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https://relativityseo.com/seo-services/ Joe Martinez – Search Engine Land News On Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Mon, 25 Nov 2019 14:40:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Getting the most out of limited YouTube creative during the holiday season /getting-the-most-out-of-limited-youtube-creative-during-the-holiday-season-325673 Mon, 25 Nov 2019 14:29:30 +0000 /?p=325673 Even if your creative is limited, test different targets, review call-to-action extensions and refresh your product selections for TrueView for Shopping.

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Black Friday is going to be here in a matter of days, and you just got the go-ahead to use some additional budget to build awareness with YouTube ads. The problem is you don’t have enough time to get new holiday creative in time. Not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. If you’re stuck with limited creative or you have to use the same videos you ran last year, I’m going to show you a few ways you can squeeze a little bit more juice out the orange before you have to throw it out. Let’s hop in.

Even if your creative is limited, test different targets

I’ve had plenty of e-commerce clients who have seasonal products so one tactic I like trying is utilizing site search. If you have site search set up in your Google Analytics, you will be able to see the search queries users were typing when they were visiting your site. As a marketer, I like to go back and see what was popular during the holiday season the previous year. Like this example:

We see flavors during last year’s holiday season that most likely are not made or not popular at other times of the year. And these season products were the most searched. If these are products this company plans on selling again this year, I will consider creating custom intent audiences based off of these site search queries to try and get in front of users who are looking for these products again in the new season. (Yes, I understand some of the site searches are very broad. So instead of just “peppermint,” I’ll try “peppermint coffee pod” instead).

Remember, for YouTube, custom intent audiences are based upon broad-match related variants of actual search queries people have typed on Google.com. Since custom intent audiences haven’t yet been merged with custom affinity audiences like we were warned at the last Google Marketing Live, you can try and capitalize on higher keyword intent with your video campaigns one last time.

One other solution is to create custom intent audiences using keywords of the top-selling products from the previous year (again, if they’re applicable for this year too). Head over to your conversions tab and review your e-commerce overview during your main holiday season. Take the product names (sorry had to blur mine out) and create audiences from these products as well as similar products users may want to buy during this time of year.

Refresh your product selections for TrueView for Shopping

It’s the holidays so of course, you want to promote your products. TrueView for Shopping campaigns are a great way for YouTube marketers to promote their products and potentially drive traffic to specific product pages. Last year I wrote an article on how to create evergreen TrueView for Shopping campaigns, and the theory definitely still applies to the holiday season. One of the options we have to select products for our TrueView for Shopping campaigns is custom labels from our Merchant Center feeds.

Just like how we can review previous holiday season data to find new targeting options, we can use that data to update our labels for product selections. Whether you want to use your main feeds or a supplemental feed, keeping your custom labels updated for the holiday season can help you promote the right products at the right time. Even if you don’t have new video creative to use, at least the products that will appear alongside your TrueView in-stream ads will be different and relevant to your holiday goals. 

Test your call-to-action extensions

At this time last year, we were still using call-to-action overlays on our TrueView in-stream ads to drive traffic to the site. Those days are gone, and now we have to use the call-to-action extensions. No matter what creative you have to use this year, keep testing out different call-to-action extensions to try and drive more traffic to your website.

Your video creative could be the same but test different headlines and call-to-action messages for higher CTRs. Remember even if the viewer skips your ad and goes on to the video watch page they originally intended on visiting, your call-to-action extensions will still be visible on the page. Make your holiday messages, offers, sales, etc. appealing enough to gain more clicks from your YouTube videos even if your creative is the same.

Final point

I will always recommend trying to get new creative that speaks as specifically as possible to your target audience, the products you are promoting and the deals you are offering during the holiday season. The more you cater your creative to match the feel of the season, the better chance you have of getting higher engagement rates in a competitive advertising season. But if you don’t new creative to use, try these tips I mentioned to maximize your performance with the limited creative you may have.

The post Getting the most out of limited YouTube creative during the holiday season appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Are TrueView video discovery ads the better option for your brand? /are-trueview-video-discovery-ads-the-better-option-for-your-brand-324182 Tue, 29 Oct 2019 18:50:59 +0000 /?p=324182 Discovery ads require a strategy for a different type of use-case that can be helpful to your business goals. Here's when it works.

The post Are TrueView video discovery ads the better option for your brand? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Typically, when I talk about video campaigns in Google Ads, I talk about TrueView in-stream ads. These are the pre-roll ads that play before or during the video a user actually intended on watching. While I recommend these ads to almost anyone interested in running ads on YouTube, TrueView video discovery ads could be a better fit in certain cases. I want to show you why discovery ads could be either a better fit for your account or even a great complement to the campaigns you are already running.

Video discovery ads can capitalize on deeper intent

Many video marketers may say that custom intent audiences for YouTube are the deepest form of targeting in Google Ads video campaigns to capitalize on user intent. While I LOVE custom intent audiences and use them all the time, I have to disagree with that statement. PPC marketers (again guilty of this one) talk about how search is the deepest form of intent in digital marketing. Well, people can search on YouTube too! 

Yes, we can use audience targets for our video discovery ads, but we can also choose to target by keywords that contextually relate to certain videos or channels. Advertisers running TrueView video discovery ads can also update their campaign settings to only show their ads on YouTube search results pages (like what you see above). This way you are only showing your discovery ads to users actively searching for videos on specific topics. You won’t get the volume like other video ad formats in Google, but your placements can be spot on a lot of the times.

Discovery ads are great for advertisers with content not suitable for in-stream

With an in-stream ad, we are disrupting a user’s experience. They were not on YouTube to watch your ad. They were there to watch a music video, a cat video, a Ted talk, etc. So our in-stream ads have to be more like TV commercials. If you are using the skippable ads, you need to make sure you are capturing the user’s attention within the first five seconds otherwise they will skip your ad. With TrueView video discovery ads, the user chooses to watch your video. If they have already shown an interest in your content, you can elect to try and keep that user engaged as long as possible with longer video content. 

