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Monthly Archives: September 2022

The Top New Features in Apple’s WatchOS 9

September 13, 2022 No Comments

The latest software for your Apple Watch is here, complete with fresh faces, sleep stages, and low-power mode.
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The Webb Space Telescope Snaps Its First Photo of an Exoplanet

September 11, 2022 No Comments

The grainy image of a “super Jupiter” is a sign of what’s to come as the telescope’s observations ramp up.
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7 Simple Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert

September 10, 2022 No Comments

Instagram stories drive a ton of engagement. People see them at the top of the feed as soon as they log in, and users want to check them out before they vanish in 24 hours. 

You can certainly reach a lot of people by just publishing organic stories – in fact, a third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. But to scale your organic presence, you need to turn to Instagram story ads

So, here are some of my top tips for creating Instagram story ads

Don’t Make It Look Like an Ad

People don’t go on Instagram to look at ads, they go there to see posts from their friends and brands they follow. If you create visuals that obviously look like ads, people will just swipe and move to the next story. 

To prevent people from skipping your ad, make it look like an organic post. 

A proper example is this ad from Huel. 

Source: Huel Instagram Ad

This is an advertisement for an instant mac and cheese that you can just prepare by adding hot water. When most people promote a product like this, they will create an image with a picture of the product, a headline, and a call to action. When people see the image, they spontaneously realize that it is an ad. 

But this ad from Huel is made to look like an organic post by sharing a video on how to prepare the meal. They promote the product, but they do it very subtly. Fewer people will skip it. 

But Still, Get It To Stand Out

It is crucial to create visuals that look less like ads, but it is also important for you to stand out. Creating ads for Instagram is like creating any other type of content. People will cherry-pick and check out the best content. So, think about various angles you can use to grab your audience’s attention. 

A simple way to do this is by using black-and-white videos or images. It’s because most people create visuals in color and those with a black-and-white palette are rare. 

Again, this will mainly depend on what your competition is using. So, before you create your ad, visit your feed and Instagram pages of competitors to see what types of content they create for their organic posts and ads. You can also use Instagram analytics tools to see which of your competitors’ posts generated the most engagement. Then brainstorm ways to stand out. 

Use More Videos

Instagram videos generate 49% more interactions than images. 

Source: quintly

Also, a study from Smaato found that video ads have a 7.5X higher click-through rate than static ads. 

Videos generally do better than images because something moving in the feed naturally attracts more attention. But to get the most out of video ads, you need to create the right content. Here are 4 top tips.

Keep them short: Story ads are naturally short as they can’t exceed 15 seconds. But you should make them even shorter, as a study from Facebook found that 6 seconds ads generate the best results. 

Add subtitles: 92% of people watch videos on mute when using a mobile device. If your ad contains speech, they won’t be able to make sense of it and will skip it. You should add the speech as subtitles to the ad to help them follow along even while on mute. 

This is one of the reasons why you will frequently come across ads that have no speech on Instagram. The captions explain the product while some background music plays. 

Add thumbnails: Instagram users can turn off autoplay when browsing on mobile data. These people will see a thumbnail instead. This is why you should add a thumbnail to all your video ads. 

Create an audience: You can create a custom audience consisting of the people who viewed your story ad. So, before you launch your ad, make sure you set up this audience. You can retarget based on how much of the video they watched. For example, you can create an ad retargeting people who watched your ad till the end while avoiding people who skipped it in the first few seconds. 

For an idea on how to create a simple ad, check out this one from Cerave.

It is just a few seconds long, and you can understand the message the ad is painting without needing any audio. You can see the product in the ad, and the CTA shows you how to get it. 

Many people shy away from creating videos, but they are pretty easy to make, especially for Instagram ads, as they just need to be 6 seconds long. What’s more, there are video editors like Videoleap that make your job easy. 

This easy-to-use mobile app has templates, stickers, filters, effects, and an intuitive editor that makes it possible to transform your product clips into ads that stand out in the feed. 

Position Your Text in the Right Areas

On every story ad, Instagram will display your profile image and company name at the top and a call to action at the bottom. 

