What Is Geofencing? Everything You Need to Know About Location-Based Marketing

My Post - 2020-01-22T113525.623.pngWith the growth of mobile phone usage (worldwide penetration is expected to reach 63.4 percent by the end of 2019), mobile marketing has been growing by leaps and bounds.
More recently, marketers have taken full advantage of its capabilities with geofencing, an incredibly powerful way to harness the power of location based marketing.

While using geofencing for advertising is not a new concept, nor is it simply limited to mobile (more on that later), its popularity has grown along with the rise of smartphone users. (It’s estimated that are more than 5 billion smartphone users today.)

What Exactly is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software program uses radio frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi, GPS, or cellular data to trigger a targeted marketing action (such as a text, email, social media advertisement, app notification) when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits a virtual geographic boundary, known as a geofence.

A simple example of geofencing is when a young woman walks near a Sephora retailer at the mall and receives an app notification that says: “Today only! Buy 1 lipstick, get 1 free!”

You can track a consumer’s location through GPS, Bluetooth, and beacons, and there are three ways to utilize this technology for targeting consumers: geotargeting, geofencing and beaconing.

Whereas geofencing is focused on delivering targeted advertising to desktop users based on their location, and beaconing is focused on transmitting targeted messages and information to nearby mobile devices, geofencing is focused on the virtual perimeter you build around a specific geographic location to deliver targeted messaging.

There are many types of alerts you can send when a user enters a geofence. The more popular types include text messages, in-app notifications and social media ads.

Geofences can be set up on mobile, tablet, and even desktop devices anywhere in the world. Geofencing can be configured to target a certain place (such as the mall mentioned above), a demographic market area, a business category (e.g., restaurants), a brand location (say, all the Sephoras worldwide), a city, or a state.

Geofencing Statistics
For obvious reasons, geofencing can produce incredible results for marketers looking to roll out hyper-targeted, location-based marketing. But don’t just take our word for it:

  • Mobile ads with geofencing have double the click-through rate.
  • Geofencing is compatible with 92% of smartphones.
  • The average consumer spends 5 hours a day on their mobile device.
  • 71% of consumers prefer a personalized ad experience.
  • 3 out of 4 consumers complete an action after receiving a message when approaching a specific location
  • 53% of shoppers visited a retailer after receiving a location-based message

Main Benefits of Geofencing
What is it about geofencing that gets marketer’s excited and how can it help your marketing efforts? Here are the major benefits:

Better Targeting
With the ability to hyper-target prospects you’ll not only be able to reach folks at the right time and at the right place but be able to engage them with messaging that is relevant and timely.

By targeting folks in a specific geographic area, and filtering that area by specific targeting criteria, you’re much more likely to engage your prospects. Using the Sephora example above: a marketer would not send out the “lipstick” messaging to any Jane, Dick or Harry that walked by, rather would have targeted that ad to a specific demographic.

Spend Effectiveness
When your advertising is hyper-targeted, and sent at the right time and right place, your engagement numbers go up. With geofencing, you’re spending marketing dollars on prospects that are most likely to take action, and spending less money on those that are not.

Improved Data Collection
Once geofencing is implemented you’ll get access to a ton of insightful data metrics such as insights on which brick and mortars are performing better, which target segment has higher engagement, traffic patterns (when people are in/near your locations), stay durations, and messaging effectiveness.

By combining this collected information with online activity, purchase information and web browsing behaviors a business can improve the user experience, increase engagement, and better understand user behavior. This same information can also be used to target folks who have previously visited certain locations, to create customized follow-up messaging. – Read more

How to Leverage First-Party Data to Boost PPC Performance

My Post - 2020-01-20T171311.896.pngMost experts believe that the future of PPC will revolve around:

  • An expanded use of automation.
  • More advanced audience targeting.

PPC practitioners now have a decreasing amount of control over accounts as Google pushes increased use of automation under their Smart Bidding umbrella.

With greater control of PPC accounts now being handed over to machines to manage, the need to incorporate valuable first-party data to feed machine learning has never been greater.

