They’re both full of hidden gems.
When you’re in dire need of some sweet tunes to throw on while you cook Sunday dinner, do you simply put Led Zeppelin IV on shuffle and call it a night?
Heavens to Betsy—I sure hope not. You should be playing songs from across all eight albums, basking in the glory of early covers like “Dazed and Confused” and late-career triumphs like “Fool in the Rain.” It’s the only way to get the most out of one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll catalogues of all time.
You should approach WordStream Advisor the same way.
Adding keywords via the 20-Minute Work Week.
Sure—the 20-Minute Work Week is a hell of a tool. The ability to check in once a week and quickly add negatives, optimize bids, and add extensions is super convenient. In minutes, you can effectively streamline some of the most mind-numbing parts of PPC account management.
But there’s so much more.
For example, if you navigate to the Manage tab, you can customize the metrics columns to your liking. If you want insights into auction prices, conversion values, or return on ad spend (ROAS), you can make it happen.
Or maybe you could use a closer look at the keywords that are frequently triggered by users’ search queries. If you head over to QueryStream, you’ll see a small information icon next to each target keyword. Hover over it, and you’ll discover its Quality Score, its maximum CPC, and the corresponding SERP.
Perhaps you’ve mastered the art of static text ads and you’re ready to venture into more dynamic media. Did you know that WordStream Advisor enables you to create unique, engaging Facebook video ads in a matter of minutes? Now you do.
Want to zoom out for a bit? Head to the Dashboard and check out your Biggest Movers. Here, you can get a bird’s eye view of your performance across metrics and platforms. Whether you want to evaluate your Facebook CPA over the past month or your Google Ads conversion volume over the past year, the Dashboard makes high-level analysis easy and comprehensible.
The point: WordStream Advisor is full of hidden gems. Regardless of your goals, your scale, or your industry, there’s always additional value to be discovered. If you’re unsure of where to start your journey, check out the wonderfully gamified infographic below—...
You understand that people aren’t going to search for you on Google or Bing unless they know you exist, right? That’s awesome!
So you see the value in display advertising, and you want to learn more about the Display Network. Well, you came to the right post.
Whether you are setting up a new display campaign or trying to squeeze all the worth from your current campaigns, there are many nuances to the Display Network that can make or break an ad group’s performance. Here are the top four facts that I share with anyone who wants to work with Display ads.
Fact #1: Placements don’t have to stick to websites
Most advertisers think of the Display Network as a collection of websites where we can show ads. While this line of thinking is mostly correct, it’s not fully complete. Yes, we can show ads on websites, but our ads can also appear on YouTube channels, YouTube videos, relevant apps, and app categories.
Just as exact match isn’t truly exact, your managed placements might not be as exact as you want them to be either. If the website you choose as a related app, your ads can also show up on that app even if you do not select it as a placement. Even if you are choosing specific placements, monitor your placement reports often to really make sure your ads are showing up on the websites you want them to be.
I recently wrote about some of my favorite ways to find new placements to target for the Display Network. Check it out if you are looking for a new approach to find and test placements.
Fact #2: Keyword targeting can work in a couple ways
Before you even consider picking keywords in your Display campaign, you need to understand the keyword settings. If you are currently running Display campaigns with keyword targeting, the two settings we have are Audiences and Content. Here is what a current keyword setting looks like for an ad group I have been running for a while.
The Audience setting will show your ads to users are have an active interest in your selected keywords. If you have this option selected, it’s important to know Google started changing the Audience setting to have users create custom intent audiences instead. Google advises how to manage this change on the Google Ads help page for Display keywords: “To continue showing your ads to...
Here at WordStream, we’re committed to helping businesses like yours launch effective and profitable campaigns across search and social. Towards that end, we took it upon ourselves to identify five online advertising campaigns (two on Google, three on Facebook) that struck marketing gold.
Each of the following campaigns is a high-performer in its own right. From Facebook lead ads, to Custom Audience creation, to search network omnipresence, to account structure refinement—these campaigns leverage strategies you’re probably familiar with. They just do so in an extraordinarily effective way.
So while myself and fellow content specialist Conor Bond will be diving way deeper into each of these five campaigns (and what makes them successful) in our live webinar on March 20, today, we’re going to give you an exclusive sneak peak at the strategies that helped take them from middling performers to the cream of the crop.
Let’s dive in!
1. New Jersey Devils score with Facebook lead ads
If you’re familiar with the New Jersey Devils franchise, or with hockey in general, you may be aware that the Devils were a National Hockey League powerhouse in the early 2000s. You might also be aware that the last few iterations of the team have been, well, a mixed bag. Prior to last season, the Devils had missed the playoffs five years running; any playoff drought that long is going to do a number on season ticket sales. But the Devils did make the playoffs this past year. And though they didn’t make it out of the first round, the team created quite a buzz in New Jersey.
The Devils decided to try to capitalize on their success by leveraging Facebook ads in the 2018 offseason to increase season ticket sales. Specifically, they leveraged Facebook lead ads.
