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When Your Exact Match Isn’t Your Exact Match…

Google announced important changes coming to Exact Match last month and implemented these changes last week. Google is including (and excluding) function words, such as ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘and’ in an effort to reduce the workload for advertisers, and swapping terms in an attempt to make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for online. But is this really a positive change? 

The move can go both ways. One the one hand, it can make it more expensive for advertisers because of the sudden increase in generic search terms triggering for brand keywords, which are more competitive, resulting in higher CPCs. NMPi Account Manager, Sophie Worton, noted, “Looking at brand exact in the UK after the first few days of this roll out, the close variants have 15p CPCs, and Exact Match has 7p so it’s a big increase.”

In terms of word swapping, it can also negatively impact conversion rates since user intent is not the same: i.e., ‘The Perfume Shop’ (brand) and ‘perfume shop’ (any perfume shop, or ‘shopping for perfume’) – the intent here is unclear as to whether the user is searching for the brand, or for a generic perfume search. If advertisers set up an exact match keyword in the headline of the ad, word swapping can decrease the relevance.

As for the idea that this will alleviate advertiser work loads, it’s been the opposite. Google has tried to sell this as full coverage, so that advertisers no longer have to create a lot of keywords, but this latest tweak has actually increased workloads. Before the change, advertisers were able to allow exact match terms to run, now, they must perform negative SQRs across all exact matches focusing on brand terms to ensure accuracy. 

It will be interesting to view the results three months down the road.  It’s still ‘early days’, so whether the change is a blow to advertisers, and a boon to shoppers remains to be seen. 

 

 

Google to Improve YouTube’s Cross-Device Metrics and Satisfy User Privacy Concerns

Google recently announced that it will take steps to improve YouTube metrics reporting for its advertisers, while addressing privacy concerns for users. It will rely less on pixel and cookie data to give advertisers an idea of how their video campaigns are faring, and focus on developing better mobile video tracking tools. On the user side, viewers will be able to mute advertisers that track them with irrelevant ads. Google is trying to strike a balance between transparency and control for viewers, and better, highly refined metrics for advertisers.

Why the sudden move away from pixels and cookies?

Google’s blog, Inside AdWords, indicated that 50% of all YouTube video viewing now happens on mobile. Traditional desktop tracking tools don’t provide an accurate overview for mobile based video campaigns because pixels and cookies were not designed for the way users interact with YouTube on mobile. This means measurement can be skewed. Google is developing a new way of measuring viewership to rectify this discrepancy.

How is this a win for advertisers?

In addition to a clearer view of campaign dynamics, it allows advertisers to reach the right audience. The new tool will provide accurate metrics to advertisers across devices. Information from a user’s Google account, such as past searches and Customer Match, can be used to suggest the ads they see on YouTube. In addition to this, Google will also allow advertisers to use their own data to target high value YouTube shoppers.

For viewers, Google will put the control back in their hands by allowing them to mute a particular advertiser across multiple platforms. For example, if a user has purchased a gym membership and is still being tracked with gym promotions, they can mute that advertiser.

According to AdExchanger, the new system will be cloud based with Google collaborating with several Media Rating Council third party vendors. This initiative was recently rolled out to a few select advertisers.

5 Tips for Expanding Internationally with Paid Search

With many UK brands now seeking growth through international expansion, we take a closer look at how brands can successfully expand their international operations with Paid Search and Display. Focusing on international campaign management and execution, this article offers our top tips on running effective campaigns targeted to different territories.

 

Please click here to see our earlier article on 5 Tips for Introducing a Brand into a New Territory.

 

Our top 5 tips for international expansion

1. Decide which countries to target

When expanding internationally, a good starting point for advertisers is to research which territories are likely to perform well:

  • Use tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner with its Traffic Estimator function to find out the level of brand awareness of your brand in a target territory by estimating the average monthly impressions your brand may receive.
  • To gain further insights on new territories, we would suggest that you create a worldwide brand campaign targeting all countries and all languages, while being careful to exclude any territories where you already have campaigns running. By running a worldwide campaign, you will be able to assess which locations drive the most traffic and sales. Let the campaign run for at least 2 weeks and you will see the territories which are performing the best. The highest performing campaigns should then be separated and optimised individually.

 

2. Find the right keywords

Building a strong keyword list for your campaign will help you ensure that your ads show to your target customers as they search for specific terms or visit certain websites. To find the right keywords for your campaign, we would suggest you:

  • Use keywords which perform well in the UK as a starting point, as these are likely to perform well in international territories too. Start with exact match keywords and then expand into phrase match keywords. This will allow you to see which terms users are searching for in a particular territory and therefore enable you to grow the campaign.
  • Expand your keyword selection further by using Google’s Keyword Planner to see which keywords are likely to drive the most impressions for a given territory. We have found that misspells of brand terms and products names tend to perform well in international territories and can be effective in driving more traffic to your website.

