- Posted on 11 November 2013
PPC Industry Updates for October 2013
Google introduces Shopping campaigns. Online retailers will be able to better manage their PLAs
When it launched Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Google expected to improve customer experience on the SERPs. Users who were searching for products online could use the listing to easily browse a wide selection of products and find high-quality images along with prices and brands.
From the advertisers’ perspective this created a great opportunity for brands to use their logos and product imagery in search results. However what was missing was a tool to easily manage these campaigns and this resulted in a lack of 100% control on the results shown.
With Shopping campaigns, Google aims at facilitating PLA campaign management allowing advertisers to create product groups and adjust settings and bids to grow profitable traffic from SERPs.
So, what are the key advantages?
- Retailers can organize their inventory in product groups and sort out their campaigns just like their ‘shops’. They can also assign attributes to the products in the feed and differentiate between high and low-priority products based on margins, volumes etc.
- Advanced reporting features (competitive and performance data) per product category will be available, making optimisation faster and more effective.
- Advertisers will be able to identify and push top performing product categories while pulling back on the least profitable ones. This will result in a more efficient allocation of budget across paid search campaigns and therefore higher ROI.
This is the biggest update on PLAs since they first became available on the market, showing Google’s commitment towards creating a retail-centric way to manage product advertising online.
Shopping campaigns are being released gradually and are currently available on a restricted number of advertisers in the US. They should officially launch globally in the new year. In the meantime, Google always appreciates early adopters who have valuable feedback. Interested? Give us a shout!
Improvements to location targeting for international searches
Starting from 11th November, Google is making improvements to location targeting. Now when using the default targeting method on Adwords, it will take into account the user’s location as well as the location searched for. This means that your ads could now be displayed in international locations.
Previously if you owned a hotel and wanted to target the location London, with the keyword ‘hotels in London’ and your location targeting was set to the UK, only people searching in the UK or searching on Google.co.uk would be able to see your ad. Now you may show your ad to anyone in the world searching for ‘hotels in London’, thereby reaching a larger audience, and providing better results searching in locations of intent.
This can create issues especially for travel businesses whose keywords target specific locations and may have several accounts targeting certain locations. This allows another account to show an ad where a different account is targeting which can obscure results as different markets have different levels of bids or have different levels of investment. To stop this, you can change your targeting method to ‘People in my targeted location’ and your ads will only appear in your targeted location, or alternatively add to your list of excluded locations.
Google’s new estimated cross-device conversions can help optimise mobile spend
by Ivan Martin
Last month Google launched a new conversion metric – Estimated Total Conversions. This is Google’s response to the increasing complexity of purchase paths in a multi-device and multi-medium world. Estimated Total Conversions are calculated, for now, by adding an estimate of cross-device conversions to the number of conversions tracked by AdWords. But at a later stage Google will also add estimates for phone and in-store conversions.
In the case of cross-device conversions, the estimates will be based on the behaviour of users that remained logged into Google throughout a multi-device path. For example, if 5% of signed-in users that clicked on a mobile ad, then made a purchase directly on the advertiser’s website from different device, Google will estimate that not-logged-in users also converted at a similar rate. These estimates can help optimise mobile spend as total revenue and the optimal mobile bid adjustment can now be calculated.
Estimated Total Conversions have some limitations. Advertisers must have AdWords tracking and a certain volume of bookings for this metric to be available. More importantly, the accuracy of the estimates is uncertain as it will depend heavily on the quality of the sample used and the assumptions made to extrapolate the results.
However, this additional reporting feature is a welcome move towards greater visibility of performance especially as regards mobile campaigns. Advertisers that have opted out of AdWords tracking should find alternative solutions to the multi-screen revenue attribution problem to avoid being outperformed by the competition.
Cross-device conversions estimation has started to be rolled out on 1st October and this will be soon available on all advertisers’ accounts using Google conversion tracking. The next step will be for Google to track cross-device or cross-browser conversions for AdSense for Search, AdSense for Content (including AdMob), Display, or any other Google properties. Let’s see what they come up with in the next few months!
Target Return on ad spend Bid strategy – Hit or Miss?
by Chris Moon
As part of their ‘flexible bid strategies’ initiative, Google has recently announced a new ‘target Return on ad spend’ bid strategy that they say should provide you with greater flexibility and control over performance targets and a better overall return from your ad spend. This new strategy will start rolling out across all accounts in the coming weeks.
The basics behind ‘target ROAS’ is that it helps to maximise revenue by automatically adjusting keyword, ad group and campaign level bids to meet your pre-defined target ROAS.
What is ROAS?
ROAS is your Return On Ad Spend – the amount of revenue you want to generate from the amount of money you intend to spend:
ROAS is a great way to evaluate the efficiency of a search programme when used in context and is a staple KPI for many e-commerce clients.
So, what does ‘Target ROAS’ actually do?
‘Target ROAS’ uses the same real-time bidding technology as ‘Target CPA’ & ‘Enhanced CPC’, taking into account everything from user locations to time of the day, operating systems to browser used in order to predict performance on your ads and adjust the bids accordingly using this information.
This could be a really powerful bid strategy for those clients that sell a lot of products at a lot of different prices. Ideally, you would go in and manually set your bids higher for the high-value items and lower for the low-value ones, but doing this manually across a large scale account can be difficult when time is factored in.
Now, with the new Target ROAS bid strategy, once you have set it up, Adwords can straight away get to work predicting what the likelihood is of each click generating a sale. Based on this, unique bids will be set for each click, always taking into account your specified ROAS target. This happens in real time, so every single time your ads are shown, your bids are being optimised to your target without you ever having to enter a manual bid. Google does have certain requirements that must be met in order to qualify for this bid strategy:
- Conversion tracking must be set up correctly.
- Have at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days.
- Have at least 30 days’ worth of conversion data.
- Have a consistent conversion rate for at least a few days.
It’s worth giving this new tool a trial especially for larger accounts as this may just save you a lot of time you would normally spend manually optimising.
Google’s tracking system is now in place and we can track offline sales long after the cookie is dropped
We all track online conversions, whether it’s a customer clicking on an ad or at some point making a purchase. We can see all this activity in our MCC but what we don’t know is what happens when these same customers convert offline.
Imagine businesses with long sales funnels where several meetings or demonstrations as well as endless market research is required before a purchase is made. For example, luxury travel holidays where you can only book offline or the latest cow milking technology for farmers or renting office space on a medium to long-term basis.
For these types of conversions we now have the ability to log the sale (back end) long after the sale has occurred and the cookies have expired. Not only can we track offline conversions, we can also track repeat customers by recording online conversions and then tracking additional sales offline. This is a great way for businesses to understand how their target audience is responding to their pay per click advertising. Now we can accurately measure how far Adwords budgets go as well as measure true Cost per Sale and ROI.
The next step will be for Google to find a way to include leads generated through the phone. With the release of onsite call metrics we might be able to see that soon. Let’s see what happens in the next few months!
Instructions on how to get Offline Conversions Import implemented can be found at: