What you need to know about the iOS 14 Privacy Update for Facebook Ads

What’s going on: 

Apple’s release of iOS 14 now gives users the choice of whether or not they want to be tracked. Facebook is calling foul, accusing Apple of being greedy, and doing this in the name of profits rather than security.  

Implications: Anyone running ads on Facebook will suffer in both performance and reporting transparency if you aren’t prepared appropriately for the changes. 

Luckily, there are some steps you can take that will mitigate the overall impact to your Facebook Ads Campaigns. Here, we’ll discuss those steps.

Let’s get started. 

Facebook has been asking for businesses to verify their businesses in Business Manager for a while, but recently, they’ve doubled down on the importance of this step as it pertains to the iOS 14 update. This is especially true if the business has multiple business units and multiple domains (Verification must be done at the effective top level domain plus one: eTLD+1).

You can verify your domain in Business manager under Brand Safety, then Domains. 

Similar to Domain verification for Google Search Console, you’ll be able to verify via an HTML file upload or a DNS TXT record. Additional documentation on how to complete this step can be found here. 

Since the iOS 14 Privacy Update roll out, each Facebook Pixel will only be able to “host” 8 conversion events. For some businesses this won’t feel so limiting, while others will need to make some decisions here. These 8 conversion events will be your only options when it comes to account optimization. Now, you’ll still be able to track more web based events from your Pixel, you just won’t be able to configure any more than 8 conversion events. This is how Facebook is able to utilize it’s aggregated event measurement protocol for users that opt out of the iOS data sharing option. 

If you don’t delegate the conversion events yourself, Facebook will define them for you based on the ones Facebook thinks are most relevant to your business.

You’ll be able to configure your preferences (i.e. define these events) in the Events Manager. There will be no need to make changes to the pixel or Conversions API Implementation.

If a user opts out of tracking, we would only see purchase (highest priority event) reported in events manager/ads manager. If the user opts-in, we will see all events as we do currently (example: VC > ATC > IC > Purchase)

Offsite conversion events will be reported based on the time the conversions occur and not the time of ad impressions. AKA - you’ll no longer have delayed attribution. There are also reports that it can take up to 3 days from when a conversion event occurs for it to be passed back to Facebook, as opposed to how it was recorded where data is passed when the event occurs.

Delivery and action breakdowns are not supported for offsite conversion events.

On the measurement front, 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows will no longer be supported (historical data for these windows will remain accessible.) Thus, certain attribution windows will immediately have only partial reporting available, and metrics won’t include all events from iOS 14 users.

Instead, 7-day click will be the default attribution window moving forward, with the new attribution settings supported being:

Another important change to take into account is that custom audiences are now much smaller. Exclusions will be less accurate (you may have past purchasers in your prospecting campaigns).

The best move is to be proactive. Identify the most important conversion events in your funnel then reduce them down to 8 key conversion events prior to the update.

New Items:

Utilize UTM’s

UTMs (Urchin Tracking Module) are simple code snippets that can be added to the end of your URLs to provide data to Google Analytics. This is significant because you can then see conversion/traffic data specific to certain channels, campaigns, creatives, etc. UTM’s are also very easy to configure, and there are many websites that will automatically make the URL for you. 

Now that you have UTMs set up, you can filter your Google Analytics data by the above fields in order to see detailed information about how your campaign performed.

We always recommend using UTMs for an added layer of data analytics. Additionally, if you’re using multiple platforms - odds are your attribution reporting doesn’t match across them all. However, if you’re using UTMs you can look at all the campaigns using the same attribution lens your Google Analytics account utilizes.  

Setup a GA4 Property

Google Analytics has released the newest version of analytics called Google Analytics 4. This will become the new standard for Google Analytics, although you can still utilize your UA profiles. Google Analytics is a must have tool that provides detailed reporting on website visits, conversion tracking, and insights that will help you bring your website to the next level. 

Google Analytics 4 will bring new insights and data about why users are on your website (or app), and will be able to more accurately attribute actions and data properly. 

If you already have analytics set up on your website, Google makes it simple to switch to GA4. Within your ‘Admin’ tab to bring up your settings and underneath the ‘Property’ tab the first option should be Google Analytics 4 Property Setup Assistant. From here, simply follow the steps and Google will create a GA4 version of your analytics. 

Full steps on how to add a GA4 Profile to your existing Analytics account: Here

If you don’t have analytics on your site at all; your first step is to create an account. From here, you will be able to enter your websites information and be given options on how to get the Google Analytics tags onto your website. 

