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Andy Black

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So I asked this of my members at SERPWoo and I thought I would ask it here as well. SERPWoo deals with SEO and ORM and I was asking my members about SEO so I could produce content that specifically impacted them.

In this case, I'll ask you all here about Paid Advertising....

What's Your Biggest Pain Point?
Is something holding you back? Feel like you need to learn or understand something better? Is it about paid advertising or business in general? Let me know what's your largest pain point right now.

.
 

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Great info @eliquid thanks for posting.

Questions
1. What is your take on conversion rates? What would you consider an ideal conversion rate? What would you advise business owners paying someone Adwords to try and strive for? Are there any sources you use to determine an acceptable conversion rate for a specific client type or is it "as high as you can get" type mentality.

2. Are there industries that work better on FB than on Adwords? Do you notice conversion rates on FB to be better or worse in general compared to Adwords?

3. What are your thoughts on Yelp paid ads?
 

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Hi @eliquid,

Great information you're sharing here.
I have some questions and i would love to here from you :
I'm willing to start my own digital marketing agency and now i'm a little bit confused; Would you choose doing SEO for your clients or just going with google adwords ?
Another question is that : When i check my keyword planner, i see that some of the local keywords are getting like 200 Searches per month, now are all of those people who are searching the term in google are going to see my ad ? And isn't that a low traffic ?

Thank's mate
 

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What's Your Biggest Pain Point?
Is something holding you back? Feel like you need to learn or understand something better? Is it about paid advertising or business in general?
First, thanks for this thread. I've read through it a couple of times.

SERPWoo looks pretty cool. My company is looking to hire an SEO guy and we were discussing software that does exactly what SERPWoo does, so I'm going to let my CEO know about the tool.

Anyway - my biggest pain point: -- Optimizing an established account, or better yet - not getting overloaded by information.

I just took over the PPC account for my day job company. It's a SaaS in a somewhat competitive industry. On the Paid Search side we have around 704 active keywords spread between 13 Campaigns. That's in Adwords, then there is Bing. We spend around 12-16k per month. It's not like it's a massive account, but there are a lot of things that the agency did both good and bad.

My problem however, is that I have never stepped into an account this old, that was structured by two different people. So when I log into the account, I know what I should be looking for, but at the same time I don't have an exact process in place yet. I end up jumping all over the place. So, I guess my pain point is really just a process issue. For all of the Googling that I did, I couldn't find anything like: "Here's the 12 step process that you should follow when optimizing an account at days 365+"
 

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Hi @eliquid,

Great information you're sharing here.
I have some questions and i would love to here from you :
I'm willing to start my own digital marketing agency and now i'm a little bit confused; Would you choose doing SEO for your clients or just going with google adwords ?
Another question is that : When i check my keyword planner, i see that some of the local keywords are getting like 200 Searches per month, now are all of those people who are searching the term in google are going to see my ad ? And isn't that a low traffic ?

Thank's mate
I'll go ahead and jump in here myself.

SEO: The allure of SEO is that you can get clicks for free based on organic search traffic. Sounds totally reasonable. However - from my understanding, Google is a behemoth that enjoys switching things up and changing its mind on what inevitably amounts to higher SEO rankings. Sure you save money on clicks, but how much time/money will you sink into the man-hours it takes to pursue proper SEO?

Should it be part of a marketing strategy? Why not! SEO can be a strong player in a full-stack marketing campaign. However, I would focus on paid search for these reasons.

1. Ads will always display before the highest of SEO results.

2. Lets say for every 1000 people that see your ad (impressions,) 100 people click it and charge you $1 per click ($100 total), 10 people but a product. Say your product is $20, then you just grossed $200 off of your ad!

Which would you rather do - save $100, or net $100?
 
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Great info @eliquid thanks for posting.

Questions
1. What is your take on conversion rates? What would you consider an ideal conversion rate? What would you advise business owners paying someone Adwords to try and strive for? Are there any sources you use to determine an acceptable conversion rate for a specific client type or is it "as high as you can get" type mentality.

2. Are there industries that work better on FB than on Adwords? Do you notice conversion rates on FB to be better or worse in general compared to Adwords?

3. What are your thoughts on Yelp paid ads?

1. I know people who can target that can get more than 50% conversion rates, but they have warm leads that already trust them. If you are talking Adwords for something like a cold search in a local service industry, you might be able to hit 5-8% conversion consistently. If you pull it off right, you can hit 18-25% in same industry.

2. Id say so, but realistically its how you do it. If you are in a industry where you don't/can't target well on demos it can kill you unless you already have a good solid base of customers and just use a lookalike audience. Sub-niches of Health, Wealth, Relationships ( as well as some ecom ) do well on FB for sure.

3. A lot of the yelp ads are overpriced. You can hit the same page on Adwords with the search partners network. Personally, I get reviews and rank the top of the category instead of buying ads on Yelp.
 
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eliquid

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Hi @eliquid,

Great information you're sharing here.
I have some questions and i would love to here from you :
I'm willing to start my own digital marketing agency and now i'm a little bit confused; Would you choose doing SEO for your clients or just going with google adwords ?
Another question is that : When i check my keyword planner, i see that some of the local keywords are getting like 200 Searches per month, now are all of those people who are searching the term in google are going to see my ad ? And isn't that a low traffic ?

Thank's mate
Ray Croc wasn't in the fast food business, and I'm kinda same way. Im not really in PPC or SEO. Im a person of opportunity even though I focus on 1-2 areas.

If you are starting an agency, you prob already know how to do SEO or PPC. Even if you don't, you can hire out or learn.

If I were you, I'd do whatever people are ready to hand me money for. If that's SEO right now and you have 10 people ready to pay you for it, do SEO.

If the 11th person wants PPC and you can pull it off and they have money, do PPC for them while doing SEO for the others.

Nothing is stopping you from doing both or more. You can be the best SEO person, or the best person to get your clients results ( which includes whatever they want ).

