We all know that the search
engine marketing industry
moves at break-neck speed.
This has always been the case and it
doesn’t show any signs of slowing.
Now that we’ve reached the end of
2011, this is a good chance to take a step back and review
the new PPC tactics, tools and strategies that have become
predominant over the past year.
Some of the items on this list were freshly introduced
to the world during 2011. Some of these items were
launched before 2011 but they have gained more importance
to PPC managers within the previous 12 months.
Mobile devices and tablets go prime-time: Sure,
ads have been running on mobile devices for a while now.
However, in 2011 things really took off in regards to
search volume via mobile devices and tablets. These devices
can no longer be ignored by advertisers. If you didn’t
get on board with mobile this year, don’t miss the train
in 2012 or you’ll get left behind.
AdWords call metrics opens the phone lines:
Advertisers can track calls generated directly by their PPC
ads on Google. You can track metrics such as cost, completed
calls, phone-through-rate, time of call and duration.
If your business generates sales or leads via the
phone, you need to explore the new bid-per-call and call
metrics options in AdWords.
Multi-channel funnel analysis gets good: For a
couple years there has been chattering about the lack of
actionable, reliable cross-channel analysis. There are some third-party software providers that have excellent multichannel
reports, but the general advertising public was
lacking these features. However, in 2011 Google Analytics
released its own cross-channel reports and they are
now mission-critical for advertisers. You should be reviewing
and analyzing yours now.
Landing page Quality Score gets serious: This
element of the AdWords Quality Score has been around
for years. Until recently, this metric has been a negative
signal; your landing page didn’t directly contribute to your
Quality Score but it could hinder your score. Now, landing
pages are assigned positive scores making sure that
their content is highly relevant to a user’s search query.
This means that if you’ve been using the same landing
page for a while, you need to get serious about relevancy
quickly (like right now).
Social PPC spells ROI: Facebook and LinkedIn have
been generating a great deal of traffic for advertisers for a
while now. However, in 2011 I think advertisers are getting
smarter and learning how to interact with users on
social networks and getting them to buy. In 2010, the
main question on social PPC was if it could generate a
positive ROI. Advertisers will have settled the ROI question,
and in 2012 will start wondering how to get more
volume from these networks.
Automated rules in AdWords make life easier:
Google rolled out a series of automated rules for AdWords that can help save advertisers time and focus their optimization
efforts. These automated rules can schedule ads,
pause low-performing ads and keywords, adjust bids automatically,
and control daily budgets. These can be a great
time-saver if implemented properly.
adCenter Quality Score revealed: One way to
grasp how your campaigns compare to other advertisers is
by analyzing your Quality Scores. In 2011, Quality Score
metrics were introduced within the adCenter interface.
Analyze these stats to see where your keywords and landing
pages may be coming up short.
Google+ and +1 Button is what’s next: One of
the latest-breaking developments in the PPC world is the
launch of the Google +1 button. Within Google users can
now “+1” search results they find helpful or interesting,
and they can also “+1” pages and websites they like as
well. These social interactions can appear directly within
the Google SERPs (for users who are logged into their
Google accounts) as well as on the Google Display Network.
Just as recently as mid-November, Google released
new reports within AdWords that allow advertisers to review
their ad performance when the +1 social signal appeared
within their ads.
These are just a few of the PPC industry updates that
occurred in 2011. As you can see, it was a very busy year
— and 2012 should be even busier. Hold on to your hats,
folks, we’re only just getting started.
About the Author: Joseph Kerschbaum has been working in the SEM industry since 2006,
sharpening his expertise in PPC advertising, search engine optimization,
conversion optimization and social media marketing. Joseph is the
co-author of PPC Marketing: An Hour a Day, and a client services director
with Clix Marketing.