7 Recent Online Advertising Updates You Should Know
As every marketer knows, online advertising is in constant flux.

AdWords rebranded to Google Ads last summer.

With an ever-expanding suite of platforms for you to leverage, it makes sense that new features, ad formats, placements, and targeting functionalities are emerging (and vanishing) all the time.

And although that’s what makes online advertising exciting, it’s also what makes online advertising overwhelming. Keeping up with the news is legitimately time-consuming, and when your schedule is packed with everything from keyword research to landing page design, it can often feel as if you’re simply destined to fall behind.

Not on our watch, bub. Here’s a quick round-up of seven online advertising news stories—coming from the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn—that may have slipped past you in recent weeks.

YouTube Serves Text Ads in Search Results

During the final week of January, Marketing Land hosted SMX West—a search marketing conference where SEMs and SEOs converge for two days of networking and collaborating and what have you.

As you may expect, Google reps were in attendance. They announced that Google is incorporating YouTube into its Search partners network—a group of search engines and websites where you can run Google Search campaigns.

The idea behind the network is that it enables Search advertisers to expand the reach of their campaigns. If that aligns with your marketing goals, you can opt in.

Now that YouTube is a Search partner, advertisers who’ve opted into the network may have their text ads served to YouTube users. It’s important to note that—for now, at least—YouTube will only serve your text ads to mobile users.

According to Google, several months of testing indicate that YouTube Search ads perform comparably to Google Search ads in terms of CPA.

Quora Rolls Out Auction Insights and Keyword Targeting

Quora Ads is a fairly new platform—it just rolled out in the spring of 2016. As such, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on it for announcements and releases.

Exhibits A and B: auction insights and keyword targeting.

Let’s start with the former. Quora has announced three new metrics to help their advertisers get more complete ideas of how well they’re competing in the ad auction.

Auctions Lost to Competition. Entering the Quora ad auction doesn’t guarantee that your ad will be shown to users. Auctions Lost to...
5 Critical Landing Page Design Mistakes that Cost You Conversions
What is the best button color for boosting conversions?

Red? Orange? Green? Blue?

According to HubSpot, red beats green:

This study on CTA button color is easily one of the most authoritative out there. The study tracked conversions to see if there was any difference in performance of the two button colors based on a sample of 2,000 visitors to the landing page. Contrary to the study author’s expectations, the red CTA button outperformed the green one by a whopping 21%. So is that the final answer?

As far as Unbounce is concerned, the future of CTA buttons is BOB: That stands for Big Orange Button. A Wider Funnel test corroborated this stance with a study that showed a Big Orange Button resulted in a 32.5% increase in conversions. As Unbounce notes, “According to Wikipedia, Orange represents energy, enthusiasm, and a ‘get-it-done’ attitude. Sounds like a call to action to me.”

I mean, what CTA button color converts better than one that asks you to just “get-it-done,” right?

Really Good Emails took an entirely different approach: it analyzed every email sent to it in a particular year to see what is unique about them, as well as what they all have in common. Really Good Emails concluded that blue is the clear winner and CTA button color of choice.

According to Dmix? Red wins!

And Monetate? Blue beats orange!

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’ve gotten the gist by now. Some CRO experts are certain your button should be a certain color. As for me, rather than focusing on button color alone, I believe the context of the button is what’s important.

Here are five critical landing page design mistakes that cost you conversions – regardless of your CTA button color.

1. Using CTA Colors that Blend In

The very first CRO mistake you can make when it comes to your pages is that of using a CTA button color that blends in.

For a moment, let’s take a look at the HubSpot study again:

When you carefully analyze that image, something becomes instantly clear: the green button blends in with the site’s design. The site’s color scheme and background is green. After black, green is the most used color on that page. Naturally, users are already used to seeing the color green and are as a result more likely to ignore it.

Now, when you take a look at the CTA button on this page comparing VPS services, however, the...
Employee Spotlight: Tiffany Manzi
WordStream has some impressive employees in its ranks: from industry influencers to marathon runners, from analysts to authors. The Employee Spotlight series aims to highlight the talented individuals who work here. Each month, we’ll be featuring an interview here on the blog and on our social accounts.

For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we spoke with Tiffany Manzi. Here at WordStream, Tiffany is a senior account executive on the sales team, and she’s the sales team lead for the Australia/New Zealand market.

