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The policy at Google may not be changing regarding how they treat Display URL’s within AdWords accounts, but they are cracking down on those abusing the system. Effective April 1st of this year the display URL policy will be strictly enforced.

While the policy is relatively simple, some advertisers have found ways to abuse the system and in the light of some advertiser complaints, Google has decided to put its foot down in the act of fairness.

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land has written on this in more detail and has given a few examples of acceptable and unacceptable Display URL’s, but in short, if your Display URL’s coincide with your landing page, you should have nothing to worry about.

As an accredited Yahoo Ambassador, I am accustomed to working with the Yahoo Search Marketing PPC system (YSM). Although YSM can be an effective means of paid advertising, its Panama system still has a ways to go and I want to share with you several of the challenges in setting up a geo-targeted campaign.

Opening an account with an address in the US or Canada, restricts you to advertising only in those markets. If you’d like to geo-target other areas of the globe, you have to use this site: Yahoo International Accounts Read more…

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Google Answers Question on First Try!

Today something exciting happened to me. Google replied to an email I sent them. Not only did they reply, but the response I got was exactly what I was looking for – you see, they read my question, and actually answered it!

This is a first for me, as the first response I always get is some auto-generated form response that doesn’t come close to addressing the original question. After several days of email tag, the question is eventually answered.

The problem with this response I got was that it isn’t really the answer I was hoping for.

We all know that Google does not allow the same keyword to be live in more than one AdGroup or Campaign. This is common sense because if they did, you could essentially have multiple ads appearing at the same time under the same search.

But what happens if you throw in the wrench of having each of these unique campaigns target different geographic areas? In my mind this should work – unsure I thought I would check with Google before putting in the time to set everything up.

My Question:

“I may be setting up a new account in the coming weeks that will target 12 different geographic locations.

Essentially I will be creating 12 campaigns, one for each specific geographic location. The Ads will all be similar, with the main differences being the geographic location mentioned in the ad. Each of the 12 campaigns and their corresponding AdGroups will target the same Keyword set.

Will this work?”

Their Answer:

“…As you are aware if you have the same keywords across multiple campaigns, in
this case twelve, only one ad (the better performing one) from the twelve campaigns will show. Hence, setting twelve campaigns each with a unique geographical location and having the same keywords will not be feasible…”

In short, it won’t work. Perhaps this little adjustment to the AdWords system would make perfect sense, and may even happen some day – but I’m not holding my breath. I will happily give credit where credit is due – Thank you Genevieve for actually reading my question and answering it without simply pulling a response from your database.

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

MSN Displaying Google Adwords Ads

Years ago MSN stopped displaying Google AdWords ads in favor of their own PPC advertising platform, MSN Adcenter. So why, after all this time have they begun to display AdWords ads again?

On Tuesday Jon Henshaw blogged an interesting find: A search for the phrase “colorations paint” brought up the standard MSN Adcenter ads at the top, a typical #1 & #2 listing for DiscountSchoolSupply, and a rather interesting third and fourth result. Sitting at #3 for this phrase appears to be Google. The URL indexed a link generated for DiscountSchoolSupply’s Google AdWords account! Read more…

Ad-Butterfly, an online ad services, allows more control over ad placement, providing marketers with the ability to choose which blogs to post there ads to, and allowing bloggers to choose which ads get posted to their site, according to a BusinessWeek article published Wednesday morning.

The world of online advertising continues to grow at phenomenal rates, but certainly, in the big scheme of things, it is still in its infant stages. The control given to AdWords advertisers and AdSense publishers has grown over the years, but Ad-Butterfly offers almost total control.

Ad-Butterfly works similar to the first tier PPC platforms of Google and Yahoo, using algorithms to automatically pair up ads and websites, but it offers a more advanced means of controlling which ads are displayed, for those who want total control.

Bloggers are given total control on which ads they will display on their site and also offers the ability for comments to be placed along side of the ads. Registered bloggers will also soon have the ability to request ads from other site.

