With Coronavirus taking whole world under the strict control in pretty much every aspects of life, businesses are of course taking their toll also. Financial sector is in free fall and production sector is strugling, but what about advertising and marketing. Well, COVID-19 makes no exceptions. From a marketing and online advertising perspective, it is likely that COVID-19 is going to take a hit on this segment too.

Ad Budgets on the decline

Even though the start of the year is known for not having the highest of ad rates anyway, it is very likely that the ad rates will be lower than they have been at these times of previous years. The main reason for this is because businesses that have been most affected by the coronavirus will reduce their ad rates significantly and that mostly includes airlines, transport, tourism, public relations, social gatherings and many more.

And because of that, with the demand dropping, the competition for ad spots will reduce, resulting in publishers gaining a much lower CPC than before.

What can you do?

Not much unfortunatly. But at this moment there is no apparent drop in ad demand. However, this is because the budgets of business usually last more than a few months, and when these budgets start refreshing then the drop is likely to occur which is probably at the end of the first quarter. So if your ROI decreases or results diminish, reduce your budget accordingly. Even though this might be bad for some markets, it will be good for markets that keeps people at home, like streaming services, food delivery and similar markets.

When running campaigns on the Google Ads Display Network, doesn’t matter how large is your budget or what industry you are in there are some rules to follow. Here are the six top Google Display Network mistakes that you need to avoid:

1. Combining your display and search campaigns

Make sure you keep your display campaigns fully separate from your search campaigns. When creating a new campaign in Google Ads, it will automatically opt your search campaigns into the Display Network to help expand reach. Odds are you will see noticeably different conversions, conversion rates, CTRs, CPCs and CPAs on these two networks. People going to Google and searching specific things show a much deeper intent and capitalizing on deeper funnel users will need different strategies than expanding your reach to a new audience.

2. Including remarketing audiences in your awareness campaigns

With remarketing, you will likely want to be more aggressive with your sales message to encourage the user to perform a specific actions. This is exactly why you would segment out your audiences in separate campaigns. If you are creating ad groups in your remarketing campaigns targeting different user actions, you want to exclude these users from your new user campaigns and also try and add customer lists and audiences from certain conversion actions to try and keep these campaigns as segmented as possible. This will allow you a better controld over your budgets, landing pages and creatives.

3. Not using the proper exclusions

When creating your display campaign or updating your current campaign, you can set content exclusions. If you look at the middle column in the image, you can see the sensitive content options are selected but grayed out. This is because sensitive content options can be excluded at the account level if you prefer. That can save you a lot of money down the road.

4. Skimming your placement reports

Things we said above does not mean that you are free from checking your placement reports. Set up a consistent schedule to review where your ads are being shown if you are not using managed placement targeting. If you are a diligent PPC marketer who is always testing new targeting options, you may have to go back to the Placement reports more frequently to see how placement performance has changed since your last optimizations.

5. Getting complacent with targeting options

If you find basic targeting options within Google Ads that consistently work for your goals, you still can put in the effort to try and do better. Google gives advertisers creating custom intent audiences for display a list of recommended keywords you can choose to add to your audiences. When researching audiences to add to your ad groups, Google already compiled a list of auto-created custom intent audiences for you to test. Auto-created audiences can work very good if you are running out of new ideas. Even when you find certain targeting options that work for you, keep testing new audiences to reach your target customer, and custom audiences are an easy way to keep testing for display.

6. Leaving your columns in Google Ads alone

You can get plenty of direct conversions from your display campaigns if you find the right mix of targeting and engaging creative but some industries may not see direct conversions from their display campaigns and this usually happens when there are high priced items or very long sales cycles. Switch up your columns in Google Ads to see if users are eventually converting and two that are good to check are Cross-device conversions and View-through conversions. Your display ads could be having a much bigger impact than you realize.

Amazon is suspending new fulfillment orders of non-essential products into it’s warehouses as they announced yesterday.

This decision came to give priority to household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products, making sure these products reach in a timely manner in fulfillment centers so they can be restocked and shipped faster to buyers.

What does that all means for advertisers?

  • every shipment created before March 17, 2020. will be received regardless of the product type.
  • every shipment created after that date if it is not in the essentials category will get your shipment temporarily disabled.
  • so far the suspenion of non-essential products will be lifted on April 5, 2020., but it could be longer so watch for notifications.
  • all sales of non-essential product will not stop, only delayed in shipment.

What does it mean for businesses?

  • if you are small business or you sell non-essential products, you might want to switch to self sulfillment as the best option to continue to sell things.
  • if your inventory on Amazon is starting to go low, you should focus on selling your products directly from your website.

What this means for your ads for non-essential products?

  • If you have campaigns running on Amazon products, watch your inventory so your ad spending would not be wasted. This is very important for your headline search ads.
  • Competition may increase or decrease during this unpredictable time so watch your bids.
  • Watch your competition especially if they are unable to replenish their product supply and consider expanding your Competitor strategy.
  • Look for unique keyword opportunities for people who want some product but are out of stock and might be seeking alternatives.

