Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin has announced that account-level negative keywords are now available to Google Ads advertisers worldwide.
The feature, which was first announced last year and has been in testing for several months, allows advertisers to add keywords to exclude traffic from all search and shopping campaigns, as well as the search and shopping portion of Performance Max, for greater brand safety and suitability.
1/3 Some have noticed Account level negative keywords are starting to roll out globally. From Account Settings, you can add keywords to exclude traffic from all Search and Shopping campaigns, and the Search and Shopping portion of PMax for brand safety: https://t.co/B0VBApPVCm
Advertisers can access this feature from the account settings page to ensure their campaigns align with their brand values and target audience.
This is especially important for brands that want to avoid appearing in contexts that may be inappropriate or damaging to their reputation.
In addition to the brand safety benefits, the addition of account-level negative keywords makes the campaign management process more efficient for advertisers.
Instead of adding negative keywords to individual campaigns, advertisers can manage them at the account level, saving time and reducing the chances of human error.
You no longer have to worry about duplicating negative keywords in multiple campaigns or missing any vital to your brand safety.
Additionally, account-level negative keywords can improve the accuracy of ad targeting by excluding irrelevant or low-performing keywords that may adversely impact campaign performance. This can result in higher-quality traffic and a better return on investment.
Google Ads offers a range of existing brand suitability controls, including inventory types, digital content labels, placement exclusions, and negative keywords at the campaign level.
Marvin added that Google Ads is expanding account-level negative keywords to address various use cases and will have more to share soon.
This rollout is essential in giving brands more control over their advertising and ensuring their campaigns target the appropriate audience.
Of all the many, many functions available in Google Ads, I have a few that are my favorites. And sitelink assets – previously known as sitelink extensions – are at the top of my list.
Why? Because they’re so versatile. You can do almost anything with them if you think through your strategy carefully.
For example, you can use the mighty sitelink in your advertising to:
Promote low search volume themes.
Push lagging products out the door.
Maximize hot sellers.
Highlight certain product categories.
Answer common questions.
Handle PR problems.
And that’s just a start! Sitelink assets can almost do it all.
Best Practices For Using Sitelink Assets Extensions
If you truly want to get the most out of your sitelinks, you need to think about your intention.
To help you with that, I’m going to lay out a few sitelink guidelines.
1. Get clear on your objectives. Before you start, you need to think about your goals. What are you trying to achieve with these assets? Are you advertising products or services? Will the asset work well with both branded and non-branded keywords? Your answers to these questions will help determine if your sitelinks are versatile and useful to the searcher.
2. Use sitelinks as part of your larger strategy. Don’t think of your sitelinks in isolation. You should also consider the accompanying ad, landing page, and other assets. Make sure they all work together in service to your overarching strategy.
3. Use a mix of sitelinks. Sitelinks can serve multiple purposes, so make sure you’re using a variety. For example, you don’t want to use every sitelink on an ad to promote on-sale products. Instead, use a mix. One could promote an on-sale product, one could generate leads, one could highlight a new product category, and one could direct prospective clients to useful information.
4. Create landing pages for your sitelinks. Ideally, you want to send users to landing pages that tightly correlate with your sitelink instead of just a regular page on your website.
5. Track sitelink performance and adjust. It’s not enough to set up sitelinks. You should also track them to see which links are getting traction and which ones are not. This doesn’t mean that all sitelinks should perform equally (more on this below), but it does mean they should perform well given their type and objectives.
Why it’s Better To Use A Mix Of Sitelink Assets
Let’s dive deeper into this idea of using a mix of sitelinks by looking at an example.
In a new client account, we created four different types of sitelinks:
Two sitelinks are product-focused (as requested by the client).
One sitelink connects users with an engineer to learn more about the product (“Speak to an Engineer”). It has more of a sales focus.
One sitelink allows users to learn more about the products without speaking to an engineer (“What is?”).
The “What is?” sitelink is outperforming the “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink when we measure by CTR. While we need more data before making any changes, I predict we’ll eventually swap out the sales-y “Speak to an Engineer” sitelink for something else.
The fact that the educational link (“What is?”) is performing better than the sales-y link (“Speak to an Engineer”) isn’t too surprising in this case. The product is a new, cutting-edge robot that not many people are aware of, yet. They want more info before talking to someone.
Screenshot by author, January 2023
By using a mix of sitelinks, and assessing the performance of each, we gained a lot of valuable information that is helping to guide our strategy for this account. So going with a mix of sitelinks is always a good idea. You never know what you’ll discover!
