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Five search reports for ecommerce you can pull now to prep for Q4

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five search reports for ecommerce you can pull now to prep for q4

Ecommerce companies know this to be true, but it bears repeating: the holiday season will be on top of you before you know it, and it’s time to start getting your Q4 plan ready.

There are many reports and analysis you can pull and put together to develop our Q4 plan. Use the summer’s relative slowness to audit your accounts to see if there is anything to improve before the busy season comes. In this post, I’ll walk through five SEO reports that can help set a plan for Q4:

  1. YoY (Year-over-Year) Comparison
  2. Search Query Report
  3. Impression Share
  4. Top Products/Top Movers
  5. Optiscore

YoY comparison

For many ecommerce companies, the holiday season brings higher volume and spend to your paid media efforts. It’s important to allocate enough budget to keep up with demand on the high-volume days, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, etc. The first report I pull to start serious holiday prep is a YoY comparison by day for 2017 to 2018 to see what campaigns and dates were the most successful.

It’s never apples to apples, of course; last year, you might have tested a new campaign or strategy that wasn’t tested in 2017, allocated spend across a different number of channels, etc.

Questions that you want to consider with this pull are:

  • What did performance look like on high-volume days?
  • Could you have spent more to get more return?
  • What was the makeup of search, display, and shopping campaigns?
  • Should you use your marketing dollars differently this year?
  • Did you have holiday-specific keywords, products, campaigns, etc., that need to be reactivated this year?

Search query reports

Google has recently made changes to close variant matching. I have noticed some shifts in matching and budget allocation across different campaigns and a wider range of irrelevant matches. Search query reports will help to identify irrelevant matching to find keywords to negate and opportunities for new keywords to build out before the holiday rush.

search query reports

Impression share reports

It’s important to understand what your impression share looks like currently and what it looked like over the last holiday season. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see competitors come in and out of the auction during different points of the year, and you’ll see competition increase during Q4. Impression share reports from the 2018 holidays will help you anticipate potential competitors as budgets increase. Note that Google has introduced additional metrics for impression share now that average position will be sunsetted. These metrics include absolute top impression share and top impression share. Current impression share reports will help you understand and prioritize areas where you should increase impression share, both now and going into Q4.

impression share reports

To accommodate the upcoming spike in search volume, spend, and conversions, you have to be armed with a large inventory of your top products, including last holiday season’s top products, your current top products, and any highly seasonal products. I recommend that you pull Shopping performance of top products by item id in the Google Ads UI or pull a report in Google Analytics to understand top products across all platforms.

top products report

OptiScore

Google has rolled out a new product to all accounts that will help find areas of opportunity and easy wins to keep accounts successful as the holiday season rolls in. OptiScore provides recommendations to advertisers to include bids and budgets, recommendations for keywords, and recommendations for ads and ad extensions. I’ve generally found these to be helpful – at least worth testing! – and make a habit of checking every week or two to get new suggestions.

OptiScore can be found under the Recommendations tab in the Google UI:

optiscore report under recommendations from google

This is an easy way to make sure that accounts are set up for success; it will alert you if you have ad groups that aren’t serving because they don’t have active ads or keywords, provide budget suggestions, and give you an anticipated number of conversions with an increase in budget. It is very easy to apply the suggestions with a click of the button, which saves you time during the busy season.

You can get lost in a sea of reports if you’re trying to find levers to use this holiday season. It’s important to prepare by understanding historical performance to anticipate this year’s performance by looking at efficient campaigns and areas from 2018 and pulling back in inefficient areas.

Make sure to spend time auditing and optimizing accounts now: pull SQRs, make sure all campaigns have ad extensions, and double-check active ad groups for active keywords and good copy. With the correct preparation and plan in place, your Q4 will be less chaotic and more profitable.

Lauren Crain is a Client Services Lead in 3Q Digital’s SMB division, 3Q Incubate.

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MARKETING

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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