Using Bing Ads Intelligence To Improve Quality Score

PPC tools are an invaluable part of everyday life in the PPC world. One tool that serves multiple purposes is the Bing Ads Intelligence Excel plugin tool.

Not only can you use Bing Ads Intelligence for keyword research, but it’s also helpful in improving your quality scores.

You may be wondering how a keyword research tool can help you fix your quality scores. Let’s walk through the process for using Bing Ads Intelligence to improve quality score.

We’ll start with the keyword report shown below.

kw grid
Now, this report will be for Bing Ads data; if you’re like most advertisers, Bing probably only represents about 30% of your PPC traffic. You may be wondering, “Why bother with Bing when most of my traffic comes from Google?”

Well, while there are differences in the quality score algorithm between the two engines, it’s rare that a keyword with a poor quality score on Bing will have a high quality score on Google, and vice versa. For the remainder of this post, that’s our assumption.

Many advertisers have hundreds, if not thousands, of keywords, so prioritizing optimization efforts is a must.

Look at your average quality score and quality impact by campaign. While we know that averages lie, they are a good place to start prioritizing.

The easiest way to get average quality score by campaign is using pivot tables. The pivot table field list will look like this:

pivot field list
The table itself will look like this:

highlighted
The highlighted rows are the campaigns with the worst average quality scores, so these are the ones we’ll focus on. (Note: I removed all keywords with quality scores of 0.)

In looking at the highlighted campaigns, 2 things are clear. First, the campaigns with the lowest average quality score are also the campaigns with the highest average quality impact. No surprise there. Second, the average landing page relevance is lower than the average keyword relevance, not only on the targeted campaigns, but on all campaigns. Now we’re getting closer to the problem!

Let’s go back to our low-QS campaign keyword report again. This time, we’ll isolate the keywords that have poor quality scores. I’m using actual keywords this time to make it easier to follow.

kw list
It’s important to note here that only the overall Quality Score is measured on a scale from 1 to 10. Keyword relevance is assessed by either 1 (Poor), 2 (No Problem), or 3 (Good). Landing page relevance is either 1 (Poor) or 2 (No Problem). So, all of the keywords above have a poor landing page relevance score; the keyword relevance is either “No Problem” or “Good.”

At this point, it would be easy to jump right in with a landing page optimization project. Not so fast! While that is the logical next step, Bing Ads Intelligence can help direct your optimization project.

Bing Ads Intelligence has many useful features, and the first one we’ll use for landing page assessment is the Keywords Categories tool:

kw categories
As I mentioned earlier, the great thing about Bing Ads Intelligence is that it runs right in Excel. We already have our low-QS keywords in Excel, so all we need to do is select the keywords we want to analyze, and click Keyword Categories. (You’ll be asked to sign in with your Bing Ads credentials first.)  The tool will create a new tab called Keyword Categories, and the results look like this:

kw categories result

What does it all mean? Well, you’ll see that most keywords have more than one category listed, which simply means that a single keyword fits in multiple categories.

The “Score” column is an indication of relevance: the higher the score, the more relevant the keyword is to the category.

Since this is an Excel tool, all the cool Excel features apply. Bing has even put the filters in for us! Using Filters, drill down to the top-scoring keywords:

top scoring kws

Now the problem with the landing page is becoming clearer. The most common category for the top-scoring keywords is “Computers_&_Electronics/Internet/Domain_Registration_&_Hosting.” In this example, that doesn’t describe the client’s business or offer accurately (not to mention the fact that domain registration & hosting is a highly competitive vertical). So, one of the goals of landing page optimization should be to make it clear what category the offer (and the company) is in. In other words, improve landing page relevance.

Another feature of Bing Ads Intelligence that will help you optimize your landing page is the Webpage Keywords function.

webpage keywords

To use this feature, paste your landing page URL into Excel, and then click the Webpage Keywords option. As with the Keyword Categories function, the tool will create a new tab and provide keyword suggestions based on webpage elements.

In the case of our client, the webpage keyword suggestions were all over the place:

webpage kws result

Clearly, we need to tighten up the theme of the page.

Of course, we can’t neglect the fact that there is work to be done on the PPC keyword side. Adding negatives, splitting keywords into more tightly-themed ad groups, and eliminating ambiguous keywords should all be on the optimization agenda.

