How to outdo the PPC robots in shopping ads

Automation driven by improvements in artificial intelligence and machine learning will bring significant changes to how we manage pay-per-click (PPC) in 2018 and beyond.
There’s still a role for humans to play, one of which is to use what we’ve learned from years of experience to bring an account as close to perfection as possible before letting the machines take it from there.
Shopping ad performance may appear to be largely dependent on how well the automated algorithms work, with little room for account managers to optimize things. This is because the targeting is done automatically by Google, based on whatever products are in the merchant feed and how those relate to shoppers’ queries.
But there are still ways for account managers to tweak things to move the needle in the right direction.
In today’s post, I’ll explain seven ways to improve the performance of shopping ads.
Eliminate ambiguous and expensive queries
I remember several years ago, one of our customers wrote about

Search Engine Land Source

To make every conversion count, count every conversion

Conversion measurement is complicated. More devices, channels and touch points mean that data is exploding, and yet cross-device behavior and the use of different identifiers, like cookies across browsers, can muddy measurement on the web.
With all of that imprecision comes a thought that might keep you up at night: You might not see all of the conversions driven by your marketing. They’re still happening, but you just might not capture them in your reporting.
As a performance marketer at heart, I’m frustrated any time my measurement is incomplete. Lost conversions are just about the saddest thing I can think of, but Google (my employer) has measurement tools designed to help you make the most of your conversion tracking.
Tracking every possible conversion in AdWords
Back in the desktop era, advertisers simply installed a conversion pixel on their checkout page, and the combination of redirects and third-party cookie reading at conversion-time accurately captured performance.
To keep up with changes in browser technology

Search Engine Land Source

Bing Ads Editor getting support for account level ad extensions

Bing Ads rolled out account level ad extensions in September 2017, allowing advertisers to assign an extension across all the campaigns in an account. Now, there is finally starting to be support for them in Bing Ads Editor.
Starting with callout extensions, advertisers will be able to associate account-level ad extensions in Editor as shown in the screen shot below.
Bing Ads Editor will support account-level ad extensions.
You’ll need to select the account level in the navigation in the upper right to access account-level extensions. And, as with shared library updates, account level ad extension associations are always posted, regardless of whether all campaigns or selected campaigns are being posted.
Support for other extensions at the account level will be rolling out in the near future.
The post Bing Ads Editor getting support for account level ad extensions appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Search Engine Land Source

AdWords now shows ad version history

If you’re one to edit ads in AdWords rather than pause or remove old ads, then add new ones, now you can easily compare all those old ad variations.
To get to the new version history screen, available only in the new AdWords interface, hover next to an ad, click on the pencil icon that appears and select “See version history.”

Version history shows all the old versions with the dates they were edited, how long they were in place and what changed. To see performance metrics, you’ll need to click the Columns icon and select the metrics you want to see.
The data can be exported to a spreadsheet.
The post AdWords now shows ad version history appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Search Engine Land Source

Giants collide: Google’s impending showdown with Amazon

Talk in the digital advertising space has traditionally focused on Google and Facebook’s digital duopoly, each fighting for more of your advertising dollars. But for Google, the real competition is coming from elsewhere.
Over the last few years, Google has pushed further and further into the retail space. Simultaneously, Amazon expanded its advertising platform. In the end, they both want the same thing: your purchase intent.
As these two tech behemoths continue to get more and more similar, who will lead? And more importantly, what should you do about it?
Google’s bid to become a retailer
We’re used to thinking of Google as a search engine. For advertisers, Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is composed of text and product (Google Shopping) ads. The popularity of these product ads with digital marketers has grown in popularity. According to Adobe’s Digital Index, spend on Google Shopping has surpassed that of text ads in every market.

This is especially true when it comes to

Search Engine Land Source

What’s different about digital marketing in the cannabis industry?

