Beginners Guide: PPC Conversion Tracking 101

Posted on October 23, 2015 by Crystal

A PPC expert looks at your conversion ratio as the most powerful metric for your search engine marketing PPC Expertstrategies. Your conversion rate is the number of times customers took a desired action after viewing a PPC ad, such as purchasing a product or submitting an email address through your landing page. While conversions are the most important metric to track, each SEM platform tracks this data differently. Before you can achieve paid search success, you need to understand how Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Gemini and Google Analytics treat the conversion window, attribution time and conversion counting. 

Conversion Window

The conversion window is the time period tracked after the customer clicks on a PPC ad. If the customer takes action outside of this conversion window, it won't be tracked properly. Each paid search service has a different conversion window, tracked with cookies. Google Analytics has the longest-lasting cookie at 6 months, while Yahoo Gemini is the shortest at 30 days. Both Bing Ads and Google Adwords offer up to 90-day cookies. It may take some time for your customers to take action after clicking on your ad, which this conversion window accommodates. 

Attribution Time

The attribution time is the amount of time between a PPC click and an action, where the action is attributed to that particular click. Adwords attributes conversions from the click's date and time, while Analytics looks at when the conversion goal completed. Bing Ads ties attribution to the day of the click, and Gemini handles attribution time post click. Your attribution time is important for correctly understanding which ads lead to a successful conversion, so you can tweak your PPC strategy. 

Conversion Counting

View-through conversion looks at conversions attributed to customers who saw your display ads, but did not click through. These customers may end up taking action later on based on brand awareness by seeing the ad. Clicked conversions refer to the customers who clicked through on your PPC ads, instead of simply looking at the display ads. 

Adwords looks at unique conversions, which focuses on converted clicks, as well as all conversion metrics. Google Analytics tracks the last non-direct click prior to the conversion, meaning 100% of the credit for the sale goes to the last channel the customer clicked through before converting. Bing Ads counts either a pixel or page load, depending on the configuration. Yahoo Gemini uses click-through conversions only for conversion counting. 

Google Tag Manager

If you or your PPC agency have problems tracking your conversions, tracking pixels offer a way to gain deeper insight into the effectiveness of your paid search ads. With a tracking pixel, you can track where the customer comes from, the pages he interacts with prior to conversion and additional PPC metrics useful for gaining clarity into your conversion rate. Google Tag Manager is a free service for creating these tracking codes, and it's designed to work with Adwords, AdRoll, Bing, Google Analytics, DoubleClick and many others. You use Google Tag Manager by creating a code and inserting it into your web page. It doesn't require significant technical knowledge, which is useful if you're just getting started with website administration.

Whether you're on your own or working with a PPC agency, understanding the finer details of conversion tracking helps you understand this important metric. It's important to know the search ads your customers are clicking through, whether customers are converting from ads they haven't clicked on and how each paid search service counts your conversions.

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Is your PPC Agency Providing These Strategies?

Posted on October 16, 2015 by Crystal

While you should always be receiving monthly reports from your PPC account manager, it’s a mistake to think PPC Agencythat’s the only useful information you need. To get the most out of your marketing, you need to expect more from your PPC agency. Here are the two types of strategic information your PPC agency should be giving you to achieve optimal results.

Account Audits

An account audit is an essential tool to analyze your marketing. After all, you can’t truly understand your account’s performance level unless you understand the path it took to get there. You also need to proactively audit your PPC accounts to help identify and prevent problems before they get started.

To be truly useful, an account audit should target these key areas: 

  • Quality Score: The quality score is used by search providers to measure how useful and relevant your search results are, and helps determine how highly ranked they'll be.
  • Account Structure: Your account structure determines how your keywords, ad copy, landing pages and target demographics are aligned. A poorly structured account will waste resources and may struggle to reach your target audience.
  • Segments: Audience segments determine which demographics and niche groups you’re targeting in any given campaign.
  • Geo-Analysis: GPS and other location-tracking techniques help you identify where your target demographics are physically located when they interact with your campaigns. 

Competitor Analysis

While an account audit is focused on figuring out how your campaigns are reaching your customers, your PPC agency should also be providing you with information about how your campaigns are interacting with competitors. To do that, you need good intelligence on the competitors themselves.

