Friday, April 12, 2019

Google Ads Keyword Planner Gets an Upgrade - Practical Ecommerce

Google Ads Keyword Planner Gets an Upgrade - Practical Ecommerce


Google Ads Keyword Planner Gets an Upgrade - Practical Ecommerce

Posted: 11 Apr 2019 07:23 AM PDT

Google Ads has updated its popular Keyword Planner, focusing on six areas.

Google Ads has updated its popular Keyword Planner, focusing on six areas.

The other day I went to the Keyword Planner in Google Ads. I was greeted by a lightbox message that stated, "A Better Keyword Planner."

The box said six "key features" were improved:

  • More seeds,
  • Keyword trends,
  • Grouped ideas,
  • Save an idea to an existing campaign,
  • Suggested budget,
  • Competition value column.

In this post, I'll offer my take on each feature.

More Seeds

This feature was available for years, but Google reduced the number of seed keywords to just three when the tool moved to the new interface. I'm pleased that this feature has returned.

Keyword Trends

This is handy for keywords with heavy seasonality. One can hover over the chart in the tool and see monthly data at a glance.

Using keyword trends, one can hover over the chart and see monthly data at a glance.

Using keyword trends, one can hover over the chart and see monthly data at a glance.

A more helpful visual is to see it live in the tool. The chart below is for the keyword phrase "Christmas tree decorations." The view allows you to quickly see that November is the peak month for that phrase, at just under 400,000 searches; December has about 200,000. A helpful upgrade is that the data is downloadable, to pull it into Excel or your analysis tool of choice.

The phrase

The phrase "Christmas tree decorations" has roughly 400,000 searches in November. December has about 200,000. Click image to enlarge.

Grouped Ideas

This feature eliminates some of the organizational legwork that's often required for keyword research. By clicking the "Grouped Ideas" tab on the left, you can see your keyword suggestions logically combined.

Using "Grouped Ideas," one can see combined keyword suggestions.

Using "Grouped Ideas," one can see combined keyword suggestions.

"Grouped Ideas" is similar to a feature in the old interface wherein keywords were consolidated by ad groups. As in the previous interface, these grouped keywords can be added to your plan as a unit or added to an existing campaign, which brings us to our next feature.

Save an Idea to an Existing Campaign

I'm often in the Keyword Planner to find new words and phrases for existing campaigns — I've noticed a good theme in the search terms report, or I thought of a keyword idea. Previously, I had to find the keywords I wanted, add them to my plan, download the plan, and then upload to my campaigns via Google Ads Editor or the web interface. This upgrade streamlines that process.

"Add to existing campaign" streamlines the process of attaching keywords.

"Add to existing campaign" streamlines the process of attaching keywords.

If you're adding to an existing campaign, you'll select attaching to an existing ad group or creating a new one. It's easy and efficient functionality for adding new keywords.

Suggested Budget

This feature helps to produce a forecast or a budget for Google Ads campaigns.

The new budgeting tool helps to produce a forecast or spending estimates for Google Ads campaigns.

The new budgeting tool helps to produce a forecast or spending estimates for Google Ads campaigns.

To see the budget suggestions though, you'll first need to add keywords or grouped ideas to your plan. Then click on "Plan overview" in the left navigation.

Once there, a couple of options aren't immediately obvious, so I've highlighted them in red boxes, below. The tool can estimate the number of clicks or conversions. You can also change the per-click bid amount.

The tool can estimate the number of clicks or conversions for a per-click bid amount.

The tool can estimate the number of clicks or conversions for a per-click bid amount. Click image to enlarge.

In the chart above, going beyond about $1.25 per click doesn't produce new conversions. Thus it's helpful to have a visual on where Google Ads thinks you'll experience diminishing returns.

Competition Value Column

By default, this interface displays the competition column with one of three descriptions: high, medium, or low. While that's generally helpful, there can be a lot of variation in each category. If you click the "Columns" icon and add the "Competition (Indexed value)" column, Google will provide a score from 1 to 100 for how competitive that keyword is.

By clicking the "Columns" icon and adding the "Competition (Indexed value)" column, Google will provide a score from 1 to 100 for how competitive a keyword is.

By clicking the "Columns" icon and adding the "Competition (Indexed value)" column, Google will provide a score from 1 to 100 for how competitive a keyword is.

The breaks for high, medium, and low do not evenly divide into thirds. However, it is helpful to know that high competition for "Christmas tree decorations" means 100 while high competition for "Christmas tree ideas" is 72. That's a big difference, which most advertisers would intuitively understand — anything with "ideas" in the query is more top-of-the-funnel or discovery focused. But now you can quantify just how large the competitive difference will be.

Helpful Additions

"More seeds," "Grouped ideas," and "Add to campaigns" are reboots from the previous Keyword Planner. I welcome them back, however, as they improve the tool. The other, new features are genuinely helpful. I will use all of them in my daily workflow. So a big thanks to the Google product team.

The Best Feature in the New Google Ads Editor: PPC Audits - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 11 Apr 2019 05:45 AM PDT

When you manage PPC for a living, you know there is always a risk of losing your accounts. They might be taken over by someone who did an account audit to convince the advertiser that you don't know what you're doing.

