Performance Max

Performance Max – Everything You Need To Know

So by now you’ve probably heard about the introduction of Performance Max & the sunsetting on Smart Shopping. Some may be worried about what this means for their campaigns, as we know Google’s changes aren’t always the best in the eyes of an advertiser. However, I’m here to run through what Performance Max is, how it works & how you can get the best out of it. 

What is Performance Max?

Don’t be put off by the name – this isn’t a completely new product. It still acts in the same way as Smart Shopping but takes machine learning and visibility to the next level, incorporating more channels than ever before. This means that advertisers can now reach more customers from just one campaign, letting Google’s machine learning & automation optimise bids & placements that are based around your budgets, goals & conversions. Performance Max is essentially Smart Shopping Plus.

How does it work?

Performance Max is a goal based campaign type that allows users to access a wider range of the Google Network including:

  • • YouTube
  • • Display
  •  Search
  •  Discover
  •  Gmail
  •  Maps
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Source: Google

Building on the “Standard Shopping” & “Display Remarketing” combination of Smart Shopping, Performance Max also brings new opportunities by adding “Dynamic Search Ads” to the mix. This complements existing Search Keywords within the account but acts as a catch-all to ensure that advertisers are not missing out on any sales.

As I said before, this is a goal based campaign & in honour of its name, the main focus of these campaigns is to drive performance based on the specific conversion goals that you set. 

How do I set a Performance Max campaign up?

Google automates the targeting of Performance Max campaigns based on the information that you provide. Primarily, this is the budget & the campaign goal which gives the constraints to which the campaign needs to adhere to. Performance Max uses asset groups which are a collection of creatives centred on a theme or related to a target audience. Advertisers also need to provide the following creative assets which consist of:

  • • Final URL
  • • Up to 15 Images
  • • Up to 5 Logos
  • • Up to 5 Videos (Google has autocreated videos if you don’t provide any but honestly, if you have the resource, it is definitely worth creating these yourself as the auto-created ones aren’t the best)
  • • Up to 5 Headlines
  • • Up to 5 Long Headlines
  • • Up to 5 Descriptions
  • • Call To Action
  • • Business Name

However, new updates from Google’s Ads Liaison, Ginny Marvin, confirmed that if you connect your Google Merchant Feed but don’t provide any other assets, the campaign will only serve Shopping Ads. So if this is your primary focus & you don’t want to go back to Standard Shopping this could be the answer.

You can also add audience signals to hit the ground running & feed data into the algorithm – this will also be used to continuously inform the algorithms throughout the lifecycle of the campaign. 

Another important upgrade to Performance Max builds on the “New Customer Acquisition” feature of Smart Shopping where you could value new customers higher than returning. In PMax, you can now bid more for new customers or bid only for new customers. This could be a really interesting growth tool for businesses to expand their current customer base more specifically than ever before.

Performance Max also builds on the “Insights” tab of Smart Shopping, taking this further to highlight search themes that are driving conversions – this will give better insights into the trends & patterns within the market. Alongside this, it will also showcase what types of audiences are engaging with the different assets that the ads are showing. This will help you to understand how users are interacting with the ads and you can then use this information to improve & tailor your ads more effectively.

Source: Google

Performance Max continues the drawbacks of Smart Shopping too, with a lack of visibility over channel-specific performance & lack of manual optimisation; especially around the addition of negative keywords & placements. However, Google representatives have explained that this lack of data is to ensure that advertisers are allowing the algorithms to do their job properly. Giving these insights may enable human bias to pull away from certain areas within the campaign, be that channels or placements, but users should be reassured that the campaign’s sole focus is on performance. Basically, the algorithms will be taking into account any areas that aren’t delivering the required results & optimising towards the ones that do. Makes sense when you think of it like that huh?

So what do I do now?

Smart Shopping is being sunsetted in September 2022, therefore you have a bit of time to experiment & see what works for you. My guess would be to wait until the one-click migration tool is live in May. This will allow you to automatically migrate your Smart Shopping campaigns into Performance Max, meaning that there is no potential downtime of the campaigns. Doing it this way also means that Performance Max will be able to use all the historical data from the Smart Shopping campaign resulting in a much shorter learning period. This seems the safest option in both the transition & the speed of performance off the back of the migration. You can of course start testing now, however, this means that you will need to set the campaigns up from scratch which could be a lot more time consuming & leaves more room for human error.

