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Tips for Optimizing a Localized PPC Account

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Tips for Optimizing a Localized PPC Account

Before jumping into the components of a local PPC account and why it matters, we should first define what constitutes a local PPC account. The basic definition is that it targets customers within a specific region. The strategy for localized PPC specifically involves using local keywords and geotargeting.  One would quickly assume that only brick and mortar businesses like a neighborhood pizza shop, dentist’s office, or boutique retailer would run local campaigns, but that isn’t always the case. Even if you have locations around the world,  you can serve and sell to potential customers virtually, by using a localized approach. 

The Value in Running Localized PPC

As PPC marketers, one of our biggest responsibilities is to optimize campaigns. The term ‘optimize’ may sound like a broad term, but it really represents many tactics. The biggest areas of focus for optimization would likely be to improve the engagement via click-through rate, improve the return on ad spend via sales leads or transactions, and make each dollar in the budget go just a little farther. In national campaigns, it may sometimes be a little bit harder to find pockets of wasted spend, like geographic targets for example, but in local campaigns with a laser focus, inefficiencies are easier to spot and/or avoid. If the budget is tight and you can’t afford to spend money on clicks, you have to optimize toward what works.

How to Optimize for Local PPC

Source: Google Ads Manager user interface

In terms of local PPC, the biggest way to optimize campaigns would be to focus on performance by geographic area. More often than not, when you dig into the data, you’ll find these areas of opportunity. In Google Ads, location reporting provides insights into not 

only your targeted locations but also your matched locations (where activity has been attributed to). Reviewing these location reports is a great way to discover new pockets of results-driving zip codes or DMAs, which can be leaned into with a positive bid modifier to increase traffic, or conversely, excluded from your campaign altogether if they are wasting budget by not driving conversions. Additional geographic reporting available in Google Ads includes the distance report, which shows how the distance from a location impacts search ad performance.

Here are a few reasons why optimizing for location is so crucial in PPC:

  • Nearly 30% of searches for something in a specific location will result in a purchase (Source: Valve and Meter, via Google).
  • In 2020, 93% of Americans used the Web to find local businesses. (Source: BrightLocal)
  • Almost one-third of all searches made on mobile phones are location-based (Source: The SEM Post).

Source: Crimson Park Digital

There is so much more to local campaigns than just their location settings, however, a huge factor that contributes to performance is intent, via localized keywords. These are phrases that not only include the words “near me,” “local,” or “nearby,” but also zip codes, town names, and other localized signals that show “near me” intent.  

Did you know? 

  • 82% of smartphone users are actively searching for businesses near them (Source: Search Engine Land)
  • 76% of people who search for something nearby on a smartphone will visit a business within one day (Source: Google)
  • Almost 70% of searchers on mobile will call a business using a link from the search (Source: PowerTraffick, via Google).

Localized searches are not just siloed to mobile, even with such strong mobile statistics,  it really depends on the industry, offerings, business, and how that type of customer behaves by device. Is your business in higher demand when customers are already on the go? Or are your services something that needs extensive research ahead of time, before leaving home? These are questions to ask before dialing up the mobile bid adjustments. 59% of consumers still prefer to search for local information on a desktop versus other smart devices.




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6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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6 Google Ads Conversion Tracking Mistakes to Avoid (At All Costs!)

I’ve taken over a lot of Google Ads accounts in my day and one of the biggest problems I find is that the account isn’t tracking conversions correctly, or at all, making it nearly impossible to know what is and isn’t working.

What I’d like to do is walk you through the most common issues I see with conversion tracking in Google Ads and give suggestions for how you can fix it.

6 common Google Ads conversion tracking mistakes to avoid

We’ve got a handy guide on Google Ads conversion tracking here, and even a post on conversion tracking hangups that can get in the way of getting set up properly. What we’re covering below is more along the lines of mistakes advertisers make once they are set up. These are hard to detect because they don’t come with error messages. But lucky for you we’ve got you covered so you can avoid inaccurate reporting and misleading data.

1. No conversion tracking

Yes, yes, I know. I’m kind of cheating with this one.

Clearly, this one is pretty obvious. If you haven’t set up any conversion tracking, it’s a no-brainer that it’s going to be a problem.

The fix for this one is also pretty darn simple: go set up conversion tracking.

But maybe finish reading this post before you do. Hopefully I’ll be able to head off a number of the problems you might have caused for yourself.

2. Not tracking all conversion actions

Despite best practices suggesting that you should only have one conversion action on each page, I often see landing pages with multiple different conversion points provided.

