Category Archives: PPC

Google's New Ad Structure

Google Announces New Ad Structure

By | PPC | No Comments

What This Means For Your PPC

Earlier this month Google announced that it will be extending the length of ad headlines and descriptions to include two 30 character headlines, and one 80 character description line – taking the total character count from 95 to 140. What this means for advertisers is that you are now going to be able to fit in more features, benefits and compelling ad copy than before; and for those who know how to get the most out of their allotted character counts, this means better results from ads as well!

What Are We Working With

The current breakdown of an ad consists of a single headline with 25 characters, and two separate description lines with 35 characters each. For the pay-per-click professional, these character counts can be extremely restrictive, and require quite a bit of creativity to get your message across, especially when key brand names or features go beyond, or eat up the majority of these character counts. One existing “trick” for extending the headline of an ad is to use the first description line as a secondary headline: all you have to do is end the first description line with a sentence-ending punctuation (. ! ?) and Google will allow this 35 character description line to be added onto the end of your headline. While these extended headlines often result in better performing ads, the downfall is that you sacrifice your description for a longer (hopefully more compelling) headline.

With the changes Google has announced, specifically the two headlines with 30 characters each, you not only have more characters to work with, but you’re given that “extended,” second headline option without sacrificing your description in order to do it. This means more compelling headlines and the ability to tout more features and benefits!

What Else Can We Expect To Change

The second change to these ad structures, which seems to be getting overshadowed by the excitement PPC professionals have for the extended headline (yes, I said excitement over headlines… we PPC folk enjoy the simple things in life), is the extended character counts for descriptions. The benefit of the change to description lines is not only that the total is increasing from 70 to 80 characters, but that it’ll be structured as a single line! More often than not, there isn’t much of an issue having two different description lines, but when one description comes out to 37 characters and the second comes out to 33, some frustration can hit. The total characters you want to use are still 70, and yet you’re forced to change your messaging because of the separation in text lines… NOT ANYMORE! The single, 80-character line will thus allow more freedom for ad copy creation, and lead to more compelling, better performing ads (or at least that’s the plan).

Although we don’t know exactly when this will roll out yet, Google has claimed this will happen by the end of this year and that they will provide ample warning for when the old ad formats will cease to run. Additionally, initial tests have suggested that creating brand new creative has led to much better ad performance than simply adding text to existing ads. As a result, we recommended that paid search managers begin drafting new search copy under the updated format in preparation for the change.

To find out how Digital Operative can assist you with this transition or any other paid search need, please contact us here.


The State of PPC

State Of PPC – Where Are We Now?

By | PPC | No Comments

We can learn a lot from Justin Bieber, “Where are you now” with your knowledge of PPC Updates. As we’re approaching the end of February, it’s crazy to think about all the major changes in the PPC industry. Between Paid Search and Social Commerce, it’s hard to stay up on all of the trends and changes in the pay-per-click space. Luckily, we’ll be walking you through some of the biggest adjustments – and what each of them means for your digital marketing efforts.


4 Top Ads – No Sidebar Ads

One of Google’s flagship products, it’s expected for the landscape to continuously change to meet advertiser’s demands. One of the biggest changes that was announced is that there will now be 4 top ads, and 0 ads on the right sidebar. As reported, Google hasn’t publicly stated this is the case, but multiple reps have confirmed.

What does this mean for advertisers?

It depends which side of the search you’re on. SEO campaign managers cannot be happy pushing their organic results farther down the page. Additionally, PPC experts are split as well. For advertisers with a smaller budget, bids will have to be increased to be in the top 4 positions to really play in the space. However, if you traditionally have an average position of between 3-4, this could give you a bump in impressions/clicks (Hopefully conversions) without having increasing average position, although bids will likely be increased by other advertisers.

