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iOS 14.5 and the Effects on Meta Advertising.

Over a year has passed since the introduction of IOS14 & 14.5 which changed the landscape of Meta advertising. This blog will talk through the updates and the detrimental effects this ultimately had on paid social advertisers.

iOS 14 & 14.5 Update Changes – What is it?

Perhaps one of the most significant changes arising from the updates was that Apple limited the amount of data Meta could get from their users. Apple launched the App Transparency feature which asked the user for permission every time an app requested their IDFA (Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers). 

This prompt allows users to ask the app not to track and, if selected, prevents any user activity being tracked across company apps and websites.

Since Apple’s new privacy feature the rate of opt-in figures has, unsurprisingly, been low. According to Statista as of April 2022, the opt-in rate was at 25%.

What does this mean for Meta advertising?

With the majority of consumers choosing to opt out of data, there has been a significant impact on the amount of data marketers are now able to collect.

As a result of the update, Meta Pixel is now unable to track user’s activity properly, which is a big change to adjust to. Advertisers now report far fewer clicks on their advertisements as people choose to opt out of tracking. As a result, the conversions that are made cannot be reported on as granulary; for example, demographic data is no longer collected, meaning that advertisers can no longer use this information to personalise ads. Consequently, this has made it more difficult when optimising ads and caused a notable decrease in performance for all campaigns.

Another clear impact of the update is the lack of audience data that can be used for remarketing purposes. Meta audiences is one of the reasons that advertising through these platforms was so popular. Targeting users through lookalike, remarketing and custom audiences is now limited in its capabilities. To tackle this, campaigns should target a broader audience using interest marketing, this will allow Meta to use their own data to put your ads in front of people likely to convert. 

Aggregated Events Management

In addition to the reduction of user data that Meta can access, there is also no real-time reporting in Meta and results can take up to 3 days to appear. In response to this, Meta developed the aggravated events management system to help advertisers with reporting. This requires brands to limit their conversion events to 8 per domain. Meta Events Manager now only tracks the last single event made by the user, it’s therefore important to prioritise the order of conversion events. It’s also vital to have your domains verified in order to have this working effectively, so keep an eye out for the warning sign that will tell you if it’s not.

How can agencies respond to this new normal for Meta Ads? 

  1. Verify your domain: This tells Meta that you are a legitimate business and allows for the 8 conversion events to be assigned to that domain.
  1. Set up Aggregated Event Management: You can set up 8 conversion events. Meta will only track the last conversion event with the highest priority. 
  1. Target broad Audiences :Targeting large audiences with similar interests will allow Meta to put your ads in front of the right people. 

Summing up the IOS 14 & 14.5 Updates

The IOS 14 and 14.5 updates have had a huge impact on how advertisers utilise Meta for advertising. The updates mean it’s no longer as efficient as it has been before, but there are still things we can do to give our campaigns the best chance of succeeding. After all, advertisers are known for adapting to change and, as such, we must stay vigilant for any more updates in the paid social scene and run with these changes.

Find out how we work with the iOS changes and can help guide your social advertising
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Google Shopping Explained

Google Shopping is a great way to advertise your products and generate sales as an E-commerce store. It’s a shopping comparison service for searchers where retailers compete to get their products in front of users who are searching online for them.

Why use Google Shopping Ads?

Unlike Google’s main other campaign type – Search (AKA text ads), these ads include an image of your product as well as the title, price and shop name. Shopping Ads provide more information to the users who are searching for your products, which helps to bring in more qualified leads. Shopping Ads show up at the top of the Google SERP in a scrollable banner format above organic results, and even above text ads. This means they are the first thing a user will see when they’re searching for a product, making them very powerful for growing revenue.

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How do Google Shopping Ads Work?

Shopping ads are created automatically by Google through your product feed, which is a file you upload to Google Merchant Centre containing all of your products and their information, such as price, description, delivery costs etc. So, unlike text ads, there is no need to write ad copy. Google will simply use the information you provide in the product feed to create the ad content. The ad will contain the product title, price and image, as well as extra information, if available, such as reviews. As the information that builds the ad comes from your product feed, the data inputted to the feed must be accurate and of high quality, to ensure it appears in searches. Once a user clicks on your ad, they will be directed straight to the product page on your website where they can ‘add to basket’ and complete the purchase.