Application Search: This ad is for a highly technical product that can be used in a wide variety of applications. (Chromatography is a laboratory technique for separating mixtures.) So putting “application search” in a sitelink here might make sense. It helps prospective clients find what they’re looking for.
Sign up and Save Big: A good sitelink for lead generation and potential revenue.
Technical Support: I’m not a big fan of putting technical support in sitelinks. Tech support seems more targeted to current users rather than prospective users. But who knows, maybe they really do want to help current users get tech support via their advertising.
Guides and Posters: Again, this sitelink is a bit unusual, but it might be appropriate for this product. Perhaps people are downloading branded posters and posting them in their workplaces. If so, it’s a great way to build brand awareness.
Example 2: Neuroscience Courses
Screenshot from Google, January 2023
I love everything about these sitelinks! The advertising is using them to reach people in all phases of the buyer journey.
For people not ready to commit:
Study Neuroscience: This sitelink is broad and informational. It’s helpful to people who have just started to explore their options for studying neuroscience.
Get Course Brochure: This sitelink is also great for people in the research phase. And while we mostly live in an online world, some people still prefer to consume hard-copy books, brochures, etc. With this sitelink, the school is covering its bases.
For people getting close to committing:
Online Short Course: This is the course the school offers. It’s a great sitelink for those almost ready to sign up.
For people ready to sign up:
Register Online Now: This is the strongest call to action for those ready to commit. It takes people directly to the signup page.
Example 3: Neuroscience Degrees
Let’s look at another example from the world of neuroscience education: this time for a neuroscience degree program.
Screenshot from Google, January 2023
In contrast to the previous two examples, the sitelinks in this ad aren’t as strong.
Academics Overview: This sitelink seems more appropriate for a broad term search, such as a search on the school’s name. If the searcher is looking for a specific degree program (which seems like the intention based on the term and the ad), the sitelinks should be something specific to that particular degree program.
Scholarships: Just as with the above sitelink, “Scholarships” doesn’t seem very helpful either. The topic of scholarships is important—but probably doesn’t need to be addressed until the person determines that this school is a good fit.
Example 4: Code Security
Next, let’s look at two Google search ads for code security products.
Screenshot from Google, January 2023
The sitelinks in these two ads look like typical assets you’d find for SaaS, cloud-based, or tech companies. They click through to a lot of helpful information, such as product plans and success stories.
I particularly like the Most Common Risks sitelink in the second ad. It leads to a helpful article that would be great for engaging top-of-funnel leads.
On the flip side, I’m not a big fan of the Blog sitelink in the first ad. “Blog” simply isn’t very descriptive or helpful.
Still, there are no right or wrong sitelinks here. And it would be interesting to test my theory that blog content is not a top-performing asset!
Sitelink Assets Are More Than An Afterthought
I hope I’ve convinced you of the usefulness and versatility of sitelinks when created with specific objectives that align with your broader strategy.
So don’t create your sitelink assets as an afterthought.
Because if you give them the careful consideration they deserve, they’ll serve you well.
Following the curtails of a 12,000-employee layoff on January 20th, the U.S. Department of Justice officially filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google this week.
With rumors swirling about a possible lawsuit for quite a while, this move from the DOJ is not unexpected.
The lawsuit has allegations concerning the tech company’s monopoly on the current digital advertising ecosystem.
8 States Join New Lawsuit
Eight states so far have joined forces with the DOJ on the lawsuit. They include:
Remember that this lawsuit is separate from the first lawsuit from the DOJ back in 2020 against Google.
In the 153-page document, the DOJ argues that Google has created an advertising environment that favors its Alphabet-owned products unfairly.
Going into further detail, the DOJ states:
Google, a single company with pervasive conflicts of interest, now controls:(1) the technology used by nearly every major website publisher to offer advertising space for sale; (2) the leading tools used by advertisers to buy that advertising space; and (3) the largest ad exchange that matches publishers with advertisers each time that ad space is sold.
Speaking to the monopoly accusation, the complaint further states:
Google abuses its monopoly power to disadvantage website publishers and advertisers who dare to use competing ad tech products in a search for higher quality, or lower cost, matches. Google uses its dominion over digital advertising technology to funnel more transactions to its own ad tech products where it extracts inflated fees to line its own pockets at the expense of the advertisers and publishers it purportedly serves.
Google Publicly Reacts To Allegations
After the news broke, Google released its official statement on the matter.
