Google has been making changes to Product Listing Ads for quite awhile now, slowly moving people over from traditional PLAs to the new Shopping Campaign type. You may have noticed the “validate” button disappeared when you tried to create new product targets for your PLAs. And now the official announcement has come, Google will discontinue traditional PLAs in August, and only show product ads from Shopping Campaigns. For those who fear change, or are at least afraid of losing out on all of the valuable optimizations that they’ve been faithfully performing on their product listing ads over the years, I bring you good tidings! Once you start digging around in the new Shopping campaigns, you will probably come to the same conclusion as I have: “Where have you been all my life?” Read more
Posts about paid search, display and other online ads.
The shift is coming and most of us already know it. The Don Draper dinosaur is extinct. Not only has most of advertising become digital, but the majority of marketing departments will also be digitally-focused. Let’s reflect on all the old mediums of advertising: radio, TV, and snail mail. All of these things are now functioning digitally through podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and of course e-mail. The future of TV and radio is through the internet, and so it is with all forms of communication, including the telephone. As the future of internet TV progresses, digital advertising will surely become more involved, and cable TV will slowly fade into the background. So as you can see, digital marketing IS marketing, the marketing of the future. Sure, you’ll still have the occasional hard copy of a newspaper, magazine, or brochure, but for the most part, marketing strategy will be internet-based and integrated. Any other marketing efforts will be secondary. Read more
Offer Time-Sensitive Deals
Offering a variety of deals that expire shortly give buyers a since of urgency, and is sure to get more traffic to your site. Maybe potential buyers already have one gift in mind that they’ve priced on several websites, including yours. Offering free shipping or a temporary 15% discount can drive them to finalize purchases sitting in their shopping carts, cutting out the competition in a matter of minutes. Advertise deals at the top of your site, in PPC ads, through e-mail campaigns, or all three.
Grab a Partner
Partner with a company that offers a product or service that compliments yours but is not direct competition. For instance, if you sell clothing, you could partner with a shoe store or website. Offer a $10 discount on a pair of shoes for buying your products while they do the same for you. This will get more traffic for both partners and help finalize sales.
Make Gift Suggestions
Many holiday shoppers are lazy or just don’t have the time to figure out what to get for their Uncle Tim or Aunt Jane. Even shopping for Dad can be difficult. Help them out with suggestions on your website or through your automated e-mail campaigns and save someone the time by coming up with a great gift idea for them.
Make Shopping Easy
If you’re missing product information or images on your website, now’s the time to get them up. Don’t lose holiday shoppers to competition just because they have more detailed information. Someone who can’t zoom in and see all angles of a product will go to a site where they can. Also, make sure the shopping cart or ordering process is fully optimized. The ease of ordering and customer service will bring shoppers back to your site. To get more traffic on top of that, make sure your site is optimized for mobile shoppers. 56% of Americans now own a smartphone while 4 out of 5 of these will use it at some point during the shopping process.
Utilize Google Trends to test search terms for your products, services or sales. Google Trends allows you to select your region and date range so that you can see how your search terms have performed historically around the holidays. This will give you a better idea of what to focus on when writing ads or web content to get more traffic over the holidays. You can also monitor current trends and create Google Alerts to notify you when your holiday search terms or terms related to your business escalate. Take advantage of the burst of traffic to post an ad or a time-sensitive deal.
If your company relies on generating leads or selling products online, landing page optimization (LPO) is essential to your success. Depending on the size of your company, you could be losing thousands to millions of dollars a year due to something as miniscule as the text on your call to action button. Let’s take a look at some of the factors on your landing page that could boost your customer conversion rate between 20%-300%.
Online marketing has become massively more competitive and sophisticated over the past few years. This has come about not merely through the introduction of social and the proliferation of mobile, but through the increased integration of all of these elements and an improved understanding of how these elements behave.
A recent study released by iProspect in 2010 states that the likelihood of a site visit increases by 91% when Organic Search and Paid Search results are on the same page. This suggests that beyond just running an Adwords campaign for paid conversions, a smart marketing campaign will leverage both organic and paid to play off one another and increase brand recognition.
Below, our PPC infographic expands upon this concept, providing PPC statistics regarding the cost per click (CPC) trends for a number of important industries. Read on below and leave a comment with your thoughts on what direction your industry should take or where you see online marketing going in general.
Search marketing has been tweaked, tested, and examined through a lens over the years. It can be argued that every new idea for reaching users has been found. Nope. Search Companion Marketing is the newest AdWords tool rolling out of the Google Labs.
Search Companion Marketing targets users who search for your designated keywords by showing them ads on the sites they reach through the search results page. This works on paid search ads and organic search results on any major search engine including Bing and Yahoo. As long as the user is on a page that’s part of the Google Content Network, marketers can show their ads.
Setting up Search Companion Marketing
Setup is quick and pretty similar to most display campaigns. Start by creating a new campaign set to Display Network Broad Reach and set your budget, bids and targets as you normally would. Next, create ad groups that are appropriate for your business and fill them with no more than 50 keywords. It’s important to use your top converting keywords to get the best performance out of SCM. All keywords are viewed as broad match so variations of your top converting keywords are unnecessary.
