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Google Introduces 2% Fee on all Ads Served in the UK

Google 2% fee on all ads served in the UK

Google Introduces 2% Fee on all Ads Served in the UK

Starting on Tuesday, Google have been emailing Google Ads users about the introduction of extra fees for ads served in the UK (NB: a few other territories are affected too, but we’ll be focusing on the UK).

The help page clearly states that this is in direct response to the government’s newly introduced Digital Services Tax and will result in an extra 2% charge on top of any ad spend within the UK. This will start to take affect from November 1st.

This tax was aimed at the largest organisations, so it is disappointing (if not somewhat inevitable) that Google have decided to pass this cost directly onto their customers. Amazon have similarly passed this cost on recently, though that goes beyond just advertising. It will be interesting to see Microsoft’s response, as if they are able to not follow Google’s lead, advertising on Bing will become more attractive.

So far, there has been no news from any Social Networks about any changes, but it will be something else to keep an eye on over the coming months.

Advertisers will need to carefully budget for the end of 2020 and beyond. Costs within the Google Ads platform will remain the same, as the fee is added on top. This does create an added complication when calculating budget and so we advice thinking about this sooner rather than later.

 

If you have any questions about how this new fee will affect you, we’re happy to help. Please do email us at [email protected], send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to have a chat and find out how we can support you.

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Tips For The New AdWords User Interface (UI)

New AdWords Interface

Getting Used to the New AdWords UI

 

As we all know, change is awful and should never happen. However, Google are dragging us kicking and screaming into the new AdWords UI and no matter how much we protest the future of paid search is here to stay.

Here are a few things to take note of amidst the transition.

 

Promotion Extensions

This has been a welcome addition – no more using up valuable ad text characters for your promotion, it will now appear below the ad next to an eye-catching price tag icon.

 

AdWords Promotion Extension Example

 

As in the image above you can apply a general promotion, or you can have a special occasion promotion as follows:

 

AdWords Promotion Extension Occasions

 

The promotion can be either a percentage discount or a monetary discount in a variety of currencies.

Promotions wouldn’t exist if they didn’t work, and promotion extensions are already proving to work very well, with delighted digital marketers reporting dramatically increased CTR.

 

Shortcuts

Praise be to shortcuts in general – rewiring your brain to use them always takes some time but before long you’ll be jumping around the new interface while your mouse sits neglected.

 

Google AdWords Keyboard Shortcuts

 

Google will test and trial new hot keys over time and we expect this to be ramped up in the coming months!

 

Dimensions rides off into the sunset…

…As Predefined Reports takes its place. Most of the dimensions are still here but others have moved or been done away with entirely (the Search Terms dimension for example was a little redundant).

One that has moved is Call Details – it now has its own columns.

 

AdWords Call Details

 

Being the superstar that it is, Devices now has a whole tab just for itself.

 

Google AdWords Devices Tab

 

Time is still included in the Predefined Reports but there is a new Ad Schedule tab which offers an easier-to-digest breakdown of day to day results.

 

 

Landing Page Mobile Assessment

We’ve all come across web pages that are the opposite of mobile friendly. High bounce rates and low conversions are a given, and they lower the quality score of otherwise brilliant keywords.

In comes the new Landing Page tab to point them out to you, showing a ‘Mobile-friendly Click Rate’ next to each page, helping you to isolate problem areas. Considering most searches now happen via mobile these problem areas have a bigger impact than some might think.

 

Google AdWords Landing Page Tab
(Image courtesy of adwords.googleblog.com)

 

The Overview

Probably the most obvious change is the Overview. It’s colourful and bombastic, but is it useful?
Yep. At least parts of it. You can now compare more than two metrics in the graph at the top, which is nice.

 

Google AdWords Overview Graph

 

There are also a few helpful modules such as Biggest Changes:

 

Google AdWords Biggest Changes Report

And a performance heatmap:

 

Google AdWords Performance Heatmap

 

See blog posts by Chantal and Dan for more on the Overview.

 

Call Bid Adjustments

With the new UI Google have rolled out call bid adjustments for mobile. This is welcome news considering calls convert more effectively than clicks do. The adjustments range from -90% to +900% and can be made right here:

 

Google AdWords Call Bid Adjustments Tab

 

Let’s Talk

Did you find our tips for the new Google Ads user interface helpful? Why not share this post on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?

If you want to know more about our paid search services and how it could benefit your charity or business, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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Big Hype, Big TV and Big Disappointment: Google Marketing Live

Google Marketing Live

Google Marketing Live Event : PPC’s Reactions

 

On Tuesday, Google live-streamed their Google Marketing Live event, which highlights their developments and innovations for the next 12 months on their paid platforms. Expectations were high, and Google were ramping up their marketing about it.

Maybe expectations where set too high, as in the end we all felt a bit underwhelmed. There wasn’t a lot of innovation or any sizeable developments delivered. In fact, what was a ‘announced’ in most cases was already known or was something which had already been in beta. If you have any questions on topics mentioned in the live event or about Google’s paid platforms in general, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Below I’ve detailed my takeaway from the event, and I’ve caught up with Alex and Will from our Paid Media team on their thoughts!

 

For me, I was expecting more in general. I know there’s been sizeable developments recently with the introduction of the new UI and the rebrand – but there was nothing really ground-breaking occurring here.

