Campaign Development Workflows

Conversion Rate Optimization

Display Campaign CRO Feedback

Display campaigns pull cold traffic off the internet into the top of your sales funnel, where it becomes “cool” (lightly engaged) traffic. They also function to constructively influence mid-funnel “warm” (more deeply engaged) traffic.

Landing pages for display campaigns play a different role than landing pages for search, shopping, or video campaigns. So our CRO feedback will be different.

On landing pages for display campaign traffic, the primary goal is not necessarily to push for a conversion. We’re more likely trying to clarify and strengthen the value proposition, coming at it from different angles or bringing new aspects of it to light.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Video Campaign CRO Feedback

Video campaigns are versatile and may generate traffic that enters the sales funnel high, mid, or low. We’ll create CRO feedback for video campaigns based upon your particular campaign, to best match it to the funnel.

On landing pages for video campaign traffic, the primary goal is not necessarily to push for a conversion. We’re more likely trying to clarify and strengthen the value proposition, coming at it from different angles or bringing new aspects of it to light.

Depending upon the nature of the product or service being advertised, it might make sense to also speak to and faciliate low-funnel traffic. But most video campaigns are handling high and mid funnel traffic.

Video Campaign Object Model Ad Group Structure

Video Campaign Structure

A secret to display campaign performance, is to create the video campaign structure by factoring targeting methods and ads by pairs, into ad groups.This creates video campaigns built around relevant groups of ads with relevant images and ad copy, resulting in better quality scores.

The combination of a high-quality targeting, careful ad copy development tailored to the offer, and properly structured ad groups creates a strong underlying foundation for display campaigns.

Conversion Value Model

Conversion Value Setup For Display Campaigns

For every PPC account and display ad campaign, we create a conversion value model for each type of conversion event and (related), select a method for click attribution modeling. When a conversion occurs, the value for that conversion is distributed (“attributed”) up through the sales funnel, with weighting as defined by the click attribution model.

In our conversion value model, what we are after is the gross margin (value) that each conversion action is producing. In the case of a display campaign that advertises products, the conversion value would likely be (sales price-sales tax)*(average gross margin).

Conversion value modeling is important because it allows for calculating the two most important metrics in paid search: return on ad spend, and advertising margin. But more importantly, it provides valuable information back to the automated bidding algorithms, which use machine learning to maximize the performance of the campaign.

search ad conversion tracking

Conversion Tracking Setup For Shopping Campaigns

For eCommerce Shopping ad campaigns, conversion tracking setup is important because it allows for calculating the two most important metrics in paid search: return on ad spend, and advertising margin.

More importantly, it provides valuable information back to the automated bidding algorithms, which uses machine learning logic to maximize the performance of the campaign.

When a Shopping campaign sends accurate conversion tracking conversion values back to the automated bidding logic, automated bidding with machine learning can deliver significant performance improvements, and greatly reduce campaign management time.

search ad conversion tracking

Conversion Tracking Setup For Display Campaigns

Display campaigns are more likely to generate “conversion assist” clicks than final-click conversions. For this reason, click attribution is important for assessing the display campaign’s role in conversion performance.  But accurate conversion tracking is also important with display.

For this reason, we implement 100% conversion tracking coverage, whether the events being tracked are transactions, form submissions, phone calls, or other meaningful events.

We’ve found that less than half of existing campaigns have full conversion tracking implemented, and even when conversion tracking is implemented, it is more often than not lacking full coverage.

There is a reason for this – conversion tracking can be difficult to implement and test.

search ad conversion tracking

Conversion Tracking Setup For Video Campaigns

In a video ad campaign, viewers are presented with a call-to-action that takes them to a web property where any conversions happen.

Conversion tracking setup assigns a value to each conversion event that results from a view of the associated video.

In our conversion value model, ideally, the conversion value is equal to the gross margin (value) that particular conversion action is creating.

In the case of a video campaign that advertises products, the conversion value would likely be (sales price-sales tax) * (average gross margin).

