Beach Reads for PPC Geeks: Essential Summer Reading for Paid Search Fanatics

Summertime is now fully upon us (yes, even here in rainy Seattle), bringing with it visions of longer days, cookouts, and—if you’re lucky—beach vacations. Even if you’re not a fan of the sandy area where land meets water, “beach reads” are essential for the summertime: material that’s light enough to consume while you’re soaking in the warmer weather, but substantial enough to keep your brain in swimsuit shape. As a PPC geek (and proud of it), I’ve compiled a list of essential topics (and related reading) to share as essential summer reading with my fellow paid search fanatics.

Google’s New UI: Embrace the Change

Did you know that Google has launched a new UI? Of course you did, but have you used it? (Be honest, there’s no judgment here.) If you are like me, you’ve been avoiding the new UI since the notification showed up on the bottom of your screen… Sorry Google! Change can be good, but sometimes it’s hard to embrace when you’re in a comfortable rut with the old UI. However, there are some great new things in the UI if you take the time to learn it.

If you want to read an overview of the new UI as a whole, AdWords Help does a great job breaking it down. But here are the things that stood out to me when I started digging in:

  • The new overview page has some great visuals and summary cards that help you to quickly review performance and highlight areas of opportunity.
  • Adwords is giving us more levers to pull regarding bid adjustments for things like calls, household income and a new audience page that houses all your audiences.
  • Maybe the most exciting changes are the updates made to YouTube campaigns. The new UI offers Outstream video campaigns where we can now target users beyond just YouTube, as well as a new campaign type called Trueview for action campaigns, which give  us the capability to drive more leads from YouTube by adding on a CTA overlay to videos.

As of late June, Google announced that the official change to the new UI is just a few weeks away and by the end of July you can no longer embrace the change you have to accept it.

Make Audience Targeting Work for You

Recently Bing has stepped up their game and released in-market audiences (before Google!) for search. This feature allows marketers to target and increase bids on users who have been deemed to have more intent and, in turn, increase the number of conversions to your campaigns. Google has recently done a soft release on this feature as well for search campaigns. HOWEVER, they did not make any major announcement over this but its worth checking your accounts now to see if this is now available for you to use!

Speaking of Google… although this isn’t a new feature, if you aren’t already using Google custom affinity audience or intent audiences, I urge you to start this summer. There are so many ways your campaigns can benefit from this feature: keywords, websites, you could even target people interested in your competitor’s sites. Google intent audiences take this one step further and will show your ads to customers who they know are in the market for the service or product you are selling. The possibilities are endless!

Microsoft Audience Ads (a.k.a. Bing Intent Ads, a.k.a. Bing Native Ads)

This native ad type gives you the opportunity to increase your reach by showing your ads on non-search sites within page content. They’ll appear on Microsoft partner sites such as MSN, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Edge and many more, allowing your ads to be visible to people who aren’t performing searches. Another advantage to this ad type? They require the use of an image, which helps increase the overall size of your ads, which helps drive more clicks to your site – equaling more conversions. Beautiful!

Microsoft audience ads are also another great opportunity to drive users with intent to your ads and landing pages. Bing targets based on a user’s interest, which it gathers from their search history, demographic information, and browser history. Using this information and AI, Bing can place extremely focused content — including your ads — in front of its users.

Bing MSAN: Another Way to Increase Reach

I’m feeling the love for Bing and Microsoft this summer! Another major coup for Bing was the announcement of Microsoft Audience Network (MSAN, Microsoft’s display network) at the Bing Partner Summit in May. Microsoft says that this is yet another way for Bing search advertisers to extend their reach to new audiences — audiences that Google and Facebook have yet to reach.

Similar to what has been mentioned above these new audiences include Microsoft sites such as: MSN, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft edge and many more partner sites. MSAN will be utilizing their AI learnings as well as utilizing the customer profile data from LinkedIn such as company, industry and job functions. For me, this is super exciting, working with B2B clients we all know that Bing tends to perform better and this will be adding on another touchpoint. Not only that, we have an opportunity to target our customers in a more specific way with their LinkedIn profiles.

Not only will LinkedIn targeting be available for MSAN campaigns, Microsoft has also announced that this will be coming soon for search campaigns as well! All the audience possibilities…

Final Thoughts

It’s an exciting time in the industry. Ad types are changing; video and display ads are being given more of an opportunity to drive conversions instead of only being thought of as upper funnel tactics. There is an increased focus on audiences; driving ads to consumers with more intent, and the use of AI learning is helping to help take platform audiences to the next level. Obviously, not all ad types will work for your company or client, but it presents us PPC geeks with a better opportunity to stop and think about who our audience really is, and to test different messaging and sources for reaching them.

What's Next?

Are your paid search efforts on point? Point It offers a PPC Audit that has helped our clients see increased qualified site traffic and leads, decreased CPL, and more. Learn more about our PPC Audit and what it can do for you.

Jillian Tyack About the author

Jillian is an Associate Client Manager on the Paid Search team here at Point It. She has her M.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Westminster Business School in London and her B.A. Media Communication from the University of Washington. Jillian is currently living in Seattle and when she is not at work she enjoys any activity that gives her an excuse to be on the water.

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