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Projecting PPC Growth With Help From Google Data Studio

PPC, as one of the more measurable ways of digital marketing, provides a great platform for people to understand exactly how much they are going to spend. Within reason, and by utilising data, it gives them an understanding of the type of return they can expect, as well as any growth opportunities. This makes it highly appealing to people who are looking for a directly measurable approach

As someone who studied Specialist Mathematics, I’m not afraid of some number crunching, or longer more complicated equations. However, after ploughing through endless spreadsheets I was convinced there must have been an easier way to do this – enter Google Data Studio. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still quite a bit of maths involved here, but, the data visualisation beauty of Google Data Studio means that trying to explain it to clients just became a whole lot easier. By combining the equations & letting Google do the working out for you, you can not only leverage the data that’s available, you can also present it in a way which is pleasing to all key stakeholders.

Now I’m aware there are many different ways to do this & there are also a number of tools within the market that do this for you. So, today I will share with you how I approach PPC forecasting when it comes to growth &, also, starting to understand the type of return you can expect on both ad spend and leads when launching campaigns.

I want to caveat that there are two different ways to tackle this & today I will only be looking at growth forecasting – that is forecasting when you have pre-existing data that you can work with. If you are looking to forecast from scratch then that is a whole different ballgame (& a whole different blog)! For the purpose of today we will be focusing on utilising data that you already have to predict growth.

 

Forecasting – Search Growth

If you have an existing Search Campaign & you’re looking to grow your business & drive new leads, chances are that you will have undertaken some growth forecasting. This can come in a number of different formats, from Google’s own tools, Excel spreadsheets or through in-house technologies. For the example below I’m going to show you how we can do that with Google Data Studio (with the help of Google’s “Opportunity Lost” template).

You can download Google’s “Opportunity Lost” template within the Data Studio templates &, once you have it, you will see that it’s a 13 slide template enabling you to see where the opportunity is within your Google Search & Display campaigns. (Note: I haven’t yet found one for Shopping but I am in the process of looking to create one).

For the purpose of this blog we are going to be focusing on Slide 3 (Search Bid Lost Overview) & Slide 5 (Display Bid Lost Overview). Let’s start with Slide 3 (Search Bid Lost Overview).

When you first load up the presentation it will look something like this:

Now, while this dashboard in itself is incredibly useful & contains a lot of valuable information, when it came to forecasting I wanted to neaten it up to make for a more digestible board, which I could quickly & easily pull out in client presentations. Also, in the example below, as the client didn’t have an Ecommerce arm I removed all reference to Revenue, preferring to focus on the three main areas:

  • Impressions Lost
  • Impression Share Lost
  • Conversions Lost

By focusing on the above I was able to simplify the dashboard & also tailor it so that I could break it down by different dimensions, including “Day Of The Week” & “Device” to help with my optimisations.

So, after a little work I adapted the Data Studio to look like the below (please note I’ve removed the client data hence the white gaps):

The beauty of this style of diagram is that not only does it give us absolute figures (in the middle) where we can understand what that growth looks like, it also allows us to segment by a dimension to help us identify where the real growth comes from. In the example above I segmented the Impression Share column by “Day Of The Week” so I could understand on which days I needed to bid more & in the Impressions & Leads columns I segmented by “Campaign” so I could understand which Campaigns had the biggest room to grow & improve. You can also segment by Device & other dimensions to really understand where your opportunity is & to drive the growth in the most efficient manner.

To do the above you simply need to change the “Dimension” section of the Google Data Studio report to “Day of week” or “Campaign” or “Device” depending on what you are trying to analyse.

Now, in terms of the calculations from Google’s perspective these are already input into the Data Studio, but for an understanding of how we can change these to suit different dimensions I’ve listed them here:

For Impression Share – Search Lost IS (Rank)

For Impressions – Impressions / Search Impr. share * Search Lost IS (rank)

For Leads – ((Impressions / Search Impr. share * Search Lost IS (rank))* CTR) * (Conversions / Clicks)

By using the three equations above we are able to use simple metrics within the account to estimate growth capabilities based on key data such as Conversions etc… As you can see from the top sheet you then have the option to choose between specific campaigns, and drilling down on the details here will get a better analysis of the campaign.

