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The 10 Most Actionable PPC Insights from Hero Conf 2018

Springtime brings with it the annual Hero Conf, where PPC marketers from all over the country (nay, the world!) gather to immerse themselves in all things digital advertising.

The conference offered more than 40 sessions with topics ranging from visual search to “Moneyball Analytics”. If you missed it this year, have no FOMO. Effective Spend sent three of our own PPCers to represent and report back on the top PPC insights that you can put into practice today. Here’s our top 10:


1. Google Shopping Showcase Ads: One (Good) Reason to Use the New AdWords UI

One benefit of switching over to the new AdWords UI is the ability to create Shopping Showcase ads. Similar to Facebook’s Collection Ad, this ad type opens up to provide more of a store experience, complete with lifestyle imagery, a description of the company and more. An added bonus – advertisers don’t pay when the shopper first opens the Showcase ad—only when they click through to a specific product!


2. Let’s Get Visual, Visual (Pinterest Visual Search, That Is)

Keynote speaker Michael Akkerman, Head of Marketing Partners at Pinterest stated that 97% of Pinterest searches are non-branded. Well, that’s something for us paid search marketers to salivate over. Voice search has been all the talk over the last couple of years, but it’s time we start paying more attention to visual search. Afterall, a picture is worth a thousand words (and that’s a bit too longtail, even for us). Pinterest estimates there are roughly 300m visual searches per month. While that’s only about 10% of overall search, the number will only grow as phone and laptop cameras get better and the AI behind visual searches improves. It will be more important than ever for advertisers to have situational/environmental product images and to ensure that images are properly linked to a transactional page where the product can be purchased.

pinterest visual search


3. Hello? It’s me: Call Bid Adjustments

For advertisers who value phone calls as a primary conversion type, the new AdWords UI also offers more insight and levers to adjust and improve call extension performance. Under “advanced bid adjustments,” you are able to pull in the “interaction coverage” column, which shows you the % of impressions your call extension received compared to the total impressions it was eligible to show for. Your call extension impression share, if you will. If you’re seeing low interaction coverage, you can now add a bid multiplier to the “calls” interaction type. This will signal to Google to prioritize your call extension over other extensions you may be running, thereby increasing your total call extension impressions.


4. Facebook Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) – Long Name, Serious Ad Testing

Facebook DCO is akin to AdWords’ Smart Display ad format, but with many more ad variation opportunities. DCO allows you to upload many variations of your headlines, descriptions, images and CTA buttons into a single ad unit.

Then, Facebook uses its machine learning to run and test the thousands of combinations automagically. One huge advantage over Google responsive ad formats is that Facebook will also give you analytics on each variation so you can understand which combos are winning and losing to further refine your ad testing. So, stop writing crazy excel formulas to create ad copy variables, and start implementing DCO in power editor. One tip to get you started – you’ll have to create a new campaign or a new ad set in an existing campaign to start using DCO. Click on the “Switch to Quick Creation” button (see below).

facebook dco set up

facebook dco set up

facebook dco set up


5. G-Connector for Salesforce. Gee, Golly This is Great!

Now more than ever before, CMOs are being held to real revenue and profit goals. Driving raw marketing leads isn’t their end game any longer. B2B digital marketers need to get comfortable navigating CRMs and showing the value of their ad campaigns by tracking each lead through the sales process and connecting each lead to revenue and ROI. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as CRMs can be large and messy and sometimes, downright inaccessible to the marketing team. One tool that can help is G-Connector for Salesforce (formerly Enabler4sheets). With G-Connector, you can easily pull reports into Google sheets for faster and easier lead and sales pipeline analysis. And, it doesn’t require an extra seat in Salesforce, saving money on extra licensing fees. Plus, with scheduled automatic refreshes, G-Connector can also provide an easy way to get fresh new email info to keep your customer audiences fresh in AdWords, Facebook, and other channels.

g-connector for salesforce


6. Google Express. Get Onboard.

This freight train of a new marketplace has somehow quietly snuck up on many eCommerce sellers. Google Express is designed to go head to head with Amazon, providing a seamless shopping experience from start through checkout, and featuring 2-day delivery on many items without requiring a membership. One of the biggest complaints we hear from sellers is that they’re getting lost behind Amazon’s larger than life brand and losing control of their customer. Google Express is keeping the brands in the spotlight while helping them sell a ton of product. Of course, Google Express is currently supporting more of the big box brands, but over time, we expect to see a nice mix of smaller brands, as well. What’s particularly attractive to us media types is that Google Express doesn’t charge per click, but rather charges the retailer a commission on each sale.