 

3. Localise your language

When running multi-language campaigns, it’s important to ensure that your ads resonate with different, local audiences:

  • Ensure you use a reliable translation service to accurately and appropriately translate your ad copy. Consumers are less likely to click on ads which do not read well.
  • Separate campaigns by language as this will allow you to target consumers who speak a local language differently to consumers who speak English. This is particularly important for UK brands that are looking to tap into the lucrative expat market. It is worth noting that there is no conclusive link to show that consumers will always prefer to click on ads in their local language, therefore this important to test ads in different languages across all target territories.

 

4. Drive more performance with effective ad copy

There are many factors which should be considered when creating ad copies for an international territory. Each territory will vary and react to ad messages in different ways:

  • Test different types of ad copy as small changes to ad copy can have a significant impact on CTR. For example, we performed a split test adding ‘/au’ at the end of the display url for an international client running campaigns in Australia. CTR for this ad copy was +17% higher than the ad copy without ‘/au’ at the end of the URL. In another test, we trialled different discount codes for a retail client who was trying to improve performance in low converting territories. By using discount-led messages in ad copy we were able to increase CTR by +22% in these territories.
  • Research the preferred terms and phrases used in your target territories, for example use “Shipping” in ad copies for the US rather than “Delivery”. It is also important to understand seasonality factors and key dates for your targets territories, for instance Christmas Day is on 7th January in Russia.

 

5. Don’t lose a sale due to poor landing pages

When trying to drive more onsite conversions, it’s important to test the most effective landing page for your target territory. There are a number of different ways to optimise landing pages:

  • Localise the language of the landing page to the territory that your campaign is running in. We tested a simple localised landing page in the US against a UK landing page. The localised landing page had a 95% higher conversion rate than the UK landing page.
  • In territories where you are receiving a large number of clicks through to the landing page but a low number of sales, test a localised landing page with images of local currency and clear messaging on local delivery options as this should improve conversion rate.

 

 

To sum up

In conclusion, knowing which territories already have a strong brand presence is key in generating sales internationally. By creating a worldwide campaign you will be able to understand which territories have higher traffic and sales volume and build campaigns accordingly.

 

When optimising your international campaigns it is important to take into consideration the differences between the different territories. By adopting some of our recommendations to help localise your campaigns to each target territory, you will be well equipped to run successful international Paid Search campaigns. Good luck!

 

Case Study: Building a new customer base in the UK

We are pleased to share a new case study of our work with well-known international travel brand, Sunweb. Adopting a new approach, we integrated Paid Search and Display advertising to help effectively reach a new audience and successfully help build a customer base in the UK.

 

Challenge

Sunweb are a leading international specialist tour operator. They have an established customer base in Europe and were looking to increase brand awareness in the UK and build its customer base locally. They appointed us to help them achieve this through Paid Search and Display advertising. We believed that we could use an integrated Paid Search and Display advertising strategy to increase brand awareness and drive incremental bookings in the UK.

 

Our Approach

Sunweb has some brand awareness in the UK, and as such already has some existing traffic to the website from UK consumers. To capture this existing search traffic, we launched a Paid Search campaign promoting Sunweb’s holiday services through a series of text ads. Messaging was designed specifically to drive consumers directly to the website.

 

To expand reach further, we implemented a Programmatic Display prospecting campaign promoting Display ad placements on contextually relevant websites. This approach was designed to target new consumers who fit a pre-defined audience profile, who we believed would have an active interest in the type of holiday being offered by Sunweb.

 

To drive more online bookings, we analysed campaign conversion data to pinpoint the times at which most on-site conversions were made. Using this data, we commenced a retargeting campaign to pursue our target consumers at times when we knew that they would be most likely to convert.

 

Results

The campaign has been a great success. Since launch, UK revenue has increased by +96% and bookings by +36% month on month. At the same time we have also managed to decreased cost per acquisition by 73%.

 

For further information on this campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by contacting Digby at digby@netmediaplanet.com.

 

Channel crossing: creative offline to inform online

As Paid Search and Display advertising specialists we are passionate about running great campaigns, and are always looking to see how we can drive even more performance from them. So, when a fashion retail client invited us to attend a recent launch of their new product range, we jumped at the chance. Little did we know that it would have a wide ranging influence on the future strategy for our Paid Search and Display campaigns, not only at a strategic level, but tactically also.

