PPC - 11/12 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google Allowing Dodgy PPC Ads

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Google has been very strict with its AdWords editorial guidelines, there are rules regarding capitalisation, superlatives, grammar and spelling, even repetition! The list of their rules can be found in their learning centre, here .

But if this is the case, then how on earth did this pass muster?



There is a specific rule on Google Adwords regarding spacing, which says:

Spacing : You should have appropriate spacing between each word and after punctuation. For example, ‘C-h-e-a-p C-l-o-t-h-e-s’ would not be allowed. Similarly, ‘Free Shipping.Buy Now’ would also not be allowed.

It is even the very first rule listed! Ads with spacing would not induce me to click on them, but they do stand out, and must be effective if people continue to do it.  I haven’t seen it so prolific with any other search than ‘Prada Sunglasses’ though, where 4 of the entries were violating the Adwords policy.


Change to AdWords Interface

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Google has released a Beta option of a new interface within Adwords, which is available now to some users.

The new interface looks a lot more modern, upgrading it to match the much better looking Google Analytics.

Apart from the general improvement in aesthetics, there are also some very useful improvements:

  • Tree type navigation in the left hand margin which makes drilling down into your account easier – similar to the Adwords Editor
  • Dropdown menu’s for the tabs across the top – reporting, billing, etc.
  • New visualisation for campaign/ad group/keywords/ads, which graph performance over whatever time period you choose – similar to Google analytics now everything is visualised rather than simply tabulated.
  • Ability to compare metrics on this graph: e.g. clicks vs. CTR
  • google adwords
  • Ability to filter these graphs, e.g. for clicks above or below a certain price, conversion rate, etc.
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PPC – Should you put your Keywords in your Title?

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As most people would have noticed, when you type a query into Google, the search results will bold that query in the results they display. This is shown here where I have pasted the results of the query “PPC”.


The ads with your keyword highlighted certainly catch your eye. Traditional wisdom would say that the second ad from the top might not fare as well as the others, as it doesn’t draw the users attention like the other three ads do. Of course, this is a pretty bad example, considering that ad has been placed by Google.  Google actually has a few versions of their PPC ad, and so here it is again, but with the PPC in the headline


Which leads me to wonder – since traditional theory would say that having a bold keyword in your ad would result in better results, why wouldn’t Google always do this in their own ads? Maybe because…

  1. Traditional wisdom is bollocks, and actually not having the keyword there is a better differentiator.
  2. Google wants to play nicely against its ad-buyers by not being overly competitive (strange)
  3. Having the Google URL in your ad URL overrides any need for the traditional wisdom
  4. With acronyms, the spelled out version is interchangeable
  5. Google doesn’t put much effort into its own PPC campaign.

My own PPC accounts also go against this traditional wisdom. Campaigns that I am testing have sometimes shown that the most effective title is not a keyword rich one, but sometimes a branded one – even if the brand is not well known.

This could again be because of a differentiating factor. Or maybe because, although the relevance is not there, there is somewhat more dignity and less spamminess in a branded title.  E.g. if you type in something like ‘law firms’, you can see how a spammy name like ‘Best Law Firm’ might not win out. On the other hand, if you type in something like ‘cheap music’, you might not be too fussy about spammy looking ads.

Another factor you need to consider when putting keywords in your ad titles is whether your accounts are finely targetted. For example, the above ad from Google might be from a generic ‘PPC and pay per click’ account, where the keywords could be the acronyms or the full spelling. Whereas if you made at least two ad groups whereby the pay per click spellings show ads with that phrase, and the same idea for the acronym, then you could ensure that the correct version would show the boldened title.

If you have lots of products which it would be inconvenient, or ridiculous, to make individual ads for, then you might want to consider using Google Adwords Dynamic Keyword insertion. This way you can put a bit of code in your ads, and it would display whatever the search user typed into the query box. This can be good to target your ad copy, but could also look spammy if you are not careful in targetting your keyword list.  Misspellings in your ad, even if just a reflection of the query typed, can make you look unprofessional, or in this case, maybe look irrelevant.


So, while traditional wisdom might say it is a good idea to put your keyword into the title of your Ads, I would advise that as per usual it depends on your industry/business/product. You need to ask yourself:

  1. How do I want my ads to look?
  2. What will my differentiator be?
  3. Is branding more important here?
  4. Can I use dynamically inserted keywords effectively?

And then even after you have asked yourself all these questions, you still need to test, test, test.

PPC – Changes to Display URL

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Starting this week, Google has announced a change to Google Adwords policy in that you cannot use different domains as your display URLs within the same ad group.

This does not seem to say anything about the destination URL.

The display URL is simply the short, ‘attractive’ URL you have on display in your actual ad. So, for example, if you were a media company selling PPC, you might want your display URL to be www.moomumedia.com/ppc. Because this URL is in the ad, it has a character limit, which is 35 characters.

Your destination URL, on the other hand, has a character limit of 1024, which to me seems massively generous, and what it means is that you can send it to any deeply embedded page in your site, no matter what it is.

By having different display URLs for different ads, you could signal to your customer the uniqueness of the page you will be sending them to. With the unique destination page, there is no signal, you just send them to the appropriate destination page.

I am not too concerned for my own ads with this display URL change, because I have no experience in wanting to send ads in the same ad group to different domains. If ads are within the same ad group, I am generally wanting all that traffic to be going to related products – which have not in my experience been on different domains.

I think in most cases this will not be too disruptive as it will probably help you organise your ads better if

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