Shopping ads also tend to have lower cost-per-click than text ads, which means they are a more cost-effective advertising platform, helping to generate more ROI. This makes Shopping ads extremely valuable to online shops as they bring in higher quality leads due to the extra information given to the user, and are cheaper when users do click. 

Step 1: Set Up Google Merchant Centre & Upload A Product Feed

This is the most time-consuming part of the process but, once done, your Shopping Ad campaigns will be much easier to manage than if you were to advertise the same items through Google Search Campaigns. In Google Merchant Centre, simply upload a product feed using either a Google Sheet or an XML file. Google has handy templates for you to use to help create the feed. 

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Some e-commerce platform providers, such as Shopify or WooCommerce, have direct integrations with Google Merchant Centre, meaning you can manage both your website catalogue and Google product feed simultaneously. This makes this step a lot simpler. Check your e-commerce platform provider to see if yours will work with Google Merchant Centre.

Once done, link your Google Ads account to your Merchant Centre by heading to the gear icon at the top right, and heading to the linked accounts section.

After your product feed is uploaded, you will be moving to Google Ads to optimise your campaigns. One more thing to mention before moving over to Google Ads is the “Promotions” feature on Google Merchant Centre. Here, you can set up promotions such as monetary or percentage discounts, free gifts and free shipping, to reflect any sales or promotions you may be offering on your website. 

If you are running a promotion on a specific set of products, you can use the [promo_id] attribute within your product feed to mark products you want to include in sales; this way, only those with the correct promotion ID will be included. 

You can also create custom filters based on your product attributes within the promotion set up, allowing you to select products for your promotion by the attributes you’ve set them in the feed.

Step 2: Create your campaign(s)

Now you can move to Google Ads and start to set up your shopping campaigns. On the campaign tab, press the blue “+” button to set up a new campaign. Select your campaign goal as “Sales” and campaign type as “Shopping”.  Make sure you have conversion tracking set up in order to properly measure the performance of your campaigns and product sales through Google Ads.

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Before continuing to the next step, make sure you switch to the “Standard Shopping campaign” selection – this will give you manual control over bid levels which is useful for new users when getting to grips with Google Ads.

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On the next page you will be able to set the daily budget and bid levels to your desired amounts, as well as targeting options such as locations and devices.

Step 3: Segment your products by attributes

Now, in your newly created campaign(s), you can segment your products by the attributes you set in the feed. A standard segmentation used by a lot of advertisers is to separate their products by Brand, but this may not be the best approach for everyone. By splitting out products in the product groups, you can bid different amounts on different brands, product categories, and even down to product specific bids. You can also exclude products from your campaigns if you do not wish to advertise them.

Step 4: Optimise

Once your campaign is live, you will be able to see how much your products are spending, how much revenue they are generating and other helpful data such as Search Impression Share (the percentage of times your ad showed when eligible). Use this to gauge the performance of your products and adjust your bids and budgets in accordance with your marketing goals.


Google Shopping is a really effective tool for both advertisers and shoppers. By using Google Shopping, advertisers can showcase their products in a very visual way to potential customers. It’s therefore a great way to boost website traffic and sales. It’s also much more cost effective than other text-heavy advertising options, so if you haven’t tried it yet this could be an ideal tool for your business.

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New Client Alert: Loop Cashmere

Now that we’re heading into the winter months snuggling down into a nice cosy jumper is definitely the way to go and that’s why we’re delighted to announce that we are working with ethical cashmere brand Loop Cashmere across SEO, PPC and Digital PR to help grow and develop their online store and product offering.

Founded in 2020, the brand champions the style and quality longevity of cashmere as well as being both kind to the planet and also to consumers.

Featuring timeless classics alongside a range of luxury wardrobe staples and statement styles, the cashmere is designed to look and feel good for longer and the entire creation process is focused around sustainability – leaving the planet a little bit better than how we found it.

