Google Introduces “Offer Extensions” for Adwords

Google is rolling out a new tool for AdWords advertisers called “Offer Extensions.” The new feature will merge special offers with search.

Google announced Offer Extensions on it’s Ad Innovations page last week. The feature, which was previously available to only select advertisers in Beta format, will be open to all advertisers b the end of the month. The tool will allow advertisers to add a coupon or discount to their Google search ads.

Google explains that Offer Extensions will let advertisers “distribute offers to consumers when they’re searching for products, services, or businesses.”

As shown in the image above, pay per click ads will now display a “view offer” button. According to Google, when users click the link, “they’ll be taken to a Google hosted landing page where they can view the offer and either print or save it online (to their ‘My Offers page at for use in the store.

google offer extension

While there are many advantages to Offer Extensions, one of the most significant is that posting offers in PPC ads will be much cheaper than posting a deal on Groupon or similar sites. An offer on an Adwords ad also has the potential to reach a much larger audience than a Groupon offer.

Offer Extensions also makes it possible to directly measure how online action affects offline action, a problem that many PPC advertisers have faced. Many Adwords marketers have struggled with how to measure the full extent of their campaigns. If a user sees a Pay-Per-Click ad online, but opts to visit a business’s physical location instead of converting on a website, they are not tracked.

With Offer Extensions, Google allows advertisers to track how many offers are printed out and redeemed in person. This enables advertisers to track offline conversions from search ads, a statistic that had previously alluded PPC marketers.

To learn more about Google Offer Extensions and PPC Marketing, contact a web strategist at Pinnacle Positions today.

Video Ads Coming to Facebook in 2013

A new Ad Age report says Facebook is set to unveil auto-play video ads on the site in the first half of next year. The company is reportedly still debating several product features, but executives who have been briefed on the company’s plans say the new ads will be implemented by April. The ads will allow video advertisers to target ads to a large number of Facebook users in their news feeds on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook.

Facebook is already facing criticism over its decision to allow auto-play ads — ads that allow the video component to start playing automatically. The company is still debating whether to have the audio component of the ads activate automatically as well. The auto-play function on video ads is often lambasted as intrusive. It is also viewed as a potential source of fraud in the video ad market. Auto-play ads typically count toward a view, even if someone isn’t watching them.

The executives interviewed by Ad Age view the new product as an attempt on Facebook’s part to attract dollars from television advertisers. Integrating video ads into Facebook will greatly increase property available for TV-like inventory on the web. Video ad space is currently scarce, which allows sites like Hulu to maintain very high advertising rates. According to Ad Age, the social media giant is leaning toward capping the length of the videos to 15 seconds. Advertisers will reportedly be able to display the same video ad to a Facebook user up to three times a day across multiple devices.

Facebook has yet to comment publicly about the video-ad plans. An official statement is expected in the next few months.

Samsung is Proof, Facebook Ads Work

A recent Facebook ad campaign by Samsung resulted in a 1300% return on investment, company officials said. The three-week ad campaign for the Galaxy S3 smartphone reached over 105 million unique users, generating $129 million in sales – a 13-fold return on a $10 million ad purchase.

According to Carolyn Everson, head of global marketing for Facebook, Samsung’s results are not unique. “The biggest myth is that Facebook ads don’t work,” she said, speaking at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York this week. Everson offered statistics from Datalogix, a market analytics firm that measures the efficacy of Facebook advertisements. The data showed that Facebook ads average a three-to-five time return on investment.

Everson explained that a shift to mobile devices factor into how the company will grow its advertising. “If you look at time spent on mobile devices, we have 600 million of a billion users,” she told the crowd, “from pure budget allocation, the money is going to shift.” Everson maintained that research based on the reach and frequency of advertisement indicates that Facebook competes effectively with television advertisements. She believes that mobile devices will eventually overtake TV as the dominant advertising platform.

Others on the panel with Everson believed she was being too generous. Shiv Singh, global head of digital marketing for PepsiCo Beverages, amended Everson’s statements: “There is no single Web or mobile platform that is the be all, end all of marketing.” Singh said the most effective advertising strategy is the use of different platforms and channels together.”Facebook doesn’t compete with Twitter or TV, they feed on each other.” The appeal of new platforms, according to Singh, is the ability to offer always-on, real-time marketing.

Know Who Your Competitors Are With Adwords New Auction Insights Tool

Recently, Google announced a new Adwords feature that provides better understanding into the Adwords auction process. The Auction Insights Tool allows advertisers to see who is competing with them at the keyword level. For now, you can only run this report at the keyword level and you can only run it for one keyword at a time. To run the report, check the keyword you want to analyze. Go to keyword details and scroll down to auction insights. The report is separated into the following columns:

Display URL domain: These are the advertisers that are competing with you for that specific keyword

Impression Share: this is the percentage of times your ad appeared. This can be described as the reach of that keyword.

