Create Landing Pages that Convert
Your marketing landing pages are receiving a lot of traffic — but are they converting visitors into leads? A landing page is an essential part of your marketing strategy for attracting new prospects and pulling them further into the customer funnel.
The average conversion rate for landing pages is 2.35% across industries. Of those, 25% of sites have a conversion rate of 5.31% or above. The top 10% of sites have a conversion rate of 11.45% or higher. If your conversion rate isn’t reaching the high end of these percentages, we’ve got the best optimization strategies necessary to create a top-performing landing page that converts.
Eight Ways to Create a Landing Page that Converts
Here are actionable tips to get your landing page to convert like the top 10%.
Create a Good UX
For an optimal user experience, follow the best design principles. Sometimes, even if your copy is good, a poor design can hurt your landing page conversion rate.
What you need to do: Test different designs and tweak the highest-converting elements until you reach an ideal landing page look, feel, and experience.
Lyft’s landing page is well-designed and well-balanced, with a good proportion of text and imagery. With a single-field form and a CTA that stands out, they make it easy for users to sign up right there and then. The page also includes a benefit-oriented headline, encouraging visitors to take the next step.
Using social proof as part of your marketing strategy is one of the easiest tactics to adopt. Once you’ve successfully driven visitors to your website, you want them to stay there. Findings reveal that online reviews impact 88% of consumers’ buying decisions. Customers don’t trust brands as much as they trust other people. Using testimonials on your landing page can also:
- Give you the opportunity to showcase important features in an easy-to-read format
- Help you get ahead of your competition
- Establish use cases that might otherwise not be highlighted in marketing copy
- Give prospects a chance to read a review that addresses their concerns
- Demonstrate your product has been approved by a wide range of different people
What you need to do: Include testimonials on your landing page by displaying simple quotes or videos to help build trust. Alternatively, link the quotes to a person’s direct social profile. To add a more personal touch, use customer photos where possible.
KeyScouts is an online marketing agency that has chosen to use a socially proven customer testimonial widget on their landing page. Not only does it look authentic, but for visitors who want to verify that a review is real, it connects them to the reviewer’s LinkedIn profile.
Keep Forms Short (and don’t forget to link to a thank you page)
You don’t want to sacrifice lead quality, but if you find a way to eliminate a form field or two, it could have a serious impact on your conversion rate. When you reduce the number of form fields, even by one, it improves your conversion rate by almost half. If users have to go through a lengthy process just to receive your offer, chances are they will leave the site without completing the form.
What you need to do: Determine the value of what your offer will bring your consumers. Then begin formulating how many fields, and what types, to show your user, eliminating any that are unnecessary.
Shopify has created a single field on their landing page, making it as easy and quick as possible for customers to take action. All you have to do is provide your email address to start a free trial. When a form is simple to complete and customers don’t have to offer up too much personal information, they may be more willing to commit.
Compel Visitors to act NOW
Leverage a sense of scarcity and urgency. This creates higher demand by inducing FOMO (fear of missing out), thereby motivating consumers to act faster. However, scarcity alone will not create demand. Using a combination of the value of an item and showing consumers that they can trust you as a vendor when the deadline hits is key.
What you need to do: Determine what offer will drive urgency and decide how you want to present it. Be sure to make a clear and meaningful distinction between the offer and the normal price. You can use keywords like “hurry,” “limited quantity available,” and “time is running out.” Using red throughout your designs is also a powerful tactic that tends to attract consumer attention.
There’s a reason Amazon is one of the most widely used e-commerce sites. If you’re already an avid Amazon shopper, you’re probably well aware that it’s one of the best places to strike a good deal—and that’s because Amazon knows how to make its customers keep coming back for discounts. They show you the quantity left for the product you’re considering with a harmless “order soon” side note that generates impulsive purchases. Amazon also masters the principle of creating urgency by sneaking in copy that lets you know how much time you have left. And if that’s not enough, they incentivize customers to act quickly by advertising “lightning deals” and offering warped perspectives on savings to “trick” you into buying things.
If you aren’t already using videos on your landing page, it’s time to start. Videos are a valuable way to create trust and comfort. It gives the information you’re conveying more context and makes it more personal. In fact, businesses that utilize video as part of their content marketing strategy see an 86% increase in conversion rates.
What you need to do: Define why your visitors need your solution and what’s going to happen next. If you can effectively answer these questions in your video, you will exponentially increase your chances of landing more conversions.
PartnerMD uses a video to address the common pain points of the normal healthcare experience. In the video, there is a clear explanation of what PartnerMD offers and why concierge medicine is the best solution. More importantly, the video explains why the form is there and what the visitor will accomplish by filling it out.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of White Space
Using white space on your landing page helps you create a visual hierarchy that guides the viewer where you want them to go. By focusing on white space placement, you can strategically draw attention to the most important elements of your page first. Essentially, creating a bigger impact for your content.
What you need to do: Break up your content by separating text from images to improve readability. Remove any distractions and give all elements enough surrounding space so your landing page isn’t cluttered.
Wix has created a captivating and stunning illustration of a website design on its landing page. The headline copy is short and to the point, the white text is easy to read, and the use of white space is carefully balanced with the other elements on the page. By using white space, the page’s touchpoints are clear, encouraging visitors with a direct call to action.
Grab Attention with the Right Imagery
Using relevant images or humanizing your offer can make it more relatable, encouraging visitors to convert more easily. Images usually catch consumers’ eyes before they even read your headline. In fact, because our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, they influence a visitor’s immediate opinion about your brand.
What you need to do: Since you don’t have long to make a first impression, choose your images wisely. Make sure the images you select accurately promote your product or services. And of course, use visuals that are high quality. Your goal should be to create a landing page that is memorable, easily understood, and emotionally relatable.
Tushy’s landing page is creatively brilliant. From a humorous image to its soft pastel color palette and clean design, they successfully capture their visitors’ attention. It’s minimal, attractive, and memorable. Their value proposition is laser-focused, identifying who the target audience is while highlighting the benefit of their product.
Eliminate Customer Fears
There are many strategies you can use to alleviate customer fears. Take buyers’ concerns into account, and you’ll be seeing more conversions before you know it. By eliminating any hesitations they have about your product or service, you can boost their willingness to buy.
What you need to do: Give consumers the confidence that your product is one they can trust. Keep your promises. Follow through on shipping policies if you offer them, consider offering money-back guarantees, and give customers a way to test-drive your product.
Example: Warby Parker
Warby Parker gives customers ease of mind by letting them try on glasses before fully committing to buying them. By giving their customers time to make a decision from the comfort of their own homes, Warby Parker sways its customers towards a more enjoyable experience.
Ready to Start Converting Leads?
When done right, landing pages can generate a significant number of qualified leads. By implementing our tips you’ll get ahead of your competitors in no time.
Contact MarinOne today to learn how our platform can help improve your paid media management processes and get the landing page conversion rates you seek.
Businesses are increasing marketing spending in a bid to stand out in highly competitive environments. As spend increases, executives and decision-makers must ensure that each dollar spent on marketing generates proportionate revenue for the business.
Click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that is regularly used by businesses to analyze marketing performance and determine future marketing strategies. However, understanding of CTR remains woefully inadequate. Read on to learn what CTR is and how analyzing it can help businesses achieve short- and long-term marketing success.
What is CTR?
Businesses often track how many users view and interact with a particular ad or social media post. CTR is the metric used to measure the percentage of viewers who click the link embedded in that ad or post. CTR is used to determine how well an ad, keyword, or social media post is performing.
CTR can easily be calculated by dividing the number of clicks that each ad receives by the number of impressions or views the ad has and representing that number as a percentage. For example, if 10 people click on an ad that was viewed by 100 people, the CTR of that ad would be 10%.
Companies can evaluate their CTR against the performance of other ads from the same industry. For example, ads from companies in arts and entertainment average a CTR of 10.67%, while ads for legal services experience an average CTR of 3.84%. Knowing how your industry typically performs helps put your performance metrics in the right context to evaluate them accurately and effectively.
What marketers must know before they can effectively analyze Click-Through Rate
Higher CTR does not necessarily mean positive marketing results
Results generated by marketing efforts may seem difficult to measure, quantify, or link to specific business results. However, this is often due to a misunderstanding of how each metric reveals specific insight into marketing performance.
Marketers must have specific goals and must choose the right metrics to evaluate if these targets are being met. Marketers who focus heavily on conversions might use CTR to view how effectively each ad is being used to increase visibility—but CTR does not measure how many of those clicks lead to conversions.
Keywords are valued differently depending on their ability to directly generate profits
Keywords play a major role in the CTR of an online ad. The right keywords can encourage more clicks, higher conversions, and better engagement with the ad. However, every keyword has a unique value within each industry depending on how effective they are in generating profits, so marketers must carefully evaluate how keywords are valued in their specific industry.
Industry research showed that marketers typically use keyword rankings, organic traffic, and time spent on the page in conjunction with CTR to measure the value of each keyword. This information can then determine how much of the budget should be spent on each set of keywords and how frequently they should be used in marketing campaigns.
CTR must be analyzed through the lens of affordability and relevance
CTR can provide significant insight into marketing performance for digital marketers. However, it should always be analyzed with the specific financial needs of the campaign. Even if an ad converts a customer, the profit generated by the customer must be higher than the amount of money the marketer spent to get that click.
3 Ways to achieve consistently positive business results in an increasingly saturated online space
Segment keywords into groups to enable improved Audience targeting and segmentation
Businesses can use many keywords across different marketing campaigns and channels to better reach a wider audience. Each of these channels must be properly evaluated to truly understand their importance to the company. Marketing spending on each channel must accurately reflect its importance to marketers and their audience.
Park ‘N Fly, an offsite airport parking company, used keyword segmentation and optimized paid-search spending to double their CTR to 6% from 3% the previous year with the use of Marin Professional. Effectively analyzing CTR helped them optimize spending across 65 campaigns that used 2,000 keywords across multiple channels and platforms.
Ensure consistency in messaging across ad text, marketing collaterals, and landing page copy
Once you’ve figured out how each keyword performs, it’s important to use the same keywords to reach that audience effectively across different channels. This also ensures that the marketing message is not diluted or forgotten when viewed on platforms that deviate from the language that was determined to be effective. This consistency has to extend beyond ads to marketing collateral such as email blasts, promotions, and landing page copy.
Regularly analyze the links between keyword usage and business results with modern attribution analysis methods
The modern customer demands that companies learn their preferences quickly and expects communication that aligns with their values, beliefs, needs, and preferences. This means marketers must always have their finger on the pulse to learn when customer preferences have changed. Attribution analysis can help businesses understand if their keyword usage and ad language have kept up with changing customer behavior and the extent to which certain keywords are still relevant to existing marketing campaigns.
Manage your ads with insights from MarinOne
Marin’s online ad management software makes it easy for marketers to learn how their ads are performing and place that information in the right context. Analyzing the yield generated by each keyword, ad, copy, and product can help marketers optimize their ad spend in a way that maximizes conversions and sales.
Learn more about MarinOne today. Get in touch with one of our experts to see how we can help you get the information and tools you need to increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Pay Per Click advertising is a great way to generate leads and sales, especially for new e-commerce businesses. It can help you get instant results, whereas something like an SEO strategy can take months. Some of the benefits of PPC advertising are:
- Targeting prospective customers precisely based on location, demographics, interests, etc.
- Tracking ad campaign goals is simple.
- It is easy to test what produces the best results quickly. You can A/B test keywords, headers, descriptions, etc.
- Paid ads provide a wide range of formatting options compared to SEO through ad extensions.
As an e-commerce brand, you can maximize your ad spend and improve your conversion rate through proper PPC campaign management. The challenges and roadblocks e-comm companies face are distinctive from B2B companies or brick-and-mortar retailers. To help you improve your e-commerce PPC management approach and get the best performance marketing results possible, we have put together some optimization tips to support your efforts:
Tap into Targeted Dynamic Ads
Google allows you to target specific website pages that reflect the search intent of your users. Google does this by crawling your website for things such as text phrases, headlines, descriptions, and other custom labels. These are called dynamic search ads.
If you are an e-commerce website with many product pages, a blog, and landing pages for your downloads or newsletters, you might want to set up targeted dynamic ads.
Google can crawl your website and automatically match the content to the PPC ad. Additionally, having an alternative to AdSense would help you set up dynamic ads based on different target types, custom labels, page types, content, or target URLs. An example of custom labels for different page URLs is shown below.
