X-Octane™ - Custom Google AdWords Script by SalesX®

 
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Agency benefits + In-house level attention: How to get the best of both worlds when setting strategy and overseeing performance for AdWords

Companies hire agencies to manage their AdWords campaigns because they want and need the skills, experience, systems, and tools that agencies have to offer. Other companies have in-house account managers because they want someone to watch their account closely throughout the day, every day.

While working with an agency has its distinct and irrefutable benefits, it can also take some getting used to because while an agency brings a lot more resources to the table, the allocation of those resources to any given account can be far less than having a full time person on staff for each type of task. This has been an age old problem, until now.

Difficulty in Continuously Monitoring Performance in AdWords

Traditionally agency account managers monitor the performance of their accounts and as long as KPIs are being met they keep their focus on new and upcoming projects. When something looks off or an account is having a particularly challenging day they might look into making changes to it or to give it another day and see if it’s a fluke that will right itself.

The other thing that happens is that account managers check Analytics for spikes or dips in performance then go back and try to figure out what might have caused those spikes or dips. Yet invariably this will be after the fact and too late to do anything about it in a proactive manner.

These types of behaviors are typical because AdWords is an auction environment with changing conditions and it’s unwise to jump to conclusions based on any given day’s data. Yet this is also the reason as to why extraordinary days aren’t being modelled immediately and why awful days aren’t being stymied instantly. This is also why while the KPI of an account might look fine today, in a few days it might suddenly tank because of various factors that cause lag in seeing the results in AdWords.

Leveraging AdWords hourly data for quick wins and fast stop losses

One way we’ve solved this problem at SalesX® is via a custom AdWords script we call X-Octane™. Using X-Octane™ we check each of our account’s performances automatically every hour, compare it to several other performance metrics, and flag whether the account is over performing, underperforming, or is running on par with expectations. We are able to tell how the account is doing compared to the last 7 days, compared to the last 14 days, whether the account is meeting or exceeding KPIs and by what percentage, and how the account is running based on the expected pace for the month, i.e., how much room do we have to accelerate based on the current positive conditions.

X-Octane™ allows us to monitor every one of our accounts under management every hour and see actionable trends that lead to micro wins or micro stop-losses. These micro-trends then compound for macro wins at the end of the month and/or setback averted.

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In the above example, an actual SalesX® account, on the surface looked like it was doing great, however X-Octane™ noticed that while the past 14 days performance was above KPI (108%), the account had been trending downwards and the last 7 days performance was actually lowering the account performance down to 74% of KPI goal for that week. This real time information allowed us to make some adjustments to the account and monitor their impact via X-Octane™ seeing that the performance for the day was registering at 118% of KPI, reversing the downward trend, and keeping the overall KPI at 107%.

AdWords Performance via full time attention plus agency expertise

X-Octane™ is an example of how smart AdWords scripts automation combinations can yield an optimal performance environment in day-to-day monitoring and management of Google AdWords accounts. While this is just a single example of such scripts usage as one would find in the X-Vault™ it demonstrates that even this sole functionality bridges a gap that has previously eluded most advertisers and agencies. I.e., it has enabled the ability to monitor, compare, flag, and adjust account performance every hour, on every account, every day.

Just How Important is a Fast Site on Mobile - Google Let's You Know with Their Scorecard

One tool shows how a site stacks up against the competition on mobile. The other aims to drive home the impact mobile speed can have on the bottom line.

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Google has focused on getting marketers and site owners to improve mobile site experiences for many years now. On Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the search giant the release of two new mobile benchmarking resources to help in this effort: a new Mobile Scorecard and a conversion Impact Calculator.

Both tools aim to give marketers clear visuals to help them get buy-in from stakeholders for investments in mobile site speed.

The Mobile Scorecard taps Chrome User Experience Report data to compare the speed of multiple sites on mobile. That’s the same database of latency data from Chrome users that Google started using in its PageSpeed Insights Tool in January. Google says the Mobile Scorecard can report on thousands of sites from 12 countries.

As a guideline, Google recommends that a site loads and becomes usable within five seconds on mid-range mobile devices with 3G connections and within three seconds on 4G connections.

To put the Mobile Scorecard data into monetary perspective for stakeholders, the new Impact Calculator is designed to show just how much conversion revenue a site is missing out on because of its slow loading speed.

The conversion Impact Calculator is based on data from The State of Online Retail Performance report from April 2017 that showed each second of delay in page load on a retail site can hurt conversions by up to 20 percent.

The calculator shows how a change in page load can drive revenue up or down after marketers put in their average monthly visitors, average order value and conversion rate. Google created a similar tool for publishers called DoubleClick Publisher Revenue Calculator.

The Mobile Scorecard and the Impact Calculator can be both be accessed here.

Be sure to read the article in its entirety on Search Engine Land.

 

How to Build a Stronger, More Effective PPC Team

 
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Contributor Frederick Vallaeys believes the PPC professionals with the strongest knowledge of paid search fundamentals will have the best opportunities for successful campaigns and solid career growth.

I've been doing pay-per-click (PPC) since 1998, when virtually every setting was manual. While it was painful to manage everything by hand, it forced me to learn the ins and outs of PPC, and that helped me build a successful career. 

Today, with automation playing an ever-more-important role in PPC, new account managers don’t have to learn all the fundamentals because tools handle the details. 

But as humans learn how to co-manage accounts with artificial intelligence, I believe that those with the strongest fundamentals will have the best opportunities for career advancement.

Automation erodes expertise

Remember the days when photography was an expensive hobby? Before digital, every time you clicked the shutter, you used another frame of film. To see the result, you’d spend more money to get the roll of film developed and printed. And not only was it expensive, it was also slow, with most labs taking an hour or more to turn the film into a print.

