We thought our Google AdWords campaigns were running well...until we got the team at Liberty to look over them. They quickly identified a number of areas where large amounts of money was being wasted, as well as many opportunities for low cost traffic that were being missed, so we asked them to re-structure the entire account. Whereas we were spending £17,000 a month on largely irrelevant traffic, we now spend only £4,000 a month yet we get a higher quality of visitor and have seen a large increase in business! This is how online marketing should be done.” - Mark Underdown, Director, Access Training (Wales) Ltd

Access Training, a trades training firm came to us in mid 2010 as they weren’t satisfied with the work that a competitor of ours was doing. Whilst they were averaging just over 100 enquiries a week, their Google AdWords spend was increasing to nearly £20,000 a month and this simply couldn't continue.

The team at Liberty took over the Pay Per Click account and after two days work their spend was down to around £4,000 a month, yet the number of enquiries they were receiving had doubled. Not only that, the enquiries were more targeted, so their sales conversion rate also increased.

Towards the end of last year they also asked us to start on their SEO, where we advised on keyword use and started building links from other training sites. You can now find them organically for a lot of specific local search terms, such as “plumber training Cardiff”, as well as a lot of national search terms, such as “trades training”.

They are now receiving over 500 enquiries a week and are in the process of setting up a call centre to cope with the huge increase in prospects.

Google has started testing out longer headlines on certain AdWords accounts. In a post on the AdWords blog yesterday, the company announced:

"Starting today and over the next few days, we’re changing the placement of the first description line for certain ads that appear above the search results on Google. For some ads where each line appears to be a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation, description line 1 will be moved to the headline and separated by a hyphen. As a result, some top placement ads will have longer headlines."

The adverts look like the Swift Cover one below:

What will this mean for Pay Per Click advertisers?

We are certain that click through rates for advertisers that get this right will increase but it will come at a cost:

  • Being in the top 3 results is now more attractive, so bids will surely start increasing.
  • Advertisers that prefer longer copy, with messages spread out across two lines, will have to re-think the way they write.
  • Adverts without enough room for punctuation at the end of the first line will need to be re-written – something easier said than done if you are bidding on words containing a lot of letters.

Whether you are a fan of Google's new Instant search or not, if you are running a PPC campaign then this post will be of interest to you.

There appears to be a glitch in Instant search that could be costing top spot advertisers dearly. Whilst Instant search is turned on, if a search returns Adwords ads above the organic SERPs and you hit enter twice in the search field you will automatically open the number 1 Adwords result. This costs whoever is in the top spot, but the user won't have made the choice to click the ad, so what will they do? Click back, because they were expecting a Google search results screen.

This will have a detrimental effect on top position bounce rates and could be wasting a great deal of advertiser's budgets.

Currently running in Beta test mode, Google are testing video extensions that will be shown with their Adwords ads.

The plan is to have an "expandable plus-box" directly beneath the normal PPC text ad in which video extensions will play. Users will be able to watch the video before deciding whether or not to click-through. This sounds interesting for users, but the current cost of this service for advertisers is less appealing.

Once viewers reach the 10 second mark the advertiser will be charged the same maximum cost per click as if their ad had been clicked, regardless of whether it is clicked. So will this lead to a flurry of 10 second ads or are the search results becoming more and more cluttered, as with Google Preview?

Google has suggested that video extensions could be of particular use for product demonstrations, previews and trailers.

At present, there are no plans to roll this service out in the UK.

Writing AdWords copy has become a modern day art form, one that many SEM’s have refined over years to take advantage of the 4 line structure. I’m sure we have all slaved over that phrase or line which is just 1 character too long! Well, Google have recently made things more challenging – thanks very much - by adding variable line lengths to the equation.

In the past we have written ads which fit within the following structure:

Title: 25 characters max
Line 2: 35 characters max
Line 3: 35 characters max
Display URL: 35 characters max

This strict format has often seen punctuation omitted in favour of that last character and to date we have been able to get away with it because we know exactly how our ad will appear in Google. Variable line lengths change this by expanding or contracting the line length in relation to the size of a user’s browser.

The result is that an ad you may have spent ages over will now appear in a completely different way to different users thereby losing some of its advertising appeal in the process.

So what does this mean for future copy?

Good copywriters won’t be fazed by this change. A good copywriter will create dynamic copy which reads well regardless, but the correct use of punctuation will now become critical to ensure your advertising message gets through the way you intended. Reviewing existing ads and altering them accordingly would also be advisable.

