Paid Search-Best-Practices

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Best Practices A Guide to Adjusting Active ReachSearch Campaigns Created by: Michael Stratton, Orlando CSC & Kyle Evilsizor, Atlanta CSC

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  1. 1. Best Practices A Guide to Adjusting Active ReachSearch Campaigns Created by: Michael Stratton, OrlandoCSC & Kyle Evilsizor, AtlantaCSC
  2. 2. Table of Contents Core Elements Keywords Text Ads Ad Groups Geo-Targeting Web Events Tracking Headers Spend Advice Scenarios page 2 page 4 page 6 page 8 page 10 page 12 page 14 page 17 page 18
  3. 3. When should a keyword list change? If a campaign is receiving irrelevant traffic, it is possible we are bidding on (or broad mapping to) some incorrect keywords. Before submitting any changes however, the IMC should request a full keyword and negative keyword list. They should also thoroughly research keyword performance in the campaign reports. Keywords One of the most important elements of any search campaign is the keyword list. ReachLocal is pretty well versed in building keyword lists for our clients, but there are times these lists require attention. Often mistakes or omissions in the keyword list are only discovered after the campaign starts to run. Examples: Adding keywords: The IMC meets with their advertiser and discovers we are bidding on terms that are normally associated with the vertical, but we are missing some specialized products or services this particular company sells/provides. Negating keywords: The IMC notices some keywords are generating a lot of impressions, but no clicks (research driven keywords.) Removing keywords: The IMC finds incorrect geo-indicators in the keyword list 2
  4. 4. How can an IMC change keywords? An IMC must submit a ticket to add, remove, or negate any keywords. Ticket Type: Keywords Ticket sub-type: varies, depending on situation. There are several subtypes under this ticket type. When in doubt, an IMC should double check with their CSC. Description: An IMC should always include a detailed explanation of what theyre requesting and why. Changing keywords on a campaign can have drastic effects on its performance. Clarity is important. Note: Many of the keyword ticket subtypes are only available once the IMC selects a particular CID. Is it safe? It can be down-right dangerous to mess with a clients keyword list. Negating the wrong keyword could eliminate an entire group of potential customers. Adding the wrong keywords could waste the customers money by targeting the wrong search traffic. However, it could be just as harmful to leave the wrong keywords on a list. Every IMC should be careful when adjusting this info, but should not hesitate to correct a problem. Changes to a keyword list also affect optimization for the campaign, no matter if adding or removing. Adjusting keywords can dramatically raise or drop the impressions which may have negative effects on the CTR/Quality Score and subsequently performance! 3
  5. 5. When should text ads be changed? If the CTR or CTC rate is low, the IMC should look at the text ads first. Make sure the text ad reflects information provided on the landing page, and the verbiage filters out the wrong type of customer. The text ad is like a bouncer at a barit makes sure the right people get in. Text Ads Whether written by the IMC, client, or provisioning team, there are times a campaigns text ads need tweaking. This can be as small as choosing different descriptive language or as large as creating a brand new call to action. Advice: When altering text ads, the IMC should take the keyword list and landing page into account. A well written text ad compliments other elements of the campaign and will greatly benefit a campaign. Poorly written text ads will adversely effect its performance. When in doubt, the IMC should ask their CSC for guidance. 4
  6. 6. Remember that changes are automatically sent to provisioning for approval when any change is made in the platform. Sometimes it is also a good idea for theIMCtosubmitaticketinadditiontomakingthechanges. Iftheadisinupdating status for too long (over 48 hours) then a ticket will help push it through faster. Is it safe? Text ads can only be updated every so often. It takes several days for new ads to get pushed out to all publishers. It is important to allow the changes to take effect before trying to switch the ads out again. The IMC and client must have patience and give the new text ads time. Changes to text ads can also reset the quality score for the campaign or ad group. How can an IMC change text ads? An IMC is able to change or add text ads in the platform. 1. Select in the Action pull-down list. 2. Click 3. To alter existing: Click on particular text needing changes.The ad text will open in the center of the screen, accessibletochange. 4. To add: Click 5. Toremove:Click Note:Theprimarytextadcannotbe deleted. 6. Alwaysclick (whetherchanging,adding,orremoving.) If its not broken dont fix it.Just because a text ad has a low CTR does not necessarily mean you are running a poor campaign. A low CTR% with a high CTC% just means we are just bringing the advertiser very relevant traffic. Remember our IMCs are true consultants. Just because an advertiser wants to make a change to the text ads does not mean that it is in the best interest of the campaign! Note: Text ads can be written per publisher. It is possible a word or phrase restricted on Google is allowed on Bing. Contact Campaign Services about these rare situations. 5