Drafts Feature Now Available

We’ve been reading about this feature coming to Adwords for a while, and finally saw it pop up in our MCC a few days ago. Basically, the new “Drafts” element acts as the Adwords Editor in the MCC interface. You can now create campaigns and experiments offline, without pushing the changes live. This lends you the ability to show clients, managers or executives the changes you’re proposing in the actual UI (For all of the visual learners who need to really “see” what you’re proposing). The Adwords editor is still easier for advertisers who are making bulk changes, but this new Drafts feature is an awesome new tool!


End of “Yahoo Bing Network”

As of February 16th, the Yahoo Bing Network is now simply the Bing Network. Bing will continue to serve a percentage of Yahoo’s search results, the impact falls on the advertisers. Ad sales and Account Management will fall back to each respective company, with the Yahoo team handling the Gemini placements, and the Microsoft team handling the Bing placements.


Lead Ads Inventory Available On Desktop

We’ve enjoyed a great deal of success with multiple clients with the new lead ads technology. The only difficulty was we weren’t able to scale as much as we’d like due to the functionality only working on mobile devices. There’s been a recent roll-out for the technology to be rolled out to desktop newsfeeds, and we’re expecting similar results on mobile and desktop.

Additionally, two features have been added to the lead ads to help entice users submit. There are now carousel ads available, which allow advertisers the ability to show up to five images and headlines. The ability to tell consumers more about your company or offer before they submit is now available in the form of “context cards.” Context cards and carousel ads provide additional real estate to highlight your value proposition to show what the user will get by submitting.

As the digital space continues to evolve, we must too, to evolve our marketing mix. Gone are the days of “set it and forget it,” and keeping up with industry trends is the only way to stay ahead of the curve. Have a great week everyone.

Need help with your digital marketing efforts? Feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to chatting.

Crushing This Holiday Season

5 Tips For Crushing This Holiday Season

By | digital campaigns, digital commerce, digital marketing, ecommerce, PPC | No Comments

Twas the month before December, when all through DO, ALL the employees were working, preparing for Snow (Just kidding, San Diego doesn’t get snow).

With the holiday season around the corner, things will be changing. For better or worse, the holiday season defines the year’s performance for most advertisers. Black Friday seems to start earlier every year so we thought we would share 5 tricks to make sure your digital campaigns are ready for action, without having to swap the turkey for a mouse.

Establish Goals

Define what the goal for each channel will be during the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to drive incremental revenue with similar ROAS, or operate more efficiently with an optimal CPA and similar traffic, having established goals is the foundation for success this holiday season.

Planning, Planning, Planning…Did I mention planning?

If you haven’t thought of ways to capture the incremental holiday traffic, then we suggest a brainstorm with account managers ASAP to lock down a plan. Although there’s going to be unexpected hurdles, having all digital initiatives accounted for on one single calendar can help guide strategy for additional keywords, copy, and campaigns.

Decide On Activation Channel Strategy

Let’s say you were looking to increase revenue while keeping efficiency (We’ll use sneakers as a product example). You could set up an RLSA shopping campaign (paid search) for higher ROAS, highlight the top selling sneakers in the weekly newsletter/blog, and utilize Facebook lookalike audiences to go after new users looking for sneakers. Regardless of the product/service being offered, knowing how each channel will be utilized is imperative to being prepared to adapt to ever-changing circumstances.

Utilize Automation

All digital marketers who value a work/life balance are pros when it comes to automation. Utilize rules to set ads live on certain days. In paid search, use custom labels and rules to have your Black Friday ad turn on at midnight without having to fight off the tryptophan (Just make sure to test the ad and have the ad approved by Google/Bing before pausing in preparation for the big day). There are similar options in the Facebook Power Editor and Ads Manager to make your life just a tad easier.

Don’t Make Decisions Based On Small Data

It’s tough not to look at Black Friday/Cyber Monday performance and make generalizations for the holiday season as a whole. If Black Friday/Cyber Monday didn’t perform as well as you’d like, it’s easy to shift budget around and cut back on spend for the remainder of the holiday season. Although BF/CM are big shopping days, there’s still time to hit your goals with many key shopping days falling between Cyber Monday and New Years. Don’t panic, everything will be alright.