The lead ad is a streamlined, in-app ad format that allows prospects to submit their contact information without ever leaving Facebook. Lead ads convert to leads at a 2.07% higher rate than landing pages. The Devils didn’t just use them all willy-nilly, though. The campaign was executed in three steps:
The Devils created a Facebook event for a team-hosted open house where prospects could learn more about season ticket membership. They then leveraged Custom Audiences to deliver that ad to previous subscribers.
They created two variations of lead ads—one with a...
Yesterday, Facebook announced that it’s sunsetting Relevance Score—the ad-level metric that basically tells you whether your ad is any good—and replacing it with three new metrics:
Engagement rate ranking
Conversion rate ranking
Let’s dive deeper. After looking more closely at Relevance Score and the metrics that will replace it, we’ll talk about why Facebook is doing this, why it’s good news, and how to go forward.
What is Relevance Score, and what’s replacing it?
Something I tend to think of as a more confusing version of Google’s Quality Score, Relevance Score tells you how relevant and engaging your ad is. It’s Facebook’s way of telling you whether you’re doing a good job or not.
Relevance Score is measured at the ad level and it determines both how much you pay for a click and how often your ad is served to Facebook users. If your ad isn’t terribly relevant to the audience you’re targeting, Facebook charges you a premium for serving it to them—and serves it somewhat infrequently, too. Alternatively, if your ad is highly relevant to the audience you’re targeting, Facebook rewards you by charging you less and serving your ad more.
“This is all pretty straightforward, Conor. Are you sure you’re not just dumb?”
Hold your horses. When it comes to the components of Relevance Score, things get a little less intuitive. Facebook will assign your ad a Relevance Score after it’s been served a couple hundred times—thus giving Facebook enough data to make educated performance predictions.
Every time your ad runs, Facebook looks at your campaign goal and your target audience to determine how likely people are to do whatever it is you want them to do. In other words, your ad’s Relevance Score is based on expected performance. Sort of vague, no?
We’ll talk about that more in a minute. In the meantime, here’s a closer look at the new metrics that will replace Relevance Score:
Quality ranking measures the quality of your ad in comparison to the others competing for the same audience.
Engagement rate ranking measures the expected level of engagement your ad will drive in comparison to the others competing for the same audience.
Conversion rate ranking measures the expected conversion rate your ad will drive in comparison to the others that are pursuing the same...
Here are the top seven video advertising trends you can expect to see more of in the new year.
1. Shorter video ads
Today’s abundance of video content creates an endless amount of competition for advertisers. Customers with the ability to watch virtually anything will only watch an ad if it is relevant, attention grabbing, and valuable. As a result, the amount of time people spend watching ads has declined across nearly every medium. Similar trends are leading brands to test short video ads that aim to beat the skip button and serve short attention spans.
Short bumper ads present a creative challenge for marketers who must tell a brand story in under 15 seconds. The format calls for impactful content that can induce an immediate emotional response from a viewer. Below are two examples of prominent brands using humor, shock, and action to create compelling short and effective pre-roll ads.
Concise video ads like these have started to become a staple in video-focused marketing. According to a study by Google, 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%. It’s a safe prediction that more brands will jump on the trend this year.
2. OTT advertising
Over the top (OTT) is a term used to describe content providers that distribute streaming media over the internet. These services are disrupting traditional broadcast television and have led a new generation of consumers to “cut the cord” with satellite and cable services.
There are three video on demand models currently dominating the OTT industry:
Subscription VOD: Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo
Transactional VOD: iTunes, Amazon, Google Play
Ad-supported VOD: YouTube, Twitch, Vimeo
Marketing through these platforms offers benefits similar to those gained from conventional online advertising. Unlike traditional commercials, OTT allows marketers to utilize targeting, ad insertion, and advanced analytics to create shorter more personalized ads. This...
It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a crisp October Saturday. Gorgeous, brightly colored leaves are falling outside the window, patiently making their way to the damp grass with enough grace to make angels weep.
Suddenly, our hero enters the room. He was responsibly enjoying some light beers while tailgating the football game when he was struck with a sudden realization.
He needs a new shower curtain—like right now.
You specialize in shower curtains, of course. Yours can compete with the best of ‘em. But when our hero, being the wacky Gen Z’er he is, Google searches “rad shower curtain,” he doesn’t see yours in the Shopping ads.
Why? Because you haven’t started running Shopping ads yet. You haven’t gotten around to learning how they work, and you’ve only been running text ads. Due to your lack of visibility at the top of the SERP, you’ve lost a potential customer.
We don’t want that to happen. That’s why we’ve put together this here guide to ecommerce PPC—so you can learn the fundamentals of Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and Amazon advertising. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have learned:
How Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and Amazon advertising work
How to set up and structure accounts on each platform
How to optimize your bids on each platform
Let’s get to it.
An Introduction to Google Shopping
When Google users search for products, they're served Shopping ads. On desktop, they’re shown in a grid format on the right side of the SERP.
And on mobile, they’re shown in a carousel format at the top of the SERP.
According to Search Engine Land, Shopping ads account for roughly 75% of clicks from non-branded product searches. All queries considered—branded and non-branded—Shopping ads drive around 52% of ecommerce advertisers’ clicks.
