What is Left?
You do Adwords Marketing, Right way or Wrong Way. Right way is strictly following all the guidelines in letter and spirit. Google adwords was created in such a way to reward the honesty and punish the wrong no matter how sneaky they are. It was true in the initial phases of adwords marketing. Google has broken the mold it was cast in, long back. Right Wing practitioners of adwords marketing who bought into the idea of radical honesty on internet marketing should be alarmed or be ready to get edged out by ones who are not right but fits into Google's scheme of doing the semblance of legality, hence not wrong either. Prod at Google for quality check falls flat.
Free Voucher Economy Thriving
In fact good number of agencies have made fortune out of free voucher program. A little gaming with the system allows them rake in huge profit by quoting to advertisers at the fraction of Click cost & running adwords at zero cost. Google's benefit is, they help push the click cost in auction upward and make some honest advertiser pay higher. Google has altered TOS for applying these vouchers to pander to these bad boys of PPC. When I last checked Terms & Condition, I could find this poorly written document with a conspicuous grammatical mistake, promising credit in your account after "an minimum" spent. It tells on them, how much analysis has been done and how many people actually care about reading it. Clearly, Google didn't even check it back after posting.
Tech Support ads still run
Its an industry created by Google. You know Microsoft Bing pulled itself out of this murky business by categorically declaring Third Party Tech Support won't be allowed on Bing Platform. It is in black & white and talking to Bing support I felt they are in no mood to cut you some slack. In contrast, Google has no cut and dried version on this business. It continues to play fast and loose on this front. Most of its sales partners, SMB, Google authorized, blah blah.... were heavily dependent on this industry and may not like to be saddled with other kind. So, you still find some ads in this category running on Google, terms of which are not above board.
Double Serving is an art
Google in 2008, relaxed double serving rules. It has four points out of which at least two should not be breached. 1) Two websites should not be owned by same person. 2) Brands & Logo should be different. 3) Pricing difference should be more than 25%. 4) It should not lead to same customer support experience. If co. X & Y, points you to same customer support after buying then they are one and same breaching the fair use policy of ad network.
Despite all said about it. It is considered an art by many and Google turns blind eye towards them. In fact some agencies, close to Google, are considered specialist in this area. Talking to some advertisers, it was revealed, Google recommends them or rather they are "Authorized".
It is the common observation of PPC guys around the globe, if your ads run 24x7 and you are willing to pay a decent amount to Google then Google seems more than willing to cut you some slack. They only pick on small advertisers.
Post February, 23rd, 2016, Google Adwords has stopped showing Paid Ads on Right Hand side of the search result pages.
To adjust with the new situation, advertisers need to tune their campaigns.
Following Implications are immediate concerns:
- Reduced number of ads will show on the Search Result Page. Although Google has increased the number of Top Listing from 3 to 4, this is only for Highly Commercial queries
- Search ads will show on Top and bottom of the Organic Results. It means number of ads on a page will vary from 3to7. How frequent bottom ads shows is not certain. Even if we assume 7 ads on a page, its a drop from earlier 11-14. Huge!
- Only Exception so far disclosed are Product Listing Ads, PLAs Or Shopping ads, which are eligible to appear on the right side.
- It is not clear whether, ads without extensions and all other bells & whistles are allowed to enter the Top or not. Documented Position so far which perhaps still holds is such ads get preference. So, if your campaign contains only ads and keywords, they will be worst hit with this change.
Your To-Do List after the change:
- Immediately extract Top Vs Other Report and calculate the bid to cope with the situation.
- Study the Competitors Report via Details tab. How many have outranked you how many times and figure out How to survive in the changed ecosystem.
- Create as many extensions as possible. Although only 3 can show at a time, you never know which will give you extra punch and impressions, when others fail to trigger.
- Make your campaign as much feature loaded as possible. More features you add more likely they are to appear
- Elevate your bidding to the level of CPA/Portfolio. It would act as a hedge against crazy competition. Let Google’s algorithm take care of your Cost of Acquisition.
It might not be too late to wake up to the fact that stage is set where SEO, the term hackneyed enough to mean optimization for traffic through anything on the web, has a lot to do with Policies set by different channels which must be followed to get better exposure.
