I’m Seeing New Gmail Message Ads

Dec. 04

Google is always innovating. I’ve been super excited lately about the entire Google advertising ecosystem: Google AdWords, Google Display Network (GDN), YouTube, Gmail, and Google+. All of Google’s products are intertwined. Because of the reach of the Google ecosystem, there is truly power in a holistic online marketing approach. I recommend maximizing your business presence on each and every one of Google’s products. Today, I’m excited to highlight some awesome new Gmail message ads.

Gmail Message Ad

Check out the image ad to the right. I have been seeing this State Farm ad each time I log into Gmail. It shows up above the standard Gmail text-based ads we are all so used to seeing. When you click the State Farm banner, it opens a Gmail “message” with State Farm’s offer (see screenshot below). It’s sort of like a mail message. Essentially, Google is allowing State Farm to sponsor a cool hybrid ad/message ad unit. I’m really impressed with these new ads because they extend far beyond the typical paid search ad. We’re talking about a lot of creative freedom here. You get to craft an entire email message. If you’re interested in testing these Gmail message ads, I recommend contacting your Google AdWords reps today. Now, if Google would open up advertising on Google+ – hopefully it’s only a matter of time!

State Farm Gmail Message Ad

Images in this post © State Farm and Google

Google AdWords Launches Compare Dates Feature

Oct. 19

Google AdWords now offers a new compare dates feature. Check out the screenshot to the right. Whether you are on the keywords tab, campaigns tab, or any other tab for that matter, you should now see the compare dates functionality. Today’s post offers some quick tips on getting the most out of the compare dates feature.

Google AdWords Compare Dates

Using compare dates is quite easy. All you have to do is pull down the date selection menu and then opt into the compare dates by turning in from “off” to “on”. Next, you need to select how you want to compare dates. There are three options:

  1. Previous Period – Looks at the number of days in your base date range and then selects the same number of days immediately prior to your base date range. Does not match up days of week. Just looks at raw number of days.
  2. Same Period Last Year – Looks at the same calendar days from the prior year. Does not match up days of week, but compares the base range to the comparison range based on calendar days.
  3. Custom – Compares your base range to any custom comparison range you choose.

Once you enter the comparison option, remember to click “go”. At that time, your graph/chart will update to include both your base range and your comparison range. When you mouse over the chart, you can see the data behind both date ranges.

Personally, I find the most value in the custom comparison. It’s really difficult in online marketing to compare two periods unless the days of the week match up. Why? Otherwise intra-week seasonality may skew the comparison. If you’re looking at much longer time periods (such as full months or quarters), you can look at calendar days. However, most of the time, I’m comparing same days of the week. As such, it’s all about the custom comparison. Check out the screenshot above. I’m comparing the same days of the week for 2012 versus 2011 leveraging the custom comparison.

To the best of my understanding, the custom comparison just updates the graph/chart at this time. I hope in the future Google AdWords extends this comparison to the grid view as well. Google has been innovating like crazy and it’s great to see new features like this, great work Google!

Image in this post © Google AdWords

Watch Out For Double Serving On Google AdWords

Jul. 01

Hey everyone, it’s Sunday night and I waited a little late to blog, so I have a quick post for you tonight. That said, it’s a good one! Today, I’m thrilled to share a Google AdWords tip that will give you instant leverage.

Copy Paste Double Serving

If you’ve been advertising on Google AdWords for a while, you probably know that double serving is prohibited – most of the time. Google is all about user experience. They want each business to show up one time. If you have a duplicate site that provides the same experience as your main site (or links into your main site as a “doorway page”), that does not add to user experience. It wastes the user’s time.

There’s one rare case where double serving is allowed: The case of acquiring businesses. Let’s say you own a business and advertise on AdWords. Then, let’s say you acquire another that already advertises on AdWords (and provides different user experience than your main site). In this case, you should be golden – you can continue to double serve as long as the two businesses remain different. (A quick tip: Let’s say you plan to acquire a business. You may want to ask your Google account management team if you would be able to double serve. It’s always best to know this type of stuff up front, before spending money.)

Now, onto today’s tip… Paid search is getting super competitive. You will get a ton of leverage via traditional PPC optimization – keyword generation, bidding, ad copy testing, landing page testing, etc. However, it’s also possible to get leverage by “cleaning up” the landscape. Audit the competitive landscape. Look at all geos. Search at different times of the day. (Side note: Tools such as Adgooroo can help greatly with this type of analysis.) See if any of your competitors are double serving. If they appear to be breaking the rules, alert your Google account management team. See if they can run it by their policy team. In many cases, they will pull down the double serving. The result: Less competition for you! Hope this quick tip helps. Sometimes, it’s not only about optimizing your account, but it’s also about keeping the landscape as clean as possible. At the end of the day, this type of policing will help improve the experience for those searching in your vertical, and your bottom line too.

