Archive for the ‘Pay Per Click (PPC)’ Category

How to Link Multiple Google AdWords Accounts to a Single Google Analytics Account

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

A few weeks ago, a client needed a second Google AdWords account linked to an existing Analytics account already linked to an AdWords account. As luck would have it, Google just recently made it possible to do this!

1. Start by logging into each AdWords account separately and going to My account > Preferences. From this page, enable auto-tagging in both accounts.



2. Next, make sure both AdWords accounts have admin access to your Analytics. To do this, log in to Google Analytics and go to your Dashboard. In the new version, you’ll see “Admin” in the top right:

Click Users, then “+ New User”. Make sure the email addresses you use for both AdWords accounts are set as admins here.


3. Then, click the name of the site at the top of the page.

From here, you’ll see several options in the secondary menu. Click “Data Sources” and be sure you’re in “AdWords”.

If you’re logged in under an account that’s already linked to Analytics, you should see it listed.

4. Your last and final step is to log in under the unlinked account and follow step 3. Then, click “Link Accounts” and click “Continue” after seeing this screen:

And you’re done! There is one important thing to keep in mind: you’ll only have statistics for the additional account from the day you go through these steps.

Nicki Hicks
Two AdWords accounts are better than one

10 Tips for A Successful Facebook Ad Campaign | Facebook Ads

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Trying and Succeeding

So, my friend Megan and I had lunch together today. She was telling me all about her new Facebook Ad Campaigns that she is running for her Facebook Business Pages. She’s had a lot of success lately so we were comparing notes on some of our processes and tricks. Below is a compilation of some of her tips and some of my own…

1. Have a goal: If you are going to start a Facebook Ad campaign you better know what you are trying to accomplish. Is it more likes? Brand awareness? Event registrations? Sales? What is your goal for the ad? This answer is going to determine what type of Facebook Ad Campaign you are going to run. For instance if it’s to get more likes or to build awareness you might want to just use the traditional marketplace ad, however if it’s an event you may want to promote you could do a sponsored story and promote a page post highlighting it.  Having a goal also gives you the ability to measure your success later on.

2. Testing: Many people create one version of an ad, pick one target, select their bid and just run the ad continuously. This is not best practice for running a successful Facebook ad campaign and can end up costing you quite a bit of money while providing mediocre results. Here are a few testing tips:

  • Images: Test different images on the same ad and see if one gets more action than the others
  • Verbiage: Once you’ve seen what image performs best, test out the language you use in your ad
  • Target: Test the different targets using the same ads how are these working
  • Ad Type Choice: Test the different types of ads offered by Facebook (standard market place ads, sponsored story ads, like ads, post ads, check in ads etc.)
  • Targeting Your Audience: Create different ads for your different audiences, don’t lump all into one, sometimes a bigger audience isn’t better when it comes to Facebook ads

3. Landing Pages: Create landing pages that make sense. If you are advertising a coupon, bring your audience to a coupon page, if you are trying to get people to like your page bring them to your welcome page, if you are advertising an event bring them to an event page or landing page that promotes it. You get the picture; just make sure that your target makes sense for the person clicking on the ad.

4. Update Your Wall: Make sure that you are still consistently engaging your audience on your page, asking questions, posting video, posting photos, bringing in your blog posts, and offering valuable content. This makes the page look lived in, interesting and inviting for the newbie arriving on your wall.

5. Ad Copy: Don’t feel compelled to use all 135 characters available to you. Sometimes a short sentence does a better job of generating interest and attracting an audience.

6. Photos: We mentioned selecting different photos above for testing, but it’s important to state again, a great image can change the whole look, feel and meaning of your ad. Make sure that your image is attracting the audience that you want.

7. Play In Their Sandbox: Don’t create Facebook Ads that take your audience off of Facebook. Now I know that there is some differing opinions on this, but in my experience, when you lead someone off Facebook you risk the chance of that user becoming cranky. People who are on Facebook want to stay on Facebook. So, lead them to a landing page on Facebook talking about your product or service, have an ecommerce page on Facebook, offer them a downloadable coupon on Facebook, or have them like your page. Not only does this keep them in the place they want to be it also allows you the opportunity to gain the like, which means you now have the ability to market to them in the future, not just that one ad click.

