Posts in Google AdWords
Digital Advertising Industry Update - July 27, 2017

Google announced more options for displaying ad extensions. Advertisers can to pay to show additional call extensions on selected ad groups. This option could be particularly useful for always showing local numbers within a company’s most productive markets, giving customers the impression that a company has a local presence. Additionally, Google is dropping Instant Search. This feature autopopulated search results as a user typed in the search bar. Instant Search could be distracting on desktop, but it caused performance issues on mobile. With Google’s sensitivity to the booming mobile market, it’s no surprise they are cutting a feature that subtracts from users’ experiences there.

Google Announces Anagram Match Type

Google has announced that beginning April 1, advertisers will have a new match type option in their toolkit: Anagram Match. Building on the success of the recent change to Exact Match, in which matching uses variations in word order, Google is taking it a step further and matching keywords to search queries that contain any order of the keyword’s individual letters.

Now, advertisers will no longer have to manually create every possible permutation of the individual characters in their keywords to expand the reach of their ads. Google will do the anagramming work for you and begin matching to search queries that have some possibility of relevance. Users can mark keywords as Anagram Match by bracketing them in tildes, e.g. ~keyword~.

In the official announcement, Google showcased a few early case studies from select advertisers who took part in the limited Beta program.

Trust Safety Bank found success in opening debit card accounts for customers with poor credit scores, a part of the market that had been previously overlooked (and, in fact, expressly forbidden) by their CEO and Chief Risk Officer. After the Anagram Match keyword ~debit card~ began matching to searches for "bad credit", inquiries skyrocketed. “We were able to hit our new account openings goal for the first time in months, and that number is literally the only thing I care about,” said a member of the Customer Acquisition team.

 

 

A local funeral home located in Las Vegas, Nevada was able to use the Anagram match type to provide excellent up-funnel brand awareness for consumers engaging in high-risk forms of entertainment, such as bungee jumping or high-powered machine gun ranges. Their AM keyword ~Las Vegas funeral~ matched to the search term “real Las Vegas fun.”

 

As the new match type rolls out to all advertisers, we’re excited to hear about other discoveries that advertisers will surely make as they begin matching to a significantly expanded range of user queries.

The Price Extension Bump!

The beauty of Price Extensions in your ads. A really good find from one of our campaigns, price extensions were implemented here on July 24th. Comparing June to August, we saw a 164% increase in CTR, a bump of 202% in clicks, and a CPC decrease of 22%! Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 11.10.33 AM

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Now, I know what you're saying, "Delegator, your job is to optimize accounts every single day. So that can be all directly attributable to just price extensions." You know what, person I made up for the purposes of this blog post? You're right, but here are the stats from the extensions themselves: price extensions

That's a 29.26% CTR! Price extensions can add so much to your campaigns. Not only do they set the expectation for your customer on the front end, they can automatically lend themselves to more quality leads because of that added level of transparency. If you want to know more about setting these up in your campaigns, give us a shout or check out this help article straight from Google.

Better Targeting For Tablets In AdWords

Google AdWords to break up tablet & desktop and enable a mobile base bid:

Google has announced a significant change that will give advertisers more control over device-level bidding in AdWords. The news came during Google Performance Summit in San Francisco, at which Google also said it now handles trillions of searches globally — up from the hundreds of billions most recently stated — with more than half of those searches starting on mobile devices.

Over the past year or two, it has felt increasingly awkward to have bids tied to desktop when mobile usage has been ascending so rapidly. For some advertisers, it has been a growing challenge to scale mobile when bids are handcuffed to a limited desktop multiplier. To address this imbalance, Google announced that advertisers will be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type, including mobile, desktop and tablet.

“This lets you anchor your base keyword bid to the device most valuable to your business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices. You will also have a wider range to adjust bids, up to +900%,” explained Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of Ads and Commerce, in the blog post announcing the update.

To clarify, device bidding will apply to all campaign types, even when keyword targeting isn’t used, such as in Shopping campaigns.

With conversion funnels including more steps and devices than ever, being able to target specific device types is essential due to their different use cases. This is a long awaited featured and I'm excited to see it live.

The Future Of Ad Buys

Native ads expected to account for 74% of ad revenue by 2021:

Based on data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), PwC and IHS, BI Intelligence predicts that native advertising will account for 74% of all ad revenue by 2021. It’s currently at 56%.

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The BI Intelligence report breaks out native ads into three categories: social native, native-style display, and sponsored content (also referred to as premium native).

The future of advertising continues to migrate towards better targeting and supported by a backbone of content. If you want to market your business better, tell a better story...to the best audience possible. As technology and content platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc) continue to mature, the opportunity gets better and better.

Circling Back On Google's 4-Pack Ad

Google Ad 4-pack now shown for 23% of all online search topics:

  • Google's Ad 4-pack now shown for 23% of all online search topics.
  • Searches indicating purchase intent are six times more likely than all other searches to display this four-pack of ads.
  • Searches with discovery intent have a 69% higher click-through-rate (CTR) for the top five search results, as compared to purchase-intent searches.
  • The CPCs fell, but CTRs rose for ads serving in the No. 4 position [...] producing the best outcome.

