Google AdWords to roll out ‘parallel tracking’ to speed up mobile landing page delivery

Google’s been working to speed up mobile web experiences on several fronts, AMP being the most visible of these efforts. On Wednesday, the company announced a change to the way it will handle tracking parameters appended to AdWords landing page URLs.
Processing tracking codes can bog down page load time by “hundreds of milliseconds” and hurt campaign performance, says Google. Instead of processing the tracking with the landing page, Google is introducing “parallel tracking” to process the tracking URL, the AdWords click tracker and possible redirects in the background while the user goes straight to the landing page.
Currently, the tracking URL, AdWords click tracker and any redirects load before the user sees the landing page. Google says it’s seen the change help improve page load times by several seconds for users on slower networks.
Parallel tracking will start rolling out later this year and become the default tracking method in early 2018. It will initially be optional and only

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3 behavioral stats for retailers to supercharge your holiday strategy

What’s different about the holidays this year? If you’re a marketer, you need to know how your target consumers have changed their needs, wants and shopping habits before you can truly craft your best seasonal strategy. You also had better keep an eye on what your competitors are doing differently.
At the company I work for, Salsify, we analyze aggregate retail search activity, and we’ve discovered it grows more widely distributed during the shopping period leading up to the holidays. We’ve recently conducted research (registration required) on the keywords that shoppers use around the holidays and we’ve identified important opportunities for brands to expand their keyword lists. Leading brands are also dramatically boosting the pace of their product content updates to capitalize on the opportunity throughout the season to win market share.
Let’s run through the top three takeaways from our study:
1. The 2016 holiday season drove a 30 percent increase in the number of top retail search terms —

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Google rolling out support for AMP landing page in AdWords search campaigns globally

In May, Google announced it was running a beta test with advertisers to test driving traffic from mobile search ads to AMP landing pages. On Thursday, the company said all advertisers will be able to point mobile search ads to AMP landing pages beginning in two weeks.
The functionality is limited to landing pages from search text ads for now. The lighter-weight AMP landing pages typically load instantly, as opposed to the lag of even speedy responsive landing pages on mobile, as illustrated in the demo below. AMP landing pages are supported for all mobile clicks, though caching is only available for Chrome on Android. Google says it’s working on support for other mobile browsers in the coming weeks.
For testing and validation purposes, advertisers with access to the new AdWords interface will be able to see the percentage of clicks that go to invalid AMP pages. They can then identify issues and ensure the landing pages comply with AMP

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Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels

Last May, Google introduced the ability to find out if a local retailer had specific products in stock right from the knowledge panel listing for the retailer. Now, it’s dedicating a whole lot more real estate to the feature.
Glenn Gabe, digital marketing consultant at G-Squared Interactive, tweeted a look at the update. Below are a couple of examples. It’s available on both mobile and desktop and goes well beyond the simple “Search items at this store link” that Google originally showed. A large section includes a search box, product category links and large product listings. On mobile, users can swipe through a carousel of product listings.

The feature is part of the Local Inventory Ads product, which enables retailers to promote products available in their locations via inventory feeds submitted to Google. The links and search results lead to Google Shopping pages.
Google is also running a test to show relevant text ads in knowledge panel listings for local businesses.
The

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Google rolls out previously announced ‘Landing Pages’ mobile assessment tool

Bad landing pages, especially on mobile devices, can kill conversions. There are high bounce rates if users can’t find desired information or the user experience is too cumbersome or slow.
To help advertisers improve mobile performance, Google announced a new Landing Pages tool at Google Marketing Next earlier this year. It’s designed to help marketers assess the mobile-friendliness of various URLs on their sites (as opposed to their entire sites). It is being rolled out in the next few weeks as a tab in the new AdWords experience.
As the graphic below illustrates, Landing Pages will identify site URLs that drive the most clicks/engagement. The tool also reports the Mobile-Friendly Click Rate (MFCR), which is the percentage of mobile clicks coming from smartphones that land on a mobile-friendly page.