 

Changing Between Impression Share, Top Impression Share & Abs. Top Impression Share

Now in some situations you may just want to know the Impression Share that is available to you & how much your clients can grow, but in others you may want to know what more is available to you. That’s where editing the equations to incorporate Top Impression Share & Abs comes in. Top Impression Share can really help.

Let’s take a look at the equation for Leads:

If we change: ((Impressions / Search Impr. share * Search Lost IS (rank)) * CTR) * (Conversions / Clicks)

To: ((Impressions / Search Impr. share * Search Lost Top IS (rank)) * CTR) * (Conversions / Clicks)

We are now forecasting the potential if each ad is in the top positions (i.e. above the Organic search rankings), as opposed to if the ad just has the opportunity to show 100% of the time. By doing this we are able to identify not only visibility growth, but also growth patterns for higher ad positions & also top ad positions using Search Abs. Top IS (rank).

By utilising the above approach you can get a good understanding of how your Search campaigns are currently performing & where the potential growth areas might be. This is a great way to plan your upcoming campaigns.

Forecasting – Display Growth

Now that we’ve looked at how to forecast Search growth, we can roll out the same principle to forecast Display growth – although generally with much bigger metrics. I’ve created a similar dashboard here for Display, which you can view below, & focused solely on any campaigns which sit on the Display Network. What’s most interesting to note here is that dimensions such as “Day of the week” & “Device” are more pronounced. This is a much easier way to digest & get that data than trying to source it manually.

The dashboard above works in exactly the same way as the Search dashboard, except that it displays content related only to the Display campaigns. The equations work in a similar manner other than they use Display Lost IS as opposed to the search variation. All in all it’s a great way to see the overall performance of the Display Campaign & identify any areas of opportunity.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to effectively forecast then there are a whole host of tools out there that you can use. However, if you are looking for a quick way to utilise the power of Google Data Studio for PPC forecasting then the ideas above should help you on your journey to find out the PPC potential of your campaigns & your website!

How to use Dynamic Features in Google Ads

How to use dynamic features in Google Ads

Are your ads lacking creativity? Then it’s time to embrace dynamic features in your Google Ads campaigns. In this blog, we cover how you can implement two popular dynamic features into your campaigns – dynamic keyword insertion and countdown timers.

What is dynamic keyword insertion?

Dynamic keyword insertion allows you to automatically update ads with the keywords in your ad group that trigger ads to show. For example, If you are advertising men’s watches you can use the keyword insertion code Headline: Buy {KeyWord: Mens Watches} to automate this advert displaying. Google Ads will try to replace this bracketed section with one of the keywords in your ad group such as “gold men’s watches”, “men’s black watches” & “men’s silver watches”. If the keyword can’t be replaced then it will just use “men’s watches”.

How can you use dynamic keyword insertion for Google Ads campaigns?

If used correctly, dynamic keywords can lead to an improved Click-Through Rate because the ad has been dynamically updated to match a users search enquiry. A user is more likely to click on an ad that closely matches what they are searching for. This is also a useful tactic if you want to target long-tail keywords that have a good search volume. Compile a list of search terms and if there are any that have a good amount of impressions and clicks then you might want to target these using keyword insertion. It is important to ensure that the number of characters doesn’t exceed 30. If you have a campaign for your competitors, it is vital that you do not use dynamic keyword insertion in your ads. Whilst it is legal to bid on your competitors brand term, you cannot use the brand term in your ad copy.

What are countdown timers in Google Ads?

This feature can highlight the end date of a sale and can create a sense of urgency amongst customers. Timers countdown by day, then by the hour, then by the minute. Furthermore, countdown timers can be used to improve the click-through rate of an ad – for more information about how to improve your Ads CTR, read this blog here.

How can you use countdown timers for Google Ads campaigns?

