Responsive Search Ads Are the New Default in Google Ads: What You Need to Know
If there’s one constant that we can always trust, it’s the fact that Google Ads is always keeping us on our toes. This rings true as of February 18, 2021 when Google announced that Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) will now be the default ad type when you’re looking to create ads for a Search campaign.
What does this mean for advertisers and Google Ads moving forward? In this post, we’re going to:
Clarify what’s changing for advertisers.
Compare RSAs to the former default ad type (Expanded Text Ads).
Walk you through how to set up RSAs.
Share input, tips, and best practices from the PPC community.
Our hope is to help you to better understand and adapt to this change so your ads can keep performing their best.
What does this change mean?
The change in default ad type from Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) to Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) means that when you click to make a new ad, there are now only two options: Responsive Search Ads or Call Ads.
This doesn't mean that Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are completely going away (at least not yet—more on that later) or that your ETAs are all of a sudden going to stop performing. On the contrary, having two ETAs and one RSAs per ad group still remains the recommended best practice by Google.
ETAs will still be an option to create as well, though it is a bit hidden. You’ll have to click to create an RSA, and then click the blue text at the top to “Switch back to text ads” in order to continue creating ETAs. So, this change does indicate to us that RSAs have now taken the seat on Google’s throne of the default Search ad type.
Why the switch?
Google provides a few reasons for the change in the default ad type from ETAs to RSAs:
Machine learning allows for improved performance
We’ve seen a pattern emerge with Google’s recent updates in favor of a shift toward automation. While many advertisers feel this gives them less control over their campaigns, Google takes the stance that machine learning can improve campaign performance in terms of flexibility, clicks, and conversions.
Better adaptability with changing consumer behavior
It’s a known fact that consumer needs and priorities are in a state of constant change, and more so than ever before as the pandemic progresses. Google’s reasoning for the push toward RSAs is that it gives advertisers a better way to adapt to shifting market trends...
6 Ways to Customize Your Facebook Dynamic Product Ads for Maximum Performance
Catalog campaigns are a great way to leverage a product feed to create ads on Facebook and Instagram. Once your integration is finished, it’s pretty easy to get campaigns up and running and start making sales.
While the default settings for Catalog campaigns can perform really well, there are lots of ways you can customize your campaigns to be sure you’re reaching the right users with the right products and in the right way.
In this post, I want to take you through some of my favorite ways to be sure I’m doing just that.
6 steps to customize your Facebook Dynamic Product Ads
There are several different elements within Facebook Dynamic Product Ads that you can customize, including ad text, prices, frames, image presentation, ad formats, intro cards, and more. Let's take a closer look at each one.
1. Leverage dynamic text from your feed in ad copy
When writing your ad text, Facebook allows you to pull in text dynamically from your feed to make the ad is as cohesive with the products being shown as possible.
When you’re in one of the text fields, client on the + button at the end of the field and you can see the full list of variables available.
Depending on how you want to frame your products, you can use any combination of these to make a compelling ad.
You can either use these as the sole text in the space, or you can write custom messages around the dynamic fields to still reflect your brand.
2. Customize images with prices/frames
In addition to the text, you can also spruce up your images from your feed as well. The first way is the most basic, but it can have a big impact.
When you add a new ad, click on Creative Tools then choose how you want to customize your creatives.
The first option is to Crop the Image. Here, you can choose how you want to arrange the image from your feed in the ad. Depending on what your photography looks like, it might make sense for you to Zoom In, Zoom Out, or Trim & Fit.
Ideally, your product will take up the majority of the space in the ad so it’s large, easy to see, and gives the user the best sense of what they’ll be getting.
The second option is to Add a Frame. Frames allow you to literally put a frame around the product itself. As you can see here, these work best when they have limited text and a...
How (+ When & Why) to Update Your Google Business Listing
Your Google business listing (known by Google as your Business Profile) is a free listing you can create to help get your business found in more local searches, rank higher than your competitors, and get chosen by more customers. However, it’s not just a set it and forget it listing. If you want to stay at the top of results, you need to optimize and maintain your listing, just as you would with your website.