Ideally, your PPC account manager will regularly run a quick competitor analysis to see who’s new on the market, and who’s bidding on your brand terms. At the most basic level, a competitor analysis identifies your competitors, ranks them by perceived effectiveness and identifies their sales techniques. More advanced analyses may dig into the actual metadata of their campaigns, or seek other ways to get hard data about their efforts.

Ultimately, you should view a monthly report as only one piece of the picture. When your PPC agency also provides you with regular account audits and competitor analyses, you’ll be able to properly manage your account and rest assured that it’s operating effectively.

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How to Find the Best Social Platform For Your Business

Posted on October 09, 2015 by Crystal

It’s easy to get swept up in the social media madness - haphazardly signing your business up for accounts that facebook advertisingultimately do nothing to serve your target audience - but the first step in finding the social platform(s) that work best for your business is to practice discretion. Consider the rest of the process below.


Identify Your Audience

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to research and identify your target audience beforehand. Your social media team should address the following questions when establishing key demographics: 

  • Which gender does our core audience lean more strongly toward?
  • What age range does the majority fall into?
  • What about their marital and family statuses?
  • What level of purchasing power does the majority have? 

For example, according to a Pew Research Center study, 53 percent of Instagram users are 18-29 years of age, so being mindful of this fact can help your SM team devise highly targeted campaigns that harness the full potential of the platform. 


Know Your Goals

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the go-to method for determining a campaign’s overall effectiveness. For example, increased brand awareness, identity strength and the total number of qualified leads and conversions are all viable indicators that you can use to gauge your campaign's usefulness. Establishing goals early - and the metrics to measure them by - will help you to monitor potential successes and failures.


Platform Statistics

Diving into the data surrounding audience behaviors and demographics for the four major social media platforms is key to using social media to your advantage. Some key takeaways,:

  • With Twitter, the bulk of their core demographics are black or Hispanic users, with the 18-29 age range being the dominant group.
  • Facebook’s core demographics skew more towards sheer quantity, with 71 percent of adult Internet users, nearly 60 percent of the total adult population, cited as users.
  • This core demographic makes up almost 30 percent of total adult Internet users, with young adults and women being prone to using it most.
  • The bulk of LinkedIn users are much older than the others, with individuals between the ages of 30 and 64 being more likely to use it than people between the ages of 18 and 29. College graduates make up exactly half the user base, too.


Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the social media platforms available for use in modern-day marketing campaigns. But a solid foundation in the basics of all of them should be laid before your company explores more advanced steps.

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Smart Strategies to Maximize Your PPC Campaign This Holiday Season

Posted on October 02, 2015 by Crystal

When it comes to marketing, it’s a mistake to assume that what's worked throughout the year will work just as Holiday PPC Campaign Strategieswell during the holidays. Make sure you’re taking these steps to get the most out of your holiday paid search strategy.

Analyze Last Year’s Performance

Don’t go into the holidays blind. Analyzing last year’s performance lets you know what worked, what didn’t and how you can improve this year. Make sure you study last year’s keyword performance, CTRs, conversion rates and cost-per-clicks. The sooner you understand these numbers the better, as they'll give you a solid benchmark to compare results from last year to this year, and also identify any low-performers from last year to send overboard. Once you know where you stand, use that information to tweak your plans for this year’s holiday season.

Add Holiday Modifiers

The holidays require their own strategy, but that doesn’t mean you should throw out your tried-and-true performers. Instead, take your highest performing keywords and add holiday related modifiers, like “Christmas,” “Hanukkah” or “Thanksgiving.” Make sure you optimize your landing pages to make the best use of those long-tail keywords, especially since it might improve your rankings for those terms.

For example, if “modular table” is a consistent high-performer, make it a “modular table for Thanksgiving.”

Update Your Ads

Don’t make the rookie mistake of using the same messaging throughout the year. If you’re running holiday promotions, make sure they’re included in your ads, and don’t forget to include them in your PPC ad text.

Start Testing

The old saw that “the holidays come earlier every year” is more true than not, and that gives you a great opportunity to start testing your holiday campaigns as early as September and October. Labor Day is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, and Halloween is when things really kick off, so you can optimize your click-through and pay-per-click metrics by running test campaigns during that time frame.

