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On-Demand Webinar: Top 10 PPC Tips for 2017 Webinar

On-Demand Webinar Overview

Optimizing your paid search campaigns could be one of the most complex tasks of managing your account, however there is always room to improve.  We have the information you can use to learn how to enhance your performance. In this live webinar, Ross Bucholc, director of search engine marketing at Digital Media Solutions, presents our top 10 PPC tips to help you optimize your PPC campaign and help maximize your efforts.

Note: After the recording of this webinar, the Sparkroom agency was rebranded to DMS Digital Agency. Our award-winning. performance marketing technology retains the name Sparkroom.


Presented By

Ross Bucholc - Director, Search Engine Marketing @ DMS

Ross Bucholc is the Director of Paid Media at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients grow their businesses and realize their marketing goals. In this role, Ross oversees search, display, social, programmatic, mobile and affiliate programs servicing DMS clients across industries. The DMS Paid Media team focuses on customer-centric, real-time marketing using robust data from multiple sources to understand each customer’s journey and optimize campaign performance.

Webinar Transcript

Kathy Bryan:  Good afternoon. My name is Kathy Bryan, and I'm the vice-president of corporate marketing and communications here at Sparkroom. I'd like to welcome everyone to today's webinar, Top 10 PPC Tips for 2017.

Before we get started, I want to tell you a little bit about Sparkroom. Sparkroom is exclusively focused on education and is a proven leader in enrollment marketing and management. Through the deployment of award winning technologies and services, Sparkroom helps institutions of higher education grow and sustain enrollment. We offer our solution in three formats: performance marketing technology, enrollment marketing, and enrollment management.


Before I pass it off to our presenter, Ross Bucholc, to introduce himself, I want to let everyone know that we will be assuming a certain level of paid search proficiency as we present this topic. But don't worry. If you hear any terms you're not familiar with, please feel free to submit a question for clarification. I will either respond via the Go to Webinar chat tool, or, if appropriate, I will interrupt the presentation for clarification. So thank you for joining us today, and now I'll pass it off to Ross.


Ross Bucholc:  Hi all. Thank you very much, Kathy. As Kathy mentioned, my name is Ross Bucholc. I'm the director of search engine marketing here at Sparkroom. The reason I was chosen to do this webinar is because I have been doing paid search for 11 plus years – seven plus in the EDU vertical. Probably managed over 50 million in total budgets over the course of my career, and so that apparently qualified me for this webinar.


As Kathy mentioned, I'm going to be going through some top PPC tips for 2017. Some of these tips were probably also tips in 2016 and years prior, but were important enough to qualify for 2017 as well. So with that, I'm going to roll right into tip number one, which I feel like is probably the most important of all of the tips. So if there's anything to take away from this, I would listen right now.


Tip number one is the SKAG account structure that Sparkroom kind of hangs our hat on. So SKAG stands for Single Keyword Ad Group approach, essentially meaning that when you're setting up your account for the first time, it's structured so that there is only a single keyword in each ad group. What that allows for is you to write copy that is specific to the keyword as opposed to the opposite when there's 20, 30, 50 plus keywords in an ad group.


Sure, they may all apply to the same program, but when you're trying to appeal to a quality score on Google's side as well as trying to lift click through rate from the user side, really speaking to them directly and using the exact keyword being searched in your ad copy – it benefits both. And of course, as we know – those being two very large components of quality score – it will in turn help improve your quality score and then in turn of course help improve your CPCs.


So this is something that comes into play generally at the start of launching a paid search program, or you can reorganize your account as well to implement this structure. But it's a very, very time consuming process – essentially going one by one through every keyword and writing ad copy that matches that keyword – but a real strong believer in it's setting you up for – not just short term success but especially for long term success of the program. So that is tip number one, the SKAG, or single keyword ad group account structure.


