This week in PPC, we’re talking about automation and optimization. From Google offering tools to make it easier to adapt to their constantly-changing rules and processes to Bing introducing some fan-freaking-tastic new tools to help you optimize your campaigns and PPC bloggers serving up some compelling reasons to try some of Google’s automated rules, we’re all about making things easier and better this week.

Despite my annoyingly-persistent eternal optimism that I know you all love so dearly, it’s not all roses this week. Nope. In fact, we’re going to gripe a little bit about Google taking away our ability to opt out of close-variant keywords. You’re shocked, I know.

But…the awesome folks at 3Q Digital just might have a work-around for that dilemma. And I know you’re dying to know what it is, so let’s roll with today’s PPC update, shall we?

 

Let’s see what’s up with Google…

More on the Google Shopping upgrade. As you know, since I’ve been beating this horse to death for the past few weeks, regular Product Listing Ads (PLA) campaigns are saying adios at the end of August. Now, most of you have been smarty-pants about it and went ahead and upgraded yourselves already.

If you don’t fall into that camp, you can now say you were a bigger smarty-pants because you were just waiting for Google to make it easier…and they have. Introducing the Google Shopping Campaigns Upgrade Tool, which will upgrade your campaigns “in a matter of clicks.”

It doesn’t work, though, if you use AdWords labels or groupings in your product targeting or inventory filters. In that case, you need to update your data feed with custom labels first, then you can use the upgrade tool. The AdWords Blog has the details.

Google ran a webinar series this week on DoubleClick Dynamic Creative Solutions. Lot of good that does you now that the last webinar was yesterday, right? Well, if you missed it, you can catch a recorded webinar in the Help Center to get up to speed. What did you miss? Three pretty essential topics:

  • Introduction to Dynamic Creative
  • Advanced Dynamic Creative Workflow
  • Dynamic Creative Best Practices

Check out the blog post at the Agency Blog for all the details, including some important notes about getting certified.

 

Checking in with Bing…

Bing Ads is now offering a Top Movers report, which shows you which campaign groups are seeing the biggest changes (and why), what factors are contributing to fluctuations in performance variables like clicks and spend, and other juicy details to help you get better results. Get the scoop from the Bing Ads blog.

Bing is just full of exciting news this week, especially for small businesses. They’ve announced a partnership with RocketHub, allowing entrepreneurs to showcase their business models for a shot at $10,000 cash, $500 in Bing Ads credit, and one full year of account management consultation. Now, that’s a pretty sweet deal. More here.

If the Top Movers report wasn’t exciting enough for you, how about an Opportunities page? Here, you’ll get automatic optimization tips, along with previews predicting their impact on clicks and impressions, and…wait for it…you can take action directly from this page to implement promising changes. What’s not to love? Get the full story from the Bing Ads blog here.

 

And let’s see what’s happening in the far corners of the web…

If you’ve steered clear of automated rules in AdWords because you’re a control freak and can’t bear the thought of some automated mechanism toying with your carefully-crafted campaigns, this post from PPCHero might tempt you to hang up your control-freak hat. The article discusses four automated AdWords rules that are worth trying, including:

  • Increase PPC bids
  • Pause ineffective keywords
  • Receive emails for assisted clicks
  • Receive emails for ineffective ads

Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want an automated tool that pauses ineffective keywords. And emails for ineffective ads? Yes, please. If you’re not convinced, check out the full post for the reasons why you should at least give these automated tricks a try.

Google’s latest change that has far-reaching impacts is the loss of the ability to opt-out of close-variant keywords. The move makes sense given Google’s focus on intent and the many other search tweaks that have come down the line within the past year or two. The primary issue with this is that you can no longer adjust your bids for those close-match variants that might actually have lesser value, since they’re all rolled into one. But, 3Q Digital has some insights on what this means for advertisers and a possible solution. Read it here.

Alright, so I didn’t say anything about back-to-school this week (until just now, that is), so you know what that means…I’m gonna hop on board the holiday train! Before you start throwing shade my way, check out Rimm Kaufman’s video on Q2 2014 findings that can help you prep a little early for the upcoming holiday advertising rush. (And do take note that the article points out that the holidays are quickly approaching, so cut me a little slack for reminding you of the looming holiday madness.)

I can’t think of a finer way to end this week’s roundup than this fantastic post from WordStream. As you know, you can’t rely solely on PPC, or solely on organic search, or solely on social, and so on, to drive traffic and sales. And that’s what makes this post so fabulous: It’s a phenomenal list of 25 current strategies to drive more traffic to your website, encompassing paid search, social, blogging tricks, and more. Get the goods here.

And with that, I’m off to go start spreading my holiday cheer with the rest of the world. So have a fabulous weekend, and don’t forget to try some of those automated AdWords rules!