Personally, I've done email + CRO + PPC + SEO + funnels + social media, etc. But I've had years to play in it and learn.

On the planner question, you might be seeing "ranges" for volume. If not, no worries. Just something to think about. The numbers are generally wrong from what I have seen anyways.

No, not everyone of those 200 will see your ad. Many things are in play here and you could work to get 100% of the people to see your ad, more than 90% of the time though your ad will only be shown to a % of those people depending on your settings, budget, approvals, etc.
 
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First, thanks for this thread. I've read through it a couple of times.

SERPWoo looks pretty cool. My company is looking to hire an SEO guy and we were discussing software that does exactly what SERPWoo does, so I'm going to let my CEO know about the tool.

Anyway - my biggest pain point: -- Optimizing an established account, or better yet - not getting overloaded by information.

I just took over the PPC account for my day job company. It's a SaaS in a somewhat competitive industry. On the Paid Search side we have around 704 active keywords spread between 13 Campaigns. That's in Adwords, then there is Bing. We spend around 12-16k per month. It's not like it's a massive account, but there are a lot of things that the agency did both good and bad.

My problem however, is that I have never stepped into an account this old, that was structured by two different people. So when I log into the account, I know what I should be looking for, but at the same time I don't have an exact process in place yet. I end up jumping all over the place. So, I guess my pain point is really just a process issue. For all of the Googling that I did, I couldn't find anything like: "Here's the 12 step process that you should follow when optimizing an account at days 365+"
Yeah.

See, here is the thing....

Everyone does it differently.

You say Potatoe, @Andy Black might say Mash, and I might say Hashbrowns. In the end, its really all the same thing, just served up differently.

Honestly, your $12-16k in monthly spend is a big account for most agencies. No joke.

There really won't be a guide for optimizing an account day in and day out at X date old, but here are some of the things I check in established account either weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. This is just a sample
  • Ad extensions ( mostly sitelinks and callouts, but could be call numbers and locations if need be ) - I'm looking at CTR and Impressions/Conversions and Cost/Conversion here and throwing out the worst performers that are statistically relevant.
  • Ads - I'm looking at statistically relevant and mostly looking at Impressions/Conversions and then running a significance calculator to ensure the data is 90%+ confidant before taking out the losing ad.
  • SQR/Negative keywords - Im looking at this constantly and mostly adding them into a master list or campaign level at the Phrase match level.
  • Display placements
  • Age Demo
  • Devices, Geos, Schedule ( day part and week part )
  • Google alerts from suggestions to enhanced CPC that will know take care of my bid modifiers
  • Geo's at the city and country level ( meaning, go further than just country and state/province )
  • Avg position bidding and the results of that
  • Top vs Other evaluation
That's a sample and you probably already do most.

I think something no one talks about though is "trending". Its a term and concept I came up that I haven't really seen anyone else mention or talk about.

The idea is looking at data from several date ranges at once to get a better picture of what's going on.

Note taking is very lax in this industry, so while you might know what you did in general last month or 2 months ago in the account, do you really remember why and how and when you did something that impacted a certain keywords CPL numbers 4 months ago. What if you optimized 23 things today in the account and the account takes a nose dive in 3 days.. do you really know which of those 23 things caused it?

Generally, you wont.

Also, how do you account for seasonality?

When I look at changes I want to do ( say for a keyword, if I want to shut it off because I think its unprofitable ), I will pull the last 7, 14, 30, 45, 60, and 90 days of it's life. Sometimes I pull to 120, 150, and 180 days too.

Once I have these reports, I am going to put them into Excel and combine them and organize them in a way I can look at what the CPL/CPA ( Cost/Conversion ) was for last 7, 14, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180 and look for trends. Sure the keyword might be crappy right now looking at last 30 days, but it was banging at day 31-45, 46-60, 61-90, and was off again from 91-120, 121-150, etc.

I start spotting these trends and then that leads me to other metrics to check in the same fashion. Then I get into the change log and other notes I might have. BAM, I realize some other issue I need to fix or that we have historical info that shows seasonality issues ( like sales, discounts, weather, etc ).

So before I shut that keyword off mistakenly, I fix the problem or wait it out with a note in the future to myself.

That's something I can't teach you in a guide that a lot of people in this industry miss or don't think about.

I wrote more about this in another place, but I am not ready to link it because part of my upcoming ebook and other stuff touches on this concept and more.
 

Andy Black

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Yep. Excel is your friend. Download the data and segment by three dimensions. Split your traffic between campaigns and have good naming conventions that allow you to parse even more data. Add calculated fields in Excel and start pivot-tabling and pivot-charting. A tiny insight can be all it takes.

Also... I just do paid search and I analyse at the Search Term level, not the keyword level.
 

Andy Black

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Note taking is very lax in this industry, so while you might know what you did in general last month or 2 months ago in the account, do you really remember why and how and when you did something that impacted a certain keywords CPL numbers 4 months ago. What if you optimized 23 things today in the account and the account takes a nose dive in 3 days.. do you really know which of those 23 things caused it?
^^^ This.

Because I used to be a geeky IT dude, I keep copious change logs.

Each client has a W/C thread in Basecamp for the whole week. It's where we chatter and log what changes we made, and why (very important for later on).

We then keep a Weekly Trading report which has cliff-notes of changes made.

The client has access to the W/C threads (apart from private W/C threads) and to the Google sheet.

Below is an example for a new client where we're only into our 4th week.
We've not had their feedback on how many enquiries and calls they had for last week yet.

The beauty of the W/C threads is that, if things fall off a cliff or we spot the start of a trend looking back on previous weeks, we can go pull that whole W/C thread and see what happened and in what order.

Good hygiene... how good are you at keeping a track of changes you make - as you make them?


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^^^ This.

Because I used to be a geeky IT dude, I keep copious change logs.

Each client has a W/C thread in Basecamp for the whole week. It's where we chatter and log what changes we made, and why (very important for later on).

We then keep a Weekly Trading report which has cliff-notes of changes made.

