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Tag: Search

How to Leverage Visual Search for e-Commerce Growth

October 5, 2022 No Comments

Online shopping is booming as people become more comfortable buying online as opposed to in-store. It’s easy, comfortable, and convenient, with the possibility of finding a wider range of products at better prices.

As with everything in the digital space, online shopping is evolving, and visual search is the latest opportunity to increase sales, boost revenue, and grow your customer base. So let’s learn more about visual search and how to optimize content to maximize profits.

What is Visual Search?

Visual search is appropriately named as it involves users searching with an image, as opposed to a keyword.

The reasons why someone would do this come down to the following benefits:

  • Visual search makes it easier when you don’t know what you are looking for
  • It can help to match a particular style
  • Your search query may be long and complicated, so an image simplifies things

Consider visual search as a targeted and user-friendly method that involves pointing a camera at something to find an exact match or something similar.

The Differences Between Image and Visual Search

They sound similar but are incredibly different. Image search requires you to type in a query in the search box, with image results returned based on your keyword; a method that people are very familiar with. 

On the other hand, visual search requires an image or your Google Lens camera to search and return images that match or are similar. Voice, visual, and conversational search are improvements on typing search, all with the goal of making life easier for us all.

The Popular Visual Search Options

  • Pinterest Lens

The Pinterest lens was the first social media platform to use visual search. In the Pinterest app, a new or existing photo can be used to complete the search. This has been extended to hybrid search, which uses the aesthetic of an existing pin to find similar items, and the “complete the look” feature, which can generate case-based recommendations to match an outfit or room layout and style.

  • Google Lens

Google Photos lets you use an existing image for a visual search with the ability to identify over 1 billion items. You can also scan your environment to search for things in reality or have Google identify and recommend items on a menu. Other popular features include the ability to translate text from print directly onto your phone, identify animals and plants, and historical facts about your location.

  • Snapchat Camera 

Snapchat camera allows you to search for products on Amazon by pointing it at a physical product or barcode. If recognized, an Amazon card will appear on-screen with a link to buy on Amazon.

Visual Search Issues

Before we dive into optimizing your store for visual search, it is important to be aware that this new innovation still needs some improvements. Lenses commonly auto-select the wrong focal point, categorize a person instead of a product, or display items that are out of stock.

It is vital to be aware of these pitfalls as they may cause you to lose some sales along with the trust of your customers. Optimizing your images correctly can help lower the risk of this, however.

How to Optimize for Visual Search

Optimization of all kinds is important, as emphasized in this e-commerce SEO case study. Visual search success comes down to optimizing your images. By doing this, you will hopefully avoid the visual search mistakes mentioned above. To optimize your images and truly leverage the benefits of visual search, do the following:

  • Submit image sitemap to Google

Ensuring your images are indexed is the first step, and you do this by submitting image sitemaps. With basic product data from the shopping feed, visual search technology will be able to understand your content.

  • Sync product data 

Sync from your site with the Google merchant center and Pinterest catalogs to keep product info updated, allow people to search by brand, and avoid penalties from Google.

  • Use structured data

Put your USPs in the product description (especially free shipping), as this can help you get the much sought-after click. With a relevant schema for all images and rich pins to your site, you reduce friction and potential frustration by eliminating out-of-stock items from the user’s feed.

  • Standard image optimization

We know about optimizing site images for site speed and user experience, but they also help with visual search. One of the most important elements is image size. Keeping your image sizes under control helps your website load faster, which reduces user frustration, and much like personalized content which helps users understand the information they’re seeing is specific to their needs, it can be the defining factor when it comes to making or losing the sale.

  • Filename and alt-tags

Use appropriate, targeted, and descriptive file names for all of your images along with alt-tags, which means an alternative tag, a name that appears in place of an image if it fails to load. The alt-tag text is also read by search engines to help them understand the purpose of the picture. Be sure to use the most relevant alt-tag for the image, as this can impact your rankings and boost sales. An SEO booster can help with all of this!

While all of this sets your digital assets on the right path, we also recommend looking into having a local presence in the real world to reach customers in cities outside of your local area. By allowing them to call you when they have an issue (which you can do by providing a local phone number), you can increase customer satisfaction!

Making the Most of Your E-commerce Opportunities

As an e-commerce store owner or digital marketer, it is always important to be aware of the opportunities that arise in the digital space, like visual search. Utilize the emotions of your audience via social media and adapt your content to be attractive and relevant to improve discovery, engagement, and above all, sales.

