PPC Archives - Search Engine Watch https://www.searchenginewatch.com/category/ppc/ Tue, 20 Dec 2022 12:06:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.3.2 Google market pulse for search marketers https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/12/20/google-market-pulse-for-search-marketers/ Tue, 20 Dec 2022 12:06:03 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144377 A guide covering all the key organic Google SERP features you can harness for a successful strategy in 2023

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Google market pulse for search marketers

30-second summary:

  • Google is always testing new spots on the page for SERP components
  • In simple terms, the #1 position in organic or paid ads does not guarantee that your paid ad listing will be visible without scrolling
  • Organic position #1 reported by Google Search Console is not the actual position 1 on page
  • A lot of anomalies and assumptions impact your paid and organic clicks – is there a smart way to counter this problem?
  • Leading advisor and performance marketing expert, Prasanna Dhungel unravels four key insights marketers to maximize performance marketing initiatives in 2023

Over the last two decades, Google’s search engine results page (SERP) has evolved a lot. The Google SERP, which once only had organic listings now features dynamic paid ads and other organic SERP components as well.

Currently, Google SERP has many organic features like –

  • People also ask (PAA),
  • Popular products,
  • featured snippets,
  • Google MAP,
  • image packs,
  • videos,
  • Tweets, and many more that I believe we are just scratching the surface of

Paid features currently seen on Google SERP are –

  • Shopping ads,
  • text ads, and
  • MAP local search ads

These are some paid features advertisers should not ignore if they want to build better advertising and content strategies for maximum search marketing ROI.

Monitor Emerging and Contracting SERP trends search marketers can use to boost their search strategy

Google varies the composition of SERP by keyword, geography, time of day, and device. Google is testing new spots on the page for SERP components. What does all this mean, you may ask? In simple terms, the #1 position in organic or paid ads does not guarantee that your listing will be visible without scrolling. It means that an organic position #1 reported by Google Search Console is not actual position 1 on the page. So, you have a much lower CTR than you expect, and all these impact your paid and organic clicks.

People Also Ask results across industries and products

With this dynamic nature of SERP, search marketers must understand the SERP landscape and their brand’s true rank on Google vs competition. This view will enable search marketers to deploy the right paid and SEO tactics to maximize visibility and clicks.

Based on my experience and understanding of the dynamic SERP, here are four key insights marketers should focus on to maximize their performance marketing initiatives.

1. Analyze the composition of SERP for your keywords

Marketers must understand SERP features visible for their keywords. The graph below suggests that along with organic, SERP features like PAA and popular products are taking significant real estate for “apparel” and “accessories” keywords. Search marketers that are not targeting these components will miss acquiring customers in different stages of their buying journey that are clicking on People Also Ask.

SERP-Presence

2. Monitor emerging and contracting SERP features

Marketers must understand new SERP features that have appeared and are getting popular for their keyword traffic. This helps develop a long-term advertising and content plan that targets popular SERP features.

In the last quarter, we identified Map Local Search Ads and App Install (in mobile devices) SERP features appearing in the “apparel” and “accessories” keywords. We saw growth in the popularity of PAA and popular products across many keyword groups.

Monitor Emerging and Contracting SERP trends search marketers can use to boost their search strategy

3. Keep track of above-the-fold SERP features

Understanding the SERP features visible above-the-fold real estate is critical. These insights will help marketers understand the dynamics of rising and falling SERP click-through rates. You may wonder why the clicks are declining even though your average position reported on Google Reports is improving. Such questions can be answered with true ad position in SERP.

As shown in the below graph, the usual organic component in this keyword landscape has lower above-the-fold coverage compared to SERP features like PAA and popular products.

Insights like these help marketers understand the fastest gateway to the first page above the fold position. Marketers can build a holistic search strategy to correctly allocate their search marketing budget across organic and paid SERP features.

Monitor Emerging and Contracting SERP trends search marketers can use to boost their search strategy

4. Monitor competitor’s through SERP features

Google is an ultra-competitive channel. You have many domains appear on Google SERP from aggregators to publishers to actual competitors of your business model. To build the right marketing tactics -it is imperative to understand the top domains by SERP features, their competitive tactics, and the SERP landscape changes.

From planning link building to acquiring secondary traffic to improving authority score to crafting advertising and content strategies – SERP-driven insights like these help you maximize search advertising performance.

Track and monitor Leaders-by-SERP-feature

Additionally, monitoring your top emerging competitors’ tactics across SERP formats allows you to timely optimize your advertising campaigns. As shown in the graph below, Amazon has tremendously improved its Google Shopping Ads Share of Voice from May to July 2022.

When brands like this are heavily advertising in a category, marketers will need to advertise products in categories Amazon is not aggressively pushing and come back when Amazon advertising slows down.

Time your search ads based on historical trends to optimize performance

Conclusion

Google is increasingly sharing less data. Google ad data doesn’t show advertisers which low impressions may be appearing and creeping up on your CPCs. Google search console data doesn’t show true rank, and the organic rank shared isn’t representative of the actual location on the page.

Going into 2023, it is imperative for search marketers to use SERP-driven insights to gain an edge in their performance marketing campaigns.


Prasanna Dhungel co-founded and runs GrowByData, which powers performance marketing for leading brands such as Crocs and top agencies like Merkle. GrowByData offers marketing intelligence for search, marketplace, and product management to win new revenue, boost marketing performance and manage brand compliance.

Prasanna also advises executives, board & investors on data strategy, growth, and product. He has advised leading firms such as Melinda & Bill Gates Foundation, Athena Health, and Apellis Pharma.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/12/01/balancing-paid-and-organic-search-strategies-for-optimum-success/ Thu, 01 Dec 2022 10:54:35 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144332 Pool your budget, resources, rankings, and insights to unleash a powerful strategy and produce amazing results - you'll wish you had used this before!

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Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success

30-second summary:

  • Even though it is evident that SEO and PPC are great tools, these two disciplines work in silos
  • In fact, these teams and channels mostly work on their own in silos and are often handled separately
  • Accenture Song’s SEO Manager, Michael McManus discusses how businesses can combine paid and organic SEO to function as one value-add unit

SEO and PPC are a must-have in your arsenal when planning your marketing strategy. Depending on what they are looking to do, most companies tend to choose one over the other, if they are looking to increase their rankings and get traffic from organic search, then they will go with SEO,  whereas PPC focuses on getting instant “paid for” traffic from such areas as search, social, and display.

Both SEO and PPC are great tools to boost your site/brand’s authority as well as help generate more traffic and sales for your business. But these two teams/channels tend to work on their own in silos and are often handled separately.

Now while both of these options can and do work well on their own, having both teams work together can be a powerful strategy for any business. Instead of working apart and potentially fighting for budget, time, resources, and rankings. By bringing both departments together so that they can collaborate and work as one, they will benefit from different insights and learnings that they would otherwise not get on their own. These insights will allow them to produce amazing results in both campaigns.

These two marketing channels aren’t meant to operate independently, yet that is the case almost every single time. But instead of looking at both channels as separate entities and you bring them together, you’ll see that they can help you achieve better results across the board than having them work on their own.