SCM Campaign Optimization
Optimization of a SCM campaign is not too different from the average display campaign. Be sure to check campaign placements to exclude irrelevant sites and add negative keywords and increase the relevancy of your traffic. Additionally, you can pause low performing keywords and add new high performing keywords. Again, it’s important to make sure that no single ad group has more than 50 keywords. If the traffic volume you were expecting is not there, check to see if bids are set too low and make sure that you have both text and display ads. This will maximize the impression volume for your SCM campaign.
Google’s tests demonstrated an 8% increase in conversion volumes with Search Companion Marketing. In Leverage’s own limited tests, we’ve seen results that are on par with remarketing campaigns and lower CPAs. With refinement, SCM can be the next killer tool in every paid search marketer’s tool belt. If you’re interested in SCM for your business, get in touch with your Leverage Marketing representative.
“If you aren’t using these features, you should be.…. We explain the how, the why, and provide some food for thought“
This feature is designed to recapture and convert prospects who have previously visited a website and allows you to recapture them with targeted advertisements. You benefit from being able to market to a highly targeted list where conversions are more likely to occur.
*Leverage Tip: Write new ads and a new landing page made specifically for retargeting customers. Why didn’t they buy the first time around? Address the subconscious buying concerns that may have prevented them from converting the first time around. Test different variables like being more clear about shipping costs or provide some testimonials to get them to buy now.
Broad Match Modifier:
Broad match keywords will trigger any searches that contain your keywords in any given order, singular or plural variations, synonyms, any misspellings or relevant variation. But what, specifically, does Google consider to be a relevant variation? This vague interpretation and dependency on Google’s algorithm to determine a relevant variation of your keyword is a powerful feature for increasing traffic, but only when you’re ready for it. Hence, the Broad Match Modified feature. By adding a (+) sign in front of your broad match keywords, you will still have the flexibility of showing up for misspellings, singular and plurals, and phrases in any given order as long as your keywords are included in the search. The big difference here, though, is that you omit showing up for what Google classifies as synonyms.
*Leverage Tip: Start your campaigns off using Broad Match Modified keyword instead of Broad Match keywords. Once your campaign is optimized and only when you feel it necessary to look for new keywords and increase traffic, then you can play with Broad Match and see what kind of stuff Google will show you for.
Adwords Call Tracking:
Adwords call tracking can be setup at the campaign level by adding a call extension and selecting to add a dynamically generated forwarding number provided by Google. Businesses conducting lead generation, B2B, professional services, or E-commerce transactions of high value can really benefit from call tracking where conversions are less likely to occur directly online.
*Leverage Tip: Use adwords call tracking to track the response rates from your display and retargeting campaigns by assigning them a unique Google forwarding number.
Search funnels are a hidden gym in Google Adwords. You may not have noticed it when optimizing your account and that’s because it’s cleverly hidden under: Tools and Analysis > Conversions > Search Funnels. Aha! Often times, a user will search more than one time and click on various ads when searching for a product or service. Often times a user will conduct multiple search queries and click on multiple ads from you, the advertiser. What this report will do for you is enable you to see the search path that your users took before they converted on your site. Another benefit of the search funnels feature is the ability to see the time lag between the first time they clicked on your ad and the time when they ultimately converted. You will be surprised how many people don’t actually convert on day one.
*Leverage Tip: Just because a high traffic keyword may not appear to have any conversions, doesn’t mean that it didn’t play a part in bringing awareness to your existence before the user converted later on a second search. Clicks that help or assist in helping to convert a user are known as assist clicks or the process of analyzing this data can also be referred to as attribution modeling. For this reason, you may want to double check your search funnels before pausing a keyword which may not appear to have conversions when in actuality it is playing a critical role in assisting the ultimate conversion.
Keyword Auction Insights:
Keyword auction insights is a feature found at the keyword level under Keyword Details > Auction Insights. Auction insights is a neat tool you can use to check your ego and how you fare against the competition. So how do you stack up against your competitors for a single keyword in a search bidding auction? This tool lets you see impression share, average position, and other stats and how you compare in relation to other advertisers bidding on the same keyword.
*Leverage Tip: If your impression share is higher than your competitors but their average position is still higher than you, then they are simply outbidding you. Knowing this, you may want to raise your bids or strategically lower them depending on your goals.
Election season is in full swing in preparation for November, and politicians are pulling out all of the stops. No matter what party line you may follow, we can all agree Americans are bombarded with campaign ads and political information. It may be hard for voters to distinguish which local candidates fall within their congressional districts and, as a result, deter voters from placing their ballots in the fall. Google is introducing a new geographical feature to help voters make their big decisions in the voting booths.
This geographical feature will do more than identify the red and blue states. Starting this month, Google is rolling out Congressional District Targeting for Google AdWords, enabling users to target their ads to specific Congressional districts as opposed to zip codes. Politicians will be able to spend their campaign dollars more wisely while serving ads to their voters in their respective districts. Long gone are the old methods of targeting entire zip codes.