So sit back, relax, and capture the incremental traffic this holiday season (After steps #1-4 are completed)!



Marketing Strategies 2015

2014 Is So Last Year……Is Your Company Ready for 2015?

By | analytics, digital marketing, PPC, social commerce, strategy and planning | No Comments

2014 is soon to be something of the past, with only 3 weeks until we say “Goodbye 2014” and “Hello 2015” – it’s crunch time. Is your 2015 Marketing plan ready?

We’ve put together the Top 5 Digital Marketing opportunities you should have on your list to successfully conquer 2015.

1. Optimization and Testing

A/b testing vs. multivariate testing on landing pages and websites. There is always something you can test and gather data on. If you aren’t testing you are missing out on some great insights of your consumers and weak points in your users’ path.

2. Social Commerce

Do you know the ins and outs of social advertising. It’s not just about Facebook and Twitter for advertising. There is also Linkedin, youtube, Pinterest, Google+ and third party services like outbrain. When it comes to social commerce did you know you can easily target specific demographics and serve ads to particular audiences that are on your mailing list?

3. Email Marketing Campaign

Be sure that you have analytics installed on all of your pages along with Google Tag Manager. This will help in determining consumers paths and where traffic is coming from and how you can improve. This goes hand and hand with optimization and testing. One is nothing without the other. Do you have your AdWords auto-tagged?

4. Analytics and Tracking

Be sure that you have analytics installed on all of your pages along with tag manager. This will help in determining consumers paths and where traffic is coming from and how you can improve. This goes hand and hand with optimization and testing. One is nothing without the other. Have you included AdWords tracking?

5. Paid Media

Do you know who your audience is? Do you have budget dedicated to specific campaigns, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Valentines Day, etc.? Did you know that on Thanksgiving Day over 50% of all online shopping was done via mobile devices by mostly females? Make sure you are setting device specific allocations and know how to use data to improve your campaigns. It’s important to align with all marketing channels so you don’t have any missed opportunities. Communication is the key.

We have more tips where these came from and are ready to help you rock 2015. Drop us a line, because it is important to know exactly who your audience is and how to reach them.



Holiday-PPC and SEO Checklist

Ready, Set, Go – PPC & Email Holiday Checklist

By | email marketing, holidays, PPC | No Comments

Have you thought about all the appropriate messaging needed to make sure your holiday promotions and sales go off without a hitch? We recently put together a list of the 5 things you must DO to ensure a successful holiday season and now we have created a messaging checklist to go along with it.

Below are two checklists for some of our “Must-DO” messaging for PPC and Email to help aid in your Holiday success:



If you have any questions or want more guidance with your PPC and/or email marketing messaging please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.


ppc holiday planning

PPC Holiday Planning – Top 5 items in the PPC planning process

By | digital marketing, holidays, PPC | No Comments

If you work in PPC you know as well as we do at DO, that there is a delicate balance between being prepared and being flexible for whatever comes your way. You wake up every day knowing that Google will ultimately decide your campaign performance, but for every comic book villain there must be a hero in the story. Right?

In short, yes. That is where you come in. The PPC subject matter expert. You know all the tricks of the trade from how Google crawls the web to how many data points you can pull from Analytics and create amazing looking spreadsheets and charts showing off performance for a client. You love the adrenaline rush of providing increases to a company’s revenue and sales. You wear that hero cape proudly.

This all sounds so perfect, most definitely a win-win scenario. What if you woke up one morning, placed that hero cape on your shoulders, walked up to the villain only to find your kryptonite. While many things happen unexpectedly in advertising, one thing is a sure fire way to assure you walk away the hero on a big sales day like Black Friday and not the guy who missed the traffic right in front of him.

Planning. It’s so simple, why do people always forget this aspect? The sheer results of not planning for the biggest shopping season of year is enough to scare anyone in business. So what is it that people miss in the planning process? Here are our top 5 frightening items in the PPC planning process that people forget. A list of what NOT to do:

Not Budgeting

Create a budget. Just do it. This should be your jumping off point in your holiday hero campaign. Throwing random amounts of money at things and seeing what sticks can sound like a viable plan if you like to scare your company stakeholders and roll the dice, however this is just a great example of terrible planning. You need a well thought out budget to get the ball rolling. Don’t be that guy.

