No Industry Is Exempt From the Impact of Coronavirus

My Post (13).pngIt would be nearly impossible to name an industry not affected by COVID-19, positively and negatively. Some currently surviving, with regards to increases in traffic, are industries like gaming/gambling, media, and other streaming platforms. On the other hand, there are many industries struggling at the moment with a significant impact on traffic and demand for their services, such as the housing industry, hospitality, and some B2B technologies.

So, what can these industries do to keep their experimentation program up and running?

Influx of New Users
With the high influx of new users, it is a good chance to optimize your onboarding flow. You might not know much about the behavior of these new users, however, the increase in traffic allows you to experiment on what works and what does not work for them when it comes to onboarding.

  • Form optimization through shortening, pre-filling, or utilizing login with third parties like Google can all be explored to ensure you are capturing the new users
  • Onboarding funnel steps can be explored by testing the length, order, number of steps vs one continuous form as well as progression

Creating Urgency through Gating
If your site is struggling with a large influx of visitors and might not be able to cope with this increase in traffic, one option to explore through experimentation is gating your site. This could be in the form of creating a landing page where people need to sign up and will be informed when they will have access or could be a live ticker on the site telling them which position they are in (like a queue in the store).

Extending free trial or subscription timeframes
If your users signed up for a free trial before the crisis hit, maybe they currently cannot use your service to the fullest extent because you had to limit your operations. For example, sports games may have been canceled which means your users can no longer submit a sports bet, it might be worth considering to see the impact of extending the free trial period or offering an additional month of a subscription for free. With a simple test, you can see if your user base would respond to this positively. – Read more

PPC Things Happen. React Wisely.

My Post (10).pngThere will be times when your business or clients will be affected by seasonality or current events. When these situations happen it’s important to take immediate action to limit any negative impact. Below are three quick actions I take whenever large events occur that affect account performance.

1. Reassess your budgets and creative

Typically, when current events or seasonality impact my accounts, budgets are lowered anywhere from 20-60% to curb loss in performance and prevent ads from showing in less than favorable searches or content. This also allows you time to think up a game plan on how you want to approach the current situation. Be sure to discuss any budget decreases with your clients ahead of time in case there’s a piece of data you might be missing. For example, with current events we’ve seen many businesses start to lose revenue, however, if you’re in Finance you might have seen an uptick of people who need advice on what to do with their money.

Now is the time to audit your creative to ensure it’s sensitive to current events and to increase visibility to your services to acclimate to current circumstances. Do you have drive-up pick up, free delivery, virtual tours or Facetime consultations? Add these offers in your copy and ad extensions to keep users interested.

2. Use Google Trends

Google Trends is an excellent tool to gain an understanding of the popularity of your keywords or topics. Here’s a link to get a further understanding of how this tool works. What’s cool about this tool is it can be used if search trends outside of the US and for different languages. I usually look at the last 7 days to get the most recent data and type in my high performing keywords. In this example, I’ll use an open-ended keyword like “flights to”. – Read more

How to Update Google My Business Hours for COVID-19: 3 Options

My Post (9).pngAre you prepared for Covid-19? While CoronaVirus has taken on a life of its own, you should always have a plan in place to update your business hours due to any disaster.

Here are three ways that you can update your Google My Business (GMB) my hours. If your business will be or is closed — you have several options and things to consider.

1. Google Recently Rolled Out the Temporarily Closed Label

You will need to contact GMB support and have them mark your listing as temporarily closed. While this is Google’s preferred method, I don’t recommend it.

GMB support is short-staffed at the moment, so you should expect a delay in getting help. While this is fine, if you have one location, it is not ideal if you have or manage more than 10 locations. You also will need to contact support again once your business reopens.

You may experience another delay in getting back in contact with support. While the business is marked as closed, you won’t be able to receive any new reviews, and you won’t show up in the local finder. I honestly don’t know how is this is ideal for businesses or users.

If the Temporarily Closed feature becomes available in the dashboard, I still wouldn’t recommend it. It appears that Google has made some changes this week. The Temporarily closed listings are not showing in the map pack and but will now show in the local finder. It appears that their ranking may be diminished below locations that were not marked as temporarily closed or are missing hours.