The data and insights that you can get from PPC campaigns are extremely insightful and powerful. When you take that data and combine it with your SEO strategies, it will give you the insights that you can use to create content that will make a big difference to your organic search traffic.

Balancing organic and paid search strategies for optimum success is a key challenge and lots of businesses need to catch up as they are typically only using one of these strategies.

How SEO and PPC can work together to boost your business

Along with large amounts of keyword and conversion insights that SEO can use by working with PPC, another huge benefit that companies can achieve when they bring both SEO and PPC together is the potential to consume a large portion of the SERPs, where they can showcase ads at the top of the page while owning the organic listings below.

This is something that shouldn’t be overlooked as it gives you more chances to capture the user, who might be looking for your brand or something that your brand has to offer. For example, let’s say you are running PPC and SEO campaigns separately and a user does a search and your ad appears, but they skip over it and go right to the organic listings but you are not showing up for that particular search, you are potentially missing out on capturing that user.

So now if you are using both PPC and SEO together and you use your PPC data to gather insights as to what the users were and are searching for, where your ads are showing, but not your organic listings. You can then take that data and start to create great content for those terms and optimize your site for that phase of the user’s journey. Now you can potentially have your site’s PPC ads showing at the top of the page as well as your site showing up below those ads in the organic results. This means that if a searcher were to skip over your ad and go directly to the organic results, your site will also be listed there winning you greater brand discovery.

Bringing both PPC and SEO together and working side by side, and taking over the SERPs for a given keyword will not only allow you with getting more exposure than what you would get if you only used SEO or PPC, but you now also increase the visibility of your site and the chances that a user will click over to your site.

Another added benefit from combining both SEO and PPC and taking over the SERPS is that users, searchers, and potential customers are more likely to see value and trust in a brand that is well represented across the SERPs.

If you were able to help guide and encourage users to click through to your site, wouldn’t that be an effort worth the implementation?

Getting SEO and PPC to work for you

Well, you might be asking yourself “ok great now I know that I need to have both SEO and PPC work as one, how do I go about this?”

Here are some practical tips to have both SEO and PPC work together.

Keywords

Keywords are important to both SEO and PPC as each one is reliant on them to help with creating the proper content for each strategy. They are both going to want to target the proper and relevant keywords in order to show up in the SERPs when a user is searching for information, shopping, looking for a brand, etc.

Using the keyword data and insights from your PPC campaigns and providing that information to your SEO team, will allow them to then create content that a user is searching for and thus be able to be in front of the customer throughout their journey.

Creating ads

Paid social media ads as well as retargeting ads are a great way for you to get your content shared across different platforms that will help with getting backlinks that will help your site’s content rank organically. While this is happening, you can create retargeting ads that will help to capture users’ attention once they have left your site.

PPC data

As we mentioned earlier, PPC campaign data has a plethora of information that you can use to help create highly targeted content to help get your site’s pages to rank organically. From your PPC campaigns, you’ll be able to see things like keyword search data, impressions, CTR, and so much more.

This will allow you to better optimize your site’s content and create content that might be missing, as well as help with creating highly targeted and optimized page titles and descriptions.

Conclusion

It’s no longer about SEO vs PPC anymore, or at least it shouldn’t be after reading this article. Now that you are aware of the potential benefits of combing both your PPC and SEO efforts, it’s time to go out and implement this new strategy.

Armed with all the data that you have at your fingertips from your PPC campaigns, use this new data and insights to help with creating better SEO strategies, that will give you a competitive advantage and help you with reaching your customers at every step of their journey.

It’s time to stop treating SEO and PPC as silos and time to bring them together so that your site can benefit from the added data and insights so that your site can dominate the SERPs.

Remember SEO and PPC are each other’s most powerful tools.


Michael McManus is SEO Manager at Accenture Song. Michael has hands-on expertise in branding strategies, website structure/architecture and development, SEO strategies, and online marketing campaigns. 

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/09/15/balancing-between-paid-and-organic-search-for-brand-success/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 10:59:37 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=144122 Breaking down six ways to find the balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising when building a business

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Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

30-second summary:

  • Relying on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for short-term gains and neglecting organic marketing will prove ineffective
  • Before pumping any money into SEO strategy, a business must ensure that its website is fully optimised for user experience
  • Once in a comfortable position, PPC advertising can be used to amplify brand reach by experimenting with new keywords
  • While short-tail keywords have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain vital
  • Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop and mobile users have less patience, so allocate more PPC advertising budget for mobile

When trying to grow a business, the importance of SEO cannot be understated. If people are unable to find a business, especially as ecommerce continues to grow into an unstoppable force, then attracting customers is an impossible endeavour.

In a bid to fast-track brand awareness, an inexperienced business owner might be tempted to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get fast results. However, finding the right balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising is crucial for brand success.

I have broken down six ways to find the perfect balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising so that any business owner can build awareness for their brand the right way.

Fully optimize your website first

Before focusing on paid or organic search for brand success, having a fully functional website is imperative. If a prospective customer has a torrid experience using a website, the odds of securing a sale drastically decrease. All the logistics of a website should be thoroughly inspected, such as broken links, load time and the volume of customers which can be hosted at once. It’s also important to avoid over-optimising a website and using too many keywords. Keywords should be implemented subtly so that the untrained eye would never notice, otherwise, they might add negative SEO value.

Rely on PPC whilst waiting for organic SEO improvement

While it would be great to be able to rely mostly or solely on organic marketing to raise brand awareness eventually, doing so when starting out is virtually impossible. Historically, PPC advertising has been encouraged to be used whilst a business is waiting for organic SEO improvement to land. This is not a licence to neglect organic marketing – far from it – as the goal is to improve a business’s SEO value whilst using PPC initially. In the longer term, results from PPC advertising should be used to guide organic marketing efforts.

Experiment with brand-related keywords

Once in a comfortable position, a business can shift its PPC advertising strategy towards experimentation. As and when organic brand-related keywords drop in place, the corresponding PPC advertising budget can be reallocated to test new keywords, thus amplifying the total reach of the brand. When improving SEO value, a business needs to constantly explore and update its targeted keywords for organic SEO improvement. As mentioned, results from PPC advertising should be used to inform organic marketing planning.

Focus on both short-tail and long-tail keywords

A short-tail keyword or ‘head term’ is a search term with one to three words that cover a general topic. Landing on the first search engine results page for short-tail keywords borders on impossible due to the sheer number of results, so even though they typically have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain important as users are more likely to be closer to a point-of-purchase when searching them. Searching for “shoe shiner” would be a short-tail keyword, whereas searching for “how to shine my shoes” is a long-tail keyword, as it is three to five words and more focused on a specific subject. Naturally, the short-tail keywords will garner more searches, but ranking well for the long-tail keywords will offer a business a meaningful advantage over competitors in the same market.

Don’t just rely on Google

Most business owners, executives and managers will be inclined to focus all their efforts on Google – and rightfully so as it’s the world’s biggest search engine platform by far. However, it can also be worth testing ads on the likes of Bing to see what returns are achievable elsewhere. If the results are favourable, it might be worth splitting SEO-related efforts across multiple platforms.

