How To Remarket 70+ Ways Using Segments and Conditions in Google Analytics

Remarketing in Google Analytics Using Conditions and Segments

I know what you’re thinking. Can you really remarket more than 70 different ways using segments in Google Analytics?  Yes, you can!  Actually, when you combine the methods I’ll cover today, there are many more types of Remarketing lists you can build!  So the total number is much greater than 70.

My post today is meant to introduce you to segments in Google Analytics (GA), explain how you can use them to remarket to people who already visited your site, and provide important Remarketing tips along the way.  I hope once you read this post, you’re ready to kick off some Remarketing campaigns to drive more sales, leads, phone calls, etc.

What Are Segments in Google Analytics?
Many digital marketers know about Remarketing already.  That’s where you can reach people that already visited your website via advertising as they browse the web.  For example, if John visited Roku’s website, browsed various products, and left, then Roku could use Remarketing to advertise to John as he browses the Google Display Network (GDN).  The Google Display Network is a massive network of sites that run Google advertising, and includes Google-owned properties like YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, etc.  According to Google, the GDN reaches 90% of internet users worldwide.

Remarketing via The Google Display Network (GDN)

By the way, if you’ve ever visited a website and then saw ads from that website as you browsed the web, then you’ve been remarketed to.  As you can guess, this can be an incredibly powerful way to drive more sales, leads, etc.  It can also be extremely frustrating and/or shocking to users.  So be careful when crafting your Remarketing strategy!

When Remarketing first rolled out, you could only set up Remarketing lists in the AdWords interface.  That was ok, but didn’t provide a massive amount of flexibility.  That’s when Google enabled marketers to set up Remarketing lists via Google Analytics.  That opened up an incredible amount of opportunity to slice and dice visitors to create advanced-level Remarketing lists.  For example, you could create Remarketing lists based on users who visited a certain section of your website, or lists based on users completing a certain conversion goal, etc.  Needless to say, tying Google Analytics to Remarketing was an awesome addition.

Now, I started using Google Analytics Remarketing functionality immediately to help clients build advanced Remarketing lists, but I had a feeling that Google was going to make it even more powerful.  And they did.

Along Came Segments… Remarketing Options Galore
You might already be familiar with segments in Google Analytics, which was originally named “Advanced Segmentation”.  In July of 2013, Google released a new version in Google Analytics and simply called it “Segments”.  But don’t get fooled by the simpler name.  Segments enable marketers to slice and dice their users and traffic to view reporting at a granular level.  For example, I often set up a number of segments for clients, based on their specific goals. Doing so enables me to quickly view granular reporting by removing a lot of the noise residing in standard reports.

Using Segments to Create Remarketing Lists in Google Analytics

But starting in January of 2014, Google rolled out an update that enabled marketers to use those segments to create Remarketing lists.  Yes, now marketers had an incredible number of options available when creating Remarketing lists.  In addition, you could easily import segments you are already using! This means you could leverage the hard work you’ve already put in when creating segments in Google Analytics.

Although I thought I had a lot of flexibility in creating Remarketing lists leading up to that point, the ability to use segments opened the targeting flood gates.  I remember checking out the list of options when segments for Remarketing first launched, and I was blown away.

For example, using segments you could create Remarketing lists based on:

  • Demographics like age, gender, language, location, and more.
  • Technology options like operating system, browser, device category, mobile device model or branding, and more.
  • Behavior like the number of sessions per user, days since last session, transactions, and session duration.
  • “Date of First Session” where you could create lists based on the initial session date or a range (sessions that started between two dates).
  • Traffic Sources based on campaign, medium, source, or keyword.
  • Ecommerce options like transaction id, revenue, days to transaction, product purchased, or product category.
  • And you can combine any of these options to create even more advanced Remarketing lists.

 

Now, the options listed above are based on the major categories of segments in Google Analytics.  But you can also set Remarketing lists based on conditions.  Using conditions, you could leverage many of the dimensions or metrics available in Google Analytics to build advanced Remarketing lists.  Actually, there are so many options via “conditions” that I can’t even list them all here in this post.

For example, there are eight major categories of dimensions and metrics you could choose from, including Acquisition, Advertising, Behavior, Custom Variables, Ecommerce, Time, Users, and Other.  And each category has a number of dimensions or metrics you can select to help craft your Remarketing lists.

Using Conditions to Create Remarketing Lists in Google Analytics

Note, it can definitely be overwhelming to review the list of options when you first check this out.  Don’t worry, I provide some tips for getting started later in this post.  For now, just understand that you can use segments and conditions in Google Analytics to craft Remarketing lists based on a number of factors (or a combination of factors).  Basically, you have the power to remarket however you like.  And that’s awesome.

Examples of What You Can Do
Enough with the introduction.  Let’s get specific.  I’m sure you are wondering how segments in Google Analytics can be used in the real-world.  I’ll provide a few examples below of Remarketing lists you can build to get back in front of people who already visited your website.  Note, the lists you build should be based on your specific business and website.  I’m just covering a few options below so you can see the power of using segments to build Remarketing lists.