This could be any number of actions:

  • Demo request form
  • Contact us form
  • Gated whitepaper/content download
  • Purchase
  • Engage with a chatbot
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Request a call back
  • Call

No matter what you ask for on the landing page, users can often find their way to your main website as well. Think of all the different calls to action throughout your website. Are you tracking them all?

When you create a new conversion action in Google Ads, you can choose a category that it resides in. Let these categories act as prompts for you to think of all the ways users can engage with you on your site and then be sure that you’re tracking them all.

While you might want someone to eventually make a purchase or request a demo, it would be shortsighted to not count any of those other actions listed above as conversions given the potential user intent behind each.

3. Tracking non-conversion events as conversions

On the flip side, don’t track actions that don’t provide some level of value to you. While the list I gave you above is fairly long, you’ll notice that I didn’t include things like:

  • Page views
  • Social media icon clicks
  • Video views
  • Time on site triggers
  • Ungated content downloads
  • Submitting a help ticket
  • Contacting customer service

For each of these, while they might be useful to have stats on, they’re likely NOT conversion-worthy actions since they almost certainly aren’t providing you with any personal or payment information for the user.

Here’s how this mix-up typically happens: someone at a company identifies a page or specific action as highly valuable and likely to lead to a conversion. That then becomes a signal for user quality, then someone suggests it should be a conversion, then Bob’s your uncle, we’re tracking people who viewed an FAQs page in the same way we track demo requests.

I have an uncle Bob, and while he doesn’t work in marketing, even he knows it’s not a good move to have false positives in your account. Vet each of your calls to action for actual value for your company before deciding what should be a conversion and what shouldn’t.

google ads conversion tracking - goal action optimization

If you get a lot of pushback on one of these actions and someone REALLY wants it as a conversion, then set it up as such, but count it as a secondary action. This means two things:

  • The conversion will be counted in the All Conv. column, not Conversions.
  • Any Smart Bidding strategy will not count this action as a success and won’t optimize for them directly.

4. Tracking all conversion events equally, even if they’re not

Ok, so you’ve narrowed down your conversion events and you have only those that are TRULY conversions in the primary status, but you’re treating them all equally. This isn’t inherently wrong, but there COULD be something amiss here.

Let’s take the list I provided earlier:

  • Demo request form
  • Contact us form
  • Gated whitepaper/content download
  • Purchase
  • Engage with a chatbot
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Request a call back
  • Call

While each of these may be a conversion, odds are, they’re not all of the same quality or value. Someone who fills out a demo request form likely isn’t as qualified as someone who simply called your business. A person who scheduled an appointment likely isn’t the same as someone who already made a purchase. And better yet, two users who both made a purchase could have bought orders with different values and margins, impacting overall ROAS differently.

For ecommerce companies, this is a bit easier to sort out. You should be pulling in your revenue data along with your conversions so you can calculate a ROAS on your campaigns to optimize from.

google ads conversion tracking - conversion value

For lead gen, this could be a bit more difficult, but still worthwhile. If you’re not able to pull in dynamic values for each conversion action, you can use the default value settings available when you set up your conversions. Figure out a scale that can work for you and determine the different value levels for each action. Maybe a content download is worth $10 and a demo request is worth $250.

No matter what your scale is, you’re now able to track all actions in the Conversions column and then use the Conv Value and Cost / Conv Value columns to determine the value of the leads you’re generating.

5. Tracking “every” conversion for lead generation

On an ecommerce site, if someone makes five different purchases, then their lifetime value will go up because each purchase had revenue attached to it. That’s simple.

Lead generation is different. If someone submits the same information to your site 15 times, you don’t get 15x the returns. You still only really have one lead and the data in your conversion column should reflect that.

google ads conversion tracking - conversion count

In the conversion setup process, you can select the frequency of tracking: One or Every. For ecommerce, you’ll choose Every. Lead generation should select One so you only track the one lead submission for each user and avoid double and triple (or worse) counting of leads, which would again create a false positive.

6. Tracking phone calls of very short duration

In Google Ads, you can track calls directly from the platform if the call uses a Google forwarding number. These can be a great option for tracking (and in some cases recording) phone calls from your Call Assets (formerly Extensions). This gives businesses an easy way to see how many phone calls ads are generating and tie them directly back to the campaigns, ads, and keywords which triggered them.

The problem comes when the phone calls being tracked are ALL phone calls. But as anyone who has conducted a phone call will know, every call is different.

google ads conversion tracking - call log

In the image above, you can see some calls are as long as 28 minutes (1,701 seconds) and others are as short as six seconds. Should those two calls be treated the same? Methinks not.

