Amy Gesenhues – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Mon, 21 Oct 2019 15:20:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Facebook opens search ads to all advertisers /facebook-opens-search-ads-to-all-advertisers-323754 Fri, 18 Oct 2019 17:12:46 +0000 /?p=323754 Ad placement will include Facebook News Feed and Marketplace search results.

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After nearly a year of testing ads in News Feed and Marketplace search results, Facebook is rolling out search ad placement more broadly to all advertisers. The ads will appear in results for search terms that have commercial intent, such as searches for commercial products connected to the e-commerce, retail or auto vertical. Currently, search ad placement is available on mobile only.

“Testing shows that advertisers and people are finding value in ads in search results, so we’re rolling out these ads more broadly,” said Facebook Director of Product Management Nipoon Malhatra.

To have ads appear in search results, advertisers can either select “Automatic Placement” for their News Feed ads, or choose the “Facebook Search Results” placement in Ads Manager when creating a News Feed ad campaign. (Search ad placement is not a standalone option — advertisers must be running a News Feed ad to have the ad also show up in search results.)

Targeting for ads in search are based on the advertiser’s chosen people-based targeting options in addition to relevant search term keywords. The keywords are determined by Facebook, not the advertiser, and take into account a combination of ad features (ad text, product, category, title and description).

Why we should care

Facebook’s search ad placement is a boon for any advertiser running a product sales or conversion-focused campaign. By opening up this ad placement to more advertisers, Facebook is giving marketers direct access to users who are actively searching for their product or service on the platform.

As Facebook’s ad inventory becomes even more saturated, new ad placement options — such as search — give advertisers an upper hand by allowing them to run their ads in areas of the platform not yet overrun with competitor advertising.

More on the news

  • Ads included in search results have the same layout as News Feed ads — same headline, image, copy text — and can be single image, carousel, video or a collection ad format.
  • Supported campaign objectives include: Product Sales, Conversions and Traffic Objectives.
  • Facebook first began testing ad placement in search last December and extended it to more accounts in July.

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Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization is coming. Are you ready? /facebooks-campaign-budget-optimization-is-coming-are-you-ready-323665 Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:11:08 +0000 /?p=323665 The time to start testing CBO is now, says Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing.

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Facebook will soon be transitioning advertisers to campaign budget optimization (CBO), which automates budget optimization across the ad sets in a campaign. Originally scheduled to happen in September, the company pushed the move to February, giving advertisers more time to test it.

“With this shift, the budget will be set at the campaign level, much like search campaigns are now,” said Michelle Morgan, director of client services at Clix Marketing, “Facebook will then, in real-time ‘optimize’ the campaign by giving budget to the ad-set that is performing best out of all within the campaign.”

Morgan, who will be speaking about CBO and paid social tactics that drive conversions at SMX East in New York next month, says early tests her team has run have shown inconsistent results but that testing is critical.

What should advertisers expect with CBO?

“Where things are better or flat, we leave CBO in place, and where things are worse, we revert and try to organize again for a new test,” said Morgan. She’s found that about 40% of the time, campaigns switched to CBO come out ahead or remain flat — but about 60% of the time, campaign results end up being worse, forcing the agency to reconsider the campaign’s structure.

Morgan does think CBO will make it seem simpler to set up a campaign, and that it will make for an easy jump from search to social for advertisers. She said she doesn’t see it as an inherently good or bad move on Facebook’s part, but does believe that the algorithm, and optimization itself, needs work.

“At the moment, I’m seeing very mixed results with it and I’ve heard from many that their traditionally budgeted campaigns are out-performing CBO on the regular.”

It’s time to starting testing now

For advertisers who haven’t started testing CBO campaigns yet, Morgan said it is imperative they do so now.

“Even if performance isn’t better, this is going to be the way things are in the future, so get some data under your belt and know what to expect,” said Morgan.

In cases where campaign performance diminishes, Morgan recommends implementing minimums and maximums on your ad-sets. “Facebook still allows for that as a way to control the budgets — just in a different way.” However, she doesn’t recommend setting minimum and maximums for campaign-level budgets, “If you try to hold the system down too much, it can also get stuck by not being able to learn and test new things.”

If an advertiser isn’t seeing improvements using a minimum/maximum strategy, Morgan suggests it may be time to revisit the campaign structure altogether.

