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Just the Basics – Is Your Agency Doing Enough?

Just the Basics – Is Your Agency Doing Enough?

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This is the second part in our new series, A Better Agency, which looks at many of the difficulties that can arise when working with an agency, and what Forthea is doing to overcome it.

Just the Basics – Is Your Agency Doing Enough?

The digital marketing universe is seemingly infinite. Even for specialists that spend their entire days working intimately with pay per click advertising (PPC), keeping up with the newest technology and strategies can be challenging. At Forthea, we embrace this never-ending challenge because we love what we do. The trick isn’t implementing every new possibility, but to optimizations that help our client’s account thrive.

Many clients who come to us after working with more traditional marketing agencies often feel that their PPC account isn’t a priority for the agency. If a campaign isn’t updated regularly with optimizations – adjusting spend levels, adding negative keywords, adjusting landing pages –performance stagnates and competitors catch up.

What’s the Value of a PPC-First Agency?

There is a lot of strategy, trial and error, and curiosity needed to drive a successful PPC campaign. Because of the complexity, it is extremely important to find an innovative PPC agency that encourages their specialists to constantly learn, experiment, and have a sense of excitement in their work – to go beyond the basics.

If you’re worried that your agency is only applying the basics to your digital marketing or simply set up the campaign and then forgot about it, we’ve put together a quick audit you can do yourself.

Below we’ve compiled four advanced PPC strategies we’ve been using here at Forthea for our PPC campaigns, if you’re ready to elevate your PPC game, you can contact our specialists today.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)

Using Dynamic Search Ads, or DSAs, can be an amazing way to get data about your products and about what Google focuses on when looking at your site.

How it works:

We’re big fans of DSAs because once set up correctly, Google will serve our ads if a search query matches an existing page on our target website. We provide the description lines and display URL for the ad, while Google builds a headline based on the search query and the content on the website.

Who is it good for:

DSAs work best for companies with large inventories and product selections. The use of dynamic ad text allows a PPC campaign to service hundreds (or thousands) of pages without having to write the text for each and every one of them. In order for a website to pull this off, it has to be very deep and allow for this targeted ad type.

Creative ways to use it:

DSA results provide insights into which products are in demand and you can elevate the rest of your campaigns based on it.

To learn more about DSA campaigns, read Forthea PPC Specialist Jennie Lane’s How to Use Dynamic Search Ads to Enhance Your PPC Strategy

Mobile Ads

Technology is constantly changing and PPC has to change with it. Specifically, the use of mobile has slowly become more important to the PPC universe. People interact with mobile differently, so that has to influence mobile ad campaigns. So jump on the Mobile bandwagon now!

How it works:

Google has been preaching the sermon of increasing mobile use for years now and the time of reckoning has come. Mobile search queries as officially surpassed queries on traditional desktops and laptops. Luckily, Google has given PPCers many ways to optimize campaigns to aim specifically at mobile users. Options include: creating mobile specific campaigns, bidding based on device, creating mobile ads, setting mobile ad extensions, and so much more!

Who is it good for:

Most companies will flourish from mobile advertising. Even if a product or service is a considered purchase, there’s new insights into how users are interacting with their devices that indicate mobile is still important. People are willing to research a company, product, or service on their mobile devices before converting once they’re on a desktop device. We recommend all of our clients commit to mobile campaigns until we see evidence that mobile doesn’t work for them.

Creative ways to use it:

Mobile users make quick decisions, so it’s good to provide your call to action in the first description line where it catches the searcher’s eye. With mobile optimizations, increasing your bids for the area around your business will work with mobile’s built-in location sensors. That way, your ad will be more likely to appear for nearby users.

Read Mobile Ad Copy Optimization Tips, to get a rundown of Forthea’s Vice President, Nick Lindauer’s speech at SMX East.

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads

Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, or RLSAs, takes the basic remarketing campaign to another level. RLSA campaigns are still pretty new to the industry (they were released around July 2013), but they’ve opened up new strategies for search campaigns in competitive markets. While they may not be right for every client, we’ve seen tremendous success leveraging this Google tool.

How it works:

The fundamentals of RLSA campaigns are similar to traditional remarketing and allow a marketer to target users who have previously visited a website, but through an RLSA campaign, we can reach out to them on Google, where they are actively searching for someone like you. Using the list of previous visitors allows us to bid on keywords that would normally be too expensive. Since we know the user is familiar with the brand, the high costs of hyper-competitive keywords suddenly become a better investment.

Who is it good for:

RLSAs are especially good for small budget clients, since you have inside access to your customers and prospective purchasers.

Creative ways to use it:

One innovative RLSA tactic involves opening up bidding on generic keywords in your campaign because you already know that this searcher has interest in you. This allows you to target a broader swath of keywords because of the built in familiarity with your brand.

For example, bidding on a broad term like “basketball” wouldn’t be profitable for someone like Academy, because it’s hard to identify user intent, but if we were running the PPC campaign for them, we’d use RLSA to identify users who have previously looked at our basketball product pages. We know something about these people that we don’t know about the internet writ-large – that they’re interested in purchasing a basketball – and that shifts the cost/benefit analysis of the keyword.

Other tactical uses of RLSA campaigns include upsells to customers who have previously converted or targeting users who failed to convert by offering a special or discount.

Real World PPC

Advertising can do wonders when it reacts to current events. My favorite example of advertising during a current event was done by Oreo’s social media team during the 2013 Super Bowl.

When the lights in the New Orleans Superdome shut off during the game, Oreos quickly created and sent out this tweet:


The PPC universe isn’t insulated from current events, leveraging realities outside of AdWords can create powerful ads that your competitor can’t match.

How it works:

By leveraging current events, we can control the message, save our clients from blunders, and even offer clever specials or messaging that can grab a users’ attention. When 10 ads are competing for one click, this can be a differentiator.

Who is it good for:

Everyone! No one is spared. One of the greatest strengths of digital marketing is the speed and agility of the medium. If you aren’t leveraging that, then why bother at all? Anyone can write an a boring PPC ad, but it takes a real specialist to incorporate the world around us.

Creative ways to use it:

Davis Baker provides some creative examples of how to use current events in Capitalize on Current Events with PPC.

Pay per click advertising is a rapidly evolving field, with new technologies and uses appearing all the time. These four advanced strategies may not work for your company, but make sure you’re always testing the latest advancements. A sign of a poorly run PPC campaign is one that’s stagnant, stubborn, or plain stodgy. Your agency should be creative with your campaign, not just running basic search campaigns with just enough information to make it run. If they aren’t going beyond the basics, it may be time to rethink your PPC strategy

Don’t forget, trial and error is needed to reach success!

This is the second part in our new series, A Better Agency, which looks at many of the difficulties that can arise when working with an agency, and what Forthea is doing to overcome it.

Read Part 1 of this series, Marketing Transparency – Building Client Relationships

Chrysah Pederson
Chrysah is a PPC specialist at Forthea. She found her passion for internet marketing while studying at Texas A&M. When Chrysah isn’t creating spreadsheets, she spends her time playing with her puppy, watching Netflix, and discovering new things to do in Houston.


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