Google Is Going Through a Ton of Changes: The Opportunity for Long-Tail Keywords
Google has been rolling out a lot of big changes with huge implications for pay-per-click marketing. Just this year, we have expanded text ads, third-party reviews in the local pack, and new keyword data restrictions.
Google’s decision to restrict keyword data in their keyword planner tool from exact numbers to ranges created a lot of buzz in the PPC community. Marketers were outraged Google would change their own data, but is that really a huge deal? I think it’s a good thing. I believe it simplify how we analyze our data and force us to start focusing on what truly matters…business KPI’s.
The issue with keyword research, before Google’s decision to limit keyword data, was whenever people talked about keyword research, they first worried about volume, then difficulty, and then finally (if at all), about how effectively the research would convert their audience.
Restricting access to exact data might be the best thing that could have happened to keyword research. The obsession over bidding on only the long-tail keywords with the most volume will come to an end.
Today, we’ll talk about how we can identify and target the long-tail keywords that (actually) convert, shall we?
Identifying Long-Tail Keywords
Identifying the long-tail keywords most likely to convert is not only important for pay-per-click advertising, but for content as well. Unfortunately, as we mentioned before, these terms are mistakenly seen as less valuable because they have fewer searches.
However, the conversion value they hold is priceless.
Watch the video below as I walk you through exactly what this means.
Key takeaways from the video
- Your best long-tail keywords don’t necessarily have the most volume
- Tools like Moz, SEMrush and Google keyword planner often don’t have data on long-tail search volume
- Use the _ “wildcard” after your primary search term to learn user intent
- Optimize around these keywords to take marketshare quickly and drive more conversions
Selecting the Best Long-Tail Keywords
We’ve gone through how to identify your best long-tail keywords, but how do you prioritize them?
The key here is finding a healthy balance between conversion impact, brand impact and search volume. To help you, we even created a tool that can do this for you. Click here to check it out!
Luckily, you do not have to rely on guesstimations for this to work, nor do you have to tirelessly append valuable terms with a _ “wildcard” (although it is recommended). Instead, you can launch broad match modified campaigns around your top performing keywords. Using broad match modifiers in your campaigns allows you to quickly gather data and better understand the impact/ROI of each keyword.
For example, if you created a single keyword ad group (SKAG) around “PPC agency,” you could test which match type converted best:
- [ppc agency]
- “ppc agency”
- +ppc +agency
From here, you can mine your search term report and identify keywords like ppc agency pricing and ppc agency costs. As you start to notice the ROI these terms deliver, you can create unique ad groups for your top performing keywords.
These ad groups should have unique ad copy, extensions, and landing pages. This will improve quality score, decrease CPC, and improve overall return.
Optimizing for Conversions
Conversions are the quintessential goal of advertising campaigns. “How much will we make if we spend this much money or time?” is the universal question.
The key is to focus far less on the answer to this question, and instead focus on the aspects that drive the actual conversions. I call this “optimizing for inputs” instead of the output. We can’t control output, though we are in complete control of inputs.
Here are my favorite inputs to optimize for in PPC that can make an impact on conversions (organized in no particular order):
Adjust Bid Levels
- Optimize for spot number four in Adwords
- We have found that the decrease in CTR rarely hurts you as much as the decrease in CPC helps your overall return. It’s a fine balance, so monitor carefully.
- We’ve found this to be helpful across multiple accounts in various industries.
SKAGs (single keyword ad groups)
- We talked about single keyword ad groups earlier, but SKAGs allow for robust control of what ads show up for each keyword so that each query is optimized.
- SKAGs allow for the landing pages of each ad group to be optimized to match the intent of that exact keyword.
- While this approach might seem impractical and take “too much time,” we highly advise testing at least on your most valuable keywords.
