Google Ads – Introducing four new search ad position metrics

My Post107.jpg

It’s important to understand where your ads appear on the search results page.

For example, knowing if your ad shows more (or less) often at the very top of the results can help you diagnose significant changes in clickthrough rate. And knowing what percentage of eligible top impressions you are already capturing helps you determine if you should do more to increase your bids and quality.

Contrary to common perception, average position is not meant to describe where the ad appears on the page. Average position reflects the order that your ad appears versus the other ads in the ad auction. As a result, an ad position of “1” means that your ad shows ahead of all other ads, but it doesn’t mean the ad was at the very top of the page. Sometimes no ads are displayed above the organic search results so the ad with a position of “1” appears at the bottom of the page.

Therefore, we’re rolling out four new metrics over the next several weeks that – unlike average position – provide clear insights on where your ads are appearing on the search results page:

  • Impr. (Absolute Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Impr. (Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

The first two metrics, “Impression (Absolute Top) %” and “Impression (Top) %” are specific indicators of page location. Use these metrics to determine when and where your impressions are showing above the organic search results.

The other two metrics, “Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS” convey your share of eligible top impressions. They are the best indicators of the available opportunity to show your ads in more prominent positions. If your goal is to bid on page location, you should use these metrics. We are working on incorporating these metrics into automated bidding options in Google Ads.

To summarize, if you are using average position to understand the location of your ads on the page, it’s better to use Impression (Absolute Top) % and Impression (Top) %. If you are using average position to bid to a page location, it’s better to use Search (Abs Top) IS and Search (Top) IS. – Read More

How mobile search is driving today’s in-store shopping experience

My Post103.jpgDespite what you’ve heard, brick-and-mortar isn’t dead. In fact, 61% of shoppers would rather shop with brands that also have a physical location than ones that are online only. Because sometimes, you just need something now — right now. Nearly 80% of shoppers will go to the store to buy when they have an item they need or want immediately.

People may still shop in stores most often, but they’re searching on their smartphones beforehand to make sure it’s worth the trip. As we were reminded during the 2017 holiday shopping season, a great deal of shopping research is coming from mobile: 78% of holiday shoppers who visited a store turned to online search before going into a store. What are they asking for help with before they go? Here’s what we found.

Help inspire my purchase

Shoppers turn to search before heading to the store when they don’t have a product or brand in mind. Mobile searches for “__ brands” are rising, as in “sock brands” (+150%), “men’s watch brands” (+70%), “best purse brands” (+140%), “makeup brands” (+150%). They’re also looking for helpful recommendations on what to buy — searches for reviews on mobile have increased by more than 35% over the past two years.

Help plan my in-store trip

Research tells us that half of people who used search before shopping looked for details about the store itself, such as locations or proximity. Get this: in the past two years, we’ve seen over 150% growth in mobile searches for “__ near me now” (“food near me now,” “gas station near me now,” and “delivery near me open now”). In addition to queries for local businesses near them, people are relying on their phones to check store hours, directions, wait times, contact information, and increasingly, product availability. In fact, 40% of shoppers wish retailers would do a better job of sharing inventory information.

Help narrow down my purchase options

Once they’ve homed in on a few options, people search on mobile to help make a final decision. They’re researching a purchase they plan to make in stores or to find the best option for their needs. We know shoppers are on the hunt for the best deals. How so? Because 43% of those who used their phone in stores over the holidays to shop said they did so to look for deals or savings, and 52% of shoppers think getting deals on their smartphone while in stores is a shopping trend that is both cool and something they’d use. Even more, 50% of shoppers say they use online video while actually shopping in stores.

Making mobile count

With so many people relying on their smartphones before shopping in store, the need for strategic and informed product content has never been more essential. Omnichannel retail leaders must prioritize the mobile experience — it could mean the difference between customers coming into your store primed and ready to buy, or leaving frustrated and empty-handed. – Read more

Inside Google Marketing: 3 lessons we learned from our ads rebrand

My Post102Sometimes, even a beloved brand needs a makeover.

Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC. British Petroleum turned into BP. And Apple Computer is now simply called Apple.

But rebranding is about more than just changing a name. It’s about redefining a brand’s mission and its message for a new generation of customers.

We did that last July when we relaunched three iconic B2B marketing brands. After 18 years, Google AdWords became Google Ads. DoubleClick merged with Google Analytics 360 to become Google Marketing Platform. And DoubleClick for Publishers folded into Google Ad Manager, some 22 years after its debut.

One reason we made these changes was to help brands, agencies, publishers, and advertisers better meet people’s needs by delivering meaningful and relevant messages. We also realized we needed to be more responsive to our customers.

Here are three rebranding lessons we learned along the way.

