Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - December 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter - the last for 2013 - which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing and search marketing techniques and trends.
In the first article this month, we take a look at Google's updated Opportunities Tab within AdWords and how, if used correctly, it may improve the performance of a campaign.
Next, we take a look at the importance of Google Webmaster's search query data and how this can be very useful in helping to provide more information about the keywords that are used from the search engine to visit your website, and which are the main landing pages that are visited from the search results.
In the final article this month, we examine the different types of Facebook advertising and the different reasons and benefits of using these as part of a social media marketing campaign.
You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subject. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.
On to this month's edition...
Google updates the AdWords Opportunities Tab
Google recently announced some changes to the Opportunities tab within the AdWords system, which can potentially help advertisers find ways of improving the performance of their campaigns. This section in the main navigation tabs suggests different ways to increase the performance of the campaign (or spend with Google) so it can provide good insights but also needs to be managed with caution.
The new Opportunities tab is designed to be more user-friendly and presents the advertiser with suggestions based on the previous 7 days of activity (or longer for some elements). These are some of the options within the Opportunities section that can be considered to improve a campaign's performance:
Convert more customers in your best locations
If your conversion rate differs across locations, you might see opportunities to increase your location bid adjustment where your conversion rate is high, or decrease your location bid adjustments where your conversion rate is low.
Get more out of your existing budget
If you're maxing out your budget, you might see opportunities to lower your bids to capture more clicks - or, of course, Google might suggest that you increase your daily budget level!
Be there more often than competitors
If your ads are being seen less frequently than other advertisers competing for the same traffic, you might see opportunities to be seen more frequently with (higher) bids to show your ads more often than advertisers like you.
Show ads that are more relevant
If Google spots an adgroup with keywords related to lots of different themes, it's harder for you to show a highly relevant ad, so you might see opportunities to create new adgroups from existing keywords. This can be a particularly useful suggestion that can help to improve your targeting and your keyword Quality Scores.
Reach more customers on closely related searches
If you're missing clicks on searches that are very similar to your existing keywords, you might see opportunities to broaden your keyword match types - which will, of course, increase your spend.
Be seen on the first page
If your ads are showing below the first page when users search on high-quality keywords, you might see opportunities to raise your bids to show ads on the first page.
The opportunities you'll see are tailored to your account and should be selected based on their possible impact to your performance. The new look design and presentation in this section now makes it easier to decide which opportunities are being suggested and which should be implemented.
Of course, as noted above, these opportunities or suggestions by Google do need to be handled carefully and with caution, as the simultaneous implementation of too many opportunities could result in a dramatic difference to the way in which the allocated budget is spent. The recommendations are being generated automatically based on past trends and many of them will also benefit Google from increased spend for the advertiser and income for Google, so ideally these opportunities need to be consider carefully in the context of the campaign objectives.
Best practice would be to introduce one opportunity at a time, then monitor how that impacts the campaign before introducing more, through on-going optimisation and review. The most appealing initial opportunities are those to get more out of your existing budget and show ads that are more relevant, both of which could lead to a lower average cost per click.
If you'd like more information about the new Opportunities for better campaign performance in AdWords, please contact us now.
Using Google Webmaster's Search Query Data
Anybody who regularly runs Google Analytics reports would be familiar with the increasing percentage of keywords bundled into the rather unhelpful "(not provided)" data category. So the Google Webmaster's search query data, which includes a "top pages" tab, is starting to gain more importance for insights into Google's SEO ranking activity for a website. This data is provided through the on-going changes to improve the compatibility between Webmaster Tools and Analytics and shows search queries that drive traffic to your site, as well as which pages benefit the most from them.
The "top pages" tab is in the search queries section of Webmaster Tools and is where you'll find data for the pages that perform the best in Google's search results. It shows impressions, click counts, average position, and an increasing amount of data for individual website pages. Clicking on any page URL will show a list of what search terms are sending traffic to it and users can also click on any of the search terms to see how it performs across your site - i.e. which pages get traffic from this term.
