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Julie F Bacchini has hosted this week’s PPCChat session. It was a fun chat where she has asked experts’ opinions on some of the topics which hold a strong position in the PPC industry.

Here is the screencap of the chat:

Q1: Branded search campaigns are ________?

Branded search campaigns are good, but not as good as your analytics or conversion tracking suggests. @RichardFergie

Necessary & Cheap. @selley2134

Are a great way to pad your total ROAS. Where should the focus be? New customers. New visitors. Brand search is just money in the bag. The question is would they ha e converted anyways. @coryhenke

Branded Search campaigns are a necessarily evil, but obligatory especially in eCommerce where you are competing against other stockists. You should be competing on your competitor’s brand terms and expect that are competing on yours. @AskYisrael

Branded search campaigns bring your average CPCs down and can give a false sense of what your cost per acquisition actually is for those not looking specifically for your brand… @NeptuneMoon

Branded search campaigns are a good barometer for the effectiveness of your less-direct brand-building efforts. @ferkungamaboobo

A great way to improve your overall account numbers for your reports . @SEMFlem

Branded search campaigns are ________? Essential to defend the top search position from the competition. @FindingAmanda

Branded search campaigns are surrounded by sadness. @MarketingByMark

Necessary, now that personalization has essentially eliminated serps. @JuliaVyse

Not very popular with the clients/ @KyloRenvinski

A PITA Some clients need them due to competitors bidding on their brand, others want them for brand protection, others dont want them at all (and those are usually the ones who could use brand protection). @cjsoldwisch

Extremely important to track and counter where necessary. @bbroke7

A cheap way to get customers over the finish line you’ve worked so hard to get to perform a brand search. @SEMFlem

Let’s get started! Branded search campaigns are so incredibly necessary. Study after study suggests that organic doesn’t make up the lost conversions from a branded campaign so why would I ever turn them off (I mean unless it’s performing horribly). @adwordsgirl

To borrow a phrase from @bigalittlea, “like tofu” Sublime in the hands of an expert. Disgustingly bad hot trash in the hands of an amateur. @DigitalSamIAm

Essential for several reasons including —> making sure competitors don’t steal your clicks, promoting through ads and extensions However be sure to analyze brand campaigns separately from non branded campaigns. @Maiglisreal

100% NECESSARY if you want to control your messaging. Can’t do that with SEO kids…. A1 @jdb426

Q2: Competitor search campaigns are ___________?

Harder to make profitable. Usually (not always) toward the bottom of the priority list. @SEMFlem

Competitor search campaigns are worth testing but aren’t for everyone. They bring down your overall quality score and can open a can of worms for competitors bidding on your brand. @MarketingByMark

Competitor search campaigns are kinda useless. I understand that you can siphon off some traffic from a competitor but I just don’t see the value in it. @adwordsgirl

I generally do competitor campaigns when 1. Working with a superior product and competitor customers are getting frustrated with their offering 2. Competitors are bidding on our branded terms 3. There is a smaller universe of non-branded keywords available. @MarketingByMark

Competitor search campaigns are… worth throwing a few bucks at, especially if your audience is primarily mobile. As long as expectations are properly set as to how that campaign will likely perform (which is usually not great in terms of conversions). @NeptuneMoon

FUN. If getting revenge for those bidding on my client brands. Otherwise, I expect higher CPCs and lower conversion rates. Favorite approach is RLSA on compeititor terms – impressions on folks still browsing mkt options. @cjsoldwisch

Competitor search campaigns are ___________? …not my favorite. The CPCs are so high I find it’s usually not worth it. @FindingAmanda

Shouldn’t just be competitor names and leave it. One of our clients used competitor campaigns to build a $1m in revenue/month business. So they should be well thought out, segmented and with landing pages like one would with normal generic campaigns. @AskYisrael

Almost always a last-ditch idea. The user intent is usually VERY mismatched and you have to really carve out what you want to show on. And then there’s the question of “can you actually compete with your competitor?” @ferkungamaboobo

Worthwhile, if you have the budget and realistic expectations. pro-tip: app campaigns are fire for conquesting!! @JuliaVyse

Gadget plays in a football offense. Useful in certain situations and contexts, but worthless budget destroyers in others. I’ve done brilliantly well targeting a competitor branded term + “cancel” or “unsubscribe” for SaaS, for instance. @DigitalSamIAm

Seperates the marketers from the people who think they are marketers. Just printing money. @duanebrown

There’s definitely the “Xerox” problem though – if a brand owns the market, you can and should run competitors campaigns, but you better have some kind of worthwhile distinction. @ferkungamaboobo

Q3: Performance projections are ____________?