Countdown timers are another great dynamic feature available on Google Ads. they can be used as part of the ad copy and are ideal for e-commerce businesses that want to create excitement around sales. Countdown timers can be created when you create an ad in Google Ads and they are fully customisable. They can be set to a specific time and date for either the time zone where the business is based or where the customer is based, therefore if the retailer sells products worldwide then the timer can be set to different time zones. Note: It is important to make sure that your ad copy allows for the additional 8 characters that the countdown customiser code generates.
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How to spend less time optimising and more time strategising with Scripts

Paid Media Manager, Anna Simpson, explains how Scripts gave her back precious time and helped her optimise client campaigns

Why strategy is important

We all know that optimising PPC accounts can be extremely time consuming. Tasks like negative keywords, adjusting bids and essentially doing everything that we can to ensure our campaigns are as effective as possible can use up a lot of hours. These long but crucial tasks can sometimes take away from what really matters and what can really make a difference in client accounts – strategy planning. Having a few extra hours to sit down and really look at an account, analyse the role of PPC and align this with the ultimate business goals of your client can make all the difference. Taking a step back and thinking outside the box is an important tool in understanding how to really drive client performance. Sometimes this can be overlooked due to the day-to-day optimisations and not having any spare time to do this essential leg work. This is where I found myself; getting so bogged down in the nitty gritty, I was missing countless opportunities to grow. And then scripts became my saviour.

Shopping Campaigns

I knew years ago that Standard Shopping campaigns in particular, can burn through budgets if optimisations aren’t made regularly. This has long been  a pet hate of mine; there wasn’t an automated way to bulk negative keywords UNLESS the search term included specific keywords that I wanted to keep. Fast forward a few years and I finally found a script that does exactly that (HURRAY!!). The script works by utilising a Google Sheet; you input the campaign name and ad group, and specify which keywords you don’t want to exclude. For example, if I had a Shopping Campaign selling bikes but I was getting a lot of irrelevant search terms for other types of products, I could use this script to add “bike” as a positive keyword. This would then tell the script to exclude any search terms that don’t have the word “bike” in it. Honestly, this script is amazing for anyone with multiple different shopping campaigns; you can be incredibly granular about the keywords that you want to keep and let the script do the rest!

Exact Match Keywords

The second script I’m loving is the Exact Match Close Variant Exclusion. Over the years Google has tried to hide data and steer away from advertisers having as much control as they may have had in the past. A great example of this is the “close variant” search terms that can appear in Exact Match campaigns. These can vary quite dramatically from the original keyword, sometimes not even being relevant at all. In competitive industries where CPC’s can be extremely high, it’s crucial to remain in control over the search terms that ads are appearing for – that’s where this script comes in handy. It will automatically exclude close variant keywords for exact match keywords. There is also an element of control here for quality checks with two variables that can be changed in this script: “Words In Common” and “Edit Distance”. If you set “Words In Common” to true, this tells the script to keep a search term if the keywords and search queries contain any of the same words and make a negative if not. “Edit Distance” allows you to choose a number of characters that can be different from the keyword and tells the script to still keep these search terms and not exclude them. This can be particularly helpful for keeping search terms that just have spelling errors. I like to run this on an hourly basis just to make sure my campaigns are as optimised as possible and not let any sneaky search terms rack up an enormous spend!

Ah, the weather!

Last but not least, the Weather Script. This is beneficial for a lot of our clients, both ecommerce and lead generation, but can be useful in a number of different ways. The script works by analysing weather data from the Met Office and adjusting bids based on the temperature, precipitation and wind that day in certain areas. This can be incredibly helpful for clients that sell well when the weather is sunny, and also for lead generation clients who slow down on days when people are less likely to be sat at computers. This allows highly granular optimisations for external factors that can be ever-changing (especially here in the UK where it can be sunny in the morning and torrential rain by 1pm *eyeroll*). 

So there we have it. These are just 3 of the scripts that help to free up some of my time and allow me to focus on a more holistic view and approach to our PPC strategy. If you would like a copy of these scripts or have any questions on how to implement them, then please feel free to drop me an email.

Holiday-Shopping

How to capitalize on holiday marketing trends

This year, all businesses have had to navigate through a very rough terrain, therefore effectively capitalising on the holiday season is essential for many. Our Director, Amanda Walls, recently spoke to Fleximize to share her top tips with SME’s looking to make the most of the holiday season.