As shown by this map, districts can span across multiple zip codes therefore forcing the old zip code method to be obsolete. With Congressional District Targeting, candidates can easily enter their district number, create ads, precisely target their voters, and effectively spend ad dollars to gain their support. Google hopes to help all political campaigns take advantage of the web, and the Google tools they provide to run successful campaigns.
Google is also providing users with another tool for the elections. Their Four Screens to Victory politics and elections ads toolkit site also aims to help users effectively reach voters. On their web site Google says:
Voters use an average of 14.7 sources of information to help make their candidate selection and are connected to multiple devices throughout the day (Google/Shopper Sciences, 2011). Whether your goal is a seat on the town council, building up support for your chosen issue, or the White House, integrated marketing efforts must engage voters across four screens: television, computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Google believes that integration and precise targeting will be most effective for campaigners as well as voters. Voters will no longer have to deal with political ads that do not pertain to them, and will only be served ads that are relevant to them. Voters will receive less clutter, and will be able to access information on all devices they use.
Congressional District Targeting is another way Google hopes to build better relationships between users and advertisers.
In a few short weeks, the back-to-school frenzy will begin. Parents and students will be on the prowl for the newest “must have” items such as trendy folders, writing accessories, apparel, electronics and more. With the years’ second largest shopping season on the horizon and an approximate $70 billion to be spent during the next few months, how do make sure your site is ready?
Follow the tips below to keep guests onsite longer and sell, sell, sell during the busy back-to-school weeks:
Add New Keywords: Research new keywords for your pay-per-click campaign. Try using specific products and model numbers in order to capture those already searching for your products. Then, keep costs down and relevancy high by utilizing different match types and adding expanding negative keyword lists.
Try Including Promos In Ad Text: Attract the attention of penny-savers by promoting sales and specials in the ad text. Remember, parents aren’t the only back-to-school shoppers in the family so get creative to catch the attention of teens, tweens and college students alike.
Target Smartphones: In 2011, 27% of shoppers compared prices directly on their smartphone during the back-to-school season. Give yourself a competitive edge by creating a mobile targeted campaign. Be sure to offer special incentives and bid wisely to keep ads “above the fold.” Doing so could entice in-store comparison shoppers to abandon their real life shopping carts and purchase directly from their mobile device.
Have Fun With Your Landing Page: Create a unique landing page showcasing products, prices and popular items. Then, segment sections of the page into different audiences such as parents, elementary, high school and college students in order to develop customized shopping paths for each.
Experiment With Remarketing: Capture the attention of previous buyers or those who abandoned their shopping carts through a remarketing campaign. Placing a simple code on your site can track those shoppers and enable you to target them with unique ads encouraging them to complete a purchase or even buy more.
Utilize Your Fan Base: Encourage your existing fan base to purchase items from your website by engaging them on popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Google+. Try offering exclusive incentives, fun contests and more to get the conversation flowing and eventually feet in the “door” and onto your website.
Not sure how to implement these suggestions on your own? That’s why we’re here! Be sure to speak with an Account Manager today to prepare your online marketing efforts in time for the back-to-school rush.
Google, the leading search engine, is always on the brink of new inventions and changes. And now is no exception. Starting this fall, Google Product Search (once upon a time called Froogle) will be discontinued and will become Google Shopping. The name change, however, is not what has many current users worried. Google’s decision to shift their free product listings model entirely to an all-paid model comes as a surprise to many.
Why is Google shifting to a commercial model?
Google aims to simplify the shopping process by building relationships with merchants and creating a better shopping experience for users. This means encouraging merchants to take advantage of the product listing features through Google AdWords and as a result generating “higher quality data” to drive more traffic. Transparent, quality data will allow customers to eliminate additional steps in their purchasing cycle. Users will be able to research products, compare prices and connect directly to merchants through Google’s Shopping Listing Ads. Google believes that by implementing a cost-per-click (CPC) model for product listings, they will be better able to monitor the quality of information and provide more trustworthy data.
What does this mean for current users of Google Merchant Center/Product Search?
Those who have used Google’s free listings will now have to shift to Google AdWords, in addition to their Merchant Center account, if they want to continue listing with Google. If merchants want to remain part of Google’s Shopping search engine they will need to pay.
How is Google getting merchants on board?
Hoping to entice merchants and smooth the transition, Google is offering the following incentives:
- All merchants that create Product Listings Ads by August 15 will receive 10% credit for their total PLA spend through the end of the year
- Existing Google Product Search merchants will get a $100 AdWords credit if they fill out a form (found here: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/shoppingcoupon/) before August 15
Google Trusted Stores program
To improve the quality of customer service, Google is implementing the Trusted Stores Program. Merchants qualify for this program by meeting certain shipping and customer services performance metrics and are rewarded with the Google Trusted Store badge to display on their Web site. These badges will reassure customers that only the best merchants are part of Google Shopping network.
Furthermore, Google will also offer customers a chance to opt in their Free Purchase Protection Program. This program will allow customers to resolve issues with retailers with Google’s help. Learn more about this program here: http://support.google.com/trustedstores/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1669901
What Google Shopping Listings will look like:
How individual product listing details might look like on the sidebar:
“Today’s changes are a first step toward providing technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem, “said Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management for Google Shopping.