  7. 7. When should ad groups change? Low CTRs are often an impetus to add ad groups to a campaign. Being able to create specific, pointed text ads and keywords to target the intended audience more directly can greatly benefit a campaign struggling with more broad text ads. Ad groups should only be removed if a client truly wants to change the focus of their campaign, or if major changes happen to their product or service lines. Ad Groups Ad groups are a great way to elicit customers for multiple products/services an advertiser provides in a direct way. Advice: These products and services should be at least related to each other. Mutually exclusive sides of our customersbusinesses should be represented in separate campaigns and not just multiple ad groups in a single campaign. It is also important to remember ad groups optimize around each other. If one performs better than others, our platform will spend more energy and budget on the more successful of them. If an advertiser prefers a specific amount of their total budget is allocated for a segment of their business, RL should place it in itsown campaign. 6
  8. 8. How can an IMC change ad groups? An IMC must submit a ticket to add or remove any keywords. Ticket Type: Keywords Ticket sub-type: Ad group to keyword mapping Description: In order for the ad groups to be set up properly it is very important CS understands exactly what the purpose of the new ad group is. These changes should not be requested without the clients knowledge. Is it safe? Anytime text ads or keywords are altered it can adverselyeffectthecampaign.Removingadgroups and the keywords mapping to these will cause the campaign to re-optimize. The platform will almost be starting from scratch. Changes in these areas can also negatively effect CTR and Quality Score. Dynamic landing pages should be enabled for ad groups, as it is important the system is pushing relevance in correlation with search terms and ads! Note: It is possible for an IMC to pause an ad group. Some campaigns may have seasonal ad groups based on seasonal aspects of the advertisers business. This is preferred to removing an adgroup. Adding/removing ad groups Ticket Type: Keywords Ticket sub-type: Ad group to keyword mapping Description: It is important the IMC states very clearly if they intend to add or remove an ad group. If the IMC is adding a group, they must include info about any keywords they wish to map to this group. If removing ad groups, the IMC should include a explanation of why it is necessary and that they are aware of what it will do to the campaign. They must also indicate whether the attached keywords should be removed from the campaign as well. 7
  9. 9. When should geo-targeting change? Sometimesthisserviceareachangesduringthecourseofacampaign,oritcouldhavebeenset-up incorrectly in the beginning. Obviously any campaign set-up mistakes must be corrected as soon as possible. Geo Targeting Changes to the geo-targeting of a campaign will only effect the IP targeting. For changes to the geo indicators on keywords, the IMC must submit a ticket to alter the keyword list. Advice: It is important a search campaign is targeted to encompass an advertisersservice area,or specific geographical area they wish to target. It is very important the IMC learns this information from the advertiser directly and does not infer based on their own opinion or info from the clients website. 8
  10. 10. How can an IMC change the geo-targeting? An IMC must submit a ticket alter geographic targeting. Ticket type: Campaign Targeting Ticket sub-type: Adjust targeting area (to modify radius) or change targeting type (to switch between radius, regional, or cities) Description: Include what it needs to change to, and a through explanation of why the change is necessary. Without this, Campaign Services might not make the change or will hold up the process seeking more information. Is it safe? Changing one of the major factors of a campaign can definitely cause adverse effects.This is not something to be updated frequently or at a whim. This will literally change who sees the ad, and therefore can potentially damage the progress of a campaign. It can also greatly affect the budget spend (both daily spend and CPV because of population and competition.) 9
