The Importance of Quality Score

How Important is Quality Score?

Paid search, oftentimes in conjunction with SEO, remains an essential marketing element for many businesses. This being said, it’s suprising that a lot of companies don’t know what makes a campaign succeed. Of the many factors that contribute to a successful paid campaign, AdWords quality score is one of the most important. This blog will explain what quality score is, why it matters, and what you can do to improve it.

What is Quality Score?

According to Google, “quality score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.” It is determined at the keyword level and is represented as a number between 1 and 10. All things equal, the higher your quality score the better your ads will perform. An increase in quality score can lead to better ad rank, higher clickthrough rates, and cheaper clicks. Google determines quality score by evaluating three factors: expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. These three factors are rated either below average, average, or above average.

Quality Score

Expected Clickthrough Rate

Expected clickthrough rate takes into account the historical performance of your ads. At the same time, it excludes the effects of ad position (higher ad positions generally lead to better clickthrough rates), ad extensions, and ad formats. Clickthrough rate is a good indicator of relevance and can help you know if you’re sending the right message to the right audience. Your ads are more likely to be clicked when your ad copy is compelling and relevant

Ad Relevance

The second factor that affects quality score is ad relevance which measures how closely your ads match your keywords. If your ads brag about the cleanliness of your hotel rooms but appears when someone searches for flights to Dallas your ad relevance will suffer. If your keywords have below average ad relevance you may need to rewrite your ads or break up your ad groups into more specific ad groups. Whenever the search volume justifies it, you should make your ad groups as specific as possible and then match your ad copy to the keywords.

Landing Page Experience

Your landing page is evaluated on its content (is it relevant, useful and original?), transparency and trustworthiness, ease of navigation, and loading time. If your landing page was designed following industry best practice you won’t need to change very much. Just make sure you’re sending people to the landing page that most closely matches their search.

You may have noticed that each of the three quality score factors mention relevance. This is the heart of the whole matter. If you want your ads to perform well, if you want a high quality score, ensure that your ads, keywords, ad groups, and landing pages are all related. People don’t like having to search through websites to find what they’re looking for. Managing the data of short-tail and long-tail keywords can be challenging at scale. Use a tool like Linkio to keep your various keywords organized.

If you would like to see your quality score improve and drive more qualified traffic to your website, contact Epic Marketing today for a free consultation!

Google Ads Average Position is Going Away… Now What?

It wasn’t too long ago that Google announced they would be retiring the average position metric in September of this year, but many advertisers are still scratching their heads and wondering what to do in the meantime. Yes, Google rolled out top and absolute top impression share metrics, but many advertisers still rely on average position because it’s seems pretty straightforward (but we’ll get to that in a second) and more important it’s what they’ve been using for years. Change is one of the only constant things in the PPC industry, so what do advertisers need to know in order to seamlessly transition from average position to these newer metrics? Here are a few things you should understand and keep in mind.

Understanding the Differences

Average position, simply put, is your average ad position compared to other ads. Seems pretty simple, right? Hold that thought and we’ll get back to it.

Top impression share is the percentage of the time your ads are shown anywhere above the organic results. In other words, top impression share = Impressions on top/eligible impressions on top. If your ads are shown above the organic results every other time you would have a top impression share of 50%.

Absolute top impression share is the percentage of the time your ads are shown as the very first ad above the organic results. Absolute top impression share = Impressions on absolute top/eligible impressions on top. If your ads are shown above the organic results and as the very first ad every other time you would have a top impression share of 50%.

By its very nature, a percentage is a bit more nebulous than a number. Many of us can understand an average position of 2.2, but a search top impression share of 53.70%? That’s not as intuitive.

So what’s the difference? Average position only looks at where your ad is compared to other ads and the new metrics look at where your ad is compared to everything else on the SERP. You could have an average position of 1.0, but still not be above the fold. The metrics that are replacing average position should give you a better idea about where your ads are actually showing. Here’s a chart from Google that may help.

Average position chart

Are the New Metrics Better?

Technically, yes, I suppose they are. Otherwise, Google wouldn’t be getting rid of average position. However, I’m going to miss the simple, actionable insights you can gain from average position. Does average position paint the whole picture? No, but I’ve been using it for years and check it every time I get into one of my client’s accounts.

Maybe you’ve already transitioned to the new metrics, but if not, here are few ways you can start getting used to top impression share and absolute top impression share.