I’m interested by the developments in Google Marketing Platform, especially Display and Video 360.

As we start to get involved in more and more omni-channel campaigns, having a hub to co-ordinate between agencies, clients and even inter-agency departments sounds like a nice direction to take.

The highlight is the introduction of cross device and remarketing reporting within Google Analytics. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do with this level of reporting and how we can then apply this to our campaigns.

Finally, I’m disappointed by the direction they’re taking with the new responsive ads. It feels like another unnecessary squeeze on the organic space and feels like a tick boxing exercise to force users to use a more ‘machine learning’ by Google.

Ben, Account Director

 

I also caught up with our Account Manager, Alex on his thoughts on the event:

As usual these things are disappointing overall, with a lot of waffle without really explaining how these new developments actually work. We’re not in any way sure how useful anything announced will be to our clients – we’ll have to wait for more details to be able to comment further.

There was a focus on automation (as there has been recently), but Google just say that they will be better options for advertisers without actually explaining anything in detail.

I was disappointed there was no mention of Data Studio, as it is a product with a lot of clear potential and one that we use enthusiastically. We even received an email teasing this last week which makes it extra disappointing.

Alex, Account Manager

 

Finally, we spoke to Will on his thoughts:

I think the responsive search ads do have the potential to be quite useful and are an obvious move for Google, towards providing more machine learning capabilities. They allow advertisers to provide up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, and then tests multiple variations of your ad for you, to work out the best combination, per search query.  They also have the ability to display up to three headlines and two 90-character descriptions, which is 90% more text overall!

Google say that these will not only save time, but also improve ad performance, by providing more opportunities to show relevant messages to customers. We know that taking up more real-estate on a page can greatly increase CTR, so it will be interesting to see how effective they actually are.

It does raise further questions over the future of SEO, with paid ads taking up more and more space, and organic results being pushed further down. Moreover, there are also questions over how this will affect PPC; with more organisations turning to paid ads, and less room to get in a top-of-the-page position, surely cost-per-clicks will rise too?

Will, Digital Marketing Executive

 

For a full rundown of the event you can still watch the live on demand here: https://blog.google/products/ads/live-stream-2018/; as well as reading their blog on the releases here: https://blog.google/technology/ads/machine-learning-hands-advertisers/

It would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions! Tweet us @upriseUPSEM or send us an email at [email protected].

 

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Why Google Shopping Campaigns Are Fantastic!

Why Google Shopping campaigns are fantastic

The Benefits of Google Shopping Campaigns

 

Google Shopping Campaigns are fantastic! In the two years since we’ve started using them we’ve seen their performance continue to improve tenfold, to the point that they are now outperforming the more traditional search ads! If you want to transform your business by making the most out of shopping ads, please send us an email at [email protected]

One of the key components of their effectiveness is understanding how they work and how you can best utilise Google’s shopping platform to show your products at the right time; and for the right bid! Today I want to open the lid (slightly) on our Google Shopping strategy and give you some insight into how you can send your ecommerce revenue through the roof.

Google Shopping Ads

 

Before I go any further, I just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page. There are some significant differences in the way the Google presents data to you between paid search and shopping. But, there are two fundamental differences when it comes to the key dynamics of how it all works. These are Ad Copy and Bid Management:

Paid Search
Shopping Campaigns
Ad Copy
User created ad copy which includes strong CTA. Text-based Manually added to spreadsheet or automatically pulled from your website. Includes product title, an image of the product, and the price
Bid Management
By keyword, optimised based on conversions By product, based on what is bringing in the income

 

 

Shopping ads consists of a title, price, store name and, most crucially, an image. They consequently differ to search ads as they do not require the creation of any ad copy. Google creates shopping ads automatically, using information provided by the advertisers in a Merchant Feed. It is therefore important to optimise the feed itself, as this effectively takes the place of the Ad Copy, by implementing a Shopping Strategy.

 

You should be reviewing all product names and product type categories in your feed and optimising them with as descriptive keywords as possible. Conducting this process increases the chances of the Ad being shown, and therefore provides more opportunities to convert prospective purchasers.

 

The other major difference with shopping ads is with how bidding works. In paid search, bids are placed at keyword level. In layman’s terms: The more profitable the keyword, the greater the bid. However, in Shopping Ads, bids are set by product. This is not ideal as different search queries have different intents of purchasing. For example, a user searching ‘buy pink umbrella’ has a higher intent to purchase than a search of ‘umbrella’. This causes a problem because we would happily pay more for ‘buy pink umbrella’, but we are unable to distinguish between the searches, as we are forced to bid at product level.

 

The way around this problem is to utilise the priority setting for each Shopping campaign. Each campaign’s priority can be set to ‘High’, ‘Medium’ or ‘Low’. By creating duplicate campaigns with differing priority levels, we can control our bids by funnelling search terms into different campaigns based on intent.

 

Shopping-Buckets-High-Priority

 

Using this system, a search of ‘umbrella’ would be sent to the ‘high’ priority campaign first, which would contain a low bid as it contains low intent search terms. You want to match to the ‘high priority’ first in order to show for as low a bid as possible to most keywords. Remember, Google chooses when your ads show – not you! So, by default we want it to be a low bid, until we know it’s a great search term.

