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Goodbye To Broad Match Modifiers

Goodbye to Broad match Modifiers

Google’s Retirement of Broad Match Modifiers: Paid Media Team’s Reactions

 

On 4 February 2021, Google announced that broad match modifiers, a keyword match type available to advertisers in Google Ads, is to be retired. In this announcement, Google described the move as ‘making it easier to reach the right customers on Search’, explaining that this update would simplify keyword match types as well as provide advertisers ‘more control and better reach’. 

Google began to phase out broad match modifiers, merging their targeting with phrase match keywords, from February 2021. In July 2021, advertisers will no longer be able to implement new broad match modifiers. 

But, is this a welcome departure or a heart-breaking farewell? And what will the impact of this be for advertisers and account performance? Our Paid Media Team gives their thoughts on Google’s announcement. 

 

 

Jonny – Paid Media Consultant

“This move from Google is not an entirely surprising one, given some of Google’s other recent moves around restricting search term reports, gradually limiting users’ ability to review and control elements of campaigns. For me, I’ll be sad to see broad match modifiers go.

Using BMMs is all about control and for those who have been creating Google Ads campaigns for years and want the ultimate control over their campaigns, this change will definitely come as an annoyance rather than a benefit. The ability, in particular, to manually select individual words within a phrase that have to be included in the user’s search query is useful, particularly when trying to attract a high search volume with broad keywords but maintain an effective, relevant search funnel.

The main benefit for me is that it will be slightly easier to manage campaigns, without another match type to worry about. But my main worry is for smaller, more focused accounts where only phrase and exact match keywords are currently used. I expect to see an increase in traffic (and overall cost) for phrase match, where BMM traffic will now filter through. With this broadening of search terms, I also expect to see an increase in irrelevant and spam search traffic, so keeping an eye on those search term reports will be even more important…oh wait…

 … search term reports are getting restricted *sad face*. Well, I say, keep those negative keyword lists updated and keep an eye on your campaign budgets too.”

 

 

Aisha – Paid Media Assistant 

“One of the beauties of Paid Search is that we’re able to specifically target ads to the right people and help the user find exactly what they’re looking for. However, with the phasing out of the Broad Match Modifier match type, it seems that there will be a proportion of search queries that won’t lead users to relevant ads, which is quite disappointing. On the bright side, I’m glad we still have access to a variation of match types, allowing us to still implement keywords in a strategic way.”

 

 

Dan – Paid Media Consultant

“As someone who has always been a big fan of broad match modifiers, especially for grant accounts and larger reach paid campaigns, I am very sad to see the match type go the way of accelerated delivery and strict campaign budgets. Many of the recent changes have been helpful for us in Google Ads, but I struggle to see a way this change is going to benefit accounts.”

 

Do you agree with Jonny, Dan or Aisha? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please do leave a comment below, or Tweet us @upriseupSEM

For further information on upriseUP’s Google Ads management services, including ongoing support and targeted campaigns, please do contact us. We’d love to hear from you. 

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Paid Media News Round Up: January 2021

Paid Media Round Up January 2021

Paid Media News January 2021

A new year means new news in the world of paid media. We take you through the latest updates at the beginning of 2021!

Keep reading for news on automated bidding, new Microsoft Ads features, as well as some industry news from across the pond and across the world in Australia.

If you want to check out our round-up from the end of last year, you can view last month’s summary here.

 

Data exclusion controls for Smart Bidding on Google Ads

Smart bidding is becoming an increasingly key component of Google Ads, with a wealth of different strategies now available to marketers. Those using Google Ads will now have more control over automated bidding strategies through new data exclusion controls. Google have specified that you can exclude particular date ranges to prevent interference with conversion rates that help calculate auction-time bids for smart bidding

This will be particularly important for when conversion tracking breaks on a particular campaign (eg. tagging issues or website outages). While this may not be something that would be worth doing for very short outages or for small campaigns, we do see this being a useful tool for larger campaigns and longer periods of time where there is inaccurate data, to help maintain consistent performance.

Google Ads Data Exclusion Controls Smart Bidding

 

New optimisation tools for Microsoft Advertising, including optimisation score

Since Bing Ads launched the Recommendations tab back in 2018, it was only a matter of time that they would launch an ‘optimization score’ in a similar fashion to Google’s own. The new feature appears as though it will operate in an almost identical way to Google’s, with a percentage score from 0% to 100%, based on the number of recommendations applied to individual campaigns. As with Google’s feature, we’d look to implement some of these recommendations to help improve optimization score (like automated responsive search ads, for example), with other recommendations (like raising budgets) needing more consideration as to whether they’re appropriate to apply or not. 

Bing are also going to introduce target impression share as a new bidding strategy too. This will be particularly helpful for awareness campaigns and for enabling an easier way to achieve great visibility for brand terms too.

 

Microsoft Logo

 

Trump gets banned from social media

Just a couple of weeks before the end of his presidential term, Donald Trump was suspended ‘indefinitely’ from a host of different social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The suspension took place as a result of hundreds of Trump supporters storming the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow November’s presidential election result. Twitter deemed Trump’s Tweets to be a violation of their Glorification of Violence policy, as they believe he was inspiring people to incite violence.

Donald Trump banned from Twitter

At this stage, it is unclear how advertisers will be affected by Trump’s ban from social media. It could potentially result in a slight decline in traffic to these platforms, due to his supporters being deterred by the platforms as a form of boycott. Some say that social media companies shouldn’t have the power to remove people from their platforms as it could be viewed as censorship, however research suggests that online misinformation about the US election fell by 73% since the notorious #FakeNews spreader was suspended from the sites.

 

Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia

In another move from governments around the world looking to impose more regulations on some of the large tech firms, the Australian government has asked Google to share some of its royalties with news publishers. This move is as a result of Australia’s competition regulator ruling that there was a “bargaining power imbalance” between the tech giants like Google and the newspaper industry. The newspapers have seen a rapid decline in revenues over recent years.

Google’s response to this was threatening to withdraw their search engine from the country altogether, hardly a tentative response! The tech firms are naturally going to be worried about the immediate impacts to its revenues this might have. However, more worrying for Google is the precedent that these types of laws may have, if they get passed. We’ll have to see whether Google’s firm stance on this issue will be enough to persuade Australia’s lawmakers to reverse their decision.

If there was anything else that happened in the last few weeks that you found particularly enticing, feel free to tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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Defending Your Brand in Keyword Bidding Wars

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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Paid Media News Round Up: August 2020

Paid Media Round Up August 2020

Paid Media News August 2020

August was a quiet month, livened up by the Google responsive search ad test which creeped in at the end of the month!

If you want to check out last month’s round-up you can view our summary here. Here are our highlights from the past few weeks.

 

Google Tests Hiding the Option for Expanded Text Ad Creation

In a potentially alarming move, some users noticed the ‘text ad’ option had vanished from the Google Ads interface on Friday 28th August. This was confirmed to be a test subsequently.

This test prompted users to create responsive text ads (RSAs) by default, which is a format where Google decided which text assets to display with each other. Expanded text ads on the other hand display exactly what the advertiser chooses.

Steps like these to take away control from advertisers who aren’t prepared to shift to RSAs are slightly worrying. Whilst most can agree this is the direction paid ads are going in, this new move from Google would be one made far too quickly. We’ve had good results with RSAs but they are still some way away from being able to outperform text ads on a regular basis.

 

Bing Introduces Organic Product Listings

Microsoft has followed Google in implementing an organic form of its product listing ads. The organic listings will appear on the Bing shopping tab alongside sponsored ads.