How to Use the New Metrics

First things first, Google’s automated bid strategies take the guesswork out of tweaking bids to optimize your impression share. There’s even a bid strategy that automatically adjusts your bids based on whether you want your ads to appear anywhere on the results page, at the top of the results page, or at the absolute top of the results page. If, however, you use manual bidding then you’ll need to understand how to use these metrics.

Top impression share big strategy

There are different schools of thought, but typically when I’m running a branded campaign I want to be the first ad. I would, therefore, adjust bids and/or budgets to maximize my absolute top impression share.

If I’m not running a branded campaign, I generally don’t want to be in the first ad position. I’ve found that although you usually get more clicks and a higher clickthrough rate, the increase in cost per click and more importantly cost per conversion isn’t worth it. In this case, I would focus more on top impression share. I don’t care about the absolute top, I just want to make sure my ads get seen.

How to Improve Impression Share

There are many different ways you can affect your impression shares, but I’m only going to cover some of the most common ones.

Budget – This one should be a no-brainer, the more you are willing or able to spend the more impression share you could have. That’s about all I have to say with this one.

Bids – At first glance, it would be easy to think that higher bids would always lead to higher impression share, but this is most definitely not the case. If you’re limited by budget then increasing your bids could actually lead to a decrease in impression share. Why is this? Higher bids usually lead to higher costs per click which means you’ll get even fewer clicks from your already strained budget. When you’re not limited by budget though, increasing your bids can be a great way to increase your impression share.

Quality score – This should come as no surprise, but a good quality score can dramatically improve the performance of your ads. When your ads consistently have high clickthrough rates, are relevant to the searcher’s query, and send the searcher to a well-designed landing page, Google rewards you. All things being equal, if you improve your quality score you will get a lower cost per click while at the same time increasing your ad rank. So your budget goes further and your ad appears higher in the SERPs, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Final Thoughts

After reading this you should have at least a basic understanding of the differences between average position and the new top impression share metrics, how to use the new metrics, and a few ways you can improve your impression share. Using this information, I’d advise you to start incorporating top impression share and absolute top impression share into your routine campaign optimizations. You can continue to use average position for now, but remember – it’s going away in September.

Interested in a free Google Ads audit? Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!

What PPC Metrics Should You Focus On?

When it comes to Google Ads, there’s no shortage of metrics you can track and measure. Last time I checked, there were 101 metrics you can view at the campaign level. The campaign level. Who knows how many other unique metrics there would be if I included metrics at the ad group, ad, ad extension, etc. level? Needless to say (but I guess I’m saying it anyway), there are a lot of different metrics you can track to try and get a clear picture of your marketing efforts. But which metrics should you focus on? What metrics should you base your optimization efforts on? That’s what I want to address in this blog, but before we can answer that question there are a few things we need to consider.

What stage of the business life cycle are you in? Is your business just starting out? Are you an industry leader? What matters to a startup might not matter to a mature business. Let’s take a look at some metrics that matter more at different stages.

Start Up Stage

At this stage, you probably don’t have a lot of brand awareness. You may have a great product or service, but PPC isn’t going to help you very much if no one has ever heard of you. Because of that, many younger businesses focus on awareness metrics. These can include impressions, views, watch time, etc. At this point in time, you should be more focused on getting your brand out there. If you have a great product or service and a smart marketing plan, conversions will come.

Growth Stage

Your business is no longer an unknown and people don’t view doing business with you as risky. So what should you focus on? By now you should be trying to hone in on your messaging. At this stage, you should move on from awareness metrics and instead focus on relevance metrics. Metrics such as clickthrough rate, conversion rate, quality score, etc., help you know if your message and offer are resonating with your potential customers. You may still be limited by budget so it’s important to focus on the campaigns, ad groups, and ads that deliver the most relevant results.

Maturity Stage

By now, you’ve nailed down your ad copy and are well-established in the industry. You no longer need to focus on awareness or relevance, but can finally spend all of your efforts on driving more ROI. Conversion metrics such as cost per conversion or return on ad spend are incredibly powerful because you can use them to evaluate the effectiveness of your ads. Although you’re probably still limited by budget (unless you have deep pockets or are in a very niche industry), you can now focus on whatever combinations or settings, ad copy, and ad formats that deliver the most value. This is the stage that all business should hope to get to. Your Google Ads account is now a well-oiled machine and should continue to deliver great results month over month.