Here we outline how exactly first-party data can be used to power PPC campaigns and improve results.

What is First-Party Data?

First-party data is the data you’ve collected directly on your own audience. This data is typically collected through marketing activities such as:

  • Events.
  • Email subscriptions.
  • Resource downloads.
  • Form submissions.
  • Any data collected through web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics.

The issue with first-party data is that it’s often spread across disparate platforms and rarely connected and used as a single source of truth.

For example, a company may collect website user behavior data in a web analytics platform and customer data in a CRM system. Very rarely do companies connect these data sources effectively.

As a first step, integrating your key data sources is necessary if you want to use more of that valuable first-party data for PPC optimization.

Luckily, there are some tried and tested methods of linking up CRM data with Google Analytics before feeding this data back into Google Ads for optimization purposes.

1. Integrate Data Sources with Google Analytics

Google Analytics tracks standard online conversion data by default. However, it does not report on:

  • The outcome of a conversation a prospect may have with your sales team, whether a phone call has resulted in a sale.
  • The value of any leads your sales team may convert once an lead has been generated by your website or app.

The kind of data needed for more accurate PPC decision making includes measures such as:

  • The total sale value of all leads generated.
  • Lead to sale conversion rate.
  • Lead scoring data.

The idea here is that this data can then be tracked back to a lead that originated from your website.

Most CRM systems will have the ability to add user ID labels, which is the key to feeding your customer data back into Google Analytics. You can read more about the different options to achieve this here.

By far, the easiest option (that is the option that requires the least manual development input) is leaning on one of the many data connector tools that have pre-built methods of feeding CRM data back into Google Analytics in just a few clicks.

As an example, GA connector works with most major CRM systems including Salesforce and Hubspot to link CRM in to Google Analytics relatively easily.

The result is a set of custom goals that you can use in your Google Ads account based on actions that occur away from your website after an initial conversion has been generated.

How to Leverage First-Party Data to Boost PPC Performance

Of course, you’ll need to ensure that you link your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts to ensure these conversions are accessible in Google Ads before you’re able to use them to influence PPC performance.

2. Set Accurate Targets & Bids

First-party data can be used to set more accurate targets for Google’s machine learning-based bid strategies under their Smart Bidding umbrella.

With mixed results reported so far and paired back controls for PPC practitioners, Smart Bidding has certainly divided opinion across the industry since rolling out.

That said, Google is able to analyze 70 million signals in under 100 milliseconds. So if you feed Google the right data, technically their Smart Bidding software has the ability to outperform even the most advanced account setups and Google Ads script combinations.

As an agency that has invested in testing Smart Bidding heavily in the past year, we at Hallam have achieved the most success for our clients by feeding Smart Bidding with first-party data.

Google offers Smart Bidding strategies including:

To ensure these automated bidding strategies are set up based on accurate targets, you can use first-party data to carry out post-campaign analysis before refining your Smart Bidding targets.

For example, for a fuel card supplier, we can now track lifetime value of a customer based on the number of liters drawn on a fuel card (tracked through a CRM system and fed back into Google Analytics via user ID attribute).

How to Leverage First-Party Data to Boost PPC Performance

Instead of basing CPA / ROAS targets on data reported from standard website conversions, by linking CRM data with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to:

  • Use a similar post-campaign analysis to review performance.
  • Set smart bidding targets at a level that more accurately reflects the impact of PPC activity on a business’s bottom line.

– Read more

Not Using Landing Pages in Your Ecommerce Email Marketing? Here’s Why You Should

My Post - 2020-01-20T124507.628.pngWe’ve all had it happen. You meticulously craft an ecommerce email campaign that’s gonna help you sell a ton of products. You build a beautiful HTML template, write engaging copy, and A/B test your subject line. You implement an obvious and compelling call to action.

And after all that work, the landing page that your email directs folks to has a high bounce rate—or worse, a low conversion rate.

What gives?

