How to advertise on YouTube

video advertisingDo you know you can run display and video ads on YouTube? Cool!

If you want to run video ads, you’ll need your own YouTube channel. That’s where you’ll store the videos. To find out how to go about setting your business up on YouTube, check out my post “Grab some YouTube action for your online store”.

The ad formats

There are a number of different ad formats on offer on this mother of all video channels. Before you begin creating your ad, it’s worth checking the AdWords policy page to understand the video specs you’ll need to adhere to and their advertising regulations.

In-stream ads – these are short video ads that play before or during a YouTube video, or on a Google Display Network video game or app. As the viewer can skip the ad after the first 5 seconds, you’ll only be charged if your ad’s watched for 30 seconds or more (or in its entirety if it’s shorter). That’s up to 30 seconds of free advertising!

In-display ads – these ‘static’ ads generally appear next to YouTube videos, in YouTube search results or the Google Display Network. They’re made up of a preview image and text. You’ll only be charged when someone clicks on the ad to view the video, so again, a certain amount of free advertising is available.

If you’re unsure what to make as a video, or how to go about it, read my post on creating video for your online store.

Set up YouTube advertising in AdWords

YouTube video ads are managed through Google AdWords. If you don’t have an AdWords account, head on over to our step-by-step guide and find out how to set one up. It’s not difficult.

To run YouTube ads, first link your AdWords and YouTube accounts via the ‘AdWords for video’ side navigation menu on any AdWords for video campaign page.

Set up a video advertising campaign in AdWords

To create your first video campaign, follow the simple step-by-step set up. Click ‘New campaign > Online video’ above the campaign table. Give the campaign a name, set the daily budget and choose your target locations and languages.

Create your ad

Next you get to create your video ad. Pick the video you want to use (remember it needs to be in your YouTube account), choose the format – in-stream or in-display – and fill in the ad details as requested.

Choose the type of people you want to see your ad

You can target your YouTube ads so they’ll only appear in front of the audience you choose. That way you’re not wasting money on people you don’t want to attract.

Select your target audience by typical demographics like age and interests. There’s also advanced targeting features like the contextual keyword option, so you can choose to show your ads near content relevant to those words.

If you want to ensure, or avoid, your ads appearing on specific pages in YouTube, the Managed Placements option will let you do that. It’s handy for targeting channels where the audience may be particularly tempting to you.

Once you’ve set up your ads, you’re good to go!

Check what’s working and what’s not

Just like text or display ads, AdWords offers you performance reporting on video ads. The reports reveal key data like which ads are the most popular and how much of the video is being watched.

By combining these insights with YouTube analytics reports, you’ll get a good picture of what’s working and what’s not so you can work on getting the best bang for buck!


A simple guide to Twitter for online retailers

Birds tweeting

Let me introduce you to Twitter, the social network where a little goes a long way.

According to one of their recent studies, 60% of the respondents had bought from a small business because of Twitter.

It’s certainly an opportunity to be considered.

Set up a free account

Just like any other social network, you’ll need to set up an account profile.

Head over to to start.

As you go through the sign up process, you’ll be asked to create a username or ‘handle’ (@xxxxxx) of 15 characters or less. This is the name you’ll be known as on Twitter, so use your business name or a version of it if the exact name isn’t available.

Add your logo as your profile photo, a 160 character ‘bio’ and header image to reflect your business’s personality, and your website url. If you’re on other social media channels, your profiles should all say a similar thing to keep your brand consistent.

Ready for action? Start following!

Start your Twitter action by following a bunch of accounts that post information that would be useful to you and your customers. Their tweets will then appear in your own feed. You can also follow your competitors and keep an eye on their activities.

You can find them using the search box on the top right of your twitter profile. The basic search function here is fairly generic and brings up a wide range of results so I like to use Advanced Search (you can also find this on the left hand panel once you’ve performed a regular search). This will give you a more targeted search. It’s also a nice way to find things to pass along.