If you find yourself out of stock on Amazon at this moment with no way to replenish until April 5, then you might think to utilize other paid advertising efforts to keep your business go on. Just keep in mind that every platform is experiencing high load right now. People are at home and are shopping like crazy, so it is good time to capitalize on every effort you can. Maybe try to focus on your remarketing to make sure you retain your loyal, repeat customers.

Due to the preventive measures we’re taking to protect the health of our support specialists in light of COVID-19, we are currently experiencing longer than usual times to process new ads in non-text formats (such as Video, RDA, App, etc.). Requests to appeal a decision to disapprove an ad will also be delayed, and requests to expedite unreviewed ads will not be supported at this time.

During this period, we encourage you to use existing approved ads (without editing) or text formats for new ads (e.g., Expanded Text Ads, Original Text Ads, Responsive Search Ads (VTA). We also encourage you to use Self-Service Appeals via Policy Manager, which allows you to appeal a policy decision directly from your Google Ads account using just a few clicks.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and appreciate your patience. We will update this page as the situation changes.

It does matter where you are, Google really want you to be able to pay more attention to your optimization score. They are continuing to increase coverage on optimization scores in Google Ads accounts. It became not the key part for agencies to get status of Google Partner.

How good your account is set to perform is pretty much what optimization score is meant to be a reflection of. The recommendations tied to optimization scores are also generated automatically. Some can be useful while some not at all and advertisers need to evaluate the recommendations with that in mind. You will now see the account-level optimization score on the main Overview screen when you open the Google Ads app, and you can swipe through to see campaign-level scores.

Campaigns that have recommendations with the highest potential impact are listed first, so you can prioritize actions that will drive performance.

  • Notifications –  Under the “More” menu at the bottom of the screen you can get notifications when your optimization score changes by opting-in on the Settings page.
  • Dark mode –  The app also now has a Dark mode option. It will be enabled automatically if you’ve got Dark mode set on your phone. You can turn it on in the app from the Settings page.

Google Import offers the many ways to import your Google Ads account directly into Microsoft Advertising with no spreadsheets needed. You can choose what you want to import and you can now import up to 5 million keywords and 4 million ads and can choose the frequency — import once, or set-up automatic imports on a daily basis.

 

Here’s how you do it:

1. Click “Import” from within the Google Ads dashboard.

2. Follow the simple steps to import your campaigns.

It is important to understand a some differences between the two platforms, these are things you want to keep an eye on during the import and adjust settings. Here are four key differences between the two ad platforms:

  • Campaign Tracking: It’s helpful to know how visitors are reaching your website. To get this information, you will need to set the parameter “utm_source” to Bing for the campaigns you have imported from Google.
  • Device targeting: You can now import expanded device targeting. Bing Ads supports the same values as Google Ads, which means you have more flexibility to adjust bids and improve your ROI on ad spend. Today, bid modifiers range from -100% to +900% for desktop, smartphones and tablets.
  • Target languages: When you import your Google Ads, Bing Ads chooses the highest-ranked language according to data from the Bing Ads marketplace. If your ads are written in target languages that Bing doesn’t support, your campaign won’t import and you will get an error.
  • Target locations: Google Ads location targets must match location targets in Bing Ads. If a location target doesn’t exist in Bing Ads, those campaigns will be mapped to a nearby “parent” location.

What every person in search marketing does on the beginning of the month? They check the performance of their Google Ads for previous month since it normal to check our goals and numbers to see how are you hitting your goals. But there is a big problem with those stats. What if someone browsed the landing page, but converting happened two weeks later. So technically you spent your budget in one month but you are getting results in next month. Thanks to the new time lag report in the Google Ads Attribution tab, you can now get a better understanding of how long it takes your users to convert.

The time lag report is found under Tools & Settings > Measurement > Attribution > Path Metrics and is only one of the many useful reports available in the Attribution tab.

Path Length Report

Ever think about how many ads a user clicks on before converting? This report has a planty of information about how many ad clicks and also ad impressions normally occur before a conversion.

Assisted Conversions Report

The Assisted Conversions analysis gives you how many click-assisted conversions and last-click conversions your campaigns did. This is useful in determining which of your campaigns may have driven interactions that contributed to the final conversion but were not credited for the final conversion under a last-click model. If a campaign has a poor CPA but also has a very high click-assisted to last-click conversion ratio, that shows it is a strong influencer of conversions and good for continued investment.

Model Comparison Report

The model comparison report allows you to compare different attribution models to check the impact they would have on your data. You can choose between first-click, last-click, linear, time decay, position-based, and data-driven models. This is a great way to measure the impact of changing attribution models before you make that actual change.

Device Paths Report

To check this report, click on “Dimension” in the top paths report and select “Devices.” You can use this report to see how many users interact first on one device and then convert on a different device. For example, if you are get a poor CPA on mobile traffic but this report indicates that a large number of users start on mobile and then convert on desktop, your real mobile CPA is likely better than what you see.

Top Paths Report

After using the path length report to identify that your users are clicking on five ads before converting, you can use the Top Paths report to understand in what order campaigns, keywords, and ad groups are coming through. This can give you good insight into what your customer journey looks like and potentially where you can adjust your strategy to better suit where the users are in their path to conversion.