It could be that your emails are writing checks your click-through destination can’t cash. If you send out a 15% off promotion for dog treats and link your audience to someplace with no mention of the discount, visitors are gonna be confused—and they’ll lose interest in a hurry.

Bottom line: Failing to match the messaging in your email with the copy and visuals on your landing page will hurt your conversion rate.

Maybe you already know it’s a problem, but you feel like you don’t have the resources to pair all of your offers with campaign-specific pages. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. Here’s why you need to match your emails to your landing pages in your next ecommerce campaign, and how you can do it really, really well.

The Real Reasons Your Email Subscribers Aren’t Buying

Let’s be honest. Sometimes in marketing, you can get away with doing less—and that’s a problem.

Email marketing offers some of the best ROI in the business. When you’ve already got someone’s email address, you can expect them to open 14% of the emails you send, with click-through rates just under 7% overall. Estimates suggest that there’s $44 of revenue generated for every dollar spent on email marketing.

With stats like these, you can just half-butt your ecomm email promotions and still do pretty good, right?

Not exactly. If your emails are paired with landing pages that have high bounce rates or low conversion rates, you’re not just leaving money on the table—you’re also bombarding your potential customers with marketing that just doesn’t resonate.

Here are some of the common reasons email promos underperform:

1. Your storefront product page isn’t enough

Data indicates the average bounce rate is 9%, even with load times of less than two seconds. If you’ve seen higher bounce rates on the destination page of your email promos, it might be that you’re not linking to a relevant enough page in the first place.

Your online store’s product pages are specific no-no’s for this purpose. They’re often short, lack details mentioned in your email, and don’t create a consistent experience from click to click.

2. You’ve got too many escape routes

Another problem with your online store’s product pages is that it’s too easy for customers to get distracted and leave. Think about all of the escape routes: website menus, product navigation, highlighted deals that have nothing to do with your email.

Your ecommerce landing page needs to be built as a distraction-free, conversion-optimized funnel. Always encourage your customers to go forward, not sideways.

3. You’re a victim of the paradox of choice

Even if you cut down on the escape routes, too many options can lead to fewer conversions. As Barry Schwartz explains in his book, The Paradox of Choice: “What we don’t realize is that the very option of being allowed to change our minds seems to increase the chances that we will change our minds.”

The same is true for your visitors. Landing pages with just one call to action have been shown to have 2% higher conversion rates than those with five or more.

4. Your landing page is trying to do too much

When your landing pages are more specific, you can get away with using fewer words. You may also find that it’s better for your conversion rates: landing pages with less copy tend to outperform pages with too much copy at a rate of 14% to 11%. – Read more

The True Definition of Product Landing Pages & Why You Need Them to Generate Conversions

My Post (100).pngPost-click landing pages are versatile. They can be used across industries, teams, and services to convert people on a particular offer.

But their usefulness doesn’t end there. While it’s rarely considered, products need their own landing pages too.

Known as product landing pages, these are the choice of companies that rely on paid advertising. And if you have a product, and you’re advertising without a post-click landing page, you’re leaving revenue on the table.

What is a product landing page?

A product landing page is a post-click page created specifically to convince a visitor to convert on a product-related offer. Design-wise, it’s similar a traditional landing page. It features conversion-centric elements, like a magnetic headline, benefit-oriented copy, hero images, social proof and more, to compel visitors to click the CTA button. The only thing that makes it different from other landing pages is that it is used specifically by companies that sell products.

How are product pages different from product landing pages?

Like product landing pages, product detail pages feature images and details about a product, complete with a call-to-action button. However, they are not designed specifically for conversion.

Example: Insightly CRM product page

product landing page Insightly CRM

It’s clear the goal of this page is to compel visitors to click the call-to-action button “request demo.” It features benefit-oriented copy, a hero shot, an explainer video, etc.

Unlike a true product landing page, though, this page contains a mass of distractions. There are many links the visitor can click to abandon the page: a full navigation menu, links to other products, a footer, social media icons, etc. Each of these links is a potential page exit that competes with the primary call-to-action.