 

Once you have enough data, top performing searches would be set as negative keywords in the high priority campaigns, and these searches would be funnelled into a ‘lower priority’ campaign. These campaigns would then have a higher bid, as we are happier to pay more for a user who is more likely to convert.

 

Shopping-Buckets-Low-Priority

 

This system allows a much greater amount of control over our bids and has produced some fantastic results for our clients.

 

This blog is a snapshot of my ‘Evening of Ecommerce’ talk I presented at upriseUP for one of our fantastic events. You can find more information about my talk here presentation library.

 

Please do let me know your success with Shopping ads and I’d love to hear how you get on with implementing your ‘priority’ bidding strategy. If you would love for me to talk to you about how I think we can help your ecommerce even further, then please let me know.

 

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Extend Your Knowledge of Ad Extensions – Part 2

Extend your Knowledge of Ad Extensions

Ad Extensions Continued…

 

In this series of blogs, we are reviewing the plethora of ad extensions on offer from Google and what they can do for your ads. If you haven’t already, please see our first instalment where we reviewed sitelinks, callouts, structured snippets and call extensions, as well as why you should be using ad extensions wherever possible.

Message Extensions

Message extensions will show when viewing ads on mobiles and allow the user to, with one click, contact you via text. Working with a number of charities, we commonly use them for text donation asks, as you can prepopulate a text with, for example, DONATE3 to donate £3 per month. They can also be used to book appointments or classes or to receive quotes.

 

They can be a great addition to your extension library, not only offering a one click call to action but also taking up more space on the already space limited mobile results page, giving your ads more prominence. One thing to take into consideration is that your business must have a phone number that is able to receive, send and process the text messages.

 

 

Location Extensions and Affiliate Location Extensions

If you have a physical location associated with your business or charity you can use location extensions to add another line below your ad with an address, map or distance away from the location, as well as either a phone number or click to call button.

 

location ad extension

 

The clickable pin can take you straight to Google Maps if a map does not show on the results page, and if your Google My Business page is linked then opening times and reviews may also show. Interestingly, location extensions are also a way of getting your phone number to show if your call extension does not show. As is a theme with the fact that you can stack extensions, the more space you take up on the results page the more prominent your ad.

 

 

Price Extensions

Price extensions allow you to showcase the different types of products or services that you offer on both mobile and desktop searches. Shown below as it would appear on mobile, the extensions feature in a scrollable reel below the ad of up to 8 cards displaying products and associated prices.

 

Price extensions can increase how impactful your ad is by showcasing what you have on offer compared to your competitors and taking up vital space on the results page, especially on mobile. You also allow the user to click through directly to the most relevant page on your site, making their journey easier and giving them a shortcut to converting.

 

price ad extension

Promotion Extensions

Promotion extensions, currently only available in the new AdWords interface, show below your ad and are a great way to display any monetary or percentage discounts that you are currently offering.

 

You can enter a specific promotion URL, as well as select the extension as a special occasion, such as ‘Back to School’ or ‘Christmas’ to show as a bold label next to the offer.

 

Additional options include adding qualifiers such as ‘on orders over’ and displaying promotional codes. Using promotion extensions where applicable gives potential customers another reason to click on your ads over the others, and may lead to higher click through and conversion rates.

 

promotion ad extension

 

We still have a few more extensions to review so be sure to check in for the final part of this extended series!

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Changes To AdWords Daily Budgets: Our Thoughts

Changes to AdWords daily budgets

Campaign Budgets Can Now Spend Up To Double Their Daily Limit

 

Did you know Internet traffic is like an ocean? Some days, there will be small waves. Other days, there will be great big ones.

 

So states Google’s latest AdWords help article, relating to the latest update released last week. https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1704443

 

Without much announcement, Google changed how your daily budget settings in AdWords are set.

 

The term ‘Daily Budget’ has always been a slight misnomer, as Google previously allowed a campaign to spend up to 20% more, to account for slight daily fluctuations. This is actually quite a smart move, as no one wants to miss out on relevant traffic if it is there. Google are also kind enough not to charge you more per month than your daily budget multiplied by 30.4 (and this hasn’t changed with the recent news), so you will not spend more than you have budgeted for.

 

Last week however, this 20% became 100%. That’s right – a campaign can now spend up to double the daily limit you set. There is no way to opt out of this.

 

If you are using Manual CPC bidding and Accelerated ad delivery (which is our recommendation), then as long as your campaigns are not limited by budget, (we would advise bringing your cost per click down if you are limited by budget), your account shouldn’t be affected by this wave news. If your campaigns are limited by budget, this means (along with a sign that your accounts are not being managed well) that your ads are eligible to show in more search results, but cannot show every time as the campaign does not have enough money behind it. This is then a case where Google can decide to ‘go with the waves’ and accrue costs way higher than your daily budget.

 

Google are also pushing advertisers to give their algorithm more control over their ads, most notably with the new automated bidding strategies they have introduced. For example, the new ‘Maximise Conversions’ strategy that Google is promoting to non-profits.

 

These strategies only show your ads in certain auctions based on how likely Google thinks you are to fulfil your chosen goal. Combined with the fluctuations in traffic Google mention, we are concerned that this change will cause your ads to show up inconsistently.