The client has access to the W/C threads (apart from private W/C threads) and to the Google sheet.

Below is an example for a new client where we're only into our 4th week.
We've not had their feedback on how many enquiries and calls they had for last week yet.

The beauty of the W/C threads is that, if things fall off a cliff or we spot the start of a trend looking back on previous weeks, we can go pull that whole W/C thread and see what happened and in what order.

Good hygiene... how good are you at keeping a track of changes you make - as you make them?


View attachment 15165
This.

And it's why certain things I'm doing in other business models ( I can't talk about right now ) will help me change the face of digital marketing... for the 4th time in my life.
 

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Note taking is very lax in this industry.
If you're an entrepreneur and you're in the paid search market, every damn bell in your head should be ringing at this sentence.

This right here is a golden opportunity to profit off of the laziness/ineptitude of others.

I know @Andy Black has a video or two around where he touches on excel. Anyone know where I can read into more depth on the note-taking aspect?

Cheers
 

Andy Black

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If you're an entrepreneur and you're in the paid search market, every damn bell in your head should be ringing at this sentence.

This right here is a golden opportunity to profit off of the laziness/ineptitude of others.

I know @Andy Black has a video or two around where he touches on excel. Anyone know where I can read into more depth on the note-taking aspect?

Cheers
What I wrote a few posts up.

Document as you go along, not at the end of the day as that just won't happen.

Have some easy place where you can drop screenshots and thoughts. We create a new Basecamp thread for each client each week and all the weekly chatter goes in there. It can go off topic but is in chronological order which is what's important.

The thread records What was changed and Why. No need to record How typically.

Then consider adding major changes made to a high level summary doc. We use a Weekly Trading sheet as screenshot in the post above.

No need to read anything. ;)
 

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Thanks for the thread @eliquid

I have a question about AdWords maybe you or @Andy Black might be able to answer...

Since Google got rid of the side Ad's back around Feb how do you stop your impression share going down due to rank if you're not in the top ads?

Previously it would not be an issue to be in positions say 4-7 along the side bar and in some cases might be preferable due to a lower CPC/CPA, and your CTR could still be ok not being in the top ad's. But now if you're not on the top row the CTR is virtually nothing because nobody scrolls to the bottom and then it starts reducing your impression share due to rank. Any suggestions on the best way to tackle this?

Also about taking notes of changes you make; I don't know if you're aware but Adwords does have a history of anything you change under Tools -> Change History which seems to give all the info needed without having to manually note everything. Even with an undo button for each action
 
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Thanks for the thread @eliquid

I have a question about AdWords maybe you or @Andy Black might be able to answer...

Since Google got rid of the side Ad's back around Feb how do you stop your impression share going down due to rank if you're not in the top ads?

Previously it would not be an issue to be in positions say 4-7 along the side bar and in some cases might be preferable due to a lower CPC/CPA, and your CTR could still be ok not being in the top ad's. But now if you're not on the top row the CTR is virtually nothing because nobody scrolls to the bottom and then it starts reducing your impression share due to rank. Any suggestions on the best way to tackle this?

Also about taking notes of changes you make; I don't know if you're aware but Adwords does have a history of anything you change under Tools -> Change History which seems to give all the info needed without having to manually note everything. Even with an undo button for each action

So something you could do, if you don't want to rank top 3-4 ads, is boost your bid for a certain day or hour of the day.

Honestly, the top 3-4 seem to always work for me in getting sales or leads. Like you said, if you are at the bottom and no body scrolls down to the bottom, well you don't get leads or sales, right?

The only way you could combat that is to raise your bid and be in the top 4. If you can't do that, the only way you can get "impressions" and not be top 4 is to be top 4 "part-time" by bidding up certain hours or days to help average out things.

I'm not saying that is a perfect solution, but based of what you told me and IF that is what you want to do.. this is the only way I can think of doing it.

Maybe you raise mobile and just get part-time results with mobile too for impressions. Or maybe you raise desktop only.

What Im doing is trying to help your average if you really are concerned with Impression Share due to Rank.

A whole better solution though, would be to just worry about the keywords and ad that make you money at higher positions, and just run those maybe in their own campaigns.

As far as Notes though.....

YES Adwords has a change log, but that doesn't tell YOU or someone else ( like your boss, a junior that might take over, or another employee ) WHY you made that change.

Also, the change log is not available via the API. The number of changes are, but not the changes themselves.

But again, its nice to know XYZ change was made and I can undo it, but it doesn't address the WHY.

I've have been working on something the last 2 years that will fix and address this and it's almost ready for release.

.
 
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I talked with a potential client today.

I realize something new every time I interact with new clients, which is great. But many times it is also concerning.

More and more people decide to set their marketing budgets on some random advice they get that says, "X percentage of your revenue should be marketing" or "this is what I can afford and if you make me more money, I can spend more gladly".

While those strategies might have some merit, it's typically the wrong mindset.

Example:

The Problem ( and backstory )

Say you have a budding Personal Injury attorney in Scottsdale. He does OK but he don't have a lot of money for his new practice.

At best, he has $750 a month to spend monthly on PPC. ( this is a very real and typical example )

He picks running on Adwords as his marketing platform and his clicks in this vertical and location come out to be near $60 a click on average.

With his $750 monthly budget, he needs to set a daily budget at $25 a day.

$25 a day budget... but the clicks are $60 each. I'm sure you can do the math here, right?

So lets assume the guy can spend $100 a day though. That's $3k a month roughly.

The clicks are still $60 a click. It only takes 1.5 clicks to exhaust his daily budget of $100.

Most times, this guy's budget is exhausted before 1pm EST.

Most times, depending on his CPC setting, he is probably bottom of the page or an average position of 4th/5th when he does run.


His Outcome

Most of the day, his ad is not showing. Meaning he is losing potential customers and cases.

Even the customers he is getting good results with, the data behind those customers is skewed to those willing to click a bottom of the page ad ( meaning they probably priced shopped elsewhere or couldn't get a hold of the attorneys listed above him ) AND those looking early in the morning.