Example 1: Remarket to users who came from a specific referral path (page).
Imagine you knew that certain referring webpages drove a lot of high-quality traffic on a regular basis.  Based on the quality of traffic coming through those referring pages, you decide that you would love to remarket to those users as they browse the web (since you have a strong feel for the type of user they are based on the content at hand).

Using segments, you could create a Remarketing list based on the original referral path (i.e. the referring pages).  And once that list reaches 100 members, then you can start getting targeted ads in front of those users and driving them to your preferred landing page (whether that’s current content, campaign landing pages, etc.)

Using Referring Path to Create Remarketing Lists

And if you find several referring pages that target similar categories of content, then you could use Boolean operators to combine those pages from across different websites.  For example, {referring path A} AND {referring path B}.  For example, if three referring pages are all about Category A, then you could combine them to create a Remarketing list.  You can also use regular expressions to match certain criteria.  Yes, the sky’s the limit.

Using Boolean Operators to Create Advanced Remarketing Lists

Example 2: Reach a certain demographic that has visited your website.
Let’s say you just launched a new product targeting 18-25 year olds and wanted to remarket to users who already visited your website that fit into this category.  You know they showed some interest in your company and products already (since they already visited your site), so you want to reach them via display advertising as they browse the web.

Using segments, you could create a Remarketing list based on age using the Demographics category.  Simply click the checkbox next to the age category you want to target.

Creating Remarketing Lists Based on Demographics

Or to get even more targeted, you could combine age with gender to test various messaging or visuals in your ads.  Going even further, you could add location as another selection to target users based on age, gender, and geographic location (down to the city level if you wanted).

Combining Demographics to Create Advanced Remarketing Lists

Example 3: Target users of specific campaigns, ad groups, or keywords.
Let’s say you are already using AdWords to drive targeted users to your website.  Using segments in Google Analytics, you could build a Remarketing list based on specific campaigns, ad groups, or keywords.  For example, if you have an ad group targeting a specific category or product, then you could create a list containing the users that already searched Google and clicked through your ads related to that category.  It’s a great way to get back in front of a targeted audience.

Creating Remarketing Lists Based on Previous Campaigns

And by combining the targeting listed above with ecommerce conditions like the number of transactions or amount of revenue generated, you could create advanced Remarketing lists targeting very specific types of users.

Creating Remarketing Lists Based on Revenue

Example 4: Pages or Page Titles
If you have been building a lot of new content and want to reach those visitors as they browse the web, then you could create a Remarketing list based Pages or Page Titles.  For example, let’s say you have 25 blog posts about a certain category of content.  They rank very well, have built up a nice amount of referral traffic, etc.  You could build a Remarketing list by select a grouping of pages via urls or via page titles. Then you could reach those users as they browse the web and drive them to a targeted landing pages, knowing they were interested in a certain post (or group of posts) about a certain subject.

Creating Remarketing Lists Based on Page Titles

And you can combine those pages with conversion goals to add users to a list that completed some type of important action on the site.  For example, users that signed up for your email newsletter, users that triggered an event, downloaded a study, etc.

Creating Remarketing Lists Based on Page Titles and Conversion

Remarketing Tips

Based on the examples listed above, I hope you see the power in using segments and conditions to craft Remarketing lists.  But as I said earlier, it can quickly become overwhelming (especially for marketers new to Remarketing).  Below, I’ve listed several important tips to keep in mind while crafting your campaigns.

  1. Remarketing Lists Require 100 Members
    A list requires at least 100 members before you can start showing ads to users.  Keep this in mind when building lists to ensure you can reach that number.  If not, you will never get back in front of those users.
  2. Start Simple, Then Increase in Complexity
    Based on the 100 member requirement, start with simpler Remarketing lists and increase your targeting as you get more comfortable with Remarketing.  Don’t start with the most granular targeting possible, only to have a list of 3 people.
  3. Refine Your Tracking Snippet
    Google requires that you refine your Google Analytics tracking code in order take advantage of Remarketing.  Review the documentation to ensure you have the proper technical setup.
  4. Craft a Strategy First, and Your Lists Should Support Your Strategy
    Don’t create lists for the sake of creating lists. Always start by mapping out a strong Remarketing strategy before jumping into list creation. Your strategy should dictate your Remarketing lists, and not the other way around.  Spend time up front mapping out who you want to target, and why.  And once you have a solid plan mapped out, you can easily build your lists via Google Analytics segments and conditions.
  5. Use Display Advertising In Addition to Text Ads
    Remarketing enables you to use both image ads and text ads.  Definitely use both when crafting your campaigns.  There are a number of sizes and formats you can use.  I recommend hiring a designer to build your ads unless you have in-house staff that is capable of designing high-quality ads.  Use image ads where possible to grab the user’s attention and provide text ads as a backup when a site doesn’t support image ads.  You don’t have to choose one or the other.
  6. Measure Your Results! Don’t “Set It and Forget It”.
    Remarketing is advertising.  And advertising campaigns should have a goal.  Don’t simply set up Remarketing without knowing the intended action you want users to take.  Instead, make sure you set up conversion goals to track how those users convert.  Do not set up the campaign and let it run without analyzing the results.  Understand the ROI of the campaign.  That’s the only way you’ll know if it worked, if the campaign should keep running, and if you should base other campaigns on the original.