You can easily break it broadly into Google, Bing, Facebook & twitter. Some may add yandex, yahoo, linkedin and perhaps reddit too. All have different policies with something in common, widely recognized as User Experience, UX.
However, user experience designing on search may be a different ball game compared to what it is on social media, where a lot depends on the context when you release the content. So, its a tricky affair actually. Also, too much meta marking for social media may adversely affect search result.
Hence, to maintain edge you must position yourself better where others are ignorant. Policy compliance is such an area. If your site is up to date in terms of latest policies laid down by different search engines and social media it gives you an edge.
Did some of the policies discussed in the end looked bizarre? Well, you should not take them as such because the era in which we are living google, facebook... are trigger happy blocking the inflammatory content which lacks social accountability and whenever escalations take place their bot filters would be happy to detect and give you green signal. Make the list bigger and announce them emphatically. It works!
Evolution of Entangled Targeting
For a long time Keywords were the only way to define the context where ads should appear. A lot of Keywords were required to match the context correctly. With time Google upgraded its algorithm to single keyword matches. Now, you don't require many keywords to define the context, even a single keyword is enough. Google soon rolled out Topics and Interest, categorization of webpages and audience, and from here things became complex.
Now, contexts are defined, by not only keywords but also Google's categorization of pages & audience, known as topics & interest. Just like early days of adwords when few people understood how to get around keyword targeting on display network, same was true with these new features too. Adding to the confusion were target and target & bid feature.
Google does a great job by graphically representing the targeting on the side, but not many are masters of set theory, so the explanations about them on web by many bloggers are full of goof ups. If you understand union & intersection concept of sets then it should not confuse you, for more accurate analysis of what is happening just look into the spheres on side. It gives pretty good insight.
So, there are three ways of contextual targeting, which is of most interest for you, which you can either keep separate or entangle them.
Pure vs Entangled Targeting
If you keep keyword, topics and interest in separate adgroups or campaigns, it would give you most wide coverage of each kind. If you add interest or topic or both with keyword then they become entangled and context and bid is defined by whether you have chosen, bid only or target and bid.
If you have keywords in your adgroup, then they are always target & bid and you can't make it bid only. Using keywords entangled with topics helps refine targeting, where each of them alone may expose your ads on irrelevant pages. If you set up both as target and bid, it will result in decrease in exposure but definite enhancement in CTR and conversion rate. you may choose according to your requirement and competition you are facing. when competition heats up refinements of targeting is must. Same can be said about interest targeting. You can keep them separate or entangle with keywords or topics. Google charges 20% of CPC for identifying interest target audience, so its a tricky affair.
Who are Interest audience & why you must watch them closely
I don't want to receive call from people who are Marked Interested in SEM by Google. Why??
They are people who are always searching for someone in the industry and for what you just guess. Same is true for many services. They are highly dissatisfied people. They are hard bargaining people. Worse, you will meet some cheats too who keep on changing service providers.I have got good result with interest categorization in diseases, homemaking, real estate and shopping goods targeting.
Before using it, you must try to answer why should one use his computer so much that google should mark him.
Backstabbing and Backbiting are dirty words. Unlike other species, human beings are not designed for any action or reaction that may arise from behind. A flat back with 180 degrees apart eyes focusing only on front, not behind you. We can say our human race throughout its evolution history hasn't needed anything on its back, ever since we lost our tail.
Technology has given us instruments with which we can spy on others, within or out of our premises. We can even record & broadcast a private conversation. All this available at a very low monetary cost. The ubiquitous availability of mobile devices capable of carrying out such an operation, makes it a potential addition to human traits. Something god deprived the Human race of. Man is performing sting on other man. Its a trait which remained into hibernation for thousands of years.
Mobiles, Spycams, hidden surveillance devices have the potential of changing the innate human behavior. If it is checked, it would be the manifestation of the same evolutionary force which shaped humanity in its present form.
Every civilized state on earth guarantees its citizens certain laws to protect their privacy. An informal discussion, an intimate activity, a confidential meeting... all fall within the provisions of privacy. However, technological advancement has made breaching others' privacy such an inconspicuous affair, which tempts too many people, that every passing day makes the list of suspecting growing longer, shredding the society into fragments who are stung or fear it.