To recap, before you can decide what metric to you need to focus on you need to identify what stage your business is in. You may need to focus on awareness metrics, relevant metrics, or conversion metrics. There is no one right answer because every business is different, but whatever stage your business is in, Epic Marketing can help you grow and get to the next level. Contact us today to learn how we can help you!

When Should You Change an Ad?

“How long should I leave my ads running?”

“How often should you change your ad copy or image?”

“Has my ad been running long enough to know if it’s a good ad?”

These are questions I get asked frequently and, perhaps surprisingly, they all have the same answer.

Are you ready for it?

Answer: It depends.

I know, I know, that’s the kind of answer you’d expect from a marketer, but hear me out.

An ad should only be changed when you’ve reached statistical significance. Said another way, when you’ve reached a P-Value of .05 you should change your ads. Said again, when you’re 95% confident that one ad will outperform another ad you should pause the underperforming ad. Final time without any statistical jargon, when an ad will outperform another ad 19 out of 20 times you should pause the other ad. Only then can you pause the ineffective ad, duplicate the winner, and create a new variation to start the A/B test all over again.

Statistical significance, confidence levels, P-values … You may be wondering when this became a lesson on statistics. You can’t know when to change an ad without understanding some basic statistic concepts. Changing an ad for the sake of change is inefficient and ultimately won’t lead to better results. Hopefully these examples will help you understand the importance of statistical significance.

Example One

You have two ads running. Ad One has had 5 impressions and 1 click. Ad Two has had 5 impressions and 2 clicks.

Impressions Clicks Clickthrough Rate
Ad One 5 1 20%
Ad Two 5 2 40%

40% compared to 20% may seem significant, but is that enough data to determine which ad is more effective? At first glance you may think so, but let’s take a deeper look.

What happens if in the next 5 impressions Ad One gets 5 more clicks while Ad Two doesn’t get any more clicks?

Impressions Clicks Clickthrough Rate
Ad One 10 6 60%
Ad Two 10 2 20%

Now Ad One seems to be outperforming Ad Two. 5 more impressions could swing the balance again though, your sample size isn’t large enough and you need to let your ads run longer.

Example Two

Let’s try that again using similar, but larger, starting numbers.

Impressions Clicks Clickthrough Rate
Ad One 500 100 20%
Ad Two 500 200 40%

Ad Two is winning, but what happens when both ads get 5 more impressions and Ad One gets 5 more clicks while Ad Two doesn’t get any?

Impressions Clicks Clickthrough Rate
Ad One 505 105 20.8%
Ad Two 505 200 39.6%

The clickthrough rates barely change and Ad Two remains the top-performer.

Because the sample size (impressions in this case) in Example One was so small, you couldn’t with any confidence say which ad will outperform the other. Even 5 more impressions drastically changed the success rates (i.e. clickthrough rates). In Example Two though, 5 more impressions barely changed the success rate and Ad Two was still the winner.

General Rules of Thumb

Optimize based off of conversion rate when possible, otherwise use clickthrough rate.

When your success rates are similar you’ll need a much larger sample size.

When your success rates differ by a large margin you can get away with a smaller sample size.

The more traffic your ads get, the sooner you can reach statistical significance.

The less traffic you get, the longer your ads have to run before you can make a change.

Statistical Significance Calculators

Say you have a large sample size and the success rates seem to differ enough… Is it statistically significant? Unless the difference is drastic enough, there’s no way to look at a set of numbers and know if you’ve reached the 95% confidence level. Even then you shouldn’t trust your “gut”. This is where technology comes to the rescue. There are a number of statistical significance calculators out there, but I prefer House of Kaizen’s A/B/n split test significance calculator.

I like this calculator because it makes things simple. Going back to the first example, I’ll put the impressions under #Visitors and the clicks under Conversions. When I hit the calculate button the calculator tells me what confidence level I’ve reached. It even reminds me to wait for a 95% confidence level.

Statistical Significance Calculator

How Will This Affect My Campaign?

I don’t change ads for the sake of change. I only make changes when I’m 95% confident that one ad will outperform the other. By waiting to reach statistical significance I ensure I don’t pause an ad that will end up leading to more conversions or clicks. I duplicate the winner, make additional changes, and then start the process all over again. What this does is lead to an increase month over month in conversion rates or clickthrough rates. The increases aren’t always monumental (especially when I’ve been making these incremental improvements for a while), but they prove the system works. This is a screenshot from our AdWords manager account that shows the increase in clickthrough rate (in blue) and conversion rate (in red) since Epic Marketing implemented this optimization strategy.

