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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.

 

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 [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!

 

Changes to ecommerce in Russia – the essential update

 

Over the previous few weeks there has been much written in the media about the proposed legislative changes on international imports in Russia.

 

Russia presents sizeable opportunities for UK brands, as consumers seek out competitively priced products and fashionable Western brands that are unavailable locally. As a result international ecommerce in Russia has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the market valued at approximately $3 billion in 2013*.

 

With interest in the market increasing at pace, we thought it would be useful to share an update on the market developments to-date. We talked to our contacts at Yandex (the leading Russian search engine), to get a summary of the key points;

 

  • Following a brief suspension, the major international courier companies, which include FedEx and DHL, are once again operating in Russia and delivering parcels to individuals as well as businesses.
  • A new import tax has been set at 30% tax on goods worth over 200 EUR. However we understand that this has not been activated yet.
  • Currently there are no restrictions on the number of parcels that an individual may receive from an international retailer. However discussions are continuing, and this position could change.

 

For UK brands that already operate in the region, such as ASOS, Next, and Net-a-Porter, this new legislation will have varying impact. For example, it would appear that ASOS will not be significantly affected by the new tax levy as the average purchase value tends to be lower than the 200 EUR value threshold. Retailers of luxury goods, on the other hand, could be harmed by the new measures.

 

Currently, the extent to which UK retailers will be affected by the restrictions is still unclear, and this is unlikely to be resolved in the immediate future. With Russia involved in an on-going politically sensitive situation, market developments may evolve further and could bring more wide ranging implications for foreign brands.

 

We will continue to monitor these developments and will share updates on the situation and the impact for UK brands in due course. If you would like further advice, or information on what these market developments could mean for your international campaigns and ecommerce opportunities please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

For brands interested in exploring the Russia market further, then please visit our Yandex services page or www.RussianSearchMarketing.com, which provides useful insights on Russian search and digital advertising opportunities for international brands.

 

 

 

 

*http://www.ewdn.com/2014/01/24/dhl-and-fedex-suspend-operations-boycott-of-ebay-urged-but-cross-border-sales-to-continue/

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

 

Yandex launches new site for international advertisers

 

As a valued business partner of Yandex, the market leading Russian search engine, we are pleased to support the launch of their new website, www.RussianSearchMarketing.com.

 

 

The new site is designed specifically for international advertisers and will provide key insights into Russian search and digital advertising opportunities.

 

Over time the site will expand further to include regular news updates on key industries (such as fashion, travel and electronics) in the market, and will also provide online training on how to use Yandex’s various digital advertising tools.

 

For online advertisers, the Russian market offers real appeal. Cross-border Ecommerce in Russia has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the market valued at approximately $3 billion in 2013. The market presents vast opportunities for UK brands, as Russians buy from foreign brands not only because of price differences, but also access brands that are unavailable locally.

 

This site will provide a valuable first step for brands looking to explore the Russian market further.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Russian market, then please contact us for more information, our in-house Russian market experts would be pleased to advise you further.

 

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 [email protected]

 

 

Understanding the new Google Shopping changes

Google recently announced the launch of a new campaign type for Google Shopping. This new update will fundamentally change the way in which Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns are managed.

 

So what does this mean for advertisers? We catch up with one of our Search specialist’s, James, to get the low down on the new changes:

 

Q. What are the changes that have been announced?

A. Google announced the release of a new way to structure PLAs under the name of ‘Shopping Campaigns’. With Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continuing to perform strongly in the retail sector this new release is designed to make managing PLAs easier for advertisers. Though it is worth noting that with this ‘ease’ come significant changes to the way in which PLAs are created in AdWords.

 

Q. So what are the main differences with ‘Shopping Campaigns’?

A. The output will look the same to the consumer. Where we will see real differences will be in the campaign structure and management. Some of the main changes include;

  • The ability to give campaigns high/medium/ low priority – This will allow advertisers to prioritise a campaign if a product appears in multiple campaigns
  • The way of selecting products – Products can be selected by product feed attributes (e.g. Product type). In addition, a number of new ‘custom labels’ (0-5) have been added to the product feed attributes which can be used for segmentation
  • Ad groups – These will now be called ‘product groups’ and can then be further segmented (up to 7 times) by other feed columns (such as brand or custom labels)
  • There is another useful segmentation feature which is the option to group ‘everything else’ together

 

Q. What does this new update mean for advertisers?

A. The new Shopping Campaigns will make it much easier for advertisers to set up, manage and maintain PLAs. For example, instead of breaking out ad groups from all of your products, you can create new ‘product groups’. However advertisers experienced with Google Shopping may find this new more simplistic approach rather limiting in its scope.

 

With the new simpler structure we can also expect more advertisers to experiment with Google Shopping, which means that in time competition, and advertising costs, will rise as a result.

 

Q. What are the risks to advertisers with these changes?

A. Advertisers without carefully structured products feeds will struggle to take full advantage of the benefits of this new campaign structure, and could potentially lose market share to their competitors as a result.

 

There is an additional risk to performance levels if the transfer is not carefully managed or products are not suitably segmented. For example, granular bidding is limited by the segmentation of the campaign, and so a poorly set up structure would lose the carefully set up bids from the historic PLAs.

 

Q. What are the benefits for advertisers?

A. There are clearly a number of advantages for advertisers. I would say that the top benefits are;

  • The ability to easily browse products in the feed through the Adwords interface
  • Better segmentation options such as ‘everything else’ rather than ‘all products’
  • It’s easier to view performance by product segment
  • There is more data available on the competitor landscape such as impression share, benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC, bid simulator data
  • The ability to edit in bulk is now available

 

Q. What are you looking forward to testing with your client’s campaigns?

A. I look forward to using the new feature to prioritise top products as this will give us more control on which products show, which is more difficult with existing PLA activity.

 

I also think that access to up-to-date data on impression share and bids will enable us to put together more accurate projections and optimise the best performing non-brand activity.

 

————

Thanks James for your thoughts on this! It’s clearly early days, and we will continue to explore what the changes will mean for advertisers going forward. Watch this space! In the meantime if you have any questions or queries with your Google Shopping campaigns then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

 

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/