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eliquid

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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.
With inventory like cars that can move daily and not get replenished ( like stock in a shopify store ) with the same model, this would be the best way to handle it, by making a page for the models instead of the indiv cars.

What you are trying to do is make the page relevant to the query. So if someone types in "ford fiesta for sale" and they hit your page that lists 10 of them instead of just 1 specific one ( by VIN ), then you would be fine.

Also, there will be times when you just have 1 ford fiesta for sale and not get another one in for 10 months. As a large car dealer, I wouldn't spend time manually creating a LP and AD for 1 car that might sell today and never be back in stock. Not unless you have automated software to do this that can build the page, build the ad, insert it into Adwords, and then take down the page AND take the ad down when the car is marked as sold so you don't have to manually do it. I get that selling the car can be a lot of money, but if you have several models like this its a lot of work daily to keep track of and do.

As far as the suntan lotion stuff... Could the report have been reporting/covering more than Adwords when it came to sales? I've seen a few agencies that handle Adwords for clients, but they build reports for Amazon, Adwords, eBay and other channels for the client when it comes to revenue even though the agency doesn't manage those channels. If so, this could be throwing you off.

Sometimes hitting Page X ( like the home page or default product page ) is enough to get good sales with Adwords.

It's doesn't mean its the best, most ROI, or least expensive. It just means the owner is making money.

If a bottle of suntan lotion costs $0.15 to make and you sell it for $20.. and your poorly written ad, poorly done LP and Quality Score of 3 makes you have a cost per click of $1.. well you might be able to spend $15 at those metrics, make a sale, and be happy with that ( maybe ). Mostly because not only did you score $5 as profit ( miserable I think ), but you got the customers email and got them on remarketing too to sell them more later. You might have also upsold or cross sold them in the checkout funnel.

While you only made $5 on the direct transaction, your LTV on that customer might average $34 instead of $5. It very well might end up at $107 for LTV.

Someone at the agency or business might realize that and think this campaign is awesome. $15 spend in ads for $34 or $107 LTV.

Remember, this is with poor ads and LPs and a bad Quality Score.

Since everyone thinks this is good, no one is going in to bother with making a better ad or a better LP to raise the Quality Score. Things are fine "as-is" for the owner/company. The agency doesn't bring it up because their customer is happy.

Someone could go in and tweaks things to get the $15 ad spend down to $5 and save them $10, but they probably aren't because they could also screw things up too in the process and then the agency could lose a happy paying client.

.
 

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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!

I wouldn't bother with this idea.

For one, you need to know a good level of JS to write the code I feel. This is my belief because I have a background as a coder too. Poorly written code could leave bugs that hurt the campaign instead of help it.

Second, you would need a lot of experience as an Adwords person AND conversion rate optimizer AND business person. Why? Because Adwords is about making money for someone. Not only do you need to know Adwords back and forth to help that person, but also how that info relates to making money and improving their campaign to make revenue. If you are not solid in all 3 areas, you could develop the wrong script or not really understand the how and why in their works.

In selling your script, its JS. You can't encrypt the source. Once someone buys it, they can post it online and pass to their friends. There is no way to really manage it against fraud. I know a company that use to produce these scripts, a very well known company in the space and they had excellent scripts and charged people money for it. That company has now discontinued the service because they couldn't keep track with it and the management because unlike other software, you can't encrypt JS and protect it from theft.

Also, with these scripts, the customer has to install it themselves, unless they give you access to their account as an admin. Hardly anyone really wants to do that because now you have the keys to their castle so to speak. Some will, but a lot wont and now you have a tech issue with that client when they can't figure it out on their own.

Some people would disagree with me on all the points above, but Im telling you this as someone that is both a coder and PPC pro. As someone that actually sells in this space.

If your code and experience isn't up to spec, you could release a monster script that brings down profitable account which would be horrible to you and them.

I see poorly vetted Adwords pros that ruin an account because they aren't experienced.

I see poor software that has bugs in it no one would have ever thought of, but they came up.

You don't want to fall into both camps above, especially dealing with someone's large ad budget possibly.

Even past that, you won't be able to protect your code from theft or fraud and you might not care about that. But you will have the admin issue of clients installing this script and maybe getting it wrong unless they make you admin which will be low. When you update your script later on, those people you aren't admin of will need to update it on their own too, which will bring in more IT help.

