Category : Ad Marketing

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Update on COVID-19 Ad Credits for Google Ads

On March 27 Google announced $340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year.

Google posted an update yesterday (April 20) adding new FAQs on how the credit program will be administered.

See post with up-to-date information here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9803410?hl=en

One important question about eligibility that was on my mind is how they would identify small & medium sized businesses for this credit. Google Ads responded:

“We have a global team that is specifically designed to consult with and support the needs of small and medium sized businesses around the world, and the ad credits will be supporting those businesses. We work with SMBs worldwide from local stores to companies with hundreds of employees and many locations”.

Wondering how much your ad credit will be?  Google Ads says:

“The ad credit amount will vary by customer based on past Google Ads spend, and the country and currency where the business and Google Ads account is set up.”

We will contact each qualifying client when credits become available to discuss how to integrate the credits into your budget.

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COVID-19: Credits for Google Ads for Small and Medium-sized Businesses

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a new $800+ million commitment to support small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this COVID-19 pandemic. See announcement.

This support includes:

“$340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year. Credit notifications will appear in their Google Ads accounts and can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our advertising platforms. We hope it will help to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers.”

Google search ads are a huge part of our business and therefore we are keeping up to date on the latest information on how to benefit from this Google credit. To date, Google has posted an FAQ page which includes this answer to “How and when will eligible customers receive the ad credits?”

“Small and medium businesses worldwide that have been active advertisers since the beginning of 2019 will be informed in the coming months through notifications within their Google Ads account.”

We will contact each qualifying client when credits become available to discuss how to integrate the credits into your budget. We are not sure where the line will be drawn or what criteria Google will use to distinguish between medium and large businesses as the credits are for small/medium businesses and not large businesses.

Facebook Ads

Facebook pledged credits for small businesses.  See details.

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate. We’ll share more details as they become available.

 

Call to Action in Video Ads

If video ads in Facebook and YouTube are part of your marketing mix, here are some tips on how to edit the end of your ad.

 

Facebook Video Ads

After the video ad ends, Facebook overlays a call to action in the middle of your video.  One can choose the call to action text and link in the video ad settings.  So for the last frame be sure not to have anything important in the centre of the frame.  I suggest putting your logo and any text that you want to include (like a slogan) at the top or bottom.  Keep the end short as the call to action from Facebook only appears after the video ends, so there is no point lingering on a long end frame making the user have to wait to click.

YouTube Ads

Youtube has many options for videos, this is a general tip for ads that users can click on to visit a URL. it is important to have a call to action and you can even write “click here” as part of your call to action to let users know what action to take.  I recommend keeping this ending of your video with your logo and call to action for at least 4 seconds.

 

Let me know if you have any comment or other tips based on your experience.

Fastbase leads

Fastbase Webleads for Google Analytics

There is a new service for finding out the company name, contact name and email address and other information of website visitors. It is an add-on to Google analytics offered by Fastbase.com.  There is a free trial which lists leads to your site for the last 12 months.  Here is the pricing page: https://analytics.fastbase.com/Pricing. The catch is that you have to login to your Google Analytics account and share your Analytics data with Fastbase. I do not know how they will monetize on having this data but it is valuable so I am sure they will do well!

I did a test for one of my clients and downloaded a list of 728 leads with a date range of 12 months. this is out of a total of 27,543 users to the site over the same date range. It remains to be tested to see if these leads are any good, but it could be a powerful tool for B2B websites. An extension on remarketing: rather than just showing ads to people who have been on your site you can actually contact them by email, phone or mail.

Out of the 728 leads, 623 had email addresses. I ran this list through zerobounce.com to get an idea of how many of the emails are valid (it is processing,  I will include an update in comments.) It might be interesting to send out an email blast to this list to see what kind of interest you get.

Please leave comments if you have tried this service, have feedback or are interested in receiving these lead reports.

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Facebook Making Changes to Newsfeed

On January 11, 2018 Facebook announced a major change to their newsfeed that would show less posts from businesses and more posts from friends and family that are considered meaningful to users.

This is a big concern to business who use Facebook as a marketing tool. The good news for businesses is that this will not affect advertising, but it will affect regular posts.

Post vs. Boosted Post

As a business you can make a post and it will be seen by about 20% of users who like your page. Posts with more engagement including comments will show more often and to more users. What companies typically must do to reach a larger audience, including more of the users who like their page but also users targeted by interests and other factors is pay to promote the post. Promoted posts will also show in newsfeeds and will not be affected by the recent changes. In addition to promoted posts, advertisers can also show ads including image ads, video ads, carousel ads and other ad formats right in the newsfeed. These are considered “ads” and would not be affected by the recent newsfeed algorithm changes.

The bad news is that businesses who use facebook as a marketing tool without paying for ads will reach less people. Posts made by businesses will have to be much more engaging now in order to be seen in newsfeeds given the recent change. Or, businesses will have to pay to boost them or set them up as ads.

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See Mark Zuckerbergs full post:

https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571

 

Google Roadshow

I attended a Conference at Google’s Montreal office yesterday. I got an excellent refresher on all the of the advertising opportunities in YouTube and with the Google Display Network. A few things stood out as I learnt about some great new features, some of which are still in the beta stage, and also more about Gmail ads which have been available for about 1 month. Any advertiser can now use Gmail ads to target the user based on keywords or domain names that appear in email messages as well as Google search queries on the Web, sites visited and Google Profile information.

Another interesting feature for display ads and YouTube ads is Brand Lift. Brand Lift uses one question surveys to measure the effectiveness of your ads and how they affect awareness and branding.

Overall it was a conference worth attending and will help me to offer the most appropriate Google ad opportunities to my clients.

What it means to be a Google Certified Partner

Google Certified Partner BadgeWhile looking through your current or potential SEO’s website, you may notice the Google Adwords Certified Partner Badge. This badge represents that the company currently has Google Adwords Certified employee/s, and has also met other important criteria to become recognized as an official Google Partner.

Google Certification Benefits

In order to become Google Adwords Certified, an individual must pass two exams: Advertising Fundamentals, plus either of the Advanced Search or Advanced Display exams. This signifies that through extensive studying and experience, a company is more adept at providing a client with industry recognized training. Ultimately, this will help to improve your campaign performance across the Search and Display Networks.

This can also help to reassure the client that they are dealing with a dedicated and trustworthy company. The company invests time and money into the skills development of their employees in an effort to offer their clients advanced account maintenance and recommendations within the Adwords system. These techniques are applied to bring maximum results to a client’s campaigns.

To read more details on the process of becoming Google Certified, please see our post about how to become a Google Certified Partner.

How to Become a Google Certified Partner

With the many updates that Google has recently posted for the Certification program, we thought we would give you a little insight into what these changes entail and what the process is to become Google Certified. Now, instead of learning and taking exams through the Google Certification Program (GCP); users and companies will now have to create/transfer an account to the new Google Partners program.

Google Certified Partner BadgeImplemented Changes

•  As of September 30, 2013, all access to your GCP account will be read-only information.
•  A Google Partners account will be required in order to take exams to become certified.
•  Exams will no longer cost $50.00 USD. All exams and certifications taken via Google Partners will now be free!
•  Your previous exam history and certification status will transfer from GCP to Google Partners if you join using the same Google account.
•  Certifications earned through GCP will remain valid through the expiration date.

Google Exams
To become Google certified, you must pass at least 2 exams; first the Advertising Fundamentals, then you can choose between either the Advanced Search or Advanced Display exams.

Advertising Fundamentals
In order to pass this exam, you need to have a passing score of at least 85%. You will be given 90 questions that must be completed within 120 minutes. Study material for this exam contains 11 lessons that can be found on the Google Partners site: Advertising Fundamentals Lessons
While the Fundamentals exam covers the basic aspects of Adwords, it is highly recommended that you study all 11 lessons.
Once passed, this exam is valid for 2 years.

Advanced Search
If you pass the Advertising Fundamentals exam, you can then choose between the Advanced Search exam and the Advanced Display exam.

The Advanced Search exam requires you to have a passing score of at least 80%. You will be asked 99 questions over 120 minutes. The study material contains 9 lessons that you should study explicitly. This is no easy exam. The questions are created to challenge even the most experienced Adwords users, and require you to answer with the best practices…not necessarily the methods that you as an individual apply. The study material can be found at: Advanced Search Lessons
Once passed, this exam will be valid for 1 year.

Advanced Display
If you choose to become certified specializing in the Display Network, then you should choose the Advanced Display exam. This exam requires a 70% passing score and will ask you 90 questions over 120 minutes. There are 4 lessons in the study guide: Advanced Display Lessons and once again, it is highly recommended that you cover all of the lessons while preparing to take this exam.