 

We have been keeping a close eye on our accounts since this change was introduced, and haven’t seen any noticeable changes yet. However, due to the reasons outlines above, we don’t believe this change will have much of an effect if managed well.

 

The potential for disaster waves exists when an account is not regularly checked in on, with our fear being that spend will peak and trough (waves!) for no apparent reason. We advise watching your account spend closely over the next few days in case there are any unexpected waves.

 

Google’s certainly aren’t worried by this, and I’ll leave you with their reassuring words:

 

“The waves of Internet traffic might make your daily costs go up and down. But at the end of the month, despite those unpredictable waves, you’ll find your costs at right where you expected them to be.”

If you’d like help with your Google Ads campaigns, or your Google Ad Grant, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Google’s Grant Account Game-changer: Initial Results and Next Steps

Maximise Conversions for Google Ad Grants

Maximise Conversions for Google Ad Grants

Further Clarification

 

A couple of weeks ago we woke up to the exciting news that Google were allowing certain grant accounts to bid over the previous limit of $2. In this blog, we briefly summarise the initial results we have seen and detail our recommended strategy to make use of this opportunity for those who have the option. The 15th of September is an important date, as you must opt-in to the feature by then, or you will lose the option for the time being.

 

If you haven’t read our original blog on the subject, I recommend taking a look at that first.

 

Due to the lack of information available on the subject initially, we have sought clarification from Google about numerous aspects of this news. Google have confirmed that this feature is officially a beta and is only being offered to a limited number of Grant accounts. In our experience, only Grantspro accounts are being invited, but crucially not every Grantspro account gets the new feature.

 

As this is a beta, Google have confirmed that there is no documentation available for this feature. This is frustrating, and certainly makes it extremely hard to optimise campaigns effectively towards this new strategy.

 

If you have not been fortunate enough to have been given access already, the good news is that if the trial is successful, it will likely be rolled out across all grant accounts.

 

 

Our Results

 

In general, there hasn’t been enough time since this feature was introduced to make a conclusive statement.

We have however, seen some extremely promising results. For example the graph below shows Impressions and Avg. CPC for an Event campaign for one of our clients.

 

The Maximise Conversions strategy was implemented on the 30th August, and almost immediately we can see how the Avg. CPC dramatically increases, up to over $6.00 at some points. This shows at this early stage we can achieve a bid three times the theoretical maximum!

As we would expect, the number of impressions increases as well. This is because, due to us being able to bid higher, we can be more competitive relative to others and thus enter more auctions. The more times our ads can show, the more potential clicks we drive onto the website. The more clicks, the more possible conversions that can then be achieved. Always a good thing!

More experimentation will be required to allow us to maximise the number of clicks achieved, and we will also be evaluating how best to configure conversion tracking in order to increase our bids as much as possible.

 

 

Our Recommended Strategy

 

With the optimism of the good initial results as seen above, we would urge every eligible account to opt-in. You must be quick as there isn’t much time before the deadline! Whilst opting-in is easy to do, it is not clear whether you must do so at campaign or account level.

So, in order to not lose out on this opportunity in any of your campaigns, we recommend changing each individual campaign bidding strategy to ‘Maximise Conversions’. It has been confirmed by a Google Employee that you will be able to switch between bidding strategies after the 15th, but only if you have opted-in.

To do this, you must first make sure that conversion tracking is in place in your account. This is something that most advertisers will have in place already. If not, we strongly recommend implementing this regardless of whether you have been invited to the Maximise Conversions beta.

Then all you have to do it change your bidding strategy (in the settings tab) to ‘Maximise Conversions’.

 

If you require any assistance with this, please feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, happy bidding!

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Missing AdWords Data: The Google Ship Springs Another Leak

Google Ship Springs Another Leak Missing Data

More AdWords Missing Data

 

Google seem to have misplaced more data, but this time it’s the big fish. Today, AdWords suffered a major reporting error causing data to not be shown in the AdWords interface from noon. For those worried that their ads have not been showing since that time, you will be relieved to know that we have tested our ads on the Search Network and they are still running as usual. However, whether this missing data in AdWords is recoverable or not is still in question.

If you wish to see the issue for yourself, jump into AdWords and segment your campaign report by hour of the day, you will likely be greeted by the same results as those in the image below, normal results in the morning, low (and sometimes even impossible) traffic in the afternoon.

It has not been a good few weeks for Google, with Tag Manager containers mysteriously disappearing in late May. Those containers were restored to their rightful place within a day, and we can hope for a similar result here, but the frequency of data leaks is concerning. For a company who prides itself in its reporting capabilities and who, in 2011, received 96% of their revenue through AdWords, a loss of reporting data of this magnitude is disturbing.

One of our Marketing Executives, Robyn, asked about the issue, and got this response:

 

AdWords Twitter Response to Data Leak

 

Whilst there has been no official statement from Google about this missing data in AdWords, the Google AdWords twitter team has since responded to a further inquiry from twitter user @stockristian stating that the issue has now been resolved:

 

adwords data delay fix response

We have checked our accounts and there doesn’t appear to be any missing data in AdWords from yesterday, which is a relief. Also, all AdWords data from today seems to be up to date, which hopefully means that everything is back to normal!