 

Summary – New and Powerful Ways to Remarket
After reading this post, I hope you see the power in using segments and conditions for creating Remarketing lists.  In my opinion, too many marketers keep going after new eyeballs and easily forget about the eyeballs that already showed an interest in their company, products, or services.  I believe that’s a mistake.  Instead, marketers can craft advanced Remarketing lists to get back in front of a targeted audience.  Doing so provides another chance at converting them.

Remember, a warm lead is always more powerful than a cold call.  Good luck.

GG

 

AdWords for Twitter – How To Set Up Keyword Targeting Campaigns in Twitter Ads [Tutorial]

Keyword Targeting in Twitter Ads

There was a big announcement on Wednesday in the advertising world.  Twitter finally launched a keyword targeting solution for Twitter Ads.  Yes, that means AdWords-like targeting for Twitter.  Many in the industry (including myself) have thought for a long time that Twitter should launch something like this… and it’s finally here.

As soon as I heard the news, I ran to my Twitter Advertising dashboard to jump in.  Based on setting up my first set of campaigns, I decided to write this post to detail how keyword targeting works in Twitter, how to set up a campaign, explain the targeting options you have, etc.  My hope is that after you read this post, you’ll be off and running with your first AdWords-like Twitter campaign. :)

What is Keyword Targeting in Twitter?
Let’s start with a quick introduction.  With this new release, advertisers can now promote certain tweets based on keywords that users are searching for on Twitter, based on keywords used in their tweets, or based on keywords found in tweets users recently engaged with.  When a match is made, your promoted tweet has an opportunity to win placement either in a user’s Twitter stream or in the search results (for when someone searches Twitter).

A Promoted Tweet looks like this:
Example of Promoted Tweet

 

Creating Your First Campaign
In your Twitter Ads dashboard, you should click “Create campaign” in the upper left-hand corner.

Create a keyword targeting campaign in Twitter Ads

 

Next, click the “Promote your Tweets” button to select a promoted tweets campaign.

 

Select campaign type in Twitter Ads

 

Once you select a promoted tweets campaign, you should click the button labeled “Target by keywords” to create a keyword targeting campaign.

 

Select keyword targeting in Twitter Ads

 

Your Options (Feed and Search)
When you decide to launch a keyword targeting campaign in Twitter, you’ll have to decide if you want to target the search results or users’ timelines.  I like that Twitter forces you to break out campaigns by type, since I would have recommended doing that anyway.   This will enable you to better analyze the effectiveness of your targeting (very similar to breaking out display network and search campaigns in AdWords).

Target search or users' timelines

 

Keyword Match Types
Next, you’ll need to address the keywords you will target for your campaign.  Similar to AdWords or Bing Ads, you have several options when targeting keywords.  You can choose unordered match (which is similar to broad match), phrase match, or exact match.  Unordered match will match your keywords, but those keywords can be in any order.  Phrase match requires the keywords be in the exact order you list, but other keywords can be at the beginning or end of the query.  And exact match requires a perfect match on the keywords you enter – without any other keywords in the query.  Exact match is the most restrictive of the match types and is only available when you target the search results.

Choosing keywords for your Twitter Ads campaign

 

Note, you can also import keywords as comma separated, or line separated (which is a nice option for importing keywords from other platforms).

 

Importing keywords in Twitter Ads

 

Negatives
If you are familiar with paid search advertising, then you already know the power of using negatives.  Well, Twitter Ads enable you to include several types of negatives, including negative broad match, negative phrase match, and negative exact match.  Note, negatives are only available when you target the search results versus users’ timelines.  This makes sense, since most tweets don’t contain a few words (like a search query does).  When you use a negative, it tells Twitter to not show your ad when the negative appears in a search query.

Using negatives in keyword targeted campaigns in Twitter Ads

 

Your Ad, I Mean Tweet
When you use keyword targeting, you are setting up a “Promoted Tweets” campaign.  So, you aren’t setting up ads.  Instead, you are choosing a specific tweet to promote.  That’s important to understand or you can make the mistake of tweeting out an ad-sounding message during the campaign creation process.  When you set up your keyword targeting campaign, you can select a tweet to specifically promote from your stream.  You can also create a new tweet to promote, if that makes more sense for your campaign.  And yes, that makes the most sense, since you will want to tag your destination URL’s so your analytics package can accurately report your campaign statistics.

