PPC Resolutions for 2012


Happy New Years and all the best in 2012! The New Year is a great time to get a new start on things and refresh and re-focus. This also applies to your PPC campaigns. Take some time in the new year to refresh and re-focus your PPC campaigns and make the most of 2012.

Try new things

In 2012 be prepared to try new things! Especially if what you were doing in 2011 wasn't working. Be prepared to admit the mistakes you made with your PPC campaign and learn from them.

Are you sending traffic to your home page? Stop, immediately! You need to create landing pages that actually have potential to convert users into sales or leads. Create a couple variations and rotate them to find the best performing page.

The start of the new year is also a good time to refresh your creatives. Review your existing ad text and banner creatives, look for what's working and expand on it. Make some creatives based on what works, but also make some completely new creatives to test.

Clean up

Do a bit of clean up. Check your device targeting and make sure that your campaigns are targeted only at the devices that your site is optimized for. You should already be separating your mobile traffic from your laptop/computer traffic anyway, but if not, make the separation now. Review your country targeting to be sure you are only targeting the countries that convert best. Take some time to also review the time of day and week that your campaign performs best, then set your day parting and maximize your ad spend during the best performing times.

Make 2012 the year you stop wasting your advertising budget on useless traffic!

Get rid of bad habits

Use the search terms report and find out what phrases are triggering your ad. Look for keywords that are irrelevant to your campaign and add them to your negative keyword list. Complete a full audit of your negative keywords and be sure that the negative keywords your chose in the past are still relevant, you might be missing out on some good traffic.

Another great way to get rid of bad habits is to complete a full keyword review and delete any under-performing keywords and traffic sources. A few key changes could make all the difference in your campaign and drastically improve your cost per lead/sale. Be ruthless with your keywords that aren't performing, finally delete those keywords you've been on the fence about.

Read more

There are a ton of great free resources on the web. Sign up to a few newsletters and read news and blog posts on a regular basis.

Here are a few links worth checking out:

Make a commitment to reading more in 2012 and learn more about PPC and how to succeed!

Start exercising

If you are not already committed to a daily exercise plan of Remarketing to the users that land on your site, you need to start, immediately. Remarketing campaigns are proving to be highly effective. Conversion rates are higher and cost per acquisitions are typically much lower. This shouldn't be surprising, since you are targeting a focused group of users that were at some time already interested in your site. So, if you're not already running a Remarketing campaign, make 2012 the year you start!

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Posted in Google Adwords, Pay Per Click

How to Test and Optimize Ad Text


Optimizing ad text is an important part of managing a successful pay per click campaign. But, if you don't know how to test and optimize your ad text properly it can be very difficult to achieve your desired results.

When you first create your campaign you want to make 2-4 ad text variations, depending on the size of your pay per click budget. Each of these first variations should be very different from one another in order to find out what ad text might work. You'll need to set the ad text ad rotation setting to "Rotate: Show ads more evenly" so that each ad has an equal chance to receive impressions.

Round 1 – Many Variations:

For example, if you were promoting chicken noodle soup your first round of ad texts could look like this:

Notice that each variation is very different. Your goal is to determine which potential ad text might perform best, so feel free to try just about anything at this stage. But be sure each ad is very different from one another.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Do you love chicken noodle soup?
Get chicken noodle soup today!

Like Chicken Noodle Soup?
Try Our Chicken Noodle Soup.
Buy Today & Get 10% Off.

Try Chicken Noodle Soup
Taste Our New Chicken Noodle Soup.
You'll Love It! Get Soup Today.

Round 2 – Similar Variations:

After each set of ad text has received a decent amount of traffic, impressions, clicks and conversions you can start to optimize. Take the top 1-2 ad text creatives and create slight variations of these ads. You can try a different headline, description line, or display URL, but only change one element in order to test properly. Keep the ad text ad rotation to "Rotate: Show ads more evenly".

For example, if the ad below was the best performer you can create 3-4 variations of this ad.

Like Chicken Noodle Soup?
You Love Chicken Noodle Soup.
Buy Today & Get 10% Off.

Like Chicken Noodle Soup?
You Love Chicken Noodle Soup.
You're Going to Love This Soup!

Like Chicken Noodle Soup?
You Love Chicken Noodle Soup.
Get Chicken Noodle Soup Now!

