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PPC Tip: The Difference Between Sorting and Filtering


Time for another PPC quick tip…

Use Sorting and Filtering Aggressively to Make PPC Reports Actionable

Sorting & filtering are two powerful tools for preventing data paralysis and turning mounds of data into actionable insights. Today’s PPC platforms give you access to so much data that if you aren’t using sorting and filtering it’s virtually impossible to get any value out of reporting.

Do you know the difference between sorting and filtering? They seem similar on the surface but they actually work very differently and are useful in different scenarios.

Here’s a quick rundown of both and how to use them in your PPC reporting…

Sorting

Sorting takes a set of data and sorts it by a chosen metric or letter. The most important difference is that sorting does not remove entries from the data set. Sorting only puts the data into a new order.

For example, if you want to see which of your ads generated the most conversions you can sort by the ‘Conversions‘ column.

Or if you want to see which ad is eating up the most budget you can sort by the ‘Spend‘ column.

You can also sort by other useful metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR (click-through rate)

Sorting is a powerful way to look at all the data in an ad group or campaign without feeling paralyzed by the amount of information. Using sorting you can quickly make optimizations to your ads account and find out what is or isn’t working based on your success criteria (clicks, conversions, CTR, etc.)

In the screenshot below the Facebook ads report is broken out by placement and sorted by Spend meaning it will show the placements that spent the most money first. This lets me quickly see if any placements are eating up too much budget for the conversions they’re driving.

sorting-vs-filtering-facebook-ads

facebook-cost-per-lead-reportScrolling further right in this report shows me that there’s a CPA difference of 31% between mobile and desktop devices. If $2.32 were above my CPA threshold I would then know to pause the mobile ads and reallocate the budget to desktop only.

Filtering

Filtering on the other hand is useful in a different way.

While sorting will give you the option of choosing which metric you want to prioritize, filtering actually removes data that’s irrelevant to your analysis.

For example…

Lets say you’re working on an AdWords account that has 20 paid search campaign and they’re all a total mess. It has tons of keywords, match types, different ad variations, landing pages, the whole shebang. Most AdWords accounts are mangled and mashed like this so knowing how to filter your data the right way is crucial.

One filter I would run on an account with this type of setup is this:

Filter data by:

  • Cost > $100
  • Conversions > 5

This filter will remove any campaigns that haven’t spent at least $100 and generated at least 5 conversions.

filtering-data-in-adwords

This helps me prioritize which campaigns to focus on.

If a campaign hasn’t gained any traction at all and there’s not much data to look at it’s just going to get in the way. Since I filtered the data down to ONLY campaigns that have spent at least $100 and generated at least 5 conversions I know I have something to work with.

filtering-conversion-data-in-adwords

The sky is the limit with filtering though – get creative with it and remember the goal of a solid filter is to remove any data that’s irrelevant to making your campaign convert better or become more profitable.

You can filter by…

  • The type of ad
  • The name of the campaign or ad group
  • Ads that started or ended on a certain date
  • Where the ad ran (placements and websites)
  • Ads above or below a certain number of impressions
  • Ads above or below a certain CTR (click-through rate)
  • Ads above or below a certain number of clicks
  • Ads above or below a certain position
  • Ads that ran in specific geo-targets (city, state, country)
  • Ads that ran on a specific network (google search vs. google partners)

One last pro tip: don’t forget you can filter AND sort at the same time. Using both together is extremely useful for accounts with lots of spend and/or campaigns running.

Having trouble figuring out how to use these in your PPC accounts? Ask yourself what the most logical sorting and filtering combos would be for what you want to accomplish with the campaign. It’s pretty simple when you think about it that way.

Well…That’s all there is to sorting & filtering – hopefully you have a better understanding of each and know how to use them next time you’re doing analysis.

Crash Course to GMail Funbox Targeting – How to Steal Competitors Customers


I have a handful of useful methods that I call ‘ninja tricks’ – they all fall under this definition:

Ninja trick: simple tweaks, hacks, or methods that get results nearly every time

Did you know that you can setup AdWords campaigns to show your ads when competitors emails are being read by their customers? This is known as “funbox targeting” and is one of my favorite ninja tricks. It’s never not worked for me.

If you’ve never heard of the GMail funbox, this is what it looks like:

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-adwords-ppc

You can use the funbox for all kinds of stuff like targeting keywords, but my favorite method is targeting competitors brand terms.

How to Setup GMail Funbox Targeting

In this example, I’m going to show you exactly how we setup a competitor targeted funbox campaign for Crazy Egg and some of the reasoning behind why this method is so powerful.

The first step is to login to the AdWords interface.

Once you’re logged in click the + Campaign button then Display Network only.

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-new-campaign

Choose your basic campaign settings like geo-targeting and budget then click through to the ad group creation page.