Elsewhere, Smart Insights reports that American ecommerce vendors who advertise on Google drive 85% of their paid clicks from Shopping ads.
Translation: failing to leverage Google Shopping is a mistake.
How does Google Shopping work?
Short answer: a whole lot differently than does the rest of Google Ads.
To become a Shopping advertiser, you have to link your Google Ads account to Google Merchant Center. Don’t worry—it’s a super simple process. You can take care of it here.
Once that’s settled, it’s...
For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we talked with Pablo Ledesma. Originally from Salamanca, Spain, Pablo learned to code in a Launch Academy program, after studying business and environmental science. Pablo joined WordStream as a software engineer about a year and half ago.
What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on during your time here so far?
A couple of months after I started, my managers asked me to create a very specific feature for the Facebook component of the product. Users needed to be able to select multiple items and collapse a whole list—this kind of crazy automation stuff. It was extremely difficult, mostly because it took weeks of working on the code and product without knowing if would actually work. When you’re creating product features from scratch, that’s the process. It worked out, though.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on here at WordStream?
I like working on the 20-Minute Work Week alerts! For these, I work from scratch on the backend to generate the alert all the way through to the front end with user testing. To create a new alert, you have to create an algorithm that actually works and learns, and that people will find useful. Then, you have to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. If our customers aren't finding it helpful, is it the user flow or the function of the alert itself that isn't working? It’s a really creative process trying to follow the user flow. When you get it right and create something completely new, it’s one of those brilliant, ah-ha moments.
That sounds very collaborative.
It is really collaborative. I work with product managers, UX designers, other engineers—creating a new alert involves a lot of preparation because it needs to be useful. We could just make something cool or new, but that wouldn’t necessarily be helpful to our customers.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned on the job?
I’ve learned that there's always a solution for everything. As an engineer, at least, it’s always possible. It’s just a matter of time and resources. This a...
This wasn't the first time Google Ads has had problem, but those are usually coming at us from the admin side. This is a design flaw that degrades UX by hijacking the script mid-session.
Cross-site scripting issues aren't new. They aren't even the biggest digital marketing story of the year; this type of vulnerability has been around since the 1990s. Recently, however, hackers have found newer and sneakier ways to exploit it – and not in a small way.
Facebook spent most of 2018 battling various XSS exploits and bad publicity as it tried to secure its platform for millions of users at risk.
In the latter part of 2018, a handful of some of the world’s largest platforms (including Reddit, Amazon Music, Tinder, Pinterest) risked compromise to a staggering 685 million accounts as a result of a third-party XSS vulnerability.
The issue happens with “iframe busters” – HTML files on a domain server that determine how a Display ad is engaged by a visitor, effectively allowing ads to appear larger than their encapsulating iframe.
Now, cyber attackers have found a way to add arbitrary code to the busters, leaving websites and visitors open to infiltration. This undermines visitor trust at a time when consumer confidence in cybersecurity is already low and data integrity issues are front-page news.
In this article, we’ll take a look at XSS attacks and outline ways in which advertisers can steer clear of the attacks themselves and for their partners – publishers and vendors.
What is an XSS attack?
Exploiting this weakness in the coding wreaks havoc by redirecting – or misdirecting – website visitors, accessing cookies, or installing malware. It can hijack a user's entire session and send them to another website. The bigger and more interactive a website is, the more insertion points there are for hackers to probe for weaknesses.
This is part of the...
This phrase rings especially true for ecommerce advertisers who may be blinded by revenue levels or conversion numbers instead of what really matters: the actual profitability of their PPC accounts.
It’s understandable to follow the logic that more sales would lead to more revenue. But that’s not always the case. In this guide, I’m going show you how you can maximize the PPC profitability for your ecommerce business both ways – the traditional way, by adjusting your bids, and the non-traditional way, by actually decreasing your sales.
Maximizing PPC profitability: The traditional way
If you’re not happy with your ROI, the most intuitive way to increase paid advertising profitability is to be smarter with your bids or your bid adjustments. That way, you’re increasing the impact of your ad dollars without spending more.
Tweaking bids to increase profits
One strategy for maximizing your ad spend is changing your bids in order to increase your profits.
If you take the price you sell a product for and subtract all costs (product cost, admin cost, staff cost, shipping cost, etc.) then you are left with the raw profits generated by each product sale.
Most of our clients use between 30-50% of this raw profit to help advertise the product. This leads to the ad cost being taken away from the total raw profits generated to make the sale in the first place, giving a final profitability relationship:
This allows advertisers to work out a target return on ad spend (ROAS) for a product by dividing the revenue generated by each sale by the cost of advertising.
When setting bids on search or shopping campaigns an advertiser can tweak bids up or down to aim towards a target ROAS or even reverse-engineer CPCs to find an ideal Maximum CPC bid.
Modify bid adjustments to increase profits
Ecommerce website users are a fickle bunch; some may convert differently during different times of the day, some demographics may increase average conversion rates while others drag it down, and often users act very differently depending on which device they have in their hands.
Without using bid adjustments, you have to combine highly converting users with poorly converting users and work towards the hazy midway average performance between them, which is less than ideal.
By segmenting and using...