Quality Score

From spend monitoring to ad ranking, keeping tabs on your campaign performance across your different marketing channels can be a lot of work. And because optimization is the key to a successful campaign, it’s good to stay in the know. However, most of us are not on our computers all the time, so we need an easy and efficient way to stay on top of it all, and be notified of any major changes immediately.

With Marin’s Automated Alerts, you can stay in the know with automatic monitoring and notifications for all your marketing campaigns. These alerts bring changes directly to your inbox, so that you can be notified as soon as they happen. This means timelier analysis and action, so that your campaigns can continue running smoothly even while you're away.



Check out these 5 alerts that you can set up in Marin to stay productive, optimize strategy, and make the most out of each advertising dollar.

  1. Monitor CPA


This may feel pretty standard. But as a reminder, the cost of an acquisition or conversion is important to ensure not only that our ads are converting, but that they are doing so at a profitable rate. It is important to modify an alert like this one with an impressions count to be sure that an ad or campaign has reached enough users to properly determine an ideal CPA.

Example: Alert me if impressions are greater than 1000 and CPA is greater than X.


  1. Getting Close to Spend Cap


This can help you monitor your budget pacing, and view the rate at which your campaigns spend. Take action before your cap is hit so that you make adjustments to achieve your performance goals.

Example: Alert me if total spend > $950 (where spend cap = $1000).


  1. Impression Share is Dropping


If your strategy includes top or absolute top impression share, this alert is for you. By receiving a notification when an ad’s impression share drops below your target, you can take the appropriate action (improve ad ranking, evaluate keywords, expand budget) before falling too far behind.

Example: Alert me if the impression share drops by more than 10%


  1. Check Keywords


If you’re testing out some new keywords for your campaigns, use this alert to monitor their performance and iterate when necessary. This alert is great for keyword strategy

Example: Alert me if CTR is less than 3% for selected keywords.


  1. Ads Not Converting


Your ads may not be converting because of audience targeting, ad copy, or user-experience on your landing page, you want to be notified about ads that don’t lead consumers to the end goal of a purchase or sign-up. This helps you save money and optimize your campaign for success.

Example: Alert me if I’ve spent more than $1000 and conversion rate is less than 10%.

Once you’ve created these alerts, you can breathe a bit easier knowing that if something dramatically shifts in a campaign, you’ll be notified and can take action immediately. Automated alerts in Marin are customizable and can be set up in just a few minutes. Schedule time with an account representative today to learn more!

This is a guest post from Ashley Aptt, Account Lead at 3Q Digital.

Many advertisers underestimate the impact that ad copy can have on paid search performance. But ad copy is an essential element in generating traffic to your site, learning about your target audience, and improving efficiency to save money and drive stronger results.

With Google making the shift from Standard Text Ads to Expanded Text Ads, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your ad copy, take advantage of the new ad features, and improve ad performance.

Here are three reasons marketers should focus on better ads.

1. It’s The First Thing Users See


Within a matter of seconds, users perform an online search, skim their options on the search engine results page, and determine which ad to click. Ad copy is one of the primary elements a user evaluates when deciding which site to visit.

  • Which company has the best offer?
  • Which brand seems most reputable and trustworthy?
  • Which ad seems most relevant to my needs?


These are all things a potential customer could be thinking when deciding which site to visit.

Ad copy gives advertisers the platform to communicate their message and showcase their value propositions. Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) offer more character space to help get your message across to potential customers. Use this space wisely, as it could be the only chance to win the sale from a competitor.

2. Learn about Your Customers


An important part of making sure you’re using strong ad copy is to incorporate a solid ad copy testing strategy. You’ll never know what messaging, call to action, or value proposition resonates best with your target audience until you start testing different ad elements and measuring results.

When kicking off an ad copy test, be sure to focus on one element at a time. There’s a lot of opportunity for testing within ETAs. For example, you can test two headline messages against each other while leaving everything else the same. Or, test alternative calls to action in the description line while keeping the rest of the ad copy consistent between both ad variations.

