Google is constantly making changes to improve people’s experience on their search engine. One of Google’s latest changes will affect businesses of all sizes that are running or plan to run paid search campaign. It’s called the Ads Preferences Manager and it’s worth paying attention too.
Google is giving searchers a choice of what types of ads they want to see and even giving them the ability to block ads. When a searcher does a search on Google, there is a little note that appears near the paid ads that says, “Why this Ad?” or “Why These Ads?”
After clicking on these words, a box pops up that gives them the option to learn more about the Ad Preferences Manager. Once they click on the link they are asked to sign in to access their ad preferences. They are then given the option to block ads from advertisers whose ads displayed on their most recent search. An advertiser can be blocked or unblocked with a simple click of the mouse.
According to Google they want to personalize a user’s search experience. In fact on the Ad Preference page it says, “With personalized ads, we can improve your ad experience by showing you ads related to websites you visit, recent searches and clicks, or information from your Gmail inbox.” In all fairness, Google even allows users to block Google ads. (I tried it and it works). Google also gives the searcher the option to opt out of these personalized ads.
This new option presents a whole new element to paid search ads. For advertisers, not only do ads, keywords, and landing pages have to be relevant, now users have to like them so they don’t get blocked. This is all the more reason to run relevant campaigns that display ads which are associated to a user’s keyword search, and leads them to a relevant landing page.
It’s a little early to tell if users will adopt this new option and begin using it. However, businesses should keep in mind that at any given moment their ads can be blocked from showing to a specific user. It’s a somber thought, but it is the new reality.
Most of us have been told at some point and time to use moderation and not over indulge. This advice holds true when it comes to negative keywords in paid search campaigns. Just like over indulgence, too many negative keywords can hurt your paid search campaigns.
Negative keywords are designed to help tighten the focus of your campaign. Let’s say you’re a jewelry company that only sells solid silver jewelry and your company bids on related keywords. Negative keywords that could benefit your campaign are “how to clean”, “wholesale supplier”, “how to make”, “gold and”, etc. All of these could potentially be negative phrase match keywords.
Negative phrase match keywords prevent your ads from showing when someone types in that keyword phrase in that particular order. This means that people searching for “how to clean silver jewelry”, “silver jewelry wholesale supplier”, “how to make silver jewelry”, and “gold and silver jewelry” should not trigger your ads to show. This is a positive because your company doesn’t give tutorials on how to clean or make silver jewelry, you’re not a wholesale supplier and you don’t sell gold jewelry. However, too many negative keywords could actually be a negative and block your ads from showing for relevant searches.
Negative keywords become a negative to your paid search campaigns when they block your ads from showing for relevant searches. Let’s continue with the example above. If your company adds a negative such as “buy silver chains”, it could be blocking potential customers, especially if you are bidding on the term “silver chains” to refer to a necklace. In this example your company is working against its own paid search campaigns. It could be that “silver chains” is attracting people who are looking for silver purse chains, silver chains for their fence, as well as those people who are looking to buy a necklace. Instead of adding “buy silver chains” as a negative, consider adding negatives such as “purse chains”, and “fence chains.” This allows your company’s ads to continue to show for searches like “silver chains”, but at the same time it excludes certain purse and fence chain terms from triggering your ads.
Negative keywords should always be a positive and not a negative to paid search campaigns. It’s good to add negative keywords, but don’t go overboard. If negative keywords are keeping your ads from showing for relevant searches, then it’s time to make some adjustments.
One of the biggest hurdles business owners and marketers face in creating marketing campaigns is bias. It is human nature, I suppose, that we believe our ideas and viewpoints are held by the majority of the public. However, it is important to remove your bias from the discussion when developing an ad campaign. Not all web surfers think alike or use the internet the same way to find information. More importantly to consider and understand…not all people think like you when it comes to finding information online.
For small and medium size business owners, this seems like one of the hardest marketing lessons to accept. It is understandable to expect a business owner, who built his or her business from the ground up, to have their pulse on what makes the business grow. When it comes to internet marketing and paid search campaigns, many business owners simply apply the same logic that helped build their business to the web. This is often a failing strategy, because of the bias inherent in the business owner’s thought process on what drives people to their website. It is this bias and inexperience from most business owners that lead to poorly created and managed paid search campaigns. Many of the fixes needed to restructure these campaigns are technical in design. For example, the business owner wasn’t aware of the proper way to build out and structure the campaign, which is to be expected. They have enough on their plates running their business, and probably never took the time to earn their Google AdWords Certification. Getting a business owner to agree to technical and structural change is relatively easy when providing paid search consultation, it is exactly the type of help they need and want to hear.
Where it gets challenging for the marketing consultant, is educating the business owner on how to drive higher quality traffic, when the recommendations are in stark contrast to the preconceptions of the business owner. I do not think many business owners like to hear their ideas on traffic generation are flawed. As a marketing consultant, educating the business owner on how to look past their own bias by showing real-time statistics to support your recommendations is imperative. Using Google Analytics (GA) is the most effective way to demonstrate the concept that not all searchers think alike and not all keywords are equal. Website visitors and their engagement with the site determine success for any campaign. As a business owner, learn to leverage that data to educate yourself and break down the walls of bias when creating and optimizing an online marketing campaign. Don’t assume you can just build out keywords based on how you search the internet. This will only limit your campaign’s effectiveness, because not all searchers think like you.