The mandatory Google Upgraded URLs July 2015 deadline will be here before you know it, at which point all URLs on AdWords will be migrated over to the new URL structure. With less than three months to go, it’s critical for Google advertisers are prepared for migrating, maintaining and optimizing their URLs across their entire program in the future. Advertisers need to ensure they have the necessary technology and knowledge to allow for a simple, seamless migration and URL framework. So the real question is, are you prepared?
For Google advertisers with third party tracking values, migrating URLs across an entire program can be a giant undertaking. Some advertisers may be wondering what the best way to handle the migration is to ensure that there is limited disruption to existing ad campaigns. While there are many ways to go about this, we’re here to provide you with our best practice guide for the Upgraded URLs migration.
The migration process for Upgraded URLs is a new experience for all advertisers so it may be difficult to assess what exactly needs to be done, and when. That said it never hurts to have a helping hand to assist you in navigate through the necessary steps to successfully transform your existing URLs into the new Upgraded URLs. In May, Marin will be providing a migration portal that will give advertisers step-by-step instructions outlining what they need to do and when, an overview of their account, the components that will be affected, and access to a wealth of other helpful resources at their fingertips.
How you set-up your URLs during the migration will have a direct impact on the management of your URLs going forward. To ensure that your new Upgraded URLs are set up in a way that you can easily change and scale going forward, it is recommended that you use a shared account-tracking template approach. This template solution will make it easier to make changes in the future by allowing you to make basic tracking parameter changes to URLs without having to going through the Google editorial review process, which requires taking keywords and ads offline. Ultimately, this solution results in cleaner looking URLs with increased readability. With Marin, we will take your URLs from the account tracking template, and then through the use of an automated tool, we will transfer your existing URLs to the new structure making them available for your review. From there, you will be able to traffic your URLs to the publisher at your convenience.
After the migration, the ongoing management of your Upgraded URLs can be simplified with the help of a tool that understands the challenges that come with adopting to the new URL structure. Marin offers a pop-up side panel that allows you to make URL edits on the spot while you’re looking at your campaigns, keywords, and groups, a URL builder to help you easily piece together the three components of new URLs, and a preview feature to help you troubleshoot your URLs before publishing.
As there are many different options available out there to help you handle the Upgraded URLs migration, choosing the right one for your business needs will help to ensure that you hit the ground running with Upgraded URLs!
The event that the Search industry has dubbed “Mobilegeddon” is almost upon us. Starting April 21st, Google will be updating its algorithm to increase its emphasis on “mobile friendliness” when ranking search results. Many of you may be wondering what changes to expect, since Google has always factored in “mobile friendliness” into quality scores in the past, so here’s a breakdown of what this change is all about and some quick tips on how to stay on top.
With 15% of the world’s population owning and using tablets, and over 25% owning and using mobile devices according to an eMarketer study, it makes sense to make sure that you offer a positive user experience for these consumers who click on your ad while on these devices. While Google hasn’t provided very many specifics on the mobile update, what we do know is that advertisers who do not have landing pages that are up to the standards of Google’s revamped “mobile friendliness” standards will experience dramatically lower search visibility.
Here are three easy ways to make sure you’re prepared:
This may appear to be a no brainer, but just because your site looks great and works amazingly on the desktop, does not necessarily mean that that experience will automatically translate to tablets and mobile devices. If you don’t currently have a responsive website (using responsive web design), make sure you create a mobile version of your desktop site. Nothing is worse than having a consumer click on your ad, only to lose them through a website that they can’t navigate through.
Google has provided a helpful link for you to evaluate the mobile friendliness of your website, aptly named the Mobile Friendliness Test. In addition, to get a full report on mobile usability issues for your site, check out Google’s Mobile Usability Report. It is worth noting that Google hasn’t said what will change in their requirements on April 21st, but these tests are a great start to see if your website meets the basic standards for a mobile optimized website.
Make sure that the right consumers are seeing your amazing mobile optimized website. It’s important for advertisers to note that mobile users tend to be searching for different things than those on desktop and often, the keywords that are most effective on these devices differ. Searches done on a mobile device tend to be for quick answers such as location or contact information, so make sure to keep those in mind when selecting keywords and optimizing your campaigns for mobile.
Even though we won’t know to what extent advertisers will be affected when April 21st hits, these tips will help you to be prepared for whatever may come.