Full steps on how to create your brand new Analytics account: Here

Advanced PPC Strategies You Should Be Incorporating

In the PPC industry, you have to accept the fact that Google and Facebook are making most of the real money, to the tune of billions of dollars a year. As a result, some SEM marketing agencies avoid pay per click marketing altogether. However, in the right hands, PPC advertising can be beneficial for clients and agencies alike. You just need the right PPC management in place, executing a well thought out strategy. In this article, we'll discuss some advanced ppc strategies you should be utilizing.

I've seen a diverse range of businesses succeed in PPC advertising, from traditional car dealerships and law firms to e-commerce startups and hip fashion boutiques. Of course, the same PPC strategies won't work for every client, and some PPC campaigns require a more thoughtful approach. When combined with high level SEO Services, these advanced SEM techniques can drive real results.

Before abandoning PPC advertising, make sure you consider all of the strategies available to you. You might find that one of these PPC strategies leads to positive ROI for you and the client in question.

Remarketing + Display

Using remarketing and display ads are one of the most popular advanced PPC strategies for a simple reason: they work. Potential customers don't always make a purchase or pick up the phone when they first encounter a business online. Google Ads and Facebook both make it easy to create remarketing lists, and these users can then be targeted with display ads that follow them around the Internet. This is also a great example of the way SEO and PPC campaigns can work hand in hand to produce conversions.

Protip: Be careful where your display ads show. Google has added a lot of mobile apps and games to its display network. These low-value placements can waste your display advertising budget quickly.

Email Capture Campaigns

I recently worked with an e-commerce client with a Facebook advertising campaign. While their Instagram and Facebook ads got positive interactions and relevancy scores, actual purchases were hard to come by. The client was about ready to pull the plug on advertising altogether. After all, most of their purchases came from a successful email marketing campaign, which they managed themselves.

Instead of dropping social ads, we shifted focus. Rather than simply trying to generate purchases through Facebook clicks, we created an email capture campaign. By offering a very modest discount, we were able to acquire hundreds of email addresses each month for their mailing list, at a very reasonable cost-per-acquisition. 

If your company generates a lot of revenue from email marketing, Google Ads and Facebook can both be very effective tools for generating new email leads. With Facebook lead forms, they don't even need to leave the app.

Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads are nothing new, yet I've found that many clients and PPC professionals  ignore them. That can be a huge mistake, especially for clients with a well-established, content-rich website. I've found these ads work especially well for clients who have hundreds, or ideally thousands, of product pages (car dealerships, e-commerce companies, and retail stores).

With Dynamic Search Ads, Google automatically targets searchers with relevant pages on your website. While you can enter up to two ad descriptions, Google selects the headline and landing pages based on the content of the search. This allows your ads to show to searchers that might otherwise slip past the Google Ads network.

These ads don't always work. But in my experience, when they do work, they work extremely well.

Throw Your Keywords Out The Window

PPC managers love judging each other. When clients consider changing PPC managers, they often have another PPC agency review their existing campaign. Absolutely 100% of the time, the new potential PPC agency will find that the campaign is an embarrassing mess. Mostly, that's because we want the business for ourselves.

That being said, there are many ways to structure and organize your PPC campaigns, and taking over a sloppy, mismanaged campaign can be very frustrating. In some cases, I've found campaigns with thousands of keywords and hundreds of ad groups. After reviewing the campaign, that can often be trimmed down to a dozen keywords in a handful of ad groups. That's an extreme example, but the point remains -- don't be afraid to pause and remove keywords.

You may want to cast a wide net with your keyword strategy, but once you find your money keywords, stick with them. I've seen very successful PPC campaigns with only five to 10 keywords. Many PPC analysts make their campaigns unnecessarily complex, probably as a self-defense mechanism, but this is often the mark of an inexperienced analyst, not a seasoned pro.

Of course, these are just a few advanced PPC strategies employed by experienced analysts. The exact approach you choose will depend on many factors: the client's industry, the market, average order value, and budget. If you're investing in PPC advertising, for yourself or a client, then make sure you use every tool available to you.

About The Author

Timothy Werth is a writer, editor, and SEM marketing director. Currently, he works as the Director Of Operations at HubShout, based in Rochester, New York. Before moving to upstate New York, he lived in Los Angeles, where he studied journalism at the University of Southern California.

User Guide: How To Structure a Google Shopping Campaign For Maximum Effectiveness

The great thing about a Google Shopping Campaign is that Google does most of the heavy lifting in the equation.

As the most important Google advertising option in the ecommerce business, their system automatically creates ads for your products, and matches them with relevant search queries.

Now;

In order to achieve this, you need to understand how Google Shopping structures, ads, and product groups work, and then build, and implement good campaign structures from the ground-up.

Just like in Google Ads, each Shopping campaign should include several ad groups, and within that you want to make sure that you’re dividing your products into the relevant groups.