Selecting a tweet to promote in Twitter Ads

 

Personally, I think Twitter can learn something from Facebook here.  Using Facebook Ads, you can create an unpublished post to promote, and then use various targeting methods to reach your audience.  I would love to have that ability using Twitter Ads.  For example, an advertiser could create specific tweets to promote that wouldn’t necessarily show up in their stream (that all of their followers would see).  That would also enable you to split test your tweets more effectively.  Hey, it’s just an idea. :)
Targeting Options for Keyword Campaigns in Twitter Ads

Location Targeting
Once you choose your keywords, set negatives, and choose your promoted tweet, you can target your audience in a number of ways.  For example, you can use location targeting to limit your promoted tweets to users in a specific geographic region.  As of now, you can target users by country, state, and metro area.  For example, you can target the United States, New Jersey, or the Philadelphia Metro area.  Note, you cannot target at a smaller city or town level (at least yet).

Location Targeting in Twitter Ads

Target by Gender
In addition to using location targeting, you can also target by gender.  There are radio buttons for “any gender”, “male only”, and “female only”.  Twitter infers gender by the tweets shared by users, by their profiles, and by their follow graphs.  Using gender targeting, you can test response rates by gender (by splitting out campaigns by gender).  That’s exactly what I did when setting up my first keyword targeting campaign.

Gender Targeting in Twitter Ads

Device Targeting
Keyword targeting campaigns also enable you to target by device.  For example, you can target desktop and laptops, iOS, Android,  Blackberry, and “other mobile devices”.  You can use this targeting capability to split mobile and desktop campaigns, to target specific platforms, etc.

Device Targeting in Twitter Ads

 

Bid and Budget
At the bottom of the campaign setup screen are fields for campaign budget, daily budget, and maximum bid.  You can also use standard or accelerated delivery for your daily budget, which will either spend your budget as fast as possible starting at midnight, or spread that budget throughout the day.  When setting a maximum CPC, Twitter will supply a suggested bid range.

Setting a bid and budget in Twitter Ads

Once you have entered your keywords, chosen a tweet to promote, set up targeting, and set your bid and budget, then you are ready to rock and roll.  Simply click the “Create Campaign”  button at the bottom of the screen to launch your campaign!

Long Overdue, But Glad Keyword Targeting is Here
Although many in the industry believe this is long overdue, I’m thrilled that Twitter has finally released keyword targeting for Twitter Ads.  Over the past few days, I’ve been setting up various campaigns and testing performance, engagement, etc.  I plan to write more posts in the near future, based on the results of my initial campaigns.  So stay tuned.  In the meantime, I recommend jumping in yourself.  You can set up your first keyword targeting campaign today by following the instructions I included above.  Good luck.

GG

 

 

You Might Be Losing Out – How To Make Sure Sitelink Extensions in Bing Ads Are Tracked Properly [Tutorial]

Bing Ads released sitelink extensions in October of 2012, which enables advertisers to provide additional links in their text ads.  Google AdWords has had ad sitelinks for some time, so this was a great addition by our friends at Bing Ads.  For example, if you were an ecommerce website selling sporting goods, you could provide ad sitelinks for your top categories, like football, baseball, basketball, etc. right beneath your standard text ad.  Sitelink extensions are great usability-wise, while they also provide a nice advantage in the SERPs (since they take up more real-estate).

Here are two examples of sitelink extensions in action (2 Formats):
Example of Sitelink Extensions in Bing Ads for Lucky Jeans

 

Example of Sitelink Extensions in Bing Ads for Adidas

So, let’s say you set up sitelink extensions for some of your campaigns, and you’re basking in the glory of those beautiful ads (and the click through they are getting).  But, maybe your reporting isn’t lining up clicks and visits-wise.  Sure, there are several reasons that could be happening, but maybe it got worse since you launched sitelink extensions.  Well, the reason could very well be the lack of tagging on your ad sitelinks.  If those additional URLs aren’t tagged properly, then your analytics package could very well be reporting that traffic as organic search.  And that would be shame.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through why this could be happening, and how to rectify the situation.  After reading this post, you might just run to Bing Ads today and make changes.  Let’s jump in.

Sitelink Extensions and Tracking Parameters
In Bing Ads, you can include sitelink extensions several ways.  First, you can add them manually via the Bing Ads web UI.  Second, you can use Bing Ads Editor to add them locally, and then upload them to your account.  And third, and possibly the top reason ad sitelinks don’t get tagged, is that you can import them from AdWords via the “Import from Google” functionality.  Note, the import from AdWords functionality is awesome, so don’t get me wrong.  It’s just that it’s easy to import ad sitelinks and not know they are there.  Then you run the risk of uploading untagged sitelink extensions.

How To Create Sitelink Extensions in Bing Ads

So, you need to make sure that your ad sitelinks are tagged properly, based on the analytics package you are using to track campaigns.  For example, if you are using Google Analytics, then you need to make sure that you identify each click coming from your sitelink extensions.  That means you should be appending tracking parameters to your sitelink URLs.  For Google Anlaytics, you can use URL Builder to tag your landing page URLs.

Tagging Sitelink URLs Using URL Builder

 

How To Tag Your Ad Sitelinks in Bing Ads
Again there are various ways to include sitelink extensions in your campaigns, from using the web UI to using Bing Ads Editor to using the “Import from Google” functionality.  I’ll quickly cover each method below to make sure you know where to apply your tracking parameters.