Protagonists of this sting cult promises a clean and corruption free society through it. The idea of sting operations as a means to counter corruption is counter intuitive. its a sanctimonious approach which always involves the risk of your three fingers directed to yourself being exposed. Sometimes it raises many questions on the person performing it rather than on whom it is performed. Rampant use would surely drive the society to a state of loss of trust in each other. People who are in the habit of doing such an act would be loathed by others who value trust in any kind of public and private affair.
Historically, spying activities were confined to a thin strata of the society. Common people had little concern with it. Wikileaks started leaking government related papers, it was a kind of alarm. It marked the end of secrecy in public life. Anything that can be carried through a cable can be tracked. Anything that is into ether can also be tracked. It is not just that these devices are lethal, they are combined with the real time dissemination power of internet, which gives them real power. Only a dreamer who was also sure of his dream's impracticability may have envisaged this outcome of internet era. Anything may come out in public, it is no more related to government documents alone. Poachers may catch your private moments and expose in public, no matter how ordinary you are. Whatsapp, youtube, facebook, twitter.. provides opportunities for point, shoot, share & lynch!! The array of events points to a pattern, which looks like an evolutionary landmark. Where human race goes from here?
Image credit:Openclipart.org, creative commons license
Tech Support, as they prefer to call themselves, are call centers, mostly concentrated in the Nearest to Capital Region (NCR), Delhi, India. The major chunk of this pie are Noida & Gurgaon. There are many factors contributing to the mushrooming growth of this industry in this region.
First, they are the industrial hub of near to Delhi region, famous for excellent infrastructure, which are busy during daytime, but would otherwise remain idle at night but for these kind of Call Center industry who work during night. So, the kind of infrastructure they get is far superior to what they would get at the same cost during daytime.
Second, the region is full of well trained, highly skilled call center people, who are available at night for some decent extra income. Many of them have shifted full time into this industry.
Third, the resources both tangible and intangible become readily available at night, combined with the opportunity to present their services to the best paymasters of the world, the US people, who by nature’s design are about 7 to 12 hours behind in time zone, desperately seeking services of these kind. A perfect match of demand and supply!
What is Technical in Tech Support?
If this is a call center industry who are dab hand at registering the complaint of brand consumers and helping them services, reach out to them, what is technical in them, one may wonder. Actually, the bad part of this, very little! Most of the solutions offered are common sense application, which tech savvy people themselves, can fix easily.
No Doubt, there is a big need of professional help for these kind of daily tech nuisances, despite the apparent simplicity of the problems. Software issues even minor ones, can be quite handful and solution though simple may not be everybody’s cup of tea. However, very few of these so called tech-support companies, devote time and money into mastering these technical stuffs or hiring someone with such capabilities. So, only few of them fulfill what they promise. Rest of them are just champions of words and at best be described as con artists, who know how to pull a fast one, selling some fictitious service bundles.
More important, they gain the insight into what consumers are actually looking for, from their experience while actually working for some brands like HP, Dell, Microsoft etc. You can say, the expertise these companies bestow on their employees for serving their customers, are used in fooling their customers buy some fictitious bundles by their ex-employees or even existing ones!
Role of Search Engines
Search engines are the first place where a person seeking the solution for his problem would go and type a search query. Here, the Search Engines, like Bing and Google connects a person in USA to the Call center in India and the rest is fate. Google, the most dominant search engine, provides most of the opportunity.
Google, till recently, used to provide dedicated support to this industry through some “Google Authorized” agency and some self proclaimed “Operations Partners” of Google who were also privileged to use google.com email ids. The free adwords voucher program of Google, run through its privileged partners, increased the number of players exponentially. Many new entrants knew the free route to enter this industry. It was an era when Google Adwords free vouchers used to arrive with a covering letter shamelessly suggesting all you have to do is to open a New account (errr… with New Business Address). It helped Google push the CPC astronomically higher. There were other perks too. I have witnessed an account which had the privilege to use trademarked term of brands they pretended. I was not buying the client’s story initially. However, I could myself see, just as claimed by the client, the ads first got disapproved and magically all of them termed approved the next day! My jaw dropped!