“Although it will make for a bulkier account, it might make sense for advertisers to shift to a more broken out campaign strategy, where a campaign that normally contained six ad sets is now six campaigns — each with only one ad set.”

Give the platform time to learn

Morgan points out advertisers may need to be patient — and put more time into managing their campaigns — if they’re not seeing the results they want.

“If you’ve recently switched to CBO and performance drops, take a look at where CBO is spending your money. Is it on the same ad sets it was before, or has it shifted? Once you have a feel for that, start setting the minimums and maximums to try and regain control, but do so gradually,” said Morgan.

“If a campaign with two ad sets used to split the budget 50/50, but now is at 90/10, set the minimums to guide spend to 80/20. Wait a few days and then shift to 70/30, etc. Give the platform time to learn and adjust as you guide it back to 50/50 or potentially look to break the ad sets out into their own campaigns for better control.”

Keep your eye on the goal

“It seems like a small tweak to the platform, shifting the budget from ad set to campaign level, but it has more implications than that,” said Morgan. She uses the example of an ad test with one creative asset that runs way with impressions. “Sometimes it’s the one generating the most conversions, engagement, video views at the lowest cost — and sometimes it’s not. It’s the loss of control for the ‘sometimes it’s not’ scenarios that makes this a large shift.”

So start testing CBO now and keep an eye on overall performance — continually evaluating whether campaign performance is getting better or worse.

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YouTube ‘Video Reach’ campaigns let advertisers upload multiple videos for single campaign /youtube-video-reach-campaigns-let-advertisers-upload-multiple-videos-for-single-campaign-322453 Mon, 23 Sep 2019 15:01:33 +0000 /?p=322453 Ford reports the new offering reduced campaign costs by more than 20% compared to its previous YouTube campaigns.

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YouTube launched a new way to run video ad campaigns on Monday. The new Video Reach campaigns make it possible for advertiser to upload three different asset types — six-second bumper ads, skippable in-stream ads and non-skippable in-stream ads — in a single campaign. Google will use its machine learning technology to determine the most efficient combination of the ads to maximize audience reach.

“This will allow for optimized, more effective campaigns and free up your time to focus on more strategic priorities that can differentiate your business,” writes Vishal Sharma, VP of product management at YouTube, on the Google Ads Blog.

Advertisers can upload three video ads to a single campaign which is purchased on a CPM-basis. The Video Reach campaigns are available to all advertisers and currently run on YouTube’s desktop and mobile platforms, but YouTube VP Debbie Weinstein said the company will likely extend the campaigns to Google video partners in the future. Weinstein said the new campaigns, “Are about making video advertising easier and simpler.”

Why we should care

By allowing advertisers to upload multiple types of video assets, YouTube’s video reach campaigns takes the guesswork out of creating comprehensive campaigns that utilize a series of ads.

Ford, a brand given early access to the new campaign format, reports it lowered campaign costs by more than 20% compared to their previous YouTube benchmarks.

“The positive results of the Video Reach campaigns not only provided cost efficiencies while maintaining effectiveness, but also the confidence to implement this tactic across additions campaigns,” said Ford’s Head of U.S. Media Lisa Shoder.

More on the news

  • Weinstein said YouTube’s machine learning technology is looking at what consumers are most likely to watch at a given time to determine when to run the varying video ad assets.
  • YouTube made the announcement ahead AdWeek which kicks off on Monday in New York City.
  • As part of the announcement, YouTube reports it is also planning to bring TrueView for action ads to the YouTube home feed during the fourth quarter of this year.

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Pinterest brings Shoppable Pins to visual searches for fashion, home products /pinterest-brings-shoppable-pins-to-visual-searches-for-fashion-home-products-322235 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 16:33:52 +0000 /?p=322235 The visual search technology that powers Pinterest's Lens camera searches can now identify more than 2.5 billion objects within the fashion and home industry.

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Pinterest announced on Tuesday it has advanced its Lens capabilities, making it possible for the visual search tool to now identify more than 2.5 billion fashion and home products. With this latest advancement, the company is adding fashion and home related Shoppable Pins to visual search results.

“Now, when you use Lens within a fashion or home Pin to hone in on a specific product or object, you’ll see shoppable Product Pins (Pins with the current price and a direct link to checkout on the retailer’s site) along with visually similar ideas to try or buy,” write Pinterest on its newsroom blog.

