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Noteworthy paid media developments in April and May 2022

Staying on top of new digital tools, the latest channel updates, and user demands can be overwhelming, we know. Which is why we’ve assessed the latest paid media developments during April and May and put our heads together to evaluate what this means for the paid media landscape. 

Have your pad and pen ready (definitely worth taking note of), below our team of digital media specialists, share what the latest developments are and what this means for digital marketers. 

 

New Custom Columns in Google Ads
Google recently announced some major updates to custom columns in Google Ads. The biggest change is the inclusion of functions. These operate much like functions in spreadsheets such as excel, and allow for a whole host of new uses for custom columns not possible before.

Alongside this change, Google has also added the ability to reference custom columns within formulas, allowing for custom columns to work off of each other. This is useful with the new options functions have unlocked. We are also now able to pull text elements like campaign or ad group name into the columns. 

These changes are very welcome, custom columns have until recently been mostly used to segment-specific conversions into a column for optimisation purposes. The options available for calculation within the columns were just not complete enough to allow for many more use cases. With these changes, however, there are many more situations where custom columns could be useful in optimising an account.

Reference: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/12041700?hl=en  

Dan Biggs, Paid Media Consultant 

 

New Cookie Choices for Google in Europe

Google announced last month that they’ll be rolling out new cookie banners in Europe to anyone visiting Search or YouTube while signed out or in Incognito Mode. The update will give these users the additional option to ‘Reject All’ cookies:

 

The update began with a roll out across France and will soon be introduced across the rest of the European Economic Area. 

This is a big change for Google, moving away from a design made to make it difficult for users to opt out of cookies. With a continued commitment to “building privacy-preserving tools”, Google believes they can protect people’s private data while also giving businesses the tools they need to thrive in their digital environment. One thing’s for certain, it will be interesting to find out how this is all going to work.

Matt Hekkink, Paid Media Analyst 

 

Upgrades to Google Ads Extensions 

Starting this month, Google made some significant adjustments to ad extensions and upgraded all extension types (excluding image and location extensions).

So, what’s the difference? Well, it means there’s now a distinction between “extensions (upgraded)” and “extensions” for the new and existing extensions, making it clear which extensions are legacy and which will have the new features, allowing you to retain your historic data.

The new features include some very beneficial changes such as the ability to pause extensions, rather than outright removing them, and a “trickle-down” system for the different hierarchies of extensions.

This means that where previously higher-level extensions were limited by existing extensions at an ad group or campaign level, with the upgraded extensions all extensions can serve despite existing ones. For example, an Ad Group with existing sitelinks can now pull sitelinks from the Campaign or Account levels where they were previously restricted to just the Ad Group level extensions.

 

These features are definitely a big improvement but it’ll definitely be worth checking that your high-level extensions match with all of your ads just to be safe.

Ross Stratford, Paid Media Assistant

 

Updates to Google’s 3 strike system 

A new three strike disapproval rule is being implemented for google ads in June 2022 after being trialled in September 2021. The strike system will be for the following policies in particular: Enabling dishonest behaviour, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons and Tobacco. A ‘strike’ will be added to your account if a policy is repeatedly broken. 

First Disapproval

The first stage will just be a warning and will result in a normal ad disapproval. Google wants to be fair and make sure that everyone is aware of the policy rules before they start blocking accounts. 

Strike One

The first strike will come if google deems policy to have been broken again within 90 days of the first warning disapproval, in this case there will be a full account block for three days in which no ads will be able to run. After three days the account will be enabled again but the offending ads will remain disapproved until they comply with policy.

Strike Two

The second strike is much like strike one but the whole account will be blocked for seven days, rather than three,  if google deems policy to have been broken again within 90 days of strike one.

Strike Three

The third strike is another violation within 90 days of strike two. This will result in the full suspension of your account and google doesn’t specify if there is any timeframe in which you will be allowed access to the account again.

You may appeal strikes but your ads won’t be able to show until either the block has been lifted and the appeal accepted or the temporary block time is over, you have fixed all policy violations in the account and completed an acknowledgement form. 

Whilst this may not affect many accounts it’s worth considering the reasons disapprovals may occur, we often have surprising disapprovals due to some content linked to the landing page we are promoting rather than the ads themselves, as there is now more at stake we recommend everyone keeping their eyes out for disapprovals and brushing up on the policies!

Reference: https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/10922738?hl=en-GB 

Brogan Carroll, Paid Media Analyst

 

Meta have updated their Facebook Ad’s Manager Objectives

Meta have started rolling out changes to their Objectives in Ads Manager, or at least how their Objectives are named and grouped together. 

Prior to the change, there were 3 broad categories of Awareness, Consideration and Conversions, with then 12 sub-category Objectives across these e.g. Reach, Traffic, Catalogue Sales etc. With the changes, Meta have now consolidated this to 6 core Objectives, which they say are “grouped together based on their expected business outcome”. It’s important to clarify that:

  • Objective names will change but you can still perform the same functions and access the features you’re familiar with.
  • Campaigns created before the update will remain with the previous Objectives, so there is no need to change these manually.  

We think the most significant change to be aware of, is to how conversion-optimised campaigns are now set-up, as there are multiple ways to ultimately reach the same outcome. For example, you can optimise for website conversions under either of these 3 Objectives: Engagement, Leads, Sales, but will need to specify the correct ‘Conversion Location’ for each.  