Our work with Loop Cashmere will cover the full range of performance marketing including SEO, PPC, Digital PR and also Paid Social campaign activation across Meta platforms, designed to create a holistic marketing strategy to drive sales and visibility for the brand.

Katrina Urwin, Head of Marketing at Loop Cashmere said

“It was difficult to choose between the final agencies, but we ultimately felt that Cedarwood Digital were a great fit for the brief, and we were impressed by the people who would be working directly on the account.”

Anna Simpson, Paid Media Manager quoted

“Loop Cashmere is a great example of a business that not only creates great products, but also takes into account sustainability, showing how you can create a great quality product while also being gentle on the planet.

We’re looking forward to working closely with the brand to deliver a full performance marketing strategy to help showcase their cashmere range to consumers.”

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Finding The Right Facebook Ad Type For Your Campaign

Facebook is continuously evolving and offering more and more new ad formats, but how do you know which one is best for you? This blog will walk you through the various formats, and help you choose which you should adopt to reach the right audience to help you hit your campaign goals.

Image Ads

Image Ads are the most simple of the ad formats. You can use your own photos or create stock images to engage your audience. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words, so don’t be afraid to get creative to attract your audience. Facebook’s creative hub allows you to test different image and text formats to find the best look for your advert.

These have the benefit of driving awareness of your business, can communicate a simple message to your audience and are quick and easy to create.

Video Ads

Video ads are a powerful way to showcase your products and services by using visuals and audio to capture your audience’s attention. These can be used to highlight a unique feature of your product or tell a story to drive awareness of your brand. Video ads can appear in a variety of placements including feeds, stories, reels, and many more.

The main advantages of this format are improved brand awareness, customer engagement, and increasing lead generation. So your choice is not limited when deciding to use a video ad.


Stories provide an edge-to-edge experience to steal your audience’s attention with quick-frame videos and interesting ads. Stories can have a very large reach and a higher click-through rate. 

Unique ads can be used to increase customer interest and boost awareness of your products. 


Messenger Ads are a perfect way to encourage customers to interact with your brand. The use of manual and automated features can be used to personalise your message to your existing or potential customers. 

Messenger ads are effective in reaching large numbers of people and starting conversations with your customers.


Carousel ads let you display as many as 10 images or videos within a single ad. Each image or video has a headline, link and call to action button, making it easy for the customer to navigate when clicking the ad.

Carousel ads are used best to:

  • Showcase multiple products in a single ad
  • – Highlight different features of a product or service, 
  • Take the user through a process 
  • Tell a story of your brand.

The main benefit of carousel is it increases consideration towards your brand and encourages people to actively engage with your product or service.


Slideshow ads contain different images that come together in a single harmonious slideshow. These are comparable to video but can be made on a smaller budget. Additionally, these are quick to create and can be set up easily from your Facebook page or phone. No matter how fast or slow the connection, these advertisements load quickly and play smoothly. 

These are most useful if you need to create an immersive ad quickly and inexpensively, and want to reach people with slower connections.


Collection ads have the unique ability to tailor your catalogue to each individual. The usual format consists of one main image accompanied by 3 smaller images. When the customer clicks on the ad they will receive a full-page instant experience which allows customers to see the storefront, browse for products and make a purchase effortlessly. 

These are helpful if your campaign’s goal is to drive product awareness and increase conversions for your business. 


Playable Ads allow customers to interact with your app before they decide to install it. These ads consist of 3 components; a lead-in video, a demo and, finally, a call to action. These are most commonly used for gaming apps.

Playables are effective for engaging customers and driving actions, as the customer gets to have a preview of the app before they decide to download it.

Which ad format is best for me?

With all these different kinds of formats available to select, how do you know which one to choose?  It is crucial to define your target audience in order to know who to direct your ads at. Each ad format comes with its advantages so you need to select one that aligns with your campaign objectives. 

One more thing

It’s important to remember that Facebook is constantly evolving, so it’s critical to stay on top of the latest changes to ensure your business thrives on the meta platforms.

Get in touch today if you want to start integrating Facebook advertising into your marketing strategy.