The post How to Leverage Visual Search for e-Commerce Growth first appeared on PPC Hero.

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Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

September 18, 2022 No Comments

Balancing between paid and organic search for brand success

30-second summary:

  • Relying on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for short-term gains and neglecting organic marketing will prove ineffective
  • Before pumping any money into SEO strategy, a business must ensure that its website is fully optimised for user experience
  • Once in a comfortable position, PPC advertising can be used to amplify brand reach by experimenting with new keywords
  • While short-tail keywords have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain vital
  • Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop and mobile users have less patience, so allocate more PPC advertising budget for mobile

When trying to grow a business, the importance of SEO cannot be understated. If people are unable to find a business, especially as ecommerce continues to grow into an unstoppable force, then attracting customers is an impossible endeavour.

In a bid to fast-track brand awareness, an inexperienced business owner might be tempted to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get fast results. However, finding the right balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising is crucial for brand success.

I have broken down six ways to find the perfect balance between organic marketing and PPC advertising so that any business owner can build awareness for their brand the right way.

Fully optimize your website first

Before focusing on paid or organic search for brand success, having a fully functional website is imperative. If a prospective customer has a torrid experience using a website, the odds of securing a sale drastically decrease. All the logistics of a website should be thoroughly inspected, such as broken links, load time and the volume of customers which can be hosted at once. It’s also important to avoid over-optimising a website and using too many keywords. Keywords should be implemented subtly so that the untrained eye would never notice, otherwise, they might add negative SEO value.

Rely on PPC whilst waiting for organic SEO improvement

While it would be great to be able to rely mostly or solely on organic marketing to raise brand awareness eventually, doing so when starting out is virtually impossible. Historically, PPC advertising has been encouraged to be used whilst a business is waiting for organic SEO improvement to land. This is not a licence to neglect organic marketing – far from it – as the goal is to improve a business’s SEO value whilst using PPC initially. In the longer term, results from PPC advertising should be used to guide organic marketing efforts.

Experiment with brand-related keywords

Once in a comfortable position, a business can shift its PPC advertising strategy towards experimentation. As and when organic brand-related keywords drop in place, the corresponding PPC advertising budget can be reallocated to test new keywords, thus amplifying the total reach of the brand. When improving SEO value, a business needs to constantly explore and update its targeted keywords for organic SEO improvement. As mentioned, results from PPC advertising should be used to inform organic marketing planning.

Focus on both short-tail and long-tail keywords

A short-tail keyword or ‘head term’ is a search term with one to three words that cover a general topic. Landing on the first search engine results page for short-tail keywords borders on impossible due to the sheer number of results, so even though they typically have a higher search volume, long-tail keywords remain important as users are more likely to be closer to a point-of-purchase when searching them. Searching for “shoe shiner” would be a short-tail keyword, whereas searching for “how to shine my shoes” is a long-tail keyword, as it is three to five words and more focused on a specific subject. Naturally, the short-tail keywords will garner more searches, but ranking well for the long-tail keywords will offer a business a meaningful advantage over competitors in the same market.

Don’t just rely on Google

Most business owners, executives and managers will be inclined to focus all their efforts on Google – and rightfully so as it’s the world’s biggest search engine platform by far. However, it can also be worth testing ads on the likes of Bing to see what returns are achievable elsewhere. If the results are favourable, it might be worth splitting SEO-related efforts across multiple platforms.

Use PPC advertising for mobile, organic marketing for desktop

Search results drastically differ on mobile and desktop. At the risk of stating the obvious, using a search engine on desktop presents the users with more results because the screen is naturally bigger. As the window of opportunity – literally the size of the search window on a smartphone – is much smaller on mobile, using PPC advertising for mobile is critical. Furthermore, mobile users are less likely to make multiple searches using different keywords, than a desktop user with more patience might.

Growing brand awareness requires a streamlined and focused strategy for both organic marketing and PPC advertising. Solely relying on PPC advertising might seem like an easy solution, but slowly working on organic marketing will eventually allow a business to use PPC advertising to amplify brand reach. Business owners might underestimate the importance of SEO, but its importance can’t be underscored in the ever-growing digital marketplace.


Nick Swan is Founder of SEOTesting.