But the great thing about Bing Ads Intelligence is the insight it offers into landing page optimization. How have you used Bing Ads Intelligence? Share in the comments!

Editor’s Note: Portions of this post appeared on Search Engine Watch on January 8, 2013.

Related Posts:

Bing Native Ads – More Loss of Control For PPC Advertisers

Earlier this week, Bing announced the launch of their Native Ads product. Bing Native Ads are ad units that will appear within content on MSN.com and other yet-to-be-determined content-driven sites. Ads will be served based on user search history and page content.

There’s a good overview of what Native Ads are over at Wordstream. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth the time to review.

Now, I love Bing Ads. We get great results from Bing, usually at a lower cost than Google. And I’m a huge fan of innovative ad formats. I was super excited about Native Ads – until I found out that they’d be tacked on to our search campaigns.

Advertisers can control bids for Native Ads using bid modifiers, similar to how mobile bids are controlled today. It won’t be possible to run Bing Native Ads in separate campaigns from search, nor will it be possible to exclude placements within the Bing Native Ads network.

Initially, this is probably fine, as MSN is the only site in the network. But you can bet they’ll add AOL and other sites at some point – and every one of these sites is going to perform differently. Sure, we can create native ad units that are different from search ads, but we can’t exclude sites that don’t work, nor can we create different ads for MSN vs. other sites.

When the Bing-Yahoo Search Alliance first launched, I begged them to give us separate bids for Bing and Yahoo traffic, knowing that the two engines have very different audiences. No dice. Now, we’re getting Native Ads whether we want them or not, and our only recourse is to adjust bids via a bid modifier.

I’m not saying Bing Native Ads are going to perform poorly. I haven’t tested them, and I’m sure they’ll perform well for at least some of our clients. But native advertising isn’t search. Even when you layer intent onto the ad serving algorithm, the fact remains that these users are reading content, not actively searching. It’s really a hybrid of search and display.

To the PPC engines, tablets are the same as desktops, and native is the same as search, I guess. One more loss of control for advertisers.

At least I still have Van Halen to console me.

What do you think about Bing Native Ads? Are you excited to test them, or are you concerned about the lack of control? Share in the comments!

Related Posts:

3 PPC Features That Aren’t Ready For Prime Time

There’s an old adage in the car-buying world that advises people never to buy a new model car in its first year. Why? The manufacturer hasn’t worked all of the bugs out yet, so you’re likely to encounter down time while the car is in the shop.

The same thing is true of technology: look at the iPhone 6 and all the gaffes it experienced early on. And Windows 8 is universally hated, to the point that Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and went right on to making Windows 10.

In PPC, we also come across new features that aren’t ready for prime time. Here are the top 3 PPC features that might have benefited from a bit more beta testing.

The New Adwords Editor

Last month, Adwords held yet another “announcement” event. One of the highlights, in addition to one of the speaker’s sweaters, was the rollout of a new Adwords Editor.

The current editor, while a must-have tool for PPC managers, has limitations. It doesn’t support shopping campaigns well. It doesn’t allow copying across accounts. It doesn’t have an “undo” button.

The new Adwords Editor v.11 has all of those features, and more. But it’s missing some key elements, too. And it’s buggy. Here are just some of the issues that PPC Chat users have reported:

•    Won’t load/ freezes
•    Error messages
•    Missing metrics
•    No callout extensions
•    Keyword planner is gone
•    No click data for sitelinks

I was all set to download the new Adwords Editor, and then I started seeing these reports. I decided to hold off. Perhaps Adwords is using the PPC community as one big beta test?

Bing Ads Universal Event Tracking (UET)

I was excited to get started with this much-ballyhooed tracking tool from Bing Ads. It’s called “universal” because it was supposed to be one tracking code for all accounts across an agency: “In Bing Ads, tags are defined at the customer level. This means that you can use the same tag to define and track goals across all your accounts and campaigns. This flexibility allows you to instrument your site just once (when you create your first goal) and keep defining new goals to measure without ever needing to add another tag to your site.”

In reality, while that is technically true, in practice it’s not that simple. First of all, you’ll find the tracking code in different places, depending on whether your client’s account is a “built in” account or a “linked” account.