The service is available in Japan and so far only 2,000 bloggers have signed up, but this form of paid ad placement is certain to grow over the very near future. Perhaps Google will even by them out it its quest for total control over online advertising. If you are fluent in Japanese feel free to visit the Ad-Butterfly website.

Last week I took part in a teleconference with Anne Holland (Content Director) and Tim McAtee (Senior Analyst) at MarketingSherpa. The call, “Top 5 Tests to Raise Landing Page Conversions” offered insight on how to get the most from your website and drive visitors towards completing your desired goal. Both a PDF and full MP3 of the call have been made available on the MarketingSherpa website.

The teleconference brought to light a number of great tips for increasing the conversion rate of your landing pages, whether from PPC or organic search. Here are 6 tips I found to be of interest. Read more…

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

WordTracker Promotion Extended

StepForth is happy to announce that we have all been afforded an extension until November 30th on the great 15% discount for annual subscriptions to WordTracker. If you have not already signed up then follow the directions below:

Visit this link and enter the discount
coupon code us-annual-15 to get 15% off

What is WordTracker?

WordTracker is a phenomenal keyword research tool that allows subscribers to find out which keywords drive the most interest online. With this information in tow subscribers can change their SEO and pay-per-click keyword targets to make more money.

Hello all. My name is Tim Rule and I’m the most recent addition to the StepForth team. I believe my current title is “Gopher”, but I’m preparing to take over PPC management from Scott in the very near future.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce myself to this blog by sharing an interesting thread I read in Slashdot this morning.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft has been fairly quick to recognize the long term threat to their dominant stature and have already taken steps towards addressing this.

With the XO not even released yet, I find it amazing the speed with which they have undertaken to insert themselves into this relatively recent initiative. It makes one wonder why they often seem so sluggish to resolve problems with their own products and yet find the energy to jump into new initiatives.

For those of you not familiar with the upcoming XO laptop you can learn more on this site.

Personally, I applaud this initiative and intend to pick up one of these myself. I can think of no globally worthwhile investment an individual can make to beat this. It is pretty hard to beat getting a warm, fuzzy feeling, a nifty new toy and a tax write off in one fell swoop.

I like the irony of the XO name as well.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

PPC Success in Five Steps

There are a number factors involved in having a successful PPC campaign. These include everything from keyword selection, bid management, and campaign setup to your destination website. This article will discuss five of the most important areas: Keywords, Ad Copy, Destination URL’s, Organization, and Analysis.

1. Keywords
Having a successful PPC campaign starts off with keywords. While your keyword list will likely change and evolve over time, it is important to start with something that makes sense.

Base Keywords
First you will want to start off with your base keywords. These are any words you feel are relevant to your site. You may not end up using all of these in your PPC campaign but they will act as a stepping stone to finding other related phrases. Let’s say you own a camera shop. A few relevant keywords may include “digital camera” or “digital SLR”. Read more…

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Minor Updates to Yahoo's Panama

Yesterday, Yahoo announced in the Yahoo Search Marketing Blog, a few updates to the Panama platform have been released making life slightly easier.

Custom Reports
Yahoo now allows advertisers to create custom reports and set up a report scheduler. These reports are available in XML, TSV, CSV or Excel. This is a feature that has long been a part of Google AdWords and is a welcome addition to YSM.

Lateral Navigation
Before whenever you wanted to switch from one AdGroup to the next you had to jump back to the main campaign page. Moving from one to the next was quite inconvenient. Now with the new previous and next links at the top right, moving from one item to the next is much easier and faster. This feature works on the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels. It would be also nice if Yahoo could take this one step further and simply provide a dropdown menu visible on the campaign and ad group levels that would allow you select the specific group desired.

Calendar Date Range
Under the calendar drop down when selecting a date range, “Today” has also been added as a preset option. Often the results for the current day are incomplete, but if you want to see where you stand this does make it much quicker then entering a custom date range for the current day.

While there are still many features needing improvement within the YSM interface, these few adjustments are certainly a step in the right direction.