What’s New in Paid Search

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to celebrate our achievements, but also reflect on the next stage of the paid search landscape in 2016. We have identified the top trends for agencies and brands to watch for in the coming year. There were considerable developments to the paid search arena; here are some key take aways:

What’s Working: Brands

It looks like the two biggest movers in paid search for 2016 will be conversion rate optimisation and social advertising, while text ads, mobile, and remarketing remain tried and true channels for paid search. Brands have been extremely pleased with their 2015 PPC results and have earmarked substantially more spend towards paid search campaigns for 2016. The largest gains in this area appear to be, unsurprisingly, in mobile with a 75% industry-wide increase in mobile advertising predicted for the next year. Automation software also ranked highly with brands as it cut down on wastage and returned profitable results.

Customer Match
With mobile engagement on the rise, taking home 25% of all shopping transactions, Google has come out with 2 new products that tap into this unique venue: Customer Match, and Universal App Campaigns. Customer Match has been likened to Facebook Audiences and gives brands the ability to upload email addresses to Google. Customer Match is available across YouTube, TruView, Gmail, and the Google Display Network. This is a powerful new tool that allows brands to recapture former customers, cross-sell, personalise PPC ads, follow customers across devices, and create look-alikes.

Coming to an App Store Near You
Google has created a new campaign for marketers, dubbed ‘Universal App Campaigns’ because the ads reach across Google’s platforms. This ties in neatly with Google putting out search ads in the Google Play Store this past February to help developers stand out in the crowd.

Google Shopping Update: Don’t Miss Out
Google has enhanced its PLAs and shopping campaigns to showcase items merchants are missing in their feeds. Shopping assortment reports allow marketers to uncover products they may not be offering, but that are popular with shoppers. This provides an opportunity to add coveted products to their feed and capture new business.

Location, Location, Location
A recent update to ad customisers enables brands and agencies to tailor ads based on a person’s location. Mobile users now have important purchasing information at their fingertips: store inventory, store hours, shipping information and location, all at the regional level. Location targeting will continue to be big going into 2016, especially since searches by mobile users can convert into sales quickly, in some instances, immediately or within the hour.

Making It Personal
The push for personalisation remains strong as we move into 2016. Personalising the user experience has never been easier with multiple avenues readily available for relevant targeting: behaviour, location and preference. Connecting meaningfully with new and past customers has been a key objective for agencies and brands and will continue to do so in the coming months.


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.



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.



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 [email protected]


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!


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.



See Sri speak on Remarketing at SES London!

Next week Sri Sharma, our MD and Founder, will once again be taking to the stage at SES (Search Engine Strategies) London, one of the leading search and social marketing events in the industry.


Sri will be speaking in a session entitled ‘Preaching to the Almost Converted: Smart Retargeting/Remarketing’ on Wednesday 12 February from 2:00pm-3:00pm.


This session will explore one of the essentials for digital marketers – Retargeting. Done correctly, Retargeting is one of the most powerful tools we have. However, it’s also one of the most misunderstood and misused, in many cases turning audiences off rather than on.


During this session, Sri will guide attendees through the approaches and technicalities of Retargeting to demonstrate its potential. Using practical examples Sri will then show how brands can harness the power of Retargeting to better connect with their audiences and drive more conversions.


Attend this session to learn how some of the UK’s leading brands have begun to master this new approach and are seeing major performance uplift as a result.


Joining Sri on the stage are Jon Myers, SES Advisory Board; VP & Managing Director EMEA, Marin Software and Guy Levine, CEO, Return On Digital.


Come and join us on the Day!


We have managed to secure a fantastic discount for our contacts worth up to £950.00 off the ticket price. Please click on the link and enter the code below to join us at the event.




Enter at:


For more information on the session and the event please visit:


FBX is now available within DBM


In a really exciting development for the Real Time Bidding landscape, today Google announced that Facebook Ad Exchange (FBX) is now available in DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM).


Users will see the below announcement when they log in to DoubleClick Bid Manager:



In October last year, Google first made it known that it will be allowed access to the significant pool of inventory available on Facebook via its Demand Side Platform, DBM, which plugs into the Facebook Ad Exchange.


Today, Google have announced that the Facebook inventory is now readily available to be accessed. This new partnership will allow advertisers to purchase Facebook Ads through DBM. It also brings the technology for DoubleClick advertisers to target Facebook users based on their visits to webpages outside of Facebook.


This marks a significant development for DoubleClick; Facebook currently accounts for close to 25% of all Display impressions and as such is a significant part of the Display and Real Time Bidding landscape.


Facebook offers a whole host of marketing opportunities for brands and digital marketers to tap into, not least in respect to the new integration opportunities that this has opened up between Facebook and Paid Search. For example, advertisers can now integrate their Paid Search audience data with Facebook, with their Facebook remarketing messaging informed by signals from their customers search behaviour.


Being able to use granular Paid Search audience data across such a large scale inventory source such as Facebook is a fantastic opportunity which until today has never been possible, and we are excited to be testing this on day one for our clients.


Watch this space!


4 Search and Display strategies to support new store openings

A new store opening can be an exciting time for any brand, and brings with it valuable new business opportunities. However, the challenge for brands is how best to take advantage of this business opportunity and drive more sales activity as a result.