Use PPC advertising for mobile, organic marketing for desktop

Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop. At the risk of stating the obvious, using a search engine on desktop presents the users with more results because the screen is naturally bigger. As the window of opportunity – literally the size of the search window on a smartphone – is much smaller on mobile, using PPC advertising for mobile is critical. Furthermore, mobile users are less likely to make multiple searches using different keywords, than a desktop user with more patience might.

Growing brand awareness requires a streamlined and focused strategy for both organic marketing and PPC advertising. Solely relying on PPC advertising might seem like an easy solution, but slowly working on organic marketing will eventually allow a business to use PPC advertising to amplify brand reach. Business owners might underestimate the importance of SEO, but its importance can’t be underscored in the ever-growing digital marketplace.


Nick Swan is Founder of SEOTesting.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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2022 Search ads 360 update: What you need to know https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/03/23/2022-search-ads-360-update-what-you-need-to-know/ Wed, 23 Mar 2022 07:31:27 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143813 Get more work done in one place, save time and access a better cross-channel view for data-driven decision making

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2022 Search ads 360 update What you need to know

30-second summary:

  • Search Ads 360 platform has seen one of its biggest updates in 10 years
  • Performics’ Senior Media Manager, Alex Medawar shares key highlights of the updates around budget optimization, performance monitoring, and inventory management

Google recently announced a new update to its Search Ads 360 platform – and it’s a big one. SA360 has gotten even more powerful since it was first launched over 10 years ago, making it simpler than ever for commercial enterprises to manage their search advertising efforts.

A select number of Search Ads 360 users finally gained preview access this past month.

The new platform experience will start rolling out over the coming months while allowing users to continue access in the classic experience. In this article, I outline what’s new and share effective ways to make the most of your budgets and inventory in the Search Ads 360 platform.

1. Greater support for alternative channels

One of the Search Ads 360 updates includes greater support for alternative search engines such as Microsoft Ads and Yahoo! Japan.

Other advertising channels have been neglected for years, and the consequence has been time-consuming workarounds to link data and make bulk changes.

As a result of the new update, Google promises that you will now be able to get more of your work done from the same place.

For Microsoft Advertisers, SA360 will now support additional features:

  • Response search ads
  • Call extensions
  • Local inventory ads
  • Access to a variety of audience types

For Yahoo! Japan advertisers, you can now utilize dynamic search ads and site link extension scheduling.

2. Access to new features

Search Ads 360 will now offer support for the newest features in Google Ads including:

  • Performance Max – a new goal-based campaign type that lets performance advertisers access all of their Google Ads inventory from a centralized campaign. 
  • Discovery campaigns – allows advertisers to run ads in Google discover feeds to deliver highly visual, inspiring personalized ad experiences
  • Display and YouTube Advertising (previously only in the platform)

Google has also added advanced enterprise innovation features that will allow teams to scale everyday tasks such as:

  • Campaign management
  • Create automated rules
  • Use labels across various advertisers simultaneously

The addition of Templates will combine current features like inventory management and ad builder for a unified and scalable experience.

new features in the Search Ads 360 update - inventory management and ad builder

For media managers who spend hours crafting forecasts, the new Performance Center will include enterprise planning capabilities with spend, CPA, and conversion forecasts in the coming months.

3. Updated inventory management

A revamped inventory management system provides streamlined workflows and more powerful controls over how you use your ad space.

Utilizing an inventory feed, SA360 can generate ready-to-go paid search campaigns using dynamic data such as price, description, and availability of your product from your feed.

This tool is especially useful for industry verticals with frequently changing prices and availability such as:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Live and Streaming Entertainment
  • Recruitment
  • Retail
  • Businesses with geo-specific offers

How it works

  1. Provide high-quality data and make a list of attributes for your feed such as product name, price, and landing page.
  2. Create templates for each type of output you want generated such as a campaign, ad group, ad, or keyword. (Tip: start small!)
  3. Utilize functions and attributes to generate highly relevant ads.
  4. Check your output and optimize until you are happy with the results.

Within minutes, you’ll have ready-to-go, targeted campaigns in your account that ready for launch.

In the new Search Ads 360, marketers will be able to manage templates across client accounts to update ads at scale.

budget management in Search Ads 360

4. Budget management

Any media manager will tell you that managing account budgets and pacing is one of the most critical components of campaign management and also one of the most difficult, especially at scale.

As part of the latest Search Ads 360 release, budget management will be improved and integrated with the new ‘Performance Center’.

Later this year, Google plans to provide complete access to these planning tools, allowing you to experiment with a variety of potential media budget flighting scenarios.

Features

The following are some of the features included in the present budget management system:

  • Visual graphs that include target and estimated spend, plus KPIs such as CPA (cost per acquisition) or revenue
  • Automatic budget allocation and bid adjustments set by your chosen budget bid strategy
  • Forecasting capabilities based on historical performance data that factors in seasonality
  • Estimated cumulative spend and likelihood to hit target spend based on historical data
  • Pacing reports at the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual level

As Google adds new features throughout the year, we can anticipate that these tools will become more accurate and streamlined for enterprise planning.

New look

The new Search Ads 360 experience closely resembles the Google Ads platform with similar navigation and a familiar user experience.

Upon launching the SA360 platform, you can see the identical account overview dashboard found in Google Ads for seamless navigation between the two.

Into the future

With the new Search Ads 360 update, Google opens doors for the next generation of enterprise innovations to optimize performance.

The new updates will help you get more work done in one place saving time and providing a better cross-channel view for data-driven decision making.

To learn all about the new tools, enroll in Google’s new Skillshop modules for Search Ads 360.


Alex Medawar is Senior Media Manager at Performics and creator of Alex Medawar.com. As a seasoned digital media expert, Alex Medawar focuses on B2B paid search campaign management and strategy for global brands in the tech space. Utilizing a data-driven approach, Alex believes that both small businesses and large enterprises alike can speak to their audience and drive results within the digital media landscape.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Here’s what an ROI-worthy search advertising budget looks like in 2022 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/03/17/heres-what-an-roi-worthy-search-advertising-budget-looks-like-in-2022/ Thu, 17 Mar 2022 12:08:21 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143805 Kris Jones shares some subtle considerations that will separate your search advertising strategy from your competitors (for good)

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Here’s what an ROI-worthy search advertising budget looks like in 2022

30-second summary:

  • Digital marketers experience a potential ROI tunnel vision when it comes to search advertising
  • Seriously, do you need to burn dollars over those high-competition keywords? Does it trickle down into actual business?
  • How do you not lose vision and outweigh the paid search cost with your revenue?
  • We’re bringing you the finer details of designing a paid media budget straight from an SEO expert and serial entrepreneur

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that success in digital marketing depends on a whole lot of things. There’s your skill-set, your team that helps you, and your understanding of the market where you’re trying to make a dent, either for yourself or your clients.

But how often do you think about your budget? Specifically, we’re talking about your search advertising budget here.

On its face, running paid media ads on Google Ads, the Google Display Network, Facebook, Microsoft, and other platforms is pretty simple: you bid on your keywords, define your target audiences, and run your ads for the length of the campaign.

You might not think that your budget factors into things beyond showing you the funds you have to work with, but I argue that there’s more to it than that, especially when every dollar counts and you have a potential tunnel vision on ROI.