All in all, I dont think a business based on JS scripts is something you can scale starting out.

.
 
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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!
I wouldn't bother with this idea.

For one, you need to know a good level of JS to write the code I feel. This is my belief because I have a background as a coder too. Poorly written code could leave bugs that hurt the campaign instead of help it.

Second, you would need a lot of experience as an Adwords person AND conversion rate optimizer AND business person. Why? Because Adwords is about making money for someone. Not only do you need to know Adwords back and forth to help that person, but also how that info relates to making money and improving their campaign to make revenue. If you are not solid in all 3 areas, you could develop the wrong script or not really understand the how and why in their works.

In selling your script, its JS. You can't encrypt the source. Once someone buys it, they can post it online and pass to their friends. There is no why to really manage it against fraud. I know a company that use to produce these scripts, a very well known company in the space and they had excellent scripts and charged people money for it. That company has now discontinued the service because they couldn't keep track with it and the management because unlike other software, you can't encrypt JS and protect it from theft.

Also, with these scripts, the customer has to install it themselves, unless they give you access to their account as an admin. Hardly anyone really wants to do that because now you have the keys to their castle so to speak. Some will, but a lot wont and now you have a tech issue with that client when they can't figure it out on their own.

Some people would disagree with me on all the points above, but Im telling you this as someone that is both a coder and PPC pro. As someone that actually sells in this space.

If your code and experience isn't up to spec, you could release a monster script that brings down profitable account which would be horrible to you and them.

I see poorly vetted Adwords pros that ruin an account because they aren't experienced.

I see poor software that has bugs in it no one would have ever thought of, but they came up.

You don't want to fall into both camps above, especially dealing with someone's large ad budget possibly.

Even past that, you won't be able to protect your code from theft or fraud and you might not care about that. But you will have the admin issue of clients installing this script and maybe getting it wrong unless they make you admin which will be low. When you update your script later on, those people you aren't admin of will need to update it on their own too, which will bring in more IT help.

All in all, I dont think a business based on JS scripts is something you can scale starting out.

.
What eliquid said is correct - selling the scripts isn't a viable business model. People will just share them.

When I was doing adwords, I put a fair amount of thought into the problem of automation and then wrapping that up into a business.

The scripts, by themselves, are not going to work. What CAN work, I think, is building out a backend in something like Python or C# where you get access to the person's account, and then create custom algorithms to change bids, ads, etc. Google has a mechanism for this, but you can't get access to production adwords accounts without submitting a request that includes screen shots and a design document of the functional prototype. It's a bit of a catch-22. Not impossible to work around, just a barrier to entry.

If all of that is too much for you ( it was for me ), then the best option is to use the built in rule system to manage the account. You can't integrate with outside APIs, but you can do a fair amount of the account management automatically (adjusting bids, etc.).
 
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What eliquid said is correct - selling the scripts isn't a viable business model. People will just share them.

When I was doing adwords, I put a fair amount of thought into the problem of automation and then wrapping that up into a business.

The scripts, by themselves, are not going to work. What CAN work, I think, is building out a backend in something like Python or C# where you get access to the person's account, and then create custom algorithms to change bids, ads, etc. Google has a mechanism for this, but you can't get access to production adwords accounts without submitting a request that includes screen shots and a design document of the functional prototype. It's a bit of a catch-22. Not impossible to work around, just a barrier to entry.

If all of that is too much for you ( it was for me ), then the best option is to use the built in rule system to manage the account. You can't integrate with outside APIs, but you can do a fair amount of the account management automatically (adjusting bids, etc.).
Yes, their API system is a bit of a catch-22.

Past that, you still need a lot of experience as a coder and Adwords/PPC person to know how the algo you are creating should work and why.

For example, you don't wan't code that isn't well thought out to have some kind of flaw where bids are increased based on poor data digestion within the algo. You could raise bids or lower QS without knowing it until it's too late.

SERPWoo ( the SaaS I created ) has small flaws and bugs we find all the time. Me and my partner have been coders for over 20 years each. We've also been digital marketers for about the same time each too. You will also find small bugs and issues. Now compound that with someone's paid ad budget and you see what kinds of issues you might run into.