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Life After Expanded Text Ads

The shift to RSAs from ETAs is an interesting one. I imagine some marketers will be sceptical as is the case with any sudden and uncontrollable change made by Google. However, the results we have seen for our clients have led to an increase in click through rates (CTR) and conversion rates (CVR), and a decrease in costs per acquisition (CPA) across the board, so there are clearly benefits to the change.

With Google utilising machine learning more and more, this was an inevitable change and a natural next step in today’s world of automation. But, as with anything, there are benefits and drawbacks to the change, which we’ll go through below.

The Positives

There are many benefits to RSAs; it allows for real-time testing instead of having to manually set up and analyse A/B testing of ad copy. This happens automatically through RSAs, with around 43,680 different combinations thanks to the increased number of headlines and descriptions. Marketers therefore save time and resources otherwise spent setting these up and having to analyse the data manually. It also means that Google can use auction time insights and signals to match relevant copy to the intent of the users’ query, a previously more static element in ETAs which now gives the user a much more relevant ad than we could manually create.

The Drawbacks

The downsides to RSAs are related to control and data visibility. With Google creating these combinations automatically, you don’t actually have the control to decide exactly what gets seen by the user for each search. This means that the choice in headlines and descriptions has to be carefully selected so that each works with the rest. Google also gives limited visibility around the combinations, only highlighting the impressions each has rather than actual performance metrics. It’s a definite downfall, as marketers can find insightful trends from this data that they may have utilised elsewhere.

Ad Asset Combinations

This has now been taken one step further with the announcement of “Ad Assets” taking over what was previously known as “Ad Extensions”. These are now an integral part of campaign set up, and is great if you are the type of person to forget to add these on in the separate part of the interface. This again takes Google’s machine learning approach to the next level, reporting on not only the different combinations of headlines and descriptions, but now including these combinations with different ad assets (extensions) to really understand which work the best together.

This is now a set-in-stone change & expanded text ads can no longer be edited or created. It’s therefore definitely worth getting on board and adopting the best practices to give the highest potential for success with RSAs. Our advice for a successful RSA set up?

  • – Fill in all headline asset spaces with key USPs and features
  • – Create different descriptions to utilise the machine A/B testing 
  • – Pin any assets that you definitely want visible in all ads.

These simple steps are key to getting the most from RSAs and increasing CTR and CVR for your own or your clients’ accounts.

Speak to us about text ads or any other paid advertising for your next campaign

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Using ValueTrack Parameters To Improve Your Display Campaigns

Display Advertising is, in my opinion, one of the most under-utilised forms of effective advertising offered in performance marketing. The main reason I feel people don’t really use it effectively is because, of all the paid search options available, it is often the hardest to optimise and also the hardest to attribute.

Unlike traditional advertising such as Search or Shopping, Display generally has a much longer path to conversion. It can take many more touchpoints than the standard options which, in many cases, can just take one or two. The second and probably biggest challenge with Display Advertising is that, unlike Shopping or Search, it is an interest-based form of advertising rather than an intent-based format. This means that instead of benefitting from putting your ad in front of someone at the time they are looking for it, you are instead trying to find that audience through a range of targeting options, such as age/demographic, interests and affinity audiences.

With this in mind, you often find that Display doesn’t convert as well as traditional channels. The Conversion Rate tends to be lower and the user much further outside the funnel so, for many advertisers, it falls by the wayside as an effective channel option. This is a shame, as Display can be a great way to reach a broader audience for your product and bring them into your funnel, even if it doesn’t directly convert. It can actually be a powerful tool when used effectively.

Given the broad nature of interest-based targeting, to utilise Display Advertising effectively we need to be as granular as possible and use a strong, data-driven approach in our targeting methods. In addition to having a really good understanding of our audience and where we want the ads to be placed, we also need to understand which ads are working well for us and which placements are leading to conversions. That’s where, when using ValueTrack Parameters effectively, you can really improve the performance of your Display campaigns.

What Are ValueTrack Parameters?

