PPC Weekly Roundup: The State of Paid Search in Europe and the US

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In this week’s paid search news roundup, Tom Kwei shares some interesting insights into PPC performance in Europe and the US – plus expert tips and techniques from across the web.

Spend Gap Between Desktop and Smartphones Decreasing in US PPC Market

The digital marketing intelligentsia have been heralding 2015 as the year mobile breaks through. And judging by a new report by Marin Software, they may well be right.

The Q4 2014 Performance Marketer’s Benchmark Report shows that US PPC marketers now spend almost as much on smartphones as they do on desktop – smartphones now account for 40.9% of total spend, to desktop’s 50.7%.

Graph showing share of spend by device in Q4 2014 (US market). Source: Marin Software.

The increase in spend signals a growing confidence in the mobile paid search market. And the good news doesn’t stop there. Smartphones also saw a 5.5% increase in clicks, a 4.8% increase in impressions and a 9.6% increase in conversions year-on-year.

Graph showing YoY change in clicks, conversions, spend and impressions by device for Q4 2014. Source: Marin Software.

Paid search click-through rate (CTR) on smartphones and tablets was higher than on desktop but, unsurprisingly, desktops continue to trump mobile devices when it comes to conversions.

UK Advertisers Pays Most for Clicks Amongst Key European Markets

PPC advertisers in the UK are paying higher costs per click (CPCs) than their neighbours in France, Germany and Spain, according to Kenshoo’s latest benchmark report.

The typical CPC for paid search ads in the UK stood at €0.50 in Q4 2014, compared to Germany’s €0.46, Spain’s €0.45 and France’s €0.43.

Spain won out on CTR, with an average of 3.8% - more than double Germany’s average of 1.5%. The UK had the second highest CTR of 2.9%, while France trundled along at 2.1%.

The report, Europe, Africa and Middle East (EMEA) Search Advertising Trends, showed positive results throughout the EMEA market, with advertisers driving the same volume of clicks year-on-year, despite impressions dropping 23%.

Graph showing YoY change in impressions and clicks in the EMEA market. Source: Kenshoo.

Top Tips for Optimising AdWords Remarketing Campaigns

Five years after AdWords introduced remarketing, marketers have found numerous ways to glean great results from the advertising medium, says Pauline Jakober at Search Engine Watch.

A man wearing a shirt with the slogan 'Everything you like, I liked five years ago'. Source: jm3 on Flickr.

Like any type of online advertising, it’s important to experiment and test every facet of your campaign to find what suits your business. But, as Jakober writes, “there are a few ‘go-to’ areas in your remarketing campaign you can analyse first when you want to boost your ROI’.

And what better time to optimise your remarketing efforts than now? Jakober has shared three quick and easy ways to start improving results, which you can read here. In the meantime, here’s a summary of the areas you should be looking into:

Types of ads: Jakober suggests looking into the types of ads you’re using as a priority. And, importantly, she throws her weight behind text ads – although many scoff at using text ads for remarketing, she writes, they may be supported on a greater range of sites.

However, there are many instances when text ads won’t be appropriate – for example, if you’re a B2C retailer dealing in consumer goods. Therefore it’s crucial to test all ad formats – text, image and video – and determine what works for your brand.

Frequency and duration of display: Remarketing is a balancing act, suggests Jakober. If your ads appear too often, you may irritate your target customer. If you’re not appearing enough, you may not make enough of an impression. Jakober suggests starting with a happy medium of seven to ten impressions per day, and making adjustments based on results.

It’s also important to consider how long your ads display for. The default setting for ‘membership’ duration is 30 days, Jakober points out, but you may wish to adjust this based on the type of product you sell. She cites an AdWords help article which suggests setting a low membership duration for ads selling movie tickets, but a longer duration for ads selling cars, as customers are more likely to mull over the purchase of a new car.

Remarketing lists: Jakober recommends auditing your remarketing campaigns at least once every quarter. If you use remarketing extensively, you should do it more often. She suggests getting rid of old settings that are no longer appropriate, removing certain visitors from campaigns if they have already converted, and regrouping web pages to test if you can foster better results. She recommends using custom combination lists to do this.

Lowering Bids: The Undervalued Weapon in the Advertiser’s Arsenal

Now the holiday rush is over, it’s time to stabilise your campaigns and settle back into the day-to-day running of your accounts.

Of course, as part of this process, you’ll inevitably be lowering bids. But while this may seem like acquiescing to an ebbing market, there are hidden benefits to lowering bids, reckons Andrew Goodman at Traffick.

He writes:

After any frenzied period of bidding, it’s worth remembering that ‘what goes up, must come down’. Sure, we all want to grow. But for sustainable growth, don’t forget the power of a lower bid. Be patient! Other advertisers just may follow suit."

Here are Goodman’s four benefits of lowering bids, some of which you may not have thought about…

  1. You lower CPC on a group of keywords, thus lowering cost per acquisition to be (hopefully) brought in line with targets.
  2. You receive fewer clicks, thus reducing the proportion of budget allocated to keyword groups that are underperforming.
  3. You’ll make friends for spending less: If you reduce bids on enough keywords, your total PPC spend will take up less of your brand’s overall marketing budget, thus improving your reputation in the eyes of management.
  4. Your actions will impact on your competitors: By lowering bids and thus appearing in lower ad positions, you’ll have a direct impact on competitors’ activities. They may end up paying a little more per click, and find themselves getting more clicks on a broader variety of matches.

AdWords’ 2015 New Year’s Resolutions for Shopping Campaigns

Google AdWords’ Kim Doan has published a list of resolutions to help advertisers make the most of Shopping campaigns in 2015.

New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, right? Not these ones, says Doan, who promises these resolutions will bring “all the satisfaction of accomplishing your goals, and no wasted gym memberships.”

Bold words indeed.

Anyway, here are the five resolutions in summary:

  1. Be on time: Meaning ‘keep track of the Google Shopping policies and react to notifications and warnings before the deadline’.
  2. Be organised: Part of reaching a ‘zen’ state is keeping your product data up-to-date, writes Doan. Forget years of meditation and the gradual renunciation of the ego, instead you should “use automatic item updates to dynamically update product price and availability shown on PLAs”.
  3. Try new things: Specifically, you should try the Auction Insights report to better understand how your efforts compare to competitors’.
  4. Listen more: “No texting during dinner. No talking over others. And no more ignoring key Shopping insights,” writes Doan. Make judicious use of the Diagnostics tab and Search Terms report to get to know your account better.
  5. Be a better communicator: In other words, you should update your contact details on your Google Merchant Center account, so you don’t miss out on any important announcements.

More PPC News and Views

Read last week’s PPC news roundup: How to Refresh Your Campaigns in 2015

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