These reports will enable marketers to identify and prioritize which URLs need to be fixed. For example, if a page is driving a lot of clicks on the desktop but is

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Google announces AMP speed and viewability enhancements for ads

Yesterday, Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) group announced enhancements to ads served in AMP. Specifically, the project has entered phase two of its three-phase plan for supporting comprehensive advertising functionality in AMP.
While phase one focused on basic support for ads within AMP, phase two focuses on speeding up AMP ad rendering, utilizing what they call “Fast Fetch” — separating the ad request from the ad rendering. Fast Fetch — vs. their previous method, “Delayed Fetch” — allows the ad request to happen while the page content is being rendered, and then only renders the ad before the ad slot is in view for the user.

From their announcement:

With Fast Fetch, ads are requested much earlier in the lifecycle of the page, allowing page rendering and creative selection in the ad server to happen in parallel. Fast Fetch is 850ms faster at the 50th percentile and 2.7s faster at the 90th percentile as compared to Delayed Fetch.

Ads

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Data: Consumers grow more demanding, impatient as brands fall behind

There’s considerable evidence that consumers are growing more impatient and less tolerant of poor or frustrating online experiences. There’s also increasing evidence that most brands aren’t keeping up with customers, creating significant risk and lost opportunities.
This gap is reflected in all the CX (consumer experience) research and reports coming out. There’s also a strong undercurrent of this theme in the Google “micro-moments” research and discussions. All the data about mobile page speeds and consumer abandonment support this idea:
The average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but, according to the most recent data, 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance say they’re less likely to purchase from the same site again.
Most recently, Google said that geo-modifiers (e.g., ZIP codes) have declined by 30 percent, even as local search volumes have increased:
[D]emanding mobile users now assume

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Facebook expands Marketplace categories and content in new push for growth

Facebook launched its classifieds site Marketplace in October of last year. Now the company is rolling it out to more countries and adding new categories and content from (local) business owners.
Considered by some as a “Craigslist clone” or potentially a “Craigslist killer,” the social site originally positioned Marketplace as a peer-to-peer selling platform, responding to the organic creation of specialized buy-and-sell groups on the site. Now it’s expanding participation to businesses and introducing content from a range of listings and data aggregators. 
Last week, TechCrunch discovered that Marketplace was featuring daily deals from eBay for a selection of its US user base. It was characterized by the company as a test. (It will likely expand beyond eBay if users respond positively.)
To learn more about Facebook’s plans, I spoke with Deb Liu, who is in charge of Marketplace. She confirmed that Facebook will be expanding the scope and content available to users.
For existing categories in Marketplace (e.g., Autos, Property), Facebook is going

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Google making renewed effort to help news publishers drive more subscriptions

Google has always been treated by the news industry as a kind of frenemy. Many news organizations have a tortured history with Google, including some who’ve successfully lobbied against Google in Europe. Yet for roughly a decade Google has been trying to help publishers make more money while continuing to try and serve users and its own commercial interests.
Google news-industry outreach has taken multiple forms over the years. For example, in 2009 Google proposed a range of tools and services built around the notion of “micro-payments” to publishers. The proposal included multiple components, including search, e-commerce and advertising for news organizations.
Out of these efforts eventually came Google’s First Click Free program, whereby users could gain access to otherwise subscription-protected news content in search results — with the intention of improving the outlook for subscription revenue, though Google hasn’t uniformly enforced it. Google’s Consumer Surveys provide payments to publishers (take a survey for content access) and so on.
AMP is also

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Nailing down ads for the holiday season

Believe it or not, it’s that time again for us to start gearing up for the holidays. Not every brand sufficiently prepares their paid media campaigns for this fast-paced season — and for e-commerce brands, this is especially crucial.
Getting ahead of the competitive holiday season is a recurring obstacle. To start off on the right foot, you need to centralize your merchant feed, plan on making foundational optimizations, analyze your historical and competitor promotions, but most importantly, diversify your paid media shopping mix.
By creating diversification within your paid media shopping campaigns, you will positively impact your holiday ROI and set up a framework for future e-commerce growth.
Consider the following paid media tactics to be more effective and successful as an online retailer.
Capturing demand through PLAs and Google Shopping
Google Shopping or product listing ads (PLAs) are sizzling hot, especially while we prepare for the holiday season. Ever since PLAs gained popularity in 2011, they’ve evolved to be prominent

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