How intent is redefining the marketing funnel

My Post11.jpgForget everything you know about the marketing funnel.

Today, people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase. They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments. People turn to their devices to get immediate answers. And every time they do, they are expressing intent and reshaping the traditional marketing funnel along the way.

 

So how has the marketing funnel changed exactly? In the last six months, Google looked at thousands of users’ clickstream data as part of an opt-in panel. And we found that no two customer journeys are exactly alike. In fact, even within the same category, journeys take multiple shapes.

Researching the best brands — and beyond

For some people, research is paramount — and their journey widens and narrows as they not only consider multiple brands but entire categories. Jill turns to search to first learn about hypoallergenic makeup. And though she eventually narrows her search to a brand, her journey doesn’t stop there. It widens and narrows a few times, as she considers a few other brands before ultimately heading in-store to purchase. – read more

Landing Page Essentials: A Free Video Crash Course from Unbounce and Skillshare

My Post9.jpgEver heard the saying “Cart before the horse”? Or “You have to crawl before you can walk”? Or “You can’t put lipstick on a landing page with 27 links”?

That last one may be exclusive to landing page software employees, but the sentiment is the same. Unless the foundation of your landing page is strong, any optimization beyond that will be a waste of your time—and ad spend. Because even the slickest, fanciest landing page will leak precious conversions if it lacks certain crucial elements.

For the sake of those ad dollars, let’s go back to basics.

In collaboration with our friends (and customers!) at Skillshare, we’ve created a free video crash course on the fundamentals of a high-converting landing page. Whether you’re building your first page or just want a refresher, you’ll get a checklist to set up each of your pages for success.  – read more

Smart bidding to be used for search partners

My Post8.jpgSearch partners are sites that partner with Google to show ads on search result pages, site directory pages or on other pages related to a person’s search.

Smart pricing has historically powered manual bids for search partners. In the future, Smart Bidding may be used for search partner sites if you have conversion tracking in place. Smart Bidding can provide better performance by using a wider range of contextual signals to optimise bids for each and every auction.

Smart Bidding will aim to maximise conversions on search partners at a similar cost per conversion as Google Search. For example, if you have a £50 cost per conversion on Google Search but lower conversion rates on partner sites, then Smart Bidding may set lower bids to help achieve a £50 cost per conversion. Alternatively, if you get a better conversion rate from a search partner site, Smart Bidding may raise your bid to help you get more traffic and conversions from that site at the £50 cost per conversion you receive on Google Search. – read more

Website redesign mistakes that destroy SEO

My Post7.jpgTo keep up with user preferences, you have to redesign your website now and then. Learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls when you do.

Redesigning a website, whether it’s your own or a client’s, is an essential part of marketing today. It’s essential because technology, trends, and the expectations of users change over time, and if we want to remain competitive, we must keep pace with these changes.

But this task, while essential, also presents certain risks from an SEO perspective. A number of things can go wrong during the process. These issues can potentially cause search engines to no longer view that website as the authoritative answer to relevant queries. In some cases, certain mistakes can even result in penalties.

No one wants that.

So in this article, we’re going to explore some of the common web design mistakes that can destroy SEO. Knowing the potential risks may help you avoid making the kind of mistakes that tank your organic search traffic.

Leaving the development environment crawlable / indexable

People handle development environments in a lot of different ways. Most simply set up a subfolder under their domain. Some may create a domain strictly for development. Then there are those who take the kind of precautions to hide their development environment that would give a CIA agent a warm fuzzy feeling in that empty spot where their heart should be.

I tend to fall into the latter category.

Search engines are generally going to follow links and index the content they find along the way — sometimes even when you explicitly tell them not to. That creates problems because they could index two versions of the same website, potentially causing issues with both content and links.

Because of that, I place as many roadblocks as possible in the way of search engines trying to access my development environment. – Read more

Google Ads – New predefined landing page reports

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There are two new predefined reports coming to the Report Editor: landing pages report and expanded landing pages report.