You really can't optimize forward on this skewed and dirty data.

I mean, you can optimize on it... if you always want to be bottom of the page and ONLY run in the mornings going forward because that's all this data is really good for other than "generalities".

In the end, most times this account will fail and not get optimized correctly because the data will be flawed and the budget was set on the mindset of "I should only be spending x% on marketing", or "this is all I can afford".


Alternative

I get it if you can not afford more for Adwords and only put in what you can.

But the correct method to START your marketing spend with Adwords so you get off on the right foot is, having enough marketing budget to secure a 1st or 2nd average position for your keywords to cover a full 24 hour period for the entire month.

Expensive? It can be. But would you rather do it differently and never have the "right data" to optimize to get to profitability and lose all that ad spend anyways later in floundering results?

See, the issue really boils down, "what can I work with to optimize your account".

When you have a low monthly budget, you potentially end up like my attorney friend above that either doesn't have enough ad spend daily to show his ad ( $25 daily, but clicks are $60 ), or you have just enough that if 1-2 people click on your ad ( at say 9am ), your ads shut off before noon every day for the most part.

Based on that, maybe your best customers are online needing your services after they come home from dinner at night and are in an accident. They never see your ad and thus never call you. Saul Goodman gets the call instead and settles a multi-million dollar PI case.

Also, as your PPC guy.. I can't come back to you with insights like, "Hey, it looks like you make the most revenue Tuesday nights from 6pm to 11pm". Why? Because you don't have that data for me to find, your ads shut off most days at noon because you can not afford a better budget for Adwords.

If your budget is so low that you set your CPC's low to try to squeeze more out of the budget, you are also hurting this whole process. Any data I get will only reflect the low end of the spectrum for Adwords. Because your average position is now 4th-5th, your ad really is showing at 8th or 9th a lot of times, and maybe sometimes it shows in 2nd and 3rd. Again it's an average, but lets assume because of this low average that your higher ranked competitors get the lion's share of clicks and leads. You get barely any leads yourself, and most days you might get 0.

After a while, you are left with keywords that don't get clicks or at least a very horrible CTR overall. Maybe you get a few leads, but nothing compared to your competitors. When you look at how much it costs to get those leads, the numbers just aren't profitable.

Well, that's because you got the left over leads that either couldn't reach your competitors or couldn't afford them. Maybe you got people who were also "researching" the bottom of the page just to make sure they can validate their top choice they already made up in their mind, your competitor that is sitting above you.

No matter the reason, you are going to look at this data and assume, "well Adwords sucks" or "the guy I hire sucks". In reality, your data and experience is reflective of your low budget. The data you gleam off this tells you to pause several keywords and ads because "they waste money" and in a fit you decide after pausing them you need to pour in your last $3k into outbidding your competitors for a hail Mary pass.

After 14 days, the money is spent and you get even worse performance.

Why?

Maybe because those keywords and ads you paused because you thought they sucked, only sucked because you were at the bottom of the page. At the top of the page, they more than likely did well and would have made you money. You paused ads and keywords based on bad data and left runnign the ones with low spend. At the top of the page, these keywords spent more money but they were actually keywords and ads that just didn't have enough data prior to justify running them anyways.

No, the data wasn't wrong. You just interpreted the data wrong because it was dirty and only reflective of certain parameters.

This is why I advocate spending more the first couple of months so you can "buy good data".

In the prior example, you didn't go into the account with a "BUY data mindset".. and in buying data, you need to buy the right data within the correct parameters.


It's no different than if you bought a list of homes in your area to send direct mail to. Do you just buy any list, or do you niche it down and pre-qualify the list?

Any list could be addresses and names from anyone who lived in the area since 1967 and hasn't been updated since 1989.

A good data list would be a list of addresses and names that was updated in the last 12 months and only of homes that were valued at least $375,000+

Which is the better data to get you results?


Conclusion

I'm not saying you have to spend thousands more and go bankrupt to be successful with Adwords.

I'm also not saying you need to do this every single month to be successful.

However, if I was starting out fresh ( or already had an account and had bad/marginal results ), I would find a way to get the money to run 30-60 days worth being #1 or 2 all hours of the day for a full 30-60 days so I could jump start my account with the right data for optimization. Depending on volume, you might only have to do this for 1-2 weeks.

If not, you potentially will spend months floundering around and wasting that money anyways. Months spent floundering around could lead to you going bankrupt or closing down an advertising channel prematurely that could be sending you in buckets of profitable leads/sales.

Questions?
 
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Andy Black

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Thanks for the thread @eliquid

I have a question about AdWords maybe you or @Andy Black might be able to answer...

Since Google got rid of the side Ad's back around Feb how do you stop your impression share going down due to rank if you're not in the top ads?

Previously it would not be an issue to be in positions say 4-7 along the side bar and in some cases might be preferable due to a lower CPC/CPA, and your CTR could still be ok not being in the top ad's. But now if you're not on the top row the CTR is virtually nothing because nobody scrolls to the bottom and then it starts reducing your impression share due to rank. Any suggestions on the best way to tackle this?

Also about taking notes of changes you make; I don't know if you're aware but Adwords does have a history of anything you change under Tools -> Change History which seems to give all the info needed without having to manually note everything. Even with an undo button for each action
I didn't spot I got tagged on this.

For the history, @eliquid already answered. I could make 100,000 bid changes, plus a few campaign budget changes, then change 20,000 ads. Damned if I'm going to trawl through the Change History to figure out WHY I did that. Instead I have a short note in a line for that week explaining WHAT I did and WHY. The HOW is less important, but I often add details into a Weekly Thread for that client.

If you're in low ad position for your bid price and CPCs... then I figure you've got to increase your EPCs so you can bid more.
That could be by increasing your average-order-value, customer life-time-value, or (often) removing underperforming keywords so you can bid more on the others...
 

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I talked with a potential client today.

I realize something new every time I interact with new clients, which is great. But many times it is also concerning.

