Posts

AdWords In Store Visits

Online marketers love tracking and evaluating their campaigns and business owners love knowing their marketing is successful. Unfortunately, tracking is only able to capture so much information. For example, until recently it has been nearly impossible to properly track the impact of your ads on the amount of traffic you see coming into your store.

Thankfully, Google has released a new “Store Visits” metric in AdWords that should make it considerably easier to measure the effect your ads have on real-world store traffic.

Store Visits is an enhancement for AdWords Estimated Total Conversions, which estimates traffic based on anonymized data collected from a sample set of users who have enabled Location History on their device. Using this relatively small sample, Google predicts the number for the general population.

The tool is still in the early stages, and it is important to remember the prediction is exactly that. We are still a ways away from complete ability to understand the effect your ads are having, but the additional data can still be useful in trying to ensure your ads are driving the highest conversion rates possible.

As Google rolls out more mobile ad formats and targeting measures for marketers, the customers seeing the ads appear to be more readily engaging advertisements from their smartphones and tablets.

Marin-2014-Ad-Conversions

A new study from Marin Software shows that consumers are starting to use mobile ads to complete purchases, but desktop is still the dominant platform for conversions. Other interesting facts from Q3 of 2014 included in Marin’s report are:

  • Mobile devices comprised 31% of paid search impressions and 38% of search ad clicks on Google.
  • Mobile accounted for 30% of ad conversions with mobile conversions increasing 2.4% quarter-over-quarter and nearly 11% year-over-year.

Facebook:

  • 1 out of every 3 ad conversions on Facebook took place on a mobile device with mobile ad conversions increasing 16% quarter-over-quarter.
  • Mobile ads on Facebook accounted for 52% of ad impressions and 63% of clicks.

The findings also make it clear that Search ads are performing miles better than Display or Social ads. More-so, while smartphones may not be the most prominent medium for conversions, they consistently gain the highest rate of clicks.

Marin-2014-Ad-CTR

Marin says the large difference between Search CTE and Social or Display CTR can be attributed to intent. Searchers tend to be actively looking for something, meaning ads will be more tightly focused. On the other hand, those on social sites or Display ads which appear while users are already engaged with something else are less attention getting.

googleadwordsClose to a year after introducing ad extensions and formats to the AdWords Ad Rank formula, Google has announced they will be increasing their visibility as it becomes more and more clear that ad extensions improve ad performance almost universally.

Starting October 15, Google says ad extensions may start being displayed instead of the second line of ad text on ads for mobile platforms, and the second line of text may or may not be removed based on the expected response.

Google offered the example of an ad for a florist. Previously, the ad showed the business’ URL with two lines of general information and a link to place orders. After the update, users will see a Google Maps marker that offers to showthe location of the flower shop instead of the second line of copy.

“By eliminating the second line of ad text, we give businesses another point of engagement with customers in their ads — in this case, it’s the additional location extension,” writes Senthil Hariramasamy, product manager at AdWords, in a blog post. “With just a single click on their smartphones, consumers can now directly engage with Flowers Forever in three ways: they can visit the mobile website, place an order, or get directions to visit the store.”

Google predicts the format update will improve ad performance as it provides easier access to information about businesses in a more pronounced way.

Notably, AdWords will offer a means of opting out of this update via a form available on this Help Center article.

My SEM writing tends to focus on optimization and organic outreach, but with organic reach shrinking across the web, paid search advertising is becoming an increasingly important part to growing your brand and attracting new customers. Paid search has changed just as much as SEO over the past few months of 2014, and Ginny Marvin from Search Engine Land recently compiled the 10 most important developments. Her list is a handy way to catch up on all the Bing Ads and Google AdWords advancements you need to know about.

Google announced the results of an interesting study this week that proclaims “Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness“. By the title of the announcement alone, it sounds like a promising reason to invest more in AdWords campaigns for your business, too bad the information is slightly misleading.

Don’t get me wrong, pay-per-click search ads can be absolutely beneficial for a business. But, it is troubling when a group misrepresents their findings to a more positive spin when it clearly benefits their own business.

Ginny Marvin was one of the first to point out the misleading nature of the Google report, and sums up the issue quite well by offering the alternate title “The Top Search Ad Lifts Brand Awareness”.

Search_For_Brands_Infographic_AW_Blog_Post-600x542

The Google meta-study reviewed several studies conducted by Google and Ipsos MediaCT across a set of verticles including CPG and automotive. A total of 800 consumers were asked to search for a category specific keyword. Across those searches, the results showed that the test brands saw increases in awareness across all verticles.

When respondents were asked what brand first came to mind when thinking about a specific category keyword, an average of 14.8% in the Test group named the test brand, while just 8.2% of the Control group named the same brand. That’s a 6.6 percentage point increase or an average 80% lift in top-of-mind awareness.

That is all well and good, but the problem is Google only tested the brand impact for brand’s appearing in the top spot. None of the other ad positions were evaluated at all.

The Test SERP featured the test brand in the top search ad position, with all other ads on the page moved down by one position. The Control did not feature an ad from the test brand at all. The organic results of the SERP were not manipulated in any way.

Marvin is much more precise with her deconstruction of the flaw in Google’s study, but simply put: all ad spots are not made equal. In fact, like ranking positions, ad spots are highly inequal. The ads in the second and third positions are likely to experience in awareness, but the nature of the study makes that impossible to verify. Almost certainly, any awareness lift they see is modest compared to that found in the first position.

In the end, Google’s recommendations based on their findings are probably still solid and no online marketer will argue about the value of branded paid advertising. Still, Google should be more careful with their words next time. Intentional or not, misrepresenting findings never looks good.

With the constant stream of news coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important information. Below, we will go through all of the news from the week that we missed at the time.

Bing Tries To Predict The Winners of Your Favorite Reality Shows

Bing Predictions

Bing is using search and social signals in their attempt to predict outcomes of public events, and they are showcasing the results of their test by estimating who will be moving onto further rounds in reality shows like The Voice, American Idol, and Dancing With the Stars. Bing isn’t using magic to see the future, but they are using measures of popularity to predict the results of some of the most popular shows in the country. While this could be a fun feature for fans of reality TV, there is also potential for Bing to expand their predictions to events and elections that have a more direct on the country in the future.

Google Lets You Subscribe to Trending Search Topics

Google Subscribe

Google Trends has been a useful tool for discovering what people are searching for around the world. But, the service has always been somewhat isolated. You can consult the section to see what new artists, films, or memes are trending, but users have been left to keep up with the topics that interested them on their own. Now, Google Trends has added a new feature that lets you “Subscribe” to any search topic, Hot Searches for any country, or any U.S. monthly Top Chart. Google explains how subscribing functions in their announcement.

New Features are Headed to AdWords

AdWords Update

Last week, Search Engine Land teased that huge news was coming for AdWords by vaguely discussing what types of features you might be seeing in the future. All the features were announced on Tuesday and Larry Kim took the time to break down what each new feature does and how it can affect online advertisers. Find out what the new AdWords will be like in Kim’s article for Search Engine Journal.

More Than Half of Responsive Mobile Sites Have “Unacceptable” Load Times

Responsive design has been widely loved for its ability to unify user experience across multiple platforms and devices, and some web designers claim it even speeds up their work process by preventing them from having to design two separate sites. However, a new study suggests responsive design may have a significant weakness. Responsive design may provide a better and more cohesive user experience across platforms, but a new study says the majority of responsive sites load too slowly for mobile users who are likely to leave a page that doesn’t load within 5 seconds. Mobile web developer Trilibis evaluated 155 prominent responsive design websites, and their findings aren’t pretty.

Yahoo Tests A Google Knowledge Graph Doppelganger in Search Results

There are rumors swirling that Yahoo is considering rejuvenating their search engine to re-challenge Bing for the second most-popular search engine available. Their share of the search market suggests Yahoo will have to make some drastic changes to have any chance at their comeback in the search game, but the company has been testing some recent changes to their search engine that lend truth to the rumors. However, one of their tests also drew attention for looking questionably similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph. All Google Testing discovered the test and documented how to see the test for yourself, or you can just watch their video below.

http://youtu.be/Pc254gEZx_Q

 

googleadwordsGoogle has been hinting that AdWords is up for a major overhaul, with tons of new features and tools. They have recently announced the big AdWords presentation will occur on April 22, as Jerry Dischler, VP of Product Management for AdWords speaks during a customer event. However, very few have been told what is going to be launched.

The only people with any idea of what is going to be unveiled later this month are Google and Search Engine Land, who got an exclusive early look at some of what is coming. Since Google obviously isn’t telling, your best chance of finding out before the April 22 event is to head over to Search Engine Land, where they are teasing all of the upcoming announcements.

googleadwordsYou may have noticed earlier this month that the AdWords Bid Simulator tool has a new feature which offers estimates for conversions in addition to impressions and clicks to show how bid changes may affect conversion volume and values.

For each bid option that appears in the tool, the bid simulator gives the number of conversions and conversion values if assigned or set. As Ginny Marvin explains, conversion estimates display how many clicks you would likely result in a conversion in one day, based on a “recent 7 day period.” Notably, Google does not say their estimates will be based on the most recent 7 days.

Google says the estimates will be more accurate if you have more conversion history and conversion volume in your account, so you will want to have conversion tracking set up and stable for a couple weeks before you start trying to use the bid simulator conversion estimates.

The Opportunities Tab in AdWords is getting a face-lift. It was relaunched today with several new types of features combined and displayed in one view. The tool was originally launched in 2009, intended to be “your personal AdWords assistant, surfacing insights to help you improve your performance.”

The new types give advertisers more ways to improve their performance by showing them where they should invest their energies. For example, campaign suggestions include where to add sitelinks and where to raise bids to show your ads more often than your competitors. Google even gives you suggestions for breaking out ad groups to display more relevant ads, and highlights when bids can be safely lowered to stay within your budget without losing clicks.

The opportunities tab is based on an account’s performance from the last seven days, and Google says they will be adding more opportunities to the tab in the future.

The Opportunities Tab

Click-to-Call Ads

Source: Search Engine Watch

Google announced advertisers will find that phone calls from mobile click-to-call ads are now listed in the regular Conversion columns of AdWords, as of Tuesday. This is one of the first steps since Google made their October 1st statement that they would make it easier for advertisers to optimize their bidding strategy for click to call. They are working to make phone calls an important conversion type within AdWords.

With the new update calls made by customers from an AdWords ad, for both mobile and desktop searchers, will be reported in a new column within Estimated Total Conversions.

Before now, click-to-call ads were found under a “Phone Call Conversions” column, but now advertisers will be able to integrate many free automated bidding tools from AdWords to optimize their bidding campaigns and improve performance.

This is a great move for advertisers as 70 percent of mobile searchers call businesses directly from the search results. Google estimates over 40 million phone calls are made every month from Google search ads to advertisers.

At the moment, the new click-to-call conversions are available in countries where Google has forwarding numbers available. This includes the U.S., UK, Germany, and France.