For most businesses, a sale of a product or a lead will be considered a conversion in their Google Ads campaigns. For those types of actions to occur, there’s a minimum amount of time someone will need to be on the phone to get the same level of value. At minimum, they would need to share their payment information or their personal contact information, both of which usually take a bit of time.

For this error, I encourage you to do a couple of things, but at minimum, to do one.

First, I’d like it if you talked to members of your sales/call center teams and get an idea of whether or not any calls actually yield business directly. If not, it might not be worth counting phone calls as conversions in the first place.

google ads conversion tracking - call duration

If they do, then next you should ask for insights on how long it takes to gather either payment or personal information on the phone. Do those calls usually last 30, 60, 90 seconds? Longer? Find a number you’re comfortable with, and then add that as a minimum

Avoid these conversion tracking mistakes

Unfortunately, the saying “some conversion tracking is better than no conversion tracking” isn’t always true. While it’s better to have put forth some effort, there are common mistakes that can be misleading and, in some cases, more damaging, than having no tracking at all. Hopefully this list will help you check your conversion tracking for quality assurance to make sure you and any algorithm is optimizing on clean data.

  1. No conversion tracking
  2. Not tracking all conversion actions
  3. Tracking all conversion events equally, even if they’re not
  4. Tracking non-conversion events as conversions
  5. Tracking “every” conversion for lead generation
  6. Tracking phone calls of very short duration

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Facebook vs TikTok Ads: Key Differences & How to Use Them Together

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Facebook vs TikTok Ads: Key Differences & How to Use Them Together

Facebook and TikTok are two juggernauts in the world of social media marketing.

These platforms are hugely popular with advfertisers around the globe, and that’s not surprising. Both attract colossal audiences, both offer data-driven targeting options, and both are packed with powerful marketing tools.

However, if you’re thinking about including Facebook and TikTok in your paid social plans, then you need to understand the key differences between these platforms and how to effectively use both networks together.

In that’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this post! Let’s start with a little introduction to each platform.

Table of contents

What are Facebook ads?

Let’s start with a little Facebook advertising 101. Facebook ads are image-based ads with captions that are delivered across the Facebook network.

They can be served in various placements, including Facebook Stories, Facebook Messenger, the Facebook home feed, and more. They’re also available in a wide range of different formats, and these formats are often designed to achieve specific campaign objectives.

facebook ad examples - grin

For example, while Single Image and Video ads can be great for top-funnel activity, Collection and Advantage+ ads are built to generate clicks and conversions.

One of the biggest strengths of the Facebook advertising platform is its targeting capabilities. Facebook harvests a huge amount of data from its users, which allows advertisers to leverage advanced targeting tactics that can deliver exceptional results.

You can also easily extend Facebook ad campaigns onto the Instagram platform, which is great for securing incremental reach and targeting new audiences.

instagram ads costs: instagram ad examples

More Instagram ad examples here.

What are TikTok ads?

Now time for some TikTok advertising 101. Like Facebook ads, TikTok ads are also available in a range of different formats.

However, while Facebook ads can appear in several different positions throughout the app (e.g., Reels, Stories, Messenger) the majority of TikTok ads are served in and around the main feed.

Standard TikTok video ads (i.e. In-Feed ads, Top View ads, etc.) are capable of generating huge audience reach and sky-high levels of engagement, which is why they’re popular with both smaller businesses and established corporations (more on why you should advertise on TikTok here).

For brands looking to make a statement on TikTok, formats like Branded Effects and Branded Hashtag Challenges can also be incredibly impactful.

These ads are designed to drive mass user engagement and incremental reach, and many brands have achieved viral fame by utilizing these creative formats.

There’s no doubt TikTok ads can be highly effective for digital advertisers, particularly if you’re able to tap into popular trends (like Stitching) and create content that resonates with your target audience.

tiktok ad example

Image source

Facebook ads vs TikTok ads: Head to Head

It’s time for a good old-fashioned social media showdown. We’ve done a comparison on TikTok ads vs Instagram Reels ads, now it’s time to compare Facebook and TikTok in a few key marketing areas and see how these paid social powerhouses stack up against one another.

Costs

To kick things off, let’s examine the average costs associated with TikTok ads:

  • TikTok average CPM (cost per mille): $10.00
  • TikTok average CPC (cost per click): $1.00

For comparison, below are the average costs of Facebook ads:

  • Facebook average CPM: $7.00
  • Facebook CPC (Cost Per Click) – $1.00

Both platforms are evenly matched when it comes to their average CPC, but Facebook is significantly cheaper than TikTok in terms of CPM. As a result, Facebook takes the victory in this category, enabling brands to achieve more cost-efficient reach.