AdWords Performance

As you can see, waiting for statistical significance before changing an ad has led to massive increases in both clickthrough rates and conversions rates in the last two years. This is a trend we expect to continue.

Final Thoughts

All things being equal, the longer your ads have been running or the larger your sample size the more likely you can determine a winner. You should wait until you reach statistical significance before changing an ad and there are many calculators that can help you know if you’ve reached it. By only changing an ad when you’re certain it’s the winner, you can achieve consistent month-over-month increases in conversion rates and clickthrough rates.

So back to our original questions:

“How long should I leave my ads running?”

“How often should you change up your ad copy or image?”

“Has my ad been running long enough to know if it’s working?”

Answer: It depends.

And now you know why.

YouTube Ad Formats: A Beginner’s Guide

Every year more and more companies are looking to video ads as a new way to promote their products and services. Although several different platforms offer video ads, YouTube is still king. YouTube has allowed companies to run ads since 2006 and their ad platform has come a long way from their fledgling “participatory video ads”. At the time of this post, YouTube offers in-stream ads, video discovery ads, and bumper ads. In this post I will break down the main differences between these three formats.

TrueView In-Stream Ads

The first type of TrueView ad, in-stream ads allow you to play your video before, during, or after another video. These can be skipped after 5 seconds. Because you’re only charged when someone interacts with your ad or watches 30 seconds of your video (or the entire duration if it’s less than 30 seconds), you can get free views by ending your video before 30 seconds and giving people the opportunity to skip the remainder of your video. In-stream videos are the preferred ad format for many advertisers.

TrueView Video Discovery Ads

Video discovery ads are the second type of TrueView ad and these appear with YouTube search results, next to related videos, or on the YouTube homepage. TrueView ads can vary in length, but the gold standard is 30 seconds. YouTube recommends no shorter than 12 seconds and no longer than 3 minutes. One benefit of video discovery ads is that your ads will have a thumbnail of your video and some text, but you will only be charged when someone clicks on the ad. Make sure to make the text count because you get exposure even if your ad isn’t clicked on.

Bumper Ads

Like in-stream ads, bumper ads play before, during, or after another video but aren’t skippable and must be 6 seconds or less. You pay based on impressions so make sure your video is succinct and memorable. Quite a few companies have found ways to do this, Geico’s Unskippable campaign in particular comes to mind. Because these ads can’t be skipped they’re good for getting your message out there.

Which Ad Format Should You Use?

With three different ad formats to choose from, it can be hard to choose what format to go with. Unless I have run similar campaigns before, I always let data determine what formats I use and I recommend you do the same. In-stream and video discovery ads are easy to test side-by-side, but unless you make a video with the 6 second limit in mind your video won’t perform well when shortened to 6 seconds.

If you’re new to video advertising it can feel a bit overwhelming, but never fear! Epic Marketing specializes in helping our clients achieve their KPIs, regardless of the platform. One of the best parts of working with a full-service agency is that we take a lot of the guesswork out of marketing. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients across dozens of verticals and industries. How can we help you?

Hypertargeting: Targeting Your Ideal Customers by Location

Hypertargeting Basics

Hypertargeting is a state-of-the-art technological advancement in mobile advertising; it uses location-based technology to show a business’s ads on potential customers’ smartphones. Hypertargeting utilizes the large number of smartphones equipped with GPS technology used today and uses that to a company’s advantage. It does this by showing digital ads to potential customers that enter a Target Zone drawn around a physical location or geographic area. This geographic area can be a business, its competitors, or any other location that a business owner or marketing decision-maker would like to target.

Benefits of Hypertargeting

Hypertargeting offers unique benefits that traditional marketing techniques cannot. It physically targets potential customers by where they’re physically going with precision and accuracy while they’re in the buying mindset for your particular product or service. Some of the unique benefits of Hypertargeting are:

• Increasing brand awareness
• Targeting competitor’s exact locations
• Identifying prospective customers by behavior
• Providing the most accurate and powerful location-based tracking available
• Retargeting customers who visit or commute near your business location
• Driving mobile ad performance and mobile reach 2X better than standard digital ads
• Providing the most reliable way to target mobile users by proximity to a business’s location
• Leveraging targeted campaigns only to customers within a predetermined physical proximity to your business

Beginning a Hypertargeting Campaign

If a business owner wants to begin a Hypertargeting campaign, they must first determine the best locations or Target Zones to reach their ideal, potential customers. For example, if the business owner knows potential customers would visit a competitor’s location, sports venue, or shopping area we can establish those areas as Target Zones. After that, a campaign is set up that targets those specific areas and delivers ads to people that engage with their smartphone in that zone.