Lesson No. 1: Let your customers show you the way

Internet advertising has changed so much over the last two decades. As the ad market evolved, so did our tools for building campaigns, buying media, and measuring ROI. And as video and mobile began to dominate, our ad tools kept pace.

But while our tools evolved, the AdWords brand remained primarily associated with buying search ads. It didn’t resonate with people who wanted to buy app installs or video ads.

Plus, our customers wanted a single platform to create, plan, buy, and measure their campaigns. In fact, many of them were a step ahead of us. They were already using DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 Suite products in tandem to create campaigns and measure their impact. Our customers weren’t merely telling us they needed a change, they were showing us how to do it.

To learn more, we partnered with Bain & Company to interview more than 900 marketers from around the globe. Their message was clear: 80% of U.S. marketers said they wanted to use integrated marketing and advertising technology from a single vendor.1

Lesson No. 2: Cross-functional teams — and expertise — are key

We knew we needed to simplify our offerings and integrate them into a unified platform with a common look and feel. By no means was this going to be a simple task. The two-year effort involved hundreds of people across the organization.

We started by assigning a small group of marketing professionals — called the “core team” — to lead the project. For an engineering-centric company like Google, it was an unusual move. We did it because the job of marketers is to listen to and amplify the voice of the customer. And we had already concluded that, from start to finish, this rebrand would be customer driven.

Beyond that core team, we involved more than 20 cross-functional teams and hundreds of employees from every part of Google — from engineering, product, design, sales, payments, and more.

We relied on the expertise of each group. For example, we asked our internal Brand Studio to design logos. Our training and education team was instrumental in updating thousands of salespeople across the globe. And our engineers made more than 1 million changes to the code base.

Along the way, the team updated the URLs of more than 50 web properties, rebranded multiple social channels, edited hundreds of YouTube videos, and updated more than 500 Think with Google posts and 5,000 help-center articles.

It was up to the core team to keep the project on track by consistently returning to key customer insights as our guiding principles.

Having this many teams involved generated new ideas and diverse opinions. Change was constant. It was up to the core team to keep the project on track by consistently returning to key customer insights as our guiding principles.

Lesson No. 3: Think globally and locally

Another key learning was the importance of adopting a global point of view. We needed to address the concerns of all our customers, not just those in English-speaking countries. We thought deeply about how to introduce the new brands in markets that don’t use Latin characters. As a result, we localized the brand names into Arabic, Japanese, and Russian equivalents to ensure that they were meaningful and locally relevant.

Having regional-specific activations was also key. That meant understanding how each market would respond to the rebranding, and adjusting our approach accordingly. For example, teams in Latin America and Asia Pacific organized their own roadshows, met with top partners in each region, created their own press materials, and presented local examples and case studies. – Read More

Google Ads – Easier ways to manage your messages

My Post101In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out two improvements to click-to-message ads:

  • Email forwarding sends text messages to your email, so you don’t need to provide a phone number to use message extensions. Responding to the email will automatically send a text reply back to your customer.
  • Automatic reply sends a preset message back to customers as soon as they message you. For example, you can automatically reply with ‘Thanks for your message. We’ll get back to you within the hour’.

To help measure the success of your click-to-message ads, we’re expanding message reporting to include message conversions. You’ll be able to define the number of user-initiated exchanges needed to count as a conversion. For example, if it typically takes two or more exchanges before a customer orders holiday dinner from your restaurant, you can set that as your conversion threshold. – Read more

Are you guilty of these common SEO mistakes?

My Post16.jpgMistakes happen. When they do, the best response is to learn from your errors, and those made by others, so you can turn them into opportunities.

When it comes to SEO and trying to rank high on Google, everyone is trying to outdo each other. It’s competitive — so every little bit of SEO you can add to your site helps. But let’s face it… it’s a struggle!

Here are some common blunders you should avoid.

Adding keywords to your Google My Business listing business name

Everyone has heard of the importance of keywords. So, when thinking of their Google My Business (GMB) listing, it’s natural for a business to think that adding keywords to their business name could help their rankings on Google. Keywords in a business name can help with rankings, BUT if those keywords are not part of your company’s legal name, adding those keywords is in direct violation of Google My Business Guidelines.

So guess what? If you add keywords to your company’s name in your Google My Business listing, you just became a spammer — something Google (and the rest of the legitimate SEOs in the world) despises.

Here’s a strong word of advice: No matter how tempting it is to add keywords to your GMB business name to try and boost your local SEO rankings — DO NOT DO IT! It’s just not worth the risk.

Why is it risky? Your competitors (or anyone else, for that matter) who find “spam” in your Google My Business listing can report you to Google, and Google can take action against your listing, which is NOT a good thing.

Spam includes keyword-stuffed business names, businesses that have UPS or virtual office addresses, have claimed multiple addresses where they don’t have employees, fake reviews and more.