On her own time, she’s almost as internationally focused. Tiffany’s travelled to more countries that you can count on, well, both hands, and she’s amassed a collection of amateur-turned-professional photos to prove it. We talked with Tiffany about the best places she’s travelled to, the best part of working on the sales team here, and more below.

Tiffany with her pup, Petey, who she rescued during a trip to Puerto Rico in 2010.

How long have you been at WordStream?

It’s going to be three years this July. Wow! I hadn’t realized that. I’ve been in my current position for about two years. I started on a different international team working UK and European markets before transitioning to the Australia/New Zealand team. I came from travel so it was a good transition to work with international customers.

Coming from a background in travel sounds like an interesting transition.

I was working in sales for a travel company. I got to go on a few of their tours while I worked there, and it sparked some serious wanderlust. I’ve been to 11 countries so far, and excited to check off my 12th in a few weeks, Switzerland!

What was your favorite place you’ve travelled to so far?

Peru or Thailand. In Peru, I hiked up to Machu Picchu, which was incredible. Really, it was incredible all around. In Thailand, I visited the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. One elephant in particular was touching, because she came to the sanctuary with a broken paw. It was so great to see her walk and eat freely. We even got to bathe all the elephants in a creek with buckets of water! Such a cool experience.

How did you hear about WordStream? Why did you want to work here?

Working in travel was really fulfilling and awesome, but I felt I needed to set myself up for my future in a better industry. Tech isn’t going anywhere, so this is where I...
Google Ads Account Takeover? What You Need to Know
Late last week, Google Ads emailed a group of advertisers to notify them that their accounts will be taken over by “experts” unless they opt-out of the free service within seven business days.

Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea) of Elite SEM broke the story via Twitter early Thursday morning, and it was quickly picked up by Search Engine Journal. Here’s what that email looked like:

According to the email these Google Ads users received, failure to opt-out will enable Google’s in-house account managers to restructure your ad groups, modify your keywords, adjust your bids, update your ad copy, and more. (They do assure recipients that their budgets won’t increase.) A spokesperson from Google has said that these emails are part of a new pilot program.

According to WordStream’s Mark Irvine, another Google representative has confirmed that the email was sent only to Google Ads users whose accounts aren’t linked to MCCs—meaning those that aren’t currently managed by an agency.

If you got one of these emails, you might be unsure as to what it means and how to proceed. Basically, unless you take action, Google may become the PPC agency you didn’t ask for.

What This Means for You

Google has put the ball in your court. As of now, allowing their team to have access to your Google Ads account is the default option. If you don’t want other people making changes to your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads, you have to explicitly let Google know.

Our take? You should opt out of Google’s in-house management service.

It’s not that Google’s account managers don’t know the ins and outs of PPC. They do. But, at the end of the day, nobody knows your business like you do. And this service would likely rely heavily on automation. Automation can only go so far, and it doesn’t work in every use case.

Recently, Google broadened exact match keywords to match with semi-close variants such as synonyms and paraphrases. This essentially amounted to changing your keyword match types. For one advertiser who targets the exact match keyword [leather handbags], Google began serving their ads to users who searched “cheap purse.” Those … aren’t the same thing.

Dynamic ad extensions enable Google to automatically add extensions like sitelinks to your text ads. Considering sitelinks provide the opportunity to direct prospects to conversion-focused landing pages that...
What Ecommerce Brand Bidders Can Learn from Amazon Advertising
Bidding on competitors’ brand terms is always a tricky business, but it’s particularly tough for ecommerce. To stand a chance of winning, you need enticing ad copy, tailored landing pages, and an effective bid strategy – yet in most cases it is still very hard to make it work.

It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. In this article, I will explain step-by-step how B2C brands can leverage learnings from Amazon advertising to increase their chances of success when it comes to competitor brand term bidding.

Step 1. Research User Consideration and Product Similarity

B2C marketers often roughly know which of their products resemble competitors'. But betting on this with confidence and setting up paid search campaigns that target competitors' branded terms and also convert can be tough. Testing (and potentially being proven wrong) can be time consuming and costly. Luckily, Amazon advertising can be used to improve things.

As a first step, you need to run an Amazon Sponsored Products campaign and select “Automatic Targeting.”

With automatic targeting, you essentially put Amazon in the driver's seat and allow the Amazon algorithm to target keywords and product pages it deems relevant. The key thing here is that “product pages” are targeted. Hence your ads are displayed in the “Sponsored products related to this item” section of Amazon product listings. The screenshot below shows an example. 

