Posts Tagged ‘Google’
Last week Google announced a big change to their AdWords platform with the roll-out of Enhanced Campaigns. Enhanced campaigns are designed to help advertisers more successfully market to customers who are searching across multiple devices. While there will definitely be some growing pains along the way, the end goal of being able to more smartly target users and manage fewer campaigns is a positive one.
Let me take a moment to summarize the key changes:
- Separate campaigns for targeting desktops, tablets, and mobile devices will disappear.
- Optimization by device is still possible through separate ad text and creative bid adjustments
- Not looking for Mobile traffic? Unfortunately you can only limit, not exclude 100%
- Geo-targeting is still very much an option!
- Landing pages can be tracked based on device, but all urls (within the same campaign) must share the same root domain
- What are we losing?
- The option to run Mobile-ONLY campaigns
- Mobile WAP device targeting
An “all-in” approach can lead to greater efficiency and performance over time. Bringing all AdWords campaigns, regardless of device, under one roof allows you to construct “smarter” campaigns that interplay with each other to great benefit – managing bids for a wide variety of different contexts, for example, or customizing a single campaign to be multi-device compatible.
If you haven’t jumped on the mobile bandwagon yet, expanding campaigns to target mobile devices provides the opportunity for more traffic, leads, and enrollments. There is a new pool of prospective students that can be targeted through mobile devices. In terms of management, the additional reporting and targeting features, such as those for site-links and the display network, will provide more opportunity for testing.
The Bad (disappointing!):
For early adopters that followed the Google mantra on campaign separation for search versus content, desktop versus mobile, WAP versus smart phone, we feel a bit slighted. Hours (days!) of work to allow for separate bid strategies, ad copy, and budget allocation; all of which previously produced a list of advantages for the advertiser such as lower CPCs, is potentially lost. These changes bring a loss of some level of control and transparency, which is always tough news for a paid search enthusiast to swallow. Leveraging mobile targeting as a low cost barrier to entry may be a thing of the past. What’s worse, the next few months means more hours (days!) restructuring programs to meet the latest Google features and limitations.
Enhanced campaign options will start rolling out to advertisers within the next few weeks, and all campaigns are scheduled to be upgraded by June 2013. If you are an advertiser, this affects YOU. You need to react with customized implementation plans and understand how this can impact your accounts – regardless of how sophisticated you are with your paid search marketing today.
After taking some time to really understand what this upgrade means for our schools, we agree that it certainly puts us in a better long-term position, particularly in terms of ease-of-use and believing that “the sum is greater than the parts.” We’ll plan on providing an update on how things are performing post-upgrade once we have a few months of data, so stay tuned!
- Online Education Degrees Now Dwarf Traditional Universities (
TechCrunch) Ex-Google executive’s new venture helps students avoid corporate life ( Reuters) MIT for the masses? Elite universities transform online education with free cyber courses ( The Washington Post) Vocational Education for a Post-Industrial Society ( EducationNext) Why College May Not Be the Best Choice for Your Education Dollar ( Daily Finance)
Welcome back to our two-part series on PPC best practices. I’m your host, Ross Bucholc, senior paid search strategist. In our last post, we discussed the importance of focusing on individual keywords in each ad, the value of driving visitors to targeted display URLs, and the best way to do advertisement copy testing. In this post, we’re going to examine best practices for engaging audiences across multiple channels and pumping more life into campaigns through ad extensions and re-engaging users after they visit your site.
Google Remarketing: Keep the Conversation Going Even After a User Leaves Your Site
Google Remarketing allows you to reach targeted users that have already shown some level of interest in your product or service by visiting your site, and reconnect with them by showing them an ad as they navigate across the Google Display Network (or GDN). In its simplest form, setup involves determining the type of visitors to your site you’d like to remarket to, and tagging all of the pages on your site that the user may visit with a “target” Google Remarketing pixel. It is also a best practice to tag all of the pages that a user could hit that you wouldn’t want to remarket to with a “do not target” tag, most importantly the “Thank You” page a user is shown once they complete a conversion. If they’ve already completed your goal conversion, you don’t want to continue to berate them with ads.
Once your “target” list hits 100 users, the campaign is automatically activated and you begin showing ads (a combination of text and display ads are recommended) to users as they navigate the GDN. Ads that offer a discount or something free have historically performed much stronger than those that don’t, so if you have something to offer, do it.
Google Ad Extensions: Grab As Much Real Estate As Google Allows
Google offers five free ad extensions to advertisers; Location, Call, SiteLinks, Product or Social. The extension that is right for you is really dependent on your business and goals so I’d encourage you to research them all before choosing the one that’s right for you. That being said, absolutely make sure you are taking advantage of this free offering from Google and implementing one of these extensions. Besides the obvious benefit of showing your address (Location), phone number (Call), links to more targeted LPs on your site (SiteLinks), your products (Product) or a tally of all your +1s from your Google+ page (Social) in your ad, you’re also making your ad larger and more prominent. Enlarging the size of your ad results allows you to take up valuable real estate on the Search Engine Results Page that would otherwise be occupied by your competition, pushing them further down the page or to the right rail of results. Launching a Google Extension usually equates to a CTR increase of 5 – 10%, so if you’re looking for more clicks this is a must.
Mobile Paid Search: Take Advantage Of An Under Utilized Opportunity
Global Mobile traffic is expected to grow 26 times over the next five years according to Google and Cisco VNI, at which point Google is predicting mobile search will outpace desktop. Despite this information, many advertisers still aren’t utilizing mobile, resulting in a huge benefit for current advertisers – cheap CPCs. In some instances I see CPCs in Mobile that are half the price of their more expensive desktop counterpart despite performing similarly from a CVR standpoint.
As more advertisers slowly migrate over to Mobile we’ll surely see CPCs rise, so take advantage of the current market while it lasts. Go ahead and build out a separate mobile campaign (so you can optimize desktop and mobile separately by performance) and assign 17 percent of your desktop budget for mobile (Google’s recommendation). Ideally, you should be building out a mobile-optimized site as an end point for this traffic as well. Finally, keep in mind that the majority of mobile traffic goes to the advertiser in position one or two, so be aggressive with your bidding to maximize traffic.
Tier 2 Channels: Don’t Neglect the Little Guys
The majority of advertisers are spending their entire Paid Search budget on Google and Bing, ignoring the lower-volume Tier 2 channels like LookSmart, AdMarketPlace, eZanga, Kontera, etc. Because of the lack of competition on these channels, you will see CPCs that are a fraction of what you’d see on Google or Bing (generally less than a dollar). You’ll also be expanding your reach to customers you may not be reaching with Google and Bing. A couple tips for navigating the Tier 2 channels:
- Most channels will say they require a minimum deposit of $XXX to launch, but if you present your budget as a “test budget” they will generally cave and allow you to test with whatever amount you feel comfortable.
- Ask for a breakout of their sources of traffic. Unlike Google and Bing (who are providing pure Search traffic), the majority of Tier 2 channels use a blend of search, display, email and in-text advertising to drive traffic. The higher the blend of search and in-text, the more qualified traffic you can expect.
Every day, more than 200 million unique searches occur on major search engines (according to ComScore). This creates a huge opportunity for schools to reach prospective students that are, quite literally, searching for information on either their school, or the programs they offer.
This reality has led marketing and recruitment professionals to flock to Paid Search, creating a very competitive landscape. In fact, higher education is the 4th largest industry in terms of Google Adword spend, after insurance, retailers, and travel and tourism.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, or whether your campaigns are managed internally or by an agency, in this two-part series of posts, I’ll provide seven actionable tactics that you can apply today to improve your paid search campaigns (and keep your agencies honest).
Granularity: Focus On A Single Keyword In Each Ad
A primary focus when building out your paid search campaign should be maximizing your keyword’s quality score. The Keyword Quality Score (scale of 1 – 10) is what Google and Bing use to determine the actual cost-per-click(CPC) you will pay when your keyword receives a click. The Quality Score is broadly determined by three main factors: relevancy of the keyword to the ads in its ad group and to the actual search query, the keyword’s click-through rate(CTR), and landing page (LP) quality. Because creating a paid search campaign does not include optimizing your LP to improve quality, we’ll instead focus on the first two components, relevancy and CTR.
In order to write ads that are as relevant as possible to the keyword being searched, I only put one unique keyword (two if the other is the plural version of the first) in each of my ad groups. This enables me to write headlines and descriptions for each group that speaks directly to the exact keyword that was queried. Google and Bing see a keyword-rich ad and reward me in the form of a high Keyword Quality Score (and by Bolding all occurrences of the queried keyword in the Ad). The user doing the search sees an Ad that is speaking directly to what they’re looking for and rewards me by clicking, thus improving my CTR and quality score. Though this step is extremely time consuming, it is imperative for the long-term success of your program.
2011 was a year of very dramatic change in the world of SEO, with the most notable change coming from Google’s Panda updates, which significantly changed how the search engine processes and ranks web pages. Since Google typically sends most sites in the US about 80 percent of their search traffic, this algorithm change had a pretty dramatic impact.
While most of the dust has settled on that update, we expect more changes to come that will significantly affect SEO strategies. So, what exactly is it we expect to see in 2012?
1. Mobile surfing will overtake desktop surfing.
Mobile usage continues to grow at an astounding rate, and tablets are definitely contributing to the growth. Whether it be a mobile site (built in html 5) or a mobile app, having a mobile strategy will become critical to our success as marketers. That said, mobile SEO is really not very different from traditional SEO (See Seven Mobile SEO Myths Exposed).
2. Voice Search will change search behavior.
With the release of SIRI voice, search will finally take off. Searchers want answers, not a bunch of results they have to navigate through. Since SIRI gets its answers from multiple sources, making sure you are present in each of those sources can ensure that SIRI recommends your site. A small study by The Arora Report followed 40 iPhone users and their Siri vs. Google usage. All 40 users saw no need to use Google ever again. 27 of them hadn’t used Google since they got their iPhone, and the other 13 only used it twice. Of course this was not a comprehensive study, but it is pretty suggestive of where things are going. (more…)
Playing with Google+ Pages for Businesses is like unwrapping the world’s most disappointing Christmas present. We put out the milk and cookies. We waited up, hiding under the covers, ears attuned for the sound of 32 tiny reindeer hooves prancing on the roof. And, when we trundled downstairs on Monday, bursting with optimism and excitement, we discovered that some unshaven fat guy in a red suit had ransacked our pantry and left us with an empty Millennium Falcon playset, not even a Han Solo action figure in sight, and two hours of cleaning frozen reindeer poop off the roof.
All right, maybe it’s not as bad as that (thanks for the memories, mom), but the analogy is the same. We were eagerly awaiting Google’s foray into the world of company pages, hoping that it addressed shortcomings that currently exist in other offerings on the market, including Facebook Pages. However, due to a bevy of missing ingredients and some questionable information about the Google+ user base, Google+ Pages tastes like yet another bad soufflé served up to the social media palate, failing to rise to the occasion. And, while Google is still refining their recipe, it’s not ready for consumption, particularly for proprietary higher education institutions which already have myriad stable social venues to engage on.
Here’s three reasons why:
Earlier this year, the team at CUnet passed a pretty impressive milestone which we think deserves some public recognition. So, today, we’re excited to share that CUnet is now a Google Analytics Certified Partner, thanks to the hard work and dedication shown by our account teams (CUnet previously achieved the Google AdWords Certified Partner (GCP) status in 2009).
This company-level accreditation is one of the highest certifications available from Google, awarded to firms that meet a rigorous set of requirements and show a organizational commitment to optimizing their clients use of web analytics (in other words, you have to be pretty darn good at it).
In order to earn Google Analytics certification, our team had to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of web analytics through a series of exams and referencable case studies. These case study projects represented work that displayed an ability to go beyond simple, standard implementations projects, resulted in an exceptional degree of impact to the client, and indicated a high degree of understanding of web analysis.
At CUnet, we’re constantly working on ways to ensure our clients’ online marketing campaigns and websites are optimized and producing the best possible results. To do this, a deep knowledge of web analytics is required; this certification shows the extent of that knowledge among our analytics team, as well as a level of dedication, commitment and expertise that CUnet brings to our clients.
Huge congratulations go out to all the team members who worked so hard to earn this achievement!
Google has done it again. Recently, Google conducted the “Panda Update.” If you pay attention to tech news, you may know this reshuffling of search rankings as the “Farmer Update.” This update is the largest that Google has conducted, reshuffling 12 percent of all search rankings. This reshuffling has already impacted several web pages, both positively and negatively. The impact of the panda update upon your site is highly determined by the quality of your content.
Some of the largest sites that were impacted were Mahalo and eZine Articles. These sites run solely on user submissions and the quality of content is considered to be low. While these are two examples they are certainly not the only sites with poor quality that were impacted they are among the largest.
The update has not only helped to push low quality sites down in rankings but has also had an impact on sites with strong, well written content. Google has stated that no algorithm will be perfect. This means that they will not make any exceptions or considerations for any one site affected.