Example: Insightly CRM product landing page

product landing page Insightly CRM

Notice how it has no navigation in the header or links in the content. The only way off the page is through the call-to-action button. The only goal is to convert the visitor on this one product.

Without numerous distractions, this page keeps its visitors focused on evaluating the CRM product. They can’t leave the page to another product page, or the homepage, or about page, or any other page unless it’s through the call-to-action button.

One link off the page, one conversion goal. This is known as maintaining a conversion ratio of 1:1, which is ideal for converting visitors. When it’s out of balance — meaning there are numerous places to click, or several different goals — you get a page like a product page, which isn’t ideal for conversion.

Why both product pages and product landing pages are necessary

Just because they’re designed differently doesn’t mean one of these pages is better than the other. Comparing the two is a little like comparing a blog post to a pricing page. They’re meant for two different purposes, and both are crucial in different areas of your marketing.

The product page

Even if they specialize in one particular product, many companies sell more than one: add-ons, upgrades, alternatives, etc. And the way those products are accessed depends on the customer.

Let’s consider the user experience of a first-time visitor to the Synthesio website:

Synthesio product page

Synthesio provides brands and agencies with social media intelligence products. Through a recommendation from a contact, imagine this prospect has navigated here to evaluate those products. – Read more

The big comings and goings in paid search 2019 that will shape how we market in 2020

My Post (88).pngAutomation, full-funnel campaigns, shoppable ads and privacy fueled PPC changes in 2019.

In 2019, Google shook up mobile search results pages with a redesign that introduced black “Ad” labels to text ads and favicons for organic listings. It also caused a stir in notifying some advertisers it would start handling campaign management for them. Automation continued to be a major theme. This year, it was reflected most prominently in Google’s product announcements aimed at owning the funnel with campaigns that extend across properties. Adjusting to new privacy restrictions and expectations also took on new urgency and will have a significant impact on search marketing in the year to come.

Bing celebrated its first decade. Ten years on, still, Bing’s market share doesn’t rival that of Google and likely never will – but perhaps that’s beside the point now. The newly-branded Microsoft Advertising doesn’t have to carry 90+% of its parent company’s revenues like rivals Facebook and Google’s ad businesses, and it began exhibiting more of an independent streak in 2019 rather than simply aiming to keep up with new Google Ads features (though, it’s still doing that, too).

These were the big things we said goodbye and hello to in paid search this year that will inform our campaigns in 2020.

We said goodbye to:

Average position metric. This old-timer rode off into the late fall sunset. The retirement of average position was more of a process headache than a loss in actionable data. Advertisers had months to shift their bidding strategies, reports and scripts to rely on the new position metrics that Google introduced in late 2018. Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr offered a history of the blurring of average position as an informative metric. The new impression share-based position metrics instead better indicate how often your ads appear above the organic listings.

Microsoft also introduced the new position metrics but said it is holding on to average position reporting. For now, anyway.

Accelerated delivery. Search and Shopping campaigns no longer have the option to have their ads serve as early and often as possible until the day ends or their daily budgets deplete. Accelerated delivery was a fan favorite for Shopping and brand campaigns with uncapped budgets, but Google said many still used it with capped daily budgets and that “this method can increase CPCs due to increased competition early in the day, or unintentionally spend most of your budget in earlier time zones.” Now, campaigns are optimized through standard delivery with Google’s algorithms based on the campaign’s goal, bidding strategy as well as contextual signals. – Read more

3 Free Tools to Help Investigate & Fix PPC Account Performance Changes

My Post (79).pngFiguring out why the performance of a PPC account has changed can be one of the most time-consuming tasks in PPC.

Not only is it a big time drain, but it’s also often associated with a fire drill, done at the urgent request of a boss or client who is demanding answers after something didn’t go as planned.

I’ll cover how a typical investigation is done and share free tools and scripts that can help speed up this process.

Of particular interest is Google’s just-announced ‘Explanations’ feature, which can be a great help when trying to find the culprit when things don’t go as planned.

