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Why you should be excited about Google Shopping campaigns

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Shopping campaigns is the new way to promote your products on Google shopping. It is a far cry from the previous method and one that makes managing these ads much easier! I've been fortunate enough to be testing the beta version of this over the last couple of months and we've seen some great improvements already. This new format has enabled us to be more dynamic with our ads, make quick responses and push our revenue figures up as a result.

It utilises the data already in the feed to make it easier to pick product targets. You can easily drill down to the category, brand, ID and other attributes to set individual bids. After using it for just a few minutes you begin asking yourself why they didn't build it like this from the beginning!

I think Google are missing a trick with this though. Targeting by product and allowing Google to match to the keywords has shown to be quite successful for our product listing ads here at Farfetch. I struggle to find terms in the search query reports that aren't relevant. So why don’t they use the same format for Dynamic Search Ads?  I can see the merits of using something like DSA for large retailers with a high volume of products but for us we never found the quality of traffic good enough. However, imagine we could use the shopping campaign approach to DSA. Given how well Google matches keywords to our ads in Google Shopping, I think it could definitely add something to DSA in the future!

You can find out more about the shopping campaigns int he video below. 

I’ll be posting some results in the New Year to outline how the new format has helped us boost our PLA activity so keep an eye out for that!

How does the Google AdWords auction work?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

It's an old video and perhaps not the most entertaining video on YouTube (there are indeed many contenders for that title!) but I always recommend this video to people new to PPC to help them understand how other advertisers impact your CPC's.

Definitely worth a watch if you truly want to know how your CPC is calculated by Google. 

Google Sitelinks Shrinking

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Hidden in a blog post about "Upgraded extensions to help you reach the constantly connected consumer" Google announced that sitelinks will be required to be no more than 25 characters.

Seems to be just a small change and one that might not really impact most advertisers but it is something that is very easy to overlook if not addressed now.

In some cases, the decrease of 10 characters can make it challenging to get the same message across. We've all had the problem of re-writing the occasional headline 3 or 4 times to make it work!

Don't delay, you might just find that dropping 10 characters isn't as easy as it should be.

The full announcement is here.

Getting the most from PLA's

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Google product listing ads are now a fundamental part of a retailers PPC strategy – If they’re not then they should be!

Whilst the initial set up can be laborious, doing a proper job of the set up will benefit you more in the long run. Make sure the feed in the Google merchant center is accurate and formatted correctly. It’s easy to submit a basic feed and get ads live but optimising PLA’s isn’t just about setting the right bid, it’s also about optimising the feed as well. The title and description will effectively make up the product listing ad so consider this when you submit it. Make sure the text is formatted and that you are updating the feed regularly (once every 30 days is the minimum).

The PPC Hero blog has a great step by step guide to setting up PLA’s and I would highly recommend reading through this whether you are new to PLA’s or established as it may just help you get even more from your activity.

Pay particular attention to Part 6!

Part 6: Using GoogleAnalytics To Measure Performance

Finding Anomalies In Your PPC Campaigns

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

This is one of the best use of Adwords Scripts I have come across. It looks at your adgroups and labels any keyword which has more then two standard deviations away from the mean so you can prioritise those keywords into their own adgroups or campaigns.

It also includes a daily email notification of the entities it has found. Very handy!!

Finding Anomalies In Your Keywords and Adgroups

Forecasting PPC Data

Friday, 12 July 2013

Forecasting PPC performance is always a tricky task. There are so many variables that can change things; it makes it tricky to provide accurate forecasts. However, If you take the following 5 things into consideration when forecasting you should find yourself being more accurate every day.

30 isn’t the magic number
One thing I’ve observed from forecasting I’ve seen people do in the past is that they always use 30 days as an average day count for a month. If you are doing a rally basic forecast then that’s fine. But when you’re managing PPC budgets every day it makes a huge difference. If your budget is £10k per month then Feb’13 will mean £357 per day and when you switch to March (31 days) you daily budget will drop £322. This shouldn’t be the reason you drop budget. It should be based on seasonal performance, day of week performance and weighting the budget accordingly. Not just at the mercy of the calendar.
In addition if we look at October 2012 for example. It has 31 days in total but Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday occur 5 times and Thursday – Sunday occur just 4 times. If Monday-Wednesday is a key part of the week for sales, your monthly performance will be much better! Take this into account when you forecast – you will have a more accurate set of data to use as a target.

I mentioned this above but if you’re not taking seasonality into account when you are setting your budgets then you shouldn’t be allowed to do any PPC forecasting. Simples
If you don’t have any historical data to go on, use your common sense (Q4 for retail around xmas, Q1 for travel etc etc) to start getting some budget allocated. Also, see if there is any other online sales data available you can use to help identify trends. It won’t be exact but it will definitely help you. If you use an agency, lean on them heavily for this. They will have multiple clients and some may operate in the same industry so they are well placed to provide an estimated trend.

Measure performance daily
Track your account daily. This doesn’t mean that you overanalyse it each day but when you start to see patterns of growth or decline, you will have the daily performance data on hand. Keep then on file so you can go back to them for quick reference. The worst thing that can happen is that performance drops off but you only notice it when you look at a weekly report. It could have been improved earlier in the week or if the performance is good, it could have been even better!

Adjust your forecast during the month
Don’t be afraid to reforecast 1-2 times during the month. Especially if you are reporting to a client or to internal stakeholders. You need to manage expectations of everyone involved. If you reforecast lower performance, you can explain why and they will have better understanding. If you don’t reforecast and they see end of month results 20% down, you’ll be in trouble ;-)

Premium Powerpoint Templates

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

If you need to put together presentation and need some high quality templates without relying on the Office SmArt then Presentationload.com is definitely worth a look. They do provide some free slides - just a very small sample but it's worth keeping an eye on them because they have been known to reduce different free templates over time. Alternatively, sign up for one of their packages and have fun with the hundreds on offer.

Other sites worth a mention are Powerpointsytles.com and tenplatemonster.com but the look and feel of those from presentationload.com stand out in my opinion.

Taking an in-store experience online- CSL Sofas

Friday, 5 July 2013

I wouldn't normally post about a sofa company but CSL Sofas have a stand out website and in store experience. I recently purchases a sofa and so was crawling man of the sofa websites to try and find one we liked. CSL stood out for me because their site is very well designed and has some great features like the 'In Your Room' option to upload a picture of your living room to see what the sofa would look like and the videos they have for some sofas as well. The videos include a 'sit test', seems pointless at first but actually very handy and a nice way of showing the sofa. I also had no problem using their website on my tablet - a must have in today's multi-device world.

In store the experience was just as good. Yes, the staff are a little quick to pounce on you, but its their job to sell sofas so can't blame them. Once we had chosen our sofa the whole transaction took place sitting on the sofa with an iPad. As a gadget geek, they had me at "swipe here"!

I think a lot of companies can learn from CSL, not just for sofas but other goods too. The whole process felt very interactive and it demonstrated a great way to merge online and offline experiences. 

URL Encoding & Decoding

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

This is a great tool if you need to decode or encode URLs. I recently had to decode 100k+ URLs and this tool made much lighter work of the task compared to if I was trying to use a find and replace macro in Excel.

Before decoding:

After Decoding:

A Must-have for International Marketers

Friday, 28 June 2013

If, like me, you focus your efforts working on digital marketing activity that operates in multiple time zones (or you communicate across time zones) then having a go-to reference to double check the local time can be extremely handy!

I found this time zone map a while ago and its the only webpage I need to visit. It's pretty self explanatory but the feature that lets you click on a city to see the exact local time is simple and very handy. Especially if you need to check more than one time one. Most timezone calculators ask you to choose the timezones you are converting but with this map it makes the process much quicker.

Winning. This is how its done!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Since I read Clive Woodwards autobiography Winning! I've been fascinated to learn more about how he applied his business acumen to rugby and the success it brought. When you read through his experiences and what he put in place in order to win the world cup you can really see how he brought success. It also shows why Southampton FC were willing to give him a chance to help turn their fortunes around - although football is sport that requires immediate impact so perhaps not surprising that it didn't follow through. Nonetheless, I still think the principles he outlines can be applied to any team, sport or office.

It's definitely worth a read!

Google & Bing Grow While Yahoo Loses Market Share

Friday, 21 June 2013

The latest comScore results on search engine market share show both Google and Bing have seen further growth in May 2013 with Yahoo declining. Year on year Google maintained its market share of 66.7% but Bing achieved a 13% increase whilst Yahoo saw a decline of 11.2%.

Bing are going from strength to strength but will ultimately never catch up with the Google express train. However, as an advertiser it's refreshing to see them continue this growth and I hope they can make a success of their newly acquired market share.

Want to use Facebook Sponsored Search Results? Well you can't

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Facebook has ended the sponsored search results opportunity for advertisers. In a recent statement they said; "We’ve seen that most marketers were buying sponsored results to advertise their apps and games, and we already offer mobile app install ads and Page post link ads on desktop to achieve these same goals". That's great but is that the only reason? From a user perspective I think this is a good move, 'advertising isn't cool' after all. 

Facebook have been under pressure to drive significant revenue to please their investors and perhaps this is a small step towards their goal. Time will tell. 

Facebook price over the last 3 months (NASDAQ)

3 Tips When Interviewing

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Inspired by seeing so many articles out there about interview tips and techniques I thought I would wade in with the 3 simple things that I think are crucial for any candidate.

1) Getting the face to face interview
Always write a cover letter and always make it bespoke for the company and job you are applying for. Remember you potentially up against many other candidates and the recruiter will be looking to narrow down the applicants from day one. A strong cover letter explaining why you would be suitable for the role and why you want to work for the company would go a long way!

2) Do you research!
Recruiters shouldn't have to explain what their company does. The candidate should have researched this ahead of time. It shows the candidate is interested and it will help them in understanding the type of candidate they want. Always check their website for "Why work for us" or the "Careers" pages so you can understand the type of people they are looking to hire. Also be aware of any recent press releases or news articles about the company so you can reference them in your responses and/or be able to talk about them if asked.

3) Follow up
Always follow up an interview with a note thanking the interviewer for their time. Summarise the key points that make you a right fit for the role and the company and reiterate how much you want the role. This goes a long way in showing the recruiter that you are passionate about the opportunity.

Image Source: writingmyevolution.com

Google Doodle Celebrates Fathers Day

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Keeping up with their tradition of honoring momentous dates in the calendar though their logo, Google have created a special doodle for fathers day.

 It's interactive of course. Pushing a button on the 'o' starts a carousel of images that depict different father figures.

Now if they could just add a button that makes my son sleep in past 5am on Fathers day!!

Burberry, Google Partner to Send Kisses Around the World

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Interesting idea but can't help but think this is a waste of time. But then again, it gets picked up in the news so any PR is good PR. right?

Burberry, Google Partner to Send Kisses Around the World:

'via Blog this'

10 years is a long time for the internet

Great infographic about how much the internet has changes in just 10 years.

Running controlled ad copy tests

Ad copy testing doesn’t have to be complicated. Keeping 3 ads live and regularly changing the worst performing ad to something new will get you some average results. When it comes to larger scale accounts where the approach has to be more structured it’s important to keep the tests as fair as possible.

Adcomparator.com is a tool I have used many times and had some great success with. It’s a Taguchi-based ad optimizer than can be used for many forms of digital advertising. Here is how to use it for PPC:

Step 1: Select ‘3 elements’. The elements I use are Headline, Description and Display URL. However if you wish you can use Headline, Line 1 and Line 2 if you’re not worried about the display URL.

Step 2: Rename the elements

Step 3: You don’t really need to rename the elements here. It does it for you. But if you wanted to you could name It more specific such as “Price led description” or “DKI Headline” etc

Step 4: This shows you the ad variations you need to create. It uses the control copy and then variations using the other elements. You need to run only these ads in your ad group for at least 4,000 impressions over a minimum of two weeks to give a fair data sample. Make sure you remember which ad is which when you create them as you will need to enter the results back in the system.

Step 5: Come back here when you have the CTR results. Plug in the data and then hit ‘perform ad analysis’ to see which elements have the biggest influence on your CTR. You can then use elements more frequently across the account to help build the ideal ad format.

Good luck!

Google Analytics PPC Dashboard

This is a dashboard I created in Google Analytics to monitor paid search performance. I use this to review performance every day and keep track of the metrics important to me.

To use this, make sure your logged into GA then paste the link below into the browser.

The dashboard features the following:

Metrics (top line stats with comparison to site average)
   - E-commerce conversion rate
   - Bounce Rate
   - % new visits

Timelines (for keeping an eye on trends over time)
   - Transactions v Revenue
   - E-commerce converison rate
   - Visits
   - (not set) visits. ~ You want to avoid these and this is a good reminder of how much traffic is (not set)

Pie Charts
   - Visits by source
   - Revenue by Country/Territory

   - Visits & Revenue By Mobile
   - Transactions & Revenue By Keyword
   - Visits & Bounce Rate By Landing Page

3 Tips When Optimising Mobile Traffic

Optimising for mobile is a must for anyone in PPC nowadays. But it is important that you don’t get swept up too much in the hype without doing your homework!

Across desktops, Google dominates with 83% total market share followed by Yahoo (7%), Bing (5%), Baidu (4%) and Ask (1%) making up the top 5. However when you look at market share for moile devices you can see that Google has a much larger share with 92% and Yahoo is the only other engine to hold on to some of its market share well.

Now this will have been driven by the rise of smartphone sales and tablet sales. Coupled with Google being most users default search engine on those devices. However, it is important to look beyond the user stats and understand how mobiles can work for your brand. There are 3 main areas to consider:

1. Site compatibility
A fairly straightforward one but your site needs to function on a mobile device if you’re looking to optimise for that traffic. Most tablets run desktop sites fine but it’s worth checking out the experience for yourself. The same goes for mobile, how well can people navigate your site? If you were going to make a purchase, can you do it easily? You may not need to run out and build a mobile site from day one, have a look at your analytics, are people using mobile devices to get to your site already? If so, identify what they are doing, it may be that you can create 2 or 3 mobile pages to satisfy the needs of most visitors. Eg. Directions, contact details etc.

2. Quality of users
Always look at how people are interacting with the site on mobile devices. Look at the bounce rate and see what pages they get to the site on. If users are converting already, what’s consistent with their journeys, are they just buying 1 or 2 products or is it varie?. Look for patterns on where users have had a successful journey on site and where they haven’t. Then drive traffic towards journeys that work and improve the experience where it’s needed.

3. Performance by market
Every country has a different mobile adoption rate. Japan, China and South Korea are generally more advanced users of mobile devices than the west and can find their way around sites easily. However, they also expect sites to be compatible – so be prepared. A good indication is to use analytics to understand the revenue per visit on mobile devices. This will help you show where the potential is at a country level and help you divert your spend accordingly. Don’t be afraid to opt out of markets that are less profitable, even if traffic is high. Make the most of your budget to get a return and work on improving the quality of users from other markets as a longer term strategy

Roar Roundup

Here's a seleciton of some great articles I've come across this week.

5 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Managing the New Google Shopping
Google Shopping is changing. you will no longer be able to simply upload a feed into the merchant centre and watch the sales roll in for free. Starting with the US in October it will move to a paid auciton model using product listing ads. Here, you can read up on the mistakes you need to avoid!

How to write the best PPC ads
This is an interesting article but for me the really useful piece was step 2 - the excel table that you can fill out. It is surprising how useful it is once you have filled out data for 5+ different advertisers. It gives you a clear view of how the competition are formatting their ads. discounts? risk reduction through free returns? emotional qualities playing on feelings of the user? You can find the elements that you think will make your ad stand out and come up with something different to everyone else.

Google Ads and the war on free clicks
Great infographic from Wordstream. It talks about the impact of paid for traffic on high intent driven keywords and how the ad platform is becoming more reliant on paid for traffic.

Stuck At The Checkout: UK Retailers can recapture £2.4bn in lost revenue through checkout improvements and mobile innovation
This is a great research document completed by QuBit. The link takes you to the download page, just look for this paper. It talks about where users get lost in the path to purchase and references some great examples of how Amazon overcomes this to be one of the most successful websites at converting visitors. You have to fill in your email address to download but it is worth it and you won’t be spammed

The Opening Roar! - 3 tips for your first 3 years in PPC

Well here it is. My first 'Roar'.

So where shall we start? Well I thought I may as well begin by trying to pass on my top 3 tips for being a success in PPC in your first 3 years in the industry. This isn't about testing your knowledge, you will be expected to know your trade anyway (and hopefully given the training). These are things that have worked well for me and could help you in the future.

1. Always ask questions.
Whether its questions to your boss, your colleagues, your client or your team. It's important to always have an understanding of what’s going on. You'll find you will learn more, appear more attentive and become more proactive.
  - Have we updated the ad copy recently?
  - How do I target iPads only?
  - Is the GDN really worth the effort?
  - What the hell is a pivot table?!
  - Are there any product/service launches coming up?
  - Are we hitting our KPI's?

2. Become an Excel ninja!
Trust me when I say that Excel will become your new and forever best friend when working in PPC. I have no doubt that having advanced excel training in my first job made me a better account manager. You'll find yourself moving through data quicker, getting more insight and being able to optimise more efficiently.

3. Remember the good, the bad and especially the ugly
I have been very fortunate to have worked on 30+ different clients across multiple industries in my career. One of the most useful traits I have found is keeping track of things you have tried, problems you have overcome or failures you have had. It might be that your client has a unique product which is hard to sell or their website has limited content or tracking is made difficult by a particular set up. These seemingly random and bespoke problems could just help you provide an answer in the future. It's a common saying but there really is no substitute for experience.

The core workings of PPC won't change drastically, it’s the experiences, trial and errors, success stories and how you learn from failed tests that will set you apart in the future. With that in mind, always take an interest in these challenges and understand what the outcome is. You will be surprised how often it comes in handy. I've lost count the number of times I have used the phrase "I had a similar challenge on a client once before, in that instance we did this...."

Well there you go. Three tips to get you started.

Keep an eye and an ear out for the next Roar!

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