Once you get to the ad group page choose the ‘display keywords’ option then enter your competitors brand terms.

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-competitor-keywords

Pro tip: subscribe to your competitors email list so you can see the verbiage and wording they use in their emails. This will help you reach more of their customers.

Next, click the +narrow your targeting underneath the display keywords box, this will let us add in the GMail display placements. If you leave these out, Google will place your ads anywhere on the Internet that mentions the keywords with display inventory available.

gmail-targeting-narrow-ad-targets

Add these 2 placements to the display placements box:

  • mail.google.com::Inbox,Top center
  • mail.google.com

targeting-the-gmail-funbox-gmail-placements

Click Save and Continue.

save-and-continue-adwords

Now it’s time to write your ad copy. Remember that you’re doing this to get in front of people in your competitors funnel – they might be early stage prospects, middle stage prospects (MoFU), or existing customers. The key here is to succinctly explain why they should do business with you instead of the competitor.

 

I highly recommend using the ad copy to highlight your competitive advantage over the competitor. In this case we’re targeting Clicktale which is a major competitor of CrazyEgg. The biggest competitive advantage CrazyEgg has over Clicktale is the price: CrazyEgg is about 80% less expensive with similar functionality.

adwords-competitor-campaign-creative

If you were a Clicktale customer, wouldn’t this ad pique your curiosity enough to investigate the claim? Who wants to pay 80% more for a tool that has the same functionality?

Depending on your offer and what your product or service does it might make sense to create a comparison page for your landing page. The comparison page should show the features & benefits of each company and illustrate the major advantages of choosing your solution over the competitor. GetResponse has a comparison page you can model that does a great job of this.

Now click ‘Save ads’ and you’re done!

adwords-save-ad

 

Now that this campaign is up, whenever an email being read in gmail contains the word ‘Clicktale’ my ad will be eligible to show up.

 

The funbox doesn’t only work for targeting competitors though – there’s all kinds of ways you can leverage the ad slot like:

  • Targeting competitors
  • Targeting research based keywords (top of funnel)
  • Targeting buyer keywords (high intent – middle to lower funnel)
  • Targeting industry terms & jargon (conferences, slang, etc.)

Be creative and give it a shot. Let me know how it works for you.

How to (and Not to) Protect Your Brand on Search Engines

how-to-protect-brand-traffic-adwords

I’m a huge fan of running brand campaigns for all of my paid search clients, especially when they lack real estate on the first page of search results.

Since the first listing on search engine result pages (SERPs) capture the lions share of the clicks it’s important that you show up #1 for all of your branded search terms.

If you aren’t #1 you’re either being outranked by a competitor organically or your competitors are bidding on your brand terms and stealing customers that are ready work with you.

I was recently in Las Vegas for Pubcon and I met the owner of a small hosting company called Zeneva. He went on and on about how great his company is at web hosting and how great they are at search marketing as well. After an hour or so of hearing him talk up his company I left the conversation with a business card that was likely to go in the trash by the end of the day.

Fast forward to that evening, I was emptying my pockets in my hotel room to follow up on some legitimate leads and found his card on top. I thought to myself “why not see if they’re really as good as I was being led to believe?”

I ended up Googling the name of the company and found this little gem:

adwords-brand-campaign-fail

A competing hosting company, Peer1, is bidding on “Zeneva hosting” as a keyword and used “Hosting for Grown Ups” as the headline in the ad copy. Genius.

Think about this for a second: a prospective client wants to do some digging on your company so naturally they turn to Google – what’s the first thing they see? An ad for a competitor in the #1 position with a headline that makes you second guess your decision about working with them.

This is why protecting your brand terms is critical.

Now here’s another example, this time showing how to protect your brand terms, especially if you have a competitor (or a company with the same name) outranking you organically.

One of our clients over at Single Grain, an artificial intelligence and robotics company named Anki, recently ran into this problem. Anki’s website was brand new and there was another very established company with the same name that sold flash cards with an aged website and lots of indexed pages.

Our SEO team started setting the ground work to take over the #1 position immediately but we knew it would take at least several months to confidently take over that #1 spot.

To prevent losing prospective customers interested in purchasing Anki’s new product we setup a brand campaign to protect them from losing branded search traffic.

We setup campaigns for every variations of their brand terms and because brand campaigns usually have a near perfect quality score it only cost $0.05 – $0.20 per click.

You can see in the screenshot below that we’re getting closer to dominating the first page organically for branded searches but until then we’ll keep protecting branded traffic by outranking the flash card site with our brand campaigns.

anki-drive-serps

The big lesson here: being #1 for brand terms is extremely important. Not only is it important to be #1, you need to own as much of the first page real estate as possible to absorb all of the attention you’ve already earned. If prospects are taking the time out of their day to find you don’t make them hunt for your page or accidentally end up a competitors website.

Is your brand protected?

 


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