AdWords is Rolling Out More Conversion Attribution Bidding Models

Google understands the unique customer journeys that people take better than anyone. They have stressed the importance of Micro-Moments, which are all the interactions that someone makes before finally converting. Since they have an abundance of data from Google Analytics properties, the Google Search Engine, and Google AdWords, they understand that people might engage 10 or more times with your website before finally making a purchase.

Later in the month of May, Google AdWords will be adding more conversion bidding options to give you the option to bid for the attribution model of your choice. Your choices include last click, first click, linear, time decay, position-based, or data driven. Depending on the attribution model you select for your conversion bidding strategy, your bids will be optimized to maximize conversions for that model.

Best Practices:

In case you aren’t sure where to start, the Google AdWords Help Center has released a Best Practices Guide for Beyond Last-Click Attribution. It’s a quick and easy read and I would highly recommend it to everyone who is utilizing AdWords Conversion Optimizer.

Data-driven Attribution:

Google AdWords is recommending the data-driven attribution model more than others, but you need a high volume of conversions to be able to use it.

Below is an image from the AdWords Support Center showing all of the benefits that come with data-driven attribution. You can click the image for the full-sized picture in case it is hard to read.

My Takeaways:

Google has done a great job reacting to the changes that mobile has presented, both for the people who use the Search Engine and for Advertisers using AdWords. Advertisers are presented with unique mobile challenges because the days are gone of people using only their computer to do research, shop, or book a vacation. Now consumers might use their smartphone, tablet, and computer as they research and prepare to make a purchase.

For Advertisers, it’s great to be able to bid for different attribution models, particularly if you see more first click conversions rather than last click conversions. Every business has goals that vary so it’s great to see Google AdWords give unique solutions to advertisers. What I recommend doing is first going into Google Analytics to find the ‘Model Comparison Tool’ from the Conversions drop-down menu in Reporting.

After doing that research, you might need to test a few bidding strategies in AdWords to see what drives the best results. In addition, keep in mind what your marketing goals are. For a Brand campaign, last click attribution is probably your best bet, whereas first click attribution might make sense for non-Brand campaigns.

Hopefully you can find the right attribution model for your business and continue to improve results. 

Online Advertising Strategies for Hotels: 6 Best Practices

Today, I am going to talk about some online marketing strategies that Hotels can use to increase visitation without spending a fortune. There are plenty of digital marketing options available that are worth testing for hotels all over the world.

6 Best Practices

Below is an image that details six different Hotel Marketing best practices. These are some important strategies that all hotels should consider when putting together a marketing plan.

Online-Advertising-Strategies-for-Hotels-Infographic.png

Important Considerations:

For this article, I will pretend I am running a hotel in Oahu, Hawaii.

The Goal:

The goal online for any hotel is to increase visibility to potential guests. You want your hotel to be front and center when people are looking at their accommodation options in your area. When someone searches “Hotels in Oahu Hawaii” in Google, you want to have your hotel show up in the search results on the first page. In addition, you want your hotel to have good visibility based on reviews when someone visits their favorite Online Travel Agency (TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotels, Orbitz, Kayak, Priceline, Travelocity).

You can never expect travelers to find your hotel – it is up to you to find travelers.

Target Market:

Before you ever start any campaigns, it’s good to figure out a target customer. In my opinion, hotels have to be looking for customers who are just about set on their destination and who are in the accommodation decision-making process. For example, you want to reach people who have decided Oahu, Hawaii is their destination but have not settled on a Hotel or Resort yet.

In order to break it down by demographic, use the data from Google Analytics to find the ages and genders that are most likely to book.

Key Performance Indicators:

For hotels, you generally want to optimize for cost/conversion as your top key performance indicator (KPI). Website traffic does not equal business so you must track your marketing campaigns to see what is working and what is wasting budget. You can measure everything from bookings to actual revenue in Google Analytics.

Some other things you may want to measure are newsletter sign-ups, phone calls, and results from your promotions. In addition, you can also try to measure how many people are interacting with your booking widget.

Tracking and Testing:

The two most important keys to online marketing are tracking and testing. You want to track as much information as possible from your campaigns and run split-tests to find what works best. Some of the things you want to test are landing pages, ads, and ad targeting.

Imagine this scenario: You create 3 landing pages for an ad campaign and send 200 visitors to each landing page. Out of the 600 visitors, you measure a total of 80 conversions for a conversion rate of 13.3%. Landing Page #1 has a conversion rate of 20% while Landing Pages #2 and #3 only have a conversion rate of 10%. Therefore, you can select Landing Page #1 and continue to test your landing pages by just making small tweaks and improving.

Reviews:

Reviews are one of the most important factors for online success. I won’t get into too much detail about review management, but it is important to respond to negative reviews online with a positive message. In addition, you should encourage guests to leave a review after their stay. Reviews will obviously be very dependent on your guests overall satisfaction at the hotel.

One of the biggest benefits of managing reviews is you will be able to understand the common pain points of your customers. Are the beds uncomfortable? Is the pool dirty? Are the rooms clean, tidy, and updated? Is the Wi-Fi too slow? These are all common complaints from travelers and you can understand where you need to improve to accommodate your guests.

Mobile-Friendly Web Design:

According to Skift, 27% of all travel transactions were completed on a mobile device in the first quarter of 2015. In addition, more and more travel transactions start with research on a mobile device followed by a booking on desktop or tablet.

Consumers are using their mobile devices more than ever so it is very important to be mobile-friendly. You can gain an upper hand on competitors by giving the best user experience possible on a mobile device and a seamless experience from mobile to desktop.

Online Travel Packages:

There is a huge reason why websites like TravelZoo and Sherman’s Travel are so popular: Travelers want to get the best bang for their buck on vacation. One of the best ways to encourage more people to book at your hotel is to offer seasonal travel packages.

Hotel Advertising:

 Remarketing (Google, Facebook, YouTube)

You can set-up Remarketing audiences for the Google Display Network and YouTube through Google Analytics. For Facebook, you can set-up Remarketing audiences through Ads Manager under the Audience Manager. The first thing you want to do is set-up two Remarketing audiences: ‘All Visitors – 14 Days’ and ‘Converted.’ The ‘Converted’ audience will be made up of people who have already booked their hotel room. You want to target all the people who have visited your website over the past 14 days and you’ll want to exclude anybody who has converted already.

If I’m competing with all the other hotels in Oahu, Hawaii, then I’ll want to be aggressive with anyone who has visited my website in the past several weeks but has not booked yet.

Google Search Ads (Desktop/Mobile)

Due to the changes in the Google search engine results, it’s very difficult to get targeted, organic traffic in the travel niche. Look at the image below of the search engine results in Google for the search query ‘Hotels in Oahu Hawaii.” Every single link above the fold is a Google advertisement. Users have to scroll down to find the organic results and the only actual hotel that ranks on the first page is Marriott, the rest of the results are Online Travel Agencies. In other words, if you want your hotel front and center to prospective guests searching in Google, you will have to pay for traffic.

hotels-in-oahu-hawaii-google-search-results-with-ads1.jpg

As you can see, there are tons of sponsors and no organic results above the fold. Unless you are ranking well compared to your competitors on many Online Travel Agencies, you will struggle to compete.

Bing Search Ads (Desktop/Mobile)

Again, look at the image of the Bing search results below. Unless your hotel is listed in the carousel at the top, you will have to pay to have any listing above the fold. The organic listings are more accessible in Bing but the only hotel that ranks on page one is Marriott, just like in Google.

bing-ads-hotel-search-results-for-oahu-hawaii1-1024x821.jpg

Although there is less volume in Bing, the one good thing is there’s generally less competition than you’d see in Google AdWords. I have ran many campaigns that actually performed better on Bing than Google from a cost/conversion standpoint.

Google Hotel Ads

Google Hotel ads allow hotel owners to feature their hotels right in the carousel underneath the ads in search results. It’s a great way to display a hotel description, reviews, amenities, photos, rates, availability, and contact information. View the images below for what the carousel looks like and a hotel that is using hotel ads.

As you can see in the pictures above, potential tourists can find all the information they would ever need before booking right in Google and then they can find rates using the booking widget.

Getting Started – You can learn more about Google Hotel Ads here. You will need a Google My Business page and you need an authorized partner to integrate your ads.

Travel Deals (TravelZoo, Shermans)

More and more travelers are looking for the best possible deal for their vacation accommodations. With so many different online travel agencies and travel deal websites, people will search high and far to find the best possible rates. Because of this, hotels need to offer deals on their accommodations if they are struggling with room nights.