What to do with 140 characters or less

Twitter only allows you to post a maximum of 140 characters, so you’ll need to get to the point pretty quickly!

With some high level marketing objectives in mind, like driving traffic to your website, growing your reach and creating leads, you can dive straight in and start posting. Hit the blue ‘tweet’ button in the top right corner of your Twitter page to begin.

Here are some of the things you can do with a tweet, but in general, as long as you behave like a human being, not a business or a brand, you’ll win friends.

> Point to some interesting content you’ve found on the web. Because of it’s brevity, Twitter is mostly used to post links to interesting content, yours or elsewhere on the web. Start with a tempting sentence to encourage a click and follow it with the url of the content.

> Retweet interesting tweets you find. Hit the ‘turn left’ symbol below a juicy tweet and it will appear in your followers’ feeds.

> Reply to other tweets. Start a conversation by hitting the ‘loop’ symbol below a tweet and type a reply. This conversation only appears in the feeds of people who follow you both, but there’s a neat trick to get all your followers to see it. Put a full stop (.) in front of the @handle of the person you’re replying to.

> Tweet a question. Do you want to know what your followers think about your products? Ask them! They may give you ideas for new stock, for example.

> Tweet a promotion. Do you have a sale coming up or new stock in? Use a tweet to promote it to your followers and include an image. Don’t do it too often though. Followers like information and too frequent promotions will make you come across as pushing sales.

> Offer a quick tip. Share a nugget of advice with your followers. Perhaps a cool way to use your products.

To increase your chances of being found, use a # (hashtag) in front of a relevant term, like #shirts, or #kitchen. Keep it down to one or two per tweet – too many and it gets confusing!

When you need privacy, send a Direct Message

If you want a private exchange with another follower, use a Direct Message instead of a tweet. You can only send and receive Direct Messages with someone who is following you, and visa versa.

Twitter is the new customer service tool

In addition to building a sense of community around a brand, Twitter is fast becoming a popular customer service tool for businesses.

If they’re already on Twitter, people will often use the network to ‘talk’ directly to a company rather than use the phone or email. As a business owner, this is both good news (It’s quick and inexpensive to use) and bad news (complaints are in public view). But ignore it at your peril!

If you’re not sure how to manage this kind of activity in the public domain, read my post on handling complaints on social media. It’s full of tips.

Paying to advertise on Twitter

Just like the other major social networks, Twitter offers business users paid advertising so you can get in front more people. Here are a few examples.

twitter ad example

Twitter ad example 2

Twitter Ads campaigns are focused on a marketing goal, like getting more followers or website visits.

The ads are based on a pay-per-action model, so you’ll only pay when someone interacts with the ad, not for just for displaying it. And because you can target the audience very tightly, there’s less budget wastage.

The easy-to-use set up tool walks you through the process from ad creation to selecting the audience and budget so you can be up and running in no time. The Twitter Campaigns dashboard will show you how your ads are performing so you can make any necessary adjustments like increasing the budget if you’re seeing the results you want.

I’ve only scratched the surface of Twitter Ads here. Visit their business website to discover more and sign up to play.

Now you’re up and running, don’t forget to add a Twitter follow icon, linking to your account, to your Spiffy store, and put a link in your email signature for good measure!

Reach more people on Facebook with Facebook ads

Facebook-audienceHaving a free Facebook Page for your store is a great start to growing your online community, but it doesn’t guarantee that everything you post will get in front of everyone that likes and follows you.

If you want to reach more people on Facebook, you can back up the free activity you’re enjoying on your Page with paid Facebook ads.

These ads are charged on an impression basis, not per click like Google AdWords, so you’ll pay every time your ad appears to someone. Your message can be super-targeted though, so you only be reaching the kind of people you really want.

Get your strategy worked out before you begin

Before you leap into creating ads, you’ll need a campaign strategy. Answer these key questions to focus your campaign and help you get better results.