Moving on to tip number two – while we're on the topic of setting up accounts and account structure – tip number two is getting granular with your GEOs. So this can apply to whether your account is targeting all of the U.S. nationally, if you're doing a little 30 mile radius, if you're doing a few zips around your campus – no matter what, just make sure you are getting as granular as you can with your GEOs. So what this means is in the example of a national campaign, we know that different hours of the day perform differently. Generally speaking, you'll see the most unqualified traffic – though it's very little that trickles in – from generally around midnight to 5 or 6:00 a.m.


So knowing that, I want to implement bid rules that either bid down during those hours or potentially turn off our whole program from midnight to 6:00 a.m. But if we're targeting all of the U.S., what that means is that here on the east coast when I'm pausing from midnight to 6:00 a.m., I'm then on the west coast pausing from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. the next day, which of course you're leaving valuable traffic on the table – that 9:00 to midnight traffic on the west coast.


So that's an example where though you're doing it nationally – and there's nothing wrong with that – maybe at the least break out your campaigns into time zones so that you can monitor performance by those time zones and then adjust your day parting properly for each of those time zones so that you're sure that whether the person being on the east coast or the west coast is definitely traffic that you don't want when you implement that day parting.


The other aspect of getting granular with your GEOs – it's not just as big as national and for the purpose of day parting. So in a smaller example, say you're targeting a 30 mile radius around your campus – what I mean by getting granular in that case would be potentially setting up campaigns that differ based on how far out in that 30 mile radius they are. So for example, if I have that same 30 mile radius, and I set up a campaign that's only targeting the immediate 10 mile radius around there, I'd want to allocate the most budget to that campaign knowing that I'm going to see the highest conversion rates the closer the people are to the campus. And then set up a campaign targeting 10 to 20 miles out and then 20 to 30 out, knowing as we get further out you're likely going to see a decline in performance and then setting your daily budgets accordingly.


So there are a couple different ways that this can work, but it is not dependent on you being a national program. It can be applied to something as small as a few zips or radii as well. And that kind of sums up number two, so I'm gonna roll into tip number three.


While we're talking about locations, this one is pretty simple. Don't use location extensions. So we all love Google Ad extensions. Me, I love all of them but location extensions. But really the core of this particular tip is that you don't want to drive your user further away from the ultimate goal of converting into a lead. And with location extensions really what you get is a nice little line underneath your ad that of course shows the address of your particular campus or school. However, with that you get a link, which if the person clicks that address, they're driven to a Google Maps page.


So one, you're paying for a click to drive someone to Google. And then two, you're paying for that click to drive them further away and further out of the funnel of the ultimate goal of becoming a lead. So I know there are some arguments for why and when it would make sense to use location extensions, but it's something that Sparkroom does not recommend.


While we're on the topic of extensions, we do recommend site link extensions, call out extensions, and call extensions. So we would certainly implement all three of those right off the bat. But as for location extensions, we are going to go with tip number three being do not use them.


So now we are ready to move to number four. Now this one's going to be a mouth full, so everyone buckle up. ETA Display URL Workaround. So ETA or Extended Text Ads were launched by Google I think the middle of last year, so definitely 2016, and everyone loved them. They're great. They give you more characters to work with to sell the user on your school. They also take up way more real estate, so they make your ad more visible, which are all perks that you would assume would improve your click through rate, which again of course helps out with quality score, and you're getting more traffic. It's a win-win.


So how this came around is that upon launching ETAs for some of our clients, we were seeing – within our brand campaigns – as opposed to an increase in click through rate, we we actually seeing a decrease in click through rate, which again kind of doesn't make sense being that the ad is bigger. Again it allowed us more characters to sell the user on clicking through. So there was a little bit of confusion comparing the ETA or Extended Text Ads versus just your standard text ads that were live previously, we were seeing these lower click through rates.


So the one thing that I notice with the ETA ads is that they were pulling in your display URL as opposed to in the past being able to manually enter your display URL, and it could be just the domain as long as it matched the subdomain that you were sending your traffic to. With the new ETAs because you didn't have the option to enter a final display URL, what Google did was it was just pulling in your display URL based on whatever you entered as a final destination URL.