If this all seems a bit overwhelming for you, or you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to doing it right, work with a PPC expert who can plan and implement your paid search strategy for you.

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2015 Holiday Consumer Shopping Trends You Need to Know About

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Crystal

When it comes to modern holiday shopping, the word of the day, every day, is mobile. Mobile is the fastest holiday consumer shopping trendsgrowing channel for holiday shoppers, and is even more dominant when it comes to shoppers researching their purchases before making a decision.

A recent study from Signal showed that 67 percent of shoppers plan to rely more on mobile to browse for holidays gifts, and 60 percent plan to rely more on mobile to purchase those gifts. This marks a huge increase from 2014, when only 26 percent of holiday purchases were made with mobile devices, even though mobile use accounted for more than half of all holiday shopping traffic. 

Year-Over-Year Change

In 2014, 85 percent of purchases came from in-store purchases or home desktop computers, while mobile purchases were split at 56 percent from smartphones and 42 percent from tablets. In the year since, shoppers have grown even more willing to use multiple avenues to view product information, and 67 percent of consumers now use more than one device when planning for and completing a purchase. This means you’ll need to make sure you’re reaching customers on every platform. 

While Black Friday can always be counted on to make headlines, the holiday shopping season is much more than that single day, and many people plan to begin shopping long before Halloween this year. 

Using Data to Plan Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Interconnection is the name of the game for 2015 holiday shopping, and consumers want more deals and a more personalized experience that follows them consistently across platforms.

Bloomingdale’s crafted a pitch-perfect example of effective omni-channel marketing in 2014, with their #zoomingdales campaign centered in Instagram posts littered with clickable links that referred directly to product pages on the retail website. With posts that nailed the Instagram marketing aesthetic of aspirational curation and a consistent message push across platforms, the retail giant was able to boost positive market sentiment by 150 percent for the month. 

Instagram is a great platform to serve as an anchor for your own campaign, and if your demographic is youth-oriented, Instagram’s paid social channels are likely to be your best bet for making a big impact. Instagram’s consumers want to see carefully curated products that are directly relevant to their desires, but are leery of content that seems overly promotional—your best bet is to work with a marketing professional who can dial in the perfect tone. 

The walls have come down in 2015, and now more than ever you’ll need to craft a compelling, unified campaign capable of reaching consumer eyes anytime, anywhere, on any platform. 



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How To Use Instagram Marketing To Drive More Sales

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Crystal

instagram_businessFollowing the launch of paid ads 18 months ago, Instagram has become a powerful marketing tool. Major brands that have been successful early adopters of Instagram marketing include Mercedes-Benz, Ben & Jerry's, Cadbury, Levi's and many others. In fact, fashion retailer Michael Kors earned 33,000 new followers and reached an audience of 6.15 million users worldwide from their first paid Instagram post, which was 16 times more successful than non-promoted content on the same platform.

2015 Is the Year of Instagram

Instagram now has an active user base of 300 million people worldwide and this user base shares 70 million new posts or more each day. Social media experts attribute its highly engaged user base and meteoric growth to increased mobile adoption among all age groups, privacy concerns and annoyance over Facebook and Twitter's frequent platform updates. For brands considering engaging a social media agency, the time is right now. Forrester Research has found that Instagram boasts 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook and 120 times higher engagement than Twitter. 

More Impactful Instagram Marketing

Following the successful launch of Instagram marketing options, the platform has updated ad formats to have an even bigger impact on prospective buyers. Offerings include much more than promoted photos. It's simple to entice prospects with 15-second autoplay video ads, which are a powerful format for video-loving Internet audiences. The new carousel ads offer additional photos and information to interested viewers who swipe left on promoted content.

Instagram Continues to Build Momentum

The new ad format includes improved targeting, allowing brands to reach the right demographics. By putting relevant content in front of Instagram users with relevant interests and demographic profiles, brands are able to maximize their advertising response. Additionally, direct response ads can connect buyers directly with additional information on the product showcased. By connecting interested parties directly with an opportunity to buy immediately, brands on Instagram can maximize their potential for impulse purchases.

Finally, by making Instagram marketing available in the tool's Power Editor, brands of all sizes are able to leverage the power of paid advertising. It's no longer limited to major organizations like Disney and Turkish Airlines, who were successful early adopters of video ads. 

