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How to Repair and Improve Local Business Reputation via Google Star Ratings and Reviews



Protect the Hours of Operation on Your GBP from Unwanted Google Edits

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Six in ten consumers require a minimum 4+ star rating in order to consider patronizing a local business and over ⅓ say it’s the star rating that is the key differentiator between local brands. If you’re marketing a company that is just starting out or an established business that has hit a reputational rough patch and your overall ratings fall below this magic threshold, revenue is being lost.

But hope is not lost!

In today’s column, you will find a set of sensible, actionable steps you can take to raise your Google Business Profile star ratings, improve your reviews, and begin developing the good online reputation you need in order to realize the full profit potential of the local businesses you market.

Defining local business reputation

In this context, a local business has both an offline reputation that resides in the word-of-mouth sentiments expressed by members of the community it serves and an online reputation that is most visible within the rating and review systems of platforms like Google Business Profile, Yelp, Nextdoor, TripAdvisor, etc. This article focuses specifically on Google, but its advice can be applied to most platforms that host local business reviews.

For detailed, original data on the many dynamic aspects of online reviews, read Moz’s formal review survey report but for today’s topic, it’s important to know that just 13% of consumers insist on a perfect 5-star rating to consider doing business with a company and that a dominant 51% will consider a brand with a 4-star overall rating. Thus, both 4 and 5-star ratings are considered a great or good reputation by the majority of consumers.

Yet, hope can be found in the fact that about ⅓ of consumers may still give you a try if your organization’s overall reputation is only 3 stars. This could give you the grace period you need to keep the lights on while you strategically improve your operations to start winning more trust and business in your community. We’ll grade a 3-star reputation as “needs improvement”. The work involved will be harder if the reputation has dropped to 2-or-less stars, as only 2% of the public is likely to consider patronizing you. This rating would be considered poor, but you can improve it with a serious commitment.

Task 1: Look your business up on Google and note down its overall rating and number of reviews.

How do Google ratings and reviews work?

A 1-star Google review and a 5 -star Google review creating an average rating of 3.0 stars.

Before you begin the necessary tasks for improving your reputation, it’s important to understand how Google’s system works. Local business ratings and reviews are part and parcel of Google Business Profiles as well as Local Finders and Google Maps. Reviews are text-based sentiments left by consumers, as shown above. Ratings are the 1-5 star symbology Google uses so that people can gauge a company’s reputation at a glance. The overall rating a business receives is based on Google’s average of all the individual ratings customers have left. As our example demonstrates, if a business has just two reviews, and one has a 1-star rating and the other has a 5-star rating, this averages out to an overall rating of 3.0 stars. Google users have the option to leave both a rating and text, or just a rating.

Because of Google’s averages, local business owners with less than a 4-star total rating frequently ask how many higher-star ratings they will need to earn before they see their overall rating improve. The answer depends on the total number of ratings the company has already earned, but by my calculation, if a business with ten reviews has earned an overall 3.0 star rating and wants to see that bump up to a much better 4.0 star average, they will need to earn ten new 5-star reviews to move the needle. Similarly, if the business begins with one hundred reviews and a 3.0 star rating, they will need to earn one hundred new 5-star reviews to move up to a 4.0 star average.

Over the years, different surveys have measured how conversions increase when star ratings improve, with a very good recent report finding that when a business succeeds in increasing its overall rating by one whole star (such as moving up from 3.0 to 4.0 stars), it can expect a 44% increase in Google Business Profile conversions. That’s a big number!

Improving the rating is work that must be paced over time to avoid having too many new reviews come in at once, triggering Google to filter them out. Note, too, that it can take up to two weeks for incoming reviews to update the overall average. Local businesses suffering from a poor online reputation, then, can look at the averages and estimate how many new high-star reviews they will need to earn to begin seeing the benefits to their conversions, transactions, revenue, and overall good name.

Identifying causes of reputational damage

There are at least 9 common contributors to the erosion of star ratings and reputation.