 

Engagement Objective: 

Leads Objective:

 

More details on the changes can be found here.

Will Rhodes, Paid Media Manager 

 

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    How to successfully run responsive search ads (RSAs)

    Not long ago Google announced the end of an era for expanded text ads. As of June 30th 2022, you will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. 

    The announcement surfaced last year and here at Uprise Up, we’ve been preparing our client’s accounts ever since. Introducing responsive search ads (RSAs) into each of our ad groups ahead of June 30th. To help you also get ahead and be fully prepared for the change, we’ve jotted down our top tips in this blog for running successful responsive search ads. 

    First things first, what are responsive search ads?

    Responsive search ads (RSAs) are another step in the direction towards automation from Google. Expanded text ads (ETAs) had a set of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions that are shown statically, whereas RSAs allow us to select up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google then automatically tests the different combinations of these headlines and descriptions to give the user the ‘best’ performing combinations. 

    Ok, so what are the potential benefits of RSAs?

    • Improved performance. According to Google, advertisers that add RSAs to their ad groups achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions. From our experience, we’ve also seen RSAs often out-perform existing ETAs when added into our accounts. 
    • Increase ad relevance and reach. More headlines and descriptions mean Google can serve more relevant combinations to the user. With more keywords in your ad copy, you’ll be entered into more auctions for relevant searches. 
    • They’re a time saver. Instead of needing to set up multiple variations of ETAs to test and learn, you only need the one responsive search ad which will test the combinations automatically.

    One thing to note is that while Google’s auto suggestions can often be useful, they are equally often not so useful. We’d advise taking a cautious approach when applying these.

    So, on the flip side, what are the potential downsides to RSAs?

    • Less control. Your ability to specify how an ad is formatted and reads overall is limited, due to the nature of the machine learning testing various combinations. This may lead to headlines appearing together which don’t necessarily work well or make sense to a user, or for your brand.
    • Reduced learnings. You cannot see as easily which headlines and descriptions have the best CTR and conversion rate, and therefore might work well outside of Paid Search.
    • Can actually take more time to select headlines and descriptions that work well together, but are unique enough, while also assessing whether to make use of the pinning feature (discussed below) can actually be more time-consuming than creating a standard ETA.
    • Beware of auto-suggestions. Google will be missing important context, so not all suggestions will be relevant.

     

    How to Run Responsive Search Ads Successfully

    Top tip time:

    • Include keywords in your headlines. To reach those good and excellent ad strengths you’ll need to make sure you have headlines relevant to your keywords. You can also use dynamic keyword insertions to insert your keyword into headlines, from experience this will help to optimise your ad strength. 
    • Include unique headlines. To give Google the variation it needs to test and optimise your RSA, you’ll need to keep your headlines unique. Try using a variety of calls to action and offers to improve headline uniqueness. 
    • Have a combination of short and long headlines. ‘Long’ headlines being within the 30 character cap.
    • Use all the headline and description fields available. If you can aim to fill out all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, at a minimum include 10 headlines. 
    • Pay attention to ‘ad strength’. Google will offer you suggestions to improve the ad strength of your RSAs. You’ll want to get the ad strength up to at least “Good” but ideally aiming for “Excellent”.

     

    To pin or not to pin, that is the question.

    Responsive search ads are far from perfect, we’ll still quite often see Google pair similar headlines together as the highest serving combination (e.g. two branded headlines rather than a branded headline and a CTA). There’s definitely still questions to be answered. 

    Our biggest one is around the pinning feature. When setting up your RSA, you have the option to pin a headline or description so that they only appear in a certain position. While this sounds great (especially for controlling brand messaging), the ad strength of the ad is very much affected by the use of pinning. A lower ad strength may impact your achievable impressions share and your CPC, and may result in lower impressions/clicks as a result.

    With that in mind, you may be wondering: 

    • What is the actual impact of a lower ad strength on the total impressions?
    • Does this impact outweigh the benefits of improved brand messaging?
    • How do we best use pins to balance this impact?

    Fortunately, we have sought-out to find the answers!

     

    What we’re testing

    We’ve set up an experiment to test the pinning feature specifically. We’re running A/B experiments to test RSAs with no pinning, fully pinned, and a balance of pinning. 

    Specifically one thing we’re testing, is how the number of pins effects ad strength. For example will pinning 4-5 headlines in a single headline position still allow for a stronger ad strength compared to 1-2? 

    We’ll also be testing the impact of losing an ‘excellent’ ad strength in favour of pinning, looking at the effects on impression share against conversions. 

     

    We’ll be running this test over the next few months and look forward to sharing the results once they’re in.

    Here’s some examples of the types of variations we’re testing:

    Excellent

     

    Good

    Average

    Poor

     

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      Facebook to remove targeting options around ‘sensitive causes’ – how will this impact non-profits?

      A laptop with the user looking at Facebook

      As you might be aware, Meta have announced that certain targeting options available on Facebook Ads around ‘sensitive causes’ have been removed as of 19 January 2022. Any activity which is currently using them can do so until March 17 2022, however any new or re-enabled campaigns post-January 19th will not be able to use this targeting.

       

      The targeting options being removed includes those referencing causes, organisations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. This also includes those interested in cause-related events such as: ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’ and ‘Cancer Awareness’.

       

      Meta says it is removing them because they “want to better match people’s evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them on our platform and address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available.”