How Hypertargeting Works

For Hypertargeting to take effect, a potential customer in your Target Zone must view their web browser or connect to the internet using their smartphone. After that, they can then be served up an ad from the business’s campaign. Those reached by the campaign will continue to see remarketing ads for up to 30 days on all of their devices, including desktop computers and tablets when logged in. A feature within Hypertargeting called “recency” is also used to target users as soon as they enter the Target Zone and for up to 30 days after they’ve left, and anytime in between. Hypertargeting can pinpoint individual locations by address as precisely as 10 meters. This helps determine the best, most exact targeting for the greatest potential of reaching its ideal customers and the best offer or ad to get optimal results.

Types of Hypertargeting

Hypertargeting encompasses an array of marketing services that allow us to specifically deliver your advertising message to a clearly identified target audience. Some of the methods that are under the hypertargeting banner are:

  • -GeoFencing
  • -GeoTargeting
  • -IP Targeting
  • -Foot Traffic Attribution
  • -Location Based Marketing

When these digital marketing channels are paired with highly targeted traditional channels, Epic sees the greatest impact as it is truly a multi-channel, multi-touch approach that engages potential audience and starts them through the sales process.

Conversion Tracking

Hypertargeting allows a business to not only get its ads in front of potential customers based on their location, but it also tracks customers who have seen their ads and then also come into their business. When we set up a campaign, the business’s own location will be designated as a Conversion Zone so we can track online-to-offline conversions from Hypertargeting advertisements served up to designated Target Zones. This allows us to track the progress and success of the current campaign and to make changes to ensure the campaign is successful.

Paid Advertising Terms: Google Ads

Earlier I wrote about terminology unique to Facebook, in this blog post I’m going discuss some of the words and phrases that are unique to Google Ads. This list is not meant to cover every phrase you may come across in relations to AdWords, but an understanding of these terms will go a long way to helping you navigate the world of PPC.

Ad Extensions – Allows advertisers to display phone numbers, physical addresses, ratings, additional web pages, prices, and more

Ad Group – A group of keywords or other targeting methods that can contain multiple ads

Ad Position – Where your ad shows up in the search engine results page (see ad rank)

Ad Rank – Determines your ad position, calculated using bid amount, quality score, and the expected impact of ad extensions

Ad Rotation – Choose between optimize for clicks, optimize for conversions, rotate evenly, and rotate indefinitely

  • Optimize for clicks – Show ads more likely to drive clicks
  • Optimize for conversions – Show ads more like to drive conversions
  • Rotate evenly – Rotate ads evenly for 90 days and then show the best performing ad exclusively
  • Rotate indefinitely – Rotate ads evenly, despite performance

AdWords Editor – AdWords offline software that lets you make bulk edits, manage multiple accounts at the same time, and copy or move items between ad groups and campaigns

Bid Strategy – Choose between target search page location, target CPA, target ROAS, target outranking share, maximize clicks, enhanced CPC, and manual CPC

  • Target search page location – Automatically bids to help your ads get to the top of the page or on the first page of the search engine result pages
  • Target CPA – Automatically bids to help your ads get the most conversions for a cost per acquisition that you set
  • Target ROAS – Automatically bids to help your ads get the most conversions for a return on ad spend that you set
  • Target outranking share – Automatically bids to help your ads outrank the ads of a domain of your choice
  • Maximize clicks – Automatically bids to help your ads get the most clicks within your budget
  • Enhanced CPC – Automatically adjusts your manual CPC bids to help increase conversions
  • Manual CPC – Manual bids where you set the most you are willing to pay for a click

Destination URL – The landing page your ad redirects to when clicked on (different from display URL)

Display URL – The URL that appears in your ad (may be different from the destination URL, but must have the same root domain)

Dynamic Remarketing – A type of remarketing that allows you to show the specific product or service someone viewed on your site

Expanded Text Ads – The new standard ad format for search ads, two 30 character headlines, and one 80 character description line

Gmail Ads – Interactive ads found at the top of Gmail inboxes targeted through the display network, expand when clicked on

Google Display Network – A group of over 2 million websites, apps, and videos Google is authorized to run ads on, reaches over 90% of internet users worldwide

Google Search Network – A group of search-related sites that Google owns

Google Search Partners – A group of hundreds of search related sites that Google partners with

Quality Score – A number between 1 and 10 based on expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Learn more about the importance of quality scores here.