Let me explain a real scenario I had with a client this year. This client wanted to promote a video they made which was an interview with a specific celebrity. We already had our list of custom audiences about this celebrity ready as well as layers of other audiences that fit perfectly with this demographic. The decision to make this campaign a TrueView video discovery campaign was pretty clear. Why? The answer is clear for a couple of reasons.

  1. The video was over 32 minutes long. No joking. This length of the video is highly unrecommended for an in-stream ad. 
  2. The format of the video content was not really engaging. It really was the interviewer and the celebrity, sitting in chairs, talking about one cause. The content was great, but it took much longer than five seconds for someone to figure it out and most likely they wouldn’t have skipped the ad anyway. While free impressions are great, we wanted people to engage. 

You can see in the image above, I’m sharing the actual stats for this campaign. If these percentages were for a TrueView in-stream ad, I wouldn’t be proud of them. But remember, the video was two people sitting in chairs and talking for over half an hour. That being said we had almost 7% of users clicking on the ad watching at least eight minutes of the video. We had 1.53% of users clicking on the ad watching all 32-plus minutes. Not bad for a couple of cents per view. So if you have longer videos that won’t work for an in-stream ad, try it out as a discovery ad instead.

We can use discovery ads to build your engagement audiences

When running TrueView in-stream ads, advertisers can add features like companion banners and call-to-action extensions to drive users to specific landing pages. With TrueView video discovery, we do not have those options. So if we can’t drive users to our landing pages directly from our discovery ads, what do we do? Remember after a user clicks on your discovery ad, they go straight to the video watch page. Hopefully, your targeting is hitting the right audience, and you are keeping those users engaged to the end. Because if a user reaches the final seconds of your video, you can set up end screens to encourage additional engagement. 

In the image above, I have gone ahead and added (from left to right) subscribe, best for viewer video, and playlist end screens to the end of this video. So when users get to the last twenty seconds, I can encourage them to either subscribe to my channel or watch other videos. No hard sell. All I am asking for is the continuation of these users’ attention. How does this affect PPC? Good question. 

In Google Ads, we can add the Earned Action columns. Google tracks when users watch additional videos, like your videos, share your videos, subscribe to your channel, and add your videos to a playlist after clicking on your video ads. Best news yet is all of these additional actions are FREE! If your videos are engaging a lot of users and building a good amount of earned actions, then you need to head to the Audience Manager in Google Ads. 

When you create audiences from YouTube users, you have the option to create audiences from earned action sources. (For clarification, these audiences include more than earned actions after ads but all actions. E.g. All recent subscribers not just the ones who watched an ad first). But we can take these YouTube user audiences to use for our remarketing campaigns in YouTube, Display or Search. While we may not be able to drive traffic to our landing pages, we can use video discovery ads for the top of the funnel and use those engagement audiences for next-step remarketing campaigns to guide that user further down the funnel to eventual conversion.

Final Point

It’s easy to lean towards the video ad format that will give you consistent, free views, but TrueView video discovery ads are also valuable. They just take a different approach to understand the user experience and how we execute a strategy that is helpful to your business goals. TrueView video discovery ads are not meant to replace your in-stream campaigns. They are meant to be a worthy complement to capitalize on a different viewer with a different intent when consuming video content on YouTube.

The post Are TrueView video discovery ads the better option for your brand? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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How YouTube can help your non-video campaigns in Google Ads /how-youtube-can-help-your-non-video-campaigns-in-google-ads-320368 Wed, 07 Aug 2019 18:10:48 +0000 /?p=320368 Here's how you can boost campaigns with video in lightbox ads, display, universal apps and more.

The post How YouTube can help your non-video campaigns in Google Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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I’ve worked with many clients on YouTube campaigns and understand the time and effort it takes to create an effective video ad. We work hard to create custom videos that speak to different audiences depending on where they might be in the buyer funnel or maybe beyond. Yes we use these videos to run effective and affordable video campaigns in Google Ads, but we can also use them in a lot more ad formats on Google Ads. Let’s run through other ways you can utilize your video ads beyond YouTube to squeeze out as much value from the platform as possible. 

Display network campaigns

One of the biggest benefits of running YouTube ads is the reach we get to drive awareness. Besides video campaigns, we can utilize our videos in various ways on the display network too. Here are some ways you can utilize your current video content on YouTube to enhance the display campaigns you may already be running. 

Lightbox ads

When creating a display campaign with the goal of “product and brand consideration,” you can create custom lightbox ads which are actually pretty fun to build. You can customize these lightbox ads with a variety of elements such as images, a retail feed from your merchant center, messages, call-to-action buttons, stylization and of course videos. 

With a lightbox ad, you pay on a CPE (cost-per-engagement) bidding strategy. When the ad is visible to the user, they will only see a thumbnail image. The user has to hover their mouse over the ad for a couple of seconds to see the content on the inside. Once the ad opens, then the advertiser will be charged. Any actions that user takes after they are engaging with your ad are free. In addition to images, having a user engage with my videos and sending them back to my website to me is a more qualified user. They didn’t accidentally click on my display ad. They hovered over it, explored the ad, possibly watched my video content, then clicked to my website. I’d rather remarket to an engaged user first over a page visit audience, and videos can help keep users engaged.  

Responsive display ads

If you don’t upload your own ads to your display network campaigns, you have to create a responsive display ad. Besides being the default display option, these ads are also utilized in the smart display campaigns. Depending on what assets you upload to the ad, Google will use machine learning to deliver what it considers to be the best combination of assets based on previous performance history.

Some of the benefits Google claims on their support page for responsive display ads include saving time creating ads, the ability to use responsive display ads for dynamic remarketing and expanding your reach on the display network when you add video. 

When creating a responsive display ad, you must add at least one landscape image and one square image. Videos are optional, but recommended. Advertisers can add up to five videos to test. And just like any other asset in a responsive display ad, you will be able to review asset performance and combinations whenever videos are part of the ad. 

Gmail

When creating an ad for your Gmail campaign, you must select at least one image or one video asset to add to the ad (besides a logo image). If you want, you can just add a video and not use any images at all. And of course, this video must be from YouTube.

