We close out a jam-packed Day 1 at SMX East 2016 with a variety of SEM insights from every corner of the paid search strategy playbook.
The 2016 Search Marketing Expo is underway in New York City, offering a snapshot of digital advertising trends in paid search engine marketing. Here’s are the quick hits:
- Focus on a product’s strengths and what is being said about it by current customers - including positive testimonials and product complaints.
- Focus on the pain points of customers, using their own language to meet their needs.
- Test extensively, including ads with keywords both in and out of the headline and body.
- For B2B, enterprise SEM ad copy - consider using every bit of real estate available, including all text in an expanded text ad plus extensions - having a sizeable ad unit may be a way to box out the competition.
- In all cases, separate immovable keywords from creative keywords, starting with legal-approved copy and expanding into creative territory.
- Local sponsored ads offer great opportunity due to the significant amount of real estate they take up on mobile devices.
- Many new rules exist for reviews in search ads - while positive reviews may be helpful for small businesses, wrangling positive and negative ads may be more trouble than they’re worth for most.
- App marketing remains challenging and arguably not a strong strategy for small and local business owners. Better opportunities exist on social platforms such as Facebook.
- While expanded text ads (ETAs) give advertisers more characters to work with, top-of-page ads have been observed to not show strong performance gains while brand ETAs actually underperform!
- Non-brand, bottom-of-page ETAs have exhibited at 7-9% performance lift - but this tends to constitute only 20% of non-brand clicks.
- While ETAs seem to have a 50% performance difference compared to standard text ads (STAs), the total performance is well within normal distribution.
- Device separation for Enhanced Campaigns has been unveiled, but at a time when tablet clickshare has been going down (14% in 2016, with smartphones at 39%), presumably due to the growing popularity of larger “phablet” phones.
- While there have been seemingly major changes to paid search including the end of right rail units and converted clicks, increased focus on attribution from Google moving away from last-click tracking, not all are enormous sea changes.
- Price extensions (also known as “table extensions”), for instance, continue to show poor results, appearing for only 10%-30% of queries with flat clickthrough rate.
- Google has moved its ETA deadline to 2017, and while some early adopters have shown huge performance gains, others have shown huge performance hits; it’s recommended to preserve “anchor” keyword groups while gradually experimenting with others until SEM managers have a battle-tested stable of ETAs
- Bing is in the process of rolling out, or preparing to roll out in the near future, an enormous array of features, including:
- ETAs, which allow for “mixed mode” STA/ETA combinations on a non-urgent deadline
- Improvements to device targeting that let advertisers set desktop from 0% to +900%, tablet from -100% to +900% and mobile from -100% to +900%.
- Automated workflows including automated bidding for CPC and conversions in real team, at -100% to +30, with the ability to opt out of any ad group or keyword.
- Shared budgets, labels, ad extension scheduling, and ad group remarketing exclusions (similar to Google RLSA) - these features are planned to be available “in time for the holidays”
- Image-based PLA improvements such as flyers, product ratings with annotations, and price drop alerts
- There exist 400 proximity-based companies, and 8 million sensors/beacons deployed globally as of Q2 2016. Apple launched iBeacon 3 years ago; Google has launched EddyStone, which is growing in market share.
- Apple’s most recent iPhone model has removed its wired jack, requiring Bluetooth - which is also a requirement for beacons. An estimated 30-40% of all phones have Bluetooth enabled at any time.
- Beacon use cases include push notifications for coupons and other retail deals, though they are now coming to be associated with mobile analytics, proximity advertising networks, online retargeting and more.
- Beacons are also useful for businesses beyond retail, such as hotels, tourism, conferences and sporting events - 93% of MLB stadiums use them.
- Social and search teams can work together harmoniously with a top-down approach that first nails brand voice and objectives before getting tactical.
- Social and search teams can also share ad copy, content and keyword ideas - what worked well for one team could work well for the other.
- The insights from search can be used to influence social campaigns, while the powerful analytics from social platforms such as Facebook can likewise inform paid search.
- Social analytics from platforms such as Facebook can provide useful demographic data on age group, gender, household income, purchasing behavior and much more.
- Paid social content such as sponsored tweets can be a useful tool to guide prospects through the customer funnel as marketers first offer “altruistic,” brand-neutral content that does not upsell, but only informs with useful information.
- Once users are more disposed to trust a brand thanks to its useful content, paid social options can be used to intelligently share a product’s value proposition at the right time in a prospect’s customer journey to strongly increase conversions.
- This entire approach tends to be more successful when marketing and sales teams know their prospects extremely well by sharing insights with each other as well as from customer relations management software and teams.
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