Why do Google want you to use them so badly!?
By now you may have heard a little bit about the strangely-named ‘enhanced’ campaigns in Google AdWords. You’ve probably received an email or two from Google & maybe even a phone call from an over-zealous rep.
In this short(ish) blog I want to explain what they are, why Google have changed & what WebSavvy is doing to safe-guard our clients interests as we transition into the new AdWords system.
Why all the fuss about Enhanced Campaigns?
This is the single biggest change to the AdWords system since Quality Score was introduced in 2005. It’s big, but what is it? It’s a fundamental shift in the way that your ads will be shown on different devices, locations, times & networks.
In other words Google has changed the rules ostensibly to help us all transition into the new world of multiple devices.
You may have noticed that not only do we all have smartphones now, many of us are using them & tablets (especially in the evening) as well as our computers quite differently.
Our ‘search’ for stuff/answers/things now spreads across these devices & the way we search has changed. Plus there are new devices coming, such as Google Glass & wearable computers, smart watches etc – many of which Google will want to show ads on!
So all of this is to enable Google to show ads more often in the right context, to the right person.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that for sophisticated advertisers many of the changes are a step backward. The main two are that we can no longer target tablets & desktops separately. And that we can’t run mobile-only campaigns any more.
What does this mean for you? A few things.
Wait before making the change
Because the engineering guys at Google are still catching up to the new changes (ie much of the stuff behind the scenes isn’t ready for the change yet!)
From all the discussions we’ve had with industry professionals around the world (I was speaking at a Google event in Melbourne just last week about this) we know that the smart marketers are waiting.
We’re waiting because the systems are available for us to do this well yet, and because we know costs are going to rise for you!
Our belief is that forcing all advertisers to show their ads on tablets AND desktops will create more competition for limited ad spots – therefore increasing costs.
Combined with some strange settings with mobile campaigns (that don’t allow us to target only mobiles) we think this will increase costs even more.
This was confirmed by new research out overnight as detailed in this article in search engine land (one of the 30 blogs we review daily to keep your campaigns on the bleeding edge of global best practices).
This shows that even though many advertisers are waiting , costs have already started to go up – we’re seeing the same thing in a few client accounts… because competitors have moved to Enhanced early (and they probably don’t know what they’re doing) they’re pushing prices up for everyone!
Another big reason we’re waiting is that we’ll have less control in terms of targeting devices. We like control! In fact when it comes to your campaigns we’re control freaks! Because control means better ROI.
We’re not happy (like the rest of the industry) about this lack of control but Google don’t seem to care. There’s a lot of spin & I’ve been told by more than one Google employee that they’re being incentivised on how many of their agencies they get to update before June 30!
Google is giving bonuses to their staff to get them to make sure your campaigns are updated 3 weeks before the automatic update on July 22.
We don’t think that makes good sense for all the reasons above.
We’ll be transitioning our clients campaigns in early-mid July (not the last second, but also not too far in advance).
So what happens next?
As far as AdWords goes, our clients don’t need to worry about a thing – that’s what they pay us to do.
We’ve done hours of research into this, have moved our own campaigns to the new system & are continuing to chat to our peers about best practices.
Our agenda is to get our clients the best possible ROI – NOT the highest spend.
Two quite different (& conflicted) goals.
We firmly believe our approach is the best one for your bank account!
One last thing to consider
One thing that we would like you to consider is that more & more people are using your site from mobiles & tablets (which is why we’ve been including those stats in our monthly reports since 2011).
Please talk to your web designer/developer about your site experience on these devices & ensure that your users will have a great experience – this was important last year, but it just got a lot more important.
Your site must work well & look great on those smaller screens – it’s where your consumers live.
So….. as they said to me on Virgin Australia last night: sit back & enjoy the ride.
Just be prepared for some small bumps – (or large ones if you don’t know what you’re doing) cost per click is likely to go up over the next 3-6 months.
What is it & why use it?
How to setup “above the fold” only ads
Yesterday I spoke at Google’s Engage Workshop on a panel about marketing digital agencies
I’ll sum up a couple of notes about that first, but I also wanted to share my notes from Dave Booth’s excellent sessions on ways that he’s built Cardinal Path from 2 to 60+ people in the past 7 years!
Lara & Mark joined me on the panel & we kicked off talking about general ways to market.
The main ones were speaking, joint ventures/partnerships & just doing great work!
Personally speaking has been the best possible way to grow WebSavvy. I’ve been lucky enough to speak at a number of Aussie events for world-class marketers like Siimon Reynolds, Dale Beaumont, Ed Dale & James Schramko. And the events here & overseas for a national radio network have been great for building relationships with some of this country’s top CEOs.