So how do you make changes to your Google business listing to keep it up to date and SEO-friendly? That’s what we’ll answer in this post. We’ll cover:
How to list and claim your business on Google in the first place.
How to edit, update, and make changes to your contact information, hours, attributes, and more.
When and why update your Google listing, plus more FAQs.
How do I list my business on Google in the first place?
This post covers why you should update your Google business listing, when to make these updates, and covers the steps for common edits and changes such as hours, phone number, categories, and attributes. However, you may first be wondering how to list your business on Google in the first place. You also can’t make edits and updates to your listing unless you have claimed it. So before we begin, we’re going to cover how to list your business on Google and how to claim your business on Google. All of this is done through your Google My Business account.
Here’s how to create a Google listing, which you will need to claim before making any changes or updates.
For more detailed instructions on creating and claiming your Google business listing, head here.
Create a Google account
Search for your business on Google Maps
If your business shows up, no action is needed, your listing has been created
If your business does not show up, click “add a place”
Fill in your information, click “submit”
Check your email
How do I claim my Google listing?
As mentioned above, you need to claim your listing before you want to make edits, updates, or changes. Here’s how to claim your listing once it’s been created:
Search for your business in Google Maps
Select your business
Select “Claim this business”
If you created the listing, you can click “claim” and get instant access to your profile
If you did not create the listing, you will have to verify ownership through postcard, phone call, or email
20+ Free April Marketing Ideas to Freshen Up Your Content Calendar
The spring is an excellent time to pollinate your Instagram feed with bright photos and to take advantage of all of the holidays and promotional opportunities it offers. There’s National Grilled Cheese Day, Take Your Child to Work Day, Autism Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and more. These observances and themes provide opportunities for you to connect with your customers, express your voice and values, and creatively engage your audience—especially on social media.
In this post, we’re going to provide a list of April themes, holidays, and awareness causes as well as real examples from businesses across various industries to help give you some creative inspiration. So let’s get into it.
And for ideas for the whole year, check out this awesome marketing calendar by our friends at LOCALiQ.
April holidays and awareness causes
Here is a list of the many holidays and national days celebrated in April that can make for creative marketing for your local business:
April Fool’s Day
World Party Day
Walk to Work Day
World Health Day
National Grilled Cheese Day
High Five Day
Get to Know Your Customer Day
Administrative Professionals’ Day
Take Your Child to Work Day
Email Debt Forgiveness Day
Themes and awareness causes that last throughout the month of April include:
Creative April marketing ideas and examples
Between your website, blog, social media accounts, and Google Business Profile, there are plenty of channels by which you can share your April content and promotions. Below you’ll find a plethora of creative April-themed ideas from real businesses just like yours.
1. Autism Awareness Month
Autism affects 1 in 59 children in the United States. If you or someone you love is affected by autism, this is a great opportunity to raise awareness by getting involved in activities to give back to the community or raising money to donate to an organization dedicated to autism. Here's a link to get involved in an event near you. Or you can show your support with applicable products, as with the example below:
2. National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Show your support for National Child Abuse Prevention Month with a blue...
Facebook Traffic Ads: 5 Ways to Get More Visitors at Lower Costs
Years ago, ads using Facebook’s traffic objective were so cheap that site owners could make money just by driving traffic to pages with display advertising. It’s a strategy known as Facebook ad arbitrage. But as ad costs have risen, it’s also a strategy that’s essentially extinct.
Of course, the “traffic” objective still has its uses in 2021. Some sites use it to bring top-of-funnel awareness to their product or service. Others still use a form of arbitrage, where they’re monetizing via affiliate offers.
The strategy I’ve used to grow my personal finance website has been to combine both of those approaches, simultaneously building my brand and monetizing Facebook traffic through affiliate offers. I first started using Facebook to drive traffic to informational content in 2017. Between then and now, we’ve brought in over 10 million visitors, with Facebook being our #1 referrer. And most importantly, our ad costs have remained flat since 2019.
I've tested hundreds of different ideas and strategies over that time, and my best practices are constantly changing. In this post, I’m sharing the strategies that helped me bring in high-quality traffic at what was an average cost per visitor of $0.05 in January of 2021.
