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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Online PR - newspaper

How to get media coverage for your business in seven steps

As a small or start up-business, trying to get in the media is an important strategy, but can often feel like a daunting, nay impossible task. Where do you even begin? And do you need a big budget to make a difference?

At Cedarwood Digital, we work with clients with a variety of budgets from small-scale to larger campaigns. So we know first-hand that you can make an impact, regardless of size or budget.

We’ve rounded up our top tips and broken down the process of how to get media coverage for your business, so you can start a media storm. 

1. Understand what is valuable to journalists

  • Content that offers a new and interesting angle
  • Data-lead content
  • Eye-catching images

When creating a press release, make sure to bear in mind that journalists receive countless similar emails a day. You need to be sure to provide something valuable that they can’t get elsewhere. Try to make sure your content is something new, with research to support or challenge thinking.

Surveys that provide journalists with interesting and topical statistics are a great way to get your business featured in the press. Whilst there are companies that will run surveys for you, these can be costly, so SME’s can benefit from using their own customer databases to conduct surveys and research.

Images are also crucial for a strong press release, as we live in an increasingly visual world. Supplying a few strong images to support your press release saves the journalist time and energy sourcing a relevant image themselves, and could be the decision-maker for whether or not your story gets featured.

2. Know your target audience

  • Personalise press releases for each publication
  • Include regional and local press

Work out an angle to spin your story to make it relevant and interesting to the readership of any publication that you’re looking target. Try not to generalise content and send it across all genres of media – this will be clear to the journalist and look lazy. It’s best to brainstorm and research topical news, upcoming events or media trends in that domain that your content can be linked to.

Don’t neglect regional press, as a local angle can also be a great hook. Though regional publications will have a smaller audience than nationals, they offer the chance to showcase news and features on a local scale and can be easier to get featured in than bigger publications. If you’re offering research and statistics that cover the whole of the UK, try breaking your research down into key city demographics so that it is more relevant to regional publications. For example, if you have conducted a survey that investigates adult usage of mobile phones in the UK, you could break the results down into cities to make the statistics more relevant.

3. Create a list of media contacts

  • Use paid media databases or free tools
  • Make connections over social media

Though you may already be familiar with a few key publications you would like to target, it’s essential to expand your horizons and discover more outlets that may be interested in covering your story. Fortunately, there are multiple online resources to help you to create a thorough media list – including niche, trade publications to nationals.

Response Source, Vuelio and Gorkana all offer subscriptions to media databases, allowing you to gain access to a wealth of influential journalists’ contacts at top publications. Or for those with smaller budgets, websites like Hunter.io offer the chance to search a limited number of journalist contacts for free. Both Twitter and LinkedIn can be also be good places to start for building connections – monitor #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter to look out for relevant feature opportunities and connect with interesting journalists on LinkedIn.

When building your press list, make sure you pay attention to digital publications as well as print. Getting featured in digital publications is not only good for PR but also for your website’s SEO rankings. Links to your website from popular online publications will help boost your website’s overall SEO (more info on this here) and so the online publishing world should form an integral part in your PR strategy.

4. Research the targeted journalist

  • Know the topics that journalists like to cover
  • Pay attention to deadlines
  • Don’t harass journalists

Once you’ve built your press list, make sure to pay close attention to detail when sourcing the relevant journalists’ contact details. Research who you need to contact, considering their speciality and position within the company, and then you can approach the target publication to source their details and preferred method of receiving information. You don’t want to come across as rude or unprofessional to journalists by getting their details wrong.

Make sure to stay organised with deadlines and publications dates to avoid pestering journalists when they’re working against the clock. There’s no problem in getting in touch to ask if a certain topic is of interest, but don’t harass them. If you’ve followed up twice via email and have still not had a response, then unfortunately the journalist is not interested in your pitch.

5. Design your press release to make an impression

Present your press release in a way that is as easy as possible for a journalist to dissect. Generally, try to stick to the following rules:

  • Immediately summarise the essence of the content in the first paragraph
  • Don’t use technical terms which aren’t accessible, and avoid just stating facts
  • Try to support your story with evidence or statistics if possible
  • Be black and white with information you provide – making claims about your business that you can’t back up will be complicated and unprofessional
  • Detail your contact information at the end of the press release, and make sure to be efficient and available for follow up calls
  • Include ‘Notes to the Editor’ at the bottom of your release. This is where you can include useful background information that does not feature in your press release, such as an overview of your business’ services, how you conducted your research for your press release or a brief history of your business. Then you’re ready to press send!

6. Add supporting information & special extras to the press release

  • Offer interviews, case studies and photographs
  • Consider exclusivity for larger publications

To give your press release a bit more zest, it’s worth considering what extra support you could provide to each journalists. Publications often want to get unique angles on stories to avoid duplicated articles, so offering think about offering a case study, interview or photograph to sweeten the deal.