 

In this article, we share some of the insights gained from this day, and highlight just how important offline marketing activity is for driving more performance from your online marketing campaigns.

 

Here we share our top 4 key takeaways from the day:

1. Planning for campaign preparation:

The day proved invaluable in helping us to create a plan for a new high performing campaign, well in advance of its launch date. Following the day, we have:

  • Created a schedule for each campaign, and are working collaboratively with the client on key campaign elements such as the development of new landing pages for the separate collections and new remarketing lists. This means that we will be able to coordinate launch times and product pushes with consistent messaging and creative to offline marketing activity.
  • Gained insight into the trends that will be directing fashion over the next 6 months. We also learned what the press had picked out as ‘the next big thing’, which since the press ultimately dictates fashion is really important. This means that we can prepare specific campaigns to push these target products – and capitalise on the buzz that the press interest will generate around them.

 

2. Understanding consumer engagement behaviours:

We gained a number of insights on the target audience from the client’s in-house marketing team. As a result we have been able to further refine our online marketing efforts to reach our core target audience with a specific interest in this new product range. The insights gained have:

  • Informed our optimisation strategy so that campaigns can be fully optimised with known contributors to high converting opportunities – such as time of day, device targeting and seasonality factors.
  • Improved our understanding of our target demographic which has helped us to develop highly specific remarketing lists.
  • Informed our website placement and topic targets for Display marketing. As a result we can find new ways to add further influence to the target consumer through the purchasing funnel.

 

3. Getting the terminology right:

We learned about the new terms that consumers and the media will use to search, find and talk about the new product range. New words entered our vocabulary, such as double-sided bags and trophy skirts. As a result we have:

  • Found new keywords to match future search queries to inform long tail keywords and additionally expand our existing keyword selection to capture more traffic.
  • Developed compelling messaging which incorporates the new terms that consumers will be using to talk about products. This will ensure that our ad copy is in tune with the latest consumer trends and terms.

 

4. Bringing creative synergies:

We learned more about the offline creative that will be used to promote the range and gained ideas of creative styles and imagery – in terms of colour palette, tones and formats. As a result we have:

  • Identified the best images to use for image ad extensions in our Paid Search campaigns that will present a look and feel consistent with offline marketing activity, while bringing consumers to the site.
  • Developed the most impactful creative banners to continue connecting with consumers through Display advertising while they browse other websites.
  • Applied the most effective imagery to develop compelling land pages that will keep consumers onsite and drive conversions.

 

In summary:

Attending this press day has not only enabled us to bring brand new ideas to our Paid Search and Display campaigns, it has given us a better view of the target audience and a clearer picture of our client’s overall strategy.

 

Sometimes it can be all too easy to get set in what is happening in your Paid Search and Display campaigns so that you miss the bigger picture of the overall marketing strategy.

 

Paid Search and Display is just one cog in the marketing machine. Gaining new business insights allows this cog to be better cut, better positioned and better oiled for what is to come, and to help the marketing machine work at maximum capacity. Seeing how the business operates first-hand has helped to drive our campaign direction over the first half of the year and we look forward to delivering some fantastic results!

 

Watch this space!

 

Simpler Shopping On Mobile

Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are beginning to play a major role in the digital marketing strategies of retail brands. Over the past year they have soared in popularity, and this growth looks set to continue. Indeed, recent research from Marin Software shows that retail advertisers have increased spending on PLAs by approximately 300%*.

 

Following this growth, Google is now expanding the reach of PLAs even further, with the recent launch of a new version of mobile PLAs.

 

Given the size of the opportunities for retailers to connect with mobile shoppers using PLAs, we decided to put the new mobile PLA update to the test.

 

Understanding the new mobile PLAs:

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices not only to research but also to buy products. Google’s recently updated version of mobile PLAs has now made it simpler for consumers to quickly and easily browse products. One key new function is the new swipe feature, which allows users to swipe across the screen to browse all of the products. Not only does this enable users to browse more products from the initial search results page, they can also view larger product images and longer, descriptive product titles. This update has also given more retailers the opportunity to appear on the mobile PLA unit, as the screenshot below shows:

 

Example mobile PLAs:

 

 

Testing out mobile PLAs:

To conduct a test of the new version of mobile PLAs, we analysed performance data of an existing PLA campaign being run for one of our online retail clients, which was opted in for all devices. Mobile has consistently performed well for this client, and currently holds 14% share of traffic and a 7% share of sales from PLAs, with an outstanding conversion rate of 4.8%!