Partnerships are great & as Dave pointed out they need to be beneficial to both sides of the deal. For us that’s meant partnering with the best Magento guys in Australia at Balance Internet as well as various other SEO & web agencies.
We don’t compete, we make each other look good by being able to refer & we help joint clients grow their businesses. And yes if the odd bottle of pinot changes hands to say thanks for those leads, then so be it!
“Doing great work” was a line that Mark (of zen10.com.au) used. It’s been my philosophy about work since we started the agency. That’s why were “fanatical about results”. For our clients the only result that matters is profitability – in other words a decent ROI on the ad spend. In that regard we’re lucky to be in such a measurable industry & we embrace that (I wouldn’t want to be selling newpaper ads!)
Dave’s sessions were wide ranging, I’ll try to briefly sum them up below:
In a sentence “Job is not to sell, but to best serve our clients”
That means doing excellent work, doing what you say you will, being radically honest (illustrated by this great vid http://youtu.be/5T9DSgEclPA) & having an awesome team.
All of which I believe WebSavvy does
People buy people! So your relationships matter.
And they’re not clients, they’re partners (I’ll be changing my internal dialogue thanks to this insight).
And focus on existing customer first. Then prospects. Then your business. Then everything else.
There’s no story behind price or quality. Explain that you’re not the cheapest & tell the great story about why that is. What’s your competitive advantage?
Dave’s covered this before, but focus on business outcomes (eg leads, rev, profit!) not clicks & other meaningless KPIs
Zig when others zag
Look for the hard things that everyone else avoids. There’s less competition & a need. That means profit for you agency.
Hunt Wooly Mammoths
Don’t go after lots of small one-time clients. Spend the time to find bigger, longer-term clients (partners!) and serve them with excellence
And follow up
Speak for itself!
Your people matter! Invest in a great team.
Let them create the systems your business needs.
Lots were mentioned. Some were
Project Management: Gantter, Huddle, Flow, Attask
Cloud tools: Xero, Dropbox, Evernote, Basecamp, Highrise (I’d like to add 1password & podio to that list!)
You must understand (before you start) things like Scope, Complexity, Dependencies & Exclusivity – they matter. A lot.
There are different pricing models: percentage of spend, fixed fee or performance based. Dave (like us) prefers fixed fee.
But something I know we need to get better at is upselling a wider range of services to our happy partners (used to be clients!)
Good lead gen, good income stream & important to train your clients/partners enough so that they understand what you do & can have better conversations about it!
We role played this one. Highlights were:
Have a great looking deck
Solid opening. Have them remember 3 things
Be the hero
Let them interact. And ask open questions
Give them a reason to believe. Case studies
Finish with the suspense. Cost of delaying. Big one!
Have more! In many formats: Print. PowerPoint. Web.
Build into terms of service (that you’re likely to use it) & be clear about how using it. Give options (eg it might be internal only, not always whole world).
Ask for the sale
Ask more questions
Have I won your business? (They never say yes). Great conversation starter though.
Does this align with your expectations?
What have I said that resonates with you (end on positive note)
Detail Next steps
Tell them when you’ll be contacting them (& follow up!). What factors are involved? Who making decision? Give contact info. Tell them they can ask questions.
Hope it’s been useful.
And hopefully I’ll see you at a future Google event.
Have you ever seen anonymous.google on a managed placement report?
Annoying right? You’re spending your money to show ads on a site, but that site has decided not to share data with you… nah, let’s fix that.
Using a little Analytics workaround, you can discover *exactly* which sites your ads are showing on
The first step is to “peel and stick” your actual anonymous.google site address into its own AdGroup
For instance, if the actual URL that Google shows you is 7d63e18288963dc8.anonymous.google then
build a new AdGroup in a managed placements campaign called exactly that.
Allow that to gather some data (which might take a couple of days, or a couple of months depending on budgets)
Now that you have that data confined to one particular AdGroup, we can move to Analytics & pull some interesting data.
Navigate to the appropriate profile in your Analytics account & open it up.
The way to make this really easy is to create an ‘Advanced Segment’
That’s hiding right at the top of your Analytics, click it, then click ‘New Custom Segment’
Give your segment a name
Then change the metric (the green dropdown box) to “Ad Group”
And set the rule to be ‘including’ the first part of that anonymous.google domain
eg 7d63e18288963dc8 (you can use the same thing as the segment name)
Next test the segment & make sure that you have some data
Save the segment & it automatically is applied to your profile
So thank Google for making this as difficult as you do – but hey, at least it’s not completely hidden!