How to Investigate Account Performance Changes

A typical investigation can consume hours if done manually and usually follows these steps:

  • Finding out you have an issue.
  • Determining if the change was across the whole account or mainly due to a few rogue items like some overly broad keywords.
  • Drilling down deeper into the responsible entities.
  • Collating metrics from various sources to understand if the change was due to a change you made, a change in user behavior, or a change by competitors.
  • Fixing the issue.

Step 1: Know You Have an Issue

We’ve all got a lot on our plates. So, chances are, you aren’t logging into all your accounts every hour.

That’s why it’s so important to have good monitoring in place so that you’ll get an alert if something is going on with an account.

If you don’t have good monitoring, rest assured your client will monitor things for you.

But that comes with a downside: they will yell at you

Also, by that point, things may have gone far off track.

So set up some good alerts and spare yourself that trouble.

You’ll look like the PPC rockstar you are if you squash a problem before it gets out of hand.

Step 2: Find the Best Place to Start the Investigation

Once you know that an investigation is needed, it’s time to find out where to start.

A big change in performance can come from the combination of many small changes or from some isolated bigger changes.

1 + 2 + 1 and 0 + 0 + 4 are both 4

It helps focus your effort when you know where the biggest changes appear to have happened.

Notice I use the word “appear” because it is possible that a campaign with no top-level change actually had lots of positive and negative changes that canceled each other out.

The simplest way to go about this step is to rank campaigns by the biggest net change.

This is simple to do.

Turn on the date range comparison feature in Google Ads. Then filter for only campaigns with a minimum level of data and then sort them from biggest to smallest change.

Step 3: Drill Down Deeper into Impacted Ads Entities

Once you’ve identified the campaigns most responsible for the change, repeat step 2 but now by looking at the ad groups with the biggest change in each affected campaign, one at a time.

Then repeat this again for keywords, queries, ads, etc. After doing this you have a list of individual things that you might be able to fix.

For example, you’ll know which keyword had the biggest drop in conversions and be able to fix its issue.

3 Free Tools to Help Investigate & Fix PPC Account Performance Changes

Or you might find that an affected campaign has no keywords of special note and everything declined equally, indicating that the issue may be due to a campaign-level setting such as a budget change.

As you can see, this recursive step can be time consuming for larger accounts.

Step 4: Drill Down into the Metrics

When you’ve found the entities most responsible for a change, be they campaigns, queries, or something else, it’s time to investigate the underlying cause.

Looking at the numbers will help you hone in on the root cause.

3 Free Tools to Help Investigate & Fix PPC Account Performance Changes

This isn’t easy and requires downloading a lot of data (even data from outside Ads, like Google Trends) and combining it in spreadsheets.

While the Google Ads interface shows metrics in a table, there are relationships that are easier to see in a cause chart, which is illustrated in both the above image from Google and the one below from Optmyzr (my company).

3 Free Tools to Help Investigate & Fix PPC Account Performance Changes

For example, a conversion can only happen if you get a click. And a click can only happen if you get an impression, and an impression can only happen if a user searches for your keyword.

Understanding at which stage of these connected metrics things have unraveled will help pinpoint the likely fix.

An advertiser whose conversions have decreased should look at clicks, impressions, average CPC, impression share, etc. to determine what caused the change.

Once you know the lowest level metric that was impacted, you can correlate that with a likely cause and know if the reason is due to something you changed, something a competitor changed, or a change in user behavior. – Read more

4 Lessons We Learned in 2019 (and How Marketers Can Apply Them in 2020)

My Post (51).pngIt’s been a heck of a year, hasn’t it? And it’s not over yet.

Even if you’re still knee-deep in holiday and end-of-year promotions, it makes sense to take time to pause. Now’s the time to reflect on the challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments of 2019—before the crazy starts up again.

With that in mind, we’re revisiting the big lessons drawn from our most popular pieces on digital marketing and landing pages. For each, we’ll talk about how you can best apply these lessons in 2020 and beyond.

