The Finch Blog

New Ad Extension: Callouts - Increase your CTR, and your sales

Google has been testing a new ad extension named Callouts and is now publicly available for AdWords advertisers. We have had several customers trying this new extension out during the beta phase, but in the next few weeks Google will be making it available to all AdWords advertisers.

What are Callouts?

For a long time, advertisers have understood the power of special offers to increase conversion rates. Callouts is a new extension that makes it easy to highlight special offers and unique selling points within any of your Search ads.

We have recommended that including offers like this is a best-practice in Sitelinks as a way to effectively increase conversions. Callouts serve the same purpose, but do not include links to your site. Google has suggested that you use Callouts to highlight unique selling points about your business (i.e., Free shipping, award winning service, etc.) and important products details and benefits. Your ads can include up to four callouts with up to 25 characters, but pithy Callouts perform the best.

Callouts are additive, so you can include them with other ad formats, like Sitelinks. You can create, schedule and manage Callouts within the Ad Extensions tab at the account or campaign level, and even down to the Ad Group level.

Callouts are awesome!

Whenever you enable ad extensions it improves the performance of the ad by giving you more real estate, more relevance to your customers and now gives them specific reasons to click through on your ad. As you enable ad extensions you click-through-rate (CTR) will increase, lifting the overall performance of your account.

Here are a few specifics on using Callouts:

 

  • Provide offers and highlight unique selling points.
  • Enabled extensions impact your AdRank, enabling Callouts can lift your AdRank, leading to higher ad positions.
  • Target mobile with device-specific customizations.
  • You can edit Callouts across your Account, Campaigns and Ad Groups without having to edit each ad.
  • You can schedule Callouts to display on specific dates, days of the week and time-of-day.

 

Things you need to know about Callouts:

In addition to the key features and benefits of Callouts, there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you begin enabling Callouts in your account.

 

  • You are not allowed to duplicate text in Callouts across the Account, Campaign or Ad Group. For instance, you can’t put Free shipping on the Campaign and again on the Ad Group. Some similar terms will be considered duplicate (i.e., Customer service and Customer support)
  • Google will generally show the highest performing and most useful combinations of extensions and formats. This takes some of the guesswork out for you in determining which combinations will give you the greatest CTR.
  • No Dynamic Keyword Insertion. This is a bit of a bummer, but hopefully we will get this in future releases.
  • No gimmicky text or emoticons in your Callout text
  • Keep them short and pithy. Google recommends 12-15 characters, even though they allow up to 25 characters.
  • Use sentence case for your callouts. i.e., Free shipping not Free Shipping.

 

Finch Customers, we’ve got you covered

We love new features from Google, especially features that help you increase your CTR, which drives your Quality Score and AdRank, enabling you sell more through AdWords.

As Finch customers we’ve got you covered and will be enabling the features as they become available on your account. If you’re not yet a customer, this is yet another example in the ways Google continues to evolve and how Finch will always help you be in the fore-front. You should start with a free AdWords audit to see the other ways in which Finch can help you generate more profit and revenue through AdWords.

Join us at SearchMetrics Visibility_14

SearchMetrics, an SEO technology partner, is hosting Visibility_14 an SEO user and expert conference July 16-18th in Chicago. Industry experts from all over will be convening to discuss search trends, data and success stories. Our very own Bjorn Espenes will be joined by search experts from companies such as: Walgreens, CBS Interactive, GoDaddy, eBay and many more.

Bjorn will be sharing strategies that eCommerce companies need in order to shift their ad budget from a cost-center to a profit-center. His presentation is based on our new eBook and includes data from successful customers who have deployed these proven profit-first PPC strategies.

Use the discount code: VIS14CONF20 for 20% off your registration. After you register, let us know you’re going and we can connect at the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

-Brad

 

Webinar: Attribution in AdWords: Myth or Reality?

Not long ago one of our resident Google Experts published a post and data about Attribution inside of AdWords. For eCommerce, the question of attribution models and how that affects bidding strategies is a very important one.

There are many ways to arrive at the appropriate model for eCommerce businesses, but Morten began a quest to answer that question by digging into the actual data. By looking at the performance data for several accounts he cut through opinion and gut instinct and got right to what the data tells us.

Join us for a webinar as we discuss what he found in the data and how you should model attribution in your AdWords account.

 

Americas:

Tuesday, June 24th 2pm EST / 11am PST 

 

Europe:

Thursday, June 26th 11am Central European

 

Register now and come be a part of the discussion.

