This interview with Jeff Ferguson of Fang Digital Marketing is part of the Convirza Webinar Series. The following is the Q&A portion of the interview.
McKay: Awesome, Jeff. Great stuff. I want to get straight to some questions. We’re already having a few questions flow in.
First, let’s get into something sort of specific. Here’s the question, Jeff. “Does low search volume on some exact match terms affect campaign or account quality score?”
Jeff: Does low traffic . . .
McKay: Yeah. Low traffic.
Jeff: No. It doesn’t affect the quality score. What it does affect is it does affect the calibration of the quality score. So it’s one of the things where quality score is assigned right out of the chute based on for whatever thing they can measure based out of the chute. So you can go through and look at the ads and a variety of other things that basically said, “Hey, look. This is what we assumed the quality score to be.” Then that actual quality score will change based on other data that’s collected over time. So it’ll go through and notices things like the click-through rate on the ads or bounce rates, a bunch of other things that it’s actually paying attention to when it gets over there. That’s actually why your quality score will adjust as time moves on.
One of the things when you’re actually talking about low traffic terms on top of that, is that you’re just not collecting data as fast as maybe some of the other terms on top of it. So the quality score that is for an ad group or for a campaign on top of it, it’s more of an average that’s on top of it. It really isn’t a true quality score for the ad group itself. It’s a representation of everything that’s inside of it.
So it’s one of the things where your overall quality score for the ad group itself is really the combination of everything that’s inside of it and same thing with the campaign in a lot of ways. So it’s not something where they’re going through and assigning a specific quality score for that ad group. It’s made up of how that ad group is actually operating on its own.
You can end up with terms that actually maybe have low traffic or really high traffic or a variety of other things and you could go through and isolate them. You could break them out in their own ad groups and things like that. There has been a lot of guessing and theories about the idea that by doing that, the other keywords in there would be allowed to thrive more and do things. That’s true in the aspect of things like budgeting and some other things on top of it. But for the most part, it really has very little to do with the quality score that’s affecting it and more along the lines that it doesn’t have to compete with its more successful brothers that are actually in the same campaign.
McKay: Okay, great. You got into some pretty specific stuff about siloing, etc. It seems like it is fairly complicated. How much of this can people realistically do on their own outside of hiring a PPC expert to run their campaigns for them internally? Give me a sense of how complex this stuff is to manage for the average medium-sized business or even larger?
Jeff: I’d say for medium and definitely smaller-sized businesses, this is an advanced technique. There’s no bones about that in a lot of ways. But it’s one of the things where it is something that you can take in baby steps. So if you’ve actually got the time and the cycles to do the breakout and actually split these things up out of the gate, and the time to go through and actually move those keywords over [inaudible 00:34:35] which we recommend that you do about every week at least. Maybe more if you’ve got a heavily active campaign.
But it’s one of the things where just about anybody, technically should be able to do it in a lot of ways. We’ve had plenty of people that we’ve talked to who said, “Hey, we jumped right in and everything is fantastic. We did like you said and took it just a little step at a time. We didn’t try and do everything big.”
Where it gets really complicated is some of the examples you saw before we we actually started siloing just about everything. We had match-type silos, we had geo silos, we had device silos. We had network silos, and even got into some other different aspects of it where we’re repeatedly siloing all the different display types and everything.
So we ended up with just tons of campaigns and each one of those campaigns all had their own breakouts inside of them, their own ad groups, their own terms, everything. The heavy lifting on that can get pretty big to where you actually . . . we have specific people that sit around and actually do that. We [inaudible 00:35:43] with the keyword mover because the amount of keywords that could be generated could be in the tens of thousands every week at a time at any given moment. And that’s something that it just becomes somebody’s job to sit there and actually go through and look at all those terms.
So it’s one of the things where if you’ve actually got a smaller campaign, if you don’t have a really particularly big budget, go for it. It’s something where I highly recommend, again, you’re not landing the space shuttle, don’t worry about it. But as these campaigns start to get really large, then you may want to think about getting some help and hiring an outside agency to help out with that one.
McKay: Great. A couple more here. It seems that one of the most, I don’t want to say “underutilized” but maybe least understood or whatever, would be using negative terms. Can you talk a little bit more about that? I guess whether you agree with that, whether people sort of know what they’re doing with negative terms, and maybe specifically some ways to improve?
Jeff: Absolutely. Negative terms, I totally agree with you. They’re totally misunderstood, if they’re known about at all, in a lot of instances. We’ve had plenty of times where we always start the process of working with new clients by auditing existing campaigns. On our list of things that we have to look at right away is the use of negative keywords and whether or not they’re being used at all, if they’re being used properly, if they’re accidentally blocking other terms out because they’re not set up right. It’s a variety of different things.
It’s a really big point and it’s a really big opportunity to be able to grow and refine your campaign in a lot of ways. You can kind of see it in action when we do the match-type silos and go over the fact that we specifically go through and we’ll negative exact out certain words that will buy in on the exact side of the fence on the broad-end phrase type of it.
