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Conversion modeling through Consent Mode in Google Ads

April 17, 2021 No Comments

Last year, we introduced Consent Mode, a beta feature to help advertisers operating in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom take a privacy-first approach to digital marketing. When a user doesn’t consent to ads cookies or analytics cookies, Consent Mode automatically adjusts the relevant Google tags’ behavior to not read or write cookies for advertising or analytics purposes. This enables advertisers to respect user choice while helping them still capture some campaign insights.

Without cookies, advertisers experience a gap in their measurement and lose visibility into user paths on their site. They are no longer able to directly tie users’ ad interactions to conversions, whether the users are repeat visitors or whether those users have arrived from paid or organic traffic sources. To help close this gap, we’re introducing conversion modeling through Consent Mode. This will help marketers preserve online measurement capabilities, using a privacy-first approach.

Now, Consent Mode will enable conversion modeling to recover the attribution between ad-click events and conversions measured in Google Ads. Early results from Google Ads have shown that, on average, conversion modeling through Consent Mode recovers more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys lost due to user cookie consent choices. Results for each advertiser may vary widely, depending primarily on user cookie consent rates and the advertiser’s Consent Mode setup.

How modeling fills in measurement gaps

Conversion modeling can help fill in blanks in media measurement at times when it’s not possible to observe the path between ad interactions and conversions. Conversion modeling through Consent Mode specifically addresses gaps in observable data from regulations on cookie consent in various regions. Conversion modeling uses machine learning to analyze observable data and historical trends, in order to quantify the relationship between consented and unconsented users. Then, using observable user journeys where users have consented to cookie usage, our models will fill in missing attribution paths. This creates a more complete and accurate view of advertising spend and outcomes — all while respecting user consent choices. Conversion modeling also upholds privacy by not identifying individual users, unlike tactics like fingerprinting which Google has a strict policy against.

Using modeling to probabilistically recover linkages between ad interactions and conversions that would otherwise go unattributed means more conversion insights for optimizing campaign bidding and understanding what’s driving sales. It’s important for any modeling approach to account for the fact that people who consent to cookies are likely to convert at a different rate than those who don’t.

Holistic measurement for your Google Ads campaigns

It’s important for advertisers to have accurate reporting so they can make their marketing investments go further. Advertisers using Consent Mode will now see their reports in Google Ads updated: for Search, Shopping, Display, and Video campaigns, the “Conversions,” “All conversions” and “Conversion value” columns will now include modeled conversions for consent gaps. All other Google Ads campaign performance reports that use conversion data will also reflect the impact from adding in modeled conversions.

Modeled conversions through Consent Mode will be integrated directly in your Google Ads campaign reports with the same granularity as observed conversions. This data then makes its way into Google’s bidding tools so that you can be confident your campaigns will be optimized based on a full view of your results.

Blue pie chart stating: On average, Consent Mode recovers more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys lost due to user consent choices.

For advertisers who want to optimize their campaigns based on return on ad spend or cost-per-acquisition, they can use Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS) orTarget Cost Per Acquisition (tCPA) Smart Bidding strategies with Consent Mode. If you had previously adjusted targets to account for cookie consent changes, you can now go back to setting targets in line with your ROI goals. Note that you’re likely to see gradual improvements in reported performance as we recover lost conversions through modeling.

For advertisers who want to maintain their campaign spend, conversion modeling through Consent Mode also works with the Maximize conversions or Maximize conversion value Smart Bidding strategies in Google Ads. We recommend you make sure that the budget you’ve decided on is well-aligned with your spend goals.

Get started

If you’re an advertiser operating in the European Economic Area or the United Kingdom, have implemented Consent Mode and are using Google Ads conversion tracking, conversion modeling from Consent Mode is available for you today.

And if you aren’t using Consent Mode yet, you have two options to get started. You can implement it yourself on your website by following our instructions. Or if you need some extra help, we’ve partnered closely with several Consent Management Platforms, a few of which already take care of critical implementation steps on behalf of advertisers.

logos of Consent Management Platforms ready to take care of critical implementation steps

We are continuously adding new privacy-forward techniques to help our machine learning solutions better understand the aggregate behavior of non-consenting users, and offer actionable insights in reporting for deeper clarity on your marketing spend. We’ll be bringing conversion modeling through Consent Mode to other Google advertising products, like Campaign Manager 360, Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360 later this year.


Google Analytics Blog


Take control of how data is used in Google Analytics

April 13, 2021 No Comments

Rising consumer expectations and changing industry regulations have set higher standards for user privacy and data protection. This has led many businesses to revisit how they are managing data in their Google Analytics accounts. To help, Analytics provides businesses with a variety of features to control how their data is used. Here is an updated overview of controls in Analytics that govern how data is collected, stored, and used–all of which can be adjusted at any time.

Three ways businesses can manage data in Google Analytics:

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Control the data settings in your account

You can access various settings in your Analytics account to control how you collect, retain, and share data.

Decide if you need to accept the Data Processing Terms.

The optional Data Processing Terms are meant for businesses affected by the European Economic Area General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and other similar regulations. You can review and accept the terms if needed in your Analytics account, under Account Settings.

Anonymize IP addresses for your Web property.

When you enable IP anonymization in your Web property, Analytics will anonymize the addresses as soon as technically feasible. This may be useful for you to comply with your company’s privacy policies or government regulations. For Apps properties and App + Web properties, IP anonymization is enabled by default.

Disable some or all data collection.

You also have the ability to partially or completely disable data collection for any of your Analytics properties. Chrome users have the ability to opt out from data collection using the Analytics opt-out Add-on.

Set the data retention period.

You can select how long user-level and event-level data is stored by Analytics, and whether new events can reset that time period. Once that amount of time has passed, the data will be scheduled for automatic deletion from your account and Google’s servers.

Select what data you share with your support team and Google.

The data sharing settings allow you to customize whether to share Analytics data with Google, including whether to allow Google technical support representatives and Google marketing specialists to access your account when you want support using the product or performance recommendations.