Some options for hotel deals include:

  • Offer a discount for stays of a certain amount of nights. For example, give a certain discount if the stay is four nights or more.

  • Offer package deals that include your amenities. For example, give a resort credit to the spas or restaurants on your property.

  • Offer deals from Sunday-Wednesday.

  • Offer top-tier rooms that are not selling well at a discount.

Go to this page on TravelZoo for a minute. If you’re not selling rooms, test a special offer and see if it helps bookings compared to the year prior. I’ve used TravelZoo for several years and one thing I’ve found is that hotels tend to keep their deals updated on their website year after year, which usually indicates it’s working.

Google Display In-Market

The Google Display Network offers targeting to In-Market segments, which are groups of people who are actively looking a specific air travel destination or hotel destination. They have In-Market segments for most of the top destinations in the United States. Look at the image below. As you can see, you can target destinations like Chicago, you can target people looking for cruises, or in this case, we can target users looking for hotels in Hawaii.

Instead of using general contextual display advertising, why not take advantage of this awesome feature from the Google Display Network? You will reach travelers who are still in the decision making process and they may just end up booking at your hotel.

In Conclusion:

Start by focusing on the six best practices above in the image. You do not want to fall behind when it comes to factors like mobile-friendly web design and the utilization of Analytics to make informed marketing decisions. There are many considerations for hotels and the key is to be visible to your target customers.

In the past, you weren’t always able to directly measure ROI with your marketing. If you purchase a billboard, it’s very difficult to know exactly how many room nights and how much revenue that drives to your hotel. However, you can actually quantify that $500 in marketing spend turned into $1,500 in booking revenue through digital marketing.

Next Steps:

If you don’t know where to start, set a test budget and try Remarketing and Search ads through Bing and Google. Make sure tracking is properly set-up so you can actually track a booking back to a certain ad. Once you spend your test budget, analyze the results and try to find opportunities and wasted spend.

Many of the largest hotel chains in the world (Sandals, Marriott, Hilton) are at the forefront of Digital Marketing and it shows in their results.

Great Examples of AdWords Callout Extensions in Google

Callout Extensions are a new feature in Google AdWords. Since they were released in the middle of August 2014, I have noticed more and advertisers taking advantage of these new extensions. I decided to take a deeper look at Callout Extensions for various search queries to pick out some of the best.

Why You Should Use Callout Extensions:

There are three basic reasons, the first being that they make your ad bigger. When you have one of the top 3 spots, Callout Extensions will give you an extra line of text to your ad. The second reason is that they actually help your ad rank, so AdWords automatically gives you a better ad ranking as soon as you add the extensions. The third reason is that you can tell potential customers the benefits of your product or service.

Example #1

The first example comes from a retail related search. The search query was “Mens sneakers” and the following was an ad that was returned for that keyword.

Callout-Extension-Example-1-mens-sneakers.jpg

Positive Takeaways:

If your eCommerce website offers free shipping and free returns, you will want to advertise that everywhere. Free shipping and free returns lead to a better conversion rate for eCommerce. Also, the ad highlights that every single size will be available on the website, so I don’t have to worry about limitations.

Example #2

The second example comes from a finance related search. The search query was “Business credit” and the following was the best ad returned for that keyword.

Callout-Extension-Example-2-business-credit.jpg

Positive Takeaways:

Business owners hate paperwork, waiting, and hidden costs. Business owners want the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to complete a task. The Callout Extensions and even the Sitelink Extensions used in this ad make it seem like you will have everything filed and approved in under 10 minutes, which is exactly what business owners want to see.

Example #3

The third example comes from an Automotive related search. The search query was “SUVs under 20000” and the following was the best ad returned for that keyword.

Callout-Extension-Example-3-automotive.jpg

Positive Takeaways:

Now this is an example of Dynamic Keyword Insertion in the ads headline. What I like about these Callout Extensions is they assume the buyer is in the decision-making process. Looking for SUVs under $20,000 leaves a lot open for interpretation and this ad shows they can help me compare different SUV makes and models using certified research, which is great information to have as a customer. In addition, they will help me find a local dealer to buy my new automobile.

Example #4

The third example comes from an Email Marketing related search. The search query was “Email marketing services” and the following was the best ad returned for that keyword.