Amanda is a digital marketing expert and has worked in Digital Marketing for over a decade. Over the last four years, she has nurtured Cedarwood Digital into the award-winning agency that it is today.

If you need help optimising your digital marketing strategy this holiday season, we have summarised Amanda’s top tips below or check out the full article on Fleximize’s site here.

How to capitalize on holiday marketing trends

1. Experiment with dynamic adverts

Throughout the holiday season markets are flooded with retailers, so it can be difficult for consumers to hear your brand above the noise. Amanda suggested that one simple way to stand out from the crowd is to make the most of Google’s ad extensions. Below are a few examples that have worked well for us in the past…

  • Reviews: “…we tested seller ratings for a gardening centre client and found that ads with seller ratings have a 41% higher CTR than normal text ads.
  • Structured snippets: “…showcase more information from your website
  • Countdown timers: “People have a natural fear of missing out and so the countdown timer extension is great for creating a sense of urgency around your product or service

2. Create shopping feeds

If you’re an ecommerce company, using product feeds in the run up to a holiday season is a no brainer“, Amanda explained. They help to quickly generate engaging ads, showcasing products that are directly pulled from your catalogue.

Where can shopping feeds be utilised?

  • Google Shopping Campaign Ads
  • Facebook Dynamic Product Ads (these show on both Facebook and Instagram)

3. Invest in retargeting advertising

Retargeting allows you to show personalized ads to returning customers, customers who have browsed your site without buying and people similar to existing customers.

“Retargeting not only allows brands to reach out to interested customers, but it also helps to increase brand visibility during noisy holiday periods – something that could encourage a potential customer to buy from you instead of a competitor.

Below are a selection of tools that you can utilise to retarget your customers:

  • Google’s Display network
  • Google’s Dynamic Remarketing
  • Facebook’s Retargeting
  • Facebook Lookalike Audiences

4. Don’t neglect customer reviews

Although the holiday season may be your busiest time of year, customer service must remain paramount. Don’t neglect the long-term goal for a quick win in the holidays.

A few of Amanda’s top tips for maintaining great customer service and positive customer reviews include:

  • Invest in customer service for the pre-buying process, not just the shipping
  • Utilise live chat windows on your site
  • Respond to any queries promptly
  • Enhance the buying experience and increase buying intent with tailored landing pages and gift guides
  • Create landing pages for specific terms you want to rank for during your specific holiday season such as ‘Christmas Trees’ or ‘Valentine’s Day Gifts’

5. Celebrate delivery

Customers are starting to expect free AND fast shipping. Be sure to communicate your shipping offering clearly to your customer. Amanda advises to “…factor delivery charges into your sales model and ensure that this service is featured clearly across your website and marketing channels.

6. Prepare for traffic spikes

Amanda notes that “[c]ustomers will not hang around on websites that are slow or crash”. Ideally, load times should be under 2 or 3 seconds on a desktop. Here are a few ways that you can speed up your load times:

  • Enable GZIP compression on your web serves
  • Compress images
  • Minify Java experience

7. Optimize for mobile

Customer trends are changing. What once was a research tool before buying a product is now being used to make purchases, therefore optimising for mobile is essential.

“The bottom line is that if people have a negative experience on mobile, they’re less likely to purchase from you in the future – no matter how great your website is.”

8. Plan early

Planning holiday campaigns well in advance is crucial. It takes time to build up SEO rankings and prepare a campaign that is going to stand up against a competitive market.

Christmas shopping can begin as early as September, so to maximise on the holiday period your campaigns must be ready before then.

“Plan early for each holiday season and you’ll be putting your business head and shoulders above the competition.

To view the article in full please head over to Fleximize’s site here.

If you found this blog useful, head to our blog page where you will find more advice from our digital marketing experts.

Relevant articles:

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LinkedIn Ads – Are They For You?

We all know about the effectiveness of Google, Bing and Facebook Ads, but what about LinkedIn Ads? Do they provide an effective ROI?

Who should use LinkedIn Ads?