What Next?

Engaging a social media agency can allow your brand to maximize Instagram's highly engaged user base of 300 million prospective buyers worldwide. By working with expert Instagram marketing services, you can effectively target the right demographics and buyers as well as ensure you get the best immediate response possible.

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Paid Search Strategy 101

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Troy Lerner

web-trafficPaid search marketing is an advertising method where you pay for display on search engine result pages. While paid search and search marketing are terms that sound familiar, search marketing does not typically touch on paid methods of search engine placement. A paid search strategy comes in several forms. 

Paid Search Ads

Paid search ads are search engine listings paid for by a company. They are displayed in various places on the search engine result page when a user types in a keyword the company specifies. For example, on Google, these ads are displayed on the top and right side of the search results.

Paid Search Advertising

Paid search advertising takes the guesswork out of where your company is listed on a keyword page and where the information is displayed on the ad. Search engines offer advertising platforms to facilitate setting up paid search ads. Google AdWords is the most popular paid search platform, with 64 percent of marketshare. Bing Ads is starting to gain momentum, however, with 20 percent of marketshare. Yahoo Search Ads brings in the back of the pack with 13 percent marketshare. With a variety of options, you have several to choose from when using paid search ads.

Pay-Per-Click and Pay-Per-Call (PPC)

Pay-per-click and pay-per-call are both examples of pay-per-action search advertising. When the user takes an action, you pay the search engine advertising platform for that user action. With pay-per-click, you pay anytime a user clicks on one of your search engine ads. For pay-per-call, you pay when the user calls in.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

Cost-per-click is the term used for how much you pay per click for your search ads. The CPC varies based on what keywords you target and where you want to show up on the results page. Highly competitive and high-value keywords have a higher CPC than a term that doesn't get a lot of interest. 

Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM)

While most ads are sold on a CPC basis, some search advertising options are sold on a CPM basis. With this type of search ad, users don't have to take any action—they simply have to view your ad on the page for it to count. Companies may use these types of ads for building brand awareness.

Paid search provides another way for you to leverage search engine traffic for your company. A PPC agency can help get you started in the complicated world of paid search ads—they're PPC experts who understand each platform's nuances, and they'll take care of the legwork for you.

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3 Surprising Facts About Paid Search Strategies

Posted on September 03, 2015 by Troy Lerner

Dollarphotoclub_84311388The paid search world requires a savvy advertiser to pay attention to trends and get on board at the right time. Today's paid search strategies look nothing like the campaigns of even two years ago, with major changes in platform, keyword focuses and ad inventory.

1. Mobile Paid Search Spending Continues to Rise

Paid search strategies are no longer dominating desktop platforms, with marketers focusing 49 percent of their paid search budget on mobile platforms throughout the 2014 holiday season. For the 2015 holiday season, this number is projected to go even higher. The mobile market is seeing increased search volume, although it's important to know the differences in paid search strategies between your mobile and desktop viewers. Your site experience, content and flow must be optimized for mobile, not simply exist as a responsive version of your desktop site.

2. Local Search is Key

Even large brands benefit from localized search, as localized search is more relevant for searchers. This is due in part from Google's Pigeon update, which focused heavily on improving local search result listings. Google has also tailored listings according to local areas as mobile search has grown. The number of searches looking for information "near me" is a large driver of this change, as searchers want the most relevant information delivered quickly when they're looking for something specific while out of the house. An all-inclusive advertising strategy has to embrace local paid search.

3. Bing is Gaining Steam

Google AdWords still holds the top spot for the paid search marketplace, but Bing Ads are picking up a surprising amount of steam. Bing currently holds 20 percent of U.S. search market share, thanks to the share taken from smaller search engines like Yahoo, as well as heavy Firefox promotion.

Recently, Bing is gaining plenty of attention. On Bing, paid search advertisers enjoy lower competition and cheaper CPCs, more granular control with campaigns and ad groups, and better device targeting options to reach out to mobile users. Google Adwords may have higher volume, but Bing is doing a significant amount to make itself attractive to advertisers.

Mobile paid search is a world full of opportunities, especially if you look outside the Google Adwords box. A PPC agency can assist you in working your existing paid search strategies into tactics that effectively reach mobile users and take advantage of Bing's growing market share and ad inventory.