Now you might be thinking, “Wait a minute. Are you using multiple videos in your Gmail ad.” Why yes. Yes, I am. You can add up to seven YouTube videos to your Gmail ad if you choose. Depending on the goal of your campaigns, and depending on what video assets you have on your YouTube channel, you can add a variety of videos to engage the user. Your video links will go straight to the video watch page (unless it’s the headline asset) so make sure your end screens are in place to keep the user engaged beyond the view. 

Universal app campaigns

And going along with the trend of what you have been reading so far, yes we can add YouTube videos to your ads promoting your apps. Just like the examples we have seen so far, adding videos is an optional element. But even though videos are optional, you must know the fine print of utilizing video in this ad. Google states the following in the app ad creation process:

“If you leave this field blank, Google Ads may make a video for you.”

Google can do this by taking any images you add as well as text. So if you don’t want Google to take more control, have a video asset ready that complements your app.

And if you think that adding seven videos to an ad sounds fun, you’ll want to start running some universal app ads immediately. We can add up to twenty videos to our app ads. Yes. Twenty! Why would you want so many videos for one ad? Once again Google explains.

“If you enter a YouTube video, Google Ads will also create video ads for you using the video you enter.

So in this case, the more videos you add, the more video ad varieties you could have to showcase your app. This is one situation where we can embrace the variety. The more videos you have the better chance you have of not annoying users with the same video ad over and over. 

Search network campaigns

Match types keep changing. There’s nothing we can do about it. While keywords are still important, there is a clear focus shift to audiences. Understanding user actions and behavior can be a great asset in understanding what your users are actually looking to do. Page visit audiences can still work. I still use them on my accounts. But to me, someone who engages with my videos or watches multiple videos on my YouTube channel is a more valuable target. In the audience manager tool in Google Ads, we can already create a variety of audiences from our video campaigns.

I like to use these audiences in two main ways. 

  1. Target these users separately in RLSA campaigns. Users who have already watched a video, liked or commented on a video, etc. are already familiar with your brand. If you have a large enough audience from video views you can speak to these users differently. Especially if they are part of several of the YouTube users audience. 
  2. Make bid adjustments on these audiences. In many of my accounts in the past users who have seen my video (organically or as an ad) and then come back and search for my brand name, convert at a higher rate. I prefer to bid higher on my YouTube users audiences to make sure they get the most exposure as possible if users are coming back and converting. That being said, I add YouTube user audiences as optimization audiences to every single one of my campaigns if they’re not being used for targeting Only RLSA in any way. Even if I prefer not to adjust my bids, I can still see how my YouTube performance may be impacting paid search traffic. While this doesn’t show you full search impact, especially since we can’t see impact via other channels, we at least get some proof on the value of YouTube besides direct conversions. 

YouTube is more valuable than you think

Hopefully, you see how YouTube can help more than just your video campaigns. Whether you are looking for new ads to test or ways to boost your current campaigns, the answer could already be sitting in your accounts. Start testing out YouTube ads in your other campaigns and see how performance can change. 

The post How YouTube can help your non-video campaigns in Google Ads appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Here’s how you align marketing strategy with your customer’s journey /heres-how-you-align-marketing-strategy-with-your-customers-journey-318171 Thu, 13 Jun 2019 15:43:31 +0000 /?p=318171 SMX Advanced presenters Amy Bishop and Michelle Morgan outline tactics for paid media channels to effectively guide users from discovery to conversion.

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Everyone in attendance during the SMX Advanced presentation with Amy Bishop and Michelle Morgan got an amazing deep dive on using paid media channels to effectively guide users from discovery to conversion. There was a ton of information in this session I couldn’t fit into this recap, but I wanted to share my main takeaways Amy and Michelle presented.

Know your market

It all starts with knowing your market segmentation. You should conduct an exercise (links to the templates in the image below) and define in each area which product and service is the best fit based on which problems you are trying to solve.  Besides the best fit, you should also try and figure out which users may be the worst fit for your business.

We also must separate the buyer’s journey from the sales journey. Maybe people consider the two to be the same, but the journeys are completely different. The sales team is looking at their job performance and doing what is best to get users to close. The buyer is becoming aware of a problem and then researching what to buy and where to buy it from to solve their initial problem. It’s our job as marketers to figure out who the audience is, but since users’ paths can be completely different, we need to research audiences in ways that make sense for each user.

Using audiences in a meaningful way

As people take different turns in their buyer’s journey, we can utilize audiences to better craft our strategies and market to these users. One of the best things in our industry is most of the major advertising platforms offer audience insights tools. The biggest takeaway is that these tools tell you how your audience or personas translate into the exact targeting options on the platforms.

  • Facebook Audience Insights – This is really great for creating targeting personas. Identify top converting demographics and zero in on those first. Further segment by layering interests and other demographics. Identify new interests to target, and then monitor performance to flesh out and validate your personas.
  • Google Ads Audience Insights – We can look at any audience we have (must have at least 1,000 users in it) to see which in-market and affinity audiences your base audience belongs to. Look at customer lists, converters, high volume purchasers, etc. to get a better understanding of how these audiences are comprised.
  • Google Analytics – Also has in-market and affinity data in a broader scope, but we can layer on many other demographic insights.

There are many ways to look at your audience data between the channels. Look for patterns in between the platforms to find which ones should be tested first depending on the persona and where that persona might be in the buyer’s journey.

Map it out to make sure you know the information each user needs, what device they typically use, what action you want the user to take, and how you can measure the success of that action. And as we create different actions from each persona, we can build audiences off of these actions to create remarketing audiences to use to keep guiding the user to eventual purchase.

Calls-to-actions that make sense

We need to always keep in mind what we are asking our users to do. It’s not about what we as business owners (or marketers) want the user to do; it’s about what’s best for the user in that moment. We already mapped out the path to purchase in the section previous, but what action is holding these users up that is preventing them from moving forward? We need to work to figure this out to make sure we can have the proper content and CTA to keep them moving further along.