Round 3 – Continual Variation Testing:

Once you have found the outright winner you can change the ad text ad rotation to "optimize for clicks: show ads expected to provide more clicks". So, if the first ad below was the winner it will receive the bulk of the traffic and the other 1-2 ads will get some exposure and a chance to prove that they are better than your current winner.

Like Chicken Noodle Soup?
You Love Chicken Noodle Soup.
You're Going to Love This Soup!

Soup for the Soul
Chicken Noodle. It's noodly and
Delicious. Get some!

Noodle Soup
It's better with Chicken.
Get Some Chicken Noodle Soup!

Pay per click marketing is about ongoing and constant optimizations and ad text is a vital part of determining the success of your campaign.

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Posted in Google Adwords, Pay Per Click

What is Pay Per Click Marketing?


Just what is pay per click marketing? And, how does it work?

Well, pay per click marketing is just that, marketing or advertising where an advertiser "pays per click". An advertiser can bid on keywords or sites, depending on whether they are advertising on Google, Yahoo!/Bing, Facebook or any number of the pay per click advertising networks available.

Search Engine Marketing

On search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, an advertiser bids for a click on their chosen keywords or phrases. Each advertiser enters a bid marketplace where they compete with other advertisers bidding on the same keyword. Advertisers compete on more than just keyword bids, many search engines have now implemented quality scores. The quality score will determine the rank of an advertiser's ad and the amount an advertiser pays per click based on the campaigns performance and ad relevance. Quality scores have made pay per click marketing more competitive and difficult for advertisers, but the goal is to generate more relevant and effective ads for users.

Click on the image below to see an example of search engine marketing ads on Google. The ads are highlighted in red.






Site Placement Marketing

Advertising networks, such as Google's Display Network and Facebook, allow for advertisers to bid per click on their site placements. These site placements allow for advertisers to use banner ads, images, and text ads to advertise on their sites. Advertisers compete based on bidding per click and on their ad performance. Since advertisers pay per click the ads that are clicked more will generate more revenue for ad networks, like Google and Facebook.

Click on the image below to see an example of Google Display Networks ads on a site placement. The ads are highlighted in red.







Check out this video to understand more about how pay per click marketing works.

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Posted in Facebook, Google Adwords, Pay Per Click

How to use the Google Display Ad Builder


If you're like me, you don't have a clue about design or how to use Photoshop. What I do know, is what a good banner looks like and how to tell the designer what to do when building a new banner for the Google Display Network.

But, what if you don't have a designer? Well, build the banner yourself! That's right, just use the Google Display Ad Builder!

Below is a short video showing how to use the Google Display Ad Builder.

It's a good practice to have every size of banner in your campaign. This allows for more sites to potentially show your ad.

468 x 60 Banner
728 x 90 Leaderboard
250 x 250 Square
200 x 200 Small square
336 x 280 Large rectangle
300 x 250 Inline rectangle
120 x 600 Skyscraper
160 x 600 Wide skyscraper

Here are a few samples of good banners. You'll notice that each banner has a compelling image, short "teaser" copy writing, a call to action and a button. These are all key elements of good banners.

Of course, the most important part of a good banner is if it works. Does it deliver the click through rate and conversions you want?


















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Posted in Google Adwords



Recently I wrote a guest blog post for Linkbuildr titled Search Engine Marketing Battle SEO vs. PPC (Not to be mistaken with Search Engine Rap Battle from a few years ago.)

Here's a quick summary of the blog post:


  • SEO only allows you to effectively target 3-5 keywords. Where PPC allows you to target 1000's, potentially.
  • SEO takes time, sometimes up to 6 months or a year. Whereas PPC can be instant.
  • PPC allows for you to target site placements, in addition to search engine results.
  • PPC allows for more targeting. You can choose your geographic area, date/time, device, etc.
  • PPC give you a traffic volume button that you can turn up or down based on your needs.


  • SEO costs only involve the time and effort to get and maintain results.
  • PPC requires setup, ongoing and advertising spend costs.
  • Competition will dramatically affect the cost of both SEO and PPC.


  • Both SEO and PPC provide great statistical data, especially when compared to traditional offline marketing.
  • PPC allows for more testing and options with landing pages.


  • Only SEO provides ongoing results, after the work is done.
  • Once you stop spending on PPC, you stop getting traffic.
  • Both SEO and PPC have similar conversion rates.


