Tag Archives: interest

3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget


Today’s ad platforms can have even the most experienced PPC marketers spending more than intended.

Campaign settings, rules and other factors change over time, which can have substantial impact on your campaigns. For example, starting October 4th, 2017 Google announced they could spend up to two times your daily budget. If you’d been sitting calm with $1,000/day budget, not wanting to spend a penny more, you could have been surprised.

There are many unpredictable reasons you can wind up with traffic or spend you didn’t plan for (and may not even know) — which is why it’s useful to consider intended vs. actual traffic.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Intended traffic: Is the traffic you planned on acquiring in your strategy as a result of the keywords, geographies, and networks you defined.
  • Actual traffic: Is traffic you actually get from your ad platforms, in spite of your strategy. Sometimes you’ll see traffic that was not intended due to campaign settings, mistakes or platform changes.

In short, the gap between intended and actual traffic is wasted ad budget. But, fortunately, you can identify and fix this to save money.

are you wasting ad budget?
Wasted budget is like wasting pizza, only worse. (via Giphy)

In this post I’ll cover three ways you might be wasting your PPC spend and how to ensure you’re both aware, and can turn things around with quick fixes.

Mistake 1. Accidentally spending on bad search terms

Wasted budget on the wrong keywords is fairly common. As Melissa Mackey of B2B agency Gyro sees often:

“advertisers [bid] on keywords that they shouldn’t be bidding on. For example, novice advertisers selling shoes try to bid on ‘shoes.’ Overly broad keywords eat up budget and do not perform well for the advertiser.”

But the bigger problem here is that some marketers believe that keywords and search terms are the same thing. The terms are commonly used interchangeably, but they’re very different. Here’s how I define each:

  • What’s a search term? This is the exact word or phrase a person uses on the search engine to find what they were looking for (how buyers search). See the “Search Term” column in the example below.
  • What is a keyword? This is the word you use to target search terms on paid search platforms (how marketers target buyers). See the “Keyword” column in the example below.

If you misunderstand or accidentally misapply keyword match types (broad, broad modified, phrase, exact match), you can have a gap between search terms and keywords causing you to spend unknowingly.

For example, a client in the continued medical education space was targeting medical professionals who need Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. Here’s what happened:

  • Intended traffic in this case included people searching ‘Pediatric Advanced Life Support’ or ‘PALS certification’.
  • Actual traffic ended up including Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification and PALS certification. However, because of poor keyword match types (and the acronym in this case), the company ended up with traffic from search terms such as “penpals online,” “free kids online pen pals,” and “senior pen pals.”

See the Search Terms Report as an example:

Click above to see larger image of how intended medical certification traffic turned into pen pals traffic (via SCUBE Marketing).

Traffic that attracted anyone looking for “pen pals” wasn’t intended, leading to wasted spend. The root cause of this was confusion over the difference between search terms, keywords, and their match types.

Action item: Take a closer look at search terms

To avoid this scenario yourself, run a Search Term report discussed above to identify which search terms (triggered by your keywords) are not relevant.

Then exclude irrelevant terms with negative keywords at ad group, campaign, or account level. From there, use keyword match types to better control your exclusions. For example:

  • Exact Match Negative to exclude just the exact term that was irrelevant. Example: -[penpals online]
  • Phrase Match Negative to exclude an irrelevant phrase pattern you noticed in your search terms. Example: -“penpals online”, which will exclude ‘California penpals online’, ‘penpals online’, and ‘penpals online for seniors’.
  • Broad Match Negative to exclude search terms containing irrelevant words. Example: -penpals, which will automatically exclude all search terms with penpals.

Once you’ve eliminated any obvious waste, reevaluate your keyword match type strategy. If you skip this step, you will continue to trigger lots of irrelevant search terms.

Your match types will range from exact match (with a close correlation), to broad match (with far correlation) between your keywords and search terms.

Ideally, break your broad match keywords into more specific keywords with broad match modified, phrase or exact match types. They will give you more control and trigger search terms you intend to target.

Mistake 2. Wasting spend on unintended locations

Similar to keyword match types, incorrect location settings in AdWords can trigger ads in locations you don’t want to serve and amount to wasted budget.