These only require you to have a Microsoft Shopping Campaigns account with an active product feed, and can generate you free, high intent traffic from Bing. The volume of traffic from these listings will be less than Google, simply due to the relative sizes of the user base, but the barrier to entry is so low that this should be accessible to anyone with an online store.

The organic listings are currently only live in the USA, but will shortly be rolled out to other markets, including the UK. When they arrive, we’re looking forward to testing them out and seeing what traffic can be generated for our clients.

 

Bing Shopping

 

 

Google Performance Planner Gets An Upgrade

The Google Performance Planner is a tool in Google Ads that allows you to forecast and plan bidding strategies. Google recently announced three new features to the planner.

  • Sharing functionality – since the Performance Planner is often used to plan budgets throughout the year, the ability to easily share the plan among multiple users is definitely useful.
  • Improved forecasting of longer conversion windows – this is appreciated, but will only be a major improvement if your average conversion window was longer than a week.
  • Inclusion of shared budgets – this is the big one! Shared budgets are an integral part to the way Google Ad Accounts are managed, and their inclusion in the performance planner makes it far more usable in the majority of accounts.

 

Shared Budgets on Google Performance Planner.

 

Google extends lead forms to YouTube & Discovery Campaign

Last year Google introduced Lead Form extensions, and have now said that these extensions are available in YouTube and Discovery Campaign. There will also be a rollout into Display campaigns by the end of the year. These work in a similar way to other platforms, letting users show interest without necessarily visiting the advertiser’s website.

These extensions have proven a success and work well on mobile, so it’s no surprise to see their functionality expanded.

YouTube Video on a Mobile

Microsoft Advertising Editor Update

This month, Microsoft announced a large update to their Advertising Editor platform, helping them stay competitive with Google’s Ads Editor. The updates included Al-powered recommendations and campaign-level audience targeting.

Global users will now have a lightbulb icon in their interface recommending new keywords, highlighting fixes, and suggesting bid optimisations. The new feature will ensure advertisers maximises their potential traffic.

The second new feature enables campaign-level audience targeting within the Editor programme, saving time, and maximising efficiency when working across numerous campaigns. It is worth noting that advertisers however are still unable to simultaneously target associations at the ad group and campaign level.

Microsoft Advertising Editor Interface

Did we miss anything?

If there was anything else that happened in the last few weeks that you found particularly notable, feel free to tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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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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Lost in Translation: Is Search Ads 360 Right For You?

Is Search Ads 360 right for you

What is Search Ads 360?

If you’ve been using Google Ads (formerly AdWords) for some time, you’ve probably heard of Search Ads 360. However, when you look into if it’s right for you though, you find a lot of statements like this one, from Google’s own page explaining the product:

 

“Streamlined workflow and powerful reporting features enable buyers to efficiently run campaigns, while automated bidding improves campaign performance.”

 

This sounds brilliant, it sounds like it would work for anyone! Well, I think it should be edited to this:

 

“Streamlined workflow* and powerful reporting features** enable buyers to efficiently run campaigns, while automated bidding improves campaign performance***.”

 

Because Search Ads 360 does do all of these things, but it won’t do them for everyone, and often not without a bit of work.

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to add the asterisks, and give a quick overview of what Search Ads 360 does well, how, and who it is going to be most useful for.

 

Streamlined Workflow*

*For some advertising set ups

One of the main differences between default Google Ads and Search Ads 360 is that Search Ads 360 allows you to manage campaigns across multiple accounts from the same screen.

Search Ads 360 is also not limited to Google based marketing. Bing, Facebook, and many other marketing channels can be connected to Search Ads 360 and managed in one place, giving you a single place to view the results of all your marketing channels.

The important thing to realise here is that Search Ads 360 will streamline your workflow across multiple accounts. If you are running a single account, even if it is very large, Search Ads 360 does not make your life significantly easier.

 

Powerful Reporting Features**

**Well, kind of.

If by “reporting” you mean attribution, then by extension of the fact you can connect all these different marketing channels into one platform, Search Ads 360 can unify your conversion reporting much like Google Analytics. This can be very useful, especially if your analytics set up can’t handle this itself. You can also design your own attribution models

In terms of creating reports however, Search Ads 360’s native reporting features are outclassed completely by Google Data Studio, which can pull all the data from your Search Ads 360 account, and create far more visual and complex reports using it.

So, Search Ads 360 can provide better conversion reporting and attribution modelling, but it’s report builder is outclassed by Data Studio.

 

Automated Bidding Improves Performance***

***If you can set up some technical stuff

Ah, automated bids, we meet again. We’ve had a rocky relationship with automated bidding strategies, like the time we tried it in our ad grants and it started bidding over $50 a click on toy boxes.

However, more recently even we have to admit that the automated bidding strategies in Google Ads have got better. In fact, they’ve got so much better that Search Ads 360 has started using them too.

It does have its own bidding strategies, but they only change bids 4 times a day based on results, whereas the Google Ads strategies bids differently every time the ad enters an auction. The consensus across the industry is that the regular Google Ads strategies produce better results.

So, if you’re just using the same bidding strategies as regular Google Ads, how are you going to improve results?

Well, Search Ads 360 has a feature called U-variables, which allows you to add extra information to a conversion based on data from the page. To give an example, if you were selling a car and a user could either pay in one payment or over multiple months, if you used a target ROAS bidding strategy you would undervalue the monthly payments compared to the one-time payment. In Search Ads 360 you could submit the number of months through as a U variable. You could then multiply the revenue by the number of months to get the actual value of a sale for a bidding strategy.

So, Search Ads 360 can improve results over regular Google Ads through automated bidding, but only if you use it to improve the data the strategy has.

 

And that’s it! If you’re having trouble managing multiple accounts, want to improve your attribution modelling or are ready to get stuck into some technical work to enhance your bidding strategies, then Search Ads 360 will be well worth your time. However, pay attention to the asterisks and make sure you are going to get your value if you decide to test Search Ads 360 out!

 

Want to talk?

If you’ve got any more questions about Search Ads 360 or Paid Search, or want to see how we can help you maximise your campaign performance please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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Say Goodbye To Accelerated Delivery

The end of accelerated delivery

The End Of Accelerated Delivery

Google have just announced that both search ads and shopping ads will shortly no longer be able to use the accelerated delivery campaign option. This change will come into effect on September 17th, where all campaigns currently using accelerated will be switched to standard. Standard delivery will now be the only option available. On the face of it, this is a confusing choice given that accelerated delivery is commonly used and considered best practice by many.

 

Standard delivery will pace your impressions evenly throughout your day, which removes the possibility of a campaign exhausting its budget before the end of the day, but also means that you can potentially miss out on impressions. The most common use of accelerated delivery is to guarantee an ad shows every time it is eligible, which is obviously the desired outcome for most advertisers (to reach as many of their target audience as they can)

 

A well-managed campaign with appropriate budgets would not see much difference in performance, so in the grand scheme of things this change is not going to affect how your campaigns behave. If your campaigns weren’t being well monitored, then the switch to standard might actually be a good thing for them.

 

However, along with the removal of the average position metric, this again is a case of Google removing choices from advertisers without offering any replacement option. This can only be seen as a negative, and continues to highlight ways that automation is being pushed on advertisers. Similar to when Google made changes to daily budget behaviour, there is an air of mystery about what Google is forcing upon advertisers, and it’s unclear why they have made their decision.

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Google Ad Grant Timeline

Google Ad Grant Timeline

Google Ad Grant Timeline

With Google constantly making changes and updates to their Ad Grant’s programme, we’ve created a timeline to highlight all of the major events and updates – including the introduction of the Ad Quality filter and the change to policy criteria. We will be updating this post as and when any new details are announced.

