Colleen McCaskell, PPC Manager at Ambergreen Internet Marketing, will speak at SMX Munich on Tuesday, 14th March. She will share her strategy for success with Gmail Ads, speaking alongside a panel of industry experts from around the world. Keynote speakers at the conference will include Rand Fishkin of Moz and Oliver Borm of Google.
Before she flies to Munich, we sat down with Colleen to ask a few questions about SMX and how you can use Gmail Ads to improve your own paid campaigns – without having to fly all the way to Munich yourself.
Who are you, anyway?
Hi, Colleen. So, for anyone who doesn’t know, who the heck are you?
That is the question, isn’t it? I am an expat American who, through a series of twists and turns, somehow wound up in beautiful Edinburgh running a variety of PPC accounts. When I’m not busy figuring out new and exciting methods of spending my clients’ money, I’m probably off sampling new craft beers, checking out heavy metal gigs or picking up (and putting down) weights repeatedly.
Why did you choose to specialise in PPC?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a range of digital marketing activities in previous roles and paid rapidly emerged as my favourite among the various specialisms. In large part, this may be because I’m a control freak, and I like the fact that PPC is completely quantifiable; you have access to any of the data you could ever possibly want about your campaigns’ performance and can determine how to optimise them accordingly. Anyways, if the PPC gig doesn’t work out for me, then I’m quite confident in my alternative career options of becoming a professional weightlifter and/or guinea pig wrangler.
Anything else people should know about you before taking your advice on Gmail Ads?
Any recommendations given in the PPC world should never be taken on blind faith, no matter who is offering them! Always test things out for yourself and conduct experimentation to prove your hypotheses before concluding which method is most effective for your clients.
What’s the big deal about Gmail Ads?
What led you to begin experimenting with Gmail Ads in the first place?
I had been aware of Gmail Ads back when they were in beta and being managed on a standalone platform outside of AdWords, but I was really galvanised into action when they finally migrated into the main AdWords interface for easier management. I realised that this ad format could sit at the intersection of paid media and email marketing: a combination of powerful targeting settings, carefully defined audiences and high-impact newsletters (as determined by past email campaigns).
For those of us not attending SMX Munich, your presentation deck will be posted online after the conference. Until then, what tips do you have for marketers interested in trying out Gmail Ads?
My main advice is to avoid complacency, whether you’re designing the ads or optimising them after having run for a significant period of time. By all means, test the Google templates if they seem applicable, but realise that the custom HTML format is available if you want to promote actual newsletters. Try out different types of targeting settings; since you can pinpoint competitor domains as well as standard keywords, there’s no reason to hang your hat on one peg. Finally, there are numerous ways you can refine the design and messaging of your Gmail Ad to better encourage a conversion-centric response; don’t give up on the format before you’ve had the opportunity to hit upon what works best for you.
What success have you had using Gmail Ads in your campaigns?
Gmail Ads have been so successful for my clients that they have now been rolled into my bread-and-butter, always-on Display strategy alongside Remarketing activity and the most effective types of In-Market and Custom Affinity audiences. Although they deliver lower volumes of traffic to the website than what conventional banner ads can drive, the quality of traffic is often much higher and more predisposed to engage with the site’s content and perform a conversion action. If you haven’t tried out Gmail Ads yet, you’re definitely missing out!
We’ll post a link to Colleen’s presentation here and on social media once it goes live.