So first, let’s take a look at the basics of Facebook traffic ads and why these best practices work.
What are Facebook traffic ads?
When you are setting up a new Facebook or Instagram ad, you can select one of five objectives for your campaign: engagement, app installs, video views, lead generation, and of course, traffic. Facebook traffic ads are those which use the traffic objective and can be used to send traffic to a website, mobile or desktop app, or Messenger conversation.
Why are Facebook traffic ads so cheap?
Facebook Ad benchmark studies are useful for comparing what others in your industry are doing. However, they're just as useful for understanding what strategies advertisers are not using.
For example, we know that conversions are the most popular objective on Facebook. We also know that people who are known to convert—specifically, people who would buy a product or service from a new brand as the direct result of an ad—are some of the most highly-targeted users on Facebook.
As such, the cost of advertising to those users is higher on average.
On the other hand, there are more people who are likely to...
7 Easy Ways to Get More Traffic from Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is a staple in good SEO. A post or guide that targets a solid volume keyword, contains tips that remain relevant over time, and includes helpful images can accumulate more and more traffic to your site each year. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
But even the most evergreen content starts to show its age, and there does come a time when that content gets slightly outdated.
That being said, I’m going to share with you how to give your content a nice refresh to keep your SEO in check and continue earning favor in both Google’s and your audience’s eyes.
We’ll cover a number of easy tips and tactics to help your evergreen content attract more free traffic, including:
Targeting new terms
Adding more/newer information
Title changes, and much more
So let’s dive in.
Why refresh evergreen content?
The obvious reason behind refreshing content is because, well, you should refresh anything that expires or gets stale. But in SEO terms and with evergreen content, there is more to it.
First of all, it doesn’t make sense to write an entirely new post on the same keyword. Those two posts will then compete with one another and dilute each other’s SEO “juice.”
Second of all, if the piece is truly evergreen, it has accumulated quality traffic and backlinks over time. It’s better to build on what you have than to start a new post from scratch.
And finally, because Google prefers accurate and fresh content. This is nothing new—it’s been around since the “Freshness” Update way back in 2011.
7 ways to refresh and reoptimize old content for better SEO
There are many elements to an evergreen blog post or guide that can be improved to help you get more mileage out of your content and keep your SEO strategy fresh. Here are seven of them you can try.
1. Revisit your keywords
Keyword targeting is the practice of catering a piece of content around a particular word or phrase—namely, one that your ideal customers are looking up when in search of your products or services. This allows your business to get in front of them when they have intent to learn, engage, or buy.
If your content contains solid information but isn’t targeted at a particular word or phrase, do your keyword research and identify a keyword you can target. There are plenty of keyword research tools to help you identify popular and relevant terms. Once...
8 Must-Know Microsoft Ads Tips to Get More Clicks and Conversions
With more than 7.3 billion monthly PC searches in the United States, there’s a good chance that your potential customers are on Bing.
Although Bing doesn’t get as much recognition as Google, it still ranks as one of the world's top search engines. In fact, one study shows that Bing has the highest conversion rate out of all advertising channels for purchases that cost more than $200. In other words, it probably makes sense for you to advertise on Bing if your business is selling higher-priced products or services.
The Microsoft ads (formerly known as Bing ads) are ads shown in Bing’s search results. When you're creating and optimizing your Microsoft ads, there are many different things you can tweak and improve, such as targeting, keywords, and the ad itself, to enhance the performance of your ads.
In this article, we’ll primarily focus on things you can potentially improve in your ads to increase clicks and conversions. Moreover, many of the points in this article are also universally applicable to creating well-thought-out ads.
Let’s get started.
8 ways to optimize your Microsoft ads for more conversions
Here are 8 different ways you can optimize your Microsoft ads for better conversions.
1. Pre-qualify your prospects
It’s important to keep in mind that the goal of ads isn’t to get more clicks. In most cases, the goal is to convert people into becoming paying customers.
For example, if you use controversial or provocative words in your headline or an ad copy (that aren’t related to your business), you’ll certainly get more clicks on your ads. But how many of those people will turn into your customers? Most likely not too many.