       

      To most advertisers this seems like a reasonable move. However, it is my view that this recent string of changes is incredibly damaging to non-profits who (in Meta’s own words) use Facebook and Instagram to “connect people to charitable causes they care about”. The removal of these targeting options makes it much harder to reach new users who would benefit from their support and would champion new campaigns. Off the back of social advertising being hit so heavily by the iOS 14.5 update, I know this will mean more non-profits questioning their Facebook activity going into 2022.

       

      I’m hoping that Meta considers the impact on non-profits. I’m not asking for a Google Ad Grant type scheme for Facebook (although I’m sure we’ll all agree that would be great!) but perhaps some way that Meta can allow exceptions for charities. A programme or certification scheme which means that those who qualify can use targeting like this to enable them to continue their great work.

       

      It would be great to hear your thoughts, what changes you’re now making and the impact these will have. And ultimately if you think a certification type scheme for non-profits would be a good move?

       

      Over the next month we will be working with our clients on ways to utilise the Facebook Ads platform’s other targeting options and tools to mitigate the damage. If you’re interested in discussing a potential approach for you and your organisation please don’t hesitate to reach out.

       

      Link to Meta’s announcement: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/removing-certain-ad-targeting-options-and-expanding-our-ad-controls

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        iOS 14.5: The Impact on Facebook Advertising

        A phone showing the Facebook logo.

        If you advertise on Facebook, you’ve probably heard about the iOS 14.5 update and the apparent havoc it’s wreaked.

        In the latest move towards championing user privacy and first-party data, Apple introduced the iOS 14.5 update to limit third-party data and tracking.

        We’ve put together the ultimate guide to the iOS 14.5 update and its impact on Facebook advertisers.

        Keep up to date with the latest industry news and trends by following us on Twitter.

         

         

        What is the iOS 14.5 update?

         

        In April 2021, Apple released a software update that requires Apps in the App Store, like Facebook, to show a prompt to users in accordance with their ‘App Tracking Transparency’ framework.

        The prompt asks users if they would like to allow third-party cookies or ask the App not to track.

        iOS 14.5 notification on an iPhone. Allow Facebook to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites.

        If users opt-out of third-party cookies, certain data collection and sharing is prohibited.

         

         

        What are third-party cookies?

         

        Cookies are text files that hold small pieces of data about a user and their interactions on a site.

        First-party cookies are ones created by the website you’re currently on, usually for their own digital purposes, like analytical reporting or saving your preferences such as a password.  Website cookie policies often refer to strictly necessary cookies, functionality cookies or performance cookies, and these are usually first-party cookies.

        Importantly, first-party cookies can’t track your behaviour across different sites they visit.

        Third-party cookies are created by other websites and these can track your activity across different sites. For advertisers, these third-party cookies are extremely useful. For instance, they allow the creation of retargeting lists of past visitors or people with similar interests. These are often referred to as targeting, tracking or advertising cookies.

        The industry is increasingly moving towards first-party-only cookies, in an attempt to prioritise user privacy.

        In January 2020, Google announced that it would scrap third-party cookies by late 2023. The technology giant followed the lead of other web browsers including Firefox and Apple’s Safari.

         

         

        How has the iOS 14.5 update impacted advertisers on Facebook?

         

        If a user asks Facebook not to track them, their data cannot be shared or collected by third parties.

        This means that there’s less data being sent to Facebook pixels, which is the code used to record conversions and optimise campaigns for specific actions.

        With less data gathered, Facebook’s algorithms will be less efficient and effective, and campaign results could suffer.

        Remarketing pools will also be smaller, lookalike audiences less reliable and reporting capabilities limited

         

         

        How much data is actually being lost?

         

        It’s difficult to say exactly; Facebook/Meta hasn’t published official figures on opt-in rates, and it will likely vary from advertiser to advertiser, depending on the region and audience demographic for example.

        To clarify, data is only ‘lost’ for users who are using the Facebook or Instagram App on an Apple mobile device with iOS 14.5 or later installed and have opted out of tracking.

        To give a ballpark of how much of your audience this equates in reality; around half the users on Facebook and Instagram use Apple mobile devices, and around 40% (and rising) of these are on iOS14+.

        Then there is the question of how many users actually opt-in to the tracking. Initial estimations showed that only 2% of these users opted into tracking. However, more recent estimations have put this figure higher, at around 15 or 25%.

        So in essence, not all user data is being lost, but potentially enough to make a noticeable and lasting impact on your results.

         

         

        What has Facebook done to ease the impact of the iOS 14.5 update?

         

        Facebook has tried to ease the impact of Apple’s iOS 14.5 update by implementing a protocol that allows for the measurement of web events in iOS 14+ devices.

        This is called ‘Aggregated Event Measurement’. However, only up to 8 conversion events can be prioritised for conversion optimisation per domain.

        To set up event configurations and use your conversion events for ad optimisation, you must verify your domain – another setup process within the Facebook Ads interface.

         

         

         

        Summary

         

        It’s clear that Apple want to be seen as the industry leaders on increased privacy and putting users, rather than platforms such as Facebook, first.

        It’s likely that this is just one update that advertisers will have to navigate in the journey towards increased user privacy and scrapping of third-party cookies.

        We can’t foresee any major moves away from advertisers using Facebook ads – as long as Facebook continues to be a widely-used social media platform, there will be the opportunity to effectively target relevant audiences.