If you have a larger publication in mind that you are eager to work with, then you could offer them the exclusive on the story first, as being featured on one large publication with a significant audience could be more worthwhile than features on ten smaller publications.

7. Build relationships with journalists

  • Be a reliable contact

For long term benefits, provide news and content on a regular basis to journalists, stick to deadlines, make yourself available for interviews and comment.  This way you will create a great reputation for yourself as a useful contact and build a relationship with the press. Don’t be intimidated when getting in touch with a journalist – if you’ve followed these steps and consistently deliver, your media coverage will soar in no time.

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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.

Did you know: Cedarwood Digital also offers in-house Adwords training programmes with company Director Amanda Walls. View our full list of training options here.

When to start marketing for Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day search data: key trends for your marketing campaigns

Valentines Day is fast approaching, and for many businesses is a crucial time to get your products or services noticed by potential customers. Whether you’re offering a romantic dinner location, a flower delivery service, or even hosting a singles event, the high amount of interest in February needs to be utilised.

Needless to say its important to plan your digital marketing strategy in advance – but when is the best time to push your campaigns? To get an idea of what people are looking for and when it’s most popular, we’ve used Google Trends to examine keyword data from February 2018 to look for trends in Google searches in the UK. Using this historical data, you can get into the mind of the consumer, and try to get your business in front of them at a time when they’re willing to spend.

Searches for Valentines dates

So when do people start to plan and book their Valentines dates? Most typically, these plans will fall into the food and drink sectors, so we’ve delved into keyword data related to restaurants and bars to see when people are starting to research.

The most interest in restaurants for Valentines Day was actually on February 14th – so prepare your marketing efforts for last-minute bookers

To look into search trends from last year related to restaurants, we compared terms such as ‘valentines day meals’, ‘romantic restaurant’ and ‘romantic meal’ which can be seen on the graph below (or in a more detailed look here). Granted, some people may be looking for romantic destinations regardless of Valentines Day, but all of the terms show similar patterns nonetheless. It seems there’s a steady amount of interest from the end of January until around 7th February when there’s a notable spike in interest. Funnily enough, the results show that the most interest in restaurants for Valentines Day was actually on February 14th – so it’s worth giving marketing efforts a real push on Valentines Day itself judging by the amount of last minute bookers!

Similarly, those opting for Valentines Day drinks share a similar search pattern. We compared terms such as ‘romantic bar’, ‘bar on valentines day’ and ‘valentines day drinks’ (see more here), and notably the first term with ‘valentines’ in the phrase had a significant increase on February 1st. There is also a considerable amount of interest on February 13th with much fewer people Googling the terms on Valentines Day itself.

Judging from this data, it would seem that for dates and activities marketing efforts should begin in early February, and bearing in mind that there is a rise in interest around the 7th and then again around the 13th / 14th of February.

Searches for Valentines gifts

Flowers? Chocolates? Or just some inspiration for something less cliché? If you’re looking to promote gifts for Valentines Day, its important to bear in mind the generic terms people will be searching for, and when they’re looking to buy.

It seems lots of people are looking to be inspired which is the perfect opportunity for sales. We examined popular keywords including ‘valentines day gifts’, ‘valentines day gifts for him’ and ‘valentines day gifts for her’ (see all terms here), which again indicated that it’s worth considering starting promoting your products from around January 29th. Again there is a spike in interest around 6th/7th, and a peak at around 12th February which is worth noting.

Obviously, those choosing to buy flowers for their partners won’t be looking to make their purchase until just before Valentines Day itself to avoid them dying, but it’s worth thinking about how much people pre-plan their retailer of choice. As expected, when looking at a range of flower related (including ‘florist near me’, ‘flower delivery’ and ‘valentines flowers’ – all visable here) interest only really picks up momentum around 12th February and is at its highest search volume on Valentines Day itself! The term ‘flower delivery’ has the most hits on February 13th, so next day delivery promotions may be worth taking into consideration.

By comparing the searches ‘valentines gift for boyfriend‘ and ‘valentines gift for girlfriend‘, you can see an interesting difference between the searches. The top dates for those searching for gifts for their boyfriend were January 31st, February 5th, and February 12th, whereas when searching for gifts for their girlfriends, this was most common on 8th February. Its worth noting that people shopping from boyfriends seem to be interested from an earlier time but are also much more last minute, so it may be worth running a longer marketing stretch if you’re promoting gifts for females compared to gifts for males.

And those who are single?

The market of singletons on Valentines Day is not worth forgetting about! After investigating a range of topics that singles may be searching for around Valentines Day – from spa days, to dating apps, to gym memberships, to singles events – but found that the trends were generally inconclusive.

One thing we did notice was the interest in ‘galentines gifts’ (see more here), which has a high search volume between the 8th and 13th of February, and could certainly be capitalised on. They may not be useful for your marketing campaign, but we did see an amusing spike in people searching for ‘Bridget Jones’ on Valentines Day (graph here) and ‘cat adoption’ shortly after Valentines Day on February 16th (graph here).

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