Their main counterpoints to the lawsuit focus on the following:
Government’s control within a competitive industry
Rewriting history and reversing innovation
Dan Taylor, Vice President, Global Ads of Google, stated:
We are one of hundreds of companies that enable the placement of ads across the Internet. And it’s been well reported that competition is increasing as more and more companies enter and invest in building their advertising businesses.
He provided examples of the increased competition over the past few years, such as Apple and Amazon’s increased investment in their advertising platforms and other media companies like Comcast and Disney.
Where Does This Leave The Advertising Industry?
If Google is found guilty in this lawsuit, that would likely mean the reversal of 15-year acquisitions such as AdMeld and DoubleClick.
If those are shut down, it’s difficult to say how much it would directly affect advertising technologies within the Google Ads platform, amongst others that marketers use.
Google also states that a ruling against Google would harm the broader advertising sector, “making it harder for Google to offer efficient advertising tools that benefit publishers, advertisers and the wider U.S. economy.”
The lawsuit filing against Google is still in its early stages. It’s unlikely that any drastic changes will occur in the immediate future.
We’ll continue to update as more information is provided.
Advertisers around the world this morning started their weekly routine with a big issue accessing Google Ads.
Word quickly spread across Twitter and LinkedIn, with confirmation from others that this isn’t an intermittent issue.
Google Status Dashboard Confirms Outage
From the Google status dashboard, the outage was confirmed this morning, January 23rd, at 8 am CST. You can follow the incident in real-time here.
Image credit: Google Ads, January 2023
As of noon CST, the issue has still not been resolved.
Google Ads Liason Ginny Marvin also took to Twitter to confirm the issue:
We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Ads. We will provide more information shortly. The affected users are unable to access Google Ads. Please see the dashboard for updates: https://t.co/0AqTKCl6Ts
Marketers took to LinkedIn and Twitter to voice their concerns.
Why This Matters
Advertisers cannot manage or optimize their accounts without proper access to Google Ads.
Even more, Google Ads are still serving to users, but marketers can’t see or react to real-time performance. When marketing dollars are at stake, this is a big issue for companies of any size.
If you’re used to weekly reporting, that’s another task you won’t be able to do until the Google Ads issue is resolved.
This outage is inconvenient for Google after their layoff announcement of 12,000 employees on Friday.
While this outage is more likely an untimely coincidence to Google Ads, advertisers were quick to put it together.
Google Ads is still down for many users as of Monday afternoon. After the Friday announcement of 12,000 Googlers, questions have arisen if these layoffs have impacted the technology and staffing that manages these platforms.
This is a developing story and will update as Google provides more information.
Advertiser Mike Ryan put together a well-thought-out response that was well-received by the PPC community on LinkedIn. He included a suggestion to help avoid situations like this in the future. The thread continues with additional clarification and FAQs:
Marvin followed up on Ryan’s open letter to Google Ads via another comprehensive Twitter thread:
Hi Mike, As others have noted, this is a very thoughtful response, thank you. Having been in advertiser/agency shoes for many years, I understand your POV. I’ll try to address your note and share a bit of perspective from my role now…
In the thread reply, Marvin addressed the following from Ryan’s letter:
The test went through multiple iterations before launching
The test was paused early on due to a bug
Many experiments at a time can cause communication challenges
Overall results of the redundant keyword experiment were positive
If you are already opted into Google’s auto-applied recommendation to remove redundant keywords, the new policy will go into effect on January 19.
The new policy will not make any retroactive changes to your account. However, because this is not a new recommendation, you would have to disable this auto-applied recommendation if you do not wish to participate.
A significant change from Google so early on in the new year could be an indicator of even more significant changes later on.
The open dialogue between advertisers and the Google Ads Liason is an excellent step towards further transparency and consideration for all marketers – beginner or experienced.
A special thank you to Google Ads Liason Ginny Marvin for promptly addressing advertisers’ questions and transparently.
Generally known for consumer products, Apple is placing greater emphasis on prioritizing its services category, which includes search ads in the App Store.
Services are now Apple’s second-highest revenue generator, and this article examines how it got there and what it means for marketers.
How Apple Ad Network Fits In Today’s Search Market
While Apple announced its expansion of available ad formats and inventory in the App Store, that’s not the only way it increased its revenue.
Regarding the search market, Google and Amazon are usually top of mind. However, both conglomerates have faced public scrutiny from the government and consumers.
Google has made headlines this year dealing with antitrust battles in both the United States and the European Union.
Not only that, but the severe fines that accompanied the antitrust rulings have led Google to lose some of its market share.