Users will also now be able to save photos from their Lens searches and turn them into a Pin that they can save to a board. Pinterest will then use the “Lens’ed” photos to power future recommendations for the user.

Why we should care

Pinterest’s visual platform is a natural fit for home and fashion marketers, and the company’s push to wed its visual search technology with shoppable pins makes it even more so. By bringing shoppable pins to Lens search results and recommendations, the company is giving branded Pins more exposure and helping to shorten the customer journey by bridging the gap between product discovery and purchase.

“We see significant value for brands to tap into visual search on Pinterest as it will allow wider discovery by tastemakers and drive meaningful consumer engagements online and off,” said GroupM’s Global Head of Social Kieley Taylor.

According to a CSpace Visual Search survey, 80% of Pinterest users start with a visual search when shopping, and 85% of the survey respondents reported they put more importance on visuals versus text information. Forty-nine percent of the Pinterest users surveyed said they develop better relationships with brands via visual search. All more reason for brands to take advantage of Pinterest’s image-focused platform and visual search technology.

More on the news

  • The latest updates to Pinterest’s camera Lens search technology were released on its Android app on Tuesday and will launch on iOS in the coming weeks.
  • Earlier this year, Pinterest recruited Walmart’s former CTO Jeremy King to lead its engineering team, overseeing the team responsible for building out the platform’s visual search technology.
  • Pinterest launched its “Complete the Look” visual search tool in June, a feature that recommends relevant home and fashion products to users based on the context of a scene within an image

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You can’t advertise that: The big list of prohibited ads across social and search platforms /you-cant-advertise-that-the-big-list-of-prohibited-ads-across-social-and-search-platforms-322222 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 13:11:54 +0000 /?p=322222 To get ads approved in a timely manner, brands need to know what content is allowed, what’s restricted and what’s prohibited. we put together this cheat sheet to help.

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Part of managing successful ad campaigns involves knowing what types of ad content is disallowed and what’s restricted across the social and search ad landscape. Most prohibited content (counterfeit goods, illegal products and services, etc.) and restricted content (political ads, alcohol, etc.) follows similar standards from one platform to the next, but each company has its own set of rules.

For the marketers who are often tasked with getting ad campaigns up and running in a moment’s notice, knowing what ad content may be blocked by an automatic system could be a lifesaver for the social media ad manager who spends her time in the trenches, uploading creative, setting ad filters and waiting for approval.

Across all social and search ad platforms, the standard rules apply for prohibited ads: no promoting counterfeit goods, tobacco, illegal products or services. No promotions that include trademark or copyright infringement or fraudulent and deceptive practices. Restricted ad content – ads you can run, but with certain limitations – are a bit more varied from platform to platform. Some platforms make their rules easy to follow or refrain from getting too much into the minutiae of things, while others are very specific. The following list gives marketers a general idea of each platforms prohibited and restricted ad guidelines, while also calling out the more unique policies from site to site.

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook’s prohibited ad content across its family of apps includes the standards: no ads promoting illegal products or services, tobacco products or firearms and weapons. It also prohibits ads for surveillance equipment or any ad content that includes third-party infringement (no ads that violate copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity or other personal or proprietary rights).  

But there are a few topics worth noting. For example, the company does not allow ads that lead to a non-functioning landing page, “This includes landing page content that interferes with a person’s ability to navigate away from the page.” You cannot advertise for payday loans, paycheck advancement services or bail bonds. And here’s one that makes anyone wonder if there was a specific instance that inspired the rule: Facebook does not allow the sale of body parts.

For restricted content, advertisers wanting to promote online dating services must receive permission from the platform before running ads, same with political and issue-related ads and cryptocurrency products and services. Promotions around gambling, state lotteries, OTC drugs and online pharmacies also come with restrictions.

Drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs in the U.S. must first be certified via LegitScript before they can apply to run ads on Facebook’s platforms. And ads for weight loss products and plans must be targeted to users age 18 years and older.

Google and YouTube

Google has recently taken efforts to simply and standardize its content policies. It didn’t actually change or updates its rules around allowed and disallowed ads, but instead, reorganized how it presents content policies and restrictions across AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager.

“One consistent piece of feedback we’ve heard from our publishers is that they want us to further simplify our policies, across products, so that they are easier to understand and follow,” wrote Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads Scott Spencer on the Inside AdSense blog.