Review your Google signals setting.

The Google signals setting allows you to enable additional features in Analytics like remarketing, demographics and interests reports, and Cross Device reports. You can also further customize this setting to keep Google signals enabled for reporting while limiting or disabling advertising personalization.

Choose whether your data is used for ads personalization

Digital advertising helps you reach people online and drive conversions on your app and website. When you enable ads personalization in Analytics, for example by activating Google signals, you gain the ability to use your Analytics audiences to personalize your digital ads which can improve the performance of your campaigns. You can customize how your Analytics data is used for ads personalization.

Control ads personalization for your entire Analytics property.

You can choose to disable ads personalization for an entire property, which will cause all incoming events for that property to be marked as not for use in ads personalization. You can manage this in the property settings of your account.

Control ads personalization by geography.

If you need to set the ads personalization setting for your property at the geographic level, you now have the ability to enable or disable this setting by country. And in the United States, you can adjust the setting at the state level.

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Allow or disallow ads personalization by state in the United States

Control ads personalization by event type or user property.

In App + Web properties, you can adjust the ads personalization setting for a specific event type or user property. For example you can exclude specific events or user properties from being used to personalize ads and only use that data for measurement purposes.

Control ads personalization for an individual event or session.

You can also manage whether an individual event or session is used for ads personalization. For example, if you need to obtain consent before enabling the setting you can dynamically disable ads personalization at the beginning of the session and on each subsequent event until consent is obtained.

Independent of these ads personalization controls that Analytics offers to advertisers, users can control their own ads personalization setting for their Google account. Once they’ve turned off this setting, Google will no longer use information about them for ads personalization.

Remove data from Analytics

You can remove your data from Analytics for any reason and at any time. You can request the data to be deleted from the Analytics servers or delete information for a single user.

Request data to be deleted.

If you need to delete data from the Analytics servers, you can submit a request for its removal. There is a seven-day grace period starting from the time you make the request before Analytics will begin the deletion process. All administrators and users with edit permission for your account will be informed of your request and have the ability to cancel the request during the grace period. Similar functionality will be available in App + Web properties soon.

Delete data for individual users.

You are able to delete a single user’s data from your Analytics account. If you have edit permission for the account, you can do this through the User Explorer report in Web properties or the User Explorer technique in the Analysis module in App + Web properties. Data associated with this user will be removed from the report within 72 hours and then deleted from the Analytics servers in the next deletion process. Your reports based on previously aggregated data, for example user counts in the Audience Overview report, won’t be affected. If you need to delete data for multiple users, you can use the Analytics User Deletion API.

Delete a property.

If you have edit permission, you can delete a property from your Analytics account. Your property and all the reporting views in the property will be permanently deleted 35 days after being moved to the Trash Can. Once deleted, you are not able to retrieve any historical data or reinstate reports.

All of the above features are available to use right now. For more information, please visit the Help Center.

We hope that you found this overview of current controls helpful. Google Analytics is continuously investing in capabilities to ensure businesses can access durable, privacy-centric, and easy to use analytics that work with and without cookies or identifiers. Please stay tuned for more in the coming months.


Google Analytics Blog


Improve performance and security with Server-Side Tagging

April 10, 2021 No Comments

To measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns and understand the customer journey, businesses often work with a variety of technology partners. Doing so typically requires businesses to add JavaScript code written by these partners, also known as third-party tags, directly to their websites. But when too many tags load on a site, it can negatively affect the customer experience–and conversion rates. Plus, since third-party tags running directly on a site could have broad access to information entered on that page, it’s important for businesses to have control over what information those tags can access.

To help address these challenges, we’re introducing Server-Side Tagging to Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360. You’ll now be able to move many third-party tags off your site and into a new server container hosted in your Google Cloud account. That means when customers interact with a page on your site, third-party tags are loaded directly in the server container rather than the site. This provides you with faster page load times, greater security for your customer data, and additional data controls.

Deliver faster site experiences to your customers

When you move third-party tags off your site, fewer tags must load when your customers visit – leading to faster page load times. A recent research study showed that a decrease in page load times for mobile sites improved progression rates for every step of the purchase funnel for all brands surveyed. In fact, for retail sites every 0.1 second reduction in mobile site speed on average increases average order value by nearly 10 percent.

Consider an ecommerce retailer that works with many technology partners to execute marketing campaigns and measure customer behavior. Whenever this retailer wants to work with a new partner, for example to run email marketing campaigns, it needs to add a new third-party tag to its site to measure success. Instead of doing that, the retailer can now place the new tag into its server container in Tag Manager. And when a customer loads the retailer’s site, this tag will run in the server container after the page loads. This allows businesses to measure the success of their campaign without impacting the customer experience.

Secure your customer data

When customers engage with your business online, they share information with you. You want to ensure that information is safe and only authorized partners are able to access it.

When third-party tags are implemented directly on your site, these tags are able to access and interact with other information customers are entering into your site. With Server-Side Tagging, you place third-party tags in a secure server container in your Google Cloud project. This means tags in your server container only have access to information sent to the server and no longer have access to the information entered on your site. And because these tags are placed into your server container, you gain visibility into what data the tags are collecting and where that information is being sent.

Control the behavior of third-party tags

Tag Manager already allows you to control third-party tag behavior through a sandboxed version of JavaScript, ready-to-go tag templates fromthe Community Template Gallery, and a permissions model for all third-party tags. All of these capabilities continue to be available with Server-Side Tagging.

Each tag that you add to your server container will have to declare how it will behave, for example which cookies can be accessed or where data can be sent. And you can also set policies to automatically control what tags are allowed to do. This helps you ensure that any new tags added to your container follow the same permissions so you do not need to continuously check tag behaviors in the future.

Get started with Server-Side Tagging

Server-Side Tagging is now available to all Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 accounts. When you log into your Tag Manager account, you can create a new server container and connect it with a new or existing Cloud account. You can learn more about setting up Server-Side Tagging for your business with this guide. And if you don’t have a Tag Manager account, you can create one for free.


