It’s that time of the week again: Weekly PPC Update time! That means it’s Friday, and you get your weekly wonderful dose of me and all things PPC.

This week, we’re talking mobile, mobile, mobile. And local, with some excellent tips for optimizing your campaigns to capture local buyers. But even more exciting are some changes introduced by Google for managing large-scale campaigns – talk about dynamic. This is pure dynamite. Automated optimization at its finest.

While you’re likely heading out to enjoy the last few days of warm-enough-that-you-can-keep-your-toes weather as fall (a.k.a. it’s about to get arctic-freeze-cold very soon) is upon us, the few minutes you’ll spend with me this morning will be well worth your time, I promise. So before you head out for your weekend fun, here’s your weekly fill of worthy PPC reads.

 

An exciting week in Google-ville…

Local inventory ads, or ads that show shoppers whether items are in stock at nearby stores within ads, have been available in the U.S. since last fall, but Google is now expanding local inventory ads to more countries and formats. Specifically, local inventory ads are now available in:

  • U.K.
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Australia

While this isn’t a big deal for U.S.-based retailers who could already take advantage of it, worldwide retailers now have a new opportunity to engage potential buyers nearby. But there’s good news for those of you who operate only in the States, too: Support for store-only products has been expanded to desktop devices, meaning you can let desktop searchers know whether items are in stock at your nearest location. Visit Inside AdWords for the full story.

Mobile, mobile, mobile. Everyone’s talking about it, and your buyers are using it. But are you reaching them effectively with your mobile advertising campaigns? Google has released a Best Practices for Mobile Success checklist so you can gauge whether you’re on track and make sure you’re covering all the bases. Get it here.

Need to manage large-scale campaigns? Well, traditionally that’s been a crap-ton of work, as you probably well know. It takes experienced eyes and analytical minds to adequately create and manage huge search advertising campaigns for the best results. Google’s Tools for the Power User is a set of tools aimed at making that process simpler, and there are some new tools coming down the line to improve those processes even more.

The first of these new tools is ad customizers, which helps advertisers optimize creatives at scale. Ad customizers “adapt your text ads to the full context of a search or the webpage someone’s viewing,” by doing cool stuff like inserting keywords, changing the time at which a sale ends, or customize any text you define. A single ad can have hundreds of different variations – sheer brilliance. Read more here.

 

Let’s check in at Bing-town…

Bing is rolling out close variants in exact match, in the U.S. only, beginning this week. That means your campaigns will now permanently include minor grammatical variations, such as:

  • Plurals
  • Abbreviations
  • Acronyms
  • Spacing
  • Spelling errors

Now, while the whole close-variants saga has sparked serious controversy among PPC advertisers and thought leaders, Bing says that in previous testing, this strategy drove more highly qualified click volume to campaigns. Specifically, tests “resulted in a 2-3% increase in exact match clicks without impacting your ROI.” You can specify your preferences on this feature by going to “Advanced Settings” and then to “Keyword Matching Options.” Check out Bing’s full summary on the close-match variants feature roll-out here.

Now, here’s a feature that will be welcomed across the board: You can now share negative keyword lists across campaigns. This is a simple, super-useful time-saver that makes sense for similar campaigns that would naturally have the same set of negative keywords, allowing you to avoid the time-intensive task of rebuilding the same lists repeatedly. 5,000 negative keywords per list, and you can apply the same list to up to 20 campaigns. Get the scoop.

Local and mobile search have both been growing rapidly. You don’t have to look far to find someone (like, ahem, me…) harping relentlessly about why you need to be in the local or mobile search game. Truth is: You should have a strategy for both mobile and local search. And, they’re kind of the same thing. Sort of.

Think about it: Mobile advertising plays heavily on where the user is located, which often taps into GPS technology, and local retailers are hitting mobile users heavily to target prospects who are within the right geographical vicinity to take advantage of special offers. So, at the very least, the two are closely interwoven. Bing takes a look at this phenomenon with some tips on building a killer mobile strategy – which involves considering the user context, and that means – you guessed it – location, among other things. For the metrics that matter and more, click here.

 

And a walk around the block…

Search Engine Watch summarizes an analysis from The Search Agency (TSA) that looks at how top restaurants are creating their mobile experiences online with an SEO ranking scorecard showcasing the top 25 performers. Check it out.

Google’s not giving up on the Panda. If you haven’t been paying attention to organic while you focus on paid search…time to buck up, buttercup. The 27th Panda update is on its way, and if you have cringe-worthy content, you might wanna do something to rectify that, and quickly. Read the story at Search Engine Land.

If you have multiple locations with defined geographic areas and you’re using location extensions, you’re going to want to lock them in to avoid AdWords delivering the wrong location information in your ads. This is an actual problem encountered by a Clix Marketing client, and it’s a big one. Fortunately, there’s a fix – Clix has it here.

PPC advertising is, without a doubt, a frustrating undertaking at times. But this is often especially true for B2B software companies, faced with long sales cycles, tight niche audiences, and heavy-hitting competition. WordStream takes a look at PPC advertising in this niche with three key takeaways – read them at the Wordstream blog.

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be recovering from the awe of ad customizations all weekend. So if you see me, and I look like I’m in a daze, wave your hands in front of my face and try to snap me out of my wow-that’s-completely-and-utterly-amazing-stuff stupor, k? Thanks.

Until next week, my faithful PPC readers!