  11. 11. When should web tracking change? If the client is in a low call industry the IMC might end up reviewing the tracked pages on a regular basis. For these campaigns the web event tracking will be a more important metric for the client to qualify ROI than calls or emails. Example: CVBs, some types of retail. It is obviously best the correct pages are tracked from the onset, so the customer can compare each cycle evenly. However, it is never too late to correct a mistake. Web Events It is important any ReachSearch campaign tracks the appropriate pages on clients website. Generally, an IMC should track any form submissions and any pages that show clear intent to purchase, or propensity to contact the advertiser directly. Examples: All forms on the site (typically) Inventory lists Service lists Directions to location Offers/specials page Contact information (if not a form) Testimonial/review page Note: our reporting is not meant to replace Google analytics. Do not gettrack happy. We do not want a client to see web event numbers inflated with irrelevant information. Note: Any changes to a sites domain requiresthe IMC to reset all web event tracking. 10
  12. 12. Is it safe? Neverforgetthatourplatformoptimizesaroundwebevents. It is unwise to mess around with any factor in optimization too much. Advice Makesurethattherightvalueisgiventotheseaswewanttomaximizetheeffectiveness of optimization. Forms should be tracked at a medium value. Provisioning will automatically track the form submission at a high value. This means that the IMC should not also track the form submit at a high value How can an IMC change web events? The IMC is able to add or remove web events the in platform. If they are adding a new form submission, however, they will need to submit a ticket for thesubmitpage to be proxied. 1. Select in the Action pull-down list. 2. Click 3. To add: click (at the bottom of the page.) Space to add more urls will appear. Click to save changes. 4. To remove: Click the next to the url. Once all urls to be removed are selected ( ) click to save changes. OncetheIMCprocessesthesechanges,theyareautomaticallysenttoProvisioningforapproval. 11
  13. 13. When should a tracking header change? There are clients who get very touchy about the look and feel of their site. It is up to the IMC to determine if using a tracking header will upset the client (through conversation with their contact.) However, iftheCTCrateislow,adding/tweakingtheheadercanhaveapositive effect. Tracking Headers Although tracking headers do not directly impact optimization, a properly designed tracking header will positivly effect a campaigns CTC rate. Advice: The tracking header should have a clear, but factual call to action. Not all businesses offer afree consultation.It should also stand out from the website, but avoid being garish. A contrasting, but complimentary color is best. Example: 12
  14. 14. How can an IMC change a tracking header? An IMC is able to change or add a tracking header in the platform. Is it safe? The tracking header does not directly impact too much on a campaign. However, it is very important the call to action is appropriate to the business. Not all businesses offer a free consultation. Claiming the advertiser provides something they do not is a good way to lose the client. 1. Select in the Action pull-down list. 2. Click 3. Click 4. A new browser window will pop-up, allowing the IMC to alter the type of header, copy, font, background color, etc. 5. Click Note: It takes several days for the revised tracking header to start serving. The preview tool (which allows an IMC to see what the campaigns header looks like on the advertisers website) will not reflect any updates until the header is live. 13
  15. 15. Spend Correcting Daily Spend: If a campaign is vastly over or under spending, it can seriously affect the clients perception of ROI and the IMCs revenue. Optimal daily spend should be between 90-110%, anything below or above that is cause for concern. Note: Keep in mind that it could be a vertical that has seasonality to it, so please consider this possibility prior to submitting a ticket for low/high spend issues. How can an IMC correct daily spend? The IMC must submit a ticket to correct daily spend. Ticket Type: Campaign Budget Ticket sub-type: Budget Pacing Under/Over spend (based on situation) Description: It must be very clear in the ticket that the IMC is just trying to correct the daily spend, not over or under spend on purpose. The core of ReachLocal is our technology. One facet of our advertising platform is designed to pace our search campaigns to serve a cycle in about 30 days (on average 28-32 days.) There are rare times, however, when a campaigns daily spend rate is off, or it is in the short term best interest of the advertiser for us to either increase or decrease their campaigns natural pacing. 14