According to Google who created them, ValueTrack Parameters are “a type of URL parameter that you can add to your ads’ landing page URLs. These parameters collect information about the source of your ad clicks.” Essentially, they are parameters which you apply to your ads that allow you to collate data about the click (location, type of ad etc…) and feed that back into your advertising interface to allow you to make more data-driven decisions. 

By utilising ValueTrack Parameters you are able to gain more information about your audience and their behaviour than you would traditionally through the advertising interface. This can allow you to make more data-driven decisions and more effectively place your display ads in areas where you are likely to get the best return. 

There are a whole range of parameters that you can use across the full range of advertising channels (Display, Search, Shopping, Video). They include parameters to measure devices, placements, positions, user data and location. These have all been designed to give you additional insight and data to really maximise the value of your campaigns. 

Are There Specific ValueTrack Parameters I Should Use For Display?

If you’re looking to optimise your Display Campaigns then there are a number of ValueTrack Parameters that we would recommend using. These will help to add additional data and detail to your campaigns, allowing you to really maximise their optimisation:


The Placement ValueTrack Parameter gives you access to the domain name of the specific website where your ad was published. This can be an incredibly effective way of mapping specific conversions back to specific placements, and allowing you to be more granular with the way that you place your content.

By using the placement parameter it allows you to really understand which placements are delivering you high quality leads and which ones aren’t. Additionally, this then allows you to block out placements which aren’t driving value and increase bids on those which are. The Google Display Network covers around 90% of the web which means a standard display campaign will appear on thousands and thousands of websites. By utilising the placement parameter you can really help to isolate high performance placements and maximise these for a better ROAS.


The Devicemodel parameter allows you to evaluate what make and model of device users are on when they click on your ads and come through to your website. This, again, can give really valuable information around how you target your campaigns and, specifically, how you create your ads. 

With this data you can evaluate if a particular user group (i.e. on a particular make or model of device) is interacting poorly with either your ads or your website when they arrive. As a result, it could indicate an issue with the way they are viewing your ads, or even indicate that they are missing specific information from them due to the way the ad displays on their screen or device. This particular parameter can help to cut out a lot of wastage and can also push advertisers to ensure that their ads are suitable for a wide range of devices and models. So, if you are finding a drop off in your ads, or when users come through to the website, this is one method of investigation which can provide very useful data.


The Creative parameter is a great way of identifying which of your specific creatives are driving valuable conversions to your website. When combined with the {placement} parameter it gives you an invaluable insight into which creative on which placement is actually driving your leads. This allows you to really maximise visibility in areas where you know there is a high potential for conversion. 

With Display campaigns you will often trial and run a number of different creative options and it’s often hard to discern which of these is generating the best return. By implementing the creative parameter and combining it with others you can get a full data mix to understand what’s really driving ROAS for your business. This is one of the most effective ways to get display campaigns delivering a strong ROAS as opposed to just improving your visibility.

How Do I Set Up ValueTrack Parameters On My Campaigns?

If you like what you’ve read above and this is something you are looking to get involved with, Google offers a handy guide which can help you get started with setting up the parameters on your campaigns. If you’re looking to get started quickly then here’s a snippet from the Google guidelines below which indicates the quick steps to set up the parameters:

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The key here is in choosing the right parameters and understanding how you want to digest that data. I’d recommend setting it out in a spreadsheet first, understanding exactly what you want to measure, which campaigns you are going to test it on and how you are going to measure the data. Then apply the parameters to a subset of data to test initially.

Once the test has been undertaken (and it may be valuable to do this within a Google Ads Experiment) you can then roll this out across more campaigns to get a larger pool of data to work with.


If you are looking to take your display campaigns to the next level, or perhaps you’ve stepped away from them because you don’t feel that they are generating the ROAS that you deserve, then it’s worth considering how ValueTrack parameters could help. They could really bring that display campaign back in a very targeted approach and allow you to cut a lot of wastage.

By applying some simple parameters you can better understand your audience and the data available, allowing you to really maximise your campaigns.

Want to find out more about how to maximise your return from display advertising? Get in touch!

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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
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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Forecasting 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.


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!

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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.


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.


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.