Clever Marketing, digital agency in Hampshire.

Microsoft Advertising is the New Bing Ads

Everything must change and so Microsoft Advertising is the new name for Bing Ads.

It’s been an interesting road for Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising over the years. It all started on desktop in the 1990s but it wasn’t until 1998 that Goto.com pitched its idea at a TED Talk and later launched PPC ads go alongside its search engine results. In 1999 GoTo.com allowed advertisers to manage their ads through an interface, placing real time bids.

In 2000 Google launched Google AdWords. Like GoTo.com initially did, Google managed the ads on behalf of advertisers. Soon after, Google launched its self-service platform, seeding the tools we know today.

GoTo.com changed its name to Overture in 2001.

MSN, the Microsoft Network, displayed ads from Overture and its own adCenter.

In 2003 Yahoo! brought out Overture for $2.2 billion.

MSN then displayed ads from Yahoo! and adCenter. The organic search results were from Yahoo! too. It was in 2009 that the name Microsoft Advertising came into being as an umbrella organisation for Microsoft’s PPC ambitions.

Microsoft took over Yahoo! search in 2010 and by 2012 it launched Bing. The new search engine Bing also included PPC ads in the form of Bing Ads, the direct equivalent of Google AdWords.

Google AdWords was about more than just words though, so in July 2018 it was rebranded as Google Ads.

Microsoft Advertising

And now, twenty years after the birth of the Pay Per Click phenomenon, Bing Ads is now Microsoft Advertising.

As you can see, it’s been a long winding path for the two major search engines and PPC platforms, and we’ve not named every iteration or twist and turn in PPC history – it’s really very complex and not for this article.

If you want to see Microsoft’s own blurb on the announcement check it out here.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyIf you need someone to start up or manage your PPC ads, Clever Marketing are the perfect partner. We have PPC managers who’ve been in the game for 17 years, so they know their stuff.

Call us on 01276 534 680 or complete the contact form.

7: Invest in Paid Search (PPC)

8 Steps to Increase Traffic to Your Website: Part Seven

Invest in Paid Search they say. Why? Well put it this way…

How are you doing organically? Is your business appearing at the top of the search results? Maybe there’s a competitor who is bigger than you, has a bigger team or more financial clout and has a team of people working on their content strategy and doing hardcore SEO every day.

Whether you’re a new or an established business, no matter how hard you try, you just need that extra little something to get more traffic, more enquiries, more leads, more sales…

So what’s left in the bag? What else is there that you can do?

That’s where Pay Per Click (PPC) comes into play, that paid search that you should consider investing in.

What is Paid Search?

When you can’t get a decent ranking in the organic search pages you can turn to Pay Per Click (PPC) or paid search.

Here’s an example…

We just Googled “solicitors in Hampshire”.

What we call the “local pack” is the box at the top of the page showing the local search results. It’s a map and a list of the top three results as chosen by Google.

As we’re currently conducting our search from a Farnborough IP address the local results are for two law firms in Fleet and a solicitors in Farnborough.

Solicitors in Hampshire - Local SEO results for Fleet and Farnborough.

Solicitors in Hampshire – Local SEO results

Then if you look below the local pack you’ll see the traditional organic results, the hallowed “top ten” organic listings.

Solicitors in Hampshire - Organic SEO results top ten

Solicitors in Hampshire – Organic SEO results top ten

Look carefully at both sets of results and pay attention, we may be asking questions…

When we looked at this listing there was a result at the very top that was above the local SEO result and above the organic SEO listing…

Paid Search results, PPC - Lamb Brooks, Basingstoke

Paid Search results, PPC – Lamb Brooks, Basingstoke

This is the paid search result, the Pay Per Click result, the PPC ad. This firm is still in Hampshire but they are 15 miles away down the M3 from where we’re conducting our search. They’re not in the local pack and they’re not in the organic listing. So they’ve leapfrogged their competitors by paying for a position and will pay for the click too.

That’s how paid search works. Try the same when you search for Solicitors in Woking.

We got a similar result when we narrowed the search to just our own town. We got all the ultra-local law firms with nearby addresses but an out-of-town business had bid to get the coveted number one slot. Or “position zero” is another way of thinking about it (Above the number one organic spot).

So that just goes to prove that, if you invest in paid search, you can get your business listed above your competitors.

The Nuances of Investing in Paid Search

If you’re new to PPC then you’ll need to know this:

The Google Ads interface is a lot slicker than it used to be, but it can still be quite daunting. Don’t allow yourself to be too overwhelmed by the dashboard, just focus on at least setting up one campaign to start with.

This should be your “brand campaign”. This will be where you use your brand name in your paid ads. Even if you rank at the top of the organic results for your unique brand name the logic is that you will get another position and “dominate” the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Another good reason for investing in a brand campaign is to actually protect your brand.What if your competitors are bidding on your name?

Remember when Samsung bid on users looking for the iPhone 6S back in 2015?

iPhone 6S - you mean Galaxy S6 - PPC

This was a blatant bid on Apple’s brand term and it won a lot of attention, with the story of this buccaneering tactic even making it into the tabloid media.

But the point here is that you should, at the very least, always run a brand campaign.

Additionally, by being in Google Ads (Google AdWords as it was) you have access to their tools, particularly their keyword planning tools. This is where you want to enter your keywords and see forecasts for search volumes and bids.

Search volume is an estimate of how many monthly searches there are for your keyword term. High volumes of searches indicate a very popular but also maybe a very broad term. Low volumes obviously aren’t as popular but you don’t want to put effort into setting up campaigns and ads for little to no traffic. Or do you?

Then there are the bids. Popular terms may be expensive. Less popular terms should be cheaper. Broad and generic terms might not get you particularly relevant traffic. The art here is to do your keyword research, investigate volumes and bids and then work out how much it will cost you and whether it’s worth running a PPC campaign.

Don’t Mess Up Your PPC Campaigns

One thing we will say is that it can be so easy to make a mess of your paid search campaigns. Last year we were approached to fix a paid search account where the previous PPC manager didn’t know what they were doing. They allowed clicks from the USA and India when their target market was England’s home counties. They bid all day every day all week and they didn’t set a budget, so they ended up blowing thousands of pounds for very few leads, not even full conversions.

So watch what you’re doing and do your homework. Our own top two PPC guys have 24 years paid search experience between them and, whilst we can’t expect you to match their lofty standards, you can learn a lot from them.

  • Stay on top of your PPC campaigns every day.
  • Manage your negative keywords.
  • Adjust your ads. Write new ads when you see good ads performing well and switch off poor performing ads.
  • Feel free to kill off campaigns where spend is high and clicks are low.
  • Experiment if you have some budget – take tentative steps to explore and spend more if you see results
  • Do set budgets – and stay on top of accounts to ensure you’re not spending more than your budget for certain bid strategies for instance.
  • Remember also that some campaigns may be “limited by budget” and, if these campaigns are doing well, they will do better of you spend more.

This is a very brief overview of getting into paid search campaigns. But there is so much more. Go ahead and get your feet wet but, if you need expert advice or help with PPC management, let us know.


Invest in Paid Search - Clever Marketing - Hampshire PPC AgencyClever Marketing are a Hampshire PPC agency managing a variety of PPC accounts for clients locally, nationally and internationally. We pride ourselves on our passionate and results-driven philosophy, giving you our full attention and total success from PPC.

We encourage you to invest in paid search so you can drive traffic and generate leads from your website. However, if you do need our PPC consultancy services then call us on 01276 534 680 or fill in our contact form.

Clever Marketing, digital agency in Hampshire - Call 01276 534 680.

Saving More Money on Google AdWords Campaigns

Yes, we know, it’s not Google AdWords anymore. But just like Opal Fruits (Starburst) and Marathon (Snickers) it takes time to adjust to a new name when you’ve used it for so long.

On the 24th July 2018 Google changed Google AdWords to Google Ads. That’s 17 years of using that tool and, despite knowing full well that it’s now just Ads, we still find ourselves calling it AdWords. Plus a lot of our clients still call it that too.

So yes, Google Ads is the new Google AdWords. Google AdWords is dead. Long live Google Ads. But what we wanted to say was an update to a piece we reported on some weeks ago.

Back in June we wrote an article titled Quickly Saving Money on an AdWords Campaign. In that story we wrote about how we inherited a Pay Per Click (PPC) account from another agency and immediately made cost savings for the client.