Why are you creating this campaign? Are you after more likes on your Page? More sales on your website? Be sure of your goal as it’ll shape the whole campaign. Boosting sales on your website can be a good objective for online retailers.

What are you going to promote? Based on your campaign goals, choose what you’re going to promote. Is it a specific product or category of products, or a will it be a post, your latest offer, or an event?

Who do you want to see your ads? Facebook ads can be ultra-targeted, so decide on the characteristics of the person you want exposed to your ad. What type of people do you think would respond best?

When are you going to advertise, and for how long?

Once you’ve worked out your campaign strategy, you can get to work on your ads!

The three types of ads available to you

Facebook currently has three different ad formats. The images are from Facebook’s handy ads guide.

  1. Post ads for the desktop news feed


This large ad appears as a post in someone’s newsfeed as viewed on a desktop or laptop.

It’s particularly good for encouraging comments or actions on your posts as readers can interact with them just like regular posts from their connections. You can use it, for example, to push a post you’ve already made to a bigger audience.

  1. Post ad for the mobile news feed


These post ads are built specifically for use with mobile-optimised sites. Only use this if your site has a responsive theme.

  1. Right column ads


These ads appear in the right hand column of a Facebook newsfeed.

Ready to start making ads?

Just one more thing. Make sure you understand Facebook’s advertising rules before you start. Once you’ve read them, hop over to their site to create your ad.

>> Choose an objective for your campaign

You’ll need to choose a campaign objective as the first step in creating a Facebook ad (see, that bit about strategy above has come in handy already!)

Once you do that, the ad tool will prompt you what to do next as you go through the ad creation process.

>> Create your ad

Specific details to create the ad layouts can be found here.

You’ll need upload at least one high quality image for your ad (the recommended image size for most ads is 1200 x 627 pixels) and come up with a headline, text, landing page address and call to action button if applicable to that ad type.

When you write your ad copy, keep your headline under 25 characters and your ad text under 90 characters. This will help it display better. Focus on just one thing as you write and try to show the reader the benefit they’ll get from whatever you’re promoting.

If you’re advertising a product, don’t make your homepage the landing page. Point people to the specific product page so they can buy the item straight away and not have to look for it.

As you create your ad, remember you’re advertising on a social media network. Make your ads friendly, likeable and interesting. You’ll be able to preview the ad in each of the formats when you’re done to make sure it looks good and reads well.

>> Select your target audience

Because Facebook holds detailed information about its users, you can target your ad very tightly. This saves paying to advertise to people you’re not interested in reaching. Location, age, gender, relationship status and even interests are all options available.

As you make your selections, Facebook will indicate the number of people who fit that criteria and could see your ad. The number of those you actually get in front of will be limited by your budget.

>> Define your ad budget and schedule

You can set a budget to be spent per day, or over a specific timeframe, and schedule your ads to run continuously or within a set timeframe. Don’t forget to set an account spend limit to ensure your ads stop running once you’ve spent this amount.

Once your ads have been approved and your billing information is recorded, you’re good to go!

Finally, monitor your ad

Every time your ad shows, you’ll be charged a fee, so keep checking your campaign performance in the ads manager.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, try testing out other versions of ad content. Changing the image, text and landing page may get you better results.

How to improve your store’s AdWords campaigns

success dialSo, you’ve got an AdWords campaign for your online store up and running. Good for you! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be checking in on the data frequently to see what’s happening to your hard earned marketing dollars.

Here are a few tips to help you get the best value out of your campaigns.

Bring important data together

Start off by getting as much performance information as possible.

> Connect your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts
By connecting these powerful tools, you can get a more complete picture of your online performance. Follow the steps on this Google help page to link the accounts.

> Add extra columns to your AdWords Keywords report
The ‘bid’, or price you’re willing to pay for a click, is a key element in determining your ad’s position. But it can be hard to know an appropriate amount. By adding the estimated first page and top page bid columns to your Keywords report, you can tell if your bid is enough for a good position.

