Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Almost every pay-per-click advertising campaign has room for optimization. Today, let’s focus on one simple way to save money with your Google AdWords campaigns: adding negative keywords. A negative keyword prevents your ad from being triggered by a certain word or phrase.

For instance, it’s incredibly important to list negative keywords for my clients who are professional speakers. Otherwise, our ads would display for searches such as “Sony speakers for sale,” or “Public speaking tips.”

How to Add Negative Keywords to Your Google AdWords Campaigns

First, you’ll need to identify which keywords result in undesirable clicks to your ads. Fortunately, Google has a tool for that. In the Keywords tab, look at the Search Terms sub-tab, shown below:

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

Google describes this report as follows:

“Learn how customers are finding your ad. With the Search terms report, you can see the actual searches people entered on Google Search and other Search Network sites that triggered your ad and led to a click. Depending on your keyword match types, this list might include terms other than exact matches to your keywords.”

When I ran this report for a veterinary hospital, I found a few stray clicks from searches for things like “cat declawing” and “ear cropping” – services my client definitely doesn’t provide!  Also, several searches indicated clicks that might not results in optimal clients, such as “free vet clinic.” And there was a weird “def leppard” result. (Sometimes running this report can be really funny– except your advertising budget isn’t laughing.)

To add the negative keywords, click on the Negative Keywords sub tab, then click the big red +KEYWORDS button:

Save Your Marketing Budget with Negative Keywords

All done! Enjoy your savings.

Suggested Negative Keywords to Get You Started

Different industries usually require different negative keywords, but here are a few general suggestions I use for most of my clients:

  • Cheap
  • Free
  • DIY
  • How to
  • Learn to
  • Profanity and explicit language

Add some negative keywords and watch your AdWords reports to track your results. You should save money and also receive more relevant clicks from potential customers.

The Case Against Bing Advertising

The Case Against Bing AdvertisingBing Ads serve the Bing, Yahoo! and MSN search networks. According to most statistics, these networks account for around 36% of web searches. Basic math indicates that to reach a third more potential customers, you should advertise on the network.

But “searches” don’t equal “individual searchers,” and evidence suggests Bing may have significantly fewer users than searches. I recently discovered that Bing doesn’t throttle search traffic from automated bots that scrape websites for mass amounts of information. Google does. Bing may be becoming popular with firms that deploy search bots. There’s no way to know how many searches are initiated by people and how many are initiated by bots.

Which means there’s no way to be certain if your advertising is being clicked on by a customer or a computer. Small business marketing budgets aren’t limitless, and you don’t want to risk wasting advertising dollars on robots.

So…

Should You Advertise on Bing?

My answer to this question may seem frustratingly obvious: Advertise on Bing Ads if they work, and stop advertising on the network if it’s not working.

Identifying success metrics are critical to determine if Bing Ads are “working” for your small business (or if any other marketing campaign is working, for that matter). Without measurable results, you could be wasting a significant amount of money. Here are some examples of success metrics you can measure from your online advertising:

  • Number of visits from Bing Ads that directly result in sales
  • Length of time Bing Ads visitors spend on your website (indicates if a visit is automated or a real person)
  • Phone calls received from customers who located you with Bing Ads
  • Engagement with interactive elements of your website, like quizzes or polls

For instance, I tested eliminating Bing Ads with one of my clients, and our success metrics didn’t change. We simply spent less of our marketing budget. That’s merely one anecdote, but it serves to show that all small business marketing professionals should scrutinize Bing Ads’ effectiveness.

If you try out Bing Ads, let me know about your experience. Are there any major small business Bing Ads success stories out there?

What is the Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network is part of Google’s advertising universe. Businesses place text, image or video ads on websites that partner with Google. The Display Network can be an effective way to reach potential customers who are interested in your products or services but aren’t actively searching for them.

Here are three examples, two from the New York Times and one from a travel website:

Google Display Network Example

image ad example

image ad example

While Google’s Search ads appear in search results, Display Network ads appear on websites. Both kinds of advertising are pay-per-click, meaning businesses pay for the ad when someone clicks on it.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of advertising on Google’s Display Network.