Callout-Extension-Example-4-online.jpg

Positive Takeaways:

With email marketing software or marketing software in general, there are three things that make people not convert. The first is the overall cost, and by showing there are no set-up fees it helps them stand-out. The second is being stuck in a long-term contract, and by showing there are no contracts you don’t have to worry about a major financial burden. Third and finally, having free support will always help business, especially with software.

Example #5

The fifth example comes from an Golf/Sporting Goods related search. The search query was simply “Golf clubs” and the following ad stood out above the competitors.

Callout-Extension-Example-5-Golf.jpg

Positive Takeaways:

Now this is how you maximize ad space. With such a broad search term, it’s great to see four different Callout Extensions in one ad. The ad above appeals to the professional golfer who would be interested in custom clubs and fitting. The ad also appeals to beginning Golfers who might be worried about expensive prices or being ripped off.

In Conclusion

I always like looking at my competitor’s AdWords ads. You get a lot of new ideas for ad copy, headline, and ad extension optimization. For this article, it was great looking for Callout Extensions from a variety of search queries. I hope this article helped give you some ideas on how to maximize your ad space.

Advanced PPC Strategies to Dominate Competitors on AdWords

There are hundreds of features, settings, and options available to you in AdWords. The key to running successful campaigns is to understand how you can use these features to your advantage. Below you will find advanced pay-per click strategies that you can utilize for your campaigns.

Advanced PPC Strategies

  1. Always Be Testing

  2. Daily Management

  3. Bi-Weekly Negative Keywords

  4. Ad Extensions

  5. Automate Bids

  6. Keyword Matching

  7. Cascading Bids

  8. Less Than 5 Keywords Per Ad Group

  9. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads

  10. Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA)

  11. Call Extensions and Tracking

  12. Segmenting

  13. Dimensions

 
I will get into detail for each of the strategies below. Review your current campaigns and see if you can incorporate any of these strategies.

1. Always Be Testing

Great PPC management involves some testing and then some more testing. The only way to find optimal results is to test as much as possible and optimize results with each test.

Some of the different ways to test within your campaigns is to run multiple ads at once, device targeting, network targeting, keyword matching, target multiple locations, bid strategies, ad rotation, ad scheduling, dynamic ads, and more. Any time you have multiple options or anytime you can test two scenarios against each other, you should use that to your advantage.

Testing Example:
Let’s say you create a campaign with one ad group and two ads. After two weeks, you notice one ad is outperforming the other ad. Instead of just pausing the poor-performing ad, you should go a step further and make yet another ad. In two weeks, check if either ad is outperforming the other and repeat. After doing this for several months, you can be sure your ads are performing optimally.

2. Daily Management

You can’t expect to set it and forget in PPC. Well, technically you can set it and forget it since Google has no problem spending your AdWords budget, but you certainly won’t see optimal results. In short, your PPC account needs hands-on management on a weekly basis. Sure you can take days off and weekends off, but it is important to monitor your campaigns every couple of days rather than just let them run for long periods of time.

The best thing to do is come up with a weekly schedule to help yourself become more efficient. Below is a sample schedule that would apply to a larger account or campaign and you can follow it as a guide.

Management Schedule Example:

  • Monday – Review search terms report, add negative keywords

  • Tuesday – Optimize ads, manage extensions

  • Wednesday – Nothing

  • Thursday – Review analytics, traffic, user data, device data, and overall campaign results

  • Friday – Review campaign organization, keyword opportunities, manage low quality scores

  • Saturday – Nothing

  • Sunday – Nothing

You can always adjust your schedule but it is good to have a guide so you can get into a routine with your account and make ongoing optimizations.

3. Bi-Weekly Negative Keywords

I cannot stress enough how important negative keywords are. Every single campaign you run should have negative keywords unless you only target exact match keywords. Otherwise, negative keywords help you avoid a lot of junk traffic.

Look at the graphic below to find the search terms report so you can find negative keyword ideas. You will want to use at least a week or two of data so you have enough information.

SearchTermsReport.jpg

Bonus Tip:
As you create your campaign, look for negative keyword ideas. All you have to do is make a couple of searches in Google and you will get plenty of related searches. In addition, you can use the keyword planner to find any keywords that might be unrelated to your campaign. Some popular examples for negative keywords include jobs, hiring, salary, employment, description, definition, and reviews.