-Brad

Partner Introduction- Fanplayr for Targeted, On-site Offers

Here at Finch, we are always on the lookout for interesting technologies and partners that can help eCommerce companies, like you, increase marketshare and revenue. A few months ago we started collaborating with Fanplayr, looking for ways to help businesses learn how to get more out of their marketing efforts. Fanplayr is an exciting technology that will help you increase sales by delivering highly targeted and relevant on-site offers to customers on your own site, powered by a cloud-based big data intelligence platform. Finch will help get your customers to your site, and Fanplayr will help you convert them at higher values.

At Finch, we recognize the increasing competition companies like yours face, and we have always been committed to helping you drive revenue in a pay-for-performance model. Fanplayr takes a similar approach, removing monthly subscriptions and relying on their ability to help you achieve a demonstrable lift to your bottom line.

Fanplayr designed its platform to help online merchants make the most out of their visitor traffic by being able to understand and engage with prospective customers in real-time. Based on historical, behavioral, or demographic visitor attributes, you can understand your visitors’ intent, and serve relevant offers in order to appeal to that specific intent. In-depth analytics, dedicated account managers, and in-house industry experts have enabled Fanplayr to improve billions of online shopping experiences. Fanplayr is aligned with it’s customers’ goals, and can launch campaigns to increase site-wide conversion rate & AOV, increase customer acquisition, reduce cart abandonment, increase customer loyalty & lifetime value, optimize offer-based margins, and improve your online shopping experience.

Over the next few months we will be collaborating on educating eCommerce companies about how you can take control of lifting the bottom line through AdWords and on-site strategies. We will explore the data and results of companies that have employed these profit-first technologies and techniques. The first installment in this joint education series is a quick overview of each company, you can watch the video here.

-Brad

5 tricks to successfully manage your PPC agency

“My current vendor is doing a great job and is taking great care of us” is something I hear frequently.  What they may actually be saying is “I don’t know what is going on, they are nice people and seem to know what they are doing”.  What if you knew exactly how to manage your PPC vendor?  Here are a few tips:

#1. Define outcome: You are in business to make money?  You make money from selling products for more than they cost you (including fees to Google and vendor).  Know that cost and set a hard cost of revenue (Cost per Value) target and measure against that.

Fact: Recently most companies are tracking the revenues that comes from their AdWords ad spend, but 100% of the clients Finch starts working with did not use revenue data when deciding how much to bid for the next click. (hint: they are bidding for conversions (CPA) while expecting revenues (CPV).

#2. Keyword coverage:  You sell products, your prospective customer are searching for products; make sure your product titles, UPC codes, etc. are in  your keyword bank.  Ask the question and do spot checks.

Fact:  The average eCommerce company Finch starts to work with has less than 25% of their product catalog listed as keywords (hint: they ignore 75% of their market).

#3. Influence the Click-through-rate (CTR): Your CTR drives ad rank and how much you pay per click for a position.  Ad copy, extension use and best practices, and ad parameters are key components that needs both strategy and structure to isolate the variables in order to influence them.  Track the CTR on your top producing ads over time.

Fact: 100% of companies Finch starts working with groups keywords into an ad group with multiple ads associated with them.  Isolating a high impression ad with a keyword becomes impossible and optimization is simply not feasible.

#4. Leverage how Google AdWords really works: How Google AdWords works is really simple in principle, you pay them $1 and you get a click in return.  The challenge is that most your competitors are also willing to pay Google $1 for that same click.  That is why Google developed a highly sophisticated auction platform where they sell clicks so that you can bid more or less.  In addition Google developed a very sophisticated “black box” called Quality Score that for all practical reasons enable them to calculate which ad will give them the best click probability/revenue combination.  That is what is called ad rank, you must have a strategy that you are executing against.  

Fact: Exact match clicks have a higher CTR, fewer clicks means you are willing to pay more per click, higher bid/CTR gets a higher position which triggers top 3 ad features (extensions), which again gets a higher CTR, driving a higher quality score, resulting in a higher ad rank (better and more clicks for less).  

#5. Google feature adoption: There has been more changes and enhancements to Google AdWords the past 18 months than the previous 10 years combined.  This is more visible in the Ad than anywhere else; i.e. all extensions give you more real estate on the SERP (search engine results page) which means your competition gets less.  Product listing ads best practices, remarketing for search configuration, bid adjustments on ad group level in the new Enhanced Campaigns (i.e. Desktop vs Mobile, Re-marketing for Search bid adjustment for different shopping stage profiles).  Early adoption is key to benefit early and before others, proven best practices are key over time to remain competitive. 

Fact: The above best practices can influence your CTR and profitability by over 50% just by turning on a feature, turning on all of them with best practices will change your business as it has done for most of our clients.

Bonus #6: Check your log file to monitor the vendor activities (bid changes, Ad changes, keyword additions, etc.  

