PPC Stuff

I've been doing PPC pretty much since it was invented. Overture, Yahoo, AdWords, Bing - search network, content (display) networks, product listing ads, shopping feeds. I think I've got a pretty good handle on it. I used to collect all the authorizations, but I've given that up. You'll just have to take my word for it.

eBay Says AdWords Doesn’t Work

Recently there's been a bit of a foof about eBay releasing a paper claiming AdWords ads don't work. Those of us who actually know something about the program believe that eBay's use of AdWords just plain sucks. I happen to fall into that category myself.

I give you Exhibit A:

Which ones of you bastards gave me less than five stars??

Which one of you bastids gave me less than five stars??

AdWords Product Targets – Pro Tip

Now that I've gotten most of my Product Listing Ads tied in with AdWords, despite the hot mess that is Google Merchant Center, I've moved on to adding product extensions to all my regular AdWords campaigns, and setting up the targeting.

But I ran across something that was a little confusing (to me, at least) and I was unable to find any reference to it in the Google documentation.

When I first set up product targeting, I only put single target in for each ad group; we've been working on refining the feed and now that I have more targets to choose from, I wanted to expand our options for some of our ad groups.

After you've added a product extension to your campaign, and you are ready to add specific product targets to your ad group (the tab marked Auto targets), once you click on the green Add Product Target button, you are presented with a box like this:

AdWords Product Targeting Figure 1

Now, if you only have one target for that ad group, or just wish to target all products, everything's easy peasy – you just validate, save and go.

But you're allowed to select from up to THREE product targets, and it apparently makes a difference how you do it.

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Google Merchant Center – One Hot Mess

If you muck about in ecommerce, PPC, and product feeds, you're probably aware of Google Merchant Center, which is the front end interface for Google Shopping (formerly called Google Products, formerly called Froogle, etc.)  The Google Shopping product allows you to send up a feed of your products, and have them displayed in various places on Google search properties. You can also tie them to your AdWords PPC account via Product Listing Ads (PLA), and display pictures of your products alongside your ads. In fact, Google has announced that all product listings would be transitioned to paid listings, and that it would be transitioning out the free listings altogether.

Now, my job is not to get into the philosophical argument of whether or not this transition is a low blow to ecommerce sites, paid inclusion, or some other scourge; that's already been covered, and by better and more widely read writers than I. My job is to get my clients' products in front of everyone who may be searching for them. To that end, I spent most of this week trying to get several thousand products into the Merchant Center, and there are some serious – serious – problems with the user interface.

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Why I’m No Longer AdWords Certified

I used to be an AdWords Certified Professional or AdWords Qualified Individual or whatever it's called.  I took the test three times and passed easily.  But I won't be taking it again.

The first reason was one of timing.  I last took the test in 2009, and it was supposed to be good for two years.  Then in 2010, Google announced that they were completely overhauling the testing procedure, and everyone had to take it again.  (They even provided vouchers to cover the cost)  But I didn't have time to mess with that; I had three clients doing major site overhauls in the last half of 2010, and when I took my last test, it was supposed to be good for two years.  No reason at all Google couldn't just say the NEXT time we were due for tests, you have to take the new ones and be done with it.  So that reason was just plain stubbornness on my part.

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