Since you don’t want to waste your advertising budget on useless clicks, it’s a good idea to pre-qualify prospects in your ads to ensure you get targeted traffic.
If you look at the image below, there’s no confusion about who the ad is for. The ad doesn’t try to target all dog food buyers. It explicitly states “best dog food for boxers” in the headline to specifically target people looking for the best dog food for their boxers. So you can be quite confident that most people who click the ad likely fit that description.
2. Add a strong call to action
It’s no secret that a strong call to action (CTA) prompts people to take action. As Thomas Edison once said, “There is no expedient to which a man...
4 Ways to Identify How Your Display Ads Impact Search Ad Performance
As someone who has always been on the agency side of things, I am used to the pushback against Display advertising in Google. The number one reason I hear why clients do not want to use them is that they typically do not perform as well as Search. Of course they do not. The user intent between the networks is completely different.
But just because users are not as likely to convert, it does not mean Display ads are invaluable. There are several ways you can check and see if Display Ads are impacting overall performance on Google, and we’ll be covering four of those methods in this post. The methods involve:
Display-specific Google Analytics audiences
1. Create display-specific Google Analytics audiences
When you are in Google Analytics, click on the Admin button in the lower right-hand corner of your window. The middle column will be your Property column in Universal Analytics. Click on Audience Definitions towards the bottom of the middle column.
In Audience Definitions, we can create audiences from so many metrics available within Google Analytics. Before you can create an audience in Google Analytics, however, you must have Edit permissions to the property. Click on the red “New Audience” button, and soon you will find yourself in the Audience Builder. With the Audience Builder, and how you have your Display campaigns set up in Google Ads, there could be a variety of ways to build audiences from Display Network traffic. I always have “Display” in my Display campaign names so I can create a Traffic Source audience to include any visits from users who came to my site via a campaign with “Display” in the name.
If you manually tag your Display URLs with a specific source and medium, you can create an audience that way. If you use specific landing pages for your Display campaigns, you can create an audience in Google Analytics from just those landing page visits. There are a variety of ways you can do this. I just wanted to make it clear we can build audiences from our Display traffic in a variety of ways.
Now before you save the audience, you will want to make sure you are adding the audience to both Google Ads and Google Analytics. And this is a trick I learned a long time ago from Amy Bishop. I wanted to make sure she got credit...
Modified Broad Match Is Going Away: What You Need to Know
On February 4, Google made another in a series of announcements over the years about changes to the structure of its keyword match types (the last being in 2019). As of February 18, 2021, the phrase match type will be expanded to match to more search queries, and the broad match modifier option—which was introduced in 2010, and which allows advertisers to specify certain words (with a plus sign) that must be included in a search query—will be retired.
This is a pretty significant change, with upsides and downsides. Today, we'll be covering everything you need to know about this upcoming change, including:
A brief refresher on existing keyword match types in Google Ads.
What is changing now that the modified broad match type is going away.
What Google and the community are saying about the change.
What you can do about it, with five actionable tips on what to do next.
Let's get started.
A refresher on match types
To understand what's happening, let’s do a quick refresher on the existing match types and then compare them to the new match types.
Existing match types (before February 18)
Existing match types in Google Ads include broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, and exact match.
Broad match: With broad match, as long as the search query is contextually similar to the keyword you are targeting, this could trigger your ad to show.
Modified broad match: With modified broad match keywords, you choose specific keywords that are required for your ad to show, through the use of a plus sign. In other words, your ads will only show for queries that contain all of the words you precede with a plus sign in your keyword or phrase. However, order does not matter. Here are Google’s examples of modified broad match keywords:
Phrase match: Phrase match keywords are similar to modified broad in that your ad will show for queries that have your target keywords (in quotations) in the search query, but order does matter. Google had already opened this match type a bit more to consider intent as well.
Exact match: For exact match, you would choose a specific phrase for which you want your ad to show—indicated with brackets. This is (as of 2018) with the exception of functional words within a user’s search query (such as “in,” “to,” and “for”), conjunctions (such as “and,” “but,” and “or”), articles (such as “a...