We would like to congratulate QuickMobile, the global leader in enterprise event apps and one of our long term clients, on ranking first on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM list of the fastest growing technology companies in Canada. With a growth rate of 10,444 % over five years, QuickMobile also ranks 21st on the 2013 Technology Fast 500TM. While the Technology Fast 50 only ranks tech companies in Canada, the Technology Fast 500 ranks all technology, media and telecommunication companies in North America.
The team at Vantage was invited to Clio’s 5th anniversary event. Clio is the leader in cloud-based management tools for the legal industry and one of Vantage’s PPC clients. Part of the festivities was the announcement that they will be opening a new office in Ireland.
Hopefully we will get the invite to their new office in Ireland one day…If it is anything like their Burnaby office it will be spectacular!
At the event I also got to see their new iPhone app:
Search Marketing Expo (SMX) is hosted in multiple locations across the United States and other countries all over the world including: England, Germany, Australia, France, Sweden, Israel, and Italy. Of the many locations where SMX is held, there are only two that play host to SMX Advanced. Luckily for us, one of those two is just a few hours south from us in Seattle Washington.
As the name suggests, SMX Advanced is for experienced internet marketers; covering advanced topics and tactics in fast-paced sessions. As with previous years, this year’s SMX Advanced did not disappoint.
Off to Seattle
Being a busy time for us, we decided to squeeze in a few hours of work at the office Monday morning before hitting the road at around lunchtime to start our drive. Fast forward a few hours and we were enjoying the evening sun atop the Bell Harbour International Conference Center for the SMX Meet-and-Greet.
The Mad Scientists of SMX
My SMX experience got off to an excellent start Monday morning as I attended a session titled ‘The Mad Scientists of Paid Search’. Chris Haleua from Adobe kicked off the session in true mad scientist style, using the laws of physics and the process of solving a rubik’s cube to present a method on Actionable SEM Analysis Patterns. Sound confusing? Basically, Chris explained how he breaks down his data into segments in order to focus his optimization efforts on the highest impact areas of an account. There are so many different ways to do this but the process Chris has created and the theory behind it are quite solid.
Are Enhanced Campaigns Smart or Can They Be Easily Tricked?
Next I was off to attend a session focused on Enhanced Campaigns which has been all the talk lately. During the session, one big question that I had been wondering about was answered.
- The question: Can you trick an enhanced campaign to only show ads to mobile devices?
- The answer: Not really…
Both Jeff Allen from Hanapin and Brad Geddes from Certified Knowledge were far from successful in getting a campaign to show 100% on mobile devices. This is big news as it confirms we do have to accept the new campaign types, at least for now. With that in mind we should be focusing our efforts on taking advantage of the good new features that these campaigns bring instead of on trying to trick the system into running the way it used to in the past.
Matt Cutts Does It Again
For the afternoon I would have to say the highlight was the You & A with Matt Cutts; head of Google’s web-spam team. Just like last year, Matt and Search Engine Land’s founding editor Danny Sullivan put on a show that was both informative and fun. More stuffed animals this year as Danny joked about how he had picked up on the naming convention Google was using for updates. As the last major updates were Panda and Penguin, Danny brought along his guesses for the next update: a pig, a pug and a polar bear!
SMX After Dark Party
The After Dark Party, sponsored by Bing, was again hosted at the Seattle Aquarium. As seems to be the norm with conferences, the party happens right in the middle of the session days. I feel like this is a test for attendees and everyone gets a good laugh from it as it’s pretty easy to tell at the next day’s sessions who got carried away at the party.
The open bar and photo booth with goofy props were hits as always, but this year’s after dark party had something really unique. It took a while before I went to investigate what the hour long lineup was for, but when I finally did I saw The Bumby’s! The Bumby’s are two anonymous New York performance artists that, using nothing more than their manual typewriters and charming wit, provide you a personalized assessment of what they think your looks say about you. You can review mine below.
SMX Day 2 Begins
Day 2 kicked off with a presentation from the man with the longest job title at the entire conference: Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President, Information Platform & Experience Team, Microsoft. Gurdeep presented on what he sees as the future of Search and how users will interact with the devices they are making the searches on.
The main idea is that we will be moving away from having little boxes that you type queries in, to a more human type of interaction similar to how we speak to other people (like the direction Apple’s Siri is headed). The devices we use to search will evolve as well, performing searches by speaking to our gaming consoles, Google glasses, maybe one day even our fridges.
Gurdeep’s presentation was interesting, but I felt it would be better suited as a mass presentation to the entire world and that he should have presented on something much more targeted towards the SEO/PPC audience that was present.
Remarketing Beyond the Basics
After Gurdeep’s presentation I was off to attend Pro Level Tips to Succeeding at Remarketing. The session started off with good presentations from both Susan Waldes of PPC Associates and Bryant Garvin of Get Found First.
Susan presented case studies highlighting the performance experienced with the new Remarketing types that have recently become available: Dynamic Remarketing, Search Companion Remarketing and Similar Users Remarketing. Then Bryant Garvin presented on remarketing channels other than Google.