Remember that you can upload an excel sheet with all your custom labels and other product tags. With dynamic search ads, you will generally want to stick to demand gen ads focused on accelerating sales and leads.
You should also split-test your headlines and descriptions to see which previews are best. For example, the image above shows a preview test of two different product descriptions.
Focus on Product Page Optimization
A product landing page for your paid search campaign is primarily designed to convert a lead. Your product pages should align with your PPC ads to reduce bounce rates and optimize conversions.
On top of that, you’ll need social proof, compelling CTAs, and a fast-loading product page to convert most of the traffic coming in.
Let’s take the example of a keyword search for “IT solutions company,” and the Google ads pop up below. We click on the second “Freshservice” ad.
Clicking on this ad result takes us to the landing page in the next screengrab. This landing page does something effective; it provides social proof of the product (“trusted by global brands”) and has a strong CTA (“Get Started for Free” or “Request Demo.”)
So, how do you optimize your product landing page? Here’s how:
- Use strong headlines, prominent call-to-actions, and an attractive design
- Make your landing page mobile-friendly and easy to navigate
- Add visuals showcasing your product
- Utilize social proof on your landing page
The use of relevant keywords is encouraged on your landing page. But make sure to maintain optimal keyword density to avoid Google treating your content as spam.
Leverage Google Shopping Ads
Shopping ads appear at the top of organic search results, but they pack a little something extra. Shopping ads are more visual and can also be enriched using ad extensions.
Both Google and Bing offer shopping ads. An example of Bing shopping ads is shown below.
Numerous industry case studies support the effectiveness of Google Shopping Ads in driving traffic and boosting conversions.
You can optimize your Google Shopping Ads by applying the following useful tips:
- Fill out completely your Google Merchant Center shopping product data feed - this should include descriptors like product ID, description, category, type, availability status, sale price, etc.
- Create different ad groups if you have a wide array of different products.
- Create a separate ad group for your best-selling items.
- Add promotional text to your shopping ads, such as “Get the Winter Sale Discount” or “Free shipping for all orders above $100”.
- Use HD pictures and use catchy titles and descriptions for your ads.
You have a greater chance of moving products quickly with shopping ads. For example, if you are dealing with products with a shelf life, you can pull an inventory aging report for all your products and list at-risk products on Google or Bing shopping ads.
Choose Keywords That Align
Most PPC campaigns focus on growing leads and sales since this is where you get the most ROI for your advertising budget. Thus, you should conduct keyword research that aligns with the campaign that you are running. You might want to identify target transactional or commercial keywords for a sales campaign.
Some tactics you can use to identify and implement rich PPC keywords include:
- Targeting long tail keywords with transactional search intent and low competition.
- Targeting affordable branded keywords of your competitors.
- Conducting competitor analysis to identify their target keywords.
- Create ad groups for your selected group of PPC keywords.
You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to get keyword ideas for your campaign.
In the example below, a business is targeting the keyword “espresso machine.” From Ahrefs, it’s possible to know metrics such as the monthly search volume, long-tail variations of the keyword, etc.
Important metrics to note as you do your keyword research include CPC (cost per click) and CTR (click-through rate) for each keyword.
Finally, include negative keywords in your campaign to eliminate similar but irrelevant or non-performing keywords that could impact your ad spend.
Improve the CTRs of Your Ads
Click Thru Rate refers to the number of people clicking on your ad from the total number of impressions.
For example, a CTR of 5% for 100 impressions would total five clicks. This might seem small. However, for an e-commerce click that costs, say, $1 per ad, a return of $20/item can be considered a good ROI.
You can employ several tactics to improve your CTR:
- Use ad extensions to showcase additional information. You can use extensions like site links, product reviews, features, and structured snippets.
- Use relevant keywords for your headlines, product descriptions, and captions. Adding relevant keywords is good for both your PPC and SEO campaigns.
Here is an example of a well-done e-commerce PPC ad utilizing ad extensions (price, reviews) and keyword-rich product descriptions and captions.
Finally, don’t forget to improve the quality score of your ad keywords continually. For example, you can test the same ad with slightly varied keywords and analyze them. High-quality scores will result in lower CPCs and better ad positions.
E-commerce PPC management that is streamlined, easy, and effective offers numerous benefits to your business by saving you time, headache, and precious internal resources. Make your life easier by automating parts of the PPC campaign management process, such as ad targeting, attribution tracking, budget pacing, and reporting.
To effectively carry out an e-commerce PPC campaign, use methodical strategies such as setting up dynamic search ads, doing intense keyword research, optimizing the product page, leveraging Google Shopping Ads, and improving your CTRs.
Most importantly, your business must have a clear e-commerce PPC management strategy in line with your business goals. Track your business metrics and campaign performance constantly using MarinOne, Google Analytics, and other tools. You can also hire e-commerce PPC management services or a digital marketing agency to help you make solid gains.
Matt Diggity is a guest contributor to Marin Software. He is a search engine optimization expert and the founder and CEO of Diggity Marketing, The Search Initiative, Authority Builders, and LeadSpring LLC. He is also the host of the Chiang Mai SEO Conference.
When retailers want the attention of a particular market segment, they use all kinds of strategies to effectively target their ads to specific audiences and increase conversions. The most effective one? A Google Adwords feature known as Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA).
You have probably visited a website in search of a product, only to leave that site to be targeted with an ad for the exact product you were just researching. This happens because of remarketing lists. Once we’ve shown interest in a product, businesses want us to keep thinking about it—and hopefully come back for a purchase.
What Exactly is RLSA?
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) are a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy. RLSA allows you to target users who have already been to your site with new ads so you can bring them back again and land a sale. This allows you to customize your search campaigns by tailoring ads and bids for related keywords on Google or other Google Display Network sites. By leveraging this tactic, you can connect with pre-qualified prospects to increase your conversion rates, revenue, and overall profits.
How Does RLSA Work?
When shoppers are surfing the digital landscape for products, standard display remarketing catches their attention with ads. However, users are not very receptive to these kinds of placements, and many people use ad blocking technology to avoid them altogether. In fact, a study done by Statista indicates that more than 42.7% of people worldwide use ad blocking tools.
RLSAs are different. They target audiences with search ads instead of intrusive display popups. In contrast to typical Google display ads, RLSAs only appear when a user has actively searched for a term.
5 Benefits of RLSA
When used correctly, RLSA ads refine your ad campaigns and help direct your ad budget into a highly valuable market. Here’s a look at some of RLSAs biggest advantages.
Compared to Other Targeting Strategies, RLSA is More Likely to Drive Conversions
Because you can customize content, you can increase customer engagement. Using search ads allows you to offer personalization and increases win-back potential. According to a ComScore study that analyzed 103 campaigns from 39 different advertisers covering seven industries, retargeting ads generated an average lift of 1,046%.
You Will Increase Click-Through-Rates (CTR)
RLSA enables you to target people who have already shown interest in your brand. Because these leads are considered qualified, they are more likely to return, giving you a higher CTR and a better quality score. With a higher quality score, your ad ranking in the SERPs is also likely to be higher.
RLSAs Enable You to Trial Broad Keywords
Using broad keywords can lead to more conversions by expanding your reach. By using RLSAs, you can set up different campaigns or ad groups for the keywords you want to try so you can determine whether they improve conversion rates.
RLSAs Make Ad Spend More Efficient
With RLSAs you can choose to target only valuable and qualified users, excluding those who are not providing value, thus saving money. You can also adjust your remarketing lists so users who have chosen to disable ads are not targeted, making your campaigns more cost-effective.
RLSAs Improve ROI
Remarketing lists allow you to segment your audiences into lists based on their performance. As a result, it can help you stay connected with potential customers who have previously shown interest, leading to increased sales and improved ROI.
The Do’s and Don’ts of RLSA
Do Understand Your Audience Before Beginning
For better results with your targeted ads, learn about your website visitors and their typical behaviors throughout their customer journey. Analyze the funnel steps they travel through before converting.
Do Start Slow
Conduct an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t work.
Don’t Bid on Vague or Generic Keywords in Search Campaigns
Instead of selecting your #1 prospecting keyword, consider starting with your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th ranked prospecting keyword.
Do Reduce Your Bid Dramatically When Retargeting Past Visitors
Bid aggressively lower, not conservatively lower. Don’t be afraid to adjust your bid to be lower than what you are bidding on your current prospecting campaign. Doing so will allow you to realize the true impact of your retargeted search.
Don’t Use Broad Value Propositions and General Claims When Retargeting Past Website Visitors
Remember that you are retargeting visitors who have already been to your site and are familiar with your brand or product. Instead of beating around the bush, be direct, clear, and bold. Write copy that hard sells, something that will encourage people to take immediate action on your offer.
Do Match Messaging to User Action
Make sure that the ad copy you use is relevant to the action your users have already taken that got them on your remarketing list originally.
How MarinOne Can Help
Interested in boosting your remarketing results or improving your search ad campaigns? Implement RLSAs to see your performance increase with less time, money, and effort.
By partnering with MarinOne, you can improve your targeting efforts and increase your financial lift. With MarinOne’s platform, you can segment and target high value customers by audience across search, social, and display to drive your next wave of cross-channel optimization. To learn more, read our article on how to use RLSA.
Ready to get started? Contact one of our MarinOne experts today for a free trial.
Recently Google announced that Performance Max campaigns would be a more significant part of the Google Ads platform and therefore a greater part of paid media strategies for marketers at large. Since then, many questions have been raised as to what exactly this campaign type is and how it differs from other campaigns. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few of the most common concerns coming up for advertisers and best practices to deal with the changes below.
First of all, what are Performance Max campaigns?
Performance Max (PMax) means you can now buy Google Ads across the entire inventory of products from a single campaign, with expanded coverage across a myriad of different placement types, including:
PMax uses a mix of automation and machine learning to help advertisers reach their conversion goals with all of these placement types all within one campaign. Performance Max campaigns should complement keyword-based search campaigns, as well as boost performance across Google's less competitive advertising channels like Gmail and Display.
If paid media marketers invest wisely, this could bring in a whole new set of customers who are not as familiar with online shopping. Previously in Beta and compatible with Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, Performance Max will be a replacement for Performance Max Offline and Performance Max for Retail by the beginning of October 2022, meaning paid specialists need to make the pivot now.
How do Performance Max campaigns work?
Performance Max helps you drive performance based on your specified conversion goals, delivering more conversions and value by optimizing performance in real-time and across channels using Smart Bidding. Performance Max combines Google's automation technologies across bidding, budget optimization, audiences, creatives, attribution, and more. They're all empowered by your specific advertising objective (for example, if you have a CPA or ROAS target) and the creative assets, audience signals, and optional data feeds you provide.
“Performance Max puts your business goals front and center, and prioritizes these above other signals by inputting your specific conversion goals,”
-Rodney Ip, Global Product Lead, Google Ads
Performance Max are goal-based campaigns, designed to deliver the value that matters most to you. So, to get started, you choose the goals that are necessary for you to reach your marketing objective. Then Google asks you to provide a series of inputs that help the AI tool get campaigns started. These inputs include:
- Creative assets (like text, imagery, and video)
- Optional feeds such as:
- Google Merchant Center
- Google My Business
- Dynamic Ads Feed
- Other Business Data Feeds
- Audience Signals
- First party / remarketing lists
- Google Audiences / custom audiences
PMax campaigns are then able to take those inputs and invest your budget as effectively as possible, maintaining a core focus on the initial objective you set. Google’s automation goes to work finding the best potential customers and serving those customers the most relevant ad. Bidding and attribution technology then determine the most optimal bids to meet your goals. And of course, it’s all done in real time in the auction.
Targeting technology, machine learning, and automated bidding all culminate to a campaign with the best possible ROI outcome. In fact, Google’s data thus far indicates Performance Max campaigns average a 13% lower cost per conversion than any other campaign to date.
How to maximize the effectiveness of PMax campaigns
Because they leverage machine learning and automation to drive performance, Performance Max can leave advertisers feeling like they have given up some control over their campaigns. But there are still some levers you can pull to maximize your PMax campaigns.