Both reports have been available in the “Landing pages” page. However, soon you’ll be able to easily manipulate and chart them in the Report Editor, as well as add them to your custom dashboards.

The landing pages report is an improved version of the final URL report, as it contains additional columns:

  • Mobile speed score
  • Mobile-friendly click rate
  • Valid AMP click rate

The expanded landing pages report includes all the same columns as the landing pages report, but also shows the URL users reach after contextual substitutions have been made and custom parameters have been added.

You’ll be able to easily engage with all of your landing page performance data through multi-dimensional tables and charts. For example, you can create a pie chart for conversions segmented by expanded landing pages or landing pages. – read more

Explore product search trends with Shopping Insights

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With the world of commerce at their fingertips, consumers are more curious, more demanding and more impatient than ever before.

As a result, retailers have to anticipate customers’ needs in order to provide the products they’re looking for and plan marketing strategies. In a recent study, we learned that 84 percent of Americans are shopping in any given 48-hour period, in up to six different categories. Whether they’re looking up designer sneakers or DSLR cameras, Google is the first place they go to discover a new brand or product.

Starting today, a new version of our Shopping Insights tool can help you uncover which products and brands are popular, trending up or down, and how these insights vary by regions in the U.S. This new version includes data for more than 55,000 products and 45,000 brands—significantly increasing coverage over the previous version—as well as nearly 5,000 categories. It’s a free tool, available to everyone, that can help you follow trends in your categories.

In addition to more data, we’ve also added several key features to help you inform your strategies.

Compare the popularity of a brand within searches for a category

Nearly nine out of 10 smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online. That’s a huge number of consumers looking to uncover new brands and products. With this new feature, retailers can track the relative popularity of various brands within a category and adjust their strategies accordingly.

For example, the most-searched backpack brands of last 12 months were JanSport, Fjällräven and The North Face, classic brands that have been around for at least 50 years. Searches for the category and all three brands peaked during back-to-school season in 2018, and saw slight growth during the holiday season. – read more

4 steps to finding a true human insight about your audience

Data is important. It can tell you a lot about your target audience, like demographics (18- to 24-year-old urbanites), habits (Gen Z uses social media an average of X times a day), and trends (mobile payments have risen X%).

However, there’s a side of your audience that data alone can’t tap into: what exactly makes human beings, well, human. People in your target audience have desires, wants, needs, fears, emotions, and ideas that can’t be measured with numbers and stats.

By exploring this side of your audience, you can discover a human insight, or a fundamental truth that’s motivating people’s behavior. This insight can help you create and market products and services that fulfill your audience’s needs and desires, and fit into their lives.

Here are four steps you can take to find a genuine human insight and shape your audience strategy.

Step 1: Create an audience sample

Even the narrowest target audience can include different types of people, with each group having its own desires, needs, and emotions. And there’s simply no such thing as a one-size-fits-all human insight.

The first thing you should do is divide your audience into segments and choose one to focus on. For example, a laundry detergent brand could segment its customers into parents, college students, and single city-dwellers, and decide to focus on the parent segment first.

Find a selection of people who represent your segment, called a sample audience. This should include at least 15 people who cover a broad spectrum of your customer segment. The detergent brand might include parents of babies, pre-teens, and teenagers.

Add some “wild cards” in there, too (like a parent whose 30-year-old son has moved back home or a parent with 10 children). They might reveal new ways to use your product or tell you why they won’t use it. – Read more

Understanding The Diversification Of Google Search Results

My Post.jpgIn a 2008 blog post by Moz’s co-founder Rand Fishkin, I read about the diversification of search results regarding their subject area. And today, Google has only expanded its diversification efforts.