The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing in the US, with a diverse and exciting startup landscape. And yet, it faces an uphill battle when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and marketing.
There are no AdWords or Facebook advertising programs available and no current opportunities to advertise a cannabis company among any of the larger advertising platforms.
This seems unlikely to change until these products are legal at the federal level.
You can understand how Facebook wouldn’t want the attention that may come from allowing dispensaries or cannabis brands to advertise, even on a limited basis, in states that legalized it. That probably would not go over well in today’s political climate.
So, how are cannabis brands winning online, and what is different about digital marketing in the cannabis industry?
Sorry, advertisers — cannabis isn’t ready yet
I spoke with Public Relations Manager Jordon Rahmil and Director of Digital Marketing Kevin Keeland at Cura Cannabis Solutions about their experiences in

Search Engine Land Source

Chat rate is the new CTR for AdWords message extensions

Google rolled out its click-to-message AdWords extension in October 2016. Similar to call extensions, message extensions allow users to message a business directly from the ad.
Now the company is announcing formal reporting for messaging. It will be available in the next few weeks in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Brazil and Australia. Users of message extensions will need to turn on message reporting in account settings.
Three primary metrics will be captured:

Chat rate: This is analogous to CTR (impressions vs. actual messaging interactions).
Start time: When users tend to interact with you via messaging. Google says this metric will help with dayparting.
Number of messages exchanged within a single chat session: Google says to use this metric to evaluate which ad creatives are driving the most engagement.

Each session will be charged as a click.
The number displayed in the ad will be a Google call-forwarding number, which is how the company is able to track the above metrics. “Whenever possible, Google

Search Engine Land Source

Google AMP team launches ‘Render on Idle’ to load ads faster when browsers sit idle

Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) team has launched a new feature called Render on Idle that is designed to increase ad impressions per page by speeding up ad load when a user isn’t taking any action in a browser.
Render on Idle is available to publishers using the DoubleClick AMP ad tag or any ad network that implements Fast Fetch, an AMP-specific mechanism that lowers the likelihood users will see empty ad slots by allowing ad requests to happen as page content is rendering. Ads render just before the ad slot is in view.
From the announcement:
With Render on Idle, ads load 12 viewports from the user’s scroll position (as opposed to 3) when the browser is idle, no other page content is being retrieved or rendered. This delivers better ad performance by loading ads earlier in the page lifecycle.
More from the Github page:
[Ad] Slots not marked with data-loading-strategy attribute that are more than 3 viewports but less

Search Engine Land Source

Google’s antitrust infringement continues ‘unabated’, Google Shopping competitors tell European Commission

Comparison shopping engines aren’t satisfied with Google’s response to the European Commission’s demand that the search giant give equal treatment to competitors.
“Google’s current remedy proposal has been in operation for more than four months, and the harm to competition, consumers and innovation caused by the infringement established by the Decision has continued unabated,” a group of Google competitors wrote in an open letter [pdf] to Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at the European Commission this week.
After the European Commission levied a record nearly $3 billion fine against Google in an antitrust ruling for favoring its own Shopping ads and squeezing out rivals, Google established Google Shopping as a separate business unit to compete in the ad auction against other comparison shopping engines (CSEs).
That change was supposed to take effect last fall, but ads from competitors have been slow to appear and remain scarce. We’ve recently reported on competitor ads beginning to show occasionally in the UK. In

Search Engine Land Source

Unit economics: The foundation of a good SEM campaign

A strong understanding of the economics of any business unit is absolutely critical to any digital marketing campaign managed against non-brand key performance indicators (KPIs) in a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign.
One would think any reasonably large and successful business would have a good handle on their unit economics, and that this knowledge will be shared down the chain of command to the mid and lower levels of the marketing team.
But time and time again, I have found this critical foundation is missing, miscommunicated, insufficient or is so outdated as to make it worse than worthless.  “Worthless” in this case means that bad data does no actual harm. “Worse than worthless” means the utilization of the wrong KPI goals resulting in media waste and — more importantly — missed revenue and profit opportunity.
In other words, the company’s health is at actual risk because the marketing team and the business team aren’t on the same page.  In some

Search Engine Land Source