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Advanced PPC Optimization Techniques for adCenter: Filtration and Quality Score Considerations

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In this series on advanced PPC optimization techniques for adCenter, we've already covered a variety of ways to improve campaign performance, including negative keywords, bidding by match type, and filling the gaps in matching. Today, we're going to talk about another tool in the adCenter optimization arsenal: understanding how adCenter filtration works, and using that knowledge to your advantage.

Major Updates on adCenter Quality Score puts adCenter QS Ahead of AdWords’

AdCenter plans to release two very important updates to adCenter quality score in the Fall 2011 release (any day now!). Those two new features are historical quality score (keyword level only) and aggregated quality score (ad group and campaign level). Both features can be accessed through the reporting function of adCenter.

In fact, in my view they are taking the lead over AdWords on these two items that can make a huge difference in prioritization for advertisers and agencies that need to determine where to invest their time and efforts and how every effort is paying off – or not.

We’ll go over quality score in much greater detail next time, but today we’ll just go over these new features.

1. Historic Quality Score

With this release, quality score is now available as a statistic that can be reported like any other – which means it is possible to see how your hard work impacts quality score, and in turn how a better quality score helps improve performance.

Historic quality score will be available under the keyword performance report, and it is only available in daily view. Below is a preview screenshot of what you can expect to see:

adcenter-historic-quality-score

2. Aggregated Quality Score

Aggregated quality score is now available as a statistic and can be found in the Ad Group Performance Report as well as in the Campaign Performance Report. Note that if you select Daily View, you can gain access to both historic aggregated quality score and the most up-to-date aggregated quality score (i.e., today’s data!).

adcenter-aggregated-quality-score

adCenter Filtration, or What Keeps your Ads out of the Auction.

Keyword Insertion vs. Parameter Insertion

When it comes to developing your adCenter creative, one of the first choices you need to make is whether to use the keyword itself or param2, which is basically alternate text for keywords.

Using params, you're able to control how your bidded keyword appears in your ad, with the ability to chance the keyword's case or spelling, to rearrange the word order in which it appears and/or even add specific action words. Because params offer so much more flexibility, they're considered the best practice for writing adCenter-specific ads.

Let's take a look at how Keywords and Param2 stack up side-by-side:

adcenter-keyword-param2

No matter whether you choose to go the {keyword} or [param2} route in your adCenter ad, it's important to remember a few things:

  • Mind your character count: Keywords over 25 characters won’t serve unless default text is provided, so if you can't keep it brief, remember to include your {keyword:default text}.
  • Careful of your case: Capitalize all of the raw keywords you'll be using, and use default text in ads – or better yet, use {param2} to make sure that your capitalization, word order and spelling are all on point.
  • Don't forget the default text: If you're using {param2} in your ads without default text, and you don't have a {param2} set up for your keywords, those terms may not serve. Remember to create {param2} for all of your keywords in all of your affected ad groups.
  • Follow the hierarchy: Ad-level URLs always take priority over keyword level URLs. With this in mind, if all of your keywords have param1 URLs, put “{param1}” in your ads. But be careful! If you have a keyword that is missing a param1 URL, and you use “{param1}” in the ad destination URL, then than keyword with the missing URL won't serve.

Ad Rotation Nuances in adCenter

Ad rotation in adCenter may work a bit differently than it does in other ad networks. For its ad rotation, adCenter effectively chooses the best performing ad in an ad group, and will serve that ad for the vast majority of impressions. The ads remaining in the group outside of the top performing ad will be rotated evenly.

Ad rotation is enabled by default for all of your ad groups, so it's important that you keep a close eye on your goals. Should adCenter pick ads that aren't performing in accordance with the goals you've set up, you'll want to manually (or automatically) go in and pause those ads so they'll be removed from the rotation.

Increase adCenter Bid Minimums so Ads Consistently Serve

Another way that adCenter differs from other ad networks is that adCenter requires much higher bids in order to allow your keywords to even take part in the auction, so you'll need to bid accordingly.

AdCenter doesn't get the chance to assess your quality for a particular keyword for which your cost per click might still be much lower than the bid, and as a result can filter out potentially qualified ads on the basis of the low bid alone. Additionally, lower quality terms on phrase and broad matches may be substituted for an exact match term because of the lower bid. Keep these caveats in mind as you're mapping out your adCenter strategy.

Best Practices for adCenter Landing Pages

It's no secret that a solid landing page can have a huge impact on the way that a campaign performs, and ensuring that your landing pages deliver content that is highly relevant to the ad that led visitors to the page is key to continuing success on adCenter and other ad networks. When developing landing pages for your campaigns, consider the following best practices:

  • Frequency counts: Include the search query frequently throughout the page, in the title, description, and body tags.
  • Go organic: Include the words that are prevalent in Bing’s top 20 organic search results.
  • Stay away from Flash: Avoid using extensive Flash and images – and make sure you're including sufficient text to give the visitor (and the search robot) a good idea of the page's content. Also remember that only visible HTML text is crawled – ensure that you're doing it well.
  • Keep the right order: In the landing page content, ensure that the search query and important related terms from Bing's organic results are in the same order, close to one another, and are otherwise unaltered.
  • Remember the URL: Make certain that the search query is included in the both the ad copy and the destination URL.

Next time we’ll go over the details of adCenter quality score, and provide best practices to optimize against that information and how to leverage historic and aggregated quality score information.


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