Image of copy/paste double serving © iStockPhoto – pressureUA

Google AdWords – Your AdWords Are Now Running

Jun. 03

On 5/31, I got a bunch of emails from Google with the subject line, “Google AdWords – Your AdWords Are Now Running”. I have a lot of accounts with Google, many of which have been paused for years. Honestly, I didn’t have much time to look at it on 5/31, but just assumed it was a mistake and that Google would fix it. And, I knew I had already taken precautions to protect myself – I always set my daily budget to $1/day for all paused campaigns that I don’t anticipate reactivating right away. Following is the email I got from Google on 5/31 (I got this for several paused campaigns/accounts):

Activate Campaign

Dear AdWords Advertiser,
Your ads are now running.
Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.
The Google AdWords Team
Your AdWords account number: xyz123

Today (6/3), I got some more emails from Google. This time, they said there had been a technical issue on 5/31 that is now fixed. They explained that they will be crediting back all money that may have been spent by the accidental reactivation. Here’s the email I received today:

Dear AdWords advertiser,

Because of a technical issue, some of your campaigns might have mistakenly resumed running on May 31, 2012. You might also have received an email titled, "Google AdWords – Your ads are now running."

We’ve fixed this issue and are crediting your account for the amount you accrued. Once it’s been applied, the credit will appear on the Transaction history page, located on the "Billing" tab of your AdWords account.

If you’d like your ads to run in the future, follow these steps to re-enable your form of payment:

1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
2. Click the "Billing" tab, then the "Billing settings" link on the left.
3. Find your disabled form of payment on the page.
4. Check that the payment details are correct, then contact your bank or credit card provider to see if the form of payment can be used.
5. Click the "Re-enable form of payment" link to make it usable again.

After you re-enable your form of payment, your ads will start to run again. Keep in mind that once you re-enable your form of payment, you may be billed for unpaid advertising costs that you accrued before this error.

We apologize for the technical issue, and thank you for understanding.

The AdWords Team

© 2012 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You’ve received this email to update you about important changes to your AdWords account.

There are three main reasons I wanted to share this post with you. When you manage many Google AdWords accounts, you always want to take proper precautions with paused accounts/campaigns. If you have paused a campaign and don’t anticipate reactivating it in the near future, make sure to set a really low budget (I recommend $1/day). That way, you have a safety measure in place in case something ever happens. Sure, it’s likely you will get a refund if Google (or adCenter) ever makes a mistake, but why worry when you can mitigate risk. Also, you never know when that refund may come and you don’t want to have any cash flow issues should it take a while to process the refund.

Second, I wanted to share this post because it’s probably a good time to look through all of your old accounts and campaigns on Google AdWords. Do a thorough audit on Monday. Make sure to check if anything got reactivated accidentally. If yes, make sure you get the proper refund you are entitled to.

Third, always make sure to have an up-to-date email address in your search engine accounts. If your email is not up-to-date, you may be missing such messages. Hope you are having a super weekend!

Image of Activate Campaign © iStockPhoto – pagadesign
Emails in this post © Google AdWords

Exact and Phrase Match Changing On AdWords

May. 18

Google recently announced that they are Improving Exact and Phrase Match on Google AdWords. This is a really important change that’s happening right now (mid May). If you’re advertising on Google AdWords, today’s post is going to be super important for you.

So what’s Google doing? Basically, they are expanding the reach of exact and phrase. In addition to their classical definitions, both exact and phrase will now match to close variations (such as plurals and misspellings). An example: Let’s say you’re buying [mortgage]. It could now match to [mortgages] or even [mmortgage].

For advertisers who are smaller and have fewer overall keywords in their accounts, this could actually help. You’ll automatically match to more keywords (which should perform more-or-less similar since the variations are really close). You’re going to get more traffic (and hopefully conversions)! However, if you have a larger account with all the variations, this change could create some mapping and bidding issues. Why? When you’re large, it’s all about control. While a small advertiser may just have the word [mortgage] in their account, the large advertiser may already have [mortgage], [mortgages], and [mmortgage]. Moreover, the really savvy advertiser will have these split into separate adgroups with custom ads (and will have all three variations bid at different levels depending on their performance). With Google’s change, you don’t know which one will get triggered and you may therefore potentially deliver the wrong ad to the user. Moreover, you may overpay on some variations if you have lower bids set for them.

However, don’t worry! Right now, you can go into your advanced campaign settings and opt out if you’d like. My advice: Whether you are a smaller advertiser or larger, I recommend testing selectively. You’ll want to opt out for most campaigns, but opt in a few test campaigns. Then, you’ll want to test and see how the new exact and phrase matching do in your test campaigns as compared to the controls.

Also, keep in mind that the new matching will not affect quality score. Quality score is only calculated on Google.com for the exact query you are buying. That is good news! The net effect: I think this is a good change Google is making and I’m thrilled they give the advertiser the control to opt out if they’d like.

Image of Match Box © iStockPhoto – janka3147