Elite SEM’s SMX West Recap

On March 11, 2013 Alex Armenta and I attended SMX West in San Jose to increase our knowledge of paid search. We attended various lectures throughout the day that covered what we hoped would be the most prudent subjects. We put this blog article together to discuss the following subject we found the most valuable

  1. Debating the Best Practices of PPC
  2. Utilizing Retargeting in an Efficient and Non-Creepy Manner
  3. Click to Call & Converting the Mobile Customer


1)    Debating the Best Practices of PPC

The debate consisted of 4 speakers discussing some of PPCs more talked about practices. Some of the questions included:

  • Is a smart phone a progression from a computer or from a tablet?

The reasoning behind this question spawned from Google’s new enhanced campaigns, which treats tablets and computers as a single device. The unanimous decision was mobile is more of an evolution from a tablet and that tablet users should be treated like mobile users. It would have made more sense if Google linked tablets with mobile.

  • Should you optimize for clicks or evenly rotate your ads?

Ad rotation depends on the maturity and the goal type of your account. Optimize for clicks works well because Google can decide much quicker than you can which ad is performing better. Google does not allow you to a/b test different ad copy with relatively equal impressions though. If you use rotate evenly you must have a clear goal in mind, know what you are testing, and have a dedicated end point.

  • Adding negatives is the quickest and best leveraged optimizing tactic.

Yes and no. You need to have negatives but you need to make sure they are not blocking any of your keywords and limiting your campaigns. However, it’s a great way to lower costs and to reduce the risk of showing your ads to non-relevant queries.

Check out the article we just recently published to the Elite SEM blog entitled Search Query Reporting – A quick win in your Adwords campaign to learn more.

  • Are remarketing ads good or just creepy?

The bottom line is that everyone hates them because they are creepy but they convert. Accordingly, everyone still runs them. The best thing to do is to delete the cookies after a person converts.


2)    Utilizing Retargeting in an Efficient and Non-Creepy Manner

3 types of retargeting were discussed:

  • Product retargeting: showing an ad for a particular product after someone has viewed that item on your page.
  • Process retargeting: based on the stage in the buying funnel when a user leaves your site.
  • Psychographic retargeting: targeting people based on their interests and likes, ex: Facebook.

When using different retargeting methods you should change your ad extremely frequently, about every 3 days, to stay up to date. This will help avoid users having “blinders” to your banners. You should set a media and frequency cap to only retarget people over a 10 – 60 day period based on your product, service and/or vertical. You should not retarget people every day. It is better to retarget people every other day or only several times a week.

You should answer the following questions to help you define your remarketing strategy, segment and build your audience:

  • Identify and evaluate your consumer’s behaviors. What are they doing on your site?
  • What themes can you see in their actions? How are you going to segment?
  • Think about what you want your customers to accomplish.

After you answer these questions you need to serve your customers relevant information based on all the data you have. You can give customers an offer on milestone servings, ex: the 5th time showing them a particular ad, add an offer giving a sense of urgency.


3)    Click to Call & Converting the Mobile Customer

The last two lectures focused on the ever-evolving mobile space. A variety of speakers shared their opinions about the best practices of mobile, utilizing click to call, and converting mobile customers.

When running a mobile campaign you need to decide if you want to optimize for position or for performance. This should align with your desktop strategy. Ex: Branded is rank, and generic is ROAS.

Position: this will inflate your bids but may lack the quality of clicks you are looking for.

Performance: you will see a loss in visibility and click volume, and may have suboptimal mobile bids. However, you will be optimizing towards your performance goals.

People are seeing more phone queries in generic items rather than people looking for specific brands. People are using their phones more to find and contact businesses to learn information about what they are searching for. Meanwhile, tablets are being used as a research tool, to compare prices, and to read reviews.

Ad copy for mobile devices needs to be unique and is extremely important. Every mobile ad copy should contain these 3 things:

  • Use the word “phone” somewhere in the text.
  • Adjust your display url to say /mobile…etc.
  • Make CTA device specific, use call now, or place an order online, etc.

When running non-branded campaigns on mobile, stick to exact and phrase match only keywords.

Mobile landing pages need to be optimized for mobile users. Do not send them to a desktop page for any reason. If you need personal information, make it as minimal as possible. Having concise and to-the-point information is the best format for a mobile page.

Make sure you do not rely solely on your desktop keyword lists. You should have mobile specific keywords as well.

The context of a user drives the device of choice.  That context could be the time of the day, a location, the type of search, or the device at hand. If people are using a phone for browsing they are looking for quick solutions, places and locations. Give them exactly what they are looking for in a quick and easy to navigate manner.


Finally, I would like to personally thank Marin Software for generously donating two full access passes to Alex Armenta and I. We took full advantage of the experience and truly appreciate the opportunity to attend SMX.

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