8. Know Your Audience: Facebook has some amazing targeting abilities but it’s up to you first to know who your audience is. What they are interested in? Where they are located? What age range they are? etc.

9. Create Audience Specific Ads: Once you know whom your audience is you should segment them out. For instance, you may have one product that you sell to a wide range of demographics. Say you are selling an anti-aging skin care product, your message to a 25 year old woman is going to be much different than the message you would deliver to a 65 year old woman. And, how you sell a weight loss or fitness program to members of the opposite sex will be much different. Create demographic specific ads, and test different ads within that space as well.

10. Measure. This is the most important part. This is how you see if your Facebook Ad Campaign is successful or not. This is how you see which ad is performing better than the other. This is how you know if your targeting is correct, and so on. This may take some time and effort on your part, but it’s worth it in order to create more successful ads campaigns.

BONUS Tip: A recent study by Neilson said that Facebook ads get stale faster than traditional ads. Your audience is sick of the same ad after 2 – 5 days, so keep a close eye on how your ads are performing so they don’t get stale.

Joan Woodbrey Crocker
Fan of Facebook Advertising

Image By: AnnieGreenSprings

What Not To Do with Your Facebook Ad

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

I love Facebook Ads, in fact I think that they offer amazing opportunities for those with smaller budgets to get in front of the right audience.  With that said, if you are going to create an ad, you should take the time to make sure it’s going to be an effective one.

Take for instance this ad I saw yesterday on my wall for a pillow.

I loved the pillows so I actually clicked on the ad.  However, it takes me to a web page off Facebook.  Which is fine, because I expected that from the ad showing the url, however, it doesn’t bring me to the pillows at all.  It brings me to a pop up window that asks me to sing up for membership.

Now, because it didn’t lead me to what I wanted and I didn’t want to sign up for membership, I left the site immediately.  Which means, the advertiser was charged for my click, but I didn’t not make a purchase or become a member, which were probably two of their goals for the ad. DON’T run an ad like this!

Next ad… And this one is much better I admit, because it actually brings you to the image of what they are advertising for and a very quick form to fill out to purchase the item.

However, rather than bringing me off page to their website, they should have an ability to purchase from their Facebook page, keeping me where I want to be and possibly gaining a “Like” from me, so I see more of their updates for FREE!

And, the last Ad is a great example of what to do with your Facebook Ads. 

This ad keeps me on Facebook, asks me to “Like” the page which encourages further interaction/engagement down the road, tells me a friend of mine likes it and lets me know what I can expect to get from liking the Facebook page.

Now, not all Facebook ads HAVE to point back to a Facebook page.  However, in my experience the ones that do see better results.

So, how should you set up your Facebook ad?

- Don’t point them to external pages off of Facebook (keep your audience where they want to be)
- Don’t mislead if you are showing them an image that you are selling, lead them to that page
- Do ask for a like (you want your dollar to go further than that one click)
- Do have an eCommerce landing page on your Facebook page
- Do tell them what they will receive or can expect for becoming a fan
- Keep it social, people are more likely to “Like” a page a fan likes

So, get out there and create GOOD ads.  Good Luck!

Joan Woodbrey Crocker
Facebook Advertiser

Business Blogs or Pay-Per-Click: Which is Right for You?

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Cooking PansDear Maine SEO,

We’re trying to decide whether we should set up a business blog or do pay-per-click advertising. Which will provide a better return on investment?

–Marketing in Maine

Dear Marketing,

We’ve never recommended putting all your eggs in one basket, be they proverbial or free range. Both blogs–which help with your organic search rankings–and pay-per-click (PPC) ads–which appear on page onecan help deliver qualified traffic to your website.

One way to look at this is the difference between cooking in an aluminum pan vs. a cast-iron pan. The aluminum pan heats up quicker, but it also cools off quicker.

