Four Of The Most Common Attribution Mistakes When Using Google Analytics

My Post - 2019-10-29T141254.359.pngCorrectly implemented, attribution provides us with a window into how our marketing efforts have succeeded or failed.

There are various tools to measure attribution along the customer journey, but the most common attribution tool may be the first line of attribution — Google Analytics.

While the promise of Google Analytics’ insights is great, attribution is only as accurate as your Google Analytics tagging. For Google properties, such as Google Ads, it’s not necessary to manually tag destination URLs because Google automatically tags them. For other platforms, however, tagging is necessary to pass important campaign information from the marketing platform into Google Analytics.

But if the data sent to Google Analytics isn’t accurate, then marketers run the risk of making flawed assumptions based on this data. My team relies on the data we glean from Google Analytics to demonstrate the value of various channels and initiatives. However, we’ve found that nearly every client, from startups to global enterprise companies, has errors with Google Analytics data input, thereby affecting their attribution. These are the four most common errors I encounter that can skew your Google Analytics attribution data.

1. Tag Capitalization Mistakes

Google Analytics tags are case sensitive, meaning that a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) source of “Forbes” is different than “forbes.” While initially, this may not seem like a major issue, it can cause data segmentation and lead to incorrect assumptions about site traffic.

The fix? First, adopt a tagging nomenclature throughout your organization. Ensuring that everyone is using the same tags will reduce errors in reporting.

If you do find errors in your tagging, you can fix them going forward with search and replace filters. However, filters only work for data collected after they’re set.

2. Improper Tagging Within Your Website

Companies often inadvertently overwrite their valuable source and medium data by resetting the UTM source and medium tags when a visitor interacts with various elements on the website. For example, if a marketing team is measuring clicks on a banner graphic, they might reassign the UTM source and medium tags when a visitor clicks on the banner.

However, UTM source and medium tags weren’t designed for this use. A website is essentially a piece of content — it has no source or medium. The source and medium are the marketing channels that brought the visitor there. By reassigning source and medium tags once a visitor arrives at your website, you lose all the valuable information about how a visitor from a particular channel interacted with your website and possibly completed goals after that reassignment. Generally, I advise avoiding UTM tagging of URLs within the same domain. – Read more

Google Ads Rolls Out 2 New Tools for Responsive Search Ads

My Post - 2019-10-25T143131.792.png

Google is introducing two new tools for responsive search ads, which are now available to all advertisers in all languages.

In addition, responsive search ads can now be set up from Google Ads Editor, the Google Ads API, and the mobile app.

The two new tools include:

  • Performance column: Identify the exact creative assets that are driving results in high volume ad groups. Improve “Low” rated assets, keep “Good” performing assets, and emulate the “Best” performing assets.
  • Ad variations: Google Ads’ ad variations now supports responsive search ads, which lets advertisers run their own ad copy tests.

Google recommends getting started by adding at least one responsive search ad and two expanded text ads per group:

“This has proven to help advertisers reach new customers while delivering great results. For example, Trovit used responsive search ads to drive 44% more incremental site traffic, which resulted in 43% more conversions.”

Read more

How to create Google Analytics traffic and conversion rate reports

My Post - 2019-10-23T185014.440.pngGoogle Analytics can provide a wealth of information on how your website’s performance varies depending on what day or time it is.

This can help you spot trends which can be invaluable when deciding how to best to use your budget for activities like pay per click advertising.

The traffic on most websites follows a predictable trend, with the sites of many B2B enjoying most traffic during standard business hours.

Using Google Analytics data to understand how your website performs can help you base your marketing on concrete evidence rather than guesswork.

In this post, I’ll show you how to create a series of reports on your website’s performance trends.

Google Analytics hourly traffic reports

If you know precisely what time of day people shop on your website, you can take this into account when doing marketing activities like sending emails. For example, if your sales peak at lunchtime, you might want to send out special offer emails late in the morning to further incentivise them to shop with you.

Here is how you can create a report on the traffic you get hourly.

In the top right-hand corner, you’ll see the option to choose a date range. A wide range will give you more meaningful results.

You’ll end up with a graph that looks like this. In this example, you can see that traffic peaks at around 8pm for this website. – Read more

Google Ads now showing cart metrics for Shopping campaigns

My Post - 2019-10-23T131630.817.pngSee average cart size, cost of goods sold, gross profit and more for your campaigns.

E-commerce cart conversions columns now in beta in Google Ads

Merchants running Google Ads Shopping campaigns can now see e-commerce cart data in the UI to gain a clearer sense of which products are driving profitable cart transactions.

