When consumers need to find the right product, service or storefront for their needs, they grab their phone, jump on their laptop, or just say, Hey Siri, Hey Alexa, and Hey Cortana. Search results immediately populate their screen and they skim, select, learn, and go.
To win at the game of search, your small or medium-sized business needs to be present online, discoverable and well-matched to the specific needs of consumers. Easier said than done, right?
If you want to quickly reach a targeted audience, drive the right kind of traffic towards your website, and develop a marketing strategy that works alongside your SEO efforts, pay per click (PPC) advertising is a great option. When consumers perform high commercial intent searches, meaning they’re online with the intent to buy a specific product, paid ads get 65% of all clicks. It’s a very effective way to get your products front and center on the search page. Both Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads) and Google Ads offer pretty intuitive platforms when it comes to the account set-up and refinement, but if you’re not a marketing expert (and even if you are) you’re going to need a little help sometimes.
As a small business, you may not have time to really dig into PPC advertising, but you still care about building a campaign that works for you and for your potential customers. Or, maybe you have a strong handle on PPC, but you’re wondering what you could be doing better. Both these scenarios, and many more, could be helped by reaching out to your Microsoft Advertising or Google Ads customer support center or setting up an appointment with a PPC coach.
A coach? Yes, a coach. Really, try it. Working with PPC customer support at Microsoft Advertising, for example, can help your business get the right advice, employ the right tactics, and simply streamline the process, so you aren’t emerging from a PPC rabbit hole feeling frustrated and upset. That’s no fun and can be easily remedied. Here are five common concerns and how customer support can help small businesses like yours with their PPC campaigns.
“I have no idea how to get started.”
Sometimes when people jump into the world of PPC advertising, the process begins easily enough, but issues tend to pop up. Maybe you aren’t sure about how to establish a budget or conduct important keyword research. That’s ok, nobody expects you to be an expert right out of the gate.
Onboarding specialists are part of customer support and work with small businesses to set up your PPC ad account from scratch, create your first set of ads, research keywords, set a budget, and assist you with competitive bids. They view the entire process as a team effort and are genuinely interested in understanding your business goals and objectives. Then they help you design a PPC campaign to meet them.
“I can’t figure out why my campaigns aren’t performing.”
Coaches and customer support specialists can provide visibility on what is and isn’t working by showing businesses how to generate and understand a variety of performance reports. With over 30 different types of reports available, selecting and analyzing them on your own can be a little overwhelming at first, simply due to the sheer volume of data at our fingertips. Working with a coach can help provide clarity, and together you can identify relevant strategies and innovations that have a positive impact on your campaigns. In other words, they can help you figure out what all the data means and how to use it to your advantage.
If you’ve been using PPC advertising for quite a while, coaches can support your campaign by introducing you to the latest features and tools you may not know about. Sometimes we get into a routine and performance plateaus but talking to an expert for 15 minutes can totally refresh your PPC perspective and provide you with valuable insight and ideas.
“I’m afraid I’ll look like an idiot if I can’t figure this out on my own.”
Managing PPC campaigns is a learned skill, but it might not be something that comes naturally to you. A coach’s job isn’t to do everything for you, but to educate you on how to improve campaign performances on your own. Customer support can help business owners get familiar with PPC tools, processes and resources that help you successfully manage your ads without external support. The goal is to empower businesses with the know-how, competence, and confidence to handle their campaigns like a pro and troubleshoot any issues that come up. Learning, in and of itself, represents a measurement of success and makes the next PPC campaign easier to set up, more profitable, and effective.
“I don’t think customer support will understand anything about my business and it’s too much of a hassle. I just have to figure this out on my own.”
The whole point of customer support is to take the time to understand your industry and your business goals, that’s the only way to provide meaningful and targeted guidance. Coaches treat you like a partner and pro-actively offer strategic direction and the right tools to increase your PPC efficiency. They meet you at your level of expertise and build up from there, no matter your budget or your business. You need to be willing to share your story and reflectively consider what you want to get out of your various campaigns, but rest assured, if you’re willing to put in the time, it will most definitely not be wasted.
“I’m not sure I’m managing my campaign correctly and spend too much time worrying about it.”
This is a big one, especially for businesses that aren’t familiar with paid search. Your time is spent worrying that you’re doing it wrong instead of learning how to do it right. This is where working with a coach can really help because they provide you with peace of mind. Peace of mind in the information you’re using, your level of comfort and familiarity with the platform, and the belief that you are fully capable of making changes that improve your business’s visibility and lead conversions.
The OpenStack project, which powers more than 75 public and thousands of private clouds, launched the 19th version of its software this week. You’d think that after 19 updates to the open-source infrastructure platform, there really isn’t all that much new the various project teams could add, given that we’re talking about a rather stable code base here. There are actually a few new features in this release, though, as well as all the usual tweaks and feature improvements you’d expect.