2. Mark Your Business as Permanently Closed

You will still be able to manage your listing while it is marked as closed. You again will not be able to receive new reviews either.

3. Holiday Hours

GMB allows you to use holiday hours for special hours. I added two weeks’ worth of holiday hours to mark a preschool as closed. I also followed it up by creating an event Google post. – Read more

Has COVID-19 Affected Your PPC Accounts?

My Post (7).pngA look at current and expected trends in PPC amidst the global virus outbreak.

Nearly all businesses have been impacted in some way by the coronavirus and the PPC world is no exception. Unless your business is lucky enough to be selling hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper, or even vodka…the impact on your PPC account is likely not positive.

With that, let’s take a look at some trends we have already started to see in PPC and what we can expect to see over the next few weeks and months.

Virus Search Trends

While we’ve seen global epidemics in previous years, none have caught as much attention as Coronavirus has.  Swine Flu and Zika Virus outbreaks caused ripples worldwide in 2009 and 2016, but caused little impact across the search world. Ebola, which had a 40% death rate, saw a sudden spike in interest in 2014. However, Coronavirus, which has a substantially lower death rate of 2%, has seen a shockingly rapid and large increase in search interest.

Previous epidemic search interest trends
Previous Epidemic Search Interest Trends

While we are arguably at the peak of interest in the virus, we are likely to continue to see high levels of interest over the coming weeks – rather than rapid decreases in interest as we saw with the other epidemics. These interest levels are likely to vary by location, depending on where the virus spreads next.  Be on the lookout for tremors in performance, even after when it looks like the worst has passed.

News Effects on Performance

These tremors and even overall interest levels are largely impacted by the media, particularly in the travel industry. Below is a graph of day over day Google Search performance since the beginning of January for a client in the travel industry. Overlaid on the chart, are release dates of major news headlines on COVID-19. – Read more

8 tips for getting it done when working from home

My Post (6).pngWith many businesses considering how best to keep teams connected when not everyone can be in the same location, we’ve been asked by a number of our customers for recommendations for staying productive and on task. Here are some best practices for fostering collaboration when your teams find themselves working remotely.

Set up your team for remote work

Make sure your team has the right tools and processes set up before you transition from working at the office to working from home. Once they’re set up, here are a few extra steps you can take in advance:

1. Create a team alias to easily stay in touch. An email list that includes all your team members lets you quickly share information, and a chat room can be used for faster-moving discussions.

2. Check sharing permissions on important documents so collaborators can edit and comment as needed. You might even consider creating a shared drive where your team can store, search, and access files from any device.

3. Schedule meetings now so you can stay in contact later. Set up calendar invites, create an agenda ahead of time, and attach relevant docs to the invite. It’s also a good idea to make sure everyone is familiar with video conferencing.

Keep your team connected and organized each day

Now that your team is set up and everyone’s ready to work from home, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page. Now that your team is set up and ready to work from home, here are some ways to keep everyone on the same page.

4. Hold daily meetings to stay connected with your co-workers. Working at home can be isolating for some, and video conferencing is a great way to keep people engaged. Try to be visible on camera when appropriate, present relevant content, and ask questions to spark conversations. When time zones prevent everyone from joining a meeting, record it—after making sure that participants feel comfortable being recorded!

5. Share goals and updates regularly. Whether it’s through a chat group or in a shared document that everyone updates,  a record of what’s being accomplished is a great way to feel connected, keep everyone up to date, and follow-up on action items. You can also set up an internal site to consolidate important information and resources into a central hub for your team, or to share information with your organization more broadly.

6. Continue to practice good workplace etiquette. Just because your team isn’t at the office doesn’t mean they’re not busy. Check calendars before scheduling meetings, and when you reach out via chat, start by asking if it’s a good time to talk. You can also proactively inform your co-workers of your own availability by setting up working hours in Calendar. That way, if a team member tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of your working hours, they’ll receive a warning notification. – Read more

Make “work from home” work for you

My Post - 2020-03-27T124131.212.pngIn my job at Google, I advise people on how to use their time as efficiently as possible. When working from home, my productivity strategies are even more important because I don’t have the ordinary structure of a day at the office, like commuting to work, walking to meetings, or running into coworkers. When your house becomes your office, you need to learn a whole new routine.