A simple answer is B2B marketers whose potential clients are on LinkedIn. I have worked in B2B sales and I can attest that LinkedIn is a B2B sales gold mine. It is a world’s most up to date directory of 500 million professionals world-wide, including the key decision-makers who get on LinkedIn in their downtime to look for content and connections to better their careers and businesses. In short, if you are selling a B2B solution, then LinkedIn Ads could help you get in front of the right people in a micro-targeted way.

Audience targeting

In comparison to Google or Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads offer a very granular and accurate audience targeting. You can target specific companies, job titles, industries and regions. This enables you to target very specific audiences that fit your Ideal Customer Profile. You can narrow down your audience to as low as 500+ people based on multiple criteria listed in people’s LinkedIn profiles.

3 Popular LinkedIn Ad Types

If you are a frequent LinkedIn user you have probably seen them around the site, but here is an overview:

Display Text Ads

Text ads consist of Headline (25chr), Description (75chr) and an image (100×100 px). Text ads appear in a variety of sizes:
  • 300 x 250
  • 700 x 17
  • 160 x 600
  • 728 x 90
  • 496 x 80
All these ads, if they are showing a valuable proposition, can be effective in generating brand awareness and/or capturing leads.

Sponsored Content

The content posted on your company page is only visible to those that follow your company page. With Sponsored Content Ads you can push your post to be shown to specific audiences that do not follow you. This is a great way to boost the visibility of your brand posts and send relevant traffic to your site to capture leads. It looks like a regular post, the only difference is the little Promoted sign. Also, you can add Call-To-Action buttons like Learn More or Sign Up.

Sponsored InMail

A lot of Recruiters and Sales Development Reps use InMail to message individuals outside of their network. By using Sponsored InMail you can scale it up and send InMail blasts to very targeted audiences. Despite not being personalised messages, you can pivot your message to your specific audience by their company, industry or job title. According to SaaS company RepliconSponsored InMails provide 11 times better response rate than cold emails. Impressive, isn’t it? Nevertheless, InMails won’t replace Emails, but they provide an alternative way to get the attention of key decision-makers whose email inboxes are flooded.

Cost

The costs vary largely by industry, seniority of prospect and location. All LinkedIn Ads work on Pay-Per-Click, Pay-Per-1000-Impressions or Cost-Per-Send for InMails. So there is always an auction running before the ad is shown or InMail sent and it depends on competitive bidding for those actions. As a result, it is more expensive to reach the most important decision-makers in the key industries. CPC tends to be around $2-$5 and Cost-Per-Send for InMail between $0.20-$1. We are now in the early days of the rise of LinkedIn Ads. Ever since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2017, their ad platform is evolving rapidly and more and more B2B marketers are turning to LinkedIn Ads to generate leads. Thus, bid competition is likely to become more intense and cause ad spend to go up. The time is now to try LinkedIn Ads.
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13 Tips To Optimise PPC Campaigns and Make The Most of Smaller Budgets

When a crisis like Coronavirus hits, it can be difficult for small businesses to know where to keep your marketing budget and where to cut spending. The guide below is designed to help SME’s make the most of tight PPC budgets, we have outlined 13 simple tips that will allow you to optimise your PPC campaigns.


If you have any questions about Google Shopping, Remarketing or general PPC email us on [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.


We’re also offering free PPC audits, so SMEs can get extra hands-on help for their digital marketing campaigns.


How To Target Customers With Adwords Audience Targeting

How to target customers with Google Ads audience targeting

As the consumer market becomes more competitive, one of the key factors that can drive success is ensuring that your audience is being targeted in a granular way.  In this blog post, PPC Executive Anna Simpson explains how you can use Google Ads audience targeting to hone in on your potential customers.

What is audience targeting and how can my business use it?

Audience targeting is a feature that can be utilised in Google Ads which allows advertisers to be specific when choosing who sees their ads. This is done by taking into account factors such as:

  • What users are actively researching
  • When users are showing intent to purchase

This allows you to optimise your campaign spend to target the people most likely to purchase or enquire – every advertiser’s dream!