The issue there of course is with your final URL it's – generally speaking, if you're leveraging at least Sparkroom best practices – you're using a subdomain that matches your regular domain and sending traffic there. However, what it resulted in is ads showing instead of the desired Now I realize that that sounds a little bit ridiculous that that would so negatively affect click through rate, but when you think about it – especially around brand – this user is giving up their personal information to you, and they want to be assured that they are giving it just to you.


And the thought was that with the subdomain it gave the possibility of the perception that it could be an aggregator and an affiliate that they were clicking on, and so they just didn't. So anyway, long story short, I worked with Google to kind of come up with a work around, and I'm going to outline it now.


So at Sparkroom it's a best practice of ours to set our final URLs at the keyword level. However, there is the option to set your final URL at the ad level as well. Essentially, you're picking between keyword level and ad level. The reason we here at Sparkroom prefer keyword level is that it allows us to pass a bunch of keyword level parameters that then we can go back and track these leads to enrollments and starts and tie it back specifically to a keyword.


It also worked out for us in this scenario because what the work around entails is leveraging keyword level tracking to set all of your final URLs with all of your parameters. So essentially setting up keyword level tracking as if that's your final tracking, where you want your traffic to go with all the parameters that you want to pass, and then going into the ad level tracking and setting up final URLs that are just the domain name. So in the example I presented earlier, you'd use as your keyword URL and then put in a final URL at the ad level of just


The reason this works is because keyword level tracking always trumps ad level tracking when it comes to setting up a destination URL. So what's happening in the system is Google is showing an ad based on what you put in your final URL at the ad level. So in this case it would be pulling in the But then when the person clicks – because the keyword level tracking trumps the ad level tracking – then the user would be brought to the subdomain as expected and as you'd anticipate them to be so – passing all of the parameters properly but not forcing you to use a subdomain as your display URL.


So like I said, that was a lot of words. I'm sure there may be questions or concerns that come up from tip number four, so please feel free to reach out if so.


And on that note, we will move right on to tip number five, which is also along the lines of ad copy. So tip number five is using countdown ad copy as a start approaches. And this is one that I had to come around to myself. Previously, I was on the side that you should leverage ad copy to sell a user on your school, not waste valuable characters on telling people how many days out they are from a start. And I had expressed to this a client who had mentioned that they wanted to try countdown ad copy, and she said, "Well, let's just test it anyway and see what happens. Numbers don't lie. So it will be in black and white. Whatever works better will be the winner."  And of course, I had to eat my words. And now she is the reason for tip number five.


The countdown ad copy performed great. Not only did it drive higher click through rates, but higher conversion rates as well. So the way countdown copy works is you can use a formula within your ad copy that essentially tells Google what day your start date is, and then you're putting in how many days out you'd like to start the countdown. And essentially when it hits for example 10 days out from the start date, the ad will begin to serve and it will say, "Hey, only ten days until the 6/29 start. Learn more now."  And then as you get closer, the days countdown automatically until one day until the start, and then the ads automatically stop showing upon the exhaustion of the date and the actual start.


So it's something that can be set up ahead of time and will essentially phase itself out as you go past the date. I would recommend putting a schedule on the calendar. And the recommendation I have is we've seen the most effectiveness ten days out. So starting ten days away from your approach and counting down from there. Anything above that it doesn't really push the urgency button. I mean, when you see ten plus days, you have plenty of time. So as you get closer to the start you should see the click through rates and hopefully conversion rates increase as well. So that is tip number five, leveraging countdown ad copy.


Moving on to number six, and I think the final of the ad copy theme. This is around optimizing ad copy. And generally speaking, it's always been a best practice to look at the click through rate, look at the conversion rate, and make a decision based on those two metrics. The attempt – what I'm attempting to do with CPI, or conversion per impression, is to blend both click through rate and conversion rate into that decision. So the conversion per impression metric is literally the formula being conversions divided by impressions, with the thought being that the only way someone can possibly convert is by clicking through on an ad. So that kind of takes into account the click through rate perspective. And then of course conversions are what gets you the conversion rate.