By stopping the ads being shown worldwide, by preventing those ads being displayed 7 days a week, by reigning in the display of search ads on rotation for 24 hours a day, and by targeting potential clients within a more realistic locale, we saved the customer some money. It was probably only around £300-£500 per month but that’s a great saving for a small business.

Google’s Ads team did call us up immediately on the Monday morning following our PPC account optimisation to ask why the client’s account wasn’t getting as many clicks, so we calmly told them that the clicks we had culled were irrelevant. Why pay for a click from the USA or India when your client’s customer base is only as far away as Epsom or Egham?

So the Google employee advised us to perform certain optimisations on the account to make it perform better. Now, we have a great team of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and PPC experts here but we’re always open to listening to new ideas. We listened to Google. We implemented the changes. And after 24 hours we killed them off.

What happened was that the clicks went up, the bounce rate went up, the Click Through Rate (CTR) plummeted and the burn rate went up. The client was suddenly spending money at a rate that made us uncomfortable. So we looked at the data, decided it wan’t in the client’s interest and rolled back all the changes from the search giant.

Our client was back on track again, is within ad spend budget and is not wasting any more money.

What’s more, we continued to optimise our client’s paid search account and we managed to get a record number of conversions within budget. The client was extremely happy and called to say thank you for getting their phone to ring more than it had done in months.

Furthermore, the client’s confidence in digital marketing was restored and they went out and invested in some new equipment for their business, which we know was in excess of £100,000.

The record number of conversions we achieved was actually equal to the historical record in their Google Ads account. So we admit that it wasn’t the first time they’d hit this record number.

However, the really important point was that the top number of digital leads they generated in 2017 was at an immense cost. We managed that level of lead generation for just £1,000. Last year their previous agency did it for a jaw-dropping £5,000.

So we managed to achieve the same top level of qualified leads for an 80% cost saving. To be honest, the previous agency did throttle back on spend but they never again got the same number of results. So that’s what we call saving more money on Google AdWords campaigns.

Here at Clever, the Hampshire digital marketing agency, we’re just very pleased that our expertise saved our client a princely sum. Not just that but our cost savings allowed them to invest in their business so that they can grow.

We could generate more leads for their business if we focused on using Bing Ads (Now called Microsoft Advertising) for them but they already have more phone calls than they can handle.

That’s Clever Marketing.


Saving More Money on Google AdWords Campaigns with Clever Marketing - Surrey and Hampshire Digital Agency.See savings and improvements on your PPC accounts and get in touch with us here at Clever Marketing, the Hampshire PPC agency.

Call us on 01276 534 680 or you can fill in our easy form to show us your website address and we’ll take a look at that for you.

Google Ads is the new Google AdWords

Google Ads is the New Google AdWords

Google Ads is the new name for Google AdWords.

Introduced way back in 2000, Google AdWords was quite a revelation at the time. All we had before it came about were pages upon pages of organic results. Then Google announced that people could PAY to get their keywords above all the search results. And below them. And to the side too.

I remember being very cynical about the search engine’s move. Because that’s all Google really were back then, a search engine. And other search engines were available. We had Inktomi and Hotbot, MSN Search, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Altavista, Excite, WebCrawler, Infoseek, Dogpile, Lycos, LookSmart, Magellan… Who remembers those?

There was so much competition and so many search engines to choose from, all offering a different experience and different results, if you’ll pardon the pun.

But about being sceptical of the search engine’s new service, I was actually quite upset that all my hard work optimising websites for the organic search results could be overridden by someone being able to pay to get ahead of my hard SEO work. Pay to play. Pay to win. That’s what I thought of it all.

However, for one particular website I was heavily involved with, it wasn’t possible to rank #1 for ALL the pages we published, so Google’s AdWords actually had a very useful purpose – we could pay to get our results ahead of everyone else’s.

So that’s what we did – we had a mix of excellently performing organic content and then supplemented the search terms where we had stiff organic competition with paid search results or Pay Per Click (PPC).

Those were the days when you could pay just 2p per click and we’d scour the Keyword Planner Tool to find terms that were cheap and had high search volumes. That was when we used to put our faith in Keyword Effectiveness Indicators (KEIs).

And here we are, 18 years later and Google AdWords is here to stay.

Except that it’s now called Google Ads.

And the ads aren’t at the side anymore.

And mobile phones are the dominant devices over desktops. Mostly.