        In the follow up blog we will delve deeper into how advertisers can respond, watch this space and subscribe to our email news to get the next article sent directly to your inbox.

        We’d love to hear your thoughts on the iOS 14.5 update and the industry trend towards prioritising first-party data. Send us a message through our contact page or email us at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

         

         

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          Data Drives Digital Media Success

          Data drives digital media success

          Unsure how to best utilise your data? Not sure how to structure your digital campaigns? Look no further. We’ve detailed below our comprehensive guide to constructing a plan for analysing and utilising data from your digital media campaigns.

           

          How to use data to your advantage for your digital campaigns.

          The most successful campaigns have clear objectives and Key Performance Indicators. These KPIs are tracked via the user’s journey from their initial interaction with your media to the completion of a conversion. For the best success, it is vital to understand and track the journey that each user takes; data can help you with this process.

          With an understanding of your objectives in place, you’re then in a brilliant position to begin implementing your data tracking processes and future-proofing your site.

           

          Planning: Objectives and KPIs

          We start the planning process by defining clear objectives to the campaign. Knowing what we need to achieve, who the audience is, developing personas and outlining success.

          The below diagram analyses your user’s journey through your site. It begins with their first exposure to your media, looks at how they behave with your site, and finishes when they complete a conversion aligned with your mission.

           

          User Journey Funnel

           

          Conversions

          We recommend that you start with the end in mind. What do you ultimately want your audience to do? If it revolves around a transaction, you want to capture that and the amounts through ecommerce reports. If you are still suffering from a lack of data because your transition is on a third-party payment site you can’t track, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you change that. Other objectives that you might have for your campaign include volunteer sign-ups, petition fills, newsletter signups, using a health calculator, calls or downloading a free guide.

          All campaigns, including those based around communication, information and awareness, should have targets and hold themselves to account. You might need to innovate, but there are a variety of actions you could use to track your engagement. For example, tracking a users’ scroll depth to check that your user is reaching the bottom of your page, using a timing tracker to check that the user is reading your content or, some of our clients have started adding a ‘was this helpful’ button, to give a simple ticker that we can track.

           

          Behaviour

          You want to understand website behaviour and improve the site User Experience (UX) and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). It’s important to remember that creating conversions isn’t just about dropping people onto a landing page, the full journey of the conversion needs to be tracked and tweaked.

          The most obvious tool is Google Analytics. Analytics needs to be audited every couple of years and there are always opportunities for improving the data quality – usually substantially. Other helpful tools include Search Console, Tag Manager, Optimise, Hot Jar or Crazy Egg. All of these tools can be fed into a dashboard, allowing you to easily display all of your data.

          In particular, we have seen significant improvements to campaigns just from utilising User Journey Data. These campaigns consider the actual behaviour of your user and can be used to update the user journey to make a conversion more likely. For example, you could make the call-to-action clearer or experiment with the default donation amounts to see whether altering these actions results in a higher conversion rate.

           

           

          Media

          Conversion flowchart

           

          Next, it’s important to understand the performance of your media. This includes emails, social media, organic search and paid search.

          You can see a simple journey in the diagram above. Programmatic (display ads using a machine learning) could be the first impression, then a video ad, another programmatic impression, a click via Paid Search, a Facebook ad view and then finally maybe converting following a search and clicking an organic listing (as displayed above in red).

          As default, Analytics will attribute the last click made when someone converted. But we want to understand all the touch-points, including Impressions. Media channels will all count a conversion as being down to them; this would duplicate the credit, which can make it very hard to really understand how effective each channel is. For multi-channel campaigns we need a more sophisticated Ad Management system, such as Campaign Manager.

           

          Implementation: Infrastructure and Technology

           

          Process Infratructure

           

          It’s important to have data sources such as Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimisation Tools, media channels and (for larger campaigns), Ad Management software to feed into your dashboard so that it can all be viewed and analysed in one place.

          Key to extracting this data is using a ‘connector’ that can get what it needs through the software’s API. You could run that straight into your dashboard, but if you have multiple data sources, you’ll likely want to customise the data, dedupe it and sort it into a useful format first.

          Dashboards are designed for front-end display. They aren’t so hot at handling the calculations, so this is better done first by use of a data sorting tool, such as Google Sheets. This is where your data analyst will get involved, making sure that all your data is compiled and structured; before being pulled into your dashboard.

          In terms of the technologies involved in these processes, these are our initial recommendations. For big campaigns that need an ad management solution, Campaign manager with it’s Floodlight Tracking is our favourite. It tracks across your media, website activity and conversions, integrating with DV360. As an Ad Serving tool, Campaign Manager is about as future-proof as it gets, being integrated with Google’s Marketing stack. We also strongly recommend this if you are managing Programmatic Campaigns.

          Supermetrics is our top tip for a connector. It’s paid, but very stable and versatile. It will usually work with non-Google programs such as Facebook and also some Google programs that even data studio can’t connect with, such as My Business.

          There are several great Data Visualisation (or dashboard) tools out there. Google’s Data Studio is likely going to be the most appropriate, but Microsoft’s Power BI is more powerful. However, if you are using Sheets, you won’t need the extra power that Power BI can provide. Google Data Studio makes sharing reports easier and the big advantage is that it handles integration with other Google tools pretty seamlessly, including Google Sheets, or if you are feeding it directly, other Google tools.