1.  The Bing Ads Web UI
You can currently apply ad sitelinks at the campaign level in Bing Ads.  When you access a campaign, you can click the “Ad Extensions” tab to include ad sitelinks.  Once there, you can click “Create” to add a new sitelink extension.  If you have other sitelink extensions set up across campaigns, you will see them listed (and you can apply those to your campaign if it makes sense).

Creating Sitelink Extensions Using the Bing Web UI

If you want to add a completely new sitelink extension, then click “Create New”.  When adding the sitelink extension, Bing Ads provide a field for link text and then a field for the destination URL.  When you add the URL, make sure your tracking parameters are added!  If not, your visits will show up as “Bing Organic” versus “Bing CPC”.  Good for the SEO team, but not so good for the paid search team.  :)

 

Adding Sitelinks Using the Bing Web UI

 

2. Bing Ads Editor
I love Bing Ads Editor.  It’s an awesome way to manage your campaigns locally and then sync with the Bing Ads web UI.  And as you can guess, there is functionality for adding and editing sitelink extensions in Bing Ads Editor.  You can access your sitelink extensions by clicking the “Ad Extensions” tab for any selected campaign.

Once you click the “Ad Extensions” tab, you can add sitelink extensions by clicking the “Create a Sitelink Extension” button from the top menu.  Then similar to the web UI, you can add the link text and the destination URL.  When adding your destination URLs, make sure your tracking parameters are added.

Adding Sitelinks Using the Bing Ads Editor

 

3. Import from Google (in Bing Ads Editor)
As I explained earlier, I love having the ability to import campaigns, changes, etc. from AdWords directly into Bing Ads Editor.  It makes managing campaigns across both platforms much more efficient.  But, I’ve seen advertisers import campaigns from AdWords that have sitelink extensions, but they don’t realize it.  Then they upload their campaigns to Bing Ads and don’t understand that prospective customers are clicking their sitelinks, visiting their sites, etc., but those visits aren’t being tracked correctly.  Again, those visits will show up as “Bing Organic” in your analytics reporting.

When you go through the process of importing your campaigns, make sure you double check the “Ad Extensions” tab for the newly-imported campaign.  You just might find sitelink extensions sitting there.  And yes, they very well could be left untagged.  Make sure you add your tracking parameters before uploading them to Bing Ads (from Bing Ads Editor).

You can also uncheck the “Ad Extensions” radio button when importing your campaigns from AdWords.  Then you can add your sitelink extensions directly in Bing Ads Editor (via the second method I covered earlier in this post.

Importing Sitelink Extensions in Bing Ads Editor

 

Sitelinks Are Powerful, But Only If They Are Tracked
Sitelinks extensions are a great addition to Bing Ads, and they absolutely can yield higher click through rates.  But, you need to make sure those clicks are being tracked and attributed to the right source – your Bing Ads campaigns!  I recommend checking your campaigns today to make sure your sitelink extensions have the proper tracking parameters appended.  If not, you can quickly refine those links to make sure all is ok.   And when everything is being tracked properly, you just might see a boost in visits, orders, and revenue being attributed to Bing Ads.  And that’s always a good thing.

GG

 

 

Enhanced Campaigns and Local Search | How To Use Bid Adjustments with Radius Targeting to Customize Bids Per Location [Tutorial]

Enhanced Campaigns in Google AdWords

On February 6th, Google AdWords released a major update to its platform called Enhanced Campaigns.  Advertisers can upgrade to enhanced campaigns now (as an option), but all campaigns will be upgraded by mid-2013.  Enhanced campaigns provide a radically different way to target by device, adjust bids for various targeting options, set up versatile ad extensions, etc.  Therefore, if you’re running paid search campaigns in AdWords, you should get up to speed sooner than later.

The major changes to AdWords with enhanced campaigns include the ability to combine targeting methods in one single campaign versus having to break out separate campaigns.  For example, in the past, it was optimal to separate your desktop and mobile campaigns.  This would enable you to tailor creative, drive users to mobile optimized pages, bid differently, etc.

In addition, if you were targeting various locations, you would also break those out to different campaigns.  For example, you might have had one campaign targeting New York and another New Jersey (in separate campaigns).  Using enhanced campaigns, you can use bid adjustments to control bidding per location versus having to break them out to additional campaigns.

Those are just two of the changes that enhanced campaigns bring, and you should definitely read up on the rest.  Again, you will be forced to upgrade at some point, and you don’t want to frantically get familiar with enhanced campaigns at the last minute.

Local Businesses and Radius Targeting
So, how do enhanced campaigns impact location targeting for local businesses?  Well, if you are targeting users located near your physical location, then enhanced campaigns provide a great way to control bids by location.  Specifically, you can use radius targeting to adjust bids based on the distance from your store, office, etc.

Radius Targeting in Google AdWords
Radius Targeting in Google AdWords

For example, let’s say you ran a plumbing service in the Princeton Area.  Since you need to travel to customer locations, and many need help immediately, you know that prospective customers located within 15 miles of your office are highly valuable targets.  But, you also know that prospective customers as far out as 30 miles can work for your business too.  But, time equals money, and 30 miles out isn’t ideal when you factor in travel time.  Again, this is all hypothetical, but you get the picture.