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The inner workings of search advertising in a cookieless world

September 13, 2022 No Comments

The inner workings of search advertising in a cookieless world

30-second summary:

  • As third-party cookies will eventually phase out and marketers search for alternate approaches, they may find themselves lost in a sea of data when attempting to measure and evaluate the impact
  • Focusing on the quality of users instead of attributable conversions can mitigate the inconvenience of losing third-party cookies
  • The shift from cookies to a new engagement model will require constant testing, so keep data simple where possible

For years now, digital marketers have been spoiled by third-party cookies and the ability to accurately track engagement – it has made life simple, and reporting a campaign’s activity a breeze. Such an approach has allowed us to easily see how many conversions Meta, Criteo, or an influencer has contributed to with minimal effort. But the eventual demise of third-party cookies demands accurate data on engagement to ensure that the transition to new identifiers can be as clear as possible. However, due to either ignorance or convenience, many advertisers still take overly positive and blindly optimistic metrics as the truth.

Counting your chickens before they’ve converted

If we take Facebook for example, they have no way of knowing to what extent their services contributed to a conversion. There are many ways of producing wildly inflated numbers, such as having several touch points and one conversion being associated with multiple channels, or even inaccuracies from false positives. This is particularly troubling for those engaging in heavy remarketing based on past users who already have visited or interacted with a site. One must ask the question – when working with inaccurate metrics, will remarketing actually contribute to further conversions or will it simply attribute miss-clicks to campaigns that don’t increase revenue?

We as humans love to oversimplify things, especially complex patterns. Imagine how complex a visit is to your webpage – you get a session that is connected to a user, that considers different attributes such as age, gender, location, interests as well as their current activity on your site. That user data is then sent to, for example, Google Ads, in a remarketing list.

Even the remarketing list provides a notable variable when trying to make sense of conversions. Facebook and Google users are not 1:1, with one user on Google often being connected to more devices and browsers than the average Facebook user. You could get a conversion from a device that Google has connected to the same user, while Facebook may lack any insight.

With each user visiting your website you populate remarketing lists. Those remarketing lists build “lookalikes” in Facebook and “similar” in Google. These “similars” can be extremely useful, as although traffic from one channel could be attributed to zero to no conversions, they could in fact help build the most efficient “similars” in Google Ads that can then drive a large number of cheap conversions.

Identify data that helps you steer clear of over-attribution

All automated optimization efforts, whether they be the campaign budget optimization (CBO) or Target CPA are dependent on data. The more data you feed the machines the better results you get. The bigger your remarketing lists, the more efficient your automatic/smart campaigns will be on Google. This is what makes the value of a user so multifaceted and incredibly complex, even when you don’t take the action impression of an ad into account.

With this incredible complexity, we need to have an attribution model that can genuinely portray engagement data without inflating or underselling a campaign’s conversions. However, while there may be many models that are well suited to produce the most accurate results, it should be remembered that attribution is by itself flawed. As consumers, we understand that the actions that drive us to conversions in our personal lives are varied, with so many things that can’t be tracked enough to be attributed. While attribution cannot be perfect, it is essentially the best tool available and can become far more useful when applied alongside other data points.

The last non-direct click attribution model

When trying to avoid inflated data, the easiest attribution model is a last non-direct click. With this model, all direct traffic is ignored and all the credit for the conversion goes to the last channel that the customer clicked through, ultimately preventing any conversions from being falsely attributed to multiple touchpoints. It is a simple model that only considers the bare minimum that still manages to solve the problems of over-attribution by being direct. This way, marketers can measure the effect rather than attributing parts of conversion to different campaigns or channels. It really is a very straightforward approach; essentially, “if we do this to x, does that increase y?”. Of course, like all attribution models, the last non-direct click approach has its downsides. For one, it’s not a perfect solution to over/under contribution, but it is an easily replicable and strategically sound approach that provides reliable data where you can measure everything in one place.

In any case, the delayed death of the third-party cookie is certainly causing many to reevaluate their digital advertising methodologies. For now, proactive marketers will continue to search for privacy-friendly identifiers that can provide alternative solutions. First-party data could well have a larger role to play if consent from users can be reliably gained. While we wait for the transition, getting your data in order and finding accurate, reliable approaches to attribution must be a priority.