  16. 16. How can an IMC increase daily spend? An IMC has to receive written permission from the advertiser that they want to increase their spend (include by how much and why.) Their RSM must submit a ticket to increase the daily spend (overspend.) Ticket Type: Campaign Budget Ticket sub-type: Budget Pacing Over spend Description: The ticket must include an explanation of why the spend increase is necessary or requested and the written statement from the advertiser must be attached. CAT will ultimately handle this ticket. When would an IMC want to overspend? There might be times a client would like to over spend for a short period of time to take advantage of a special event or situation. Is it safe? It is important this adjustment be for a limited time. When an IMC messes with pacing they mess with optimization. Increasing the spend rate makes our system do something that its not designed to. Optimization will take a back seat to page position in this case. Our system is constantly trying to find the most effective bid for the least possible amount. Leaving a campaign in a double or triple spend can cause the cost per lead to go up, which is obviously not ideal. Increasing Daily Spend: Intentionally requesting a campaign spend at higher than 100% of the expected daily budget. This is a rare request. Example: A roofing company after a major storm; a flooring company after a flood; a florist leading up to Mothers Day. 15
  17. 17. Is it safe? It is important this adjustment be for a limited time. When an IMC messes with pacing they mess with optimization. Decreasing the spend rate makes our system do something that its not designed to. Optimization will take a back seat to page position in this case. Our system is constantly trying to find the most effective bid for the least possible amount. Leaving a campaign at 50% daily spend or so is obviously not ideal and can lead to a significant increase in CPC. How can an IMC decrease daily spend? An IMC has to receive written permission from the advertiser that they want to lower their spend (include by how much and why.) Their RSM must submit a ticket to decrease the daily spend (overspend.) Ticket Type: Campaign Budget Ticket sub-type: Budget Pacing Under spend Description: The ticket must include an explanation of why the spend decrease is necessary or requested and the written statement from the advertiser must be attached. CAT will ultimately handle this ticket. Decreasing Daily Spend: Intentionally requesting a campaign spend significantly lower than 100% of the expected daily budget. This is a rare request. When would an IMC want to under spend? There might be times a client would like to slow their spend down a significant amount for a short period of time. If the advertiser is experiencing money trouble, it is better to slow their campaign down than pause it. They might also be a partially seasonal business who feels strongly the quality of traffic decreases in their off season. 16
  18. 18. Text Ads SpendHeaders Targeting Ad Groups Web Events CTRKeywords How should an IMC proceed? It is typical for an inexperienced IMC to feel trepidation when adjusting the elements of a running search campaign. The office CSC or regional Campaign Services team are available to offer advise and help at any time. There are also a few simple rules an IMC can follow to ensure they tread carefully. Make sure it is the appropriate action. Switchingkeywordsorrewritingtextadsshouldnotbedoneonawhim.TheIMCmust take time to understand the problem and properly weigh the possible positive and negative effects before proceeding.Whereas the correct course of action will lead to a more successful campaign, the wrong adjustment can further damage results. When in doubt, ask! Do not make too many changes at once. ItisimportanttheIMCcanevaluatehowanyadjustmentsimpactacampaign. If too many elements are altered at once, it will be difficult to see the effect of each individual element. Therefore, it is best for the IMC to decide on a single changeandgiveittimetoworkbeforemodifyingotheraspectsofacampaign. The IMC might not have the answer. In ReachLocals ad platform, the IMC has access to alter a lot of elements in their search campaigns. However, there is a whole side of the system they do not have access to. If the IMCscoursthedetailsbutcannotfindtherootoftheproblem,theycanrequestCScheck the admin side of a campaign by submitting a ticket for a performance review. 1. Ticket type: Campaign performance 2. Ticket sub-type: Performance review 3. Description: If CS does not know the problem, they will not be able to locate the cause. It is important the IMC be as detailed as possible and provide an explanation of the entire situation. 17