Use Demographic Targeting with Display Network Ads

Demographic targeting is the key to success with Display Network ads. Google offers a variety of targeting options. Here’s a small sample:

sample demigraphic topics

Display Network ads require careful demographic targeting to ensure only people who could become your customers click on your ads. A campaign’s list of excluded demographic interests can be just as important as the topics that are included. For most businesses, I recommend their exclusions list include some of the following:

Sample demographic exclusions

Create Image and Video Ads to Get the Most Impact

Last month, I wrote “How to Extend Your Reach with Google Image and Video Ads.” While text ads are the go-to format for search advertising, image and video ads are much more suited for display advertising. With search advertising, customers are already searching for your product. With display advertising, you need to work harder to earn their attention. Display ads should be as attractive and interesting as advertisements you would run in a magazine.

Get More Ideas

Google has several case studies for how brands like Jordan, Yankee Candle and match.com have used the Display Network, which you can check out here.

Have questions? Email me at amanda@zooinajungle.com

Extend Your Reach with Google Image and Video Ads

Most businesses know about Search Advertising with Google AdWords, and use the service fairly effectively to advertise to potential customers searching for products and services like theirs. Fewer take advantage of Google’s complementary Display Network, which promotes ads on websites whose readers match the demographics of your customers.

To see if your business is already advertising on the Display Network and to edit your target demographic settings, visit the Settings page for each campaign. You can see that Zoo in a Jungle Marketing’s campaign type is set to Search and Display Networks.

Google Display Network

Any text ads you’ve created will automatically be placed on the Display Network. To fully take advantage of advertising on the Display Network, businesses should create image and video ads as well.

Google Image Ads

To create Google image ads, use the display ad builder, which is accessed from your list of ads:

Creating a Google Image Ad

The ad builder allows you to create the text for your ads, upload images and choose colors.

Writing your Google Image Ad

It’s very important that your ad design is tweaked to fit all the different ad sizes offered by Google. Your average cost per click will be lower if your ads can display on any website in the Display Network. Most websites will only allow one or two of the ad sizes ti display on their pages.

Google Image Ads in all sizes

Google Video Ads

Google video ads can be displayed on Google’s partner websites or YouTube sponsored videos. Businesses can use any video you have already uploaded to YouTube (make sure you own the copyright to the videos). To create a Google video ad, choose the display ad builder:

Creating a Google Video Ad

Select Video in Media and Channels, then choose either TrueView In-display or TrueView in-search:

Choosing your video format

Next, you’ll have the opportunity to select a video from your YouTube Channel, write a description of the video, and your ad is complete:

Choose a video ad from your YouTube channel

I encourage businesses to experiment with the Display Network using image and video ads. You’ll extend your advertising reach, and clicks through the Display Network typically are less expensive than clicks from Search Advertising. Questions? Email me – amanda@zooinajungle.com

 

 

Marketing Podcast: The Future of Search Marketing

My article two weeks ago, “The Diversification of Search (and Your Marketing Budget),” seems to be coming true faster than I had anticipated. In this marketing podcast with Dave Weatherholt, I detail the recent news of Microsoft increasing user privacy in the new Internet Explorer 10– and how that will impact business’s search engine marketing campaigns, like Google AdWords.

Download or listen below:

The Future of Search Marketing

Marketing Podcast: The Future of Search Marketing (4.4 MB)

This segment first aired during “Getting Down to Business” on Alaska’s Fox News Talk 1020.

Marketing Jargon Defined

For many small businesses, one of the most confusing things about marketing is the jargon.When talking with marketing professionals and vendors, sometimes these words get tossed out without any definition. Here’s a quick list of some of the most common  marketing jargon:

  • Marketing Mix – The marketing activities that make up your marketing plan. For instance, e-mail marketing, pay-per-click advertising and promotional events.
  • Target – The customers you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts (You’ve probably noticed that many marketing terms have militaristic origins. I think this is a terrible way to think about marketing, as I wrote in this article – “Marketing isn’t war on your customers“).
  • Copy – The written content on a business’s website, blog, brochures, advertisements, etc.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization. The ongoing process of making a website attractive to search engines like Google.
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing. This encompasses the marketing mix a business uses to market to users of search engines, both SEO and advertising.
  • CPM – Cost Per Mille. In the advertising world, this is the cost per one thousand showings of your ad. Sometimes, it’s also referred to as Cost Per Impression.
  • Impression – An impression is when your ad is visible to view. For instance, each time a banner ad loads on a web page it counts as an impression. But just because the ad is visible doesn’t guarantee a person is actually looking at it!
  • PPC – Pay Per Click. This is the type of internet advertising made popular by Google and is used by all the search engines, along with Facebook. It means you pay for the advertising when someone clicks on your ad.
  • CPC – Cost Per Click. How much each click costs in a PPC advertising campaign.
  • Viral Marketing – Marketing efforts that are started by a business but grow and become controlled by groups of customers. For instance, you’ve probably heard of a video that has “gone viral.”