Getting work done when your teammates aren’t physically with you has been the norm at Google for a while (in fact 39 percent of meetings at Google involve employees from two or more cities). But it might not be for everyone, and many people around the world are now finding themselves in new work situations. So I put together some of my go-to productivity tips—no matter where you’re working—and a few things I’ve learned about how to get it all done from home.

Designate your “spot” where you work (and where you don’t)

It’s easy to pull your computer up to your kitchen table or plop on the couch and start working. But a consistent room, spot, desk or chair that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot (smells, sights and sounds) with getting work done. Put up some things you had at your desk, like pictures of your friends or family. Get a new mousepad you love. Stock your go-to snacks on a little shelf. And just as important as creating your “work spot” is determining the areas where you don’t work. Maybe you never bring your computer upstairs or into your bedroom. This helps create mental distance and allows you to relax often even though your work is at home with you.

Use Hangouts Meet like a pro.

You’ll probably be spending more time on video chat—in our case, Hangouts Meet. Here are a few tricks for Meet at home: lower your video quality when you’re experiencing bandwidth restrictions or delays, dial into a video call but get audio through your phone, and caption your meetings to make sure everyone can follow. If you’re needing some (virtual) human interaction, set up an agenda-less video chat with your team or friends in the office—it’s not a formal meeting, just time to chat and check in with each other.

Practice “one tab working.”

If you don’t have a large monitor or your usual screen setup at home, it’s even more important to focus on one Chrome tab at a time. If you’re on a video call from your laptop, minimize all other tabs and focus on the conversation—just like you would put away your phone or close your laptop in a meeting to stay engaged.

Act the part.

Resist the urge to wake up and start working in bed—it doesn’t help your brain get in the “mood” of being productive. Stick to your usual routines like waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, then “commuting” to your new work space. Staying in your pajamas, while comfortable, will make you feel less like it’s a regular workday and make it harder to get things done. – Read more

E-commerce ad spend doubled as social distancing behavior took hold

My Post - 2020-03-23T164316.269.pngWill the pace continue amid supply chain challenges?

New data shows that e-commerce sites doubled their advertising spend between mid-February and the second week of March, as social distancing started to become the new norm for consumers.

Multi-channel ad spend. E-commerce ad spending jumped from $4.8 million the week of February 17 to $9.6 million the week of March 9. The data, released by media sales intelligence firm MediaRadar on Friday, encompasses advertising spend across national TV, print and digital media, including websites, Snapchat, YouTube and podcasts.

Why we care. Earlier data from Quantum Metric indicated that e-commerce sales for retailers that also have brick and mortar locations ” saw an average revenue weekly growth rate increase of 52% and an 8.8% increase in conversion rates” between January 1 and February 29. Many merchants have reported e-commerce sales exceeding rates of Black Friday and Cyber Monday levels.

This unplanned spike has caused supply and fulfillment challenges. Chinese manufacturing plants are just now getting back to full capacity after being offline since mid-January. – Read more

Getting Ahead of the Voice Search Revolution

My Post - 2020-03-17T183618.469.pngNew year, new client goals…and the voice search revolution is picking up its stride. Smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home assistant are seeing an increase in usage, while almost every smartphone is equipped with at least one voice assistant. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are improving, with algorithms evolving to recognize more specific questions and phrases each year.

Studies show that by 2020 (this year!) 50% of all internet searches will be done by voice. So what does this mean for the digital marketing world? Are my accounts going to be completely turned upside down? More and more, voice search queries are popping up in my client accounts during my search query reports.

Voice Search vs. Search Query

It is very important to note the difference between a voice search and a search query – you don’t treat the two the same when writing ad copy and selecting keywords. The main difference between a search query and voice search is the context of the search itself.