So I should warn that this number is going to be pretty ugly. We're talking about probably down to the hundredth, thousandth, ten thousandth percentage, but it's a great way to look at both click through rate and conversion rate to make a decision. Because of course you don't want to weight one or the other too much. Of course, you don't want to have this great click through rate but no one converting or a really high conversion rate. But if the people aren't clicking through on it, you're not getting taken advantage of it. And so the CPI metric has gone a long way in helping me optimize ad copy to both click through rate and conversion rate. So that is tip number six.


Tip number seven – switching gears a little bit to a more recent release I guess with Google would be leveraging customer match. And where we've seen the most success with customer match, which involves uploading email addresses and then targeting them is via re-engagement campaigns. So what I mean by that is schools have sent us a list of 10,000, 100,000 emails where the person – they paid for that person to become a lead, but they never became an enrollment or start. So they idea is you're taking all of these email addresses where you've already invested all of this budget in getting them and re-engaging them via customer match.


So you have three options upon uploading the email addresses to advertise to these users. You can advertise to them via paid search. You can advertise to them via Gmail ads, and you can advertise to them via YouTube. The rank that I just gave you is probably the way I'd rank it. Number one paid search. So what that means is when the person is logged in via an email address that matches what you uploaded, and they do a search on a term that you are bidding on, it gives Google the ability to increase that bid up to 30 percent, with the thought being that this person has a level of intent that's higher than just a lay person who has no history. And with that 30% boost, the ideas is you'll get a higher click through rate. And again because they are re-engaging – the thought being that you'll see a higher conversion rate as well.


The second option we've actually seen a ton of success with as well, so that's Gmail ads. Same idea – someone logs in, is reading their Gmail, and they're hit with a small display ad that they can then expand into a much large ad. And of course upon clicking that be trafficked to a landing page. And we've seen a lot of success with that too.


And then the third option YouTube. To be perfectly honest – I mean unless you're goal is branding – that is not a route that I would recommend going. If you're looking for an ROI on your investment, I would certainly recommend the first couple of options. And like I mentioned, we've seen – clients have seen a lot of success with this. I was speaking with an account manager prior to this meeting, and they are running customer match via the Gmail ads and are seeing cost per aps that are a tenth of the goal cost per ap. So it makes sense.


You've already invested all of this money in this person, and they've already become a lead in the past. So you're just trying to re-engage them. Maybe when they first became a lead they weren't ready to go to school, and now they're in a better place. And so anyway, people are seeing a nice return on campaigns that they're running via customer match. So that's tip number seven.


Moving right along to tip number eight. This is a favorite of mine. So – and I should also that this is pretty niche, so this might not apply to everyone, but expand into the Spanish language. Set up a Hispanic campaign. So on Google the Hispanic market is pretty untapped. So what that means for us – because competition is generally what dictates your cost per click – is that you're gonna see cost per clicks coming through at five, ten X cheaper than an English counterpart.


So again, I realize that this doesn't apply to all. I mean some of the caveats are that you need to either have a class that is taught in Spanish or have a class that someone who speaks English as a second language would be able to comprehend and handle the class. It requires a landing page that very clearly states either that the classes are taught in Spanish or that they are not taught in Spanish. And it also requires you to have someone picking up the phone on the other end – whether it's a call center or at your school – that can communicate with someone effectively in Spanish to ultimately convert them from a lead to an enrollment or a start.


So what I love about the Hispanic campaigns are that, like I mentioned, CPCs are much, much cheaper. So even if you see a lead to enrollment or lead to start rate that's five X lower than that of the English counterparts – because you've invested so little on the front end, you have some wiggle room there to make up for the quality of the leads on the back end.