Unfortunately, the third speaker, Jarvis Mak from Rocketfuel used his presentation time to blatantly plug Rocketfuel. Not to be harsh, and I’m sure Rocketfuel offers a great service, but I feel that Jarvis should have had to pay for a booth in the trade area in order to give the sales pitch that he did.
Rocking with PLAs
The PLAs session was extremely informative. It wasn’t just another session where presenters would give a quick overview of a case study or their method, but instead, presenters really got down into exactly how they create, manage and optimize their PLA campaigns.
The highlight for me actually came after the session was completed when I had an in depth conversation with Micah Heath from TQE Marketing on how Vantage could tackle PLAs for our clients’ unique situations. Micah very open to helping out and provided some great advice, even going as far as presenting an invite to contact him again if we needed any further assistance. Thanks Micah!
Tools, Templates and Automation
The last session of SMX was the hardest to decide on as I was really excited for both PPC Tactics & Tools and Extreme Excel Excellence. Both sessions focused on ways to improve performance and save time through automation, tools and templates. With one of my main projects of recent being to improve our productivity through tools, templates and scripts, these sessions were highly anticipated.
In the end, I headed to the Excel session and Steve attended PPC Tactics & Tools.
As was expected, Extreme Excel Excellence had a ton of great presentations filled with actionable insights. On of my favourite speakers was Annie Cushing from AnnieLytics.com. Annie showed us the different things she does in Excel to “Make Your Data Sexy”. When your data is sexy it becomes effortless for your clients to see the important information and understand the point you are trying to get across. As reporting seems to be a neglected area for many small PPC outfits, solo operations and even larger firms, this was a great topic for a presentation.
Brett Snyder from Nebo got very technical with excel formulas during his presentation about building tools and templates. As per my comments earlier, this was a presentation that couldn’t have been more timely for me. Brett was also kind enough to share with us a bidding tool that he created which I’m very excited to analyze and compare to the bidding tools I have been working on!
On the other end of the spectrum, John Gagnon from Microsoft used his time slot to demo a new plugin for Excel 2013, code named GeoFlow (now officially called Maps in Power View). GeoFlow is an amazing tool that displays your data in the context of geography. And although I’m sure this wasn’t the main purpose behind its design, GeoFlow works exceptionally well with PPC and SEO data. I can definitely picture using GeoFlow in the future to analyze data and report to clients.
That’s It, That’s All
And that pretty much wraps up our time in Seattle for SMX Advanced 2013.
I’ll leave you with a video of GeoFlow in action. Unfortunately it’s not being presented as excitingly as it was presented to us by John Gagnon, but a quick skim through will give you a small idea of what it is.
Earlier this week, on their official Canadian blog, Google announced its new Google Partners program. The main goal of the new Partners program is to “[bring] together [all of Google’s] existing programs under this new platform, making it easier for agencies to access Google resources, training, and support all in one place.”
What the New Google Partner Program Means for Agencies
Agencies and web professionals will be able to do all of the following in one place:
- Become a Partner: Earn the Google Partner badge to indicate to your current and future clients that you are a trusted Google Partner.
- Hangout with Google: Join an exclusive Google+ community to receive support from Google specialists and to talk with industry experts.
- Connect with Customers: When you earn the badge, we’ll introduce you to potential clients through Google Partner Search.
- Access Exclusive Content: Explore a library of the latest Google-created trainings, case studies, and pitch materials to help deepen your expertise.
The new program is not just about consolidating Google’s existing programs. Here are a few of the addition changes I have noted so far:
- Updated Certification Tests: The tests now consist of a Fundamentals, a Display and a Search exam. It also looks like Google has done away with the Google Testing Center locked browser as the new exams are completed directly in your regular browser.
- Additional Requirements to Become a Partner: Google has added 2 additional requirements for your agency to become certified, titled: Serve your customers and Follow Best Practices. My initial thoughts is that integrating these directly into the program automates the agency audits that were previously completed manually by a Google employee.
What the New Google Partner Program Means for Businesses
Using the new, simplified Google Partner Search, you can connect with a trusted agency that has been verified by Google as helping their customers and using the latest best practices. You can also identify Google Partners by the Partner badge displayed on their website.
To learn more about Google Partners, visit www.google.com/partners.
Vantage attended the SEMPO event in Vancouver on May 14th, 2013. It was our first time attending the event and it was great. It is a refreshing change to actually be able to walk to a search marketing conference, instead of having to cross the border or hop on a plane.
The event was sponsored by Bing Ads, who demo-ed a few new betas. One of the betas was a new visual keyword distribution tool. The tool allows you to see how your keywords are distributed for any given metric. The filtering capabilities of this tool are very cool because you can literally slide a bar up and down your keyword distribution to set the threshold for filtering. For example, if you wanted to see all keywords that had 3 or more conversions, a CPA lower than $50, a position worse than 3.0 and 200 or more clicks in the past 30 days this would be as easy as moving 4 sliders in each of the metric windows.
Overall it was a really great event and we look forward to attending next year…
Vantage was excited to be invited to the Google Engage Event in Toronto this week. For those of you who don’t know, Google Engage is a program that supports Google Certified Partners who serve small to mid sized businesses. The event was centered around the launch of their new Google Certified Partner program, which I can’t actually go into detail about…Darn NDAs…
However, I can share my experience about actually being in the Google office. The Google Toronto office is fully equipped with an outdoor mini-golf course, candy bar, cafeteria and zombie artwork to keep the creative juices flowing…Not only that the event was fully catered, featuring mini-burgers with mini-mugs of Guinness among other things…
Here are just a few photos from inside:
Vantage was approached by the Mastermind Talks team to manage their online advertising and co-sponsor an event. Their “Healthy Wealthy and Wise Entrepreneur Event” features 15 world class speakers including: Tim Ferriss, Marc Ecko, James Atlucher and many more. The event will take place over a 2 day period from May 23rd to 24th, in Toronto.
The coolest part about this event is that they are going to give $25,000 to the speaker with the best talk. Not that these speakers need any incentive to provide a talk with impact, but a bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone.
If you are in the Toronto area or have air miles saved up I would highly recommend going to this event. For more information check out MastermindTalks.com.
The team at Vantage just registered for SMX Advanced in Seattle. We went last year and it was great!
As the name suggest SMX Advanced is for advanced search marketers. Which cuts out a lot of the basics and makes for some exciting panel conversations.
I just wish we had an SMX Vancouver as half the people that go down to Seattle are Canadian…
Google has made the one of the largest updates to Adwords in its recent history. The update will allow advertisers to target multiple devices and locations from a single “enhanced” campaign much more easily. This is all part of Google’s long term initiative to make Adwords easier to use for small businesses. The only problem with simplifying Adwords is that it usually comes at the expense of control. A loss of control is bad for agencies and also for the user because it becomes more difficult to show the most relevant adcopy possible. Below I will outline the changes and what the implications will be.
What Are Enhanced Campaigns
Enhanced campaigns will allow a single campaign to target users by device, location and time of day differently. For example, the same adgroup could serve you a desktop ad when you are on your computer at work and then serve you a mobile specific ad when you’re on your iPhone during your lunch break. In theory, this should prevent people from having to build out campaigns for each device and location.
One of the biggest changes will be the use of bid multipliers to set your bid. Bid multipliers will allow you to bid differently based on device, location and time of day. All starting bids will be based off of your desktop bid, which means you must run ads on desktop.
Another smaller change is that they are going to lump Desktop and Tablet users together.
Why Are Enhanced Campaigns Coming Out
From the mobile side of things, Google reported the following reason for moving to Enhanced Campaigns:
“People are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. In fact, a recent study of multi-device consumers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task.”
What this really means is that advertisers need to run both mobile and desktop ads because it is the same user trying to accomplish the same task. The problem before, was that small businesses didn’t have time to create mobile only adcopy, so they just ended up running the same adcopy for both mobile and desktop users. This provided a bad user experience for people searching on mobile devices and a bad conversion rate for businesses. So Google set off to fix this by making it easier to create mobile adcopy from within the same campaigns as desktops and thus the Enhanced Campaign was created.
Another less obvious reason that Google may be trying to make mobile more accessible is for financial reasons. Over the past few years, the average CPC has been decreasing because of the increase in mobile device clicks. Mobile device CPCs are typically a lot lower than desktop due to a lack of competition. By making mobile more accessible to small businesses it will create more competition and drive up the CPC.
What Problems Do Enhanced Campaigns Create?
Here are just a few of the major issues we see with the new Enhanced Campaigns:
- Desktop and tablets are grouped together: You will not be able to target these users differently. This will be brutal for mobile app makers that want to target tablet and mobile phone users but do not want to target desktop users.
- Search partners and Google search are grouped together: Search partners are Google search engines that run on other people’s websites. The click-through rates and conversion rates on search partners is considerably lower than regular Google Search.
- No more mobile only campaigns: Mobile is now only available to targeted inside a campaign that is also targeting desktop and tablet.
- Mobile bid is based off of desktop bid: This is bad because PPC bidding best practices for mobile and desktop are very different; When targeting mobile devices it is good to bid higher on head terms because people tend to use shorter search queries on mobile. On desktop if you bid high on head terms the ROI is going to be really bad because there is a lot of competition and the user is showing less intent.
- Bid multiplier is set at the campaign level: They could of easily done a multiplier at the adgroup level and avoided the above mentioned issue, but they chose not to. So when you need to set a different bid multiplier you will now have to create a separate campaign.
- Enhanced campaigns are not optional: In June all campaigns will be migrated over to Enhanced Campaigns.
- Call forwarding is not available in Canada: One of the coolest features with Enhanced Campaigns is the ability to track call metrics for free.
Start testing Enhanced Campaigns by only switching over 1 campaign at a time. Then once you get the hang of things switch all campaigns over.
We are happy to announce that the re-branding of Vancouver PPC is almost complete. Over the next few weeks Vantage Search Marketing will be replacing the Vancouver PPC brand. The new brand fits our core values of being “innovative, progressive and honest” better than Vancouver PPC did. Plus now that more and more of our clients are located outside of Vancouver, we felt it was time to remove Vancouver from our name.
Let us know what you think of the new website and brand.