In-market audiences: reach your potential customers

In-market audiences have been available on Google’s Display Network since 2014 and were rolled out into the Search Network in July 2018. This audience targeting allows advertisers to reach potential customers who are currently browsing, researching and comparing similar items/services to your business. This means that they’re in the market for, and actively considering, buying a service or product like yours.

To define this audience, Google takes into account factors including clicks on related ads, the content of the sites and pages that the users are visiting, and the recency and frequency of visits. This is a great way of catching customers right before they are ready to covert making it a really effective way of targeting.

There are currently 508 different in-market audiences which you can choose from in your Google Ads account – so it’s more than likely that you’re able to find something relevant to your business from this huge range! After applying this audience strategy to your campaigns, you can add bid adjustments. This tells Google that if a user falls into the in-market category that you have applied, then you would like to bid more so that your ad appears for these particular users.

Note: bid adjustments will not be available with automated bidding strategies as this is taken into account within the strategy algorithms.

Businesses can improve the likelihood of a consumer converting with them instead of a competitor by using this method of targeting.

How do I set up in-market audiences?

If you think your business would benefit from using in-market audiences, then you can easily add them to your current campaigns. Select the campaign that you wish to apply the audience in, click on the audiences tab and then click on add new audience. Before you choose your audience type, ensure you have selected targeting or observation – whichever one suits the aim of your campaign the best. The option for in-market audiences is the second one down on the table so go ahead and select the most relevant category for your business. Each category has a drop-down menu which means that the audience can be narrowed down further to target even more specifically – so make sure you don’t miss any!

Custom intent audiences: be in control of who you target with display

Are your display campaigns under-performing? Then it’s worth exploring custom intent audiences. This is a really powerful new feature that Google introduced in November 2017. The feature allows you to define and reach your own ideal audience to target people who have shown intent to purchase your business’ products/services. Interested? I don’t blame you. There are two ways in which custom intent audiences can be implemented: auto-created or completely manual.

Let’s dig into the auto-created segments first – these are created specifically to your account, so segments you may see in one account could be completely different in another. This is because Google analyses the campaigns and data that are in the account already and uses its machine-learning technology to create audiences. Google takes into account keywords and URLs that appear in content that users are browsing whilst researching a specific product/service, and uses these insights to create an audience based off what Google sees from this, as intent to purchase.

Manual custom intent audiences have the same basis as this, except you can choose the URLs and keywords that you want to target rather than Google doing this for you. You want to ensure that the URLs and keywords all have a common theme so that Google can understand your ideal audience – best practice is to add around 15 as a total. It’s important that the keywords and URLs that you add relate to the product/services that the audience would be researching; think like a customer – which websites would you visit in order to make an informed decision before converting?

Custom intent audiences are a really great way of creating a granular audience, targeting users who are showing intent to convert. Allowing these audiences to be set up to be business specific shows that there is great potential for campaign success, as well as for the future of display advertising.

How do I set up custom intent audiences?

Select the display campaign that you would like to implement custom intent audiences in and then click on the Audiences tab down the side of the interface. Click on Add Audience and select either targeting or observation method – whichever is most suited to your campaign. The custom intent audience is located on the second line of the table and once clicked on you will be able to choose between auto-created segments (which you can browse through and select) or you can click Create New Custom Intent Audience. Make a start on adding the keywords and URLs that you would like to use if you’re creating your own. As you add more information, the estimated number of impressions for this audience will be visible, giving you a great indication as to how many people are likely to see your ad.

Following these steps will make sure that your ads get seen by the right people – now you can sit back, relax, and watch the conversions flood in!

Improve Adwords CTR

6 ways to improve your Google Ads click through rate

Is your latest Google Ads campaign not delivering the results you were hoping for? Then it’s time to increase your click-through-rate. In this blog, PPC Executive Anna Simpson explains how to enhance your CTR, and why it’s so important.

What is click-through rate & why is it an important metric?

Click Through Rate (CTR) is the percentage of total ad views that result in clicks – this, therefore, gives good top-level insights into the campaign and can help to identify any issues.

CTR is also a factor which is taken into consideration in Google’s Quality Score formula as Google uses “expected click-through rate” as one of the criteria which determines your ad position and cost per click (CPC). It’s important to maintain a good CTR because this not only means more traffic to your site, but also will help to increase your keyword quality score. In turn, this will give your ads the maximum potential to rank higher whilst lowering your CPC – a clear example of an effective campaign.