 

Get In Touch

If you have any questions about paid search, please don’t hesitate to contact us. For regular updates, sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.

 

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Why Google’s New AdWords Interface is the Right Kind of Update

New AdWords Interface 2017

New AdWords 2017: A Fresh Coat of Paint?

AdWords turned 15 last October, and it feels like the system is starting to show its age. Large accounts can take an age to load, and certain information such as geographic location and device type can be frustratingly difficult to find. This may be soon to change though, as Google announced in March last year that the system would be receiving a complete redesign. Last month one of our accounts was given access to the new alpha build and we can now begin to uncover what the new system can do.

The first change is immediately obvious, as you are greeted when you enter an account by the new overview tab. This tab is available at account, campaign and ad group level, and provides top line information on the data that the section contains. This includes top performing campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads, along with data segments such as time, location, and device type.

AdWords New Interface
The new overview tab provides new ways to visualise your data

New Visualisations, New insight

Previously, beyond the home dashboard and report editor, the only data visualisation supplied in AdWords was line comparisons of two metrics. Not only has the new overview tab doubled the number of possible metrics in these graphs to four, but a host of new visualisations have been added such as maps, segmented bars, and heatmaps. The result is a large amount of clear information that is much harder to acquire in the current interface.

New Adwords Interfance Day & Hour
Segmenting data by day, or both at the click of a button.

For example, in the heatmap below we can quickly see that the peak time for impressions is 6-7 am in the weekdays, but climbs to 11am-1pm at the weekend. People continue searching for the topic slightly later on Fridays than other weekdays, but still not as late as on Sundays. This kind of insight would have taken much longer in the current interface, and can have meaningful effects on your decisions, such as when deciding on your ad scheduling. This is a recurring theme of the revamp, the ease at which data in your accounts can be reviewed and visualised, has been improved greatly.

AdWords Hour and Day
Data visualisation done right, like this heatmap, can provide insight at a glance.

The navigation has also seen changes. Gone are the tabs along the top of the interface, replaced by a second vertical bar on the left which sits next to the old (and reasonably unchanged) bar we are used to. This contains much the same sections as before, such as keywords and ad groups, but with a few notable changes such as the grouping of ads and extensions into a single section, and the addition of change history.

The Dimensions tab, which up until now has felt like the resting place of reports that don’t fit anywhere else, has been removed completely. Whilst its reports are still available (as the new Predefined Reports section) you will likely find yourself visiting them much less, as its most popular features such as top movers and geographic location have been given visualisations of their own.

 

Familiar Surroundings

More importantly than what has changed, though, is what has stayed the same. Once you move past the flashy overview tab and enter into an old section such as keyword lists, you will recognise the page that appears.

AdWords New Interface Keyword Lists
It may look new, but the keyword lists remain almost untouched in the update

Apart from some icon updates, and the bar containing options such as edit and label not appearing until an element has been selected, the interface and reporting remains true to the current interface. The experience has been improved technically, the load times are quicker and the entire account feels more responsive, but the functionality has not been changed.

I went in to this earliest build of the new AdWords expecting to find something entirely new, but what I instead found was comfortingly familiar. When you get past the visualisations on the overview tab and get familiar with the new navigation system, you realise that beneath the updated visuals lies the same basic set up that has been the backbone of AdWords for 15 years. This makes the entire experience feel improved, as opposed to reworked, and means that when the system is eventually fully released it will surprise many with how a few changes can lead to a greatly improved experience.

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Why Historic Quality Score Data is So Exciting

Historic Quality Score

Google Adds the Historic Quality Score Column

 

In a recent update to AdWords, Google have added seven new reporting columns regarding quality score which not only enhances the visibility of some data, but also provides exciting possibilities for how quality score can be monitored.

The first three columns of note are the Expected CTR, Ad relevance and Landing page experience ratings. These were available previously, but only by hovering over the speech bubble next to your keyword’s status. Not only are these new columns a much more convenient way to see this data, but it also allows you to sort and filter keywords by these attributes. This data has been available in the AdWords API since February 2016, and at the time Google was hesitant to add the data to the AdWords interface, but that view has obviously changed.

 

 

The other four columns, however, are the more interesting ones. These provide you with historic data for all three of the previously described columns, along with the quality score, for your selected date range (there is no data for dates before 22 January 2016). Unlike the other columns, this data was not previously available in AdWords, where you could only see a keywords current quality score regardless of the date range you selected.

This is an important indication of policy change for Google, who have always been very cautious when handing out quality score data, and it is interesting that they would release the feature now, instead of alongside the new AdWords interface which is in development. Scripts in the API have been able to produce similar data to this by populating a spreadsheet with the quality score values each day, and maybe Google decided that, if the data was already accessible, they might as well make it easier to find.

 

 

Historical Quality Score Data; A Game Changer

The potential usefulness of this data in terms of experimentation Is incredible. Previously, the way that ads effected the quality score of their keywords could only be analysed by manually extracting the data from AdWords, either with a script or by yourself. However, this data is now at your fingertips, and with Google’s promise that this data will soon be usable in the report editor we also have the possibility of being able to produce visualisations of the change in quality score over time.