 

Following the launch of our campaign with the updated Google mobile PLAs, we noticed an initial decrease in CTR which could have been due to initial usability issues, with users unaware of the new scroll feature. It is worth mentioning, that even if the product is not seen, it will still warrant the impression but not the click and could affect CTR as a result.

 

Following the initial drop in performance, the number of clicks from mobile PLAs quickly started to increase, as shown in the graph below. Over the 8 week reporting period, the share of sales from PLAs on mobile increased by a significant +29%.

 

Campaign data pre- and post- launch of the new mobile PLA:

 

In conclusion:

Although it is early days and the test analysed a relatively small data set, there are some interesting insights. Certainly, the results suggest that Google have developed something that is far more in tune with how users are searching for and looking at products.

 

Furthermore, the marked increase in performance with this campaign demonstrates the growing value of PLAs on mobile for retailers, and the growing importance of mobile for connecting consumers researching the best places to buy products, both online and in store.

 

Therefore, if you have not already set up your PLA campaigns into mobile, we recommend carrying out initial testing by applying appropriate mobile bid adjustments. This will help to capture more searches which are relevant to your product set.

 

Mobile PLAs could provide a potentially profitable new way to reach new consumers and incrementally grow your business. Certainly, with advertiser investment continuing to increase, and the on-going success of the PLA format, they seem here to stay.

 

 

*http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/industry-insights/retailers-increase-spending-on-product-listing-ads-by-300

 

Net Media Planet joins Global Search Marketing Panel

This week, Net Media Planet continues its international speaking road show, as it joins Yandex and Baidu’s European business partner, CharmClick on an international Search marketing panel hosted by leading US ecommerce company Borderfree.

 

This event will provide a unique opportunity for brands to hear from three international marketing experts who will be discussing Search marketing trends, tactics and opportunities in Russia, China and Europe. Some of the confirmed attendees include Saks Fifth Avenue, DKNY, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Barneys.

 

At this event, Luke Judge will present Net Media Planet’s POV on how brands can unlock the online business opportunities in Europe. The session will provide insights and practical guidance on how brands can take that first step into new international markets.

 

Attendees will also hear from Preston Carey, US & UK Business Development Director at Yandex, who will discuss the ecommerce opportunity in Russia and will offer guidance on how to reach the growing consumer market in Russia through Yandex.

 

Johnny Zhu, CEO of CharmClick and the exclusive Baidu European partner, will also be joining the panel to give an overview of the China business opportunities, and discuss strategies for maximising the business potential on Baidu.

 

Borderfree is a leading US ecommerce company that works with some of the world’s most iconic brands, helping to pave the way for their global expansion. As a UK business partner, Net Media Planet works with them on an on-going basis to help drive new business opportunities for leading UK and USA brands looking to launch into new markets.

 

For more information on the event and to discuss international opportunities further, please contact Carolyn@netmediaplanet.com

 

 

Net Media Planet adds to Performance Marketing Guide

PerformanceIN’s new Performance Marketing Guide 2014, with contribution from Net Media Planet, was launched this week. Now in its third edition, the Performance Marketing Guide is PerformanceIN’s flagship educational resource.

 

Crafted for anyone looking to hone their knowledge of a 14 billion pound revenue-generating industry, this guide contains insightful and educational content for any advertiser looking to promote a brand using performance marketing techniques.

 

As one of the leading companies in the performance marketing industry, Net Media Planet was pleased to contribute two chapters – on Paid Search and Programmatic Real-Time Bidding (RTB) – to the ten-chapter guide.

 

The Paid Search chapter gives a detailed overview of everything an advertiser needs to know to run successful Paid Search campaigns. With this channel continuing to be a core component of the marketing mix, we explore the latest technologies and practices available to help advertisers drive even more performance from Paid Search activity.

 

The second chapter discusses the new advertising phenomenon of Programmatic Real-Time Bidding (RTB). This emerging area is revolutionising the traditional idea of Display advertising due to its ability to measure and optimise Display campaign performance in real-time. In the chapter we discuss in detail how RTB works, and provide insights on how advertisers can best use this channel to maximum effect.

 

Other sections in the 120 page guide include mobile display, affiliate programme management, agile commerce, email, technology and data management.

 

Whether you are a seasoned marketing professional or someone taking their first steps in the industry, this guide will give you the insight and tactics required to build a successful approach to performance marketing.

 

Download your copy of the Performance Marketing Guide 2014 here: http://performancein.com/resource/performance-marketing-guide-2014/


5 Ways to Boost Paid Search Performance

Have your campaigns gone a bit stagnant? Paid Search campaigns can be a really effective way of increasing brand awareness and generating revenue.