The other expectation that should be said is that volume is not going to be what you see from your typical English campaigns. We see much lower volume coming through here. So what I do to start is literally just set it up as a test, and then if you see positive returns from your test then potentially look at rolling it out further.
The other great thing about the Hispanic campaigns are that you can lean – if you have Google reps – you can lean on your Google reps to help you with set up. Google has a Hispanic team internally whose sole purpose is to convert people to start advertising in Spanish. And so if you reach out to your Google rep, you could likely have them reach out to the Hispanic team and set up your test campaigns, pretty much everything for you from start to finish.


That being said, I would also highly recommend that you have someone internally, perhaps the person that would be able to communicate with these people and handle the calls and working the leads give the campaign a glance over and just make sure it's what you had in your head when you handed it over to Google just to make sure everyone's on the same page with what keywords you're live on and what ad copy you're showing these users. So that's Hispanic. Love it. Seen a lot of success with it in the past with small tests.


Alright. Tip number nine. Squeeze as much out of Google before spending budget on Bing. What's funny about this is I actually had a client today tell me that his higher ups want us to be live on Bing ASAP. So I'm going to be setting up a Bing campaign later. But the reason for this slide is that I'm not anti-Bing. I don't work for Google. I work for Sparkroom. So I'm coming in here with a clean slate. It's just really based on performance.


And over the years, using the Sparkroom tool to look at not just the leads but the costs for enrollments and costs for starts that we see coming from these channels, and Bing has, I feel like, steadily been on a decline. I'd say the quality traffic from Bing since they merged with Yahoo years ago, I think that set their quality back quite a bit. And then as mobile has become what it is now, which is more than desktop, I think it's become even more pronounced – the discrepancy in backend performance and quality of traffic from Google versus Bing – meaning that Google, Google Mobile, we see really, really strong performance from both – whether it's just or their search partner network as well.


Whereas on Bing – desktop if anything – if you're twisting my arm, I'd be willing to go live on Bing desktop for a test. But especially Bing Mobile as that's launched and rolled out and as we we get – as the ratio of mobile to desktop traffic grows more in favor of mobile, I've just seen Bing Mobile performance just be terrible out of the gate and kind of get worse as time has gone on. And so that's why I urge people to squeeze as much out of Google before spending their budget on Bing. Of course, there's a point of diminishing return. I mean, there's only so much the quality of Google can make up versus Bing if we're talking about $1,000 CPO on Google versus $100 on Bing, this may not apply.


But if you're seeing anywhere near similar CPLs coming through from Google on Google and Bing, my guess would be – or my strong recommendation would be that you want to push as much of that budget to Google as possible because my thought would be that on the backend Bing is not converting as well as Google. And it really isn't even close for the majority of our clients. So that's tip number nine – not to be too negative about Bing.


And number ten – the final one. A big buzz word now in the industry is attribution, and rightfully so. Our team here at Sparkroom is working feverishly on attribution models and coming up with a solution as well. I'm sure everyone has some inkling of an idea of what attribution is, but essentially the goal here is to look at where you're spending your dollars and ultimately what those dollars are getting you across all of the channels that you're live on and all of the devices that users are using, and ultimately be able to tie back conversions that happen across a multitude of channels to one starting point and be able to look at the steps that that user took along the way to assign some level of value to each of the channels that you're using for marketing.


So because this is a top ten PPC tips for 2017 webinar, I should plug paid search here and say that in terms of paid search and budgeting, something that we see consistently in looking at these attribution models is that paid search is an important starting point in the lead cycle and the attribution cycle. So a lot of times we'll see someone start with a search on a non-branded term on Google, and then from there you see the path of potentially doing another search, seeing a display ad, coming back via SEO or direct type in, and ultimately converting.


And if you're just – if you're not paying attention to attribution, you're just saying, alright, this person came in through SEO, we're going to assign them the conversion and move on, without really assigning any value to that first click that – if you weren't showing a paid search ad and that person hadn't clicked on it upon doing a search for a program, they might not know that your school even ever existed. So definitely pay attention to attribution. Pay attention to what Sparkroom is doing with attribution and coming up with their attribution tools. And I think that brings me to the end of my ten tips.


Kathy Bryan:               Alright. Thank you, Ross.