Google keeps its prohibited and restricted ads general, outlining a high-level over view of what’s prohibited and what’s restricted. Prohibited ad content includes:

  • Counterfeit goods
  • Dangerous products or services
  • Ads that enable dishonest behavior
  • Inappropriate content

Google also separates out ad practices it prohibits: abusing the ad network, misrepresentation and data collection and use (“Our advertising partners should not misuse this information, nor collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures”).

The company’s list of restricted ad content is more comprehensive, but still stays within the usual parameters without any odd items – like human body parts. Google’s restricted content ad policies include:

  • Adult content
  • Alcohol
  • Copyrights
  • Gambling and games
  • Healthcare and medicines
  • Political content
  • Financial services
  • Trademarks
  • Legal requirements (all ads must comply with the laws and regulations pertaining to the location where the ad is displayed).

Google keeps its ad policies at a high-level for the most part, a tactic that gives the company more control to decide on a case-by-case basis what’s allowed and what’s not.


LinkedIn is a Microsoft-owned platform, but its prohibited and restricted ad policies are separate from the rules outlined for Microsoft and Bing. In addition to the usual disallowed content, LinkedIn’s list of prohibited ads has some interesting entries. For example, the site does not allow ads for downloadable ringtones and occult pursuits (“Ads for fortune telling, dream interpretations and individual horoscopes are prohibited, except when the emphasis is on amusement rather than serious interpretation”).

Also, instead of having restrictive measures around political ads, LinkedIn prohibits any political ad content, same as its parent company: no ads advocating for or against a political candidate or promoting ballot propositions.

LinkedIn’s restricted ad content includes the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Animal products
  • Dating services
  • Soliciting funds
  • Medical devices
  • Short-term loans and financial services

One side note about LinkedIn’s ad policies, the company specifically states that it prohibits ads that are offensive to good taste. “This means ads must not be, for example, hateful, vulgar, sexually suggestive or violent. In special circumstances, LinkedIn may determine that an ad that was acceptable is no longer appropriate as we update our policies to reflect new laws or clarify our position.”

Microsoft (Bing)

Microsoft’s disallowed and restricted ad policies, which include rules for Bing search ads, can be confusing to follow. The company has published a one-page list of “Restricted and disallowed content policies,” but within that page are links to more detailed pages for “Disallowed Content Policies” and “Disallowed and restricted products and services policies.

Microsoft disallows any election related content, political parties, candidates and ballot measures. Ads promoting fundraising efforts for political candidates, parties, PACs and ballot measures are also prohibited.

As with other platforms, Microsoft doesn’t allow weapons to be advertised on its platforms. This includes firearms and ammunition, but also knives: “Knives that are positioned as weapons or whose primary use is violence, including switchblade knives, disguised knives, buckle knives, lipstick case knives, air gauge knives, knuckle knives and writing pen knives.”

In Brazil, India and Vietnam, Microsoft does not allow advertising that promotes infant feeding products such as baby formula, feeding bottles, rubber nipples or baby food of any kind.

To get a clear understanding of Microsoft’s disallowed ads versus the ads that can run but only with restrictions, advertisers need to review the company’s “Restricted and disallowed content policies” — as opposed to its “Disallowed Content Policies” page — where it outlines specific rules and regulations.


Pinterest’s prohibited ad content guidelines follows the standard themes. No ads for:

  • Drugs and paraphernalia
  • Endangered species and live animals
  • Illegal products and services
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Sensitive content
  • Tobacco
  • Unacceptable business practices
  • Weapons and explosives

Pinterest defines “Sensitive content” as anything it deems divisive or disturbing. For example, language or imagery that is offensive or profane, excessively violent or gory, vulgar or sickening or politically, culturally or racially divisive or insensitive. It also does not allow content that capitalizes on controversial or tragic events – or references to sensitive health and medical conditions.

Pinterest does not allow any “Adult and nudity content” in ads on its platform. Also, ads containing clickbait are disallowed. Like LinkedIn, it prohibits political campaign ads.

The company keeps its list of restricted ad content simple with a detailed outline of what it will and won’t allow around its restricted content. For example, ads that include contests, sweepstakes and Pinterest incentives are restricted. Advertisers are asked not to require users to save a specific image or suggest that Pinterest in any way sponsors or endorses the promotion. It does state specifically that advertisers are not allowed to promote anything that, “Directs people to click on Pinterest buttons to get money, prizes or deals.”