I'm not saying this to scare you or run you off.

However, you need to know what you'r dealing with on all levels and I am just trying to share that because I feel it's what you need to know to make an informed decision.
 

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As far as the suntan lotion stuff... Could the report have been reporting/covering more than Adwords when it came to sales? I've seen a few agencies that handle Adwords for clients, but they build reports for Amazon, Adwords, eBay and other channels for the client when it comes to revenue even though the agency doesn't manage those channels.
Thanks for the reply about the auto stuff. Makes complete sense.

As far the reporting goes for the suntan stuff. They did target different platforms like you mentioned, but also broke down all metrics by platform. Reporting was actually very good. They were a pretty good ppc company to work with, for the most part.

Since everyone thinks this is good, no one is going in to bother with making a better ad or a better LP to raise the Quality Score. Things are fine "as-is" for the owner/company. The agency doesn't bring it up because their customer is happy.
This was my exact experience working with an agency.
 

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Thanks for the wonderful feedback, all! It seems like I'll keep my focus on AdWords (and keep my coding focus pointed towards Web Dev, thanks @Fox)

Now, to start the next line of discussion, let's talk about split testing ads.

I'm a big proponent of the idea that there should always be at least two ads running per ad group at all times. That said, in what way do we do this?

As David Bullock said, "First test forests, then the trees, then the branches, then test leaves."

However, there are thousands of different ways that you could write an ad for any campaign! Let's compare some ads for divorce lawyers.


.


1.
Marriage Separation?
Spouse wants out? Don't do anything before you see this solution now.
sitelink.com

2.
How to End a Marriage
Avoid the 21 biggest mistakes. Let Dr. Blackstone show you step-by-step!
sitelink.com

3.
Who is your wife with?
Is she sleeping with "him" right now? Get justice & a smile on your face.
sitelink.com

.

Now, it could be said that all of these ads are forests, all vastly different from each other (whilst still conveying the same message.) My main question here is, at what point do we stop testing forests?

For example, let's say that Ad 2 from above is our best performing ad so far, and we want to write a second ad to see if it works any better.

When do we stop launching ads like #3, and start launching "branches and leaves" like the ad below?

Bringing a Marriage to an End
Don't Make a Single Mistake. Let Dr. Blackstone help you step-by-step.
Sitelink.com
 

amp0193

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When do we stop launching ads like #3, and start launching "branches and leaves" like the ad below?
When there's enough data that you can make a confident decision to which ad is better. Could take a week, could take a couple of months... just depends on the search volume. The closer together the CTRs, the longer you'll need to run to determine the winner.


When you find a winner, then make a new ad to test against it.


When split testing, be sure to select the option "Rotate Indefinitely" under Settings --> Ad Rotation, so that you can get an equal share of views between the two ads.
 
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Thought I would bump with some tips in the next few days...

Display campaigns can be a waste if you don't monitor them.

Besides pausing and removing placements that are over obvious goals ( over CPA goals you set, or other goals if not CPA ), you should be weeding out sites that are just plain garbage and common sense before they even go over your goals.

One way you can do this is to find outliers.

Lets say you are looking at your display campaign placements for last 30 days and you realize that average CTR is 0.12%. That an average which includes really awful sites in your campaign.

Even if you look at placements that converted well for you ( within goal ), the CTR might be 0.20%.

Form a baseline you know would be way off, like 1% and find placements that hit that or are above it. See my example below....



Some of you might wonder why I put in Impressions greater than 10, that's because I like to give some benefit of doubt that maybe.. MAYBE... someone hit a placement, seen my ad, and clicked on their first visit or second visit.

Unlikely, but I'll give them the benefit for now.

What I'm left with is some questionable sites I'll take a look at by hand to see if they are spammy....




I'm also going to get rid of sites I know prob. wont make the cut, which are non-mainstream domains that are either non-english or really spammy types, like .info and .xyz, etc... Those are easily found by doing another filter like the below....




This is a good 80/20 method to find bad sites before they waste money most of the time.

Hope it helps!
 