Have any other marketing jargon you’d like defined? Just post a comment, and I’ll be glad to help!

Small Business Marketing Podcast: Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising is receiving a lot of buzz with small businesses lately (probably because Facebook launched a direct mail campaign targeted at small businesses). If you received this mailing, you know the Facebook talking points – they have 500 million users that you can target by location, age and interests.

But is Facebook advertising right for your business? To learn more about the possibilities, listen to my Facebook Advertising podcast. I share specific examples of when Facebook advertising works and when it doesn’t.

Listen or download below:

Facebook Advertising

Download the Facebook Advertising MP3 file here. (5.6 MB)

This segment first aired during “Getting Down to Business” on Alaska’s Fox News Talk 1020.

PPC Advertising Online

Pay-per-click advertising with Google, Bing and Facebook

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising online can be a very cost-effective addition to marketing plans – most of us know that. But the world of PPC advertising is expanding into new opportunities. Lately, many business owners have asked me about different kinds of PPC advertising, with questions like, “What about Facebook?” or “Is Bing worth it?” It seems time for me to publicly address some of these questions for my readers.

Google PPC

Google PPC advertising is the must-have for any online advertising strategy. Google enjoys 65.4% market share of internet searches. Being on the page when your customer is searching for your product is incredibly valuable. To learn more about the general benefits of PPC advertising, read my article “Building Your Website Traffic.”

Bing and Yahoo! PPC

Microsoft manages the search results and PPC advertising for both Bing and Yahoo! through its Microsoft AdCenter. In February, Bing had 13.6% market share for online search, and Yahoo! had 16.1%. Combined, the search engines represent 29.7% of all internet searches. It is worthwhile to advertise to 30% of your customer base, and the strategies used for Google PPC advertising will apply to Bing and Yahoo!.

In my experience, you will face less competition advertising with Bing and Yahoo!, for two reasons. 1. Fewer businesses think of devoting marketing resources to these search engines. 2.The Microsoft AdCenter is difficult to use, and its reporting is much less intuitive than Google’s.

Facebook PPC

Facebook is a relatively new player in the PPC advertising arena, and their approach is quite different from the search engines’ way of advertising. First of all, you don’t have to pay per click; you can pay per impression. Paying for impressions is more traditional marketing language, so I believe Facebook offers the option to make marketers more comfortable. PPC advertising is attractive because you only pay when someone shows interest in your ad – not just if it showed on the screen. Here are some other ways Facebook advertising is different:

  • Demographics instead of search. Facebook users aren’t searching for what they seek. Instead they list interests, post updates and engage in conversations. Facebook uses this demographic information to display ads they think might interest the user. Facebook allows advertisers quite a bit of granularity in choosing demographics like age, geographic location, sex and relationship status. Search engines simply don’t have all of this information.
  • Interests instead of keywords. With a search engine, finding perfect keywords is crucial to a successful PPC campaign. But with Facebook advertising, it’s all about likes and interests. As an advertiser, you identify the interests of the people you would like to reach, and Facebook makes suggestions, as shown in the picture below:
  • Facebook page instead of your website. You can send visitors to your Facebook page instead of your website.  I recommend creating and maintaining a page for your business if you are going to advertise on Facebook. Facebook users like to stay on the site, and you will receive more value from your ads if a visitor “likes” your page and receives your regular updates. It’s important to regularly update your business page, so people stay interested (but don’t update it too frequently, or people will “hide” you!). Many marketers might balk at sending visitors to their Facebook page instead of their website- don’t we want to increase our website stats? Website stats are important, but only because we hope to turn visitors into customers. The best way to turn Facebook users into customers is by engaging them on the site they visit every day.
  • Ads and pages have to be associated with a personal profile. You need to set up a profile in order to set up a business page in order to set up an ad directing people to that page. Don’t blame me for the complexity; blame Facebook.

Do you have more questions about PPC advertising online? Send me an email – amanda@zooinajungle.com

The Secret to Small Business Advertising

Small businesses are bombarded with advertising opportunities. These sales pitches often make small business owners feel uneasy and uncertain, thinking, “Shouldn’t I try this out?” or, “What if I’m missing an opportunity?” In small business, the fear of missing out often drives advertising decisions.

The secret is that many advertising companies are successful because of this uncertainty, not because of the success they bring their clients. Much of their money is made from the attitude of, “Maybe we should just test this to see if it works.”

