SEMPO Event Vancouver 2013

Vantage attended the SEMPO event in Vancouver on May 14th, 2013. It was our first time attending the event and it was great. It is a refreshing change to actually be able to walk to a search marketing conference, instead of having to cross the border or hop on a plane.

The event was sponsored by Bing Ads, who demo-ed a few new betas. One of the betas was a new visual keyword distribution tool. The tool allows you to see how your keywords are distributed for any given metric. The filtering capabilities of this tool are very cool because you can literally slide a bar up and down your keyword distribution to set the threshold for filtering. For example, if you wanted to see all keywords that had 3 or more conversions, a CPA lower than $50, a position worse than 3.0 and 200 or more clicks in the past 30 days this would be as easy as moving 4 sliders in each of the metric windows.










Overall it was a really great event and we look forward to attending next year…

Vantage Invited to a Google Engage Event in Toronto

Vantage was excited to be invited to the Google Engage Event in Toronto this week. For those of you who don’t know, Google Engage is a program that supports Google Certified Partners who serve small to mid sized businesses. The event was centered around the launch of their new Google Certified Partner program, which I can’t actually go into detail about…Darn NDAs…

However, I can share my experience about actually being in the Google office. The Google Toronto office is fully equipped with an outdoor mini-golf course, candy bar, cafeteria and zombie artwork to keep the creative juices flowing…Not only that the event was fully catered, featuring mini-burgers with mini-mugs of Guinness among other things…

Here are just a few photos from inside:


Google Zombie Art


Google Mini-Golf

Google Mini-Golf

Steve picking up some loot

Steve picking up some loot

Google Ads Enhanced Campaigns-What you need to know

Google has made the one of the largest updates to Google Ads in its recent history. The update will allow advertisers to target multiple devices and locations from a single “enhanced” campaign much more easily. This is all part of Google’s long term initiative to make Google Ads easier to use for small businesses. The only problem with simplifying Google Ads is that it usually comes at the expense of control. A loss of control is bad for agencies and also for the user because it becomes more difficult to show the most relevant adcopy possible. Below I will outline the changes and what the implications will be.

What Are Enhanced Campaigns

Enhanced campaigns will allow a single campaign to target users by device, location and time of day differently. For example, the same adgroup could serve you a desktop ad when you are on your computer at work and then serve you a mobile specific ad when you’re on your iPhone during your lunch break. In theory, this should prevent people from having to build out campaigns for each device and location.

One of the biggest changes will be the use of bid multipliers to set your bid. Bid multipliers will allow you to bid differently based on device, location and time of day. All starting bids will be based off of your desktop bid, which means you must run ads on desktop.

Another smaller change is that they are going to lump Desktop and Tablet users together.

Why Are Enhanced Campaigns Coming Out

From the mobile side of things, Google reported the following reason for moving to Enhanced Campaigns:

“People are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. In fact, a recent study of multi-device consumers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task.”

What this really means is that advertisers need to run both mobile and desktop ads because it is the same user trying to accomplish the same task. The problem before, was that small businesses didn’t have time to create mobile only adcopy, so they just ended up running the same adcopy for both mobile and desktop users. This provided a bad user experience for people searching on mobile devices and a bad conversion rate for businesses. So Google set off to fix this by making it easier to create mobile adcopy from within the same campaigns as desktops and thus the Enhanced Campaign was created.

Another less obvious reason that Google may be trying to make mobile more accessible is for financial reasons. Over the past few years, the average CPC has been decreasing because of the increase in mobile device clicks. Mobile device CPCs are typically a lot lower than desktop due to a lack of competition. By making mobile more accessible to small businesses it will create more competition and drive up the CPC.

What Problems Do Enhanced Campaigns Create?

