Let’s say you’re looking to launch a new paid search campaign. It could be a new campaign for an existing brand, or you could be launching a brand on paid search for the first time. Better still, you might not even have a brand yet, and just want to understand what the search market is like for a particular idea.

If you’re in any of these situations, there’s an approach you can take to validate your strategy before you launch. …

With keywords covered, let’s now look at ads, and the role they play in paid search. For a brief refresher, ads appear on a search results page (SERP) when a keyword in the same ad group wins an auction. If there’s only on ad in the ad group, that ad will be chosen 100% of the time. If there are multiple ads in the relevant ad group, only one will be chosen to display on the SERP (we’ll cover how that ad is chosen later on).

What actually is an ad?

An ad is made up of lots of different parts. …

If you browse any sort of online forum about digital advertising, there’s one piece of advice that routinely gets offered to new Facebook advertisers. It goes something like:

When you’re starting out, your pixel doesn’t have any historical conversion data. As such, it doesn’t make sense to run a conversion campaign; you should just run traffic campaigns.

This advice is often followed by some variant of the dreaded phrase: running traffic campaigns will help warm your pixel up.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some small elements of truth in this advice. It is true that, as a new advertiser…

If you’ve been following along, you should by now know that there are these rather important things in paid search called keywords. They exist in ad groups (which in turn exist in campaigns), and they define what search terms you bid in.

Let’s stop here for a second and make sure we’re clear on the distinction between a keyword and a search term. A keyword is an entity that exists inside your account. A search term is something that a user types into a search engine. …

Uber’s ad troubles aren’t recent news. As early as the start of 2020, there were stories coming out about how they’d realised they’d wasted huge multi-million dollar budgets on fraudulent ads.

For some reason, these stories only received limited attention at the time, and mostly just from within the marketing community. At the start of 2021 however they re-emerged, and with that brought a whole new wave of people asking: how did Uber waste that much ad spend?

What did Uber waste their budgets on?

Uber wasted a significant proportion of their budgets that were spent on 3rd party advertising networks, sometimes referred to as programmatic advertising.

Just like auctions, account structure is often seen as one of the less sexy topics within paid search. This is a huge shame though, as how you structure your account is arguably one of the most fundamental and impactful decisions you can make while running paid search. But first:

What is an account structure?

A paid search account has various different levels of hierarchy:

  • Campaigns
    Campaign level is the highest level of structure within an account. While an account could have hundreds and hundreds of campaigns, most will have maybe a dozen. Campaigns will often be split by keyword theme (e.g. a clothes retailer might have…

Auctions may seem an unusual place to start a guide on paid search, but understanding how they work is critical to understanding just about every aspect of the topic. They’re the fundamental mechanism which paid search operates by, and so much best practice is a direct consequence of auction mechanics.

Where do auctions come in?

Let’s say you search “laptop” on Google. In the milliseconds between you making your search, and seeing the results page, an auction is held.

The auction is held between all the advertisers in the world that are bidding on laptop-related keywords, and they’re competing over the right to show you…

This article from The Intercept has been doing the rounds recently. It follows a case lodged by Investor Village, a small financial news message board, against Facebook. The case alleges that Facebook is knowingly mis-selling advertisers on its ad targeting capabilities.

The original complaint, which you can find here, cites internal Facebook emails in which employees describe Facebook’s ad targeting as “crap” and “abysmal”.

The most damning line, taken from an internal Facebook email, is:

“interest precision in the US is only 41%-that means more than half the time we’re showing ads to someone other than the advertisers’ intended audience…

The year is divisible by four. The — mber months are here. It can only mean one thing — a US election is on the horizon.

The quadrennial battle pits two of America’s largest digital marketing teams against one another. To the losers, a hefty Facebook invoice to wipe away the tears of defeat with. To the winners, a chance for that guy who appeared in all their ads to run the country for four years.

If the past decade is anything to go by, the digital war that’s waged over the election is going to be fiercer than ever…

The digital advertising market is now worth some $110 billion per year. Despite the market’s ever-growing size, 60% of all digital spend still goes to just two players, Facebook and Google.

Both of these players dominate their respective spaces. Facebook controls 83% of social media ad spend, whereas Google accounts for over 80% of search spend, and 96% of streaming video spend.

Mack Grenfell

Growth marketer — I write about how to run better ads (https://twitter.com/mackgrenfell)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store