So, what do you do if you find competitors who are up to no good? Joy Hawkins wrote a great article on the Google My Business forum that explains how to properly report Google My Business spam, and Kaspar Szymanski has written in these virtual pages about reporting competitor spam.

Running a not-secure site

Way back in 2014, Google announced that having a secure site was a positive ranking factor. However, digital marketers and SEOs didn’t really start paying attention to this SEO opportunity until recently. – read more

Google Signals in Analytics – What Is It and Should You Do It?

My Post15.jpgIf you are a general marketer and not a digital specialist, you may not have come across Google Signals before. The first you hear about it may well be this banner popping up in your Google Analytics account:

What is Google Signals?

First announced in July 2018, Google Signals is the name given to the Google product that enables cross-device reporting and remarketing. Enabling Google Signals allows you to take advantage of new and improved advertising and reporting features across different devices.

When you activate Google Signals, existing Google Analytics features are upgraded to include more information from Google users, but only for those who have turned on Ads Personalization.

These are the areas where more information is gathered when Google Signals is activated (but only for users with Ads Personalization enabled):
  • Remarketing – this extends any eligible remarketing activities to work cross-device
  • Ads reporting – you’ll get more information about users
  • Demographics and interest reports – more information will be collected
  • Cross-device reports (in beta) – you will start to see cross-device information in your account

Does Google Signals and Ads Personalization affect GDPR?

No data for individual users is ever exposed, it only reports in aggregate, so there are no GDPR issues. The retention of data is limited to 26 months, unless you have set your data retention setting to less, in which case that is respected.

What happens when you click “Get started”?

You will see the “Activate Google Signals” screen – read more

How to improve your website’s indexation

My Post14.jpgGoogle’s vast database contains information from over 130 trillion individual pages and, when a user types something into the search engine, a search algorithm parses through this enormous wealth of knowledge to deliver results it thinks are relevant to that particular search.

This database is referred to as an ‘index’. You want your website and its pages to be included in this index, simply because, once they are, you can start jostling for the top spot in the all-important search results. This will help you establish yourself in your particular sector, attract traffic and, hopefully, convert visitors into customers.

Crawling vs indexing
Google indexes your site through a method called ‘crawling’ – this is where bots or spiders trawl through the pages on your website and rank them in the index depending on how useful, relevant and valuable they are to search engine users. These spiders are always searching for new, updated content, but, if your site has lots of new pages, they could take time to find, meaning there is a delay in terms of how visible you are in the search results. You need to ensure your site is indexed as soon as possible – according to Neil Patel, only 5.7% of new pages make it on to the first page of the SERPs within a year of publication.

Is my website already indexed?
Unless your website is very new, it’s likely that it will be indexed. However, there’s still probably plenty of room for improvement. In this blog, we’ll take you a number of ways in which you can improve your website’s indexation.

4 indexation best practices
1. Install Google Analytics & Search Console
You may already have these tools installed, but if not, it’s vital that you add them to your repertoire. If you don’t, you’re effectively blind to how Google indexes your site. Google Analytics records visits to your website and gives you insight into visitor habits, such as how long they spend on your site and which pages they tend to look at. Google Search Console, which was previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, lets you see when your website was last crawled. It also alerts you to any issues with indexing, or security problems. For help with getting these set up, you can consult LunaMetrics’ helpful guide.

2. Create and submit a sitemap
Create a sitemap using a free plugin such as Google XML Sitemaps and submit it to Google Search Console to tell the search engine how often it should crawl your site. Now that you’ve created a sitemap, you’ll need to submit it to Search Console. After you’ve done this, you can also use the Index Coverage Status report in Search Console to find out which pages have been indexed and how you can fix those that haven’t.

3. Be proactive
There are a number of SEO best practices you can use to get Google to index your site faster. These include on-site improvements, such as creating links pointing to your new pages and regularly blogging, as well as off-site improvements: earning inbound links and sharing on social media. You can find out about more indexation best practices here, or consult SEO professionals.

4. Mobile-first indexing
Mobile-first indexing has been rolled out by Google this year and reflects the increasing likelihood that visitors will be using their smartphone – rather than their desktop – to access your site. ‘Mobile-first’ refers to Google considering the mobile version as the primary version of your site. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, the desktop experience can still be included in the index, but it’s likely that you’ll fall behind competitors who do cater for those using mobiles.
Although it’s still in its early stages, ‘mobile-first’ represents a shift in the way Google treats your site. If your site is responsive anyway, it’s likely that you won’t have to change anything for now, but you should ensure that visitors’ mobile experience is optimised, with quick page load times and easy navigation. There should also be consistency between the mobile and desktop versions of your site.