I’m not even sure what that means, except it means I can’t see the UET code for all my clients when logged in to our agency Bing Ads account. Apparently, for some accounts, I have to log in to the child account. Which I didn’t even know existed for Bing Ads. And I certainly don’t have logins for any of these child accounts.

To make it even more interesting, Bing is retiring the old conversion tracking scripts effective in April. So we’ve all got less than 3 months to figure this out. I’m a little scared.

LinkedIn Ads

I wrote about LinkedIn back in November 2013 and the fact that they didn’t want my money. Merry Morud wrote about their terrible interface back in July 2013.

Here we are 18 months later, and the only thing that’s changed is their timeout – it takes a little longer than 5 minutes now to time out, and it doesn’t log you out when you’re actively working in the interface.

Every other complaint that Merry made about their interface still exists. It’s crazy that LinkedIn, with its $8-10 CPCs, hasn’t done a single thing in a year and a half to improve their UI. Twitter and Facebook have made huge leaps ahead, while LinkedIn sits and languishes with its awful UI and expensive clicks.

One thing that really bugs me about LinkedIn Ads is that there is no way to keep sponsored posts from displaying to people who already follow you, nor from your own employees. We’ve had clients who’ve ended up paying (at $8-10 a crack) for their own employees to “like” their sponsored posts. Crazy. The LinkedIn Ads UI is definitely not ready for prime time.

Found any other PPC features that aren’t ready for prime time? Share in the comments!

Related Posts:

Scaaary-Cool News From Bing Ads Next

Last week, I attended the second annual Bing Ads Next conference at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA. Like last year’s event, it provided a look into what’s on the horizon for Bing Ads.

It was a great conference filled with knowledge-sharing and networking. I love the fact that Bing is listening to us – and they’ve really stepped up the pace at which they release new features. Think back to last year at this time, and all the issues you probably had: using the online UI and Editor, dealing with weird errors and login troubles, and other challenges. It seems like Bing Ads released a record number of updates this year, to the point at which they’re pretty close to Google in terms of features, and are ahead of them in others.

For a recap of some of the cool stuff that was announced last week, check out this post on Universal Event Tracking and this one on customer focus.

I love hearing about the latest and greatest when it comes to search engine marketing. One of the best speakers of the one-day event was Stefan Weitz, Director of Search at Microsoft. He did a demo of new Bing technology that can anticipate and predict a searcher’s actions without query input, based on the context of their interaction. Microsoft uses reactive processing to incorporate the knowledge that’s already out there, such as flight schedules and traffic reports, and combine it with what they know about you as a user. They can then offer suggestions tailored to you as an individual – going beyond the 10 blue links ranked by a single algorithm.

Stefan showed other cool technology, such as Cortana and its natural language learning abilities, which make it more like talking to another person instead of a search engine. In the example he demoed, he searched for “barbecue,” and the system showed Korean BBQ restaurants nearby. Think about that for a minute: “barbecue” is a vague term that could mean lots of things: a barbecue grill, pulled pork, a party you’re attending, or the Korean variety. Because Cortana knew Stefan’s preferences, it showed Korean restaurants. Pretty nifty.

He also showed us the predictive capabilities of Bing. Bing Predicts looks at things like elections and NFL game predictions and provides odds, of sorts. Bing predictions go beyond exit and phone polls – this is actual forecasting based on millions of bits of data. Here’s an example:

bing predicts election results

Here’s another one for the NFL:

bing predicts nfl results
Wow. Here’s more information on how it works.

There’s no doubt: this is super cool. It’s also scary to me.

Think about the election predictions for a minute. In the screen shot above, it shows that Gary Peters is going to win the Michigan Senate race in a landslide. (Remember, this is based on data Bing has, including who’s talking about the candidates, how much they’ve spent on advertising, sentiment, news articles, and other factors.)

Now, let me tell you a little bit about this Senate race.

These two are vying for a spot that’s been held by Carl Levin for the past 35 years. I don’t remember a time when Carl Levin wasn’t in office. This is huge for the state of Michigan and for the US Senate. We need as many people in the state to come out and vote as possible.

And yet, if I were thinking about voting for Terri Lynn Land, and I saw this, would I bother to go vote, seeing that she has no chance? Would I be tempted to just sit at home and watch the Bing Predicts data instead of watching TV coverage of the election? Would I decide my vote doesn’t matter?