This is a very useful function within Webmaster Tools, which helps to fill the gap created by the unavailable "(not provided)" keyword data in Analytics. Data can be compared for the last 30 days compared to the previous 30, so broad trends can be reviewed to see how often a website has appeared in the search results, which search terms clicks have been acquired from, and what ranking positions have changed.
There are some discrepancies between data that is shown from both of those accounts as the information is being collected from different sources, and the Webmaster Tools data is quite generalised, but it's a good step in the right direction. You can view more information about the reasons for that discrepancy and the best ways to use the search query data here.
So website marketers who use Webmasters and Analytics should be aware that this data is available to provide valuable information about the website and how it is driving visits from Google's search results. The Webmaster Tools data can now supplement the reports that are withholding information from Analytics and so trends can be seen to show if SEO activity is improving website visits, and from which search terms.
If you'd like more details about the most effective ways to use this data to improve the performance of your website, contact us now.
What are the different types of Facebook Advertising?
If you are using Facebook business pages as part of your social media marketing activity, there are a number of ways to run advertising on the Facebook platform. Over the past year Facebook has tried to make the process of setting up ads more useful for advertisers, as well as adding more options to give advertisers more flexibility, but also to create more revenue options for Facebook! So, what are the main options and how can they be used?
Advertisers on Facebook can either use ads to direct users to their Facebook content, or to take them directly to their website content. Internal ads - that keep users within Facebook - tend to work better in most cases and these are called 'engagement ads'. Anyone clicking on the advert can take an action without leaving Facebook, which is where they probably want to stay and interact within this social networking site.
There are several different types of Facebook advertising which can be used by advertisers - these are the traditional Facebook ads down the right hand column, as well as the newer options of Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts. Each can be used in different ways, such as to build up the number of Likes, or to encourage more engagement with your content, such as commenting or sharing posts.
The traditional Engagement Ads on Facebook are the ones used to promote your business page and these usually appear down the right hand column, against the news feed of a target user. Advertisers can use a range of targeting options to try to reach the most relevant target audience, based on location, age range, interests and other factors. The ads include a link to the Facebook page (or external website) and also include a Like button, so that a strong compelling ad can attract more Likes without necessarily getting users onto the business page first.
Another ad option is Sponsored Stories - this can be used to show an advert based on a post on your business page, or a new Like by a user, and it will be displayed to your followers and their network of friends, so this is good to use once you start building up a strong network of Likes. It's a way of getting more visibility for a post or an action (see last month's issue about EdgeRank) and these stories can capitalise off a friend's interaction with a Facebook page to reach more people on a personal level.
It's important to remember that with these ads, the advertiser is less able to control all the content that is being promoted, because Sponsored Stories promote the actions of Facebook friends with a specific business page or entity with the goal of enticing Facebook members to like the same page as their friend, or friends, have. If a member or visitor interacts with a Facebook business page, this action will be promoted to a larger audience, regardless of the post's contents. Sponsored Stories therefore promote a friend's relationship and interaction with a page, to target and encourage a Facebook member to interact with that business and so Sponsored Stories can be effective in improving a company's image and through emphasising customer satisfaction.
Promoted Posts are a newer advertising option on Facebook and give advertisers many different options through promoting links, photos, texts and videos. Page Post ads contain different formats that are classified as sponsored or promoted to increase the advertisers reach. Page Post ads can be used in a link form to promote a website or in a photo form to promote something like an upcoming sale.
A Promoted Post text ad gives businesses the opportunity to go into more detail about a service or product being offered. Offers in a form of an electric coupon can be included in an ad, which is redeemable for a member who clicks upon the advertisement. This form of Facebook advertising is popular amongst larger companies, as the content of the advertisement is totally controlled by the advertiser, unlike Sponsored Stories.
Facebook has also introduced Sponsored Results, which gives advertisers the chance to appear in the Facebook search results for relevant search terms. This is a very similar concept to the Google AdWords model to target searchers, and is also linked in to Facebook's Graph Search which was introduced over a year ago to improve the search functionality within the site. At this stage, these type of ads can only be set up using the Facebook Power Editor - a tool we will be covering in a future issue of this newsletter.
If you would like to know more about how Facebook advertising can benefit your business, contact us now for more details.
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We hope you've found this month's newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website's performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.