Custom Landing Pages
- Optimizing for long-tail keywords is entirely useless if the landing page you send the ads to:
- Has bad copy
- Doesn’t match the searcher’s intent
- Loads slowly
- Has more than one external link
- Isn’t unique to that campaign
- Has images that couldn’t tell the story without any copy on the page
- Has higher than expected prices
- Has no shipping or return info
- Has no reviews, case studies or testimonials
- Has the words: “Get/Request/Sign-up for a Demo”
- To avoid these things, we always try to:
- Write custom copy
- Design graphics or take unique photos
- Avoid blocks of text with more than four lines
Optimize Titles Beyond CTR
- Prequalify users to save money on bad clicks and increase conversions
- Show off our pricing and policies
- Get lots of reviews
- Use video
- Use demo video as a CTA for software
- If you have a video, one of the best ways to test if it’s working or not is to create a custom segment in your Google Analytics for anyone who’s watched a video.
- This is easy to do with video marketing tools such as Wistia or Vimeo. Wistia automatically creates an event if people watch a video. Then, compares the conversion rates of people who watch your video to those who don’t.
- We’ve found a 200% increase in conversion rates when people watch a video. So how do you optimize for inputs? Make more and better video content.
The key takeaway from this post is to start changing your perspective so that you can improve your approach. From SEO services to PPC management, if you perceive search volume as your most important metric, then you will continuously optimize for the wrong thing.
If you only rely on keyword tools instead of time-consuming SERP (search engine results page) analysis, then you will be missing your best long-tail opportunities. Identify your keywords with the _ “wildcard,” select your keywords based on conversion, brand, and then volume, and lastly, optimize for conversions with tight campaigns and exceptional copy + creative.
How to Boost ROI with New AdWords Cross-Device Attribution Reports
Over the past decade, the rise of mobile usage has made it extremely difficult to track customers as they switch from one device to another. Even more challenging for today’s digital marketer is analyzing which channels are producing the highest results and how to attribute value to each of the channels a user passed through before converting. New AdWords Cross-Device Attribution Reports
In an effort to help advertisers measure a consumer’s path to conversion, Google recently released new AdWords cross-device attribution reports. On average, consumers own anywhere from two to five devices, including their mobile phone, desktop, and possible tablet or television. A recent study from March 2016, conducted by Google and Ipsos Connect, showed that 60% of consumers start the purchase process on device and complete it on another. The path to conversion is more complex than ever and anything but linear.
In the past, the traditional marketing funnel was simple and clear: awareness, consideration, purchase. However, with the rapid adoption of mobile tablets and devices, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers and advertisers to measure the impact of their online advertising campaigns. It’s not as simple as a user search, user click, and a user conversion on the same device. The AdWords cross-device attribution reports use device conversion data that now shows device influence throughout conversion paths.
The three AdWords cross-device attribution reports that are now available include:
- Devices: showing the cross-device activity happening in your AdWords account
- Assisting Devices: showing what device types assisted conversions on other devices
- Device Paths: showing the top conversion paths for customers using more than one device to convert
Each of these reports can be found in AdWords in the Tools tab under Attribution as shown in the below screenshot:
For savvy advertisers that are obsessive about measurement, these benchmarks come in handy in a few different ways:
Using Different Attribution Models Other Than Last Click
There are 7 main attribution models that you can use for conversion tracking:
- Last Click Attribution Model
- First Click Attribution Model
- Linear Attribution Model
- Time Decay Attribution Model
- Position-Based Attribution Model
- Last Non-Direct Attribution Model
- Custom or Algorithmic Attribution Model
With the new AdWords Devices Report, you’re able to quickly identify how customers use different devices on their conversion path and better serve particular ads to your audience based on the cross-device activity.
If you notice a conversion trend across different devices, you may want to use adjust your attribution model to boost a exposure for an ad that was displayed on a mobile, but converted on a tablet.
When choosing a new attribution model be sure to account for cross-device behavior because, unlike the traditional last click attribution model, credit will be assigned across the conversion path.
Quick Note: AdWords Device Report only includes conversions that had multiple device touch points.
