Think2010: Series recap

We kicked off the Think2010 blog series 14 weeks ago with the idea of helping you prepare for the coming year by devoting one post each week to big-picture, forward-looking themes supported by actionable tips. Over the course of the series we've covered topics such as relevance, speed, experimentation and innovation. We've discussed the multiple roles that search can play, how to use data to better connect with customers, and the importance of staying focused on the fundamentals. We've also deliberately infused the series with perspectives from thought leaders both inside and outside of Google in order to give you a range of insights on the changing face of marketing. You can find a more in-depth version of this same conversation taking place on our Fast.Forward. YouTube channel.

As our series comes to a close this week and we prepare to usher in 2010, we'd like to thank you for reading and leave you with some parting thoughts. Here's what a diverse group of industry leaders have to say about the new marketing landscape and the vast opportunity that they believe lies ahead for 2010:

From the Think2010 team -- best wishes for a prosperous and successful 2010.

Welcome to our Think2010 Series

In a mere few days, the 4th quarter will be upon us. Seems like just yesterday we were running our Do More with Less series to arm you with tools and tactics to show the 2009 recession who's boss.

As we start wrapping up 2009 and start thinking about what 2010 might hold, we're feeling optimistic. We're hoping we can transition from being your partner through the recession to being your partner through a recovery. That's why we're launching the Think2010: Getting Ahead of the Recovery series. For the next few months, we'll be devoting a weekly post to looking forward. The series will highlight wisdom from Googlers and outsiders alike, and offer opportunities for deeper learning. Over the course of the series you'll see posts on innovation, experimentation, speed, and deeper customer connections -- themes we believe will be critical to 2010 success.

In 2010 you'll likely have products to promote, news to share, and promotions to tout, so you'll need a targeting strategy that is as effective as those messages you have to get out the door. Precision and relevance will be as important as ever as you aim to (re)connect with customers and direct them your way. That's why we're focusing our first webinar of our Think 2010 series precisely on this topic.

Next Tuesday, Oct 6th, we'll be hosting a Think2010 webinar on “Using Data to Better Connect with Your Customers." If you haven't registered, take a look! Our very own Avinash Kaushik will set you out on the right foot for really (truly) making data actionable for decision-making next year -- and right now. He'll discuss core data sources to have in your 2010 targeting toolkit and show you how to capitalize on these tools for refining your targeting approach and honing in on your most relevant and valuable audiences. The webinar will also highlight how free tools like Google Trends for Websites, Insights for Search, and Ad Planner can help you be more efficient and help you confidently make decisions to maximize your return-on-investment.

As you scope your strategy and tailor your tactics for next year, we hope the Think2010: Getting Ahead of the Recovery series will be a good resource to help you charge ahead feeling informed and inspired.

New Interface Thursdays: Your top questions from the webinar series

Today we held the last in the series of new interface webinars. Each week we get lots of great questions from attendees about the new interface. Today on New Interface Thursdays we're going to highlight some of the top questions and answer them.

How do I delete keywords?
To delete a keyword, select the checkbox next to it and then click on the Change status menu at the top of the table. There, you'll find the option to delete.

My ad is pending review. What does that mean?
An ad with a pending review status can run on Google search pages, but it won't run on our search partners or on content network placements until we review and approve it. Every time you submit new ads or make changes to existing ads, they are automatically submitted for review. (We review ads in the order they're submitted).

In the previous interface, ads were reviewed and approved in the same way, but this information wasn't visible. With the new interface, we chose to start showing more detailed approval status information to give you a better of idea of where your ads are eligible to show.

Where do I find spreadsheet editing?
Spreadsheet editing is only available at the ad group level. To enter spreadsheet mode, navigate to the Keywords tab of any ad group, then select Spreadsheet edit under the More actions menu.

What is the difference between 1 per click and many per click conversions?
The metric formerly called conversions in the previous AdWords interface is now relabeled 1-per-click conversions in the new interface. This metric measures the number of unique clicks on your ads that lead to conversion events. For example, if you're measuring sales and one ad click leads to three different transactions, only one 1-per-click conversion is counted.

In contrast, many-per-click conversions count each conversion that occurs after a click on your ad. So in the example above, since three different transactions occurred after the initial click on your ad, three many-per-click conversions are counted.

You can learn more about the difference between 1-per-click and many-per-click conversions here.

How do I view Destination URLs for keywords?
You can easily view the destination URLs for your keywords by customizing your columns. From the Keywords tab, click Filters and views and select Customize columns. From there you can turn on the column for Destination URL as well as other metrics for your keywords.

Where are settings for ad scheduling, frequency capping, ad rotations, etc?
On the Campaign Settings tab, there are a few sections labeled Advanced. For example, below your selected bid type and budget, you'll find an advanced section for position preferences and delivery method. At the very bottom of the page, you'll find some additional advanced settings like ad scheduling, ad rotation settings, and frequency capping. We organized the settings page in this way to make sure it was easy for you to scan through the fundamentals of your campaign while still giving you the option to explore more advanced configurations.

Thanks for all the great questions.

(Ad)Word of the Day: Ad Scheduling

If you want your ads to only run during certain times of the day or week, consider using ad scheduling, today's (Ad)Word of the Day.
Ad scheduling lets you control the days and times your ad campaigns appear. You may also choose an advanced mode, which allows you to raise or lower your bids for a campaign at certain times of the day.
Ad scheduling can help you better target your ads by selecting the times when you want to show ads. For example, if you offer special late night deals, you can set up an ad group to show those ads only between 10pm and 3am. You can also set different bids for different hours, so if you have better conversion rates during certain hours, you can set your bids higher to try and get more impressions and clicks during that time.

For more information, check out the article on ad scheduling in the AdWords Help Center.

New Interface Thursday: You said it, we're fixing it!

We released the new AdWords interface early to get your feedback on it as soon as possible. And you haven't disappointed us! We receive thousands of comments every month covering likes, dislikes, and ideas for ways to further improve the AdWords interface. We read your comments carefully to prioritize the areas to work on next.

And we've made a lot of progress on the top issues our advertisers reported, so today we wanted to share these improvements with you.

Less horizontal scrolling
When working with certain browsers and monitor resolutions (especially 1024x768), you told us you needed to scroll back and forth in order view data tables and controls. We've now condensed the layout of AdWords pages and width of columns in order to eliminate the need to scroll horizontally. If you're still encountering this issue, please let us know.

If you'd like to further condense the view of your account, remember that you can customize your columns. Try hiding columns that aren't important to you and move other columns around to quickly compare important metrics side-by-side.

Support for Safari 4 and Firefox 3.5
Those of you working with the newest versions of Safari and Firefox will be happy to know that the new AdWords interface now works with these browsers. We'll continue to work to support the latest versions all major browsers in the future.

Faster load times
One of our most important goals with the new interface was to improve the efficiency of day-to-day campaign management tasks. We've heard from some advertisers that while integrated reports and roll-up tabs help them quickly access and act on important data, the data didn't always load as quickly as they'd hoped.

We've worked to improve the speed of the interface with the latest releases, and hope you can now see a noticeable improvement. However, our work isn't done, and we'll continue to focus on shortening load times with upcoming launches. For the fastest experience, we recommend using the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox 3+, Safari 4, or Internet Explorer 8.

Searching for keywords
We heard many of you are looking for quick ways to search for keywords, ad text, or campaign names within your account. In previous posts, we talked about how you can use filtering to focus on the data that matters to you.

While text filters allow you to search and act directly on the data you see, they also take a few clicks to set up for the first time. To help you work more quickly, we've added a new shortcut that lets you quickly search by text under the 'Filter and views' menu on any tab.

Try it on your Keywords tab to quickly find all keywords containing a specific term.

Educational materials
You told us you'd like more help with transitioning to the new interface. In addition to New Interface Thursdays and our new interface website, we recently started a series of free educational webinars, featuring the product team. Sign up now for the next webinar on July 10.

If you haven't been using the new AdWords interface to manage your campaigns due to a specific annoyance, now's a great time to to log in and see how the interface has improved. And please, keep your feedback coming. Just click on the Send Feedback link at the top right corner of your account to share your thoughts.

New Interface Thursdays: Meet the Networks tab

In this edition of New Interface Thursdays we'll be talking about the Networks tab. The Networks tab replaces the Placements tab from the previous interface, and gives you more insight into where your ads are running. In the Networks tab, you can see your ads' performance across different networks like Google search, Search partners, and the Content Network.

When looking at how your Content Network ads perform, you'll see that the new interface divides Content Network statistics into two groups: automatic placements and managed placements.

