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The Clientside Podcast

Paid Search with Dean Duffield

The Clientside Podcast

22 min Dean , Andrew

A Digital's paid search expert Dean Duffield joins Andrew Armitage to talk about planning and preparing for a paid search campaign.

There's little point in simply setting up a few ads and giving Google some budget - the results will likely be disappointing.

In this episode, we'll talk about the planning and preparation needed before you start a paid search campaign and why it's not as straightforwards as turning on a tap o qualified leads.

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Paid Search Campaigns with Dean Duffield from A Digital transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Paid Search Campaigns with Dean Duffield from A Digital was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Andrew:
So welcome to another episode of The A Digital podcast. I'm joined today by Dean who manages are paid search here at A Digital. Welcome Dean.

Dean:
Hello.

Andrew:
How are we doing.

Dean:
All right. Thank you.

Andrew:
Good. So we're still early days into these podcasts but hopefully we're starting to get the hang of it now. We're going to be talking about paid search. Tell us a bit about what you do.

Dean:
Ok, so I've been working A Digital I think I'm in my fourth year now and time flies yes. Amongst other things I look after some of the paid search campaigns for our clients which ultimately falls into running Google ad campaigns perhaps also into Bing and Yahoo. But largely around Google Ads.

Andrew:
Great stuff. And we manage ads for quite a variety of different clients don't we; different scales and some which are larger ecommerce focus and we've done some others which are less e-commerce focused but more about directing traffic to websites.

Dean:
Yeah, ultimately the goals and objectives around the campaigns tend to be similar. Most businesses will want to drive traffic to the website and amongst their other digital marketing activity paid search is a good opportunity to drive instant traffic that typically generates an instant ROI for them.

Andrew:
Yeah, you talk about instant there and that's I think one of the key things that we want to talk about in this podcast in that, yes you can turn us on and off like a tap, but there's a certain amount of prep work that needs to be done isn't there it's not just a case of waking up one day and saying, right well we're going to promote a particular product or we're going to run a particular campaign paid search it needs have a little bit of structure around it doesn't it.

Dean:
Yeah absolutely. I mean unlike say SEO where it's very much a long term strategic activity of digital marketing, yes, paid search or pay per click advertising can be turned on and off like a tap. But yes there's a certain structure and certain best practices that really must be followed in order to get the best out of them. Because very very quickly you can blow through hundreds or thousands of pounds and actually when you look at your return it's only then you realise that it's probably not as profitable as we wanted.

Andrew:
Not as well spent as it has been.

Dean:
Yes.

Andrew:
Okay so let's just look at some of the elements of what makes a paid search campaign successful. We talk about there needs to be a little bit of prep work and I think you're doing that preparation is fundamental to a successful paid campaign. It's not all about keywords is it. So where would you start in terms of mapping out a paid search campaign? And really we're talking about Google here aren't we primarily?

Dean:
Yes of course. You know, other search engines are available but I think it's important that it's 2019, and there's a lot of talk around Facebook advertising and lots of other different types of people click advertising. I think at one time Google ads or Google AdWords as it were then seems to be the only channel of paid search or paid advertising that was available to website owners. I think one important sort of figure to remember here is that there are 40,000 Google searches every single second. That's three and a half billion per day.

Andrew:
It's still the grandfather of search isn't it.

Dean:
Of course it is.

Dean:
So you know when you hear stories about you know Google ads is finished and it's not working for me it's too expensive or everybody's flocking to Facebook. Yes of course I love Facebook advertising but I feel it's with Facebook and social advertising I think with that you're almost targeting people at different parts of their journey.

Andrew:
Yeah I think it's fundamentally different.

Dean:
Whereas with search what you're able to do is put your message out at the point there's intent.

Dean:
You know if you're looking for a product or a service or they're looking for a question to be answered you can put your message right out there.

Andrew:
Yeah.

Andrew:
Google's essentially relying on people to search for something they've got a particular question query or a need whereas Facebook is you're receiving you're having information delivered to you throughout your feed aren't you.

Dean:
Well it's the whole...

Andrew:
It's much more passive.

Dean:
Absolutely. You know search advertising search marketing is very much inbound whereas social marketing email marketing is very much an outbound activity. So yeah I was specifically talking about Google. I mean the latest figures suggest that they have a 90 percent market share.

Andrew:
It can't be ignored can it.

Dean:
We've done a little bit work with Bing with a few clients and actually whilst search volumes and whilst the actual sort of results generated a fairly sort of small the actual return on investment of a Bing ads campaign because there's less competition and therefore the amount that you pay for traffic and sales is smaller.

Andrew:
So it can still potentially be good value money.