So, based on this situation, you could use enhanced campaigns to target users 15 miles out and 30 miles out, and set bids accordingly (using bid adjustments).  A bid adjustment lets you increase or decrease your bids, based on certain criteria.  In this case, you might set a standard bid that your 15 mile radius targeting could use, and then decrease your bid for users located up to 30 miles away.  Then AdWords would dynamically adjust your bids based on the location of the person searching for your services.

Below, I’m going to show you how to set this up in an enhanced campaign.  Note, you would obviously need to first upgrade your campaign to “enhanced” before being able to implement the steps listed below.  Google has provided an upgrade guide in case you want to upgrade one of your campaigns prior to following the steps below.

How to Use Radius Targeting in Enhanced Campaigns (with Bid Adjustments):

1. Access one of your campaigns that has been upgraded to an “enhanced campaign” and click the “Settings” tab.

Campaign Settings in Enhanced Campaigns

2. Click the “Locations” tab within your campaign settings.  Then click “Edit locations”.

Location Tab in Campaign Settings (in Enhanced Campaigns)

3. This is where you can add locations to target.  In the field labeled, “In what locations do you want your ads to appear”, enter the city or zip code you want to target.  For example, I will enter “Princeton, NJ”.   AdWords will autopopulate locations based on what you’re entering. When you see the city you want to target, click the “Nearby” link.

Adding a location to target in enhanced campaigns.

4. Click “Radius Targeting” in the top row of links and re-enter the city and state combination.  Then choose a distance away from your location for the first target location.  Let’s enter 15 miles and click “Search”.

Using Radius Targeting in Enhanced Campaigns

5. AdWords will show the custom location underneath the radius targeting field.  You can then click “Add” to add that location as a target for your campaign.  Click “Done” at the bottom of the location targeting window after you have added the first location.

Adding Radius Targeting in Enhanced Campaigns

6. But we’re not done yet.  We need to add a second targeting option for 30 miles away.  Then we’ll adjust bids based on location.    You should see your first location in the “Edit Locations” window (with the radius targeting you just selected).  You should only see one location at this point.  In order to add another location target, click the “Nearby” link next to the first location target.  This will bring up the location targeting window again.

Adding a second location target in enhanced campaigns.

7. Similar to what we did earlier, click the “Radius Targeting” link in the top list of links.  Then enter your city and state combination, or zip code, and enter a radius.  This time, we will enter 30 miles.  Remember, we want to still reach users up to 30 miles away, but we don’t want to pay as much per click.  Once you click “Search”, AdWords will show your location with the radius you selected.  Then simply click “Add” to add that as a second location target.  Click “Done” at the bottom of the location targeting window after you have added the second location.

Adding a second location target using radius targeting in enhanced campaigns.

8. Below the “Edit Locations” window, you should see your two location targets (one for 15 miles out and the other for 30 miles out).  You should see a column for “Bid adj.” which will enable you to include bid adjustments per target.  Our strategy is to bid normally for users located up to 15 miles out from our location, but we want to lower that bid by 30% for users located up to 30 miles out.

To do this, simply click the dashed line in the Bid adj. field for the 30 mile target and select “Decrease by” and then enter 30 in the percentage field.  Click “Save” to lock in the bid adjustment for the location target.

Adding a bid adjustment in an enhanced campaign.

Including bid adjustments for location targets in enhanced campaigns.


That’s it!
  You just set up a smart scenario for bidding normally for users located closer to your location, while lowering your bids for users outside your typical service zone.  Dare I say we’ve just covered an enhanced way to bid.  :)

Summary – Use the (Local) Power of Enhanced Campaigns
What I explained above is just one way for local businesses to take advantage of enhanced campaigns.  You can also mix various targeting methods with bid adjustments to create advanced-level targeting scenarios.  For example, combining desktop, mobile, and location to ensure you are bidding appropriately for the right devices, and for the right locations.  But that’s for another day, and another tutorial.

For now, I recommend familiarizing yourself with enhanced campaigns, and testing various location targeting scenarios.  Use bid adjustments by location to ensure you are bidding correctly, based on the user’s location.  Then you can expand from there.  Good luck.

GG

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) in Google AdWords – How Your Technical SEO Problems Just Impacted Your SEM Campaigns

Dynamic Search Ads in Google AdWords (DSA)

In October of 2011, Google began testing Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) in AdWords.  It was a bold move and signaled a change in how paid search could operate in the future.  Using dynamic search ads, advertisers could greatly expand their reach by enabling AdWords to match queries with content in Google’s organic index.  Instead of simply setting up keyword-based campaigns, you could dynamically provide relevant ads to users searching for content residing on your site.

Last week AdWords released Dynamic Search Ads to all users, so now everyone can expand their reach using DSA’s.  But before you run and set up your campaigns, there’s a catch you need to be aware of.  Your content must be indexed in Google’s organic search index in order for it to be eligible for dynamic search ads.  Yes, your SEO just impacted your SEM, and that’s what my post is about today.  Read on.