           

          Implementation: Futureproofing

          Data handling policies are constantly changing, and we need to keep an eye on all future developments. For example, there have recently been a lot of changes surrounding Privacy and Consent. IOS 14.5, ‘The Privacy update’, which was released very recently requires app developers to explicitly receive consent for any ad tracking. Additionally, Google Chrome is removing 3rd party cookies by 2022. We are still awaiting clarification on what this will mean exactly, but we can assume that there will be more use of first party cookies.

          In the meantime,

          • Investigate ‘Civic UK’ to ensure that Tag Manager operates in line with cookie policy.
          • Google Analytics 4 is now released. Google is moving away from sessions and page views to users and events. Upgrade to GA4 (but for now also run existing account in parallel).
          • Also upgrade to Bing and Google Ads first party cookie pixels to your site, you’ll need them for when 3rd party tracking is removed.

           

          In our experience, having a clear dashboard makes driving campaigns a lot more fun. Putting the work in at the beginning, to track the important metrics, sort them and have them ready for your convenience will make you feel more relaxed, and in control.

           

           

          We are very keen to support non-profits get this right. We’re available for a free conversation which often solves organizations’ issues straight away.

          We are also running a number of free webinars, and when Covid allows, breakfast roundtables. Some of those are going to be focused around setting targets and measuring performance with a lot of peer-to-peer conversations. You can also signup to our newsletter from here too. If you subscribe, we’ll keep you up to date with Technologies, Strategies and Privacy Updates.

           

           

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            Defending Your Brand in Keyword Bidding Wars

            Defending your brand in keyword bidding wars

            Paid search brand attacks are becoming increasingly commonplace. They can be harmful if left unchecked, and if a bidding war ensues the only real winners are the search engines.

            When we’ve needed to let clients know that this has happened, the general principles and subsequent advice is always similar, so I thought I’d lay things out here for the benefit of everyone. Firstly, I’ll run through the factors at play. At the bottom of this article we’ll look at what to do if you think your brand is coming under attack.

             

            Why is a competitor bidding on your keyword?

            The aggressor brand is able to circumnavigate (typically) more competitive and expensive, intent-based keywords, and focus on taking traffic and sales away from competitors (the defending brands).

            As the user has reached the point of searching for a particular brand, they would usually be in the ‘purchase’ phase, not the ‘research phase’. The closer advertisers can reach consumers at point of purchase, the more likely that user is to convert.

            For example, the keyword ‘buy a TV online’ might theoretically cost £5 per click. A competitor’s brand, ‘LG TV’ would likely be considerably less, conceivably 50p. Was LG to bid on ‘Sony TV’ and successfully convert the user, they could be reducing a competitor’s revenue, whilst increasing their own, at reduced cost.

            There are other gains to be made from bidding on competitors brand names beyond exposure and high quality traffic. There will be extremely useful data around those brand queries, including volume, and associated keywords. Also, one brand is able to invite comparison against another, and frame it in a way that favours them.

            If this is happening to your organisation, your competitor hasn’t necessarily decided to bid on your brand directly. It could be an aggressive agency – they could be following Google’s keyword suggestions. So the first step isn’t necessarily to go knocking down doors, but open a dialog; and it’s good to know the practicalities first.

             

            What are the legalities?

            It is legal to bid on other organisations’ branded keywords. Sometimes Google, (for example), will trademark certain keywords. But this is infrequent, inconsistently applied, and typically only done for mammoth organisations with significant spend in paid search. It’s legal to do and hard to prevent if you are defending yourself.

            It isn’t legal for the aggressor’s ad text to make it appear that they are the organisation who’s keywords they are bidding on as this could mislead the user (who is often the consumer). This was cited in 2013, when Interflora sued M&S for branded keywords together with ads appearing to lead to an Interflora service. With dynamic keyword Insertion (DKI) ads, (automatically repeating the keyword being bid for in the ad text), it could be easy to make this mistake. So legally, fixed ad text should be used.

             

            Are there any moral implications?

            Arguably. From a user’s perspective, they have been quite specific in looking for a particular brand. Bidding on keywords when you are not the brand they are looking for is clearly outside ‘user intent’.

            This can be more clearly illustrated in the charity sector, with bidding on competitor brands takes increases the price of traffic, takes money away from both advertisers, and as such the cause they are trying to support.

             

            What about ‘keyword focused’ brand names?

            Where an advertiser’s brand name clearly indicates the activities they are involved in, they are not so easily defendable. For example, if a TV retail company called itself ‘buy a TV online’, then they are clearly putting themselves in the firing line of intent-driven keywords. The same could be said for ‘Diabetes UK’ or Cancer Research UK. (The charity sector is particularly at risk here as many charities like to clearly indicate their cause’ in their name).

            In these situations, Google is unlikely to allow these terms to be trademarked and competitors are less likely to avoid these keywords. However, having a keyword focused brand offers organisations a slight advantage in bidding for those search queries, as below:

             

            Are competitors able to bid on another brand’s keyword as effectively as the brand owner themselves?

            No. Organisations that own their brands should be signalling clearer intent to search engines, and so be rewarded with an increased quality score (QS). This will mean that it should cost the defending brand less to rank above their rival, maybe by something like 20%.