Pinterest’s other restricted ad content includes:

  • Alcohol
  • Financial products and services (ads promoting cryptocurrencies and payday loans are prohibited)
  • Gambling products and services (no ads for lotteries, gambling gaming apps or gambling websites)
  • Healthcare products and services

In terms of its healthcare related ads, Pinterest does allow ads promoting products like eyeglasses or content lenses, Class I and II medical devices and OTC, non-prescription medicines. It does not allow ads for weight loss or appetite suppressant pills and supplements or promotions that claim unrealistic cosmetic results.


Reddit’s list of prohibited and restricted list of ads follows suit with the other social platforms. Disallowed ads include promotions for counterfeit goods, hazardous products or services, illegal or fraudulent products or services and more of the same standard policies. It states specifically that advertisers are prohibited from using inappropriate targeting: “All targeting must be relevant, appropriate, and in compliance with relevant legal obligations of the advertiser.”

Reddit does not allow advertisements for addiction treatment centers and services, it does not accept advertising pertaining to political issues, elections or candidates outside of the U.S. It has a very specific list of financial services and products that are disallowed, including bail bonds, payday loans, debt assistance programs, cryptocurrency wallets, credit and debit cards, and “get rich quick schemes.”

Any advertiser wanting to promote gambling-related services must have their ads manually approved and certified by Reddit: “In order to be approved, the advertiser must be actively working with a Reddit Sales Representative.” This does not include ads for gaming promotions where nothing of value is exchanged, gambling-related merchandise or hotel-casinos where the ad is focused on the hotel.

And while Reddit does allow ads for dating sites, apps and services, it prohibits any centered on infidelity, fetish communities or any that discriminate by excluding persons of specific races, sexuality, religions or political affiliations.


Snapchat’s prohibited ads include the usual suspects, but there are also entries that appear to be designed because of its younger audience. For example, the platform states specifically that it does not allow ads that, “Encourage Snapping and driving or other dangerous behaviors.”

Also, it disallows ads intended to “shock the user” and no ads for app installs from sources other than the official app store for the user’s device. Other prohibited ads include any promotions that involve:

  • Infringing content
  • Deceptive content
  • Hateful or discriminatory content
  • Inappropriate content

Snapchat’s restricted ads for alcohol include a list of 18 countries where alcohol ads cannot be placed. Alcohol ad campaigns that run in allowed countries must not appeal particularly to minors or encourage excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. They must also refrain from glamorizing alcohol, “Or otherwise misrepresent the effects of consuming alcohol.” Snapchat requires alcohol advertisers to include warning labels such as “Please drink responsibly” within their ad copy.

Also, alcohol promotions must be targeted to users who meet the legal drinking age requirement within the country where the ads run. The same goes for gambling and lottery related ads – they must be targeted to users who meet the legal age requirement to gamble.

Same as Reddit, Snapchat allows ads for dating services, but they must be targeted to users age 18 and over, and cannot include provocative, overtly sexual content or reference prostitution. Also, Snapchat does not allow ads that promote infidelity.

Many of Snapchat’s restrictive ad policies are by country. For example, it only permits targeting lottery-related ads to 14 countries, including Brazil, Iraq, Italy, Poland and Russia – but not the U.S. Snapchat does not permit targeting ads for online dating services to Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Advertisers cannot target ads for OTC medicines in Columbia, Iraq, Lebanon, Romania, Spain and Turkey. It also does not permit targeting ads for condoms in Bahrain, Ireland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Monaco, Oman, Poland and Qatar.

In other words, if you are an advertiser managing multiple ad campaigns for various brands across multiple countries, you probably should bookmark Snapchat’s ad restrictions page.


Twitter’s list of prohibited and restricted ads are arguably the easiest to follow. There are no out of the ordinary ads disallowed on the platform, and its restrictive policies are the same standard rules applied across the social ad landscape.

The one area where Twitter distinguishes its policies from other platforms is by stating specifically that it prohibits ads promoting malware products and has restrictions around promotions for software downloads.

It’s worth noting that the ad content policies listed here for each of the platforms are as they stand now, but social platforms have a history of regularly changing their ad content policies. This has happened most notably during the past year and a half with political advertisements. Facebook has gone back and forth with its rules around cryptocurrency ads, totally banning the ads in January, 2018 and then reversing its policies six months later. It wasn’t until last year Facebook began implementing ad targeting restrictions for weapon accessory ads to users 18 years and older.

