With not provided reaching close to 90% of all your organic search query data; how do you know if SEO is working for you? Yes, looking at page level data is one way around it, however having more depth of information about which keywords actually drive traffic can only help – and the best thing is, it’s completely free and easy to set up. We have found a way to increase the number of keywords in Google Webmaster Tools by around +100% (or more!), and here is how you can do the same for your site. Setting Up Folder Level […]
Monthly Archives: November 2011
By Matt Ackley
Digital marketers’ jobs are not getting any easier.
Whereas search marketing complexity arises from the sheer volume of keywords and campaigns that brands have to manage and optimize for, display marketing complexity is born from the dizzying array of players in the display ecosystem.
It’s hard to keep track of the seemingly endless number of publishers, networks, exchanges and ad tech vendors, each of which plays a specialized and sometimes important role.
And, with the increasing “search-ification” of programmatic display (and social) ad buying, we’ve seen that more search marketers are finding themselves taking on additional cross-channel responsibilities or working more closely with their social and display counterparts.
So, if you’re a search marketer expanding your horizons to include the world of display, what are some of the things that require a shift in mentality?
Giving Conversion Credit To Uncertainty
One of the philosophical challenges search marketers face when managing display advertising responsibilities is that there is an inherent impreciseness that will always exist in measuring display advertising’s impact.
Whereas search advertisers have always enjoyed the position of standing at the end of the fire hose, turning on the spigot when someone requests water and keeping it off when someone doesn’t, this dynamic doesn’t apply to display.
But, just because nobody clicks on your display ad doesn’t mean it isn’t making an impact. Thus, the view-through conversion was born.
Why View-Through Conversions Matter
The logic behind view-through conversions is easy to get your head around. If someone sees your ad, that ad should get some credit for the conversion, even if the user didn’t convert on that specific ad impression.
However, view-throughs can still be difficult for search marketers to fully trust. An ad may receive view-through conversion credit, but how do you really know that the ad deserves that credit? How do you know that it had any impact on the user’s eventual conversion? How do you know that the user has even seen the ad?
And, if you agree that a particular ad deserves some credit, what’s the appropriate conversion window for when that credit should be valid? If your customer sees your ad, but makes a purchase two months later, should that ad still receive credit?
Setting Up Lift Tests To Determine View-Through Conversion Validity
The easiest way to try to answer the questions above is to set up lift tests.
The most basic way to set a lift test up is to run an A/B campaign where you run your normal ads in one campaign, and a PSA ad in another campaign.
Once you run the campaigns for a couple weeks, you can then take the difference in view-through conversions between the two campaigns to determine what percentage of your view-throughs are legitimately attributable.
Determining Conversion Windows
The validity of a view-through conversion depends on the conversion window you set. If your window is too long, then you’ll give credit where it’s probably not due; if you set the window too short, you’ll underestimate the potential lift. So what is the right window?
Unfortunately, the answer is: it depends on a lot of different factors.
It depends on what your goal is — for example, leads may have shorter post-view conversion windows than purchases. It depends on your business — for example, B2B solutions companies are likely to have much longer windows than retail fashion companies. It depends on the campaign — for example, a campaign featuring a limited time offer probably should have a comparatively shorter conversion window.
Your best bet is to review your prior conversion data to determine the window where most of your customers go from first impression to conversion.
Is Viewability An Answer For Whether A User Has Seen Your Ad?
As a search marketer, the idea of viewability is a bit strange. “You mean to tell me that some portion of your ad spend doesn’t even have the opportunity to be seen… and you’d still pay for it?” It sounds crazy, but it’s the norm.
What Is Viewability?
Viewability tries to answer the question: did your ad have an opportunity to be seen? For example, if an ad lies below the fold, and the user doesn’t scroll to put it in view, then the impression would be not viewable. However, its scope is limited. It doesn’t reflect any type of user of engagement. You can think of it as a more qualified impression.
The Media Rating Council’s definition of viewability for display ads is whether half the ad was in-focus for at least one continuous second. For video ads, it’s whether half the ad was in-focus, and played for at least two continuous seconds.