Google Analytics Blog


Going beyond keywords: how conversational insights take the guesswork out of marketing

April 6, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Keywords represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding consumer intent
  • Using AI-powered chatbots, conversational data that occurs over messaging channels like Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messaging can give businesses a deeper understanding of what consumers want
  • Below, we’ll discuss how conversational marketing platforms like Spectrm use natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to guide customers through the buying funnel
  • A robust conversational marketing platform makes it possible for companies to build chatbots that engage and convert customers on the websites, apps, and social platforms where people spend their time

conversational insights and keywords - Spectrm

For more than two decades, Google and other search engines have attempted to crack the consumer intent code. The entry point for a search marketing campaign is the keyword list. Yet keywords—whether spoken or typed—represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding what a user wants. There’s no way to clearly measure (or identify) user intent, but Google is getting better at figuring out what a user wants with technologies like Google Hummingbird, an algorithm update they rolled out in 2013. Google introduced Hummingbird in response to the increasingly conversational nature of search queries. 

Per a 2013 article in Wired, “Google is now examining the searcher’s query as a whole and processing the meaning behind it.” In January 2020, Statista reported roughly 40 percent of US search queries contained four or more terms.

Asking a search engine or virtual assistant a question is the beginning of a conversational journey that carries the searcher across channels until they ultimately find what they want (or not). Keywords pull the curtain of intent back, but they only provide a glimpse of the customer journey, labeling the searcher’s thoughts without revealing the “why” of what they’re searching for. 

Once a user clicks on a search result, the conversation—from the search engine’s perspective—is over. 

But thanks to advances in natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI), businesses have access to a much deeper understanding of what consumers want across the entire buying journey. 

AI-powered chatbots that “speak” to consumers can collect customer intent data and take the conversation beyond an initial keyword query. They enable businesses to leverage that customer intent data instantly to scale one-to-one personalization in direct chat.

Below, we discuss how conversational marketing platforms employ NLP and AI in chatbots to guide customers through the buying funnel, using conversational analysis to gain an understanding of customer intent that goes far beyond keywords. 

Content created in partnership with Spectrm.

The customer conversation is online

According to Hootsuite’s Digital In 2020 report, 60 percent of the world’s population is online. The report found that, globally, users spend an average of 6 hours and 43 minutes online each day—40 percent of their waking life using the internet. A large chunk of that time, more than two hours, is spent using social media.

Consumers were using mobile messaging and chat an average of 20 minutes per day in 2020, with Business Insider predicting that the average would grow to 24 minutes by 2021. Interacting with chatbots is a natural extension of consumers’ comfort with messaging in social media apps like Facebook and Instagram.

Increasingly, messaging is how we connect with each other. Facebook and Instagram are at the center of this trend. Businesses have the potential to reach and engage with over two billion people on Facebook and Instagram using their respective messengers. This level of engagement gets to the root of consumer intent, diving beneath surface keywords to the conversational data that can help companies understand what’s motivating the consumer to conduct their search in the first place. 

Leveraging conversations to drive results

Conversational marketing platforms use messaging apps to engage with consumers and determine intent. This is next-level chatbot technology that uses AI to create a two-way exchange with every customer, asking them questions throughout the buying process and capable of operating on multiple messaging channels.

Spectrm is an example of a conversational marketing platform that goes beyond simple, generic approaches to conversational AI by using domain-specific NLP to guide consumers through the customer journey. Generic conversational AI uses general NLP that can be used for simple tasks like autosuggestions and basic keyword matching. Domain-specific NLP is trained for the individual business. Spectrm’s approach to conversational AI combines domain-specific NLP with the use of generative adversarial networks, a type of machine learning that enables enterprises with little or no customer intent data to quickly generate their own data sets to train the algorithm.

“Marketing chatbots that use domain-specific NLP learn how your individual customers speak. The customer intent data specific to your business, customers, and goals are used to continuously improve your chatbot. It’s about understanding how your customers engage naturally with your brand, and training your bot to respond to that to drive outcomes valuable to your business. Even if you don’t have a lot of conversational data to train your bot.” – Writes Spectrm

Chatbots are only part of what makes conversational marketing platforms work. Platforms like Spectrm operate across multiple messaging channels where consumers spend all their time including Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, Google Business Messages, and even at the display level via conversational display ads using AdLingo and Google DV360.

Consumers like chatting with businesses. They’re already moving through the buying cycle using one-on-one conversations that provide much more in-depth intent data than a simple keyword search. Consider the follow statistics:

  • 75 percent of consumers prefer to engage with brands in private messaging channels versus traditional channels
  • 65 percent of people are more likely to shop with a business they can reach via chat

Conversational data = More targeted campaigns

Conversational data can be used to create marketing campaigns that are more targeted than traditional search and display campaigns. They enable businesses to design targeted messaging around the customer journey, learning what customers want/need in the context of how they’re interacting with the chatbot.

Conversational data also enables businesses to create customer profiles using the answers people provide in chat. Personalization and segmentation become easier based on the granularity and specificity of conversational data. This information can be used to personalize marketing messages at a one-to-one level directly in chat. 

None of this is possible without the right platform. Some factors to strongly consider while evaluating an enterprise-level conversational marketing platform would be:

  • An easy to implement, no-coding setup
  • Customizations for your specific company and customer needs
  • Easy integrations with your tech stack
  • Enforcement of the highest privacy standards (GDPR, CCPA, and the others)
  • Connection to your product feed (for ecommerce websites) and ability to serve product recommendations/content in real-time based on user input
  • Flexible role management with the ability to set user access roles

Tools like Spectrm are at the heart of marketing automation, enabling companies to acquire new customers at scale. A robust conversational marketing platform makes it possible for companies to build chatbots that engage and convert customers on the websites, apps, and social platforms where people spend their time—no engineering resources needed.