As ad policies change across platforms, Marketing Land will be sure to update our list.

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Google moves to simplify, standardize content policies for publishers /google-moves-to-simplify-standardize-content-policies-for-publishers-321160 Wed, 28 Aug 2019 14:54:07 +0000 /?p=321160 The updates will go live in September and apply to all publishers using AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager.

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Google is reorganizing how it presents publisher content policies, and standardizing its content policies and restrictions across AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager.

Google content policies will soon be divided into two categories: Google Publisher Policies and Google Publisher Restrictions. The Google Publisher Policies page will outline the types of content that cannot be monetized and the Google Publisher Restrictions page will outline specific content types that do not violate policies, but may not be appealing to all advertisers, such as alcohol or tobacco-related content.

The updates are scheduled to go live in September and are aimed at creating a simplified experience for publishers in terms of understanding what content can be monetized.

Why we should care

Brands and marketers have long been pushing for digital ad platforms to create more transparent and brand-safe environments. In the process, many of the content policies from ad platforms have been difficult to follow and understand for publishers — knowing what content cannot be monetized versus the types of content that can be monetized, but may not fit an advertiser’s branding standards. With this update, Google is making it easier for publishers to follow the rules.

“One consistent piece of feedback we’ve heard from our publishers is that they want us to further simplify our policies, across products, so that they are easier to understand and follow,” writes Google’s Director of Sustainable Ads Scott Spencer on the Inside AdSense blog.

It’s worth noting, Google isn’t launching any new content policies, only restructuring the framework around how they are presented.

More on the news

  • The new Google Publisher Policies page will outline content that cannot be monetized, such as illegal content, dangerous or derogatory, or sexually explicit content.
  • The Google Publisher Restrictions page will list the specific types of content that doesn’t necessarily violate content policies, but may not be appealing for some advertisers: “Publishers will not receive a policy violation for trying to monetize this content, but only some advertisers and advertising products will bid on it.”
  • Google reports it removed 734,000 publishers and app developers from it ad network last year for violating publisher policies.

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Video: Local search expert Joy Hawkins shares an unexpected finding from her Google reviews research /video-local-search-expert-joy-hawkins-shares-an-unexpected-finding-from-her-google-reviews-research-321028 Mon, 26 Aug 2019 15:22:16 +0000 /?p=321028 Hawkins talks to Search Engine Land editor Barry Schwartz about breaking out on her own, buying Local Search Forum and a recent discovery she made around Google's review gating policy.

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Search Engine Land editor Barry Schwartz caught up with local search expert, and the founder of local SEO agency Sterling Sky, Inc., Joy Hawkins at last month’s MozCon event for a quick interview. The two talked about Hawkins decision to break out on her own, why she bought Local Search Forums from her mentor, and how her team has been able to make sure it remains a top-notch resource for the SEO community.

“There’s a log of moderation that goes into,” said Hawkins. She also shared a surprising finding after performing a test with businesses that lost 98% of Google reviews because they were practicing review-gating, which is against Google’s review policies. Hawkins discovered that, in every single case, the businesses rankings had not been impacted by the loss of reviews. Be sure to watch the video to find out why.

This video is part of Barry’s recently introduced vlog interview series, featuring conversations with SEO industry experts like Rand Fishkin, Greg Gifford and Cassie Gillette. You can find past episodes by subscribing to Barry’s YouTube channel, or sign up to be interviewed for the vlog by filling out this form on Search Engine Roundtable.

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How to use Shopping campaigns to increase enterprise leads for B2B /how-to-use-shopping-campaigns-to-increase-enterprise-leads-for-b2b-319414 Mon, 15 Jul 2019 18:53:39 +0000 /?p=319414 Metric Theory's SEM campaign for Recycle Away delivered highly-targeted leads and increased revenue by 54%, earning the agency top honors at this year's Search Engine Land Awards.

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Metric Theory Founder and COO Jeff Buenrostro accepting the Search Engine Land award for Agency of the Year.

Recycle Away, an SMB provider of recycling bins for businesses and home use, wanted to improve its targeting to businesses while reducing ad spend on residential buyers. The two audiences use the same search queries, so to meet the challenge, Metric Theory devised a five-point strategy using lead-to-revenue attribution tactics, geographic targeting, advanced segmentation for Shopping ads, call tracking technology and account-based marketing initiatives.

