Goodbye green? Google testing black “Ad” label in Search

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Google appears to be looking to switch up the way it labels text ads again.

It’s been a little over two years since Google last played with the “Ad” label it shows next to text ads on Google.com. Since February 2017, Google has used green text and a green border to delineate text ads from organic listings in the search results. Now, it looks to be testing a simpler, more subtle ad label treatment.

The latest label test. On Wednesday, UK-based marketing consultant Darren Taylor, who runs The Big Marketer, spotted “Ad” labels with bolded black text and no border. The label appears at the top of the ad with the display URL appears next to it.

Others in the EU region have also spotted it.

We reached out for comment. “We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our users and advertisers, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now,” a Google spokesperson said.

Why you should care. Presumably, greater differentiation between ads and organic will have a negative impact on click-through rates on ads. Google doesn’t share this data, of course, but it has a long history of modifying the way it signifies ads from organic content. – Read more

Google Ads rolling out Budget Planner forecasting tool

My Post - 2019-03-13T115111.722.jpgGet some insights into how changes in spend could impact campaign performance.

Google is rolling out a new Budget Planner tool for Google Ads campaigns.

Kim Clinkunbroomer, who heads Clink Digital Marketing, alerted us to the new feature, available under the Tools menu in Google Ads. It appears to still be rolling out, so you may not see it in your accounts quite yet.

I’ve tried it out, and it’s pretty straightforward. A quick tutorial is also available to guide you through when you first get started.

The basics of how it works. 

You can create a budget plan based on either clicks or conversions as a key metric. There is also the option to choose a target: clicks, spend or average CPC if you select clicks as the primary metric, or conversions, spend or average CPA when conversions is your key metric.

If you choose a target, you can manually enter a target amount, or (pretty handy) you can choose from “previous period” or the “same time last year.”

After you set the variables, Google will generate a draft budget plan. The forecast chart will show a gray point showing how your campaigns are expected perform with the existing settings if you make no changes. A blue line indicates how changes in spend will impact your key metric (clicks or conversions). – Read more

Google: Mobile Speed Should Be an Ongoing Priority

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Google encourages businesses not to think of mobile speed as a one-and-done fix. It should be an ongoing priority.

Mary Ellen Coe, president of Google Customer Solutions, penned an article outlining the reasons why mobile speed should be taken more seriously.

“While there are as many growth strategies as there are types of businesses, there’s one area where nearly every business has room to improve: the mobile web.”

Having a mobile presence is no longer enough. In order for businesses to grow, they need to continue delivering speedy mobile experiences.

Fifty-four percent of people say that as the load time for a brand’s mobile site increases, so does their frustration.

To that end, a one-second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by up to twenty percent.

Conversely, a fast mobile experience can help attract and retain customers.

Milliseconds can earn millions, Coe says. No matter how fast a site is today, the will eventually degrade over time if it’s not an ongoing priority. – Read more

Google My Business boosts visibility of business offers in Google Posts

My Post - 2019-03-11T142901.324.jpgA new feature in Google Posts can display up to 10 offers from your business.

Google announced it has changed how offers show up in a Google local listings by giving offers a dedicated space within the local panel.

What it looks like. Here is a screen shot of the new area for offers in the Google business local listing on mobile search:

How it works. You can login to your Google My Business account and go to Google Posts section to add offers. When you create a new post, you should see an option to categorize it as an “offer”. Offers can include a description of the promotion, a coupon code or any terms and conditions useful to your audience. – Read more

 

Voice gaining on mobile browser as top choice for smartphone-based search

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Since 2018, voice has become more users’ first choice for mobile search.

We increasingly are talking to our phones in public. That’s the top-line finding of a new studyfrom Stone Temple Consulting (now a part of Perficient Digital). In its third year, the survey polled 1,719 U.S. adults on “how they use voice, when they use voice, and why.”

In nearly every environment people are using voice more than in the past. In 2017 there were considerable inhibitions surrounding public voice usage; almost across the board that has changed. Usage is still highest, however, at home or alone (at the office).

Search in 6th place. Voice is used more often to initiate communication (calling, texting), get directions or play music than it is for most other online activities. In this survey, “online search” was cited by roughly 23 percent of respondents as an “application” they’ve controlled by voice. This figure is low compared with other surveys.

According to the findings, the group most inclined to use voice commands was married males, between 25 and 34 years old, making more than $100,000 per year, with post-college education. Survey respondents overall said they liked voice commands because of speed, accuracy and the absence of typing. Roughly 47 percent also liked the fact that the answer was read back to them by an assistant. – Read more

Duplex-powered Google Assistant restaurant booking expanding to more states and users

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Available on Pixel phones, it will be rolling out to other Android and iOS users in the near future.

