Marketing Right Now Is #$%*ing Hard.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve talked to dozens of startup founders, small business owners, and web marketers of all kinds. Folks are scared, and rightfully so. Staring into the face of an uncertain period of quarantining followed by what most …

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve talked to dozens of startup founders, small business owners, and web marketers of all kinds. Folks are scared, and rightfully so. Staring into the face of an uncertain period of quarantining followed by what most estimate will be the worst economic downturn of the last 50 years, and maybe 100, is sobering. The most…

Creating customer loyalty in the COVID-19 crisis

In times of crisis, it’s easy to give into our natural human instincts and react with panic and fear, as…Read blog postabout:Creating customer loyalty in the COVID-19 crisis
The post Creating customer loyalty in the COVID-19 crisis appeared first on …

In times of crisis, it’s easy to give into our natural human instincts and react with panic and fear, as...Read blog postabout:Creating customer loyalty in the COVID-19 crisis

The post Creating customer loyalty in the COVID-19 crisis appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

PPC Management Software for eCommerce: Is It Worth It?

Should you invest in a PPC management software platform? This post will help you decide if these tools are worth it.

When eCommerce businesses want to scale up their pay per click (PPC) campaigns, they may wonder if PPC management software can help.

Companies selling this type of software promise simpler and quicker campaign management, automatic recommendations and bid adjustments, along with savings on hiring costs for PPC consultants.

This begs the question: Are PPC campaign management tools really better than hiring a PPC consultant?

In this post, you’ll get our take (based on 11+ years of running eCommerce PPC) on whether you should use this type of software to manage your PPC campaigns, or if you should invest in hiring a PPC expert instead.

You’ll learn about:

  • What PPC management software tools are and their capabilities
  • The pros, cons, and use cases of these tools
  • How to choose between PPC software and a PPC consultant

Note: Our paid advertising experts would love to learn more about the PPC goals of your eCommerce business. Get in touch.

What Is PPC Management Software?

Businesses use PPC management software to monitor their campaigns and optimize ad spend.

Running campaigns for a large number of SKUs and ad groups across different digital advertising channels can be labor-intensive. When you have 1000s of product ads at once, PPC management software can make it easier to track and optimize your marketing spend across each SKU.

Here is a short introduction to the different PPC channels, most popular PPC management tools for them, and the campaign types they can manage:

Top PPC Advertising Channels

As 3rd party tools, PPC management software is mainly built to integrate with the most widely-used PPC advertising channels:

  • Search engines (Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads)
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram)
  • Online marketplaces (Amazon, Etsy)
  • Remarketing on sites across the web

Popular PPC Management Software Tools

Some of the most well-known brands geared toward automating PPC campaigns on one or several channels are:

Types of PPC Ad Campaigns

PPC channels provide their own varying types of campaigns and ad formats. PPC management software companies build their software around tracking and optimizing for these campaign types:

  1. Search ads campaigns
  2. Product listing ads (like Google Shopping ads)
  3. Display ads
  4. Social ads
  5. Remarketing ads / Retargeting ads
  6. Local service ads
  7. Gmail sponsored promotions

Now that you have the basics in mind, let’s get into comparing these automated PPC tools against the alternative of hiring an experienced expert.

PPC Management Software or a PPC Manager?

One of PPC management software’s biggest appeals is its promise of automation.

With the rise of automation in a variety of digital marketing tools, letting a computer take over the time-consuming parts of running paid ad campaigns can be appealing.

While artificial intelligence (AI) seems like where the world is moving generally, leaning on an AI tool isn’t necessarily the way to go when it comes to running your paid ad campaigns.

For a piece of software to have a place in your company’s tech stack, it should provide a return on its cost. In addition, that software needs to seamlessly integrate with the needs of your business.

AI or not, without the product/market fit, your company will struggle to make that software deliver (when it should be making things easier).

In that case, will software or a consultant be more suited toward:

  • Making quicker optimizations
  • Providing automatic recommendations
  • Scaling ad testing

…based on the particulars of your business?

Based on our experience, for most businesses, an experienced PPC consultant is better.

Why We Recommend a PPC Manager Over PPC Software

To be upfront: We don’t use PPC management software and tend to steer clients away from it.

This is because we still see the best results from human-managed campaigns, and the creativity that goes into them. In reality, PPC management software can’t match the creativity needed to perform effective analysis and create compelling ad creative.

To get the best performance from campaigns, you’re much better off with an experienced analyst. Unlike software, an analyst considers variables ranging from the individual particulars of your business, industry, and competitive landscape, all the way to the current ads, historic performance, best products, and more.

Then, that person is able to create strategic ad placements that also have effective and targeted creative.

This is a lot to ask from an automated tool. If you need to do the analysis and creative work, and you don’t have 1000s of SKUs to advertise, then why do you need the campaign management tool?

A fair question. So, do these software have any good use cases? Let’s look at the pros and cons of using them.