More and more people decide to set their marketing budgets on some random advice they get that says, "X percentage of your revenue should be marketing" or "this is what I can afford and if you make me more money, I can spend more gladly".

While those strategies might have some merit, it's typically the wrong mindset.

Example:

The Problem ( and backstory )

Say you have a budding Personal Injury attorney in Scottsdale. He does OK but he don't have a lot of money for his new practice.

At best, he has $750 a month to spend monthly on PPC. ( this is a very real and typical example )

He picks running on Adwords as his marketing platform and his clicks in this vertical and location come out to be near $60 a click on average.

With his $750 monthly budget, he needs to set a daily budget at $25 a day.

$25 a day budget... but the clicks are $60 each. I'm sure you can do the math here, right?

So lets assume the guy can spend $100 a day though. That's $3k a month roughly.

The clicks are still $60 a click. It only takes 1.5 clicks to exhaust his daily budget of $100.

Most times, this guy's budget is exhausted before 1pm EST.

Most times, depending on his CPC setting, he is probably bottom of the page or an average position of 4th/5th when he does run.


His Outcome

Most of the day, his ad is not showing. Meaning he is losing potential customers and cases.

Even the customers he is getting good results with, the data behind those customers is skewed to those willing to click a bottom of the page ad ( meaning they probably priced shopped elsewhere or couldn't get a hold of the attorneys listed above him ) AND those looking early in the morning.

You really can't optimize forward on this skewed and dirty data.

I mean, you can optimize on it... if you always want to be bottom of the page and ONLY run in the mornings going forward because that's all this data is really good for other than "generalities".

In the end, most times this account will fail and not get optimized correctly because the data will be flawed and the budget was set on the mindset of "I should only be spending x% on marketing", or "this is all I can afford".


Alternative

I get it if you can not afford more for Adwords and only put in what you can.

But the correct method to START your marketing spend with Adwords so you get off on the right foot is, having enough marketing budget to secure a 1st or 2nd average position for your keywords to cover a full 24 hour period for the entire month.

Expensive? It can be. But would you rather do it differently and never have the "right data" to optimize to get to profitability and lose all that ad spend anyways later in floundering results?

See, the issue really boils down, "what can I work with to optimize your account".

When you have a low monthly budget, you potentially end up like my attorney friend above that either doesn't have enough ad spend daily to show his ad ( $25 daily, but clicks are $60 ), or you have just enough that if 1-2 people click on your ad ( at say 9am ), your ads shut off before noon every day for the most part.

Based on that, maybe your best customers are online needing your services after they come home from dinner at night and are in an accident. They never see your ad and thus never call you. Saul Goodman gets the call instead and settles a multi-million dollar PI case.

Also, as your PPC guy.. I can't come back to you with insights like, "Hey, it looks like you make the most revenue Tuesday nights from 6pm to 11pm". Why? Because you don't have that data for me to find, your ads shut off most days at noon because you can not afford a better budget for Adwords.

If your budget is so low that you set your CPC's low to try to squeeze more out of the budget, you are also hurting this whole process. Any data I get will only reflect the low end of the spectrum for Adwords. Because your average position is now 4th-5th, your ad really is showing at 8th or 9th a lot of times, and maybe sometimes it shows in 2nd and 3rd. Again it's an average, but lets assume because of this low average that your higher ranked competitors get the lion's share of clicks and leads. You get barely any leads yourself, and most days you might get 0.

After a while, you are left with keywords that don't get clicks or at least a very horrible CTR overall. Maybe you get a few leads, but nothing compared to your competitors. When you look at how much it costs to get those leads, the numbers just aren't profitable.

Well, that's because you got the left over leads that either couldn't reach your competitors or couldn't afford them. Maybe you got people who were also "researching" the bottom of the page just to make sure they can validate their top choice they already made up in their mind, your competitor that is sitting above you.

No matter the reason, you are going to look at this data and assume, "well Adwords sucks" or "the guy I hire sucks". In reality, your data and experience is reflective of your low budget. The data you gleam off this tells you to pause several keywords and ads because "they waste money" and in a fit you decide after pausing them you need to pour in your last $3k into outbidding your competitors for a hail Mary pass.

After 14 days, the money is spent and you get even worse performance.

Why?

Maybe because those keywords and ads you paused because you thought they sucked, only sucked because you were at the bottom of the page. At the top of the page, they more than likely did well and would have made you money. You paused ads and keywords based on bad data and left runnign the ones with low spend. At the top of the page, these keywords spent more money but they were actually keywords and ads that just didn't have enough data prior to justify running them anyways.

No, the data wasn't wrong. You just interpreted the data wrong because it was dirty and only reflective of certain parameters.

This is why I advocate spending more the first couple of months so you can "buy good data".

In the prior example, you didn't go into the account with a "BUY data mindset".. and in buying data, you need to buy the right data within the correct parameters.


It's no different than if you bought a list of homes in your area to send direct mail to. Do you just buy any list, or do you niche it down and pre-qualify the list?

Any list could be addresses and names from anyone who lived in the area since 1967 and hasn't been updated since 1989.

A good data list would be a list of addresses and names that was updated in the last 12 months and only of homes that were valued at least $375,000+

Which is the better data to get you results?


Conclusion

I'm not saying you have to spend thousands more and go bankrupt to be successful with Adwords.

I'm also not saying you need to do this every single month to be successful.

However, if I was starting out fresh ( or already had an account and had bad/marginal results ), I would find a way to get the money to run 30-60 days worth being #1 or 2 all hours of the day for a full 30-60 days so I could jump start my account with the right data for optimization. Depending on volume, you might only have to do this for 1-2 weeks.

If not, you potentially will spend months floundering around and wasting that money anyways. Months spent floundering around could lead to you going bankrupt or closing down an advertising channel prematurely that could be sending you in buckets of profitable leads/sales.

Questions?
Interesting.

I must admit I assume the click-to-enquiry-rate, click-to-sale-rate, and customer LTV don't change based on ad position ... until data tells me otherwise.