PPC advertising is a lot like that aluminum pan. If you need to get page one results on Google or Bing, you just need to pay them and your ads will start running immediately. Same day results. That’s fantastic for sites that may not otherwise do well in the organic results, such as new sites or sites that rely heavily on Flash.

However, the moment you stop paying them–whether because you hit your daily budget or you’ve decided that PPC is no longer for you–that traffic stops just as quickly. You’ll get no more benefit out of the money and time you’ve invested.

Compare this to blogging: you may not enjoy much search engine visibility for the first few months of your blogging and you’ll be putting in a lot of work…we’d recommend 2 – 3 keyword-rich posts a week of 300 words or more. However, once you’ve established your blog and built up trust and inbound links, your blog stays hot like a cast-iron pan.

In reviewing the top ten traffic generating posts this month at our web marketing blog, five of the posts are at least a year or two old, the oldest one was written in 2006! Five years later and it’s still pulling in hundreds of new visitors each month…that’s a much better payoff than most PPC campaigns in our opinion.

So, if your budget allows it, we might recommend setting up a small budget for PPC, but develop develop a business blog for your long term success.

Rich Brooks
Now You’re Cooking with Gas

Photo credit: Jeremy Noble

LinkedIn ads vs. Facebook ads: A clear winner?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Pay per click has spread to social media; both LinkedIn and Facebook have advertising opportunities, and Twitter isn’t far behind. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer opportunity for better visibility, but what if you could only choose one?

There have been quite a few blogposts and case studies done between Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads, so I’m not going to include all of screenshots here. The important thing? They all say the same thing.

The settings

Facebook ads offer far more demographic driven targeting, while LinkedIn – just as you’d expect – has more business driven options. What does that mean exactly?

On Facebook, you get to choose:

  • Geographic location (Everywhere, State or Province, City)
  • Demographics (Gender, Age)
  • “Likes”, Interests
  • Advanced Demographics (Birthday, Interested in, Relationship status, language)
  • Education and work
  • Connections on Facebook (pages or friends)

While on LinkedIn, your options are:

  • Company size
  • Job Function
  • Industry
  • Seniority
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geographic location

Oh and by the way, you can only choose 3 of these categories in LI.

The ads themselves

You’ve probably seen Facebook ads – they show up on the right hand side of Facebook on most pages.

LinkedIn ads however, well I challenge you to find them. On the homepage, LinkedIn displays ads, sure, but you’ll pay a pretty penny to have a banner ad show up. You’ll find ads by LI members at the very bottom of the homepage. They’re scattered about on LinkedIn, getting better real estate the deeper you go on the website.

Otherwise, they’re relatively the same – both offer a headline, copy, and an image.

Show me the money

LinkedIn is significantly more expensive. This case study – that compared two similar ads – showed a whopping difference of $2.94 per click!

Facebook, however, has had historically low bid rates – rarely over $1.00.

The metrics

Neither Facebook nor LinkedIn have a great ad metrics system.

Facebook ad metrics include:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Click thru rate
  • Average Cost per Click (CPC)
  • Average Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM)
  • Plus:
    • Demographics who click on your ad
    • Interests of those who click on your ad
    • Conversions by time and impression

LinkedIn gives you a even less:

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Click thru rate
  • Average cost per click

A clear winner?

Targeting and money-wise, I think Facebook is the clear winner (and all case studies agree). However, both camps still have a long way to go to create better metrics.

What about you…do you prefer LinkedIn or Facebook ads?

Photo credit: pareeerica

Nicki Hicks
Facebook, for the win!

Segment Your Way to PPC Success (Search Engine Strategies Webinar with David Szetela)

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

David Szetela, of Clix Marketing, gave a really great presentation for Search Engine Strategies on segmenting with Pay Per Click. You can follow David on Twitter here.

PPC Segmenting = Targeting

  1. Targeted Campaigns
  2. Diverse Keyword Lists
  3. Brand Term Segmentation
  4. Intent-targeted Landing Pages

Segmenting Campaigns

  1. Geotargeting
  2. Search Networks
  3. Content Target Types
  4. Devices
  5. Dayparting

Geotargeting Campaigns

location language demographics

Segment Search Networks

google networks

Search and Content campaigns should never be mixed, even though that is the default behavior.