Amazon hasn’t had the most remarkable press, either. Some of the newsworthy class action lawsuits that hurt Amazon included:
$1 billion antitrust case in the UK
California antitrust lawsuit
False advertising around Prime Day
Stealing tips from delivery drivers
With both Google and Amazon under scrutiny, this opens up an opportunity for Apple to take a seat at the search table.
Principal analyst Andrew Lipsman from Insider Intelligence stated:
“I can easily imagine a scenario in which Apple grabs 10% of Google’s nearly $150 billion search ad business, which would translate to a $15 billion opportunity.”
Breaking Down Apple’s Services Category Revenue
Apple’s services category within its booming ad network consists of the following:
Advertising revenue from the App Store
Some products that fall under the services category include Apple Arcade, TV+, Music, and Fitness+.
Not surprisingly, most of Apple’s $19.6 billion ad revenue came from App Store ads in 2022.
Following suit from other top online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, Apple TV+ will likely start supporting TV ad buys on its network. While this is not confirmed, many have speculated that Apple is in the initial planning stages of a TV ad product.
Challenges Still Loom For Apple’s Ad Network
Legal battles around consumer privacy and competition are not immune to Apple.
In efforts to protect consumer privacy, Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in 2021, severely inhibiting marketing attribution efforts on other platforms.
However, in November 2022, Apple filed a new class action lawsuit against themselves, claiming that they continue to track consumers even after disabling tracking in their device settings. Because of this, the lawsuit states that Apple’s promises surrounding user privacy are “utterly false.”
On the other side, competitors such as Meta have seen a significant impact on advertiser revenue as a direct result of ATT.
Combining the death of Apple’s IDFA, the rollout of its ATT, and the increase in ad inventory, others are now coming at Apple, claiming it to become an online monopoly.
This means that Apple has rolled out measures that effectively prevent third parties (such as other ad platforms) from accurately tracking and measuring ad performance. This has led to advertisers fleeing those networks and investing more marketing dollars into Apple because of its ability to track that performance.
Apple has stated its goal to triple its advertising revenue and has already made strides.
While some benefits come secondhand from competitor challenges like Google and Amazon, Apple has paved its way with diversified revenue streams.
However, even the most “user privacy-centric” Apple continues to be scrutinized on its way to the top of search. Apple’s privacy and measurement efforts will continue to have a ripple effect across consumers and marketers alike.
Hello, my dear fellow search marketer, and welcome to 2023.
It’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions, or at the very least, be prepared to make some changes for the new year.
Unlike my New York Jets, there is ample opportunity to drop the crappy “guru” you’ve hired, forecast out a budget (even in a recession), play with a new bid strategy, make memes about Performance Max/GA4 and give Bing (I still refuse to call it Microsoft Advertising) the fighting chance it deserves.
Also, don’t forget to migrate your Twitter ad budget to something actually stable.
So, let’s discuss what you should be doing now, what you went through in 2022, and what you need to do in 2023.
Think of this as a really nerdy and “snarkastic” visitation of three ghosts.
What Should You Be Doing Right Now?
It’s the beginning of 2023, so you’re running a bit late – but you can still make up for lost time.
Forecasting A 2023 Budget
You’ve seen how to forecast search budgets year after year: the old “determine impression share (IS) lost due to budget and had 3%-5% increase in CPC assuming strategy stays the same” method.
Then the pandemic came along, and forecasting got a little iffier. Now, that method lacks some weight.
The reality is, if you keep with that approach, fine, not the end of the world, but understand that cost per click (CPC) growth, especially on brand terms, saw some obscene growth in 2022 (starting around April).
Why? There are a variety of theories, but for now, let’s just call it “inflation.”
If you keep the typical approach, expect to add anywhere from 10%-15% on brand CPC growth YoY in Q1 and, likely, more along the lines of 4%-7% growth on non-brand. This comes from our own in-house estimate – yours should vary.
Next, the ugly elephant in the room – Performance Max – appears. But it gets more complicated if you migrate smart shopping over to Performance Max as well.
There are two ways to forecast this, and honestly, neither will be all that accurate or insightful – I apologize in advance.
Look at Google’s recommendation tool, see what it says for growth on a budget (because we all know it never says less), take 15%-25% off that growth level (kill off the buffer), and try that.
Or, gradually scale upward of 5%-10% from your current budget, assuming you hit budget caps consistently while flexing up and down for seasonality.
As I said, neither option is great.
If you want to adjust your search strategy (not applicable for Performance Max), look at your IS lost to rank and work the fancy formula that PPC Hero posted a little ways back.
It’ll help you understand where your current strategy/bids are, causing you to miss opportunities.