With the death of the AdWords' sidebar and the increasing competition for many advertising verticals, more than ever advertisers have to aware of the intent they target. Certainly a good strategy will include targeting folks throughout the sales funnel, but the value for each step should be considerably different. You would obviously pay a lot more for a searcher displaying the intent to purchase and a searcher who is still researching.

Additionally, one unlikely outcome of the recent change included a huge boost for ads in position 4. This is a challenge to advertisers, as Google only displays this 4th position for 23% of all online search topics. So although the 4 slot provides a better value, it is a riskier play than higher positions because if the 4 slot isn't available above the organic listings, then you are bumped to the bottom of the page.

Above & Beyond: Last Click Attribution

Move beyond last click attribution in AdWords:

People often see many ads across different devices before making a purchase, booking a flight, or signing up for an account. Because of this, advertisers know that last click attribution may not always tell the full story. In 2014, we released the Attribution Modeling Tool in AdWords to share insights about how users interact with your ads. Later this month, you’ll be able to integrate the attribution model of your choice with your conversion data and bidding.

Attribution Model Dropdown - AdWords

For many years, we have jumped through hoops to report accurately based on client preferences on attribution model. This update is great step forward in that conversation. Unfortunately, this functionality acts more like a setting than a data filter. After making a change, future data is interpreted according to the new model. However, past data is unaltered. And if you ever wanted to switch back or compare two models, you can not easily view your data through the various lenses. You can only reset your preference and wait for data to collect - making the comparison of multiple models impossible.

 

A Marketer's Greatest Tool

Despite All This Data, Empathy Is Still the Greatest Tool in a Marketer's Toolbox:

Imagine having to watch an hour's worth of commercials before a two-hour movie. Or being tapped on the shoulder before each page of a novel with an "exclusive offer." It sounds ludicrous, but this is essentially the way we experience ad-supported content today. It's no wonder ad blockers are proliferating.

This is because something strange happens to ad execs when we walk through the doors of our corporate offices:  We somehow forget that, just before stepping over that threshold, we were a part of the population we're trying to reach with ads. With this perspective mysteriously erased from our minds, we begin describing people as "users" that "consume" content in a "cross-screen" environment. When was the last time you thought to yourself, "I'm done watching short-form, snackable content on my mobile screen and now I'm going to watch long-form, premium content on my OTT device?"

This collective amnesia can be cured by simply reminding ourselves that we, too, are the viewers. People don't think in silos. They just want to watch their stuff where and when they want -- and so do we. This is indicative of what I see as the major problem in our industry: We need to balance our top-down approach with consumer-centric, bottom-up thinking.

As we have talked about previously, lazy digital marketing is giving our industry a bad name. Akin to the 1990's radio commercials (remember them being 2x louder than the music they interrupted), our industry is not leveraging the technology to its fullest and proper potential. That is a challenge the Delegator team gladly accepts. As much as we want to deliver value to our clients, we also want to be a good citizen of the digital economy - not jeopardizing reputations (our clients or our own) for the sake of a few extra clicks. It's not a strategy that works well now and it will predictably worsen in the future, as it turns away more visitors than it is bringing in.

US Digital Ad Revenues For 2015 Top $59.6 Billion

US digital ad revenues top $59.6 billion in 2015, up 20 percent to hit another high:

Another year, another record and double-digit growth for digital advertising in the US. Digital ad spend topped $59.6 billion in 2015, a gain of 20.4 percent over 2014’s $49.5 billion, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual report conducted by PwC.

The chart below illustrates the 10-year growth in US digital advertising revenues from 2005 to 2015 in which the industry has seen a 17 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). 2010 was the year mobile began to play role in US digital ad spend totals. Since then, mobile has seen 100 percent CAGR compared to just 9 percent growth from non-mobile revenue over the past five years.

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In the fourth quarter of 2015, digital ad revenues shot up past $17 billion for the first time, up from $14.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. Revenues for the second half of 2015 were $32.1 billion, representing 54 percent of the annual total for the year, which is in line with the revenue split seen in past years.

Despite Google's consistent pushing towards mobile advertising, I was surprised to see the relative role of mobile in these numbers. It is growing significantly, but is only approaching relevance for many advertisers and still seems very 'early funnel'.

Just How Frustrating Is Web Advertising?

Majority of users frustrated by disruptive ads, aware of ad blocking [Survey]:

A new global consumer survey from Accenture shows growing consumer frustration with ads and a desire of some to opt out of ads entirely.

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When thinking about stats like this, two immediate responses come to mind:

  • Online ads are still done relatively poorly. They are largely irrelevant and largely based on interruption - like radio commercials in the early nineties (remember when the commercials were 2x louder than the content you were listening to?). The technology is there to do them well. But many low-level marketers are sloppy in their implementation.
  • Outside of SEM, ad placements on mobile devices comes at a significant disadvantage from a usability standpoint. It seems that advertising has far outpaced either the technology or screen size of those devices, making for a slow and cumbersome surfing experience.