Testing one element a time ensures you’re able to accurately determine which message delivers the best results. Once you determine a winning ad variation, don’t stop there—keep testing different elements against the winning variation.

expanded text ads schema



Ad copy testing doesn’t just help you refine your ad copy—it also allows you to learn more about your customers. For instance, in an A/B value proposition test, you could learn whether your customers find “Free Shipping” or “0% Financing” more appealing. Aside from updating your ad copy appropriately, use the test result learnings across various marketing channels and improve your performance for social, email, and display campaigns, too.

3. Improve Efficiency and Save Money


ETAs give advertisers the perfect opportunity to rethink their ad copy messaging. Rather than just inserting a second headline, think about the entire message you’d like to deliver, and make sure the message in your ad is relevant to the search query.

The additional character space you gain with ETAs also provides the ability to further explain your business offerings and can help pre-qualify users before they click your ad. This can help you home in on your target audience and weed out users who may be looking for something different.

All in all, utilizing ad copy that’s relevant to what the user’s searching can help improve your click-through rate and Quality Score, which ultimately reduces your cost per click. It can also pre-qualify your visitors and help reduce bad clicks. Overall, strong ad copy can end up saving you money and improving your ROAS.

Conclusion


Don’t underestimate the power of strong ad copy. Use the additional character limits with ETAs as an opportunity to connect with your users, stand out from the competition, and drive qualified traffic to your site. Apply learnings from ad copy testing to improve your paid search performance and expand the lessons to other marketing channels as well.

Google has made a historic change to its creative format with the introduction of a mobile optimized format called “Expanded Text Ads” (ETA). In this post, we provide information to help you understand what’s changing, why it’s a positive thing, and how to automatically make your existing ads ETA-compatible. (Pro tip: Skip to the end of this article if that last point is what you’re after.)

What Are Expanded Text Ads?


Expanded Text Ads are a mobile-optimized ad-format designed to maximize an advertiser's performance in mobile search results. This is accomplished by providing the advertiser significantly more ad copy to highlight their product or service. Expanded Text Ads also apply to desktop search results.

This change is a big deal because it’s a fundamental shift away from the legacy AdWords text ad format that’s existed for well over a decade. As such, this change will require every AdWords advertiser to rewrite their ads to be ETA-compatible. To learn how to automatically do this, skip ahead to the end of this post.

What’s Changing, Exactly?


Advertisers now have two headlines instead of one, and these headlines are joined with a hyphen. The good news – this copy expansion allows ads to occupy 50% more space on the search results page. Early results indicate that this increased presence improves CTR, which makes sense when you compare the old format (left) to the new format (right):

ETAs



Here are the nitty-gritty details:

  • Headline 1 and headline 2 are 30 characters each. This is a 240% increase over legacy text ads, which historically had just one headline and a 25-character maximum.
  • For the description line, the character count is also increasing. Instead of two 35-character description lines, there’s just one that’s 80 characters.
  • The display URL will now be automatically extracted from your destination URL. You can set up to two path fields like “golf” and “shoes”.


As marketers, we’re excited by all of these updates, and think that the addition of a new headline is only going to help performance, especially in a mobile world.

A Positive Change, for Multiple Reasons


Why is this change a net-positive for advertisers?

  • You gain a new, second headline.
  • More characters for longer messaging increase the odds of connecting with your target audience.
  • We’re seeing better overall performance in our early results.


Why is Google Making This Change?


A couple of obvious questions are: Why is Google making this change? And why now?

The short answer: Consumers have shifted to mobile as their primary method of accessing the Internet. And, advertising dollars are following in rapid succession. eMarketer estimates that in 2016, over 60% of all digital advertising spend will go to mobile. It’s also expected that mobile will continue to gobble up market share through 2020.

Google is staying ahead of this trend by shifting to mobile-optimized ads, which is consistent with the elimination of right-hand ads back in February. In the next 12-24 months, we should see more mobile-centric changes from all major publishers, as they train their attention on perfecting mobile monetization.