Important step of optimization when you are doing PPC and CRO is to make sure that your strategies align with a congruence analysis. Congruence is a great way to achieve the converting efforts for user be natural way forward by reducing the amount of decision making on their part. For example, if a user clicks on your ad looking for some specific product and you take them to a homepage instead of specific page it is more likely you will see a bounce from homepage becouse they don’t want to search again for that specific page or product. The whole journey from click to conversion should be as smooth as possible. Here are a couple of different areas to review to make sure your user experience is as easy as possible.

Visual Congruence

If your landing page is very different from your ad, it will likely make users to distrust and question the brand, and potentially abandon their search also. So the first area to check for congruence is visual one. This is how congruent the imagery is from your ads with the landing page users are taken to. This is an easy thing to check, but also important step in your analysis. Check your social and display ads with their landing pages. You want to make sure imagery, colors and fonts match visually.

Lingual Congruence

To improve the trustworthiness of your brand you need to ensure your message matches across landing pages and ads. So the next thing to check is the language. You need to pay attention to your headlines, sub-headlines and especially call-to-action copy. Like before we don’t want users to think about what their next steps should be because they should not be surprised where they land when they click on the ad. The ad needs to take them where they need to be. This can also help with your brand recognition. If you repeat the message from your ad copy onto your landing page, it will help users remember the message and remember your brand if your message was clear and consistent.

User Intent

Ensure that the intent of the user matches the goal of the landing page will be important to keep them engaged with the content. So you need to look at your landing pages and think about the intent of the user based on the ad they clicked because the intent is a key element to making sure you are providing users with a congruent experience and can connect both visual and lingual based congruence. Check out if users are clicking on a very specific ad that promises a discount and then land to a general shopping page or does your ad copy ask users to “Learn More” and then take them to a page to fill out a form to request a demo – you need to fix that.

Congruence analysis can be easily overlooked and it is important to check out your ads and landing pages. Look at both the imagery and language, and especially remember user intent is key to congruence.

STRATEGY TWO

Match Landing Pages to Your Ads and Target Keywords

It’s important to keep your landing page offer consistent with the keyword and the ad text to lower your CPC as much as possible. Because the major component of your Quality Score is the relevance of your landing page and the keyword that has been targeted. The landing page is of course where you are getting the conversions that makes your PPC campaign actually profitable and it is the best time to convince the user that you have solution for their problem.

Your niche, offer and audience determine your optimal PPC landing page design. For example, eComm store might land users onto a product or category page, but B2B software might land users to a free trial page. Also a insurance provider might give the user a form to calculate their rates and recruiter might use thieronline jobs to get users actively engaged. Or in case of emergency plumber who might feature their phone number first so user can get in contact if needed. Overall, every business is different.

But without exception, all effective landing pages are consistent with the source and they demonstrate a clear value proposition.

STRATEGY THREE

Continually Test Multiple Ad Variations to Improve CTR

To contribute to a better Quality Score you can improve your CTR. That way you will also impact your CPC and lower it due to higher Quality Score. So it’s very important to optimize your CTR in the search for a reduced CPC on your campaigns and you achive that by adopting a mindset of constant testing. This means to never being totally sure about the performance of your ad. You can test different offers, ad copy, and callout copy and try extensions to make you CTRs better.

PPC marketers should always try to beat their previous best CTR with continuous tests and ad variations. And there’s no better advantage when testing than to know what the competition is up to.

Check Part 1

Making your CPC as low as possible if you are running PPC ads on Google Ads is probably the most important thing you are trying to achieve. It’s normal that more efficient campaigns generate a better ROI and with that maximize your profit so you are able to scale your advertising to new lengths, or better to say heights. So, better than set and forget campaigns, it’s important to tweak your setup to get better and lower Cost per Click. In the set of 3 articles we will try to give 3 tips on how to lower your CPC by applying insights from competitor analysis that will improve PPC campaign performance.

There are many theories how to get lower CPC and relevance is probably the best and most important part of it. You will be able to reduce your CPC if you can match the user search intent troughout the funnel. By making it as positive and seamless as possible, you will get rewarded since it’s in best interest of Google to optimize the user experience.

STRATEGY ONE

Use of hyper relevant SKAGs – Single Keyword Ad Groups.

By targeting only one keyword per ad group, makes your PPC campaign hyper focused and thus provides results in a high relevant set of ads and ad groups with specifics ad copy and headlines. This will also keep your campaigns aligned to the intent of the searcher and improving the Quality Score and reducing the CPC as final result.

Other benefits of using SKAGs:

  • You will probably improve CTRs also due to increased relevance. Better CTRs also improves Quality Score which in the end means higher average positions and increased impressions share.
  • You can still use different match types for each single keyword and set up another SKAG when you spot a long-tail phrase. But make sure to add the long tail terms to the negative keywords in your original SKAG.
  • You will also experience better control over your Google Ad campaigns and achieve more visibility and down the line improve your sales. This will help you invest in more profitable single keywords and cut on the waste also.
  • Your landing pages can be optimized to appeal to the searcher more directly since you have pre-qualified searcher exact intent with your SKAG. This will improve your conversion and reduce your CPC.