7. Remember eBay? eBay Promoted Listings

As we watch the wrestling match that is Amazon vs Google, it’s easy to forget that other marketplaces not only exist but are thriving. eBay’s Promoted Listings are a source of untapped potential for sellers. Their ad platform is simple, low maintenance, and the best part…the advertiser only pays if the item sells! Yeah, you heard that right.


8. Size Matters: LinkedIn Company Size Targeting

We all celebrate how precise LinkedIn’s audience targeting is, but there are still ways to further refine your targeting. One method, shared by LinkedIn guru AJ Wilcox (@wilcoxaj) is to EXCLUDE larger company sizes rather than INCLUDING smaller ones. The reason is that there are a lot of small businesses that do not list their company size when setting up their LinkedIn company profile and are therefore lumped into the “undeclared” category. So, if you are targeting small businesses, the best approach is to simply exclude companies 50+. This will allow you to target the companies that are smaller than 50 employees while also capturing all of those undeclared companies that may be your best customers.

linkedin company size audience


9. Our Latest Conquest – Competitor Brand Targeting on Amazon

We’ve said it before (like, earlier in this post, in fact). Brands are at odds with Amazon. Amazon is investing more and more in its own private label products, and with features like shipping fulfillment by Amazon, many brands are choosing NOT to sell on Amazon for fear of brand blindness. However, this presents an excellent opportunity for advertisers on Amazon. With manual keyword campaigns, we can run targeted headline search ads and sponsored product ads that capture those searches for competitor brand names and products that are not being sold on Amazon at all. Remember, one of the most valuable things to an Amazon shopper is convenience. If they can’t find the brand or product they’re looking for on Amazon, they may be more apt to choose the suitable alternative you are presenting to them rather than hunting on the worldwide web.


10. Don’t Just Negate, Isolate. Use Shopping Priority Settings to Help Isolate Non-Brand Queries.

As any good search marketer would do, we diligently check our search terms reports and actively add negative keywords to help improve campaign performance. And, of course, we dutifully separate our Brand campaigns from our Non-Brand campaigns. But shopping campaigns present a unique challenge in that queries are all essentially broadly matched since there are no keywords we’re bidding on. We can add negative keywords for years and we’ll never be able to keep non-branded queries out of our Branded campaigns.

In his Google Shopping breakout session, Lewis Brannon explained a workaround for this. The first thing to be aware of is that Google shopping campaigns have a unique setting, which is the Campaign Priority setting. You can choose High, Medium or Low priority.

google shopping campaign priority

The next thing to understand is that Google will always consider the campaign priority setting FIRST, before looking at the bid. So, to keep non-branded queries from filtering into our Brand campaign, we set Brand campaign to a low priority and set our non-brand campaign on a high priority. And, per usual, we bid lower on Brand and higher on non-brand. With these settings in place, Google will favor sending the non-brand queries to the non-brand campaign. This will allow us to a) stop adding hundreds of negative keywords to our brand campaign b) keep our brand campaign pure so we can start reducing our brand bids and bringing down our brand CPC over time, and c) aggregate all non-brand query data in one place so we can more quickly identify top performing and poor performing queries.

Natalia Wulfe

Natalia joined Effective Spend in 2011 and has been instrumental in the rapid growth of the company. She brings more than 15 years of marketing expertise, with both agency and in-house client experience. After 6 years of leading an expert PPC advertising team, Natalia currently runs internal marketing and people operations. A proud Austin native, Natalia holds an advertising degree from UT with a concentration in media planning. She enjoys sharing the wonders of her weird city with her two young daughters.