In the pre-digital days of photography, it mattered that you understood how to frame a shot and set the right exposure to get a beautiful photo. If the photo you took didn’t look amazing, there was very little you could do easily and cheaply to turn it into a masterpiece.

Compare that to today, where everyone has a decent camera on their smartphone and hobbyists have mirrorless cameras that can shoot 60 frames per second. Results are instantaneous, and all the computing power in the camera almost guarantees correct focus and exposure.

In PPC, where Google is pushing really hard to automate as much account management as possible, we run the risk that new PPC professionals will grow up in an era where they do nothing manually and never learn the fundamentals.

When the machine learns too slowly, results suffer

So, why does it matter if the person you hire to manage your AdWords doesn’t know the fundamentals? Even my 4-year old takes great photos, after all. But there is a key difference between taking photos without knowing what an f-stop is and running an AdWords account without knowing how a cost per click (CPC) is calculated.

With photography, we can take shots with ten different exposures in one second, knowing that at least one would be great. It costs nothing to throw away the nine bad photos, but if we’re lazy as account managers and we do nine pointless experiments in AdWords, those clicks cost real money.

I’ve made the point before that testing the right things is what will set great agencies apart from mediocre ones. In PPC, that means that fundamentals still matter so that you can set up a reasonable test that gets as much as possible right, leaving fewer variables to test. This helps find winning tests more quickly, and that can make a huge impact.

When humans rely too much on machine learning, we run into the following issue. Google doesn’t care if it takes ten clicks before their bidding model starts to make good predictions; they still make money on every one of those clicks. 

But advertisers should and do care about the amount of investment required to get to a stable situation where machines deliver predictably good results. This matters even more for small companies that may not have the cash flow to wait it out.

The more humans can help machines go in the right direction, the more money is saved and the happier the advertiser will ultimately be. Doing all that requires knowing the fundamentals.

Be sure to read the entire article on Search Engine Land.

 

Use Feed Analysis to Build AdWords Shopping Campaigns

 
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Shopping campaigns are set up very differently from search campaigns in AdWords. The biggest difference is that technically your entire feed is part of each ad group in your shopping campaign. 

Unlike search campaigns where you choose the keywords that should be targeted, in shopping it is specifying what you don’t want to target and bid on separately. This is the reason that when you set up a shopping campaign in AdWords it starts off with one ad group and product group (All Products) which shows ads for all products in the feed. It also means that every product in the feed will have the same bid and it doesn’t matter if it costs $10 or $300.

Having the same bid for products that have a varying price point is not a good strategy and will result in low ROAS. This is because you will invest less in big ticket items which will most likely result in lower returns. To avoid this, it is recommended to create separate product groups for different products and set different bids. Deciding on the structure for your shopping campaign depends a lot on how you want to monitor and manage performance. The new Shopping Feed Analysis feature in the Shopping Campaign Builder gives you the additional layer of data you need to have the most accurate product group structure based on the data available in your feed. Before we get into the details of this feature, let's talk a bit more about campaign structure.

You Can Read the Full Article from GEETANJALI TYAGI on Optymzr published February 5th, 2018

The Technology Behind AI in PPC

 
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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a long time, so why are we only just now exploring its applications for PPC?

Columnist Frederick Vallaeys explains the technology, its evolution in recent years, and what's next for AI in paid search.

What exponential growth means for PPC

So, if we’ve reached the point of PPC automation today where humans and computers are about equally good, consider that the pace of technological improvement makes it possible for the machines to leave humans in the dust later this year. That’s why it’s worth thinking about the roles humans will play in the future of PPC.

Build your own PPC intelligence

There are a lot of tools available to automate your PPC work, and multiple third-party vendors are starting to use AI and ML to provide stronger recommendations. But there are also many free tools from AdWords that are getting better every day thanks to advances in AI, like Portfolio Bid Strategies, Custom Intent Audiences, optimized ad rotation, etc.

For those willing to invest in connecting their own business data to AdWords and AI, I’m a big fan of prototyping solutions with AdWords Scripts because they provide a lot of customizability without requiring a lot of engineering resources. Unfortunately, simple scripts you write will fall into the weakest category of AI, where PPC intelligence is achieved through hard-coded rules.

But when you get a bit more advanced in your scripting abilities, you can use Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine to start enhancing your own automations with modern machine learning techniques.

The benefit of an out-of-the box solution like this is that you don’t need to learn many types of different models. But that’s also the downside because you won’t get total control over how you set criteria and thresholds to get results that are usable. Our team at Optmyzr tried several ready-made systems but eventually decided that we needed more power — so we’re building our own AI.

You Can Read the Full Article Written by Frederick Vallaeys published on Search Engine Land Jan 17, 2018

Price Extensions Training: Learn All About the Newest AdWords Ad Extension

Price extensions are the latest rollout of ad extensions, additional pieces of information the extend your text ad. Read this article to learn all about how to set them up and apply the best practices to get bang for your buck.

Google Grant Program - The Definitive AdWords Guide for Nonprofits

Google generously offers nonprofits the Google AdWords grant program, allowing organizations to use up to $10,000 in Google's own advertising dollars. Learn how to sign up for this program and learn about the best practices from this definitive guide for nonprofit advertiers.

Custom Columns Tutorial: Learn How to Create Custom Columns in AdWords

In addition to the pre-created range of columns available to be added to the AdWords reporting table, custom columns puts advertisers in the driving seat to select and report on only specific variables with specific metrics.

Attribution Modeling Training - Learn How to Measure Beyond Last Clicks in AdWords

Attribution by definition concerns who or what gets the credit for the results. In the realm of PPC and digital advertising, this is referring to what is the cause of the results such as sales or new service leads.