I personally won’t decide any of these things, but I fear others will.

And what about the NFL example? Will people go out and put their money on the Bengals in Vegas because Bing Predicts gives them a 76% chance of winning? Is that easy money for me? Should I quit my job and just start using Bing Predicts to place bets?

Again, I wouldn’t do any of those things – but others might.

Don’t get me wrong – this stuff is incredible. Just 10 years ago, who would have dreamed of search going this direction? We are getting very close to being able to say, Star Trek-like, “Computer, report!” and getting back actual, meaningful info. (I’d love to do that for my weekly and monthly PPC reports!) We can get our email on a watch. It’s awesome.

And yet, what are the social implications of all this? I’m a bit scared that our elections might be predicted by a search engine.

What about you? Is this cool, and I need to just tell everyone to get off my lawn? Or are you just a little concerned about the machines predicting everything? Share in the comments!

Related Posts:

Bing Ads Device Targeting: Never Say Never

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the news that came out of Bing Ads on Wednesday: they’re making some changes to device targeting to, well, be more like Google. The changes don’t go into effect until September, so advertisers have time to plan. There will be an initial phase that combines desktop and tablets, and then a second phase that eliminates separate campaigns for devices altogether, moving instead to the bid modifier model that Google has – except, Bing will have a tablet modifier.

Here’s what campaign structure will look like when all is said and done, and how Bing Ads device targeting compares to Google:

bing campaigns

Needless to say, the news has not been well-received by the PPC community. Personally, I appreciate the fact that Bing is giving us a lot of notice about the changes – more than Google gave us for Enhanced Campaigns. And I love the fact that they’ll be including a tablet modifier – something we have repeatedly requested of Google, to no avail.

But what is so disappointing about the announcement is that it basically negates the bold statements made by Bing Ads in the past. Just last year, Bing Ads wrote a manifesto saying “We Believe In Advertiser Choice.” They made the point in multiple speaking engagements; I remember a Bing Ads team member at SMX Advanced last year saying they would continue to offer advertisers control over devices – and the room erupted in applause.

This was really a differentiator for Bing Ads. For advertisers with a discrete mobile budget, Bing Ads was their only choice. For advertisers who needed to control tablet spend, Bing Ads was their only choice. Come September, those choices will start to go away.

I guess all good things must come to an end. In PPC, things are constantly changing – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. But it’s a little frustrating to see Bing Ads do an about face on something they repeatedly said they’d never do. Never say never, I guess.

I had the privilege of being on an “advanced notice” call about the changes that took place prior to the announcement. Several other industry leaders were also on the call. The feedback on the call was universally negative. Several people brought up concerns about the model, especially the fact that the tablet modifier starts at -20%. Why not -100% or at least -50%?

Bing claims that their research shows that the average advertiser sees results 20% worse on tablets. I’m sure that’s true. But how many of us are average advertisers? As the saying goes, averages lie – especially in this case.

So why did they do it? While I don’t know the real reason, I think it comes down to efficiency. Enhanced campaigns threw us all for a loop last year, Bing Ads included. They did a miraculous job of maintaining the ability to import Google campaigns in the face of Enhanced Campaigns.

But I believe it’s costing them. The fact that things aren’t exactly the same as Google causes issues with campaign imports. They realize that for people to really embrace Bing, they need to have as much parity as possible with Google. I’d be willing to bet that the lack of parity is costing them big, both in lost advertiser dollars and in development costs trying to maintain a system that doesn’t match Google’s exactly.

So did Bing Ads make the right decision? Only time will tell. I still love many things about Bing: better results in many cases than Google, lower CPCs, amazing reps and community managers who truly care about the PPC community, and many tools that are better than Google, including a tablet modifier. Who knows – maybe this will spur Google to offer a modifier as well!

What do you think about the announcement? Does it really mess up your campaigns, or doesn’t it matter? Do you like the way it was handled? Share in the comments!

 

Related Posts:

What’s Up With Bing Ads in 2013?

One of the most-viewed posts on this blog is one I wrote in September 2012 called What’s Up With Bing Ads? In that post, I commented on their constant rebranding, interface and editor issues, and support challenges. That post is consistently in the top 10 most-viewed posts on my blog.