Automatic placements are pages in the Content Network where your ads have been contextually targeted. Contextual targeting matches the themes in your keyword list to relevant page content on the sites in our network. For instance, if you have 'ski equipment' as a keyword in your ad group, Google might contextually target your ads to a page talking about the best online ski equipment deals.

Managed placements are sites or specific URLs that you've singled out. With managed placements you can set a specific bid for a site. If a site is performing very well for you and you want to increase your exposure, you might bid higher for that placement. On the other hand, if a site isn't very relevant to your offer, you might lower your bid or exclude the site.

When you add a site to your managed placements, we still use your keywords to find contextually matching pages. You can think of it like a Venn diagram:

Automatic Placements
Jumping back into the account, we can take a closer look at automatic placements. By clicking show details you'll see a table showing the sites on which your ads are running. If you've used the Placement Performance report in the previous interface this should look familiar to you. With the new interface you have this report right in your account.

You can see that each site's performance is broken out. The green "Added" badges appear next to the sites which you've already added to your managed placements.

From this table, you have a few actions you can take. You can add a site to your managed placements with a separate bid for that site. If you want to see a breakdown of your performance on individual URLs where your ads were shown, you can select a site and click Show URL report. Also if a site doesn't meet your advertising goals, you can exclude it from your ad group or campaign.

Managed Placements
Your managed placements are shown in a similar table:

Since you set specific bids for managed placements, this table has a Max CPC column. Like the rest of the new interface, you can make changes directly in the table. For example, if you want to change your bid for a placement, just click on the bid and enter a new one. As with your automatic placements, you can view a URL report to take a deeper look at where your ads are showing.

At the bottom of the Networks tab you'll find Exclusions. This area lists any placements that you've excluded to prevent your ads from running on them. You can exclude a placement at the ad group level or at the campaign level.

That's it for our tour of the Networks tab. You can always find more information in the Help Center and at the New Interface site

Analytics and AdWords tips - Part 4 of 4

Last week we looked at finding your ROI for AdWords and also identifying keywords that aren't performing well. This week, in the last part of our series, the Google Analytics team will take a look at keywords that bring in revenue and also how to use Analytics to improve your ROI overall.

Which keywords drive revenue?

Just like you did with your poor performing keywords, go to the AdWords Campaigns report and click down to the Keyword level. Once you are in the AdWords Keywords report, click in the Revenue column header (you may have to click twice) so that the highest revenue keywords are listed first.

The high revenue keywords may or may not be your highest ROI keywords. If your ROI shows that you are losing or making little money on a high revenue keyword, you might want to adjust your strategy.

Using Analytics to improve overall website ROI

This series has shown you how to use Analytics to identify low and high performing keywords, find your highest revenue keywords, and weed out low performing keywords. Now that you're familiar with Analytics, you might want to explore some of the other ways it can help you improve your website's ROI. Here are some suggestions for getting started:
You can also find regular updates on how to improve your Analytics skills on the Google Analytics blog and Youtube Channel.

That's it for this series. Happy tracking.

Analytics and AdWords tips - Part 3 of 4

Once again we've asked the Google Analytics team to share some of their tips on how to use Analytics and AdWords together.  Last week we talked about how to link your two accounts and view your results.  To recap, the three steps you need to take are:

1) Link your AdWords and Analytics accounts (how-to video)
2) Configure goals (Help Center article)
3) Assign a value to your goals

This week we'll show you how to use Analytics reports to find your true return on investment (ROI) and identify poor performing keywords.

Which keywords lose money?

As we mentioned last time, the report for tracking keyword ROI is the AdWords Campaigns report in the Traffic Sources section. To identify the keywords that are losing you money, click the ROI column header twice so that the lowest ROI keywords are at the top of the list. Do you have any -100% ROI keywords? These are keywords on which you lost all of the money you spent (you paid for clicks on those keywords but no one completed actions on your site). But before you take any action in your AdWords account, consider how much you spent and whether you have enough data yet to make a decision. 

Very often, -100% ROI keywords are those that have only received a few clicks. You might want to wait until you receive more than one or two clicks on a keyword before you make any changes. And if you've only spent a few cents on a keyword, it's probably worth waiting to see if the keyword pays off.

If you want to learn more, you can check out this video on finding poor performing keywords.

Short date ranges may obscure your true ROI.