Social Media as a Test-tubePopulation engaging on Twitter & Facebook is a very small fraction of electors, who vote. However, it has proven to be an effective resource for testing and shortlisting the right moves. A judicious analysis of reactions, coming from different sections of the society & speedy amalgamation of ideas on the field campaign, proved highly effective. Narendra Modi, himself engaged on twitter & used successful punchlines & rhetorics, tested on twitter, both to strengthen his own posturing & also to blunt the opposition.
Social Media War-Room & Twitter ArmyWeakness of Twitter, was used to the full extent. A large number of Professionals were recruited to tweet for supporting the BJP campaign. Twitter does not take into account how far people are located, before trending the topic. So, a fraction of twitter army also travelled with Modi in what was called the Social Media van, tweeting from where they hacked virtually whole of the real estate in trending.
Print & TV wanted to be Socially CorrectIts a trend now. You hardly read anything through them, which are radically different from dominant view on Twitter. Leave aside, some breaking news story, TV & Print want to be in sync with social media. It is this desire to be Socially Correct, even at the cost of being politically incorrect, these old opinion leaders now resonates what Twitter says. So, if one has proven one's upper hand on social, then print & TV fears the backlash.
If You pay, they will do the dirty workPaid Publicity, without the tag, might be unethical for many, but they are in vogue. If they can assure you publicity on reputed magazines, high TRP time slots, you may consider buying. All the influential writers are on Twitter who would be convincing and arguing for you, Voluntarily or involuntarily, will turn into your advocate & all the bad publicity you had will get automatically buried, by them!
There are three basic reasons, why you should start advertising on bing. First, It, combined with Yahoo, has good traffic which is increasing day by day. Second, It has lesser competition in many areas, because most of your competitors ignore it. Third, for many advertisers, for different reasons, it is their only way of advertising online. However, blindly switching to it may bring bad experience to you. There are some basic differences between the two, which has to be kept in mind.
Bing Yahoo ads do not recognize broad match modifier.
If you have imported your adwords campaign into bing, this is the first thing you need to rectify. The Broad match modifier (+keyword), should be altered suitably for good targeting. Also, importing the adwords campaign is not a good idea. If you want result and not just presence on bing, you should build your campaign from scratch, instead of importing it.
Bing bid Auction is different from Google
Whereas, on Google, ads are ranked according to the ad rank, and advertisers pay based on quality score, on Bing ads first enter auction based on bids and then pay taking into account quality score of participating ads. So, while an ad with low bid may enter the first page auction, if ad rank is high, on google. On bing ads will first enter the auction based on bids and then pay according to position & Quality score. So a low bid ad, despite high quality score may not qualify to enter auction on bing first page.
So, on bing, you must bid keeping in mind the position of ad and also keep tab on what percent of bid amount you are actually paying to understand relative quality of your ad/page in comparison to your competitors. High Bid with Highly relevant page and ad is the key to Bing Success. Better the page, cheaper it becomes.
Negative keywords are only phrase and exact
All the keywords, you add as negatives are by default treated as phrase match, not broad as treated by google. So, you may need to make the list longer.
More caution needs to be taken with broad matches
Broad matches on bing are rudderless, you can only add negatives to restrict them. Hence, better rely on Phrase and Exact for good targeting. Let the list grow longer.
Content cannot be targeted by domain, you can only exclude them
Don't try content targeting if you are not running a very big budget campaign, Or you know all the bad part of the network, where you should not be. Only if you have surplus ad budget which you may experiment with, you should foray into bing content and keep a steady watch on it.
Mainline ad Formatting
Unlike Google, Bing has Only one line of ad that breaks into two while displaying. Also, unlike Google, which may not honor the first dot as break for serving ads in mainline, Bing will pick the sentence before first dot to serve along with header of ad. You may use this feature to show your Toll Free No. !
Flexible Bidding, is the new kind of bidding strategy option added by Google, in the past few months in accounts across the world. This Option you can find clicking on the settings tab, choosing from bidding options. To activate it, you have to set it up through Shared Library.
Go to Shared Library, click on bids and find, Target Search Page Location >Top of the Search Page, Option. You will find details of this bidding strategy on the following pages, which has several advanced options for you to set up according to your preferences. Give it a name(e.g., TopClick) and click save. It will start showing as an option in Bidding Options in settings and also in Bid Strategy Tab at Campaign, adgroup and keyword pages. You can also create another strategy, say Maximize clicks within budget. You can shift between different strategies through,the Bid Strategy Tab. Flexible Bidding has Target Search Page Location and Maximize Clicks as Bid Strategy type. You may choose either Target Top of the page, or First page as option in the first type.