However, this does come with a caveat.

It’s worth remembering that your campaign costs will be influenced by many factors, including your industry, target audience, ad formats, and bidding strategy. The above figures can be used as a helpful guide, but they’re certainly not written in stone.

facebook ads average cost per click

Image source

Demographics

Now let’s break down the demographic profiles of the Facebook and TikTok audiences.

TikTok is known for its insane popularity among younger generations, and the data certainly backs this up. A whopping 41.7% of TikTok users fall into the 18-24 bracket – 31% are aged 25-34, while just 24.1% are aged over 35.

tiktok user distribution worldwide

Image source

Facebook, on the other hand, attracts a broader mix of age groups. Just 22.6% of the Facebook audience falls under the 18-24 umbrella, while 31% of the user base is aged 25-34, making this the largest segment on the platform.

Older generations are also better represented on Facebook, with 41% of users over the age of 35 compared to just 24.1% on TikTok.

facebook user distribution worldwide

Image source

So, what does this mean for marketers?

Well, if you’re interested in targeting Gen Z and younger millennial shoppers, TikTok is the place to be. The platform is massively influential among younger audiences, with data suggesting that 40% of Gen Z prefer using TikTok for searches rather than Google.

For brands less focused on younger generations, Facebook offers a more balanced user base, as well as a significantly higher reach. Facebook boasts around 2.96bn monthly active users, compared to TikTok’s 1.2bn monthly users.

Targeting

Audience targeting is fairly standardized across TikTok and Facebook, with both platforms offering basic options such as:

  • Demographic targeting
  • Interest targeting
  • Behavior targeting
  • Device targeting

privacy-first facebook ad targeting guide

 

Advertisers can also build pixel data-fuelled Custom Audiences on both TikTok and Facebook, as well as generate Lookalikes based on these segments.

However, the main difference here is that Facebook has been collecting and harnessing audience data for significantly longer than TikTok.

Facebook first introduced its ad platform way back in 2007, while TikTok ads only launched in 2020. That’s a sizable head start for Facebook, meaning the platform has access to a lot more user data and audience insights that can be used to improve campaign performance.

Although TikTok and Facebook offer near-identical targeting options, Facebook has the edge because it’s sitting on a goldmine of historical data.

Formats

TikTok and Facebook both offer a range of versatile ad formats, so let’s compare their offerings head-to-head.

Facebook allows advertisers to utilize the following ad formats:

  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • In-Stream Video ads
  • Stories ads
  • Collection ads
  • Messenger ads

facebook messenger ad example A Facebook Messenger ad example. (Image source)

Below are the ad formats available on TikTok:

  • In-Feed ads
  • Top View ads
  • Brand Takeover ads
  • Branded Hashtag ads
  • Branded Effects ads
  • Collection ads

tik tok ad examples

Image source

Once again, this category is remarkably close between the two platforms. Both Facebook and TikTok offer ad formats that can be used to achieve specific objectives. For example, In-Feed video ads to build brand awareness, or Collection ads to drive conversions.

The key difference here is that Facebook ads can be served in multiple environments across the app, while the TikTok platform design is more streamlined.

For example, Messenger and Stories ads appear in completely separate sections of the Facebook site, while TikTok ads are delivered in (or around) the home feed.

If you’re keen to test out a broad range of versatile ad formats, Facebook is a great option. However, if you want to maximize visibility, the simpler layout of TikTok may be more appealing.

Analytics

The ability to monitor, analyze, and optimize your paid social ad performance is crucial for success.

So which of these networks is best suited for campaign measurement?

The truth is that Facebook and TikTok are both well-equipped in the analytics department.

As marketing platforms, both Facebook and TikTok are designed to help advertisers achieve optimal results through accurate and accessible analytics. Each platform offers a built-in analytics dashboard (i.e. the Facebook Ads Manager and TikTok Ads Manager) that enables brands to monitor performance, create custom reports, and track conversions.

Beyond basic analytics, Facebook and TikTok also offer additional measurement options, such as Brand Lift studies and the ability to implement a tracking pixel on your website.

brand lift study in facebook ads

How Facebook ads brand lift studies work. (Image source)

You’ll never struggle to track and analyze your ad performance on either of these platforms, so this category is a clear draw.

How to use Facebook & TikTok ads together

TikTok and Facebook ads together are effective and profitable for businesses old and new, big and small.

Both platforms have their own unique strengths and marketing opportunities, which begs the question: How can you leverage both partners to accelerate your returns?

Let’s explore how you can combine Facebook and TikTok ads to drive optimum performance.