Adding audience signals to your Performance Max campaigns enhances Google’s machine learning to help you reach the best customers. Google takes your audience data and looks at the audiences for signals to identify similar buyers likely to exhibit the same behaviors and interests. You can add audiences from:
- Your first party data (customer lists, website visitors, remarketing lists, etc)
- Custom segments based on search activity, websites visited and apps used
- In-market customers with interests in products like yours
- Demographics like age, income level, and family status
Google can then use the information you have provided to inform its targeting algorithms to find customers who are most likely to convert. This is a good way to help jumpstart your Performance Max campaigns and can also continue to inform throughout the lifecycle of the campaign, especially as your first party data changes over that time.
Consider importing your offline conversions to help improve your PMax performance. By giving Google access to offline sales data in addition to your online digital attribution channels, you will give the algorithms a more comprehensive view of what’s working.
The system can then interpret which leads have resulted in sales and also the assets being used in the ad groups that are ultimately driving conversions. Incorporating these valuable insights will help deliver the best content to the customers most likely to convert.
MarinOne Engine + Performance Max Campaigns
The team at Marin has been hard at work updating the MarinOne Engine infrastructure which will deliver a powerful experience for advertisers. MarinOne Engine already powers MarinOne's newest and most advanced grids and enables new campaign types, more data, more flexible reporting, and enhanced processing for scalability.
MarinOne Engine will allow us to support additional campaign types from Google including Performance Max as well as local campaigns and additional data for video campaigns.
As you start formulating your strategy for adding Performance Max to your digital campaigns, the marketing experts at Marin are here to help. Reach out today to schedule a demo and see how MarinOne’s advanced analytics, automation, and optimization tools can work for your Google Ads programs.
How to Migrate from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
In 2023, Google will stop supporting Universal Analytics and switch all customers to Google Analytics 4. Prepare ahead of time to make your transition as seamless as possible by making GA4 an integral part of your tech stack now. We will discuss how Google Analytics 4 differs from earlier versions and there will also be pointers for maximizing the platform's functionality.
Google Analytics 4: What’s new?
So now comes the question of what new features there are in GA4, and the answer is, in short… a lot. The data collection algorithm and data structure in GA4 are quite different. Now, rather than sessions as in the past, everything is built around users and events. Every user interaction is treated as a separate event in an event-based approach.
This shift is important since, in the past, we relied on a session-based model that categorized user activities over a certain time. Marketing grows significantly from shifting the focus from sessions to events, including improved pathing analytic capabilities and cross-platform analysis.
By switching to an event-based approach, GA4 becomes more adaptable and has improved user behavior prediction.
Google Analytics 4 property events
Normally, the data in your reports comes from activities that occur as people engage with your website or blog. A page view event is triggered whenever a user accesses a page on your site.
The following events may be gathered without the use of any code:
- Automatically collected events: Events that are automatically captured when data collection is set up include first visit, ad clicks, and file downloads.
- Enhanced measurement events: This option automatically gathers enhanced measurement events such as page view, scroll, and video engagement.
- Recommended events: This represents events that you design but that have fixed names and parameters. Common events in this category could be ad impressions, coupon use for purchases, or a search performed by the user on your website directly.
- Custom events: Custom events are ones you designate and give a specific name. If none of the events in the other categories meet your requirements, you can build events that are completely bespoke to your business.
How to make the transition from Universal Analytics to GA4
To update the GA version, you can follow the steps that are listed below:
Easily install GA4 by navigating to the admin part of your reporting view in your GA3 property. Open the admin section and start the process.
You will see that the "Setup Assistant" link for GA4 located under the Property column. Click on it.
You will find the heading "I want to create a new Google Analytics 4 property," click the "Get Started" button.
In this step, you need to click on the Create Property button. New GA4 properties will now be created automatically by Google Analytics. Your current GA property will continue to exist. So you will have access to at least two GA properties. With gtag.js, the GA4 setup assistance operates automatically. You must add the Analytics tag manually if you use a website builder like WordPress, Wix, etc. However, this new GA4 property won't start gathering data automatically. For the data to begin flowing into your new GA4 property, you must configure your GTM (Google Tag Manager).
Now click on the "see your GA4 button. A new tab will open. Click on the Data stream link.
In this step, click on your web data stream. Note: Both "web stream" and "data stream" are used in Google Analytics 4. These two terms refer to the flow of analytics information your website sends to Google Analytics.
Select "Use existing on-page tag" from the Tagging instructions section. Select Google Tag Manager from the drop-down option. Now you will see the instructions for setting up a tag to track your website data in the new GA4 property. Note down the measurement ID.
Go to your GTM account and click the link for New Tags. Give your new tag a name like "GA4 tracking - All pages" and choose Google Analytics: GA4 Configuration as the tag type.
In the Measurement ID text box, type the measurement ID you recorded earlier. Make sure that your trigger fires on all pages. To save your tag, click the Save button.
Click on the Preview button, which is situated in the upper right corner. The Tag Manager Preview mode window will appear in a new browser tab. If it doesn't, it indicates that your browser is blocking the window.
Now enter your website address and click on the Connect button. Your website will appear in a new tab in your browser window as soon as you click the Connect button.
Return to the tab of your browser that displays the Tag Manager Preview mode window, and click the Continue button. Your tag is firing properly if you see the tag "GA4 tracking-All pages" in the Tags Fired column.
Now again, open your GTM account and click the submit tab. Click the Publish button after naming your version. Go back to your website, click on a few pages, and open them. After scrolling up, open your GA4 property again and click the cross button next to the Web stream details.
Finally, check your reports
From the menu on the left, just select the Reports icon.
Your home page report's quick response will be:
- What are the locations of your new users?
- Which of your campaigns performed the best?
- Which screens and pages receive the greatest traffic?
Select Real-time report by clicking over it. Your real-time report should show new data. Remember that Google Analytics 4 reports differ significantly from the Universal Analytics reports. In addition to using the new catalog, several well-known metrics and reports have been totally removed. Basically, you would have to start again with Google Analytics 4 if you were using standard reports like the Top Landing Pages report.
Keep in mind that GA4 property is the default option while establishing a new property from within an existing GA3 property. However, you can still use the GA4 Setup Assistant option in your GA3 property even after you have created your new GA4 property.
The option to "See your GA4 property" should appear when you click the GA4 Setup Assistant link once more, indicating that you have successfully set up the GA4 property and connected it to your previous GA3 property.
What is an App + Web Property?
App + Web was basically Google Analytics 4's beta version. All App + Web properties are now accessible as GA4 properties. This means that you don't need to do anything.
Open the property in your Google Analytics account. The previous Universal Analytics interface will have been replaced with the new GA4 interface.
Google Analytics 4 uses artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively gather user data, provide statistics based on customer life cycles, and help you customize your advertising to your target audience. Combining these elements can increase your chances of conversion and ROI while also building your business.
Using GA4 in combination with MarinOne reporting and conversion tracking tools will give your marketing team complete visibility on all your website impressions, engagement, and actions…with a holistic view of users and events across channels and devices. By automatically connecting and combining siloed marketing data from thousands of sources, you can understand the impact of your marketing at both high and granular levels.
Ready to know your best-performing tactics across the consumer’s journey and optimize every marketing dollar? Speak with one of our expert consultants today to learn how to get started.
Savvy digital marketers know that Google Ads is a great way to reach more customers and bring leads to your business. 96% of brands spend money on Google Ads, so this is Marketing 101, right? But while you know it's a must, getting Google Ads to deliver can sometimes prove tricky.
You could be making common mistakes that cost you money and reduce your ROI.
So, to help you squeeze the absolute most from your marketing spend, we'll discuss some of the most common Google Ads mistakes to watch out for. Let’s get started.
Mistake 1: Not Targeting Ads Correctly
Let's say Bob runs a small business that sells blenders online. He's been running ads for a while now, and he’s gotten pretty good at it. But there is one mistake he keeps making: he isn’t targeting his ads correctly.
Bob’s ad with the keyword “blender” is getting a lot of clicks from people searching for the 3D graphics tool. That’s a problem—he needs to target his ads to cooks specifically. To do that, he needs to use the right keywords.
For example, he could use keywords like “kitchen blender” or “smoothie blender.” Using these keywords, he can ensure his ad is shown to people who are actually looking for what he’s selling.
Once Bob's worked out which keywords are most likely to perform best for his business, he must weave these phrases into his product descriptions, website copy, and blog posts.
Our recommendation? Hire a conversion copywriter to help you. Writing with keywords can be a bit like playing Tetris—if you can’t slot them in naturally, it won't work.
Mistake 2: Not Using Negative Keywords
Negative keywords are words or phrases for which you don’t want your ad to show. For example, if you sell blenders, you might want to add “software” and “3D imaging” as negative keywords. That way, your ad won’t appear when someone searches for the software development tool.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to add negative keywords to their campaigns. As a result, they waste money reaching people who are not searching for their products.
Mistake 3: Not Bidding On the Right Keywords
You need to bid on the right keywords when running a display ad. If you don’t, your ad might not show up at all. And if you bid on the wrong keywords, you could waste money.
For example, let’s say you sell women’s clothing. You could bid on keywords like “women’s clothing” or “dresses.” But if you bid on the keyword “clothing,” your ad might show up for searches like “men’s clothing” or “kids’ clothing.” And you don’t want to waste your money on those clicks.
To avoid this mistake, use Google's Keyword Planner to research which keywords are most relevant to your business. Add those keywords to your campaign and bid on them accordingly.
Mistake 4: Not Using Ad Extensions
Ad extensions give your ad more space and include more information—like a CTA, phone number, address, image, or video. All this information can be beneficial to potential customers, and it can help you stand out from the competition.
To add ad extensions to your campaign, go to the “Ad extension” tab in your Google Ads account and choose which extensions you want to add.
Mistake 5: Not Tracking Your Results
If you’re not tracking your results, you won’t know if your ad is working, and you could be wasting a lot of money. Check the performance to see what’s working and what isn’t. To do this, you need to set up conversion tracking.
Conversion tracking measures how many people who see your ad go on to do what you want them to do. This could be making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter, or downloading a white paper.
To set up conversion tracking, you’ll need to add a piece of code to your website. This might sound daunting, but it’s pretty simple (check out the link for a step-by-step guide).
Mistake 6: Not Optimizing With Conversion Testing
If you’re not testing and optimizing, you could miss out on many conversions. Test different headlines, descriptions, and call-to-actions to see what works best. You might be surprised by the results.
To test different elements of your ad, create two (or more) ads that are identical except for the component you want to try. For example, you could test two headlines and see which one gets more clicks.
Once you’ve created your ads, run them for a set period (usually at least a week) to collect data. Then compare the results and see which ad performed better.
Mistake 7: Search Network & Display Network Default Campaign Targeting Options
When you create a new campaign, Google will automatically set your targeting options to the Search Network & Display Network. It might not be necessary to target both of these networks (though they often work well together), so be sure to get a sense of which is best for you if that’s the case.
To change your targeting options, go to the “Networks” tab in your campaign settings. You can deselect the Search Network and/or Display Network.
Mistake 8: Not Using Location Targeting
Location targeting helps restrict your ad to people in a chosen region so you can maximize your marketing spend and have your ads seen by those most likely to respond.
There are a few different ways to target your ads to a specific location. The first is to target by country, state, or city. For example, if you only want to show your ad to people in New York, you would select “Target” and then “Location.”
You can also target by radius. This is useful if you have a brick-and-mortar store and you want to target people who live nearby. To do this, select “Target” and then “Radius.”
Finally, you can target by zip code. This is similar to targeting by radius, but it’s more precise. For instance, you might want to advertise to residents in a suburb but not in the adjacent business park. Select “Target” and " Zip code " to execute this tactic.
Mistake 9: Ignoring Regional Trends
When you’re targeting a specific region, knowing the trends in that area gives you a tremendous advantage. For example, if you’re targeting the United States, you might find that there are certain states where your product or service is more popular than others. Or maybe you sell fans, and there’s a heatwave in one part of the country. Trends can help you spot these opportunities.
Google Trends can show you insights about a specific region. Simply enter a keyword or phrase and select a region. Google Trends will then show you how popular that keyword or phrase is in that area.
How MarinOne can help
Display advertising is a great way to reach your target audience, while search ads are the best way to get prospects down the sales funnel and help them convert. The fight to stand out is fierce, but by avoiding these common mistakes, you have a real shot at reaping the rewards. If you want to improve your search engine marketing or display ads strategy, MarinOne can help you identify opportunities and optimize your campaigns.
