’s apply some of these principles to our own industry.

Two ways to win: Spend more time or stick to a process

First, let’s get something out of the way. If you want the absolute best PPC results, and you never want your ad shown for a query of dubious relevance due to a weird close variant, it will take a LOT of time. If you are fortunate enough to have hours of free time every week, you can probably stop reading now. But if you’re like most of us, you need to balance time with performance. A good strategy with a solid execution (even if neither is the best), can still produce superior results compared to a scenario where there is a disconnect between the two elements and the best strategy is poorly executed, or a bad strategy is executed flawlessly.

Problems that prevent success in PPC

There are a few common issues we see that hamper PPC campaigns from delivering their full potential:

  1. Strategies are too rigid, forcing you to continue down a path you know is no longer the best one. It’s a bit like knowing you are running toward a cliff, but can’t do anything about it.
  2. You build the wrong foundation and, as a result, find yourself unable to build on it when needed. Instead you’re forced to rebuild, which leads to wasted time and cost.
  3. Account management and optimization are haphazard. Distributed teams didn’t read the memo or simply decide to branch off from what the PPC lead at the main office decided.

Let’s address each of these pitfalls and some ways to address them. Hint, if you’re short on time, Optmyzr has a solution called Account Blueprints and our team would be happy to walk you through how it works.

Strategies need to evolve

Digital marketing is one of the fastest evolving industries around. Google Ads alone launched 79 new changes in 2019. And that’s not counting all the changes from Microsoft Advertising, Facebook Ads, or Amazon Ads. With every change, PPC pros must quickly recalibrate strategy. 

True, some changes like updates to the Ads Editor simply allow advertisers to be more efficient when implementing existing strategies. But the majority of changes Google mentions on its  launch blog are the kind that ask us to take stock of our performance and decide whether we need to try something new, such as a new ad extension, new ad format, or new bidding strategy.

Experimentation can be easiest if you’re a solo account manager, but it becomes more problematic when you need to make a decision on behalf of an entire team. Aligning multiple team members is critical when they are expected to change how they manage accounts virtually overnight.

Our advice is to build your team structure and your management process with the expectation that strategies will need to be changed several times each year.

If you use a PPC tool like Optmyzr that allows you to productize your own strategy (through our Rule Engine for example), you’ll find yourself more likely to quickly adapt newer and better strategies when you know your team will be able to follow them to a “T.” 

A blueprint ensures the right foundation

In the construction business, blueprints are the foundational tool that allow builders to deal with massive projects subject to major changes and instructions that need to be followed.  If everyone follows the blueprint, a great building results. If everyone builds from memory, you’ll likely find stairs leading nowhere and doors that open onto drop offs. 

Optmyzr has now created Account Blueprints for PPC accounts. An Account Blueprint contains tasks that include owners and due dates. Rather than being a generic project management tool, it is deeply integrated with Optmyzr’s capabilities for optimization, insights, and reports. In addition, it can also include a wide range of tasks usually done outside Optmyzr. 

Just as in architecture, a blueprint in PPC allows the creation of a great account that is well structured, and follows the principles of the agreed-upon strategy. 

An intuitive step-by-step wizard simplifies the creation of Account Blueprints. Screenshot from Optmyzr.com

If you’re an agency, multiple Account Blueprints will likely be essential. An ecommerce account is much different than a lead gen account, for example. But there’s also going to be a difference between a tier-1 client who spends a large amount of money with your agency and a tier-3 client who has bought your lowest retainer package. The tier-1 client’s account will likely be more elaborate, because you’ll have the resources (time and tools) to work with a more complex account structure compared to a resource-constrained account. The latter is better served with a simpler structure.

A key benefit in Optmyzr’s Account Blueprints is the ability to create as many blueprints as needed for the types of accounts you manage and then dynamically assign these to new accounts that are onboarded.

A maintenance schedule keeps things in shape

The final issue that prevents some PPC teams from delivering the best results is inconsistent maintenance and optimization after the account has been created with the perfect blueprint.

Here are some typical tasks confronting PPC pros on a daily basis:

  • Monitoring budgets to identify accounts that are overspending or underspending.
  • Auditing PPC accounts to understand how to win more traffic, where to test ads, etc.
  • Analyzing search queries to add new keywords and negative keywords.
  • Reducing bids on keywords with high CPA but no conversions via manual bidding.
  • Optimizing ad group-level targets for CPA and ROAS when using Smart Bidding.
  • Improving quality score and allocating budgets to high-performing campaigns.
  • Adding granular bid adjustments based on time of day, geography, and other variables. 

Even the most spectacular and complex buildings need a tremendous amount of upkeep to stay that way. It’s no different with PPC accounts, especially when we again consider that the best strategy may be evolving all the time.

Account Blueprints from Optmyzr enable teams to consistently deliver the work related to account upkeep. Tasks can be set to be recurring. And task owners are defined through account roles, which means it’s easy to reassign tasks while a team member is on vacation or after they leave the team.

Conclusion

Starbucks architected its groundbreaking success with extraordinary precision and adherence to process. Their strength in strategy and execution made it possible to change the way millions of people consumed their daily beverage of choice. Others have since effectively mimicked Starbucks’ general blueprint for success to stake their own claims in the coffee wars. 

Optmyzr Blueprints can do the same for your business. Design your success. Drive repeatable processes. Be strategic, put the plan into an Account Blueprint, and feel secure that the tactical work will be taken care of by the right people at the right time. 

Of course, we’re available to talk about how Blueprints can help drive your success when you are ready to architect your own breakthrough. Having the right tools at your disposal to drive exceptional search marketing programs can help turn challenging times into opportunity for 2020 and beyond. 

To help you with account management during COVID-19, we’ve created a downloadable post-lockdown PPC checklist featuring action items to help you plan, optimize, and track campaigns as businesses reopen.

Get the post-covid lockdown PPC checklist from Optmyzr here.

All of these items can be planned and automated through Optmyzr and Account Blueprints. If we can be of help, write to us at support@optmyzr.com and we’ll be delighted to assist you.

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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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