Updating Your Bid Adjustments for Different Devices
The new Assisting Devices report shows the number of last click conversions and click-assisted conversions broken down by each type of device. With the new Assist Ratio metrics, you can see how many conversions were assisted by impressions or clicks on that particular device compared to the number of actual conversions.
Let’s say your Mobile Assist Ratio for a campaign is 2.20, this means for every conversion that is reported from a mobile device, 2.20 conversions on other devices were assisted by mobile impressions or clicks.
This information can help inform your mobile bid adjustment strategy. Going with the same example, if you notice mobile is assisting conversions on other devices by 2.2x, and your tablet assist ratio is only assisting conversions on other devices by 0.25x, you may want to lower your tablet bid adjustments and increase your mobile bid adjustments to maximize value from your mobile ad impressions.
Optimizing Your mobile Strategy
Let’s say you’re analyzing the top conversion path and discover mobile is driving more assists than actual conversions. If that’s the case, you can optimize your mobile campaign strategy to be more educational rather than transactional. Your ad can highlight copy such as ‘Learn More’, as opposed to ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Sign Up Now’. Additionally, the mobile landing page can be optimized to show the most important benefits of your product at the top, rather than the call-to-action of sign up now. For B2B companies, this may occur quite often, as your prospects may hear about your products or services at a conference, conduct a mobile search while they’re on the go, and convert later when they are back in their office on their laptop.
As with any attribution reporting, it’s important to consider how you want to measure conversions and apply credit to each device and ad channel. You can use the Google Analytics Model Comparison Tool to compare the results of up to three different types of attribution models to ensure that the attribution model you’re using reflects your advertising goals and business models.
How to improve your campaigns with Google’s new AdWords device bidding feature
Learn how the new AdWords device bidding tools can help you improve your conversion rate across different devices.
1. Make a base bid
Set a base bid and bid adjustments of -100 percent to +900 percent on one or more devices. You won’t have to make the same bid for multiple devices, which means you’ll have more flexibility over how you target your ads.
2. Launch separate campaigns
Customise your bids to the devices that your customers use the most. For example, if your market spends more time browsing products and services from a tablet device than a desktop or mobile, a tablet-optimised bid campaign will enable you to tap into this market and become more competitive. While a tablet-optimised or mobile-optimised campaign can help increase your ROI from those specific devices, it’s still important to make sure you have separate campaigns that effectively target all of your customers, whatever the device they use to find your products and services.
3. Identify weaknesses in your current campaign
By separating your campaigns to different devices, you’ll be able to identify any weaknesses. Were you expecting more customers to be visiting your website from a desktop? Is your mobile and tablet performance below your competitors? Whatever is working in your current campaign, integrate it into your new campaigns. Make sure you have a high Quality Score, as this will mean your campaigns have been Google-approved and will likely achieve higher rankings within the search results. A good PPC manager will be able to optmise your campaign to acheive these goals.
4. Enjoy greater control of your campaigns
When Google announced its Enhanced Campaigns a few years ago, it restricted the extent to which advertisers could customise their bids, because all desktop and tablet ads had to be grouped. So, for example, if your customers were more likely to find your products and services via a tablet than a desktop, you would have been disadvantaged. That’s because you wouldn’t have been able to optimise your ads to the device that your audience were most likely to use. This is how you create a responsive website – using HTML and CSS to ensure your content is correctly formatted for different devices. Fortunately, with tablet-optimised bidding you’ll be able to bid to an audience that is more likely to use this device. According to Laura Collins, the PPC Team Leader of the UK media agency and Merkle company Periscopix, it is estimated that tablets are more likely to be used for watching television and other entertainment, rather than work
5. Make the most of mobile
People spend more time browsing products and services online via their mobile than any other devices. That’s according to research from Google in 2015, which revealed that in the U.S, Japan and eight other countries, more Google searches were made via a mobile device than a computer. Google did not reveal the name of the other countries at the time, although it would be unsurprising if this included countries with the highest level of smartphone penetration, such as Australia, the U.K and Spain.
