I caught up with some of SilverDisc’s paid search masterminds, Lorna and Mary, to grill them on their specialist subject - online marketing.
Hi Lorna! You’ve worked at SilverDisc and in online marketing since 2006. What’s your favourite thing about the job?
It’s an industry where the products and best practices are constantly changing, so we always have to keep on top of the latest developments - it really keeps you on your toes! I also really enjoy the insight that we get into user experiences online, from the keywords that people use to the way they navigate around a website.
What do you think the best AdWords development has been since you started working at SilverDisc?
I would have to say the introduction of the ad extensions features. There’s an ad extension to suit every type of business - from the click-to-call call extensions feature that benefits businesses without a great mobile site, to the product listings ads that help ecommerce advertisers to promote products more visually. Generally, the ad extensions give us more ad space, which increases our chance of getting those all-important clicks!
On the topic of AdWords developments, if you could make one improvement to AdWords, what would it be?
Looking into the future, I would rather keep device targeting as it is at the moment. The new Enhanced Campaigns approach means that we have no control when it comes to targeting our ads to tablet devices. It is very important that advertisers ensure that their websites are compatible with mobile and tablet devices, as they are so popular now, but I think it is only fair that advertisers have the final say when it comes to deciding where their ads are displayed.
Other than the keywords ads that you create, what outside factors can influence your PPC performance?
One of the most important factors is the usability of your website - make sure that conversions can be completed with ease. It is also important to keep an eye on your competitors to make sure that you can compete with them in terms of price and product range. Depending on your industry, you might also find that your conversion rates are affected by seasonality. Unsurprisingly, I have found that few people want to buy garden furniture when it’s raining!
Having looked into lots of AdWords accounts, what do you think is the most common mistake made by people advertising on AdWords?
It is really important to check your search query reports to make sure that you aren’t attracting clicks from irrelevant search terms. Add in negative keywords to make sure that your ads don’t appear for unrelated queries as they can lower your click-through-rates and conversion rates.
Finally, a burning question... would you rather have the ability to read minds or go invisible?
(After considerable thought) Be invisible – that would be quite good!
Hi Mary! You have worked at SilverDisc for a few years now. What’s your favourite part of working in online marketing?
We get the chance to work with a mix of clients, meaning that we get to speak to lots of different people about their business and products, learning lots along the way. And, as Lorna mentioned, it’s fun to keep on top of all of the industry’s latest developments and trends.
What would you say is the biggest advantage of pay per click advertising?
You’re in charge of the keywords that your ad appears for, meaning that you can put yourself in front of the people who are actively searching for your product. On top of that, you only pay when someone clicks your ad. As a whole, it is much more quantifiable than traditional media. You can also use the data that you get from your PPC campaign to guide the keywords that you focus on when it comes to SEO.
What common questions about PPC are you most frequently asked by clients?
Lots of people, very understandably, ask why they are not appearing in position one for their chosen keywords. In most cases it’s because the clicks are too expensive and we can’t achieve a good ROI if we’re spending that much on the clicks. It’s often more profitable to appear slightly lower in the results, where the clicks won’t be as costly. I have also been asked if it is advisable to bid on your own brand name, so I wrote a blog post about it!
Google has a huge market share so most advertisers just focus on AdWords. What is your view on Bing? Do you think it is worthwhile?
Yes – definitely. Clicks will often be cheaper than AdWords because there are less competitors, meaning your ROI could be better than AdWords if you achieve the same conversion rate. Bing is also the default search engine on the new Windows phones, so there are a good number of Bing users who probably won’t make the same search on Google. Don’t let those potential customers slip through the net.
Not including your own, what’s the best online PPC campaign that you have seen?
John Lewis have a great remarketing campaign. As far as I can tell, they don’t start showing the remarketing adverts straight away (unlike most advertisers using remarketing) so the display ad genuinely acts as a reminder about the product you were looking at. In terms of paid search, I have noticed that Dominos are always very quick to update their ads and ad extensions with their latest offers.
Conversely, what’s your favourite example of a online advertising campaign that has gone wrong?
I wrote a blog post about some social media campaigns that had taken a bad turn. My favourite was the McDonalds #McDStories hashtag which was hijacked by lots of funny tweeters. Although, perhaps it got more attention that way!
Finally... which of the Avengers would you rather be?
Obviously Iron Man because he is a billionaire! But really, anyone but Hulk...!