Ensuring the accuracy of this data is therefore imperative, this can be achieved by ensuring there are no discrepancies between clicks and sessions whilst all webpages are accurately tracked. In the absence of auto-tracking, UTMs should also be used to track all campaigns and, if possible, tracking should be server-side. Finally, marketers should test their tracking with Tag Assistant, and make sure they don’t create duplicate sessions or lose parameters during the session. Ultimately, once the third-party cookie becomes entirely obsolete, which direction marketers go in will ultimately be decided by data – which must be as accurate as possible.


Torkel Öhman is CTO and co-founder of Amanda AI. Responsible for building Amanda AI, with his experience in data/analytics, Torkel oversees all technical aspects of the product ensuring all ad accounts run smoothly.

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

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Search Advertising 2.0 is Here. Did You Adjust Yet?

August 26, 2022 No Comments

Suppose you are a data-driven search marketer and want to maintain significant control of your main advertising assets such as keywords and ad copy. In that case, you must be disoriented by the trajectory that search advertising platforms, particularly Google, are taking. Starting on June 30, 2022, Google no longer allows the creation or editing of expanded text ads, leaving only responsive search ads as an option.

Last year in 2021, a similar move was made around broad match modified keywords. Everything indicates that the industry is going towards more machine learning-driven optimization, with fewer possibilities of manual control. The introduction of performance max campaigns demonstrates it as well. This presents new opportunities and challenges to face. How do you ensure that your ads are as efficient as possible when Google has more and more flexibility on what to deliver?

Understanding Machine Learning Optimizations

I think about an algorithm as a huge calculator that can process a lot of data in a matter of seconds. The key here is “a lot of data”. The easy trap to fall into is not to give your algorithm enough data to work with. In the instance of Google Ads, we can look at it at the ad group level to determine whether enough data is being collected. Your responsive search ad as well as your keywords function at that level, which is the reason why we look at ad groups.

You want to be careful about over-segmenting your ad groups, which could result in your responsive search ad not receiving enough impressions and clicks to optimize efficiently. When you have 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, that represents a lot of possibility for testing and Google needs to reach statistical significance for the ads to work well. To illustrate the problem with limited data, you can always refer to what happens when you create a new account.

In one of our accounts advertising apartments, we tested a full responsive search ad approach along with smart bidding and broad keywords. We realized very quickly that Google started delivering ads for location keywords completely irrelevant to where our apartment complex was. We took a rather extreme approach in giving Google full control and found out correlatedly that our account was for sure not ready for that. That said, when your account has enough data, things can go in the opposite direction, and that’s where you will fall in love with smart optimization.

If You Give it Enough Data, It Will Work

On the other hand, we did a similar test with an account with a history of recorded conversions. We were more diligent with the approach as we created a campaign where only a few broad match keywords were implemented within a single ad group with one responsive search ad. In essence, the campaign setup did leverage full machine learning-driven optimization but it had less to optimize at once and operated within an account that had historical data to work with. The results below were recorded during the first 3 months and were fantastic.

Campaign Cost Conversions Cost/click Cost/conversion
Test Campaign(One Ad Group, 2 broad keywords, audience targeting) $ 2,8k 21 $ 2.88 $ 133
Control Campaign(11 ad groups, 50+ keywords, audience targeting) $ 1,6k 21 $ 2.46 $ 77

The cost/conversion was reduced by ~70%, changing nothing else than the campaign structure. This tells you the importance of structuring your campaign appropriately as we transition to smart bidding, responsive search ads, and more utilization of broad keywords.

What if You Still Need To Segment Your Campaigns?

The question is then, do you really need to? Or did you get used to a methodology that you struggle getting away from? If the answer is that you need some ad copy control for example, which is fair and not rare, then you want to make sure that each of your ad groups have enough data to work with. This is true for impressions, clicks, and conversions – but you can give yourself an arbitrary number to commit to such as 10k impressions per month in any ad group. So you still can have multiple ad groups, but just keep in mind that they will need food (data) to survive and stay healthy.

Conclusion: Automated Optimizations are Here to Stay

Computers are getting faster and better at calculating, so it is natural that search advertising platforms will continue to implement machine learning-driven campaign types and optimizations. Privacy has become critical for consumers in recent years and that implies that advertisers will see less data as well. Understanding how to navigate the new search advertising era with fewer data and more leverage for computers will be key success drivers.

The post Search Advertising 2.0 is Here. Did You Adjust Yet? first appeared on PPC Hero.