So how can you tell which advertising options are good – and which ones are bad?  Let me make it easier for you and give some insight based on what I’ve learned over the years. I’ve talked with many advertisers and heard almost every advertising pitch.

Some advertising offers are inherently shady, such as emails from companies claiming your website failed “international reports” or from other companies promising to place your ad in the first advertising spot on Google for just a monthly fee. In general, if you receive a bulk email from an advertising company, feel free to discard it (and think of all the time you’ll save not having to read these junk emails!).

Other advertising offers can be confusing. You may receive phone calls from pushy advertising salespeople who assure you they’re offering a great deal. Below are a few instances of those kinds of offers and when it might make sense for you to accept them.

There are many companies offering to promote your business on Google and Bing. Some of them (like mine) manage the advertising in an efficient and effective way.  Others try to obscure how the systems work. Keep in mind that Google and Bing advertising are always pay-per-click. It’s reasonable to hire a web marketing specialist to manage and grow your search engine marketing, but the company should provide transparency. Such a company will help you decide if search engine advertising is even right for your business.

In addition to search engines, there are many individual websites that solicit advertisers. Websites such as TheKnot.com exist solely on advertising revenue and cater to specialized groups of people (in this case, brides). Advertising on these sites are usually paid for monthly instead of pay-per-click, so is it worth the risk? It could be, depending on what you are selling, how many visitors on the site are looking for your product and how many competitors they allow to appear with your ad. Ask the salesperson for this information to determine if you’ll get a return on this investment. If the salesperson can’t provide this information, don’t buy from them.

Coupon publications are another advertising option often promoted to small businesses. Bundled coupons like Val-Pak have a very dedicated following among a small group of coupon users. Generally, everyone else on the mailing list simply throws out the envelope without looking at it. This pattern means every coupon redeemed from a Val-Pak mailing is used by the same group of people. This behavior is fine for companies who don’t mind regularly discounting products or services, but it’s not a good way to gain new customers who will someday pay full price. This same advice also applies to coupon circulars like Redplum or Dollarsaver.

Don’t worry if you can’t determine if an advertising venue is right for your business. It’s the advertiser’s job to prove it to you. Advertisers should provide you with detailed statistics relating to your business. If they can’t provide you with data, then you can’t be sure they are offering a good investment. For reference, Allrecipes.com provides excellent public information that makes it clear which types of products and services should be advertised on their site. Don’t expect anything less from those trying to sell you advertising.

Here’s my advertising advice in a nutshell: Always say, “No!” unless an advertiser can prove his advertising will provide a return on the investment.

If you get an advertising offer, and don’t know what to do with it, feel free to send it to me at amanda@zooinajungle.com. I’ll let you know what I think.

Stuck on Search Engine Optimization?

Sometimes optimizing your website for keywords can feel stifling. For instance, how many times can a person put “tax accountant” on a web page before looking ridiculous? (I’m not sure, but the About.com article certainly pushes it, don’t you think?) Fortunately, there is a way to vary your terms and still get placed in search engines – and it’s free.

Google’s free keyword tool will end your SEO writer’s block. Although the tool is designed to provide keywords for you AdWords account, it can help you with so much more. Using the keyword tool, you can learn:

  • The most popular terms people use to search for your products and services- both globally and locally.
  • The most competitive terms- hence the most difficult to optimize for.
  • What terms your website is currently optimized for- sometimes these results are surprising if you haven’t paid much attention to SEO.

Keyword Tool Examples

Let’s help About.com keep their search ranking but be a little less dreary to read. They could use any of the following terms as a replacement for tax accountant. Notice that “tax preparation” receives about five times the search volume as “tax accountant.”

Did you notice that the competition for all of the above keywords is extremely high? It would be difficult for any tax accountant’s website to break into the top page in these searches. Fortunately, there are some less competitive options that are more specific. A tax accountant firm could be successful at writing an article titled, “How to Find a Tax Accountant.” Or they could focus on geography, such as “tax accountant in ohio.”

If you are curious what Google thinks your website is optimized for (and you should be!), you’ll want to enter your website address into the keyword tool. Here are the results for my site, which specializes in small business marketing.

Google seems to understand what Zoo in a Jungle Marketing is optimized for pretty well. Tip: although “business” garners the most searches in a month, it would be foolish to optimize for such a general term. The likelihood that someone searching for “business” wants to read my blog or hire Zoo in a Jungle Marketing is very slim.

Go forth, and use Google’s free keyword tool to optimize!