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Sheets & Excel Tips for PPC Newbies

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Excel and Google sheets are every PPC account manager’s best friend. As a newbie, getting familiar with these tools and knowing their applications for everyday PPC is super important. In order to help you along, I’ve outlined some helpful tips and how to apply them to your PPC account management. Essentially, I’m helping you *excel* at your job. You’re welcome!

Disclaimer: I have a personal preference for Google sheets, so you’ll notice that’s where the screenshots in this post come from. All of these tips are still applicable for excel lovers!

Concat & Concatenate: The Greatest Function of All Time

Okay, if you don’t know about concat and concatenate, then I am about to blow. your. mind. Concatenate lets you combine a number of different strings of text, while it’s little sister, concat, let’s you combine two strings of text.

Concatenate has a plethora of applications in the PPC word. For one, using concatenate to combine different elements of ad copy is super helpful! For example, you can insert locations into your ad copy to make your ads seem more relevant to the user. (A more advanced way to do this is with geographic customizers, but this post is for newbies!).

Here’s how:

Warning: This technique requires good campaign naming conventions, which you can learn more about here.

1. Create an excel or sheets doc with the campaign names and ad groups you’d like to create ads for. Duplicate your campaign name column and add three or more columns directly to the right of it.

2. Assuming your campaigns include location in their naming conventions, use the “split text to columns” tool under the data tab to split the rest of the campaign name from its location*. (Keep in mind that the split text tool will make a column for each grouping of data. Don’t forget to add extra columns or you’ll lose the data in your columns to the right).

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3. Delete the columns with extra campaign name data that you don’t need and relabel the column with your locations.

4. You’ll notice in this example that there’s a brand campaign, so we end up with “brand” in the location column. You can use find & replace to exchange “brand” for something like “near you”. Create a filter and filter out any branded campaigns for now, since the ad copy phrasing will be slightly different between your brand and location-specific campaigns.

5. Now use the concatenate function to create your ad copy. You can either type in the text you’d like combined with your location text or you can reference other cells.

6. Repeat the last step with your branded campaigns, and there you have it! Fresh, new, ad copy that speaks directly to the user! Concatenate is especially great when you have a lot of data to work with.

Your finished product will look something like this:

*Pro Tip: If your campaigns don’t include the location in their naming convention, you can export the campaign settings along with the location column, and use a vlookup to match campaign, ad group, and location data.

Bonus Pro Tip: You can also use the concat function to combine campaign and ad group names to create a unique key for vlookups!

Creating Broad Match Modified Keywords

Broad match modified (BMM) keywords are wonderfully useful in your account, but if you need to bulk upload many at a time, it can be a pain to manually add those plus signs. Here’s a quick and easy way to add the modifiers to your broad match keywords:

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1. Find and replace the spaces between any keywords/phrases with a space and a plus sign.

2. Use the “concat” or “concatenate” function to insert “+” at the beginning of each word.

You’ll still need to include a column in your upload sheet with match type, but this strategy should make creating BMM keywords a breeze!

Pro Tip: Sometimes if you’re making edits to existing BMM keywords, sheets and excel will mistake those keywords for a formula. You can concat an apostrophe to the beginning of these keywords to force excel/sheets to recognize the keyword as text.

Get Sorted with Sort Range

Filters and pivot tables are great for organizing data, but their unfortunate limitation is that you can only sort by one metric at a time. Using the tool “Sort Range” allows you to sort by multiple metrics in order of importance, and becomes incredibly useful in tasks like trying to determining the best ad copy. While metrics like click-through rate (clicks divided by impressions) are useful on their own, sometimes they don’t give you the full picture of what’s going on. An ad could have a 100% click-through rate, which sounds great on the surface, but less great when you find out it only had 5 clicks and 5 impressions. Here’s how to use “Sort Range” to get the most out of your data:

1. Highlight the range you’d like to sort and choose the data tab and then the sort range option.

2. Once you choose sort range, it will give you a number of columns to sort your data by. Check the “data has header row” box so you know what metrics you’re sorting by. Order the metrics that are most important to you.

3. If you want to see the best performing ad overall, you might only sort by metrics like conversions, click-through rate (CTR) and impressions. (Hint: Z to A for numbers means most to least). You can also determine which ads are the best performers in each ad group. Sort by campaign and ad group from A to Z, and then the rest of the metrics from Z to A. The best performing ads will appear at the top of each ad group in the sorted range.

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In this example, it looks like Ad Variation 1 was the best performing ad in each ad group.

If this post has made you super excited about all the sheets and excel possibilities, learn to master excel with The Essential Toolkit for PPC Marketers. Happy PPCing!