Today Google formally announced the launch of their long anticipated upgraded URLs. We understand that many Google advertisers out there are wondering what this change means to them and how they will be impacted. In this post, we hope to provide answers to the main questions out there regarding this mandatory change and hopefully help put you at ease.
For starters, what are upgraded URLs?
Google is introducing upgraded URLs to help advertisers track ads and execute changes more efficiently. You can now specify separately two pieces of information for your URL: 1) The landing page URL – the landing page were the user will go when they click on the ad, and 2) Your tracking information – the values you’d like to track about your ad performance which can be at the account level. As a result, you will no longer need to update ads, keywords, or sitelinks every time you need to add a tracking parameter to your URLs.
What do I need to do?
Google is requiring all advertisers to change the structure of their URLs to the new upgraded format by mid 2015. While Google will automatically do the most basic migration of all non-redirect URLs to the new format on the deadline, it is recommended that advertisers proactively take charge of updating their URLs ahead of time in an effort to conform to Google’s “best practices” structure.
Wait, I need to individually update each of my URLs? That’s a lot!
Yes, Google does require advertisers to update all of their URLs, which is a daunting task considering the volume of URLs the average advertiser has to deal with. To help mitigate the chance of errors and any potential negative impact on campaigns, there are tools out there that will assist you with making this update easy and painless. Platforms like Marin Software not only offer a migration tool to easily upgrade all your URLs according to best practices prior to the deadline, but also offer resources to help answer any questions or solve issues you may have along the way – helping to eliminate any disruption to your campaigns.
Got it, so what should I do now?
Take the time to figure out the right strategy for upgrading your Google URLs. This will help you experience a smoother transition and allow you to focus solely on the benefits that new upgraded URLs have to offer.
We all know Google is constantly toying with the SERP. Sorting out what new tweaks Google is testing can be difficult at times, but I thought it’d be fun to do a side-by-side comparison of what the SERP looked like a year ago compared to what it looks like now for the same search term, “Razor Scooter.” Here’s what I noticed:
1) More PLAs! Google was toying with adding more PLAs at the end of 2013 and it appears they’ve settled on more. In 2013, a total of four PLAs appeared. The SERP for 2014 delivered twice as many. The location has changed too.
2) More Text in Text Ads. The number of lines appearing with text ads has increased. Last year the largest text ad on the page consisted of four lines. This year, the largest (position 1) features up to seven lines. There isn’t an ad on the 2014 SERP with fewer than four lines. The addition of the review stars as well as the inclusion of physical addresses has created “longer” ads. This essentially means fewer text ads on the side are able to fit above the fold. In 2013, four text ads appeared on the side above the fold. In 2014, two and half appeared. The lost real-estate is compounded on smaller monitors – on a laptop just a single side bar text ad appeared.
3) The “Ad” Icon. Google started testing the “Ad” icon just over a year ago. It’s now the standard. Gone is the ad box with the title “Ad Related To [search query].” Instead, ads are identified by the little yellow “Ad” icon and ad organic search results are delineated by a grey bar or divider.
4) More Text Ads Above Organic Results. Last year, one text ad was served above the organic results. We now have three. With PLAs moving to the right side bar and the company description disappearing (this still appears on some, less retail focused results), room was freed up to serve two additional text ads. Organic results are pushed down. The same “Razor Scooter” search query today on a 13” laptop screen produces just a single organic result.
In short, the SERP is much more ad dominated, with the focus going towards PLAs and positions 1 – 3.
Determining the best time to hit audiences with ads – and on which channels – is always a challenge. This process becomes even more complicated during peak seasons, such as in November in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday rush.
Last November, we noticed that the best time for advertisers to reach customers on Facebook happened to be two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. To see if the same trend held true for November 2014, we took a look at impressions, clicks, and conversions on the channel.
This year we happened to see spikes in activity around Thanksgiving week, which contradicts our findings from last year where we saw the spike in user engagement in the few weeks prior to Thanksgiving. But why the change?
We anticipate this may be due to some of the modifications Facebook has made in the last year to their ad offerings. Taking a look at where the major spikes in engagement are seen in impressions, clicks, and conversions at the start of Thanksgiving week, customers were more apt to engage and convert right after the holiday, presumably for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
If you take a look at mobile conversions on Google, we also see a spike on November 28th for Black Friday that is 250% above what we see for the rest of November.