A waste of everyone’s time. @duanebrown

Making crap up. @SEMFlem

A secret weapon to identify hidden value — if you understand what a good prediction/budget model does (and what it doesn’t do). If you don’t (or don’t educate your client), well, it’s a reason agencies get fired. @DigitalSamIAm

Frustrating, at best. They usually end up causing more questions than they answer. I do see the appeal for budgeting’s sake, but with the current landscape and #Google‘s rampant changes…@cjsoldwisch

Performance projections are great once you’re in the account — to say “hey based on this curve, if we tripled the spend we should see 2.5x revenue” Ahead of time? Unless you’re really informed, there’s too many variables and it’s just a big-number sales pitch. @ferkungamaboobo

Performance projections are. On the one hand, I’m a fan of managing expectations, but on the other hand, they are hugely time-consuming if done right, and I’d rather spend that time improving the account and making $$$. @FindingAmanda

Something that the clients like to have to make them to give them a sense of control, but it’s a what happens when you combine mathematics and guesswork-from-the-left-nostril. @AskYisrael

Performance projections are… really hard to do. And yet, everyone wants them. My other favorite related type question is “how much should we spend?” @NeptuneMoon

A pain in the butt. Planning tools are missing a lot, and clients don’t always remember that these platforms are auctions – which = built-in uncertainty. @JuliaVyse

Performance projections are meh. I will pull volume metrics to plan for spend, but that’s it. It can become a distraction for clients and it doesn’t help with planning enough to be worth the time for me. It’s better to set goals based off of ROI and focus on that. @MarketingByMark

When I left my last agency to start my own biz, I was training a team member on how I did monthly projections for a client. She said “it seems like you’re just guessing.” Welp @FindingAmanda

Just that – Projections – Not guarantees. @selley2134

Performance projections are pointless & a waste of time. @adwordsgirl

Q4: The sales funnel is ____________ (relative to PPC)?

Sales funnels are a fine mental model, so long as you keep in mind that they’re just like personas in that they don’t actually represent any one user. But it helps organize intent-matching, KPI-setting, and what points to emphasize in an ad. @ferkungamaboobo

Proof that you need to do awareness along with performance! @JuliaVyse

Important to strategy, reporting, & client expectations. @selley2134

The sales funnel is only kind of relevant to PPC. We tend to think build ad initiatives assuming that people neatly follow the steps of the funnel, when they just don’t. It is fine as an underlying foundation for PPC, but should not be the be all end all. @NeptuneMoon

The sales funnel is a great tool for making reporting on long term ppc performance and gathering data to make decisions. @MarketingByMark

Critical to understanding how to set expectations, analyze, report, gather insights and optimize. If you don’t, you will make bad decisions with campaigns. @SEMFlem

The other half of the equation. PPC brings a horse to water, the sales funnel makes it drink. @yaelconsulting

The sales funnel is ONLY as good as your landing page. I can create you a world-class PPC account (and I usually do) but if your landing page sucks or has back-end issues then you’re not getting leads/sales. @jdb426

A state of mind. @duanebrown

Important depending on the industry/purchase involvement, KPIs, current performance & budget limitations. For eCom, higher funnel stages are subsidised by high ROAS at BOF. In B2B or in more involved purchases, it’s more necessary for competitiveness and growth. @AskYisrael

Messy? For my B2B e-comm clients, it’s complex. There are so many outlier orders and a lot of interesting cart behavior. @cjsoldwisch

Great for explaining to clients how it looks but it will change and never look the same. @coryhenke

Not the main reason people will convert. People convert because you have a product that solves a job they need to be done. The one caveat to sales funnels I feel are high ticket, high LTV/non-impulse buys. Working in e-commerce, I don’t deal with that right now. @RyBen3

Q5: The most overrated thing in PPC is ______________?

Quality score. @duanebrown

Optimization score? This was a tough one. @selley2134

The most overrated thing in PPC is probably quality score. @adwordsgirl

Google’s account managers (AKA Google’s free expert help). @yaelconsulting

Rules/Scripts. @AskYisrael

The most overrated thing in PPC is the speed at which things change Little stuff changes – the overall strategy doesn’t That doesn’t mean that YOUR overall method, mentality, strategy, or tactics won’t change – you’re getting better at doing what it’s always been. @ferkungamaboobo

100% Attribution. @coryhenke

The most overrated thing in PPC is getting fancy with ad copy. People don’t read. You’re better off spending time on optimizations that will move the needle. @FindingAmanda