Let’s fast forward 13 months and see what’s changed. I just got back from Bing Ads Next, an exclusive event held at Microsoft’s Redmond, WA campus. About 20 of the biggest names in PPC were there, and we spent a day seeing Bing Ads’ version of the future of search.

The highlights of the event have already been covered elsewhere, so I won’t rehash them here.  Instead, let’s review what’s changed with Bing Ads over the past year or so.

Online UI and Editor improvements.

In my 2012 post, I complained about issues with the online UI: it timed out too fast and, despite its overhaul, was still clunky to navigate.

In my opinion, most of the interface issues have since been fixed. It no longer times out after 15 minutes – I’ve been able to stay logged in most of the workday. The import function from Google seems to work well (more on this in a minute). The reporting interface is very fast, and in some ways is better than Google’s.

All that said, there are still niggling things missing from the Bing Ads online UI. During the Bing Ads Next feedback session, Matt Van Wagner said what we were all thinking: Why doesn’t the online UI show conversion rate? It’s 2013, for crying out loud – this is a must-have metric and why it’s not available in Bing Ads can only be a gross oversight.

I won’t even get into the login and account creation issues. The Bing Ads team has heard the PPC community loud and clear on this one. Let’s hope there’s a fix in place before this becomes mandatory in 2014.

Let’s talk about Bing Ads Editor for a second. I use Editor all the time, and it’s improved a lot over the past year, too. The import from Google function is nearly flawless. Editor stayed on par with Google’s move to Enhanced Campaigns – and I can only imagine what a curve ball that was to the Bing Ads development team. The fact that they were able to offer the same features as Google, with the same timing, is a Herculean feat of engineering.

But Bing Ads Editor continues to have silly bugs in it, too. The most recent one is that changes you’ve posted still show bolded in Editor, as if they didn’t post. And, only some of them show up this way. So it’s not clear whether all of your changes posted or not – you’ll have to go look them up in the online UI to be sure.

Bing Ads Support.

Here’s where Bing Ads really shines – far outshines Google and their joke that passes as support. When was the last time Google invited a bunch of PPC influencers to the GooglePlex to talk about Adwords? Anyone? Bueller?

My Bing Ads rep was at all the social functions held during Bing Ads Next. He’s a true partner in helping us succeed, and is knowledgeable and responsive. The weird support issues that I outlined in my 2012 post have, thankfully, gone away. Bing Ads Next attendees universally praised Bing Ads support, both their assigned reps and those who man the Bing Ads Twitter account.

So What’s Really Next for Bing Ads?

Only time will tell. I liked a lot of the new things we saw at the event. I love the fact that Bing Ads is listening to us.

But one comment I heard this week is that there was a little too much talking and not enough listening at the event. Bing, if you’ve brought in what amounts to the best minds and biggest influencers in search, ask them questions! Spend twice as much time listening as you do talking! Learn from them! Don’t lecture them about stuff that they already know. Show them more new concepts and ask them what they think!

Amid rumors that Yahoo wants out of the Bing Ads deal, I don’t think any of us truly knows what’s next for Bing Ads. At its core, Microsoft is a software developer, not a search innovator. Their pace is too slow and their products too bloated to keep up with Google. But I love that they’re trying. With advertiser support that’s far superior to Google, and with better ROI nearly across the board, I still think they have a chance.

What do you think? Is Bing Ads going in the right direction, or are they doomed? Share in the comments!

 

Related Posts:

Bing Ads Is Like A Second Language

No matter how many languages you speak, chances are you only have one native tongue. Even children who are raised bilingual probably have one language they prefer speaking.  For those who learned a second language later in life, communication and understanding can be challenging at times. You can speak and understand the second language, and as you use it you get more fluent, but it’s still easier to speak your first language. You’ll probably get tripped up on idioms and idiosyncrasies in the second language, too.

Bing Ads feels like a second language to many PPC’ers, with its own idioms and idiosyncrasies. Here are a few that can be hard to understand.

Different Targeting Methods

I actually like the fact that you can set targeting at the ad group level in Bing Ads. It’s precisely the kind of control that we PPC’ers like. But like a favorite expression in a second language, it’s hard to remember exactly how to put the pieces together.

Also, sometimes targeting doesn’t import nicely from Adwords. And let’s face it – most of us create campaigns in Adwords and then import them to Bing. Adwords is our first language, so we draft everything there and then hit the “translate” button (in this case, the “Import from Google” button).

Different Negative Keyword Matching

Well, negative keyword matching isn’t really different in Bing Ads. We just have fewer options. Bing only has negative phrase match and negative exact match. There is no negative broad match. Since Bing’s traffic is usually more qualified, having fewer negative match options is ok; but we’re just used to having another way to “say” it, if you will.

Those Pesky Parameters

Parameters in Bing Ads remind me of that weird “S” in German that looks like a “B.” (I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t even know what that’s called. I took Spanish in school.)

Parameters are actually really cool and allow advertisers to do things that you can’t do in Google. But they’re so unfamiliar to most PPC’ers that they don’t get used. I’d guess that English speakers writing in German forget to use that funny S, too.

Technical Issues

Nothing is more frustrating than technical problems. Just ask the zillions of people who tried to download iOS7 this week.

Adwords has their share of technical problems, for sure. (Red bar of death, anyone?) But when Bing Ads has them, the community goes crazy.

I’ve seen many examples of people having trouble downloading the new Bing Ads Editor. It’s weird, because I downloaded it earlier this week and haven’t had any trouble with it. Nonetheless, Bing doesn’t get any slack here. In a way, it’s unfair to Bing. It reminds me of a speaker who’s using a second language, complaining that others didn’t understand him. But it’s still frustrating when a new feature or release is announced and then doesn’t work.

But Bing Ads is a language worth learning.

Remember those old Avis ads, where they crowed about being #2 and trying harder? That’s Bing. They know they have a long way to go before they catch Google, and they’re working like crazy to not only catch up, but offer additional value.

First of all, the newly-released Bing Ads Editor is much more like Adwords Editor. They took out all the “foreign language” and it looks and feels more familiar. It’s faster and smoother to use.

Bing hasn’t made the dreadful switch to Enhanced Campaigns, and they’ve promised not to. I can’t tell you how happy I am about that.

And Bing Ads still offers mobile-only campaigns, as well as targeting for different mobile operating systems.

I firmly believe that Bing is a language worth learning and speaking.

What about you? Are you learning to speak Bing Ads? Or is your first language, Adwords, your best friend? Share in the comments!

Related Posts:

Why I Start New Hires on Adwords Editor

This week’s PPC Chat discussion centered on PPC Basics – a topic near and dear to my heart. I love training new PPC’ers on the fundamentals.

One of the questions was “Do you believe entry level PPCers should immediately have access to Google and Bing Editors? Why?” The ensuing conversation was interesting, and frankly, surprising.

I immediately answered with “Yes! It’s the first thing I train new PPC staff on!” But many others disagreed, saying the Editors were advanced tools that should be reserved for experienced PPC’ers.

I respectfully beg to differ. Here’s why I start new hires on Adwords Editor (and Bing Ads Editor, too).

At its core, I love starting off with Editors because they make it easy to understand account structure. Account structure is so important to PPC success that failing to understand it can lead to less-than-ideal results. And it’s just easier to see account structure in Editor.

adwords editor treeIn Editor, everything is stacked hierarchically in the left tree. You can’t see ad groups without clicking on campaigns, and you can’t see keywords without moving over to the tabs. It makes it easy to explain structure to a newbie without overwhelming them: you start at the high level (campaigns) and work your way down.

To experienced PPC’ers, this structure is second nature. To a newbie, it can be hard to comprehend. Editors reinforce account structure by forcing you to navigate through it.

Contrast Editor to the Adwords online UI.

adwords ui

What are all those tabs? What am I looking at? What does all that data mean? ::head explodes::

It’s so easy to get tripped up in the online UI. You can click right to keywords, but you’re seeing every keyword in the account! That’s confusing to a beginner – and overwhelming. And it doesn’t reinforce the fact that small, tightly themed ad groups are a best practice. If you’re seeing thousands of keywords at once, it’s hard to focus.

Then there’s the issue of screen load times. Both Google and Bing are light years ahead of where they were 5 years ago when it comes to page load speed – Bing, in particular, used to be nearly unusable due to slow page loads. Still, especially in large accounts, it takes time for pages to load, and those seconds add up fast.

