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DoubleClick Search UI: Using Formula Columns to Streamline Workflow

A new Hangout on Air recently held dicusses best practices for creating effective ads, using tools in the AdWords interface, measuring ad performance, and much more.

Watch the full 35-minute Hangout on Air below:

Update 06/01: In another Hangout on Air, Google talks about AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Upgrade Center.

Google will begin automatically upgrading all campaigns to enhanced starting on July 22, 2013.

In the video, AdWords specialists Nina Cruz, Leslie O’Bray, demonstrate how to use the upgrade center to quickly and easily upgrade and/or merge your legacy campaigns.

“Our specialists navigate through their AdWords accounts so you can see exactly what the interface looks like when making bulk upgrades and merges. They also demonstrate how to review changes before submitting the final upgrade,” Google said.

Google’s DoubleClick Search team posted a number tips on using Formula columns to cut on time spend in spreadsheets, and to help streamline “your workflow by moving your offline calculations into the DS UI.”

Using Formula Columns to Streamline Your Workflow in DoubleClick Search UI

“Using metrics from DS, combined with familiar formulas, you can customize your DS reporting to tailor to your needs and report on what really matters. Create your own custom columns and KPI calculations in terms that you and your team will understand. These columns are calculated in real-time and will update as new data comes in, so you know you’re always making changes based off of the freshest data,” informs Google.

The team notes, the options given below “gives you creative license to think up all sorts of calculations!”

To set one up, “click on the “Formula columns” tab in your DS columns picker. Then combine standard DS columns with simple, spreadsheet-like language:”

  • Evaluate any DS metric with arithmetic operations
  • Make comparisons between any and all DS metrics using boolean logic
  • Evaluate your keywords, ads, campaigns and ad groups using if statements, then display a value if that condition is true or false
  • Convert formulas to percentage, money, or number values
  • Compare and compute metrics irrespective of the selected reporting date range,” explains DS team,” explains Google.

… and you can find more valid operations and examples here.

Update 06/06: Google’s DoubleClick Search (DS) May 2013, release today added the following features:

First up, you can now report on Google Analytics data directly in DS. After linking your DS and Google Analytics accounts, “you’ll be able to apply the available Google Analytics columns to campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords in DS,” explains DS team.

Also, as you would create Floodlight columns, “you can now create custom column sets out of Google Analytics goals.”

And, the new AdWords enhanced campaigns migration tool in DoubleClick Search (DS) available to all, suggests matching legacy campaigns that can be merged into one enhanced campaign. It also allows you to easily set mobile bid adjustments for each campaign.

Unique landing pages by keyword match type in Bing Ads: Within an ad group, “you can now create separate Bing Ads keywords for each match type.” “This allows you to assign a separate landing page URL for each keyword/match type combination,” DS team said. In addition, “it’s also now easier to report on multiple match types for a Bing Ads keyword.”

You can now Email report as an attachment, when “you schedule a report, or download an agency- or advertiser-level report and have it emailed.”

The DS Inventory management creates ads based on a combination of the ad templates you build and feed attributes. With this feature, DS now groups the reporting stats by ad template instead of by ad. “To see reports grouped by ad template, navigate to a page that lists campaigns or ad groups, and then click the Ad templates tab.”

Finally, DS also made improvements when applying a label to objects. “When you select objects (campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords) and then click the Labels button to add them to a label, you can now search for existing labels in the pop-up,” explains DS.

You can also now click Create New to add a new label directly from this pop-up. “You no longer need to create the label elsewhere first before selecting the objects.”

. “When you select objects (campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords) and then click the Labels button to add them to a label, you can now search for existing labels in the pop-up,” explains DS.

You can also now click Create New to add a new label directly from this pop-up. “You no longer need to create the label elsewhere first before selecting the objects.”

In a blog posts, Google shared tips to recommend integrating tools such as the Creative REST API, Snippet Status Reports, and Publisher Settings File into the bidder.