“They’re not our biggest client, but they get the same innovative strategy all of our clients do,” said Metric Theory CEO Ken Baker, “This story involved flipping the concept of shopping ads on their head and creating a lead generation strategy with it instead, that led to huge growth in enterprise business leads for them.”

Metric Theory’s SEM campaign for Recycle Away delivered on its goals and earned the agency a top honor at this year’s Search Engine Land Awards when it was named the Agency of the Year Award for SEM.

Attribution tracking and geo-targeting

A majority of Recycle Away’s paid search traffic comes from Shopping ads, which makes quote tracking more challenging. Metric Theory worked with the client to build a cookie system to capture URL parameters on visits from Shopping campaigns in order to tie quotes to the ads for individual products that brought the users. This allowed the team to understand the bigger revenue contribution of individual products, beyond just direct sales. The data was then used to optimize budgets and bids.

Once Metric Theory had a handle on how best to optimize ad spend, the agency developed a geographic targeting strategy that focused on cities that had a high number of large companies and had recently passed recycling ordinances changes.

Metric Theory also injected the relevant location keywords in product titles for Shopping ads using feed management software to increase impression share and CTR in those markets. Advanced shopping segmentation measures allowed Metric Theory to funnel highly targeted searches for business-specific markets to the appropriate products using custom labels.

Tools of the trade

The agency used CallRail’s call tracking solutions combined with quote revenue tracking software to track quotes received by phone — attaching that data back to campaigns and ad groups for more insights around direct response results.

For the account based marketing portion of Recycle Away’s campaign, Metric Theory used Kickfire to identify audiences via IP addresses that could then be fed into Google Ads retargeting campaigns. This tactic drove a 200% lift in click-through rates when measured against comparable campaigns.

Winning results

By the end of the campaign, Metric Theory’s strategy for Recycle Away delivered a 54% jump in direct revenue, a 37% increase in quote submissions and 32% higher pipeline revenue opportunities tied directly to the search marketing efforts on a budget increase of 38% year-over-year.

Baker said the most exciting thing about winning the agency of the year award for this campaign has been the responses he’s received from clients, employees and other agencies.

“[Our clients and employees] are the reason we won and to make them proud means the world to us,” said Baker, “We also received a number of personal notes from executives at other agencies. That meant a lot to us, and also demonstrates the camaraderie in our industry.”

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How a localized SEO campaign delivered global market share, lifted revenue /how-a-localized-seo-campaign-delivered-global-market-share-lifted-revenue-318606 Thu, 27 Jun 2019 14:44:53 +0000 /?p=318606 The campaign, by Search Engine Land Awards SEO agency of the year Wolfgang Digital, helped the Digital Marketing Institute quickly expand to the U.S.

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Wolfgang Digital’s SEO team. Image: Wolfgang Digital.

For businesses looking to expand and grow internationally, SEO can play an important role in scaling growth. Last year, the Dublin-based Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) was looking to gain market diversity to protect against macro-environmental factors such as the Brexit referendum.

Looking at search volume for high-volume keywords relevant to the digital marketing training provider’s offerings, its digital agency Wolfgang Digital suggested focusing on the U.S. market to scale the business. “With responsibility for global expansion resting on search channels, the tactics had to focus on scaling quickly, regionalising the messaging, and driving efficiency,” said Wolfgang Digital, which won the 2019 Search Engine Land Awards for SEO agency of the year.

The objective was to increase leads and revenue from the U.S. market quickly within a limited budget.

SEO localization tactics to spur growth

Wolfgang Digital used a mixed of technical SEO efforts, including creating internationalized subdirectories, hreflang tag implementation and Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools localizations.

The team also developed a content calendar process that focused on interests, geography and calendar event data. To meet DMI’s international search goals, the agency knew DMI’s online content would have to have a hyper-localized approach and take cultural nuances into consideration, even across English-speaking markets. Automated reporting pulls search volume, Google Search Console and Google Ads data together, “displaying insights to fully internationalise a website based on user intent and conversion-likelihood,” said Wolfgang Digital.

The campaign encompassed “international SEO implementation, and how to spot opportunities within global markets,” said Luke Fitzgerald, Head of SEO for Wolfgang Digital about DMI’s SEO campaign, “It had content optimization and localization, and how to differentiate offerings to different geographic user bases. And, it had off-page SEO strategy, and how to outreach different, relevant and authoritative publications within different regions.”  