Here's what I think I'd do in that scenario:
  1. For someone who has a budget of $750/mth where average clicks are $60, then I'd likely try to find a few longer tail keywords that we can dominate and that (often) have a better conversion rate to boot.
  2. I'd focus the budget and efforts there and try and get profitable.
  3. I'd start by counting impressions first (bidding on loads of long tail keywords with the same bid price and seeing where the search volumes are, where we're getting impressions, and what our average positions are). There'll likely be a few pivot-table deep dives going on to try and determine pockets we should focus on (keywords by device, time of day, day of week, etc).
  4. This would inform me and the client what to focus on.
  5. We then try to get clicks... but for a handful of keywords (likely long-tail exact match or modified broad).
  6. We can see the search term -> ad -> landing page funnel for this handful of keywords.
  7. We can check how it compares to the competitors, and maybe work on the ad copy and landing page.
  8. Weekly tests and see how it goes.
 
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I must admit I assume the click-to-enquiry-rate, click-to-sale-rate, and customer LTV don't change based on ad position ... until data tells me otherwise.
I don't know about customer LTV as I haven't tracked that, but CTR and Conv Rate and Cost/Conv can have drastic differences.



That's a screenshot of kw data over 3 months.

Avg Position is the first column "Row Labels"

Notice how avg position 3-4 for this specific account is the best CTR, best Conv Rate, and best Cost per Conv.

Some accounts and setups, it might be 2-3. Some it might be a different number.

However, if your keywords never see the light of day above position 5 because of a low bid or budget, you wouldn't really get this data and know. Also, if you just bid into #1 every day, day in and day out.. you might not also get this data.

Or you might be able to build the same pivot table I just did with all the positions, but the amount of data for those higher position is not statistically relevant to draw a confident result from, even though you have the numbers for Avg Position.

It's best to "buy data" and be in several places at once for this specific data set. Now I know where I need to bid for best CTR + ConvRate+CostConv.

I't super rare you get something that converts well AND has a good ctr. Normally I see a good ConvRate and poor CTR.

It's good to know how to dig into data, right?
 
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I don't know about customer LTV as I haven't tracked that, but CTR and Conv Rate and Cost/Conv can have drastic differences.



That's a screenshot of kw data over 3 months.

Avg Position is the first column "Row Labels"

Notice how avg position 3-4 for this specific account is the best CTR, best Conv Rate, and best Cost per Conv.

Some accounts and setups, it might be 2-3. Some it might be a different number.

However, if your keywords never see the light of day above position 5 because of a low bid or budget, you wouldn't really get this data and know. Also, if you just bid into #1 every day, day in and day out.. you might not also get this data.

Or you might be able to build the same pivot table I just did with all the positions, but the amount of data for those higher position is not statistically relevant to draw a confident result from, even though you have the numbers for Avg Position.

It's best to "buy data" and be in several places at once for this specific data set. Now I know where I need to bid for best CTR + ConvRate+CostConv.

I't super rare you get something that converts well AND has a good ctr. Normally I see a good ConvRate and poor CTR.

It's good to know how to dig into data, right?
It's no coincidence that the best people at AdWords are good with Excel...

Are you analysing at the search term level?
 

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It's no coincidence that the best people at AdWords are good with Excel...

Are you analysing at the search term level?
For this report I am looking at the keywords I place bids on to build up an "average position" rule.

But yeah, I look at the SQR too every few days for different kinds of data and then build trending date range reports off it going into the past to make sure Im not seasonal or leading up to some kind of loss with too many optimizations.
 

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Thanks so much for your response to my question. That really helped me.

I place bids on to build up an "average position" rule.
When you say build up an "average position" rule. Do you mean that you're using the automated rules in Adwords?

Or something like a Bid to Average Position script?
 
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Thanks so much for your response to my question. That really helped me.



When you say build up an "average position" rule. Do you mean that you're using the automated rules in Adwords?

Or something like a Bid to Average Position script?
Actually both.

Primarily, I "buy the data" and then run this pivot to give me an idea of where I need to be and then run an Adwords Rule for it.

Warning, you can't just mass do this in an account. You need to drill down. Don't think that you will just run this account wide and figure out you need to be X position in general.

You need to be looking at your Ad Groups, if setup properly, and finding out what's the best position per Ad Group and setting up rules that way once you have bought enough statistically relevant data for that Ad Group. Some groups will contain terms that do better for you in 2nd position, some might show 3rd to be best, etc. I've found some where I needed to be 5th.

I'll add columns to the above pivot too, to make sure I'm working with good data. They are not shown above, but it depends on what you feel you need. For myself, I might add in the number of impressions and clicks, and the number of conversions. A Cost/Conv of $222 might look good ( because I am in highly competitive and expensive verticals ), but it's not all that great if I find out that's because I had 1 conversion at that position with a spend of $222. I can't rely on data like that....

I also run Adwords Scripts built in JavaScript too for this.

Why both? Sometimes I need something with little more "umph" and kicks in when other metrics are met that are not supplied by Adwords Rules.

For example, I might need to have a "frequency" that is "last 45 days" or "last Tuesday". You can't do these in Adwords, so I build them out in Adwords Scripts.

You also can't do trends either in Adwords Rules, so again.. script time.

I also do it based on "Requirements" which are limited in Adwords Rules. For example, I have my own custom "metrics" that go past Cost/Conv or CTR and other well known metrics. I can't do those rules based on the custom metrics I have of my own, so again it's script time.

Which one I choose is based entirely on need. Some accounts don't have enough data or need for a script and will do just fine with a rule instead.

.
 

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Hey awesome thread. It's great that you are educating others in the importance of all forms of marketing, not just organic. I've been doing Digital Marketing for a while and currently learning how to leverage paid advertising channels and data analytics for the most accurate data driven reports.

I am applying everywhere for an internship/freelance gigs but it is very hard to land something unless you already possess 3+ years of experience. While I have extensive experience in the social media marketing, and SEO side of the spectrum, my knowledge in the data & paid advertising world are fairly new.