 

However they take a lot of work to manage, and can easily stagnate if due attention is not given to them. So, to avoid your high performing campaigns turning into poor performing campaigns, we thought it would be useful to share some of our top tips and insights:

 

1. Think creatively to get your message across

There are a number of essential messaging and creative optimisation techniques that you should incorporate into your campaigns, these include;

  • Promote an offer in your ad copy – Use promotional or discount messaging with a good call to action. Consumers are more likely to click on your ad if they see an offer and they might not go onto your site if they don’t know you have a sale and other companies do.
  • Test new landing pages – Firstly, ensure that your landing page is relevant to the term searched to capture consumers while their interest is high. Secondly, optimise your landing page further by experimenting with different font sizes and colours. Trust us, it works! For one client we found that a landing page with a black background had a much smaller bounce rate than a white background. In another test, we changed the landing page from a product page to a category page and saw a +23.5% increase in revenue and a +49.8% increase in transactions.

 

2. Bid Intelligently

Bidding more intelligently can help you to target consumers at high converting times. By adopting a sophisticated bidding strategy you can make more efficient use of your advertising spend and drive more performance. There are a number of different bidding tactics that can be employed, such as;

  • Location Bid modifiers – Use these to adjust your bids in specific targeted geographical areas, for example by city. Achieve more performance by increasing your bids in locations that you know perform well. For one client we ran highly geo-targeted campaigns across 13 different locations. As a result CTR increased by +47.2% and conversions increased by +36.3%.
  • Mobile Bid modifiers – Use these to target the increasing number of consumers searching and buying on their smart phones rather than on desktop. For one client we optimised their campaign for mobile and saw a significant performance uplift, as a result 32% of their revenues now comes from mobile.

 

3. Add More with Extensions

With strict character limits in your ads, sitelinks can be used to promote more products, offers or services to entice consumers to click on your ad. Also use sitelinks to take over more real estate of the Search Engine Results Page and push out your competitors. There have been many recent updates to ad extensions, particularly on Google, which can help optimise campaigns further, these include:

  • Extended sitelinks – These are sitelinks that combine traditional sitelinks with text about a product or service that relates to your ad. These will enable you to show more information and highlight more benefits of your product or service.
  • Image ad extensions – These will allow you to show 3 relevant images above your Paid Search ad. Most consumers are drawn to visual content so this will make your ad stand out compared to other ads.

It is worth noting that Google also recently updated their ad ranking algorithm to incorporate ad extensions. So, if you have not yet optimised your Google campaigns with extensions you should start ASAP!

 

4. Remarketing For Search

A newer form of Paid Search marketing is Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA), which is the process of remarketing to consumers based on their previous onsite behaviour. Use this approach to connect with more qualified consumers;

  • Target consumers in the Google search network that have already expressed interest in your product and help move them through the purchasing funnel. Consumers that have already viewed your product are statistically more likely to return to the site and make a purchase. For one retail client we saw an increase in CTR by +27.6% and an increase of +28% in conversions with RLSAs.

 

5. Going Beyond Google – Alternative Paid Search Options

Although Google still holds over 88% of market share in the UK, there are opportunities elsewhere;

  • Bing and Yahoo! are not to be ignored – There is less advertiser competition on Bing and Yahoo! in the UK which means that ad positions can be higher for less money! For one client, their campaign on Bing had a ROI more than 2x higher than Google. While search volume was much lower, Bing maintained a CTR that was +184% higher and a CR that was +121% higher than Google. We think that Bing and Yahoo! are well worth testing.
  • For international campaigns consider other search engines – Research your local target market and ensure that you select the right search engine for that country. For example, Yandex is big in Russia while Baidu dominates in China.

 

Hopefully these tips will give you some ideas to boost performance of your Paid Search campaigns. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of: www.wsoaonline.com

Net Media Planet speak at SES London 2014


Earlier this week I spoke at SES London 2014, where I talked about how brands can develop a smarter retargeting strategy. Across both Search and Display, I talked about defining and targeting audiences, improving the effectiveness of creative, technology choices and use of timing in your approach. I also talked about the role of retargeting as part of the wider goal of direct response and brand awareness.

 

It was a great session with lots of questions and discussion with my fellow panellists Guy Levine, CEO, Return On Digital and Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board & VP & Managing Director EMEA, Marin Software.

 

Following a number of requests at the event, I thought I would share the deck:

 

 

I hope that you find these slides useful. If you have any questions about the presentation, or are interested in exploring retargeting further then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.