Keyword Match Type Parity

Using broad match as your keyword discovery tool will help you expand the keywords in your account and once you have found good performing keywords its smart to add them as phrase and exact match too. With the same keyword on broad, phrase and exact match, results can be segmented based on match type and optimization strategies can be implemented for each keyword.

With a big account its easy to lose track of keywords that are active in broad match but not exact or phrase. Vlookup is one way to do this and another is using Google Analytics.

In Google Analytics go to Advertising > Keywords and then in the upper right hand corner of the data table click the Pivot button. Then pivot by Match Type and for the pivot metrics you can choose visits and revenue to see how efficient they are.

Pivot data in Google Analytics

Download the report in CSV (to add more rows than 500 look for rowCount%3D in the URL and add the amount of rows you want after the D) and sort visits descending under the broad match column and then filter the exact match column to only show 0. Now you can see the keywords that are driving revenue in broad but not in exact. Add these keywords as exact for more insight and flexibility.

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My Best Of 2012

This year I watched 85 movies
Best Movies: Drive, Hot Coffee, Chronicle, Looper, Cabin In The Woods, Headhunters, 50/50, The People vs George Lucas
Worst Movies: Red Tails, Take This Waltz

I watched 158 episodes of TV
Best show: Breaking Bad
Funniest: Modern Family, Runner Up: Workaholics

Read 32 Books
Best books: Republic Lost, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, War Of Art, Travis Chase Trilogy (The Breach, Ghost Country, Deep Sky), The Master Switch
I Read 9 graphic novels
Best Graphic novels: Criminal Vol 1, Locke & Key Vol 5, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score

Best Concert: Andrew WK @ The Bluebird, Runner Up: NoFX @ Fillmore

Best Trip: Dirt Biking in Moab

Best Albums: Masked Intruder/ST, Classics Of Love/ST, White Wires/WWIII

Best Music Discovery: Downtown Struts

Biggest Miracle: Barely missing a car accident in the snow sliding between a car and a bus

Most Stressful: Swimming 500 meters in open water during my first Triathlon

Biggest Bummer: All fireworks on 4th of July canceled due to forest fires in Colorado

Most Patriotic: Going to Obama rally at University of Colorado

Biggest DIY Project: Re-tiling shower in the bathroom

Best Purchase: Suzuki GZ250 Motorcycle

Biggest Purchase: A house

Best Fix: Replaced windshield wiper reservoir in Nissan Sentra

Best Discovery: Flushable wipes

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Paid Search Device Targeted Keyword Parity Using VLOOKUP

It’s smart to build out separate campaigns targeted to mobile and tablet devices exclusively, as this can lead to much higher efficiency, but the problem is keeping all of these duplicate campaigns up to date with your desktop campaigns. You may add new keywords that perform well on desktop but neglect to add them to mobile and tablet. using the VLookup function in excel you can easily discover which keywords are paused or absent from one device to the next.

1. Download all  your active keywords from your desktop campaigns (for my explanation put the keywords in column A).

2. Download all active keywords from your tablet campaigns and put them in a second tab on the desktop Excel worksheet (keywords also in column A).

3. Add a third tab on the desktop worksheet where you paste all of the keywords from the desktop account in the A column.

4. On tab three In the B column use the VLookup function so that it looks like this: =VLOOKUP(desktop_keywords!A1,tablet_keywords!A:A,1,0). What this function is saying is – take the keyword in cell A1 from the list of active keywords on desktop and then look at all the active tablet keywords in column A – if you find it, put it in this column, if not put #N/A.

5. After the function is put into place in column B, you can see the keyword that exists on desktop in column A and if there is a #N/A next to it in column B, you’ll know its not active on tablet.

6. Now you can sort by #N/A and take add all those keywords to your tablet campaigns.

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False Proxies In Online Marketing

Seth Godin wrote a post explaining:

“Sometimes, we can’t measure what we need, so we invent a proxy, something that’s much easier to measure and stands in as an approximation…You’ve already guessed the problem. Once you find the simple proxy and decide to make it go up, there are lots of available tactics that have nothing at all to do with improving the very thing you set out to achieve in the first place. When we fall in love with a proxy, we spend our time improving the proxy instead of focusing on our original (more important) goal instead.Gaming the system is never the goal. The goal is the goal.”

Online marketing is rife with false proxies.

1. Increase the amount of Likes/Followers+1s you have.
The goals associated to social media are typically hard to measure: strengthen the connection you have with our fans, allow for better customer satisfaction, enhance memory of your product offering, hold more of your customer’s attention. When you use the amount of  Likes/Followers/+1s to act as a proxy for those goals you end up using every technique out there to beg/cajole/lead/mislead people into pressing that button.  Social media strategies end up being self obsessed and include lame stuff like sweepstakes, polls and posting your latest press release – all of which give you the oposite of what you really want.

