PPC Intel – Late Spring 2018 Google AdWords News Updates

These Google AdWords news updates are coming a bit late… however are still nevertheless relevant news for paid search marketers. Below you will find a quick bullet list run down of the latest changes and updates (upgrades?) in paid search.

Get Your Google AdWords News Updates Hot Off Press


    • Local business marketers take note: Google is testing “phrase free” AdWords. It is not possible to request inclusion – AdWords randomly chose some accounts back in February to test this new feature where paid search results are based on verified location information rather than keywords. The platform pulls location, business type, business description, offerings etc. from the Google My Business (GMB) platform. Best to cross your t’s and dot your i’s (e.g. “jump through all the hoops”) on all Google platforms so you qualify when new changes like this go into effect, you may be a contender to “beta test” innovative new features.


      • Watch out for AI in Google AdWords. The platform is now harnessing the power of AI to automate processes in AdWords to presumably help marketers manage and scale campaigns more easily. I don’t say “effectively” yet, as this remains to be seen. As of April 29th, Google’s AI and related technologies are operating within the platform, gathering data and delivering ad campaign optimization suggestions. These suggestions will be based on prior campaigns, descriptions, extensions and other relevant information found on landing pages.  Keep alert for notifications in your AdWords accounts because unless you turn OFF suggestions, you only have 14 days from the day of notification to reject or accept the changes before they automatically go into effect. Egads. At any rate, this is likely a move toward allowing a more natural integration of voice-activated searches via devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, according to Ashley Fletcher, VP of marketing at Adthena.
      • Don’t want Google to run ads automatically? Learn how you can opt out of Ad suggestions here.
      • In more AI assistance (or interference?) news, AdWords although utilizing AI and machine learning technologies for quite some time (before it was the hottest new career track), has once again “upgraded” the platform with more automated PPC bidding features. However, the reader / marketer is warned that automated is not always the ideal bidding solution in all the situations. Check out this comprehensive article on PPC Hero that explains in great detail when you should not use automated bidding. For example, if your business has seasonal fluctuations and does not produce conversions consistently through out the year.
      • Google launches a new planning tool, but this time it’s not about keywords, it’s about reaching people. The  “reach planner” provides insights that help you plan video campaigns and spend your marketing budget wisely.
      • AdWords has launched TrueView that helps advertisers to promote their products/service more effectively in YouTube. The first ads to be introduced are called “bumper ads“, and are 6 seconds long.
      • No doubt by now you have heard about (or run into on your favorite websites) EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a new set of privacy regulations that were officiated May 25th, 2018. In response to this rule, Google is making big changes, especially within YouTube Ads. Learn more on AdExchanger.


    • Bing recently (April) launched 4 new features within their Bing shopping campaigns interface making it easer to get up and running with your Bing Shopping campaigns. Check ’em out on Bing’s blog. Sorry to not summarize. I’m tired already, but you’ll find it all clearly laid out on Bing’s site, very clean design.
  • Bing Ads has launched New Price extensions. According to Bing, this will help advertisers show the right product at the right time.

Welp, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed reading my Google AdWords News Updates. It’s a regular feature I’ll be doing over the coming months as it helps me to stay up to date in the fast changing industry of search marketing. I’ll back around later this month with any news or updates for June 2018. Cheers!

K.I.S.S. Google AdWords Certification Recap & Review

Keep it Simple Sweetheart – Google AdWords Certification

I renewed my Google AdWords Search and Shopping certifications a few weeks ago. The certs are good for 1 year from the date the test is taken.  Since a full year had gone by since the expiration of my previous Google Adwords certifications, I wanted to brush up on my knowledge of the platform and learn about all the new advancements in “one sitting” ( ikr?). In real world terms, that means I sucked it up and spent last weekend studying. Never tell me I am not a nerd.

google adwords certification

The course content did not disappoint: lots of new. Many exciting possibilities. Will get to some of that in a moment. For those of you interested in getting certified yourselves, you can access the course content at Google Academy.

My post right here will cover the following:

+ Overview of Google AdWords Certification Process
+ What I Liked About the Course Content & Exam
+ What I Didn’t Like About the Course Content & Exam
+ Ideas for Improving the Learning Experience (e.g. developing a better product)


Time Tested Nuggets, a.k.a “nuts and bolts” needed for complete understanding of search marketing and advertising. These concepts are core and will never change or go out of style, no matter how many new bells and whistles come down the pike. Like the title of this post, this is a caution to all you tech whizzes out there: keep it simple sweetheart. Here’s what mattered then, what matters now, and what will always matter as long as humans are the ones being served…

  1. Relevance
  2. Common Sense
  3. Focused on Needs and Wants of Customer

Upcoming Trends

  1. AI and machine learning
  2. Automated Bidding Strategies using AI
  3. Automated Ad Copy Suggestions using AI

I realize the list above may look a little redundant. I assure you, it is not. To hear Google tell it, AI is the new peanut butter that will make us search marketers lives easier by practically doing our jobs for us.