How Can I Automatically Make My Ads ETA-Compatible?



Stay tuned for more details, insights, and data as we continue to report on Expanded Text Ads.

This is a contributed post from Todd Mintz, SEM expert at 3Q Digital.

I love Marin's bidding algorithm, and given the opportunity, I can write geeky, complex blog posts on its power that would confuse most of the folks on the bidding team. Since I do wish to contribute to this blog again in the future, I will refrain from doing so and focus my initial post on something super-basic that even Marin neophytes can implement and benefit from.

When onboarding a new account to the Marin platform, the project manager assigned to the account will stress to you that the system needs 30 days of data before Marin bidding can be safely launched. Since you’re likely a few weeks into the onboarding of the account, it’s tough to stay patient while continuing to rely upon lesser methods for bidding your accounts. Luckily for you, I’ve figured out a bidding technique that can be implemented immediately and doesn’t require 30 days of data.

For a while now, Marin’s system has been capturing Google Quality Score (and has recently begun to capture Bing’s). Smart marketers like Larry Kim have correlated high quality score to low CPAs. So, at a very basic level, we can use Marin to severely bid down low-QS terms while bidding up high-QS terms.



I divided my Google keywords into two folders: The Main Campaign and the Low-QS Campaign. All keywords with QS < 4 were placed into the Low-QS Campaign, and the remainder were placed in the Main Campaign. The Boost percentages here are good starting points but are somewhat arbitrary…different situations might require different percentages, and these numbers should be tweaked through the month based upon account performance

In 100% of the accounts I’ve worked with, this technique has boosted performance for the first 30 days of an account on the Marin platform. You can implement this hack while continuing to do all your other pre-Marin, non-automated bidding tactics. Once the 30-day mark passes, you can then do your full Marin bidding segmentation – though in all my accounts, I’ve kept the low-QS bucket. What’s really cool is that with Marin’s assistance, I’ve turned low-QS keywords into a profit center, which you’re not supposed to be able to do. :-)

Please also note that Quality Score is a dynamic metric; certain keywords will rise out of the Low-QS Folder and others will fall into it. One needs to periodically update the distribution of the keywords in the folders in order to insure optimum bidding performance. Also, I have seen a correlation between this bidding technique for low-QS terms and an increase in Quality Score for many of said terms, though I’m not able to prove causation.

Good luck and feel free to add any questions or comments below!

About the Author


Todd Mintz, who has been with 3Q Digital since March 2011, has worked in search engine marketing since 2000 and has used Google AdWords since it began. He also is very visible in the SEM social media space and is a curator/contributor at MarketingLand. He was one of the founding members of SEMpdx (Portland’s Search Engine Marketing Group), is a current board member, and writes regularly on their blog.

BoostCTR Account Performance Grader

For many search marketers, identifying opportunities for optimization within paid search campaigns is challenging. Monitoring and maintaining top performing ad groups, keywords, and ads is a standard best practice; but as campaigns grow, keyword lists expand, and creative tests multiply, this approach fails to scale and provide incremental improvements in paid search performance. With so many optimization opportunities hidden in an ocean of data, how can search marketers give the required attention each campaign deserves? Where do you even start?

To help search marketers answer these questions, Marin Software is thrilled to announce our partnership with BoostCTR to offer a free paid search diagnostics tool that not only provides insight into account performance, but also opportunities for optimization. The Account Performance Grader is designed to analyze historical performance across keywords, ads, quality scores, and ad groups for AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns. Simply sign up and enter the required information to receive your customized report.

Among other best practice recommendations, this report will provide actionable insights for pausing poor performing keywords and ads, as well as reveal quality score trends that identify areas where keyword relevance can be improved. With the Account Performance Grader, search marketers can remove the guesswork out of campaign optimization and focus their time on more strategic, high impact tasks.

Sign up here and start optimizing your campaigns today!

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