What do you recommend for a 20 year old looking to get some experience while getting some income on the side? I don't mind a free gig, or a free trial of my work, but having already 3+ years of experience in organic marketing, FB ads, SEO, deters me from doing 2-3 months of free internship.

I'd really appreciate some input..Thanks again!
 
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Hey awesome thread. It's great that you are educating others in the importance of all forms of marketing, not just organic. I've been doing Digital Marketing for a while and currently learning how to leverage paid advertising channels and data analytics for the most accurate data driven reports.

I am applying everywhere for an internship/freelance gigs but it is very hard to land something unless you already possess 3+ years of experience. While I have extensive experience in the social media marketing, and SEO side of the spectrum, my knowledge in the data & paid advertising world are fairly new.

What do you recommend for a 20 year old looking to get some experience while getting some income on the side? I don't mind a free gig, or a free trial of my work, but having already 3+ years of experience in organic marketing, FB ads, SEO, deters me from doing 2-3 months of free internship.

I'd really appreciate some input..Thanks again!
Are these people actively asking you that face to face ( or on the phone ) and then verbally rejecting you based on you saying you don't have the 3 years experience? Are you upfront telling them you don't meet their requirements and don't have 3 years PPC experience?

I've found most times what people ask for in print ( or digital ) about the job, isn't what you end up doing in your job anyways 90% of the time.

Most never even check references, your work background, or care if you have this or that requirement ( like a cert, a degree, etc ) even though they said ALL of that in the description of the job.

So if you aren't applying to the jobs/gigs because you think they will deny you ( or if you are telling them upfront you don't meet their requirements ), you are missing a lot of opportunity. I'd only worry if you are constantly getting people that verbally tell you no after you applied specifically for the lack of 3+ years experience in PPC.

Also, skip applying for internships. You have 3 years digital marketing experience. When you apply for an internship, they will already look at you as a noob to begin with. Don't set the expectation up that way.

For freelance ( paid contractor ), it is tough. I know this personally.

As much as people tout they "hire only the best" and they are "the most experienced and top talent agency", what they really mean is "we hire the best of who we can afford, at the time they don't have a job, and are within driving distance to the office"

No joke.

The best PPC freelancer might be you sitting in Portland, Oregon. However, the big agency in New York is looking for someone to fill their role and won't hire you because:
  • You cost too much. They only want to pay $42,000 a year
  • You're remote. They only want people that can come into the office daily or are on their timezone.
  • You're freelancer, and they don't hire self-employed types because most of them are not sheep/drones and won't take orders well.
That's honestly how it goes 98% of the time.

Even the "best companies" in the world that work in digital hardly ever hire remote workers. They always want to pay the lowest rates. They always want you in the office and to be within X miles of their office.

So what's left is this small sliver of the pie that is about 2% of the market that will hire you no matter where you live, pay you decently for it, and won't mind that you have some clients on the side too.

And of that 2%, you have a ton of competition going for it.

Granted, it's getting better every day... but it's still a grind and those unicorn gigs/jobs are hard to find as a freelancer.

So what's left for you to do?

Go into business for yourself as an "agency" and start selling clients your offers instead of trying to get a job or freelance gig with an agency.

But if you do go the job/freelancer for an agency route, don't worry about their requirements. I've almost never met any of the ones I took on and I applied to all kinds in the past.

Example:
I've never once took the Adwords certification in my life.

I've applied to jobs and gigs that specifically asked for it. I still applied anyways. Never once has anyone asked me if I am certified and never once has anyone bothered to check. I've worked at agencies where this was a requirement for all the team members, though I've never took it.

And why should I take it?
  • I was buying PPC before Google ever had Adwords ( I was buying clicks on GoTo ).
  • I was buying Adwords ads before it was a self-service program and WAAAAY before they had the certification
  • I've spent over $500,000+ of my own money ( from my personal checking account ) on my own ads ( not a client's money or an agencies money ).
Yeah, I honestly see no need in me personally taking a test to prove my abilities.

The more important note is it never stopped me applying to those jobs and gigs stating I needed to be certified and never once has anyone ever checked or asked me about it in an interview.

Past that, you can start running campaigns for yourself on your own dime. That will build up some experience.

You can also apply for gigs on UpWork and set it to a low low price hourly to get some gigs in.

You can also reach out to others and offer to work on a "pay per performance" model. No risk on the client, and then you're also not working for free either. Plus you are building up a book of your own business too.

Getting a couple of those under your belt, while also getting certified, should help you a lot with experience and "references".

.
 
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Are these people actively asking you that face to face ( or on the phone ) and then verbally rejecting you based on you saying you don't have the 3 years experience? Are you upfront telling them you don't meet their requirements and don't have 3 years PPC experience?

I've found most times what people ask for in print ( or digital ) about the job, isn't what you end up doing in your job anyways 90% of the time.

Most never even check references, your work background, or care if you have this or that requirement ( like a cert, a degree, etc ) even though they said ALL of that in the description of the job.

So if you aren't applying to the jobs/gigs because you think they will deny you ( or if you are telling them upfront you don't meet their requirements ), you are missing a lot of opportunity. I'd only worry if you are constantly getting people that verbally tell you no after you applied specifically for the lack of 3+ years experience in PPC.

Also, skip applying for internships. You have 3 years digital marketing experience. When you apply for an internship, they will already look at you as a noob to begin with. Don't set the expectation up that way.

For freelance ( paid contractor ), it is tough. I know this personally.

As much as people tout they "hire only the best" and they are "the most experienced and top talent agency", what they really mean is "we hire the best of who we can afford, at the time they don't have a job, and are within driving distance to the office"

No joke.

The best PPC freelancer might be you sitting in Portland, Oregon. However, the big agency in New York is looking for someone to fill their role and won't hire you because:
  • You cost too much. They only want to pay $42,000 a year
  • You're remote. They only want people that can come into the office daily or are on their timezone.
  • You're freelancer, and they don't hire self-employed types because most of them are not sheep/drones and won't take orders well.
That's honestly how it goes 98% of the time.