  • Unfortunately there is no winner.
  • Comparing SEO and PPC is like comparing apples and oranges.

As a result of the post it inspired Hood Web Management to write a post – SEO vs PPC: Quit Renting Your Website Traffic and Start Owning It!.

I agree with the analogy that PPC is like renting your website and SEO is like owning it. In both cases you need to pay for your placement, but with SEO you'll potentially be able to hold that placement over a longer period of time.

Depending on your site, you can use both SEO and PPC to gain users and visitors that will return, irregardless of where your site shows up in the search engine results. Any source of traffic delivers visitors to your site and it's up to you to determine what happens with those users and how you keep them coming back, making purchases, or completing forms.

Each business needs to consider both types of search engine marketing and try to determine whether SEO, PPC or a combination of both is the best fit and use of budget for their business. In combination SEO and PPC can be deliver great results, even when your SEO keywords and PPC keywords are the same.

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Posted in Google Adwords, Pay Per Click, SEO

PPC Marketing 101 at WordCamp Victoria






Mike Williams, Clickworks Marketing's Founder and President, will be speaking at WordCamp Victoria 2012. Mike will be presenting on Pay Per Click Marketing 101.

It takes years of experience and a lot of money to become an expert in PPC Marketing. Mike plans to show his audience the basic steps of how to create and set up a pay per click marketing campaign on Google Adwords.

Discussion Topics

The audience will learn about:

  • Keyword research
  • Creating ad text
  • Building a campaign
  • About search and display networks
  • Quality Score Basics

About the Speaker

Mike Williams is a Google Adwords Certified Professional and has 6 years of experience in online marketing.

Mike was born and raised in Victoria, BC and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads and a Diploma in Business Administration from Camosun College.

Find out more about Mike and his company, Clickworks Marketing, here – http://clickworksmarketing.com/about-us/ or contact by phone at 250-686-8956 or email at mike@clickworksmarketing.com.

For more information on WordCamp go to http://www.wordcampvictoria.ca/

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Posted in Google Adwords, Pay Per Click

What do Pay Per Click Acronyms Mean?


SEM – Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is typically used to describe paid search engine marketing, like advertising on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This type of advertising allows advertisers to advertise on several keyword searches and display their ads when a keyword is searched.

In Search Engine Marketing advertisers bid to receive a click from a given keyword and their bid is entered into a bid marketplace to determine how much they will pay for a click from a keyword.

Sometimes Search Engine Marketing is used to describe all marketing on search engines, including Search Engine Optimization.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in the natural or organic search engine results for a given keyword.

Natural or organic search engine results are the results a search engine produces based on it's algorithm and the websites do not pay to display in those positions.

Search Engine Optimization is sometimes considered to be free, but it takes time and effort to optimize a site successfully. Websites are optimized by changing the website's content, descriptions, headers, HTML code and by obtaining more high quality links to the site.

PPC – Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click is a form of online advertising where an advertiser pays for each click to their website. Google, Yahoo!/Bing and Facebook are some of the most popular Pay Per Click advertising platforms, but there are several other ad networks that offer Pay Per Click advertising. Typically an advertiser will enter a bid into a bidding marketplace where they will receive a click if their bid on a set keyword or source of traffic wins. Pay Per Click is attractive to advertisers because you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and arrives on your site.

CPC – Cost Per Click

See PPC – Pay Per Click.

CTR – Click Through Rate

Click Through Rate is the rate at which an advertiser's advertisement was clicked by the users that were displayed your ad. Click Through Rate is calculated by dividing the amount of clicks by the amount of impressions the ad received (CTR = Clicks/Impressions).

An impression is when an ad is displayed or viewed once by a user. Click Through Rate is a very important statistic to keep track of and a great indicator of success or failure.

A large part of Google's Quality Score depends on CTR and on almost any network CTR will be directly tied to the cost of your ad, since advertisers only get paid when a user clicks, so it makes more sense for ad networks to display an ad that gets clicked rather than an ad that does not.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

Cost Per Acquisition is the marketing cost required to obtain one lead or sale. In order to determine the cost per acquisition of a given campaign you must divide all leads received by the total advertising spent on the campaign (CPA = Total Leads/Total Advertising Spend).