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Thanks for the wonderful feedback, all! It seems like I'll keep my focus on AdWords (and keep my coding focus pointed towards Web Dev, thanks @Fox)

Now, to start the next line of discussion, let's talk about split testing ads.

I'm a big proponent of the idea that there should always be at least two ads running per ad group at all times. That said, in what way do we do this?

As David Bullock said, "First test forests, then the trees, then the branches, then test leaves."

However, there are thousands of different ways that you could write an ad for any campaign! Let's compare some ads for divorce lawyers.


.


1.
Marriage Separation?
Spouse wants out? Don't do anything before you see this solution now.
sitelink.com

2.
How to End a Marriage
Avoid the 21 biggest mistakes. Let Dr. Blackstone show you step-by-step!
sitelink.com

3.
Who is your wife with?
Is she sleeping with "him" right now? Get justice & a smile on your face.
sitelink.com

.

Now, it could be said that all of these ads are forests, all vastly different from each other (whilst still conveying the same message.) My main question here is, at what point do we stop testing forests?

For example, let's say that Ad 2 from above is our best performing ad so far, and we want to write a second ad to see if it works any better.

When do we stop launching ads like #3, and start launching "branches and leaves" like the ad below?

Bringing a Marriage to an End
Don't Make a Single Mistake. Let Dr. Blackstone help you step-by-step.
Sitelink.com

What @amp0193 said is good.

I'll expand on it some though just a little bit.


I like to do 3 ads in a group. 2 min, but no more than 4. Personally, I just like 3.

In your example, I keep testing "forests" until the CTR or Conv Rate doesn't change much.

So I might start with 3 wildly different ad types like you have above.

After some statistical relevance, I'll remove 1 or 2 ( as needed ) and then create 1 or 2 wildly different more in their place. Rinse and repeat a bit until I find the difference between them isn't moving much anymore or I start running out of wildly different ad ideas.

For example:

If I have given enough time and ad 1 and 2 are within 1% CTR and Conv Rate, but ad 3 is a loser.. I drop 3 and add in 1 more new widely different ad.

In the next round, it might be ad 1 is a good winner, but ad 2 and the new ad 3b are 2-4% CTR difference and/or Conv Rate away from ad 1. I'll remove those 2 and add in 2 new ads. Rinse and repeat.

At some point you will either run out of ad tests that are wildly different within good copywriting, or you will find your ads aren't much different metric wise. It might take months depending on volume too to get to statistical relevance and you might not want to wait months. At some point you gotta just use your gut and instincts before you move on to testing the "trees" and "branches".

Also, a lot of times your client will determine it. They want to approve the copy and tell you what to write. So factor that in.

There isn't a good baseline to really know where to start testing trees over forests, but above is how I would "like" to do it. Notice I said like.. it doesn't mean I always get to depending on client, budget, volume, urgency, etc.

You will just need to feel your way through it depending on the needs of the account and client.

If you really wanted a hard and fast answer.. try to test forests at least 2-3 rounds min if you can and then pick a winner and start on trees.
 
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I made an automated script to help with identifying which of my ads were winning ads ( NOTE: this is for large account with many many ads, but you can use it for small setups too ).

You have to be tracking conversions for it to work.

It's a bit of setup to get the file right before uploading, but if you have massively large accounts it is totally worth it I promise.

Split Testing Winning Ad Script

If people have questions, I will go more into how and why it works below
 
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So Adwords is making some changes!

One example of a recent coming change is they are taking away 2 ad rotation options. Now instead of 4, you will only have 2.

Most of you won't care or even notice. However, for someone like me it shows that you should never rely on 1 advertising platform.

While this is common sense in other areas ( don't depend on just Google, don't depend on just Amazon, etc ), you need to make sure that you are pushing into other areas like Facebook Ads, Bing, etc.

While this is a very small change, things like this happen every 6 months or so with Adwords. Who knows, you might be doing something today that in 6 months from now is taken away on Adwords causing a dramatic shift in your process, flow, and revenue.

If I were you and I only had Adwords, I'd be pushing new testing within Bing, Facebook, Adroll, and a few other platforms to see if I could get them working.
 

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One example of a recent coming change is they are taking away 2 ad rotation options. Now instead of 4, you will only have 2.
Which 2?
 

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They are also are changing the entire UI.