Did this trend hold true for you as well? Share any developments you may have noticed in your own campaigns in the comments section below.
Today’s sophisticated advertisers know the importance of investing in Bing Ads – they’re a great way to reach over 150 million unique searchers. But even the best advertisers have room to improve. That’s why we’re excited to reveal 5 key tactics to unlock missed opportunities on Bing! Let’s get started…
You already have successful campaigns on other publishers, so why not take advantage of these on Bing as well? Consider replicating campaigns that are hitting or exceeding profitability targets, campaigns that are reaching your budget limit, or campaigns that are on the cusp of profitability and could benefit from a reasonable decrease in CPC. If you’re a Marin customer, use the copy tool to quickly and easily clone your campaigns from one publisher to another.
Often the keywords you have on Bing do not match up with the keywords you have on other publishers, so it’s worth taking a look at this discrepancy. Moving profitable keywords is a great way to get additional volume in a way that improves overall performance. To do this, identify your top-performing keywords on other publishers and check to see if they’re also on Bing. In Marin, you can again use the copy tool to launch those keywords on Bing.
Take a look at the Bing campaigns that are hitting your KPIs, and see which of those are also hitting your budget caps. Consider changing your daily budget on those campaigns to expand volume. In Marin, filters make it easy to identify good campaigns for this tactic, and from there you can opt to boost budgets by a dollar amount of percentage increase.
If you’re not already using them, sitelinks are a great way to maximize performance on Bing. They take up more real estate in the search engine results so you can push competitors farther down the page, plus they provide a more relevant experience for searchers through deep linking. Finally, sitelinks are known to boost CTR by 10-20%. If you’re using Marin, manage in bulk and use the copy tool to clone sitelinks between campaigns as an easy way to save time and get sitelinks live quickly.
Retailers should try Bing Product Ads as a way to increase visibility, and reach up to 31 million unique consumers who don’t use other search engines. Featuring images of the products you offer, this rich ad type takes consumers directly to a page where they can make a purchase. Additionally, they make it possible to take up more real estate on the search engine results page – even allowing for multiple listings in the form of text ads and Product Ads. Marin’s workflow allows you to manage both ad types in our platform for valuable time-savings.
Google rocked the search world this August with the announcement that they were changing the definition of Exact Match and Phrase Match to include close variants of their keywords, such as misspellings or plural variants. This caused a huge uproar from search marketers over the potential effect this could have on their search performance. Almost two months later, were their fears founded? I took a look at our Marin Global Online Advertising Index to see how performance has, or has not, changed over the last month and a half for Google Exact and Phrase Match search.
To start, I looked at click-through rates between August and October for both 2013 and 2014 for Google Exact and Phrase Search. While these searches make up only about 3% of all Google searches, this still means billions of impressions daily. Surprisingly, I found no real change in CTR trends between 2013 and 2014. While there is a small drop the week of the change, this is also mirrored in CTR behavior in 2013 on the same dates.
On the cost-per-click side, we also see very similar trends to 2013. While there is a jump in CPC during mid-September, we see a similar jump in 2013. This coincides with both the beginning of the holiday season sales and back-to-school sales so this is not unexpected. While the jumps were less pronounced this year than last, overall, trends show that this change to Google Exact and Phrase Match search have not affected CTR and CPC significantly, at least not yet.
Historically, Bing has always been the primary contender when it comes to search engine share in the US. However, this Q3 we saw a significant benchmark for Bing where it had overtaken Google in impression share. In the B2B services vertical, Bing edged past Google, capturing 52% to Google’s 48% in the US.
Bing’s impression share for the B2B services vertical has always hovered closer to parity than other verticals, with 44% of all impressions last quarter, but this is the first quarter we’ve seen it overtake Google.
While it could be a fluke, it also signals a change in consumer behavior. The target audience of B2B advertisers has begun searching slightly more on Bing than Google, at least in Q3. This could be due to a few different factors:
What we don’t see is a corresponding percentage of spend and clicks on Bing. Advertisers have yet to adjust for this slow shift away from Google towards Bing and there is an opportunity for a B2B marketer to capture cheap clicks by shifting some share of ad budget away from Google towards Bing.
Do you have any additional thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below to continue the conversation.