Ross Bucholc:             My pleasure.


Kathy Bryan:               That was a lot of fantastic information. We are going to take some questions from the attendees right now. To anyone who has a question, please type it into the question box on your webinar control panel. If you don't see your webinar control panel, look for the orange box with the arrow. If you click on that, the control panel will expand and you'll see the spot where you can put questions.


We got some questions while you were talking.


Ross Bucholc:             Take it easy on me guys. Hopefully they're not too hard.


Kathy Bryan:               Let's challenge him. Alright. So first question is, why would you pay to run Gmail ads using customer match when you can just email these people for free?


Ross Bucholc:             That is a great question. That is a great question. So I don't know that it's necessarily that you should be only choosing one or the other. I mean again – well, I should add also that we're not talking about a large investment here for the Gmail stuff. So maybe the largest part of the investment may actually just be building the display ad, but really volume wise you're talking about probably a few hundred dollars a month if you've uploaded hundreds of thousands of email addresses.


From an engagement standpoint, this person's going to Gmail to check their email. They're not really going there to be shown a display ad. And ultimately because of that we see really, really low click through rates coming through. So I can't argue against email because I don't have a background in email. So I can't speak to how much success you would see with an email campaign. But I can say at the very least I would recommend doing this in tandem with the email just to ensure that you're hitting them from every angle.


And again, I mean I wouldn't be recommending it if we hadn't seen the success that we are seeing with it. And to get into a little more detail about what exactly it is. So again, these are all old leads from a year ago plus, so hundreds of thousands of records uploaded to customer match and then hitting them with these Gmail ads that then traffic them directly to an ap page. So because they've already become a lead and are familiar with that, you're not going to drive them to another lead form and get them to resubmit a lead. Really you just want to drive them all the way – you know, skip the lead step and just get them right in to the ap. So that's just a little more color around there.


But I mean I can't say anything negative about reaching out to them via email. I mean hit them everywhere. Get them from every single angle, and hopefully the fish bites.


Kathy Bryan:               So staying on the topic of customer match re-engagement, do you still pay per click?


Ross Bucholc:             Yes, yes. So to be perfectly honest, I'm sure with Gmail and probably YouTube as well, you may be able to do a CPM, cost per thousand impressions. Because we're so focused on optimizing to a CPA essentially, we do prefer to use the CPC model. If more volume is your goal – so getting the ad out there more frequently – you may want to think about testing CPM. Now that you brought it up, I might want to think about testing CPM in the future just to get the ad out there more. But for the purpose of testing and controlling your costs, I would recommend at least starting with the CPC and then if you see those great success potentially think about expanding the CPM.


Kathy Bryan:               So following along with the idea of optimizations, you mentioned optimizing based on CPI. Does Google allow for automated optimizations based on CPI?


Ross Bucholc:             You know, I'm not a huge automated guy. I like knowing what's going on. So when you select a certain ad rotation option, you don't necessarily see what Google's thought process is behind showing one ad more than the other. You would think that the CPI, using the CPI metric would be similar to optimizing for conversions within Google. But I'm not a thousand percent sure of what the exact formula Google uses for that metric. But I would assume/hope/maybe think that it would be something similar to CPI, but not a hundred percent sure. So just double check what rotate to optimize for conversion.


You may be able to Google it and see if there is an exact formula that Google released around what they use to do that. But a lot of times I feel like with these automated rules – no matter what it is – you're putting all of your trust in Google to just do the right thing. And at the end of the day ultimately Google is in the business of making money. They make a lot of it. And so I prefer the more manual approach a lot of times just because it gives me more visibility into what exactly is happening.


Kathy Bryan:               Alright. Next question – for the URL work around, can you reiterate the trumping details of keyword versus ad?