On the Keywords report, click the Columns tab > Customize columns > Attributes, and add ‘Est. first page bid’ and ‘Est. top page bid’. These columns will then show in your Keywords report.

> Set up conversion tracking
Conversion tracking reveals which keywords and campaigns are bringing in business. It’s important for optimising your return on investment as it will show where your budget is likely to be more profitable.

Google have a comprehensive guide to help you set up conversion tracking.

Understand Quality Score and why it’s important

Google uses a calculation called Quality Score to help decide when and where your ads show up in search results. It’s based on the quality (relevance) of your ads, keywords and landing page (where you send the visitor when they click each ad).

Quality Score is ranked 1 to 10. The higher the Quality Score, the more likely the ad will get a higher position in the search results and a lower CPC. You should aim to get the highest Quality Score you can by tweaking and improving your ads, keywords and landing pages.

Improve your keyword performance

1. Make sure your keyword bids are competitive. The new columns ‘Est. first page bid’ and ‘Est. top page bid’ you’ve added will show the estimated cost of a good ad position. If your bid is way below the amount needed, you can adjust it.

2. Remove any underperforming keywords (leaving them in will reduce your campaign performance).

  • If a keyword hasn’t triggered any ad impressions after a couple of weeks, and its Quality Score and bid are OK, think about removing it. There may not be enough people searching on that term.
  • If a keyword hasn’t produced any click throughs after a month, pause or remove it.
  • If a keyword is getting clicks but these are not converting, think about lowering the bid as it’s eating away at your budget. If you’re not seeing a positive return on investment (sales) after around 200 clicks, it’s time to consider removing the keyword.
  • If you see a keyword that’s converting well, you could add more budget to it to get more impressions.

Repeat keyword housekeeping regularly to keep your campaigns in top shape!

3. Use keyword matching to increase ad relevance

I’ve written about the importance of relevance in the search world many times. Keyword matching is an easy way to increase relevance by ‘tagging’ your keywords for broad, phrase, exact and negative match varieties.

Broad match is the default and has no specific tags around the keyword. Broad match means your ad can be triggered if the search term contains your keywords in any order, including additional words. For example, if your keyword is gold jewellery your ad may show for the search term buy gold men’s jewellery Sydney.

Using phrase match (putting your keyword in speech marks – “xxx”) means your ad only shows if your keywords appear together in the right order in a search query. For example, your keyword gold jewellery” only triggers your ad for a search like men’s gold jewellery, but not gold and diamond jewellery.

Exact match (putting your keyword in square brackets – [xxx]) is the most precise tagging. Using it means your ads only appear when someone searches for your exact keyword as it stands, without any other words in the search. For example, your keyword [gold jewellery] only triggers your ad for the search gold jewellery.

The other important match type for any AdWords campaign is negative match (putting a minus sign ‘–‘ in front of a keyword). This means your ad won’t show if a search term contains the negative keyword. It’s a useful way to prevent paying for irrelevant clicks.

Using keyword matching will affect number of times your ad shows for that keyword. Exact match keywords will trigger ads less times than broad match but the query is likely to be more relevant for you. If you’re getting too many irrelevant queries on your broad match keywords, you can change the match type and tighten it up.

4. Check which search terms are triggering your ads. To find out the actual search terms used by the people clicking on your ads, go to ‘Keywords > Details > SEARCH TERMS > All’. If you’re getting clicks from searches that don’t apply to your business, make them negative keywords.

Improve your ad performance

Make sure your ads are as enticing as possible with these tips: 

1. Use the keyword you’re targeting in the ad headline. You can do this automatically with dynamic keyword insertion.

Dynamic keyword insertion

This nifty little piece of code will insert the keyword that triggered the ad into your ad text. It can make your ads more relevant to the search and can improve the click through rate.

You can add the code anywhere in your ad – the headline, descriptions, URLs – as many times as you want, but be careful not to overdo it. Your ad still needs to make sense or you could turn people away!

