So, you know how I was griping last week about Daylight Savings Time and how we were going to lose an hour of the precious weekend, and blah, blah, blah. You know, my usual banter. Well, I have to take it back. Why? Because this extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day is fantastic. I have to admit, there’s just no arguing with that. And now that we’ve suffered the loss of the precious hour of weekend, it’s all history.

So while we’re basking in the newfound sunlight (yea Spring!), let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the world of PPC this week.

The question of the week: Are we experiencing a Shopping Apocalypse? Read on to find out what that might mean.

 

Let’s check in on Google…

Google continues to expand its search capabilities beyond the simple keyword search. This week, Google announced the launch of Google Compare, a shopping comparison tool to help consumers find the best car insurance. The caveat? It’s only available in California…for now. But other states will soon follow, along with ratings and reviews, according to the AdWords Blog.

This is just the latest in a suite of Google Compare products designed to help consumers make better financial decisions. More on this here.

Are you applying audience insights to your search marketing efforts? For the past few weeks, the DoubleClick blog has been sharing insights from experts in the industry on doing just that. This week, they go a little deeper and share some best practices and first steps advertisers can take to make the most of the audience opportunity. Check out this post for a video featuring advice from Ben Wood from iProspect, Khurram Hamid of GlaxoSmithKline and Steve Chester from the IAB UK, all who emphasize the importance of integrating audience targeting into your campaigns – today.

Are we in the midst of a shopping apocalypse? Or are we witnessing an opportunity for a new kind of physical and virtual engagement? These are the questions pondered by John Boiler, founder of 72andSunny, in this month’s Creative Shortlist at Think with Google, as he analyzes the convergence of retail and mobile. Read this post for his insights on digital campaigns by the likes of Target and Topman.

 

What’s going on in the land of Bing?

What’s up with this whole Unified Device Targeting (UDT) thing at Bing? If you aren’t in the loop, Bing is rolling out an upgrade to its advertising management tool on March 23, 2015. Basically, it provides a more streamlined way for advertisers to target searchers, no matter what types of devices they’re searching on.

What this means for advertisers is that all campaigns will now target all devices by default.

Say what? Not to fear, it’s still very simple to adjust your bids to increase impressions on specific devices. In a nutshell, Bing says this change actually won’t impact most advertisers. “You only need to make changes to your current campaigns if you have multiple instances of the same campaign which target smartphones in one instance and PC/Tablets separately in another instance.”

You should, however, make sure your website and landing pages still function as they should on mobile screens.

For more details on how this works and what you need to change, if anything, about your campaigns, read this post.

In another post, guest contributor Lisa Raehsler offers five best practices for optimizing your campaigns with unified device targeting. Her tips include:

  • Assessing your device targeting settings for your current campaigns.
  • Identify any mobile-preferred ads, where you’ve specified that you prefer the ads are shown on mobile devices.
  • Create a spreadsheet or a list that outlines your top-performing campaigns.
  • Assess your campaign structure on these top-performing campaigns, and adjust as necessary.
  • Merge duplicate mobile and desktop campaigns into a single primary campaign.

Want to lower your advertising costs? Heck yeah. This post from the Bing Ads Blog offers some tips for lowering your advertising costs by avoiding common pitfalls, such as:

  • Don’t forget to use negative keywords to better-qualify your traffic.
  • Test out some long-tail keyword phrases to see how they perform.
  • Dedicate the most time and energy to your top-performing campaigns to get the most out of your budget.

This is the first in a series covering PPC goals, so stay tuned for more tips from Bing. And of course, I’ll make sure you’re in the loop.

 

And on to the rest of the web…

What are the best ad extensions you should be using above all else? PPCHero reveals. Read it here.

PPCHero also takes a look at Google’s dynamic structured snippets, automated extensions that display industry-specific, structured information about the products and services featured on the advertiser’s website, and how this feature can benefit your campaigns. (Note: Dynamic structured snippets are only available for retail, hotel, and flight searches at present, but other verticals are slated to roll out later in 2015.) Check out this post for details.

How do SEO and SEM overlap in the SERPs? 3Q Digital reveals three ways in this post, based on Caitlin Halpert’s presentation at SMX West. For the first part in this 3-part series, click here.

You’ve gotta prioritize your PPC goals. As mentioned earlier in today’s post, prioritization is pretty much imperative for maximizing your budget. You need focus, direction…and the ability to make the best use of your limited time. That’s the focus of this post from Clix Marketing, which reveals the three times failing to prioritize your goals can hurt your business.

As you know, the search landscape is changing rapidly. Targeting isn’t just about keywords anymore; it’s far more sophisticated than that. WordStream takes a look at one such example of the shifting landscape: Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs). While RLSAs have been around since 2013, they’re still widely underused. If you’re not using them yet, you can change that now by finding out everything you need to know about RLSAs in this post.

 

I think we can be fairly confident that we’ll survive the Shopping Apocalypse. At least, most of us will. I don’t know what your plans are, but I plan to take advantage of the first few rays of sunshine this spring. This winter has been brutal for those of us in the Northeast. Whatever your plans, make your weekend as fantastic as always. Until next week, my faithful PPC readers!