17th Oct 2018
Quality Filter Update

Another large quality filter update. It gets worse. Similar to the April update, we saw a 25% fall in clicks on average, and a huge (30%) CTR jump. Clearly, total impressions also fell hugely, showing the Ad Grant ads are simply just not being shown as much as before.

 

21st Aug 2018
Support Update

upriseUP become a Google Ad Grants Professional agency.

 

23rd Jun 2018
Support Update

Google announce Ad Grants Certified Professional Community.

 

24th Apr 2018
Quality Update

There was a large adjustment to the quality filter. We saw a substantial drop in clicks and a corresponding increase in CTR.  We wrote a useful blog in May summing this up in the context of being 5 months on from the changes (https://upriseup.co.uk/ad-grants-policy-changes-5-months-on-what-needs-to-improve/)

 

1st Jan 2018
Policy Update

The Ad Grant policies announced in December became live from this date.

 

14th Dec 2017
Policy Update

The new Ad Grant policies were announced on this date. These consisted of major new requirements for all Ad Grant accounts. The most notable new policies include:

  • A minimum CTR requirement of 5%
  • Restrictions on the keywords allowed to be used
  • Technical requirements based on how an account is structured

 

1st Aug 2017
Quality Filter Update

First notable tweak to quality filter. This was the first sign that the quality filter was not a simple constant function and can be tweaked. On this date we saw a noticeable (although small compared to later updates!) drop in impression share across all Ad Grant accounts.

 

Jun 2017
Quality Filter Update

Quality filter announced and first applied to Ad Grant accounts.

The aim of the quality filter is to essentially determine a minimum quality threshold that Ad Grant ads need to pass in order to be shown. This was said to be in response to the fact that Ad Grant ads tend to be of a lower quality than regular Google Ads accounts.

You can read more about this from our blog at the time (https://upriseup.co.uk/adgrants-quality-filter/)

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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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The Series of Unfortunate Ad Grant Events Continues

Ad Grant Suspensions

More Ad Grant Suspensions

Google has thrown another wrench in the works of the Google Ad Grants Programme, with another wave of ad grant suspensions, this time without a notifying email. This came after an email was sent to MCC accounts (accounts which group AdWords accounts together, often used by agencies or large companies) detailing the compliance of the ad grants under their wing.

There have been several posts on the Google online forums which complain that the table seems to be claiming non-compliance falsely on some accounts, saying that the account contains single word keywords or low-quality scores when it does not. We ourselves have seen an incredible number of accounts deemed non-compliant when we had already taken steps to make sure they were.

Then, only two working days after this table was sent out, the suspensions started. Oddly, not all accounts deemed non-compliant seem to have been suspended, Google seems to be cherry picking which accounts it is hitting first. We’ve noticed that it seems to be smaller ad grant accounts that are taking the most punishment, where Grantspro accounts are being left alone.

We’re unsure of what exactly is going on behind the scenes in the Google Ad Grants team, but what is certain is that charities are being made to run the gauntlet to keep their Grant accounts running. We will update this blog as we discover more information on the most recent wave of suspensions, so come back soon to read more about what needs to be done.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about your ad grant account , please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Did you enjoy our update on Google Ad Grants? Why not share this post on Twitter.

 

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Quality Score 101

Quality Score

Understanding Quality Score

 

When managing any PPC campaigns, Quality Score should be at the forefront of your mind. Not only because it has a huge influence in how well your ads will perform, but also how much you’ll end up paying for them.

We’ll get back to basics and explore what quality score is, how it affects your ad position, and lastly how you can improve your quality score.

 

What is Quality Score?

 

As Google strive to be the best search-engine around, they want to ensure that users are only shown ads that relate to exactly what they’re looking for, with an equally relevant and user-friendly website to match. To help ensure this, Google marks the quality of ads, keywords and their landing pages out of 10.

Quality Score can often be viewed as a measure of the relationship between all components of an ad. When the keywords used relate directly to the ad copy, and the ad copy reflects the content of the landing page, Google rewards advertisers with high quality scores.

Furthermore, a landing page with a good user experience can further help advertisers achieve a high quality score.

 

Why Does it Matter?

 

The quality score matters because it is used in the formula which determines:

 

Ad rank (position on the page)

Maximum Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank.

For example:

A – £1 x 10 = 10

B – £1.40 X 6 = 8.4

C – £2 X 3 = 6

This means that an account with a higher quality score, can actually achieve a higher rank, even with a lower maximum bid!

 

Cost Per Click (CPC)

(Ad Rank of the Ad Below ÷ Quality Score) + £0.01 = CPC

For example:

A – 8.4 / 10 + 0.01 = £0.85

B – 6 / 6 + 0.01 = £1.01

Here we can see how achieving a better quality not only helps you get better positions on a page, but at a lower cost too!

It should be noted, that the quality score that AdWords users can see in the interface is only an average, and not the exact number that goes into the formula at the time of bidding.

 

Historical Quality Score

While you can only see the quality score for keywords in the AdWords interface, historical data will build up over time and contribute to giving an overall average quality score for ads, ad groups, campaigns and the account itself. Therefore, it is pivotal to take care to monitor keyword quality scores, as consistently low ones could have a negative effect on any campaigns you run in the future.

 

How Can You Improve Your Quality Score?

 

In the AdWords interface, you will see that quality scores can be broken down into 3 components:

 

  • Ad Relevance
  • Landing Page Experience
  • Expected CTR

 

All 3 of these components are rated as either: below average, average or above average.

While only 3 indications of quality might seem too generic, they are still very useful in helping highlight areas where improvements need to be made. Detailed below, are some steps below which can help you improve each of these components:

 

Ad Relevance

 

“This status describes how well your keyword matches the message in your ads.” From Google (2018) Online AdWords Help: Glossary

Avoid using overly-generic keywords: Take care to ensure the ones you choose are reflective of the landing page content – taking phrases from the headlines and any subheadings are often a good place to start.

Take a more granular approach: Don’t cram too many keywords into an ad group – Split out keywords into their own groups, with specific ad copy tailored to each keyword.

Try Keyword Insertion: Using Dynamic Keyword insertion is a great way to easily ensure that keywords are reflected in the ad copy.

Use Negative Keywords: Review your search terms and negative any irrelevant searches – this way you can ensure your ads only show for the right searches which also saves spend.

 

Landing Page Experience

 

“The landing page experience status describes whether your landing page is likely to provide a good experience to customers who click your ad and land on your website.” From Google (2018) Online AdWords Help: Glossary

Navigation: Ensuring that users can locate all relevant information or order your product easily, without pop-ups, is key to creating a nice experience.

Useful and Relevant Content: Make sure your landing page clearly explains the subject matter of your advert – Alternatively, you can view your search terms, and try tweaking your content to fit what people are searching for.

Transparency: Openly provide information about your business, service or product – this should be easily accessible before you ask users to fill out any forms.

 

Expected CTR

 

“This status predicts whether your keyword is likely to lead to a click on your ads.” From Google (2018)

Expected CTR is an area that’s a bit more difficult for advertisers to pin-point what they need to improve on, and the component where Google takes back some control.

For any keyword, Google considers your accounts previous performance of that keyword, including its historical CTR, the conversion rate and the performance of the domain you are using that keyword with, as well as the performance of similar keywords. Moreover, they also take into consideration how well that keyword performs when used in other accounts. From this, Google makes a judgment on how likely a user is to click on your ad when using that keyword.