Segment by device


Unless your campaign is designed specifically for mobile devices, uncheck the iPhone/mobile devices box off.

Segment by Hour/Day

ad schedule

Don’t make your dayparting decisions based on intuition. Microsoft Ad Center is the only paid search provider which gives data by hour of day. AdWords, unfortunately, does not give you

Segmenting Ad Groups

  • Directly affects profitability
  • Affects CTR, which affects QS, which affects CPC
  • Goal should be high CTR/QS and high conversion rates

Szetela Ad Group Rule: All keywords in an ad group should have at least two words in common.

For example:

  • Keyword list:
  • Hawaii travel
  • Hotels in Hawaii
  • Flights to Hawaii
  • Hawaii beach vacation
  • Hawaiian holidays
  • Maui Hotels

Segmented list into 3 smaller list

List 1:

  • Hotels in Hawaii
  • Hawaii hotels
  • Find Hawaiian hotels

List 2:

  • Hawaii vacation
  • Vacations in Hawaii
  • Hawaiian vacations

List 3:

  • Maui flights
  • Flights to Maui
  • Cheap Maui flights

Here is the original ad (left) vs. the new three, segmented ads (right):

see the difference between ads

Segmenting Ad Groups with AdWords Editor

David estimates that using the Google AdWords Editor takes about 1/10 the time as using the web-based editor.

Segmenting Brand Campaigns

[David gives full credit to Craig Danuloff and this blogpost for the following.]

  • Brand pure keywords (acme widegets, acmewidgets,, amcewidgets)
  • Navigational brand keywords (acme widgets site, acme widgets homepage, acme widgets Portland)
  • Brand related keywords (acme’s CEO name, acme’s patented manufacturing technique)
  • Brand plus keywords (acme widget ball bearings, acme shipping policy)

Use Negative Brand Keywords

Use “-acme ball bearings” because you want “we are the manufacturer” ads to show, not the generic “we have great ball bearings” ads  to show.

Landing Page Segmentation

Land PPC visitors on different pages depending on the buying cycle phase

Early phase/Late phase Pages

Early phase

  • Several choices
  • Browser/Shopper Navigation
  • Multi-option Layout
  • Soft offers

Late phase

  • One choice
  • Little/no off-page navigation
  • Sparse layout
  • Single hard offer

Example: Software

  • Early phase: Download a white paper; browse features
  • Mid-term phase: Download trial software (keyword: “compare”)
  • Late phase: Buy software


Q: How do I find search queries?
A: Four places:

  1. AdWords user interface (click on tab in interface and see keywords and what Google matched to)
  2. Run search query report in AdWords interface
  3. Log files out of your FTP server
  4. Search query reporting from paid search reporting systems

Q: Do you create all three match types for every keyword?
A: Yes; except for 1- and 2-word broad matches. But we do use phrase match for both versions (e.g. “red widget” and “widget red”)

Q: Do you feel AdWords content network is better for branding?
A: Search network is for demand satisfaction. Content network is better for demand generation; evoke, build, and create demand. And no, it’s not exclusively for branding.

Q: Do you pause underperforming keywords or keep them active?
A: Theory: there’s no such thing as a bad keyword. If you have research saying a keyword is being used and it’s not performing, maybe it’s paired with the wrong ad and/or landing page.

Q: Do you recommend starting with specific segments or starting broad and getting specific?
A: If you have less time and start broader, just make sure you’re able to pay frequent attention to be ready to create more targeted and specific ads.

Q: Best resource to learn more about segmenting brand terms?
A: Read at least two books (including David’s Customers Now); Mark and Motive training.

Q: What search engines do you advertise with?
A: The big three; Facebook; every once in a while 2nd tier SEs like Ask.

Q: Where are the biggest short comings with segmenting?
A: Three things:

  1. Most advertisers neglect turning off content network when they’re running search campaigns.
  2. Ads directed to mobile devices – turn it off!
  3. Huge keyword lists with very little resemblance to one another. Low CTRs (under 1.5%) – ad is poorly written (no benefits or calls-to-action) or keywords are too generalized.

