Hey, hey, another week, another PPC update to get underway. And in case you forgot, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Big week for retailers this week as procrastinating men everywhere were placing rush orders to get some worthy gifts for their significant others. Maybe women were too.

But, don’t put the chocolates and flowers away just yet. Because you know what’s right around the corner now? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, even Easter…there’s always a holiday to tie into a PPC promotion, some way, somehow, especially if you’re a creative thinker. Coincidentally, today’s update has some tips from Bing Ads to prepare your campaigns for Mother’s Day, intriguing insights from Google’s Firestarters event in NYC on creativity, and of course the usual features and capabilities updates that will make everything easier.

So, shall we?

 

Checking in with Google…

Google’s rolling along with its Best Practices series, which, I have to say, has been pretty impressive. If you’re not yet following Google for updates and new Best Practices resources, well, not to worry, because you can still get all the latest here every Friday. At any rate, this latest resource covers using Google AdWords and Google Analytics in conjunction with one another to gain even more actionable insights, such as:

  • Which parts of your account are driving actual real-world engagement
  • What keywords are attracting new users to your site
  • What messaging and landing pages are connecting with the different users on your site
  • How your business compares against the broader industry

This particular Best Practices guide includes ten useful Google Analytics reports, with links that take you straight to the reports within your own Google Analytics account. Check out this condensed one-page checklist for combining Google AdWords and Google Analytics here or the full version here.

Faster and easier URL tracking is now yours for the taking thanks to Upgraded URLs, aiming to provide an easier and faster way to manage and track important information about every click on your AdWords ads. Benefits of Upgraded URLs for advertisers are plenty, including:

  • Spend less time managing URL tracking updates
  • Reduce crawl and load times on your website
  • Gain additional insights about your ads through new ValueTrack parameters (More on that here.)

So what exactly is different about Upgraded URLs? “Upgraded URLs let you enter the landing page portion of your URL and your tracking information separately in AdWords. Now you have the option to update your tracking information at your account, campaign or ad group without having to re-set your ad stats.”

Previously, Destination URLs were comprised of two components: The landing page URL and the tracking code. Updates meant updating the entire Destination URL. But now, landing page URLs and tracking are entered separately in AdWords, so you can easily update tracking without going through a re-approval process and losing valuable data. Learn more about how these new Upgraded URLs are beneficial in this post.

On Wednesday, February 18th, Forrester and Google are teaming up for a webinar to discuss the real-time opportunity in retail SEM. The conversation will focus on Forrester’s recent global study of 240 retailers’ search campaigns and the opportunities discovered therein. Because most retailers aren’t taking advantage of existing real-time capabilities in digital marketing, there’s a significant opportunity for savvy marketers willing to get in the game. This is one you don’t want to miss, whether you’re in retail or you manage campaigns for retailers (or you just want to stay on top of the latest research). More details and to register, click here.

Doing more with less; it’s the name of the game everywhere you turn these days. Google brought together some brilliant minds from inside and outside the ad industry to reveal how they frame creative constraints and turn them into advantages at the second Firestarters event in NYC, which was attended by about 200 strategists and planners. Find out what authors Adam Morgan and Mark Barden, authors of A Beautiful Constraint, shared as the three core concepts behind their work here.

 

Hey Bing, what’s up?

Bing never misses an opportunity to offer tips and insights on maximizing your PPC campaigns for holidays and events. This week, Bing’s talking Mother’s Day with insights on how searchers will be searching for Mother’s Day gifts this year, what moms everywhere unwrapped last year, and what trends are influencing retail and technology.

Did you know, for instance, that Mother’s Day is the third largest retail holiday in the U.S.? Mother’s Day shoppers spent $20 billion in 2014 on their moms and other motherly figures in their lives. And, 76 percent of those surveyed said they plan to spend the same or more this year. Of course, not everyone is shopping just for mom:

  • 64% are shopping for their mother or stepmother
  • 23% shop for their wife
  • 9% shop for their daughters
  • 10% shop for other relatives

That opens the door to a whole realm of PPC advertising possibilities. The average planned spend is $163 per shopper, and they’re buying stuff like:

  • Greeting cards (81%)
  • Flowers (67%)
  • Special outings like brunch or dinner (57%)
  • Gift cards or gift certificates (43%)
  • Jewelry (32%)
  • Personal services like spas, facials, and massages (21%)

What’s more, 30 percent of shoppers plan to make purchases online, and those shoppers spend about 38 percent more than offline shoppers, with an average of $225.87 spent per shopper. More stats and tips on maximizing your PPC campaigns for Mother’s Day shopping here.

Don’t forget that on April 15, 2015 Bing Ads will no longer support tags (tracking codes) created in Campaign Analytics prior to July 2013. So what do you need to do? Migrate your campaign analytics to Universal Event Tracking before they expire. Learn more in this post.

Will voice search really emerge in 2015? And are we ready for it? Find out what James Murray has to say about the future of search and the role voice search will play in the future in this post on the Bing Ads Blog.

 

And on to the thought leader camp…

If you’re selling products, but not running Google Shopping campaigns, you’re missing the boat. PPC Hero points out that Shopping ads drove 51% more clicks and 45% greater ad spend year over year, per RKG’s Q4 2014 Digital Marketing Report. But real success, according to PPC Hero, is in effective feed management. Read this post for more.

What’s going on with the recent changes in Google Trusted Stores? Not to worry. WordStream saves the day with an informative post that breaks down the need-to-know information. Read it here.

Big Data is everywhere, and businesses are capitalizing on it to derive valuable insights that produce greater ROI. 3Q Digital discusses the many ways Big Data can be used to increase ROI in this post.

Ad rotation could change the statistical significance of the data you glean from AdWords Ad testing. Certified Knowledge discusses the four ad rotation settings and how it could be impacting your data. Check it out.

Clix Marketing offers a great tutorial on using pivot tables to visualize search query mismatches. Get it here.

The RKG Blog is on fire this year so far, and this crowd-sourced special guest post from Lauren Polinsky won’t disappoint. She talked with the stellar SEO teamies at Merkle | IMPAQT to round up 18 online marketing priorities for 2015. Take a look at the year ahead in both predictions and sound advice in this post.

Marketers tend to make two common mistakes when optimizing for ROI – Focusing too much on conversion rate optimization (CRO) and measuring marketing ROI based on the first transaction. WordStream explains and offers tips on using Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to calculate accurate ROI here.

 

If you’ve read this far on the first shot, that means you’re in the good and didn’t rush out to buy a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift because you forgot. If you’re revisiting this post after a rushed trip to the flower shop, well, you know. Your secret’s safe with me. Enjoy your weekend all!