As the emphasis is on account history, you can see why it’s a bit harder to easily improve this component.  The best approach would be to follow the advice for the previous two components, and once your ads start to perform better, your expected CTR should get better too.
While we don’t know the exact weight of each of the factors that contribute to the overall quality score, the main thing to take home is to be aware of the importance of quality score. With careful and consistent planning of your campaigns – making sure you stay relevant at each stage, from keyword choices to ad copy to the landing page – your PPC campaigns can achieve better results, at a lower cost.

 

Get In Touch

 

If we can be of any help with your PPC campaigns or beyond , please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Why not share our Quality Score 101 to Twitter?

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New AdWords Experience – The Journey So Far

Google Search

The New AdWords Interface: 10 Months On

Back in May last year we wrote a blog on the announcement of the ‘New AdWords Interface’. 10 months later here is an update on our thoughts so far. Since last year Google have been slowly rolling out their New AdWords Interface to improve campaigns, save time and gain actionable insights, but our team here at upriseUP aren’t 100% sold on all the changes!

I’ve decided to provide an AdWords update for those who might have missed some of the cool (and maybe not so cool changes) being made.

If you want to know more about how paid search campaigns can transform your business, please email us at [email protected].

 

All About The New AdWords Interface – What Features Are New?

The new AdWords interface has a number of exclusive new features that aren’t available in the previous AdWords interface please see the chart below:

2018 has shown some big changes in the world of Digital Marketing and adapting to the new AdWords interface is going to be a huge task for continued success this year.

The new AdWords experience promised to make our lives easier: it introduced friendlier native reporting within the AdWords interface, cool new tools like promotion extensions, and an objectively easier way to navigate from campaign to campaign, ad group to ad group, and keyword to keyword.

The reality is, change is mostly met with criticism, and when the old AdWords interface officially sunsets this year, the outcry could be fierce. But, that interface has more or less been around since 2008, which is an insane amount of time for something in the tech world, especially a Google product. In short, the new interface is going to be disliked – but with some time, not only will we get used to it, but it likely will be significantly more powerful than the decade old interface we’re currently familiar with.

 

Some Big AdWords Interface Changes

Overview

When you first pop open the AdWords interface, you’ll be taken to the Overview/Home tab:

At first it was a little overwhelming to look at and would give you lots of criteria for keywords, ad groups, and campaigns. Once you get used to this view you can quickly visualise some top-level data in your account.

From here, you can select the dropdown arrows in tabs to add additional or varying lines to the graph. Which allows you to add up to 4 metrics (increased from the standard 2)

You see a quick overview of biggest changes and campaigns – which I find useful.

Further down, we can quickly visualise our top spending keywords, see what search terms and words triggered the most ads, what devices are contributing to our success, and what our most shown ad is. We love this!

The left is a super helpful native analysis that will make it easier than ever to isolate search terms to make your AdWords accounts more granular.

At the bottom of the Overview page, you can see how you’re performing per network and see what times and days you’re having success. But, most interestingly, you can also easily see your overall auction insights. Watch your competitors and see how you can perform better in the AdWords auction with insights.

 

The Time Window

Another important change is the improved time navigation window.

 

You’ll find it in the top right, so not much has changed there. But I promise it can do cool stuff (two things, in particular). First, it’s now scrollable, so it’s easier to navigate a few months back without having to type in the date range you’re looking for (but this is still an option if you prefer).

More importantly, how many times have you wanted to look at the “Past 90 Days” of history, but you were stuck with “Past 7,” “Past 14,” and “Past 30”? Same here! No more, as you can now change the date range in the bottom left of the menu to be 90 days up to today, or whatever other date range you want.

 

The Navigation Bar

In the old interface, your campaigns, ad groups, etc. were displayed left to right near the top of the screen. When you think about the layers of an AdWords account, you think about: Campaigns contain Ad Groups, which contain Keywords/Targeting/Ads, which are triggered by Search Terms.

You’ll see that the new left-hand layout of the navigation bar flows more logically, with account level information (Overview) at the top, Campaigns and Ad Groups in the section below, while targeting options and ads are in their own self-contained sections below. So, perhaps, it’s not all bad — just different and will take a little time to get used to.

As logical as this new interface layout may seem, there are some downsides. Table Appearance and Filters: They Just Don’t Pop like they used too!

 

How the interface looked before with filters.

 

 

How the interface looks now with filters. The Visuals in General: Just harder to read!

 

Outcome so far

Google has made a lot of changes to the AdWords interface that PPC managers are just beginning to discover and benefit from. While some features (such as Maximize Conversions and other automation opportunities) are designed with busy business owners in mind, others are just the kind of tools performance marketers need if they want to stay ahead of the PPC game.

Basically, gradual progression, people can get used to — but busy PPC managers/executives find themselves having to learn and get familiar with an awful lot while still trying to provide the best service to their clients. Although big changes can create big buzz, sometimes your users prefer “baby steps” over a big leap. I know I do.

Please do let me know your thoughts on the new interface, the good, the bad and the ugly! We would love to hear your thoughts on how you are getting on with it? As always if you have any questions on anything digital do get in touch or say hello on Twitter.

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Google Ad Grants – Extraordinary Results With ‘Maximise Conversions’

Maximise Conversions Bidding Strategy

The Impact of ‘Maximise Conversions’

 

A while ago we wrote a blog on the new Maximise Conversions bidding strategy , which allowed Google grant users to exceed the $2 bid limit. At the end of that post, we concluded that we’d need more time to test and observe the new system before we could make a decision on it’s usefulness.

 

Well, we’ve had that time, and it’s been a wild ride.

 

For a while Maximise Conversions was doing very little to accounts and, with the Google grant policy changes introduced in December, testing the new bidding strategy took a back seat. This all changed towards the end of January, however, when we noticed Maximise Conversions behaving very strangely.

 

Maximise Conversions - Avg. CPC

 

 

The graph above shows the average cost per click for a campaign over January, and you can see how sudden and extreme the change was. In a matter of days, the cost per click rose from under a dollar to over $20.

 

Let’s layer the number of conversions that the campaign was getting over this graph, so we can see whether this has improved performance:

 

Maximise Conversions - Avg. CPC vs. Conv.

 

If anything, conversions have dropped and are definitely not worth the ten times higher bid amount.

This is only one campaign in one account, but looking over all the Grant accounts that used Maximise Conversions in our care, we see this:

 

Maximise Conversions - Avg. CPC vs. Conv.

 

 

You can see the affect Maximise Conversions has on average CPC by the increase in weeks 4 and 5. There is not, however, an equivalent increase in conversions, which we would expect to see if these users were more likely to convert. In short, the bid strategy was increasing bids without improving user quality.

 

Our belief is that Google Grant accounts were getting into bidding wars with each other. Multiple Grants with Maximise Conversions bidding on the same term caused the accounts to constantly try to ‘one up’ the field, increasing the bids seemingly indefinitely.

 

The extent to the madness becomes clear when you turn off Maximise Conversions, as AdWords sets the maximum bid to the last ones they had applied under the strategy. Here are just a few of the bids we’ve seen:

 

Keyword Max Cost Per Click
[childrens toy box] $53.60
Charity 10K Walk $63.30
Retail Volunteering Ad Group

£1,000 (!)

 

 

In early February Google reverted whatever they had done to maximise conversion, and indeed seemed to spin the dial the other way as we saw accounts, which had been maximising a few days before, start to see traffic drop to lower than it was before the changes. Google confirmed on a forum post that they had made the changes to counteract the abnormally high bids

 

Our recommendation to all Google Grant holders is to avoid Maximise Conversions for the time being. Google is still making drastic changes behind the scenes to how the strategy works, and until they settle on a suitable level of automation it is too much of a risk to leave running in accounts.