Average Position: the average position of the ad for that particular advertiser

Overlap Rate: how often an advertiser received an impression at the same time you did

Position above Rate: how often a competing ad showed up in a higher position than you

Top of Page Rate: how often an ad appeared above the organic search results

The best use of this report is to know who your competitors are if you don’t have that information and to then figure out how they are doing compared to you. You can segment data by position above rate and see who is ranking higher than you.

If you are not a top competitor, you may want to look at advertisers ranking higher than you and figure out if their landing page is running better promotions or if they have more compelling ad copy. Remember, this report doesn’t take into consideration metrics like match type or quality score, but it is good to see who the big spenders in your vertical are if you are not one of them.  Even though this report is only available at the keyword level, it is a major step from Google to shed some light into their auction system.




Call Extensions With Google Forwarding Numbers

Call extensions are a great way to showcase your business phone number in your Adwords ad. Now you can take it a step further with Google forwarding numbers, which allow your phone number to appear in desktop and tablet devices.

How They Work

When you choose this feature, Adwords assigns a forwarding number to your ad groups on both desktop and mobile campaigns. The forwarding number then reroutes to your business phone number. The click-to-call feature is still applicable on mobile so the phone number will become clickable link on phone browsers.

Pricing and Bidding Options

Forwarding numbers have a minimum cost of $1.00 when it’s shown on desktop and tablets. Depending on spend, an advertiser can also dedicate a max CPP (bid per call), that will be factored in your ad rank along with your CPC. This is only applicable for desktop and tablets. For mobile campaigns, the cost of a phone call is your CPC.

The change definitely adds value for clients that prefer phone calls to clicks. Since an advertiser loses track of a searcher after they go to the website and call extensions aren’t currently featured in desktop and tablets, Google forwarding numbers offer a good way to measure the amount of phone calls generated from PPC.


Take Advantage of Mobile Advertising

Many business owners finally understand the importance of including mobile advertising as part of their overall marketing strategy. One of the fastest ways to acquire new customers via mobile advertising is through Paid Search. If you already have a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) account, it’s fairly simple to start a mobile campaign. Here are a few ways to kick-start your mobile advertising campaign.

Always segment your desktop and mobile traffic

It’s a best practice to segment your mobile and desktop traffic so you can manage your spending more effectively and write specific creative campaigns to target mobile customers. This is especially helpful when you enable click-to-call action, which allows you to add your phone number to your ad copy. Mobile users tend to use shorter terms when navigating their browsers, so make sure your keywords are specific to the search intent.

Optimize your landing pages

It’s important to create a mobile landing page for your mobile PPC campaign. Usually, mobile landing pages require specific optimization. Remember you want to create an action-oriented experience. This includes keeping page buttons isolated to help prevent click “accidents”. Also, you need to prioritize your content for users on the go. Make sure you include your core products or services with specific call-to-actions and prominent location and contact information.

After implementing these best practices, you will want to optimize based on your analytics and conversion data. These simple tips will help you begin to capitalize on revenue generated by mobile advertising.

Top 10 Must Dos for SMBs

Managing SMBs (small to medium size businesses) can be a challenge. PPC is getting more complicated and trying to keep up with industry trends and interface changes can become a real nightmare. Usually, SMB accounts get started on the wrong foot and burn out. Here are a few tips for campaigns that target a local market on a small monthly budget.

  1. 1. Looking at your analytics information is vital to be able to maximize your small PPC budget. Remember analytics doesn’t track time on site unless a user visits more than one page. Know this before you decide to optimize based on this data.
  2. 2. Bid high on new keywords to start off with a good CTR.
  3. 3. Adding a brand campaign can increase overall account CTR.
  4. 4. Optimize campaigns based on quality score. This will help decrease your CPC.
  5. 5. Every couple of months run a keyword audit on all of your keywords to ensure you have included every match type. This way you can optimize them based on which ones works best.
  6. 6. Experiment with video ads. The display network is becoming more sophisticated. Try it again if it hasn’t work for you in the past.
  7. 7. Get social. Create a business Google + page to take advantage of the new social extensions feature in Google Adwords.
  8. 8. Experiment with AdCenter. They recently updated their interface making it more user-friendly. You may be missing out on some advertising opportunities.
  9. 9. Add extensions for all of your campaigns. That includes location extensions, sitelink extensions, and phone extensions. They can dramatically increase CTR.
  10. 10. Run reports on your top ten best performing keywords. These are the keywords driving your account so optimize these as best you can.
  11. Remember to keep up with industry news, keep testing, and continue to optimize. If you’d rather have a team of experts optimize your SMB, contact us at 800-267-1704 to help you with your account.