How to Not Waste Your Ad Budget: AdWords Experts Weigh in

Posted on August 21, 2015 by Crystal

With so many businesses and services competing for users' attention on the Internet, you need to make every AdWords Expert Advice: Wasting Ad Budgetlittle bit count if you're investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Don't fall prey to "click fraud." Click fraud is when a person or robot repeatedly clicks on your ad, costing you money without generating real views for your content. Follow the advice below from our AdWords experts to lessen the risk of your ad budget going to waste. 

Target Long Tail PPC Keywords

Figure out which keywords you want to bid on to get the highest possible return on your investment. Words and phrases that are high-value, industry-specific and well-targeted will bring in more human traffic to your site. Emphasize intent-based keywords like "where to buy" a product, which often indicate that a searcher is ready to make a purchase. Also investigate how to improve your landing page relevancy so that legitimate users will stick around. 

Look at Your User Behavior

Make a habit of checking your PPC account every day so that you can catch any suspicious behavior. Focus on your users' dimensions like their city or country. Also useful are the reach and frequency data, which help you uncover clicks from a single IP address. Compare the repeat click-through numbers with the daily bounce rate. If you use analytics services from companies like Google, you may be able to see the number of clicks that have been categorized as invalid. 

Establish Your Budget

Projecting the expenses for your PPC campaign can be a delicate art. Some companies like Google and Yahoo provide tools to assist with estimating your costs, or you can consult a PPC agency. Set strict maximums for your cost-per-click bids and your total daily budget. If you're just starting out, you may wish to gradually increase your budget over time as you learn which sites are high-quality and which are putting you at risk for click fraud.  


If you're still unsure about the best steps to take, or if you'd like more information, it's wise to get advice from a pay-per-click agency. Search engine marketing and AdWords experts can help you with these and other strategies to reduce your risk of click fraud and improve the quality score of your keywords.

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5 Important Places Long-Tail Keywords Should Be Used

Posted on August 14, 2015 by Crystal

Keywords are an important part of your internet marketing strategy and they continue to get more nuanced as 6_dmVjdG9yXzMzN18wNwsearch engines get better at providing users with information. Long-tail keywords are the newest addition to the keyword conversation and have gained a place in the world of SEO; they are longer and more specific keywords compared to regular keywords. For example, if “real estate” is a simple keyword, “two-bedroom real estate for rent in San Francisco” would be a long-tail keyword. These are the terms users who are closer to a point of purchase use during their searches, which is why long-tail keywords are important in the right places.

What Do Long-Tail Keywords Do?

Using long-tail keyword phrases boosts your SEO efforts by increasing the amount of users who are able to find your page. They increase your reach and provide your customers with information that answers their questions. Long-tail keywords also lead to higher sales conversions and more pages indexed in Google, which can do wonders for boosting your appearance in search results.

Where Do You Use Long-Tail Keywords?

Here are the places to use long-tail keywords to get the most out of them. 

Pay Per Click Ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are part of an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. Advertisers pay publishers when an ad is clicked so website owners get cash every time they get a new click. Pay-per-click agencies specialize in paid search strategy by helping companies use long-tail keywords to attract more clicks, and therefore more revenue, to their business. 

Site Content

Insert long-tail keywords into different spots in your website to increase your performance on the Web. Make sure a keyword exists on every page and use long-tail keywords in hidden places (such as image file names and page titles). 

Blog Content

Come up with articles and blogs that employ the phrases you’re looking to use. For example, if you own a used-car business in Atlanta, create blog posts that offer driving tips in the area and employ long-tail keywords within the post.

Place Keywords in the Right Places in Your Content

Sometimes you have great content with long-tail keywords that's not affecting traffic. This could be because you’re putting keywords in the wrong places. Use long-tail keywords in H1 and H2 titles of your pages and blog posts. For instance, instead of having a headline that reads “Life Insurance,” have it read “Affordable Life Insurance Policies in Des Moines, Iowa.” Title tags and alt tags are additional places long-tail keywords can be useful.

Implementing long-tail keywords can be incredibly beneficial to your business. It can be helpful to use a paid search strategy to help you get started on putting keywords in place and learning to use them in effective ways—investing a little money in marketing strategies like this can have huge payoffs in the long run.

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