            There will still be a significant increase in cost for the defender to compete for their own branded traffic. Maybe several times greater than they would otherwise be paying. So long as the ‘aggressor’ brand is bidding within their means, (with an acceptable amount of revenue being generated from this activity), they could keep increasing the bid, and the cost for their rival organisation to defend their brand.

             

            Does anyone win?

            Google, certainly. It is no surprise that Google and other search engines benefit significantly from the mechanics of paid search that they have engineered. If brand names become competitive, as with other high-demand keywords, Google will pocket the increased cost-per-click on those keywords.

            The issues around this are really highlighted by the charity sector. For example, one of the charities we work with is Crisis. They have a particularly well know Christmas campaign which they use to increase awareness around homelessness. Although the word ‘Crisis’ is common, there is little correlation for the keyword ‘Crisis’ to indicate intent to donate to a homeless charity; apart from where it applies to the brand. However, several other homeless organisations, (or their zealous agencies), do bid on this keyword, especially over the Christmas season.

            Brand bidding wars really hurt the charity sector. Assuming an average donation amount achieved per click to be £10: If a rival is prepared to bid £8 for this click (and still make profit) and the charity is then also forced to match that spend to defend it’s own keywords. This could mean 80% of the intended donation going to Google.

             

            In a brand bidding war does either organisation have an inherent advantage?

            Perhaps. Let’s assume there are two advertisers where all other variables are equal: The same quality of service (or product), the same costs for production, the same cost of sale, the same ability to convert users that land on the site, – and so on. There is a strong commercial case that the smaller organisation with less brand awareness will have the advantage. There is more branded traffic they can take from their competitor, and less cost to themselves for the increase cost in defending their own brand in search engines. I’m over-simplifying here to illustrate the point, but often the smaller challenger-brand has more to gain and less to lose.

            Also, ‘competitor bidding awareness’ is a big contributing factor to whoever has the advantage. The aggressor will have the upper hand here at the beginning. If one advertiser is aggressively moving in on another’s brand search traffic, until the defending brand spots it, the aggressor has probably found itself an opportunity.

            If the defending brand does have effective detection in place, they are able to increase the cost of their click to defend their position, and maybe retaliate, but this is probably at considerable expense, and more money to Google. The defending brand could also decide to bid on the aggressor’s branded keywords in return, again, escalating the cost for this traffic.

             

            What’s the process for stopping it?

            Trademark. Try to get Google to apply that trademark across keywords as well as ad text. This should be done anyway, before any competitor bidding shenanigans take place.

            Monitor. Regularly search for your own brand name and identify any competitors bidding on it.

            Speak to the competitor and agree not to compete on bidding against each other brands. In many situations, this is going to make sense. Initially we recommend starting conversations at the level of whoever oversees the Google Ads account. Often someone like the Marketing Manager or Marketing Director. I recommend friendly communication in the spirit of cooperation, and to get buy-in from the other organisation. If no luck is found at that level, escalating this to a ‘CEO – CEO level chat’ would commonly be the advised next step. The case is simple: Please stop bidding on our brand, because if you continue, we’ll have to out-bid you, and in return, bid on yours. This would then cost us both a lot of money.

            Not actively bidding on another’s brand wouldn’t stop advertisers from appearing when competitor’s brand names are included in the search query. For example, bidding on just the words ‘buy TV online’ might make Sony appear for the search query ‘buy an LG TV online’. Likely if LG are using their own brand in addition to the other words used, they will have the advantage, (greater relevancy = improved quality Score). However, for competitors to agree not to rank (at all) in search queries where the other brand is used, they need to go one step further…

            Negative keyword matching goes one step further.  This is where one Google Ads account specifies that if a particular keyword is included in the user’s search query, they won’t enter the bid.  If organisations could align themselves so that each introduces the rival’s brand as a negative keyword, they would both be rewarded with significant cost reductions on their own branded traffic.

            This has limitations with multiple advertisers, as it only takes one to break ranks, and due to the auction-based system for establishing price, the market rate for that brand would quickly shoot up.

            The process can often work for charities, where economies of scale are such that there is often only a limited handful of organisations (of any considerable size) clustered around a particular cause. Often only two or three. This makes coordination between the groups relatively easy. If a collaborative approach can be taken, it should save all of them considerable funds.

             

            In summary

            Bidding on another brand is common, and in my experience, often organisations don’t even know they are doing it. So, keep communication friendly, but you do want to stop this where possible. Brands are built on the back of good awareness marketing; no-one want to pay for them again with significant search costs!

            If this post is of interest and you would like to discuss in more detail, we’d love to help! Drop us your details in our contact page and someone will be in touch.

             

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              Automated Marketing for Charities – Why You’ll love Automation

              What is automated marketing?

              What is Automated Marketing?

               

              Automated marketing is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing digital marketing sectors, and there’s a reason why so many people are interested. But what exactly is automated marketing, and why would you or your organisation want to use it?

              Put simply, automated marketing is the process of streamlining your inbound marketing from all channels, compiling it in one place and then engaging with your potential new supporters with minimal effort.

              The idea is to drive visitors to your site and then guide them down an engagement or sales funnel. This takes the form of four main steps; Attract, Connect, Engage & Inspire.

              If you want to find out more on how automated marketing could benefit your business or charity, please contact us or send us an email at [email protected]

               

              Inbound Methodology for Charities

              Personas

               

              Before the process starts, it’s important to get a detailed idea of your ideal customer. For not-for-profits this can be quite a challenge, as depending on the organisation, you might have a wide range of different services or products with an even wider range of target audiences. Not everything you offer is going to be right for everyone, and by painting everyone with the same brush there are missed opportunities.

