Q and A: Where can I learn how to use all the features of Microsoft adCenter?

QuestionHi Kalena

I’ve been using Google AdWords for years and feel quite confident with the program, however it has literally taken me years to learn all the features and how to tweak things for better results and more conversions. I’ve just started using Microsoft adCenter recently and I’m finding it hard going. There just seem to be so many features I’m unfamiliar with and even getting my head around the interface is a struggle after so many years of AdWords exposure.

Do you offer a course at Search Engine College that is solely dedicated to MS adCenter?

Thanks

Sophie

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Hi Sophie

We offer two courses in Pay Per Click Marketing – a PPC Starter course and a PPC Advanced course, however while both courses do have lessons dedicated to MS adCenter, the bulk of the lessons cover all aspects of PPC marketing. If you’re looking for something more granular in terms of using MS adCenter, you should check out their adCenter Training Center which contains around 35 training videos designed to teach you all aspects of using adCenter. You can even sign up to take the Accredited Professional Exam when you’re finished.

In case you’re not already aware, Google also offers similar video training for AdWords plus detailed lesson modules via the AdWords Learning Center.

Kalena

 

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Article: Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords

The issue of trademark usage in Google AdWords ad text and keyword bidding was raised on this blog recently thanks to a question submitted by Dom.

As I discovered when I resarched the topic for Dom, AdWords trademark usage rules are different for advertisers in different countries and they differ also based on the use of trademarks in ad text and bid keywords. The subject proved so complex that I decided to write an article about it in order to clarify the issue for confused advertisers.

Coincidently, a landmark case about this very issue was playing out here in Australia while I was writing the article and the Federal court made their decision just in time for me to add the outcome to the article.

The article is called Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords and was published today by SiteProNews.

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Q and A: Can competitors use my company name in their AdWords ads?

QuestionHi Kalena

I have a question. I talked to my Google rep who once said that putting my company’s name in an ad violates Google’s terms. However, in another post on here, you seem to suggest bidding on a brand name is also a violation is that correct? I was under the assumption that was common practice. Is it not? If I could report that to Google, that is important information.

Dom

Hi Dom

I’m not sure if you are referring to your own ads or those created by your competitors, but putting your own company name in your ad is certainly not a violation, it’s encouraged, particularly if yours is a well known brand/name. If you follow this link about Use of Trademarks in AdWords, you’ll find an authorization form you can submit to be able to use your brand / trademark throughout your account.

Now use of your trademark by competitors is where things get complicated. It differs between region and differs again between ad text versus keyword bids. Google actually opened up trademark keyword bidding two years ago, however AdWord’s trademark policy is now dependent on the region your trademark is registered in and the region/s your billing account is located in. So here are the main regional trademark policies:

  1. In certain regions, Google allow some ads to show with a trademark in ad text if the ad is from a reseller or from an informational site. There is a separate trademark policy for resellers and informational sites.
  2. For regions that are NOT included under Google’s trademark policy for resellers and informational sites, if their investigation finds that the advertiser is using the trademark in ad text, Google will require the advertiser to remove the trademark and prevent them from using it in ad text in the future.
  3. In most regions covered by the Trademark policy (including UK, USA and Canada), Google will investigate ad text only. They will not disable keywords in response to a trademark complaint in these regions. Furthermore, their investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google rather than those served on partner sites.
  4. In EU and EFTA regions, Google does not prevent the selection of trademarks as keywords. However, in response to a complaint, they will do a limited investigation as to whether a keyword (in combination with particular ad text) is confusing as to the origin of the advertised goods and services.
  5. In some limited regions, Google may investigate the use of trademarks in ad text, in keywords, or in both ad text and keywords. These regions include: Australia / Brazil / China / Hong Kong / Macau / New Zealand / North Korea / South Korea / Taiwan

Because Australia and New Zealand are included in the above list (and these are the countries in which I operate), I have witnessed a few keyword trademark infringements and represented some clients who lodged complaints procedures based on this policy.

So the short answer is, unless they have your explicit permission, your competitors generally aren’t allowed to use your brand/name in their own ads, but if you’re located outside the limited regions mentioned above, they ARE allowed to bid on your brand/name as a keyword. But it’s not all bad news – it means that you are allowed to bid on their brand/name as well.

Hope this clarifies things!

Kalena

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Q and A: Which is more important, the number of clicks on each ad or the CTR of each ad?

QuestionHi Kalena

I have some questions about Google Adwords campaigns.