Dean:
Absolutely absolutely, so yeah I mean really anybody that's any business that hasn't been involved with paid search Google is certainly the first place to start. And you know there's a huge opportunity to get your brand and new services and new products in front of customers. And as we said before as it can generate an instant return your ad spend.

Andrew:
Ok. So what would be the approach to set up a good Google search campaign?

Dean:
Well there are five elements basically to a successful paid search campaign which I'm going to go through and with a little bit of detail around each. Basically the first area is is what is it you want to achieve?

Andrew:
Yeah.

Dean:
You know what is it your goal?

Andrew:
Yeah. And that's sort of fundamental for any sort of campaign.

Dean:
Absolutely.

Andrew:
Yeah. If you can't start with an outcome.

Dean:
Yeah.

Andrew:
How do you know where you're going to get there and or what might be needed to help you get there along the way.

Dean:
Yes absolutely. You know before any keyword research or anything set up before you even think about how your campaign looks you need to be asking an absolutely document in big bold capitals, what is your primary objective?

Andrew:
What are we setting out to achieve?

Dean:
...is it a sales transaction? Is it lead generation? So yeah, those absolutely must be documented, so you know, essentially what is it you're offering?

Andrew:
Yes.

Dean:
And therefore what you spend is...

Andrew:
...directly proportionate to that outcome isn't it?

Dean:
Absolutely.

Andrew:
If the outcome is to try and sell a million products, then you've got to set your budget accordingly haven't you.

Dean:
Exactly. Exactly. Of course there's also sort of what we will call micro conversions where you're able to track actions perhaps have less value show up than your primary objective.

Dean:
Those really can give an insight in terms of how a site has been used as well it's a bit more detail and just plain old analytics.

Andrew:
Absolutely.

Dean:
So for example for an e-commerce website, your primary goal, your ultimate objective of any paid ad click would be a sales transaction. But actually as we know in marketing there's no linear path to a sale anymore. You know all change. There's lots of sort of digital touch points as it were, so somebody might sign up to an e-mail newsletter, engage with your blog, register an account. All these are all sort of trackable actions.

Andrew:
And all valid objectives for a paid ad aren't they?

Dean:
Absolutely. And what you're actually doing is maximising your return on investment of your ad spend. So yes it's essentially number one is what does a good return on investment look like for you. Secondly...

Andrew:
So we're looking at mapping out a campaign and that's fundamentally different by keyword research isn't it?

Dean:
It is, typically for when we talk about Google ads. Most people will know it as keyword text ads.

Andrew:
Yes

Dean:
So you do a search in Google and at the top of the search results page you'll be greeted with some text ads. Of course Google Ads products advertising range...

Andrew:
It's changed a little now hasn't it.

Dean:
Yes it's broadened out a lot. So for e-commerce you've got Google Shopping.

Andrew:
And that's the row of products that you see usually just under the search bar isn't it when you do a product search it is usually quite a lot of products depending on the market of course.

Dean:
Yeah sure.

Andrew:
That's a competitive space as well now isn't it.

Dean:
Yeah. Yeah. And we've also got video display ads, so there's a whole range of different Google advertising products that businesses can use really to engage and target their customers wherever they are on that sort of journey to purchase. But specifically talking about keywords it's important that when you do keyword research that they closely match your industry, products or your services. And there are few free tools that you can use so the google keyword planner.

Andrew:
And that still exists?

Dean:
No it still exists. Google updated it.

Andrew:
Right

Dean:
About 18 months ago. There are other tools.

Andrew:
Do you need an AdWords account to get to that. Certainly a Google account. It's not public facing?

Dean:
Yes, you need Google Ads account, but they're free. Anybody can set one up with a Google account though what they did with that as part of the rollout of the new keyword planner is rather than have a search volume figure for every single keyword they've grouped, possibly to make search volumes larger than their are. So those are other tools such as Moz. But a really really good one is also looking at competitors. There's a tool called Sem Rush where where you can essentially spy on...

Andrew:
Yeah. Everything on a website is there for the taking in some respects, content wise at least.

Dean:
Of course it is.

Andrew:
It's easy to see what's in the source code if you want to dig that deep. But obviously the content and the keywords that other competitors might have chosen are easy to see aren't they.

Dean:
Absolutely. And also to be honest the best place to start is actually just by doing the Google search yourself, so search for your own services and actually at the bottom of the results pages what you tend to find is Google will spit out about a dozen sort of related searches you know group them all together.

Andrew:
But to be fair people should be doing that irrespective of doing a search campaign.

Dean:
Well they should!

Andrew:
...to see where they're appearing organically not just about setting up paid ads.

Dean:
Yes absolutely. So there's clients obviously that we've worked with where they've identified a need to use paid search so that they can appear at the top of results pages for keywords or search terms that they're working on to grow their organic rankings, but perhaps it's going to take a little bit more time to achieve those high rankings shown in the meantime...