Q: Where do you see Twitter fitting in as a tool for segmenting in PPC?
A: Twitter and Facebook are two additional sources of traffic to a site; then there’s organic search, PPC, and email. Armed with great Analtyics tools, advertisers will be measuring the affect of each medium on the conversion path (so you know the value of each step in the path). For example, the first visit comes from Twitter, the second two come from PPC, and the last three come from Facebook before the customer converts. Current Analytics only give value to the last.

Q: In content advertising, is there less segmenting necessary?
A: When you use the content network, think of sites your audiences hangs out at. If the set is small, you have a small set of ad groups; if it’s large, you have a large set.

Q: Is there a maximum number to a list of keywords?
A: You can’t have more than 2,000 keywords in a list; if you beg, you can have 5,000 keywords. (But that probably doesn’t follow Szetela’s rule of having each keyword have two similar terms.)

Q: Do you think automatic matching should be turned off in most cases?
A: Yes; it means “match my broad match keywords to even broader match keywords” – it’ll match “red sneakers” to “purple slippers”.

Q: What are the best practices for finding the CPC initially?
A: Start with conservative estimates; take your target CPC – and conversions and CTR are low – then go backward to the cost you’re willing to pay per click.

Are your paid search efforts actually working?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Maybe you bought a directory listing at the Yahoo Directory. Or maybe you’re trying to leverage AdWords. Perhaps you (gasp) bought a link from a link farm. Or even advertising on a local news website.

Regardless of where you’re spending your money; at the end of the day, all of these incoming links are intended for one purpose and one purpose only: conversions.

If a free link you got after spending a few minutes courting a blogger aren’t getting you any conversions, well, what can you do really? But if you’re actively spending money for those links, the traffic had better be converting, right?

There’s an easy ways to check. Head over to your Google Analytics account.

First things first, do you have Google Analytics Goals set up? Do it immediately if you don’t. referring sites

Incoming Links

With goals in place, go to the Traffic Sources section, then Referring sites.

goal set 1

Now click your Goal(s) tab. You should have a pretty good idea now about which referring websites convert and which ones don’t.

Why does it matter?

Perhaps your links you’re not paying for are converting at a far higher rate than expensive directory listings or advertisements. Make sure you look at many months’ worth of data before you make any big decisions. But these conversions might help show you your expensive paid efforts aren’t worth the money.

google analytics adwords campaignsAdWords Campaigns

If your goals are already in place, go to the Traffic Sources section, AdWords, then into AdWords campaigns.

Just like for referring sites, click on your Goal(s) tab.

goal set 1 adwords

Why does it matter?

Again, do you want to be bidding for keywords that aren’t converting? Same thing as referring keywords: gather enough data to make deleting keywords/ads/campaigns plausible.

Note: This is the Google Analytics version of AdWords conversions. In order to get the robust version of conversion tracking, make sure you use AdWords’ Conversion Tracking.

Nicki Hicks
Are you throwing away money?

How to Import Google Analytics Goals as AdWords Conversions

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

If you use Google AdWords, you should be using the conversions measurement. If you’re not, never fear, all you need is Analytics!

I’ve been using Google AdWords conversions for quite some time now, but haven’t noticed (until today) that you can import your Google Analytics goals (as long as your AdWords and Analytics accounts are connected) as AdWords conversions. That way, you only need to install one set of code: your Google Analytics code. Evidently, the ability to do so has been available for almost a year!

Confused yet? These screen shots should help explain.

Under the Reporting tab, click “Conversions.” Without any conversions set up, you should see a screen that looks like this:


Again, you’ll need to connect your AdWords and Analytics accounts to see this screen.

Click “Import from Google Analytics”. In the past you would have had to insert a code (and you still can), but now you have the option to sync your Analytics goals.

import goal

Click import, and you’re good to go!

