9 Ad Lessons to Change Your Thinking

Editor's Note: The Web industry moves fast, and if you don't stop to take in what others are saying (and doing), you could be left behind. SMX Advanced 2013 offered some very informative and actionable paid advertising sessions. Joe Castro, Director of Paid Advertising at Fathom, a full-service digital marketing and analytics firm, shares his top takeaways from the event:

Google Enhanced Campaigns Are Here to Stay and No, They Are Not Going Away: Make sure you buckle up and enjoy this experience especially when the July 22 automatic migration takes place. I attended several sessions in relation to enhanced campaigns-unfortunately I did feel like this topic dominated many of the paid advertising tracks. Main takeaways include:

  • Jeff Allen, Hanapin Marketing: Reviewed their study on what $1 million taught them about Enhanced Campaigns: clicks, impressions, spend, and CPA up for mobile and tablet devices. Computer spend down and CPA up. Focus more on segmentation rather than bid modifiers to start. 
  • Brad Geddes, Certified Knowledge: Take advantage of ad group level sitelinks, but start where it makes sense. Look at ad groups in the top position, since ad groups don't show in 'other'.  Ad group level sitelinks tend to work best on the most ambiguous/general terms (higher CTR and conversion rates).

  • Ben Vigneron, eSearchVision:  Mobile-only campaigns aren't 100 percent possible with enhanced campaigns. However; you can set your desktop/tablet bids very low and use a bid adjustment of 300 percent as a possible workaround, although this is not perfect. 

  • My Final Thoughts:  Enhanced campaigns make sense, but stripping the control of device targeting does not and should be easy to change. Hopefully they will split out tablets and give it it's own bid modifier; until then, advertisers are looking to shift some budget elsewhere if they expect to take a drastic hit in CPA and ROI.

Consider Shifting Some MORE of Your Budget Away from AdWords, Seriously: Some people might think this is a joke, but it's honestly a viable option with enhanced campaigns negatively impacting results. But where else can we invest?

  • Bing Ads:  Yes I'm serious. Are you upset with control from AdWords being taken from you? Well, Bing gives you MORE control than you're used to getting with AdWords legacy campaigns. In addition to device targeting, as some of you may or not be aware; you can have a SEPARATE campaign for 'syndicated partners', see performance of these partner sites, and even exclude them. Something Google AdWords has never allowed advertisers to do. In addition, the Yahoo! Bing network is right at about 30 percent of search market share in the U.S., make sure you're capturing these users!

  • FBX Retargeting:  Adam Berke from Ad Roll provided compelling reasons to give retargeting on Facebook a shot. CPM was 82 percent less and CPC was 70 percent less than standard retargeted and there was only an 8.3 percent overlap in targeting the same audience if using both standard and FBX retargeting. 
  • Twitter Advertising:  Jeffrey Jewett from Optify discussed his own success with Twitter Advertising (especially Twitter Lead Generation cards), claimed it provides better leads than both Facebook and LinkedIn for B2B.
  • Using Paid Social to Advertise Content Promotion: Marty Weintraub from AimClear discussed another way organic and paid need to work together in order to successful; promoting engaging content with paid social (Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter). Although it's not free, it appears to be extremely cost effective and a very fast way to promote content. This concept was perhaps the most innovative from all of the paid tracks, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Final Thoughts: There are options out than just Google AdWords for paid advertising. Set expectations with your clients or company from the early findings from enhanced campaigns and be proactive in finding other solutions. Lastly, not all paid advertising needs to have a direct ROI right away. Set aside budget to help promote the engaging content you have written for your company or client.

Did you attend SMX Advanced? What was your favorite sessions and why?