So, How Essential Is Viewability Tracking, Actually?
Brands still seem to be treating viewability tracking as more of a luxury than a necessity, to some degree. A recent AdExchanger report found that only 30% of the largest 100 online advertisers are tracking viewability metrics on at least half of their ad impressions. To be fair, that’s twice as many advertisers tracking viewability compared to a year ago — so while not yet a ubiquitous practice, it is gaining in popularity.
Is There A Viewability Sweet Spot?
In an ideal world, you’d prefer to only run ads on publishers and ad exchanges that promise 80-90%+ viewability. That’s how it works on search, right? You’d never pay for a search ad that no one ever sees or clicks on.
Unfortunately, reality is not quite so clean and tidy. There’s a deeper level of faith necessary, not too different from the assumptions you make about the impact of a Super Bowl ad or a Times Square billboard.
Viewability rates can vary wildly based on the publisher, the ad exchange, or which vendor you’re using to track those figures.
- The percentage of sites that claim viewability rates above 80% is extremely small. If you limit your ad buys to these sites, you’ll restrict your reach significantly and pay higher CPMs. The cost/benefit math of only targeting sites that promise high viewability rates doesn’t usually pan out.
- You might then think could you hedge your viewability by just buying impressions that are above the fold. Unfortunately, the correlation between viewable impressions and placement on page is weak. Think about your experience reading this article (or any article, for that matter). Was at least 50% of the leaderboard ad at the top of the page in your view for at least 1 second? What about the 300×250 ad in the sidebar next to this text? Which one was actually more viewable?
Again, Is Viewability Tracking Really Necessary?
Viewability tracking is nice to have, but the promise of viewability is greater than the reality right now. The fact is, it’s best not to get too hung up on hitting a specific viewability goal. It’s just drawing an arbitrary line in the sand.
Just like you wouldn’t judge a search campaign’s success based on whether you bid for the #1 ad spot 100% of the time, you shouldn’t determine your display marketing success around a viewability metric.
Focus instead on improving the ROI for specific campaigns by removing the poor performing sites (regardless of viewability) and the sites with blatantly poor viewability metrics, and you’ll eventually get to an optimal cost/performance equilibrium.
You Have Valuable, Exclusive Search Intent Data – Use It!
As a search marketer, you’re in a unique position, because you’re sitting on a treasure trove of proprietary intent data.
Just as you’d run different creative and set different maximum bids for a potential customer who types in [running shoes] vs. [nike lunarspeed lite running shoes], it doesn’t make sense to run the same display campaign to a user who’s exhibited past behavior that would lead you to believe that they are further along the purchase funnel, or a user who represents a potentially higher value customer.
This is why it’s important to work with a cohesive multi-channel platform that can integrate your search, social, and display data, so that you can take learnings from one channel and then apply them in another channel.
What does this look like, practically speaking? At the very basic level, ask the following questions:
- Can you pipe in your search activity into your display platform and create audience lists based on the search data? You might treat a cart abandoner differently if you knew they came in on a branded search term vs. a non-branded search term.
- Does your reporting platform accurately measure conversions across channels and devices?
- Do you have access to audience-level reporting, giving you insight into how specific segments are performing across channel?
Search marketers are in a better position than anyone to wrangle better performance from their display campaigns, thanks to the quality of the data they already possess.
The post 3 Key Display Advertising Themes For Search Marketers appeared first on Search Engine Land.
Break Google up. That’s the thrust of a “non-binding” resolution the European Parliament is expected to adopt at some point in the near future, according to a report on Friday from Reuters.
The recommendation is likely to be to separate Google’s search engine from the rest of the business. Needless to say, if this were to come to pass it would be hugely damaging for Google. Reuters saw a draft of the resolution and reported the following Friday:
The motion seen by Reuters “calls on the Commission to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term solution” to leveling the competitive playing field.
Many people in the US scoffed and scratched their heads when they read this last week. While the European Parliament can’t order the break up of Google, and so the resolution would be symbolic, the move represents an escalation of anti-Google sentiment and rhetoric. It also puts real, additional pressure on the European Commission (EC), which is at the center of the antitrust dispute.