4. Ad Extensions

Some ad extensions will improve account performance as soon as they are implemented. I once added Sitelinks to every campaign in a large account and it increased CTR, increased conversions, and decreased cost per conversion. Therefore, you should test every extension and see if you can improve account performance.

Bonus Tip:
AdWords allows you to use Call Extensions, which will help add a click-to-call button to your mobile ads and your phone number to your desktop ads. However, you can take it a step further and implement ‘Website Call Conversions’ so you can even track calls back to your PPC ads once visitors reach your website.

5. Automate Bids

Google has a great resource for people who want to set-up automated rules, so make sure you give it a read.

There are several reasons you may want to automate bids. In AdWords, you can set-up rules to increase bids for your top performing keywords or decrease bids for keywords dragging your account down. Automation is very helpful for large campaigns because it is easier to manage your keywords. By setting rules across your campaign, you can ensure you are allocating more of the budget to keywords that are converting.

Bonus Tip:
Set-up alerts to your email when something changes in your campaign because of an automated rule. It can be difficult to monitor the changes in AdWords from automation but you can set-up automatic email notifications if AdWords applies any rules to your campaign.

6. Keyword Matching

Keyword matching is one of the first things that new AdWords advertisers must learn. I have learned the hard way that regular broad match keywords leave a lot open for interpretation and really give no control whatsoever to the advertiser. On the other side of the coin, exact match keywords are great because peformance typically remains steady and the advertiser has complete control.

So where do you find balance?

My strategy is to use a mixture of modified broad and exact match keywords. I feel by doing this that it helps me make sure I am targeting the right keywords without giving up too much control. Phrase match is a good match-type and it certainly has uses, but in my experience, modified broad keywords tend to give more impressions and perform similarly.

And just from my experience, I recommend avoiding the use of broad match keywords without a modifier.

7. Cascading Bids

Cascading Bids is a very simple strategy that many new advertisers do not know. Cascading bids involves you setting the lowest bids for broad match keywords, the highest bids for exact match keywords, and a bid somewhere in the middle for phrase match keywords. Please see the example below for more detail.
 

CascadingBids.png

As you can see, you would bid higher for exact match keywords than you would regular broad match. You want to bid higher for exact terms because with broad terms you never know what other terms that users are typing in.

In my campaigns, I tend to use a mixture of modified broad match and exact match keywords and I will also implement cascading bids as well.

8. Less Than Ten Keywords Per Ad Group

You want to keep your ad groups tightly themed and organized by limiting your ad groups to 10 keywords or less. I’ve heard some advertisers say to keep it below 5 keywords but that depends on the size of your campaigns. This step can be difficult in large accounts with over a thousand keywords so if you can not limit keywords to 10 per ad group, focus on themes/topics and make sure your ads are 100% targeted to every keyword.

Why Organization Matters:
Plain and simple: The more organized your ad groups are the more targeted your ads will be. If you create custom ads for each ad group and keep your keywords organized, you can be sure your ads are extremely targeted to the keywords in your ad group. Finally, organization will help your quality scores because it usually leads to a stronger Click-Through Ratio since ads are targeted.

9. Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a feature you can utilize through AdWords, which allows advertisers to create one single ad that will update based on the users search query and the targeted keywords in an advertisers ad group.

Positives of Keyword Insertion
One of the major benefits of keyword insertion is that you can have personalized ads appear for every search query. In addition, you can improve account performance by increasing CTR and quality scores since ads are more personalized. If Keyword Insertion is set-up properly, you will definitely have an edge over your competitors.

Negatives of Keyword Insertion

If it is not set-up correctly it can drastically hurt your account. You must take into account plurals, misspellings, or any other grammatical errors that can occur with Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Finally, it takes time, testing, and proper organization to effectively set-up DKI in your account.

10. Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSA)

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads allow you to increase bids or test results for an audience that has shown interest in your website. When you set-up remarketing lists, you can use audiences on the Display Network and the Search Network. The main benefit of remarketing on the search network is you can bid more aggressively to people on your Remarketing Lists since they have already shown an interest in your business.

Example of RLSA:

Let’s say you own an online golf club store and someone browses your section of putters without making a purchase. Since that person was browsing putters, they are placed into a remarketing list that has an interest in putters (You will want to set it up this way). The next day, the same person who visited your website goes to Google and enters “Top Rated Putters for Sale” in the search bar. Since they are in your remarketing list and you are targeting this keyword, you bid aggressively to re-target this user with an ad since they are clearly in the decision making process.

