Recap of Nikki’s Ask Me Anything on the Paid Search Association’s Slack Channel

On August 25th, I hosted “Ask Me Anything” on the Paid Search Association’s Slack channel. 

Wait, you aren’t part of Paid Search Association’s Slack channel?! Well, you should be. Just fill out the PSA Slack form, and join us.

Now, here’s a recap of the “Ask Me Anything” session – I’ve also expanded some of my answers.

Q1: What is it that you love about the SEM / PPC / Paid Search world?

A1: I love that no two days are the same in PPC. I’ve got a pretty diverse group of clients, so I get to learn about all kinds of products and audiences. It’s never ever boring!

A1 (Part two): I also love that for the most part, I can track the results of what my clients’ campaigns are doing. Of course, privacy issues and all that are making it harder, but I still get to see the impact.

Q2: What is the most challenging thing about working in SEM / PPC / Paid Search?

A2: There are so many things that are challenging! One of the main things is how fast the industry is changing and just trying to keep up. Changes to match types, smart bidding, PMax on Google, and MSAN on Microsoft are some examples.

Other challenges: Attribution across platforms and clients who don’t understand attribution or expect a specific ROAS and then wonder why their volume drops…

Q3: What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to start in PPC?

  • Read everything: There are some amazing PPC practitioners out there who share their knowledge – follow them on Twitter (#ppcchat is fantastic for this), LinkedIn, and here in the PSA Slack channel.
  • Ask questions: Ask them of yourself and your assumptions, your teammates, and those amazing PPC people you’ll find on Twitter, LinkedIn, and here.
  • Test everything: What works for one client doesn’t mean it will work for the next, but over time, you’ll build up a knowledge base of tactics to start with. And even when you have that knowledge base, still test. Building that base is definitely harder if you are in-house as you might only deal with one account, but that makes reading and following other PPC managers even more important.

Nikki Note: I highly recommend checking the #ppcchat once a day on Twitter, signing up for the daily email Daily Links from the Paid Search Association (PSA.org), and joining the PSA.org’s Slack channel.

Q4: Would you recommend a minimum budget for small businesses to try Google Ads?

A4: As a rule of thumb, about $3,000 is the lowest budget I would want to try on Google Ads. But (there’s always a BUT) it really depends (I’m shocked this is the first time I’ve said ‘it depends’ yet!). What does it depend on?

  • Geotargeting: If this is a local campaign with a small target area and not a huge amount of competition, you could get away with less to start.
  • Industry: Attorneys need a lot more money, as click costs are usually $50+ and sometimes in the $100s – because of…
  • Competition: Are they trying to sell into a crowded space with lots of competition, particularly ones with deep pockets?

I’d actually challenge businesses with small budgets to try Microsoft first. The rule of thumb is lower CPCs because of less competition, and average order values tend to be higher for ecom clients. Microsoft tends to do better for lead gen B2B as well.

Q5: Would you recommend Yahoo Ads? For which industries? 

A5: Oh, Yahoo. You platform of the many names! :grinning: (In a nutshell, they’ve gone from Yahoo to Yahoo Gemini to Oath to Verizon Media to Yahoo!)

I’ve got about ten of my clients actually running on Yahoo. For those who don’t know, Yahoo Ads is Native advertising only – all Yahoo.com search results are supplied by Microsoft; to actually show search ads on Yahoo.com, that comes from Microsoft Advertising. But Yahoo Ads is native advertising, ads that show up while scrolling their feed:

A5 (Continued): The volume is mostly low; their platform is unfriendly to use – I hear people complain about Facebook Business Manager. I think Yahoo’s could give you a run. Most of the naming doesn’t make sense. They do have a support team which is actual people who KNOW their product, so that really helps. I do see enough good results that if clients have maxed Google and Microsoft and are looking for growth, Yahoo is worth testing.

Q6: Do you recommend using Dynamic Keyword insertion in RSA headlines? Any best practices here?

A6: I am not a Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) fan. I haven’t used it for a really long time since Google started blurring the exact/phrase match types. I know other PPC managers still use and love it. I just don’t feel comfortable with what Google may or may not put into my ad copy. I’d rather control what I can actually still control. I’d love to hear others that might still be using it successfully.

Question from Olya Sukhopar:

What are the best tactics/campaign types you would recommend someone to try when running Microsoft Ads for a B2B client?

Great question Olya! Microsoft can be fantastic for B2B. Is this an ecom client or lead generation?

Olya: lead generation

Nikki: We’ve had really good success with lead gen using Search campaigns – just launched a new lead gen client three weeks ago on both Google and Microsoft; the CPAs on Google are $36, while only $27 on Microsoft. That’s mainly due to the fact that Microsoft is so desktop-heavy, where Google is more mobile-heavy. And Windows machines are still the overwhelming desktop choice.

Go ahead and add images to your Search campaigns, so you show up in the Audience network (start with a -20% bid on Audience – found under Settings) and keep an eye on it.

Question from Miranda Wylie: 

Hi! How long do you give an ad to get impressions before changing it or removing it? To give a bit more context, several ads in the ad campaign are doing well, and 1 isn’t though it has yet to be 30 days.

Nikki: Thanks for the question, Miranda. So when you say it isn’t doing well, what do you mean? It isn’t getting any impressions at all? And if it’s not, is it the only add (sic) in the ad group? Also is this an RSA or an ETA?

Miranda: RSA. 3 ads in the ad group. 1 is getting no impressions.

Nikki: Three is the absolute max you can do [per Google policy]. And there was a great study done – I’ll see if I can find it – where two RSAs per ad group was the sweet spot. I would say if that third ad isn’t very different than the other two, pause it. No need to have it in there unless the messaging is very different.

Nikki Note: The study was done by Optmyzr. Great info here about the number of ads, to pin or not to pin, and a lot more.

Question from Azeem Ahmad: 

Hi @Nikki Kuhlman – how would you describe PMax in a short email to a board member/someone who isn’t in marketing for example? Curious to learn how to summarise it!

Nikki: Performance Max helps businesses advertise in multiple channels – from searches to shopping to YouTube to email – with the goal of driving [sales/leads].

Is that too short? I tried to oversimplify since you said they aren’t in marketing.

So there you are, a recap of my Ask Me Anything on the Paid Search Association’s Slack Channel. Got questions that didn’t get answered? Ask away on PSA’s Slack or at Twitter @nikkijumpfly.

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