The EC does have sweeping authority to deal with antitrust violations in Europe, including fines and “structural remedies.” For the past two years the Commission has been trying to reach a voluntary settlement with Google — unsuccessfully. We’ve written about these many attempts multiple times.
Former EC chief Joaquín Almunia left office on November 1 without a settlement, though several times in the past he thought he had one that would work for all parties. Persistent opposition by a variety of coordinated interest groups and companies including Microsoft, Yelp, TripAdvisor and others managed to thwart the various settlement proposals through lobbying and very vocal opposition.
Using a variety of studies and surveys, they criticized the succession of settlement proposals as ineffectual.
Now it falls to Margrethe Vestager, a former Danish government minister, who has taken over at the helm of the EC to pick up where Almunia left off. She has not made her views on Google known and has indicated several times that she’s going to study the situation and take a deliberative approach.
But pressure is building, as indicated by the potential European Parliament resolution. Throughout Europe anti-Google copyright legislation is being adopted. These moves in most instances unfairly scapegoat Google as the cause of domestic newspaper industry problems.
Without going into technical-legal details, the EC has two types of antitrust remedies available: “commitment” and “prohibition” or “structural” remedies. The former is a voluntary agreement by a company to do or not do something. The current, proposed Google settlement falls into this category.
A structural or prohibition remedy is one that is imposed by the EC after a finding of an antitrust violation, which has not yet been found in this case. A structural remedy can include fines but also divestitures — meaning it can call for companies to be “broken up.” Thus, in answer to those who question whether the EC has the authority to “break up Google,” at least in theory it does.
As has been reported multiple times the EC can impose billions in fines on Google as well. There are lots of enforcement options the Commission has at its disposal. Voluntary or commitment remedies are most desirable to all parties. But the EC has imposed prohibition/structural remedies on more than a dozen occasions in the past decade or so.
In 2009 the EC reached a voluntary agreement with Microsoft about the company’s alleged abuse of power regarding its Explorer (IE) browser. The company committed to “un-tie” IE to the Windows operating system, among a few other things. In 2013 the EC fined Microsoft nearly $700 million for failing to fully comply with its earlier settlement commitments.
US regulators found that Google search was not a monopoly and declined to pursue a sweeping structural remedy against the company. Thus a decision to try and separate Google’s search business from other parts of the company would be difficult to accomplish on multiple levels and would only pertain to the company’s European operations, adding further complexity.
Vestager is likely to recognize the practical and legal challenges of what the European Parliament is calling for. It’s unlikely then that she and her organization will go down that path. But they also probably know the current settlement proposal is dead.
It’s now self-evident that something more “demanding” of Google will be required. But what that will be is not yet clear.
The post Europeans Have Authority To Seek Google Break Up Though Unlikely To Do So appeared first on Search Engine Land.
For those who have written off Google traffic in favor of social media referrals, you’re going to want to check out this article from Digiday. Digiday recently published some statistics showing that Google News continues to drive significantly more traffic to publisher’s websites than Facebook, or any other social network. This is an eye opener considering how many businesses have shifted their focus to optimizing content for sharability on social media versus optimizing for search, following in the footsteps of publishers like Buzzfeed who have shown how effective that can be. Germany’s biggest news publisher, Axel Springer, recently conducted an […]
The post Google News Continues To Drive More Traffic Than Facebook by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
We’ve been keeping something from you. We’ve been working on it in stealth mode for a couple of months. It’s SEJ’s biggest initiative to date, by far. SEJ has partnered with Searchmetrics for an exclusive 7-city conference tour in 2015. How it all started… Earlier this year, Searchmetrics approached us with a simple idea: hold an exclusive 1 day marketing conference. Make the event “top-shelf” with a beautiful venue in a major metro. Hand-select amazing, proven speakers who wouldn’t have the same old stuff to say. Make the event all about the attendees: emphasizing education and networking. Prohibit promotions, demos, sales pitches of any kind. […]
The post And a drum roll please…Introducing SEJ Summit 2015 by @itsduhnise appeared first on Search Engine Journal.