Search queries are typically shorter, using fewer words since a person has to manually type their query into a web browser. Voice searches are conversational – since the user doesn’t have to exert the effort to type out their query, the searches are typically longer and posed in a question. It is more natural because when speaking, you wouldn’t just ask a person “pizza near me” – you would ask them a full question. For example:

Search Query: pizza near me

Voice Search: “Siri, where is the nearest pizza place?”

Localized Searches

If there is one type of business that has been benefiting the most from voice search, it’s local businesses. Searches for “Near Me” have increased dramatically over the past few years. This is an amazing opportunity to capitalize on the voice search boom – but only if you’re prepared. Reputation online and in-person is make or break with local businesses. There’s nothing worse than looking up a business and not seeing their hours, that their website is slow and out-of-date information, or there are no reviews listed. Make sure that your website, ads, and extensions all are up-to-date dates and current, relevant information, remove duplicate pages from your website, ensure that your website security is in order, and that old information, operating hours, and contact information is either removed or updated. Check these data sources to make sure that your business is optimized and correctly updated: Google My Business, Apple Maps, Yelp, and Bing. – Read more

Get To Know About Several Ways To Reduce Adwords Cost

My Post - 2020-03-17T182326.406.pngAdWords permits you to make promotions and afterward place them before the opportune individuals in a simple and direct manner known as catchphrase based publicizing. When you recognize what catchphrase is generally significant to your business, you are prepared to make an advertisement and begin with AdWords cost per click publicizing. An expense for every snap advertisement implies that you pay for a promotion in the event that somebody taps on it-else, it doesn’t cost you anything by any means.

A few specialists will say that the most ideal approach to streamline your battles is to offered on high measures of catchphrases in the want to get numerous snaps. This is an absolutely bogus bearing and will break your spending limit.

Several ways to reduce your AdWords cost

There are a few different ways to build how well you do right now publicizing model, and there are a few things that you should remember when you begin. This cost begins with the advertisement itself. After you have made the advertisement as you might want for it to show up, you will at that point need to choose the amount you are eager to pay for each time that the promotion is activated or the most extreme expense per click. On the off chance that you set the most extreme CPC rate too high you will reliably go over spending plan without expanding your traffic enough to be justified, despite all the trouble or more regrettable, you will go through cash for zero return by any stretch of the imagination. – Read more

Working from home? 4 tips for staying productive

My Post - 2020-03-17T180227.430.pngCOVID-19 has led many companies to recommend that employees work from home. For many, remote work is a new reality and one that takes some getting used to. Below are a few tips for working remotely from Google’s Primer team to help you make the most out of the situation. A version of this tutorial originally appeared in the free Primer app.

Whether it’s done by choice or by necessity, working from home has its benefits, like avoiding your daily commute. But it also means it’s up to you to motivate yourself and get as much out of your time as you would in an office setting.

To help, here are four tips to keep yourself accountable, collaborative, and productive as you work from home.

Establishing a designated workspace can help tell your brain you’re in the place where you do work productively.

Tip 1: Create “work” triggers for your brain

When you work in an office, the daily routine of getting ready and commuting helps your brain get ready for the day. When you’re working remotely, you can create “start the day” triggers that get your head ready for work in a similar way, like exercising, reading the news, or making coffee.

A workspace may also be key. If you can sit down and be productive anywhere, that’s great. If you need more structure, establishing a designated workspace — whether it’s a separate room, a fully stocked desk, or just a clean part of your kitchen table — can help tell your brain you’re in the place where you do work productively and without distraction.

About distractions: They’re one of the biggest challenges of working remotely. To keep your brain in the right mode, avoid doing nonwork tasks during your work time. For example, schedule a separate time to do laundry instead of tackling it while you’re finishing a work presentation.

Tip 2: Stay motivated with a list

A simple to-do list can do wonders for keeping you both organized, motivated, and productive as you work from home. As you create your list, think about big, long-term goals, like finishing a project, as well as small goals, like completing tasks that lead to that big goal. Checking off those smaller goals lets you know you’re making progress, which gives you positive reinforcement throughout your day. And work feels much more doable when it’s not all one giant task.

Write or type out your list instead of just having it in your head. You won’t have to devote headspace to constantly remembering what you have to do, and the pleasure of crossing tasks off your list can help you stay motivated. – Read more