Editors, on the other hand, don’t have that problem. When you’re learning and trying to find your way around, it’s nice to eliminate the added frustrating of waiting for a page to load, only to discover it wasn’t the page you wanted.

The other huge benefit of training newbies on Editors is that it’s error proof – as long as you don’t post anything. I put the fear of God into my trainees by scaring them off from the “post” button.

Think about it – you can do whatever you want in Editor, including adding new keywords, ad groups, ad copy, settings, whatever – and nothing goes live until you post! Playing around is one of the best ways to learn, and PPC is no exception. I give my trainees the freedom to play around in the Editors all they want, as long as they don’t hit “post.” Everything they do in Editors can be erased with one click of the “Revert” button.

When it comes to doing real PPC work, of course your new PPC’er will eventually have to post things. The beauty of using Editors is that you can check their work before it goes live. If they’re working in the UI, every change goes live immediately unless they remembered to set the campaign or ad group to Pause – creating a bigger margin for error than I’m comfortable with.

Of course, bulk changes are also way easier in Editors. I said in PPC Chat that years ago, before Editor, we literally had to hire an intern to update ad copy every time our prices changed (I was doing in-house e-commerce PPC at the time). Not very efficient.

Some PPC Chatters felt that the online UIs were necessary for newbies to understand PPC basics. I disagree with that. What basics can you find in the UI that aren’t in Editor? Unless they’re talking about online learning resources, all the PPC basics are in the Editor.

Of course, there are some tasks that can’t be done easily or at all in Editor. Search query reports are a big one. Reviewing SQRs is a great task for new PPC’ers, but they’ll have to run the report within the UIs.

That said, I have trainees export the data to Excel, review it, make recommendations, and then send to me for review before making changes. All they have to do in the UI is run the report.

Enhanced campaigns are also not well supported in Adwords Editor at this time. There are several features, including ad group sitelinks, which are not currently supported within Editor. But a new PPC’er should not be working with complicated Enhanced Campaigns features anyway, in my opinion.

I’m not at all saying that people should never learn or use the UI. I use both Bing and Google UIs daily. But for learning PPC, the UIs are overwhelming. Editors make it easier.

You’ll want to go read the streamcap from Tuesday’s conversation – the whole thing is required reading for PPC’ers new and old.

What do you think? Want to add to the discussion? Share your opinions in the comments!

Related Posts:

3 PPC Wishes – Fulfilled?

google_bing_logosHere we are in 2013, and wow, did 2012 go fast. It seems like yesterday that I was writing my inaugural 2012 blog post on my 2007 PPC Wish List.

Every year in PPC is full of changes and innovations – some needed, some expected, and some surprising. This year was no different. Plenty of posts have catalogued everything that happened, so I won’t bore you with that here.

Instead, let’s see how the search engines did with my 2007 PPC wishes.

Wish 1: More traffic and search leadership from MSN/Bing.

While I can’t go so far as to say Bing hit a home run in 2012, they did hit a long triple. They renamed themselves as Bing Ads, reworked their online UI and desktop editor, and essentially made themselves more like Google. They went a long way towards greater search leadership with these innovations. They also continued to provide the great community outreach and customer support that they’ve been known for. And their PPC search team was ever-present at search conferences, something we’ve seen less and less from Google.

This is all well and good, but what about traffic? If you’d asked me that question in June, I’d have told you they were still languishing in the basement. But by the end of the summer, Bing had reached an all-time high of 25% share. We saw similar increases in our clients’ traffic from Bing Ads, and thankfully the traffic quality, for the most part, remained as good as it’s always been.

Wish 1: Fulfilled!

Wish 2: Better Adwords query matching.

In my 2012 post, I lamented the awful query matching on Google. Throughout the year, Google did make strides in this area, most notably by adding the option for “near match” for exact and phrase match keywords.

In reality, though, this was just Google’s way of changing a default setting (near match is a default) and sponging from newbie PPC advertisers. I know few veteran PPC’ers who choose to have near match enabled – if we want near match, we’ll use modified broad.

Furthermore, judging from my search query reports, even when you do opt out of near match, you’ll still get “close variants” that aren’t closely related at all. It’s frustrating.