Fact: If you pay a vendor by the hour you will see a lot of activity, if you pay a flat fee or a license you will see limited activity.  Unless you pay for performance in a model where your and the vendor’s outcome is aligned, one will always try to get ahead of the other.

-Bjorn

Buying Profit by the Click - A new eCommerce eBook

Bjorn just hit publish on a brand new eBook outlining the AdWords strategies eCommerce companies must employ to grow revenue and profit with PPC.

If this eBook were written as a tweet (you know, 140 characters or less), it would read: 

Buy profit not acquisitions. AdWords must be a sales channel, not an ad expense. See how one company increased revenue by 310% and profit by 169%!

While a tweet sounds intriguing, this eBook goes into detail about each of the steps necessary to accomplish this. This strategy addresses the unique requirements eCommerce companies have for PPC. Specifically, managing the complexity of offering multiple products, each with different prices and profit margins, and setting the right cost targets.

The key to this strategy, as laid out in the eBook, is to shift away from focusing on Conversions and Acquisitions, and move to Revenue and Profit instead. You’ll have to go read the eBook for all the details, but here are the major topics Bjorn covers:

  • Performance Measurement for PPC
  • It’s all about the Outcome
  • Capturing the right Data
  • The Quantitative and Competitive Case for Buying Profit
  • Putting it all together

The eBook closes with a quick look at the results for one company that applied these strategies to their own AdWords efforts.

Download the eBook now, then start employing these strategies to grow revenue and profit with a free AdWords audit.

-Brad 

 

Attribution - what PPC data really shows for eCommerce

Attribution is a hot topic in PPC and almost everybody has an opinion. I have read many different posts where so-called experts are comparing attribution to a football/soccer team where the striker is the “last-click converter” and the defender is the generic “assisted converted keyword.”  It all makes a lot of sense to me, however each post lacked evidence to back their opinions. To me, the whole idea was too easily bought - perhaps because it logically made sense. 

But as I dug into the concept, investigating this idea using actual data, I discovered that there is no such thing as “strikers” or “defenders”; instead, 95% of all keywords are “all-rounders”. Sometimes they function as the last-click converting keyword, other times they assist. 

What is Attribution:

I live in the world of eCommerce and attribution is very important to understand. Let’s start the discussion by defining exactly what I mean by attribution.

Attribution can be a lot of things: 

“Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (‘events’) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events” - IAB Attribution Primer

Attribution is therefore very broad, for the sake of this discussion, let's scope the definition down to Attribution in AdWords Search for eCommerce. In this post I will use empirical data to explain how attribution affects AdWords Search for eCommerce businesses. 

What did I do?

I had long discussions with several PPC experts (most of them Googlers) and we all came to one main conclusion involving attribution within AdWords Search for eCommerce: 

What is the impact of assisted click conversions on an AdWords search account?

If we listen to the experts out there, then you might have a keyword like “smartphone” and this keyword almost never converts (a defender). However, a keyword like “samsung s3 smartphone” will have all the last-click conversions (a striker). 

If you only have one last-click conversion on “smartphone,” but that keyword leads to 10 assisted conversions, then obviously that is an important keyword. There is a lot of hidden data not evident if you only look at the last-click conversions.

If your keyword sits in the top 3 position, then you already have that keyword in a good position. If the keyword sits below 3, then that keyword is potentially “under-valued” and could be bid up. 

However, let’s look at the data first.

What did I analyze?

I examined 3 months of data for three large eCommerce clients, accounting for conversion lags by starting from 30 days ago. I have compared both accounts managed by Finch and accounts managed by others.

Based on my discussions with Googlers and other AdWords experts, we came to the conclusion that in order for it to be attribution within AdWords Search for eCommerce the data must show twice as many assisted conversions as last-click conversions.

Problem statement:

Are there any keywords that have twice as many assisted conversions as last click conversions within AdWords Search?

If so, what is the impact of these keywords? 

For the analysis, I only looked at keywords sitting in position 3.0 or lower and had received at least 1 click. If they had 1 or more assisted conversions, but zero last-click conversions, then they also fit this description. 

For the analysis part, I compared the keywords I found with the total number for any keyword with either: 

a) a last click conversion and/or
b) an assisted conversion

So basically anything adding value to the account (not including impression-assisted conversion value)

What I Found

International Home Goods Retailer:
139 out of 12,018 keywords fit this description = 1.16%
The 139 keywords of the 1,461 keywords with conversions = 9,5% represents:

  • 3.81 % of the total clicks
  • 9.82 % of the impressions
  • 3.49 % of the cost
  • 0.32 % of total conversion value
  • 5.57 % of total click assisted conversion value

UK Home and Garden Retailer:
18 out of 17,112 keywords fit this description = 0.11%
The 18 keywords of total 2,596 keywords with conversions  = 0.7% represents:

  • 5.49 % of the total clicks
  • 8.21 % of the impressions
  • 4.81 % of the cost
  • 0.93 % of total conversion value
  • 9.57 % of total click assisted conversion value

Danish Electronics Retailer:
61 out of 10,487 total keywords fit this description = 0.58%
The 61 keywords of the 1,590 keywords with a conversion = 3.8% represents:

  • 1.65 % of the total clicks
  • 2.40 % of the impressions
  • 1.38 % of the cost
  • 0.05 % of total conversion value 
  • 6.53 % of total click assisted conversion value

Thoughts on data:

The data shows that there are very few keywords matching my definition of attribution. The main reason: most keywords function as both assisted-click conversions and last-click converters. I found very few keywords functioning either as a strictly assisted-click converting keyword or a last-click converting keyword.

Conclusion: 

If you define attribution with AdWords Search for eCommerce as keywords that are so broad that they will almost never convert, but will have a lot of assisted conversions, then attribution within AdWords Search is almost non-existent. Very few keywords have this characteristic!

The assumption that keywords play a role as either first-click converters or last-click converters is not supported by the data. The story of “defenders” and “strikers” is fun, and intuitively believable, but in practice there are very few keywords that could be strictly labeled as “strikers.” The data shows 90%+ of keywords are actually “allrounders.” Keywords sometimes work as assisted conversions and sometimes work as last-click conversions. When you focus attention on keywords in the last-click converting role, you will actually be looking at 95% of the revenue-generating traffic. 

Look for yourself in your AdWords account. Filter for “Search Funnel -> Click assisted conv / Last click conv.” Set that higher than 2 and add in another filter looking for keywords below position 3.0. You will most likely find only a couple of keywords.

The way we define and evaluate attribution is far too generic and should be updated. The only way to identify the best ways to optimize your AdWords efforts is with more data and less opinions.

-Morten

More changes to AdRank - Customer Success Webinar

Online advertising is constantly changing and we are here to help you stay on top of all these changes. We just held the first Customer Success Webinar for 2014, full of information on the ways we are helping you optimize your account and the many changes Google has made to AdWords.

Here’s a quick summary of the topics we covered, but you can listen to the whole webinar with the video below.

Profit is the ultimate outcome for eCommerce companies
At Finch, we are focused on one thing: maximizing your revenue and profit through AdWords. Many of our customers have already made the shift from a cost per acquisition (CPA) model to a cost of revenue (CPV) model. However, for most businesses with variable profit margins we know that the best way to optimize your AdWords account is to use Profit. By focusing all optimization efforts on profit, we can focus all of your budget on the keywords that maximize your profit.

Expanding Keyword coverage
You lose 100% of auctions you do not compete in. Having keyword coverage that most accurately represents your entire product catalog is the best way to grow your market and reach more potential customers. We help you by connecting directly to your product catalog and by continually adding the keywords that bring you customers.

Remarketing for Search
Remarketing for Search is a way of targeting people who have been on your site previously, but who then later search again for something that you offer. The first stage of setting up RFS is to implement profiles for different potential audiences who have been to your site. As a general best practice, we will normally start with broad groups, such as any visitor on your site, and then work through your sales funnel all the way to past customers. Depending on your sales funnel, you might define anywhere from 3-5 different groups of site visitors based on this criteria.

Product Listing Ads (PLAs)
PLAs are the best way for you to own more of the search results page, stealing attention from your competitors and becoming more appealing to your customers. As with much of PPC management, Finch takes a different approach when it comes to PLA’s. We find that most eCommerce businesses tend to set up their PLA’s in such a way that their products are either grouped in one single large group, or broken down into broad categories for bidding purposes. At Finch, we split out your product feed and then bid individually on each and every one of your products. This helps to ensure your ad spend is being used where it will generate the most revenue for you.

Changes at google:

Image Extensions
Google has publicly announced the new Image Extensions, which adds your images to ads. They are still in beta, but we are working with a few customers to get early access.

AdRank updates
Google recently made updates to the AdRank algorithm that factors in ad extensions, increasing AdRank for enabled and relevant extensions. AdRank not only gives you better positions, it also lowers your actual cost per click and makes it much more expensive for your competitors to acquire the same customer.

AdRank is one of the most important factors in AdWords success and the best way to influence AdRank is through your Quality Score. At Finch we have developed the right technology and processes to help you attain the very best possible Quality Score for each of the keywords in your account.

Watch the full webinar here.

If you have questions about any of these topics, please reach out to us and we will discuss it with you. If you are not yet taking advantage of everything Finch has to offer you, sign up for a free AdWords audit and we will tell you exactly how you can take advantage of these new Google features.

-Brad

 

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