But we’ve also got internet TV, the Internet of Things (IoT), voice search, Siri, Alexa, Amazon Echo and Echo Dot… The world has changed a lot since AdWords first came about.

That is why Google decided to have a serious re-brand.

It actually started a couple of years ago when Google announced the redesign of the AdWords interface. Google could see mobile usage finally tipping the balance as it had been predicted to do. The re-imagining of AdWords followed a business-led approach not a product-led one and so, after a couple of years hard work, Big G announced the new interface last year.

After nearly 20 years of being used to the old AdWords I again had my reservations about the fresh new interface. And I still do. But there are features in the redesign that make sense – such as the ease of the Landing Pages tab, resizing tables to full screen and the speed with which I can filter and edit ads.

There are still some bugs, IMO, but the new interface is here to stay so we took the approach that we should learn to use it as soon as possible and learn to love it because it would help us support our many happy clients better.

The final piece to this puzzle is that, with the change in the interface and the evolution of the way we interact with ads, it’s only natural that the name changes too.

And so Google Ads it is.

Google AdWords is dead. Long live Google Ads.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire PPC AgencyHow are coping with the new Google Ads? Are you finding your way around? Do you need help? Would you like us to manage your PPC campaigns for you?

Take advantage of our paid search management services and see how we can optimise your PPC campaigns, saving you money, get relevant traffic and getting those all important conversions.
Call us on 01276 534 680 or fill in our easy contact form.

5 Signs Good PPC Manager - Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital Agency

5 Signs You Have a Good PPC Manager

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is all about buying visits for your website, rather than gaining visitors organically. So it’s essential you have a good PPC Manager or digital marketing agency partner. After all, everyone wants to be rewarded by search engines for devising great PPC campaigns that are relevant, targeted and effective.

To ensure lead generation it’s fundamental you have a good PPC Manager. But what kind of traits should you be looking for?

Business understanding.

Whether you have a PPC Manager in-house or you’re using a digital marketing agency like Clever Marketing, both must have a good grasp of your business. Not just the products or services you provide but how the business makes money and what the value of each lead is.

Proactive approach.

Your PPC Manager should always advise on which strategy will generate the results you require. It’s not just about the tactical activity. Good PPC Managers really focus on your business and seek out those opportunities for you. This doesn’t just mean the leads and revenue that was generated yesterday but understanding wins and the losses as well as making necessary adjustments. A proactive PPC Manager will also test your accounts more often and be on top of the results so you can gain a competitive advantage.

Always on the ball.

You want your PPC Manager to be continually asking questions about the results of a campaign, spot any consistencies and verify your budget is on track. This is in addition to checking the top spenders, verifying ad positions and following channel performance. New campaigns, ad groups and keywords need to be watched carefully too so that any amends can be made swiftly.

Calm under pressure.

A good PPC Manager will always be testing and willing to take risks. It’s a great way to stay ahead of the curve. They should be calm under pressure too. If something is not working, they must be able to find the source of the problem and get it back on track. Good communications skills are essential to ensure all relevant parties are kept fully up to date.

Results-driven.

A good PPC Manager will review your PPC account regularly. Frequent monitoring is the most effective way to ensure your paid campaign’s a success. Review your accounts weekly and more frequently for new campaigns. It takes time to filter out the irrelevant searches so this is especially important.

Data is a key part of paid search with conversion rates, analysis, landing pages and ads all providing essential information. A good PPC Manager or PPC management agency will discuss conversions, margins and return on ad spend (ROAS) with you so you can get the best return on investment.

We have expertise in Google Ads and Bing Ads as well as Facebook advertising and LinkedIn paid media.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital Agency - PPC & SEODo you want help with your Pay Per Click Campaigns? Does your business require additional support with paid search? Need a new PPC Manager to manage your PPC campaigns?

Hampshire-based digital agency Clever Marketing can act as an extension of your business, becoming your very own marketing department. Contact our Digital Marketing Manager on 01276 534 680 or complete our easy contact form.

Five ways to improve your PPC ads

Five Ways to Improve your PPC Ads

When considering how to improve your PPC ads, the main aim of the game should be increasing click through rates whilst reducing your cost per click. One of the best ways to do this is simply to improve the quality of your PPC campaigns – which are effectively your “shop window” in the online world.