In my opinion, the reality is that there is no such thing as a perfectly managed account. Audits need to be framed in the right context because it is always possible to pick on someone else's strategy.

That aside, the reality is that some advertisers can be led to believe their account team is doing a bad job because an audit has uncovered a lot of "mistakes."

No matter how much you disagree with their strategy, few coaches who lead their team to a championship are fired. What does that look like in PPC?

You need to do a few things to hang on to your job and your clients:

  • Uncover structural issues before they weigh on performance.
  • Manage the account to meet and exceed targets.
  • Share your results so you don't leave the boss guessing about your value to the organization.

Step 1 is about doing proactive audits. I'll cover free tools from Google to do this in this post.

Step 2 is about having the right strategies in place. That's a huge topic but you can read my other posts here on Search Engine Journal to get a sense of what I like to do.

Step 3 is about having a good tool and process for reporting.

Many audits are at least partially generated using automations so it's good to know what tools are out there that your competition might be using.

One of the newer free audit tools is the Ads Editor 1.0. I was on the team at Google that created the then AdWords Editor so the tool isn't exactly new. But its ability to evaluate the structure of an account with rules only came along in version 12, the last version before the AdWords Editor was rebranded to the Ads Editor.

Custom Rules in Ads Editor 1.0

Along with the new brand and its visual refresh, 11 new features have been added to Ads Editor 1. The one I want to focus on today are the new custom rules which are basically a form of PPC audits.

Google explains there are five new custom rules that can alert advertisers if:

  • There are no responsive search ads in a Search Network campaign's ad group (when that ad group already contains at least one enabled expanded text ad).
  • A video campaign (that isn't a TrueView for action campaign) isn't targeting Google video partners.
  • A video discovery ad group is targeting a keyword or topic.
  • A TrueView campaign is only targeting YouTube search but only has TrueView in-stream video ads.
  • A video campaign has a start and end date, but is using an average daily budget.

These five new rules now bring the list of prebuilt rules to 27. The best thing about these rules is that you don't need to learn the syntax for writing rules to take advantage of the tool.

How to Do an Audit with Ads Editor

To use the custom rules, start by upgrading to the latest version of the Ads Editor or download it from Google's site.

Next, pick the account you want to work with and download it to your local storage. New in this version of Ads Editor is the ability to open multiple accounts together in a single window.

During an audit, you can see all the issues across all the open accounts on one screen but the findings won't be aggregated.

So if you have too few sitelinks in two accounts that are part of the same advertiser, you'll have to manually combine the findings from the two accounts to create a nice consolidated report that you can present to the advertiser.

The Best Feature in the New Google Ads Editor: PPC Audits

Remember, the Ads Editor works with a local copy of your Ads account so you'll have to periodically 'Get recent changes' to make sure that your audits are using the most current version of your account.

Many other audit tools like the WordStream Account Grader or Optmyzr Audits (disclosure: my company) are delivered through a SaaS offering so these have a live connection to the Ads API and there's no need to do manual refreshes.

To see the audits, navigate to "Account Level" >> "Custom Rules" where you'll find the 27 built-in rules from Google.

The Best Feature in the New Google Ads Editor: PPC AuditsSome of the built-in audit rules along with how many items in the account don't meet the requirements of the audit.

From here you can double click on the number of violations to apply a filter to a view of the affected items. That way you get a list of things to fix.

You can even apply multiple filters together to find the most severely impacted items in the account first.

You can also create your own audits with the advanced syntax explained in Google's help materials.

Audits in Reports

The Google Ads report editor has two predefined reports that provide auditing capabilities.

While not as powerful as the Ads Editor due to the more limited syntax for defining what to check, they're one of the quickest and easiest ways to ensure you don't miss some obvious opportunities to manage accounts better by using all the right settings and extensions.

The Campaign Details and Ad Group Details reports can be found under Reports > Predefined reports (dimensions) > Basic, as shown by long-time Googler Jon Diorio:

The Best Feature in the New Google Ads Editor: PPC Audits

Benefits of Reports for Audits

A big benefit of these reports is that you can combine the structural analysis with performance data.

A problem with audits in large accounts is that they can turn up far more potential deficiencies than what can be addressed in a reasonable amount of time and many of those warnings may be for elements that have little impact on the account.

Unlike in Ads Editor, the Reports can bring in data about performance so that advertisers can filter issues for only those campaigns where costs exceed some reasonable threshold that warrants spending time fixing them.

The Best Feature in the New Google Ads Editor: PPC Audits

Customize Audit Reports

While Google has translated the old dimension reports for campaign and ad group details into these newer reports, don't forget to dig around the customization a bit as you may discover some audits that are of interest to you.

For example, if you use Smart Bidding you could add the Target CPA to the report and filter for any values that are far above or below your typical CPA targets.

Conclusion

Staying on top of the structural integrity of a large PPC account can take a tremendous amount of time unless you have tools and automations to help you with audits.

While there are many free PPC auditing tools available, it's always worth trying Google's own offerings, like those in the new Ads Editor and the Reports tab of Google Ads.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, April 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment