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PPC Roundup: 3 New Features Every PPC Manager Should Try Now

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Every month, the major PPC engines release at least a few new innovations. August was no exception.

If you've been on summer vacation and haven't caught up on your PPC news, look no further. Here are the top three features that every PPC manager should test right now.

Google Reports

This change has been in the works for a while, but Google finally pulled the trigger last week.

If you've been doing PPC for a while, you're probably used to going to the Reports tab in the AdWords interface to run performance reports for your PPC accounts. A couple of months ago, Google started displaying report data right in the interface. Popular reports, such as Search Query and Placement Performance, have been available in the Campaigns tab for a while now, enabling advertisers to review and act on the data with a few clicks of the mouse.

Last week, Google retired a few reports that were previously available in the tab: the Ad Group Report, Campaign Report, and Account Report. While it's pretty easy to create these reports on an ad hoc basis in the Campaigns tab, it's not as easy if you use report templates. PPC Hero has a helpful post on finding your report templates. Take the time now to redo all your templates.

Google Campaign Experiments

Google quietly launched their Campaign Experiments feature in beta back in June. Campaign Experiments rolled out to all U.S. advertisers in early August -- again, quietly.

According to Google, Campaign Experiments "is a free tool that makes it easier to test and precisely measure the impact of changes to your keywords, bids, ad groups and placements." In a nutshell, advertisers can use Campaign Experiments to test keywords and bids on a percentage of AdWords traffic, right alongside a control set of keywords and bids.

Results are displayed in the interface so you can immediately gauge the effect of your test. Tests can be run on an ad-hoc basis, or for a predetermined amount of time.

We've been using this feature on a few of our client campaigns, and it's been enlightening. Like any test, the results aren't always what we expected. To try this feature out, simply go to your Adwords Campaign Settings and enable it.

Facebook "Broad Match Targeting"

Facebook added to its surprisingly robust PPC program just last week by launching their "broad age match" option. In a nutshell, this option allows advertisers to display ads to Facebook users who are slightly outside of your stated age target. For example, if your Facebook PPC campaign targets users age 25-34, enabling Broad Age Match will also show ads to users who are 24, and users who are 35.

Facebook Broad Age Match

This feature has prompted some cautionary tales from advertisers who are concerned about clouding their demographic analysis. The PPC purist in me agrees with them, to a point.

However, it's called Broad Match because it's just that, Broad Match. Think of Facebook's Broad Age Match the same way you probably think of traditional PPC's broad matching option for keywords -- a reasonably efficient way of casting a wide net. While there are definitely issues with using broad match in a traditional PPC campaign, there are also good reasons to use this match type.

The same thing goes for Facebook PPC. Some advertisers may not want to stray from their stated age targets, for a number of reasons -- maybe their research, either online or offline, has told them what ages respond best to their offers. On the other hand, are you really 100 percent sure that a 36-year-old doesn't convert just as well as a 35-year-old? Broad age match lets you test and find out.

So, if you've been on vacation, put away your RSS reader and try these three features first. You'll be glad you did!

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