It is important to keep these two areas in mind while creating your image or video. You need to place important details such as the text, illustrations, and branding away from these areas. 

Keep It Simple

When it comes to Instagram ads, less is more. This is one of the reasons why 6-second ads perform best. The role of the ad isn’t to generate sales, it is to get people to visit your landing page, which can drive the sale. 

Try to include as few details as you can in your story ad. A headline, a short description, one call to action, a picture or illustration, and some branding (such as your logo) are plenty. When you add too many details, it can make your visuals appear crowded. 

Always focus on one goal at a time. Too many goals can confuse prospects and lead to the paradox of choice.

Always Test Various Creatives and Copy

No matter how much research you do, it is impossible to create the perfect ad on the first attempt. This is why you should create several ad versions. It is best to create at least ten versions of your ad. 

You can start by creating five images and five videos. You should then split-test them for a week or two on a $ 5 to $ 10 a-day budget to see which one generates the best results. You can scale the budget for the one that performs best. You can also create new versions of the winner and conduct more experiments with the visuals and the copy.

Using Predis.ai, it’s easy to build out variants of your creative assets. Just enter a web page URL or a few words, and the AI engine spits out everything you need. Plus, it’s all easy to edit before you export the assets for your ad experiments. 

While measuring ad performance, always track KPIs such as return on ad spend and cost per acquisition, as these will matter the most to your bottom line. Metrics like clicks and impressions matter, but they don’t always directly correlate to the number of sales. 

Accompany With a Mobile Optimized Funnel

Instagram ads only appear on the app. This is why it is essential to ensure your funnel is optimized for mobile devices. 

The ad, of course, needs to be mobile-friendly, but on top of that, other elements, such as the landing page, checkout page, and thank you page, need to look good on mobile devices. 

Now Create Your Instagram Story Ads

Instagram is one of the top platforms for media buying, especially when you want to reach a warm audience with retargeting ads. Both in-feed ads and story ads will provide great results. 

I recommend starting with story ads as the network’s users prefer stories. Also, there’s more space for stories because they take up the whole screen. This allows you to get creative and try out new things. 

Now it’s your turn!

The post 7 Simple Tips For Creating Instagram Story Ads That Convert first appeared on PPC Hero.

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Scientists May Be a Little Too Excited About Weird Ideas

September 9, 2022 No Comments

In her new book theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder argues some of her colleagues may have gotten too excited about wild ideas like the multiverse.
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Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns

September 9, 2022 No Comments

Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns

30-second summary:

  • SEOs must improve the efficiency of ecommerce shopping ad campaigns to meet consumer expectations of a hassle-free online experience
  • Brands need to invest time, gather experience, and implement various new strategies to maximize their performance as the digital space is growing and evolving at a rapid pace
  • Setting up something like a Google Shopping Campaign may not be an uphill task; however, you need to implement smart strategies to make it more effective
  • The valuable tactics mentioned in this post will help you boost your ecommerce sales and get you started on the right track

We are witnessing a significant increase in digital ad spending across the globe. The pandemic has resulted in consumer behavior changes that have led to a new era of ecommerce. The majority of people around the world have increased their reliance on online shopping and brands have been investing more money and attention in direct-to-consumer activity.

According to a report by Oberlo, digital advertising spend in 2022 grew by 15.6 percent from 2021. The report further states that digital ad growth shows no signs of stopping and the growth is expected to continue for the next few years.

If you are running a business that sells products, you should absolutely embrace ecommerce to drive its growth. However, while neglecting ecommerce is not an option, there are numerous other brands online that could be fierce competition for your products, so it is important for you to enhance your strategy to remain both relevant and visible.

Important things to consider before starting a campaign

Ensure that your website is SEO-friendly (search engine optimized) and has a user-friendly design. A well-structured ecommerce website can help you achieve the kind of results you are looking for.

It is extremely crucial to create an ad that resonates with your potential customers. You should create a detailed customer persona with the following steps.

  • Decide who your target audience is. Are you targeting young men who like outdoor activities? Middle-aged mothers? Adults with aging parents?
  • Once you determine your target audience, you should understand what they are looking for. Analyze their requirements and try to find out their interests. What hobbies or goals might your target audience have? What interferes with their ability to do these things?
  • Turn these obstacles – these pain points – into your guidestones and try to address the problems that they pose.