Where this actually really comes in handy is believe it or not, a lot of times when we’re actually looking at campaigns during that audut process is we’ll see plenty of instances where people have actually created these campaigns or their ad groups or whatever where they actually mix all the match types together. So they end up and they have their exact match and the broad match and their phrase matches all in the same ad group, sometimes they’re all in the same campaign. That’s kind of up for discussion, I suppose.
But they’re all doing the same thing and they’re actually all sitting there fighting with each other because you actually didn’t go through and negative out the fact that you’re already buy in another instance. That’s one level of ready to where basically, you’re cutting out competition because Google will always pick the one that’s actually got the best quality score as the one that actually shows up.
So you could be buying an exact. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the exact one has got the best quality score. So it could just become a real mess and it’s really hard to tell who’s doing what and what’s working for what. And a lot of times, you end up paying the price in higher CPAs, higher CPCs and a variety of other things. It’s just kind of a mess.
So there’s that level of it, right, as far as just how the campaign is set up. But then on the other level, it becomes a matter of doing things like using the search term report, which we kind of showed you one screen for it and you can actually find it under the “Keywords” tab. It allows you to basically see not just the keywords that you’re buying that actually got clicks or conversions and things like that, but the ones that maybe you’re buying through broad match or phrase match. So, you can actually see what those specific terms are that are being caused by a broad match buy. But you’re actually seeing the exact match keyword that is showing up during that timeframe.
What you can actually see through that report is that maybe you’ve got a big head term on broad match that’s “shoes” or something crazy like that. But maybe the company that you’re working for actually just sells women’s shoes on top of it. Meanwhile, you’re buying the word “shoes.” What you’ll end up seeing is tons of other terms that are “men’s shoes”, “children’s shoes”, “work shoes”. Who knows? “Hiking shoes”, all kinds of other different things on top of it. It’s a bunch of stuff that you actually don’t sell and have no interest in selling.
But technically, you’re buying those keywords because you’ve got shoe on broad match. So, via that report, you’ll actually see all those different terms popping up on top of it and you’ll see all the different times where hiking shoes or whatever type of shoes is actually showing up. That’ll actually give you the key to basically say, “Hey, look, that specific term, it’s a waste of money because it’s gotten so many clicks or it’s basically cost us so much money,” which you kind of redefined as the line in the sand before you make this decision to where it’s clearly just a waste of money. We need to negative that term out of the broad match and the phrase match side of the fence because it’s just burning dollars.
What that’ll do is end up helping you actually improve your quality score and a variety of other metrics on top of it, your CPCs, your CPAs on top of it. Because you’re basically shrinking the playing field a little bit.
One of the things that when people talk about, “Hey, we need to improve the quality score for our campaign on top of it,” is that a lot of times, the first thing they do is go through and rewrite their ads because basically click-through rate is one of the more important aspects of quality score. The funny thing about click-through rate is that it basically says, “Hey, look, we’re going to rewrite these ads so we get more clicks” and that’s a good thing to do. But another thing you can do is actually look at the bottom half of that equation and also reduce the amount of impressions so that click-through rate actually goes up that way.
To basically reduce the amount of impressions, you can do that using negative terms by basically removing all these different terms that you should never be in in the first place. You can do that as you go using that search term report. You can actually use a lot of the keyword research tools..
So it’s one of the things where if you actually type in “shoes” in the keyword research tool that Google provides on top of it, not only will you get a treasure trove of terms that you actually want to use maybe as an exact match term on top of it, but you’ll actually get a ton of other ones that you wouldn’t want to use. What you should do is not throw those away, but instead basically say, “Hey, look, we actually want to make these negative terms because they’re just never going to be something that we actually want to chase after.”
It’s a really important part of it, but it’s really underutilized in my opinion in a lot of ways.
McKay: That’s my sense as well. Then, finally, give us a sense of who Fang Digital works with. What types of businesses do you guys work with predominantly, industries and size as well as segment?
Jeff: We’re still young and hungry at this point. We’ve been around since 2010 even though I’ve actually been doing this for about 18 years now. But the company itself is still kind of new. So we’re at the point now where we haven’t really drawn a line in the sand as far, “Hey, we’re only working with companies of this size. We’re only working with this type of company. We’re only working with Fortune 500s,” or anything like that.
We’re really kind of open to just about anybody at this stage. That said, we do have some minimums as far as our fees go and things like that. In many cases, some of our clients, they’ve kind of worked within those minimums a little bit because they want somebody that’s got our level of experience to work on their campaigns.
But otherwise, I think our only rule at this point is that we actually don’t take two different clients from the same industry in a lot of ways. So if we wouldn’t basically entertain another shoe company because we already have one and that kind of thinking.
McKay: Okay, makes perfect sense. Good, you see Jeff’s contact information on the screen there. I encourage you to contact him. He certainly knows his stuff. We’re really excited that he agreed to join us today and share such great information.