When you use dynamic keyword insertion, check that all of the keywords in your ad group make sense where you’re going to display them in the ad, and the landing page is still relevant to those variations. This is especially important in ecommerce sites where your ad may point to a very specific product page.

The code you’ll need is: {keyword:default text} 

Replace ‘default text’ with words you’d like to appear when a keyword can’t be dynamically inserted. Make sure your keywords are short enough to keep your ad within the character limits. If not, the ad’s default text will be used instead.

Try one keyword insertion ad in each ad group, and set the default text that’s relevant to the theme.

2. Use Title Case Capitalisation (Used in this Sentence) Throughout your Headline and Body Copy to Help your Ad Stand Out.

3. Use a call to action like “Find out how” or “Get in touch” in your ad copy to make it obvious what you want the reader to do next.

4. Try including a couple of key selling points like prices, discounts, product names or free shipping.

5. Add ad extensions. It doesn’t cost anything to add extra information to your ad in the form of ad extensions, and it helps you stand out. As an online store owner, product extensions can be helpful. Find out more on the Google AdWords support site.

6. Create a display URL (web page address) that’s short, simple and contains your keyword. You can make the display url that shows in your ad different to the actual page url, as long as they’re both on the same domain. For example you could make the display url for the landing page “” into “”. Google will show up to 35 characters in the ad.

7. Create three or four different ads for each ad group to see which messages and calls to action get the best results.

When you want to make changes to an ad, create a new ad rather than edit the exiting one, as you’ll loose the old ad’s data. Just pause the ones you’re replacing.

Improve your landing page

If you’re getting clicks on your ads, but a high bounce rate on your landing page and little or no conversions, your visitors might not be seeing what they expected when they clicked through.

Make sure there’s a logical connection between the wording in your ads and the landing page. Match the messages and copy and repeat any offers you mention in the ad on the landing page. The best way to make this obvious is to use the same wording in the landing page headlines and subheadings.

I hope that helps! It may look a bit daunting, but once you’ve used AdWords a few times, it’ll become second nature. Remember that your AdWords performance will need monitoring and optimising regularly.

How to set up Google AdWords to get more traffic to your online store

getting-traffic-to-your-storeOne of the quickest and easiest ways to get traffic to your online store is through paid ads on search engines like Google. It’s great for bringing people to your site when you first launch.

But wait, I hear you say, why pay when I can get listed in search engine results for free?

OK. Here’s a quick recap on the difference between the two types of search engine results listings.

Organic (free) listing

Appearing for free in search engine results is known as an organic listing. You can’t buy the placement – it’s made by the search engine based on its assessment of the content on your web page and its relevance to the search term. It looks at about 200 factors to help it make that decision.

Paid listing

Paying for a listing in search engine results is known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

These ad listings show up in the top positions on the first page of search results, and in a column down the right hand side. They look very similar to other listings, but they’re labelled ‘ads’ or ’sponsored links’. And if you look closely, you’ll see they read a little differently. AdWords is Google’s paid advertising program.

It doesn’t cost anything for your ad to show, but you’ll be charged a small amount when your ad is clicked on. The charge varies depending on the relevance of your ad and web page to the search term, and how much you’ve offered to pay for that click.

Why would you pay?

Well, put simply, it can be hard to get in the top search results otherwise.

The algorithms that calculate the position a web page is given in the free search results are highly complex. Trying to get a high ranking can take a lot of time, effort and specialist knowledge and you’ll be competing with countless other businesses trying to do the same.

And when the algorithms are updated (which happens a lot), you can find your page rankings change overnight.

Google AdWords gives your web page a much better chance to appear on the first page results for your chosen keywords, and you can do it really quickly.

Ready to give it a go? Here’s how to get started

Don’t be tempted to rush in to creating your ads before you’ve done steps 1 and 2. They’re crucial!

1. Get into your customers heads

Before you create your first campaign, write down everything you know about your customers. It’ll help you create better campaigns if you’re seeing your offerings from their perspective.