There are many moving parts to a GA campaign, from targeting to keywords to ad extensions. MarinOne gives you one platform to manage all of your paid search campaigns so you can avoid mistakes and save time. It integrates with GA so you can see your analytics in one place, allowing you to track your results and make adjustments as needed. Finally, you can automate and optimize your ads with just a few clicks. To get things rolling, you don’t need to be a technical expert—our platform is designed for non-technical users.
Would you like to find out what MarinOne can do for you? Schedule a free demo to learn more.
Bing has an emoji search feature that allows users to find information on a variety of topics by simply typing in an emoji. But why? What does it mean? And how does it work?
Allow us to explain...
What is Bing Emoji Support?
Bing emoji support is a feature that allows users to insert emojis into their search queries. This can be done by typing in a colon followed by the desired emoji code. For example, if you want to insert the smiley face emoji, you would type in— :smile: or you could just type in — 😊. Bing will then search, based on the semantic meaning of that emoji.
“As you likely know, emoji are small pictures used to express an idea or emotion. With the explosion of mobile devices and the ubiquity of texting, it has become a shorthand language used by billions of us around the world. At Bing we want you to be able to search the same way you communicate every day,” the company said.
What's the deal with emojis?
The emoji has come a long way since its inception in 1999. The first set of 176 emojis were released by Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese designer who was working on a messaging system for NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier. At the time, most mobile phones could only display black and white text. So, Kurita designed a set of 12×12 pixel images that could be used to express various emotions.
“Emoji” by Shigetaka Kurita, which can be seen in the MoMA
The word “emoji” comes from the Japanese words “e” (picture) and “moji” (letter or character). The term entered the mainstream in 2010 when it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Since then, the use of emojis has exploded.
There are now over 3,000 emojis in existence, with new ones being introduced all the time. In 2015, the Unicode Consortium, the organization responsible for approving new emojis, approved 72 new emojis. And in 2016, they approved 250 new emojis, including a range of diverse skin tones and gender-neutral characters.
Emojis are now widely used for communication purposes—sometimes more than words. This makes them a great tool to have when you need to explain something complicated in a simple way without adding too much extra information.
How do I use Bing emoji support?
It’s easy. Just go onto your favorite web browser and type in "Bing" then click on the smiley face beside the search bar.
Next, start typing in your query as you normally would. For example, if you want to find out how to make a cake, you would type in “How to make a cake.” But if you want to use an emoji to express your query, you would type in “🧑🍳🎂.”
You can also use Bing emoji support to filter your searches. For example, if you only want to see results for videos, you would type in “🎂📹.”
Bing will then display a list of results that are relevant to your query. You can also click on the “More” button to filter your results even further.
Why is this feature useful?
This feature allows users access to incorporate emojis into their everyday searches. This is especially useful when you consider that Gen Z uses emojis exclusively in text messaging 39% of the time.
The feature doesn’t just work for emoji associations, but also for those times when you’re not sure what one image actually means. Then, in a move that’s similar to image searching, Bing will tell you what it means so you’re no longer puzzled and you can use it correctly.
How can marketers take advantage of Bing emoji support?
Marketers can use Bing emoji support to better understand how users are searching for their products or services. For example, if you sell cake mix, you could track the number of searches for “🧑🍳🎂” over time.
This would give you an idea of how many potential customers are searching for the products you sell and provide valuable metrics to show how you can reach them. For example, if you notice that a lot of users are searching for “🧑🍳🎂”, you could create a campaign that targets people who are interested in baking cakes.
Overall, Bing emoji support is a great way to understand how users are communicating about your products or services. It can also be used to create more targeted marketing campaigns that will reach a wider audience.
So many choices… (Image Source).
The future of emojis on search engines
Typing out words and phrases is still the norm when entering a search engine query, so emojis won’t replace text any time soon. However, they are becoming more prevalent in our everyday usage—not just to augment our messages, but also as a language on its own.
Here are some creative ways you can use Bing emoji search:
- Ask where the best donuts in NYC are by replacing the word “donut” with the 🍩.
- Try out clever combos. For example, find cupcakes near you by picking out the cup emoji and the 🍵🎂emoji.
- Request a random result by using the 🎲 emoji.
Emojis are becoming increasingly popular across all types of media. They can be used to express ideas without having to say a word, but they also have other, more creative uses.
From asking where the nearest cinema is, through to being able to search for cupcakes—you can use Bing emoji support in different and clever ways.
How MarinOne can help
Whether your users are searching via emoji or traditional text—on Bing or Google—we can help you connect with more users.
MarinOne is a comprehensive marketing platform that aims to give users the ability to discover and take advantage of all marketing opportunities. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, it is one of the most versatile and user-friendly platforms around.
Learn more about MarinOne’s automation tools today. Get in touch and speak to one of the team.
The buyer journey is complex and digital marketers need to be able to connect with the right customers through the entire process. Different ad formats and placements can help brands make consumers aware of their product, push them into consideration for that product, and ultimately drive them to purchase it. Two key ad types to consider are search ads (served on search engines like Google, Bing, etc.) and display ads (served throughout the internet on various websites).
The main difference between display and search ads is that search ads are considered "pull" advertising while display ads are considered "push" advertising. So, search ads only appear to consumers actively searching for the required product or service. In contrast, display ads are considered paid placement and can appear anywhere on the web that a user may be navigating. These advertisements are based on several targeting parameters. Search and display advertisements are set up and run using various ad networks, from Google Ads to Amazon DSP, Criteo, and many others.
If your company's marketing budget is substantial enough to support various ad types, then you can (and should) test both search and display ads in your advertising strategy. But keep in mind that these ads are not interchangeable. Depending on the product or service type, you may have better click and conversion performance with one or the other. Think through the customer journey and how customers find your products. Is your product something that people need to seek out actively when the need for it arises, or maybe your product is something buyers might not know they need until they see an ad and the potential use case of your product?
Advantages of Search ads
There are a lot of advantages of search advertising or search engine marketing (SEM). The first of many factors to consider is budget. If the available engine spend of the company is on the smaller side, say less than $10K per month, then SEM may be the best tactic for your business, as it allows more control over who finds your business and at what time. Targeting the right keywords is paramount in SEM for capturing users seeking your service or product. Getting focused and intentional in keyword targeting means that the business doesn't have to waste money on people that are not interested in the industry or are not yet ready to make a purchase decision.
Another benefit is that businesses can easily cater to a local market via search engine marketing. Many targeting options can be paired with keyword targeting, so you end up with more niche and specific audience segments. Geographic, language, gender, age, and affinity (or interest) targeting are all available segments on Google Ads, for example.
In SEM, the sales cycle is typically short, and you are seeking to capture users at the bottom of the funnel or close to the point of purchase. Therefore, there is no need to continue advertising to individuals that have taken action or converted on-site unless remarketing is an essential tactic for your business. This strategy keeps audiences fresh and malleable.
Advantages of display ads
Display ads are an effective tactic for any product that is visual in nature. Clothing, cars, beauty, pet care, and more are all excellent candidates for display as the customer offering can be summarized quickly and visually with a single image.
In less visually friendly industries, like SaaS, insurance, education, or many B2B services…display can still be an effective ad type but with a different approach. In these sectors, short impactful phrases or statements, a key value proposition, or some kind of explanatory graphic (like illustrations) is the better way to quickly reach a display ad viewer. If the CTA and key message cannot be grasped in under 3 seconds on a display ad…your messaging is ineffective and needs to be revisited.
Another advantage of display advertising is that it provides unique access to niche or luxury buyers. With many demand-side platforms (or DSPs), segments can get as granular as a limited website list where you believe your potential customers would visit. Data mining paired with display advertising is also an effective method of getting your message to the right person at the right time, but be cautious that your data provider follows all privacy guidelines in your target geographical region.
Another technique for utilizing display ads is to focus on building brand awareness. If you want to build brand equity or get more top-funnel traffic to your website, consider display advertising a suitable medium. Simple company slogans or flagship product images ought to be utilized. If it looks like it belongs on the homepage of your website, it probably belongs in a brand awareness display ad.
Search ad considerations
We’ve established that display ads are shown on websites across the internet, but search ads only appear in search engine results. Therefore, the advertisers selecting a list of keywords relevant to the product or service must be incredibly judicious and strategic in identifying the right keywords to target. Suppose you are new to this exercise or working with the wrong advertising experts who don’t have enough know-how to develop effective keyword lists. In that case, your costs can become prohibitive quickly, and your overall ad account performance will suffer.
For search ads, each search engine advertising platform requires the advertiser to put a bidding type in place for each campaign. Identifying the right bidding type and optimization techniques for each campaign can be nuanced and sometimes a difficult task of trial and error.
Display ad considerations
The primary consideration with display advertising is that the number of businesses using this method to advertise their business has increased. Due to this, for site owners, it becomes difficult to choose the right advertisers; from a competitive perspective, many verticals are pretty crowded. Expect higher CPMs (cost per 1,0000 impressions) or CPVs (cost per view) than what was once acceptable.
Platforms like the Google Display Network make segments through categories and then offer them to advertisers as a package. Moreover, the ad networks are involved in taking bids from advertisers and working with the highest recommendations that will help them earn space on their chosen site.
How MarinOne can improve display and search ad performance
Using a campaign management platform like MarinOne can help you automate mundane tasks associated with display and search ads. Our team has experts available to consult you on the most significant opportunities for improvement. And with machine-learning and automated bidding built directly into the software, we make omnichannel advertising as simple as possible. See how your PPC campaigns across all platforms are doing in a single place, and change bids or budgets according to performance with our all-in-one solution. Our advertising team is standing by today to give you a demonstration and get you on the path to easier advertising management.
Businesses often go to great lengths to build their brand, decide on a brand message, and craft a narrative around that brand message. This time and effort are only rewarded when that narrative is effectively communicated to a brand’s target audience. Businesses spent over $238 billion on internet advertising in 2021 and this number is projected to grow significantly in the coming years.
Targeted advertising is the best way to ensure that the brand message reaches the right customer—but how do you make sure that you are paying a fair price to reach those customers? Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising allows business leaders to spread their message far and wide but only pay when engagement is registered. Here is how you can use PPC to amplify your existing brand message online.
What is PPC and how does it work?
Pay-Per-Click marketing refers to an advertising practice where advertisers pay a fixed fee each time their ad is clicked by a visitor. This helps businesses to direct visitors to their website in a cost-effective manner. Companies typically use this method of advertising to drive visitor traffic to their website or social media page through search engines and social media share pages.
Why you should use PPC for your business
Improved brand recognition and recall
One of the major reasons to advertise on the platforms where your target audiences spend the most time is to improve brand awareness. PPC advertising on the appropriate platforms ensures that the advertising brand is always top of mind for the customer when it is time for them to make a purchase.
Search engine ads that appear on generic product searches can encourage customers to associate the advertising brand with the products that they search for, making it easier for them to remember and search for the brand the next time they wish to make a purchase.
Works in tandem with existing brand material
To ensure that marketing campaigns are effective across every platform and channel, marketers must create ad copy that amplifies the brand message consistently. PPC advertising allows brands to amplify existing marketing material such as posters and infographics on social media and search engines.
Can attract new customers to the brand
Almost 60% of shoppers research a future purchase online before pulling the trigger. However, search engine results and social media pages are often saturated with marketing messages from competing brands. Successful brands can use PPC to ensure that their ad rises above their competitors’ by appearing at the top of their customers’ search results.
5 tips to help your business manage a successful ad campaign
- Consider the keywords you want to optimize for and set your budget accordingly
The popularity of PPC advertising has led to numerous brands using the strategy to make their presence known online. To rise above the crowd and reach the right audiences efficiently, brands must choose the right optimized keywords to direct customers to the appropriate ad.
Once these keywords are decided, brands must choose the right budget for their marketing efforts. Brands should consider increasing the frequency or reach of ads that serve a general audience to ensure that the ad receives the airtime that it deserves ahead of competing brands.
- Use ad extensions like sitelinks, location, callouts, etc., to make your ads more appealing
Ads should always be designed with the customer in mind. This is why it is important to make online ads as engaging as possible. This can be done by adding extensions to your ads. Extensions can come in many forms ranging from sitelinks to store locations and more. These extensions increase the likelihood of a customer engaging with the ad once they have read the accompanying copy or viewed the accompanying graphic.
