Day 2 of #SMX Advanced includes tips and tactics on branded keywords, audience targeting, expanded text ads and Google Shopping.
SMX Advanced 2017, Day 2
QuanticMind has a wrap-up of Day 2's SEM sessions from SMX Advanced 2017, including more quick hits on branded, audience, ETAs and Shopping:
Protecting Your Branded Keywords
- It's estimated that competitors running ads against branded keywords can cost up to a 10% drop in clicks and 20% higher CPC.
- Competitors bidding on your branded keywords use such tactics as URL hijacking, violating Google guidelines either in limited territories or only temporarily on important timeframes (such as Black Friday) or use alternate keywords or misspellings to end-run your branded campaigns.
- To protect your company's suite of branded keywords, it's a good idea to build a complete list of branded keywords including your brand keywords + your product name / "review" / "discount" / "sale" / "website" and ".com" ".net" extensions / long-tail keyword variants - and common misspellings of the above.
- Be aware that it is possible to file formal complaints with search publishers like Google when competitors use your brand terms in their ad copy and headlines. However, beware of competitors using alternate placements, such as within their URLs.
The Powerful and Delicate Art of Targeting Individuals
- Google Analytics forbids personally identifiable info, such as email addresses and phone numbers. However, there are alternative methods outside of GA that can be used to target users - and this information can then be synced back to your GA database.
- Segmentation is more challenging than ever due to multi-device usage - a cookie on desktop won't carry over to mobile, for instance. 65% of users might start their customer journey on a smartphone, but 61% will continue on a PC computer, while only 4% will continue on a tablet.
- To mitigate the cross-platform problem, alternatives to discovering and collecting personal info outside of GA include using login forms, third-party cookies and plugins and marketing automation solutions such as Marketo.
Welcome to the New Normal of Paid Search Ads
- Now that standard text ads (STAs) have been replaced by expanded text ads (ETAs) as of January, the jury remains out on clear-cut performance differentials - ETAs certainly don't seem to be providing the 20% lift in clickthrough rate (CTR) across the board that was previously estimated.
- Regardless, AdWords advertisers are advised to continue seeking methods to accomplish the overall goal of reaching the right audience at the right time with the right message.
- There are, perhaps, still hidden opportunities to drive more performance for text ads, such as experimenting with language variants - according to the 2015 US Census, there are 26 languages that are spoken by more than 100,000 people in the lcountry. Running ads in only a single language may miss out on reaching potentially relevant audiences separated by a language barrier. An experimental ad campaign set to run on English devices for men's shoes, but including the Spanish keyword "zapatos para hombres" (Spanish for "men's shoes") saw surprising success, particularly when layered with geotargeting and demographics.
- Demographics targeting has seen new updates (which are available only in the New AdWords Experience), including more features for household income and parental status for video and display ads, as well as for age targeting.
- Another useful new feature is the ability to customize mobile ads with "if" functions, with which advertisers can vary their call-to-action copy; e.g. "Call now" vs. "Get directions.
PLAs - Who Won, Who Lost...and Who Gets Edge Now
- The sunsetting of right rail text ads, and the replacement of PLAs, has led to challenges for smaller advertisers and for organic search results (which get pushed down the page by PLA units) - but huge opportunities for Google Shopping.
- PLAs are on a growth rampage, increasing clicks by 162% year over year last year
- In response to some 40% of all product queries being general, non-brand queries such as "patio furniture" or "children's toys," Google is running Showcase Shopping ads, which are optimized for mobile users and allow local inventory ad functionality for merchants to show in-stock and store location information.
- Additional updates include new features in Google Merchant Center (GMC), such as a top-level overview of product status (disapproved/pending/expiring/active) and a new feed rules interface that lets merchants directly make feed adjustments from GMC.
- Additional new and recent features for merchants to explore include:
- Google Customer Reviews, which replaced Trusted Stores - this is an easy step that drives significant shopper trust.
- Similar Audiences, which builds target audiences based on past website visitors (but requires 1,000 cookies on file to qualify for RLSA).
- Google Manufacturer Center, which lets manufacturers input up-to-the-minute official product info and assets while using powerful competitive analysis metrics to monitor competitor clicks.
- These features suggest that bidding for PLAs is even more of a matter of precision and granularity, since higher bids for PLAs, unlike for AdWords, do not raise your ad position, but rather, surface your ads for broader (and less-relevant) keyword queries.
- The same holds true for account structure, which will drive the best results when broken out granularly to separate top sellers and high margin stock keeping units (SKUs) from less-important items.
- There exist ideal bids for every individual SKU you sell that will drive the highest profit margins - but a blanket/portfolio bidding approach will not unlock these gains. The key to driving higher margins is granularity - a granular account structure and a granular bidding strategy that applies the right bid to the right SKU at the right time.
About the Author
Andrew Park is a content marketing manager at QuanticMind. A UC Berkeley graduate and lifelong Bay Area resident, Andrew has done tours of duty in editorial, PR and marketing, and now works with the QuanticMind team to communicate the importance of data science and machine learning in digital advertising.More Content by Andrew Park