To see your ad placed highly on a SERP, you’ll need to score highly on Google’s Ad Rank metric. Here are some quick and easy ways to create ads that both Google and users love.

1. Keep your PPC ads relevant

A common mistake that businesses often make is to bunch very different keywords together into one ad group. This makes it impossible for the resulting ads to be highly relevant to the search term. However, relevance is a key factor you should look at when you’re looking to improve your PPC campaign.

If your ads aren’t actually relevant to the landing pages they link to or the search term the user has typed in to find it – what’s the point? It’s a good idea to group keywords tightly together and relate them to just one theme, as well as using your keyword within the copy of that ad. Keeping your ads contextual and relevant will not only naturally improve your click through rate but will also help to boost your Quality Score, meaning your ads will get placed higher up and your ROI will, in turn, improve.

Need help with Pay Per Click campaigns? (That’s Google Ads (AdWords), Bing Ads, even paid social such as Facebook and LinkedIn ads) Then take a look at our digital marketing service PPC.

2. Make sure you have a clear call to action

Calls to Action (CTAs). Your ads might be relevant and look great – but if they don’t clearly provide the customer with a next step to take, they won’t be compelling or inspire immediate action. Don’t risk losing your click-through at this point, after all of your hard work!

It’s not good enough to insert a simple “click here”, “click now” or “read more”. You need to consider what you want your user to do next – and, more widely, what the point of your PPC campaign actually is. If you just want to drive search traffic and user engagement, a softer prompt like “browse now” or “find out more” will do nicely. To drive sales, however, these are unlikely to do the job well. For this purpose, you’ll need a much stronger command to persuade users to click, such as “buy now”.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good, clear call to action (CTA) – it can really make the difference between a user just looking through your products, or actually buying something.

3. Test, test and test again

We’re constantly surprised at how many PPC ads haven’t been thoroughly tested before being rolled out. Using A/B testing and having two or more slightly different versions of your ads running at any one time will provide you with essential insights into what’s working and what isn’t, so that you’re constantly improving your click through rates (CTR) and ROI.

So, what elements could you vary and test? Good places to start are display URLs, descriptions, promotions and prices. Use your findings to fine-tune your ads, and you’ll be unstoppable. Also, consistently testing your ads will make sure they’re kept up to date and relevant, and that old promotions don’t creep in. There’s nothing worse for your PPC campaign (and your customer loyalty) than outdated ads.

4. Improve PPC Ads with Ad Extensions

A lot of businesses don’t take real advantage of – or even know about – the brilliant range of ad extensions available to help you improve your PPC campaign. These extensions are basically extra bits of information you can add on to your ad to more accurately represent your landing page and give the user the information they’re looking for.

Common extensions include:

  • Call.
  • Location.
  • Product.
  • Site links.
  • Social links.

Google recommends the use of these extensions – as they help to further serve the needs of searchers. In fact, Google recently revealed [2011 – Ed] that use of extensions can improve click through rates by up to 30%.

5. Improve the Ad Copy

Strong PPC ads have three things in common when it comes to copy: they all mention features, benefits and a strong call to action.

We’ve already been through that last one, so let’s concentrate on the first two aspects: how to pull out features and benefits within your copy.

Start by identifying your USP (unique selling point): What makes you different from your competitors? Why should users click on your ad, and not theirs? Including this in your copy will help your ad to leap from the page. When it comes to benefits – ask yourself what’s actually in it for your customer. If your ad is selling

What makes you different from your competitors?

Why should users click on your ad, and not theirs?

Including this in your copy will help your ad to leap from the page.

When it comes to benefits – ask yourself what’s actually in it for your customer. If your ad is selling lawnmowers, you need to look past the product itself.

When a customer purchases a lawnmower, they’re actually looking for a perfectly manicured lawn; somewhere they can be proud of and go to relax.

Pinpointing the emotional reasons behind a user’s purchasing behaviour is the key to great ad copy and helping to improve your PPC ads.


Need Help with your PPC?

Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO, PPC and Digital AgencyAs a busy business owner you may not have the time or the resources to implement our AdWords top tips and improve your PPC ads. But as Clever Marketing, a top Hampshire PPC agency, we are able to do that for you.

All you need to do is pick up the phone and call 01276 534 680 and ask to speak to our Digital Marketing Manager who will be happy to discuss your requirements.