Deciding to promote affiliate marketing campaigns with search traffic will likely force you to make another decision shortly after.
Do you use Google Ads or Bing Ads to acquire that traffic?
Although there are some other newer options available like Amazon PPC, these two are still the most popular choices for affiliates.
The pros and cons of each are no secret at this point.
Google offers a larger reach, Bing offers lower costs. Google is effective at targeting a younger demographic, Bing is effective at targeting an older demographic. Etc.
Essentially, both can be effective at driving a large amount of traffic to your landing page.
Rather than continuing a debate that has no real correct answer, we’d instead like to make sure you’re aware of the newest features each can offer you as an affiliate marketer. This will allow you to make an informed decision on which one to use to promote campaigns with search traffic in 2019.
Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords)
Google has introduced some valuable features to their Ads platform in recent months after completely revamping (and re-branding) it in 2018.
Below we discuss the ones that we think could be the most useful to you as an affiliate marketer.
Responsive Search Ads
This upgrade to Google’s text-based search ads will expand your ad’s presence in search results by providing more space while allowing for more customization.
In addition, you’ll benefit from being able to create more variants of your ad including:
- 15 unique headlines
- 4 unique descriptions
Google Ads will then rotate your creatives and display the headlines and descriptions that relate best to users’ search terms. The device they’re using, their past browsing behavior and other signals also play a role in determining which are shown.
This update has potential to provide better conversion rates while also minimizing the amount of time and work you’ll need to put into optimizing your campaigns.
You can learn more about Google’s Responsive Search Ads here.
Mobile Speed Score & Test My Site Tool
Near the end of 2018, Google announced that the mobile loading speed of your site/page would begin to have a larger influence in search result rankings. Shortly after, they released their Test My Site Tool on the Google Ads platform that aims to assist you in measuring your landing page’s loading time.
You can design the best landing page possible for the product or service you’re promoting but if a user loses interest because of a long loading time than it’s irrelevant.
Although there are plenty of page speed measuring options online, Google Ads built-in Test My Site Tool is a better and welcomed option for several reasons:
- It’s located live within the Google Ads interface
- It automatically updates daily which allows you to easily keep an eye on how any changes you make to the page are affecting its loading time.
- It estimates the impact an improved speed could have on your business.
- It compares the speed of your page to those of your competitors.
Improved Ad Position Metrics
The positioning of your ad at the top of Google’s search results can play a significant role in its success. However, up until recently Google provided almost no ad position metrics other than a misleading “Avg. Position.” statistic.
That has now changed, as Google recently introduced four new metrics that measure your ads’ performance relative to its positioning on a search results page.
- (Absolute Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
- (Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
- Search (Absolute Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
- Search (Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
The last two metrics are especially useful because they will identify if there’s an opportunity to display your ad in a more prominent position.
Use these new metrics to measure current performance and to determine if there are changes that can be made that will increase your ad’s impressions.
Click Share Reporting
For the first time ever, Click Share is coming to Google’s search ads.
If you’re unfamiliar with what Click Share is, it’s simply the estimated share of all achievable clicks that your ad(s) have received.
Having access to this number will be beneficial because you can now determine how much of an opportunity there is to capture additional clicks.
For example, let’s say your ad was clicked 100 times and you see that your click share is 50%. This means that Google estimates your ad could’ve received 200 clicks if you had had used more extensions, made higher bids, or increased your budget. This information makes it easier to determine the potential of your ads and then react accordingly.
On February 11th, Google announced that “Click share will be available at the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels for Search campaigns in the coming weeks.”
Bing may struggle to match Google’s user reach and technical scope but it’s still a heavily used search engine that makes a lot of money for affiliates using search traffic.
They regularly update their Ads platform with useful features and we believe these are the best ones they’ve launched in the last six months.
Expanded Text Ads
Not to be out done by Google, Bing have also increased the amount of ad space you have at your disposal with a recent update to their Expanded Text Ads that were initially launched early last year.
You now have the option of using a 3rd headline and/or a 2nd description in your ads.
Multiple headlines, which are separated using a ‘|’ symbol, can be useful for cleanly communicating multiple important pieces of information. The 3rd headline option provides you with an opportunity to give more information to the user in a small space.
For example: (Main Focus) Lose Weight Fast | (Brief Description) 30 lbs Off in 30 Days | (Product Info/Promo) Summer Sale on Now
The space of the description portion of your ad has also expanded. You’re now allowed to write 90-character descriptions instead of 80 which means you have a total of 180 total characters across the two to use to communicate your message.
This is a welcomed update that simply gives you more freedom to be creative with your ads and test different copy combinations.
This new feature can be used to gain valuable information on your competitors (ie. other affiliates).
The Competition Tab is comprised of two sub-features that each provide some unique benefits.
Here you can obtain insight into the performance of your competitors’ ads. This is useful for developing a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t which will allow you to identify issues with your own ads that are limiting their success.
You can either view your competitors’ key metrics over time and see how they’re performing across different devices within a year, quarter, month, etc., or you can view a summary of aggregated metrics within a specific date range.
It’s extremely helpful for identifying what’s working best in a specific niche in an exact moment of time.
After analyzing competitor-based data in the Auction Insights section, you can use the Recommendations section to help you determine what actions you should take to stay ahead of other affiliates.
These recommendations will help you do the following seven things:
- Bid more competitively on keywords
- Optimize your campaign device targets
- Fix campaigns that are limited by budget
- Optimize your campaign location targets
- Target new locations
- Expand your reach
- Add similar keywords
The integration of machine learning in advertising continues to become more commonplace because it’s able to steer your decisions in the right direction. This feature is no exception.
AI-Powered Performance Insights
Has your ad’s performance suddenly dropped and you’re not sure why? Bing’s Ai-Powered Performance Insights aims to automatically identify the problem for you.
A light bulb icon will be displayed on top of your performance stats that once clicked will provide you with details as to what’s negatively affecting your ad as well as suggestions for fixing the issue.
The feature can even distinguish between internal and external causes, allowing you to determine exactly what is disrupting performance.
Bing Ads engineering lead Dare Obasanjo had the following to say on this new feature:
“We have begun applying machine learning to your campaigns to understand their typical performance characteristics so that when a change seems out of the ordinary, you’ll see a performance insight notification which you can click on to see our root cause analysis of why that spike or dip occurred,”
This feature is useful because it can remove a lot of the guess work that can sometimes plague PPC search advertising.
Improved Search Term Reporting
Search-term reporting is a necessary feature for optimizing which keywords you should be adding. One of Bing’s newest updates (as of February 2019) expands on the capabilities of this feature by providing you with more visibility and control over your search terms.
When you’re under All Campaigns in the Keywords tab, you can click on the Search Terms tab to open a new grid. In here you can now view and manage all Added and Excluded terms.
This is a small and straight-forward update but it’s ability to streamline the organization of your keywords both past and present can greatly improve your decision-making.