Since an easy way to create visualisations of the data is not available yet, we have found segmenting your data by day a great way to quickly track how a quality score has changed over time.  At the moment quality score data is not available in Google Data Studio, so you will have to wait before you can add this data to your reports there.

 

Actionable Takeaways from the Historical Quality Score Data

Now we know how we can visualise the data, the possibilities for testing are expansive. You can now track how your changes affect not only the quality score itself, but also all three contributing attributes. This means that you can track exactly what changes in quality score your experiments are causing. Why not try some of these tests, and see if the new data enhances your results:

  • In focused ad groups with few keywords, you can try placing keywords into your ad text in different places, and see how this affects the ad relevance.
  • Similarly, changes in landing pages are now much easier to evaluate, as you can simply track the historical changes in ad relevance and landing page experience, along with the overall quality score.
  • Finally, the effects of using dynamic ad text, along with keyword insertion, can be tracked beyond simply how they affect performance, and we can start to see just how well targeted these ads can be to your keywords.

As more and more of Google’s services, such as Report Editor and Data Studio, get access to the historic quality score data, the ease at which we can use this data to track performance at all levels should receive a major boost. The possible optimisation methods this data provides is exciting, and we are eager to begin our own tests in the near future.

 

 

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Landing Pages and Google Ads: Improving Your Ad Rank

Landing Pages and Google Ads

Landing Pages & Google Ads

How To Improve Your Ad Rank

Landing pages have a big impact on the performance of your ads in Google Ads. If they’re not user friendly, or they have uninteresting or irrelevant content, then your ad performance will suffer.

Google states that “your landing page is the URL people arrive at after they click your ad, and the experience you offer affects your Ad Rank and therefore your CPC and position in the ad auction. Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience”*.

Therefore, researching good keywords and making engaging ads can only take you so far if your landing page isn’t up to scratch, but better content and good user experience means you rank higher, attract more visitors and retain those visitors. And so I will explore the do’s and don’ts of landing pages:

 

landing pages info picture

Content

Do – make original and engaging content. High quality content that is clear and concise attracts visitors and improves user experience. Making the page look aesthetically pleasing with a clear, easy to read layout means people are more likely to engage with your site. The more user friendly your page is, the better the ad rank of your ads and the more likely they are to be shown.

Don’t – overfill your page with big blocks of writing or too much information as this will be off-putting to users. Also, never have ads or landing pages with grammatical or spelling errors and this can make users view you as an untrustworthy source, meaning they are less likely click your ad or engage with your site.

 

 

Information

Do – organise and design your page well so people don’t have to hunt around for information and provide clear and concise information. It is good to have specific landing pages for each topic in order to make ads and keywords as relevant as possible. For example: if you are a charity for Asthma, then having individual landing pages for asthma symptoms, asthma causes, asthma treatment, etc. can really help make your ads and keywords relevant and higher ranking.

Don’t – stuff lots of information onto one page. If someone searches for asthma symptoms and is brought to a page overflowing with information, they might be put off and leave the site, whereas if they are brought to a specific page on asthma symptoms, then they have the information they are looking for and are more likely to stay.

 

landing pages relevant pages for ads

 

Calls To Action

Do – make it obvious what the purpose of your landing page is and what you want the visitor to do. If you have a clear call to action on your landing page, as well as in your ad, then users know what you want and those who click are likely to convert as well.

Don’t – bombard the user with your call to action. You don’t need multiple button or messages screaming at them to sign up now will most likely achieve the opposite effect and may affect user experience and engagement, therefore decreasing Ad Rank. Also, don’t make it difficult to for users to complete your call to action, if there’s a 10 page sign up process then even if you get a user to click on your ad and click to sign up, they are likely to drop out of the process mid-way.

 

Keywords

Do – include relevant and searchable keywords throughout your landing page. Having the main keywords as Headers and sub headings is important for Ad Rank, and having searchable terms in your content can help you add keywords in Google Ads that will have a high Quality Score. If you don’t have these terms on your landing page, then including them as keywords in Google Ads will not be effective as they will have low quality scores, meaning they are less likely to trigger your ad and they affect how high quality Google believes your Ads account is.

Don’t – overstuff your landing pages with keywords. Google does not like this and neither will your users! Also, don’t use irrelevant keywords to try and bring in traffic as users will be less likely to stay on your page and it will affect not only your Ad Rank, but the rank of your whole Google Ads account. More traffic is only good if it is relevant.

 

 

Updating

Do – update your website. This keeps your site fresh and up to date with anything new and exciting, it also shows your users that you are active and involved with your own website. Fundraising events are important to keep updated because if you forget to update an event and your page shows RideLondon 2016 when you’re trying to recruit people for RideLondon 2017, it can be off-putting and people are less likely to sign up.

Don’t –neglect your site and not make any changes. Also, don’t forget to inform your digital marketing team of new content or changed content. If you make a new landing page but don’t inform them, then they won’t know to advertise it and you’re missing out on attracting potential visitors.

 

landing pages old optimised to new

 

Third Party Sites

Do – use third party sites when necessary and link to other sites when they have content that involves you.

Don’t – forget to create a landing pages on your own site with content concerning what is on the other site. Without the content, you have no keywords to promote the page and are missing out on a good advertising opportunity.

