Wrapped: The Science of PPC Parts 1-10

Test Tubes Science of PPC

At Page Zero, we know firsthand the amount of scientific experimentation that goes on inside the Google Ads environment. That’s why we created a new 50-part blog series called “The Science of PPC”.

Launched in October 2019 and led by Page Zero founder and president Andrew Goodman, The Science of PPC aims to help paid search marketers elevate their account performance by sharing odd (and sometimes “screamingly obvious”) expert tips, tricks, and insights supported by 18 years of first-hand experience and collaboration with skillful colleagues.

Summarized below, the first 10 parts of this 50-part series begin Andrew’s deep dive into the protean realm of PPC, covering introductory topics like the history of search engine advertising to practical explorations of the features and tools available to paid search marketers.

Don your lab coats and dig in:

Part 1: Why “The Science of PPC”? Why 50 Parts?

To survive financially in a world where everyone is already good, you have to discover where great lies. Knowing the products, the account history, etc., can turn good paid search performance into great performance—not because it gives you a “feel,” but because deeper data and understanding the relationships among moving parts trumps surface-level analysis. Get started with our introduction to The Science of PPC.

Read Part 1

Part 2: Search Engine Advertising: A Brief History

All good science starts with background research. With keyword advertising now in its 20s, Andrew brings to light the spark that started paid search advertising on its journey from simple keyword targeting to the increasingly sophisticated ads we know today: intent.

Read Part 2

Part 3: What Counts as (PPC) Science?

You may not need a Ph.D. to conduct PPC science, but you do need reliable methodologies to follow. While cautioning against “scientism”, Andrew outlines his scientific method to help advertisers discern the difference between “real” and “faux” science skewed by powerful economic interests.

Read Part 3

Part 4: Ad “Creative” for PPC: Let the Data Speak

Every few years, the technology powering paid search creative undergoes a major shift. Advances in computing power have us on the cusp of the next major shift—user-specific customization—but before we cross that threshold, it’s important to understand and execute on the basic principles that got us where we are today. Take a deep dive into testing ad creative with Andrew’s insights into using data to evaluate your ad creative.

Read Part 4

Part 5: A Misconception About PPC Automation

Here, Andrew proves that so-called manual features in PPC platforms, such as ad scheduling, aren’t so complex or labor-intensive that automation is an absolute must. It’s an absolute myth, in many cases, that hands-on management will require thousands of operations, and many hours of toil. And features like dayparting are actually a form of automation, in a way. As you hone settings through brief interactions with the data, the resulting bid adjustments will be doing their magic…while you sleep or play computer jai-alai.

Read Part 5

Part 6: Prerequisites for Effective Smart Bidding in PPC

The days of “bid gaps” and bid jamming are long gone. Today’s PPC auction is much more complex, with native features like Google’s Smart Bidding designed to automate busywork and eliminate the bid jockeying of the early 2000’s. But Smart Bidding is no panacea—once some aspect of rote work is eliminated by machines, there are other things to worry about—things that 95%+ of account managers have no aptitude for or interest in. Delve into Smart Bidding and unearth where human learning ultimately prevails.

Read Part 6

Part 7: Don’t Let the Anchor Sink You! How Google Ads Exploits Cognition to Inflate CPCs

Your job as an advertiser is to spend more on ads based on your own parameters, not because you’re being triggered by unconscious cognitive biases. Learn how cognitive biases like loss aversion and “anchoring” affect PPC advertisers and how Google Ads exploits human foibles to encourage advertisers to inflate their bids.

Read Part 7

Part 8: Google Ads Campaign Experiments: A Controlled Environment to Test Almost Any PPC Campaign Strategy Theory

There’s a better way to evaluate fundamental changes to your paid search campaigns than traditional “before and after” studies, such as splitting campaign traffic in real time into two (unbiased) streams—a control group and an experiment group. That’s exactly what Google Ads Campaign Drafts and Experiments can do. Take a closer look at measuring results by creating architectural frameworks using Google Ads Campaign Drafts and Experiments.

Read Part 8

Part 9: 5 Suggested PPC Campaign Experiments, from Plain-Jane All the Way to Fancy-Dancy

True experiments help us to break free from at least some of the shackles of big-company paternalism. Andrew continues his analysis of the Campaign Drafts and Experiments architectural framework with five PPC campaign experiments to test.

Read Part 9

Part 10: This Hidden Trick in Campaign Experiments Will Blow Your Mind

Sometimes, a “fair” test isn’t as fair as it seems. So when someone challenges you to sign off on a “true test” of some methodology or technology, consider that they may have inside knowledge on just how “true” that test is. Unwrap a Smart Bidding secret that may be working against you in your Google Ads Campaign Experiments.

Read Part 10

New content in The Science of PPC series is published every Thursday!
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