Just like search engines, conversational intelligence tools effectively use language to get to the heart of consumer intent. They go beyond keywords to make every datapoint actionable, using chatbot analytics to optimize funnels and segment customers

In Spectrm’s words, “Reaching the right audience is getting harder every day. Consumers are more curious, demanding, and impatient than ever. They expect their digital experiences to be personalized, instant, and effortless. Chatbots enable brands to connect with their audience personally and offer seamless customer experiences from the start.”

To view Spectrm’s offerings, click here.

The post Going beyond keywords: how conversational insights take the guesswork out of marketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


A nonprofit finds volunteers with the new Google Analytics

March 30, 2021 No Comments

In the United States, almost half of our food supply is wasted. That’s enough to feed everyone who experiences food insecurity four times over. “In a lot of ways hunger is not a supply problem, it’s a distribution problem,” says Leah Lizarondo, cofounder and CEO of 412 Food Rescue, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization seeking to close the gap between food surplus and food scarcity.

In order to successfully achieve their mission to reduce hunger by redirecting surplus food to people experiencing food insecurity, Leah and her team need to recruit volunteers to download the Food Rescue Hero app and complete a local food pickup and delivery, becoming what they call “Food Rescue Heroes.” As a growing nonprofit organization, 412 Food Rescue has limited resources, though, and relies on technology to save time and invest in the right places.

A cross-platform understanding of volunteers

Historically, measurement across 412 Food Rescue’s digital touchpoints had been a challenge for the nonprofit. Key data was siloed between their website and app, making it time intensive to get a complete understanding of how people were engaging with the organization online. With help from their digital analytics partner Bounteous, 412 Food Rescue turned to the new Google Analytics.

The new Google Analytics allows us to look at our data across platforms — web and app — to understand the full journey of our users. We’ve been able to cut our reporting time by 50%. Sara Swaney
Director of Advancement, 412 Food Rescue

With that time savings, the team at 412 Food Rescue has been able to improve their marketing and focus on engaging more volunteers in the community.

“In order to recruit more volunteers, we needed to know where people were learning about 412 Food Rescue,” Swaney says. With a view of user engagement across platforms and devices,  412 Food Rescue was able to easily discern where the majority of its volunteers discover the organization, and what their typical journey is to get started. The team was able to see that new users are most likely to accept a Food Rescue and become volunteers within 48 hours of downloading the app. As a result, they adjusted their social media campaigns to drive app downloads on Mondays and Tuesdays, when most Food Rescues are typically posted in the app. By facilitating Food Rescues that users can immediately act on upon downloading the app, 412 Food Rescue was able to improve the user journey and convert more users to volunteers.

Automated insights introduce a new set of learnings

With automated insights generated through machine learning, 412 Food Rescue has been able to save time analyzing data and spend more time taking action. They learned, for example, that there was a dip in volunteer engagement on weekends, an insight that had gone unnoticed. Because they had been proactively alerted to the change in Analytics, they were able to quickly respond by increasing their marketing efforts on weekends to boost engagement and address the demand for local deliveries on those days.

Greater impact despite limited resources

Even without a dedicated analytics team, 412 Food Rescue is able to easily get a deep understanding of their data and use it to shift their marketing strategy, grow their network of Food Rescue Heroes, and secure further investment to ultimately expand to more cities and achieve their mission to end food waste and hunger.

Get started with the new Google Analytics today.


Google Analytics Blog


Cross-channel marketing: why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the Google basket

March 27, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Very few SMBs use multiple channels for their online advertising
  • Facebook is the most effective channel based on the cost for CPM and CPC
  • It’s important to remember that every business is unique when it comes to deciding on budget allocation

For any business in the software as a service (SaaS) space, data analysis and science are crucial to ensure they keep pushing ahead to reveal those insights that can really make a difference. With this in mind, the Cambridge MBA team looked to leverage Adzooma’s extensive data to identify new ways for SMBs to maximize their ad spend with cross-channel marketing.

For the team at Cambridge University, this was an exciting opportunity to produce some truly unique insights, given that even the big players such as Google and Microsoft only have data that pertains to their individual channels.  The project promised to provide a much broader view and deliver some new insights thanks to the access to anonymized data from thousands of accounts across the three big platforms via Adzooma.

A cross-channel approach

The findings immediately identified that very few SMB customers use multiple channels (Facebook, Google, and Microsoft).

Although this wasn’t part of the main project, it was a really interesting piece of analysis and it’s something we’ve stressed the importance of a lot. Most people just stick to Google, for example, as that’s where they think they should be but that’s not always the best case for everyone’s business, and being seen across multiple touchpoints – or at least trying out multiple channels – can be crucial to digital marketing success.

Our analysis found Facebook to be the most conducive channel for SMBs based on cost (CPM, CPC) as well as return (impressions, clicks), however, it was Microsoft that came out on top for reaching a more professional and affluent audience.

The research highlighted the importance of pre-determining your specific target audience. Hence, when it comes to choosing the channel – or channels – for your business it’s really worth thinking about what you are trying to achieve with your ad spend and who you’re truly trying to reach.

What are you really trying to achieve?

Right at the offset, it’s important to think about your end goal and ask yourself who are the customers you are looking to target and what is the most efficient way to get to them.

Existing research told us that for SMBs acquiring new customers was the most chased goal on the customer journey followed by ‘generating awareness’, ‘generating leads’, and ‘retaining customers’.

Taking this into account, the Cambridge team found that merging the traditional sales funnel with the customer lifecycle model would be the best way for an SMB to manage its overall marketing goals.

Overlapping resolution methodology then allowed the team to determine the impact of cost on different marketing channels. This way, SMBs would be able to effectively determine which platform is best to use when similarities occur.

We found through the research that it was the choice of the channel itself that had the most significant impact on both CPM and CPC. Having determined a connection between channel and cost KPIs, further research was conducted to find out the average CPM and CPC across Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Ads.

While it was Facebook that was the most cost-effective channel on average for SMBs overall, the recommendations were that businesses should still look at the click-through rates of other channels to determine whether other factors such as industry or geography could make a significant difference.