 

Landing Pages & You

If you need any help with your landing pages or Google Ads account, then please get in touch. We offer a variety of services that can match your needs and we would love to hear from you.

 

*Google Ads Help

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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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Expanded Text Ads Rollout begins

Expanded Ads Update

 

Some big news recently from Google. They have announced the release of 3 new features which had been mentioned in the May 2016 Google Summit – I wanted to bring you our thoughts on the implications and their effects for our clients.

Ads will now be 50% larger, include a new double header and a simple 80 character description. This will mean the removal of the rigid two-line Legacy Ad type, which has been in existence for years. Google has announced that this change has been led by a need for responsive ads within the search results page; but the result has been an increase in the total space given to Paid ads at the top of the page. This is another example of Google continuing to monotonies the Search results page at the detriment of organic search. This is likely to lead to an increased importance of maintaining a Paid presence as Organic listings are pushed further down the page.

We will be creating new Expanded Text Ads for each Ad Group in our accounts over the coming months and running A/B tests against the best performing legacy Ad format. Google has not set a timeline for the removal of the old Legacy format Ads, however, they have stated that Ads will not be able to be created in the Legacy format post-October 26th.

The initial results of the trial look promising with some beta trialists seeing a 2x increase in CTR for non-brand. However, it is likely this was a test against other advertisers running the legacy Ads and so will not have been a fair test (especially when the new ads are 50% larger). As we are rolling these Ads out for our clients in the coming – we hope to be able to take advantage of the increased presence this will likely give us over competitors who are still using Legacy Ads.

it will be interesting to see how this stands up when all marketers in the auction are using the new Ad format. As we roll out new Ads in the new format we will be reviewing the results and will share our learnings and feedback with you.

 

Other great releases

 

Separate Device-Bidding

Google has announced that over the coming months they will be releasing the ability to set base bid adjustments for mobile, tablet and/or desktop per Campaign. The real-world implications for this are that we will be able to distinguish our bids between Desktop and Tablet devices. This will be especially useful for accounts targeting businesses where they will be able to down-weight Tablet devices which are more likely to be domestic users.

The strategy used for the device-bidding will be dependent on a case-by-case basis, not only per account, but per campaign. When this feature is rolled out to your account, your Account Manager will likely be in touch to confirm their strategy with you for this.

 

Responsive Ads

As per Device-Bidding, this will be rolling out on an account-by-account basis and will see a new format of Ads being available on the Google Display Network. The new Responsive Ads will automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces on a webpage. Responsive ads can show as almost any size text, image, or native format. The new Ad Format allows a campaign to cover more more Ad spaces without the need for a vast inventory of banners.

Looks like a good innovation from Google and we expect to see a good response at the beginning for these new Ad formats. For clients who we are running Display activity for, we will be in touch shortly to discuss implementing these into your campaigns.

As always if you have any comments, questions or queries about these updates or any other Google AdWords developments please don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

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Google Summit 2016

GOOGLE SUMMIT

 

Tuesday 24th May was Google’s big AdWords summit of 2016. This covers all the new AdWords developments that they have coming up over the next 12 months and (slightly) beyond. Our observations from the livestream on changes that are coming are as follows:

• The available Ad space for each Paid Ad will increase by 50%
• Bid Adjustments have been re-designed to be available for all devices
• The Search network has been extended to include Google Maps
• A new responsive desktop AdWords interface will arrive in 2017
• The Remarketing network has been extended to include the Cross-Exchange
• ‘Similar Audiences’ are to become available for the Search network
• Google will be releasing new Responsive Native Ads for the Display Network

The New 2017 AdWords Interface
Something of additional interest coming later in 2017 is a new Desktop AdWords interface, which will see the current interface adapt and evolve into a style more in-line with the recently developed Google AdWords app.

Search Ad Text

Coming just months after the removing the right-hand Ads column (the biggest structural change to the Google Ad layout in over a decade) Google has now announced a 50% increase in the size of each Ad Listing.

This increase comes in the form of a new ‘Double Headline’ and a new 80 character Description box (replacing two lines of 35 characters). During Google’s Beta testing of the new expanded text ads “some advertisers have reported increases in click through rates of up to 20% compared to current text ads”. Since the removal of the right hand ads, there has been a drastic increase in the percentage of 4 Ad listings at the top of the page; even for non-competitive or commercially driven search terms.

Bidding per Device

Despite Google pushing a ‘mobile first world’ message for the best few years, the way bidding is conducted within AdWords has remained with a desktop first approach. With AdWords only allowing you to the increase or decrease the mobile bid (and no ability to alter the bid for a tablet device) in relation to the Desktop bid.

Google has finally changed this. The new bid adjustments setup allows the user to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (desktop, mobile and tablet). Google says: “This lets you anchor your base keyword bid to the device most valuable to your business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices”.

We’re starting to see a big variation in the value of a mobile user between each account so this is certainly a welcome change. It will be interesting to see the practical implications of this upgrade and how the new function fits within the existing interface.

Similar Audiences for Search Ads

Only a few years ago Google introduced RLSAs (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) to Google AdWords and it is already proving very successful for marketers wanting to target a warm audience.

Building on this Google has now introduced ‘Similar Audiences for Search Ads’. Using existing Remarketing Lists, Google looks for people searching who have ‘similar characteristics’ to the users in your remarketing lists. This then allows you to target these particular users on the Search network. This is already in place on the Google Display Network, and works similar to Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences.

