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Upcoming Changes – Google Product Search to Google Shopping Transition

Google recently announced that their product search program will be replaced by Google shopping program. After the change (Fall 2012), Google merchant center products will not be displayed for FREE on the search results page. Google shopping will be a paid inclusion program like Google Adwords, which will be managed through Adwords by creating product listing ad (PLA) campaigns. These product listing ads will not compete with the Google text/display ads and will be displayed in a separate area clearly marked as shopping results (shown below).

 Transitioning to Google Shopping

• If you have a merchant center/Google shopping account and you are getting traffic and conversions from this account, it is a good idea to create a PLA campaign. You can create the campaign through your merchant center account or from Adwords. Google is giving a limited time incentive to all advertisers who create PLA campaigns before August 15th, 2012. See details here.

• If you already have a PLA campaign in adwords, you don’t have to create a new campaign. Once you stop getting free traffic, you may have to increase your budget to get more traffic from this campaign.

• Cost per clicks for PLA campaigns can increase as more merchant center advertisers start creating these campaigns. Monitor your bids and budgets so your ads will continue to show.

PLA campaign Optimization tips

Here are a few tips for optimizing your PLA campaigns:

•  Display products with high order value or high conversion rates. Use the product exclusion column in the shopping data feed to exclude or include products.

• Create different adgroups for different product categories so you can determine which categories are profitable.

• Create search friendly product names and categories because Google displays your product ads based on relevance to user’s search query and your bid price (PLA campaigns are not keyword-targeted).

• Add negative keywords to your PLA campaign to stop displaying your ads for irrelevant queries.

• Solicit genuine reviews from your customers over time so your rating will be displayed in your PLA listing, which can help increase your click through rates.

• You can opt into the Google trusted stores program so your ads will display a trusted stores badge, which can set your ad apart from your competitors.

Are you noticing any drop in your free google product search traffic yet? Do you have any other ideas for optimizing your PLA campaigns? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!


Google Adwords Match Type Change – Opt-In or Opt-Out?

Google recently rolled out a change to the Adwords exact and phrase match types, so your ads will also be triggered for misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents and abbreviations of your exact and phrase match keywords. This is a default setting at the campaign level in Adwords. Good news is that you can opt out of this change by updating the keyword matching options setting as shown below.

So what does this change mean for your campaign? Should you opt-in or opt-out? Let’s find out.

• Your website will get more (and mostly qualified) traffic.
• You have to spend less time searching for misspellings and close variants of your keywords.
• Your keyword list will be shorter, so you have less number of keywords to manage and maintain bids.
• Your keyword list does not have to contain misspellings, so you can use dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) Ads, which can help improve click through rates.

• This is a campaign level settings, so all your keywords in the campaign will be affected by this change, you cannot be selective.
• Misspellings and plurals can have lower conversion rates or may not convert at all.
• Your bid is the same for the exact/phrase match keywords as well as plurals and misspellings. You may not meet your ROI goals if they convert differently.

When to opt out of this change
• Your campaign is limited by budget.
• You have historical data showing that your campaign is not profitable for misspellings or plurals.

Best practices for implementing this change
• Test the setting on your campaigns so you can decide whether to opt-in or opt-out.
• Monitor your campaign performance, mainly your conversion rates and cost per conversions after you implement this change and revert the change if needed.
• Monitor your search queries and add negative keywords to your campaign.
• Add profitable search queries to your keyword list so you can bid on them separately in order to meet your ROI goals.

Since every business and every campaign is different, best way to know if this change is profitable for your business is to test it.

Have you implemented this change in your account yet or did you opt out? How is it working for your campaign? We would love to know!

Designing PPC Campaigns – Steve Jobs Style

I have been reading Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson, in which Isaacson describes some of Steve Jobs philosophies for designing Apple products.  Here are five of these design principles, which can be applied to pay per click (PPC) marketing campaigns.

1. Marriage of art and science.

According to Steve Jobs a good product is a marriage of art and science. He designed Apple products with this philosophy in mind.  PPC campaigns are best examples of this marriage.  You need eye catching creatives and visually appealing banner ads to attract the searchers attention.  You also need analytical skills to analyze large amounts of data, understand statistical significance when testing ads and work on automating ppc management tasks using excel or other software. You need to effectively manage the art and the science of these campaigns to make them profitable.

2. Trust your Intuition

Steve Jobs trusted his instincts and went beyond the usual focus groups and known knowledge to create breakthrough products like the Ipad and the Iphone.  In PPC as well, sometimes we have to trust our instincts and go against the best practices while creating ads and choosing keywords. Here is a fun example I found on the web which illustrates this point . As it so happens, we are fortunate that in PPC we can test these intuitions at a minimal cost since we can set our own budgets and time durations for campaign experiments.

3. Simplicity of Design

Focus on creating simple campaigns and web pages. Keep your PPC campaign simple so that it can be manageable.  Follow logical campaign creation process such as brand/nonbrand campaigns,  geographically targeted campaigns etc. Don’t create too many campaigns or adgroups to begin with but test the waters and expand as needed. Only use advanced features like keyword level urls or dynamic ads when needed since it is very easy to forget these settings and make mistakes such as taking people to wrong landing pages and displaying ads with misspellings.

4. Focus on Usability

Don’t sacrifice usability for beautiful design when creating ads and home pages. Create uncluttered web pages with readable fonts.  Landing pages should be user friendly and easy to navigate.  Have clear call to actions on landing pages and ad copy so the user knows what to do.  Keep forms simple and to the point.  Focusing on usability helps with conversions and creates profitable PPC campaigns.

5. Design under the Hood should be perfect.

According to Steve Jobs even the parts of the product which are not visible to the outside world should be perfect. Just because the PPC campaign is not visible to the world it does not have to be of lower quality than your creatives and websites.  Create logical campaign structure.  Save time by creating modular campaigns and adgroups so they can be easily duplicated if you need to add another product or geographical area. Create good documentation for best practices and change management, so your team has a standardized way for managing campaigns.  Make sure that the websites are coded properly so they load faster and create a better user experience.

We know that properly designed PPC campaigns and web pages have lower cost per clicks and higher conversions.  By applying these five design principles to PPC campaigns we can create campaigns which are more profitable than ever and are easier to maintain and expand!

Do You Know the Personality of Your PPC Account?

What do babies and pay per click accounts have in common? Read our guest post on to find out!