2. Increase visits
You want your site to grow but an obsession with more and more visits is an unhealthy one. Its like a drug addiction which will keep you working on sensational controversies or clever images, or other link bait that keeps the fly by night traffic coming back. If instead you engage your existing users far more deeply and Increase their participation, their devotion and their interconnection you can turn them into ambassadors, charged with the idea of bring you traffic that is focused, traffic with intent.

3. Increase page views per visit
You want to know how much people like your site but page views per visit is not the way to measure it. Focusing on the false proxy of page views per visit will lead you to become one of those awful content sites that reloads every page in a photo slideshow so you can maximize ad impressions – simultaneously maximizing how much people despise your site.

4. Increase Ad clicks and impressions
You want your advertising to be successful but getting more clicks and impressions are not meters for success. Click through rate at least gives you an idea of how relevant your ad placement is. Really you want your ads to deliver a result – like sales.

A consistent theme with false proxies in online marketing is that they are conducive to short term gain and long term loss. The better metric to use for each goal is one that focuses on how well that metric affects the end goal, not just a means to that end.

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Arbitrage In Real Time DSP Display Advertising

Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) enable you to bid for individual ad impressions in real-time auctions across multiple ad exchanges. Instead of buying impressions in bulk from hand picked sites, you can use behavioral targeting data collected from cookies and data exchanges that determine the value of the impression and place a bid accordingly. This allows you to focus on the individuals that meet your advertising criteria rather than focusing on running ads across a site that meets your criteria.

There are opportunities for manipulation and arbitrage from the middle men in these transactions with display inventory. This is due to the large gaps in what advertisers are willing to bid and the fact that there is more inventory than there are advertisers looking for placements.

Take the following scenario for example:
An impression shows up for bid. It has the following attributes:

  1. Female
  2. 24 years old
  3. $60,000 income
  4. Orlando DMA
  5. Has kids
  6. Apparel Shopper
  7. Health club member
  8. Impression is 300×250 pixels
  9. Site category is entertainment

Four advertisers participate in the auction:
Advertiser 1: Pampers bids $1 because they want to sell her diapers as she fits in their new mom demographic.

Advertiser 2: Piperlime bids $10 because they know she has purchased from their site before and was recently at their site looking at clothes and she fits in their typical young female demographic.

Advertiser 3: 24 Hour Fitness bids $5 promoting their time sensitive campaign to promote their new gym in her local Orlando neighborhood.

The agency acting as the middleman handling these bids from the advertisers and deciding which one will get the placement have their own margin constraint and internal auction. There’s no reason that an agency using a DSP couldn’t withhold bids from its stable of advertisers so that only the top bid available for any advertiser for each impression would be placed. They want to take home the biggest markup on the media as possible. So if the publisher asks $4 for the impression then the agency will choose to place the Piperlime ad because they stand to make the most profit – the difference between $4 and $10, even if the 24 Hour Fitness ad is more relevant.

At the end of the day the advertiser may not care because the decisions of the agency are ultimately held to the goals of the advertiser, and if those goals are met who cares how much the agency takes? The problem is they are leaving volume and potentially higher quality placements/users on the table because the placement doesn’t meet the margin constraint that the agency has in place. Ask for this level of transparency from your real time bidding DSP agency and you likely won’t get it because they don’t want you to know how much they are serving their own interests before yours.

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Optimize Keywords With Top Vs Side Report

An ad that is shown in the top position usually has a much higher click through rate than an ad shown on the side. If you could get your highest performing keywords in the top position more often it can pay big dividends in volume and revenue.
How do you identify those keywords that aren’t showing up in the top position as often as they could and bid them to the top spot accordingly?

1. Download a keyword report for the last 30 days with the the Segment Top vs Side.

2. Create a pivot table with the data from the report and then build the pivot table like this.

This will allow you to see each keyword’s top and side metrics on one row.

3. Copy the new filtered table over into a new worksheet so you can add new columns and filters.

4. Make a new column Percent Of Conversions Top which takes the Total Sum Conversions divided by the Sum Of Impressions for Google Search: Top.

5. Make another new column Percent Of Impressions Top which takes the Total Sum Impressions divided by the Sum Of Impressions for Google Search: Top.

6. Now if you filter your new column Percent Of Conversions Top for greater than 50% and your Percent Of Impressions Top for less than 50% you’ll see the keywords that get more than 50% of their conversions from the top position but get less than 50% of their impressions from the top position.

7. Now if you take the difference between the Sum of Avg. CPC Top and Sum of Avg. CPC Other you will get the difference in (estimated) bid increase to get more of those impressions from the side to the top.

In the below screenshot the first keyword has 82% of its conversions coming from the top but only 28% of impressions coming from the top, and the difference between the average CPC of top and side is only $.07. So with a small bid increase this keyword could improve considerably.

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PPC Diminishing Returns

Paid search is subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns where the last dollar spent has a lower ROI than the first dollar spent because the most cost-effective keywords are always purchased first.

