Welcome to Labor Day Weekend. The weekend in which kids everywhere get a last little taste of summer, and the weekend during which it suddenly becomes cold – in the Northeast, anyway. Oh, and you’re not allowed to wear white after Monday. I think.

Labor Day is also a pretty heavy partying weekend – you know, cookouts, boating, bar hopping, and all that fun stuff, depending on what your groove is. Well, there’s a party brewing in PPC-land, too, but it’s not one of the celebratory type. Nope. In fact, advertisers are still pretty ticked off about this mandatory close-match variants business, and there are a lot of experts still putting their two cents out there on the change.

Is Google going to change it? Nope. Not likely. Unless, of course, it somehow falls down the same path as Google Authorship and suddenly what seemed like a fabulous idea at the time doesn’t seem to be working out so well. But at the end of the day, it’s about what makes sense for Google. So most likely, it’s just something we’re all going to have to get used to. But the good thing about all this griping is that experts are freely offering their advice for riding through the waves of change and making the most of something that’s not really ideal.

In today’s roundup, there’s lots of discussion about close-variant matching, and some related news from Bing that you’ll probably find quite interesting. So, on with the march (er, September)!


Let’s see what’s happening with Google…

Google is making it easier to build rich, engaging mobile ads for the Google Display Network. With 25% of global page views happening from mobile devices, it’s fine time to get your advertising campaigns in gear to reflect the changing world of browsers that will be peering at your content. Well, guess what? You can now upload HTML5 ads built in Google Web Designer to your Google Display Network campaigns. Get the juicy details from the AdWords Blog here.

There’s a new movement in town: The Profit-Driven Marketing Movement. Um, hasn’t that been happening for something like a few decades now? Well, yeah, but the point behind all of this is to make strategic investments and tackle traditional marketing challenges with unconventional approaches. Strategically. So that you can make more cash. Sound good? Think with Google has a guide on this whole profit-driven marketing thing – check it out.

Something else new and exciting from the world of Google: DoubleClick Planning, which unifies cross-channel planning and buying. Sounds pretty sweet, right? Looks to be a pretty comprehensive media planning platform that should totally streamline the way DoubleClick clients plan their cross-channel campaigns. There will be a live webinar on September 23rd, but you can check out a quick Q&A on the AdWords Agency blog, too.


Moving on to Bing…

You had to know this whole close variant matching thing wasn’t going to go away, and now it’s reaching over into the land of Bing. Bing is testing close variant matching (in the U.S. only) for a portion of queries. This will include things like:

  • Plural vs. singular
  • Stemming
  • Misspellings
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Word blending and splitting
  • Common spelling variations
  • Equivalent expressions
  • Certain punctuations and accents

The point, of course, is to precisely match up that all-important intent. Close variants will be mined from several “highly qualified sources,” and will be subject to “extremely high relevance thresholds.”

Now, the good news is that you can still opt out of this test (at least for now). Go to Advanced Settings, then to Keyword Matching Options to set your preferences. For more details and more info on what those variant types actually mean, hit up the Bing Ads Blog.

There are also some changes coming down the line next month on device targeting. Primarily, desktops, laptops, and tablets will be combined into a single device target – so if you’ve been targeting tablets specifically, those campaigns will soon also target desktops and laptops. Likewise, if you’ve been targeting desktops and laptops only, starting in September, tablets will be thrown into that mix. Naturally, there have been some questions raised regarding this move, and Bing takes a stab at clearing things up in this Q&A.


Let’s take a stroll around the web…

PPCHero has taken note of the significance of AdWords’ decision to make close variant matching mandatory for its advertisers. In this roundtable, they ask PPC experts their thoughts on the now-mandatory change and how it will impact advertisers. Good stuff right here.

3Q Digital has a fantastic roundup of eight valuable Google Analytics reports for PPC, including the benefits of each, how to use it, and where to find it in your Analytics dashboard. Brilliance. Get it here.

If you advertise on Facebook, you probably have a couple of gripes about the way things are done – especially if you’re used to the Google way of managing ad campaigns. FBPPC.com asked three experts what their biggest complaint is – and what would make Facebook’s advertising platform better. Read what they have to say at FBPPC.com.

Melissa Mackey talks the close-variant issue plaguing PPC-ers everywhere as of late, sharing her two cents about why advertisers want – and need – control over variants in their campaigns. Good read with some valuable insights from other pros who have conducted their own tests on close-variant matching with some interesting results. Check it out at Search Engine Watch.

George Michie, over at Rimm Kaufman, talks about the downside of the profit-driven mindset; specifically, that retailers tend to get sucked into the trap of thinking short-term ROI at this time of year as we enter the holiday season. Check out the Hangout on Air and get Michie’s advice on approaching the holiday advertising season with the right frame of mind.

If you’re off on some fantastic adventure this weekend, don’t forget not to pack your white pants. Is that even still a thing? Does it apply to dudes, too? The good news is, if you’re all out of sorts about your loss of control over close-variant matching, it’s the perfect weekend to blow off a little steam. Enjoy!