What Top of the Search Bidding does?
If you have chosen, Top of the Search Page option, it will dynamically raise and lower your bid to produce maximum above the fold clicks. The greatest merit of the algorithm behind this is that it adjusts different bids for different keywords, taking into account Quality Score and probably budget too. It is wise enough to judge what percentage of keywords should be given top bids, if enabled for entire campaign or adgroup. You can also enable it for one, two or more keywords!
Whenever, you want, you may shift to manual bidding through simple click on Bidding Strategy.
For those who were unhappy with the absence of position preference and run the rule now option should find this as a better solution. It is indeed better and economical than earlier features, retired now, intended to produce top rank click on adwords ads.
Click Fraud is an Industry, so play safe
Clicks on Competitors' ads with malicious intent to exhaust their budget, are termed Fraudulent clicks or Invalid Clicks in PPC. Some advertisers consider, spend on PPC should be both way, so they also pay for clicking on competitors' ads. Google has a system for detecting such clicks. However advertisers feel it is not 100% accurate and can catch only some clicks by amateurs in this field. On many occasions they find clear cut indication in stats that they have been charged for clicks by competitors. Masters of Click Fraud Industry have evolved many innovative techniques to escape Google's auto-detection system, like 3 refresh after every click & using automated software which automatically clicks on ads. Google's TOS clearly states, clicking on competitors' ads will disqualify them from Google's adwords program. However, till we find people prosecuted by court of law for such activities, playing safe is a better strategy.
Make best use of Geographical Setting
If you suspect people of some nationality or location would be maliciously clicking on your ad, you must use the targeting exclusion tool.
Change the default setting to only Target People physically present in the targeted location, and exclude either those physically in excluded region, or use the second option of excluding both who are physically present in excluded region and those who are interested in excluded region. The second option would exclude even people of those nationalities who are present in the targeted region. For example, if you are targeting USA and suspect Your competitors in India are maliciously clicking on your ad. You should exclude India, and set exclusion setting to exclude people physically present in the excluded region, and also those who visit pages related to the excluded region. This brings great result in most of the cases. People won't be able to access your ad either sitting in India, or most likely even in USA, if they visit India related pages on the same computer.
Use Location based bidding
Advertisers should avoid common bidding in entire targeted region. Use low bid for the whole region and increase the bid for specific locations within the targeted location. This way one can minimize the loss through fraudulent clicks incurred. For example, set the bid for whole of USA, $2 and increase the bid of city and states by 30%, 40%....
Use IP Exclusion feature
Directly exclude IP Addresses by entering IP Data from where suspicious activities emerge into IP Exclusion in Settings. If you don't have access to weblogs of your website you can easily create such a log by inserting a piece of code into your website. Statcounter.com generates excellent stats of IP and session. You can use its free service.
Stay away from some obvious...
In the worst case, you may avoid exposure on terms where your competitor would obviously assume your presence. Simply add some Exact negatives, in negative keyword list. It is a technique which works wonderfully.
Change the Domain Name
If you are in a highly competitive industry, prone to click fraud. It is better to shift some keywords, identified in the above step and set up a new campaign with new domain. Are you still surprised why you find some industry leader missing on some great keywords.
Deleting the broad match, after adding all converting search terms as exact:I equate this situation with a gamble with dice. A dice has 6 possible outcomes. Search Term reports are like, you know the 3 occasions when you were successful matching, say (1, 3 , 5). If you decide to quote only (1, 3, 5), your chances of failure to catch (2, 4, 6) are 100%. Because a dice has 6 possible outcomes, with equal probability you are reducing your chances of success by relying on historical data.
Adding converting search terms as they are in the search term list, in the keyword list:After adding these terms, most of them get marked, low search volume. Some do get impression, but seldom converts again. What you missed, is that, keywords actually Never Converts. What converts are ideas and themes. A visitor rotates on searches throughout the theme/idea, through many websites, he may convert any time, on any of them. So, you rather need to crack the idea/theme which converted. Simply adding those keywords are of no use.