Yesterday Google announced a new feature called Enhanced Campaigns.
In essence, this allows you to create one monster campaign, and then make bid adjustments based upon various criteria based on your prospects’ device, location (probably), and time of day (which we can already do).
In other words, you can have one campaign, set your bids for desktops and then do a bid ‘modification’ for mobile devices so you don’t need two campaigns.
Now, as a recovering control freak, I like the level of granular control that the current system offers & I can see a number of disadvantages in the new system – see below.
True it is very early days with this feature (most Google staff were only briefed about it this week!) so there may be additional changes in the pipeline.
Let’s look at the positives first.
If you’re not already segmenting campaigns by device, then this will simplify things for you.
There are also major changes coming to the way sitelinks are used & reporting for sitelinks gets a long overdue beef-up. You’ll be able to set sitelinks by device & even time of day – nice. And we’ll finally be able to get stats for individual sitelinks rather than the entire set.
Another big change is with cross-device conversion tracking. Details are still very sketchy on this & as one colleague pointed out this could be a lawsuit waiting to happen for EU advertisers! More on this as details emerge.
Now the downsides… there are a few!
We’re going to lose the granular control that we love & we at WebSavvy is part of the strategic advantage we offer clients with a very well-run AdWords account.
Specifically if all your keywords & ads are thrown into 1 big campaign, then there are potential issues around ad-serving, keywords used by each device & our old friend Quality Score.
Buried in the Google documentation is this great line:
- Mobile optimized ads will tend to show more often than other ads on mobile devices.
- Other ads (not set as mobile optimized) will tend to show more often than mobile optimized ads on desktop and tablet devices.
My concern is that mobile ads should never show on desktops & vice versa. This will need some testing!
Anyone that’s run a few mobile campaigns will tell you that you need different keywords for smartphone compared to desktops. People search on them very differently.
If all of our keywords are in one large campaign, how do we keep the level of control we need to show different keywords on different devices & (easily) set different bids for those devices. Often we’ll want to bid less on mobiles, but there are many phrases where we might be 3x the desktop bid… this is a keyword level decision, NOT a campaign level one.
My thanks to the God of AdWords Brad Geddes for pointing this one out to me.
“My biggest concern is Quality Score and if Google will let us see segmented quality score (segmented by device). Right now, I commonly see the same word with vastly different quality scores by device. Since you can see it by device; then you can make the appropriate changes to the ads/organization. However, if you only see a combined QS; that will make QS optimization more difficult. Also, since you have more ads per ad group (mobile and desktop) then you also have more ad serving combinations to try and examine when figuring out what’s wrong with your QS. This is either going to lead to less options; more random ad testing where you hope your QS goes up; or some very sophisticated analysis to determine how/when/where to increase QS.”
Wise words from the master.
Likely outcomes of this change
Overall this is likely to push the cost of clicks on mobiles up. Given the hammering Google’s share price got when they announced last year the overall dip in average CPC (due to mobile clicks) it’s really no surprise that they’re chasing the money & implementing a system that will (for the vast majority of advertisers) make mobile bidding more expensive.
Likewise the less-savvy advertisers who don’t know (or care) about these new settings (they will be mandatory from mid-2013 onwards) will find themselves opting in for mobiles unintentionally & paying for those clicks.
Rant… Once again Google is (IMHO) dumbing-down the system & at the same time, taking control out of our hands – the advertisers that keep the $14B/month engine afloat /rant
If you don’t have much time to run your account, or can’t afford to have your account professionally managed by an agency like WebSavvy, then expect to pay more for your advertising.
Sure you’ll have the illusion of efficiency (initial account setup will be faster & you won’t notice the lack of controls) but there will be a cost to that.
For the savvy advertiser that wants to control costs & squeeze the most from the system (without increasing costs) this is going to add complexity to both management and reporting. There will be work-arounds & strategies to deal with this. Our job is to find & implement them.
How to deal with the change
The option to use Enhanced Campaigns will roll out to individual accounts over the coming weeks. Any campaigns not migrated will be forced to the new system around the middle of the year (likely June 2013).
So if you’re running your own account, I’d suggest taking 1 or 2 campaigns & opting in as soon as you can. Make changes, test, play with it. You should know too that AdWords Editor v10.0 will be released later this month & will have new features to aid with the implementation of Enhanced Campaigns.
We’ll certainly be running a number of tests in the coming months to get the best possible results for clients.
We also recommend evaluating your digital campaigns & especially the use of a mobile-optimised site (if you haven’t already).