  19. 19. Scenarios Every campaign is different, and the solution to an issue on one campaign may not necessarily be the correct solution for another. However, here are a few scenarios that may help guide an IMC to the correct course of action for more common problems. Situation #1 Campaign information Vertical: Home Improvement Budget: Prominent Geo-targeted Area: 15 miles from business location Problem Within the first few cycles of the campaign, all of the reported metrics look healthy (CPV is steady, CTC & CTR are both strong.) However, when you listen to the phone calls, it turns out a number of them are for homes outside of the advertisers actual service area. The advertiser is understandably unhappy about this, and changes must be made to avoid this going forward. Possible Solutions Since the client is running a prominent budget for a 15 mile radius, simply shrinking their geo-target to 10 miles may not be the best idea. An over-budgeted campaign may not perform well. There might be more appropriate courses of action to explore first. 1. Acquire a map of the advertisers actual service area. It is possible to have a closer match in the campaign by shifting the center of their geo-targeted radius, as opposed to simply shrinking it. 2. Request a full keyword list. If their list includes geo-indicators for cities they do not service, those cities can be removed or negated. That may significantly reduce calls from outside the clients service area. 18
  20. 20. Situation #2 Campaign information Vertical: Automotive Repair Budget: Competitive Geo-targeted Area: 10 miles from business location Problem By the second cycle of this campaign, the CTC rate looks pretty unhealthy. The text ads are driving visits to the advertisers website, but those clicks do not convert very well. Although the advertiser understands we do not guarantee phone calls, they are understandably worried about their campaign performance. Possible Solutions All IMCs should take an objective look at their prospects website before setting up a campaign, since ReachLocal has a lot of experience on the factors that help a site convert. However, a site may contain all of the normal details and still not convert. Every campaign is different.This campaign is probably driving irrelevant traffic, and the details of campaign set-up may hold the answer. 1. Check Proxy! If call numbers all-of-a-sudden drop off, proxy may be broken, or there may be a random phone number on the site which was not properly replaced. 2. Request a full keyword list. It is important to make sure it only contains services the advertiser provides. Anything incorrect should be removed. 3. Evaluate the text ads. Does the language properly draw-in the target audience for this client?The text ads should clearly and concisely explain the services the business provides and what area they are in (since a potential customer must travel to this particular business location.) 4. Check the tracking header. Does the background color properly contrast from the website? Is the call-to-action clear and strong? Important Note: When there are several possible solutions to a problem, it is imperative that each one is vetted carefully before any action is taken. Do not haphazardly start making changes to a campaign until it is clear what the correct course of action is. 19
  21. 21. Situation #3 Campaign information Vertical: Physicians & Surgeons Budget: Competitive Geo-targeted Area: DMA Problem A highly specialized medical practice seems to be running through their budget very quickly each cycle, and their CPV fluctuates wildly. The campaign is driving some phone calls, but since the advertiser falls under HIPPA rules, the IMC can not listen to them. It is difficult to tell how effective the campaign is due to these factors. Possible Solutions Although ReachLocals budget recommendations are a great guideline, for highly specialized or niche advertisers there is simply not enough historical data for the system to go by. At times like these it is important an IMC does some research before making any budget or campaign adjustments. 1. Submit a Performance Review. If they keywords and target area look correct, only CampaignServicescanseethedeeperdetails.Thesedetailsareimportantindetermining if the campaign is under or over budgeted. 2. Ask around, perhaps someone else in the office/region/company is running a similar campaign. Their experience may be invaluable in vetting the campaign settings. Your CSC should be able to help you with this. 3. Talk to the advertiser. If they ran their own AdWords campaign previously they may give you access to see how they ran it. Also, when a business is that specialized, there is no harm in being open about our lack of experience with their type of campaign. The more information a niche advertiser can share about their business, the better we can run their campaign. They may also inform you the phone calls they received were exactly the kind they were looking for. The campaign may be running better than you think. 20