However, once you’ve set up your shopping campaigns, it can be unclear about what more you can do, that'll improve your business, and get you ahead of your competitors.

I mean, sure, you can follow Google’s default recommendation; increase the CPC and raise the budget.

But, does that mean you should do it?

Remember; spending money just for the sake of it will cut your profits, and even eliminate it altogether.

On the other hand, many ecommerce advertisers have a lot on their plates, with Google Ads, FB / Insta ads, etc., making it nearly impossible to spend the extra money for this.

So, what can you do?

In this article, we'll show you the ways - both basic, and advanced - that you can follow, in order to take your strategies to the next level.

But, before we get into that, you need to know some basic elements in Google Shopping. It will also help to dial in your Google Analytics.

1. Google Shopping campaign priority options.

Google Shopping Agency

Within Google Shopping Campaigns, you have access to 3 campaign priorities; 'high', 'medium', and 'low' priority.

Ideally, you'd use high-priority campaigns for your newly arrived products, best-sellers, or clearance items. Usually those products you'd want to be sold above any others.

Medium-priority campaigns are ideal for Shopping campaigns, that point to product categories, product lines, specific regions, etc.

Lastly, low-priority campaigns would be your catch-all campaigns; the ones that cover all your products - or your store - in a single campaign.

2. Google Shopping ad groups.

Like with Google Ads, Google Shopping campaigns have ad groups too. You want to keep your groups as compartmentalized as possible. (i.e., limit the number of products to enable you to adjust bids and/or optimize quickly)

3. Google Shopping product groups.

Inside each of the Google Shopping Ad groups within a Shopping campaign, there are product groups (aka inventory subsets). One ad group can have up to 20,000 different product groups. They are segments of your products, that are relevant to that Ad Group, or in other words, the group of products that will use the same bid. You can have a product group of all your products or you can subdivide each group into 7 levels, for maximum segmentation.

Now that we went over the basic elements, let's get into the basic strategies that you can use, under different circumstances.

Google Shopping Strategies

1. One campaign with one ad group.

Due to the simplicity, this ‘beginner’ Google Shopping campaign structure is often an ecommerce store owner's first choice. This means creating single campaigns that includes a single ad group.

For example, let’s say you're a beginner seller, and have only one product type to sell; sneakers. As you only sell one product, the product group within your ad group wouldn’t be too technical.

This is obviously very easy to set up and monitor. Best suited for Google Shopping newbies.

However, this approach is very limiting in the long run, as you will need to identify, and exclude poorly performing products, from many products that are all lumped together the same group. It also makes it harder to see which search queries are bringing in the most sales - which you'll need if you want to work on more complex structures that involve implementing negative keyword lists to sculpt queries.

2. One campaign with numerous ad groups.

Google Merchant Center Ad Agency

The next basic Shopping campaign structures is a simple and single campaign, with numerous ad groups.

Let’s use the above shoe business as an example again, which has now branched out into a variety of casual shoes.

You can then create one campaign, that includes a variety of ad groups, based on product types such as sneakers, sandals, loafers, and so on. Or if you’re still just selling sneakers, you can create groups around product topics, such as price, brand, design, popularity, etc. This type of structure gives you clearer insight into which product types are performing better, as well as giving you the ability play around with adding different negative keywords to different groups.

The problem here is, since you’re running only one campaign, all ad groups will be sharing from the same campaign budget pool. So you won't be able to set different budgets - and other settings - for different product types, or even products.

3. Multiple campaigns with multiple ad groups.

This structure involves having multiple campaigns with multiple ad groups. It's ideal for online stores, with a variety of product types or brands, or for those that requires a tighter control over the budgets.

So in this case, our shoe seller, who now sells a variety of products, can create a campaign per category that he sells in. That means campaign would be built around a certain category or a type, with the groups focusing on individual products.

Each of your product types or groups will have their own budget, and tracking the performance can be segmented, based on these splits.

Keep in mind that this involves a lot more time and effort to set up, monitor and optimize for stores with many types of products.

Google Ads Shopping Campaigns

4. 3 campaigns, 3 priorities.

As mentioned before, there are three priority options for your campaign and this campaign structure involves creating three campaigns, one for each priority.

High priority campaign would have newly-arrived products, products on sale, best-sellers, etc.

Medium-priority campaign would have product categories, brands, product lines, or specific regions.

Low-priority campaign would include all the products.

These are much easy to create and set up, and at the same time, they give you much more control over your bids and performance.