RLSA – Remarketing List for Search Ads, a way to retarget in the search network

ROAS – Return On Ad Spend, the total value of your AdWords conversions divided by the amount you spent (e.g. $200 made/$100 spent = ROAS of 2 or 200%), can be thought of as ROI within AdWords

For a more exhaustive list of AdWords terms visit Google’s AdWords Glossary. Digital marketing, especially pay per click advertising, can be confusing and overwhelming to new advertisers. Many business owners even wonder where they should spend their digital budget. At Epic Marketing we understand the ins and outs of digital marketing. Contact us to see what we can do for your business!

Paid Advertising Terms: Facebook Ads

Like many industries, digital marketing is full of acronyms and terms that appear gibberish to outsiders. In today’s blog, instead of going over terms such as clickthrough rate and cost per click that are common to other advertising platforms, I’m going to focus on words and phrases unique to Facebook. Whether you’re new to Facebook advertising or a veteran, this glossary of current terms will help you understand some common Facebook ad terminology.

Account ID – A unique, 15 character ID of an advertising account

Ad Set – A group of one or more ads. Targeting is set at the ad set level

Ads Manager – Facebook’s basic tool to create and optimize campaigns, ad sets, and ads

Amount Spent – The amount your ads have spent in the specified time period (may be different than budget)

Audience – The group of people who potentially can see your ads

Audience Network – A network of mobile apps, websites, videos, and instant articles that Facebook has approved for running ads on

Billing Threshold – The amount spent on ads after which Facebook will bill you; varies by country; can be changed

Campaign – A group of one or more ad sets. Objectives are set at the campaign level

Campaign Objective – Choose between awareness (boost posts, promote your page, reach people near your business, increase brand awareness), consideration (send people to your website, get app installs, raise attendance at your event, get video views collect leads for your business), or conversion (increase website conversions, increase app engagement, get people to claim your offer, promote a product catalog)

Custom Audience – A type of audience you create and define that can be later be targeted

Daily Budget – The maximum amount your ad sets will spend per day on average

Delivery – Whether your campaign, ad set, or ad is running; different from status

Engagement – The number of actions that occur on your page, post, or app because of your ads

Frequency – The average number of times your ads were shown to each person

Impressions – The number of times your ad was seen; different from reach

Lifetime Budget – The maximum amount your ad sets will spend over the lifetime of an ad set or campaign

Lookalike Audiences – An audience created within Facebook that attempts to mirror another audience of your choosing

Page Engagement – The number of actions (e.g. likes, comments, shares, etc.) your Facebook Page received because of your ads

Page Likes – The number of likes your Facebook page received because of your ads

Page Mentions – The number of mentions your Facebook page received because of your ads

Post Engagement – The number of actions (e.g. likes, comments, shares, etc.) your post received because of your ads

Post Likes – The number of likes your post received because of your ads

Power Editor – Facebook’s advanced tool to create and optimize campaigns, ad sets, and ads

Reach – The number of people your ads have reached (different from impressions)

Results – The number of actions taken because of your ads, depending on the campaign objective

Status – Either on or off in regards to your campaigns, ad sets, or ads (different from delivery)

These are just a few of the many terms that you could come across as delve into the world of Facebook advertising. For those interested, Facebook offers a more complete ad term glossary. If even this basic list seems a bit daunting, contact the experts at Epic Marketing and we will take care of your advertising needs!

PPC and Lock Picking: An Unlikely Comparison

Several months ago I decided I needed a hobby (apparently working doesn’t count). After doing some research I came across the noble art of lock picking. I bought a practice lock and a beginner’s lock pick set and got to work. A few days later, I was hooked. There was something immensely satisfying about pitting my skill and intellect against sophisticated locking mechanisms. I tried explaining the appeal of my newest hobby to several of my friends who also manage paid ads, but to no avail. It was only when I compared lock picking to PPC that they understood my new fascination. Following are some of the points that I came up with.

No Two Locks are the Same

Just like with PPC accounts, every lock is different. Locks made by the same manufacturer (think same industry) may appear to be similar, but odds are the internal mechanics are vastly different. What works for one lock is not guaranteed to work for another lock. Similarly, just because one AdWords account performs well on the Display network or with certain calls to action doesn’t mean all accounts will. Embrace the differences and capitalize on the strengths.