If you’re choosing between Google and Microsoft, the results suggest using Google due to its high reach and low cost, however, Microsoft could also be useful, particularly as it offers high-level targeting and demographics that can be suitable for specific business types.

What is your ad saying?

Another factor that perhaps many businesses don’t consider when deciding on a platform is the sentiment of their messaging.

When analyzing the data this was another area where the research team saw differentiation depending on the channel where the advert appeared.

cross-channel marketing and advertising CTR stats

Microsoft proved to be the most popular platform when it came to a positive sentiment with a CTR of 4.2 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for neutral and 3.3 percent for negative sentiment.

Interestingly, the opposite was true for Google ads where negative sentiment proved most popular with users, gaining a CTR rate of 6.5 percent compared to 5.7 percent for neutral and negative messaging.

Again, it highlights how important it is to take that time to tweak your ads for testing purposes and learn what works best for your target customers so you can capitalize on your spends.

Every business is unique

It’s no secret that the one size fits all approach doesn’t necessarily work. All businesses are different and therefore their ad spend and utilization will of course differ.

Some people, as we all do, want to go with the stats and what has proven to have worked historically for businesses, and whilst that can be taken into account, that’s not to stay that it will work for every business. Therefore, it’s always important to remember to take the time to consider where you are spending and who you are trying to reach.

Plus, it is worth remembering that although GoogleFacebook, and Microsoft Ads are the most popular online advertising platforms, there are alternative (and less expensive) places to list your ads including Reddit, Amazon, and industry-specific sites such as Capterra. Despite having fewer users, these are still effective as it’s often easier to reach your exact target audience and could work as an addition to your primary platform.

Looking ahead

We hope that through this research we’ve provoked SMBs to think carefully about their target audience and specific objectives prior to ad spend allocation.  What we’ve showcased here is that the advertising platforms explored within this study work effectively in their own right depending on the end goal and we hope these insights will enable SMBs to achieve greater overall results.

These learnings help determine how cross-channel partnerships can be best leveraged for SMB customers. As Facebook seems to be the most used channel by 70 percent of SMBs, and data analysis suggests it is optimal in terms of cost and return, the data will be used to scale Facebook features and opportunities. A lot of the learnings we unearthed from this study will also go directly into the core technology of the Adzooma product.

Rob Wass is Co-founder and CEO of Adzooma.

Akanshaa Khare is currently pursuing an MBA at Cambridge University and has five years of Product Management experience and three years of Consulting experience, helping consulting firms such as BCG and ZS Associates.

The post Cross-channel marketing: why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the Google basket appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Measure conversions while respecting user consent choices

March 23, 2021 No Comments

With so many people around the world turning to online shopping this year, advertisers need to measure how effective their digital campaigns are at driving online sales. What’s more, data-protection authorities in Europe may now require many businesses to obtain consent from users on their digital properties for activities related to advertising and/or analytics—impacting advertisers’ understanding of how users are converting on their sites.

Last month, we shared that we’ve integrated our ads systems with the IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) v2.0. For businesses that choose to use this method to gather user consent, Google’s ad systems will read and respect the Transparency and Consent String, so businesses can comply with applicable regulations.

For advertisers who choose not to use TCF v2.0, we’re introducing a new solution to offer more flexibility in how they use Google tags alongside their user consent tools. Consent Mode introduces two new tag settings that manage cookies for advertising and analytics purposes for advertisers using the global site tag or Google Tag Manager. These two settings can be used to customize how Google tags behave before and after users make their consent decisions – helping advertisers more effectively measure conversions, while respecting user consent choices for ads cookies and analytics cookies.

Using Consent Mode with Google’s ad platforms

Attributing conversions to the campaign that drove them is a key priority for advertisers. It helps them better optimize campaign bids and reallocate budget towards the best performers. With Consent Mode, advertisers can achieve greater insight into conversion data while also making sure that the Google tags helping them measure conversions are reflecting users’ consent choices for ads cookies.

Once Consent Mode is implemented, advertisers will have access to a new tag setting, “ad_storage,” which controls cookie behavior for advertising purposes, including conversion measurement. If a user does not provide consent for ads cookies, Google tags will not use cookies for advertising purposes.

Let’s say someone visits your website and makes their consent selection for the use of ads cookies on your cookie consent banner. With Consent Mode, your Google tags will be able to determine whether or not permission has been given for your site to use cookies for advertising purposes for that user. If a user consents, conversion measurement reporting continues normally. If a user does not consent, the relevant Google tags will adjust accordingly and not use ads cookies, instead measuring conversions at a more aggregate level.

E02573839-Google-GMP-Consent-Mode-Blog-Table-Aug20_v05_Google-Keyword-Blog-Inline.jpg

With Consent Mode, you can update Google tag behavior based on the user consent selection.

With Consent Mode, campaigns running on Google Ads, Campaign Manager, Display & Video 360, and Search Ads 360 will be able to continue reporting conversions – while respecting users’ consent choices for ads cookies. And because you’re able to retain conversion measurement in your campaign reporting, you’ll be able to continue attributing conversions to the right campaign and optimize your campaign bidding efficiently.

Using Consent Mode with Google Analytics

Consent Mode also works with Google Analytics. This means that Analytics will be able to understand and respect user consent for ads cookies. For example, when the “ad_storage” tag setting is disabled for unconsented users, Analytics will not read or write ads cookies, meaning that optional features that rely on Google signals, like remarketing, will be disabled.

In addition to the “ad_storage” tag setting, Consent Mode provides advertisers with a new tag setting, “analytics_storage,” which controls analytics cookie usage. Let’s say you would like to request consent for both analytics and ads cookies from users on your website. You can use Consent Mode to update Google tag behavior based on the user selection for each type of cookie. Analytics will adjust data collection based on user consent for each of the “ad_storage” and “analytics_storage” settings. For example, if a user does not provide consent for ads cookies (and therefore advertising purposes are disabled), but does provide consent for analytics cookies, advertisers will still be able to measure site behavior and conversions in Analytics as the “analytics_storage” setting will be enabled.