This is a good time to pace out your budget (if you’re like me, you have a planned budget to spend for literally every day of the year, which will vary based on anticipated demand).
Content Calendar/Seasonal Flighting Planning
Often this is not as applicable if you’re new to a piece of business, but it should 100% be part of your plan.
If you aren’t new to the business and you haven’t done this, then you are Mr. Wilson of the Jets and deserve to be benched.
Make sure you know your deals, seasonality for peaks and lows, and everything you want to do creatively and budget-wise.
Life and work get busy. This happens to all of us. Odds are, you had laid out some plans for 2022 that you could not execute.
Now is the time to determine what builds, testing, flighting plans, etc., you never got around to doing last year and reprioritize them to determine if you should try them out in 2023.
I like to use this thought process when doing that evaluation:
Was this for “fun” or a necessity (i.e., Is this effort something that would’ve definitely made a business impact, or something just to try out and see if it could help or hurt)?
If it was a necessity, then I hope you have a good excuse for why it wasn’t done and put it on the books for 2023.
If it was for “fun,” file it away for a rainy day.
Was there a business implication (positive or negative) by not doing this?
If no, then no harm/no foul, and you can try it eventually.
If yes, then get it ready for 2023, and have a good explanation as to why it wasn’t done.
Consider what you’ve been through.
Much like dealing with your strange aunt/uncle who said something grossly inappropriate during the holidays, you need to sit down and process what did happen to your SEM campaigns in 2022.
This helps you decide if it was all good, all bad, or somewhere in between and what you need to consider carefully in 2023.
Look at both the big things and the small things.
If you migrated into Performance Max by choice or by force (anyone using Smart Shopping or local search), it likely made both a negative and a positive impact on your year.
Negative: You literally have no idea when/where your ad is showing, and all you can think (and you’re probably right) is that Google has thrown some of your direct-to-consumer (DTC) funds away on a really bad Google Display Network placement.
At the same time, you have very little information or ability to explain to your boss why Google has basically relaunched the SMB-targeted Adwords Express as a 2.0 version and just ruined your transparency.
Negative: You did the auto upgrade of a local campaign to Performance Max and discovered how many bugs there are, or you let Google create your YouTube video, and the music makes it far more cringe than you had hoped.
Positive: Especially for those running foot traffic campaigns, you’ve (hopefully) seen cost per store visits become somewhat more cost-efficient, and your ecommerce (for those running Smart Shopping) has seen an improvement in the cost per action (CPA).
Positive: Performance Max is slowly becoming more reliable, and the ability to move to other verticals that are leads driven has become an opportunity.
Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
I’ll go ahead and say what we’re all thinking (and it has been published multiple times already):
My god, this analytics platform was clearly made by someone who clearly only interacts with barnyard animals and has a vision and not by someone who did a user focus group.
If you somehow managed to survive the implementation of GA4, you’re now, more than likely, cursing it out due to lack of intuitiveness or more frustrated they rolled it out without a bounce rate or even conversion rate until months later.
All is not lost, though; I highly recommend deploying it immediately (if you haven’t already) and running it concurrently with GA UA, so you can work out the kinks and learn the platform while accruing historical data.
You may feel like Google decided to wake up and choose chaos with this platform and probably lost a few weeks of your life trying to understand it – so keep it in mind when you evaluate what you didn’t get around to doing in 2022.
But then you realized you needed a raw video file to upload it and how little it would rotate.
Big hopes, big opportunity, but just no volume.
I know this article is SEM focused, but I would be remiss if I didn’t address this, as it is still biddable media.
Every brand has different views on brand association, but if you have even a hint of brand safety concerns on GDN, MSAN, YouTube, etc., then do not advertise on Twitter until it gets itself straightened out.
Some of these changes in 2022 impacted you in different ways, good or bad.
The question is, can you learn from them, use them, and progress in 2023, with or without them?
With that being said, I will go with what I believe is mostly going to happen, and you can take it with a grain of salt:
The NY Jets will not make the big game – just accept it.
CPCs, especially for Q1, will be higher than any other Q1 on record (especially brand terms), so be prepared to find a way to explain why and for your money make to become less cost-efficient.
There will not be a decline in demand/search volume until there is an increase in unemployment (ala 2007-2009 recession), so be prepared to address the uptick in volume.
Google will become less transparent, somehow.
Bing will eventually do whatever Google does.
If you work with healthcare brands, prepare to get rid of GA UA quickly due to HIPAA compliance.
Absolutely most important, use 1st party data as long as you can – but you need to get extremely good, and fast, at building in market audience segment groups and go all Criminal Minds/FBI profiling a serial killer mentality on targeting.