Google announced that Pixel phone users can now use Duplex via the Google Assistant to book restaurant reservations over the phone. Google said it was available in 43 states in the U.S.

Duplex is an AI-powered phone based-system for booking appointments with local businesses that don’t have online scheduling. It was first demonstrated at Google’s developer conference in May 2018. The demo, though controlled, was impressive and very “natural language” sounding.

Request a reservation, get a notification. Here’s Google’s description of the process (also shown in the video below):

Just ask the Assistant on your phone, “Book a table for four people at [restaurant name] tomorrow night.” The Assistant will then call the restaurant to see if it can accommodate your request. Once your reservation is successfully made, you’ll receive a notification on your phone, an email update and a calendar invite so you don’t forget.

Google says it will be rolling out Duplex restaurant booking via the Assistant on other Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks.

Hello, I’m a bot. Duplex is intended to mimic the cadence and sound of natural human speech. In the video the hypothetical exchange clearly discloses that Google Assistant (a machine) is on the other end and that the call will be recorded. The disclosure is mandated by a new California law. And many states require disclosures when calls are being recorded. – Read more

Google Introduces Shoppable Ads on Google Images

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Google is introducing a new way for retailers to promote products in image search with shoppable ads.

This new ad format lets retailers highlight multiple products within a single ad unit, which will appear among Google Images results.

These ad units behave like shoppable pins on Pinterest where multiple items within a photo are tagged for sale.

Google’s shoppable ads will appear in image search results with a “Sponsored” label as well as a price tag icon.

Hovering over the price tag icon will reveal the prices of the items, along with the brand name and other information.

See an example in the GIF below:

Google Introduces Shoppable Ads on Google Images

Users can click on their product of choice to visit the product page and make a purchase.

Shoppable ads on Google Images are currently being tested on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers. – Read more

How You Can See Google Search Results for Different Locations

My Post (100).jpgWhat you and I are likely to see in Google differs a lot even if we search for the same thing.

The results we get depend on our:

  • Search habits.
  • The devices we use.
  • And, most importantly, our current location.

This makes perfect sense to users who often search Google for places and services nearby.

At the same time, this leaves marketers blind to what customers really see in Google in all the different locations their business targets.

So, today we’ll dig deeper into localized search results and look into every possible way to search Google from another location – both manually and using tools.

Do All SERP Elements Depend on Location?

The short answer is “yes.”

Even though we often think of local search as something related to “local 3-pack” blocks, the rest of the SERP is also tailored for the searcher’s specific geo-location (especially for queries with an obvious local intent).

In different locations, you may see changes in organic listings (the 10 blue links include different local businesses and directories), knowledge panels, universal search blocks, and paid ads. – Read more

How to Prequalify Traffic with PPC Ads & Increase ROI

My Post (95).jpgOn the surface, getting a higher click-through rate (CTR), more clicks, and more conversions may look great in a report. However, are those clicks and conversions from the right people?

Unqualified conversions don’t pay the bills.

Yes, you want to make sure you’re targeting the right audience and using the right keywords.

But, going one step further, carefully written ad copy can also help to gate out the people that aren’t relevant, limiting clicks to your true potential customers.

Read on to learn how to use PPC ads to prequalify traffic, discourage users you don’t want, and deliver better ROI.

1. Define a Qualified Conversion

Start by defining what a qualified conversion is for the business you’re advertising.

For ecommerce, that may mean any sale with a positive ROAS, a sale above a certain amount, or sales of specific priority products.

For a B2B company, that may mean a form submission from a person who’s the right fit for the service (for instance, a director-level job title and a company of 1,000+ people).

For a SaaS product, that may mean a contact who registers for a product demo. – Read more

Google Merchant Center to deliver real-time search results

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The information in Shopping Ads is now available to all retailers (free of cost) and can be submitted directly to Google in real-time, not just by adding schema markup to your site.

Google Merchant Center is a tool and central dashboard where online retailers can upload store and product data and manage the appearance of their e-commerce products. Perhaps its biggest benefit is that the feed is uploaded directly to Google in real-time, ensuring that all information displayed is accurate at the time of a given search.

This data was used to primarily to power Google Shopping Ads, which meant that the benefits of the merchant center were not readily available to non-AdWords users. Retailers generally relied on schema markup to display information in rich results and rich product image results. Information displayed usually included ratings, price, availability, etc.

But in its latest news, Google announced that it would be opening up its merchant center capabilities to all online retailers, regardless of whether they run AdWords campaigns. This comes after its recent updates to the product report in Search Console and improvements to product visibility through Google Manufacturer Center.

So why is the merchant center update important? – Read more