Getting started

Consent Mode is available in beta to a limited number of advertisers that operate in Europe and already use the global site tag or Tag Manager. To learn more about the feature, visit our Help Center here.

If you’re interested in getting started with Consent Mode, please reach out to your Google account team. Implementing Consent Mode requires adding a few lines of code above your global site tag or Tag Manager container. To help with this process, we have partnered closely with several Consent Management Platforms. A few are already integrated with Consent Mode and are ready to help.

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Consent Management Platforms that are already integrated with Consent Mode.

Changes designed to improve user privacy are continuing to impact the digital advertising ecosystem, and we’re committed to helping your business navigate this new environment. To learn more about steps you can take, download our privacy playbook. And stay tuned for more new capabilities to help you manage and respect user consent choices for ads and analytics cookies across platforms.


Google Analytics Blog


Where do you take your marketing strategy from here?

March 20, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Most marketers agree that creating content is a core business strategy
  • SEO can help you capitalize on the content you’ve created and see lasting results
  • Create content around common sales objections to improve the sales process
  • Instead of going all-in on the best-case scenario of in-person events being able to happen in 2021, create a plan based on what you know works now and could continue to work into the future as well

With 2020 pulling the rug out from under pretty much everyone, it’s no surprise that marketing has had to shift over the past year. Where the focus for many organizations was once in-person meetings and events like trade shows and conventions, it’s now mostly shifted to tactics that can be deployed remotely.

The biggest winner out of all this change has, without a doubt, been content marketing. In the summer of 2020, I surveyed 49 B2B companies to see how they are approaching marketing, and more than 80 percent of them agreed that content is now considered a core business strategy.

Content marketing is a strategy that doesn’t require any physical contact to connect with people, and content can be shared widely and consistently, regardless of where people are in the world. It can help current clients better understand the value of a company and even act as a way to bring new customers into the fold.

While the strategy owes much of its popularity to the pandemic, content marketing’s recent dominance is unlikely to go away once the pandemic subsides. Before 2020, many marketers had already been pushing for a more content-focused strategy. In many ways, this past year has simply created the opportunity for them to prove the strategy’s true worth.

How to plan a marketing strategy around whatever 2021 may bring

These past few months have been a time of experimentation for marketers, full of successes and failures. For some companies, weaknesses in this strategy, like poor SEO and a lack of budget for content development, have been exposed, even as the potential of content marketing has been proven. Now, the question for marketers is how to bring a content strategy into the next year and successfully meld it with a plan for a world beyond the current health crisis.

1. Focus on SEO

All the high-quality content in the world can’t help you if no one can find it. Make better SEO a key goal if you want to capitalize on everything you’ve done this past year. Perform a technical website audit to ensure your website is set up to be found by search engines and a keyword audit to ensure your content aligns with your target audience’s queries. Not only should your keyword research guide your content for the future, but it should also steer your updates of older content to maintain its relevance. Updating old content is often the most efficient strategy you can employ.

Don’t just stop at keywords, though. Perform a deep dive into your audience’s behavior to figure out exactly what they’re looking for to increase your chances of turning visits into conversions. After all, what you think you know about user behavior and what is actually true can turn out to be wildly different. For example, according to HubSpot, popups are the most-used form for sign-ups, but they only succeed in converting three percent of visitors. Landing pages, meanwhile, have the highest conversion rate, despite being the least popular version of sign-up form.

2. Develop more sales enablement content

Effective content can be useful for more than just marketing. Sales reps can also use it to better communicate with potential customers.

Listen to sales calls to figure out which questions are the most common and which are the most difficult for your sales team to answer. From there, you can create sales enablement content, such as blog posts and infographics, that the team can refer to and pass on to prospects. You can also use the biggest client successes as case studies that can help potential clients better understand your value. This will not only help sell customers, but it can also help with securing internal buy-in for a content-focused strategy.

3. Don’t bet on in-person events in 2021

Over 90 percent of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events next year. Even if everything goes perfectly over the next few months and things can begin moving toward some level of normalcy by summer or fall, don’t count on big in-person conventions and trade shows to come roaring back and take over your marketing strategy. That’s why a majority of marketers are creating strategies that can work for both virtual events and in-person events over the next year.

Content will still be just as effective when the pandemic is over, but what in-person events will look like is still up in the air. Don’t bet on an imaginary best-case scenario, create a plan based on what you know works right now and could continue to work into the future.

While 2020 might have thrown everyone for a loop, the lessons learned this year can be applied in 2021, even if we’re unsure of what the coming year will truly bring. By focusing more on a content-first strategy, you can ensure your marketing plans don’t go to waste both in best-case and worst-case scenarios.

Cherish Grimm is VP at Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that helps its clients achieve measurable business results through content marketing.

The post Where do you take your marketing strategy from here? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


The five latest Google Ads features and how to make the most of them

March 16, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Make no mistake, Google Shopping is still mostly a paid PPC channel, but you can also enjoy its free traffic
  • Video and display formats are not the type of ad you think of when it comes to online acquisition
  • They are more popular for brand awareness and influence targets
  • All conversions are not born equal, especially, when it comes to acquisition channels – a purchase on your site from a new customer has more value than one from a returning one
  • It’s easy to forget that most of the business still happens offline and that Zoom calls and online shopping are not all there is to life
  • Yet offline conversion trackings are not always taken into account
  • With Gallery Ads, Google offers a new ad format integrated into the Search Network
  • As these ad formats are for mobile displays only, their dimensions enable advertisers to make a stronger impact than with a text ad

Google released new smart features and ways to buy ads on its different channels. They allow marketers to increase their reach and to try new approaches. As always with the novelty, there will be a learning curve.

At SEISO, the reference PPC insight platform, we analyzed the impact of these updates on more than 13,000 accounts. Here is how you can make them work for you.

Content created in partnership with SEISO.