 

What are your thoughts on Google’s Maximise Conversions bidding strategy? Drop us a tweet @upriseUPSEM.

 

We’ll no doubt be blogging again on this topic as we see further developments. In the meantime, if we can help you with getting the best results from your Google Ad Grant, securing an Ad Grant, or any other area of digital marketing please do get touch, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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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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Game-Changer: Maximum Bids Increased for Grantspro

Maximum Bids increased for Grantspro

Smart Bidding – Over $2 in Grantspro Accounts

 

There’s been an exciting new development as Google have begun sending invites to selected Grantspro accounts to try out a new Smart Bidding feature called ‘Maximise Conversions’. This feature has been available for Paid AdWords accounts since May 2017, but is only now being made available to (certain) Grantspro accounts.

Campaigns with ‘Maximise Conversions’ bidding enabled will no longer be subject to the Grant bid cap of $2. Instead, bids will automatically vary based on how likely they are to result in a conversion.

This will allow Grantspro accounts to better compete on high value searches, such as those around challenge events, donations, legacy giving and online shopping. An increase in conversions will also mean getting more value for money from your Grantspro account, which is always a good thing!

 

 How Does This Maximise Conversions Bidding Strategy Work?

 

Google uses a combination of historical conversion data, the likelihood of converting and other contextual factors (e.g. time of day, location, device, etc.) to determine an optimal bid amount. Therefore, enabling ‘Maximise Conversions’ means that bids will continually and automatically be optimised, and we’re eager to see what results this can achieve for our clients.

 

How To Get Started

 

This is a major change for selected Grantspro accounts and provides many potential exciting possibilities for charities. In order to take advantage of this, you only need to follow 2 steps before September 15th 2017:

  • Set up conversion tracking (e.g. donations, event sign ups, PDF downloads, calls from ads, newsletter sign ups, etc.)
  • Enable ‘Maximise Conversions’ Smart Bidding

 

We have a great deal of experience with setting up conversion tracking. If you need help setting up conversions before you can take advantage of Maximise Conversions Smart Bidding, then please get in touch.

 

Benefits

 

More Conversions

 

The most obvious benefit is that those using Grantspro accounts can use this Smart Bidding strategy to get even more conversions! Higher bids lead to an improved ad rank, and so being able to go beyond the $2 bid cap with Google’s ‘Maximise Conversions’ Smart Bidding can help get the most conversions for your campaigns. This is brilliant news for those looking to drive even more donations, memberships, newsletter sign ups, or any other valuable actions.

 

Fully Utilise The Grantspro Allowance

 

This Smart Bidding strategy may lead to conversion activity taking up a larger amount of the Grantspro budget, whether your conversions are fundraising, information or communication based.

Increased bid amounts may also lead to a higher average cost per click and therefore fewer clicks, but will enable you to make better use of the $40,000 Grantspro allowance to increase conversions, especially if you are not already maximising and your campaigns are currently limited by the $2 bid cap.

 

Strategic Opportunity

 

It’s possible that adding conversions that are higher up the marketing funnel could encourage higher bid amounts when using the ‘Maximise Conversions’ bid strategy. We look forward to conducting experiments with our clients to see if this could have a positive impact on the bid amounts allowed for competitive campaigns.

If you have any thoughts on our blog or want to discuss with us, then do leave a comment or contact us. Or, if you would like help to maximise the full potential of your Google Ad Grant or Grantspro account, or want help to implement conversion tracking and Maximise Conversions Smart Bidding, then please get in touch!

 

If you’re interested in keeping up to date with all the latest news from the digital marketing sector, why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter?

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Extend Your Knowledge of Ad Extensions – Part 1

Extend Your Knowledge of Ad Extensions

What Are Ad Extensions?

 

Ad extensions are a feature on the Google Search Network that provide the user with valuable information about the services you offer and can help improve your search campaigns’ performance. But with so many extensions on offer, it can be confusing to work out when and what to use.

In this series of blog posts we’re going to run through full suite of ad extensions that Google offer, as well as the benefits you can get from using them.

 

Ad extensions are very much a quick win for improving ad rank. Ad rank (the value used to determine where your ad places on the search results) is determined by your:

 

 Bid x Quality Score x Impact of Ad Extensions

 

 

By implementing some of the extensions available, you can improve your ad rank even in scenarios where you are unable to raise your bid or improve your quality score further. This is particularly useful if you are utilising the Google Grant Account, where your maximum bid is capped at $2. By using extensions, it is possible to stay ranking even on competitive searches where bids may be over $2. For all extensions, you don’t pay any more for using them, you only pay when someone interacts with your ad, whether that is through you headline or one of your extensions.

 

Aside from the algorithmic benefit of using ad extensions, there are also benefits that can improve your performance above and beyond that of ad rank.

 

By providing more information than what is usually available in an expanded text ad, you give the user more reason to interact with your ad. Someone is more likely to click on your ad if they can see at a glance the products you stock, a product review and that your store is located near them.

 

Ad extensions also take up more visible space in the search results. Taking up more of the real estate on the search results page is going to lead to your ad being more prominent in the user’s eyes, and therefore more valuable. This is especially important for searches conducted on mobile, where an ad with callouts, sitelinks and a map of location can take up the entire screen on mobile.

 

Sitelink Extensions

 

Sitelinks appear below your ad, allowing you to expand your ad and direct users to other related pages on your site.

 

By including sitelinks, you give the user more reason to click on your ad, as they can quickly navigate to sections of your site that may be of interest above just your headline, such as your opening yours, see your returns policy or your top viewed products.

 

Sitelinks also take up more space on the results page, making your ad more prominent and increasing the likelihood of someone interacting with your ad. Up to 6 sitelinks can be used on a desktop to expand your ad down the page.

 

The sitelink interface has recently changed on mobile, with up to 8 sitelinks appearing on one line in a carousel format. Part of the draw of sitelinks was how much extra space on the results page you could take up. It will be interesting to see whether the performance of top ranking ads on mobile will suffer now that over half of your sitelinks are now obscured from view and must be revealed.

 

 

Callout Extensions

 

Callout extensions, seen here below the ad text, are short non-clickable snippets of text that allow you to shout about key features or services that you offer, that can give the user a better picture of what you are about. Whether this is certain features related to a sale, such as ‘free delivery’, or things that give someone a flavour of what you as a company offer, they are a great way of highlighting what makes you stand out.

 

Structured Snippet Extensions

 

Structured snippets, not to be confused with featured or rich snippets, serve as a way to draw attention to distinct groups of products or services that you offer. This could be the styles of clothing you stock, different educational courses you offer or types of furniture available. Google offer a list of predefined headers to choose from, and you input the values to your list.

 

As is the case with a number of the non-clickable extensions available, providing more information to the user is a great way to attract more visitors to your site and improve the click through rates of your ads.

 

Call Extensions

 

 

Call extensions allow you to display your phone number alongside a desktop ad or as a clickable button on mobile, allowing people to contact you directly without having to navigate to your website and find your phone number. This is a great way to provide more useful information, increasing engagement and improving the number of conversions you achieve if you are tracking call conversions. Clicks on your call extension costs the same as a click on your ad.

 

You can visit part 2 of our ad extension series for a look at some of the other extensions on offer.

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AdWords Introduces ‘Better, Simpler’ Ad Rotation Settings

Ad Rotation

Ad Rotation – What’s Changing?

 

Following on from recent updates to the AdWords interface and targeting options, yesterday Google announced the latest change to how AdWords operates. To put it simply, on the 25th September the number of ad rotation setting available will be changed from four to two.

Ad rotation is the way ads are delivered on Google’s search and display network. If there is more than one ad in any ad group, then ads will rotate, since no more than one ad can show simultaneously.