It doesn’t matter where you currently are, if you type the word “veterinarian,” “lawyer” or “mechanic” into the search engine — especially when you add a city to the search term (e.g., “New York City Veterinarian,” “Los Angeles lawyer” or “Prague mechanic”) — you will not get links to the websites of the 10 best veterinary clinics, law firms or car repair shops in a given city. Instead, you’ll see results such as Google Maps listings and some business cards pinned to given locations, catalogs of the institutions you’re searching, encyclopedic references or cross-references to various forums where users ask for a particular service in their city.

By diversifying the results, Google increases the chance that you will find what you need, even though you asked for it in general terms.

Responsible For This State Of Affairs Is What I Call ‘Google Results Diversity’

From my perspective, diversification most likely occurs when Google spits out thematically unified search results because it’s not able to respond perfectly to a user’s queries.

In 2014, Google began using featured snippets (extended descriptions of websites) as one of its tactics for search results ranking. Featured snippets were supposed to help display the best answers to users’ inquiries, pulled directly from the specific websites. After an affair with numerous cases of promoting false or inappropriate content (e.g., “women were evil”), Google started working on increasing the number of responses to search results, calling them diverse perspectives.

And in its next step — direct answer — the company has accelerated the delivery of the results one expects, showing an answer at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), similar to the way a voice assistant might provide an answer. – Read More

Beyond the traditional marketing funnel — a new formula for growth

My Post1.jpgGoogle’s President of the Americas Allan Thygesen explains how intent-rich moments are altering the shape of the marketing funnel.

Marketing has always been about driving growth. And the formula for how to drive growth in today’s market has changed.

As marketers, we were taught to master the funnel — a linear customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase. And using mass media, the key levers to drive growth were reach and frequency. We used demographics to approximate user intent and inform our targeting and creative.

But this model no longer applies to today’s customer journeys. In the last six months, Google looked at thousands of users’ clickstream data from a third-party opt-in panel. We found that no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more. Digital technology and mobile devices have put people in control. We all now expect an immediate answer in the moments we want to know, go, do, and buy. And all of these intent-rich moments are creating journey shapes as unique as each of us. In many ways, intent is redefining the marketing funnel.

Let me explain. Take the example of Jill, a 25-year-old from Tennessee. She’s shopping for some new makeup after learning from a friend that the products she’s been using for years may be irritating her sensitive skin.

 

Her journey starts off with a flurry of Google searches where she learns that she needs hypoallergenic and aluminum-free products. Then, she quickly narrows her search to a handful of promising brands. Pretty predictable funnel-type behavior, right?

Not quite. She then broadens her search again by looking for “makeup brands without aluminum.” We see Jill’s consideration set expand and narrow several times as she researches brands on Google and watches YouTube videos over the next two months — yes, two months. She’s more undecided than ever.

Jill explored a number of retailers and brand websites over this time period, but ultimately it was Ulta Beauty’s loyalty program “Ultamate Rewards” that won her over. Results from searches for that retailer’s “rewards” and “rewards birthday gift” seal the deal. Her next move? A search for that retailer’s locations. – Read more

Measuring Ad Viewability

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Just because your ad is served on the web or in an app, doesn’t mean it will be seen. Viewability tells you whether an ad had the chance to be seen or not.

What is viewability?

Viewability is a measure of whether or not an ad had a chance to be seen by a user. It helps marketers by providing metrics on the number of times their ads actually appear in front of users.

So why does this matter? If an ad isn’t seen, it can’t have an impact, change perception, or build brand trust. Viewability helps marketers understand campaign effectiveness and allows advertising spend to be allocated to the most valuable media.

56.1% of all ads are not viewable56.1%

Measuring viewability for your ads

What is Active View?

Now that you know more about viewability and its importance to your media plan, how can you measure it?

Google offers Active View — a free, transparent, and effortless solution, accredited by the Media Rating Council, that measures viewable display and video impressions across the web and in apps. Active View is integrated into all of Google’s advertising products, and measures in real time, on an impression-by-impression basis, whether or not an ad was viewable. Each impression is directly measured. No sampling. No extrapolating. – Read more