When evaluating ad performance in a Google Adwords campaign, which is more important: The actual number of clicks on each ad or the Click Through Rate (CTR) of each ad?

What is “% Served” and should we be paying attention to the “% Served” of our ads?

Finally, I read in the PPC101 reading material about Google’s “Average Position” but I’m a bit confused by this because the ads running in my campaign that have the lowest Average Position are not the ads that are performing the best. In fact, there seems to be no correlation between the ads that are performing best and their Average Position. The ads that are performing the best are not the ones with the lowest Average position. I don’t understand how to utilize this “Average position” if it’s not indicating how the ads are performing. So, I guess the question is: How should we utilize an ad’s “Average position” in the grand scheme of things?

Thank you,

Wendy

Hi Wendy

To answer your questions briefly:

1) The CTR and conversion rate are always the figures you should be looking at when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your ads. So ads that attract more clicks will have a high CTR, but this doesn’t mean much unless the clicks end up converting to customers / sign ups.

2) % served shows the rate each ad is served compared to other ads. So if one ad has 70% served against it, that means 70% of the time one of your ads is shown, it’s this one. The other ads make up the remaining 30% of ad displays. Google only show the best performing ads over time, so they will gradually phase out ads that don’t attract many clicks in favor of the ones with a higher CTR. That’s why the percentages seem much higher for some ads.

3) Average position relates to your ad position within the search results. So if your bid is high enough, your ad will appear in a higher average position. Ads that don’t perform well or don’t have a high enough bid rate on their trigger keywords will show in a lower average position. You don’t control this particular metric – it is controlled by your ad positions as determined by Google.

Hope this helps!

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Q and A: Why use paid advertising and not consider organic listings?

Question

Dear Kalena…

What are some of the reasons a person will continue to spend thousands of dollars a day on paid advertising and not consider Organic listings. How would you begin to approach persons like this aside from the obvious question…Why?

Willie

Hi Willie,

As you are probably aware, there has been debate for years over the Pros and Cons of  Pay Per Click (PPC) versus Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – with many people holding strong opinions for and against both.  There is way to much info on this topic to cover properly in this little old Q and A, but I’ll try an summarise the highlights and give my perspective on the issue.

Some PPC benefits

  • Fast results – can usually start seeing results within hours (or even minutes) of activating a campaign
  • Only Pay when a user clicks
  • Relatively easy to target the Keywords you want
  • Don’t necessarily have to change your site
  • Good Tracking capabilities (so can monitor, measure, adjust and improve)
  • You get to define where users go (you specify the landing page)
  • Can target Specific regions/localities for your ad to appear
  • Achieve Page 1 visibility quickly and easily (but not necessarily cheaply)

PPC can be a very effective way to promote a website (particularly a new site). However once you stop spending, your ads stop showing, and the visitors stop coming – there is no long term benefit for the expense.  PPC is relatively quick and easy to setup – but it is just as quick and easy for your competitors – if they have deeper pockets, they could ultimately win, no matter what you do.

As long as you know what a click is worth to you, and are certain that the returns are greater than the cost, PPC can be very effective.  You don’t care if it costs you $2,000 (or more) a day as long as it generates $5,000.

PPC is one of the few ways a brand new site can get found in the search results and start to generate traffic (and revenue) while the longer term SEO strategies kick in. The data generated from a PPC Campaign (such as which keywords are converting) can also be an extremely useful source of information for an SEO campaign.

About SEO

Here are some of the benefits of Search Engine Optimization:

  • Visitors from Organic Search are Free
  • The rankings a website achieves through SEO can continue for a long time after the work has been completed
  • On-page changes (which are probably necessary for SEO) can help improve conversions as well as traffic
  • Typically more searchers click the natural search engine results (88%) versus the pay per click ads (12%), so you are likely to get much more traffic from Organic results.
  • Users typically feel Organic Search Results have a higher “trust” level

Of course SEO is not free – it requires effort and investment, often over a long period.  In some competitive niches it can be very difficult (or even impossible) to achieve page 1 rankings, but in most niches it is possible to relatively easily achieve reasonable rankings and traffic. As far as I am concerned, it’s the user that should be at the heart of any SEO strategies. Pretty much whatever you do to improve the user experience is likely to improve your rankings and conversion rates (and ultimately increase sales/enquiries)

I’m actually a fan of both PPC and SEO (and I’m not just fence sitting), there are Pros and Cons to each and depending on your specific needs, one or the other (or even both) could be right for you.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting (SEO Brisbane)

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