The thing is, only you will be able to say ultimately what your ROI-worthy search advertising budget will look like this year, but in this article, I’ll explain how to design your paid media budget to strike gold in 2022.

The basics: What do you want?

So, you want to know what your search advertising budget should look like in 2022.

Let me ask you this first: who are you, how big is your business, how much do you have to devote to search advertising, and, most importantly of all, what do you want to accomplish?

There are so many factors here that only you will know, but the questions I’d ask myself if I were looking at designing a search advertising budget for 2022 would include:

  • What do I want out of my campaigns?
  • How many conversions can I reasonably expect to get from my campaigns?
  • Is search advertising my only growth channel right now, or are there others?
  • How much will I also be putting into SEO or email?
  • How can I track my search advertising to make sure my performance is what I expect?
  • What will success look like?

Your budget is going to reflect what you want out of your campaigns, and what you want should reflect what growth looks like to your business.

For instance, are you an affiliate-marketing blogger who just needs more eyeballs on your pages? Are you a law firm looking for real, honest form-fills? Are you an ecommerce brand that’s retargeting your audiences for products they’ve viewed?

All of it matters, because your approach to your search advertising, and consequently your budgeting, will be determined by your goals.

Closing in: What do you need?

After figuring out what you want, it’s time to think of what you need to get there. Here’s where we’ll talk about hard figures: budgeting.

Only you will know what your search advertising campaigns should be producing (the results ideally will be based on the goals you’ve laid out).

So, if you want to grow by, let’s say, $2,000 a month, then you need to do some math to get there.

How many leads does your current search advertising campaign bring in? Of those leads, how many convert? Knowing your conversion rate will be key, as will knowing what each lead is worth to you and what your cost per lead is.

When you figure these things out, you’ll have a better idea of how to budget.

If a conversion will bring you $500, and your cost per lead is $10, and your conversion rate is five percent, then you need to bring in 80 leads a month through search advertising.

Here’s how it works.

You need four conversions a month to hit your $2,000 goal. You convert five percent of the leads you get. Four is 5% of 80. You, therefore, need 80 leads per month to reach your goal.

And if you pay $10 per lead, then your budget should be $800 a month for search advertising.

Now, that’s an ideal situation. That’s assuming you can make it all happen consistently like that, month after month.

In the perfect world, that budget will indeed be ROI-worthy.

But campaigns may fail, certain methods may not follow through for you.

How can you ensure your budgeting and efforts are worthwhile?

Pulling it together: Get smart about bidding

You want to design an ROI-worthy search advertising budget for 2022. That means you want to be in the big leagues like your competitors. What do you think they’re doing that you aren’t? Do they have some insight into Google Ads that you don’t?

No, it really comes down to your keyword strategy for your ads.

In case you didn’t know, it works like this in SEO, too: the more mainstream, general, and competitive keywords – such as “SEO company” – are going to be pretty expensive to bid on. Depending on your budget, you may not be able to sustain that kind of campaign for long, and it’s going to end up as a lot of wasted dollars.

But again, look at your similarly sized competitors. They probably have roughly the same budget as you do. If they’re outperforming you, they may have a smarter keyword bidding strategy than you do.

Taking the example from above, maybe you don’t want or need to rank your ads for “SEO company.”

A longer-tail keyword such as “SEO agency for link building” will cost you less and have fewer monthly searches. But as in any sales funnel, when searchers get more specific, they tend to be more ready to convert.

Just remember that when you get more specific, you’re going to want to hone in on the quality and relevance of your ads’ corresponding landing pages.

A long-tail keyword search requires a long-tail ad, and a long-tail ad requires a long-tail landing page (so to speak). Be sure to deliver on what your ad promises. Surely, you can develop content related to hiring an SEO agency for link building.

Think of those funnels here. People want to see content related to where they are in the buyer’s journey. When they see it, they will be more ready to convert. It works the same in SEO.

If you want to talk about really honing in on ROI with your search advertising, that’s the way to do it.

What will you do next?

Many businesses spend between seven and 12 percent of their annual budget on marketing. It’s a necessary expenditure for growth.

If you want to make sure that whatever you spend on your search advertising this year is actually worthy of a satisfactory ROI, study the tips I have laid out. Know your strengths, what you can do, and your bidding limitations, as well.

If you’re smart, you can really build something great.


Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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How you can embrace paid search automation to maximize outcomes https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2022/02/03/how-you-can-embrace-paid-search-automation-to-maximize-outcomes/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 11:21:59 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143741 Master the balancing act of trusting Google's automation while maintaining needed control

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How you can embrace paid search automation to maximize outcomes

30-second summary:

  • Automation is a hot topic within digital marketing, and Google has more options than ever before for search practitioners to utilize
  • However, there’s still a level of discomfort with handing the keys to the kingdom over
  • As a long-time skeptic myself, I make the argument for automating core components of search campaigns and share the areas where marketers should instead focus their energy and attention for success in 2022

“Automation” it’s a word of constant focus for search marketers these days – and rightfully so. There are more components to search than ever before, and automation is a critical tool that enables us to optimize campaigns at scale and frees us to focus on what can’t be automated.

Google has released automated solutions to nearly every aspect of account management, but how do we know when it makes sense to hand over control and where we should maintain a strong level of influence? I see 2022 as a year for search practitioners to reimagine and rework their approach to search engine marketing (SEM) with Google, striking a new balance between automated solutions and customer-focused, business-driven oversight.

Handing over the keys (or at least some of them) in a reimagined relationship

Google Ads has become a one-stop-shop for marketers looking to engage customers across platforms up and down the funnel. It’s not just about search and shopping anymore – practitioners can also buy Discovery Ads, YouTube, Local Ads, etc.

With a more holistic Google Ads, an interesting dynamic emerges with what I call “a tale of two Googles.” On one side, there’s Google’s highly sophisticated suite of flexible, powerful technology tools that are built for advanced users – people and brands who obsess over the next level and the ability to capture it. But now, there is a second side of Google Ads that’s geared toward the masses, with superb out-of-the-box automated solutions.

As a marketer, it’s time to reimagine your approach and embrace these solutions that have been historically shunned by expert search practitioners. And you should do it with pride and intention – let go and let Google automate your campaigns. Then you can focus on core marketing tactics and engaging your customers more effectively. Let Google maximize keywords, placements, bids, and budget levels toward your goals, and make sure that once a user lands on your site, you’re ready to deliver the best experience for them.

A reworked approach to search management

Making the decision to automate is one thing but actually leaving the machine to do its job is another entirely. How do you trust Google automation and its work? Over-engineering and tinkering may actually be detrimental to some programs and instances. Choose tweaks and changes wisely! For years, we overengineered our campaigns, obsessed over keyword funneling in single-keyword ad groups, and took pains to ensure our campaign structure was dialed into the nines.

In 2022, there needs to be a little less control and a little more letting go. For those in the “old guard,” this translates to a trust fall. Google is quite good at understanding intent and matching that intent with the right answer at the right moment. Too much tinkering and intervention is a recipe for disaster and sets the machine up to fail before it can even get started.

With automation in place, where do we focus our energy?

Fear not – there is an abundance of important work to be done, even with core components of a search program automated. Search automation gets elevated by extreme focus on customer experience. You need to figure out how to use technology and data in a privacy-safe way to become more helpful and meaningful as a brand. You need to know your customers so you can speak to them personally throughout their journey. In travel, for example, there are many known preferences, such as window or aisle seat, meal choice, favorite hotel pillow type, etc. Your customers expect you to know these things, and you don’t want to restart the conversation with them every time they open a new browser.

Get closer to understanding your data

Focusing on data science and analytics is a critical piece of search success in 2022. There’s so much data available to analyze, and it’s critical to cut through the clutter by defining your customer-centric business goals, aligning metrics, and reporting appropriately. There’s also a new responsibility for search traffic to help replace data lost from third-party cookie deprecation. Better models will be essential to enable the use of search traffic as a catalyst for scientific remarketing.

Master your customer engagement and first-party data strategy

Privacy is a key focal area as well. Search practitioners need to have conversations about how to scale known customer engagement and how to use advertising technology in a compliant way that supports the business by driving customer experience and performance. You need to evaluate your first-party data strategy and look for ways to layer that data into the search experience, whether it’s through messaging, bidding, or other avenues. Google knows a lot about users, but there is information unique to the business that you can use to elevate automation.

Refine your site and landing page experience

Ownership of landing page experience and site content optimization also lie entirely with brands as important components of successful search programs. Search has become a visual battleground – just close your eyes and imagine a Google results page. Five years ago, you would have pictured ten blue links on a screen, and now to think of that feels archaic! Today, you probably imagined a mix of images, shopping listings, maps, videos, and more. As a practitioner, that means your content needs to be optimized to deliver the right information to customers, regardless of the landscape for their unique query. Then, when the user lands on your site, you need to be ready to deliver the information they need to take the next step in their journey.

Conclusion

For years, we needed to re-engineer the game inside of Google Ads because we didn’t have another choice. Now, instead of getting ahead that way, marketers that excessively tinker will fall behind and lose ground on the components that need the utmost attention – analytics, first-party strategy, and customer experience. It’s time for all of us to reimagine and rework our focus as practitioners toward those new realities.


Matt Mierzejewski is SVP of Performance Marketing Lab and Search at Merkle Inc.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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Google AdSense Guide: increase earnings and escape low CPC https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/11/25/google-adsense-guide-increase-earnings-and-escape-low-cpc/ Thu, 25 Nov 2021 11:44:49 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143620 Everything you need to implement and inform your ad revenue strategy

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30-second summary:

  • There are many factors that affect your AdSense performance right from content quality, ad placements, media selection, and so on
  • High traffic doesn’t directly indicate high earnings, in fact, some of your practices may be equivalent to handing out money to your competition
  • Here are six informed steps to help you earn more from AdSense

Throughout this guide, you’ll learn how to increase your Google AdSense earnings by making some very simple changes and by following a few simple tips. In my personal experience, this can help skyrocket your AdSense CPC and results can increase your AdSense earnings by more than five times.

Your aim and objective throughout should be to gradually increase your AdSense CPC and CTR little by little and by following these simple tips you are bound to see results.

Don’t forget to keep on testing and your AdSense earnings will surely increase over time. Just don’t give up quickly!

1. Content is king on the internet and also on AdSense

The reason content is placed at the top of all the other tips is because it is the single most important rule to follow on your journey through SEO and internet marketing. It is the first thing your visitors, advertisers, and bots (ad bots and crawl bots) will notice after coming to your webpage.

If you are providing your users with low quality or outdated content, Google will rate your website much lower and your CPC (the bids advertisers make to appear on your website) will greatly fall. This can also get you smart-priced, even if you generate quality traffic on low-quality content.

So remember, always provide your readers and visitors with something unique and worthwhile which will actually acknowledge rather than something which has already been posted on a thousand other websites.

2. Ad sizes and placements are decisive

Do not neglect the placement and size of your Google AdSense ads as they play an important into delivering a better user experience and thus, improving your AdSense earnings.

“While creating ad sizes and placements, user experience and ad viewability should be the center focus”, explained SEO expert Boris Dzhingarov, in an email interview.

“Some placements and ad sizes will disrupt users, particularly if they’re covering content. Others, however, will fail miserably as the users never see them leading to a decrease in AdSense revenues”, he added.

So the question now is: where should you place your ad and which of Google’s display ad sizes are best for your business? The answer is pretty simple, place two ads inside your blog posts (or content) and one outside the post. Keep one 336 x 280 large rectangle ad on the top of the blog post just below the title and place the second ad in the middle of the blog post as a 468 x 60 sized banner. The remaining unit can be placed to the right of your post inside your sidebar.

Position your AdSense ad units as such to not annoy your visitors by popping right in their faces. Instead, perfectly fit inside your content, or in positions that you aim to get more clicks from.

For example, a site that provides file downloads can have an AdSense Ad Unit right near the download link to get a High CTR.

3. Monitor and limit the use of AdSense ad units

Have you tried limiting the use of your AdSense ad units? The biggest difference I myself have noticed is that by reducing the ad units which had the lowest CTR you can quickly and easily increase your AdSense CPC.

What usually happens is if you don’t have enough content to support all the ad units is that lower-paying ads start showing on your websites. This may increase your click-through rate (CTR) and bring in more clicks but because the ads may not be relevant to your website (public advertisements). This results in your CPC falling and your AdSense earnings decreasing. If you are increasing your ad units ultimately you are making it easier for advertisers to be shown on your website meaning an even lower CPC (because of low bids).

Remove the low CTR ad units and replace them with the higher paying ad units which have a higher CTR and your earnings will rise automatically.

Trying these tips for a couple of days will make you notice a real improvement and an important increase in low AdSense CPC.

Google AdSense Custom Channels will be necessary to keep track of things. This will give you a precise and clear idea of the best-performing ad slots. Measure the CTR, CPC, CPM, and earning of every ad unit.

Create custom channels for every ad slot and monitor their performance for at least two weeks to get an idea of things. If you keep changing ad units too often without testing them thoroughly you might get inaccurate results and miss out on better opportunities by placing your ads elsewhere.

How this is going to help in increasing your AdSense CPC?

Remove the low-performing ad units from your website (Compare CTR and final earnings of different units). Google should now serve better ads to other remaining ad slots which are performing well, so your earnings and CPC will increase.

4. Enable both text and image, media-rich ads

Always enable both text and image ads on your websites. Never limit your ad visibility to ‘Only image/media-rich ads’ or ‘Only text ads’ as this will lower the bids for advertisers to appear on your website. This directly means low AdSense CPC.

If you enable ‘Both text and image ads’ AdSense will automatically show the ad with the highest bid on your website which means a higher CPC for you.

In short, the more advertisers that are bidding to appear on your website the higher your AdSense CPC will be.

5. Keywords, keywords, and more keywords!

Try researching to find keywords with ‘High AdSense CPC’ and a ‘High Search Volume’. Searched globally using the Google Adwords keyword tool. Search, search and search some more to find specific keywords which have low competition, high CPC, and high search traffic.

After researching you can start creating your website pages, blog posts, and articles on such high-value keywords. Always use these keywords naturally at the beginning, the middle, and the end of your content. It is also very useful to add them to your headings or tags.

Try not to bother with keywords that pay a few cents and those that have a low CPM. Ideally, I would recommend grabbing keywords with a CPC higher than $2.50.

This should be the most important part of your mission. You would never want a page that earns one dollar from five to 10 clicks. Rather you want a page that pulls an impressive four to five dollars out of just two ad clicks, or maybe even $40 dollars out of just eight clicks!

If you don’t concentrate on your keywords, even if you have a lot of traffic you will be wasting it and not earning a substantial amount. Imagine this as handing out money to your own competition! By targeting the right keywords you can make a lot more with a lot less traffic.

Research on the Google keyword tool today and increase your Adsense CPC and earnings.

6. Reduce fraud, accidental, and useless clicks

Do you have an ad unit placed near the top of your content that gets a high CTR? Can this also be because of the awkward location that some people end up clicking on your ad by mistake? When this happens, the visitors often back out or close the ad. This is counted by Google as either an accidental or fraud click.

You may temporarily get earnings from these clicks but they will most probably be reverted due to the low-quality nature of the click.

So always try to minimize any accidental or useless clicks on your AdSense ad units and NEVER ask your friends or family to click on your ads!


Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, inbound marketing consultant, and founder of Write Minds. He can be found on Twitter @jmcmillen89.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Now is the best time to stitch your search marketing loopholes before 2022 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/08/09/now-is-the-best-time-to-stitch-your-search-marketing-loopholes-before-2022/ https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/08/09/now-is-the-best-time-to-stitch-your-search-marketing-loopholes-before-2022/?noamp=mobile#respond Mon, 09 Aug 2021 15:56:23 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143471 A stitch in time saves nine, and a lot more when it's about the cookie death, search marketing and SEO

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30-second summary:

  • Confused users don’t spend money
  • Your search marketing needs to thread in your brand’s messaging, targeting, design, and overall experience to ensure trust, clarity, and eventual sales
  • SEO pioneer, serial entrepreneur, and best selling author, Kris Jones helps you weave a tight SEO and search marketing strategy before 2022 ushers in

If you spend enough time in the digital marketing space, even if you focus on just one area of it, you’ll eventually catch wind of the intersection of SEO, paid media, web design, and link building. There’s no avoiding it since all these areas run together to ideally form a strong online presence for a business. Within that context, if you’ve ever been the one to devise a digital strategy for yourself or your clients, you’re probably familiar with the types of market niches that would push a business to focus more on SEO or paid search marketing.

SEO is obviously a fantastic tool for just about anyone, but don’t discount the power of paid media. Each has its pros and cons, and when done the right way, neither is going to hurt you.

What will hurt you, however, is making mistakes in your efforts and then letting them go for a long time. Weak points in your SEO and paid media can be tricky things. They can harm your digital presence in the long term and yet be difficult even to detect unless you really know what you’re doing.

With the home stretch of 2021 right around the corner, now is the best time to stitch up those holes in your search marketing for 2022. Here are four tips for cleaning up your SEO and paid media marketing.

1. Stop writing for keywords over topics

SEOs know the old story, but here it is again for anyone who doesn’t. Ten to twenty years ago, it was a popular practice to keyword-stuff on web pages. That just meant overusing a certain keyword on a page in an attempt to get Google to rank the page more highly.

In 2021, we know this is a bad practice because it doesn’t help users to answer their questions. What answers questions for online users today is content that discusses popular topics rather than just keyword-spamming.

You can use popular topic-research tools such as BuzzSumo, Answer the Public, or Semrush to find topics relevant to your desired industry niche. Then, do your own research to generate content that’s useful. Always think of the user first.

Keywords still have their place, though. Google needs to match up queries with content, and the content that makes the smartest, most useful, and natural use of keywords will tend to perform better. Content needs to have keywords in its headings and also use naturally within the body. But don’t think that you need to overuse keywords or focus your content completely around the keywords. Instead, determine the intent of the keywords and align that with your topic research to create killer content that ranks.

2. Don’t abandon paid media message consistency

When your search marketing includes paid media, too, you have a whole other set of guidelines to follow. Again, everything you do should be with users in mind. Put yourself in their place. How would you respond to this ad if you saw it?

Then, click through to the landing page to make sure everything still makes sense. The thing is, here is where PPC specialists can fail if they aren’t careful.

With paid media, you’re using ads to get people to do things. That’s what you have available: words and images on little square ads on web pages or paid search results on the SERPs.

Sounds straightforward, right? As long as you do your research and get the ads’ messaging correct, you should be golden.

Except you can go way wrong if your messaging isn’t consistent across the entire paid search journey. Your landing pages need to contain the same type of messaging as your ads. They need to reference the information users saw when they first clicked the ad.

That shows continuity across your paid campaigns. Without that continuity, without landing pages that reference offers or claims made in ads, users will be confused. They’ll wonder if they clicked the wrong ad or got taken to the wrong website.

And confused users don’t spend money.

Think about it this way: it’s been estimated that it takes between five and seven impressions before one user remembers a brand. Five to seven! It can be challenging enough to reach those numbers but imagine if you tried to get there without brand consistency. You’d be setting yourself up for failure, plain and simple.

The solution is once again to think like a user. Go through all the elements of a paid search user’s journey. If the messaging and branding flow logically and actually make sense, you may have a winning campaign on your hands.

3. Don’t ignore poor site UX

I said at the outset that the different areas of digital marketing all have the potential to intersect and flow together. Here is where SEO and web design meet up: website UX.

SEOs can spend all day researching keywords, writing content, optimizing meta tags, and building backlinks, but users probably aren’t going to do what you want if your website has a terrible layout and design, not to mention if it isn’t optimized for the mobile experience.

But don’t just listen to me – read the numbers. According to Intechnic, 67 percent of online users say that a badly designed website negatively affects their impressions of a brand. That is a huge figure, to put it mildly.

When Google’s spiders crawl a site, they do so logically, as a human would. That means the main navigation needs to set out the content your site has and be clear about where users can go to find certain information.

Now, what qualifies as a “good” layout? It’s simple when you think about it, and yet so many websites struggle to do it. The main navigation needs to show users all the vital areas of a site. Whatever business you’re in, your nav should show your main services first, followed by a blog if you have one (you should), an “about us” section, and a contact tab.

That setup right there covers all the main points that you’ll need to keep users engaged. Now, how everything else breaks down from there is up to you, but again, keep it logical. Your main services tab should have a submenu of all your main services, your locations tab can break down to show your different business locations, and so on.

Also, you absolutely cannot forget accessibility when you’re talking about website UX today. Accessibility, of course, is the capability of any piece of website content to be consumed and understood by people with a range of physical or mental disabilities. Not only is this simply a good business practice, but it’s also just inclusive and courteous.

Website accessibility includes considerations such as making content available to the visually and hearing impaired, ensuring your web pages are navigable with a keyboard only instead of just with a mouse, and choosing colors that don’t clash so color-blind people have no trouble reading your content.

Makes sense, right?

It’s important that it does make sense because if neither human users nor Google can understand how to navigate your website, you probably won’t rank for your desired keywords.

4. Don’t set and forget PPC

If you’re a business owner and are doing your own digital marketing, or if you employ one (possibly overworked) specialist to do it for you, it can be more than a little tempting to engage in the “set it and forget it” mindset.

Small to medium-sized businesses have so much to do just running themselves that putting sufficient effort into digital marketing can seem like too much of a stretch.

You may think that you’ve come up with a pretty effective PPC ad campaign that contains all the right visuals and messaging and hits all the right audience marks. And maybe you have, for now.

But you can’t set and forget anything in PPC or digital marketing more generally. Trends change, markets shift, consumers move on. You have to check in on your ads’ performance over time to see if you’ve recently fallen flat. Because if you have, then you’re wasting a lot of effort maintaining ads that aren’t converting.

Instead of letting things go like this – put the time into analyzing your ads’ performance, particularly in the time immediately following the start of the campaign. You want to ensure things are running as you predicted and tweak them if they aren’t.

While you’re at it, set aside some time to research how you can optimize your PPC campaigns’ resource consumption. The best campaigns are obviously the most efficiently performing ones, and so how can you do better?

Try reworking your ad copy. It sounds simple, but as you know, more relevant ad copy drives click-through rates and Quality Scores. And high-quality scores reduce your cost per click and cost per conversion.

Another money-worthy avenue you can take to hone in on your ads’ efficiency is to use dayparting and geolocation together. Dayparting will schedule your ads to appear at certain times of day, while geolocation will show your ads only in certain places.

This is particularly useful for local businesses that have brick-and-mortar locations and want to get customers through the doors.

This takes plenty of audience research to get it right, but it’s a smart and common-sense way to optimize the resources you’re using on your PPC ads.

A stale PPC campaign has the potential to be one of your biggest SEO marketing holes in 2022, so don’t wait on this one.

Jump on your 2022 fixes now

There truly is no time like the present for fixing your search marketing loopholes. Any mistake that’s out there for any length of time is probably going to hurt you. But with the second half of 2021 already here, lots of businesses are setting their sights on 2022.

Become one of them. Follow these pointers to get ahead in your search marketing efforts, and it could make all the difference.

Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/04/16/the-search-dilemma-looking-beyond-googles-third-party-cookie-death/ https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/04/16/the-search-dilemma-looking-beyond-googles-third-party-cookie-death/?noamp=mobile#respond Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:20:50 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143270 The ad tech and search industry are precarious that Google will use this as a new way to establish market dominance that feeds its own interests. Google expert, Susan Dolan details on the current realities and future trends

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30-second summary:

  • In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or its network sites
  • Even though they will be removing the third-party cookie from 2023, the search giant still has a wealth of first-party data from its 270+ products, services, and platforms
  • The Trade Desk’s 20 percent stock price drop is proof of Google’s monopoly and why it shouldn’t enjoy it anymore
  • Google expert, Susan Dolan draws from her rich experience and details the current search scape, insights and predicts future key themes that will arise out of the 3p cookie death

Imagine search as a jungle gym, you automatically imagine Google as the kingpin player on this ground. This has been a reality for decades now and we all know the downside of autonomy which is why the industry now acknowledges a need for regulation. Google announced that it would remove the third-party cookie from 2023. But a lot can happen in a year, 2020 is proof of that! Does this mean that cookies will completely bite the dust? Think again. I dive deep into years of my experience with the web to share some thoughts, observations, and insights on what this really means.

For once, Google is a laggard

Given the monopoly that Google has enjoyed and the list of lawsuits (like the anti-trust one and more) this move is a regulatory step to create a “net-vironment” that feels less like a net and is driven towards transparency and search scape equality.

But Firefox and Safari had already beaten Google to the punch in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Safari had launched the Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) update on March 23, 2020. Firefox had launched its Enhanced Tracking Protection feature in September 2019 to empower and protect users from third-party tracking cookies and crypto miners.

Google’s solution to respect user privacy

Google recently announced that it won’t be using identifiers. Google is developing a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ to ensure that publishers, advertisers, and consumers find a fair middle ground in terms of data control, access, and tracking. The idea is to protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. The Privacy Sandbox will don the FLoC API that can help with interest-based advertising. Google will not be using fingerprints, PII graphs based on people’s email addresses that other browsers use. Google will move towards a Facebook-like “Lookalike audience” model that will group users for profiling.

Did that raise eyebrows? There’s more.

Don’t be fooled – They still have a lavish spread of first-party data

Google is already rich with clusters of historical, individual unique data that they’ve stored, analyzed, predicted, and mastered over the years and across their platforms and services. These statistics give you a clear sense of the gravity of the situation:

  • Google has 270+ products and services (Source)
  • Among the leading search engines, the worldwide market share of Google in January 2021 was almost 86 percent (Source)
  • In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or Google Network Sites (Source)
  • There are 246 million unique Google users in the US (Source)
  • Google Photos has over one billion active users (Source)
  • YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users each month (Source)
  • According to Google statistics, Gmail has more than 1.5 billion active users (Source)
  • A less-known fact, there are more than two million accounts on Google Ads (Source)
  • There are more than 2.9 million companies that use one or more of Google’s marketing services (Source)
  • As of Jan 2021, Google’s branch out into the Android system has won it a whopping 72 percent of the global smartphone operating system market (Source)
  • Google sees 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide (Source)

Google has an almost-never ending spectrum of products, services, and platforms –

Here’s the complete, exhaustive list of Google’s gigantic umbrella.

Google's 270+ products, services, and platforms

Source: Matrics360

Google already has access to your:

  • Location
  • Search history
  • Credit/debit card details shared on Google Pay
  • Data from businesses (more than 2.9 million!) that use Google services
  • Your device microphone
  • Mobile keyboard (G-board)
  • Apps you download from the Google Playstore and grant access to
  • Device camera, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg

Google’s decision to eliminate the third-party cookie dropped The Trade Desk’s stock by 20 percent

Nobody should have monopoly and this incident serves as noteworthy proof. Google’s decision to drop 3p cookies shocked The Trade Desk’s stock prices causing a 20 percent slump in their stock value. The Trade Desk is the largest demand-side platform (DSP) and Google’s decision kills the demand for The Trade Desk’s proprietary Unified ID 1.0 (UID 1.0) – a unique asset that chopped out the need for cookie-syncing process and delivered match rate accuracy up to 99 percent.

Google’s statement on not using PII also jeopardizes the fate of The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0. which already has more than 50 million users.

Here’s what Dave Pickles, The Trade Desk’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer had to say,

“Unified ID 2.0 is a broad industry collaboration that includes publishers, advertisers and all players in the ad tech ecosystem.”

“UID provides an opportunity to have conversations with consumers and provide them with the sort of transparency we as an industry have been trying to provide for a really long time.”

Adweek’s March town hall saw advertisers and publishers haunted by the mystery that surrounds Google as Google denied to participate in the event. The industry is growing precarious that Google will use this as a new way to establish market dominance that feeds its own interests.

We love cookies (only when they’re on a plate)

Cookies are annoying because they leave crumbs everywhere… on the internet! Did you know, this is how people feel about being tracked on the web:

  • 72 percent of people feel that almost everything they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies
  • 81 percent say that the potential risks of data collection outweigh the benefits for them

These stats were originally sourced from Pew Research Center, but the irony, I found these stats on one of Google’s blogs.

