Sean McEntee

August 31, 2015

All Things Tested - 3Q Digital's Sean McEntee

Sean McEntee - 3Q Digital

As the AdBasis team continues through our “All Things Tested” content series, we refocus on the industry in which testing can have the biggest impact, digital advertising. We decided to ask one of the best agencies in the game, 3Q Digital. AdBasis & 3Q have partnered in the ad testing realm to crack eggs of knowledge on the heads of our readers.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Sean McEntee from 3Q and ask him some questions about ad testing, keeping tight ad groups and life in general. When he's not helping innovative companies grow, Sean enjoys traveling, building computers and pretending that this is going to be the year his Cleveland sports teams win a championship.

AdBasis: What advice do you have for companies who are debating whether or not to switch their AdWords account structure the Single Keyword Ad Groups? Why is this such a game-changer?

Sean McEntee: I would recommend that they test a campaign with their top performing, exact match keywords all in Single Keyword Ad Groups. The biggest benefit you are going to get is that you can custom tailor ad copy and landing pages to be specific to that exact query, not just themes of similar keywords, but the query exactly as it comes through on the search engine.

If you are focused on getting as much performance as possible out of your top keywords, there is no better way to structure. If you are using any type of bidding algorithm (Conversion Optimizer, Marin Portfolios) single keyword ad groups allow complete control over the bids on that particular keyword. Often times with these bidding algorithms you will see unproven or low traffic keyword bids get reduced to nothing when in an adgroup with too many other keywords.

What challenges does the Single Keyword Ad Group Structure pose for SEM Managers?

Single keyword ad groups means more ad groups in the account. If your account is big enough this could mean actual size implications taking a toll on Google's servers, but for the majority of accounts this shouldn't be a concern. The biggest challenge SKAGs present is the additional time it takes to build/manage. The goal is customize creative language to cater to the keyword rather than the theme, and this takes more time to build out for each individual keyword. A solution here is using dynamic keyword or query insertion where possible.

A recurring theme in your optimization techniques has to do with device. Why is ad testing by device so important?

Ad testing by device is essential because we've seen mobile traffic surpass desktop. It's important to consider what type of device someone is on when targeting them with a certain ad. Think about the experience they are going to get when they land on your website. A lot of times users assume a poor mobile/tablet experience so it helps to speak to a good experience in your ads!

What are some of the most interesting findings you've discovered on behalf of your clients through ad testing? Something you think people aren't currently doing.

Differentiate from competitors in a relatable way. I've got a client that offers a Netflix-esque subscription service for non-fiction and educational documentaries and tested the Headline "Tired of Reality TV?" and it resonates extremely well with those who click our ad. We saw a lift in CTR and CVR. Their competitors are known to have strayed from real educational content in favor of ratings-friendly "reality science" shows and we are able to capture the audience that they have turned away as a result.

For someone who's thinking about running their first advanced ad test, what should their approach be? What is something they can implement right off the bat? (whether or not they use AdBasis)

Think about a common theme between your top performing keywords. Testing a theory that applies to all keywords within a theme for your first test will allow you to make a bigger impact right away than testing individual keywords one by one. One test I like to try for all clients is testing mobile specific copy for all mobile ads. Make it clear to the searcher that the action you want them to perform on the site can be done on mobile "sign up on your phone!", "buy on mobile" etc.


Thank you for reading. We hope you enjoyed Sean’s thoughts. To read a little bit more about 3Q Digital and the services they provide, please read below.

About 3Q Digital:

3Q Digital is a fully integrated digital marketing agency based in Silicon Valley, with offices in downtown San Francisco, Chicago, San Diego, and Burlington (VT). They offer full marketing services including SEM, SEO, social advertising, display, mobile advertising, and analytics. They work with the fastest-growing B2C, B2B, ecommerce, and lead gen clients in the U.S.

3Q Digital began as an SEM agency in 2008 but grew quickly thanks to client and network referrals. They ranked #14 on AdAge's Best Places to Work 2014.

For more information on 3Q Digital visit:

Have a question for us? We'd love to hear from you!

comments powered by Disqus


Popular Articles

Understanding Conversion Layers and Executing Ad Experiments

August, 14th 2014 - Optimization

3 Steps for Building a Paid Acquisition A/B Testing Plan

October, 15th 2015 - Optimization

All Things Tested - 3Q Digital's Sean McEntee

August, 31st 2015 - "All Things Tested"