It actually looks nice... I tried it but quickly reverted back.
I think the new one looks awful. I couldn't switch back fast enough.

Give me a pseudo spreadsheet with columns I can scan down any day.
 
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The only ones staying are
“Optimize” and “Rotate Indefinitely”

Funny enough, they actually took away the “Rotate Indefinitely” option a few years ago and it was not available for a long time. They brought it back and now are taking these away.

See how that could disrupt your business if you relied on that setting before ( if you didn't manually watch them ) or if you relied on the ones being taken away now?
 
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More importantly, this also IMPACTs people who use these options:

  • OR use smart bidding strategies, such as Enhanced CPC, target CPA, or target ROAS bidding strategies.
2. Campaigns using smart bidding strategies, such as Enhanced CPC, target CPA, or target ROAS bidding strategies, will always be set to “Optimize” their ad rotation, regardless of how they set their ad rotation settings.

I predict a lot of people will be impacted since using either the ad rotation or the bidding strategy above will have you impacted in some way.
 

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The only ones staying are
“Optimize” and “Rotate Indefinitely”

Funny enough, they actually took away the “Rotate Indefinitely” option a few years ago and it was not available for a long time. They brought it back and now are taking these away.

See how that could disrupt your business if you relied on that setting before ( if you didn't manually watch them ) or if you relied on the ones being taken away now?
Yeah, they tried to take away the rotate indefinitely but I think too many people complained. Not like them to roll back a change if people complain though.

The 90 days one was super dumb. So your campaigns run with them rotating evenly. 90 days after you created the campaign they suddenly start showing only one of the ads, unbeknownst to you because you didn't put it in your calendar. Your metrics change and you can't figure out why. No thanks... I'd rather be in control.
 

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The fact is, the real gems are only known by the "doer's" of the world. The doer's are the ones that come up with, find, and exploit all these methods. It's not the "readers" of the world or the "teachers" of the world. Only the "doer's"

You can't find a sunken ship full of gold coins off the coast of Spain if you aren't the one out there looking for it, diving for it, and exploring the coastline for it DAILY. The doers of the world hold all the secrets.

Those that are doer's, are hardly ever teachers. The very small select that do end up teaching, never give away their true secrets for $197 or even $10k because the real golden gems can make multiple millions of dollars and just why would you share that with potential competitors?
This is one of the most profound takeaways that I've ever seen on here. Thanks so much for the value you're sharing on here. I've copied this quote into OneNote, so that I can reference it regularly.

As someone who leverages SEO, I completely agree with you. Paid traffic is only going to become more and more important in the future. I'm about to start leveraging PPC as much as possible.

Here's another cool trick for anyone else who does SEO: Canonical content (secret paid traffic campaigns).

Basically, you can have a public, SEO-friendly version of a blog post on your website, and you can also have a canonical version of that same exact post that's optimized for paid traffic (with affiliate links / lead gen opportunities).

You can then use the WordPress plugin "WP Hide Post" to hide all of your paid traffic campaigns on your blog.

I know that some people do this to leverage SEO *and* paid traffic at the same time. This gives you a really clean (non-spammy) public appearance, while also enabling you to take advantage of running ads, and heavily monetizing your content.
 
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( Jason Brown )
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This is one of the most profound takeaways that I've ever seen on here. Thanks so much for the value you're sharing on here. I've copied this quote into OneNote, so that I can reference it regularly.

As someone who leverages SEO, I completely agree with you. Paid traffic is only going to become more and more important in the future. I'm about to start leveraging PPC as much as possible.

Here's another cool trick for anyone else who does SEO: Canonical content (secret paid traffic campaigns).

Basically, you can have a public, SEO-friendly version of a blog post on your website, and you can also have a canonical version of that same exact post that's optimized for paid traffic (with affiliate links / lead gen opportunities).

You can then use the WordPress plugin "WP Hide Post" to hide all of your paid traffic campaigns on your blog.

I know that some people do this to leverage SEO *and* paid traffic at the same time. This gives you a really clean (non-spammy) public appearance, while also enabling you to take advantage of running ads, and heavily monetizing your content.
Glad you like it.

It really rings true. You can find some survivorship bias where someone is teaching that is a do'er but for 90% of the time what I said stands true.