Dealing With a Limited Budget

If you have a smaller budget, can't afford to spend much on ads, or on any resources you'll need to build highly granular campaign sets, then start by limiting the number of products in your Shopping campaigns. You can filter your campaigns to only include those products that have a high impression AdWords share, or by grouping by popularity, based on your site’s sales stats. In other words, keep your campaigns small. Find the products that bring you the best ROI for your limited budget, and then as the sales increase, start adding to the budget to include high performers or new products to your campaigns.

That's how you set up Google Shopping campaigns  like a pro.

10 Things You Should Be Doing In Your Paid Search Strategy

PPC advertising involves selecting a set of keywords, and writing an advert to appear when a person searched for that keyword, in major search engines. Also, it allows you to set a budget that you're willing to spend for clicks. Here are 10 techniques, that many people aren't even aware of, that can step up your paid search marketing strategy by 10x.

1. Single-keyword ad groups (SKAGs)

These are ad groups that contain a single keyword, with possible different match styles.

For example;

Ad group - cheap flights
Keywords - [cheap flights]
“cheap flights”
+cheap +flights

As you can see, the ad group contains the same search term, with different match types.

With SKAGs, you'll be able to significantly increase your CTR, which in turn will lead to a lower CPC and a higher QS, which will result in a lower CPA.

How's that possible?

Having a single keyword in your ad group allows you to write better ads, that are extremely specific as well as relevant to the users’ search terms. As you probably already know, a higher ad relevancy equals to a higher CTR, which will improve the keyword’s quality score, while lowering the CPC.

The end result of all that, is a lower CPA.

Although, you should only use this technique for keywords with highest performance. Otherwise, it'll be very hard to maintain and optimize your account.

2. Bing Ads

If you're not using Bing Ads, you're missing out on 30% of US search traffic.

Not to mention the lower cost for most keywords.

Also, chances are, your competitors may have passed up on Bing ads too, which means you'll have a monopoly in there. An effective pay per click advertising campaign should leverage several different channels whenever available. (Here's some pro tips showing advanced ppc tactics you should be using)

3. Retargeting lists for search ads

This basically means you can target your past visitors when they're back, searching for keywords in your campaign.

If a user visited your gift card site, and left, within the next 30 days, whenever that user searches for gift cards, you'll be able to show them (more specific) ads to that user.

Since the user is a warm lead - not a cold one - it'll be easier to convert them.

Doing this will allow you to test different ads, and have a better control over the budget between returning users and newcomers.

4. Negative retargeting lists

Even though a once-visited visitor is more likely to be converted, you shouldn't target ALL the people who visited your website.

Using negative retargeting lists make sure you're not wasting money on people who visited your site, but probably weren't interested in your products / services / offers.

SEM Agency

5. Stop focusing on being #1.

Aahh...the #1 spot.

Everyone wants to get into that spot.

And they're bidding their butts off, trying to win.

But all they're doing is increasing the bar farther away from their grasp.

At some point, their CPA will be much higher. So much, that it wouldn't make sense to advertise anymore.

Do you really want to get into that dog fight?

Think about it.

Instead of competing for the #1 spot with others, try to get into #2, #3. This is much more cost effective, while still getting your ad in the main page.

Let your competitors waste their budget on the first position, and focus on the second spot. It's less hassle.

6. Adjust your campaigns to peak times of your target audience

Find out the time frames that your target audiences are most active within. Adjust your campaign(s) according to those times.

If your target audience is primarily active between 6am-9am, and 3pm-7pm, then you'll be able to squeeze more leads and customers using your campaigns. This "day-parting" technique is a must for any effective paid search strategy.

7. Long tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are the ones that appeal to users, who are searching for very niche, or highly specific terms.

An example of a long tail keyword can be “pneumatic pilot valve”, in contrast to to a generic keyword like “valves”.

This is very useful, especially, if your ad budget is limited, and you can't afford to spend any money on wasted clicks.

Not only the CPC is much cheaper, but also you'll find prospects who know exactly what they want, and the quality of the leads will be much higher.

8. Use negative keywords.

Even in a well-defined niche, there might e keywords that you don’t want to be listed for.

For example, if you rent cars, but don’t sell them, you don’t want your ads to be listed under keywords that are related to buying vehicles. In that case, words like “buy”, “purchase” are the negative keywords that needs to go into your campaign, in order to make sure that you don’t waste your ad money, showing ads to the wrong set of the people.

9. Bid on your competitors brand names.

Type each of your competitors’ names on Google, and see what ads come up. If yours isn't there, get it on there by bidding on your competitors’ brand names and company names.

You might think that this is a dirty trick, or that this is unethical, but it certainly is neither dirty, nor unethical.

It’s being used by everybody.

So, if you’re not using this, chances are, your competitors are using this technique, which means that they’re getting a chunk of your search traffic.