Ideally, you want to have CTAs for all stages of the funnel. Video views are great for top of funnel marketing because we’re not asking for a firm commitment from someone who may not even know who your brand is. This is going to be more effective than asking for the demo on the first interaction because the user most likely doesn’t know who you are or why they need your brand. But as users get deeper in the funnel, we can be more aggressive with our CTAs as the user shows more interest as time goes on.

Messaging in multi-channel

We also have to back away from the thought that people only use one channel throughout the buyer’s journey. Users do not only use Google or only use Facebook. You can’t make people use a channel. Advertisers have to go where their users like to go. Many of these channels can be used from top to bottom of the funnel. And as we expand our marketing message throughout these channels, we need to make sure the CTAs also match across the channels to make sure we’re serving the same message to users depending on their persona.

Here are targeting suggestions from Amy and Michelle depending on where the user is in the funnel.

  • Top of Funnel – Utilize interest-based targeting, lookalike/similar audiences, affinity and in-market audiences as well as other custom audiences to fill the funnel. Be sure to exclude your lower funnel targets to make sure the top of funnel message doesn’t get repeated as users continue the journey.
  • Middle of Funnel – Go after visitor traffic, repeat purchasers and loyalists, video viewers, and anyone else who engaged with social media posts or your mid-funnel content.
  • Bottom of Funnel – Cart abandoners, form abandoners, visitors of high-intent pages like pricing, low funnel customer match audiences.

Let the user convert on the channel of their choosing. Create identical audiences for each stage of the funnel on all applicable channels if you can. Also, don’t forget about creating identical exclusions to make sure you’re not showing users any ads outside of where they are in the funnel. The more we keep our ad message and audience targeting to the persona across each channel, the better chance we have of getting the user to move further along in the funnel to eventual purchase.

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Answers to common questions about YouTube Ads /answers-to-common-questions-about-youtube-ads-317727 Mon, 03 Jun 2019 15:31:23 +0000 /?p=317727 Here are some tips on how to structure your video campaigns, measure performance and get in front of the right audience.

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I never hide my love of YouTube ads. It’s my favorite channel to use to run paid campaigns because it’s a cost-effective way to build brand awareness and also drive user action. Whether I’m pitching the channel to a client or already running campaigns, I seem to come across the same set of questions about YouTube ads. I wanted to use this post to address the questions I typically see to help you easily answer the same questions you may receive in the future.

Do you really get free advertising from YouTube?

Short answer: Yes, you can, but it is not exactly the way you think. Google doesn’t hand over vouchers for free ad spend every month. What we do get is the opportunity for free brand awareness. Advertisers running video campaigns in Google Ads only have to pay when users watch a good portion of your ad.

Advertisers only have to pay for views if either a user watches your TrueView ad for thirty seconds, or if they watch the entire video of an ad that is less than thirty seconds. So if you have a thirty-second ad, and users only watch twenty-eight seconds of the ad every time, you will never pay for those views. Now name any other marketing channel that will offer you free, consistent branding like YouTube can. Exactly.

Since advertisers can choose to add additional components to their videos such as the new call-to-action extension or shopping cards, they still could get charged for views under thirty seconds. If users watching your ads, interact with your additional elements, you will be charged for those clicks. You just have to understand you will be charged for which ever action happens first: the thirty-second video view or the physical click engagement.

Video ads aren’t counting towards my total views. Why?

Let’s set up the scenario a little bit. You may see a video you are using as a video ad have a certain view count within Google Ads like we can see in this image.

But when you check your video analytics within the YouTube Studio, you may see a totally different view count even though your date ranges are exactly the same.

Why do the 649 views versus 222 views happen? The answer is pretty simple. If you are running in-stream ads, there are a few policies you should be aware of. First, if you choose to run skippable ads, the video has to be at least twelve seconds long to count towards incremental views. If you are running non-skippable ads, like the fifteen-second maximum or six-second bumper ads, those views are never counted towards your overall view total. Keep this in mind if you ever have a client wanting to run a campaign with the goal of “boosting views.” People will see the video, but the true totals may not be public.

I selected specific placements for my ad group targeting. Why aren’t they getting any impressions?

The biggest reason I was mad about the Display Planner going away last year wasn’t the impact it had on my Display Network campaigns. I was mad about the effect it was going to have on my video campaigns. When looking for website placements for video ads over a year ago, we used to be able to see which placements had space for video ads.

Those days are long gone. Now advertisers have to research placements while creating their ad groups. And while we can still get a list of every website on the Display Network, there is no guarantee those websites have video ad space. This is exactly how your video ad may never show up on the specific website placements you chose. Here’s something else to make placement targeting more difficult to perfect.

Yep. You’re not seeing things. Just because you pick certain placements, doesn’t mean Google has to show your ad on those exact placements. Depending on what other targeting options you have layered into your ad groups, or for whatever reason you are not eligible to show up on the placements you selected, your video ad could show up on other channels, videos, or website placements you never manually selected. So whenever you launch a new video ad campaign with managed placements, watch them very carefully right away to see where your video ads are actually being shown.

Why isn’t Google letting me change my bidding method for my video campaigns?

In your Search Network campaigns, you can change your campaign goal in the Settings as often as you want. With video campaigns, that is not an option. Once you pick a campaign goal for a video campaign, you are stuck with it.

This is an important warning to remember, for advertisers who love to test different bid strategies. But also important if you want to run a specific campaign like TrueView for Action or TrueView for Shopping. These campaign examples (and some others) require you to select specific campaign goals and subtypes to create them. Your hands may be tied to certain bid strategies in addition to the lack of freedom to be able to change the campaign goals down the road (for now as we know it). I recently wrote a post laying out all of the bidding options for YouTube campaigns so you can get an understanding of all of your choices.

Dig in and get familiar with video campaigns

The more you know about the ins and outs of a video campaign in Google Ads, the more likely you’ll see better results. With the ability to get free brand awareness 24/7, there is no excuse for any advertiser to avoid testing out a video campaign. Find out what your audience likes to engage with and use the answers from this post to better help you structure your campaigns, measure performance and get in front of the right audience.

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Using insights to find new audiences to test for awareness campaigns /using-audience-insights-to-find-new-audiences-to-test-for-awareness-campaigns-314145 Mon, 18 Mar 2019 17:33:04 +0000 /?p=314145 Learn how to test new audience combinations with the Audience Insights tool in Google Ads Audience Manager.

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You’ve tried custom intent audiences. You’ve tried custom affinity audiences. You’re having trouble scaling your managed placements. You know you want to grow your awareness but are leery of testing broader targeting options. What audiences should you test next for your display campaigns in Google Ads?

The Audience Insights tool in the Google Ads Audience Manager is a great resource for display advertising. I’m going to show you where to find this tool and how you can utilize the information to find new audience combinations to test.

Let’s find the audience insights tool first

Click the tools menu in the overhead navigation of Google Ads. In the drop-down menu, find “Audience manager” under the Shared Library column. Once you’re in the Audience Manager, click on “Audience insights” on the left-hand side of the page.

Now let’s get the data

By default (in my clients’ accounts, I can’t confirm for everyone), the audience we can review first is an All Users audience. But in the image below, I am showing an audience one of my accounts created for all users in the past 90 days.

No matter which audience is the default option that shows up, you can also select which country you want to use to review the audience data. Now advertisers can see the top in-market and affinity audiences your selected audience falls under. But you don’t have to stick to all users. You can change the “Audience to get insights on” option to a variety of audiences you have in your Google Ads account. This will help you learn more about the users in each of your base audiences.

Which in-market audiences are associated with my current converters?

Now, what about the affinity audiences for my current converters? Don’t worry. Google Ads has you covered.

Now I really want to go top of the funnel and find more users who could be interested in my blog posts. Can Google find those for me too? Yes. Google can do that.

Users in different base audiences are going to fall under different in-market and affinity audiences. When crafting your campaign and ad group structure, utilize this information in the Audience Insights tool to find the best, new audiences to test for your new campaigns. And of course, hopefully, you are using different ad copy to speak to the different audiences.

One word of warning. You cannot review a base audience in the Audience Insights tool unless they have 1,000 users.

If the default audiences in Google Ads are not working for you, consider creating those audiences with longer date ranges to be able to analyze your current users. Getting in-market and affinity information on your current audiences is great, but I want to make sure the audience recommendations are legit and not a fluke. This brings me to my last point.

Find patterns to know which combinations to find the audiences to test first

If your account has built up enough users to view a variety of audience data, try and find patterns between the audiences. If you see certain in-market or affinity audiences show up in several audiences you’re pulling data, you should probably test those first.

In the image above, we can see an overlap of five audiences for users who converted in the past 180 days as well as current customers who have logged in recently. If I want to try and find more users who match my existing customers, I probably want to test these in-market audiences first. Look at the audience data for your most valuable audiences. If the same in-market or affinity audiences are showing up over and over again, the odds are other users within those audiences could use your products or services too.

Keep checking the audience insights tool

If you’re looking for new audiences to try for your display campaigns, the Audience Insights tool will give you new ideas to use based upon the current audiences within your account. Not only can you use the tool to test new audiences, but you can use it to see if the in-market and affinity audience data changes over time. User behavior will change. Your target audience might change. Check back every once in awhile (especially if you see audience performance in your display campaigns drop) to see if you should switch up your display targeting at any point. The Audience Insights tool is there with the information you need.

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Here’s how to use advanced audience tactics in Google and Bing /learn-how-google-and-bing-audience-targeting-improves-performance-campaigns-312412 Mon, 18 Feb 2019 15:09:18 +0000 /?p=312412 At SMX West, Christi Olson and Brooke Osmundson covered a variety of ways PPC marketers can use audiences in Bing and Google to improve campaign performance. Here are the big takeaways.

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Targeting abilities have noticeably changed for advertisers over the past years, but one form of targeting has become extremely reliable for many advertisers. That is audience targeting. At SMX West, Christi Olson and Brooke Osmundson went over a variety of ways PPC marketers can use audiences in Bing and Google to improve the performance of their campaigns. Let’s go over the main takeaways from their sessions.

Christi Olson: Extending your reach and effectiveness with audience targeting

We’ve been slowly moving away from a base keyword targeting model and toward how the audience is engaging with the keyword. For targeting options, we have a lot to choose from.

So what do we do with all of these targeting options? Don’t think of the complexities. Think of the possibilities. You can reach your customers and customize your ads to talk to the audience and the actions they have taken. So where should we get started?

List membership duration

In addition to a user cookie, list membership duration takes into consideration how many days from the point a user performed an action on your site do you want to target. If you’re thinking of audiences from a “path to purchase” stand point. You’re going to want to set up a variety of audiences to match the buyer’s journey. Look at setting your list durations to match the purchase cycle.

Also, get creative and expand beyond the obvious to build an audience. You are not limited to just basic page visits. One example Christi mentioned involved UTM parameters. Any elements that get passed to your URLs can be created as an audience. Now you know who’s coming in from a variety of campaigns to remarket to them and specify the message.

Unless you are testing, ALWAYS use target and bid

Now Christi did mention this recommendation can still be debated among the PPC circles, but hear her out. She explains why she prefers to use target and bid (while admitting some audiences do not allow target and bid), and it may change your opinion.

If you want to test an audience, that is when you want to consider bid only. If you want to make any changes to your ad copy, landing page and bid optimization, target and bid is the way to go.

Document and diagram your purchase journey

Before you even think about setting up a campaign or choosing your audiences, understand the conversion path users take. Users are going to interact with every site differently. So if you map out the journey (with help from free tools like the Top Conversion Paths report found in Google Analytics), you’ll have a better understanding of the user behavior.

Once you have the purchase journey mapped, you can now focus your efforts on which audiences should be used for each level of the funnel. Figure out how would you target and market to users in the awareness phase versus the interest phase. Then figure out which audience targets will turn interested users into converters.

Audience strategies

Your ad copy and your messaging is the most important part of the audience strategy. It’s what your customer sees and how they interact with your ads. Your audience has no clue how you are marketing to them. So how do you implement a plan to change the ad copy for each audience type while keeping the message engaging? Christi explained how.