Andrew:
It might be particularly competitive or perhaps want to shift a certain stocks of a particular product or whatever it might be.

Dean:
Yes there's best practices around campaign structure and keyword research and the whole set up. Essentially the advice there is to group keywords into closely related listen groups and perhaps look at one of those broad keywords that perhaps match where people are looking at when they're first looking for a product or service and then looking at some of those long tail keywords that you can use when they're closer to purchase.

Andrew:
Yes exactly. Okay. And what about the ads themselves then? Because obviously you've done a keyword research you've then got to obviously create a headline text if you're going for a text ad at least, and you get two lines of like 25 characters in each line or something like that or is that changed?

Dean:
It's 30 now! To be honest with Google ads, particularly the text ads that we've been talking about, Google have made a lot of changes over the last sort of 6 to 12 months. Where previously you were prompted to like you say include sort of a headline perhaps two headlines and a description you know they'll sort of prompt you to put your keywords into the ad text. What seems to have happened now is certainly with Google's move towards more automation which perhaps is different whole discussion in itself. Where we seem to be going with with ads is more sort of ad rotation. Lots and lots of split testing. So now you can create you can still create your traditional text ads with headlines, they'll prompt you to include three headlines with lots of descriptions, but actually we're moving towards what are called responsive text Ads.

Andrew:
Okay.

Dean:
Where you can include up to 20 headlines, lots of descriptions. So basically you're creating multiple sort of features of the ads.

Andrew:
Right.

Dean:
And Google will use their algorithm and automation. So you've only essentially created one ad which can actually be then broken out into lots of different versions and variations and essentially what will happen is over time Google will show the best performing bits of each ad.

Andrew:
Right.

Dean:
Again you sort of need to keeping control of what you're ads say and the message is that it all makes sense and they're relevant to what searchers are looking for.

Andrew:
But ultimately this part does come down to content doesn't it.

Dean:
Yes! Whether it's a text ad, whether it's a display banner and that's displayed across Google's display network or whether it's a shopping cart essentially yes it comes down to content.

Andrew:
And what we're talking about there is things like product images, good quality product images because if you're thrown into a mix of other competitors who might be the retailers they could have professionally shot products, it's got to be high quality images if it's going to be used in shopping ads obviously text that supports what the brand or the product is all about.

Dean:
Yeah. I think the same as any website landing page when somebody does a search. Advertisers have got literally split second to get the attention of the searcher whether that be with a shopping ad or text ad. Yeah. This is why you've got to get creative with your headline and your descriptions in your ads - you know include the offers if you've got an offer running include your offers you know ask questions. There's some best practices around sort of what works and what doesn't through various case studies which we can talk a little bit more about in our blog. So basically create compelling headlines and you'll be fine.

Andrew:
Ok, so we've gone through the process of mapping out our goals. We've structured our campaigns based around the keywords that we feel are going to bring the right kind of traffic to the site. We created some copy and we've got the content into our ads. What happens next because of course the next thing is ultimately people get through to the website.

Dean:
So you've spent your money on your ad clicks; you know you'll be receiving your invoice - in fact no they won't, they'll automatically take the money from your account! And we see a lot of this with businesses where you know they're advertising spending lots of money on Google ads and then typically what happens is the user will link through to the website and failed to engage the landing page or the site itself.

Andrew:
At this stage it's not technically part of managing an ad campaign but is absolutely as important is a key component of the campaign isn't it. Because the last thing you want to do is drive traffic particularly traffic that you're paying for for it to then just drop off a cliff once it arrives on the site.

Dean:
Absolutely. Let's put it this way: if a business was to ask me now and we received an inquiry can you manage our AdWords account, the first thing I'd look at is the website because essentially the ad campaigns can do a great job of getting traffic to site but it really is the landing page and the websites job to convert those visitors into customers.

Andrew:
And if you can't convert them because the website's a weakness then it's just a waste of money.

Dean:
Absolutely. You may as well stop that tap. Work on your website contain. Making sure that the copy on that on the page is relevant to what the searchers are looking for. Can you answer the question? If it's a product based search, is there sufficient information on your e-commerce product page. What's your returns policy? What are your delivery charges? That kind of thing. Get it all in there because if they leave you've paid for the click and there's no guarantee that they're going to come back.

Andrew:
I'd probably say it's highly unlikely they'll come back. I mean some obviously well but you know that back button is only in the top left hand corner isn't it so easy to go back in and look at the next result in the list.

Dean:
Yeah sure. So going back to what you were saying at beginning of this particular point yes you can set up campaigns you can have the best structured campaign you can have the best ads you could be sending lots of traffic to your site but there is very much a responsibility to get what you do in post click, right, in order for a successful campaign.