Promptly adding negatives, which seems non-converting:People easily figure out, some terms which they see as non-converting and try to block them. After this conversion falls, because they seldom went through the digging part, what triggered them? Dice analogy fits here too. I would like to block all the outcomes which are beyond 6, but would retain all that is within (1, 2, ... 6). Conversion dice has some unknown value! You have to dig deeper into the problem. Real problem may be bid, match type or keyword itself within the existing keyword list.
The only action which one may do easily without committing mistake:The only thing you may do with this report without doing major blunder is identifying some terms to be added as Exact Negatives. You are safe doing it!
Broad match modifier restricts the queries triggered by a broad match keyword to the inclusiveness of all the words modified in the keyword. A '+'symbol is used just before the modified word, which means any query triggered through them must include the modified term or its close variants.
For example, if I use modifier in the keyword, say, purple flowers online delivery. I may use it for all, some or one of the word in the keyword. If my concern is, it should not trigger ads on green, blue ... flowers, I may use modifier for the word purple and make it, +purple flowers online delivery. It solves my problem. It won't show on any search term which doesn't include the term purple. Additionally, if the advertiser want to show ads only to people who are interested in delivery, then modifier should shift either only to delivery or both to purple and delivery. This is the basic part of the usage of the modified broad match
We shall now explore further, the practices which may deliver better targeted ads.
Use to limit the exposure of ads to certain brand search terms
It is particularly beneficial for tech support business, who would like to avoid the exposure of Mcafee antivirus ads on norton or avg. To achieve this, simply use modifier for all the terms containing mcafee, like +mcafee support, +mcafee antivirus support etc., Similarly, in other adgroups containing norton use +norton, in all keywords. In hp printer adgroup, use +hp throughout the adgroup and so on.
Use to gain exposure on some rare terms
One may use to gain exposure on terms which attracts little traffic on related terms. So, some location like +location, is useful, or +term can also be used. It is same as we earlier used "location", or "term", phrase match keywords.
Use to improve CTR & Quality Score
An adgroup themed on roses, may contain +roses in all the keyword and this will improve the CTR & quality score of entire adgroup.
Use to improve the cost of acquisition(CPA)If you use modifier throughout the adgroup for words like +buy, +sale, +deliver, it will catch people at the last stage of the buying cycle. This achieves a short term boost in sales, however, those who are long term players and are concerned about branding, I don't recommend this practice. However, the technique does improve your CPA.
Mousetraps are still in demand. You will always find them, in some corner of a weekly vegetable market. I myself purchased one, though it didn't work up to my expectation and later I bought a ratkill, a chemical pesticide, which worked perfectly. Mousetraps are replaced by chemicals now, and we tend to spend money on few of its alternatives when rats start giving us nightmares!
Mouse inside a household are menace. They pollute your food, make holes in clothes, bedsheet and tear apart some important paper documents. Nobody can live peacefully with them. They are not dull like cockroaches, but a very intelligent creature, who knows how to run away from you, steal your food and bite your clothes, papers and everything you love in the most inconspicuous manner. So, if they have entered inside your premise, you can't afford ignoring them. You will try to buy the best solution. This is what Demand, actually means!
I'll get you rid of mice menace
Mice are not those rodents alone. They appear in many forms before us, sometimes even as humans around us. People who face them in real life are as desperate seeking a solution, as I was a few days ago, trying to get rid of those real rats. Every Organization has a lot of rats inside. People are always searching for a better mousetrap! If you can promise, I will give you a better mousetrap, people are all ears to you. They will start following you. Just look at the great following of some Babas or religious leader promising peace and heaven after death. That is what the promise for a better mousetrap is. A Sales Pitch! People fall at their feet!! You can make such a promise. All of us can make such a promise and get paid! Identify the mice which are bothering your prospect and start selling your mousetrap to them. Claim that you have a better mousetrap, in your ads. If you are selling flowers on a website, you may conduct a research and write something like this in the caption, "From the data we collect from you guys, interesting facts emerged! x% of these flowers were sent by 20-25 aged people, 40% of them asked us to deliver on their marriage. Most Recommended by the website for those who love someone." I have given you an idea around which you have to create a trustworthy story. See How many of the visitors leave without purchasing. This is how you sell a mousetrap!