When a marketing attribution modeling is used, the value for each conversion is distributed (“attributed”) up through the sales funnel, with weighting as defined by the best click attribution model for that event.

Shopping Campaign Object Model

Structure Shopping Campaigns

Individual shopping campaigns are structured internally on two levels: Product Groups, and Ad Groups.

Product Groups provide a mechanism to group together similar products within the feed. You can create product groups using various attributes present in the feed. Typically this is used to bid similar products and product variants at the Product Group level.

Each product group is a subset of the feed. The bids are then controlled at the product group level. This can save a great deal of time while managing campaigns with sizeable feeds. When benefitical we utilize ad groups with ad-group level negative keywords to influence keyphrase matching.

Search Campaign Structure - Object Model

Search Campaign Structure

The ad group structure flows naturally from groups of words that are semantically related. This is one of the secrets to developing search campaigns with high “quality scores” (QS). When search campaigns are built around relevant groups of semantically related keywords, good quality scores follow.

By factoring, we organize the keyword base into ad groups around semantic relationships.  This is the process for creating a structured campaign – one with just keywords that mean the same thing in each ad group.

We then apply a workflow to assign keyword match types in a strategic fashion, to fit your market based upon an assessment of search intent.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Shopping Campaign CRO Feedback

Shopping campaigns drive traffic to website pages featuring individual product SKUs. Our Shopping campaign CRO feedback addresses how effectively the product is presented, and how the bots will index the page.

There are also a number of requirements on the Shopping campaign landing page that are imposed by the ad platform, that we check for. This includes things like the return policy, two means to reach the seller, and refund/exchange procedures.

Landing pages for shopping campaigns have a different role to play versus landing pages for search, display, and video campaigns. Their task is to convert ready-to-buy traffic into sales.

All of our recommendations are consistent with well-known industry best practices, as described in related articles on this site.

Display Campaign Ad Group Structure

Display Campaign Optimization & Automation

Display campaign optimization is radically different from the optimization of the other three fundamental types of paid search campaigns. During the display campaign optimization process, it’s not unusual to make significant improvements in performance as we become more familiar with the nuances of how a display campaign is serving. With 8 different types of targeting available, and the inclusion of …

Display Campaign Optimization & Automation Read More »

Shopping Campaign Feed Merchant Center

Product Feed Optimization Success

In eCommerce Shopping campaigns, the quality of product feed optimization is critical to success. It’s an underlying foundation upon which everything else in a Shopping campaign will depend.

Without a well-optimized feed the campaign will never reach its potential. Shopping campaigns with weak feeds in competitive markets will reliably fail.

Many feeds contain thousands or tens of thousands of product SKUs. In addition to their sheer size, there is often great variability between products and brands. As a result, optimizing shopping feeds often requires a significant investment of effort.

Shopping platforms crawl (“spider”), and index 4 fields in the product feed: the Title, Description, Product Category, and Product Type. Data in those fields have to be set up correctly.

Display Ad Design Creative Process

Video Campaign Ads

When we develop video campaign ads it requires an extra level of effort, creativity, and attention to detail as compared to the process for developing text ads. We have a process that can be summarized as follows: select a still image (frame) from the underlying video, then develop ad copy around that video based upon the classic creative process.

Because video ads are advertisements versus direct marketing, the performance of video campaigns is even more dependent upon the ads themselves than text-based search campaigns.  So we’ve tested different creative approaches to invent, improve, test, and optimize display ads.

Video ads are based upon an attention-getting image (frame) from a video, that also creates a mood and tone for the ad. So this is done after we have a solid handle on the competitive positioning and targeting.

Negative Keyword Base

Shopping Campaign Negative Keyword Discovery

Negative keyword discovery is feature that shouldn’t be neglected when targeting a shopping ad campaign.

Negative keywords applied in a shopping campaign act as an inhibitor, or overlay on the positive targeting methods. They allow us to “shape” with a bit more more precision, who the ads serve to. For example, we might exclude certain age groups and/or income levels.