Who are they? What would they type into the Google search box to if they were looking for products like yours? Where do they live?

2. Draw up a list of keywords related to your business and products

Make a list of the search terms you’d expect your customers to use to find your products. These are your keywords.

Don’t be too general in your choice. A one-word term is usually expensive for a click because it’s so generic and popular, and you can end up paying for traffic that’s looking for something you may not stock.

Aim for keywords of two or three words, and include brand names, colours, and your location. A jewellery store keyword list might include high-level keywords like “gold jewellery”, as well as more specific categories like “gold and diamond wedding rings”. As a rule, the more specific the keywords, the closer the visitor is likely to be to buying as they’ve already narrowed down their choices.

Your web analytics software might give you some insights into the terms people are already using to find your web pages. This is not as easy as it was though, as the most common web analytics tool, Google Analytics, has stopped sharing that information. Grrr.

3. Set up your AdWords account

Now you’ve done your homework, head over to and follow the instructions to set up your AdWords account.

If you’ve already got a Google account (like Gmail), you can use that email address and password to sign in. You can also create a separate account if you’d prefer to keep your business and personal activities separate.

4. Set up your first AdWords campaign

Once you’ve signed up and verified your email, you’ll be taken to the “Your first campaign” page.

It’s important to know your goal for the campaign before you start so you can tell if it’s effective. Generating sales is probably the main goal for an online store, but you can use AdWords to bring in just leads or traffic too.

Each AdWords campaign has its own settings that let you define the budget and where want your ads to appear. These settings will apply to all ads within the same campaign.

It’s very easy to set up a campaign – just fill in the fields displayed:


Your budget – this is the most you’re willing to pay per day for traffic to the ads in this campaign. You can change it at any time if you find you’re not getting the results you want.

Locations – these are the geographical places where you want your ads to display.

Networks – these are the online networks where you want your ads to show; Search Network is the default but you can also choose Display Network to have your ad show on Google partner websites too.

Keywords – This is where you list the keywords you want to use to bring traffic to your ads. This field will be pre-filled with suggestions and their approximate search volumes but you can delete the ones you don’t want and add your own. Don’t go mad here, use around 10-20 keywords per campaign to keep it manageable.

Bid – this is the most you want to pay for a click on your ad. You can set your bids for a click manually, or let AdWords do it. When you’re starting out, it may be easier to let AdWords do it for you. If you choose the manual option, enter a default bid as well. This will be the most you want to pay for a click.

Write your ad – this is where you put together your AdWords text ad. There are other types of ad you can make but this is the easiest and most popular.

  • Landing page: this is the actual web page the visitor will land on when they click the ad.
  • Headline: 25 character limit. The headline should be highly relevant to the search query you’re expecting for this ad.
  • Line 1: 35 character limit. Mention your unique value or problem you solve here.
  • Line 2: 35 characters. Continue, and add a call to action here to encourage a click.

Here’s an example of one of our Spiffy Stores text ads.


A word about: relevance

Relevance is the currency of search. It’s the most important aspect of your ads. Clear, persuasive ad text, that’s highly relevant to your keywords and the content of the page it leads to, will get better results. And as AdWords uses both quality (relevance) and bid ($) to determine your ad’s position, you can get a higher position, sometimes at a lower price, with highly relevant keywords and ads.

5. Complete your payment details

As this is your first AdWords campaign, you’ll need to fill out your payment information. Then, once your ad is approved (yes, it has to go through Google’s approval scheme), it will be active. You can ‘deactivate’ it by pausing the ad and it won’t show up in search results.

6. Keep an eye on your AdWords results

AdWords is not a set and forget exercise.

To get the most out of it and not waste money, you’ll need to keep coming back to analyse the results and make any changes that will improve your ads performance. More on how to do that later.

In the second post in this series, we’ll look into some of the ways you can optimise your ad. Stay tuned!