Lesson 1: Slow page speed is killing your conversions.

Unbounce predicted that 2019 would be “the year when the difference between fast and slow content becomes the difference between showing up in the search results (whether paid or organic) or disappearing completely.”

In January, we also published Think Fast: The 2019 Page Speed Report to shed some light on how slow loading times are impacting conversion rates. 

We wanted to know where improving page speed was falling in the marketers’ yearly priority lists—as well as what their customers experience (and how they behave) when a website is slow to load.

This research stirred up all kinds of reasons why you definitely need to keep speed in mind when creating landing pages. For instance, Google says 53% of visitors will bounce after three seconds of waiting. But our check-in at the Call to Action Conference in late 2018 revealed that 85% of participants’ pages came in slower than 5 seconds at a 3G connection. (We’re not naming names, but some took more than 20 seconds.)

The survey results also revealed that consumers are pretty frank about the impact that slow ecomm sites can have on their willingness to buy:

Slow load times lead to fewer sales

What surprised us most, however, is that improving load times remains an overlooked way of optimizing the visitor experience. Very few marketers we surveyed identified it as a priority for the year, even though those who did have likely seen the benefits.

What Marketers Can Do in 2020

The thing is, these page speed concerns aren’t going away.

The average time for a web page to load is actually slower at the end of 2019 than it was a year ago. Some marketers have resisted making big improvements to loading times in the hopes that technology will save them (“5G is coming any day now!”). But speed remains a competitive differentiator.

Google hasn’t backed away from forcing the issue, either. They’ve always said that speed matters, but in November, they outlined plans to indicate when a site has been historically slow to load using badges in Chrome: “We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences.”

Chrome testing speed warnings
Source: Google Chromium Blog

All of this adds up to a continued need to boost speed on your landing pages and website. To help, Unbounce’s Garrett Hughes put together a shortlist of page speed fixes (plus a downloadable checklist). And if you want to achieve blazing speeds on mobile devices, you’ll also want to investigate using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) as well. – Read more

3 pitfalls of PPC experiments

My Post (50).pngKnowing what to test and how to interpret the results based on nuances and oddities of experiments is an important skill for people, not automations.

While there are many true-and-tried best practices in search marketing, the devil is in the details when it comes to achieving the best results. For example, it’s hard to argue with the merits of automated bidding but it’s not that hard to get bad results if you deploy it incorrectly.

Say you read that Hertz used smart bidding to reduce their CPA by 35% so you decide to deploy the same strategy in your account. If it were that simple to run a successful Google Ads account, we’d all be out of jobs. Simply knowing what feature to use isn’t enough as you also need to know the right settings that will make it work as well for you as it did for the advertiser in the case study.

And to be the best search marketers we can be, we can’t simply look at what other advertisers did. Instead, we can take hints from others and use it as the basis for honing in on what works for us. We have to discover the details of the right way ourselves.

And that’s why being really good at PPC experimentation is so important. I spoke on this topic at SMX East in the session “Awesome Tests, Profitable Results,” and here are some of the key takeaways.

The three most popular PPC testing methodologies

One of the key claims to fame of search marketing is that it’s more measurable. So whenever we try something new, we better have some numbers to back up our findings so we need to run experiments in a structured manner.

There are three ways we usually see this done.

Before-and-after tests

The simplest way to start a test is to make a change in a live campaign and then compare the results from before and after the change was implemented. The beauty of this method is that you can test anything in your ads account quickly. The downside is that while setup is super quick, measurement takes more effort and you can’t have an apples-to-apples comparison because results may be impacted by external factors that change during the before- and after periods.

How much data to compare

When measuring results, allow enough time to minimize time-based factors. And while I’d love to tell you exactly how much time that is, remember the point that things differ for every advertiser, industry, etc.

But if you want some guidance, at the very least measure one full week before and after to remove the impact of weekday versus weekend performance.

If you are in a vertical where not just the day of the week but also the time of the month plays a role, e.g., in automotive, measure a full month before and after the change. In automotive, the time of the month may impact how aggressive dealers are on price as they try to hit monthly targets and consumers’ willingness to buy fluctuates along with the dates when they get their paychecks.