For example, if an advertiser obtained 200 leads and spent $1,000 on a campaign their CPA would be – $5.00 ($5.00 = 200/$1,000).

Cost Per Acquisition is a very important metric and helps an advertiser determine how much they can afford to spend on advertising and how much to bid per click.

CPL – Cost Per Lead

See Cost Per Acquisition.

CPS – Cost Per Sale

See Cost Per Acquisition.

CPM – Cost Per Mille

Cost Per Mille is the cost per 1,000 impressions. Cost Per Mille is another way that advertisers can buy traffic and bid to receive an impression.

With Cost Per Mille an advertiser pays for every 1,000 impressions that their ad receives.

So, an advertiser doesn't pay each time their ad was shown, but instead they pay for every 1,000 impressions.

eCPM – Effective Cost Per Mille

Effective Cost Per Mille is a calculation used to determine the value of a single impression in an ad campaign.

The calculation for Effective Cost Per Mille is (eCPM = [Total Earning/Total Impressions] * 1000).

Advertisers will typical use this statistic to determine the value of an ad location to determine if it's on par with other sources or not.

Most of the time Effectvie Cost Per Mille is used by a site owner to determine the value of a given ad on their site and it's used to determine whether an ad is performing better than another ad in that same place.

RON – Run of Network

Run of Network is used to describe an ad that will run on the entire network of an ad networks platform. This would be like advertising on every site available in the Google Display Network.

With Run of Network the advertising cost is typically cheaper, but you are receiving very untargetted traffic and often you will end up filling in empty ad spaces where there are no other advertisements to place.

ROS – Run of Site

Run of Site is simply advertising on every possible advertising placement on a given site. This means that your ad could appear on every page and every ad placement on a given page.

Since an advertiser is targeting a site the advertisement will be displayed to a similar demographic and similar type of user. If you've found a website that is profitable for your advertisement it could be worth it to try run of site and attempt to dominate the site and receive as much possible traffic from this site as possible.

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Posted in Pay Per Click

Top 7 Easy Ways to Waste Your PPC Budget


Pay per click marketing is difficult, so don't make it even more difficult by making any of these mistakes and wasting your PPC budget!

1. Setting Your Budget Too High

Google never really seems to have a problem spending your money. So, be very careful when you set your budget. You want to set it high enough that you'll get some traffic, but not so high that you burn your entire budget in one day. Remember, Google will spread the budget out over the month and on certain days you will spend less than your budget, but on other days you could spend more.

You're much better off to start out slow and spend less over a longer period of time before you open up your budget and let the traffic flow. Before you do that you need to figure out what works and what doesn't.

2. Creating a Massive Campaign

The goal of your campaign is to find a sweet spot, where you are spending less than you are making, and by creating a massive campaign with every keyword under the sun in your particular vertical will NOT help you. You'll end up spending more than you neeed to and wasting important cash that you'll need to spend in order to find out what works.

Whenever you create a campaign you need to make sure you keep the scope of the campaign small and slowly add to it and grow the campaign over time. Every campaign should start with the scope, what size does this campaign need to be and what are my goals, target market, target demographic and keywords that make sense.

3. Bidding Too High

Just because Google says that it will cost $22.00 to reach the first page for your kewyord it does NOT mean that you have to bid that high. In fact, you don't even need to bid to your maximum bid price that your are allowed. Always, always try to get clicks for less!

Also, don't bid for vanity, being number one is not all it's cracked up to be. There are definitely occasions where being first matters, but bid for the 2-4 spot and aim for the sweet spot that works for your campaign.

4. Sending Users to Your Homepage

Sure, sending users to your homepage can work and sometimes it does make sense, but always consider the chance that there may be a better page on your site. This is especially important when you are advertising on a specific niche or vertical. Consider creating a new page for a specific ad group or campaign, or make several variations of a landing page with keyword-specific content that is related to an ad group or campaign.

Make it easy for the user to complete the action you need them to complete and don't be afraid to shout at them. "HEY! CLICK HERE AND COMPLETE THIS FORM!". Well, don't yell at them, but make it obvious where you want them to go and the steps you want them to take.

5. Not Choosing Where to Show Your Ads

Google has default settings for every campaign and you need to make sure that they make sense for your campaign. Do you want to show your ads on Google Search and their partners? Do you want your ads to show on mobile devices or computers? What's the best time for your ads to show?