What to expect if you’re already a WebSavvy client
You can relax. We’ll be working with our Google reps to test the new features & roll them out to your campaigns at an appropriate time for each client account. We’ll keep you updated on the results of our tests & the performance of your account.
If you have any questions about your account, please drop us a note at the support@ email address or just give us a ring 1300 93 27 28 (1300 WebSavvy)
In summary, we don’t yet know if this is a good or bad change. I never like to lose control over any element of the system, but it looks like this change is a big one & here to stay. So there’s no point complaining, we’ll just get on with it. This does look like it’s going to be beneficial for Google’s bottom line though & that’s always a concern to savvy advertisers!
Here are a few things you might want to consider when putting together your AdWords Landing Pages
Your LPQ (landing page quality) is an important factor in getting good Quality Scores & therefore cheaper clicks & more impressions
Make sure you spend some time on your landing pages, but don’t obsess. Good enough is good enough
Some of the things Google looks for:
- Relevant and original content
- Is the purpose of your site clear?
- Is your site actually useful to visitors?
- What does your site offer that other sites don’t?
- Is your business and contact information easy to find?
- Are you upfront about any information you’re collecting from visitors?
- Can people easily tell what’ll happen when they perform an action on your site?
- Is it easy for people to find what they’re looking for?
- Does your site have too many links that might confuse people?
- Can people easily find information to learn more or answer questions?
We’re very lucky here at WebSavvy. We get to do what we love day after day. So we think it’s very important to give back.
Here’s the deal… You get to ask us (Mike or one of the team) any question you like about Internet Marketing, Google AdWords – or anything else. All we ask is that you donate an amount (you choose how much) to one of these charities first. Sound fair?
Click Read more for the details about the three charities that we support and links to their donation pages.
In part 1 of this blog series, we looked at what Google+ is and some of its cool
But wait, there’s more…much more!
Now we look further into why it has changed online marketing strategies forever,
and how it can affect your bottom line.
Social Search is here
On January 10, 2012, Google launched “social search integration”.
It brought two of the most powerful forces in the (online) Universe together: Google
search and word-of-mouth.
And it changed the playing field entirely.
Now, when people search on Google, the results they see include recommendations
from their Google+ connections – including organic results, AdWords ads and display
This has HUGE potential!
71% of consumers say that reviews from family and friends influences their
Google’s theory – searches that are more personal and relevant increases the
likelihood of clicking and acting based on the recommendations.
So they’re already pre-qualified – they were looking for what you sell and are now
more engaged after seeing their contacts already like your business.
And it all comes back to little button called the +1.
The +1 button
Have you already jumped on Google+ and +1 bandwagon?
If not, including the +1 button allows people to recommend your content – whether
it’s your website, Google+ business page & increasingly the actual search results.
The most powerful way to use this is to cover all bases – create a Google+ page and
link it to your website and AdWords account.
Any +1s for your ads endorses the attached landing page and vice versa.
Then by linking your AdWords account to your Google+ page via ‘social annotations’,
any +1s for your ads applies to your Google+ page.
So they all come together like one happy family!
And here’s the kicker, these +1s will then show wherever people find you on the
On May 30, 2012, Google automatically migrated around 80 million Google Place
pages worldwide into Google+ Local pages.
This is now touted as the way to help people discover and share local businesses.
Other than being more visually appealing and user-friendly, the biggest change with
Google+ Local pages is its SEO implications.
Unlike the old Google Place pages, your Google+ Local page will be indexed and
show up in search results – on Google itself, Google+, Google Maps and mobile
And like other offshoots of Google+, the search results will show who in your Circles
have recommended local businesses, and you’ll see their reviews and ratings.
Another interesting part of Google+ Local is that it gives you the opportunity to
develop followers and message them like you can on your Google+ Business page,
making it not dissimilar to Facebook and Twitter interactions.
The main thing to know at the moment is that currently you need to manage your
Google+ Business and Google+ Local pages separately.
Google is working on giving the option of merge them, so we all have to be patient!
What do I need to do?
If you’re new to Google+, you might be groaning at having another task on your
social media and online marketing plate!
So just dip your toe in the water now, but keep it simple.
• Create a Google+ page and learn more about getting the most of out it.
• Manage your Google+ Local page and Google+ Business page until our friends at
Google connect the two.
• Plan for activity in your new financial year’s social media strategy, including a
simple schedule to make it easy on yourself.
• Promote using the Google+ badge to link your website to your Google+ page, and
include the +1 button on all webpages.
• Connect your +1s by linking your Google+ page to your AdWords account via Social
• Measure results using the new set of social reports in Google Analytics.