1. Get listed for free on Google Shopping

Make no mistake, Google Shopping is still mostly a paid PPC channel, but you can also enjoy its free traffic. Why is there a free option? After the introduction of the shopping channel, Google ousted most of the other price comparison websites from its SERP (Shopping.com, Shopzilla, BizRate, and others). The move was so aggressive that in 2017, the European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion (~$ 3 billion) for breaching EU antitrust rules by “giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service.” Although it is still going through appeal, Google has made changes to ensure other options are present on its services and SERP than its own. As for organic search optimization, you need to ensure your products appear in the first positions.

How to make it work for you

First, you need to start by optimizing your Shopping Ads and understand what products click and convert the most. For example, you can use SEISO Google Shopping Analyzer (Free to try) to get shopping reports. From there you can adapt your product feed and product pages to ensure you focus on products that are margin positive.  

SEISO Google Shopping Analyzer - Report

Source: SEISO Report for non-performing products in your shopping feed

Once you have trimmed the feed and pages, you can go to your Google Merchant Center account in the Growth Menu. There you will find a channel called “Surfaces across Google”. You want to set it to “ACTIVE”. This feature was initially available only in the USA and India but is being rolled out worldwide. 

Using Google Ads new features - Polish your Google Shopping Ads

2. Get impressions on display and YouTube ads but only pay for sales

Video and display formats are not the type of ad you think of when it comes to online acquisition. They are more popular for brand awareness and influence targets. 

But now Google wants to convince you otherwise. Why? Google has so much data on users’ profiles and their intents that they can predict what they will buy. Facebook has built its platform on what they know about the users from their browsing and sharing. Google knows the users very well: from the search queries, from the media they consume on its surfaces (videos and AMP pages), and its past purchases thanks to receipts received in Gmail. 

Thanks to this treasure trove of data points, the algorithm identifies which new video game console the user wants. And it only shows him the relevant ads when he is ready to buy. The ad will be more likely to convert and Google will get a higher revenue per page by only showing converting ads to users: win/win. 

Now you can run performance-based targeting for YouTube Ads and on the Display network. It usually means a lower reach than a CPM or a Trueview campaign but you will get incremental conversions while controlling your budget. 

Google Ads

But remember, this is a black box. The algorithm will decide to display your ad or not based on how much money it will generate for Google. If your products find an audience this is a virtuous cycle and you will get a lot of volume. If not, your campaign might not pick up at all. 

How to make it work for you

  • Use Smart Display with a tCPA or tROAS bidding strategy. This allows you to retain the benefits of the Smart Display framework without losing control.
  • Based on 13,000+ Google Ads accounts audited by SEISO, the best targeting are: “Similar converters” & “Custom Intent on your competitors”

You can use the audience analysis section of SEISO to identify which audience is the most relevant for you. And you can try it for free.

3. Customer acquisition is good but NEW customer acquisition is better

All conversions are not born equal. When it comes to acquisition channels, a purchase on your site from a new customer has more value than one from a returning one. Of course, loyalty is key and you need to take care of existing customers. But Search engine marketing is neither the main nor the most money-efficient channel to do so. CRM, whether through email marketing or earned social media are more efficient to re-engage your customers. The symbiosis between acquisition and loyalty is the best way to maximize your customer lifetime value.

Once you know how much money you can expect from a user in the long term, you are able to adapt the amount you are willing to pay for a new customer vs. an old one.

In Google Shopping, you can now take the lifetime value into account. Go in the conversion goals by clicking “Settings” in the left navigation of your Smart Shopping campaign. Use the “New Customer Acquisition” option. There, indicate the incremental price you are willing to pay per conversion for this type of customer versus a returning one. For example, if your CPA for a conversion is $ 42 and you set the new customer value to $ 38. It will let the campaign pay up to $ 80 for new customers and $ 42 for existing ones.

Google Ads

How to make it work for you

Make sure you are tracking your new customers, there are two ways to do so and you should use both:

  • Make sure your Google Ads account and your Google Analytics account are connected. This way, the algorithm is aware of all sales made on your website even if they came from another channel.
  • Set differentiated tags for new and old customers and let your ecommerce platform or your tag manager. You need to show one or the other tag depending on the status of the customer.

As a rule of thumb, you should align this with your promotion strategy. Focus on your product selection to boost your best-recruiting products. The ones that usually trigger the first sale on your website for new customers. 

4. Get offline! How to keep tracks on offline conversions

In these days and times, it is easy to forget that most of the business still happens offline and that zoom calls and online shopping are not all there is to life. Yet offline conversions tracking are not always taken into account. According to Google, 30 percent of mobile queries are local searches and it is the fastest-growing segment. And 75 percent of users making a local search will go to a store within 24 hours. This is a lot of conversions lost to online tracking.

Google Ads

The new version of the Google Ads’ local campaigns is here just for that. Local campaigns use GPS and Wifi to identify the location of the user. Google will display ads related to business advertising presence around the user’s current location. 

How to make it work for you

To succeed, you will need to set up an omnichannel tracking that integrates offline elements. From there you will be able to measure different types of conversion. You should create a set of conversion actions for each campaign:

  • In-store visits: Google automatically tracks walk-in traffic from user’s location captured from their Apps and OS). You will need to register all your points of sales addresses or GPS coordinates. 
  • Offline purchase thanks to offline the Conversions API or bulk sheets upload.
  • Online purchase through your regular tracking pixel.

Once your conversions start to show in the interface you will be able to optimize against each of these goals. Moving further you will be able to optimize the new full potential of each campaign against each target! To do so you try the SEISO campaign optimization tool for free. 

Source: SEISO PPC Campaign Optimisation Tool

5. Be creative! Push gallery ads over all networks

Gallery Ads and Showcase Shopping Ads on Search are good to be tested! 85 percent of respondents put more importance on visual information than text information. Visual information is preferred over text by at least 50% of respondents in all categories except for electronics, household goods, and wine and spirits (Intent Lab research, Feb 2019).

