Managing a paid search blog is a bit like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. I never know what I’m going to get when a post lands in my inbox. Several times this year, superficially boring or obvious topics delivered some of the most exciting results. The following are the posts that surprised and excited me the most in 2016, in no particular order.

Mama always said photos of Forrest Gump are protected by copyright. Image via Pexels

The Psychology of Holiday PPC Promos & Why They Fall Flat

by Brittany Blanchard

The fact that everyday ad copy regularly outperforms holiday discounts and promos was quite a surprise to me, but Brittany leverages her background in behavioral economics to break down the consumer psychology that leads to disappointing promos. This post functions as a checklist for any advertisers running promos: if you check any of these boxes, you’d better rethink your promo.

The 5 Best AdWords Scripts – No Coding Required

by Jackie Wolfe

Paid search is a work-intensive occupation: there are always campaigns to optimize, bids to adjust, ads to write, and tests to run. I’m always thrilled to find any tools to automate these processes. The faster I finish the basics, the more time I have for higher-level testing and business strategy. Jackie’s post, our most read of 2016, lists five scripts that make it quick and easy to automate labor-intensive account work or pull highly-relevant account insights.

Is Your PPC Missing Window-Shoppers? The Case for Increasing Bids Before Thanksgiving

by Derek Gerberich

As our in-house stats and numbers expert, Derek used his research skills to identify an increase in paid search “window shoppers,” who search for products but don’t actually buy the week before Thanksgiving. As it happens, the advertisers who increased their bids during window-shopping week saw more robust returns during the holidays. This was some of the most actionable and useful information I received from any source this year.

5 Ways to Battle PPC Competitors

by Adam Edwards

It was tough to choose between this one and a different post on becoming the Steph Curry of paid search, but much like in real life, Steph lost out this year to a superior competitor that hammers the basics, delivers a few surprises, and refuses to quit. Adam, who is a Metric Theory founder, refuses to settle for “there’s nothing we can do about competition.” Instead of “explaining the apocalypse in spiffy Power Point slides,” he suggests five ways to battle any and all competitors. You may not be able to do anything about your competitors’ bids or ad copy, but you can still win by improving your landing page experience, ad messaging, and Quality Score.

Why Objective Testing is Critical for Facebook Ads Success

by Derrick Ly

Choosing the best of Facebook’s 13 campaign objectives can make the difference between success and failure of your marketing efforts. Derrick’s test of three objectives, to determine which would most effectively increase page engagement and clicks to the website during a slow seasonal time, produced some surprising results and helped him refocus his account strategy to increase both engagement and on-site conversions.

What the Google Analytics Data You’re Using Isn’t Telling You

by Barbara Munin

As digital marketers, it’s easy to forget how much we undervalue our marketing initiatives when using the last-click attribution modeling common in AdWords and Google Analytics. Barbara’s post details three easy-to-use GA reports that will give any advertiser a better understanding of the first clicks, last clicks, and other interactions that lead your customers to purchase. If you’re not using these now, add them to your 2017 resolution list.

Google Seller Ratings: A Paid Search Home Run

by Cindy He

We always knew that Google Seller Ratings (the little four-star review extension that shows in ads) help improve CTR, but we never expected it would have such a significant impact on conversion rate as well. Cindy spent several weeks digging into a pile of data to understand what impact these ratings had for her clients, and the resulting conclusion is that seller ratings are, as the title says, a paid search home run.

How to Create Meaning in the Modern Workplace

by Jeff Buenrostro

Not to brag, but Metric Theory was named AdAge’s Best Place to Work in 2015. Our efforts to help our employees find meaning in their work are a major contributing factor to our award-winning company culture and high employee retention. Metric Theory management guru Jeff Buenrostro details how we help our employees find meaning through MT Changemakers, a program that celebrates how employees’ efforts make positive impacts outside our office walls, and how other companies can do the same.

Have a wonderful New Year!