While the hype around OpenStack has died down, we’re still talking about a very active open-source project. On average, there were 155 commits per day during the Stein development cycle. As far as development activity goes, that keeps OpenStack on the same level as the Linux kernel and Chromium.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of that development activity focused on Kubernetes and the tools to manage these container clusters. With this release, the team behind the OpenStack Kubernetes installer brought the launch time for a cluster down from about 10 minutes to five, regardless of the number of nodes. To further enhance Kubernetes support, OpenStack Stein also includes updates to Neutron, the project’s networking service, which now makes it easier to create virtual networking ports in bulk as containers are spun up, and Ironic, the bare-metal provisioning service.
All of that is no surprise, given that according to the project’s latest survey, 61 percent of OpenStack deployments now use both Kubernetes and OpenStack in tandem.
The update also includes a number of new networking features that are mostly targeted at the many telecom users. Indeed, over the course of the last few years, telcos have emerged as some of the most active OpenStack users as these companies are looking to modernize their infrastructure as part of their 5G rollouts.
Besides the expected updates, though, there are also a few new and improved projects here that are worth noting.
“The trend from the last couple of releases has been on scale and stability, which is really focused on operations,” OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce told me. “The new projects — and really most of the new projects from the last year — have all been pretty oriented around real-world use cases.”
The first of these is Placement. “As people build a cloud and start to grow it and it becomes more broadly adopted within the organization, a lot of times, there are other requirements that come into play,” Bryce explained. “One of these things that was pretty simplistic at the beginning was how a request for a resource was actually placed on the underlying infrastructure in the data center.” But as users get more sophisticated, they often want to run specific workloads on machines with certain hardware requirements. These days, that’s often a specific GPU for a machine learning workload, for example. With Placement, that’s a bit easier now.
It’s worth noting that OpenStack had some of this functionality before. The team, however, decided to uncouple it from the existing compute service and turn it into a more generic service that could then also be used more easily beyond the compute stack, turning it more into a kind of resource inventory and tracking tool.
Then, there is also Blazer, a reservation service that offers OpenStack users something akin to AWS Reserved Instances. In a private cloud, the use case for a feature is a bit different, though. But as some of the private clouds got bigger, some users found that they needed to be able to guarantee resources to run some of their regular, overnight batch jobs or data analytics workloads, for example.
As far as resource management goes, it’s also worth highlighting Sahara, which now makes it easier to provision Hadoop clusters on OpenStack.
In previous releases, one of the focus areas for the project was to improve the update experience. OpenStack is obviously a very complex system, so bringing it up to the latest version is also a bit of a complex undertaking. These improvements are now paying off. “Nobody even knows we are running Stein right now,” Vexxhost CEO Mohammed Nasar, who made an early bet on OpenStack for his service, told me. “And I think that’s a good thing. You want to be least impactful, especially when you’re in such a core infrastructure level. […] That’s something the projects are starting to become more and more aware of but it’s also part of the OpenStack software in general becoming much more stable.”
As usual, this release launched only a few weeks before the OpenStack Foundation hosts its bi-annual Summit in Denver. Since the OpenStack Foundation has expanded its scope beyond the OpenStack project, though, this event also focuses on a broader range of topics around open-source infrastructure. It’ll be interesting to see how this will change the dynamics at the event.
Last November, Facebook launched Instant Games, a new platform for gaming with friends inside the Messenger chat app. Today, the company is announcing a couple of notable new features for this gaming platform, including support for live streaming via Facebook Live and video chatting with fellow gamers. The idea with Instant Games is to boost people’s time spent in Messenger by giving… Read More
Social – TechCrunch
The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X all support wireless charging using the Qi standard. It means that iPhones are now compatible with hundreds of chargers out there. But iPhone Qi charging is currently limited to 5W, or the slowest wireless charging speed. Apple is currently working on iOS 11.2 — this update is going to support 7.5W charging.
Wireless charging is nice if you… Read More
Today we are excited to be the first supporting vendor to announce a new service, Google’s AMP Client ID API, that will enable the same benefits for AMP pages displayed via Google surfaces. In May of this year we launched a solution to help you better understand your customers’ journeys across AMP and non-AMP experiences that were hosted on your own domain. Google’s AMP Client ID API will enable the same benefits for AMP pages displayed by Google such as in Google Search.
How will this work?
This solution works by allowing your web pages, which may be partially served on Google platforms and partially on your domain, to communicate with each other. This communication happens via a newly introduced Google API and with Google Analytics such that it can understand if a user on your non-AMP pages had ever visited an AMP page displayed by Google. When true, Google Analytics can help you understand user behavior across these two page types as a single cohesive experience.
To get started you’ll have to opt-in to this solution via a code change. The small code change is required on both your AMP and non-AMP websites to enable this as well as an acknowledgement of the new Google Analytics terms for usage of this API.
When will this happen?
The ability to opt-in to this solution is available today and you can find code instructions and new terms here. Please review the documentation and opt-in when you are ready.