Ads shown on product pages (highlighted in red) can currently only be served via automatic targeting campaigns

As a result, your ads will also be served on your competitors' product pages as well as your own product pages. By exporting the Search Term report of an automatic targeting campaign (under “Advertising” -> “Advertising Reports”), you can find out where exactly your ads were shown and how they performed. Did you only get impressions, but no clicks? Were there any conversions, and at what cost? Simply download the search term report of an auto targeting campaign and filter it for Amazon Standard Identification Numbers, or ASINs.

The screenshot below shows a list of customer search terms (Column B) versus conversion revenue of different campaigns.

For most Amazon product categories ASINs are a string of 10 characters, starting with a "B." Use this formula to filter your report for ASINs when exported to Excel or Google...
The 11 Best Marketing Strategies We Tried This Year
I’ve tried hard to implement a bold and experimental culture when it comes to marketing at Mailshake. I don’t see failure as a bad thing; it’s fear of venturing into the unknown that I want to discourage.

Basically, my philosophy is this: Try it. If it doesn’t work, change your approach or do something different. Fail fast.

We tried a lot of different marketing tactics in 2018. Most failed, a few worked well, and a few more were home runs.

That's usually the reality of marketing. It’s also why I decided I needed to branch out and ask some of the best marketers I know to share some of their home runs in 2018.

Here’s the advice they gave me. I’m sharing it here so that you can implement these tactics for yourself in 2019.

1. Building relationships with tools in our space

Content is synonymous with digital marketing, to the point that nearly everyone is investing in it to some extent. This means standing out and getting results from content has never been harder. You need creativity, skill, and, perhaps most importantly, strategy. I learned this firsthand at Mailshake:

At the beginning of the year, we didn’t have a lot of traction in our marketing efforts, specifically around content marketing. Rather than fight that uphill battle alone, the first thing we did was make a list of all the tools in our space (SaaS for salespeople), organize them by categories (CRMs, proposal software, prospecting, etc.), and write an article featuring them. This gave us an excuse to reach out with some flattery and with a link to their site, which opened the door to other co-marketing opportunities, like guest posting, webinars, and even product partnerships. It really became the bedrock of our marketing efforts in 2018 and was a good reminder that marketing is all about relationships, both with your customers and with other marketers in your space.

You can implement something similar by strategizing and utilizing your content on multiple levels. Don’t just write an article targeting one head term and hit “publish.”

Decide who will read and benefit from the content. Include influencers, and leverage them to help distribute your content, build relationships, and open doors to other marketing opportunities.

2. Updating old content

It’s harder than ever to stand out from the competition when it comes to content, but that doesn’t mean we always have to keep...
Brick by Brick: Building a Google Ads Strategy for Construction Clients
Lorraine Cline is no stranger to hard work. Lorraine is the proud founder of Cline Design, LLC, a 30-year old advertising, marketing, and creative agency which specializes in website design, content creation, SEO, paid search, and social media services. The New Hampshire-based agency delivers strategic marketing plans to midsized commercial construction companies.

Lorraine has a long list of marketing accomplishments under her belt, including an award-winning marketing service newsletter, as well as being recognized as a national speaker on inbound marketing and social media. She is keenly aware that digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape that the modern-day marketer needs to keep up with in order to be successful.

When Lorraine noticed that a Yellow Pages campaign for one of her larger clients was not panning out as planned, she knew they needed to shift directions.

“Most of the leads coming in were for services my client didn’t provide,” says Lorraine. “It’s bad enough when you are paying to deliver unqualified leads, but my client’s time was wasted answering calls and talking to people who would never buy from him.” Upon reviewing these results, Lorraine knew they needed to adjust their paid advertising strategy, and that Yellow Pages was no longer the answer. She started to learn more about Google Ads and became familiar with WordStream’s blog.

Cline Design’s JumpStart

At HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing conference, she stumbled upon the WordStream booth, where she learned about the JumpStart Program.

WordStream’s JumpStart Program allowed Lorraine to work closely with one of WordStream’s experienced customer success representatives to build out her client’s Google Ads campaign from scratch, using the WordStream Advisor platform. Lorraine couldn’t be happier with the results.

