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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - September 2017

Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter which focuses on news, tips and advice for effective website marketing, with particular attention on Google and best practice search engine marketing techniques, plus current trends in the market.

This month we have a focus on AdWords, with some new developments as well as tips on getting better results from Shopping campaigns. In our first article we look at the new call bid adjustments which are being rolled out to advertisers over the next few months to provide more control and focus for the better converting phone channels. We also look at the improved geo-targeting options in Australia with post code level targeting, and the pros and cons of this method.

In the final article this month we provide some advice and tips for Google Shopping campaigns, and ways to structure a product feed to get the best coverage of the market.

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 Facebook, or LinkedIn, as well as our occasional updates on Twitter.

On to this month's edition...


Call Bid Adjustments in AdWords

Click-to-call ads have been available in AdWords for the past seven years as ad extensions, which enable searchers to call directly from the ads. Google is now rolling out a new function whereby advertisers can use bid adjustments to control how often the call function appears as part of an advert.

Many advertisers have found the click to call extension a powerful way of attracting enquiries from search. With mobile searches becoming increasing important and a bigger share of the market, these calls are vital and can convert three times better than web clicks.

The new call bid adjustments - which are being made available through the new AdWords 'experience' interface - allow advertisers to increase bids on campaigns that drive valuable phone calls. For example, if you're a travel advertiser, you may see higher order values from calls because it can be easier to cross-sell rental cars, group tours and other vacation add-ons during a live conversation. By raising your call bid adjustments to show call extensions more frequently, this can drive more of the high-value call conversions.

There is already some good data being made available for the click to call option, with reports showing the time and length of calls that record a conversion (usually for calls or more than 1 minute), but with the new bid adjustment, this analysis and tracking will become more valuable to advertisers.

Google has provided best practice advice on the use of call extensions and how these can be used to maximise conversions, plus they have provided suggestions on ways to convert more calls to business.

If you'd like to know more about call extension and bidding in your AdWords account, please contact us now for more details.


Post Code Targeting for AdWords in Australia

Google has recently expanded the option for geo-targeting of ads at the post code level across Australia. This appears to be a good opportunity for localised targeting, but has to be treated with caution.

Geo-targeting in AdWords has become increasingly more sophisticated in recent years, partly from how Google can identify the location of a searcher, and also how AdWords can be targeted down to local areas. Originally this was limited to a country / state / city level of targeting, and with the option for a radius around a location, although the accuracy of this method was variable.

In recent years Google added the option of city regions in the main cities, such as Sydney's Eastern Suburbs or Melbourne's Northern Suburbs, but these tended to attract few impressions compared to the more general city level targeting, so that advertisers had to decide whether to target by area or keyword location, or both.

Earlier this year, post code level targeting was made available in Brisbane, and this has now been rolled out across most of Australia so that advertisers now have the opportunity to target at a very localised level. Early indications show that this targeting is working quite well and can be a new way to improve localised targeting and apply bid adjustments at this geographic level.

This local area targeting is only as good as the way that Google can identify the location of a searcher, but this is becoming better, particularly where people are using mobile devices. Google also automatically detects a user's location using their devices IP address, location history (if it's turned on), and recent locations that have been searched for.

Post code level targeting can therefore be used for local marketing campaigns and should certainly be tested to see how the impressions, clicks and conversions are generated by these areas, compared to broader geo-targeted areas or radius coverage. Advertisers also have the opportunity of using bid adjustments at all these levels, so that spend can be focused to the areas that perform most effectively.

If you'd like to know more about the new post code level targeting in AdWords, please get in touch for more details.


Tips for Google Merchant Centre & Shopping Campaigns

At a recent Google presentation about using the Merchant Centre feeds and AdWords Shopping campaigns, a range of insights and tips were presented which aim to get better results for ecommerce stores from this increasingly important sector of AdWords.

One of Google's current areas of focus is the use of automation and machine learning to help improve the management and results of AdWords campaigns, including Shopping. Here, the main objective should be to improve margins and ROAS (return on ad spend) so that as campaigns develop and data is collected, the bid targeting and ad performance should improve based on results.

The other main area that Google is pushing is website load speed, particularly for mobile sites. Research shows that most searchers will leave a mobile site after 5 seconds if it still hasn't loaded, with a target time of less than 3 seconds to keep the user engaged and onsite. As we have noted before, Amazon and other big retailers obsess about these metrics as differences in milliseconds can have a notable impact on sales and revenue.

Google is continuing to enhance the interaction between product feeds from the Merchant Centre account and AdWords Shopping campaign performance. New opportunity suggestions for feeds will be appearing in AdWords soon, along with price benchmark reports.

With the product feed content, the use of good title and description for a product are important to help it rank better in the results. It's recommended that brand names are included in the product title, plus gender and size information where relevant. By looking at the search terms report that has displayed products in the past, the common search phrases should be fed back into the product descriptions to match popular usage and increase the chances of products appearing on the search page.

As Shopping becomes a bigger part of AdWords inventory, and often the most effective part of an ecommerce account, the tools and metrics being made available are becoming more sophisticated and valuable, such as click impression share reports and price benchmarks for the same products. These things can all help an advertiser develop their product feed and campaign targeting to maximise sales and make an AdWords Shopping campaign a highly cost effective source of new online business.

If you'd like to know more about developments in Google Shopping campaigns and how these could work for your business, please contact us for more information.


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