Ross Bucholc:             Yes. So keyword level tracking always trumps ad level tracking is the long and short of it. So if you set up a final URL for both ad level and keyword level, Google is always going to ultimately send the user to whatever URL you put in at the keyword level. Essentially what you're doing with my work around is creating a voyeur URL at the ad level. And the only reason generally you'd have one at both levels is as a backup. So for example, if for one keyword you forgot to set a URL, then it would revert over to the ad level, but the hope is that you or the agency or that you're using is competent enough to set up a keyword level URL for every keyword. And in that case, I would highly, highly recommend the work around to ensure that you are not pulling the subdomain in as your display URL.


Kathy Bryan:               Do you have any resources that you could recommend to higher ed professionals to stay up to date with the latest PP trends – whether they're resources, websites, blogs, newsletters.


Ross Bucholc:             Nothing better than the Google blog itself. I don't have the exact URL, nor do I have a computer in front of me, so I cannot share that with you, but the Google blog – you hear it right from Google's mouth – for lack of a better word – again because I do tend to be partial to Google as evidence by tip number nine. Most of what Google says comes out on the Google blog is pretty much breaking news for the industry, and just generally speaking, Bing will end up rolling it out a year or two later anyway. So I prefer to just stay on top of what's going on with the Google blog.


Kathy Bryan:               Speaking of your love for Google, so you said maximize Google before you move on to Bing. Does that include everything that Google offers, display, everything like that?


Ross Bucholc:             Great question. Yes. So I should have specified search. A lot of times with the nature of search versus content and search being a more of a pull model where someone's looking for you to show them an ad, and you're just doing them a favor and showing them an ad. As you move into Google's display network and those types of leads, you may see comparable CPLs but lower quality on the back end. Again just because the nature of a display ad is someone's on the internet reading a blog or doing something totally different than going to Google and searching for you.


So what we've seen historically is that those display leads tend to enroll when start at a lower rate. So yes, I should have specified get as much out of Google search as possible before thinking about Bing search. But honestly, it may be even between Google display and Bing search. That's how bad I feel like it's gotten. For me, at least specifically in the EDU industry, and that was the reason that I was kind of being a Debbie Downer on Bing in tip number nine.


Kathy Bryan:               When you set up campaigns, do you put plural and singular keywords together, or do you separate them out?


Ross Bucholc:             Yes, so we're at the point where we're already investing so much time and effort into the single keyword ad group approach that in the past we had thrown singular and plural together just because really the ad's going to be the same for them for the most part, but while we're already at the point that for these tens, hundreds of thousands of keywords, we're putting each in an ad group. The difference between one or two is minimal, so now our approach is one single keyword and actually one single match type per ad group. So our ad groups would consist of the exact match of the keyword ABC University. Another ad group would be the phrase match ABC University. Broad match ABC University. BMM broad match modified ABC University. And then so on and so forth for every singular and every plural.


Kathy Bryan:               Sounds exhausting.


Ross Bucholc:             It is. It's terrible.


Kathy Bryan:               Alright. I have two questions remaining. If anyone else has another question, put them in while we're asking these two, so we can squeeze them in. So this is a double question about the Spanish language campaigns. First part is does Google do the Spanish translation? Second part is should people try any other languages?


Ross Bucholc:             So first part of the question is that Google will do the translations if you ask them. The caveat is we're spoiled here at Sparkroom. We have a dedicated Google rep. So that kind of helps my case. I don't know if someone were to reach out in a one off request and ask for a build out of a Spanish campaign that it would work the same way. But this goes back even a couple years when Google was trying to penetrate this market. They were outwardly offering us we'll build this out for you. We'll build that out for you.


And as of most recently, the last time I reach out they built out the keywords, the ad copy. They gave recommended CPCs, pretty much soup to nuts. I just had to have the client review everything to ensure that they were keywords that they wanted to be live on and ad copy that they wanted to show. But yeah, we got the whole bulk sheets, everything for free. And again, the thought being that if it's successful, ultimately Google's gonna make more money off of this as well. So it's in both of our best interests for it to work out.


And so yeah. If you – I'd assume if you have a dedicated Google rep or work with an agency that has a dedicated Google rep, you could get one of these built out for free.