Once passed, this exam will be valid for 1 year.

Once you pass the 2 exams, your certification status will be updated on Google Partners (and your affiliated company) within 24-48 hours.

Failed an exam? Not to worry, they are free to take but you will have to wait 7 days to retake a failed exam.

Yahoo SM vs. Google AdWords

Yahoo has announced its new pay-per-click product: Yahoo Search Marketing (SM). This product was formerly known as Overture, but you may also recognize it as Goto.com, the name it went under prior to 2001. In our experience, advertising with Google AdWords has resulted in higher conversion rates than with Yahoo Search Marketing (SM). However, both programs have advantages and disadvantages. How does Yahoo SM compare with Google’s AdWords? Let’s start by looking at how they differ (all amounts are in USD).

Bidding

Yahoo SM

  • Yahoo places your bid at 1 penny over your next lowest competitor. Thus, if you bid $3.00 per click, and the next highest bid is $1.95 per click, you will only pay $1.96 per click.
  • Yahoo allows you to see who you are bidding against and what they are bidding, so you know exactly where you will rank, and how much you will pay.
  • Yahoo’s maximum bid is $999.99
  • Yahoo’s minimum bid is $0.10

Google AdWords

  • Google doesn’t tell you how much you will pay per click. Thus, if you bid $3.00 per click, you will pay anywhere from $0.05 to $3.00 per click.
  • Google does not allow you to know how much your competitors are bidding per click.
  • An advantage with Google is that you will rank higher if your click-through rate (CT rate) is better (a CT rate is the ratio of clicks on your ad to the number of times your ad is shown). Thus, you may have a better rank than your competitor, even if he or she bids more than you (because of your CT rate).
  • Google’s maximum bid is $100.00
  • Google’s minimum bid is $0.05

Low CT rate dropping

Yahoo SM

  • Yahoo will drop your keyphrase if the CT rate is ranked very low for a significant period of time. In actuality, this rarely happens. Your keyphrase has to perform quite dismally for it to get dropped.

Google AdWords

  • Google drops keyphrases with POTENTIALLY low CT rates. If Google deems that your keyphrase has done poorly for other customers, then your keyphrase won’t even get the chance to make a single (first!) impression. This can be very frustrating when your keyphrases are very relevant, but Google won’t even let them see the light of day. The flip side, of course, is that if your keyphrase’s CT rate is good, you will get a higher ranking (even if you bid lower than your competition).

Showing ads by country and language

Google AdWords

  • Google allows you to choose your country and language by selecting them in a dropdown box. Very simple, very efficient, and very effective.
  • The language is based on the language setting of the visitor’s computer. For example, if you are targeting Spanish Americans, than you will want to target the Spanish AND English languages because many Spanish Americans use English computers. Just make sure that you choose Spanish-only keyphrases.

Yahoo SM

  • Yahoo’s system for countries and languages is downright miserable. You have to re-register for every country (and only twenty countries are available).
  • Worse, you have to re-submit all your keyphrases and reset all your bids.
  • What’s more, each country has different criteria for submission. This means you have to rebuild your campaign for the USA, UK, and Australia. Canada is there, but you are not allowed to submit English keyphrases (?!?), only French (FYI: Canada’s workforce is 73% English, 22% French). In Switzerland, you can submit in Italian, German and French; there is no language differentiation.
  • Notable missing countries: Mexico, China, English Canada (which is grouped with the USA), South Korea, India, Russia…

Reports

Yahoo SM

  • Yahoo offers many useful reports. And while you can find just about everything you might need, it’s left up to you to figure out which report contains the information you were looking for.

Google AdWords

  • Google offers customizable reports. You can ask for anything you want, and you will get it.
  • They also offer to email you your customized report on a regular basis.

Keyphrase comparison

I have bid on some keyphrases from February 1st to April 30th, and held them in similar positions during that time. These numbers are for search related impressions only. These campaigns were not involved in content advertising.


“Okeeffe print(s)”
#3 position
Yahoo:
1 click
8 impressions
12.5% CT rate
$0.10 cost per click
Google:
63 clicks
1642 impressions
3.8% CT rate
$0.13 cost per click

“Ansel Adams photo(s)”
#5-6 position
Yahoo:
20 clicks
2401 impressions
0.8% CT rate
$0.05 cost per click
Google:
25 clicks
2529 impressions
1.0% CT rate
$0.06 cost per click

Conversions

Our client February Point counted emails + contact forms as conversions. Here is a comparison from February 1st to April 30th.