Here are the steps to incorporate these tools into your bidder:

  1. Upload creatives from your ad repository/server using the Creative REST API.
  2. Use the Snippet Status Reports or Creative REST API to periodically find the creative status (APPROVED, DISAPPROVED, NOT_CHECKED). “Update the creative status in your ad repository/server. To avoid wasted bid opportunities, ensure that your bidder only returns BidResponses with APPROVED creatives. Creatives with DISAPPROVED or NOT_CHECKED status will not be eligible to compete in auction,” Google explains.
  3. Use categorization data from the Snippet Status Reports or Creative REST API to help match creatives during targeting and avoid getting post-filtered. “If a publisher has category exclusions, they ‘ll appear in BidRequests within the excluded_product_category and excluded_sensitive_category fields. Your bidder should honor these category exclusions by ensuring that it only returns BidResponses with creatives that are not categorized in an excluded_product_category or an excluded_sensitive_category.”
  4. Periodically pull the Publisher Settings Files to incorporate publisher exclusions into your targeting engine to minimize the chance of returning creatives that will be blocked by publishers. “It mightn’t be feasible to load all publisher data, but you may consider concentrating on the top N publishers on which your creatives run or publishers that you explicitly target. Publisher Settings Files contain valuable information such as excluded_attribute, excluded_product_category, excluded_sensitive_category and excluded_url. See the complete proto file,” Google added.

“Creative REST API is a proactive measure that provides methods for submitting a creative for verification, for checking the status of a creative that you have submitted, and for retrieving a list of all your active creatives before bidding on the creative ad. By using the Creative REST API to submit and manage your campaign creatives, you’re able to ensure that your bidder is better prepared to bid with an approved creative,” explains Google Ads team.

“If you’re unable to implement the Creative REST API, the Snippet Status Report can also help you review and determine the exact reason for which your ad was disapproved. The snippet-status-report-proto.txt file lists all the issues described in the section of the report. The snippet status report will also show ads that are approved or have not yet been checked by our verification system.”

“Publisher Settings File is a list of exclusions set by AdX publishers that will block bids from winning the auction for their inventory. Buyers should take note of and adhere to these publisher requirements. By leveraging the Publisher Settings File, your bidder can ensure it does not bid on an ad that will be filtered out of the AdX auction due to an exclusion. By only bidding on eligible impressions, you can avoid wasting bids,” Google added.

Update 06/05: Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), is a product that maintains a fresh index of your ad inventory using Google’s organic web crawling technology to help ensure ads are generated based on the most recent content on your website.

Just like keyword based campaigns, DSA works best when it’s properly set-up and optimized–to help in this end, Google has shared some tips and best practices for optimizing DSA:

  1. Dynamic Search Ads helps advertisers target long-tail queries without having to create and manage a long list of keywords. “To realize the true benefit of DSA, target your whole website or large portions of your website to help identify segments of traffic never targeted before,” Google writes.
  2. Use negative targets, especially in the early stages of your DSA campaign. “Negative keywords” are “any keywords you’ve paused or deleted in the recent past as well as any pages unrelated to selling products” such as customer help pages and general FAQ’s.

    You can learn more about how to set-up exclusions to block certain pages of your website as well as how to add negative keywords in this Help Center article.

  3. Similar to keywords and ad groups, group highly related pages and products of similar values within the same target to increase ad relevance and ROI.

    “You also might want to bundle high-priced, high-margin products separately from low-priced, low-margin products. This approach will help create more targeted ads for users and help increase ROI by setting different bids for products of different economic values,” google explains. Check this FAQ, that explain how to create more narrow targets.

  4. Use conversion optimizer or target CPA based bidding that helps give you a more automated approach to bid management and by clearly defining your ROI goals, “you can ensure that you will continue to hit your CPA goals even as you expand your campaign reach and as the content on your website changes.”
  5. Finally, when your website structure and or content changes, make sure your DSA campaign is kept up-to-date to reflect your latest changes. Google further reminds, to “regularly check search terms and categories report to raise bids on high performing pages and add poor performing pages and queries as negative targets.”

For a step-by-step directions on setting up a Dynamic Search Ads campaign, check out this AdWords Help Center, or watch the video below:

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