Why we should care. We are just over a month out from the holiday shopping surge that kicks off with Black Friday. With this data available in Google Ads, merchants can get a better sense of the profitability of their Shopping campaigns and how to optimize for greater gross profit.

The columns are also available at the product-level to provide insights such as which products are most likely to convert, drive higher order values and more. The new reporting will also help you see when products that get clicks lead to sales of other products. This kind of insight could show that seemingly less productive products are actually driving sales of your top sellers, for example.

You can also view this data with dimensions such as device or geographic location to analyze how each affects profitability, cart size and average order value.

What’s new. Merchants capturing cart data with Google Ads conversion tracking will be able to see additional revenue and profitability data attributed down to the product level. The new metrics, currently in beta, take cross-device conversions into account.

The cart data columns are:

  • Orders: Sales attributed to ad clicks.
  • Average cart size: Sum of items in-cart divided by number of orders.
  • Average order value: Revenue from clicks on ads divided by the number of orders attributed to ad clicks.
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS): Total business costs attributed to a product.
  • Revenue: Income from transactions attributed to ad clicks. Calculated as the sum price of items in a cart attributed to an ad click.
  • Gross profit: Total profit from transactions attributed to an ad click. Calculated as Revenue minus COGS.

Read more

Google Ads is Testing New Lead Form Extensions

My Post - 2019-10-23T130432.179.pngGoogle Ads is testing a new way for businesses to capture customer information with lead form extensions.

This new ad extension was spotted by Steven Johns, who notes that he has access to it in his EGO Power+ Austria account:

Steven Johns@stevenjohns21

GOOGLE ADS: *NEW* Lead Form Extensions

Just spotted in my EGO Power+ Austria account. @GinnyMarvin @mattgsouthern

View image on Twitter

In the screenshot shared in the tweet above, you can see how the new ad extension works. It’s designed to attract customers with a compelling call-to-action, in this case a special offer, which can only be accessed after filling out a lead form.

Advertisers can customize lead forms with their own title and description, and indicate which pieces of information they want to ask customers for. Customer information could include any or all of:

  • Customer name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Postcode

Google Ads is Testing New Lead Form Extensions

Read more

Google Ads Improves “By Conversion Time” Reporting With New Columns

My Post - 2019-10-21T151640.968.pngGoogle Ads is improving its ability to improve on conversions by the time they occurred with new columns in reports.

Previously, Google Ads had always reported on conversions by the date an ad was clicked. So even if the conversion didn’t’ occur on the same day the ad was clicked, it would still be reported as occurring on the day of the ad click.

Going forward, advertisers will have access to even more granular data, Google explains:

”Starting today, you can report conversions and conversion values at the time they happened with new “by conversion time” columns. This means that if your ad was clicked on last week and that traffic converted this week, the new “Conversions (by conv. time)” column will now show a conversion for this week.”

The following six reporting columns are now available:

  • Conversions (by conv. time)
  • Conv. value (by conv. time)
  • Value / Conv. (by conv. time)
  • All conv. (by conv. time)
  • All conv. value (by conv. time)
  • Value / all conv. (by conv. time)

Read more

Finding The Hottest Keywords For Your Business: 15 Effective Strategies

My Post - 2019-10-18T173306.131.pngKeywords are among the most used and least understood parts of marketing.

Most marketers know the reason we use keywords, but finding out which specific ones are ideal for a business may not be their forte.

Intent-based keywords, or keywords that drive the user to take the desired action, are suitable for including in a website that wants to drive traffic and capture conversions. Defining those intent-based keywords will differ from business to business. As each audience is different, the keywords that trigger their interest and the need to act will change, as well.

Fifteen members of Forbes Communications Council look at strategies for identifying the most effective keywords for their business, and how to include them usefully within their content to achieve their goals.

1. Conduct Keyword Research 

Conducting keyword research can help brands know how to strategically implement keywords into new or existing content. A Google search of relevant topics or industries can also help determine what phrases people are using to search for your business or services. However, implement keywords naturally. Don’t force them, as Google recognizes this and it can harm your brand instead of helping it. – G’Nai Blakemore, Mattress Firm

2. Run Competitor Keyword Analyses 

Knowing what keywords your competition is using can be a great place to start, especially if you do competitor keyword analysis on some of the bigger brands in your industry and/or niche. Your biggest competitors have already spent time doing R&D on keywords for you. Use them to your advantage by placing them in H1 headers, above-the-fold paragraph text and in title tags and meta descriptions. – Stephen Seifert, Seifert Media