              One of the first starting points in automated marketing is to create personas – your ideal target supporters. Ideally, you’ll create separate personas for each different audience, so depending on your size there might be quite a few to create! For example, if you run several challenge fundraising events you might have a persona such as Challenge Colin:

               

              Example Fundraiser Persona

              By understanding each of your target supporters, such as Colin, you are better able to tailor content and their journey to suit them, ultimately making it more engaging and personal.

               

               

              The Four Steps of Automation

               

              Attract

               

              The attract stage is fairly self-explanatory, your goal is to attract strangers to your website and convert them into visitors. There are many ways you can do this:

              • Paid Search – advertising through Google or Bing
              • Organic search – through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) with Google or Bing
              • Display – banner or video advertising
              • Content – blogs and promoted offerings
              • Social – tweets & posts

              In the case of Colin, a video ad of your next big upcoming event on Facebook would prove to be a very interesting and attractive proposition.

               

              Connect

               

              Once a visitor is on the site, you want them to connect with your organisation, and if possible, turn them into a potential lead. This is done by asking the visitor to provide their information in return for some offering. This could be signing up to your fundraising event, email newsletter or a call for support.

              By providing this content behind a form, there is an exchange of information, which will be fed directly into your automated marketing customer management system (CRM). Based off the users interaction, you can begin to categorise visitors into your pre-defined personas and can use this information to tailor content specifically for them.

               

              Engage

               

              This is where the majority of automation lies. You have a potential lead, but you want to be able to nurture them into becoming a supporter of your charity. The best way in which to do this is content, content, content! Providing useful content, that will actually provide the user with value, will keep them coming back for more and more. Challenge fundraising and training packs are great for this, and also provide a great opportunity to rank well organically for SEO.

              Have lots of content is great, but how do you make sure that your supporters are seeing it, and that it’s actually the type of content they’re after? This is where emails and workflows come in!

              Workflows are a bit like a process flowchart where you can create an entire user journey from visitor to promoter, including every single bit of content and email they will receive on the way. This is completely automated, with custom criteria and timings available to make sure that only the right person is receiving the right content at the right time. Workflows can be as simple or complex as you want to make them, but provide an amazing opportunity to really build up a relationship and rapport with potential supporters.

               

              Inspire

               

              So, after engaging with your leads they’re now supporters, but that doesn’t mean automation stops! The engagement process is ongoing, so it’s important to continue to offer supporters new content to help inspire and delight them. This might be fundraising news, new events, cause related updates or regular social media interaction. If done correctly, your supporters will begin to promote your organisation to new ‘strangers’ and the cycle begins again.

              Although it can be a painstaking process to get everything set up and in place, once it’s there, it’s effortless. Not only are you better targeting individual audiences, you’re providing them with more relevant content, when they want it. When you have a huge number of potential contacts or subscribers, automation becomes invaluable.

              Automated marketing provides a fantastic opportunity for charities and not-for-profits, and allows you to tailor the experience and journey of each and every one of your supporters.

               

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                The Vlog Blog

                Digital Marketing Videos

                The one about the vlogs…

                Exciting news here at Uprise Up – we’ve added vlogging to our long list of activities! In May we filmed the talks from our most recent event and uploaded them for your viewing pleasure (watch our playlist here).

                This month, we’ve embarked on our own series of ‘How To’ videos where we give you our top tips on various aspects of digital marketing. This series of digital marketing videos can help you get started on your very own digital marketing strategy – all in less than 3 minutes each!

                To make it even easier, I’ve decided to give you a run-down of the videos in our digital marketing series with links to each one. All you need to do now is sit back and enjoy!

                 

                The Basics of Paid Search & Why Your Business Should Be Using It

                John Onion | 1:55

                Why do paid search? Online advertising can take up a lot of time and can be fruitless if you don’t know what you’re doing. One of our most common complaints from prospective clients is ‘we’ve tried AdWords – it doesn’t work’. This is where we come in.

                In this video, John takes you through the basics of how to advertise online & shows you how effective paid search can be to your website – whether your business is big or small!

                 

                 

                How To Rank Highly In Google: A Beginner’s Guide To SEO

                Kapwom Dingis | 2:55

                What is search engine optimisation? Kapwom is the person to ask! SEO is the process of getting seen in the search engine results process and Kapwom runs us through the 3 key areas we like to optimise. In this video, you’ll learn what’s important and what you should be doing first (Spoiler: it’s the technical SEO!). Discover why social media and bloggers are so good for your website, and why you want them all to be talking about you!

                 

                 

                3 Local SEO Tips To Help You Rank Highly In Google

                Ed Coles | 2:48

                Consistent NAPs are important – and we’re not talking having a snooze! NAP is Name, Address, Phone number and they’re vitally important to your local rankings.

                A few years ago, it was huge corporations that would appear in the results pages, the ones with more time and money to be able to dedicate to their website. Nowadays you’re more likely to find the shop from down the road – and it’s all thanks to local SEO.

                Google now prioritise local businesses over these giant companies, but only if the local business has good local SEO.

                Learn how to boost your local SEO with 3 quick fixes from Ed – start ranking locally today!