And the second part in regards to other languages, to be frank, I don't have any experience building out campaigns around the other languages, but I would assume that you'd be in a similar boat where at least in the U.S. if it's a national campaign, any other language outside of English is generally pretty untapped of a market. And so with that lack of competition always comes a huge, huge discount in your cost per clicks. So I think it would certainly be a viable option for other languages as well.


Kathy Bryan:               Alright. Excellent. We got in another question. So we still have two questions. Is phrase match more effective than broad match?


Ross Bucholc:             Wow. So it – I mean, it depends. So the thought would be that you're working with kind of a sliding scale from quality from exact match to phrase match to broad match modified and then finally to broad match. So I'd squeeze BMM or broad match modified in between phrase and broad and would probably recommend doing broad match modified before reverting all the way down to broad match. But really you need to look at the performance of the campaigns. Another Sparkroom structure type best practice is that we break out our campaigns by match type.


So for your criminal justice program, we'll have criminal justice exact campaign, criminal justice phrase, criminal justice BMM, and criminal justice broad. And the thought behind doing that is that if we have a certain amount of budget to allocate to criminal justice, I want to give as much of it as possible to exact match with the thought being that that will likely drive the highest quality of traffic, and then assign lower budgets as you move down the scale from exact to phrase to broad match modified and to broad. So ultimately, I would think phrase is going to be more effective for you from a CPL perspective. But ultimately, you just need to look at the performance and see.


Sometimes we see broad match perform better than phrase match for reasons unknown. Maybe they have a higher click through rate. So it appeals to Google's quality score a little bit better, so you're getting a cheaper CPC on it. Ultimately, I would recommend just looking at performance by each match type. But the running theory is that your best quality is going to come from exact and then phrase, broad match modified, and broad.


And if you want to kind of dip your feet into broad, I'd highly recommend broad match modified. Really, honestly, all that entails is putting a plus sign in front of every keyword that you require to be part of the query that the person is putting in to Google. What we do is put a plus sign in front of all of them. So really, it becomes a glorified phrase match. So it is pretty much phrase match except the keywords don't all have to be in the same order that they do for phrase match. They can be all throughout the query. But it still requires every keyword that you're bidding on to be in the actual query.


And what it eliminates is giving Google the ability to just do whatever they want. When you move to broad match, it really gives them liberties to match you to stuff that could potentially be totally irrelevant to what you're hoping to show on. So hopefully that answers the question.


Kathy Bryan:               I think that was very helpful. I feel like I just learned a lot.


Ross Bucholc:             Oh, well, good. Kathy learned something, so great.


Kathy Bryan:               Alright. So I think this is the last question. And this is a test of your conviction. So if I have an open house coming up, is it an opportunity to use a location extension?


Ross Bucholc:             Yeah. If you want to waste budget, go for it. No, I'm going to stick with my conviction of no location, no location extensions. And I get it. Conceptually, I could see it working for something like an open house, or if you use it on your brand it will eliminate people clicking through to figure out what your address is or a contact phone number is. But it's so not worth it to drive them away from the ultimate goal of getting to the landing page and converting that for those few dollars you save potentially eliminating the clicks of those people that are just looking for your address, you're kind of alienating the other 99 percent of the people that aren't looking for an address and phone number and are potentially prospective students and not making it as simple as possible for them to convert by sending them to a Google maps page, of all things. No, I'm gonna stick with zero percent of the time using the location extensions.


Kathy Bryan:  Well, thank you, Ross. That was fantastic. And thank you to everyone who joined us today. If you still have any questions or you'd like to learn more about how you or Sparkroom alongside you can help maximum your PPC efforts, reach us, reach out to us at 877-423-1366, or email webinars at We wish you all great success in all of your future ventures, and have a great afternoon.



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Digital Media Solutions

Founded by a team of lifelong athletes, Digital Media SolutionsTM (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. The company’s set of proprietary assets and capabilities in the world of performance marketing and marketing technology allow clients to meticulously target and acquire the right customers. DMS relentlessly pursues flawless execution for top brands within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, careers and automotive.

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