The most overrated thing in PPC is… Attribution. It is not anywhere near 100%, even though all of the platforms present it as though it were. @NeptuneMoon

Bidding. If everything else isn’t great, it’s bid lipstick on a pig. @SEMFlem

Performance planner. @AskYisrael

The most overrated thing in PPC is automated recommendations across the board. Whether it’s suggested bids, suggested tCPA, optimization score recs, creative recs, etc. It’s all quite off on every platform. @MarketingByMark

Instant activity/results. it’s way faster than broadcast/outofhome, but time is still linear! my little fingies still need to tappity tap to make it happen. @JuliaVyse

Automation within ad platforms. There is so much that so many of us disagree with or don’t yet trust on the automation side. There is a lot of room for growth with it, though! Test, test, & test first. @cjsoldwisch

Q6: The most underrated thing in PPC is ____________?

Brand strength, creative and offers. In other words, good marketing. @SEMFlem

The most underrated thing in PPC is SCRIPTS. I don’t feel like people use them enough, I know we don’t but I’m working on it. @adwordsgirl

Ad copy and getting the basics/fundamentals right. @duanebrown

Google Ads Editor, especially for Search Term Reports. @AskYisrael

Testing and ability to experiment. Even a light, simple testing rubric can give stat sig results very quickly. But it’s time-consuming, and not invested in enough. @JuliaVyse

The most underrated thing in PPC is… Doing regular competitor research. I do manual searches to see what searchers are likely to see and use tools which help with this as well. @NeptuneMoon

Brand positioning Having a clear answer to “Who are we?” is a productivity and conversion multiplier. It helps your ad writers say the right things, it helps your keyword choosers focus on terms you can win on, and it helps your planners know where to put the money. @ferkungamaboobo

Manual work. Automating everything is not the way to go. As @siliconvallaeys says – human + AI/Computer is the best solution. Automate where necessary but know that you provide value in seeing human/customer behaviors that computers can’t. @RyBen3

Ad Variation Testing. @AskYisrael

1. Clients have 100% control your ad spend (no minimums or rate cards w/Google) 2. Very fast turnaround to create a live account and start to serve ads. (if you know what you’re doing). 3. It’s highly measurable. 4. Ability to turn on/off assets when needed. @jdb426

The most underrated thing in PPC is having an expert run your Google Shopping strategy. Too many people set it and forget it. @FindingAmanda

The most underrated thing in PPC is post-conversion experience. It can be too easy to just focus on conversions and not think about what we and other stakeholders should do post-conversion. Follow up? Suppression? TYP optimization? Additional conversion opps? @MarketingByMark

Conceptually, the keyword (I’m with @PPCKirk here) – it’s still the most specific window into the mind of a user there is. It’s not algorithmic noise. It’s a real person telling you what they want/need/desire. @DigitalSamIAm

Feed Rules in GMC. @selley2134

Q7: What controversial or against the grain PPC opinion do you have that has not been covered yet?

There is not just one “right” way to do anything in PPC. Those that preach that drive me nuts. This job is ALL about the mental flexibility to imagine and try and test and iterate. You can start from anywhere and sometimes what seems like it will work, doesn’t. @NeptuneMoon

There should be more controls and regulations put on ad networks like Google, PPC doesn’t always works. While there is definitely a lot of performance & behavioural science & data, in the end, good performance, is a combination of good planning, execution, & luck. @AskYisrael

Said this yesterday, but audits are generally unproductive and useless. @SEMFlem

Branding and awareness advertising are NOT a waste of resources. People need a reason to buy from YOU and seeing a search ad is generally not enough on its own. It is a very worthwhile investment – direct ROI on those ads be damned. @NeptuneMoon

Don’t pause keywords – bid exactly what it’s worth and add negatives to help it perform better. Maintaining a full evergreen systematic account structure based on the keywords – easy to find a kw, confirm you have full market coverage, and transition accounts. @yaelconsulting

I’ll link my snotty answer… Basically, we as practitioners need to understand that the day-to-day of our work … just isn’t what’s important in a lot of cases. We need to think beyond the click, in a lot of ways, to have real business impact. @ferkungamaboobo

Display is meh for non-ecomm. I’ll run it! Low-cost clicks, lots of impression numbers, etc. but I don’t often see much success with it. I work a lot with B2B manufacturing/equipment, so creativity is always an issue. @cjsoldwisch

If you have the time (big if) you can beat most of what Google is trying to get you to automate. @selley2134

I’m not sure if this is actually controversial but most network audiences are garbage and highly inaccurate. @MarketingByMark

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