One Year Out of the Agency Life

One Year Out of the Agency Life

TweetThings are very different from agency to in-house. I wouldn’t trade my time at agencies for anything, but I am also very happy to be in-house. Being out of the agency life for the past year has been great. I have grown a lot as a PPC manager and as a professional. Being on the marketing teams of both Best Buy and Rasmussen College has taken me to a level that I don’t think I could have obtained at an agency. Working with world-class marketing teams day in and day out has been a great experience. I’m going to outline some things I miss and don’t miss about working for an agency, and some benefits of working in-house. What I Miss The teams and people I worked with every day. I worked with some great people over the past few years, and the agency folks still hold a special place in my heart. I think a big part of the bonding that happens at (good) agencies is that everyone works their asses off; so you can relate to the pain and you grow close as a team. The crazy artsy and hip guys at Lightburn and the ferociously talented Team Honey Badger teammates at Zeon are still friends to this day. The beer. Seriously. It’s probably nationwide, but the two agencies I worked at were in Milwaukee, the beer capital of the country. We had fridges stocked with beer and the 3pm beer on Friday was perfectly fine. “Friday” was used loosely…it could be any day that deserved an icy cold beverage. That’s unheard of in-house!   The variety of verticals and types of clients I worked with. I love to learn about product and services; it’s just in my nature. I’m a Jeopardy type of person and just thrive on knowing facts. Agency life fueled that fire to learn, and I worked with too many vertical industries to list. If we start talking shop, I can probably relate to one of the products you’re marketing. The dress code. I wore a t-shirt and jeans for over a year straight at my first agency. The second was more formal, but they recently went to all casual too. Today, I wouldn’t be wearing a T and jeans, but it would still be nice to have the casual dress every day. The office buildings. Both agencies were located in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. That’s basically...

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New AdWords Conflicting Negatives Tool

TweetIf you have a Google rep, you may know of the Conflicting Negative Keyword Report. It is an invaluable report that they can run for you, that basically matches up your negative keywords with your positive keywords and makes sure that none of the negatives conflict (block traffic) to your positive keywords.  I recently discovered that one of my accounts had a new feature enabled. A simple alert read, “Negative keywords blocking targeted keywords”. Bing has a report like this in their UI, and it’s pretty good. But it is a report that you need to download and then take later action. The new AdWords feature allows you to make changes directly in the UI! Plus it gives you an alert if it finds conflicting negatives, rather than waiting until you run the report. The Conflicting Negative Keyword Tool was only displaying in 1 of my accounts. It wasn’t even the largest account, so this seems like a somewhat random beta. I manage about 10 accounts, so I’m sure it was a very small roll-out. The alert is similar to any typical AdWords UI:         The interface is easy to use and you can make quick work of fixing your conflicts. *Don’t just take an axe to your negatives by trusting the suggestions though! The negatives were put there for a reason. This is more of a double-check to make sure you negatives are blocking traffic for the proper campaigns. Conflicting Negative Keywords Feature Interface     *UPDATE: I no longer see the interface in my account. According to my rep, the feature wasn’t known to be rolled out publicly yet. So I must have seen an Alpha release. Luckily I used it to fix a few small issues, and got the screenshots in time. *UPDATE 2 – Friday 10/12/12 – Negative alerts are now in All of my accounts! This includes even more alerts than before. In addition to Negative KW, it shows AdGroups With No Ads, Not Running in Network Selected because…, Campaigns with No AdGroups, AdGroups with No Ads. *The last alerts were for a special campaign which is setup correctly, but still triggered the new alerts. Hopefully this rolls out in the very near future. It was great while it lasted. I think this makes sense for Google, because of course they don’t want you blocking traffic/clicks (REVENUE). And it is a Big help to advertisers. Keep your eyes open and...

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Upgraded AdWords Sitelinks – Analytics & AdGroup Control

TweetIn a small release Alpha product, Google has upgraded their AdWords sitelinks in an amazing way! We FINALLY get to see individual sitelink data and analytics. Something many search marketing professionals have asked for over the past few years. We can finally stop finding workarounds to fix the tracking issue. Yes, it was an issue. Rather than your Google rep continuously telling you that Sitelinks increase overall CTR, you can actually see the impact!   Now…this is an Alpha product, so not everyone will get it. And I would normally get in trouble for telling you about an AdWords Alpha release, but there is...

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Google Calculator Upgrade in Search

Again with the knowledge graph…I keep being blown away by the fun and functional instant answers that Google gives us. The Google Bacon Number calculator was an amazing time waster last week – but very cool. A more useful update to the standard calculator feature in Google. Previously, if you typed an equation into Google such as: 2+6 or 18/6, you would simply get the answer in bold black text under the search box. It was great. But it was missing functionality.  NOW – you get the same back-end mathematics function, but a much nicer front-end experience. In addition to getting the answer to your question, you get a fully functional calculator to use – right in Google. You can now expand upon your equation, or go into anther calculation right on the page. *Bonus tip: Once the initial equation is done, you can keep adding onto it with your number pad! Just keep typing from your number tab and the page will seamlessly refresh with the updated equation and...

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I Just Reduced Head Term CPCs by 93%

TweetI work in one of the most competitive PPC markets. (period) While Education paid search may get less attention than Insurance or Banking for cutthroat tactics and out of this world CPCs, it truly is one of the most expensive and competitive markets out there. Moving from B2B, then to Retail Electronics, and now to Education has truly been an eye opener in the world of cost per click. CPCs range from the mid teens up into the $50 range on a normal day. Certain head terms can easily reach the $60 mark with bids to even get an impression at over $100. So how did I reduce a HEAD TERM CPC by over 90%?! Easy. I found a corner of the Internet that no one was standing in; Google Image Search! That’s right, Image Search for head terms. Until recently, your standard AdWords campaign would display within most properties in Google; Search, News, Images, etc. Google introduced a new Image Search layout a short time ago, and with that came a new image search ad format. This left and extreme amount of companies and agencies in the AdWords marketplace NOT bidding on terms in Image Search! Thanks for the private auction, Google. In a space where very few people are playing, until this article is read, competition is almost nonexistent. I managed to create a few campaigns to cover brand and some very expensive head terms. WAIT…now before you say, “C’mon man, image search ads were tested in 2008!”, realize that this rolled out somewhat recently. Tests are always happening, but this is now out there for everyone. And I do realize some retailers are already doing this, but No One in the edu space has touched it…until now. Have you checked the competition in your vertical? WAIT AGAIN…what does this do for leads or conversions? Not a lot, but the incremental leads gained are just that. It’s a space where we were not present and now we are. It’s also very good visibility (think display) to our brand. For the price, you can’t beat it. (until it gets more competitive) OK Proceed… The head terms in which I am getting traffic for from Image Search is extremely valuable from a branding and upper-funnel standpoint. After a few days of trafficking, I realized a 93% reduction in CPCs for head terms. It was truly an amazing outcome. Google...

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