Targeting Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)
Targeting-wise, you can set up dynamic ad targets based on the content that’s been indexed on your site.  For example, you can target all webpages on your site, categories of content, pages by URL, content by page title, or simply by content residing on a page.  Depending on the dynamic ad targets you set up, AdWords will match up queries with your content that’s been indexed.  I bolded those last few words, since thorough indexation can be a big problem for some companies.  More on that soon.

You can target DSA’s by Category, URL, Page Title, or Page Content:

Dynamic Ad Targets in Google AdWords


Dynamic Search Ads Example
Imagine you sold shoes and had AdWords campaigns already set up for sneakers and boots.  I’m sure you would have more, but let’s keep this simple.  Now, let’s say you have 150 specific products that fall into these categories, but aren’t set up in your AdWords campaigns (you just have categories set up).  These products are essentially left out in the paid search cold… until now.  Using dynamic search ads, you could target those specific products that don’t have campaigns set up and let AdWords match up your content with targeted queries automatically (based on what’s indexed in Google’s organic index).  AdWords could dynamically build the ad title, include ad text written by you, and then determine the destination URL based on what’s indexed in Google.  Hence the “dynamic” part of Dynamic Search Ads.  :)

An example of creating a dynamic search ad in AdWords:

Example of Dynamic Search Ad in AdWords

Yes, it’s paid search less the keywords.  As you can imagine, this can have a major impact on how paid search is managed, optimized, and enhanced by AdWords advertisers.  But more importantly, now technical SEO issues can negatively impact your DSA’s, since they leverage Google’s organic search index.  That’s a good segue to the next section of my post.

DSA’s are based on Google’s Organic Search Index (Meet Your New SEO Problem)
As I mentioned earlier, in order for dynamic search ads to work, your content needs to be indexed.  Although that sounds trivial, it’s not for some companies.  And that’s especially true for large-scale sites with hundreds of thousands of pages (or more).  And if you add CMS problems to the mix, a site could very well have tens of thousands of pages not getting indexed properly.  And that could be a serious problem for advertisers trying to leverage DSA’s to expand their reach.

If your site has a crawlability problem, or other technical SEO problems, then those problems can now affect your SEM campaigns.  In addition, if your competitors don’t have those SEO problems, then they are at a big advantage with regard to dynamic search ads.  If they set up their DSA campaigns intelligently, then they can potentially reach a much wider audience than you can, since they have a much deeper set of content indexed.

Indexation Issues Impacting DSA's

Uh Oh, The Holidays Are Here
Did you just start to sweat?  Right, the holidays are just around the corner…  That’s perfect timing for some companies to boost sales, while others with technical SEO problems falter.  In the past, SEM was separate from SEO.  But now, SEO has crept into SEM.  Let’s take a look at some problems that could cause issues with your DSA campaigns.

7 SEO Problems That Could Affect Your DSA’s

1. Make it Clean and Crawlable, or No DSA’s For You
First, your content needs to be crawled and indexed.  I never thought I would be saying that in an SEM-focused post, but there’s a first for everything. :)  If your content cannot be easily crawled and indexed, you will be at a major disadvantage with dynamic search ads.  Again, AdWords will leverage Google’s organic search index to match content and queries, and then use that content to build dynamic ads.  If your content isn’t in the organic index, ads cannot be generated.  No DSA’s for you.

Ensure Googlebot can easily crawl your website:

Googlebot Encountering Errors While Crawling a Website


2. Poor Navigation and Internal Linking Structure
An important aspect to getting all of your content crawled is having a strong internal linking structure.  There are still many sites that don’t provide a robust drilldown into their content using text links.  If you simply provide a top-level navigation and don’t provide additional links to deeper content, then you could easily run into a situation where that additional content isn’t crawled or indexed.

If that’s the case, then that additional content cannot be used for dynamic search ads.  I highly recommend reviewing your navigation and internal linking structure to ensure you are providing a descriptive drilldown into your categories, products, articles, blog posts, etc.

Provide a robust drilldown into your content versus hiding it:

Navigation Causing Indexation Problems


3. Gremlins in Your Content Management System (CMS)
In my experience, I’ve witnessed CMS packages hide content, provide serious crawlability issues, and create serious duplicate content problems.  And all of this won’t be good for your DSA efforts.  If your CMS hides content, then those pages will not be available for DSA’s.  If the CMS provides crawlability issues, then it can hide content from Googlebot, which means the content can’t be included in DSA campaigns.  And if your CMS generates massive duplicate content problems, then who knows what AdWords will match up with targeted queries (if it will match up any content at all).

Let’s face it, a great CMS can make your life a lot easier.  But a poor CMS can wreak havoc on both your SEO and SEM efforts.  And now with dynamic search ads, you can combine the two… I highly recommend having your CMS audited to ensure it’s not hampering your search campaigns.  I provide more recommendations later in the post.