With Gallery Ads Google offers a new ad format integrated into the Search Network. As these ad formats are for mobile displays only, their dimensions enable advertisers to make a stronger impact than with a text ad. Google will continue to serve the same user with your creatives on new placements such as: 

  • YouTube: On the “Home” screens where more than 90% of users say they discover new brands & new products.
  • Discovery: Google Discovery App while scrolling the news feed and searching by interest.
  • Gmail: Through discovery, even though Gmail Ads are being rolled out, Discovery ads allow you to expand your reach from Gmail to other Google-owned surfaces. 

And of course, they are shown in the main result pages as Showcase Shopping Ads.

Google Ads

Google is always bringing in new features to test, The key to having a State of the Art Google Ads account is to test early. Once the features reach mass adoption you are already fully optimized and have secured the best positions.

There is much more to discover in the SEISO analysis report, including expert tips and best practices, account activity analysis, and more than 75 criteria sifted.

Are your Google Ads Campaigns optimized? Try SEISO for free TODAY, click on this link: www.seiso.io/en.

SEISO

The post The five latest Google Ads features and how to make the most of them appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Introducing the new Google Analytics

March 13, 2021 No Comments

Millions of businesses, large and small, rely on Google Analytics to understand customer preferences and create better experiences for them. With more commerce moving online and businesses under increased pressure to make every marketing dollar count, insights from digital analytics tools are even more critical.

But with major shifts in consumer behavior and privacy-driven changes to longtime industry standards, current approaches to analytics aren’t keeping pace. In a survey from Forrester Consulting, marketers said that improving their use of analytics is a top priority, and that existing solutions make it difficult to get a complete view of the customer and derive insights from their data.

To help you get better ROI from your marketing for the long term, we’re creating a new, more intelligent Google Analytics that builds on the foundation of the App + Web property we introduced in beta last year. It has machine learning at its core to automatically surface helpful insights and gives you a complete understanding of your customers across devices and platforms. It’s privacy-centric by design, so you can rely on Analytics even as industry changes like restrictions on cookies and identifiers create gaps in your data. The new Google Analytics will give you the essential insights you need to be ready for what’s next.

Smarter insights to improve your marketing decisions and get better ROI

By applying Google’s advanced machine learning models, the new Analytics can automatically alert you to significant trends in your data – like products seeing rising demand because of new customer needs. It even helps you anticipate future actions your customers may take. For example, it calculates churn probability so you can more efficiently invest in retaining customers at a time when marketing budgets are under pressure. We’re continuing to add new predictive metrics, like the potential revenue you could earn from a particular group of customers. This allows you to create audiences to reach higher value customers and run analyses to better understand why some customers are likely to spend more than others, so you can take action to improve your results.

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Churn probability in the Analysis module

With new integrations across Google’s marketing products, it’s easy to use what you learn to improve the ROI of your marketing. A deeper integration with Google Ads, for example, lets you create audiences that can reach your customers with more relevant, helpful experiences, wherever they choose to engage with your business.

The new approach also makes it possible to address longtime advertiser requests. Because the new Analytics can measure app and web interactions together, it can include conversions from YouTube engaged views that occur in-app and on the web in reports. Seeing conversions from YouTube video views alongside conversions from Google and non-Google paid channels, and organic channels like Google Search, social, and email, helps you understand the combined impact of all your marketing efforts.

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YouTube Engaged-view conversions in Analytics reports

Businesses taking part in the beta are already seeing benefits. Vistaprint, responding to rapid changes in their business at the start of the pandemic, was able to quickly measure and understand the customer response to their new line of protective masks. And Jeff Kacmarek, Vice President of Domino’s Pizza of Canada, found that “linking the new Google Analytics to Google Ads enables us to optimize around the actions that matter most to our customers, regardless of how they interact with our brand.”

A more complete understanding of how customers interact with your business

The new Analytics gives you customer-centric measurement, instead of measurement fragmented by device or by platform. It uses multiple identity spaces, including marketer-provided User IDs and unique Google signals from users opted into ads personalization, to give you a more complete view of how your customers interact with your business. For example, you can see if customers first discover your business from an ad on the web, then later install your app and make purchases there.

You’ll also get a better understanding of your customers across their entire lifecycle, from acquisition to conversion and retention. This is critical when people’s needs are rapidly changing and you have to make real-time decisions in order to win – and keep – new customers. Based on your feedback, we simplified and re-organized reporting so you can intuitively find marketing insights based on the part of the customer journey you’re interested in. For example, you can see what channels are driving new customers in the user acquisition report, then use the engagement and retention reports to understand the actions these customers take, and whether they stick around, after converting.

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New reporting structure organized by the user lifecycle

Built for the long term

Now is the time to invest in your digital marketing basics, like smarter analytics, so you can be ready for what comes next. This will also help you respond to rising consumer expectations, regulatory developments, and changing technology standards for user privacy. With a new approach todata controls, you can better manage how you collect, retain and use your Analytics data. More granular controls for ads personalization let you choose when to use your data to optimize your ads and when to limit your data use to measurement. And of course, we continue to offer users control over sharing their activity with Google Analytics.

Because the technology landscape continues to evolve, the new Analytics is designed to adapt to a future with or without cookies or identifiers. It uses a flexible approach to measurement, and in the future, will include modeling to fill in the gaps where the data may be incomplete. This means that you can rely on Google Analytics to help you measure your marketing results and meet customer needs now as you navigate the recovery and as you face uncertainty in the future.

The future of Google Analytics

The new Google Analytics is now the default experience for new properties and is where we’re investing in future improvements. We know there are capabilities many marketers need before fully replacing their existing Analytics setup, so we encourage you to create a new Google Analytics 4 property (previously called an App + Web property) alongside your existing properties. This will allow you to start gathering data and benefit from the latest innovations as they become available while keeping your current implementation intact. If you’re an enterprise marketer, we’re currently in beta with an Analytics 360 version that will offer SLAs and advanced integrations with tools like BigQuery, and will have more to share soon.


Google Analytics Blog