1. Gather & implement insights across platforms

If you want to grow your business in today’s environment, a cross-channel advertising strategy is a must. This means running ads on different channels like search and social, as well as on different platforms within these channels, like on TikTok and Facebook within social.

Running ad campaigns across multiple social media platforms enables you to collect more insights and apply more learnings. Be sure to frequently analyze your campaign reports on both TikTok and Facebook to identify these valuable cross-platform opportunities.

For instance, there may be a high-performing Facebook audience segment that you can replicate on TikTok or an effective creative asset that you can repurpose across platforms.

2. Strengthen your brand identity

I emphasized the importance of solidifying your brand identity in my Facebook trends post and this applies across platforms as well.

To do so, maintain a clear tone of voice across these platforms, use the same branding elements (colors, fonts, imagery, vibes), and regularly interact with your audience on both networks. Consistency is a great way to build trust among consumers, so use both Facebook and TikTok as a launchpad for your brand.

brand consistency across social ads

3. Expand your campaign reach

This may sound obvious, but make sure that you’re using Facebook and TikTok to effectively increase your overall reach and frequency.

Both of these networks give you access to unique audiences and specific demographics, so take full advantage of this. Experiment with different target audiences to discover new prospects, and make sure that both platforms have sufficient budget for scaling up (how to scale your Facebook ads here).

Maximize your Facebook & TikTok ad returns

TikTok and Facebook can both deliver outstanding results when used individually, but when these social media giants are combined, the sky’s the limit.

By capitalizing on the strengths of each platform and following some of these best practices, you can transform your paid social marketing into a well-oiled, conversion-driving machine.

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Account-Level Negative Keywords Now Available in Google Ads: What You Need to Know

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Account-Level Negative Keywords Now Available in Google Ads: What You Need to Know

While we’re all striving for different business and marketing goals with our PPC campaigns, we do all have one thing in common: to get the highest return on our investment. And there are a number of ways to facilitate that—one of which is through negative keywords.

And just recently, Google announced that account-level negative keywords are now available globally.

 

So what are they, what’s changing, and what does it mean? Read on to find out!

Quick refresher: What are negative keywords?

The PPC community includes advertisers of all levels, so before we dive into the announcement, let’s do a quick refresher on negative keywords. We do have a definitive guide to negative keywords which you are welcome to delve into, but we’ll cover the basics here:

When you create a Google Ads search campaign, you have to tell Google which keywords you are targeting/bidding on. These represent the queries that users type into the search bar that you want your ads to appear for. So if I’m selling box springs, I might target the keyword box spring and my ad might appear for queries like affordable box spring or box spring twin.

Conversely, negative keywords are the terms that you don’t want your ads to appear for. So if I only sell box springs, I might set mattresses as a negative keyword; or if the campaign is only for twin box springs, I’d want to add king box spring, queen box spring, etc. as negatives.

negative keyword match types in google ads

Image source

Negative keywords are important as they help your ads to appear only for the most relevant searches, which improves click-through rate and conversion rate and saves you from wasted spend.

What are account-level negative keywords?

You’ve always been able to create negative keyword lists for each of your campaigns. In account structure terms, this is called the “campaign level” and now, you can also set them at the account level. This means that if you have one term you want to set as a negative for all of your campaigns, instead of adding it to each individual negative keyword list in each campaign, you can just add it once at the account level and it will be applied across all campaigns.

What campaign types does it apply to?

When you set an account-level negative keyword, it will apply to all eligible search and shopping campaign types, which includes Search, Performance Max, Shopping, Smart Shopping, Smart, and Local campaigns (get a refresher on all Google Ads campaign types here).

In fact, negative keywords for Performance Max campaigns are account-level only, as noted by Jon Kagan in a recent #PPCChat:

Robert Brady responded saying this seems to encourage a second Google Ads account for PMax:

Julie Bacchini brought up the same idea in a separate thread, calling it “laughable” and ineffective.

A1.1:

I am not currently running any PMax campaigns in Google Ads, but their whole “we have solved brand terms” solution – letting you add account level brand negatives is laughable.

It neither addresses the issue advertisers have nor solves it.https://twitter.com/hashtag/PPCChat?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#PPCChat

— Julie F Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon) https://twitter.com/NeptuneMoon/status/1620470621380526080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 31, 2023

 

How to add account-level negative keywords

To add account level negative keywords in Google Ads, go to Account Settings > Negative keywords. Click the plus button and enter them in.

account settings - account level negative keywords in google ads

For more help with managing your keyword lists in Google Ads, here are some additional resources:



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