11. Call Extensions and Tracking

The development of Call Extensions has been great for advertisers. It is easy to add click-to-call buttons to your mobile ads and phone numbers to your desktop ads. In addition, you can track people from AdWords who make a call from your website with Website Call Conversions.

Below is an example of a mobile call extension and a desktop call extension. Notice the mobile extension literally adds a button to the advertisement whereas the desktop ad just adds a phone number.

Mobile-and-Desktop-Call-Extensions.png

 
If your business takes calls, you should implement call extensions. It’s a great way to receive more phone calls and you can easily track every single phone call from your AdWords account with Call Extensions.

12. Segmenting

You can segment results from your campaign by time, conversions, network, click type, device, and more. Segmenting helps give you a better look into what exactly is happening across different networks and devices. Look at the picture below to see how you can segment your results.
 

Segment-on-AdWords (1).png

 
Sometimes you can uncover mistakes in your account by simply using segmenting. In addition, the information provided by segmenting can help you make educated marketing decisions.

13. Dimensions

Dimensions can help you get an even deeper look into your account. Below is a graphic with dimensions and some of the different options you have.

Dimensions-on-Google-AdWords1.jpg


Click on every item from the list and see what you can learn from your campaigns. There is a lot of helpful information available to you from the Dimensions tab so you should definitely take advantage of it.

In Conclusion

These are some strategies and features that new AdWords advertisers might not be taking advantage of yet. I know when I started that I did not consider or even know about some of these options.

The most important thing with AdWords is to keep up with all AdWords updates, use data to make marketing decisions, and test. The more you test the more you can find out what works. While you are testing, you will want to track results so you can make educated decisions. Finally, keeping up with AdWords updates helps you ensure that you are not missing out on a new feature that might help your campaign.

How to Effectively Create AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads

One of my favorite features in AdWords and Bing is Dynamic Keyword Insertion (also known as DKI or Keyword Insertion). In an age of personalized marketing, Dynamic Keyword ads are a great way of creating ads that remain targeted to every search query.

Be sure to let me know in the comments what you think of this feature or any questions you might have.

What is Dynamic Keyword Insertion?

Keyword Insertion is a feature that allows an advertiser to create one dynamic ad that automatically updates based on the users search query and the keywords in your ad group.

How does DKI work?

Dynamic Keyword Insertion will put one of your targeted keywords directly into your ad based on the search query. AdWords will select the keyword from your ad group that is closest to the search query and dynamically put that keyword in the ad.

Still confused? I was when I first read about DKI. Below is a picture example of how Dynamic Keyword Insertion works based on the search “best tv deals 2014” and the keywords in your ad group.

how-dynamic-keyword-ads-work.jpg

 As you can see, AdWords does not use the users search query but instead matches the closest keyword in the ad group to the search query. AdWords dropped the ‘2014’ because the targeted keyword was +best +tv +deals. If the targeted keyword was actually +best +tv +deals +2014 then that would have been the headline instead.

Where to Use Keyword Insertion?

In the previous example, I only showed DKI in the headline. However, you can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion In the headline, either one of the description lines, or your display URL. Not that it’s recommended but you can use it in all 4 fields in the same ad.

I usually only use Keyword Insertion once per ad and I like utilizing it for the headline. Depending on the keywords, industry, and level of competition, using it twice might help make your ad stand out even more.

How to Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion:

The simple code for using keyword insertion is {KeyWord:Default Keyword Here} where ‘Default Keyword Here’ is the keyword you want to show up in case a dynamic keyword cannot be inserted into your ad. The {} brackets and the colon must be in the ad like this for it to work.

Now that you have a background into DKI, it’s time to look into Dynamic Keyword Insertion and how to actually utilize this feature effectively. Below, we are taking a look at the search query ‘Red Basketball Sneakers’ and how your ads will look if you use Keyword Insertion.

The first column is what your ad will look like in your account and the second column is how it will appear in search results. Look at the takeaways to see why the capitalization occurs this way.

Search Query: “Red Basketball Sneakers”

Takeaways:

  • The dynamic keyword is all lowercase because ‘keyword‘ is lowercase.

  • The first letter of the first word will be capitalized because of ‘Keyword’.