Common mistakes that lead to no-index
If some of your pages aren’t being indexed by Google, there’ll usually be a reason for it. Here are a few common mistakes that can lead to no index: – Read more

Now you can enable call reporting at the account level in Google Ads. Here’s how

My Post13.jpgThe new feature means no more forgetting to enable call reporting for every call extension and call-only ad.

Starting from September, Google Ads advertisers can enable call reporting for all call-only campaigns and call extensions in their accounts in one spot. The new account-level setting will roll out over the next few weeks.

Why use this setting? Until now, advertisers who wanted to enable call reporting have had to make sure to enable it every time they added a new extension or call-only ad. Because there’s no great way to audit this without looking at each individual extension and ad, it’s not uncommon for advertisers to realize they’ve got reporting holes. For advertisers who don’t require distinct call reporting at the extension or ad level, the new account-level call reporting setting will simplify setup and ensure activations don’t fall through the cracks.

When not to use this setting. If you are using different call reporting settings throughout your account, with different conversion actions, and want to keep it that way, then this isn’t for you. It will apply the same call reporting setting across your entire account.

How to set account-level call reporting. To enable call reporting at the account level, navigate to all campaigns and click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu. Then click on the “Account Settings” tab, and you’ll see the call reporting option.

You’ll see an alert warning you that, after opting in, you won’t be able to set or change call reporting at the extension or ad levels: “By selecting account-level call reporting to simplify how you manage your reporting settings, you will not be able to set or adjust call reporting for individual call extensions or call-only ads moving forward.”

Call reporting 101. Call reporting works with Google forwarding numbers to track when call extensions and call-only ads on the Google Search Network generate phone calls. A Google forwarding number gets assigned automatically when call reporting is enabled.

The reporting captures call details such as duration, start and end time, caller area code, and whether a call was connected. Calls can also be recorded as conversions. – read more

If you’re not using Remarketing Lists and Similar Audiences for Search, you’re leaving money on the table

My Post12.jpgTapping into Similar Audiences in conjunction with RLSA can be a recipe for success for retail marketers. Here’s how.

I firmly believe most companies are leaving big money on the table by not fully utilizing Remarketing Lists and Similar Audiences. I just don’t think businesses really get it.

In this article, I’m looking to offer suggestions and help marketers not leave anything on the table.

Ever wish you could get a set of new leads that come pre-qualified? Good news: you can. Similar Audiences for Search are based off existing remarketing lists, but target new users with similar search behavior to those on your existing remarketing lists.

Because they’re intended to be similar to users who have already expressed interest in your site, they’re considered more qualified than the average searcher.

If these sound at all familiar, it’s likely because similar audiences have been available for some time on the Google Display Network or because they mimic the function of a Facebook lookalike audience. These audiences are at work on both Facebook and Google. Businesses are not taking full advantage.

Benefits of Similar Audiences for Search
These audiences can be extremely beneficial to advertisers for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Find and target people similar to your site’s visitors.
    Simplify finding audiences to target.
    Get new potential customers.

Let’s expand on each of those things a little.

With Similar Audiences, you’re not running blind. You’re targeting a group of people whose interests align with your current customers and prospects. Think about it. Brands continue to pour money into advertising methods like TV and magazines, while not spending enough on newer features like lookalike audiences. Data isn’t driving those TV ads; it is, however, driving your lookalike and similar audiences. And while a TV ad may get you in front of a huge audience, it isn’t necessarily a qualified one.

Say you’re an insurance company and you want to push auto insurance. Using remarketing, you can build a list of all the people who have visited your auto insurance product page. Then create a similar audience from that pool. The new similar audience will have similar search patterns and interests as those that visited your site, but this new list has the potential to reach a much bigger, qualified audience. – read more

Strategies to Scale Your Local PPC Campaigns Without Killing Your ROI

My Post10.jpgOver 85% of online consumers these days are engaging with brands locally, whether through local listings, local sites, or search results.

So you can’t be blamed for thinking that geo-targeting and running local PPC campaigns in Google Ads make a whole lot of sense.

The only problem? If you work at a multi-location franchise or company with multiple offices, local PPC at scale can be very messy.

First of all, it eats up a lot of resources to set up and maintain. And, second, when you’re trying to appeal to prospects in many locations with different ads and landing pages, mistakes and resource costs can easily kill your Google Ads campaign profitability.

The good news, however, is that—by using smart strategies and tools—you can scale your local PPC campaigns and target several locations at once without too many headaches.

Let’s explore this process.

Scale Local PPC Campaigns with Flexible Structure

First of all, scaling can be messy without proper Google Ads campaign structure. Good structure keeps things clean—and keeps you sane in the process.

I have two rules when it comes to structure for scaling local campaigns:

  • Rule #1. Have a keyword theme for each campaign.
  • Rule #2. Break your campaigns down into geo-focused ad groups.

read more