Posted by: Rachel Mepham On Friday, March 30th, 2012 - Display Advertising
| Pay Per Click
| Search Engines
I was invited to attend the Home & Garden Display Workshop on 28th March at Googles new offices on St Giles High Street.
The colourful building was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and the new office interior is fantastic. Each room encompassed a new environment with different textures, seating, carpet and colours which created a very modern yet eclectic design.
The workshop consisted of attendees from both clients direct and agencies all focussed within the Home and Garden retail industries. The purpose of the event was to gather feedback from the participants on Google’s display network and build on this to inform us of the up and coming products and new functionality which could help us to enhance and improve the performance of our advertising on this particular platform.
The workshop kicked off with lunch which was nice and the opportunity to speak to some of the other attendees. Steve Fitton, Industry Manager –Media Solutions, then took us through the first presentation. He discussed the benefits of analysing the attribution of sales across all online activity via Google’s Multi-Channel Funnels. This is an important strategy we use for our clients to identify which platforms are influencing sales whether that be on a first, middle or last click. This type of analysis and the use of attribution modelling is becoming crucial to understand where and how to manage advertising budgets. Often brand keywords via search and direct traffic takes all the credit for the legwork which the non-brand terms and display advertising has actually created. This is just one of the tools that can be used to improve performance on the display network.
He also discussed other areas of display including remarketing and similar users which everyone seemed to be seeing positive results from but the main subject to create some hostility was the contextual targeting. Many advertisers were finding their advertising appearing on sites which bared no relevance to which they had tried blocking and opting out of. The manual process to maintain this was taking its toll and many had thrown the towel in as they just were not seeing the results. It was explained that the display network should be reviewed separately to search but even when they weren’t compared the volume of sales were unable to justify the work or budget being invested. It was disappointing that Google didn’t really address this issue or go into any depth on best practice management or areas we could test to improve performance and therefore the issues raised were not really put to
bed in any way.
The Growth of Mobile
The second presentation (which should have been the first but was delayed) was from Peter Fitzgerald who gave us some obscure analogies, however presented very well and had everyone’s attention. He explained how important mobile was becoming and using an example of Kiddicare’s mobile landing pages demonstrated why separate mobile strategies must be targeted to mobile devices in order to generate ROI. He discussed some statistics on digital trends within the retail sector and then put a Q&A to the group to discuss.
Peter Giles, YouTube and Display Sale Manager then took the stand after a brief coffee break. He looked at some case studies and examples of how the display network has worked successfully for clients such as Groupon and ShoeDazzel, however for a UK workshop it would have been nice to see some UK company case studies!
One to One
The final session was by far the most useful and successful, one on ones with our Google contact, ours being Rick Jones, Industry Head for Retail. This allowed the opportunity for feedback on the session as well as a deep dive into our account to address any areas where we can improve, enhance or add some display strategies.
Overall the workshop had promise but I still feel I left wanting more detail and more insights over and above what I pretty much knew already. Hopefully the feedback given allows Google to take the next session to the next level.
Posted by: Tom Collinson On Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 - Analytics
6 Months ago Google announced it would be rolling out secure search for all users logged into a Google account.
As website owners, our main collective concern was the loss in analytics data that would result – specifically that the keywords used to find our websites by logged in users would be grouped under (not provided), but we were told by Google that on average, only 10% of organic visits would be affected.
Initially the secure search feature rolled out in the US and the impact of most UK based websites was minimal, however it soon arrived in the UK and I was curious to see what impact it’s had now things have settled down.
First let’s look at our own website, digital-clarity.com
Taking only organic visits, we’ve split them out into branded (where our name or variations are used), non-branded and “(not provided)”.
What we find is that rather than the 10% predicted by Google, it is 25.61% – just over a quarter of our organic keyword data is hidden.
Given the nature of our services and our audience, we expected to see slightly higher than 10% as many of our visitors are likely to have and use Google accounts, but 25% was well in excess of this.
I decided to take a look at some of our client’s websites to see how we compare and what sort of percentages you might see in different industries.
When looking across e-Commerce websites we found the following averages for branded, non-branded and not provided.
The domination of non-branded traffic is not too surprising – if the website is indexed well and makes use of relevant keywords, you would expect the majority to come through on product names or variations of them. For example, Tesco may hypothetically receive organic traffic to the Heinz Beans product page using keywords such as “Buy Heinz Beans”, “Baked Beans”, “Can of Beans”, “Heinz Beans Can”, ”Small Heinz Beans” etc. while the number of ‘Tesco’ variations you can use are limited.
“Not provided” averages out at 5.64% which is well within the 10% originally estimated by Google.
Online Software / Services
The following is an average of websites that offer either online software or services that can only be accessed online.
We found a large percentage of visitors from organic search to be using brand terms, which you would expect when the majority of visitors are returning to use the service.
Again the average percentage of not provided traffic is well within the original Google estimates at 5.53%.