- Include a clear CTA in your ads so people know what action you want them to take
In addition to extensions, brands should make it as easy as possible for a customer to continue engaging with the brand. Call-to-actions (CTAs) are a crucial part of this engagement. Clear CTAs allow brands to control the way customers interact with their ad by directing them to the appropriate platform or site that can help them receive a cohesive experience across marketing channels.
- Create different ads with different CTAs based on the audience you are targeting
A common mistake that marketers tend to make when drafting ad copy is creating generic CTAs that are copied across different ads and platforms. However, customer actions can differ greatly from platform to platform. For example, customers who click on a search engine ad are more likely to visit a website that is related to their search. On the other hand, a customer who interacts with a social media ad might need more incentive to interrupt their browsing and interact with an ad.
- Track how well each ad is performing to stop or change ads that aren't working as well
Online advertising is a dynamic activity and businesses must be prepared to react to changing customer preferences promptly. Brands can track each online ad using a variety of engagement metrics and adjust ads that fail to generate the expected response from key customer demographics. Consistent evaluation of ad performance also allows marketers to optimize ad spend on ads that seem to resonate more with the appropriate target audiences.
How MarinOne can help you effectively spread your brand message online
MarinOne helps businesses keep track of how each PPC advertisement is performing and presents this information through an easy-to-understand graphical interface. Businesses can receive a bird’s eye view of how their ads are performing across platforms or highlight individual ads to assess their effectiveness in reaching their target audience.
If you would like to learn more about how you can use software to reach your customers more effectively, contact us. We will be happy to schedule a no-strings-attached demo of our solution for you.
Competition is getting tougher in the world of eCommerce as more customers are shopping online and their expectations have never been higher.
Here are some eye-opening web statistics worth noting:
- 68% of consumers have much higher expectations for businesses’ digital capabilities following COVID-19
- 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives due to COVID-19
How can brands cope with the increased pressure to perform? Google Ads has proven vital for marketers looking to reach more customers, drive traffic, build brand awareness, and create a positive image for their business.
To help you stay ahead of the pack, here are some tips on using Google Ads to outsmart your competition.
How COVID has affected eCommerce, social, and search
The COVID pandemic has had a massive impact on eCommerce, social media, and search—in particular, on consumer behavior and expectations. More consumers are shopping online from the comfort (and safety) of their homes.
COVID changed online shopping forever (Image Source).
Social media usage has also increased as people turn to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok for news, entertainment, and shopping. In fact, a whopping 91% of marketing organizations now use social media as part of their strategy, the same amount using digital ads. More intangible products are also being purchased online (e.g., experiences, memberships, digital subscriptions).
Since COVID-19 hit, we’ve also seen a massive increase in the use of Google Ads by businesses as it is now considered an essential tool for reaching more customers, driving traffic, and building brand awareness.
However, with so many businesses using paid search and Google Ads, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. This is why it’s more important than ever to ensure your Google Ads campaigns are optimized for success.
What is Google Ads and why should you use it?
Google Ads allows businesses to create ads for their products and services. These ads are then displayed on Google search results pages and other Google properties, such as YouTube and Gmail.
The great thing about Google Ads is that it lets you target people who are specifically searching for what you offer. This makes it a much more efficient use of your marketing budget than other forms of advertising, such as TV or print.
In addition, Google Ads is a particularly flexible platform, allowing you to tailor your campaigns to your specific goals. For example, you can use Google Ads to drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and/or generate leads.
How marketers use Google Ads (Image Source).
How to get the most out of Google Ads (and outsmart your competition)
Google Ads can be an extremely effective tool for businesses looking to reach more customers and drive traffic to their websites. However, to ensure success, it's important to understand how the platform works and optimize your campaigns accordingly. In this section, we'll discuss some tips on how to outsmart your competition.
Create a memorable ad
When creating an ad, it's important to make sure that it stands out. Use eye-catching copy and good quality images—and make sure it’s relevant to your target audience. You can do this by using specific keywords that people are likely to be searching for.
Use Google Ads Editor to make changes faster
Google Ads Editor is a tool that allows businesses to quickly and easily make changes to their campaigns. It's particularly useful for those who are managing multiple campaigns. One of the best things about Google Ads Editor is that you can make changes to multiple campaigns at the same time.
Use ad extensions to increase your visibility
Ad extensions are a great way to increase your visibility and improve your click-through rate. They also allow you to add additional information to your ads, such as your phone number, website address, product images, or customer reviews.
Split-test different versions of your ads to find the most effective combination
One of the best ways to find the most effective combination of ad elements is to split-test different versions of your ads. Split-testing, also known as A/B testing, is a method of testing in which two or more variants of an ad are shown to users. The performance of each variant is then monitored and the variant that performs the best is chosen as the winner.
Use negative keywords to weed out irrelevant search terms
Negative keywords allow you to weed out irrelevant search terms that are not related to your business. This ensures that your ads are only shown to people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. To find the right negative keywords, you can use the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool: simply enter a list of keywords to see a list of related terms. You can then use this information to add relevant negative keywords to your campaign.
Experiment with different bidding strategies
There are a number of different bidding strategies that you can use with Google Ads. The most popular bidding strategy is CPC (cost-per-click), which allows you to set a maximum amount that you'll pay for each click on your ad. There are other bidding strategies you can use such as CPM (cost-per-impression) or CPA (cost-per-acquisition).
Top tip: Set limits on how much you're willing to spend and stick with it.
Include Keywords in the Ad as well as the Landing Page
One way to speed up your Google Ads campaigns is by ensuring that they are well connected from the first engagement to the call-to-action to the messaging on the LP or product page. For example, if you have a certain keyword, then your ad copy should mention it and the landing page should also mention that same keyword. If someone searches for your eyeshadow brand on the search engine, you would want them to end up on a landing page that features only that particular eyeshadow palette.
Don’t Combine Search and Display Campaigns Together
You should make sure to only set up campaigns using a single campaign type. Some Google Ads managers will try to use different campaign types at once, but this can be limiting to your campaign’s performance. By focusing on one content type, Google will give the best AI-powered recommendations possible for mixing and matching different variables and creating the best performing ad possible.
Keep up with what's trending
One of the most effective ways to keep up with what's trending is to check out blogs. Some blogs provide tips on how to improve your Google Ads campaigns.
Some of our favorites include helpful tips on a wide range of topics:
- PPC Hero: Read about keyword research, ad copywriting, and bid management.
- Hubspot: Learn content strategy, lead generation, and sales.
- Moz: Find ideas about SEO, link building, and content marketing.
Track your progress
It's important to track your progress so you know what changes need to be made along the way. Google Analytics is a great tool for monitoring your website traffic, conversions, and much more. For a more all-in-one approach, ad management platforms are a great option: get insights, manage ads, and let the software do the heavy lifting when it comes to bidding—all from one platform.
How MarinOne can help
MarinOne is an all-in-one ad management platform that allows you to track your ad performance, conversions, and much more. It provides smart insights into how you can improve your campaigns, minus all the manual work. This makes it a valuable tool for businesses that want to get the most out of their Google Ads campaigns, and more out of their marketing team.
- Use MarinOne’s Analyze features to understand the competition and find opportunities.
- Customize, optimize, and automate in MarinOne to streamline your operations and secure your number-one spot.
- Get more out of your marketing budget with smart insights and automatic bidding.
Learn more about MarinOne’s automation tools today. Get in touch and speak to one of the team.
Google Sheets has changed the way people collaborate today. This web-based spreadsheet tool serves as a free alternative to Microsoft Excel, the digital marketer’s mainstay. Sheets allows you to create and edit your data within an online spreadsheet. Your spreadsheets in the cloud, meaning your data can easily stay up to date because information is automatically saved as it’s typed. Multiple team members can collaborate in real-time from their phone, tablet or computer (online and offline) and create a single source of truth for your data so that you can analyse and interrogate your data for your reporting needs.
How can Google Sheets help my productivity?
- Use Comments - there may be instances where you’ll question your data, formula or just want clarification on something within a Google Sheet. Instead of having to connect directly with the originator you can quickly and easily leave a comment through the applications built-in commenting feature.
- Extending Google Sheets with Add-ons - You can extend Sheets with add-ons that build customised workflow improvements, establish connectivity to third-party systems such as Salesforce or Google Analytics, and integrate your Sheets data with other Google Workspace applications, like Google Slides or Google Forms.
- Stay informed of changes to a Google Sheet - Create Notification Rules to send you an email when a change has been made to a Google Sheet. You’ll find it under this menu: Tools > Notification rules.
- Create hyperlinks - It might sound simple but due to the nature of Google Sheets being online, hyperlinks are extremely useful to connect to other Google sheets / Docs / Slides within your shared Google Drive.
- Connect to live data - Using the IMPORTHTML function, you can import your data from MarinOne by creating Web Query reports and scheduling the data to refresh on a recurring basis, saving precious hours of the day by not having to manually create reports. IMPORTHTML can also be used in numerous other ways, an example of which could be importing live weather data or exchange rates.
If you’re wanting to maximize Google Sheets’ potential and enhance your productivity, then you must get acquainted with Google Sheets. It's definitely a learning curve, especially if you’re used to using Excel, but once you start using Google Sheets to its potential you’ll quickly see it’s worth your time and effort.
Ok, so what about automation?
What type of things can I automate?
Marin has been able to help some of the largest brands in the world automate the management of their marketing campaigns directly from Google Sheets as well as build dynamic reporting dashboards in Google Sheets using multiple Publishers (i.e. Google, Facebook, Bing, ASA etc) and 1st / 3rd Party revenue and conversion data captured by Marin. Below are some of the Google Apps Scripts and solutions we have created to help support our customers’ day-to-day workflows. With these shortcuts, you can easily aggregate data in new ways. This is particularly effective when partnered with the MarinOne tool, as there is quite a bit of data that can be directly imported into, exported from, or copy/pasted bi-directionally between Google Sheets and MarinOne.
Templatize daily workflows to increase efficiency
As a marketer, it can be very time-consuming to add objects (such as keywords or creatives) to multiple different publishers at the same time in a collaborative manner. Think of Google sheets as all of your offline publisher editors rolled into one with a direct connection to our platform, negating the need for using multiple siloed tools such as Google Ads editor, Bing editor etc. Using a Marin - Google Apps Script, you can create or edit hundreds -- or even thousands -- of campaigns, groups, keywords, or ads with just a single click of a button directly in Google Sheets for multiple different publishers at the same time.
When a search query pairs with multiple keyword match types, and there are various ads supporting these keywords, the flow of regular traffic for the original search term will markedly diminish as your control over the matched keyword behaviour becomes severely hampered. Using a combination of data imported into Google Sheets directly from MarinOne and a Google Apps Script we have created to analyse the data, we can quickly surface those keywords that are cannibalizing your search paid media traffic.
Create foreign language ads using your native language
If you are planning to expand your marketing activity to additional markets or regions across the globe and do not have the support internally with creating foriegn language adcopy, fear not, we have a Google Apps Script that will take your current AdCopy and create new Ads in the language of your choice.
Why should you automate tasks in Google Sheets?
There’s the obvious reason that using Google Apps Scripts can save you a serious amount of time, allowing you and your colleagues to focus on higher value activities such as optimising your marketing campaigns. But there’s plenty of other less obvious reasons like:
- Avoid mistakes by minimizing manual effort and letting AI-powered tasks automatically fire
- Quickly summarize and aggregate your data
- Universally apply styles and formatting
- Create completely new spreadsheets or tabs
- Use any Google Sheets function, feature, menu or toolbar
- Translate foreign language text en masse (but always be sure to have a native speaker review the translation for accuracy)
- Manipulate your spreadsheet to your liking with a single command
Once you've recorded a macro or created your Google Apps Script, you can link it to a keyboard shortcut in the form Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Number or even create a button directly within the spreadsheet to execute the task.
How can Marin help?
These are just a few of the solutions we have created, there are many other ways to save time and increase efficiency using the MarinOne tool in conjunction with other easily accessible tools. if you are an existing customer of Marin and are interested in the above or have other mundane tasks that you would like us to support in automating within Google Sheets then reach out to your account manager today.
If you're new to Marin, contact our sales team to get an analysis of how our platform can fit your needs.
CLV is how much money a customer spends with your business for the duration of your relationship. It’s an important—yet overlooked—metric: rather than looking at a sale as simply a one-off exchange, CLV considers how valuable a customer is over time.