New market becomes top performer

In seven months, the campaign generated a 75% increase in total organic traffic across DMI’s international markets, including the U.S., Australia and Canada, resulting in a 15% year-over-year increase in overall business revenue. The U.S. has overtaken the U.K., which had been the top performing market in terms of sales-qualified leads.

Conversion rates increased significantly, even as traffic rose. The team incorporated conversion rate optimization and UX testing as part of the campaign efforts.

Fitzgerald credits much of the campaign’s success to his agency’s internal cross-functional communication paired with external client communication. “Through innovative conceptualization and close integration with the paid search team and constant communication and collaboration with our client’s own great in-house team; the performance element was only a matter of time,” said Fitzgerald.

“With this balanced blend of technical, on-page and off-page SEO, we felt it represented the best of our work as a full-service international SEO agency, and it helped demonstrate that it’s important to get each of these elements right for a sustainable, prolonged growth and expansion within a competitive market and help grow the client’s organic visibility and, ultimately, their bottom line,” said Fitzgerald.

The team identified a set of top priority keywords and split them into tiers based on feasibility as well as where ranking improvements would drive the most value. DMI’s search visibility across the keyword set increased from 31% to 42% during the campaign.

A backlinking strategy included building links to the localized /us/ subdirectory throughout the campaign period.

Tools of the trade

In addition to Google and Bing’s native tools, Wolfgang Digital used SEOmonitor for reporting, Screaming Frog to identify technical site issues and pages lacking localised metadata and hreflang reporting. Sitebulb further helped validate hreflang across multiple domains and sitemaps.

The team also used SEMRush for keyword research and tracking and BuzzSumo for better understanding what’s working in DMI’s vertical in the U.S.

“Often times, as we get caught up in the day-to-day of running a team or client campaigns, we don’t take time to reflect and take a holistic overview of how we’re performing and what the growth trajectory looks like,” said Fitzgerald in considering the team’s Search Engine Land Award win.

“The hard work starts now in knuckling down and maintaining this high standard and ensuring the lessons learnt from this success are effectively disseminated and applied to other clients as part of a virtuous circle of learning and continuous improvement,” said Fitzgerald.

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Pinterest broadens e-commerce capabilities with ‘Complete the Look’ visual search feature /pinterest-broadens-e-commerce-capabilities-with-complete-the-look-visual-search-feature-318309 Mon, 17 Jun 2019 18:02:56 +0000 /?p=318309 The visual search feature will recommend fashion and home decor products based on the context of an image.

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Pinterest has launched a new “Complete the Look” visual search tool that recommends relevant products in the home decor and fashion categories based on the context of the scene. For example, if a user searches for a beach scene Pin, the platform will recommend products found in similar images such as hats, sandals and sunglasses.

Why we should care

Pinterest has been focusing on its e-commerce capabilities for some time now, and this new visual search tool is another step in that direction. The technology makes it possible for the platform to recommend fashion and home decor products based on the context and attributes of all objects within an image a user searches for or saves. As a result, brands will potentially gain more exposure on Pinterest as more of their Pins are surfaced via visual search.

“Complete the Look takes context like an outfit, body type, season, indoors vs. outdoors, various pieces of furniture, and the overall aesthetics of a room to power taste-based recommendations across visual search technology,” writes Eric Kim and Eileen Li who are part of Pinterest’s visual search team.

A Gfk “Path to Purchase” report from last November found that 78% of Pinterest users who engaged with home decor Pins made a purchase based on content shared by brands on the platform — that number increased to 83% of users who engaged with fashion Pins on a weekly basis.

More on the news

  • In March, Pinterest hired Jeremy King to head up its engineering team. King brings deep e-commerce experience to the platform as the former CTO for Walmart and VP of engineering at eBay.
  • On Monday, Pinterest introduced a new “Shopping” category to its Pinterest Marketing Partner program and announced it was dropping “Marketing” from the program name, now calling it simply “Pinterest Partners.”
  • A June report from eMarketer said Pinterest outperforms other social platforms in terms of product discovery: with 47% of users turning to Pinterest to find new products, versus 15% of Facebook users and 11% of Instagram users.

The post Pinterest broadens e-commerce capabilities with ‘Complete the Look’ visual search feature appeared first on Search Engine Land.