Here are just a few of the major issues we see with the new Enhanced Campaigns:

  • Desktop and tablets are grouped together: You will not be able to target these users differently. This will be brutal for mobile app makers that want to target tablet and mobile phone users but do not want to target desktop users.
  • Search partners and Google search are grouped together: Search partners are Google search engines that run on other people’s websites. The click-through rates and conversion rates on search partners is considerably lower than regular Google Search.
  • No more mobile only campaigns: Mobile is now only available to targeted inside a campaign that is also targeting desktop and tablet.
  • Mobile bid is based off of desktop bid: This is bad because PPC bidding best practices for mobile and desktop are very different; When targeting mobile devices it is good to bid higher on head terms because people tend to use shorter search queries on mobile. On desktop if you bid high on head terms the ROI is going to be really bad because there is a lot of competition and the user is showing less intent.
  • Bid multiplier is set at the campaign level: They could of easily done a multiplier at the adgroup level and avoided the above mentioned issue, but they chose not to. So when you need to set a different bid multiplier you will now have to create a separate campaign.
  • Enhanced campaigns are not optional: In June all campaigns will be migrated over to Enhanced Campaigns.
  • Call forwarding is not available in Canada: One of the coolest features with Enhanced Campaigns is the ability to track call metrics for free.


Start testing Enhanced Campaigns by only switching over 1 campaign at a time. Then once you get the hang of things switch all campaigns over.

The Secret to Getting a Head Start on SEO

It seem like almost every week we get an inquiry from a company that is interested in SEO services and website conversion optimization but not initially interested in running Pay-Per-Click. There’s by no means anything wrong with this, but a consistent problem that we are presented with is that most of these companies’ websites receive far too little traffic to get high-quality, actionable keyword data for SEO, or to be able to do website conversion optimizations based on any statistical significance.

If we were to only provide SEO services to these clients, the limited data available would make optimizing for SEO a long drawn out process with website traffic gradually increasing over time as organic search rankings improved.

What most of these clients, and many companies that only provide SEO don’t know, is that running Pay-Per-Click is the secret to getting a head start in SEO.

There are too many elements from PPC that we include in our SEO strategies to mention so I’ll just go over the big picture:

1. We Use PPC to Do What SEO Can’t

With PPC we are able to instantly increase traffic to a website. Right away we are able to show client’s ads high in search engine results and bring in new customers.  Website traffic and conversions pour in along with that high-quality, actionable keyword data for SEO that we’ve been looking for.

2. Great SEO Starts With Great Keyword Research

PPC accounts are an SEO keyword gold mine! We get access to data that tells us exactly what users are typing into search engines that result in purchases from the client’s website!  With PPC we are able to optimize our SEO for traffic and conversions based on statistically significant data.

For some great info on how to leverage PPC data for SEO, check out this post by Tom Demers.

Google Ads Changes Spell Trouble for Neglected PPC Accounts

You might have noticed that Google’s search engine results page has been changing a lot lately. Everyday it seems there’s a new change or new addition. It’s even quite possible for you to see a new feature one day only to come back the following day and it is no longer there.

Having trouble keeping up?

Google Ads is quite similar in that it’s always changing.  If you don’t live and breathe PPC then it’s just not possible to keep up with the number of changes and improvements that are made to Google Ads on a daily basis.

A common site, seen multiple times per day on Google Ads:

A new Version of the Adwords interface is available

If you don’t keep up to date with the changes in Google’s search engine then the next time you go to make a search you could get a little confused, irritated, or just be delightfully surprised when you take note of a convenient new feature.  However, If you are an advertiser with a Google Ads account and you don’t keep up to date with the changes to Google Ads the consequences are much, much worse. Remember, Google is out there to make money too, so don’t think they have your best interests in mind when they make “improvements”.

Although many of these changes come as a blessing to professional PPC managers, they hardly ever have positive outcomes for amateurs with neglected accounts. At the very least, with a neglected Google Ads account you are missing out on new opportunities that your competitors are taking advantage of and you’re account performance is declining because of the improved competition.  While many small changes and missed opportunities mostly result in a steady decline in account performance, big changes that occur more frequently than you’d think cause neglected accounts to go completely haywire and waste thousands and thousands of dollars in no time at all.

Creating a single successful PPC campaign can be done by anyone, but delivering results time and time again is something else. Being able to consistently produce campaigns that achieve results in an ever-changing industry is the difference between amateur and professional Pay-Per-Click management.