Understanding this can help you spend your marketing budget more wisely and keep your customer acquisition costs low. After all, it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to close an existing prospect or keep an existing customer.
Keeping your CLV high is vital to the long-term success of your business.
What is CLV?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) refers to the profit you expect to make from a customer over time.
For some businesses, this may mean that your profitable customers make larger purchases or many repeat purchases, thereby increasing their value to your business over the lifetime of their relationship with you.
However, for many industries with long sales cycles, that profit may come months or even years after you’ve established the awareness of your business with the customer at the top of the funnel (think: buying a car, applying to a university, procuring new software, or purchasing a home). These are big decisions and consumers need time to evaluate their purchases.
5 Reasons to Measure CLV for Your Paid Search Advertising Campaigns
Regardless of the nature of your customers’ CLV, optimizing your marketing campaigns to CLV is good for business. Here are five reasons CLV matters:
- It helps you keep valuable customers
If you can identify and target high CLV customers, this should translate into higher ROI and could be a good way to improve your campaign performance.
You may find that there are segments of the market who value your product but have a lower than average CLV/CAC ratio, meaning you're spending too much on acquiring individual customers. If so, it may be worth exploring ways in which you can acquire these new customers at a lower cost or perhaps look for marketing activities where you might get more exposure for the same budget (e.g., by increasing reach).
- It decreases CPA costs
Customer Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) is the amount of money a company spends on acquiring new customers divided by the number of new customers acquired during a given period.
You'll notice that different customer types have different CLVs, which means they contribute more or less than others towards paying your CPA. You can use CLV to compare campaigns and determine which ones are performing better, resulting in improved return on investment (ROI).
It's important to monitor this metric over time, as you may find you can reduce CPA while maintaining or even improving your bottom line. This is because the lifetime value of certain customer segments will increase with time on your platform, resulting in an overall decrease in acquisition costs.
- It allows you to optimize your bids to different stages of the funnel
Full-funnel bidding allows advertisers to use top of the funnel conversion types for bidding while also factoring in final sales as a second bid factor. This bidding solution enables advertisers to grow efficiency and revenue from the sales funnel’s final stage while maintaining reactivity to recent market changes. Bids stay reactive to market changes, while efficiency targets are based on latent conversion metrics.
- It helps you calculate campaign effectiveness
CLV will reveal which paid search campaigns are more successful, allowing you to optimize your total marketing spend.
You can compare campaign effectiveness by sub-segmenting customers by their CLVs. For example, instead of just looking at conversion rates for all traffic sources as a whole, you could break down the conversion rates by each campaign. This will make it easier to understand which traffic sources are most effective at converting.
- It helps you grow in the long run
CLV isn’t something you need to track all the time, but ignoring it could spell trouble. Keeping an eye on CLV helps you spend your marketing budget more wisely, engage with your customers more effectively, and keep your CPA costs down through better loyalty—all of which helps your bottom line.
How to Calculate CLV
The simplest formula is as follows:
CLV = Customer Value (average order spend x number of orders in a year) x Average Customer Lifespan (in years)
To calculate CLV, you need to track customer metrics over time and calculate your customer churn. This will allow you to determine CLV across any given timeframe.
You may want to deduct CAC (customer acquisition cost) from your total to give you a deeper understanding of the true value of a customer.
Using a comprehensive reporting suite like MarinOne, you’ll be able to Identify which channels are driving revenue to your business. You’ll then need to track offline sales and interactions back to their source with a conversion tracking solution like Marin Tracker. Make sure to continue tracking touchpoints beyond the initial click-through, all the way through conversion.
How to Improve CLV
Here are some tips on improving your CLV.
- Optimize onboarding. As soon as possible, the user should be able to get value from your product or service (e.g., signups, downloads).
- Don't focus on customer acquisition alone. It's important to make sure users are retained over time.
- Optimize CLV by marketing based on customer behavior. If people aren't making repeat purchases or converting to long-term high-value purchases, consider investing in marketing efforts to increase retention.
- Look for ways to improve value. If customers are joining, but not staying around or buying after a certain period of time, focus on improving user experience and product features.
- Over-deliver. If your product and service are great, people will come back.
- Boost user experience. If you can provide an improved user experience, make sure to communicate this benefit in all your marketing efforts. Consider advertising on social media platforms that offer the opportunity for strong engagement.
- Increase average value order. If customers are buying, but not purchasing many items per order, then there is room to boost sales.
- Gather market research. If you can gather unbiased opinions about your product or service from potential customers, use this data to create marketing campaigns that will appeal directly to your target audience.
- Uncover business drivers. You may need to modify your business plan based on what customers are saying.
- Improve customer service. If you’re not delivering great customer service, customers will avoid dealing with you in the future. Not only that, but they’ll likely share their experiences on social media—which could turn away potential new customers.
Measuring CLV plays an important role in determining ROI, optimizing your advertising spend, and keeping your CPA low—all of which means less budget spent on search campaigns. Optimizing your CLV can provide valuable insights regarding whether or not there is excessive spending on your search campaigns. CLV allows you to evaluate the financial impact in order to re-strategize regarding how various programs are measured and attributed.
How MarinOne Can Help
MarinOne’s powerful self-serve platform connects your offline conversion data to the ad clicks that ultimately drive the sale, making it easy to see which customers are the most valuable and which campaigns have been effective in closing customers. From analysis and reporting to advanced bidding algorithms—analyze the most valuable shoppers, optimize your bids to revenue, and focus your efforts on your best customers. This leads to extending your marketing spend while attracting high-value customers to your brand.
Learn more about the benefits of MarinOne’s full-funnel optimization.
You’ve likely heard that Google is sunsetting the Expanded Text Ad (ETA) format in favor of Responsive Search Ads (RSAs). It’s Google’s next big push for automation in its advertising platforms. While this may seem like a big change, it’s nothing to worry about as long as you prepare. Luckily, the sunset isn’t happening until June of 2022, and Marin’s industry experts are here to answer some commonly asked questions:
What Exactly Are Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)?
Traditional Google text ads consist of static headlines and descriptions, so advertisers provide specific headlines and descriptions which remain constant within an ad. Google then rotates that version with your other static ad versions according to your campaign settings.
When creating an RSA, you’ll input a variety of different headlines and descriptions. Google and Bing will then rotate through different combinations of assets, serving the combination that seems best based on the demographic data of the person who is searching. The purpose of RSAs is to improve the personalization of search ads through automation. This personalization should lead to improved performance, and eliminate the need for you to run lots of ad copy tests as the engines are basically doing the testing for you.
How Many Headlines and Descriptions Can I Include in an Ad?
You can input at least 3 and no more than 15 potential headlines.
You can input at least 2 and no more than 4 potential descriptions.
The publishers recommend using at least 8 Headline Assets and at least 3 Description Assets.
What Will Happen to My Expanded Text Ads?
You will not be able to create new ETAs. Your current Expanded Text Ads will continue to serve, but you won’t be able to edit them. You can still play, pause, or remove them, but the ad content will be unchangeable. Reporting for your current ETAs should not be impacted in MarinOne or the platforms.
Will I Have Any Control Over Which Headlines and Descriptions Serve?
Yes, you have the option to pin assets to certain positions in the ad. For example, if you have a top performing headline that you’d like to display as Headline 1 every time your ad serves, you can pin that headline to position 1. You can also pin descriptions.
For example, if you pinned “Low Prices” to headline 1, the every time that ad serves, “Low Prices” will be the first thing people see.
But that being said…
Should I Pin My Top Performing Assets to Position 1?
My natural instinct was to pin top performing headlines and descriptions from my ETAs to my RSA positions 1 and 2. However, this often hurts the ad’s quality score, sometimes even knocking a ‘good’ ad down to ‘poor’ quality, therefore limiting its ability to serve in the SERP.
In order to avoid a decrease in quality score while still maintaining control over your ads, Google recommends pinning 2 or 3 headlines and descriptions to each position. This allows Google to rotate those assets, and may prevent decreases in quality score.
For example, if you pinned “low prices” and “shop now” to headline 1, Google will rotate through those options, so every time the ad is served people will see one of the two headlines in position 1.
How Will I Analyze Performance in MarinOne?
MarinOne users are already accustomed to the performance benefits the platform provides for all their search programs, and RSAs will be no different. The digital marketers at Marin have already made changes to help you measure, manage, and optimize your RSAs and are always prepared for future changes from the publishers.
Responsive Search Ads should flow seamlessly into any workflow you currently utilize for analyzing ad performance. These ads will be automatically added to any automated reports just like expanded text ads are.
We have also added two new columns to our creative grids, titled Headline Assets and Description Assets. Select these columns in the column selector to see a list of all headlines and description variations for an RSA.
Note that in the Headline column in the grid, you can see a preview of what your RSA might look like in its completed form. This does not necessarily represent all Headline or Description Assets that have been entered. You will simply see the first three Headline Assets in the order they were entered. This is the same behavior as in the publishers.
You will also see the ads’ creative type listed as Responsive Search, and you can filter for Responsive Search in the Creative Type column if you want to see a readout of performance for RSAs only.
If you export your ads grid into a report, you will see separate columns for each Headline and Description asset, with Headline 1 simply called Headline and the remaining Headlines numbered 2 through 15.
How Will I Bulk Create RSAs in MarinOne?
You can create RSAs in bulk in much the same way you do for other ad types in Marin. To specify the creation of an RSA in a bulksheet, you should include the value Responsive Search in the Creative Type column.
You can edit your RSAs in bulk by including the Creative ID column. To find your creative IDs, simply run a report from the main Creatives grid with the relevant columns included.
When building your bulksheet for either creation or editing of RSAs, you can use the following bulk headers:
- [Headline 1] through [Headline 15]
- [Description Line 1] through [Description Line 4]
- [Headline Pinned to Position 1]
- [Headline Pinned to Position 2]
- [Headline Pinned to Position 3]
- [Description Pinned to Position 1]
- [Description Pinned to Position 2]
I hope this all eases your mind about the transition from ETAs to RSAs. The idea behind RSAs is basically constant, dynamic AB testing and ad personalization, which sounds great in theory. I expect this shift to lead to improved ad performance and easier management through automation.
The paid search experts at Marin are always eager to help clients, new and old, navigate the ever-changing search landscape. Click here to schedule a demo with us and learn more about what Marin can do for you!
Ensure that the 2021 holiday season will be even more successful with these last minute tips!
Managing Bidding during a Sales Event
Before the sale:
- Find out Revenue-Per-Click or Conversion-Rate uplift from historic sales as a percentage.
On the day of the sale:
- Apply your historical percentage uplift calculated as a boost on day of sale.
- Remove all bid change limits. Preserving bid change limits only allows your bids to change up to the limited amount, possibly restricting a number of keywords.
- Ensure campaign budgets are set appropriately and will not be overly restrictive.
- Once the sale has begun, check hourly spend rates in the publisher accounts. Compare your spend trend in the current sale with previous sales to confirm bidding configuration is not over or under-spending.
- Assess the number of terms hitting bid caps
After the sale:
- Add previous and latest sales periods to Excluded Dates.
- Set bid change limits to pre-sale setting.
- Revert Boost to historic level.
Effective Tips and Tools
Flighting is a technique where you schedule your ads to run for a period of time (called a flight) followed by a period where you pause all ads for the advertised product or service. A smart way to leverage flighting for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is by offering progressive promotions. This means, you can start your campaign offering a promotion with low percentages off, and as the days/weeks go by, increase the percentage off.
To increase relevance, CTR and Conversion Rate, consider including in your ad creatives words such as: Discount, Deals, Promotions, Savings, Offers, Free, Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
Sitelinks / Promotion Extensions
Include these special sales and offers with your ads to make your promotion stand out so potential customers can spot great deals and generate new sales for your business.
Let potential customers know about sales or special events by adding a countdown timer to your ad text to create a sense of urgency.
Increase Budget Caps
To cover the increase in traffic, you must consider increasing the budget of your campaigns to capitalise on the increase of impressions and clicks.
Good luck! Marin Software has got you covered. We’ve put everything in place to provide above-and-beyond customer service, particularly during the critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, for our retail customers in the midst of their busiest time of the year. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.
It is that time of the year again! For many people, November means shorter days, colder weather, and a countdown to the holidays - but for marketers and retailers, it's the busiest time of the year and there's a lot to do between now and the New Year. In this blog, we're looking back at last year's holiday shopping season and sharing our predictions for what's to come in the weeks ahead.