Lookback windows for bid management changes

Specific to bid management, if you’re using the before-and-after technique to measure impact, remember that your lookback window should be the same as the frequency of your changes. For example, if you make bid changes every day, you can’t look at the last 30 days of performance data because that might include data from 30 different bid levels, one for each day of the lookback period.

Ads experiments

So clearly, a before-and-after testing methodology comes with some serious challenges and that’s why both Microsoft and Google have added features to run better tests in PPC accounts. While it takes a bit more time to set up the experimental campaign with all the changes to be tested, it has the benefit of removing any potential skew in results that’s common in before-and-after tests. It does this by letting the advertiser do a split test, for example, a 50-50 split where half the users are served the control and the other half the experiment.

And not only are the results more reliable, whatever time is invested to set up the experiment is easily recouped because reporting of results is baked into the product. – Read more

3 measurement resolutions all marketers should make for 2020

My Post (47).pngPeople have been making New Year’s resolutions since the time of the ancient Babylonians. Usually those resolutions involve something along the lines of losing weight or saving money.

But for 2020, why not set some achievable goals for your measurement strategy? I have three suggestions to get you started. Accomplishing these goals will bring you professional joy and boost your company’s bottom line.

3 measurement resolutions all marketers should make for 2020

Resolution 1: Provide context for your metrics

We’ve all received one of those self-congratulatory emails from a colleague informing us that their latest ad campaign had 10,000 on-target impressions, or the six-second video they ran had a 60% completion rate.

Whenever I see one, the first thing I ask myself is: What do these numbers even mean? Are they good or bad? Should we be patting ourselves on the back or trying to figure out what went wrong?

That’s why the first measurement resolution I’d like us all to make for 2020 is this: Always provide context for your metrics. There are many strategies you can draw on to do this. The simplest is to use industry benchmarks.

This doesn’t tell us much: Our six-second ad had a 60% completion rate.

This tells us a lot: Our six-second ad had a 60% completion rate; the industry benchmark is 81%.

Ouch. But it’s a good “ouch.” Now, you’ll know you have to dig into your creative to see what could be improved, analyze your targeting strategy to find out what went wrong, and start researching great video ads to see what they have in common. And that will help you improve future performance — all from a tiny bit of context.

Once you have more experience, you can start setting your own goals. If your last email campaign had an average open rate of 20%, you can set a goal of 23%. Now, when you report performance, here’s what you’ll say: “Our average open rate for February 2020 was 25% compared to our goal of 23%.” Data with context — it’ll get you promoted.

Here’s one last favorite piece of context of mine: Cost.

So your fancy, contextually relevant, machine-learning based, dynamic landing pages generated 1.5 million engaged views in a month compared to just 1 million for your old static landing pages. Hurray?

Let’s add context: After factoring in development and maintenance costs, your new dynamic pages have a cost per engaged view of $5 and the old static ones have a cost per engaged view of $1.

That is the magic of context. A little bit of pixie dust that helps us make smarter decisions.

Resolution 2: Stop making common data reporting mistakes

Marketing analysts have to boil down so much complexity into simple stories. That’s why it breaks my heart to see our hard work undercut by common, easily avoidable mistakes.

So let me share my top two most-annoying reporting mistakes. They’re both easily avoidable, so you can keep your 2020 resolution accomplishment rate at 100%.

First, stop reporting percentages alone.

“Our new and improved digital campaign led to a 100% increase in sign-ups.” By itself, that information is almost entirely useless. Did the number of subscribers increase from 100 to 200? Or from 10,000 to 20,000? Slightly different scenarios, right?

Reporting percentages by themselves, without any baselines, is a mistake. At best, it suggests you’re lacking even a basic grasp of data and the role it plays in decision-making. At worst, you look sneaky, as though you’re trying to spin the data to tell a more flattering story.

Instead, marry percentages with the most relevant raw numbers. It is magical.