10. Constantly A/B split test keywords, ad copy, landing page copy/layouts, etc.

You can't just set up your ad accounts and campaigns, and be done with it. This is NOT a one-time thing. You have to constantly horn your ad copy, try new copies, test new keywords, try out highest-converting keywords with different copies / landing pages, run a new ad on highest-converting locations, and a million other things.

It allows you to find out what works, and what doesn't, in a constantly-changing world.

Also, you can one-up your ad game during seasons, special holidays, and other trends in the masses. If you haven't done so recently, it is probably time to do a thorough account audit as well.

You can bet almost anything, that at least one of your competitors paid search strategy involves some A-grade split testing game.

Also, make sure to pay close attention to main metrics like ROI/ROAS, conversion volume, and cost per conversion. Remember; what gets measured, can be improved.

These are the 10 tips that can increase the effectiveness of your CPC campaign, while helping you to keep your search engine marketing budget in control.

The Ultimate Guide To Performing an SEM Audit That Uncovers Pockets of Opportunity

Paid Search has exponentially expanded in complexity over the past decade or so. As a result of this, it’s really easy to miss new functionalities, and targeting capabilities offered to you, which would be a real shame. If you haven't seen our recommendations to drive the best performance in Google Ads in 2019, check it out. The key to unlocking an account's full potential lies in conducting an effective SEM Audit.

So, it’s very important to understand which settings to utilize, which boxes to check, and what to adjust - and how much - in order to maximize paid search performance, so that your ad account doesn't turn into a sprawling mess of ineffective bidding, expensively bad and irrelevant ad copy, with generic keywords.

That's where an SEM audit comes in.

An SEM audit is a deep and thorough dive into your ad account to determine areas that could use further attention and work to improve performance. (ie: ensure that your PPC management is on-point with your goals and objectives, whether your ad accounts utilize necessary settings and features for maximum efficiency, and ROAS, etc.)

Also, it help you take a look at your whole marketing campaign (yes, as a whole) from different angles, and find hidden opportunities, that you can utilize to milk more out of your resources.

Google Analytics Dashboard

Components of an SEM Audit.

  1. Overall account performance. (Average quality scores, etc.)
  2. Campaign performance and settings. (Day parting, location exclusion, mobile bidding, etc.)
  3. Campaign attributes. (Types, extensions, etc.)
  4. Campaign organization. (Budget allocation for higher-converting keywords)
  5. Ad group performance and settings.
  6. Ad group attributes. (Extensions, match types, negative keywords, etc.)
  7. Ad performance. (keyword usage, display URLs, symbol usage, etc.)
  8. Keyword performance. (Match type strategy, etc.)
  9. Search term opportunities. (Detail report and search console)
  10. Complete landing page audit.
  11. Automations that are currently in place.

….and much more….

Now;

While you can very well outsource this to an expert professional, a team, or even an agency, it's not something you can't do either. I mean, it's not rocket science.

Especially, if you're a small / medium business, a startup, or just running on a tight budget, you can use this guide to get the job done.

All you have to do is find answers to many questions, and make sure that you have a list of certain things going on.

Trust me. When you know what, where, and how to look, it's way easier to do it.

So, without further ado….

What questions should you find answers to?

1. What do you want out of your ad campaigns?

Do you have a purpose for each ad? What are your goals, objectives? Make sure they're S.M.A.R.T. goals.

2. Do you have your ad account organized, in a logical way?

It should be easy for you, or to the account manager to find something, keep track of things, and manage other actions, easily. If your account structure is chaotic, then the results as well as the management of that account will probably be chaotic.

3. Do you have conversion tracking properly set up?

If you don't, then all of your account data is useless, and your ad money is wasted. Watch out for double counting of conversions.

4. Who are you targeting?

Do you have their demographics defined clearly? Are they generic ones (ie: 18-35 people), or more specific with defined parameters (ie: 18-35 iPhone users, living in the west coast)? The less defined they are, the more you pay, and on top of that, your ROI will keep going down.

5. Where are your ads running?

Do those platforms match your goals and objectives? Most importantly, do they match the demographic(s) of your target audience. For example, if you're trying to sell to 40+ old people, you won't find much use in platforms like Instagram. But Facebook can be a good place.

6. How many ads do you have running?

Get a performance report for each of them, as well as a report of your spendings. Identify campaigns that are losing impressions share, due to budget restrictions.

7. How many A/B tests (or any other kind of testing) have you done with your ads?

Have you picked the best ones, and rinsed-and-repeated the process? This is how you weed out the ads with poor performance. You can either remove-and-forget them, or run them through a wringer, find out what's wrong with them, fix it, and retest it to check whether the problem has been solved. Separate the best ones into dedicated campaigns, and run them with the highest-converting keywords, highest-converting locations, etc. NEVER stop testing. Also, make sure to constantly test new ad copy.