“Real estate Bahamas”
#3 position
Yahoo:
1037 clicks
19 879 impressions
5.2% CT rate
$0.34 cost per click
3 conversions
0.30% conversion rate
Google:
1557 clicks
35 348 impressions
4.4% CT rate
$0.45 cost per click
13 conversions
0.84% conversion rate

Clearly then, Google AdWords is a better choice if you are interested in clicks, impressions, and conversions. If you want the lower cost per click for the same position, it would seem that Yahoo is the better choice (though conversions are lower).

Competition

FindWhat is possibly the third biggest pay-per-click (PPC) search engine, although there are a few that might be its equal: Kanoodle, GoClick, 7Search, Search123.
E-spotting is very big in the UK, and competes heavily with Google and Yahoo in the PPC marketplace.
MSN is getting ready to launch its own PPC engine to compete with Google and Yahoo (MSN currently uses Yahoo SM on its site). No date yet, but watch out for it.

Overall

To sum up, you will definitely have more control over your money with Yahoo’s system. It is more open and honest, and you will pay less per click than with Google’s system. Google does not tell you why you are paying what you are paying, but it does have the added bonus of rewarding you with rank for a better converting ad.

Of course, Google does get more traffic and it converts better than Yahoo, and in the end, isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Thus, Google should be the winning choice for anyone that is looking to convert clickers into buyers. Because after all, who doesn’t want to increase their sales?

Shawn Campbell

Shawn Campbell is the co-founder and Chief Search Engine Optimizer at Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.
www.redcarpetweb.com

Are You in for a Safe Landing? – PPC Landing Pages

You’ve paid for your ticket and your ads are up on Google AdWords and Yahoo’s Overture, but have you set up a safe landing for your clients?

Run a test landing. Do a search and find your Pay Per Click (PPC) ad in Yahoo or Google. Click on it. Where does it bring you? Your home page? I hope not. You should create a specific landing page for your PPC ads. A landing page is the page you create to convert your PPC traffic into sales. This page should get your potential customers (that you have already paid for!) to go exactly where you think they want to go.

Here are some tips to create a good landing page:

1) Focus! Focus! Focus!

The landing page should be about your product or service. No links to other sites, no advertisements, no “how do you do”. When people arrive at your landing page, they should already be predisposed to buy (since you wrote such an excellent ad to get them here in the first place) and are trying to either: a) Get more information about your product or service b) Find the “Buy now” button Use the search term on the page, because searchers will key into the section of the page with their search term. If the search term is “buy skidoo” then have a button that says “Buy Skidoos Here”. Don’t distract them – give them what they want.

2) Customize your landing page

Use a different landing page for each group of keyphrases. If you sell seadoos and skidoos, don’t use the same landing page for each. Create a new landing page for each product (or each group of products) and send the clients directly to the page they are interested in.

3) Give them information

If they are not yet sold on your product or service, then they are going to be looking for more detailed information when they arrive at your landing page. Give it to them. You have to convince them that you have the perfect product or service to solve their problem. If they run out of information before they make a commitment to buy, then you have lost them. Nobody will spend money until they are convinced that your product or service is the right choice for them. So prove it.

4) Tell the reader what you want them to do

Use calls-to-action. If you want them to buy your product, than tell them often how to do it (“Click here to buy”). If you want them to call you, post the number up with instructions (“Call us now at 1-877-717-3667”). Repeat it throughout the text, then again in big and bold at the end.

5) Use graphics

Use pictures to sell your product or service. Pictures of the product or pictures of satisfied customers sell. Use them – and use them often.

6) Run tests

Set up two landing pages to see which one converts better. Set up two identical ads and send one to each landing page, then compare conversion rates for each page. Figure out why one converts better and try to improve the other one. Then, run more tests until you are completely satisfied with the results.

Set up your landing pages so that your potential customers arrive for a safe landing. If all goes well, they will step out of the plane with their credit cards already in hand – and their money almost in your pocket.

Shawn Campbell

Shawn Campbell is the co-founder and Chief Search Engine Optimizer at Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.
www.redcarpetweb.com

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