3. Use Your Website Search Bar 

You should use a variety of tools to get keyword level data. However, one of the most overlooked is the website’s search bar. When a website visitor uses your search bar they are giving you exactly what they want. Use that to create new content and products. Connect your search bar to Google Analytics to get this keyword data. You can use your competitors’ search bar in the same way. – Lavall Chichester, JumpCrew

4. Leverage The Power Of AI 

There are sophisticated AI-driven tools on the market today that use intent data to discover new, relevant keywords that might be less expensive and competitive, resulting in improved SEM efficiency. Additionally, these intent-driven keywords align digital channels with the demonstrated intent of target accounts, maximizing content marketing and SEO strategies. – Peter Isaacson, Demandbase

5. Think Like Your Customer 

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What do you think they’d be searching for to find your product? There are hundreds of possibilities. Once you have some ideas, use free keyword tools like Keywords Everywhere or SEMrush to see how often these words are searched and start using the most searched words on your website. To execute well, you should hire an SEO and content strategist. – Kyle Mears, Seek Business Capital – Read more

11 tips for using Google Ads’ new audiences like a pro

My Post - 2019-10-18T172720.544.pngLearn how to reach your ideal customer with Google Ads’ new audience types for Search ads.

Google introduced audiences to Search ads over seven years ago with the creation of RLSA. A whole bunch of improvements have happened since then. If you want to be at the cutting edge of using audiences, you need to familiarize yourself with the latest additions to Google’s audience portfolio, which will be coming at the end of this month to all advertisers.

Get to know your new audiences

In case you missed the announcement, here’s a quick recap of Google’s new audience types:

Affinity audiences

You’ve probably at least dabbled with affinity audiences in a display campaign here or there. The news is that they’re now available for search campaigns. These audiences are based on consumer habits and real-life interests.

With these affinity audiences, you can connect someone’s search intent with their passions. If you already know somebody is passionate about what you have to offer, you can properly value their enthusiasm. It’s not only that they’re searching, it’s that they’re searching for something they’re excited about and already into.

Over 132 segments are available across 12 categories.

Seasonal events

Although technically part of the in-market audiences family, seasonal events are about those who are bought into specific buying seasons. Some people aren’t really into Black Friday shopping. Some people really, really are. Seasonal events give you a way to reach the people that care deeply about shopping for Mother’s Day or certain components of back-to-school shopping. And seeing that we’re firmly in pumpkin spice season, you know that audiences for Christmas shopping will be heating up soon. These audiences are also now available for YouTube.

Similar audiences for Customer Match

I’ve heard from plenty of marketers that they like re-engaging with customers via Customer Match. But what about campaigns intended to reach entirely new prospects? Google Ads audiences like the new ones above can work great in these situations, but there’s another new audience type worth mentioning: similar audiences. Similar audiences will now be created for Customer Match lists when possible. You can add these similar audiences to reach people who share similar characteristics to your Customer Match audiences (based on a number of factors, like search behavior).

(And a quick note: The recent announcement didn’t call out this new type of audience, but it’s new and cool enough that it’s worth talking about.)

Use your new audiences like a pro

When you start applying these new audiences to your search campaigns, Google’s guidance often mirrors how you’ve long been using your audiences. That said, there are some specific things to keep in mind as you use the new audience types:

All audiences (up to and including these new ones)

1. Start the planning process by taking a look at Google Ads Audience insights. You can find out all sorts of information about who you’re already reaching, or who you might be better at reaching.

2. Apply audiences with the “Observation” setting as a start. Add the audiences you think you might care about, then let the metrics roll in. This is a quick step, but an important one.

3. Start with the most relevant audiences first. Certain segments are only impactful for audiences and campaigns with high volume for your brand. Start with two to three of the most impactful ones, and only expand once you’ve shown them to be effective.

4. Apply audiences at the campaign level. You can apply at the ad-group level if you have specific reasons, but for most people campaign level should give you the coverage you’re looking for.

5. [If using Smart Bidding, which I heartily recommend] Don’t worry about bid adjustments. Those types of signals are already incorporated into your auction-time bids.

6. [If not using Smart Bidding, which I do not heartily recommend] Adjust bids based on performance differences. Even if an audience seems more or less valuable, let performance dictate. And your bid modifiers might need to be more significant than you are accustomed to. Think +50%, not +5%. You want to make an actual impact.

Affinity audiences

7. Keep an open mind. Affinity audiences can be deployed by certain types of industries that may have written off audience targeting. Health care, financial and religiously-affiliated advertisers, and plenty of others, can use affinity audiences.

Seasonal events (and other in-market audiences) – Read more

How to Use Google Analytics Lifetime Value Reports to Highlight Valuable Marketing

My Post - 2019-10-10T173946.233.pngYou have a lot of reports to examine, but not sure what should be used for discovering long-term value.