  • My Favorite: Capitalizes first letter of each word because of ‘KeyWord’.

  • The entire keyword is capitalized because of ‘KEYWORD‘.

  • The first word is capitalized and the first letter of every other word is capitalized because of ‘KEYWord’.

  • The first letter is capitalized and the rest of the keyword will be capitalized because of ‘KeyWORD‘.

More Takeaways:

  • Keyword Insertion only affects the default keyword that you put within your code. In all the ads where ‘Red’ is on the outside of the code: Red {KeyWord:Basketball Sneakers} the word “Red” remains exactly the same.

  • How you capitalize the word ‘keyword’ in your code {keyword:Keyword Here} controls the capitalization of the keywords in your ad. I always use {KeyWord:Keyword Here} because I like to capitalize the first letter of each word.

  • There are not many instances where you can use all capitals in your ad so your ad might get disapproved if you try to use all capitals.

As you can see, capitalization is a huge part of Dynamic Keyword Insertion. You have some different options on how to capitalize the words in your ad based on the Keyword Insertion code you use.

Effectively Utilize Dynamic Keyword Insertion:

Dynamic Keyword Insertion only works well if the account is set-up to use it properly. You need tightly themed ad groups and you need to take into account how every keyword will look in your dynamic ad. I have implemented dynamic ads in the past only to realize that they performed worse than their static counterpart, and it usually comes down to an issue with the keywords that are being targeted in the ad group.

Keyword Insertion Issues to Avoid:

Wrong code

The code I use for keyword insertion is this {KeyWord:Enter Keyword Here} because it capitalizes the first letter of every word. If you miss one of the {} brackets or use the wrong brackets then DKI will not work. You also cannot forget about the Colon. You can literally copy and paste my code if you’d like and just enter your own default keyword for your ad.

Shorter keywords

Shorter keywords are many times very popular but they are not always descriptive. For example, if someone searches ‘Ink Toner’ to buy new ink, you are better off with a headline of ‘Buy Ink Toner Cartridges’ than just ‘Ink Toner.’ See the graphic below for an example.

Plurals

Plurals can cause a headache with Dynamic Keyword Insertion. Let’s say you are bidding on the keyword [basketball sneaker], You do not want your ad to say ‘Buy Basketball Sneaker’ or ‘Red Basketball Sneaker’ if someone’s search query is “Best Basketball Sneaker.” Just take into account how your ad will look with the different keywords you are targeting.

Misspelled words

If someone misspells a word in their search query, your ad will still appear just fine because AdWords dynamically inserts YOUR keyword. However, if you misspell your keyword, then your ad will end up being misspelled. Just be sure the keywords in your ad group are spelled correctly.

Broad match keywords

DO NOT use Dynamic keyword Insertion when you are targeting broad match keywords. It works well with modified broad, phrase, and exact match, but broad match only will make your dynamic ad irrelevant most of the time.

Trademarked terms

DO NOT bid on competitor keywords and insert their brand in your headline. For example, if you are not selling Reebok sneakers but you want to bid on their keywords because your sneakers are similar, you can use something like ‘Compare Us To Reebok’ but DO NOT use ‘Reebok Shoes For Sale’ because then your ad will not match with your landing page.

Examples of Dynamic Keyword Insertion Ads:

Below are graphics that show three different examples of search queries and a comparison between a static and a dynamic ad. I am not trying to point out that the dynamic ads are great but I wanted to compare different ads from the same search query.

Example #1

Dynamic-Keyword-Insertion-Ads-in-Search-Results-1.jpg

I wanted to point out that dynamic ads are not always perfect for shorter keywords. In the example above, the headline ‘Buy Ink Toner Cartridges’ is much better than just plain ‘Ink Toner.’

Example #2

Dynamic-Keyword-Insertion-Ads-in-Search-Results-21.jpg

Here is an example where Capital One decided to use their brand instead of a dynamic ad, which is not a bad thing at all because the ad is still very targeted. On the other hand, American Express decided to use a dynamic ad (I believe) instead of just using their brand.

Example #3

Dynamic-Keyword-Insertion-Ads-in-Search-Results-3.jpg

Last but not least, here is an example of a franchise company looking for new franchisees. Instead of using their company in the headline, they simply use ‘Entrepreneur Opportunities’ instead of ‘Water Dealer Franchise.’ The other ad seems to me like the landing page will be more relevant with a list of franchise opportunities rather than just one opportunity, but they did not use a dynamic ad.

This is an example where I would recommend ad #2 to be dynamic and I would recommend ad #1 to not be dynamic but instead more descriptive about the actual water dealer franchise.

In Conclusion:

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is a great feature if you utilize it effectively. In an organized account with tightly themed ad groups, it can help boost your CTR and make your ads more relevant for every search query. However, there are many issues associated with improperly using this feature so it is important to understand exactly how it works.

Relevant and Targeted PPC Ads Critical to Campaign Success

Are Untargeted PPC Ads Hurting Your Click Through Rate?

There are a lot of moving parts in large AdWords campaigns.  One of the most important pieces to the equation are the ads you are presenting potential customers.  If your ads are not targeted and relevant, you could be losing out on customers to your competitors. Not only that, lower CTRs, lower quality scores, increased CPC and wasted ad spend.

Here are a few examples of some major companies that hit it right, along with some that do not:

I. First Google Search Query: Black Football Cleats

Below is an image of the ad results for the search query “black football cleats” into Google.  The ads with the green squares are very targeted and the ads with the red circles are not as targeted as they could be.

black-football-cleats2.png

Analysis of Search Query:

I am being strict on these search results to prove a point.  No advertisement returned for this search query was terrible, but there are definitely ads that stand out, both good and bad.

The Good:

The ads returned by Nike are targeted and relevant.  In their top ad, the title uses the exact search query, “Black Football Cleats,” so that is a step in the right direction towards a conversion.  In addition, the description and sitelinks are related to football and cleats. 

The second good thing I noticed was Nike’s product listing ad to the bottom right.  Nike returned a generic black football cleat that is 100% targeted towards the search query.

The Bad:

The first bad thing I noticed is that the result returned by Zappos is not targeted towards the search query.  Not only does Zappos not advertise black cleats, but they also refer to them as ‘Football shoes’ instead of cleats.  While it is not a terrible ad, most people are likely going to click on the first result by Nike.com or the second result by Eastbay.com. 

The Ugly:
In the product listing ad section to the right, the red and black cleat returned by eBay is not targeted at all.  The cleat is mostly red and there was no mention of red in the search query.  The same goes for the black and yellow cleat returned by Eastbay. 

Final Analysis:

I would click on the top Nike.com ad for this search query and browse their website.

II. Second Google Search Query: Cheap New Couches

Below is an image of the ad results for the search query “cheap new couches” into Google.

cheap-new-couches2.png

Start by doing your own analysis on this one and see what you come up with.  You will be surprised at how helpful search queries can be towards your learning, especially if you are researching your own search ads. 

Analysis of Search Query:

First off, it is good no advertiser actually used the word ‘cheap’ in their ad.  Many people associate the word cheap with low-quality even if they use it in the query.  I think RoomsToGo has a somewhat irrelevant ad because they are promoting chairs instead of couches or sofas.  Plus, if chairs start at $299, I don’t even want to know what the prices for couches are.

My favorite ad is actually the 2nd one down, which is a local furniture warehouse to my location.  Their ad would be the one I’d click on because not only are they local, they are also having a $299 sofa sale according to their ad.  I really like how personalized this ad is to me because I know there is a sale, the location is within driving distance, and I know I can get a new couch for $299.  Perfect.

The third ad by Sears is a good one but it’s just not as targeted as the one above.  The one plus is that the Sear’s ad uses sitelink extensions, a review extension, and a location extension so there is a lot of information packed into the one advertisement.

Final Analysis:

I would click on the 2nd or 3rd ad but there is probably no chance of me clicking on the RoomsToGo ad.

In Conclusion:

One of the challenges I found while managing a large account is that it is difficult to ensure that every ad is targeted towards the search query.  Every marketer would love for their ads to be a 100% match to the search query that triggered it but it becomes a challenge when you have an account with 1,000+ keywords.

Using RoomsToGo as an example, they are likely bidding on so many different furniture keywords that sometimes ads are displayed that are not relevant.

You should make sure your AdWords ads are targeted to the keywords you target.  Search 10-15 of your keywords per day and see the results.  Start with your popular keywords and make sure your ads are targeted to each search query.  If you start noticing errors, it might be time to edit your campaign.