Time to Update Your Google Ads Sitelinks

Google just announced that they will be updating their policy on sitelinks. For those of you who don’t know what sitelinks are, they are ad extensions that allows you to send people to different landing pages on your website. The new policy will force you to actually use different landing pages for each sitelink.

For the past couple years you could have all the sitelinks going to the same landing page, which defeats the purpose of the sitelinks from a users point of view. From an advertisers point of view, it was a best practice to send people to the same landing page so that you could control the conversion rate.

The change:

“Recently, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of sitelinks created with the same landing pages or the same content. So in the coming month, we will begin more proactive enforcement of our existing policy. Initially, we’ll focus on new and recently changed sitelinks. As your ads are being served, our systems will verify that your sitelinks meet the policy standards.  Sitelinks that don’t meet the standards will be restricted from appearing.”

– From Google

If you would like help updating your sitelinks please let us know.

Microsoft Adcenter is Now Bing Ads

It is official, Microsoft Adcenter is now Bing Ads. The new name is a bit misleading because if you advertise with Bing your ads will show on Bing and Yahoo search networks. Yahoo and Bing joined forces a few years ago to try to take market share away from Google. This merger did not really add up for some of the clients that I was working with at the time. One client was getting 15% of his conversions from Yahoo and another 5% from Bing. When they merged together, only 12% came from both Yahoo and Bing. It was disappointing to say the least and I still don’t know where the missing 8% went.

Anyways Bing Ads provides a really good return on investment compared to Google. There is just less competition on Bing, so you pay less per click. If you are US advertising I would highly recommend running Bing ads as the traffic is pretty good. In Canada, Bing is hardly worth running because it doesn’t get enough traffic. That being said it is really easy to import your campaigns over from Google Adwords. So give Bing Ads a try.


Google Engage Vancouver


Google just finished up with their Google Engage Certification Program Cram Sessions at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver.  The event, taught by Niko Downie from Google, consisted of four sessions that took place on August 28th and 29th.

Unlike the recent Google Engage event we attended in Seattle which focused on advanced PPC strategies and client relations, the goal of the Google Engage Cram Sessions was to help agencies prepare for the Google certification exams.

Since the Vancouver PPC team was already up to date with its certifications we didn’t have to attend the event, but whenever we hear the words Google and event in the same sentence you’ve got our attention.  And since this Google event was right in our own back yard at the Fairmont Waterfront, we just couldn’t say no.



Vancouver Business Network Meetup

I ended up going the Vancouver Business Network meetup last night. The meetup speaker was Earl Flormata, from Loud Ninja Marketing, who was discussing funnels. It was absolutely amazing the creative ways that he has used various funnel strategies to grow his business.

What do funnels have to do with PPC?

Well the way we manage online advertising at Vancouver PPC is through optimizing for a target cost per acquisitions (AKA CPA). A target CPA is the amount you as a business owner are willing to pay for a lead or sale. Once you have your target CPA, we can then create an online advertising campaign that is designed to hit that target CPA. Now the cool thing about funnels is that they allow you to up-sell, cross sell and down-sell to people who have already purchased from you.

Math example:

Lets say your current target CPA is $5. Then we implement some funnel tactics and get people to purchase an additional $2.5 product. This means that each acquisition is now worth $7.50 and thus your target CPA raises to $7.50. Which means you can bid your online advertising more aggressively and get you way more sales.

The bottom line is that funnels can increase the average life time value of a customer, which in turn multiplies your online advertising results.

Nobody Clicks On PPC Ads Right? Wrong!

There is a common misconception that nobody ever clicks on PPC ads. Well if that were true then Google wouldn’t be making billions of dollars each year. Plus we wouldn’t be in business…


  • The top 3 spots get 41.1% of clicks.
  • Organic results only account for 14.8%  of pixels above the fold (the fold is the screen real-estate that you don’t have to scroll to see).
  • PPC Ads take up 85.2% of pixels above the fold on highly commercial intent keywords.

Check out this great infograph by WordStream:

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) vs. Organic Search Listings (SEO)

© WordStream, provider of a Google Keyword Tool for Search Marketing.