Have I scared you yet? Good.
2023 will be a wild year in search, and you must be prepared for it.
But you cannot move forward until you evaluate and process the past. Once that is done, you can plan out the future.
Best of luck, search marketers. We’re all going to need it.
In a world of multi-channel marketing for B2B, narrowing down a specific space where your leads are generated takes time.
Many B2B marketers turn to Google Ads because it has the potential for a quick return on investment (ROI).
But for that scenario to happen, you’ve got to have the right strategy and tactics in place.
Lucky for you, this article will take you from, “I don’t know where to focus my time & budget,” to “I’m managing my Google Ads budget & collecting B2B leads like a boss.”
In fact, Google Ads is among the top most effective paid channels because you can understand the level of “purchase intent” based on the type of keyword used.
So, when you target keywords across multiple intent stages within the sales funnel, creating B2B Google Ads campaigns enables you to efficiently nurture leads toward conversion.
With this in mind, mastering the art of B2B Google Ads campaigns can skyrocket your company’s growth and help you develop a bulletproof, long-term marketing strategy.
So, if you’ve been pondering the question:
“Do Google Ads work for B2B and how can I get the most bang for my buck?”
This article will answer this and set you up for sustainable future success.
Why Use Google Ads Campaigns For Your B2B Lead Generation Efforts
Many ask, “Why should I pay when I can generate leads for free?”
First off, let’s start with the fact that no leads come for free. No matter whether you do SEO, social media marketing, or paid advertising, there’s no such thing as free lunch.
All marketing channels have their pros and cons, but Google Ads, in particular, are useful because they:
Give you the power to control your growth pace based on ad spend and campaigns used.
Are often quicker to launch because you can start with one landing page.
Enable you to drive traffic to content based on “high purchase intent” keywords, i.e., search phrases that describe the product or service you’re selling.
In fact, the average B2B Google Ads campaign conversion rate is 3.75%, so if you target high purchase intent keywords, you’ll generate high-quality leads that have a strong chance of becoming customers.
Ready to jump on the Google Ads bandwagon successfully?
Let’s go over how to run a B2B Google Ads campaign based on purchase intent stages within the sales funnel.
How To Run Successful B2B Google Ads Campaigns Based On Sales Funnel Stages
A sales funnel typically consists of three main categories:
The top of the funnel (TOFU): People who are in an awareness stage in their buying cycle, meaning they’re just becoming aware they have a problem and need to find a solution.
The middle of the funnel (MOFU): People who are interested or considering buying, and are making comparisons and researching further about the best solution for their specific needs.
The bottom of the funnel (BOFU): People who are nearly ready to make a purchase and have decided to initiate contact with companies who might be able to help them.
The idea is to craft your B2B Google Ads campaign based on each specific category, using keywords that relate to those corresponding categories.
By doing this, you’ll be able to craft better copy geared towards audiences at the “top of the funnel” compared to those at the “bottom of the funnel,” which will help your campaigns to convert better.
Now that you’ve got the idea, let’s dive into some concrete keyword and campaign examples per funnel stage.
Top Of Funnel
In the TOFU stage, some keywords that might be relevant here are:
“what is x.”
“x definition” – because they’re just trying to understand the basics of a certain concept.
Because your audience is ready to soak up all the information, informational long-form content is especially important for them.
Your audience might be aware your brand exists, but not aware of everything you have to offer. They’re a beginner when it comes to the solution you provide, so there shouldn’t be any pushy sales copy here.
Your audience is just warming up to you and they don’t want to be spammed.
When it comes to your bid strategy, you have two options:
Option 1: Use ECPC (enhanced CPC), which is not entirely automated bidding, but it does allow you to have more control over your budget.
Option 2: Targeting impression share works well if your objective is brand awareness and reach because you can set a percentage for your impression share against other bidders.
For your retargeting strategy, it’s a good idea to set up an audience on Google to collect visitor information to the page you send users.
Depending on the traffic amount (1,000 or more visitors are needed before you can retarget), we can use this audience for retargeting our MOFU campaign.
You also need to set the goal type.
Your first campaign should not be a hard sell, as here, you need to focus on generating demand for your product or service.
Naturally, there may be an influx of new users (but hardly any conversions), so you’ll want to ensure your campaign objective offers a high-value and low-friction micro conversion, such as getting someone to read an informational content piece.
Depending on the volume of users, you should look at setting up a micro-conversion for page engagement.