When we look at the reality of the situation, your location settings can trigger three types of geographies:

  1. Physical location. Your ads appear to people physically located in your target geography. This is the option we usually expect when selecting locations to target, in that it’s very direct. This is our intended traffic insofar as geography.
  2. Location of interest. Your ads appear to people searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. With this option, physical location doesn’t matter. As long as people have your target location in their search terms, the ad is triggered. This can result in out-of-country traffic that appears to be relevant, but perhaps isn’t for a myriad of reasons. (i.e. Perhaps you don’t ship to a given location, for example and your ads would thereby be irrelevant to those in that area).
  3. Both. This setting combines both targeting options. Your ads appear to people who are physically located in your target geography, or are searching for (or indicating interest in) your targeted location. This is the broadest option.

To see how you can waste spend this way, here’s an example of how unintended location targeting affected a client in the industrial machinery space:

With respect to intended traffic, this client wanted to target people physically located in the United States. However, they ended up with traffic from Nigeria, India, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, and the Philippines. Unfortunately, the client doesn’t do business internationally, so their budget was spent on targeting the wrong locations.

In this case, the client kept the default AdWords setting of ‘Both’, which triggered the traffic from physical location and location of interest, causing the unintended international traffic. Fairly simple mistake to make.

Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Locations

Get a list of locations where your ads have triggered by running the User Locations Report in AdWords. See an example below with multiple unintended international locations for the same client I described above.

Incorrect Location Settings causing wasted ad budget
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.(via SCUBE Marketing)

Once identified, exclude irrelevant locations from within your campaign settings. After your locations have been excluded they will appear next to targeted locations. See an example below.

Exclude Locations In Campaign Settings To Stop Wasting Ad Budget
Exclude locations in campaign settings to stop wasting ad budget

Once you have identified any unintended locations, check how these locations were triggered by reviewing a Geographic Report. In our example, the ‘location of interest’ setting caused the traffic the client did not want.

Location of Interest Targeting Setting
Click above to see a larger, clearer image.

To avoid this, simply change the setting to ‘people in my targeted location’:

Mistake 3. Using the default regarding unintended networks

Network targeting has similar quirks as location targeting. The devil is in the details and wasted budget often lies in the settings. AdWords has different campaign types. If you’re not careful, and you stick with the default settings, your targeting can (and probably will) be off.

To clarify, here’s an example from the intended vs. actual traffic angle for a new client we audited recently.

They’d wanted to target people using Google Search on Google.com, but ended up with traffic from the Search Network, Search Partners Network, and Display Network. Obviously this was unintended, and they didn’t know. As it turns out, they didn’t execute their targeting properly and their campaign settings had a default setting: ‘Search Network with Display Select’.

Click above to see larger image of default campaign network settings you may want to avoid (via SCUBE Marketing).

This resulted in the client targeting three unintended networks in one campaign. Prepared only for the Search, they didn’t have targeting and ads for Display, and ended up with automatic placements from irrelevant websites. Overall, 53% of their PPC budget went to the Search Partners Network and Display, but the traffic had zero conversions, and was a waste.

Click above to see larger image of Surprise Traffic Coming From Search Partners and Google Display Network (via SCUBE Marketing).
Action item: Stop Wasted Ad Budget on Unintended Networks.

How can you check if you are unintentionally targeting networks without your knowledge?

Segment your campaigns by network. See an example below. Once segmented, you can figure out the right settings, and can plan the action items for further optimization.

If you see traffic from unintended networks, simply change your network settings from the default.

Don’t drain your ad budget

Because of fine details, even the best marketers can fall into traps and overspend unintentionally. Paid campaigns can be difficult beasts to manage, and a campaign that hasn’t been optimized to eliminate waste is a ship with leaks in it, destined to sink.

Take a good look at your data for the above, scrub it against what you’ve learned here today, and see what you can save.

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3 Ways You Could be Unknowingly Wasting Ad Budget

CSS Grid Layout

Since the early days of the web, designers have been trying to lay out web pages using grid systems. Likewise, almost every CSS framework attempts to implement some kind of grid system, using floats and often leaning on preprocessors. The CSS Grid Layout module brings us a native CSS Grid system for the first time—a grid system that does not rely on document source order, and can create complex layouts which are easily redefined with media queries.