Google recently released some early holiday goodies for retailers across a number of verticals. While dynamic remarketing (a.k.a. dynamic retargeting) on the Google Display Network (GDN) has been available since June, it had been mainly limited to retailers with a Google Merchant Center Account, notwithstanding some beta tests within the travel and education verticals. However, last week, Google rolled out further vertical support, enabling dynamic retargeting across the hotel, flight, real estate, classified, job, auto, finance, and education verticals.
Retargeting is proven to be a very effective conversion driver. However dynamic retargeting (or as Google refers to it, dynamic “remarketing”) is tailor made for retailers. Dynamic retargeting dynamically serves product-specific ads to potential customers based on the products they’ve previously viewed. This gives retailers a powerful tool to tailor creative to customers in ways that are more likely to grab their interest and drive conversions and purchases.
While many retailers have already been including dynamic retargeting as part of their marketing mix, Google’s support for some non-traditional verticals including jobs and educations, gives companies in those verticals an opportunity to dip their toes into the retargeting waters.
Although Google’s dynamic retargeting product may be a good first step for retailers wading into retargeting, sophisticated marketers are likely to find some Google’s new offering lacking in a number of ways.
Google’s remarketing product is limited to only displaying ads on sites that the Google Display Network reaches. The display world is much more fragmented than the search world, and GDN is just one of the many ad exchanges that serve display ads across the Web. GDN only accounts for a plurality of the display inventory available on the web which means advertisers advertising on GDN alone would be missing out on a majority of display impressions across the Web. The missed opportunity is significant. Essentially, retargeting on GDN alone is akin to only running search ads on Bing.
Equally important to note is AdWords lack of reach on Facebook. Study after study has shown the incremental value of marketing across multiple channels. In fact, Marin recently released a white paper on retargeting, which found that advertisers using the Perfect Audience retargeting platform to retarget on both Display and Facebook enjoyed better returns than advertisers who were only retargeting within a single channel. Dynamic retargeting through AdWords means missing out on retargeting on Facebook, the most popular social network in the world. With over 1 billion regular users, dynamic ads via the Facebook Newsfeed and Sidebar should be a cornerstone of any retargeting strategy.
Finally, going beyond the Google walled garden is essential for savvy marketers looking to leverage tactics such as look-alike modeling to try to build new business. Currently, Google lacks a smart prospecting product rivaling Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences. Additionally, tactics such as partner retargeting with second-party data, or audience targeting using third-party data can further help marketers increase their potential customer base.
Google’s dynamic remarketing product is a good starter offering for retailers who want to test how dynamic retargeting can help their business. However, its basic capabilities combined with its lack of access to channels like Facebook and non-GDN display ad exchanges limits its usefulness as businesses grow and become more sophisticated with their marketing efforts. Even for marketers new to retargeting, using a cross-channel retargeting platform like Perfect Audience can help you get started with dynamic retargeting, but still reap the benefits that come with retargeting across channels.
While Google has long been (and still remains) the dominant search engine in the US market, there are signs that Bing is becoming more of a contender – at least in a few key verticals. Due to our curious nature, we decided to examine Google vs Bing US data over the last five quarters to see how much headway Bing has made in capturing click and spend share.
From our data gathering, we were able to see three verticals that have seen significant gains in click share since Q2 2013: B2B services, healthcare, and travel. While other verticals have seen minor fluctuations, we saw click share grow by at least 10% for these three verticals, compared to an average of 4%. In addition, we saw at least 12% spend share growth for these three industries, versus an overall spend share growth of 4% year over year.
It could be for a variety of reasons. One, Bing’s users have always skewed older than Google’s, favoring 35 and up, and especially 55-64 year olds. From this, we can infer that these users would show more interest in these three verticals than Google’s. As the economy picks up, it also makes sense that Bing’s user-base would be searching and clicking more often on ads within these verticals than on Google. People searching for B2B services would exclude a large audience of students and junior employees, who are more likely Google users. With the Affordable Care Act in play, we can surmise that the large jump in healthcare clicks is, again, an older user-base searching for information and signing up in the middle of this period, causing a sharp increase in Bing healthcare click-share. Similarly, travel may be more affordable to those with disposable income further in their careers, or heads of households, who are more likely to use Bing. In addition, these three verticals cover topics that require extensive research before a purchase decision is made, which may show that online searchers are going across multiple search platforms to do thorough research before any decisions.
What do YOU think? Feel free to leave a comment below to continue the Google vs Bing conversation.