 

Google currently offer four options available for ad rotation, which specify how often ads are served relative to one another. These options are:

 

  • Optimise for clicks

Show ads expected to provide more clicks

  • Optimise for conversions

Shows ads expected to provide more conversions

  • Rotate evenly

Show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimise

  • Rotate indefinitely

Show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads, and do not optimise

 

The headline news from this announcement is that the first three options will now be combined into one setting called the generic ‘Optimise’. Any campaigns currently using optimise for clicks, optimise for conversions or rotate evenly will automatically have their ad rotation settings changed to ‘Optimise’ on September 25.

 

Google’s description of this new Optimise option is deliciously vague:

 

 “This setting will optimize your ads for clicks in each individual auction using signals like keyword, search term, device, location and more.”

 

With such an unhelpful description, it is hard to understand exactly how this new setting will work and it will be interesting to see if any major differences in performance occur.

 

What Does This Mean?

 

This can be seen as a negative, as fewer options are now being offered to advertisers. However most advertisers, including ourselves, are not yet confident in Google’s machine learning skills. The fourth option ‘Rotate indefinitely’, is still extremely commonly used. Mercifully, the only change to this setting seems to be in the name, and will now be called the rather negative name of ‘Do Not Optimise’.

The only other concern we have is that Google will eventually force the use of the ‘Optimise’ setting, and all other options will be phased out.

Potentially the most exciting bit in this announcement is hidden in the final paragraph. This is the news that ad rotation settings can be set at ad group level. In contrast, this change actually offers more control to advertisers!

Previously, if two ad groups wanted different ad rotation settings, they would have to be in separate campaigns. This is now no longer necessary, and relevant ad groups can be kept in the same campaign with different ad rotation settings.

 

What About Bing?

 

It’s interesting to compare these changes to what is currently available on Bing Ads. Using Bing Ads there are two ad rotation settings:

  • Optimise for clicks (Similar to Google’s new setting ‘Optimise’)
  • Rotate ads more evenly (Similar to Google’s new setting ‘Do Not Optimise’)

Bing Ads also allow these settings to be altered at ad group level, which is also what Google is introducing.

These changes are actually moving AdWords in line with what Bing Ads currently offer!

To summarise, this isn’t a very exciting development, and is simply a simplification of the ad rotation setting currently offered. We don’t expect any major changes to results from this, but it could potentially pave the way for more extreme changes in the future.

 

 

Get In Touch

If you enjoyed this update on Google’s ad rotation settings, don’t hesitate to tweet us @upriseUPSEM or get in touch today to see how you can reach the right people at the right time using paid search and display campaigns.

 

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Keyword Insertion: Is Relevancy Really In The Eyes Of The Beholder?

Keywords

An Experiment into Improving Ad Performance Using Keyword Insertion

Keyword insertion, or dynamic keyword insertion as it used to be called, is a feature of AdWords that can be used in ad headlines to increase relevance to the users search query. One of the features that we’re most excited about here at upriseUP is the fact that using keyword insertion increases relevancy and dramatically increases your ads performance.

 

How Keyword Insertion Works

With keyword insertion in place in a headline, whenever a user performs a search, the keyword that triggered your ad to show is placed into the headline. The example Google use is if you sell chocolate you might set up a headline that reads Buy {KeyWord:Chocolate}. If Dark Chocolate is one of your keywords, the headline would read Buy Dark Chocolate. For more information on keyword insertion and how to set it up see the Google support.

 

The Question

By using keyword insertion in your headlines, you can create a seemingly personalised ad, resulting in increased ad relevance, increased quality scores, lower actual CPC, improved ad rank… you get the idea. They are great.

However, equally relevant to the above example is an ad without keyword insertion where the headline Buy Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate as a keyword. What the user sees is the same ad, the question is would Google preferentially choose an ad that it deems “more relevant” because it could insert the users query into the title? What better way to test that than by using Google’s experiment feature?

 

The Experiment

What I created is a single keyword ad group (SKAG) with an exact match keyword and that keyword featuring in the headline. I kept everything but the headline the same between the experiment and the original to ensure a fair test. In the original I left the headline as plain text and in the experiment replaced the keyword in the headline with a keyword insertion. Given that the only keyword in the ad group is an exact match keyword, any time it could be triggered it would insert the keyword into the headline.

The end results to the user is the exact same text, the only difference is how it got there. With the traffic split 50:50 between the experiment and the original, Google will enter each ad into the auction the same amount of times since they are essentially the same ad, right?

 

The Results

What actually happened is that despite the ad being the ‘same’ in the eyes of the user, the Google algorithm preferentially entered the ad using keyword insertion rather than plain text. The ad using keyword insertion generated a statistically significant increase in number of impressions and clicks, as well as an increased click through rate (although not a statistically significant one!).

 

Key Takeaways

However, there are situations to be aware of where keyword insertion into a title would not make sense and might make the ad read strangely, so each situation needs to be looked at critically. But in terms of getting your ad seen and clicked on by more people, keyword insertion is a valuable tool.

The key takeaway here is that by implementing keyword insertion you can increase your ads relevancy in the eyes of the algorithm without it changing in the eyes of the user, which can only help improve your ads performance.

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Google’s New Targeting Options Get the Right Ads To the Right People

Google New Targeting Options

Targeting the Right Audience

 

One of the main advantages of digital marketing over physical channels is the ability to target a particular audience who you know are receptive to your advertising. A billboard may be seen by many, but it is also seen by everyone, and many of those people might not be your target audience, causing the money you spend on them to be wasted. AdWords gives us many tools to target our advertising, and in a recent live stream Google discussed additions to one of the most powerful, remarketing lists.

 

Remarketing lists are simply a list of users in Analytics, who you can target in your digital marketing. This blog will be about the new lists that Google has announced will be coming to search campaigns in the near future. For the new YouTube and Gmail releases you can expect a blog post from us soon, but in brief here Google aims to target people beyond simple demographics such as age or gender. You will now be able to target people who have experienced an important life event, or who have shown to have certain purchasing habits.

 

In Search campaigns, two recent additions to the remarketing list family have been moved from testing to full release, and are now available to use. If you have linked your YouTube and AdWords accounts, you can now make use of YouTube remarketing lists in your search campaigns. The image below shows the targeting options available. This is a great tool to use if you run any YouTube advertising, and is also a big step forwards in connecting all of Google’s marketing channels. You could also layer different levels of YouTube audiences for even greater effect. Upbidding on people who visit your channel is a good start, but those people who subscribe to the channel are obviously demonstrating a higher engagement with your content, and should be targeted with a higher bid still.

 

 

AdWords Targeting, who can I target?

Google has left us spoiled for choice with the number of actions we can target using this new list.

 

The other new addition is Similar Audiences, a feature that has been available in display campaigns previously. To use similar audiences, you must provide Google with one of your audience lists. Google will then search for users who have a similar search behaviour to that of the users in your list and provide them to you in a new list. This is a great way to expand the reach of your campaigns, without having to reduce the quality of the audience you are advertising to.

 

How similar audience for search lists are created

The system for similar audiences, as described by Google

 

A good example of where these lists may be useful is as a way to promote lesser known brands. Creating a remarketing list of users who search for your brand regularly, and providing this list to Google, will result in you receiving a list of people who may not know your brand, but have similar search habits to the people who engage with it regularly. You can then bid higher on these users, or target them exclusively with a specialised ad copy. These lists update with new users every 24 hours, and you must have a remarketing list containing at least 1000 users to be able to utilise similar audiences.