Want to learn more about AdWords bid adjustments? Check out their best practices here.
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What You Need to Know About AdWords Expanded Text Ads
Google announced a big change to AdWords back in May and in July the official rollout felt like Christmas came early. For years, every digital advertiser lived by the 25-35-35 character mantra and agonized over fitting brand message into those stringent limits when launching AdWords ad campaigns. The next generation of advertisers will eat, sleep, and breathe the 30-30-80 character rule.
One month after Google’s the expanded text ads announcement we’re looking at what these major changes mean, how to get the most bang for your buck, and what advertisers need to know to migrate from standard text ads to expanded text ads. As of October 26, 2016 advertisers will no longer be able to create or upload standard text ads.
[Update: September 13, 2016] Google announced the expanded text ad format deadline has been moved back. Advertisers now have until January 31, 2017 to make the transition to expanded text ads (instead of the original date of October 26, 2016).
Here’s what you need to avoid costly AdWords campaign mistakes and how to leverage this new ad format.
What are Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)?
Expanded text ads offer 47% more space for your ad copy with two 30 character headlines and an 80 character description. Like Standard text ads, ETAs are available on the Google Search Network and Google Display Network. Both automatic and manual ad extensions are fully compatible with the expanded text ad format.
Google designed ETAs to accommodate the seismic shift in how consumers are now interacting with brands across multiple devices. ETAs will display across desktop and mobile devices AND automatically adjust the format according to the user’s screen size.
Out of the trillions of searches happening on Google, over half of those searches are happening on mobile. And, looking at data from millions of websites using Google Analytics today, more than half of all web traffic is from smartphones and tablets.
Advertisers can now better engage their audience by delivering a mobile-first experience to potential buyers in their preferred context.
What will Change from Standard Text Ads to Expanded Text Ads?
How to Transition to Expanded Text Ads
- Make sure you have AdWords Editor version 11.5 or later. If you don’t, don’t worry! You can download it free here.
- Launch AdWords Editor, select ‘Ads and Extensions’ tab on the left table.
- Select all the text featured on the main screen and paste into a spreadsheet.
The most important fields are: Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, Headline, Description Line 1, Description Line 2, and Device Preference
- To update your existing standard text ads to the ETA format, you’ll need to create your new columns. So you can easily see copy changes, put the new columns to the right of their respective previous column.
- Insert the =length( function to make sure you don’t go over the character limit for each column.
New Headline 1 = 30 characters; New Headline 2 = 30 characters; New Description = 80 characters.
- Now that you have your spreadsheet is setup, you can quickly rewrite your old text ads and transition those into Google’s new expanded text ads format.
Wrapping Up: A Few Best Practices to Keep In Mind
Spend Time on Your Headlines
Headlines are more important than ever. With the extra headline field, use that space to focus on deeper messaging that resonates with your intended audience. While longer headlines increase the clickable space of your ad, your first headline still remains the most important real estate space. Some advertisers have noticed the second headline truncated when viewed on desktop. Be sure to include the most important message (and keywords) in the first headline.
Keywords Still Matter, So Use the Path Fields to Match Intent
The ETA format now automatically pulls the domain from your Final URL as your display URL with the option to include two 15 character path fields as an appendage to the display URL. Use these two fields to indicate to your searchers where they can expect to see after the click. More importantly, use this space to include top performing keywords to improve relevance and improve your ad’s overall quality score.
Take this Opportunity to Audit Every Aspect of Your Text Ads
Review how your ad, as a complete entity, supports your client’s message. Analyze your historical data and try to come up with new tests to run with your ETAs. This means assessing everything from the ad creative to ad extensions like callouts, reviews, snippets, and more to strategically optimize your ads.
Have you been testing out the new Extended Text Ad formats? Let me know if you’ve found any tips to share in the comment section below ☟.