Possibly of like the self-checkout stations at Target. One has to wonder, will search get to a point where we just plug in the numbers – budget, ROI targets, long term customer value, desired CPA, website link – and then Google will do the rest and charge us a flat fee on top. Just kidding, I hope. I rather enjoy the human element of search.

What I Liked About the Google AdWords Certification Course Content & Exam

Personally, I enjoyed watching the Academy’s animated videos. They do a good job of introducing and explaining concepts, features, functions, techniques and best practices. Also, since I’m a visual and auditory learner, watching the videos definitely served to embed the content into my memory. My recall during the exams felt enhanced, and I think the videos for that. I scored 95% on the AdWords Fundamentals portion, 100% on the Search portion and 95% on the Shopping exams. Of course I would prefer to have gotten 100% every time, but hey. The nice thing about missing some of the questions is that the quiz engine gives you a list of concepts to study at the end so you can go on and master the material fully.

What I didn’t Like About the Learning Experience & Exam

  • Deceptive amount of study time shown for each module.

Ideas for Improving the Certification Experience (e.g. developing a better Academy product)

  • Make Google AdWords Certificate shareable. It would be really cool if Google offered a link to my Certificate that I could then turn around and share directly on LinkedIn and other social media sites like Facebook, twitter, heck, even Instagram why not? As it is now, I had to download to my hard drive a copy of my certificate in PDF form, upload it to Google Drive, and get a Drive link where anyone with the link can view the document (link to Quora article). So many steps! Why?
  • Allow simulated practice with dummy data, I think in developer’s terms this might be called a “sandbox”(?)

If you study the material, the test is not hard. As an alternative to reading, you can watch lessons on YouTube. As a visual learner, this worked great for me.

If you are about to take the Google AdWords certification test, best of luck!



What is Data Science & What Does a Data Scientist Do?

Intro to Data Science 101

I decided to explore the possibility of bringing my varied education credentials and life experiences into the field of data science. I’m super excited about this new direction in my life, so I hope you don’t mind if I share some highlights with you as I study and learn about this burgeoning field. What better place to start than the beginning? 101 baby!

Apparently, this is the hot new vocation of the 21st century. According to McKinsey & Company:

“Data and analytics are changing the basis of competition. Leading companies are using their capabilities not only to improve their core operations but to launch entirely new business models.”


Pretty cool for those of us that love data, right? The good news, data science as a career is set to pay off for us data nerds as well because while demand for data scientists has grown 6.5x over the past 5 years and is expected to grow to over 2,720,000 jobs by 2020, there are far more jobs than qualified candidates.

data science

Not sure about you, but I can see the writing on the wall. With all the 11th house activity happening in my natal chart, the tech industry is where I want to be.  I felt this way especially after watching Mike Gualtieri’s Youtube video “What is a Data Scientist?” published way back in 2013! I included the video below for those of you who are curious and want to hear how he – and by extension – Forrester Technopolitics (that name in and of itself excites me to no end) – define the role of a data scientist.

Highlights from Mike’s Video

  • The function of a data scientist is to find meaning, knowledge and data in data
  • Give a data scientist a question, a set of data, and the proper team and tools to have at it and come back with an answer.
  • A data scientist discovers “the new” by
    a.) creating a hypothesis and
    b.) investigating that hypothesis and
    c.) formulating a theory based on what the data says (c is my own addition)
  • Data science includes
    1.) visualizing data
    2.) using algorithms to process the data
  • A data scientist has a unique skill set that is at the intersection of Business Intelligence and Programming/Tech Skills

And with that – I’m off to dig into my studies a little deeper! I’ll hopefully be back with more to share soon!

Novel Travel Hack: Quick Guide to Luggage Storage Services

Traveling and Need Luggage Storage Services?

I love this idea – from Lifehacker: How to Stash Your Luggage for a Couple of Hours When Traveling. I’m constantly having my AirBnB guests message me saying they arrived early and do I know of any luggage storage services or can they come drop off their bags early. I formerly feel bad, because I would say no to both questions. When you rent out part of your home to Travelers, you understand that sometimes you just need a few hours to yourself before the next ones roll in. Also, sometimes turning over the unit takes a little bit longer.

luggage storage is the new airBnB for your bags!

Well, I’m happy to report some folks have figured out that there is a need for this service and they now provide it. Check out this article for a handy list of luggage storage vendors 🎒💼🌐