Andrew:
And we've seen that - we manage search campaigns ourselves don't we but not in every case to we manage the website to go alongside it and it does demand you know collaboration on both sides. It's all well and good where we're perhaps managing ad campaigns, but if the website can't keep pace with what those campaigns are set out to achieve then again potentially that's another area of either you don't convert customers or essentially..well either way you're essentially losing money aren't you.

Dean:
Absolutely. I think to summarise there it's basically you know I've seen time and time again where ad managers will do all the research they'll spend days researching and do all the competitive analysis. They'll set up beautifully structured campaigns, they're sending in lots of traffic to a client's website or to a business's website and everything's fine for the first sort of couple of months. You know the client is happy it's like yeah I can see myself on Google you know I can see in analytics...

Andrew:
...the ads appearing, the traffic's coming through...

Dean:
And after a few months what tends to happen then is the client goes well, we're doing one half of it right but actually I'm not getting any sales sure or I'm not receiving any leads or enquiries, and at that point the paid search manager tends to go well it's you know we need to make improvements to your website. And as the business owner you're kind of in a headlock where the business owner goes well you know I don't want to spend any money with my web developer, or perhaps the website is built on a platform that doesn't lend itself to customisable changes. So yeah the post click has to be a priority before you start sending traffic to it.

Andrew:
Yeah. And I guess you know on that point that leads us nicely on sort of the other area which obviously is fundamental to manage campaign. You know if you can't manage the campaign you can't keep an eye on what's working then, how do you know it's actually working and again it could be a black hole for your card that's registered with Google!

Dean:
Well absolutely. So let's just say you do have fantastic landing pages that do convert. Let's put it this way. There's a huge misconception, and I see a hell of a lot, there would be been nice campaigns set up the and the traffic's flowing, there will be some conversions, you know the landing page is ok, it's doing ok, the website is performing ok. But what you tend to find is that they're abandoned.

Andrew:
Right.

Dean:
And Google doesn't like that. In my experience they've...

Andrew:
always liked fresh content...

Dean:
Yeah fresh new ads, it's to the landing pages you need to up-scale your account...

Andrew:
They ultimately want you to engage in their ecosystem don't they?

Dean:
Of course. Absolutely. So you know looking at things like keyword bid management, I mean there's whole host of new sort of automatic smart biding strategies that you can use now, so, to be honest I think it's much more difficult now to just set up a campaign and leave it. Google won't let you leave it. You can't afford...

Andrew:
You get marked down for that sort of thing.

Dean:
It's the same search engine optimisation isn't it. You can do a ton of ton of work over a 12 month period and you will gain rankings. And you'll gain visitors. And you'll gain sales as a result of that. If you stop.

Andrew:
There are plenty of others who will overtake you.

Dean:
Yes, so the advice there is you really need to be working on your account every week, every month, even every day if you've got that time - you need to keep your account up to date. Google are always releasing new sort of beta updates...

Andrew:
Yeah, it seems to be something where there's always a new release around adwords.

Dean:
There is, absolutely and there's a real thing now, that ad fatigue, same with Facebook, you know if you've not updated your ad copy for weeks and months and months and people see the same ad, they stop clicking on it and eventually you reach a peak where you just can't get any more ad spent. And ultimately sort of at the end of all this comes back to the point the very first point about starting with the goals; essentially is the money that you spend across your campaigns, across your keywords, your ads, your landing pages are you setting out and are you achieving what you wanted to achieve.

Andrew:
Because everything is measurable at the end of the day, so it should be relatively straightforward to at least see are you getting value for money. Obviously there's a lot of reporting in there and you know not everyone can spend the time or perhaps has the knowledge to work around Google's platform to get to the real nitty gritty of the detail, but everyone should at least be able to see what sort of traffic has been sent to the website and get a feel for how it's converting and therefore whether that particular type of ad or campaign should continue.

Dean:
Yeah, like I said before everything needs to be measurable. New conversions, your micro conversions, again time after time we see accounts that are spending lots and lots of money every week and every month that where the person that's managing them sort of might dip in it every few months or so, and you know I see some of the a lot of them in negative ROI, where the amount they're spending is more than actually what they're generating. So there is there's...ongoing management is really really essential to successful paid search campaign.

Andrew:
Super, all right. Well I think we'll wrap that up there. Hopefully that has been helpful information. Obviously there's lots of different ways that campaigns can be set up lots of different ad types. If that is something that you feel you might have hit the limit with or you might just want to talk through whether you're existing campaigns are set up in the right way then we're more than happy to take a quick look and give you any pointers to help you on your way. So thanks a lot, Dean.

Dean:
Thank you.

Andrew:
Really useful conversation. I'm sure sure people will find that helpful.

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With [paid] search, what you're able to do is put your message out at the point where there's intent [from the user].

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