Are there any other implications of this change?
Once you opt-in to this solution you will notice changes to some of your metrics. Your user and session metrics will drop down to more accurate counts as formerly distinct users are recognised as the same person, as well as related metrics that will also become more accurate (such as Time on Site and Bounce Rate). And New Users may rise temporarily. This is a function of the product more accurately counting your users. It’s a one-time effect that will continue until all your users who have viewed AMP pages in the past return to your site (this can take a short or long period of time depending on how quickly your users return to your site/app). To get more detail about what may change, please read our help center article.
Opt into this new feature today to get deeper insight into how users are interacting with your AMP pages.
Posted by the Google Analytics team
Yes, you should be able to charge your new iPhone X or iPhone 8 at Starbucks. Apple announced earlier this week that its new iPhones will include support for wireless charging through the Qi standard. But as far as charging in Starbucks is concerned, there seemed to be a catch: Starbucks’ charging pads from Powermat support a different standard, PMA. This is a solvable problem, according… Read More
However, we have heard feedback from Google Analytics customers around challenges in understanding the full customer journey due to site visitors being identified inconsistently across AMP and non-AMP pages. So we’re announcing today that we are rolling out an enhancement that will give you an even more accurate understanding of how people are engaging with your business across AMP and non-AMP pages of your website.
How will this work?
This change brings consistency to users across AMP and non-AMP pages served from your domain. It will have the effect of improving user analysis going forward by unifying your users across the two page formats. It does not affect AMP pages served from the Google AMP Cache or any other AMP cache.
When will this happen?
We expect these improvements to be complete, across all Google Analytics accounts, over the next few weeks.
Are there any other implications of this change?
As we unify your AMP and non-AMP users when they visit your site in the future, you may see changes in your user and session counts, including changes to related metrics. User and session counts will go down over time as we recognize that two formerly distinct IDs are in fact the same user; however, at the time this change commences, the metric New Users may rise temporarily as IDs are reset.
In addition, metrics like time on site, page views per session, and bounce rate will rise consistent with sessions with AMP and non-AMP pageviews no longer being treated as multiple sessions. This is a one-time effect that will continue until all your users who have viewed AMP pages in the past are unified (this can take a short or long period of time depending on how quickly your users return to your site/app).
Is there anything I need to do to get this update?
There is no action required on your part, these changes will be automatically rolled out.
Will there be changes to unify users who view my pages both on my domain and in other contexts?
Some AMP pages are not visited directly on the domain where the content is originally hosted but instead via AMP caches or in platform experiences. However we decided to focus on fixing the publisher domain case first as this was the fastest way we could add value for our clients.
We are committed to ensuring the best quality data for user journey analysis across AMP and non-AMP pages alike and this change makes that easy for AMP pages served on your domain. We hope you enjoy these improvements – and as always, happy analyzing!
Posted by the Google Analytics team
The Twitterverse is still reeling from Twitter’s revamp of @ replies, and scratching its head over how changing a default avatar has anything to do with addressing abuse, but the network is plodding on, today releasing a new feature aimed at its business users. The latest in a series of updates focused on helping businesses running customer service via Twitter, the new addition offers… Read More
Social – TechCrunch
Today the Data Studio team is releasing an enhanced AdWords connector, giving users the ability to select MCC sub-accounts and set up reports for accounts containing multiple sub-account currencies.
|Click image for full-size version|
There are two major enhancements to the AdWords connector:
1. Selecting sub-accounts: prior to this release it was only possible to connect to an entire MCC account as the data source for a Data Studio report. This enhancement allows users to define a data source by selecting up to 75 individual sub-accounts within an MCC account.
2. Filtering on currencies: one common challenge with MCC accounts occurs when sub-accounts are set to different currencies. While metrics such as impressions and clicks can be aggregated correctly across these sub-accounts, currency fields like Cost and Average CPC cannot. The enhanced AdWords connector allows MCC account holders to filter sub-accounts by currency to avoid this problem, and removes currency fields from the connector if multiple currencies are present.
Connecting to AdWords MCC accounts
To connect to MCC accounts, create a new Data Studio data source and select the AdWords connector. If you have access to an MCC account, a “MANAGER ACCOUNTS” option will appear. The account holder can then select sub-accounts they are interested in, or use the pull-down menu in the upper-right corner to filter for sub-account currencies.
Note that existing Data Studio connections to MCC accounts must be edited and reconnected or recreated from scratch to take advantage of the new enhancements.
Your feedback and questions is welcomed in the Data Studio community forums.
Posted by Alon Gotesman, Google Data Studio team
PlayStation 4’s next big software update is going out now to beta testers, and it adds a lot for owners of the console to get excited about. There’s support for external USB HDDs, which means regardless of how much internal storage you have on your PS4, you can add up to 8TB of additional space via external drives, ensuring you’ll never run out of room for games and saves.… Read More