Not Budgeting for Traffic Influx

Plan for an increase in spending to correlate with the online shopping traffic increase. Take a look at your YOY Q4 performance and develop a level of expectation and ensure confidence with your clients. Trust is a big deal in this industry.

Not Setting Device Specific Allocation

Know the trends. Mobile devices are expected to send approximately 20% more traffic this holiday season than during the same time period in 2013. We all know that historically for many ecommerce brands that mobile doesn’t necessarily convert as well as desktop/tablet. This year could be interesting with new initiatives from Apple(Apple Pay), eBay, and PayPal. Get that cape dusted off, this could be your true hero moment.

Not Aligning with All Channel & Marketing Initiatives

Heroes always need their trusty sidekicks. Align your efforts with all channels to capture the share of voice for your brand. Missed opportunities happen many times when items are left in silo. Communication is key.

Not Sticking to Your Plan

We see this all the time. People making quick decisions based on a reaction rather than being persistent. Jumping every time their conversion rate or quality score drops. The earth’s axis tilted a bit more today? Panic will not help you. Be flexible but stay the course and add things along the way.

Set yourself up for holiday shopping success this year and know your plan! Not doing so is downright scary. We are PPC professionals at DO and we know how to keep things from getting scary – If you need help and/or guidance drop us a line!


Become a PLA “Belieber” with 360° Images

By | google, PPC, Search Engine Marketing | No Comments

360° Image capturing has been around and growing in popularity for some time now. We’d say it’s nearing its’ “teen celeb” years and is prime for a starring role in today’s advertising stage.

Shopping online can bring a consumer many steals and deals, but the one downfall is that you can’t really see or feel what the product is like unless you are willing or able to find a store near you. After many years of the Brick ‘N Mortar vs. the Online Shopper wars, 360° images will be coming to a search result page near you at a rapid pace in 2014 like your favorite teen heartthrob. A consumer will be able to find a full 360° product view on an advertiser’s website and in Google PLA’s!

PLA’s have grown in popularity and outpacing the previous generation of Google Ads and replacing them with Product Listing Ads that showcase an image, description, and price of the item you were searching for on or Google Shopping. And they don’t stop there. You’ll find these types of ads pulling information from a feed on Amazon, eBay, and more! If you haven’t already given PLA campaigns a try, get with the latest craze…YOLO.

What can you expect to see?

  • An increase in traffic for PLAs
  • A decrease in traffic for Text Ads
  • An increase in competition pushing CPCs up
  • A learning curve associated with non-keyword target campaigns and feed optimization

Once you are ready with solid campaigns, sign up with Google to use their 360° imaging. Create an account, include your product feed, and send them your products for scanning. Get ready for the screaming fans (conversions and interest) when you see your products spinning in the SERP’s. If you aren’t sick from all the sugar and cheesiness in this post, keep reading.

What kind of specs does the Google 360° program require?

  • Approved 360° account
  • Send all color variations of products
  • Don’t send over scratched or damaged packaging/products
  • No product labels allowed
  • Dimensions = 5” x 5” x 6” and 22” x 22” x 18”
  • Only products with a product page on Google Shopping should be sent
  • More depending on your product

Don’t get distracted by all the flashing lights and forget to create a shipment and upload your product feed in the process! How do you know if your products should be shipped? Check the status column in your account. If you complete all the shipping steps properly, an address will populate to send products to.

Google not to be outdone, has really stepped up their game for advertisers and this brand new feature will not disappoint consumers. Contact us – we’ll make you a PLA “Belieber” and have you singing “Like Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh!” in no time and maybe even make you our honorary “Boyfriend”!


Common Mistakes with Google PLAs

By | digital marketing, google, PPC | No Comments

Since it’s introduction, Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have rapidly gained speed and PLAs are now well established as a “Must Have” for any e-commerce marketers’ pay-per-click (PPC) strategies. The combination between regular Search and PLAs has developed into a “walled garden” approach to the SERPs and the results? Amazing.

Google reports users who see a retailers text ads in combination with their PLAs were “83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads”. – Google AdWords Blog

The competition for position and managing spend has gotten fierce!  So what can you do to make sure you don’t make costly mistakes?

We recently had a Q&A session with Steve Lerch, Google AdWords Account Manager; about just this and decided to share with all of you!

Q:  What is the #1 Most Common Mistake you see Advertisers do when setting up PLAs?
Only having one product target setup to target All Products. Think of product targets like ad groups. By separating products into these different buckets, you can raise or lower your bid for different products, apply negative keywords to products where they don’t make sense, and target level reporting will be much more useful in understanding product performance
Q:  What is the #1 Action an Advertiser can do to Optimize their PLAs for search?
Once you’ve broken out your product targets, and created an All Product target as a catch-all, you really want to make sure the titles of your products are optimized. Include common search terminology to ensure the system recognizes that your products are relevant for the most frequent searches


Q:  Any additional ideas or thoughts you have for an Advertiser on making their PLAs perform at its’ best?
PLAs don’t use keywords, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see where your traffic is coming from. Use the details button on the keyword tab to find your search queries. Regular keywords have no effect on a PLA campaign, but negative keywords still work, so exclude the traffic that doesn’t make sense.

If you haven’t included Google PLAs in your e-commerce strategy yet, you may be missing out on a major opportunity!  Google is putting its’ best foot forward in 2014 with new insights and PLA products with new Google Shopping Campaigns and even a 360 degree product spin.  Make sure your team is ready to take advantage of all these features.

Here at Digital Operative we love PLA’s and getting our hands on all the new features Google is constantly rolling out. If you have any questions regarding PLA’s, PPC or anything Marketing – don’t hesitate to contact us at Digital Operative. We’re always here to help!

This blog was written by our PLA wiz, Mandy! She may be a nice girl from the mid-west – but, she is all business when it comes to online marketing!

Pay Per Click: Troubleshooting your PPC Accounts

By | digital marketing, PPC | No Comments

PPC can make or break your holiday season and after seeing the stats from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we all know that participating in PPC can be a great benefit. But, how do you run a successful PPC campaign and troubleshoot any potential problems before the holidays? Here are a few tips and tricks from our PPC experts.

Keep Track of performance

Get automated emails that get sent to you when big changes are made on the account. It doesn’t hurt to monitor your campaigns at a high level and then a more in depth level every day. Just make sure you monitor your campaigns on the regular to make sure you are tracking the changes that may potentially need to happen in the future. Be proactive and -make the changes before you see a negative change in your account.

Use Change History to monitor accounts

If you notice a negative impact on the campaigns you can use the filter option to better hone in on the time frame that the changes were made. This is especially important if you have more than one PPC manager working on the accounts – you are able to see what changes they made and how those changes affected your campaigns.

Keyword Research

Avoid a lot of the one word keywords – Use phrases and words that would be used when you are searching for a common product online. Make sure you not only do your research on keywords, but it is also beneficial to do research and ad in a few negative keywords. This is a good way to keep your CPA down and your ROI high.

Use a third party tool

Third party tools are available to help make your life a little easier when it comes to analytics and optimization. A lot of the third party tools have reports that can be automated just like BingAds and Google

Quality Score is Queen

The higher the quality score the more likely it is for your ad to be shown. Your quality score is determined by a number of things (This is straight from Google’s mouth):

  • Your keyword’s expected clickthrough rate (CTR): The expected CTR is based in part on the keyword’s past CTR, or how often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
  • Your display URL’s past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
  • Quality  of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
  • Keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
  • keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for

And if all else fails – hire some PPC experts. Digital Marketing Agencies know the in’s and out’s of PPC – make them responsible for your money. We might know just the people to refer you to…..

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