Understand if your CMS is causing crawlability or indexation issues:

CMS Packages Causing SEO Problems


4. XML Sitemaps
During SEO audits, I still find sites that aren’t providing xml sitemaps that contain all of their content.  For example, I recently audited a site with 300K+ pages, but its xml sitemaps only contained 10K.  XML sitemaps are a great supplement to a traditional web crawl.  You don’t want to rely on them for getting all of your content indexed, but they can help Google identify new content and understand the canonical URL’s for your content.  In addition, you can view sitemap errors in Google Webmaster Tools, which can help you understand problems Google is having trying to access or index your content.

For dynamic search ads, XML sitemaps can help more of your content get crawled and indexed by Google.  And that can help you target more content via DSA’s.  Again, you shouldn’t rely on XML sitemaps to fix crawlability and indexation problems, but it’s a smart move to set them up.

Monitor xml sitemap errors in Google Webmaster Tools:

XML Sitemaps Should Contain All Canonical URL's


5. Poor URL Structure
As mentioned above, you can target content by all web pages, category, URL, page title, or page content.  If you want to logically launch DSA’s by URL, then your URL structure needs to be strong.  For example, you can target any page with /category/sneakers to target sneakers or /category/boots to target boots.  If you have something like /?nid=2343jieejd&sot=23jjdjdj  and you are going to try and find some common thread, good luck.  Chances are you won’t be able to target by URL.  Try and use clean and descriptive URL’s if possible.  Stay away from complex URL’s with a lot of querystring parameters.

Complex URL’s can cause crawlability, canonical, and indexation issues:

Complex URL's and Poor URL Structure Can Cause SEO Problems

6. Canonical URL Tag Issues
When used properly, the canonical URL tag can be a great way to address duplicate content issues.  You can tell the search engines which pages are the canonical url’s for the content at hand.  But when used improperly, it can be extremely destructive to your SEO efforts.  I wrote about this in my Search Engine Journal column titled, “Two Examples of How One Line of Code Could Kill Your SEO.”  You should read the post when you get a chance.  It’s fitting that I’m referencing that post on Halloween, since it’s horrifying.  :)

So, if you implemented the canonical URL tag incorrectly across your site, Google may only have a small percentage of your content indexed and available for DSA’s.  In a worst case scenario, you could be using the canonical URL tag to attribute all search power to just one page on your site.  Don’t laugh, I’ve seen this happen several times.  If that’s the case, then you might only have one page available for DSA’s.  And you might be looking at your AdWords reporting wondering why there are no impressions or clicks.

7. Poor On-Page Optimization
If you choose to target by page title, then you need to ensure pages are well-optimized.  I’ve completed SEO Audits on some larger sites that have thousands of pages with the same exact title tag.  If that’s the case, then AdWords might not be able to figure out what the page is about, and might not be able to match the content up with targeted queries.  If this is the case, then make sure you uniquely optimize each page, based on the content at hand.  If you do, then you can target DSA’s by page title and be in good shape.

Ensure all of your content is uniquely optimized:

Poor Content Optimization Can Impact DSA's


What Can You Do?  3 Things You Can Do Now to Help Your DSA’s
If you are reading this post and determine that you might have some of the SEO problems I listed above, then here’s what you can do now.

1. SEO Audits
First, and this is something I have advocated for a long time, have a technical SEO audit conducted.  Audits provide the most bang for your SEO buck.  They can be completed relatively quickly and provide a remediation plan based on the findings.  If you can implement the changes relatively quickly, then you very well could see some improvements in a short period of time.  That obviously depends on your specific situation, but some changes will yield strong results in a short amount of time.

And with the holiday season upon us, time is of the essence.  If you want dynamic search ads to help you this holiday season, then you need to make sure your content is being indexed, and that it’s optimized correctly.

2. Index Status in Google Webmaster Tools
Second, analyze Index Status in Google Webmaster Tools, which can help you identify the number of pages Google has indexed, as well as how many it counts as “not selected”.  Index Status won’t give you the answers, but can let you know how well your site is being indexed.  For example, if you have 10K pages on your site, but only 2K are indexed, you’ve got a problem.  If you have 5K pages on your site, but Index Status shows 75K as “not selected”, then you also have a problem.  I highly recommend reading my post about Index Status and analyzing your current situation.

Index Status in Google Webmaster Tools

3. Bypass DSA’s and Build Out More Campaigns Manually
Third, if you have indexation issues, but still want to gain additional targeted traffic via Paid Search, then you can focus your attention on fleshing out more campaigns and ad groups based on your own category and niche.  Perform thorough keyword research, understand which keywords you need to target, analyze the competitive landscape, and then build out more campaigns and ad groups.  Sure, this will take a lot of time and effort, but it provides the most control.

Summary – The End of Keywords in SEM?
Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) can help advertisers reach a broader audience by automatically matching up advertiser content and targeted queries.  Paid search without keywords could very well be the future of SEM, so it’s important to understand how DSA’s work now.  But as I explained throughout this post, your content needs to be crawled and indexed in order to be eligible for dynamic search ads.  And that means SEM will require strong SEO.  Go figure.  :)

GG