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Retail Search is the New PPC

June 28, 2022 No Comments

“Amazon Ads, why?”. It all started for me back in 2018 when I interviewed some of the world’s leading PPC experts and surveyed award-winning paid search agencies. They were all doing Google Shopping campaigns but what about Amazon Ads? Very few of them invested there.  Since then, Amazon Ads has caught up on both Meta […] The post Retail Search is the New PPC first appeared on PPC Hero.

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How a testing model is driving SEAT and CUPRA’s search marketing performance

June 23, 2022 No Comments

“Will we ever be able to put search marketing strategy in the driver’s seat?” This is almost every search marketer’s dilemma as the community continues to remain at the mercy of Google’s algorithms and updates.

SEAT S.A, the Barcelona-based multinational automaker part of the Volkswagen group have innovated a testing model that is driving growth for its brands, SEAT and CUPRA in the European market. While SEAT is the young, cool and urban brand that offers cars with striking designs and several mobility solutions – CUPRA is an unconventional brand, which is defined by its progressive design and the performance of its electrified models.

How a testing model is driving SEAT and CUPRA’s search marketing performance

We spoke with Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager at SEAT S.A, Sophie Santallusia, Global Paid Search and Programmatic Director, and Alejandro Sebastian, Global Search Team Lead at PHD Media Spain to discuss the ‘Performance innovation program’ (SEAT S.A’s testing model) and its value add to the businesses.

A fast-paced industry

Digital is a fast-moving sector and search is always reinventing itself with new formats and everchanging ways to create and manage accounts. The teams at SEAT and CUPRA had several pain points:

1. Staying on-top of all innovations and changes in the industry

“We needed to become first movers who actively capitalize on opportunities that appear. To ensure this our teams needed to take advantage of search space dynamics, apply best practices, and gain a technological and intelligence edge over the competition.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager at SEAT S.A.

2. Improving visibility of the team’s hard work

“While we were putting all these efforts, we wanted to improve our team’s visibility. While we are busy becoming the best performing channel, always reinventing, working towards results and efficiencies, we often miss the glitter of other channels. Adding an official scope and framework means we get to report and showcase our achievements.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager, SEAT S.A.

3. Maintaining performance and improving efficiency

“As the best performing channel on a last-click attribution model, we were also facing multiple challenges. The pandemic lockdowns and microchip shortages made search performance improvements a constant, ongoing must-have. This meant decreasing the cost per click (CPC) and improving the cost per acquisition (CPA) were always core reasons to develop such a testing model.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager, SEAT S.A

Putting testing in the driver seat: The SEAT and CUPRA Performance innovation program

The SEAT S.A testing model, ‘Performance innovation program’ was designed to align with the inherent love for innovation that runs at the core of SEAT and CUPRA brands. The testing model was built centrally to maintain brand focus on the strength of paid search – improving cost efficiencies and accelerating performance.

Corinne and her team at SEAT S.A and their agency, PHD Media reviewed brand strategies for SEAT and CUPRA respectively, their performance, and local needs. They created a framework that provides structure, helps the brands expand their market share, and deliver central visibility on the testing results. They created specific testing roadmaps, based on quarterly goals that align with local markets based on their needs and strategies.

“We then applied our tests, sharing the hypothesis (highlighting results from other markets) of what we hope to achieve and then applying the test into the main strategy.

“We had a clear timeline and roadmap. We always test and learn. This allows us to have a specific position with partners, allowing us to always be part of the alphas and betas, testing new formats, always trying to improve results at the same time”, Corinne shared.

To facilitate consistency the SEAT S.A team organized tests throughout the year pacing one test at a time for an ad group or campaign to maintain efficiency and gain clear observations. The roadmap was created on these factors:

  • Priorities for markets based on the impact and workload
  • Changes that Google makes to ad formats or different features that it sunsets or iterates

The search marketing grand prix: data, automation, and visual optimization

SEAT S.A and PHD Media started differentiating strategies by keyword type and defined them for each ad group. Keywords were segmented based on brand and non-brand search, their role, and their respective KPIs. This data was then used during the auction bidding. Artificial intelligence (AI) was used to segment audiences and target ads that were top of the funnel. Comparative insights from these tests were later fed into the business to inform the direction of strategy.