A few months ago, Google changed over its default keyword tool in AdWords to a new version. You could still use the previous interface up until today, but that link has now gone, so we are left with no choice but to use this new tool for keyword research.

Many people have complained about the search volumes in the new interface, after finding them to be significantly different to the previous stats. If you are stumped by the new tool, wondering why all of a sudden your market looks like a fraction of what it once was then this explanation, left on the AdWords help blog, should shed light on the issue:

"If you use both the previous and updated versions of the Keyword Tool to search for keywords, you may notice differences between the tools for statistics on Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches. This is because the previous version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com search traffic and traffic from search partners, while the updated version of the Keyword Tool provides search statistics based on Google.com traffic only.  We've updated these statistics based on user feedback, and hope you find them helpful for keyword selection."

Something we’ve noticed a couple of times over the past month is Google AdWords showing completely irrelevant adverts.

One example we captured yesterday was when looking for local electricians. As you’d expect, lots of local electrician ads were shown. What you wouldn’t expect though is to see some of these ads when searching for “business directory” a minute later. Mixed in with a load of adverts for directories were a few of the electrician ads. When the page was refreshed, the adverts disappeared...

 

Why are adverts showing for searches that were performed minutes before?

Google is supposed to be all about relevancy and even rewards advertisers for having very relevant adverts. If the impressions for these adverts are being counted or having an impact on the Quality Score for that keyword, then this isn’t helping anyone.

The ever increasing list of features and changes to Google AdWords doesn’t look like it’ll get shorter anytime soon with the recent release of a “related to” section in the sponsored search results.

When certain broad phrases are used in the search engine, not only do adverts from the websites bidding on those keywords appear, but below them other adverts that Google believes are related to the search are now also being shown:

What does this mean to Pay Per Click advertisers? If you don’t bid on broad match keywords then not much, other than more competitors will now appear within the results. According to Google the adverts are being served on “relevant broad match keywords”, so make use of your negative keywords if you don’t want your ads to show within the “related to” section.

Google has built its success on providing people with relevant results to specific keywords that they search with. While this experiment may at first seem like a ittle change, it's another step away from Google being a search engine and another where it tries to interpret what person really mean. With these new "related to" AdWords enhancements and other recent changes at Google, we are in for an interesting time.

If you run a Pay Per Click account and would like an experienced Pay Per Click consultant to go over these changes with you then call Liberty on 029 2076 6467. 

It looks like Google has listened to recent feedback that many Pay Per Click account managers, including ourselves, have passed on regarding the quality of broad match in AdWords. For a while now we have been concerned with the way Google uses broad match keywords as many clients have been appearing for totally unrelated terms, due to Google believing the words were related. An example being a Solicitor client of ours bidding on the broad match keywords “immigration lawyer” and appearing for the search query “homeoffice”.

In the interest of only exposing clients to traffic that is relevant, we have started shying away from broad match and sticking more with “phrase” and [exact] match terms. Either that or spend half our time adding in scores of negative keywords. This might not be needed now, as Google has announced the introduction of ‘modified broad match’ on its blog, here.

By placing a + sign in front of the words, you can now tell AdWords to only show your advert for very closely related searches. The blog post states that “close variants include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (like “floor” and “flooring”). Synonyms (like “quick” and “fast”) and related searches (like “flowers” and “tulips”) aren't considered close variants”.

This is a big step in the right direction and something we look forward to working with.

A client of ours just received an email with the subject "Google AdWords: Ads stopped running", which looked like it was a warning from Google:

In case the picture is hard to see, the message within the email is:

Hello,

Your Google Adwords Account has stopped running this morning.

Some of the ads have stopped running today (Monday, 12 April 2010).

If you want to get your ad back up and running you need to optimize the campaign to improve the CTR. The link below has some helpful tips, but, in a nutshell, you need to look at your keywords and your ad text. Make sure your keywords are jighly relevant and then make sure that each keyword in the ad group makes sense in terms of the ad text associated with this ad group (usually this means you need to create more ad groups with a smaller number of keywords). Having a tight connection between keywords and ad text helps improve CTR, which should fix your problem. 

Click here to get your ads back up.

Please note: if you do not verify the status of your account and notify us if your ads do not appear online, we cannot help you.

The spelling errors and grammatical issues didn’t really convince us that this was Google and after a few seconds of investigation we were right. When the mouse hovered over the link it tried sending us to adwords.google-rs.com.

Whilst phishing emails like this one certainly aren’t new, they aren’t that common in the Pay Per Click world and this is one to watch out for. This particular client had their account temporarily suspended by Google last week due to “potential unauthorised access to this account”! A coincidence?

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