Not choosing where your ads will show is a great way to waste your budget on traffic that doesn't matter or is completely irrelevant to your site. Also, be sure that you have selected the correct geographic ares for you ads to be shown.

6. Failing to Use Negative Keywords

Negative keywords rock! Seriously, they do. So, use them. You only want to pay for the traffic that will work for you and that traffic will be very relevant to your site. So, use negative keywords to avoid getting traffic from keywords that will never convert on your site. Negative keyword lists aren't easy to create, but they are worth the effort and they may be more important that your campaign keywords.

Take the time to create an extensive negative keyword list and make sure to apply it properly to your campaign or ad group. You can find negative keywords when you are looking for keywords to advertise on, but you can also find more by seeing what keywords a Google search will suggest as you type out the keyword.

7. Early Optimization

In order to optimize your campaign correctly you need to be patient enough to let the campaign accrue engouh data before you can say with absolutely certainty that a keyword, ad text, landing page, etc. works or doesn't work. Be patient and wait for your campaign to gather enough statistical information that you can make proper decisions on what needs to change, expand, be deleted, bid increased, etc.

You can login and look to make sure your not burning up your entire budget on one keyword and make some very small changes, but only in order to preserve your pay per click budget for better usage.

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Posted in Pay Per Click

Hands-on Pay Per Click Management


When considering a pay per click campaign many clients wonder if an automated solution could be better than a hand built customized campaign. At Clickworks we always build custom campaigns for our clients.

We consider their product or service, their website, their customers and then we strategize and come up with a plan that will work best for them and lead to the best possible results for their business and customers.

Once your campaign has been running with us for a while we continue to work on your campaign and refine by manually optimizing the campaign. We will do a complete review of your campaign and look for opportunities as well as problem areas with your campaign.

Many automated and bid management systems cannot find problem keywords and areas for opportunities. Sometimes in order to fully capture these opportunities a new landing page and or campaign will need to be created.

For some clients there is no all-in-one solution that can be applied effectively. At Clickworks we believe that all clients need to be reviewed and analyzed to determine what the best solution for a pay per click campaign would be.

We consider the options, such as will this campaign work best as a search, display/content or re-marketing campaign. Also, should this campaign consider other options, like banners vs. text ads or display/content only.

In our opinion, we believe that a hands-on approach to pay per click marketing is best and that only a human that reviews the client's site, business model and potential customers will be able to determine what campaign will be right for them and which campaigns are most likely to succeed.

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Posted in Pay Per Click

3 Important PPC Metrics for Clients


What are the most important Pay Per Click metrics for clients? What statistics are they going to need and care about the most?

Conversion Rate

The Conversion Rate of a campaign is calculated by the number of visitors to the site or landing page divided by the number of sales or conversions that occurred (Visitors/Conversions = Conversion Rate). Typical conversion rates vary from about 2% to 10% and they depend on a number of factors, including landing page, product, users, vertical etc. Clients should keep a close eye on their Conversion Rate and expect to see it increasing early on in their campaign and holding steady as the campaign matures. In order to activate conversion tracking most advertising platforms will need you to place a pixel on the conversion page.

Cost Per Acquisition

The Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) is a measurement of the amount of advertising dollars spent in order to acquire one lead or sale. So, if your campaign spent $1,000 and you received 25 sales or leads your CPA would equal $40 (Ad spend/Sales or Leads = CPA). The client should then use this statistic to determine if they are making a profit on their campaign. If the client paid $40 to acquire the sale or lead, how much did they profit or lose per lead? And to determine if a clients CPA is in line or effective they will need to figure how much they make per lead.

Click Through Rate

Click Through Rate CTR is calculated by the number of clicks your ad received divided by the number of impressions (Click/Impressions = CTR). Impressions are simply the amount of times your ad was shown to a user. CTR is a very important metric to Google, since it greatly affects how much you will pay per click. If Google has two advertisers that are willing to bid to pay $1.00 a click it will be far better for Google to show an ad that has a CTR of 5% than an ad that has a CTR of only 3%. So, this means it is an important metric to the client, since any variable that affect how much they will pay per click is going to be important. Part of Google's quality score algorithm is the CTR and so the higher a clients CTR the lower their CPC will be.

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Posted in Pay Per Click
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