8. When are your ads converting?

Are the conversion rates trending one way or another, during specific hours? If so, consider utilizing day parting, for increased efficiency.

9. Are you using Google remarkating?

If not, consider using this clever method to connect with your visitors who hasn't been converted yet, while they browse elsewhere on the internet.
If you're already using this, be sure to exclude converted visitors.
Whether you're using the Display Network or Search Network for remarketing (RLSA), you need to be thinking about your non-converting clicks, and you only have 540 days to convert them, after the cookie has been dropped.

10. Are your top keywords set up in single-keyword adgroups?
11. Are you using the ‘negative keywords’ feature?

Make sure to continuously research, identify, and exclude irrelevant search terms that are wasting your budget.

12. What percentage of your conversions are coming from exact match terms?
13. Are you bidding on your competitors’ brand names?

Type each of your top competitors into Google, and see what ads come up. If yours isn't there, get on it.

14. Is your account structure optimized for quality score?

Your adgroups shouldn't have a single keyword, that's lower than 7 in quality score. Move any low-QS keywords to dedicated campaigns and troubleshoot using the Ads Diagnostic tools. If your keywords aren't between 7-10 in QS, you'll be paying too much.

15. Are effective campaigns limited by set budgets, either set as shared budgets, or allocated directly to each campaign? 

Look how the budget is allocated between areas of the account with different levels of performance.

16. Are the appropriate campaign types set?

Select the appropriate campaign type, according to your goals and objectives. Remember. One goal / objective per campaign.

17. Are the location targeting options appropriate for your target audience?

Make sure your ads are targeting at the right countries. It's better to structure your campaigns at a country or continental level for more control.

18. Does the selection of extensions allocated across the account to support your goals and objectives?
19. What bidding strategy you use? Do you use one at all?

Google offers a few different bidding strategies. Here's their breakdown of these types, along with what they do.
Also;

Key performance indicator metrics that you need to pay attention to:

1. ROI/ROAS -
This metric is the ultimate truth that you have to stick to. If you have to choose a single metric to use for the rest of your life, it should be this. This basically means; What's your return on investment? How much money are you making, after putting money in? You have to work on tracking the performance of the PPC campaigns, and how they affect your bottom line. If something is off, then you have to act accordingly.

2. Conversion volume -
Make sure you know which conversion actions you're tracking. Then, look at the number of conversions you're getting on a daily / weekly / monthly basic, and which campaigns they're coming from as well. If you're not growing the number of conversions every month, then your campaign is stagnating. Find out what you can do to remove the ‘clog’ and keep things rolling.

3. Cost / conv -
This one is rather simple. If you cost per conversion is too high, then chances are, your campaign isn't sustainable. But, there are a lot of ways to reduce your CPC, starting with eliminating wasted spend, by running your campaigns through the above questionnaires.

Conclusion -

This article was intended to give you a more in-depth guide on ‘how you can perform an SEM audit’, so that you can get the best performance from your ad campaigns. Keep in mind to focus on the metrics, conversions, and settings that matter to your campaigns. If you need any help, book a strategy session with us.

How to Drive the Best Performance from Google Ads in 2019

No, you’re not dreaming. 2018 is long gone, and we're well into 2019. And as the old adage goes, “New year...time to relearn everything you thought you knew about Google Ads and PPC.” 

2018 was a huge year in the world of PPC management. There were massive changes at Google, most notably the rebranding of AdWords to Google Ads; a sleek new Google Ads interface; and the official launch of new campaign types, targeting options, tools, enhancements, and features to the platform. While Google seem to have made the most “game changing” strides, we also saw a resurgence of Bing Ads, advanced LinkedIn advertising targeting, and even witnessed the rise of Amazon. In fact, Amazon took 2018 as an opportunity to become a major competitor in the PPC space, with advertisers choosing to shift budget towards Amazon because more people have begun their search for products on Amazon over Google. 

Let’s face it though; Google isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Yet, with new competition, new features, and a new year, many advertisers are left to wonder how to drive the best performance from their Google Ads campaigns in 2019. With the ever-changing technology and usability for advertisers and consumers alike, it’s easy to get left behind. We at Ernst Media, have dissected the changes and decided to outline the opportunities and best practices for driving the best results possible for your 2019 Google Ads campaigns to help keep you ahead of the game. 

Let’s dig in:

Optimize For Voice Search

The landscape of keyword targeting has been slowly changing before our eyes. If you haven’t been doing your research, or literally listening, there’s a good chance you’ve missed it. While voice search has been around for a number of years, internet users are abandoning typing their search queries into Google and turning to Siri, OK Google, and other software that operates with Voice Search. As this trend becomes even more popular, it is guaranteed to significantly change keywords.

If you haven’t done so already it is highly recommended that you take a look at your campaigns to see if they are receiving voice search traffic. Filter your search queries for search terms using Siri, Alexa, or OK Google. There’s a good chance you’d be surprised by the volume of searches that have triggered your ads from Voice Search. 

Google Ads Search Terms Report

 

Even if you’re not seeing a huge volume of results right now, we have 11 more months of advancements to prepare for in the world of PPC. In this industry it’s always better to be prepared than to be left behind. Last year, Google reported that at least 20% of searches were made with voice search. With this style of search increasing at a tremendous rate, it’s in the best interest of you or your client’s business to optimize your campaigns accordingly. 

Search Audience Layering 

While 2019 probably won’t be the year that annoying trends such as Cardi B and Fortnite die (unfortunately), many believe that this will be the year the keyword, as we know it, dies. Until recently, the keyword was the most important level in the performance of your search campaigns. With the introduction of in-market audience targeting for search, we are likely to see the importance of the keyword become diminished for optimal performance. 

Last year, Google quietly introduced in-market audiences for search ads. While it has historically been considered uncool, a cop-out, and a waste of money to target with in-market audiences - it’s 2019, dudes and gals. If you haven’t taken the time to delve into Google’s targeting options, they’ve become quite specific. These in-market audiences, which are specifically meant to be used for ROI goals, can be used to target search audiences with varying search intent. If you want to get the best performances out of your Google Ads search campaigns, we highly suggest coupling your keyword targeting with Google’s In-Market and Affinity Audiences to drive a higher ROI and reach a more relevant audience. No matter the market your business is in, there’s an abundance of In-Market Audiences now available for search campaigns, leaving a very low probability that you WON'T find one to take your campaigns to the next level.

 

Google Ads Search Audience

 

**Pro Tip: Make sure to set your audience target to Observation mode for testing the performance of audiences before totally restricting your campaign delivery**

Improve Your Mobile Strategy

This should come as nothing new, we’ve been saying it for years: Focus on mobile. It’s always amazing how little effort some advertisers put into developing their mobile strategies. Almost every consumer has a mobile device. These devices provide immediate access to Google, and it’s ads, at all times. Needless to say, if you haven’t bought into the trend of creating a mobile-friendly ad experience, this is the year to do it. 

Google advertisers who decide to ignore mobile efforts run the risk of flushing their paid budgets down the drain, as well as losing out on reaching converting users. If you want to succeed, or enhance the performance of your campaigns, it’s imperative that you get in touch with best mobile practices. 

Analyze and Optimize

The easiest way to begin is to analyze how much mobile traffic your PPC campaigns are driving. It will probably be a lot, and you shouldn’t be surprised. The new Google Ads interface offers a chart that is very easy to digest and see the vast amount of mobile traffic that is likely dominating your results. Making minimal changes to your bids, even 10 percent increases on mobile traffic, can have a huge impact on your conversions and drive desirable results from your search campaigns.

Get With It and Update Your Ads

What has three headlines, two descriptions and 300 total characters? Google’s new Expanded Text Ads! 

In August, Google launched an even more expanded version of the expanded text ads. These new and improved Expanded Text Ads afford advertisers even more space and opportunity to set themselves apart from their competitors on the SERPs. Now you’ll be able to have three 30-character headlines, as well as a second description line. In other words, both formats have expanded to 90-characters versus the old 80-character descriptions. In effect, this gives your ads the ability to be nearly twice as large and contain a total of 300 characters.

Use Response Search Ads

On top of the ever-expanding text ads, Google has also recently released Responsive Search Ads. Much like the newer expanded ads, these Responsive Text Ads offer more real estate and dynamically combine headline and descriptions to optimize the relevance and match to user intent. With these ads, advertisers can set up to as many as 15 headlines and four descriptions in a single ad. While these ads will only display on the SERP as the new, larger, Expanded Text Ads, they allow for the testing and reporting of different variations of headlines and descriptions. 

Needless to say, if you haven’t updated all of the ads in your accounts, we highly suggest you do so. As you’d suspect, the best way to drive peak performance from your Google Ads campaigns is to utilize all of the new features that Google releases. Advertisers should be utilizing these larger Expanded Text Ads to take up as much real estate as possible on the results page. It may take some practice to nail down the best combinations of descriptions. Therefore, we suggest making use of the Responsive Text Ads and their reporting features. This allows you to view the different combinations, as a starting point for writing your third headline and second descriptions. 