One good report to try is the Lifetime Value Report. Though in beta, the report has existed in Google Analytics since 2017. It has significant value for focusing on what is influencing your customers to engage your app or shop on your website. This can give your marketing budget plans more order when it comes to what is working and what activities to continue.

The Value of Google’s Lifetime Value Reports

Why Customer Lifetime Value is important needs no deep explanation. For the best ROI, you want your marketing focused on the customers who will spend even long after your campaign. The Lifetime Value Report in Google Analytics can help with that.

Google’s version of Customer Lifetime Value analysis is contained in the Lifetime Value report. The report appears on the audience segment, and provides a comparison chart of your acquisition sources by revenue, user and revenue per user.

Google Analytics Lifetime Value

The main graph of the report shows one of eight Lifetime Value metrics over a maximum 90-day range. The Lifetime Value metrics are selected to cover KPI-quality measurement. They include:

  • Appviews Per User (LTV)
  • Goal Completions Per User (LTV)
  • Pageviews Per User (LTV)
  • Revenue Per User (LTV)
  • Session Duration Per User (LTV)
  • Sessions Per User (LTV)
  • Transactions Per User (LTV)

If you have the main graph set to Sessions Per User (LTV), you have a way to see which campaigns and channels delivered the most number of sessions per user — useful if you are looking for sustained usage for an app or website. Revenue Per User (LTV) indicates which acquisition source yields users with the highest average revenue.

You can also adjust the x axis of the graph from daily to weekly and monthly segments.

Getting the Most Out of the Report

To get the most from the report, I suggest setting the acquisition date range with launch dates for your digital marketing campaigns, app launch, or your real-world event in mind. The date range adjuster appears on the left side of the report, but it has the same adjustability as the standard data range that appears on all the reports in Google Analytics.

Aligning your report dates around those events can highlight if these typical marketing events are an influence in building value. The result is identifying those activities that would be valuable towards your organization over time.

This tactic is similar to one I recommended to clients over the years about examining referral traffic sources, particularly with smaller firms that had limited marketing budgets but had many events in which the firm participated. Many times the clients were unsure if their participation in a trade show or another promotional event was worth repeating the next year. Examining the referral traffic, sometimes by segment, could give a clue if real-world exposure was leading to site visits (or if social media activity was leading to visits). Examining conversions would help rank when sources would potentially benefit from more marketing.

With the lifetime value reports, campaigns are included with referral traffic as acquisition sources, offering a more convenient comparison.

Another step that I recommend to clients is to list the events in the annotation manager so that you can conveniently see the dates alongside the report time. One aspect to note: accessing the annotation usually appears under the main graph in Google Analytics reports, but the Lifetime Value Report does not have that. The report is in beta as I type this, so Google may change this availability later, I hope they do, but in the meantime, you should just be sure to have an appreciation of your event dates against the reporting date to which your data is set. – Read more

What You Should (& Should Not) Do with Your Sitelinks

My Post - 2019-10-10T165841.468.pngOf the many functions available to us in Google Ads, one of my favorites is sitelinks.

Sitelinks are fantastic because they’re so effective and versatile.

Whether you want to promote low search volume themes, push lagging products out the door, maximize hot sellers, highlight certain product categories, answer common questions, or handle a PR problem – sitelinks can do it all.

But lately, I’ve been seeing more and more instances where advertisers are using sitelinks incorrectly – and they’re missing valuable opportunities.

Sitelink Rules

If you want to get the most out of your sitelinks, you need to think carefully.

To help you with that, I’m going to lay out a few sitelink “rules.”

1. Get Clear on Your Objectives

Before you start, you need to think about your goals.

  • What are you trying to achieve with this ad?
  • Are you advertising products or services?
  • Will the ad display as the result of a search on branded or non-branded keywords?

Your answers to these questions will help determine which types of sitelinks you should use.

2. Use Sitelinks as Part of Your Larger Strategy

Don’t think of your sitelinks in isolation.

You should also consider the accompanying ad, landing page, and other extensions.

Make sure they all work together in service to your overarching strategy.

3. Use a Mix of Sitelinks

Sitelinks can serve multiple purposes, so make sure you’re using a variety.

For example, you don’t want to use every sitelink on an ad to promote on-sale products. Instead, use a mix.

One could promote an on-sale product, one could generate leads, one could highlight a new product category and one could direct prospective clients to useful information.

4. Create Landing Pages for Your Sitelinks

Ideally, you want to send users to landing pages that tightly correlate with your sitelink instead of just a regular page on your website.