PPC Management Software Pros and Cons

PPC Management Software Pros and Cons (listed below)

Pros:

  • Automated bid management rules: You can set up automated “if this, then that” rules by setting parameters around KPIs like ad spend, campaign spend and CPA. These rules have to be developed by a person, but the management tools can help in automatically adjusting them. However, grown up ad platforms like Facebook and Google already have real time bid adjustment features built in.
  • Friendlier reporting interfaces: This is one big time-saver offered by these tools if you need a certain type of interface beyond the native reporting on the PPC advertising channels.
  • Multivariate A/B testing at scale: Some of these tools are built for bid optimization and budget management at scale (Facebook can’t do 1000s and 1000s of SKUs and campaigns). Good for large enterprises, but an average business or agency won’t need this.

Cons:

  • Questionable results: While it sounds great to hit “play” and let software do your advertising work, we have seen that the results from these campaigns aren’t usually very impressive. To get good results still requires significant human input, strategy, and analysis. Automated rules can be programmed natively into the platforms, if they are on Facebook and Google.
  • Setup requires investment: The ROI of these tools is probably not there when you factor in the cost of the tool, integrating it into your training, and then relying on it to perform well.
  • Features overlap with native PPC channels: As 3rd party tools, they are subject to the whims of the native ad channels which update all the time. When it comes to the biggest channels like Google and Facebook, their platforms have all the features needed to replace external software already built in including automated rules, reporting, and ad testing.

For example: Facebook has multivariate testing internally called Dynamic Ads. Google also has their own machine learning algorithm that can automate Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) by mixing and matching creative, keywords, and copy.

Note: See our recommended Google Ads Automation strategies for eCommerce.

Conclusion: PPC Software or a PPC Expert, Who You Gonna Call?

If you have 1000s of SKUs you want advertised, this type of software could fit well with your needs. If you don’t have that many products, AI can automate things, but it may do so inefficiently.

No business wants to pay subscription or licensing costs for a tool that doesn’t deliver a return on its costs. Unless a tool perfectly fits into your business’s workflow as a natural extension, it could be more work to maintain then the effort it’s worth. This is why AI automation isn’t always the way to go.

On the other hand, we do recommend you use a PPC research tool. Research tools provide a natural extension of what humans can do, in a way that improves the value humans can provide through research.

For example, there are many keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush that provide terms to target with your search ads you don’t see in Google’s Keyword Planner.

For Facebook ads research, a simple 3rd party research tool you can use is Facebook Interest Explorer. This tool will suggest 25 audiences at a time such as your competitors, public figures, books, blogs, and more to help your research process for FB.

Research tools like these can display more information at a time. This cuts the time cross checking keywords and interests to target, and makes your job easier on the research side. Complementing and augmenting, but not replacing the value humans provide in PPC marketing.

Human creativity is the most important factor when it comes to creating campaigns for most ad types on Facebook or Google Ads. AI simply can’t replace it.

To manage your campaigns independently, we recommend that you simply use the internal PPC account management tools already built into these platforms.

If you need to advertise at scale, we recommend that you hire an expert who understands how to both leverage these tools and optimize PPC ads.

Note: Our eCommerce PPC experts are ready to help you meet your advertising goals. Get in touch.

Nielsen Annual Marketing Report: Learn how marketers’ trust in digital drives spend, despite challenges

Digital has made the customer journey more complex. With new metrics, platforms and tools, measuring that journey is even more difficult.

The post Nielsen Annual Marketing Report: Learn how marketers’ trust in digital drives spend, despite challenges appeared first on Marketing Land.

Marketing is undergoing a transformation. Digital now captures more than half of all advertising spending in the U.S.

But how do marketers perceive the effectiveness of all the new channels at their disposal? Are those insights driven by measurement data they can trust? How does perception versus reality ultimately influence budget decisions?

Nielsen surveyed over 350 marketers around the globe to get answers and found that enthusiasm for digital was tempered by severe data quality issues and measurement challenges. Digital has made the customer journey more complex. With new metrics, platforms and tools, measuring that journey is even more difficult.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download the “Nielsen Annual Marketing Report: The Age of Dissonance – Marketer’s Trust in Digital Drives Spend Despite Challenges.”



The post Nielsen Annual Marketing Report: Learn how marketers’ trust in digital drives spend, despite challenges appeared first on Marketing Land.

How to Improve Your Search Messaging Flexibility with Ad Customizers

Having an effective ad copy strategy is key to the success of any paid search campaign. Google and Bing Ads provide a robust set of basic features and guidelines to ensure that advertisers are getting the most value from their copy. However, complicati…

Having an effective ad copy strategy is key to the success of any paid search campaign. Google and Bing Ads provide a robust set of basic features and guidelines to ensure that advertisers are getting the most value from their copy. However, complications can arise in certain cases. Maybe there’s a need to create brand new versions of copy with no historical data, or to message a lot of promotions in a short amount of time. For advertisers looking for a quick and agile solution to these problems and more, ad customizers are a great option.