Believe in Automation

It should be no secret that Google Ads is out to make money, as is every corporation. Undeniably, this fact makes it pretty difficult to trust automation. I, personally, have had some pretty unpleasant experiences with eCPC and other bidding techniques that rely on machine learning. But in 2019, things are changing. With the rising competition between PPC platforms, companies are shifting not only for better user experience, but advertisers alike. 

Now I’m not saying that you should let your campaigns run themselves by any means. But there are types of automations that are totally worth taking advantage of to drive optimal results for your 2019 campaigns. (Automation is relevant to SEO activities too, so be sure you're working with a reputable seo agency.)

Goal-based Workflows

Google’s new Goal-Based Campaign Workflows are yet another feature that we recommend taking advantage of for your 2019 success. Traditionally when creating campaigns, the options were very limited: search and display, clicks, calls, etc. 

Google now has flipped the script, allowing advertisers to create goal-driven campaigns from the campaign setup menu. Now you can select campaign goals such as sales, leads, website traffic, product and branding, brand awareness, app promotion, or no goal. Then, Google suggests the best type of campaign (you can still chose the type you want). Then, Google optimizes your campaigns to your goals, similar to Facebook’s campaign optimizations.  Using these types of machine optimizations create much more user-friendly and optimized campaigns with the ability to enhance all of your campaigns. We also recommend learning scripts to enhance your automation even further.     

2019 Checklist

Everybody wants to drive the best results from their Google campaigns. It is imperative that you audit your accounts and campaigns and make sure they are up-to-date and running to the best of their, and your, abilities. To make 2019 your year by following our tips for driving the best performance from your Google Ad campaigns!

2019 Google Ads Checklist

Drive the best results from your 2019 Ads Campaigns

Collaboration is also a huge piece of the success puzzle when it comes to PPC. We’d love to hear your comments and feedback! Here at Ernst Media, we provide expert analysis, audits, and consultations, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

How SEM can Help Find your Next Customer

Search Engine Marketing can be a difficult term for most business owners to grasp.

Those that understand it are able to get a competitive advantage. An affective SEM strategy can drive significant traffic to a website. It can also lower the average cost per acquisition of a new customer. Here's how SEM can help.

Search is one of the most trusted mediums for users to get information. Google Search facilitates over 3.5 billion searches per day and search is the source of over 65% of all web traffic.  Marketers can easily get lost analyzing keyword rankings because it's easy to forget about the individual asking the question. This common misstep can often lead brands to focus on keywords rather than consumers. This delivers the wrong audience for their needs. For instance, the first instinct for an auto dealership looking to improve their search numbers may be to simply optimize for the words “auto dealership”. This casts a wide net that may seem effective. Therefore, it actually brings in many people who fall into the wrong consumer category.

Understand Your Audience

The concept of understanding users when designing and developing new digital campaigns isn’t new. Many people are less familiar with taking similar steps to create a smoother, more cohesive SEO services experience. Understanding your audience’s intention will push you to create the proper campaigns and content every page needs. Finally, this drives more higher quality traffic. This is a specific example of how SEM can help a business get more customers.

Once SEO strategy is built into the design process, it’s the marketer’s job to define the best ways of bringing the right type of user. There are three simple practices that utilize tools SEOs are already familiar with. Search intent can help you break down these larger needs into useful pieces of information that directs the right people to your site. Effective search boils down to working alongside design and strategy teams to build mechanisms that already offer what users are looking for. Search engine optimization should not be just an afterthought; SEM should be a primary focus during the design process. Because of this, it is often hard to measure how SEM can help drive improvements to an SEO strategy.  Next, we will address several considerations that can help improve your SEM strategy.

Considerations:

  1. Input your potential keywords into Google Keyword Planner. The key is to identify words and phrases that are off-brand to your users. Then, you can avoid using them. This ensures that you wont attract the wrong audience. This can drive immediate results.
  2. Buy keywords through paid search and measure the user stats. Click through rate, bounce rate, time spent, conversion rate, to gauge if it is the right fit for your users. This is an effective method to hone in on effective keywords. Buying terms can give you a good sense of what does and doesn’t fit your audience, which then allows you to understand the intentions of your users. Going back to the auto example, if we buy terms like new car, Chevy Tahoe, and new car rebates, we can compare conversion rates to alter our messaging and increase conversion rates. Every industry will have some common terms that would apply to each business. The key is to identify priority keywords with relatively high search volume, with low levels of competition. This has been our recipe for success.

Following these simple rules will help you set up an SEM strategy that aligns with your overall digital marketing strategy.

Do you have any specific questions about how SEM can help drive results for your integrated marketing strategy? Learn more about us or reach out to us or leave a comment below.