Assume Nothing, Test Everything

I have a few lock picks that I favor and tend to use almost exclusively. When I get a new lock, however, I start with the most basic lock pick and work my way up. I usually test all of my relevant lock picks before deciding which one to go with. Pay per click is the same way. Although there are generally accepted industry best practices, you won’t know for sure what works best until you perform several rounds of A/B tests. You need to set aside your assumptions and test everything. Data, not precedence, should determine direction.

Looks can be Deceiving

Some people mistakenly believe that you can determine how to pick a lock by examining its outside. The keyhole can give you some indication as to what type of pick and tension wrench you will need, but it’s when you start trying to lift the tumblers that you’ll learn about the lock. With paid ads, if you only look at the surface level metrics of an account (such as clickthrough rate, cost-per-click, clicks, etc.) you’ll miss a lot of the intricacies that lie below the surface. How are your ads contributing to bounce rate? Are certain times of day or days of the week outperforming others? Which ads are performing the best? A thorough account audit is necessary if you want to get a clear picture of your advertising efforts.

Learn/Set it and Forget it Doesn’t Work

Like any skill, lock picking can quickly be forgotten if you don’t practice. I know people who used to be quite proficient at picking locks, but after an extended period of inactivity lost most of what they once knew. It’s important to advertise your business, but if all you do is create an AdWords or Facebook advertising account and then forget about it. Your performance will suffer. A successful advertising campaign takes consistent effort.

Still Not Convinced?

Do you still think my lock picking and PPC analogy is a stretch? That’s ok, I’m a paid search manager and lock picking enthusiast, not a professional debater. I can’t convince you that they’re similar, but PPC and lock picking are two things that I love and the day may come when you’re in need of one or the other. We don’t offer locksmith services, but if you have any questions about your marketing efforts, call the experts here at Epic Marketing and we’ll be glad to help you!

Facebook or AdWords – Which One is Best for My Business?

Paid social ads or paid search ads? Facebook or Google AdWords? These are questions that many business owners ask themselves when they are ready to grow their businesses. Like many digital marketing questions, the answer depends on your business, industry, and goals. This article will help decide which advertising platform is best suited for your needs.

Why Do You Want to Advertise Your Business?

Before we get started, why are you advertising your business? This may seem like an obvious question, but the answer to this is crucial. Are you promoting your business to gain brand awareness? Perhaps you have a new product or service you want to advertise? Or if you’re like many businesses, you may simply want to generate new sales and leads. What you’re your answer, keep this question in mind as you read this blog.

Facebook’s Strengths

With over 1.65 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2016, advertising on Facebook is an attractive option for many business owners. Utilizing Facebook’s elaborate targeting options, businesses can reach people who are likely to be interested in their product or service. You can target users by age, location, behaviors, languages spoken, household composition, and much more.

Facebook is great for marketing products or services people would benefit from or enjoy, but are not necessarily searching for. Many companies successfully use Facebook ads to promote webinars, free workshops, and other lead generating events. It can also be used as a way to increase brand awareness (this works particularly well with new companies.) Facebook gives you a variety of advertising options centered on influencing awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Facebook Ads

Google AdWords’ Strengths

Averaging around 40,000 search queries per second, 3.5 billion searches a day, and 1.2 trillion searches each year, Google is the 800-pound gorilla of search engines and they have the advertising platform to prove it. When set up properly, it’s hard to beat AdWords in relevancy. Through the Google search network and their search partners, advertisers can put an ad in front of a potential customer right when they search for it.

Instead of showing ads to people based on interests or behaviors, you can target by keywords or phrases typed or spoken into Google. For example, if you search “plumbers near me” you’ll see half a dozen companies competing for your business. You are far more likely to click on an ad after searching for plumbing services than you are while scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. As long as there is sufficient search volume, many products and services do really well on AdWords. eCommerce products, in particular, do well thanks to Google’s shopping ads.

Do You Have to Choose One?

In a word, no! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to choose between Facebook and AdWords. Many companies successfully use both advertising platforms as well as traditional marketing to further their business goals. You don’t need to choose one or the other!

Epic Marketing specializes in using traditional and digital marketing to help businesses reach the next level. Call us at 801.657.4383 to learn more about how Facebook and AdWords can help your business grow!