Even the "best companies" in the world that work in digital hardly ever hire remote workers. They always want to pay the lowest rates. They always want you in the office and to be within X miles of their office.

So what's left is this small sliver of the pie that is about 2% of the market that will hire you no matter where you live, pay you decently for it, and won't mind that you have some clients on the side too.

And of that 2%, you have a ton of competition going for it.

Granted, it's getting better every day... but it's still a grind and those unicorn gigs/jobs are hard to find as a freelancer.

So what's left for you to do?

Go into business for yourself as an "agency" and start selling clients your offers instead of trying to get a job or freelance gig with an agency.

But if you do go the job/freelancer for an agency route, don't worry about their requirements. I've almost never met any of the ones I took on and I applied to all kinds in the past.

Example:
I've never once took the Adwords certification in my life.

I've applied to jobs and gigs that specifically asked for it. I still applied anyways. Never once has anyone asked me if I am certified and never once has anyone bothered to check. I've worked at agencies where this was a requirement for all the team members, though I've never took it.

And why should I take it?
  • I was buying PPC before Google ever had Adwords ( I was buying clicks on GoTo ).
  • I was buying Adwords ads before it was a self-service program and WAAAAY before they had the certification
  • I've spent over $500,000+ of my own money ( from my personal checking account ) on my own ads ( not a client's money or an agencies money ).
Yeah, I honestly see no need in me personally taking a test to prove my abilities.

The more important note is it never stopped me applying to those jobs and gigs stating I needed to be certified and never once has anyone ever checked or asked me about it in an interview.

Past that, you can start running campaigns for yourself on your own dime. That will build up some experience.

You can also apply for gigs on UpWork and set it to a low low price hourly to get some gigs in.

You can also reach out to others and offer to work on a "pay per performance" model. No risk on the client, and then you're also not working for free either. Plus you are building up a book of your own business too.

Getting a couple of those under your belt, while also getting certified, should help you a lot with experience and "references".

.
Can I ask your opinion on landing pages, I'm running a PPC campaign for my employer, a large car dealer, I'm bidding on used car search terms and sending traffic to the used car results page relating to the search term the user used for example if someone searches on Google for 'used ford fiesta for sale' they would be sent to a page listing all our used Ford Fiesta stock. I read on a PPC blog that I should be using a custom landing page, what's your thoughts on this, it's a bit tricky for a car dealer with lots of various makes and models.
 

TheDillon__

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Actually both.

Primarily, I "buy the data" and then run this pivot to give me an idea of where I need to be and then run an Adwords Rule for it.

Warning, you can't just mass do this in an account. You need to drill down. Don't think that you will just run this account wide and figure out you need to be X position in general.

You need to be looking at your Ad Groups, if setup properly, and finding out what's the best position per Ad Group and setting up rules that way once you have bought enough statistically relevant data for that Ad Group. Some groups will contain terms that do better for you in 2nd position, some might show 3rd to be best, etc. I've found some where I needed to be 5th.

I'll add columns to the above pivot too, to make sure I'm working with good data. They are not shown above, but it depends on what you feel you need. For myself, I might add in the number of impressions and clicks, and the number of conversions. A Cost/Conv of $222 might look good ( because I am in highly competitive and expensive verticals ), but it's not all that great if I find out that's because I had 1 conversion at that position with a spend of $222. I can't rely on data like that....

I also run Adwords Scripts built in JavaScript too for this.

Why both? Sometimes I need something with little more "umph" and kicks in when other metrics are met that are not supplied by Adwords Rules.

For example, I might need to have a "frequency" that is "last 45 days" or "last Tuesday". You can't do these in Adwords, so I build them out in Adwords Scripts.

You also can't do trends either in Adwords Rules, so again.. script time.

I also do it based on "Requirements" which are limited in Adwords Rules. For example, I have my own custom "metrics" that go past Cost/Conv or CTR and other well known metrics. I can't do those rules based on the custom metrics I have of my own, so again it's script time.

Which one I choose is based entirely on need. Some accounts don't have enough data or need for a script and will do just fine with a rule instead.

.
On this - I want to talk a little bit more about scripts.

How much JavaScript knowledge would one need in order to build a decent script?

What are the capabilities of AdWords scripts, what are they most commonly used to automate?

Is there any potential for a script as a product? I.e., if I use a script to automate something for AdWords that other marketers would really like, is there a way to sell one's script?

I'm very new to coding but having a blast learning so far. I'm just trying to scope out what the possibilities are.

Adurite!
 

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Aug 29, 2011
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Can I ask your opinion on landing pages, I'm running a PPC campaign for my employer, a large car dealer, I'm bidding on used car search terms and sending traffic to the used car results page relating to the search term the user used for example if someone searches on Google for 'used ford fiesta for sale' they would be sent to a page listing all our used Ford Fiesta stock. I read on a PPC blog that I should be using a custom landing page, what's your thoughts on this, it's a bit tricky for a car dealer with lots of various makes and models.
I'm kind of wondering about this too for the car industry. For example, landing pages have always been easy for me when generating leads for things like plumbing, email services, and some ecommerce products. But I too am kind of confused about the car industry.

My assumption has always been that the landing pages for the auto industry are more like templates with scripts that dynamcially change content based search query, kind of like Unbounce's dynamic keyword insertion features. For example, if I search used honda civic 2007 in philadelphia pa then it's pretty easy to change all of that content dynamically. In fact, I saw cars.com dong something like this awhile back. They would even match the BG image to the search query (for the most part). But maybe I have been wrong all of this time. So I'd also love to hear more about this.

On another note about landing pages, awhile back one of my ppc managers sent me a weekly report for the wrong client. It was an ecomm store in the sun tan lotion niche. The store was doing making 100's of thousands of $$ per week and they were just sending traffic straight to the shopify home page. It kind of blew my mind to see that they weren't doing anything with dedicated landing pages.
 
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