Add to that the continued annoyance of “session based broad match”, and Google has completely failed on this.

I’m actually working on a blog post that will further delve into the miasma that is Google keyword matching. Stay tuned for that in future weeks.

Wish 2: Unfulfilled.

Wish 3: More accurate PPC traffic estimates.

On this wish, both Google and Bing made significant positive changes.  Google completely revamped their keyword tool, offering several new options.  My favorite is the “Ad Group Creator,” which groups keyword suggestions by theme. While some have complained about the suggestions made by the tool, I like them – it saves time slogging through thousands of keywords trying to weed out the irrelevant terms. You’ll still need to slog through, but it’s much faster to eliminate entire buckets of keywords than to pick them out one by one.

Google’s traffic estimation tool also has improved geotargeting capabilities, and from what I can tell, they’re fairly accurate. This is huge for advertisers who want to expand into new markets, or who only serve certain cities, states, or regions.

While the Google improvements were good, Bing’s were awesome. I’m not talking about their online keyword tool, either. I’m talking about Bing Ads Intelligence.

I’ve written before about the tool, and am finishing up another post about it. For now, suffice it to say that Bing Ads Intelligence is now my go-to keyword research tool. It’s faster, easier, and more accurate than Google’s, and it offers features that Google does not.

Wish 3: Fulfilled!

Wow, that’s 2 out of 3 PPC wishes. I’d say 2012 was a pretty good year!

Related Posts:

Bing Opportunities Tab Beats Google

Sometimes we PPC managers just need quick ideas for new keywords and bids. We don’t want to spend a lot of time doing keyword research and calculating keyword-level ROI. We just need to ramp things up in a hurry.

Google has had an Opportunities Tab for a while now. It’s ok – not great, but ok. Not to be outdone, Bing Ads also added an Opportunities section – and they’ve done Google one better.

Bing Opportunities are in both the online interface and the Desktop Editor.

I’ve often wished that Google had an Opportunities section in Adwords Editor. Using Editor is so much faster than poking around in the online UI, so we’re there anyway – why not show us keyword & bid suggestions? But alas, it’s not there.

Bing, however, has Opportunities in both places: the online UI:

And in Bing Editor:

Since Bing’s online UI is even slower and more painful than Google’s, I rarely log in except to check stats. For real PPC work, I’m in the Desktop tool. It’s great to have Bing Opportunities right there.

Keyword Suggestions are More Relevant

Just this week, I was working on keyword expansions for a client. This client recently launched a new product line, so we’ve been actively adding new keywords for a while now. The client is in the B2B space, so we invest pretty heavily in Bing because their CPC is about 40% lower than Google’s. But that’s another post.

As I was updating bids in Bing Desktop, I noticed a green bar at the top:

I will say here that I loathe the red “error” bar in Desktop, mostly because it flags stuff that’s not even errors and/or that’s unfixable. But that’s another post.

Anyway, the green bar got my attention, so I clicked “View.”

The optimizations were new keywords. Curious, I downloaded the list.

It consisted of 100 keyword suggestions for the client’s new product line.  The suggestions actually looked relevant and promising, unlike most of the recent Google Opportunities I’d looked at. So I began reviewing them in detail.

Out of the 100 keywords, 30 were relevant to the campaign for which they were suggested. Not bad. Only 5 keywords were totally irrelevant to the client; the rest were applicable to other campaigns (just not the one they were suggested for).

I don’t think I’ve ever gotten 30 relevant keywords from the Google Opportunities tab. On a good day I might get 3 or 4. So, I decided to hop on over there and see what they were suggesting for this client and campaign.

Google actually returned fewer total keywords: only 80 were suggested. But yikes, those keywords! Only 2 out of the 80 keywords were relevant to the campaign. Ouch.

That’s not the worst of it. Out of the 80 keywords, 42 of them were irrelevant to the client. Let me say that again. More than half the keywords that Google said were “opportunities” were totally irrelevant!  Worse than that, the majority of them were very broad, very high-volume consumer-focused keywords.  The only opportunity here is the opportunity to line Google’s pocketbook.

So Who’s More Relevant?

Here’s a visual showing the breakdown of the relevance of the keyword opportunities for the 2 engines.

So whose Opportunities do you plan to take advantage of next time?

Related Posts: