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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Free PPC Account Reviews

Stepforth is offering a ‘Free Review’ of your current PPC account to help better optimize your campaigns!

If you have an active Pay-Per-Click account with either Google or Bing, or if you are just starting to consider one, StepForth can help guide you in the right direction.

Our talented team of experts are here to offer a ‘Free Review’ of your current PPC account to help better optimize your campaigns. Better optimization leads to improved quality scores helping drive your cost per click down while increasing conversions.

With a free review we take a look at your current account to find any opportunities and suggestions for better improvements. Google’s suggestions for better account productivity usually revolve around spending more money either as a total budget or an increased cost per click. StepForth is a bit different in that we try to find ways to optimize your account for better quality scores to increase productivity. Read more…

Dear Microsoft. While I value a wider selection brought on by competition, ever since you launched adCenter, your back-end has been plagued with troubles. I find it alarming that even after all this time, some basic fundamental usability issues are still not addressed and getting things done within your system continues to be a burden. The complete frustration brought on by using your system significantly reduces the value of its existence, simply because I dread even using it!

There are too many issues that drive me completely up the wall to even write about – the thought of including every little problem overwhelms me to the point of wanting to just shut off my computer and forget about even writing this memo. I will however grin and bear it and share with you some of your faults that drive me bonkers. Read more…

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Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Microsoft adCenter – A Little Beef

It is not rare for me to come across issues when working with PPC platforms that really bug me, but usually I just keep to my self.

There is one design flaw in particular at Microsoft adCenter however, that I felt I wanted to beef about briefly in hopes that someone at Microsoft is listening. It has to do with the calendar/custom date range selection, and two key points about it. I must say, that for the worlds leading software company, the lack of user-friendliness and functionality surprises me. Read more…

Last week Microsoft announced a few updates to adCenter that anyone doing pay-per-click advertising should take a look at. Here is a quick summary created with snippets from the announcement:

    A snapshot from Microsoft showing the changes to AdCenter this Spring.

  • Better Targeting Options
    “Now you can apply customer targeting and incremental bids for your entire campaign with new campaign-level targeting, and then further refine targeting at the ad group level.”
  • Greater Bidding Flexibility
    ” Now you can set default keyword bids for your ad groups, and use nondefault bids to override the default when you prefer”
  • Improved Keyword Research Tool
    You can now: “use new filters to refine your list of suggested keywords … view performance and demographic data by keyword …  add selected keywords to your negative keyword list … bid on keywords and review estimated performance data … review keywords and bids and add them to an ad group”

Here is the link to the detailed posting at Microsoft. In addition, here are links to the other updates Microsoft has applied this Spring to adCenter: Account Management Updates, adCenter Desktop, Content Ads (US Only).

Today the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released version 1.0 of the guidelines for measuring click fraud. The guidelines were created with the aid of Yahoo, Microsoft and Google in order to ensure that all major search engines would back the finalized guidelines. Here is a key snippet from the document’s Scope and Applicability section: Read more…

From what I can gather RedZee should change their mascot to an animal more identified with shiftiness than a cute Zebra. Ever since I wrote “Seeing Red – Search Engine RedZee Reviewed” I have lost count how many people have either thanked me for saving them from spending money fruitlessly at RedZee or have told me they wished they saw my article before they paid for advertising there. But what brings me to mention RedZee today is an email I received from “Abe” (his name has been changed to protect his identity), a RedZee victim who is asking me to help him recoup nearly $1500 USD he spent on the search engine. Interesting, well let’s dig deeper here:

Abe, why are you trying to recoup your spend?

“After a week and several hundred “hits” I realized the service was a scam because I had no conversions and my tracking software showed that all my the “visitors” from RedZee landed on the same page and stayed less than 1 second.”

And what can I do to help?

“I was wondering if you can help me by providing your expert opinion to my credit card company regarding RedZee’s Referral Spam practices that have resulted in my receiving thousands of ‘hits’ but no conversions over the past 6 weeks.” Read more…

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Thursday, November 6th, 2008

This Week at Google

Well, this has certainly been a busy week at Google. One thing I can say for Google, they are very energetic and we’re never wanting for good writing material.

Yahoogle Deal Abandoned
Yahoo - Google
Right on the heels of revising the scope of the agreement between the two search giants, Google announced this Wednesday that the deal will not go forward. This came to pass after the US Department of Justice decided it would file an anti-trust suit if the agreement was implemented. Read more…

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Friday, October 24th, 2008

Google Separates Search Stats

Good news for users of Google Adwords. Last week Google added the option to allow AdWords users to view separate statistics for Google search and the Google Search Partner Network (such as Aol.com and Ask.com). Prior to this, performance data was only listed for both networks combined.

I spent some time reading through various forum threads on this topic and I got the impression that I would be turning off the display for the search partner network; a lot of folks seem to be skeptical about the relative value of advertising on the partner network. Read more…

Last year, Microsoft adCenter introduced changes to their Ad ranking system for advertising in the US. This represented a shift towards a more Quality Based Ranking system, along the lines of what Google AdWords and Yahoo’s Panama already have in place.

It appears that this change is now expanding into more widespread coverage. On the adCenter blog on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the introduction of this system to the Canadian and UK markets.

While it may seem Microsoft is only playing “catch up” with this initiative, they have been busy making other improvements to their system as well.

Though still low on the totem pole for market share, Microsoft is forging ahead with a level of energy that would seem alien over in the Yahoo trenches. With projects such as the Excel addon, Desktop Editor and Analytics, Microsoft may give Google some real competition in the not too distant future.

A scan of the Yahoo blog yields a host of “how to” and “tips and tricks” posts, but nothing particularly significant in the way of badly needed innovation.

In fact the last significant improvement Yahoo has implemented was the change to minimum bids. While that has been handy for getting alerts when minimum bids are about to become too low, it’s not been the sort of improvement that painfully awkward interface really needs.

There is speculation that Microsoft is overtaking Yahoo’s position for paid traffic as well.

While I don’t know if this is indicative of anything, I have noticed a recent decrease in the number of impressions in our own Yahoo accounts. Unfortunately, the bid prices have not decreased as yet.

Users running a PPC Campaign in the Google AdWords platform are given the choice of displaying ads on the Google Search Network and/or on the Content Network. I have never been a big fan of advertising on Content Networks, as I find the automated matching process to be less than ideal. I can generally browse the net and quickly find ads that are irrelevant to the sites they are displayed on. This can give one a healthy dose of skepticism.

While advertising on Content doesn’t generally cost a great deal, we have never seen much in the way of results. By and large we do Search Network only, however recently I have had to re-assess that view. Read more…