Google Maps

Google Maps now boasts over 1.5 billion destinations and location-based searches now account for nearly a 1/3 of all mobile searches. In fact location-based searches have grown 50% more than overall mobile searches in the past year. This makes it vital for any offline store or service-based business to have a strong presence on Google Maps.
Google’s Summit saw the introduction of 2 new key features to help Marketers:

The first being an expansion on the Google Maps listing. This includes branded pins, the ability to highlight in-store promotions, search in-store inventory level and even check peak-times. This effectively turns your Google Maps pin into a digital-leaflet for any passer-by to look through and be incentivised to visit.

The second being location-based promotions, allowing your ad to appear to a user in Google Maps based on location. Google have been vague on the exact details on how this bidding system will work. Larry Kim of WordStream quotes: “However, the ad targeting here is a bit complicated. Ads show based on queries, but Google is also looking at several other context signals (similar to display advertising), such as personal browsing history, similar users, time of day, interests, and behaviours.”

These will be very interesting developments as Google stretches its research and tools to try and place a value on those offline conversions which are otherwise untrack-able for an online marketer.

Both these developments are exceptionally exciting to us and we expect to start utilising these new tools for our clients.

Responsive Ads for the Google Display Network

Google also announced the extension on the available reach of GDN remarketing campaigns, to now include access to the Cross-Exchange inventory for both AdWords and DoubleClick accounts. In Google’s statement they announced that:

The broader reach of multiple ad exchanges can improve Display Network remarketing performance in the following ways:

  • Greater access to your most valuable audiences across more sites and apps
  • Increased potential conversion volume and return on investment

Google opening this network to just Remarketing Lists seems like the best move forward to test its effectiveness and quality compared to its own Display network. Remarketing is the most-effective form of Display Marketing and the most likely to result in quality engagement. So if this warm audience does convert well across the new network it is likely that Google will look to extend this to their other Audience Targeting.

The Google Summit also announced the introduction of new responsive ads for display. These new display ads will “adapt to the diverse content across the more than two million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display network (GDN)”. Providing just a headline, description, image and URL, Google will create a responsive ad which allows you to “unlock new native inventory so you can engage consumers with ads that match the look and feel of the content they’re browsing”

As you can see from the images above, the styling of these new responsive ads for display looks clean and sleek and is a worthwhile new ad format to their expanding inventory. We’re hoping that this new format will help improve the speed and cost of production for image ads, which is often a stumbling block when looking to extend your marketing to the GDN.

We will continue to monitor the effects of these changes over the coming year. As usual with Google, these announcements come months before the actual changes get implemented, and we will keep clients up to date of the changes as they happen. We will also be in touch with clients who we believe will be affected or may see an opportunity from these changes. If you would like to discuss these changes, or any of their implications on your account please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Google Removes Right Hand Side Ads From SERP

Big Changes to Google Ads

 

You may have heard of one of the most exciting developments in paid search recently – Google have removed the paid ads from the right side of search result screens and placed them at the bottom.

 

Google have been running ads like this on mobile for a while now and I think that their motives are simple, it will drive revenue by making it more important for advertisers to appear in the top 3 – 4 positions. To me this is a shame because often positions 4 or lower do very well from a cost per acquisition (CPA), or return on Investment share (ROAS) perspective. The inventory is cheaper and (our results show) that traffic from these ads is more considered, thus proportionally more likely to convert.

Looking at our paid accounts to date, there has been no loss of CTR so far from paid ads outside the top positions. That said, I don’t think that we have seen the ultimate change in stats yet following this move from Google. I believe the market will take some time to adapt, ultimately paid accounts may be spending a little more from an average CPC basis to ensure a higher position.

This change does this provide a permanent place for desktop shopping ads, which are now situated in that right – hand position and have increased to eight ads per search. Shopping ads (or PLAs) are exceptionally effective to all organisations running ecommerce on their sites (there is much more potential than with standard search), but this is obviously another increasing revenue stream for Google.

Now, the really interesting results are in Google Ad Grants. We have seen a significant increase in CTRs for Grant accounts since this change. Looking at our results, the average position grant ads are achieving (which should be unaffected by the change) jumped at the time of Google’s switch from 2.6 to 2.1 – This change in position is exceptional. I think that in removing right-hand ads, Google have also changed that part of their algorithm which penalises Grant ads in favour of paying advertisers’ ads. As they haven’t announced any changes, this could be a mistake in Google’s algorithm and something that they will look to address. Either way, there is the potential to capitalise here. Where appropriate (for clients with separate paid accounts) we will be considering moving some of the less competitive terms from paid accounts into the Grant; although I imagine that this opportunity is only in the short term and that Google will soon be tweaking the algorithm again.

You may see some irregularities in the traffic derived from your grant accounts over the next few months as Google make their changes and we make the most of any opportunities that arise. In the short term I do think that there are opportunities here. In the long term, we’ll keep you informed as the competition adapts. We’ll also be looking out for any further changes to Google’s algorithm, especially concerning grant ads and will make any adaptions needed at that time.

If you have any questions, opinions or would like to talk through how we may be adapting our strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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