Hero Conf’s Excel Workshop is aimed to help you better understand the Excel functions and features that can help you to optimize your analysis and reporting so you can spend more of your time on high-level, strategic work.

PPChero.com

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How to Leverage Visual Search for e-Commerce Growth

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How to Leverage Visual Search for e-Commerce Growth


Online shopping is booming as people become more comfortable buying online as opposed to in-store. It’s easy, comfortable, and convenient, with the possibility of finding a wider range of products at better prices.

As with everything in the digital space, online shopping is evolving, and visual search is the latest opportunity to increase sales, boost revenue, and grow your customer base. So let’s learn more about visual search and how to optimize content to maximize profits.

What is Visual Search?

Visual search is appropriately named as it involves users searching with an image, as opposed to a keyword.

The reasons why someone would do this come down to the following benefits:

  • Visual search makes it easier when you don’t know what you are looking for
  • It can help to match a particular style
  • Your search query may be long and complicated, so an image simplifies things

Consider visual search as a targeted and user-friendly method that involves pointing a camera at something to find an exact match or something similar.

The Differences Between Image and Visual Search

They sound similar but are incredibly different. Image search requires you to type in a query in the search box, with image results returned based on your keyword; a method that people are very familiar with. 

On the other hand, visual search requires an image or your Google Lens camera to search and return images that match or are similar. Voice, visual, and conversational search are improvements on typing search, all with the goal of making life easier for us all.

The Popular Visual Search Options

The Pinterest lens was the first social media platform to use visual search. In the Pinterest app, a new or existing photo can be used to complete the search. This has been extended to hybrid search, which uses the aesthetic of an existing pin to find similar items, and the “complete the look” feature, which can generate case-based recommendations to match an outfit or room layout and style.

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Google Photos lets you use an existing image for a visual search with the ability to identify over 1 billion items. You can also scan your environment to search for things in reality or have Google identify and recommend items on a menu. Other popular features include the ability to translate text from print directly onto your phone, identify animals and plants, and historical facts about your location.

Snapchat camera allows you to search for products on Amazon by pointing it at a physical product or barcode. If recognized, an Amazon card will appear on-screen with a link to buy on Amazon.

Visual Search Issues

Before we dive into optimizing your store for visual search, it is important to be aware that this new innovation still needs some improvements. Lenses commonly auto-select the wrong focal point, categorize a person instead of a product, or display items that are out of stock.

It is vital to be aware of these pitfalls as they may cause you to lose some sales along with the trust of your customers. Optimizing your images correctly can help lower the risk of this, however.

How to Optimize for Visual Search

Optimization of all kinds is important, as emphasized in this e-commerce SEO case study. Visual search success comes down to optimizing your images. By doing this, you will hopefully avoid the visual search mistakes mentioned above. To optimize your images and truly leverage the benefits of visual search, do the following:

  • Submit image sitemap to Google

Ensuring your images are indexed is the first step, and you do this by submitting image sitemaps. With basic product data from the shopping feed, visual search technology will be able to understand your content.

Sync from your site with the Google merchant center and Pinterest catalogs to keep product info updated, allow people to search by brand, and avoid penalties from Google.

Put your USPs in the product description (especially free shipping), as this can help you get the much sought-after click. With a relevant schema for all images and rich pins to your site, you reduce friction and potential frustration by eliminating out-of-stock items from the user’s feed.

  • Standard image optimization

We know about optimizing site images for site speed and user experience, but they also help with visual search. One of the most important elements is image size. Keeping your image sizes under control helps your website load faster, which reduces user frustration, and much like personalized content which helps users understand the information they’re seeing is specific to their needs, it can be the defining factor when it comes to making or losing the sale.

Use appropriate, targeted, and descriptive file names for all of your images along with alt-tags, which means an alternative tag, a name that appears in place of an image if it fails to load. The alt-tag text is also read by search engines to help them understand the purpose of the picture. Be sure to use the most relevant alt-tag for the image, as this can impact your rankings and boost sales. An SEO booster can help with all of this!

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While all of this sets your digital assets on the right path, we also recommend looking into having a local presence in the real world to reach customers in cities outside of your local area. By allowing them to call you when they have an issue (which you can do by providing a local phone number), you can increase customer satisfaction!

Making the Most of Your E-commerce Opportunities

As an e-commerce store owner or digital marketer, it is always important to be aware of the opportunities that arise in the digital space, like visual search. Utilize the emotions of your audience via social media and adapt your content to be attractive and relevant to improve discovery, engagement, and above all, sales.





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