How They Work

There are two main components to ad customizers: the feed that contains the messaging, and the ad copy itself, which calls on that feed.  The first step is to upload the feed as an Excel document to the Business Data section of Google or Bing Ads. In addition to columns for each Expanded Text Ad (ETA) headline and description line, there are a number of columns that allow for advanced targeting and scheduling, such as location targeting and start/end dates. The feed can contain as many rows (versions of copy) as you want.

feed example

With the feed created and uploaded, the next step is to write ad copy using a specialized syntax that calls on the business data feed in order to populate the messaging. See an example below:

Syntax

The copy will dynamically adjust to display the messaging in each row of the feed, according to the schedule set with the start/end date columns.

How Ad Customizers Add Value

Ad customizers have several advantages over standard Expanded Text Ads (ETAs):

Historical Data:

When a brand-new ETA is created, it has no historical click, impression or conversion data for Google/Bing Ads to consider. This means that it has an extremely low chance of appearing on the search engine results page (SERP) over older versions until it accumulates comparable levels of performance data. Ad customizers mitigate this problem because they allow a single ad unit to host multiple versions of copy. As an example, an advertiser might use an ad customizer feed solely for evergreen messaging several months before a holiday period. Then, by the time holiday messaging is ready to be added to the feed, the ad customizer copy will have accumulated enough data for that holiday messaging to show.

Ease of Updating:

Updating ad customizer copy is as simple as editing the desired row of the business data feed. The change will be automatically applied to every ad group that contains the copy. There is no need to manually update the copy itself or make time-consuming bulk changes in the Google Ads or Microsoft Ads Editor.

Quick Performance Views:

In addition to messaging, scheduling and targeting information, the business data feed automatically updates with performance data for each row. This makes it very easy to assess the performance of each version of messaging at a glance, rather than pulling performance data for multiple different ETAs. For advertisers running a high volume of short promotions, this capability is especially handy.

To learn more about what you can do with ad customizers, check out the Google Ads help page here.

Introducing Loop11’s Tester Panel

For the past 12 months we have been building a panel of paid testers from around the world who have had to perform stringent qualification tests to ensure they are ready and able to complete usability studies on our platform. We were wanting to build o…

For the past 12 months we have been building a panel of paid testers from around the world who have had to perform stringent qualification tests to ensure they are ready and able to complete usability studies on our platform. We were wanting to build out our panel tools further before launching, however, in the […]

Considerations as the US Contemplates a Covid-19-Driven Special Enrollment Period for Affordable Care

It’s all over the news. The White House is considering the launch of a special enrollment period (SEP) for people to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in response to the Coronavirus crisis. Extending opportunities for peop…

It’s all over the news. The White House is considering the launch of a special enrollment period (SEP) for people to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in response to the Coronavirus crisis. Extending opportunities for people to get access to care when they need it, especially during these unpredictable and scary times is a good thing; no, it is a great thing! It is meant to:

Limited Time Offer: How To Write a Discount Offer For Limited Time Only

Limited-time offers put any marketing campaign on steroids. As consumers, we’re engrained in our current habits. Getting anyone to act isn’t easy. An offer with a ticking clock cuts right through our inertia, forcing us to act right now. Bu…

how to write limited time offers

Limited-time offers put any marketing campaign on steroids. As consumers, we’re engrained in our current habits. Getting anyone to act isn’t easy. An offer with a ticking clock cuts right through our inertia, forcing us to act right now. But you can’t just promise a time-constraining offer and leave it at that. You have to […]

The post Limited Time Offer: How To Write a Discount Offer For Limited Time Only appeared first on The Daily Egg.

How the Cootie Effect Can Reduce Virus Transmission

Reminding people of imaginary cooties can keep them from catching the real, life-threatening ones.
The post How the Cootie Effect Can Reduce Virus Transmission appeared first on Neuromarketing.

door handles with virus images

Reminding people of imaginary cooties can keep them from catching the real, life-threatening ones.

The post How the Cootie Effect Can Reduce Virus Transmission appeared first on Neuromarketing.

We’re assembling a guide to remote working. Let us know your questions.

We hope you are well. You may be working from home. Or perhaps you are still going to the office, but might be sent home at any moment. Maybe you’re a leader who hasn’t led a remote team before. Since our company began in 2006, it has been 100% remote. Our team members are spread […]

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We hope you are well.

You may be working from home.

Or perhaps you are still going to the office, but might be sent home at any moment.

Maybe you’re a leader who hasn’t led a remote team before.

Since our company began in 2006, it has been 100% remote. Our team members are spread across eight countries worldwide, and we have worked with clients in 37 countries. We have experienced almost every remote-working pain point there is. Fortunately, through a lot of trial and error, we have found solutions to nearly all of them.

We are working hard to assemble some of our most useful in-house documents into a guide to working remotely. We’ll make each section freely available on our blog as soon as it’s ready.

If you—or your team—aren’t already working from home, and you think you might need to soon, we recommend you do a trial-run now. That way, you can use Genchi Genbutsu to discover what the challenges are. And the sooner you start, the more time you’ll have to overcome them.

If you let us know what your challenges are (just submit the following form), then over the next few days, we’ll share how we tackle them.

To hear when the guide becomes available, get on our email list.

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