                 

                 

                How To Get Free Google Advertising For Nonprofits Using Google’s AdWords Grant

                Susan Lambiase | 3:05

                Do you want free money with no catch? Amazingly enough, this isn’t a scam – Google really do offer from $10,000 – $40,000 PCM in advertising to charities! In this video, Susan runs through why you should sign up for Google Ad Grants (did I mention $40,000 of free advertising?) and how to sign up in only 5 steps.

                Advertising to potential volunteers is vitally important. We have found that it’s incredibly effective – and Google let’s you do it for free!

                4 Tips For Boosting Website Traffic Using Google Analytics

                Ben Tuck | 2:12

                Ben and his team are all about data! Data seems to drive the world nowadays, and it can help you give your website a massive boost in ranking – it’s all about what you do with it. Google Analytics is an essential tool for anyone who has a website so you can check website traffic and collect data. You can see your top line website statistics, or delve deeper into how each page performs. In this video, Ben runs us through the 4 top tips on how to increase website traffic using your Google Analytics data.

                 

                 

                3 Tips To Setting Up And Effective Google Shopping Campaign

                Ben Tuck | 1:50

                Compete against Amazon and eBay! Google Shopping Ads show your product right at the top of the page (you may have seen Google Shopping Ads in the news recently – we also did a blog about it!). You can utilise them to showcase your products on the results page with Ben’s 3 tips on how to set up google shopping feeds – and all in less than 2 minutes!

                 

                A Simple Guide to Digital Display Advertising

                Susan Lambiase | 2:51

                Have you ever been chased around the internet by one particular advert for a website you went on recently? In this video, Susan explains how this happens – and how you can do it for your website too!

                Susan takes us through what digital display advertising is and why it can be brilliant for your brand. Digital display is brilliantly creative, and gives a really good feel for what your brand is all about. It includes YouTube, Facebook & other social media advertising and can complement your paid search advertising – or even drive your entire advertising campaign!

                 

                So there you go, 7 videos on digital marketing strategy to help you boost your performance.

                For help with your digital marketing campaigns, or for more information, contact us today.

                In addition to our digital marketing videos, keep an eye out for details of our next events for more in-depth talks on various aspects of digital marketing. Check out our previous events here to see what you’re in store for!

                 

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                  Bouncing Back After the Christmas Slump

                  Maintaining Performance Over Christmas

                   

                  The run up to Christmas can be a busy one for people; they have bigger priorities and responsibilities in terms of buying presents, decorating, and planning for the big day. Unless you’re marketing in retail this can lead to a drop in your online traffic. This slump will likely then continue onto new years and even beyond as people start to devote more of their time into their New Year’s resolutions – as unfeasible as some of them may be!

                  All together for such an extended period of time it can appear daunting or scary to see this drop in traffic. In most cases you can expect an improvement come January. As the population gets back to work, into typical routines and old habits, normality will usually be restored.

                  However, this is not always the case and you can’t always expect traffic to return to normal by itself or as quickly as you would like it – old setups may just not be as effective. Just as you adapt strategies from year to year, so you must when your traffic has stifled. With much lower traffic to your website for such a prolonged period your brand could be weakened. It’ll take more time and effort to re-engage with certain parts of your target audience.

                   

                  Some things to look at for example on your AdWords accounts:

                  • Search Terms – Possibly the most important factor when your ad shows up on someone’s screens is that they need to be relevant to what the user is actually looking for. People can be searching for completely different things over the holidays as opposed to the rest of the year and these irregular search terms can get caught in your keyword net. You could be getting unwanted impressions which yield little to no clicks affecting your CTR, so sift through and clear out some of your search terms!

                   

                  • CTR (Click Through Rate) – Due to your decrease in traffic your CTR could be effected and greatly decreased as a result. A good starting point is making sure your CTR hasn’t dipped massively, but if it has, why not revamp your ads for the new year? The more relevant and engaging your ads are, the higher your CTR will be. It’s also worth noting that CTR is a big factor when determining your quality score which can help improve your ad rank and bring down your CPC (Cost-Per-Click)

                   

                  • Quality Score – As mentioned, improving your CTR is one way of improving your quality score, however, this isn’t always so simple to do. Some of your keywords may just not be as relevant as before and as such keywords with a low quality score should be discarded. A low average quality score on just some of your campaigns can affect how all your ads are shown across the account. This is because quality score is a big factor in determining both your ad rank and CPC (Cost Per Click).

                   

                  • Ad Rank – A good ad rank is one of the most important things and why you keep track of everything else mentioned before. The two factors in ad rank are quality score and bid cost. So you can see now why improving quality score is so important if you want to keep to a budget of any kind.

                   

                  These are some of the basic fundamentals, but some of these steps can be easily overlooked and forgotten over time. If campaigns have been going well for years, you may think “why change now?” Often neglecting these simple tricks can build up over time and problems only rear their heads after a catalyst situation. When your traffic has decreased, flaws in your account can be all that more visible and weighted toward how your ads are ranked.

                  This doesn’t just apply to Christmas, but Easter, summer and all holidays. You need to constantly be adapting and up to date with current events and social changes. This links to the eternal goal of marketing; to persistently stick in people’s minds, forever keeping up to date or risk losing relevance to your target market.

                  2017 is set to be an even bigger year for digital marketing and offers a great opportunity for companies and advertisers to really reap the benefits of a digital campaign, no matter what time of year!

                   

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