How to maximize efficiency for your ecommerce paid campaigns

If you are looking to establish sustainable positive brand awareness online and improve your revenues from online sources, it’s critical to fine-tuning your online strategy.

Here is a list of key tactics that you must employ in order to achieve optimum results. While we will be specifically speaking about Google ads, many of these tactics are broadly applicable across any paid advertising service you use.

Optimize the product data feed

  • The data in your Google Product Feed determines your campaign performance, which seriously impacts your ROI. Therefore, optimization is key.
  • Make sure that the title is simple so that your audience can understand everything they need to know about your product just by reading it. Such titles can also help you gain maximum visibility on search engines like Google.
  • Instead of the Google Product Feed, if you prefer using a spreadsheet, make sure that you include all possible information about the product such as color, size, material, the age range of potential customers, and so on.
  • Select the right product categories and subcategories and align them with the appropriate product types. Failing to do this can seriously hurt your sales.
  • A quality Product Feed Management tool helps you track your performance, which is crucial, as you can make the necessary adjustments to your ad campaigns based on your performance.

Fine-tune your campaign by using negative keywords

  • Nothing is perfect in this world, and that includes the Google Shopping system as well.  Even though Google Shopping listings are a boon for marketers, imperfect keyword targeting is a big issue as search results can sometimes display your products with irrelevant search keywords. For instance, if you sell running shoes, but not other running accessories, you don’t want your ads coming up for shoppers who won’t purchase. 
  • If you’re showing up for these keywords that won’t generate buys, your ad campaigns could experience high spending but terrible conversion ratios, low click-through rates, and low ROIs and ROAS.
  • Implementing a negative keywords strategy in your Google Shopping ad campaigns can prevent your ads from showing up when certain search phrases are used. This in turn can boost the campaigns’ ROAS and ROI.
  • Using negative keywords in your ad campaigns can prevent unwanted clicks, thereby helping you save money by improving the click rate of your advertisement.

Highlight your sales, discounts, and special offers

  • Every customer loves a great offer as they are getting an opportunity to save while purchasing something.
  • If you want to move your products quickly, showcasing discounts and special offers is a great way to achieve that. While running special offers and deals, you need to specifically mention that, and if you really want to stand out in the field, you should run ads regarding these offers and deals.

Use Single Product Ad Groups

  • Single Product Ad Groups (SPAGs) enable marketers to set bids for each product individually. An SPAG allows you to pause individual products that aren’t giving you the expected results. SPAGs also give you the option to create negative keywords for specific products.
  • An SPAG allows you to identify your best-selling products and least-selling products, which will help you to group them into performing and non-performing categories accordingly.
  • An SPAG is a very useful tool, as it allows you to make modifications at the product level and create keywords for your product and control the bids at the market level.

Try Google Showcase Ads

  • Google Showcase Ads feature product images and prices directly on the results page. These ads expand when clicked and display a custom description of the product and a catalog of related products. These ads allow you to group together related products and present them together to introduce your brand or business.
  • Google Showcase Ads can improve your sales performance and efficiency of your paid campaigns as they allow you to highlight your products using high-quality digital images. You will be able to see them at the top of the SERP (search engine results page), above the paid search ads.

Create a good post-purchase experience

  • Considering the fierce competition from other brands and competitors online, it is very important to encourage repeat purchases, as they are often much less expensive than converting first-time shoppers.
  • A strong check-out experience and post-purchase considerations will help build strong customer loyalty which will make second and third purchases more likely.
  • Use customer data wisely once it is acquired. This will improve your customer retention rate. You can group your customers based on how much they have purchased and how many times they have purchased. You can then provide exclusive discounts and offers to your loyal customers accordingly.

Important points to remember while creating an ecommerce website

Here are a few key points that you must consider while creating an ecommerce website.

  • Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Many users use mobile devices for online searches, in fact, most online searches are executed on mobile devices. Making your site mobile user-friendly ensures that customers will be able to navigate your site on their mobile devices seamlessly.
  • Different users prefer different payment methods. Therefore, it is important to offer multiple payment options, as customers may cancel the purchase if they don’t find their preferred payment option on your ecommerce website. For instance, you could offer a normal credit card payment option, as well as PayPal or Google Pay.
  • Keep the sales process simple. Even customers who are not computer or mobile-savvy should be able to complete their purchase without trouble. A simple and straightforward experience can give your customers an effortless and seamless experience while purchasing.

Final thoughts

It is important for every brand to put the time in to ensure that they stand out and speak to their audience. Try to identify the ways in which you can keep your audience engaged as it can help in driving greater data capture and increase brand loyalty.

The strategies mentioned in this post can help you improve the efficiency of your ad campaigns, and implementing them correctly will pay off handsomely in the long run.


Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Maximizing efficiency for ecommerce paid campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The new YMYL guidelines and what this means for marketers

September 9, 2022 No Comments

The new YMYL guidelines and what this means for marketers

30-second summary:

  • Your money or your life (YMYL) guidance has been updated to give more clarity on what Google is looking for within its quality rater guidelines
  • Focusing on reputation, both of the person creating the main content and the website hosting the main content, is key
  • YMYL trust isn’t just built on-site, off-site digital PR and link acquisition can also play a key role in building trust
  • Google also helped to clarify which websites/content might fall into the YMYL categories and how this is defined
  • E-A-T continues to play an important role across the board, alongside matching user intent and purpose and creating great, reputable content for users

In late July, Google updated its Page Quality Rater Guidelines. It does this from time to time to reinforce the key principles that it looks for when evaluating the quality of a page. While Google has held the concept of expertise, authority and trust close to the center of these guidelines for a long time, one of the major changes or updates was related to the definition of “Your Money or Your Life” websites. There was also more insight into how these pages are rated, which is ideal for anyone working in these sectors looking to better understand how Google rates their websites.

The concept of Google having very high Page Quality rating guidelines for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) websites isn’t new, but the definition of what falls into this category has changed. Previously the definition covered “pages (which) could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.” This has been updated to cover “pages (which) have a high risk of harm because content about these topics could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.” This is a much broader scope of websites with potentially a much more significant impact.

As such, for many SEOs this means re-examining the guidance to ensure that our websites are ready for potentially enhanced scrutiny.

So what are the new guidelines and what does it mean?

The new guidelines for YMYL go much further than just the definition update above. They actually go into detail around how a particular topic could and couldn’t fall into the YMYL categorization, Google has even put it in a handy table for us so we can clearly understand:

Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines - YMYL

Source: Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

It’s also not just YMYL categories that have seen the updates, but many elements that go into rating YMYL pages. Along with enhancements to key E-A-T definitions and what Google is looking for, we can also see key updates to sections that focus on “low-quality pages” or what we should try to avoid. As marketers, we’ve never had so much information available to us about what Google is looking for in a quality website. This means that Google is likely to be getting very serious about its Page Quality Rater Guidelines and as SEOs, we should be too.

Content is as important as ever

Content will already be at the forefront of many SEO minds given that Google’s “Helpful Content” update has already started rolling out. Additionally, the updates to the YMYL guidance have demonstrated that your on-site content is a key contributor to how the pages are evaluated for expertise, quality, and authority.

Google highlights in section 4.2 that the “quality of the MC is one of the most important criteria in Page Quality rating.” So we know that the main content on the website is something Google is looking at with close scrutiny, especially if your website falls into that YMYL category. Having a reasonable amount of good quality main content plays a key role in this, but so do the page’s functionality and features. Don’t just rest at making sure your content is great, ensure that any features on the website such as calculators, checkouts, and interactivity are also created to a high standard.

Content that falls into YMYL sectors is, of course, held here to a higher standard. Google gives the example that, “high E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed and updated, on a regular basis.”

If you find yourself in a YMYL category, then regularly updating, reviewing, and editing your content to ensure that it’s up to date will play a role here.

Enhancing key E-A-T signals

For most businesses refreshing your ‘About Us’ page might seem like the most unimportant task, but when you are trying to tell users about who you are, showcase your expertise and give users that sense of trust and security, this can actually be one of the most important elements of your website. In section 2.5.3 of the guidelines, Google highlights that this can be one area of your website where raters go to find information about who owns the site, which can be a key element of establishing a good reputation.