To improve the click through rate (CTR) and lower CPCs, the SEAT S.A team focused on adding visuals to ads, improving ad-copies, and testing new extensions. They also decreased CPAs by using bid strategies and the system’s AI to get the best of their budgets.

To master their visual impact on audiences SEAT S.A used image extensions for each ad across all their campaigns. Google displayed these images based on multiple factors like clicks, content, and keyword triggers to optimize the best performing ones.

From a data point of view, in Search SEAT S.A used Google Search Ads (SA360) to manage and monitor their Google Ads and Bing Ads respectively. The data sets tracked all the core essentials of paid search:

  • Keyword conversion performance
  • Ad copies
  • Audience data through all the custom bidding options available in SA360

Outcomes

The ‘Performance innovation program’ model has helped SEAT and CUPRA achieve one of their best tests which catalyzed their search performance in terms of the cost per visit (CPV), one of their main KPIs that signaled top of the funnel conversions. The cost per visit (CPV) improved by 30% and cost per acquisition (CPA) improved by 37%.

SEAT S.A (SEAT and CUPRA) are now equipped with new ways to deduce and analyze conversions on a market-to-market basis.

Sharing intelligence across diverse markets

After completing the testing phase, the SEAT S.A team and their global partner PHD Media reported on results and observations. Sharing their learnings and insights with other markets has empowered other teams to benefit from the knowledge and expertise derived from the successful test prototypes. Focusing on components that drive results has allowed the teams spread across to be challenged and has facilitated constant learning while embracing changes and new features. The SEAT and CUPRA teams are now strongly positioned to outperform the competition.

Gearing up for a cookie less future

Going cookie less will bring challenging times and impact the search channel. SEAT and CUPRA plan to counter this with the use of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to maintain performance and target the right audience. Opening up to new visual formats like Discovery campaigns and MMA/MSAN from Bing will also take an important place within search in the future, as the core of search might evolve with more automation, less granularity and control.

Greater focus on measurement and a privacy-first future

The team is testing ‘consent mode’ with GA4 and ‘enhanced conversion’ to estimate the attrition due to privacy guidelines. They are also focused on identifying and designing a risk contingency plan for the paid search elements that they won’t be able to test in the near future.

“We are testing all the new solutions and features that Google is bringing to the market in terms of privacy and cookie less capabilities. Particularly, our testing is focused on deploying the full suite of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), site-wide tagging, consent mode, and enhanced conversions.

Additionally, we are also testing new audience segments that GA4 allows within a privacy first ecosystem on our paid search campaigns. We are seeing some positive and promising results.”

– Corinne Calcabrina, Global Media Manager at SEAT S.A

SEAT S.A and PHD Media are actively focused on Google solutions for mapping markets and audiences that are privacy compliant and applicable for targeting segments.

They are also working towards gathering and connecting first party data like CRM audiences and customer match solutions.


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The post How a testing model is driving SEAT and CUPRA’s search marketing performance appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Google Universal Search 2200 In a Digital Assistant

April 28, 2022 No Comments

On October 1, 2019, I wrote about a continuation patent update to Google’s Universal Search Results. It was the fourth time that particular patent had gotten updated. I wrote about it under the post name – Google’s New Universal Search Results. It makes sense to see what new changes have happened with a new continuation … Read more

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Google Ads Optimization: Search Campaign Optimization List

April 6, 2022 No Comments

From a list of keywords to avoid to how to monitor search ad performance to language demographic targeting, we have everything you need, right here.

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Three Tips to Combine Paid and Organic Search Marketing Strategy

March 31, 2022 No Comments

Not sure how to align PPC and SEO? These tips will help you master the SERP, align both channels, and maximize your holistic search strategy.

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2022 Search ads 360 update: What you need to know

March 23, 2022 No Comments

2022 Search ads 360 update What you need to know

30-second summary:

  • Search Ads 360 platform has seen one of its biggest updates in 10 years
  • Performics’ Senior Media Manager, Alex Medawar shares key highlights of the updates around budget optimization, performance monitoring, and inventory management

Google recently announced a new update to its Search Ads 360 platform – and it’s a big one. SA360 has gotten even more powerful since it was first launched over 10 years ago, making it simpler than ever for commercial enterprises to manage their search advertising efforts.

A select number of Search Ads 360 users finally gained preview access this past month.