 

The new feature soon to be implemented in search is arguably the most exciting (it is for me at least!). In-market Audiences have existed in display campaigns for a while, and they have been a great tool to use when targeting your audiences. They work by analysing user’s search terms to determine if they are looking to buy a product. For example, a user with search terms of “buy car insurance” and “cheap car insurance” is looking to buy car insurance, and would be added to the in-market car insurance list. These lists are based off intent, not interest, and so contain only those people who have shown actual intent to buy a product, rather than just interest in it. This is a focussed list of high intent users you can advertise your product to, who may not even have heard of your product before!

 

These new targeting options seem interesting when considered individually, but together the possibilities are exciting. Imagine being a wedding dress company, and being able to advertise to young women who are getting married, with similar search behaviour to your existing customers and whose search terms show that she is in the market for a wedding dress! That’s definitely better than a billboard.

 

Get In Touch

If you enjoyed this post on Google’s new targeting options, don’t forget to leave us a comment below or tweet us at @upriseUPSEM. 

Contact us today to see how we can help you get the right ads to the right people through laser-focused paid search campaigns.

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Google’s €2 Billion Fine for Shopping Ads

Google 2 billion fine for Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads

 

Google’s €2 Billion Fine for Shopping Ads, and Why it isn’t the Real Punishment

 

For years now Google has proudly had the company motto of ‘Don’t Be Evil’, and you’d think sticking to that would be easy. Today, however, that motto must feel like a bad joke, as Google has been hit with a record breaking €2.42 billion fine by the EU for antitrust practices regarding it’s shopping ads.

 

This story has been updated – see below for the latest news on Google’s response.

 

This fine comes as the sting in the tail of a seven-year investigation into Google’s search algorithms, which concluded that Google had placed its own shopping ads service above other price comparison sites “irrespective of [their] merits,” and accused the company of “abusing its dominant position by systematically favouring” its own ads.

 

Slide from EU commission presentation on Google

A slide from the EU commission explaining their argument

 

Google have fired back at the decision in a statement, where they argue that their search algorithm shows the results it’s users want to see, and point to the rise of online retailers such as Amazon or eBay as the reason that some search comparison sites have dropped in the rankings. They finish by saying “Given the evidence, we respectfully disagree with the conclusions announced today. We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal”. We feel it very likely that Google will file an appeal, at which point we will be in for a long and drawn out case between the tech giant and the EU.

This would be the largest antitrust fine ever handed out in European courts, but the €2.42 billion still only amounts to around 2.7% of Google’s annual revenue. Though a very public blemish on Google’s record, this will not break the bank. The more long-term worry for Google is that the ruling has stated that they must end their antitrust practices within 90 days or face further fines. This would mean changing how Google ranks web pages on its search results page to more evenly weight non-Google comparison shopping services.

If this ruling gets enforced, it could have a major effect on the performance of shopping adverts on the google network and, although it would be interesting to see how shopping ads performed on a truly level playing field, it would undoubtedly lead to an increase in cost per click at best, and a drop in conversions and return on ad spend at worst. It would also set an interesting precedent with dangerous implications for other digital marketing channels. If it is illegal to guarantee shopping ads a place at the top of search results, what about paid search ads in general?

This is very likely to not be the final chapter in the story. Google look to be digging their heels in regarding the decision, and wish to clear their name in front of the world regarding their search practices. If they do appeal, and it seems likely they will, the resulting process could go on for years without a resolution, so do not expect big changes quickly.

This is not the only point of contention between the EU and Google either. There are investigations ongoing into Google’s AdSense system, and their dealings with Android manufacturers. If this investigation is an indicator of things to come then it seems the EU isn’t going to let Google off easily, and this may simply be the opening salvo in a longer, larger war.

 


 

UPDATE

We have, in fact, been proven wrong! Google have agreed to make changes that will resolve the issues the commission raised, and they will have until September 28 to do so, or face further fines. Although we don’t know the specifics of what Google will do to appease the commission, we will let you know as soon as we do!

 


 

UPDATE #2

In a twist of fate, it turns out we were right after all! Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that a lower court had not given enough considerations to Intel’s defence of their use of rebates, which had been deemed as anticompetitive and the source of a $1.3 billion fine.

 

A few days later, and Google announce that they will in fact be appealing the €2.4 billion fine that they have been given for their antitrust practices. Although a company like Google likely do not make a decision like this in a few days, and their plan was probably in place before the news of Intel’s victory was made public, it is powerful new proof that the appeal process may not be futile.

 

Google will still be required to implement the changes to their system the commission called for in the initial report for the duration of the appeal. Since this process could stretch on for years we are still going to see a prolonged period of change for Google shopping, and the big news is still yet to break on how exactly Google will be changing their shopping system.

 

 

Get In Touch

What are your thoughts on Google’s €2 billion fine for shopping ads? Send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM or contact us today to see how you could transform your business or charity with shopping ads.

 

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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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Google Introduce New Quality Filter For Ad Grants

Google Introduce New Quality Filter for Ad Grants

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

 

Following an important update to the visibility of the components of ad rank, Google has announced on Google Ad Help support that as of June 2017, a quality filter will be in place on Ad Grant ads in the search auction.

The aim of the quality filter is to increase the quality of Ad Grant ads which, according to Google, is disproportionately low compared to standard paid ads. From the phrasing that Google have used, it appears that the quality filter will be a minimum required quality threshold to allow your ads to show. The minimum required level will be based on the standard of ads being shown in the country your ads are running.

At this stage, we are unsure if it is specifically an ads quality that will prevent it from being shown or whether it is the quality of an ad group, a campaign or the quality of an account as a whole. We have posted this question on the Google AdWords community forum, please email [email protected] if you would like us to keep you updated*.

We have been expecting an update like this since March 2016, when Ben blogged about Google removing the ads from the right-hand side of the search results. He speculated that when removing the ads from the right-hand side, Google updated their algorithm, removing a penalty previously applied to Google Ad Grant accounts that resulted in an almost overnight improvement in average position for grant ads. Whilst no announcement was made, Ben suggested that Google might address this change in the future.

This could well be that response; somewhat later than expected.

We haven’t seen a decrease in traffic to our Grant accounts, but if you have then please get in touch as we would love to gain more insight into this quality filter. Until the impact of this quality filter can be seen more clearly, make use of the new quality score metrics to ensure your ads are of the highest possible quality and you, fingers crossed, should remain unaffected.

If you suspect you have received a penalty, are experiencing a drop in traffic or would like any more information on your Google Ad Grants then please get in touch.

 

*UPDATE: Google have confirmed that the components of quality score (expected click-through rate (CTR), ad relevance and landing page experience) will be used to determine if your ad passes the quality filter. To read the full post click here (https://support.google.com/grants/answer/7404558)

 

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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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YouTube Nonprofits Programme – New Opportunities

YouTube Nonprofits programme

YouTube for Non-profits

As we posted recently, Google Ad Grants have now become part of a larger programme called Google for Nonprofits. As part of this development, Google have also rolled out their YouTube for Nonprofits Programme to UK shores, which had previously only been available to users in the US.

 

New YouTube Donation Cards

As we all know, video is a growing and incredibly engaging medium. This very exciting development means charities can now add ‘donation cards’ to their own YouTube videos so viewers can donate directly from a video by clicking on a ‘card’ that appears as an overlay.

 

YouTube Nonprofits Programme

 

Even better, charities’ own supporters can also use the card on their own content to drive donations. This is especially good news for charities given the strength of fundraising when it comes from supporters to their own networks.

This functionality, for any YouTube user to add a donation card has only been available in the US since January 2016 so is relatively new even there. To see the cards in action watch Google’s own YouTube video.