It’s generally not a good idea to make keyword changes on the basis of a few days worth of data. You’ll make better decisions if you also take into account your sales cycle and everything else you know about the specifics of your business online.

Consider your return customers – those that find you via an AdWords ad and then return later to buy again. You’ll miss these repeat conversions if you set too short of a date range. Also, it may take a few days for many of your visitors to become customers. By making decisions based on a date range that is shorter than your sales cycle, you might actually lower your ROI by discounting keywords that are actually profitable.

Try out different date ranges and see how your ROI is affected. Try the most recent days, week, month, and then look at this year’s data. You’ll have more – as well as more interesting – information upon which to base your decisions.

Next week we'll look at the Keywords Positions report and see how your ad position can affect performance.

Analytics and AdWords tips - Part 2 of 4

Last week we talked about how Google Analytics can provide you with rich data about your advertising, and this week the Google Analytics Team would like to share some more specifics about how to analyze your campaigns.

Linking your accounts

Linking your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts gives you more information about your advertising because you can see how visitors from different campaigns and keywords interact with your website. If you've already linked your accounts, skip to the next section to see how you can view AdWords reports in Analytics.

You can link your Analytics and AdWords accounts by clicking the "Analytics" tab in AdWords. If you don't have a Analytics account already, you'll be asked to create one. Once you link your accounts the data from your AdWords campaigns will automatically appear inside Google Analytics (assuming that you've already installed the tracking code). You can check out this video to learn more about linking your accounts.

You'll also need to install the tracking code on every page on your website if you haven't already. Here are some resources to help you get the code installed correctly:
Once installed, your profile overview page will show that everything is good to go by displaying a status icon that looks like a green check mark. If you have a Google Analytics account, but don't know where to find your tracking code, check out this article for instructions.

Finding your ROI

The Google Analytics AdWords Campaigns report (in the Traffic Sources section) let's you drill down and find out where visitors from each of your campaigns are going and what actions they are taking on your site. After going to the Traffic Sources section, click one of the campaigns listed in this report to view the ad groups within the campaign. Within the AdWords Ad Groups report, click one of the ad groups to see the AdWords Keywords report, where you can find lists of your keywords that brought traffic to your site.

(click for larger image)

Finally, click the Clicks tab to see ROI metrics for the keywords. With the ROI information for each of your keywords you can then make more informed decisions about where to target your advertising dollars or how to change your website to better capture these visitors. We'll talk about how to find low and high performers in the next couple weeks.

Tracking your revenue

Don't skip this part just because you don't sell online. If your goals don't have values, you won't be able to measure the return on your investment, so let's explore how you can set up your goals and track your return.

If you have an e-commerce site, your return comes from your e-commerce revenue. But, even if you don't have an e-commerce site, you can probably come up with intelligent values for your goals. For example, if you know that 1 out of every 100 PDF downloads results in a $500 sale, you can assign a value of $5 to that PDF download ($500/100 downloads).

If you have an ecommerce site, you can check out this help center article to learn more about tracking your return, and if you don't sell online, read this one.

That's it for this post. Next time we'll start diving into using Analytics to analyze and improve your AdWords campaign performance.

Starting up New Interface Thursdays

You may have heard that we're testing a new interface for AdWords. Many of you are starting to use the new interface, and we want to take time to tell you more about it. So we're starting a series, New Interface Thursdays.

Each week we'll cover some aspect of the new interface, whether it's an in-depth look at some of the new features, tips and tricks, product updates, or announcements.

For this week, we'd like to point you to the new AdWords interface website and highlight what you'll find there. The site has two sections. First, there's a section for videos abut the new interface, including a handful of videos about new features and how these features can help you more effectively manage your account. There's also a video from the AdWords product managers and engineers telling the story behind the new interface:

The other section is the beta resources page. If you're currently using the new interface, you'll find lots of helpful materials like the How to Guide. The interface is still a work in progress so we also have a Known Issues page. The Known Issues pages can suggest possible workarounds and also lets you tell us if you're having a problem.

If you want to try the new interface, but don't have access yet, you can sign up from the new interface website. During the beta, you can switch between old and new interfaces, so you'll still have access to the full range of AdWords tools and reports, if needed.

Finally, if you use Twitter, you can follow @newadwordsui to keep up with the latest news and updates as well as tips and tricks on using the new interface.