  • Messaging – Not only should you be updating your audience targeting for every step of the funnel, but you should also be updating your copy to address what the user is looking at and what interests them.
  • Use landing pages and content to guide the journey too – Don’t expect great results if you’re running an awareness campaign and then sending users to a product page. Maybe they need an educational page to better answer their questions in discovery.
  • Adjust your bid strategies based on goals – Different bid strategies will work on different levels of the funnel. Bid strategies like Target Impression Share are better for awareness campaigns while Target ROAS or Target CPA will most likely work better for bottom of the funnel campaigns.
  • Shaping and layering your audiences – Use negative bid modifiers to try and prevent audience overlap to keep your messaging as targeted as possible.

Brooke Osmundson: Advanced audience tactics to keep up with the modern consumer

Brooke’s presentation focused on three main areas: new demographic targeting options, limitations and things to look out for, and layering audiences to discover the true intent of the user. Let’s dive in.

Google’s detailed demographics

Google’s Detailed Demographics exist in your Audiences tab in Google Ads and are available for Search, Shopping and YouTube ads. These demographic audiences include the following:

  • Education – Current college students, high school graduates, bachelor’s degree, advanced degree
  • Marital Status – Single, in a relationship, married
  • Homeowner Status – Homeowners, renters
  • Parental Stages – Parents of infants, parents of toddlers, parents of preschoolers, parents of grade-schoolers, parents of teens
  • Employment – Company size and industry (USA only beta and better for B2B)

How should we use these demographics? One client Brooke had was a local pediatric center who wanted to build awareness. The client wanted to target mostly mothers so Brooke targeted the parental status of only infants and toddlers using the Google Detailed Demographics on campaigns. The client is seeing better CTRs, more brand awareness and more productivity at the pediatric center.

Another example was a realtor trying to generate new leads looking to target first-time homebuyers or current homeowners looking to upgrade. Brooke recommends separating the two audiences in different ad groups or audiences so you could speak to them differently. Here is a hypothetical example of how we can now change our ad copy to match the audience targeting in search. Notice how the ad copy changes because the realtor is speaking to two different audience groups.

Bing Ads and LinkedIn integration

There are some limitations to using the LinkedIn integration. First is we only can use bid modifiers for the LinkedIn audiences. Second, these audiences may not be as effective with lower volume searches.

On a positive note, these audiences can work a lot better than Google’s Detailed Demographics. The LinkedIn audiences are based on someone’s actual user profile so the data has been a lot more accurate. So what are some examples of how we could use this?

For a lawyer client, they wanted to reach only users who wanted to report healthcare fraud. How did Brooke help the client reach people who are searching for “medicare” or “medicare fraud?” They started with a 15 percent bid modifier on industries such as hospital and healthcare, medical practice, and pharmaceuticals since they fit the target audience. This change led to a 44 percent increase in CTR and three times more trackable phone calls.

Limitations and words of caution

If you already embrace audiences, that’s great! However, even if you know the value of audiences, you have to understand new accounts can have their audience capabilities limited.

  • New accounts are not eligible for customer match. There are certain eligibility requirements accounts have to hit first.
  • There are limited audience insights available until the Google Ads or Analytics tracking codes are installed. Once the tags are added, you’ll be able to get information on what in-market and affinity categories your audiences fit.
  • Targeting vs. Observation – The default settings for display campaigns are “Observation Only.”
  • Conservative automation targeting is the default setting for your Display ad groups.

Layering audiences

How many times have you heard a client say they want to only reach mid-size to enterprise level companies but insist on bidding on expensive, generic keywords? A lot, right? Well, a solution Brooke is testing for this client in the software space is to use detailed demographics feature with target and bid to better hone in on the audience.

What were the results? They saw a decrease in spend on the expensive, generic keywords. They increased impression share on limited campaigns. CTR increased 10 percent, and the competitor searches became more relevant.

Christi and Brooke showed several ways you can use audiences in Google and Bing. Take the time to understand your target user. Also, understand how audiences work in each of the platforms to know both your opportunities and limitations. Once you have this understanding in place, you’ll be able to improve your marketing and better connect with the audience who is right for your business.

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Reboot your text ads with this toolkit evaluation /reboot-your-text-ads-with-this-toolkit-evaluation-311739 Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:39:39 +0000 /?p=311739 During SMX West, Sean Murphy and Mark Irvine offered insights and best practices on how to customize ad experiences that work best for you.

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Over the past 18 months, we’ve gone from legacy ads to expanded text ads to newly expanded text ads to responsive search ads. Which ones work better? How should I transition? The “Text Ad Reboot” session at SMX West gave attendees a lot of information to consider to make your text ads work best for you.

Embracing ad personalization: Use all the available tools

Sean Murphy emphasized how the text ad reboot is all about personalization. All the power behind machine learning and artificial intelligence is helping advertisers to send individualized ad messages to users. This allows us to customize our experiences in ways we haven’t been able to do so before.

Don’t recoil from personalization. Lean in and embrace it. And the way we can embrace it is to understand what’s in your ad copy toolbox and how do they interact with each other. Each of these tools serves a unique purpose.

Tool #1: Expanded text ads – Your set of screwdrivers

Expanded text ads are the screwdrivers. You need a lot of them to be successful, and you cannot get away with just one. When you need to get several questions and best practices you should keep in mind.

  • What do your customers tell you about themselves when they complete a sale?
  • What demographics and audiences does your audience belong?
  • What convinces your customers to want your product?
  • What’s mainly featured on the landing pages you use in your ads?
  • Remember to keep a wide variety of expanded text ads around.
  • Sean tends to see a higher click conversion when paired with smart bidding.

Tool #2: Responsive search ads – The versatile hammer

These ads are not here to replace expanded text ads. Think of them as a catch-all to be useful to explore new combinations and working to not miss out on any incremental impressions. As you’re thinking through RSAs, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Think of going broad.
  • Use a unique landing page for each RSA.
  • Keep checking on your asset combinations.
  • Review the ad strength and suggestions provided by Google.
  • Remove the headlines that are not serving and test new ones.
  • Break out the highest serving headlines into their own expanded text ads.and remove them from your RSAs.

We shouldn’t look at the current text ads as responsive search ads versus expanded text ads. Use them as a complementary toolset.

Tool #3: Ad extensions – Your trusty multi-tool

Before we got into ad personalization in Google, ad extensions were the first step Google made into personalization. And over the last five years, we have seen the variety and options available noticeably increase. Here are some principles to guide you as you dive into ad extensions.

  • More extensions (more real estate) typically perform better.
  • You can find flexible uses for most of the ad extensions.
  • Do not be redundant. You run the risk of losing visibility.
  • Do not contradict the message in your main text ads.
  • If dynamic extensions are showing, you might be missing something valuable.
  • You can opt out of dynamic extensions if you are worried about compliance.

There are a lot of ad extensions advertisers can use. Do not be afraid to test out creative solutions to find ways to make these extensions work for your business.

Ad variations

Ad variations allow you to test small changes to your ads across several campaigns within the same account. Some tips for optimizing the ad variations include innovating your calls to actions. Take your key features and find new ways to rephrase them. Also look at ways to change your adjectives to see if a new variation resonates with users more.

5 tricks for writing new ads after the text ad reboot

Mark Irvine explained that ads from 2000 to 2016 had 90 maximum characters. Ads keep getting larger, and now we are up to 300 characters. This is almost twice as large as the original ads we first used on the Google Ads platform. After running the numbers with his clients at Wordstream, Mark has seen advertisers notice an average CTR boost of 12 percent just by switching to the new ad formats in Google Ads. In Bing Ads, that CTR boost is even great at 22 percent.

But averages can lie. Even though the CTR boost in Google was 12 percent, 1 in 3 saw insignificant or no CTR change. Why are some people struggling with the new change? What we see is the third headline or the second description might not show. So if the ad we write may not be the one that shows, we need to remember five important tips.

#1: Focus on the elements that matter most

If the third headline and second description of our ads are not guaranteed to show, we cannot rely on these components to relay our critical messaging. Since certain elements of your ad may not show you should focus on the following:

Don’t fall into the habit of just testing the new elements of an expanded text ad. More space is great, but you may not see any incremental gains from your tests. Regardless of whether or not your ad shows up the way you dreamed it to be, you need to keep the original expanded text ad components as your main testing pieces.

#2: Write strong, independent elements in your ads

Your first and second headlines need to be an independent clause. This means the first two headlines need to make sense and are complete on their own. Your third headline should be a dependent clause. Mark then gave a list of conjunctions and prepositions to avoid ending your second headline or first description just in case your newly expanded text ad gets shortened.

#3: Write your new fields for who will actually see them

Depending on the length of each field, certain elements of the ad may be truncated or not even show at all on individual devices or screen sizes. It’s funny to say this because most of Google’s searches come from mobile devices, yet Google only showed the third headline 34 percent of the time, and the second description only 26 percent of the time.

A strong third headline and second description are not written for mobile. Instead, write these new expanded text ads fields for desktop only. Or as Mark says, “Write your ads for who is going to see them the most.”

#4: Use your new, longer ads to offer more to Google and your users

Avoid blatant keyword stuffing and repetition. Using the same keywords over and over in an ad will not make it any better because repetition may limit the visibility of your ad. Think of what value you are offering to not only your users but also to Google to make the content of the ad worth showing. Also, revisit your ad extensions to make sure they aren’t just repeating the language in your new ads.

Making the most of responsive search ads

Just by adding all of those elements, you’ll be able to test and optimize over 43,000 different variations of messaging that advertisers would not be able to do themselves manually. But why are responsive search ads doing poorly for many advertisers? Random headlines can mean combinations that do not work well together.

Because of this, advertisers may see an initial CTR decrease. But over time, as Google’s machine learning improves with more data, we do see an improvement in CTR over what a human can test on their own. Generations of ads mean a lot more, and the time of this growth is going to vary depending on the account. Don’t give up to early and keep testing responsive search ads.

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How are your YouTube campaigns performing on TV screens? /how-are-your-youtube-campaigns-performing-on-tv-screens-309986 Fri, 04 Jan 2019 13:00:34 +0000 /?p=309986 Monitoring performance and making adjustments when necessary is important to do now, as the TV screen device type will be growing.

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Only a few months ago, Google announced TV screens as a device type advertisers could target for their video campaigns in Google Ads. And this month Ginny Marvin explained that “The TV screens device type targets YouTube channel inventory on smart TVs, set top boxes, gaming consoles and streaming devices such as Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.” While TV screens may not be the dominant device type for your video campaigns, you should at least have it on your radar to monitor device growth. Let’s check out a few ways you can keep an eye on how your YouTube videos perform on TV screens.

Use the device segmentation in Google Ads

We have two options when viewing our device data for video campaigns within Google Ads. The first option is to select the Devices report when you’re in your campaign or ad group.

My biggest gripe with this route is Google Ads doesn’t give me all of the proper YouTube columns I like (view percent, earned metrics, others) when I’m in the Device view. We pretty much have view metrics. In this example, I can see TV screens might only make up 1.3 percent of views, but they have the best view rate. I’ve then gone on and added an increase bid modifier to try and get as many views I can from TV screens.

The second option we can use in Google Ads, and my preferred option, is to look at the campaign view and then segment by device.

Because I’m in the campaign view, Google Ads gives me the columns I prefer to check on for my video campaigns. I can now see how long people watch on TV screens. I can also see how many earned actions users take after interactive with a paid video ad. This information is going to be a lot better for me to review to make proper bid adjustments.

Wait. I haven’t run ads yet. Can I still see this data for my YouTube videos?

That’s a great question. You might be new to video campaigns and want to get an understanding of how users consume your content before launching any campaigns. If this is the case, and assuming you already have videos live on your channel, the first place you should check is your YouTube Analytics.