Becoming AdExcellence Certified

Today we are going to cover the requirements needed to become AdCenter certified. Taking the Microsoft AdExcellence exam is a far less challenge than Google’s Adwords certification test. We do recommend taking a couple of weeks to go over the material since it is an extensive exam. Unlike Google Adwords test, the AdExcellence exam focuses more on AdCenter basics and best practices. Passing the AdExcellence exam allows you to become an AdExcellence member. This means you are able to display the logo on your website. Here are the exam basics:

Passing Score: 80%

Length: 100 multiple choice questions

Cost: $50 every time you take it. You have to wait a week before you can retake it.

Certification: The exam is good for one year

You need a Windows Live ID to take the exam. You also need to manage at least one AdCenter account. You do not need to become certified to manage AdCenter accounts; however, the free study guide does offer valuable tips that can help enhance your account. All in all, the more certifications you acquire the more qualified you become to manage PPC accounts. Good luck on taking the exam and remember, even if you’ve managed accounts for a couple months, it’s always best to look over the free resources AdCenter has to offer.

Contact Us

If you’re not planning on becoming AdExcellence certified and would rather have a team of certified professionals manage your account, contact us at 800-27-67-1704 to get started with online advertising.

Google Certification Overview

Today we’re going to quickly run through what it takes to become a certified Google Adwords professional. Google has options for individuals and for companies to complete tests and receive certified status, so don’t think that you have to work for a larger company to be eligible for certification.

Google Adwords Certification Requirements

Over on Google, you’ll need to pass two exams: 1 fundamentals exam and 1 of their specialty exams (you need to choose an exam from their 3 options – Search, Display, or Reporting/Analysis). Each exam costs $50 (US), for a total of $100.

The Adwords Exam Types

The fundamentals exam – basic Adwords information such as account management and the value of search advertising.
The search advertising advanced exam – best practices for managing AdWords campaigns. It’s a more in-depth version of the fundamentals exam.
The display advertising exam – best practices for advertising on Google’s display network and on YouTube.
The reporting & analysis advanced exam – best practices for using Google Analytics, Website Optimizer, the AdWords Report Center to manage your PPC accounts.

Staying Certified

In order to stay certified on Google, you must pass the fundamentals test every 2 years and pass 1 of the “specialty” exams every year.

What is a Passing Score?

Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam: 85%.
Search Advertising Advanced Exam: 80%
Reporting and Analysis Exam: 75%
Display Exam: 70%

What Do Companies Need to be Listed as a Certified Partner?

Straight from Gooogle’s site

  • Have managed at least a US $10,000 spend over 90 days (to be counted from the day the AdWords account is linked to the MCC). The MCC account linked to the company must have spend on 60 days out of a 90-day period.
  • Have at least one individually qualified employee
  • Note Google’s terms and conditions

  • Contact Us

    You don’t have to be a certified Google Adwords professional to run an Adwords account, but it sure helps. If you’re interested in having certified Adwords professionals working on your campaigns, be sure to call us at 800-267-1704 today to find out more about how we can help you get started with online advertising.

    FAQ: Should I put a phone number in my ad text?

    We’re often asked about whether including phone numbers in the text of the ad is a good idea or not. At Pinnacle Positions, we don’t like to put phone numbers in the text of an ad for several reasons:

    1. Google has an extension where you can include your phone number. This doesn’t take up precious text space.
    2. You get limited space to create a compelling message, as is.
    3. If people only called you and never clicked the ad, your click-through-rate would drop as well as your average position over time (click-through-rate makes up a portion of your quality score).

    While you may still choose to include your phone number in your MSN adCenter or Facebook ads, it really isn’t needed in Google if you add a phone extension to your ads. This lets you display your phone number without taking up the limited text space that you’re given for each ad.

    Focus on writing interesting and compelling ad text. The internet is full of people looking to research information about services, products, etc., so it’s important that you speak to their needs in your ad. Think about what your customer/client might be looking for and keep ads specific to the set of keywords that you’ve chosen to use. If your keyword group is about red tennis shoes, make sure that your ad is specifically about red tennis shoes, not just shoes in general. The more relevant and interesting your ad text, the more likely you are to convert that visitor into a sale or lead.

    The most important reason we don’t like to include phone numbers in the text of an ad is because it goes against logic when it comes to building up a high quality score. Quality score is compromised of many different factors, one of which is click-through-rate. If people only ever called the number in your ads and didn’t click your ad, your impressions would be much higher than the number of clicks you would receive. While this may sound nice (not paying for clicks and still getting calls), over time this will hurt your campaign. As your quality score would begin to drop, so would your average position. You’d have to bid more over time to make up for the loss in quality score and might wind up paying even more for traffic than you would have if you would have used compelling ad text and the Google call extension for your ads.

    All in all, we highly recommend that you stay away from phone numbers in your ad text and use the Google call extension to display phone numbers without taking up limited text space.

    If you’re considering starting a PPC advertising campaign or currently have one running that needs help, give us a call. We can talk to you more about your campaign objectives and tell you about how we may be able to help you succeed online. Contact us today at 800-267-1704 or fill out a contact form for more information.