My second recommendation is to ensure your data reporting doesn’t contain misaligned altitudes. What do I mean by this? Here’s an example. In an analysis someone just sent me, there’s a table of metrics. In the column showing revenue, it has 12.3M, 3.5M, 145K, 2M, 12K, 674K.

Almost every number is expressed using a different altitude. This means the person reading the report will have to do extra work to interpret the data. What you should show is 12.3M, 3.5M, 0.15M, 2.0M, 0.01M, 0.67M.

Everything’s aligned at the same altitude, making the data easier to compare and reducing the processing load.

Here’s another, everyday example of misaligned altitude. We all watch YouTube videos. Check out the numbers for how many people liked or disliked this one, and how those numbers are at misaligned altitudes: – Read more

4 Ways to Prepare for PPC in 2020

My Post (42).pngFor many of us, December is a less busy time of year. People go on vacation and business slows down.

And as with many PPC marketers, I like to use this time to get caught up, regroup, and prepare for the coming year.

You might consider doing the same. Because the strategies you put into place now can continue to pay dividends throughout 2020.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are four suggestions for where to put your efforts.

1. Data Studio

Google’s Data Studio is a way to directly connect your data sources to your reporting.

It was rolled out in 2016. Since then, it’s only gotten better.

Data Studio is a must for marketers.

If you’re still reporting to your clients and/or executives with Excel, this one’s for you!

Not only do these reports look great, but they will also save you a ton of time.

You can customize reports to the interests and preferences of your clients and executives. And when you need to update your data, you can do it in seconds simply by changing the date range.

And because these reports on automated, you also reduce the risk of data entry errors.

Let me give you a couple of examples of how we’ve been using it.

Here, we used Data Studio to highlight leads, costs, CTRs, and impressions:

Google Data Studio Leads Report

Here, we used Data Studio to report on locations and devices:

Google Data Studio Top Locations Report

And here we used Data Studio to report on keywords:

Google Data Studio Keywords

In addition to pulling data from Google Ads, you can also pull metrics from Google Analytics.

You can combine those two sources of data in Data Studio to make one ultra-rich report.

We also use Data Studio as a data dashboard. It’s a quick way for us to check metrics without having to drill down into every account to find what we need.

Fortunately, Data Studio isn’t that complicated to set up. Once you do, you can use it over and over again.

2. Google Ads Scripts

Google Ads scripts have been around for a while. They’re a way to automate common procedures or interact with external data by using JavaScript in a browser-based IDE. (The IDE helps with syntax, highlighting, autocomplete and previewing.)

If the above paragraph made your eyes glaze over, don’t despair.

Many JavaScript-savvy people have written Google Ads scripts that you can use — so you don’t need to write them yourself.

Some scripts to consider are those that check for broken URLs, track quality scores, and identify negative keywords that are blocking ads from previously converting search queries.

Budget tracking scripts also look interesting.

If you’re trying scripts for the first time, start with something easy, such as a “pause or delete keywords with zero impressions” script.

This is a great way to trim excess fat from your accounts on a monthly or quarterly basis and get more comfortable with scripts in general.

Again, not all of these scripts will be useful to you, but it’s worth having a look to see what’s out there. You might find an easy solution to a long-standing challenge.

3. Revisit Audience Opportunities

Google recently rolled out two new audience targeting options:

  • Affinity audiences.
  • In-market seasonal event segments.

Affinity audiences have been available in Display and Video campaigns for years, but now Google is bringing them to Search and YouTube campaigns. (As you may recall, affinity audiences allow you to reach consumers based on a holistic picture of their lifestyle, passion and habits.)

Google brought in-market audiences to Search in 2017. In-market audiences are customers who are actively researching and considering the purchase of services or products similar to yours.

But now, Google is adding seasonal segments, such as Black Friday and Christmas, to Search and YouTube.

If you haven’t ventured into these targeting options yet, this is the perfect time to dip your  toe in. Add them to your accounts in observation mode and see how they perform. – Read more