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CSS Grid Layout

Launching An App? Make App Store Optimization Your Foundation For Growth

Most apps developed and released in Google’s Play store are abandoned by their developers. Over half of these apps get fewer than 5000 downloads, and most apps are considered unprofitable. This article is not going to make you the next Instagram, but it will hopefully help you get a nice base level of users that you can grow from.
To give you some better understanding of numbers, the example app in this article received 100,000 downloads in eight weeks.

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Launching An App? Make App Store Optimization Your Foundation For Growth

In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast Acting Tactics to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

hit your goals

Want to make sure you never miss a monthly growth goal? Perhaps you need a boost right now to get the month moving in the right direction? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Big companies like Facebook and HubSpot have lofty growth goals and continue to meet them every month. But, exactly how do they do it? Planning of course. That is, planning ahead consistently to meet their goals and then planning for the occasional situation when they need to scrape together their resources and make ends meet. I call this having an ace in the hole. This is…

The post In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast Acting Tactics to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast Acting Tactics to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast-Acting Methods to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

hit your goals

Want to make sure you never miss a monthly growth goal? Perhaps you need a boost right now to get the month moving in the right direction? Then you’ve come to the right place. Big companies like Facebook and HubSpot have lofty growth goals and continue to meet them every month. But how do they do it exactly? Planning of course! That is, consistently planning ahead to meet their goals and then planning for the occasional situation when they need to scrape together their resources and make ends meet. I call this having an ace in the hole. This is…

The post In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast-Acting Methods to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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In a Pinch? Here Are 4 Fast-Acting Methods to Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

Can Your Audience and Google Love the Same Page Title?

The Thinker

“What Do Department Store Santas and Prostitutes Have in Common?” “Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live at Home with Their Mothers?” These are two chapter titles from the Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner book Freakonomics, a work that has captured the interest of hundreds of thousands of readers. One of the big draws of this book is the catchy and intriguing title for each chapter. You just want to read on. But how would Google rate those titles in terms of SEO? Where are the keywords/keyword phrases that are popular and commonly used by generic searches? These titles would be…

The post Can Your Audience and Google Love the Same Page Title? appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Can Your Audience and Google Love the Same Page Title?

Unbounce is Launching Something New: Get Ready for More Conversions

As a marketer, you spend a big chunk of your time launching campaigns or creating content aimed at attracting the right customers.

As simple as that sounds, the effort behind these initiatives is more complex than we’d like to admit. And the reality is, most visitors to your site just don’t convert.

So when you’ve got a specific lead or sales target to hit, a tight and dwindling budget to drive new traffic, time constraints that won’t let you wait for your developers and no resources to run A/B tests… what is a marketer to do?

We’ve got a secret for you: not all conversions need to come at the result of blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes, boosting conversions can be a simple as giving visitors more opportunities to convert.

This is why Unbounce is about to launch a brand new tool that will help you get bigger and better results by alleviating the day-to-day pressures.

Here’s your sneak peek:

On November 15th, we’re launching a new conversion tool to give you more ways to get conversions from your current campaigns, without the hassle and stress.

Have we piqued your interest?

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Unbounce is Launching Something New: Get Ready for More Conversions

Automatically Art-Directed Responsive Images? Here You Go.

In many projects, responsive images aren’t a technical issue but a strategic concern. Delivering different images to different screens is technically possible with srcset and sizes and <picture> element and Picturefill (or a similar) polyfill; but all of those variants of images have to be created, adjusted and baked into the logic of the existing CMS. And that’s not easy.
On top of that, responsive images markup has to be generated and added into HTML as well, and if a new image variant comes into play at some point (e.

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Automatically Art-Directed Responsive Images? Here You Go.

Thumbnail

Why Performance Matters, Part 2: Perception Management


Time can be analyzed from two different points: objective and psychological. When we talk about time that can be measured with a stopwatch, we’re talking about objective time, or clock time. Objective time, though, is usually different from how users perceive time while waiting for or interacting with a website or app.

Why Performance Matters, Part 2: Perception Management

When we talk about the user’s perception of time, we mean psychological time, or brain time. This time is of interest to psychologists, neuroscientists and odd individuals like me. Objective time is dealt with by technical means, and those means have limits — whether financial, technical or otherwise — that become insurmountable at some point.

The post Why Performance Matters, Part 2: Perception Management appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Why Performance Matters, Part 2: Perception Management