On a hunt to escape these cookies or to understand the world’s largest “cookie jar” I checked out YouTube which seemed like a good place to start since it has over 1.9 billion monthly active users. You could visit this link to see how ads are personalized for you – the list is long!

My YouTube curiosity further landed me on this page to see how my cookies are shared (you can opt out of these). Even my least used account had 129 websites on this list, imagine how many sites are accessing your data right now.

Back in 2011 when I was the first to crack the Page rank algorithm, I could already sense the power Google held and where this giant was headed – the playground just wasn’t big enough.

Key themes that will emerge

Bottom line is, the cookie death is opening up conversations for advertising transparency and a web-verse that is user-first, and privacy compliant. Here’s what I foresee happening in search and the digital sphere:

  • Ethical consumer targeting
  • Adtech companies collaborating to find ways that respect their audience’s privacy
  • A more private, personalized web
  • More conversations around how much and what data collection is ethical
  • More user-led choices
  • Rise in the usage of alternative browsers
  • Incentivizing users to voluntarily share their data
  • Better use of technology for good

What do you think about the current climate on the internet? Join the conversation with me on @GoogleExpertUK.

Susan Dolan is a Search Engine Optimization Consultant first to crack the Google PageRank algorithm as confirmed by Eric Schmidt’s office in 2014. Susan is also the CEO of The Peoples Hub which has been built to help people and to love the planet.

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Cross-channel marketing: why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the Google basket https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/03/26/cross-channel-marketing-why-you-shouldnt-put-all-your-eggs-in-the-google-basket/ https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2021/03/26/cross-channel-marketing-why-you-shouldnt-put-all-your-eggs-in-the-google-basket/?noamp=mobile#respond Fri, 26 Mar 2021 13:31:09 +0000 https://www.searchenginewatch.com/?p=143218 Why do so many businesses stick to the ‘big guns’ when allocating spend? Adzooma CEO Rob Wass and Cambridge University’s Akanshaa Khare joined forces to challenge this notion

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30-second summary:

  • Very few SMBs use multiple channels for their online advertising
  • Facebook is the most effective channel based on the cost for CPM and CPC
  • It’s important to remember that every business is unique when it comes to deciding on budget allocation

For any business in the software as a service (SaaS) space, data analysis and science are crucial to ensure they keep pushing ahead to reveal those insights that can really make a difference. With this in mind, the Cambridge MBA team looked to leverage Adzooma’s extensive data to identify new ways for SMBs to maximize their ad spend with cross-channel marketing.

For the team at Cambridge University, this was an exciting opportunity to produce some truly unique insights, given that even the big players such as Google and Microsoft only have data that pertains to their individual channels.  The project promised to provide a much broader view and deliver some new insights thanks to the access to anonymized data from thousands of accounts across the three big platforms via Adzooma.

A cross-channel approach

The findings immediately identified that very few SMB customers use multiple channels (Facebook, Google, and Microsoft).

Although this wasn’t part of the main project, it was a really interesting piece of analysis and it’s something we’ve stressed the importance of a lot. Most people just stick to Google, for example, as that’s where they think they should be but that’s not always the best case for everyone’s business, and being seen across multiple touchpoints – or at least trying out multiple channels – can be crucial to digital marketing success.

Our analysis found Facebook to be the most conducive channel for SMBs based on cost (CPM, CPC) as well as return (impressions, clicks), however, it was Microsoft that came out on top for reaching a more professional and affluent audience.

The research highlighted the importance of pre-determining your specific target audience. Hence, when it comes to choosing the channel – or channels – for your business it’s really worth thinking about what you are trying to achieve with your ad spend and who you’re truly trying to reach.

What are you really trying to achieve?

Right at the offset, it’s important to think about your end goal and ask yourself who are the customers you are looking to target and what is the most efficient way to get to them.

Existing research told us that for SMBs acquiring new customers was the most chased goal on the customer journey followed by ‘generating awareness’, ‘generating leads’, and ‘retaining customers’.

Taking this into account, the Cambridge team found that merging the traditional sales funnel with the customer lifecycle model would be the best way for an SMB to manage its overall marketing goals.

Overlapping resolution methodology then allowed the team to determine the impact of cost on different marketing channels. This way, SMBs would be able to effectively determine which platform is best to use when similarities occur.

We found through the research that it was the choice of the channel itself that had the most significant impact on both CPM and CPC. Having determined a connection between channel and cost KPIs, further research was conducted to find out the average CPM and CPC across Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads.

While it was Facebook that was the most cost-effective channel on average for SMBs overall, the recommendations were that businesses should still look at the click-through rates of other channels to determine whether other factors such as industry or geography could make a significant difference.

If you’re choosing between Google and Microsoft, the results suggest using Google due to its high reach and low cost, however, Microsoft could also be useful, particularly as it offers high-level targeting and demographics that can be suitable for specific business types.

What is your ad saying?

Another factor that perhaps many businesses don’t consider when deciding on a platform is the sentiment of their messaging.

When analyzing the data this was another area where the research team saw differentiation depending on the channel where the advert appeared.

cross-channel marketing and advertising CTR stats

Microsoft proved to be the most popular platform when it came to a positive sentiment with a CTR of 4.2 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for neutral and 3.3 percent for negative sentiment.

Interestingly, the opposite was true for Google ads where negative sentiment proved most popular with users, gaining a CTR rate of 6.5 percent compared to 5.7 percent for neutral and negative messaging.

Again, it highlights how important it is to take that time to tweak your ads for testing purposes and learn what works best for your target customers so you can capitalize on your spends.

Every business is unique

It’s no secret that the one size fits all approach doesn’t necessarily work. All businesses are different and therefore their ad spend and utilization will of course differ.

Some people, as we all do, want to go with the stats and what has proven to have worked historically for businesses, and whilst that can be taken into account, that’s not to stay that it will work for every business. Therefore, it’s always important to remember to take the time to consider where you are spending and who you are trying to reach.

Plus, it is worth remembering that although GoogleFacebook, and Microsoft Ads are the most popular online advertising platforms, there are alternative (and less expensive) places to list your ads including Reddit, Amazon, and industry-specific sites such as Capterra. Despite having fewer users, these are still effective as it’s often easier to reach your exact target audience and could work as an addition to your primary platform.

Looking ahead

We hope that through this research we’ve provoked SMBs to think carefully about their target audience and specific objectives prior to ad spend allocation.  What we’ve showcased here is that the advertising platforms explored within this study work effectively in their own right depending on the end goal and we hope these insights will enable SMBs to achieve greater overall results.

These learnings help determine how cross-channel partnerships can be best leveraged for SMB customers. As Facebook seems to be the most used channel by 70 percent of SMBs, and data analysis suggests it is optimal in terms of cost and return, the data will be used to scale Facebook features and opportunities. A lot of the learnings we unearthed from this study will also go directly into the core technology of the Adzooma product.

Rob Wass is Co-founder and CEO of Adzooma.

Akanshaa Khare is currently pursuing an MBA at Cambridge University and has five years of Product Management experience and three years of Consulting experience, helping consulting firms such as BCG and ZS Associates.

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