Websites in this category are a combination of manufacturers, retailers and service suppliers which make the figure given for non-branded terms a little unreliable – some websites are large and conducive to ranking for large volumes of keywords while others are more focused, however for the purposes of this post we’ll focus on the “not provided” traffic.
While higher than the previous industries, the figure of 6.42% still falls within the 10% or less estimate Google originally gave.
So What Does This Mean?
From the relatively small data sample available it would appear that most websites retain the vast majority of their keyword data for analysis, but for websites who’s visitors are technical, in marketing or internet ‘power users’ there’s a good chance a larger percentage of them will be visiting while logged into a Google Account and therefore coming through Google secure search.
Recent studies suggest “not provided” accounts for 18%+ across many tech websites, while healthcare can see 13%+ as of January 2012.
Will We Lose More Data?
Given that Google is on a constant drive to attract new users it is fair to imagine the percentage will indeed grow as time goes by and more people remain logged into a Google account whether they’re a user of Gmail, Google+, Docs or any other service.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Google could at any point make secure search universal, meaning you will no longer need to be logged in to be taken to the secure version. This wouldn’t be unprecedented, the same process of US logged in > World logged in > universal rollout has happened with personalised search and other enhancements in the past.
Additionally there are many reasons why giving keyword data away is not in Google’s interest, some of which are:
- It can be used to manipulate search results through aggressive and questionable SEO techniques
- It’s a business that relies heavily on PPC as a revenue stream and like any business its overriding mission is to increase revenue for shareholders – giving away keyword data for free allows website owners to survive without advertising.
Firefox & Google Secure Search
Last week Mozilla announced that, assuming no flaws or bugs were found, Firefox would use Google secure search by default in its built-in search box features, regardless of whether people are logged into Google.
As of February 2012, Firefox was the most popular browser on the web (although losing ground to Chrome) with a 36.6% market share – for those of you keeping up that’s potentially 36.6% of your keyword data being lost to “not provided” once the latest versions are released and downloaded, which makes for worrying times for website owners that rely on keyword data to analyse performance in organic search.
Chrome & Google Secure Search
At present Chrome does not default to secure search for non-logged in users but it would not be surprising if this change was made, especially when a rival browser has done so already. However this may be delayed until a possible universal rollout for all Google searches.
Google has little to lose if website owners are unable to see keyword data for its users and plenty to gain, so it would be a little naive to not at least entertain the possibility that a complete blanket blockage for all non-paying customers could come into effect in the next 12-18 months.
I can personally envisage a situation where such data is only available to either PPC customers or customers of a paid version of analytics, or select technology partners where Google has a stake.
However for now we’ll continue to work with the data we have with one eye on the future.
Posted by: Stewart Dick On Monday, March 26th, 2012 - News
What does it mean and how can you be compliant?
On May 26th 2011 a new EU originated law came into effect that requires website owners to make significant changes to their sites and may fundamentally change the whole web browsing and shopping experience for everybody.
This Cookie Law is an amended privacy legislation that requires websites to obtain informed consent from visitors before they can store or retrieve any information on a computer or any other web connected device.
As of May 26th 2012 this law will be in full effect in the UK.
Tom Collinson & Reggie James have put togeather an extensive post that explains what the law means, the implications and what steps you can take to ensure compliance for your website.
The EU cookie law: What you need to know
You may have noticed a lot of news recently concerning how personal data is used by large internet publishers such as Google, Apple and Facebook, for either improving service or as a pervasive and targeted tool for advertising.
If you have any questions regarding the EU Cookie law, compliance or assistance in carrying out a Cookie audit of your website please get in touch on +44 (0)845 388 4071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by: Hannah Gordon-Smith On Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 - Pay Per Click
| PPC Tools
At the end of April 2012, Bing and Yahoo! will finally complete their merger and launch a unified advertising platform. Whilst this news is long awaited, what does it actually mean for PPC advertisers?
How is this going to benefit business that advertise on PPC?
This partnership will bring a number of benefits for search marketers, giving better access, better control and hopefully, better results for PPC campaigns.
Some benefits include:
- A single platform to reach a much larger audience than either separate platform could provide
- Improved compatibility with Chrome, FireFox and Safari for adCenter
- More control over the targeting of devices being used to search (mobiles, PCs and tablets)
- Yahoo! advertisers will now be able to reduce wastage with negative keywords
- Advertisers can optimise their marketing efforts by accessing social media data.
But it’s not just that simple. Whilst this merger will result in a larger audience, it also results in an inevitable increase in competition. This means you will have to be prepared to adjust your strategy to accommodate it.
Is this going to affect PPC advertising budget?
Yes and no.
Once the transition has been completed, both sources of traffic will be accessible from a single advertising platform.
If you are currently advertising on both platforms it may be as simple as combing the daily budget of both. However if you have only been advertising with Bing, increased investment may be needed to capitalise on the merging traffic.
Is this going to affect your bidding strategy?
At the moment the cost-per-click (CPC) of keywords can differ from Yahoo! and Bing, but once the merger is complete this will change to give a single cost per keyword. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that an increase in competition could lead to an increase CPC prices.