The new platform experience will start rolling out over the coming months while allowing users to continue access in the classic experience. In this article, I outline what’s new and share effective ways to make the most of your budgets and inventory in the Search Ads 360 platform.

1. Greater support for alternative channels

One of the Search Ads 360 updates includes greater support for alternative search engines such as Microsoft Ads and Yahoo! Japan.

Other advertising channels have been neglected for years, and the consequence has been time-consuming workarounds to link data and make bulk changes.

As a result of the new update, Google promises that you will now be able to get more of your work done from the same place.

For Microsoft Advertisers, SA360 will now support additional features:

  • Response search ads
  • Call extensions
  • Local inventory ads
  • Access to a variety of audience types

For Yahoo! Japan advertisers, you can now utilize dynamic search ads and site link extension scheduling.

2. Access to new features

Search Ads 360 will now offer support for the newest features in Google Ads including:

  • Performance Max – a new goal-based campaign type that lets performance advertisers access all of their Google Ads inventory from a centralized campaign. 
  • Discovery campaigns – allows advertisers to run ads in Google discover feeds to deliver highly visual, inspiring personalized ad experiences
  • Display and YouTube Advertising (previously only in the platform)

Google has also added advanced enterprise innovation features that will allow teams to scale everyday tasks such as:

  • Campaign management
  • Create automated rules
  • Use labels across various advertisers simultaneously

The addition of Templates will combine current features like inventory management and ad builder for a unified and scalable experience.

new features in the Search Ads 360 update - inventory management and ad builder

For media managers who spend hours crafting forecasts, the new Performance Center will include enterprise planning capabilities with spend, CPA, and conversion forecasts in the coming months.

3. Updated inventory management

A revamped inventory management system provides streamlined workflows and more powerful controls over how you use your ad space.

Utilizing an inventory feed, SA360 can generate ready-to-go paid search campaigns using dynamic data such as price, description, and availability of your product from your feed.

This tool is especially useful for industry verticals with frequently changing prices and availability such as:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Live and Streaming Entertainment
  • Recruitment
  • Retail
  • Businesses with geo-specific offers

How it works

  1. Provide high-quality data and make a list of attributes for your feed such as product name, price, and landing page.
  2. Create templates for each type of output you want generated such as a campaign, ad group, ad, or keyword. (Tip: start small!)
  3. Utilize functions and attributes to generate highly relevant ads.
  4. Check your output and optimize until you are happy with the results.

Within minutes, you’ll have ready-to-go, targeted campaigns in your account that ready for launch.

In the new Search Ads 360, marketers will be able to manage templates across client accounts to update ads at scale.

budget management in Search Ads 360

4. Budget management

Any media manager will tell you that managing account budgets and pacing is one of the most critical components of campaign management and also one of the most difficult, especially at scale.

As part of the latest Search Ads 360 release, budget management will be improved and integrated with the new ‘Performance Center’.

Later this year, Google plans to provide complete access to these planning tools, allowing you to experiment with a variety of potential media budget flighting scenarios.

Features

The following are some of the features included in the present budget management system:

  • Visual graphs that include target and estimated spend, plus KPIs such as CPA (cost per acquisition) or revenue
  • Automatic budget allocation and bid adjustments set by your chosen budget bid strategy
  • Forecasting capabilities based on historical performance data that factors in seasonality
  • Estimated cumulative spend and likelihood to hit target spend based on historical data
  • Pacing reports at the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual level

As Google adds new features throughout the year, we can anticipate that these tools will become more accurate and streamlined for enterprise planning.

New look

The new Search Ads 360 experience closely resembles the Google Ads platform with similar navigation and a familiar user experience.

Upon launching the SA360 platform, you can see the identical account overview dashboard found in Google Ads for seamless navigation between the two.

Into the future

With the new Search Ads 360 update, Google opens doors for the next generation of enterprise innovations to optimize performance.

The new updates will help you get more work done in one place saving time and providing a better cross-channel view for data-driven decision making.

To learn all about the new tools, enroll in Google’s new Skillshop modules for Search Ads 360.


Alex Medawar is Senior Media Manager at Performics and creator of Alex Medawar.com. As a seasoned digital media expert, Alex Medawar focuses on B2B paid search campaign management and strategy for global brands in the tech space. Utilizing a data-driven approach, Alex believes that both small businesses and large enterprises alike can speak to their audience and drive results within the digital media landscape.

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