 

How to Sign Up

Firstly you need to enrol for the Google Nonprofits Programme. Once approved you have the option to enrol in YouTube for Nonprofits, alongside other tools including G Suite for Nonprofits  (previously Google Apps for Nonprofits) and Google Earth Outreach.

All you will need to provide is your YouTube Channel ID and if you don’t already have a YouTube channel you can very quickly and easily set one up.

 

How It Works

All donations are made via the UK charity: Charitable Giving, who then distribute the funds with Google whilst covering any processing fees (in the US donations are distributed on a monthly basis). At the moment, donations made this way aren’t eligible for Gift Aid but Google states it hopes to enable that very soon.

Although we’ve not tested it yet, it should be possible (and indeed in Google’s benefit) to keep these donation cards in place on videos which are also used for YouTube TrueView Video Ads (the skippable video ads that appear before monetised content). This would drive donations without trying to take the viewer away to your website and could have excellent potential to boost results of video advertising for charities using paid AdWords accounts.

 

Things to Consider

As with everything there will be downsides and the major one will be that charities won’t be able to harvest the donor’s valuable details if they donate via a YouTube card. This aside, we do recommend eligible non-profits sign up to the YouTube Nonprofits Programme, if only to allow others to use the charity’s donation card in their own video content.

This is all very new and not without glitches! When I tried to add a donation card to my own YouTube video very recently (as a general YouTube user) the donation card was not an option, but given a little time this could be a very useful development to harness and we look forward to trying it out.

If you are interested in finding out more about YouTube advertising or applying for Google Nonprofits we’d be delighted to hear from you. Do get in touch at [email protected] or give us a call.

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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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New Year, New Features

A Christmas Gift from Google

 

Just after the turn of the year Google has granted us in the PPC game three very-late Christmas presents, presumably because we were all very good last year!

Two of the new features related to phone numbers, and are very much in line with Google’s even-more mobile focused approach in 2017; don’t forget the new Mobile-first index is coming soon!

Google knows that when it comes to digital marketing, what sets it apart, from other forms of marketing, is the tangible data analysis – that ability to track a user from their first landing page to their final conversion (hopefully a big sale!). In order to ensure that your campaigns are working to their optimum you need to be able to track all possible conversions, and black holes in that user journey need to be avoided and were possible removed. This is where call tracking comes in to play.

Call tracking allows digital marketers to track calls to key phone numbers from your website and what advertising has lead them to that page; and ultimately to make that call. There are a variety of paid solutions available (infinity call tracking and response tap to name a couple) as well as Google AdWords-only free option. But wouldn’t it be great if we could give those users who want to call a direct call-to-action within the SERP?

 

Extending the Call Extensions

 

That’s where call extensions (and call-only Ads) come in. This is where Google is upping it’s mobile game, ensuring we can cover as many conversions possible in order to understand the worth of those mobile visitors. Coming February 6th Google will be launching automated call extensions: a move which is specifically aimed at forcing the hand of all those people who are still not using a call ask within their Ads. The new automated call extensions will automatically show a call extension for ad groups where the ads are pointing to a page with a prominent phone number. Whilst this may seem like helpful move from Google, the chances are that if you wanted to show a phone number, you would already have the call extension live and if you don’t want it to show it’s for a reason! The good news is that you can untick this solution, the bad news is that unless you do so you will start showing a phone number (if the landing page is applicable) whether you like it or not.

 

But that’s not all! As of January 19th, advertisers who use Location extensions and call extensions ‘may’ find that the number showing in their call extension is not the one they have previously specified. Google has emailed affected AdWords users to notify them that the phone number linked to the Local listing used in AdWords is likely to show instead.

 

A Google rep told Search Engine Land that: “it ‘may’ show the local retail phone number when that store’s location extension shows in an ad even if a call extension in the campaign uses a different phone number in order to increase the relevance of ads that feature specific business locations.”

This is a potential problem for users wanting to use tracking phone numbers within their AdWords call extensions or to use a centralised phone number for their Ads. You can opt-out of this by filling in a form within Google Support if this is something which will effect your call tracking. With Google showing Ads with location extensions across Google Maps, this feels like a move from their part in maintaining the consistency that the user will see between the Google Maps Ad and the organic listing.

 

Positive, Negative Developments

 

Finally, and a nice surprise for MCC (My Client Centre) AdWords users: Google has announced the expansion of the Negative Keywords lists to allow them to be shared across accounts. One immediate use would be to simplify the mass-sharing of keywords which are applicable across all accounts and that you would never want to show against (likely mature/illegal themes).

Another use would be for those clients that use multiple AdWords accounts (presumably due to different departmental budgeting), and you want to make sure that there is no cross over between the Accounts on their keywords. This will now allow the process of negative matching an accounts keywords against all other accounts a lot simpler and one which I look forward to using.

I’m sure that this is just the start of the new developments for this coming year; we were promised a whole new interface would arrive! But if the start of the new AdWords developments is anything to go by – I think this will be another year with big movements towards mobile and location based optimisation…and I for one look forward to it!

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Responsive Display Ads

What Are Responsive Ads?responsive-gdn-display-ads1

Google started rolling out Responsive Ads for their AdWords Display campaigns late last year at around the same time they introduced new Expanded Ads for Search campaigns.

These new Responsive Ads allow you to combine text and images to generate display banners that can automatically adjust their size, appearance and format to fit the available space across a variety of content types and screen sizes.

This is potentially quite an exciting addition for Display advertising and so we’ve been investigating Responsive Ads for the last few months to see how they perform. We are thrilled with the results and want to share with you why we think they’re worth taking notice of.

 

The Benefits

 

Flexibility

Responsive Display Ads fit into any format and adapts to any placement and size. This is beneficial for a number of reasons, the main two being that your ad shows in more places and so you can reach a wider audience, and it means you don’t have to create your own custom creative in all the 15+ different sizes.

Content 

You can fit a lot of content into them because they allow you to include a lot of text, as well as an image of your choice and your logo and brand name. More content means you can deliver a more informative ad to communicate your message to your audience.

Ease

They are extremely easy and quick to create, especially if you already have a good idea the content you want to include. The image itself can be lifted from your web page if you insert the URL. Google AdWords have made Responsive Ad set-up extremely user-friendly.

Saves time & money

They can save you a lot of time and money because you can use them instead of utilising a designer to generate a creative in all the sizes you need. These are valuable resources that you can use elsewhere in your campaign.

Control

You get a lot of control over your Responsive Ads. You can choose a headline, a description, you can include your company name and logo, as well as choosing the image. They’re very customisable and so the ad can look how you want within reason.

Appealing

Many of our clients have been pleasantly surprised by how professional and eye-catching responsive ads look. Because of how customisable they are, it is easy to make them look representative of your brand

Perform well

The Responsive Ads we’ve used have performed excellently. There’s been lots of engagement with them and we have not seen any obvious negative effects when using them. In fact, they tend to outperform custom creative because they are so adaptable!

 

The only downside we can observe is that Responsive Ads can only contain still images and there’s not an option to include animation. However, this is a small price to pay when you’re saving yourself so much time, money and inconvenience. So, unless you have a very specific design in mind that is not compatible with responsive ads, they are definitely worth taking advantage of!

Even if you prefer to use your own creative, we have found that many of our clients find Responsive Ads useful as a temporary interim measure to promote their campaign if their creative takes longer than they expect to create, or if they want to start a campaign earlier than expected a short notice.

Overall, we think Responsive Ads are one of Google’s best additions to AdWords to date and could be useful to almost anyone wanting to invest in AdWords Display Advertising.

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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 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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