There are some people that don't mind to share while being a do'er.

Good tip on the canonical content
 

SM Switi

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Thank you so much for sharing this
 

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( Jason Brown )
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Google has decided to now quietly spend 2x more your budget, even though you set a limit, on high traffic days.

How you gonna budget now monthly? If you have high traffic early in month, you could have $0 at the end to spend

Charges and your daily budget - Previous - AdWords Help
 
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Azure

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Google has decided to now quietly spend 2x more your budget, even though you set a limit, on high traffic days.

How you gonna budget now monthly? If you have high traffic early in month, you could have $0 at the end to spend

Charges and your daily budget - Previous - AdWords Help
I have a feeling that this is the beginning of the end for accelerated ad delivery and Google is essentially forcing us to get rid of its use.

There are also rules you can use to limit your spend. Check spend every hour and pause if spend is to high. A bit of a patchy work around, as you could still overdeliver in the hour.
 

Andy Black

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Andy Black

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Glad you like it.

It really rings true. You can find some survivorship bias where someone is teaching that is a do'er but for 90% of the time what I said stands true.

There are some people that don't mind to share while being a do'er.

Good tip on the canonical content
I share, but only so much. (It's enough for other doers to get a lot of value from tbh.)

In the case as AdWords skills, I'd rather use my shovel than sell shovels.
 

AdamMaxum

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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?
I agree with all of this, but we know that even if you laid this entire plan out in front of a client, they still wouldn't budge enough to run an unlimited budget campaign for a month, especially in legal. They would need to spend 5-10k a month at least depending on practice areas.

So the real question is, what do you do with clients who have lower set budgets and you know they can't afford a real campaign? Unless you're willing to turn down a new client/sale, you set them up, make them aware of their situation and hope they come to their senses at some point or they cancel because they aren't getting the results they expected even though you told them so.
 
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( Jason Brown )
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I agree with all of this, but we know that even if you laid this entire plan out in front of a client, they still wouldn't budge enough to run an unlimited budget campaign for a month, especially in legal. They would need to spend 5-10k a month at least depending on practice areas.

So the real question is, what do you do with clients who have lower set budgets and you know they can't afford a real campaign? Unless you're willing to turn down a new client/sale, you set them up, make them aware of their situation and hope they come to their senses at some point or they cancel because they aren't getting the results they expected even though you told them so.
I turn them down.
  • I don't like being on a losing team. If I know it won't work, I don't touch it. Losing teams mean at some point down the road the relationship will end. I like having happy and long-term clients, not clients that ask why something isn't working and end up unhappy and possibly leave a bad review of me or my agency somewhere online because they "don't get it"

  • No one likes to admit their wrong. Because of this, most people don't come to their senses. Waiting for others to do so.. even when I know they won't.. is just a waste of ( my ) time.

  • If they don't have the money to properly set up stuff, they prob. have money problems elsewhere that will cause delays, setbacks, problems with resources, etc in other areas like their fulfillment, call center, landing page, etc which ultimately create issues for you managing their PPC.

  • I'm not going to step over dollars, trying to pick up nickels if I can help it

  • If they don't have the proper setup, they just aren't ready for me to manage their campaign. They might be ready for a junior and the results a junior can provide. "When the student is ready, the master appears".
 

AdamMaxum

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I'm getting more heavily into Facebook ads lately. Do you have any insight into the following...

1. When you're choosing the ad type to run - are there any objectives you believe perform better than others in general? Obviously it depends what your goals are and the ads themselves, but are there some that generally work better or that you prefer to use?

2. Under 'consideration' -. 'engagement' - for post engagement and likes - are these worth paying for? I've been running some like campaigns and awareness campaigns for posts and for my FB page. I'm getting low cost 'post engagements' but not seeing any other side effects on the FB page or post itself.

3. Should I be running like campaigns for a FB page (within FB) and spending dollars on likes? If I build up relevant likes from targeted people - will these still help my organic reach with posts in the future?

4. If you had to build up a new Facebook page or group from scratch, what paid strategies would you use to do so quickly and efficiently?

5. How long do you wait to kill an ad set/group after running it?

6. Any helpful programs you use or recommend to create ads pretty quickly?

Thanks!
 
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