Screenshot of search for [what is an ai chatbot], Google, December 2022
The ad introduces the brand and answers the keyword in question. Clicking through to the landing page, we’re not introduced to a hard sell, but instead are given a “complimentary guide” to learn more about this specific AI Chatbot.
There is no mention of pricing, or the specific product here. It matches the user search intent by providing the user with exactly what they requested.
The bonus is it also allows the business to collect email addresses, which can then be sent email nurturing campaigns later on.
Middle Of Funnel
Your MOFU audience members are those who know your product or service exists and have done some research on potential solutions.
They might even already be considering you as an option, but need to know exactly how you can help, and why you’re a better choice than your competitors. Their decision is also likely heavily influenced by third-party opinions of your brand.
In this case, your Google Ads campaign could promote the following:
Technical “how-to guides.”
Your audience likely has a foundational understanding of the topic or industry, but they’re still looking to improve their knowledge and identify the best solution for them.
Cue offer messaging here! Your people are getting ready for an information-based soft sell.
For your bid strategy, it would be a good idea to use the following:
Unlike ECPC, Maximize Clicks is an automated bidding strategy where Google sets the bids for you, to get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your daily budget.
Once you’re ready to retarget, here’s a possible approach:
Take a look at your previous audience setup for users clicking through from your TOFU campaign and your general website visitors. It’s worthwhile to add this audience as an observation on this campaign.
Screenshot by author, December 2022
You can increase bids for users who have already interacted with your brand, which ensures your ads are in a higher position and keeps brand awareness at the forefront.
Again, using audiences from this page and adding bid targeting to your BOFU campaign is a good idea.
For your MOFU goal type, you’ll need to offer more information to help your audience decide – but at this stage, you’ll want to get into the nitty-gritty details.
Although users might be somewhat unaware of your brand, they have a good sense of the product or service they want, as they are now fully in their research phase to find the most suitable product or service to fulfill their needs.
The goal here can be offering downloadable guides and product comparisons while also still using micro-conversions, such as tracking a conversion for every download.
Screenshot of search for [how to build a chatbot], Google, December 2022
With this ad example, the user has likely done enough research to start looking at ways to install a chatbot, which the ad answers exactly that question with the ad copy.
Furthermore, we can see that, similar to TOFU, there isn’t a hard sell on this page, as the user intent isn’t yet to purchase their product. Instead, they have offered a free ebook in exchange for contact details.
Bottom Of Funnel
BOFU is where the magic happens: lead generation conversions. Your audience is ready to buy and needs one more push to click that purchase, book a demo, or contact us button.
Relevant keywords here might be:
At this stage, you’ll want to whip out your conversion-based landing pages and ask for the sale because:
Your audience here is strongly aware of your brand.
They’re considering making a purchase and have a decent understanding of your solution.
For your bid strategy, consider using Maximize Conversions, as users are nearly at the end of their decision-making and are more inclined to get in touch with you.
When you’re ready to retarget, enable retargeting for all users who visit this page but don’t convert. You can also retarget users using display campaigns on Google or other similar platforms, such as AdRoll.
It would be worth considering setting up retargeting on other platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, too.
Because this campaign has the highest intent for the users in the purchase cycle, a high-converting landing page is recommended here that offers all of the above information and more.
This is your chance to offer lead forms and get in touch with forms that include calls to action (CTAs) at the top and at easily accessible points throughout the page.
Screenshot of search for [ai chatbot for customer service], Google, December 2022
From the above BOFU keyword, we can now be sure the user knows exactly what they need – it’s now just picking the perfect solution for them.
By understanding the specific use case, the ads have been tailored for each scenario, increasing CTR. It also lists relevant site link assets (AKA extensions) that the user will also find useful, such as pricing and demo.
Secondly, the landing page used here is a high conversion page in that it offers relevant CTA’s throughout the page, uses trust-building messages, contact CTAs, and, more importantly, it highlights the product’s value.
Implement The Right Google Ads Strategy To Generate High-Quality B2B Leads
Overall, Google Ads is incredibly effective for B2B businesses because it’s a great starting point for long-term growth.
Not only can you retarget across other channels, but you also have the ability to target keywords based on level purchase intent within the sales funnel.
Now that you’re a pro at B2B Google Ads campaigns, you’ll be able to spend smart and optimize effectively!
Can you believe the end of the year is already upon us? With so many changes to the advertising ecosystem, it’s easy for time to fly by.
The year 2022 will be remembered for welcome (and unwelcome) changes to not only Google Ads and Microsoft Ads platforms but also to new features for up-and-coming channels.