Once you’re in your YouTube Analytics (which should default to the YouTube Studio BETA), click on the “Analytics” option in the left-hand menu to pull up some basic video stats. Next, click anywhere in the first graph you see in the Analytics view.

After you click on the graph, you’ll be taken to a different screen giving you some basic stats on how each of your videos is performing depending on the date range. The top menu for this page gives you several options to segment your user data, but for this post, we will want to select the “Device Type” option.

We will then see a screen similar to this image…

Now we can see device stats for all of our videos during the date range we have chosen. Again, this is showing all video performance, not just your video ad campaigns. You can see there is a separate report for “Traffic Sources” in the navigation. One thing also included in the image, is the menu of columns you can select from after clicking on the blue plus button. There are several column options you have to data-dive into how TV screens could be performing depending on the goals of your video are.

Looking at the same image, we can see TV screens make up only 5.0 percent of total watch time. But curious me is going to add other columns to see if TV screens get better subscribers, or maybe even a better rate of likes or shares. If I find that is the case, I might consider proactively setting my bid adjustments before launching anything new. Or I might be comfortable structuring my campaigns differently to try and capitalize on better performance as early as possible. I can’t give you a concrete answer on the best option because your data will have to be the guide.

YouTube usage on TV screens will only grow

In the link to the Google blog I referenced in the first sentence of this post, you can find the stat that users watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day. Now add to the mix how cutting the cord with cable TV is growing as users switch to alternative services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and yes…YouTube TV. I am not saying you must stop everything you are doing to push your videos on TV screens, but you should at least be monitoring the performance and making the proper adjustments when necessary. The TV screen device type will be growing in the years to come.

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TrueView for Shopping: The perfect marriage of awareness and direct response /trueview-for-shopping-the-perfect-marriage-of-awareness-and-direct-response-308549 Mon, 26 Nov 2018 18:12:35 +0000 /?p=308549 To get the most out of a single video for a campaign, pair it up with a custom label that constantly refreshes and excludes the proper audiences.

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If someone asked me today which campaign type is the perfect marriage of brand awareness and direct return, my answer would be TrueView for Shopping campaigns without hesitation. I can showcase my products both while my video ad is running and even after the ad is completed or skipped. The goal here is to encourage viewers to consider my brand or my products in the future. Not only can I boost my product awareness, I can also potentially get viewers to buy my products right off of my video ads no matter where they may be in the buyer’s funnel. So why do I get a lot of pushback from clients to get on board to try TrueView for Shopping campaigns? Let me explain why I get the pushback, but also one solution to the roadblock.

The typical problem many marketers deal with

What I hear the most from my clients  when I recommend video campaigns to them is, “We just don’t have the budget to constantly test new videos.” It is not the ideal response, and I want to fight against this argument all the time, but I understand where they are coming from. So many businesses I deal with think you need a massive budget to get quality video content. That’s not always the case.

You don’t need an enterprise-level budget to run video campaigns. You can still create a video campaign that consistently reaches new users and showcases different products. And while I will always encourage getting more video content as the first option, I’m going to use the rest of this post to show you how you can set up an evergreen TrueView for Shopping campaign if you only have one video.

Understanding how we can select products

First and foremost, products for TrueView for Shopping campaigns are selected at the campaign level. When selecting products, advertisers have three main options. The first option is to use all products. The second option is to manually select up to ten products (but only six will show at a time). The final option, and the one we want to use is to create custom filters for your product selection. Since the new Google Ads interface went live earlier this year, the only option we have with creating custom filters is to use your custom labels.

The custom label options are pulling from the custom labels you are using within your Merchant Center feeds. Are you using custom labels for your shopping campaigns? You are? Good! But what kind of labels are you using? Custom labels that categorize the products are fine, but I love custom labels that call out the most valuable products depending on what my goals are. Here’s an example:

In the image above there are a variety of labels, but for the sake of this post let’s just focus on custom label 1. In this particular column, we’re labeling certain products in a top ten seller list. If we’re maintaining our feeds properly, and assuming your top ten products change regularly, we now have a custom label that will refresh itself pretty often.

Let’s recap where we are so far. First, we have only one video to use as an ad on YouTube. In the video campaign settings, the product filter is a custom label that will automatically update products on a consistent basis. Time to add the final component to the campaigns before launch.

Adding audience exclusions

If we are planning on showing one video for a more extended period, we need to do the best we can not to annoy the same user. I hate seeing the same TV commercial twice in the same day. What makes you think potential customers are going to want to see your YouTube ad over and over again for months? Let’s start excluding some users.

The exclusions you should add to campaigns are going to vary for each account, but here are some options to consider:

  1. Past, recent converters. If you’re showing the same video to viewers no matter what level of the funnel they are, you’ll probably want to exclude all conversions and not just transaction conversions. If a viewer just saw your ad and just converted, leave them alone for a bit.
  2. Custom match. If you have a large enough list of users who recently bought something, this could be the easier route to block them from seeing your ads again.
  3. Previous viewers of this exact ad. If your goal is to reach only new users with the TrueView for Shopping campaign, block out all users who saw the ad already. You can easily create this audience in the Audience Manager in Google Ads. First, start building a YouTube users audience. Then choose the exact video you are promoting as an ad to finish the audience.

By excluding specific audiences, we’re making sure people who may have recently interacted with the brand aren’t getting bombarded with the same ad. I’m trying to make sure my single-video ad campaign is showing up to as many new, relevant users as possible. This will help me stretch out the length of my TrueView for Shopping campaign to get as much worth as possible before I have to go back to my client for a new video.

Final point

I need to clarify one more time, I do not recommend using one video for a longer period. We should be testing out video creative just as we do with any other advertising campaign in digital marketing. But sometimes there may not be a massive budget or getting creative from the boss or client can take forever. If you want to get the most out of one video for a TrueView for Shopping campaign, pair the video up with a custom label that constantly refreshes the product and excludes the proper audiences. This way your campaign will routinely show new products to a variety of new users. So if you’re a PPC marketer working on a low-budget e-commerce account, you now have no more excuses to why you can’t run a video campaign!

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