In addition to using negative keywords, it may be beneficial to exclude certain targeting audiences. “Negative” audiences frequently can improve campaign performance by making them more selective. Examples might include negative in-market audiences, interests, demographics such age, gender, income level, parental, homeownership status and other demographic information.

Negative Keyword Base

Video Campaign Negative Keyword Discovery

Negative keyword discovery is a very useful feature that shouldn’t be neglected when setting up video discovery ad campaigns.

Negative keywords applied in a video campaign overlay and inhibit the positive audience targeting. They allow us to shape who video discovery ads, and audience-targeted inline video ads serve to with more precision.

In a video campaign, ads won’t show on videos that are related to the topic specified in each negative keyword.

Ad Spend Allocation Breakdown

Shopping Campaign Performance Management

Shopping campaigns require more ongoing management for several reasons.  Most eCommerce stores are frequently updating their inventory, competitive products arrive at slightly lower prices, and as a feed changes automated bidding may require recalibration.

The Shopping platforms are constantly monitoring eCommerce campaigns that utilize their ad platform.  Typically this is done by bots and it frequently results in Merchant Center exceptions, warnings, and errors arriving in the form of unwelcome emails. We monitor Shopping campaigns for these issues and handle them as they arrive.

Reporting and performance management is a crucial need for eCommerce advertisers. Most of our eCommerce clients receive reports monthly, detailing performance in the period vs previous periods, and highlighting work on ongoing challenges/issues.

Blastoff Labs Project Launch

Shopping Campaign Launch

During the period immediately after a shopping campaign launch, we’re monitoring impressions and CPC’s. We’re also on the lookout for major issues such as a single product group consuming excessive ad spend.

Conversion tracking is checked for functionality and accuracy. Geo-targeting is monitored for any anomalies, CPC’s are checked for any out of line behavior, and the campaign is scanned for errors or warnings.

This post-launch optimization phase typically lasts 3 to 6 weeks for an average scale shopping ad campaign. A Shopping campaign enters semi-automated “orbit” once it has transitioned onto automated bidding

Blastoff Labs Project Launch

Video Campaign Launch Process

After a video campaign launch, it will tend to gain serving momentum fast.  Campaign behavior after launch varies by market and campaign design, with average-size campaigns usually developing a consistent serving pattern within a few days of launch.

During the period immediately after a video campaign launch, we monitor new search campaigns closely making a series of corrective adjustments across our post-launch checklists, dialing the campaign into the type of orbit we’re looking for.  The campaign is continuously reporting valuable data about what’s going on.  That allows us to optimize the campaign early on in its engagements and minimize wasted ad spend.

Blastoff Labs Project Launch

Display Campaign Launch Process

After a display campaign launch, they will often burst in an erratic serving pattern during the first 2 or 3 days after launch. This varies by ad platform and campaign design. Average-size display campaigns usually developing a consistent serving pattern within a few days of launch.

Once a display campaign stabilizes, we look for major issues such as a single targeting method or ad group consuming excessive ad spend. We monitor the audiences that pull the campaign into auctions.

Typically we make a series of corrective adjustments across our display campaign post-launch checklists, dialing the campaign into the type of serving pattern, or “orbit” that we’re looking for.

Shopping Campaign Parameters

Shopping Campaign Serving Parameters

When setting up shopping campaign serving parameters, bidding is the central issue. Manual bidding at launch is the best way to force shopping campaigns to develop serving momentum quickly.

The manual bidding period provides a baseline to optimize against going forward. It also provides confirmation that we’re bidding up to the “Benchmark” shopping bid level.

When setting up serving schedules, our scheduling preference is usually to allow the campaigns to initially run 24x7x365 Many campaigns perform well at surprising times, during days of the week and hours of the day you might not expect.

In some b2b eCommerce markets, we will run campaigns on weekdays only and perhaps not overnight. There are time zone spans to consider, for example in the US, making sure East coast campaigns stay on late enough to shop up for West coast end-of-day business traffic.