Paid Search and Display advertising is a great way to support a store opening. Compared to other marketing channels, Paid Search and Display advertising allows you to be highly targeted, enabling you to quickly and effectively target the right audience with the right message at the right time.


We recently supported a retail client with their launch of eight new stores across the UK over two months. Below are the Paid Search and Display strategies we implemented to help them maximise this business opportunity:


1. Incorporate store locations in your Paid Search campaigns: Ensure you expand your Paid Search campaigns to include new location variations as this will enable you to show the most relevant ads and landing pages from location-specific searches. While search volume on the location-specific keywords may be low initially, they should increase over time when awareness of the new store increases. We saw store location searches increase by up to +48% during the first week of each store opening.


2. Target interested prospects with Display Remarketing: Use a landing page with new store messaging as a way to attract and remarket to potential customers. By visiting that specific landing page, consumers will have inadvertently shown their interest in the brand and this will enable you to target them with relevant ads and new store promotions while they browse other pages on the internet. Compared to other Display campaigns, the Remarketing activity drove up to +54% more visitors to the client’s website.


3. Use RLSAs (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads) for further reach: Incorporate RLSAs into a Paid Search strategy, similar to Display Remarketing. This will allow you to pre-qualify an audience with the ability to change ad copy depending on the nature of the consumer’s search query. For example, ad copy can be adjusted based on whether they have visited the store location page. Incorporating a new store location in ad text or sitelinks will make the ad more relevant to the consumer and assist in driving awareness of the store. We have seen this activity increase CTR by +32% and decrease CPCs by -18% when compared with generic activity.


4. Use Google Scripts to prompt a response: The Google ‘countdown’ Script in Adwords is an excellent tool to help build a sense of anticipation and urgency to a new store opening. Use this Google feature to countdown the days and minutes until your new store opens to create a buzz and sense of excitement. We tested this approach during our client’s store openings and saw CTR increase by +28%.


5. Take advantage of location extensions: Update location extensions within your Google Places account or manually within your AdWords account. This will ensure the location extensions on your ads remain up-to-date. We found that clicks on these extensions increased by up to +47%, after each store opened.


By integrating Paid Search and Display advertising in this way we helped to drive higher levels of performance and effectively support our client’s new store openings. This is an approach that we would recommend for any brand that is looking to help build awareness of a new store, create a sense of excitement to the upcoming opening and stimulate new business interest.


We are always happy to help, so please do get in touch if you would like support from us to help ensure that your new store opening or venture is a success!


Good luck!



New Whitepaper – Drive international growth with Paid Search and Display

By 2020 over £28 billion in UK online retail will come from international consumers. This is the staggering figure predicted by recent research from OC&C Consultants and Google.


For UK businesses with strong brands and high export potential, expanding into new territories offers great potential for growth.


However there are many obstacles. Our newly published Whitepaper explores how UK brands can maximise the international opportunity using Search and Display advertising. Click to download our Whitepaper here.


This Whitepaper explores the scope for international expansion and the best approach that UK brands should take to help maximise their potential internationally, through Paid Search and Display advertising.


Through practical steps, the Paper discusses how through Paid Search and Display advertising advertisers are able to drive incremental revenue whilst building their brand’s profile and gaining valuable business intelligence of a new target market.


As a first crucial step, brands must choose the right advertising platform and approach for their campaign objective, from the myriad of advertising options available. For example, brands need to understand which search engines dominate in their target markets and select the right one.


Once brands have established which platform and approach will work best for their target market, they must then focus on localising their marketing activity so that the consumer experience is relevant to the local audience. Exploring the theme of localisation further, the Paper explains that localisation is not just about translating marketing messages into the local language. Localisation is about making your marketing campaigns relevant to a geographically, linguistically and culturally specific audience. This can only be achieved by understanding your local customer, your local competition and applying those insights into your campaigns.


The Paper concludes by advising advertisers to take the time to research their local market and develop the right approach to their advertising campaign. By doing this, advertisers will be in the best position to effectively build a brand abroad and drive more international sales as a result.


There is clearly a real opportunity for brands to drive growth and profitability by looking to new international markets. Given that 40% of all online UK sales in retail are anticipated to come from abroad by 2020, it is the brands that invest in this opportunity that will get ahead and stay ahead. To read the paper in full, please click on this link;


For further advice on developing and running international online marketing campaigns please do contact us, we would be happy to help! Call Digby on 020 7186 2111.


Net Media Planet speaks at Internet World 2010

Sri speaks at Europe’s leading digital marketing event

We recently attended Internet World 2010 at Earls Court, where we sponsored the Search Theatre. Being Europe’s definitive event for digital marketing and online professionals I opted to speak about two different topics: Paid Search Strategy and Integration Strategy.

Addressing what proved to be a packed out full-house of an audience, I looked at real ways to improve results, with real life examples, right from creating brand saliency through the Google content network to customer journey analysis, optimisation and value attribution to improve sales results.

Thanks to everyone who attended for your positive feedback and, as promised, here are the two presentations from the event.



Image Credit: Internet World 2010