With more PPC platforms available to advertisers, it’s hard to keep up with all the changes!
That’s why I’ve broken down my picks of the top 10 new PPC features and developments of 2022, encompassing as many PPC platforms and campaign types as possible.
1. Google Ads: No More Expanded Text Ads
While other platforms continue to add additional formats and options, Google continues to take away Search ad options slowly.
While it was announced back in 2021, Google officially sunset Expanded Text Ads on June 30, 2022. Search ads are now dominated by the Responsive Search Ads format.
Why is this a big deal?
For advertisers, the lack of control was a huge setback – especially for any regulated industry that needs legal approval on all copies. Additionally, many advertisers saw that their ETAs performed better than RSAs.
The bright side of ETAs being sunset is that marketers were forced to rethink their messaging strategy.
Because of the breadth of headline and description options, Google can mix and match to serve the right message, at the right time, for each user.
This meant removing the redundant copy from RSAs and shifting to an opportunity of creating more intentional messaging for each keyword theme.
Another benefit of moving to RSAs was the increased visibility of ads.
In a study done by Optmyzr in May 2022, it was found that RSAs showed 2.1x impressions compared to ETA-only ad groups.
Screenshot from Optmyzr, December 2022
2. Microsoft Ads: Video Ads Debut
Microsoft continues to make headway into the advertising marketing share in 2022.
With the expansion of the Microsoft Audience Network, they officially debuted Video Ads just last month. While Video Ads were beta tested in 2021, they are now generally available in the following areas:
From a marketer’s perspective, this allows you to reach your audience where you may not have been able to reach them before.
Google rolled out this feature in October as well.
You may wonder, what does this have to do with YouTube ads?
The podcast placement on YouTube is available for audio and video ad formats.
4. Facebook Ads: New Tools For B2B And Small Businesses
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Facebook (now known officially as Meta) has been in the news a LOT this year.
While the news around Meta has mainly been around consumer-facing issues such as privacy and content standards, Facebook has introduced new features to advertisers this year.
In May 2022, Facebook announced new tools specifically for B2B and small businesses. These tools include:
Messaging and Conversation Features.
Lead Generation and Customer Acquisition Tools.
In the messaging and conversation features comes a new ad form.
Facebook is creating ads that can be run on both Facebook and Instagram, made directly from a business’s WhatsApp Business app.
This ad type helps expand a business and consumer relationship by encouraging interaction via message.
To support this feature, Facebook identified that over 70% of consumers want the option to communicate with businesses in a more conversational way.
The lead generation and customer acquisition new features include:
Quote Requests on Instagram.
Lead filtering with Instant Forms.
From an ad perspective, the most relevant come within the quote requests and gated content, in my opinion.
With the ongoing need for first-party data, creating a gated content ad is a great way to capture essential user information, such as email, to be able to engage with them in the future.
5. Instagram Ads: Introducing AI-Powered Ads
Some of Instagram’s most notable PPC features come from new ad formats.
As this platform has become more shoppable, Instagram released a new AI-powered ad called “Multi-advertiser ads.”
Screenshot from Business.Instagram.com, December 2022
This ad format will highlight different businesses’ ads based on a consumer’s behavior and engagement within the app.
While it’s not necessarily an ad format that marketers can set up, this AI-powered format takes your existing ads and uses its algorithm to get your brand in front of in-market shoppers.
6. TikTok Ads: New Ad Placements In Search
In March of 2022, users first identified a new “Sponsored” ad placement within the top 4 results of a user’s search:
Screenshot from TikTok, December 2022
It’s important to note that this Sponsored listing is still within Beta, and TikTok has not identified a timeline for general rollout to all advertisers.
So, why is this PPC feature big news?
TikTok has been a haven for users to discover content on countless topics.
Now with the search feature, advertisers will (hopefully soon) be able to target their ads more precisely based on a user search.
TikTok is, in a sense, becoming its own type of search engine. This placement is another reason to test out this ad platform if you haven’t already.
7. Pinterest Ads: Shoppable Product Pins With WooCommerce Extension
While Shoppable Pins aren’t new to 2022, a new feature added in July 2022 made it much easier for merchants to create ads. Over 3 million merchants, to be exact.
The Pinterest for WooCommerce extension simply makes selling your products on Pinterest easier to set up.
So, how does it work?
This new extension turns your entire product catalog into the Pinterest Shoppable Product Pin format. The catalog listings are automatically uploaded to Pinterest, removing the need for manual uploads.
If you use WooCommerce to run your online shopping website, you don’t want to miss this feature.