First up, I’m going to assume that the words Google and Plus have come up on your
radar…unless you’ve been living on a deserted island, sans internet, in which case
this will be all new and exciting!
But like many, are you wondering what all the fuss is about? After all, isn’t it just
Google’s answer to Facebook?
In some ways yes, but in a lot of ways it’s a resounding no.
What is Google+?
To Google, it’s part of their ingenious plan to take over the online world:
Google+ is Google itself. We’re extending it across all that we do – search
ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube – so that each of those services
contributes to our understanding of who you are.
Bradley Horowitz, Vice President, products for Google+, Google. Wired,
September 27, 2011
To you and your business, the short answer is that Google+ is another social media
But unlike Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, Google+ has much broader implications.
Because as the quote above reveals, Google+ is being integrated into all of Google.
It will touch every single user, whether they have a Google+ account or not.
And it’s got the ability to affect the position and effectiveness of your search results,
AdWords campaigns and display ads.
Now do I have your attention?!
Why use Google+?
Once you create a Google+ account, you then have a profile and can connect
to others across the world, organising them into ‘Circles’, so you control who
sees what. (Unlike Facebook, these connections are made without the other’s
You can share links, photos and information, publish posts…a lot of which does
sound like Facebook.
But, with a Google+ account, you can also create a Google+ Business page, which is
where it starts to get more interesting.
Google+ has cool features other social sites don’t, including these your businesses
• Hangouts – the ability to video conference with 9 others all seeing and talking,
and unlimited ‘watch & listen only’ guests. Great for market research, product
feedback, webinars, problem-solving with customers or collaborating with remote
colleagues. Guy Kawasaki explains this perfectly, saying that hangouts is like Skype
• Public posts – setting the visibility of your posts to public means anyone on the
internet can see them, and they’ll appear in Google search results. This in itself
blitzes Facebook’s Edgerank system where it’s said that up to 10-12% of your
friends and followers on Facebook will see your updates.
• Ripples – use this handy tool to view who and how your public posts are shared,
and if they’ve been shared publicly.
What does Google+ mean for my business?
The power of Google+ is centred around the power of connection, as it can
encourage people to:
• Interact directly with your brand
• Exploit and magnify the influence that word-of-mouth has on purchase decisions
• Strengthen brand loyalty and…
• In Google’s own words, it can bring you closer to your customers.
So, now that we’ve whet your appetite, just like the radio serials of old we’re going
to say stay tuned until next time!
In part 2, we’ll reveal more about the business implications of Google+ and how you
can use it to potentially increase your profits…
Hands up if you’d love to know what your competitors are up to for the keywords you target?
Anyone? Everyone? Thought so!
Good news – Google have just added a new report to the AdWords suite which names all of your keyword competitors and gives you the potential to discover their strategy and dominate your high-value keywords.
What is Auction Insights?
This new report gives you 5 key stats:
Impression share. How often your ads show compared to how many times they could show, based on the keywords and your settings.
Average position. Where your ads show on average for all impressions.
Overlap rate. How often your competitor’s ad received an impression when your ad did.
Position above rate. When you and your competitor show at the same time – how often are they higher up the page.
Top of page percent. How often you’re in poll position. You want to know because being there means more people are likely to click on you!
Why will I love Auction Insights?
There’s a myriad of things you can glean from this, but sticking with our 5 theme, here’s 5 top examples:
#1 Paying too much? If you’re number 1 and the competition is lagging, try bringing your bids down to find your sweet spot.
#2 Pay too little? You might be underbidding on particular keywords. We love now having impression share for all keywords, not just the whole ad group. You don’t have to guess which keywords need a boost within your campaign!
#3 What’s going on over there? If a competitor is showing at a higher average position, but only gaining 25% or 50% of the impression share – are they limiting the time their ads are shown or running on a low budget?
#4 Why are you climbing the ranks? You notice a competitor rising up the average position totem pole over time. Check out their ad copy – maybe it’s worth using yourself!
#5 No more guesswork. You can stop using adhoc searches to test competitor activity, which was fraught with danger anyway because of the many variables. You might have searched when they weren’t running an ad, they could be showing ads in different locations to you, different times of the day or just be having budget or AdRank issues.
How can I start using Auction Insights?
If you’re a Google AdWords customer, it’s available for you to check out right now.
You can only run the report for one keyword at a time and it needs to be for keywords, which have reached a minimum threshold, but even with those small limitations Auction Insights is still an absolute game changer.
With it, you can see what competitors are up to, optimise your ads, use your money smarter and you might just make your budget go further.
Who doesn’t want that?!