“Since we began using WordStream, not only are we delivering more leads, we are delivering higher-quality leads,” says Lorraine. “My client is much happier and has even added more budget to the program.”

Here are the four key ways that WordStream’s JumpStart Program helped Cline Design nail Google Ads for its client.

#1: Get Up and Running with Google Ads FAST

Google Ads is not an easy platform to get up and running quickly. Not only is the learning curve extremely steep, but when working with clients’ budgets, the risk of not seeing a...
The 9 Biggest Online Advertising Stories of 2018
It’s that time of year again! Ugly sweaters abound. The eggnog is flowin’. That cousin you marginally know who lives in the woods and calls himself Wild Mike wants to talk about his hemi F-250. What are you going to do?

Slip off into the other room, curl up by fire, and reflect on the nine biggest online advertising stories of the year.

2018 was one hell of a ride. From major re-brands to data scandals to targeting cutbacks—let’s dig into the headlines that made waves this year.

1. Exact Match Gets Less Exact (Again).

In the good old days of AdWords lore, exact match was just that—it was exact. If you bid on exact match keywords, your ads would only deliver when prospects searched for those exact keywords. But Google has changed the definition of exact match in recent years to include misspellings, plurals, prepositions, conjunctions, and even out-of-order phrases. This year, Google announced that, yet again, exact match keywords would match to even more keyword variants. These could include synonyms, paraphrases, and any results that share implied intent. So, for example, if you’re bidding on the exact match keyword [yosemite camping], the queries yosemite national park ca camping, yosemite campground, and campsites in yosemite will also now trigger your ads.

Not ideal, right? Actually, not as bad as you might think!

WordStream clients saw an increase in click-through rates and conversion rates at a lower cost-per-click after the exact match changes took place. Something to keep an eye on in your own account!

2. Google AdWords Rebrands to Google Ads

Far and away the biggest news to online advertisers this year (and to SEOs generating organic traffic from AdWords-related keywords) was Google’s grand rebrand of Google AdWords to Google Ads.

The new Google Marketing Platform, Google Ads, and Google Ad Manager.

The change was more than an aesthetic one, though. Per Google, Google Ads “represents the full range of advertising capabilities [Google] offers today… to help marketers connect with the billions of people finding answers on Search, watching videos on YouTube, exploring new places on Google Maps, discovering apps on Google Play, browsing content across the web, and more.” And indeed, “Google Ads” better befits that extensive suite of advertising networks than the search-synonymous “AdWords.”

Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018
The time has come, friends: 2018 is drawing to a close. Maybe you feel like it flew by. Maybe you feel like it dragged on forever.

Either way, you’re wrong. As is the case with nearly every calendar year, 2018 was, in fact, 365 days long. Our planet went around the sun exactly once. Isn’t that right, Copernicus?


Regardless of how long or short this year felt to you, we can all agree on one thing: a lot went down in the online advertising space. Whether you specialize in paid search, paid social, SEO, or all of the above, there has been no shortage of trends, changes, and innovations to keep track of.

And that’s why we do our annual wrap-up: to give you a quick recap of the most important lessons you can bring with you into the new year.

Let’s get started!

1. 33 Instagram Captions That Will Break Your Like-Ometer

You’ll often hear people refer to Instagram as a visual platform—a place to escape the wordiness of Facebook and Twitter.

And that’s largely true. But, as Gordon points out in this post, the caption beneath (or to the right of) your photo can make a huge difference in terms of post performance. It’s with words that savvy Instagram users drive their engagement numbers through the roof.

In this post, Gordon walks you through four categories of Instagram captions—self-deprecating, “imagine what they would say,” wordplay, and “call out a friend”—and provides over 30 examples of posts that execute them perfectly.

Implement these strategies, and you’ll give your Instagram account the boost it needs to reach new audiences and grow your brand.

2. The 7 Best Free Social Media Management Tools in 2018

When you’re tasked with managing and optimizing several social media accounts, stress is pretty much guaranteed.

You have to keep track of different usernames and passwords. You have to create and keep up with various posting schedules. You have to assess the performance of each individual account over time.

Enter social media management tools. Although each platform is unique, the core selling point remains the same: spend less time managing your accounts and drive better results.

Take Hootsuite, for example. Within a single, easy-to-use platform, you can do the following for free: manage three social accounts in one spot, schedule up to 30 posts in advance, and leverage contest to drive quality leads....

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12 Feb 2019