It’s August, and that means back-to-school shopping is in full swing, and it might – should I say it? – be time to start giving a bit of thought to your holiday ad campaigns. Don’t worry, I’m not filling this roundup with all kinds of holiday garb. Not yet, anyway. Give me time.

But, this week we are talking a lot about Product Listing Ads, both in Google and Bing. And, if you’re not yet using Bing’s PLAs, there’s a great tutorial in today’s roundup that will walk you through the setup process. Now that’s definitely something I’m going to recommend you get done, like, now, so it’s one less thing you’ll have to think about when the sound of school bells fades and sleigh bells start ringing.

Also in store for this fabulous Friday is a useful analogy about your car’s rear- and side-view mirrors and your PPC campaigns. Even if you’re the world’s worst driver, this is one tip you can put to good use both on the road and in your ad campaigns. I won’t spoil the fun; read on.

 

Checking in with the Google-verse…

Do you read product reviews if you’re considering an online purchase? Odds are, you do – or you at least have. Most shoppers will at least take note of the star rating and then dig deeper if an item earns a single-star rating. Google has, of course, taken note of this trend and is introducing star ratings with its Product Listing Ads, which will showcase the average star rating (scale of one to five) and the number of reviews, in a style similar to Amazon.com.

What’s interesting is that the data is aggregated from a number of sources, including merchants, third-party aggregators and even editorial sites. So it’s essentially an across-the-board look at the consensus from ratings around the web. There’s an initial grace period through October 2014 which allows any Product Listing Ad to display star ratings, but after that time you’ll have to enable this feature and share all review data with Google. Get more details at the Inside AdWords Blog here.

Google is also introducing another feature, Dynamic Sitelinks, which started rolling out globally last Thursday. These links are automatically-generated links that appear below your ad text, but Google recommends that you still continue adding and optimizing your own sitelinks. They expect impression share to be low for Dynamic Sitelinks, and the sitelinks you’ve set up will always show first except in cases in which Dynamic Sitelinks are likely to perform better.

Google shows Dynamic Sitelinks based on the relevance of the page to the user’s search query, and clicks on Dynamic Sitelinks are free – but you’ll still pay for the usual ad clicks on headlines and extensions. Read more about the rollout at Inside AdWords and get the whole story on Dynamic Sitelinks here.

Did you know that U.S. Hispanics lead in adoption of new devices? Now, consider the fact that this rapidly-growing population will make up 30% of the total U.S. population by 2050. This demographic had $1 trillion in buying power in 2010. In 2015, just five years later, they’re expected to have $1.5 trillion in buying power – an increase of 50% in five short years. You know what that means: It’s time to start seriously considering how to best target this audience.

Think with Google surveyed some leading marketers to gain some insights on what works:

  • Video and mobile are where it’s at. With a demographic that readily adopts new technology, reaching them with digital only makes sense.
  • Forget translation. Marketing to U.S. Hispanics doesn’t mean simply translating your website into Spanish. In fact, many members of this demographic are bi-lingual. The solution? Use both; give them choices.
  • Be culturally relevant. This one applies across the board to any target audience. Relevance isn’t the only thing that matters, but without it, you might as well have nothing.

And it’s not just about making sales, but tapping into a valuable market and an audience that’s constantly connected. In other words, reaching this valued group can do huge things for your brand. Check out the full story at Think with Google.

 

Around the block to check in on Bing…

Using a rather entertaining analogy about rear-view mirrors, side-view mirrors, blind spots and sore necks, Bing explains how to use your analytics dashboard and your Bing Ads dashboard as two components to your properly-configured mirror system in your car. Which, as it turns out, most of us don’t have configured correctly.

The thing is, side-view mirrors are supposed to help you see your blind spots, which would mean you didn’t have to whip your neck around like a startled bird every time you need to merge or switch lanes. In the PPC world, your analytics dashboard is like your rear-view mirror, while your Bing Ads dashboard helps you see your blind spots – minus the neck-whipping.

To do this, you need to capitalize on the Search Terms Report (STR), which shows you the keywords that users actually typed into the search bar before they were shown your ads. The great news is, this is now readily available in your Keywords tab. Find out more at the Bing Ads Blog.

Not only is it back-to-school shopping season, but 15 states are offering a sales tax holiday at a perfect, prime time for this busy shopping season. Not every state offers a break on sales tax for the same items, but Bing has put together a handy chart showing you precisely what states are offering sales tax holidays on what dates and for what items. What this means for you is a huge opportunity to tap into those shoppers who are trying to save a few extra bucks. And thanks to the geo-targeting options available to you in Bing and Google, targeting relevant shoppers is a cinch.

 

And for the rest of the web…a party in the cul-de-sac!

Google is all about the dynamic lately. In addition to Dynamic Sitelinks, Dymamic Contextual Ads is a recent addition. These ads are automatically generated based on your Merchant Center Data Feed. PPCHero reviews five reports for gaining insights into Dynamic Contextual Ads and optimization tips for getting the most of this incredibly helpful and time-saving feature. Check it out here.

If you’ve been sticking with Google for Product Listing Ads, why not dive into Bing, too? 3Q Digital has an awesome, step-by-step tutorial that walks you right through the process. But, because setup can be a bit of a pain, so you might wanna grab a cup of coffee first. Or, go bold with a Bloody Mary on this fine Friday morning. Ready? Check it out.

The time of day your ads are shown matters a lot in PPC advertising. Think about it like radio: What good is it to play ads targeting high school students during the school day? The same applies to PPC. WordStream takes a look at the daypart (blocks of time throughout a 24-hour period used for advertising) concept as it applies to PPC in a fantastic, 5-step approach backed by a slew of data. Get it here.

 

Sleigh bells, blind spots and free taxes. I’d say that’s a pretty good way to wrap up a week, don’t you? Make it a fabulous weekend!