Have you thought about your New Year’s resolutions yet? Lots of people are already thinking past the holiday shopping season and into 2015 – specifically, how they’re going to make their lives better in 2015, compared to 2014. Whether that means a major improvement or commitment to something completely off your usual path, or something as simple as eating less junk food, everyone at least considers making a New Year’s resolution.

Those that don’t make a formal resolution might make an informal commitment to try to do something better, stay more organized, make more money, or improve some other area of their lives. Admit it, you do it too.

It’s okay, though, if you want to stay in denial about whether you’re going to commit to doing anything better next year or if you’re totally satisfied with the status-quo. The point is, there are a ton of people thinking about doing something bigger or better in 2015, and they’re willing to spend a lot of money to make their goals a reality. A lot. As in $5.6 billion. And you know what that spells: huge opportunity for PPC advertisers to capture a piece of the self-improvement, bigger-and-better, New Year’s-resolution pie.

More on that, and lots of the other usual fun and informative PPC information in today’s roundup. Let’s get to it, shall we?

 

All that’s new in the world of Google…

Would you believe that people actually game Google advertising? Or, at least, they try to. If you’ve been around the block in the PPC industry, you’ve probably heard about hidden ads, or ads that aren’t actually displayed on-screen. While some of this is unintentional and “due to various ways people interact with content on the web,” some website owners hide ads intentionally to boost their impressions.

But, have no fear, Double Click Bid Manager is on top of it and actively blacklists suppliers of hidden ads and is always on the lookout for fraudsters. Making improvements to technology that helps DoubleClick identify these activities more accurately just means you’re less likely to be cheated out of authentic ad impressions on the network. Find out more about what Google is doing to detect and block fraudulent activity here.

The Agency Blog is also recapping the findings from Google’s research on the digital impact on in-store shopping. Basically, consumers are using their mobile devices to inform their buying decisions not just online, but in-store as well, and retailers should be tapping into the cross between the digital world and the real world to impact buyers. Check it out at the Agency Blog.

 

Let’s check in with Bing…

In September, Bing unveiled Close Variants in Exact Match and Close Variants in Broad Match Modifier, but it’s now implementing Close Variants in Phrase Match, as well – just for the U.S. market. They’re doing so because their other close variants initiatives have had positive impacts for advertisers, so they’ve been testing out the close-variant concept for phrase match and have had some success.

“We found that adding close variants to phrase match improves click volume for our customers -upwards of 5% overall – by better matching the searcher intent with advertisers,” according to the Bing Ads Blog. “The close variants feature is designed to help optimize for you and simplify your keyword matching, ensuring that your ad shows when the query varies only slightly from the keywords you have already selected.” More on this change here.

You can now bulk edit Keywords, Campaigns, Ad Groups, and Ads. This enables you to make large-scale changes within the Bing Ads web interface, simply by clicking the Edit menu from any applicable table within your Campaigns page. Bulk edit capabilities include:

  • Changes to match types, including Phrase Match, Exact Match, and Broad Match
  • Bid changes, destination URL changes, and status changes
  • Budget and status changes for campaigns
  • Bid and status changes for Ad Groups
  • Text and status changes for Ads

For a complete list of specific bulk editing capabilities and more details on this added functionality, check out this post.

Bing has a comprehensive resource on SlideShare with some deep audience insights about Bing’s audience, their shopping habits, and how PPC advertisers can reach them. Check it out.

Holiday shopping isn’t the only thing you should be thinking about; now’s the time to consider how you might capture shoppers looking for ways to make 2015 their best year ever. In fact, people spend $5.6 billion annually on products and services to help them achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Whether they actually use those products or services beyond January 2nd is another story.

Seriously, though, there’s a huge audience to capture when it comes to self-help, health and wellness, fitness and weight loss, and all kinds of stuff related to New Year’s resolutions. According to Bing, the top New Year’s resolutions from 2014 were:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Get organized
  3. Spend less, save more
  4. Enjoy life to the fullest
  5. Stay fit and healthy
  6. Learn something exciting
  7. Quit smoking
  8. Help others in following their dreams
  9. Fall in love
  10. Spend more time with family

That opens up a whole realm of possibilities for advertisers in a ton of different niches. Even if you’re running a PPC advertising campaign to get more subscribers to your financial planning advice blog, and you’re not actually selling anything, this is an excellent time of year to get major exposure. Find out more about tapping into the opportunities presented by the New Year here.

 

And a stroll around the web…

PPCHero offers some helpful tips for simplifying your bid optimization here.

Also from PPCHero, a pretty important piece if I do say so myself: a reminder to advertise to real people. Human beings. Seriously, I see far, far too many advertisers and even content and social media marketers completely, totally forgetting that they’re marketing to actual, living, breathing people. So check out this post and please, do us all a favor and don’t forget about your audience.

3Q Digital reveals five underused but highly effective strategies for Google Shopping campaigns. Get it here.

Mike Blumenthal is running a series on local marketing tactics that’s definitely worth checking out. Read more about it at Certified Knowledge.

Wondering what the deal is with dynamic search ads and whether you should actually be using them? Clix Marketing demystifies right here.

Is Google stealing your traffic? Hmmm. RKG reports on a new Google Shopping test that might be increasing CPC on branded search terms. Is it signaling a move toward Google Marketplace? Will Shopping Ads become the Knowledge Graph of the paid search world? Find out what RKG and WordStream have to say about these findings.

 

Well, I don’t know about you, but I need to get a head start on my New Year’s resolutions if I stand a chance at making anything happen. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so I better get started now. That’s on my agenda for the weekend…just as soon as I figure out what my New Year’s resolution actually is. Whatever your plans this weekend, stay warm if you’re in the freezing Northeast, and don’t forget to have fun!