Countdown timers

Countdown timers allow you to let potential customers know about current sales or booking deadlines within the ads, all for the same CPC. Adding this feature to your ads can create a sense of urgency, as the customer will be able to see how long is left until the end of your sale or before a deadline is met.

Countdown timers are a dynamic feature, so they’re automatically updated each day until the end of the countdown – meaning no manual work is required once these have been set up. Creating this urgency means that people are more likely to click on the ads because they don’t want to miss out on the limited offer, giving a higher chance of improving both click-through and conversion rate.

Ad extensions

There are many different extensions that you are able to include on your ads, including:

  • Call extensions – adding a phone number to encourage interaction
  • Sitelink extensions – creating additional links to other relevant pages of your site
  • Callout extensions – adding short text to your ads to highlight business USPs
  • Structured snippet extensions – highlighting specific aspects of the products/services your business provides

The great thing about ad extensions is that they are of no extra cost; Google automatically shows your chosen extensions if they believe that it will improve the performance of the ad. Having extensions also gives you greater ad visibility as it will show up more prominently in the search results, meaning greater chance of CTR – what’s not to love?

It’s important to assess what the main goals for your business are, as you can match relevant extensions to boost your chances of generating your required action. If you want more store visits, location extensions would be ideal so that potential customers know where to find you from the outset. If you provide many different services that you want to mention at a first glance, then structured snippets would be a perfect way to highlight these and may be the difference between a potential customer clicking on your ad over a competitor. The possibilities are endless!

Call to actions (CTA)

You may be using call to actions already in your ad copy without actually realising the positive impact that these can have on the performance of your ads. Call to actions are short phrases usually at the very end of the ad that encourage potential customers to take a certain action such as ‘Find Out More’ or ‘Book Today’.  Doing this means that customers are given a direct instruction after viewing your advert. By making the next step for the customer clear, a well-placed CTA can be the difference between your ad receiving a click or being scrolled past.

A/B Ad testing

A/B ad testing is a great way to gain insights into how your ads are performing and which ad copy works better than others. By doing this, you are able to test different combinations of headlines and descriptions to see which work well together, giving you a better understanding of what information makes potential customers want to click on your ads.

It’s also important to use this to trial different styles of ad copy to see how this affects the CTR. Different businesses have different audiences and this is a key factor in creating successful ad copy. This is dependent on the type of business and the conversion action that you want customers to take – some customers may want to see credentials and awards, some may want to see USPs to choose you over competitors, and some may want more descriptive ad copy. Giving customers what they’re looking for is critical to increasing CTR.

Regular bid adjustments

Ensuring that you regularly monitor and adjust your bids is key to CTR. Bidding too low on keywords will see your impressions suffer due to your ads being in a lower position, and consequently, your CTR will be negatively impacted a because your ad isn’t being seen as much as it could.

The best way to review and adjust your bids is most importantly making sure that you’re bidding high enough to appear on page one of the search engine results. This gives great exposure for the ads, as most users only browse the first page. Although it may be tempting to implement first position bids so that your ad appears right at the top of search results, this isn’t always the best practice.

You need to ensure that your ads are cost-effective and being in position one doesn’t always equate to high CTR/conversion rate. It’s important to bear in mind that users often “shop around” and browse between the top 3 advertisers rather than solely clicking on the top ad. Therefore by bidding effectively, you are able to gain essentially the same amount of exposure as the first position advertiser – but for a lower CPC.

Expanded text ads

Expanded texts are a great new addition to Google Ads, allowing you to create ads with 3 headlines and 2 90-character descriptions. This means that you now have the space to give more detailed information within your ad copy to portray the correct messages to your target audience. It’s also important to note that having more text means greater visibility because these ads will stand out to potential customers over other short standard text ads.

The additional headline allows you to highlight your business’s USPs, promote special offers or create a call to action to give that extra persuasion to get your customer to click-through. One last benefit of expanded text ads is that due to the additional text, you can to target long-tail keywords, giving more chance of appearing for related search queries that may have a lower CPC due to the smaller search volume.