Nicki Hicks
Google: Making life easier one day at a time

8 Tips for Writing a Spectacular AdWords Ad

Friday, January 15th, 2010

1. Structure your campaigns in the same way as your website – or your landing pages. In other words, you have your parent pages (campaigns), category pages (ad groups), and landing pages (individual ads). That way, like ads and ad groups live together.

2. Go specific, not broad – hence multiple campaigns/ad groups/ads. You want to address a specific need with each ad and, starting out, you might need to have a wide variety to see what works for you.

3. I like to start by seeing what other people are doing. Search for your keyword and see what the other ads are saying – will yours be able to compete? (Then once you’re done, go back again and double check the ad can still compete.)

4. Start with your keyword analysis and after bidding on your keywords, reiterate them in your ad. (Double check bid amounts on your keywords with Google’s Keyword Tool.)

5. Hit pain points…many, many pain points.

6. Include a call-to-action or incentive as appropriate. Is it “Buy now!” “Free shipping!” “20% for a limited time”. Think about what would make your audience not only click, but convert.

7. Direct your ad to a killer landing page that gives the searcher exactly what they were expecting (and more!).

8. Give other ads in the same ad group the same feel with a different spin; remember they’re all targeting the same keywords. Use percent served to mold and change the ads depending on what you find.

What did I miss? What other tips can you offer?

Nicki Hicks
8 Quick Tips

Google AdWords 101: What do all these statistics mean?

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

You’ve gone through the process of setting up AdWords, but there are so many tabs, so much to do, and so many statistics! Here’s a glossary of need-to-know terms.

At the Campaign Level…

google adwords campaign stats

AdWords accounts are separated first by campaigns. Depending on how many ad groups you’re running, the need for multiple campaigns may vary. For many of our small business clients, only one campaign is necessary.

  • Campaign: The names of the campaigns – so be sure to create more specific names than Campaign 1, Campaign 2, and so on. Click on one to drill down into the ad groups of each.
  • Budget: The daily budget set per campaign.
  • Status: The state of the Campaign. Google will alert you whether the campaign is paused, deleted, limited by budget, etc.
  • Clicks: How many total clicks (including all of its ad groups) the campaign has received.
  • Impr.: Impressions. The total number of impressions (how many times your ad appears) for all ad groups in the campaign.
  • CTR: Click Through Rate. A percentage of clicks per impressions; again, out of all ad groups in the campaign.
  • Avg. CPC: Average Cost Per Click. The number will give you the average amount you pay per click on average for all the ad groups in the campaign.
  • Cost: Total amount spent for the entire campaign, based on the date range set.
  • Avg. Pos.: Average Position in the Paid Search Results.

Note that all of the statistics are dependent on the time range set in the top right corner of the screen. (By default, AdWords will be set to yesterday.)

At the Ad Group level…

google adwords ad group stats

Each campaign can have an endless number of ad groups. Typically, all of the ad groups should be related. If you find you’ve created too many ad groups within a single campaign, this is where I would suggest creating another campaign.

You’ll see many of the same statistics in the ad group section, with the addition of:

  • Search Max. CPC: Search Maximum Cost Per Click. This is the highest dollar amount you’re willing to pay for any given click within Google’s search network (or search engines).
  • Content Max. CPC: Content Network Maximum Cost Per Click. If you chose during setup to have Google automatically bid on content network (or blogs and websites within the Google network), then your Content CPC will be set to “auto”. Otherwise, this is the maximum dollar amount you’re willing to pay for any click within the content network.

At the Ad level…

google adwords ad stats

Individual ads exist at the deepest level. Like ad groups, you can have any number of ads. Remember: all of the ads in an ad group target the same keywords.

You’ll see a lot of the same statistics at the ad level with the addition of:

  • % served: Percent Served. If you have multiple ads in an ad group, you can choose to allow Google to serve them either evenly over time, or ad rotation. With ad rotation (which I would suggest), Google will serve up the ad with the better click through rate, slowly showing it more and more over time. With % served, you can see which ad(s) are performing better, and edit/change others as necessary.

That’s it for the biggest statistics within Google AdWords.

Nicki Hicks
Now get tracking!

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