Your reviews also fall into this category and that’s not just reviews on your own website, but also reviews on external sources. In fact – the word “reviews” is mentioned 66 times in the guidelines alone. While reviews on your own website are important and it’s definitely worth promoting these, one tip I picked up from the guidelines (section 2.6.4) is to do a quick reputation search. You can then evaluate if there are any other external website reviews or reputation signals that you need to be aware of. You can do this by using a negative site search i.e. for Google you would use [google -site:google.com] which would search for the term “Google” on all sites except google.com. Doing this for your business can help identify how others may view your reputation.

Reputation matters

Two of the five most important factors in Page Quality Rating relate to reputation and information; that is, information about who is responsible for the main content and the reputation of that person and the website itself..-We knew from the Medic Update that authoring and author profiles have grown in importance, and as the guidelines now turn to focus on the reputation of both the websites and the authors, this has become an even more important facet of showcasing your expertise and authority.

In sections 2.6 and 2.6.1 of the updated guidelines, Google talks about reputation research around both the user and the website which has provided the main content. It also talks about the type of reputation information that is available and how applicable it is within certain industries, for example, how applicable product reviews would be in the finance sector. It’s clear that building strong reputation information that is relevant to your brand/industry would add value here.

Finally, for websites that are smaller or perhaps don’t have a huge amount of visible reputation information, Google does state that “this is not indicative of positive or negative reputation… for these smaller businesses and organizations, lack of reputation should not be considered an indication of low page quality.”

Trust is built on-site and off-site

Trust and authority are two of the key elements which go into rating a page’s quality and these are key for great YMYL. However, this doesn’t just come down to content and updates on the site, it’s also very much about what is available off-site. Digital PR has seen unprecedented growth in recent years as a great way of growing a website’s reputation as well as building high-quality, authoritative backlinks back to a website.

Whether it’s looking for reputation information or key signals about your brand, one of the biggest places people are searching is on websites that aren’t yours. That’s where digital PR can have the biggest impact on improving your reputation, expertise, and overall authority. Digital PR can help to build your website and your author reputation by sharing thought leadership or data expertise. This is a great way to build up these core YMYL factors while also gaining great coverage for your brand.

Keeping the user in mind

Regardless of whether you are looking to devise a digital PR strategy, improve your on-site content or make changes to the structure of your website, with the new guideline updates and YMYL changes, it’s clear that Google wants to see and understand the reputation of your website and its content creators.

Keeping these elements and the user in mind will help to ensure that you’re creating a great user experience that naturally demonstrates expertise, authority, trust, and any other signals that Google is looking for. As Google continues to improve and update its guidelines, this will become more important than ever.


Amanda Walls is the founder and Director of Cedarwood Digital, an award-winning Digital Marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, and Digital PR.

With 12 years of Digital Marketing experience under her belt, Amanda founded the business six years ago which was recently named the UK Small Ecommerce Agency of the year in 2021.

An expert in all things digital, Amanda has worked as a trainer for Google’s Digital Garage in the North West and has delivered digital marketing training to thousands of marketers across the region.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post The new YMYL guidelines and what this means for marketers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Apple’s New ‘Ultra’ Watch Goes Toe-to-Toe With Garmin

September 8, 2022 No Comments

Saddled by still-mediocre battery life, the Apple Watch Ultra isn’t a true competitor to the reigning king of premium wearables. But it’s getting much closer.
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The Tricky Ethics of Being a Teacher on TikTok

September 6, 2022 No Comments

Some educators believe social media can help them engage with students, but it also raises questions around classroom privacy.
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Our Favorite Gear for Everyday Sun Protection

September 5, 2022 No Comments

The sun is a giver of life—but get too much of it and you’re toast. These are the best hats, arm coverings, and shirts to shield yourself.
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PlayStation Studios Is Getting Into Mobile Games

September 3, 2022 No Comments

Plus: Samsung has a new giant gaming monitor, Philips lights up new smart bulbs, and Twitter draws a Circle.
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