Looking back at 2020
Despite unprecedented challenges, consumers and retailers demonstrated incredible resilience throughout the 2020 holiday season. Faced with rising transmission of the virus, restrictions on retailers and heightened political and economic uncertainty, consumers chose to spend on gifts that lifted the spirits of their families and friends and provided a sense of normalcy.
Black Friday and Saturday 2020 saw tremendous growth in online activity. For the first time, the number of online Black Friday shoppers passed the 100 million mark, up 8 percent over last year. Overall, online-only shoppers increased by 44 percent for the entire weekend, spending a total of $95.7 million*.
Over 40 percent of holiday shoppers said they started earlier than they normally would in 2020, according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
So what were people buying? Last holiday season saw year-over-year gains in six out of nine retail categories, led by double-digit increases for building materials, sporting goods stores and furniture. Let’s take a look at how 2021 may compare...
From rethinking the holiday shopping timeline to reimagining traditional sales events, retailers are actively planning ahead to ensure they are ready to meet consumers’ 2021 holiday shopping needs - despite the supply chain issues impacting the industry.
According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales for 2021 are expected to increase by 8.5-10.5% compared to 2020, generating between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.
Last year saw extraordinary growth in digital channels as consumers turned to online shopping to meet their holiday needs during the pandemic. While ecommerce will remain important, households are also expected to shift back to in-store shopping and a more traditional holiday shopping experience. Plans to shop online are down 3% from 2020, up 1% from 2019 (pre-pandemic) and it’s still the largest destination for consumers to make purchases this holiday season.
Over the last decade, consumers have been kicking off their holiday shopping early in order to spread out their budgets and avoid the stress of holiday shopping. This year, shoppers started earlier than ever, with half (49%) beginning to browse or buy before we even hit November. With the prospect of consumers seeking to shop early, inventories may be pulled down sooner and shortages may develop in the later weeks of the shopping season. However, if retailers can keep merchandise on the shelves until Christmas, this season could potentially shatter previous records.
To understand how MarinOne can help you scale your effort during key retail periods, reach out to your account manager or our sales team today.
*Source: National Retail Federation calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau data as of April 2021
NRF holiday spending is defined as the months of November and December.
Have you noticed a change to your Google search results on your phone or tablet? Google has just finished rolling out continuous scrolling for mobile devices for English users in the U.S. This means instead of having to tap the “See more” button at the bottom of the page, Google automatically loads another page of results. Pages continue loading for four pages, as Google says most people typically browse up to four pages of results.
It sounds like a subtle change, but you’ll notice it is a huge difference in user experience on your mobile device. This update makes it easier for people to access more search results which could mean finding what they’re looking for faster. And depending on the nature of the search query, users who enter limited keywords or broad phrases may be looking for a wide range of results (think: chicken recipes). So continuous scrolling eliminates a lot of friction in the user’s search for content.
What continuous scrolling means for advertisers
But what does this mean for advertisers?
First off, this change does not affect how the ad auction works or the way Ad Rank is calculated. Your Ad Rank (where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads) will still be calculated using:
- your bid amount
- your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate
- ad relevance
- landing page experience
- the competitiveness of an auction
- the context of the person’s search (location, device, time of search, the nature of the search terms)
- the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats
Ad Rank will also continue to be eligible to show on multiple pages since Google calculates Ad Rank for each page.
With that said, there are some other considerations to be aware of with continuous scrolling.
Google will now be redistributing the number of text ads that can show between the top and bottom of pages. So, text ads can show at the top of the second page and beyond, while fewer text ads will show at the bottom.
And some users who previously used to go back to the top of the search results in page one may continue to scroll down to page two. So some campaigns may see more impressions from top ads and fewer impressions from bottom ads. Google does expect clicks, conversions, average CPC, average CPA to remain relatively stable.
How MarinOne can help manage this change
The Search experts at Marin recommend monitoring your prominence metrics which will give you more information on where your ads are appearing on the page.
- Search top impression rate “Impr. (Top) %” is the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
- Search absolute top impression rate “Impr. (Abs.Top) %” is the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
- Search absolute top impression share “Search abs. top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
- Search top impression share “Search top IS” is the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
In addition to monitoring performance, consider using an automated bid strategy to dynamically adjust keywords bids based on prominence metrics. For Example, Smart Bidding for Impression Share, set at the Campaign Level or Marin Awareness Targeting, set at the group or campaign level, and capable of targeting an Impression Share range or Impression Rate (intraday).
The marketing experts at Marin are always here to help you navigate the quickly evolving digital landscape. Click here for more on how MarinOne can optimize your Google campaigns.
Marin and Google Renew Revenue Share Agreement to Drive Innovation in Paid Search
This week, we disclosed that Google and Marin have entered into a new 3-year revenue share agreement. The agreement supports innovation and choice in paid search management and optimization. Google has agreed to make revenue payments to Marin based on the total paid search spend Marin’s customers are managing on our platform across Google and other search publishers.
Independent solution providers like Marin improve the ecosystem and help advertisers succeed. With the revenue share payments, Marin will further develop and enhance our MarinOne platform to serve the needs of the world’s leading search advertisers.
Our goal with MarinOne is to complement the tools built by the publishers, expanding advertising abilities to analyze, automate and optimize their digital marketing campaigns. As an independent third-party, we help advertisers leverage their data and make better budget allocation decisions and deliver better results across all publishers.
This agreement provides an additional source of revenue and will support Marin’s investments in innovation and delivering value to our customers.
Digital marketing is an ever changing industry and we are in a great position to help our customers deliver more growth and maximize the return on their digital marketing investments.
Yes, you read that correctly. Since the start of digital advertising, there has been a thin line between organic and paid search data. There have been many tests and studies conducted on how organic data can influence paid search data and vice versa.
With MarinOne, you can add a bit of control to the mix by automatically bringing in organic metrics alongside your paid search keywords. These include ; organic average position and organic clicks, which come from the Paid & Organic Search Results report in Google Ads.
Off the back of that data, you have the ability to leverage MarinOne’s powerful bidding solution, which lets you automatically assign custom bid modifiers based on factors outside of the auction (in this case, organic data), and thus increase or decrease bids based on the criteria specified by you.
Lucid Software Innovates with Marin Bidding’s Custom Modifiers, Boosting Registrations by 20%
You can set up specific rules, such as:
Similarly, if organic position is better than 2, then lower bid by 35%.
Imagine all the possible strategies this approach could introduce and how it could boost your paid advertising efficiency, improve your keyword coverage, and reduce ad spend waste.
Last but not least, from a reporting perspective, Marin has got you covered.
When adding organic data to the mix and having it alongside your paid search data, Marin’s powerful dashboards and reporting capabilities can help you find synergies and let you slice and dice your data however you see fit.
If you would like to find out how this strategy could work for your business, get in contact and one of our account team members is more than happy to help.
Google recently announced that the current Google AdWords API will sunset on April 27, 2022. Anyone using this API will need to migrate to the Google Ads API by that date. While the new API has a lot of benefits, this upgrade requires a major overhaul for advertisers, brands and agencies using the current API.
We have been working closely with Google on this change for over a year and have tips and suggestions for making the transition as smooth as possible. This post is intended for a technical audience, but if you need help with your upgrade strategy, let us know and we’d be happy to help.
Here are 10 things you need to know about the change:
- Finally Some REST: The legacy Google AdWords API supports a SOAP client library, while Google Ads supports a RESTful API backed by a client library implementing gRPC.
- Restructuring Ahead: While Google has strived to reach functional parity in the Ads API, there is not a 1-to-1 correspondence between AdWords and Ads service endpoints. This means you will likely need to restructure how your application interfaces with the API.
- Out With the Old, in With the New: Some long-supported paradigms, such as single-attribution, will be dropped in favor of multi-attribution, which should yield more accurate attribution reports. Another example is the RichMediaAd ad type, which will not be migrated to the Ads API. You’ll want to make sure you understand the latest ad types and metrics.
- Don’t Forget to Stream: In order to get the best performance out of the gRPC streaming protocol, you will need to use the “searchStream” request instead of the “search” request.
- You Need to Warm Up: In order to enhance the startup time, you will need to send some warm up queries before firing your regular queries. Reference documentation
- We Can Coexist: To make the migration path easier, Google has allowed AdWords and Ads to coexist in the same application so that you can mix and match AdWords and Ads objects.
- Avoid Wrappers: Creating a wrapper that converts the Ads API to the current AdWords interface to minimize code changes is not recommended. We tried that and it didn’t work well.
- Better Smart Bidding Support: The Ads API supports the Smart Bidding features very well compared to AdWords API.
- A New Way to Paginate: Pagination support has been changed in Ads API. Google now supports pagination by the pagesize and pageToken fields of the SearchGoogleAdsRequest object.
- Better Error Handling: Error Handling has been changed in the Ads API, especially in handling Partial Failure.
Of course, this change also presents an opportunity to revisit the build vs. buy decision for your company. Having a custom solution tailored exactly to the needs of your business may seem attractive, but you are likely making serious trade-offs when compared to a platform that can spread its innovation over a large customer base.
Here are a few reasons to consider switching to a third-party platform to manage your Google Ads vs. building your own:
- You don’t have the time and energy to understand the nuances between the Google AdWords SOAP and Google RESTful APIs nor the expertise to take advantage of the performance improvements offered by the gRPC streaming protocol.
- You don’t have a dedicated engineering team that can undertake the (substantial) migration effort and keep up with maintaining and upgrading your custom code that uses the Google Ads API.
- The upgrade is likely to be larger than originally anticipated.
- Platforms like MarinOne offer an amazing degree of flexibility and customization, and a purely bespoke solution is often no longer necessary.
- With increased use of Smart Bidding, your needs have probably changed. Being able to work across channels and think about budget planning and optimization are common needs in 2021.
- This change isn’t the last time you’re going to have to upgrade.
- You want to work beyond Google.
If you need help with the upgrade or if you want to revisit whether using a third-party platform like MarinOne makes more sense for your company than a custom build, please let us know.
Today, Google announced that going forward, Responsive Search Ads (RSA) would be the default option for newly created ads in Google ads and Google ads editor. Here's a breakdown of what we know about the change and what you can do to your account to make sure you're ready.
We don't see this as a major change, rather it is a continuation of a trend towards increased automation that we've been seeing from Google for a while. Responsive Search Ads, and recent match-type changes, in a lot of ways make our lives easier as marketers. We don't have to worry about having every combination and variation of creative or keyword. We don’t need to do extensive A/B testing because Google’s machine learning takes care of the work for us.
As a marketer, it’s another sign that it is time to embrace the automation.
Remind me, what are Responsive Search Ads again?
Launched about three years ago, Responsive Search Ads allow the marketer to input multiple headlines and multiple descriptions. The ads are dynamically created at the time of serving for each user’s query and context. As a result of this customization, Google claims up to 5-15% higher click-through rates vs standard Enhanced Text Ads (ETAs).
Each ad can contain 3 to 15 headlines and 2-4 descriptions that are combined on the fly. Here’s more about the format from Google.
Should I expect a change in performance?
With this change, Google is not adjusting the auction dynamics. As a result, you should not see any change in performance. However, Google does expect that RSAs perform better than enhanced text ads and so you should ensure you have full coverage with responsive search ads.
Here's an analysis we did about the performance of responsive search ads that aligned with Google's claims of increased clicks and conversions compared with enhanced text ads, especially on non-brand terms.
What do I need to do to my account?
You don't need to make any changes to your existing campaigns. That said, Google recommends each ad group have at least one responsive search ad for best performance so you should take a look at your ad groups and make sure that you've got complete coverage.
Looking at our customer base, the majority of spend is still running through enhanced text ads so there's still plenty of room for adoption which is also probably why Google is making this change.
Marin can help you with an audit of your account to determine which adverbs need additional responsive search ads.
How do I write a good RSA?
We've written a whole white paper on the topic and have additional suggestions here but I can summarize the top tips:
- Variety Is good: The benefit of RSAs is to provide the right message to each user, so make sure you have many different messages for the system to choose from not just close variations on the same theme
- Use pinning sparingly: Pinning allows you to ensure that a headline or description is always shown but it takes away flexibility for Google's machine learning to do its thing. We recommend only using this when you have strict regulatory or compliance reasons to do so.
- Review performance regularly Google doesn't offer as much visibility on the performance of individual elements as we would like, but you can get an idea of what's working and what's not. Be sure to review performance regularly and swap out underperforming assets.
Last year Google enhanced responsive search ads, giving you the ability to use add customizers like countdown timers and location extensions as part of the elements in responsive search ads
But I like control, do I have to use RSAs?
No, you can still create enhanced text ads. Google has not provided a Sunset date for the creation of new ads nor do we expect this format to be deprecated anytime in the near future.
Need help navigating these changes? Click here to get some help.
Over the last few years, Google has been tinkering with match types. In July 2019, Google announced that Phrase match and Broad Match Modified would start matching queries with the same meaning (rather than words) as your keywords. Then in February 2020, Exact Match and Phrase Match were expanded to cover plurals, misspellings, and abbreviations.
What is happening this time?
On February 4th 2021, Google announced that the matching of Phrase match will be further expanded, and more closely resemble the behavior of Broad Match Modified, and they therefore will be sunsetting the ability to add modifiers (+) to broad match keywords. Current Broad Match Modified keywords will continue to serve, with slightly different matching, but from July 2021 you will no longer be able to create new broad keywords with modifiers (+) in the string.
Why is this happening?
As mentioned above, Google says it has been getting better at learning the intent behind a query, and is therefore more confident it can correctly map advertisements to queries. As that ability improves, the differences between Phrase Match and Broad Match Modified diminishes.
Moving forward, there will be three match types, each with specific benefits:
- Exact match: for precision
- Broad match: for reach
- Phrase match: in Google’s words, to combine the best of both
Your Phrase Match keywords can start matching against queries in a different word order, meaning that if you are currently bidding on keywords in Phrase Match, you can expect an increase in impressions, clicks, and hopefully conversions.
Conversely, if you are bidding on Broad Match Modified keywords, expect a decrease in volume, as Google will now take into account word order. For example, the BMM keyword +train +London +to +Paris will now no longer match against the query ‘train Paris to London’, as the search engine understands the direction of travel is different.
What do you have to do?
While the move signals Google’s confidence in correctly matching query and ads, there’s still a couple of things you need to do. We list some of them below, but definitely get in touch with your account representative for more tailored recommendations.
If you currently have phrase match keywords
Your keywords will now be eligible to cover much more queries, and so you can expect an increase in volume. Consider the following:
- Review your negative keywords: as Phrase match keywords can cover more searches, you might want to review your negative keywords to avoid appearing against queries you do not want to cover. Remember Marin One Insights provide you with performance based negative keyword recommendations, so keep an eye on those!
- Review campaign budgets: if you split out campaigns by match type, and you have specific campaigns for Phrase Match, review the budgets of those campaigns as they can now cover more ground. Again, Marin One insights will automatically flag campaigns limited by budgets, so the Marin One insights tab is here to help you with the transition.
- Create alerts to keep track of spend increases: if you are currently bidding on Phrase match keywords, consider setting up an alert for keywords with strong changes in volume, as those may highlight opportunities for negative keywords, or for expansion!
- Bidding on Phrase match: with regards to bidding, three things are important:
- More volume on Phrase Match will allow the bidding engine to react quickly to this change. If required, the algorithm will leverage data from Broad Match Modified keywords to further improve bid calculations.
- Keep an eye on your cost per click: we expect advertisers to quickly start adding Phrase Match keywords, meaning that competition and hence CPCs could increase. Negative keywords (see above) and high quality creatives (see below) will be paramount, but also consider adding an Impression Share cap to avoid CPCs increasing too much. An Impression Share cap stops the algorithm from increasing bids, even if from a CPL/ROAS perspective that may make sense, and is a great way of limiting CPCs.
- Marin allows you to set match type specific boosts. Consider switching these off in the short term while figuring out if additional negatives are required with the wider matching
- Review Dynamic Keyword Insertion: dynamic keyword insertion allows you to insert the user query in your ad copy, which usually results in higher CTR and better quality score. While you adjust to the additional matching, and potentially add negative keywords, carefully consider if you want Dynamic Keyword Insertion creatives to be live.
If you are currently predominantly using Exact and Broad Match Modified
The good news is, your Broad Match Modified keywords will continue to serve, even after the creation of new Broad Match Modified keywords is no longer possible after July.
- Create alerts: opposite to the alert for your Phrase Match, set up alerts for volume decreases on your Broad Match Modifier keywords. This will allow you to identify where the new matching is impacting your spend, and take action accordingly. Also keep an eye on the MarinOne history tab, where you can see account wide performance over time filtered by match type. A great place to see the impact of these changes.
- Start adding phrase match keywords: your Broad Match Modified keywords will continue to run, but might match against fewer queries. Consider adding Phrase Match keywords to maintain volume. The Marin One insights provide performance based recommendations of well performing Broad Match Modified keywords you are not currently buying in Phrase Match.
If you are using Marin Bidding
Marin Bidding will adapt automatically: it’ll see volume and performance shift from match types, and automatically adjust your bids to account for that. There’s a couple of nuances to be aware of though:
- If you are using Awareness Targeting for Phrase Match, keep in mind that volume and competition may increase, so keep an eye on your average cost per click. To limit fluctuations, either widen your target Impression Share, or consider setting up a bid cap. Especially when using Awareness Targeting, reviewing your budgets will be important.
- If you have match type specific bid strategies, consider adjusting the targets and settings of your Phrase Match bid strategies closer to those of your BMM/Broad Bid Strategies, as they’ll start picking up volume from those match types. Also consider setting an Impression Share cap to limit the increase of CPCs.
- Consider removing match type boosts in the short term. While match type specific boosts offer great flexibility, with search volumes shifting between match types, we’d recommend switching them off, or limiting their values, in the short term.
As usual, we expect other publishers to follow suit. The continuous changes to match types also makes you wonder what is next, and for how long we will continue to have three different match types. Whatever changes Google throws at advertisers, we’re here for you. Click here if you need help with this change.
Paid advertisements can increase your ROI by 200%, so it’s no wonder the market for paid search ads is worth approximately $60 billion annually. With digital ad spend forecasted to account for more than 60% of the global ad revenue this year, you’ll want to stay competitive to make sure your rankings consistently show up at the top of search engine results.
As we approach 2023, paid search advertising remains a critical aspect of marketing. To make sure you’re ready to kick off the new year with a strong start, we’ve outlined 15 best practices you can put into action.
15 paid search best practices you should know about
Use these best practices as part of your marketing strategy to take your paid search advertising to the next level.
Routinely evaluate your target keywords’ performance
Zero in on what your customers are searching for—and how they are searching for it. To drive targeted traffic to your site, do your keyword research. Go beyond traditional keyword tools and the typical Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner. By setting up a filter, you can figure out which keywords are performing well and toss the ones that are delivering the fewest conversions.
Leverage A/B testing
Make a habit of A/B testing. By following up with tests, you can continuously improve your conversion rates. Using A/B testing is one of the best ways to learn which messaging strategies resonate best with your audience. Once you have a clear indication, you can hone in on messaging that works for your target audience and your CTR will inevitably rise.
Make special offers a habit
Special offer tactics encourage higher web traffic by driving more users to your site. Time-bound discounts, freebies, and creating a sense of urgency are methods that motivate consumers to take the action you want them to take. Using phrases like “One Hour Flash Sale” or “Only Three Left in Stock” in your PPC ad can draw people in by making them feel the need to act quickly and complete a purchase.
Use local and negative keywords
To make the most of your PPC investment, you want to be sure you use both types of keywords, local and negative. Think of negative keywords as the opposite of your targeted ones. Negative keywords lead to a lower chance of you attracting the wrong visitors by dictating the types of search terms for which you do not want to appear. Local keywords enable you to increase targeted traffic from people around your area.
Align your PPC ad copy with your landing page copy
Matching your ads’ messaging with your landing page is one of the most important elements of PPC optimization. When researching consumer journey patterns and overall behavior, be sure to check how searchers respond to certain words in your messaging. You can go dynamic and change your landing page to make it specific for different audiences as well. By adjusting your landing page based on user search queries, you'll boost conversion rates without adding to your development costs.
Increase the loading speed of your landing pages
A slow loading site negatively impacts the user experience. When a page takes longer than three seconds to load, there’s a dramatic increase in abandonment rates. In fact, bounce rate probability increases by 90% if a page’s load time is between one and five seconds.To check the speed of your site, use tools like Google’s Pagespeed Insights, GTmetrix, or Pingdom Tools.
Adapt to a “mobile-first” mindset
This goes for both your visuals and your text, both for your ads and your landing pages. In a world where consumers are constantly glued to their phones, it's critical for you to approach your paid search ads with a mobile-first mindset. Over 70% of web traffic comes from mobile devices and mobile search queries will no doubt continue to outpace desktop queries.
With a mobile-centric PPC strategy, you can ensure mobile users have the best user experience, encouraging them to follow through to the end of your funnel.
Take advantage of voice search popularity
With 27% of the global online population using voice search on mobile to conduct their queries, your paid search strategy needs to be optimized for it.
Thanks to voice-enabled digital assistants like Alexa and Siri, voice search is rapidly rising in popularity. It’s also faster than typing, making it convenient and ideal for on-the-go mobile users. When building your paid search ads, include voice search in your strategy. If you don’t, you’ll be leaving opportunities and money on the table. To capitalize on voice search, you can:
- Concentrate on hyperlocal searches
- Think mobile-first
- Optimize your long-tail keywords
- Use conversational, question-oriented keywords
Focusing on clicks and on conversions
Your conversions must be measurable so you can identify the success of your campaign and determine your next steps to optimize and improve results. While impressions, clicks, and click-through rates are important metrics, when you’re running multiple PPC campaigns, it’s not ideal to rely just on them. For example, a high CTR may make it appear that your campaigns are performing well. However, if your conversion rate is still low, it means it’s time to adjust your strategy.
Include call conversions
With a mobile-first mindset, it’s also important to track calls from your ads. A great way to track call conversions is by using the Google Adwords Call Extension. This feature enables you to add a clickable phone number so customers can call directly from the ad. With this conversion type, you can track phone calls, calculate your cost per acquisition (CPA), and optimize your campaigns.
Diversify your strategies
Make it a priority to diversify your campaigns. If you’re used to running text-based search ads, expand your strategies to not only include paid search ads, but also display ads, paid social ads (META, Tiktok, LinkedIn to name a few), as well as other ad formats. By implementing a diverse approach, you can ensure that you are reaching potential customers in all digital spaces where they’re most likely to be frequently visiting and engaged.
Run responsive search ads / responsive display ads
Don’t stick to ad styles of the past. Instead, use responsive search ads in all of your paid search planning. To do so, you can use Google’s AI to discover which headlines and descriptions are more likely to resonate with your audience. Eventually, Google Ads will also be able to identify which combinations yield the best results through the use of machine learning.
Learn to use scripts
With scripts, certain aspects of your paid search optimization can be automated including bid management, reporting, split testing, and others. Scripts are good tools to help you use your time more wisely rather than using it to complete mundane and repetitive manual tasks that can be more efficiently streamlined.
Marketers have realized that using video is a powerful way to get in front of their audiences—84% of marketers claim that it helps generate leads and boost sales. By providing customers with a deeper understanding of your product or service, video is one of the best ways to use visuals to increase brand awareness. Make it your goal to incorporate videos where they make sense in your strategy.
Ditch third-party cookies and opt for the new first-party cookies
In the second half of 2023, Google Chrome is slated to shift from third-party cookies to first-party cookies. To get ahead of the game, refocus your paid search strategy so you’re prepared for the transition. Looking ahead will allow you to alter your plans accordingly, but will also help you build strong lasting relationships with new clients, vendors, and your internal teams.
MarinOne Can Optimize Your Paid Search Advertising
When done right, paid search advertising is a valuable marketing strategy to increase leads and sales and generate brand awareness. By following these best practices for paid search in 2023, you will be well on your way to optimizing your campaigns and maximizing your ROI.
However, it's important to remember that an effective paid search strategy relies on leveraging data insights to make informed decisions. By pairing paid search best practices with MarinOne’s platform, you can gain the insights you need to scale your top advertising campaign results, increase conversions, and reach higher paid search rankings for your target audiences so you can grow your business.
To learn more, request a demo.