There are two constraints at work here: budget and search volume. With a limited budget you will bid on the highest returning ROI keywords first. When you have a high impression share on those keywords and more budget, you’ll start expanding into different keywords – inevitably you start bidding on keywords that have lower ROI. Revenue goes up but ROI goes down.

The challenge is to decide which is more important – more revenue or or more margin dollars. You can’t have both.

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In Between Brand Advertising and Direct Response Advertising

There have been two main points of view with marketing a new product: Elevate The Brand vs. Sell The Product or Go To Market vs. Go To Customer.

Elevating the brand is the sexy side of marketing. These are TV commercials, YouTube homepage takeovers and big interactive social engagement plays. All of these initiatives are centered around the kinds of things they teach in marketing classes in college – market segmentation, product differentiation and value propositions.

Selling the product is about waiting until someone is ready to buy instead of persuading them to buy. This is the direct response type of advertising where every dollar spent is expected to bring in an anticipated return – paid search, display remarketing, email and affiliate marketing.

I think there is place neglected by brand building and direct response that is often overlooked in between both strategies.

In Between Brand Advertising and Direct Response Advertising

Big brands ignore his middle opportunity because all they know (TV and print) is what they’ve been doing for decades. And the people focused on selling the product don’t tread in the middle opportunity because they are tied to really efficient return goals.

This middle ground is based on broader and more generic search terms, display advertising with layers of inferred and expressed data, content and social marketing based on micro-conversions, etc.

This middle ground is more measurable than brand building but also more costly than a lot of direct response advertising. Its conducive to a/b testing and optimization but less sexy. It’s more targeted and relevant but casts a smaller net. Ad Agencies don’t want to touch it because its not showy enough and can be easily pulled apart with data. Direct marketers don’t go there because it brings down their remarkable ROIs.

Yet I think this is place where a disruptive brands can win.

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Online Marketing Growing Pains

For years direct response marketing online via paid search, seo, email, affiliate and comparison shopping engines have been very efficient and predictable. But we are currently in a transitional time for online marketing where these modes of advertising are not as efficient or predictable as they used to be. There are two changes that are causing a shift.
First is the attribution problem caused by the increasing amount of sources that a person uses before they purchase which dilutes direct response profits. According to a study by Google, people use more than 10 sources of information to arrive at a purchasing decision. And this trend is only going to increase. What does this mean for direct response mediums online?: the constant feeling that you aren’t getting full credit for your spend, but you’re not quite sure what level of credit you should be taking.
Second, mobile costs and click-throughs continue to grow but the return on investment isn’t growing with it. Customers are using mobile devices in droves but  but advertisers are not yet convinced that they are as effective as desktop ads.
From The New York Times: “People click on ads on smartphones more often than they do on desktop computers, 5.1 percent compared with 2.4 percent of the time, according to Marin Software, which makes technology for advertisers to use to buy ads on Google, Bing, Facebook and other sites.
That is because ads take up more space on cellphone screens and are more likely to answer the kinds of immediate questions asked on mobile devices, like “Where is a bar near the ballpark?” said Gagan Kanwar, director of research and partnerships at Marin.
People make purchases after clicking on ads 4 percent of the time on desktops and just 2 percent of the time on phones, so mobile ads are worth less, he said.”
Online marketing budgets are made with specific returns in revenue in mind which is very different from traditional tv, radio and print advertising where the main objective is to build the brand and occupy more mindshare of the customer. When online marketing direct revenues go down, spend goes down with them – if it’s not providing the return than stop spending – a different mentality than traditional advertising. Even though those marketing dollars may still be driving sales, its harder to measure the return because of mobile and attribution problems.
I don’t think this funk we’re in is here to stay however. Technology will catch up to the customer again and allow the kind of tracking necessary to prove results. Once we start using our phones to make purchases, a lot of the attribution problems with mobile will be solved. A purchase with a phone will close the loop on the user who saw an ad on that same phone. Customer Relations Management technology will improve so that unique identifiers will be assigned to a user so all their actions across devices and programs will be identified.

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Balancing Paid Search Volume And Profit

Quality Score, CTR, conversion rate, – all are a means to an end. The end for all paid search is profit. If you know what your costs of good sold is and what your cost per conversion is, then add them together minus your revenue and you can determine what your profit is. The trick is figuring out what the optimal balance is between volume and cost per conversion.

The more willing you are to have a higher cost per conversion the more volume you will do and the more profit you will make. But at some point there is a diminishing return where the extra cost per conversion is not made up with the addition conversions it brings.

Below is a graph showing where the sweet spot is – where cost per conversion allows the optimal amount of volume.

Balancing Paid Search Volume And Profit

If only paid search were as easy as deciding how much volume you want along with your desired cost per conversion. Unfortunately you can’t control how many people search using your keyword and of those how many click on your ad, but you can have this model in mind and constantly tweak bids in an effort to find the sweet spot.

Download the xlsx file I used to make the graph


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