  • Too few reviews giving too much power to a small number of voices

  • Neglect of review responses

  • Neglect of local business listings resulting in false information online

  • Bad/rude customer service

  • Bad products

  • Poor work on a job

  • Spam from competitors, past employees, and personal adversaries

  • Spam from the business owner and their staff or marketers

  • Scandals

For all but the last of these bullet points, achievable fixes are right within reach. For the last bullet point, though, the degree of the scandal may take the business outside the scope of this article. When a local business scandal is severe, the owner may end up having to cope with litigation and damage too permanent to continue operations. For the other eight very common scenarios, however, all the steps for determined remediation are yours to take.

Task 2: Determine the key contributors to your low rating and document them. Read through the whole body of your reviews and make a note of each complaint, categorizing them based on the 9 types of problems listed above.

How to improve your local business reputation, step-by-step

Blue infographic explaining 9 common reputation problems and how to solve them, detailed in text below.

In your first and second tasks, you noted down your overall rating and number of reviews, and you categorized the complaints you’ve received into some of the nine different categories. Now, you’re ready to start addressing any of the categories that fit your scenario.

Too few reviews giving too much power to a small number of voices

This is often the first and most obvious cause of a poor overall star rating. When a business has too few reviews, the weight given to each review is extraordinary. As we saw earlier, if your company has just one 1-star review and one 5-star review, your overall reputation is just 3.0 stars.

28% of consumers lose trust in a business when it has too few reviews compared to its competitors, and 70% will read between 5-20 reviews before deciding your company is worth a try. One of the best and most sensible efforts you can make, then, is to launch a review acquisition strategy that ensures you have a steady stream of incoming sentiment and that no single customer has too large a share of voice in your reputation narrative.

Neglect of review responses

40% of your customers expect you to write an owner response when they leave you a positive review. When the review is negative, 64% of your customers expect you to respond. The truth is, these expectations are low, and local businesses should be responding to every single review as it comes in. Just as you would never ignore a customer visiting your physical premises, don’t neglect anyone who is speaking to you online.

11% of people expect your response within 2 hours of their writing a review. 21% expect to hear back within 24 hours, and an additional 28% expect to hear back within 48 hours. From this day forward, make it a priority to use the owner response functionality either as soon as you realize you’ve received a new review or at a given time each day. If you are having trouble keeping on top of this, Moz Local will alert you to incoming reviews across multiple platforms. This is a good plan for going forward.

However, if your review corpus currently consists of months’ or years’ worth of reviews that have received no response, take the time now to go back through the last six months of your reviews and respond to them. While delayed responses are unlikely to re-engage the customers who left the reviews, you can at least begin signaling to the general public that you are implementing a new plan of active responsiveness.

If further coaching in how to respond well to both positive and negative reviews would help, read Chapter 4 of the Essential Local SEO Strategy Guide, but in the meantime, here are quick facts to help you write excellent responses to negative reviews:

  • Do everything you can to solve a problem cited in a negative review, or 54% of consumers will avoid your business.

  • If you accuse a consumer of lying, 33% of customers will avoid your business, and if you argue with the reviewer, 46% will avoid your business. Keep your responses positive and professional, even if you think the customer is wrong.

  • Be sure your response to a negative review includes an apology, or 47% will avoid your business.

  • Know that 38% of consumers write reviews specifically to tell your business how it needs to improve – by fixing stated problems you are taking direct action to improve customer service and reputation.

Neglect of local business listings resulting in false information online

52% of local business review writers say they have written negative reviews as a result of encountering false or inaccurate information about local businesses online, including on local business listings. When business names, addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, and other essential data are incorrect, it inconveniences, disappoints, and frustrates the public.

Fortunately, actively managing local business listings is one of the easiest steps you can take to safeguard and improve your reputation so that you are receiving zero negative reviews and poor ratings due to avoidable, basic errors. You have two options for this work:

1) Do a manual audit of Google’s organic search engine results for your business name and services, discover all the local business listing and review platforms on which you have a profile, audit those profiles for errors, claim and update them, and track them in a spreadsheet for regular updating whenever your business information changes. It’s a considerable workload.

2) Subscribe to a service like Moz Local which is designed to let you manage all of your listings on key platforms very quickly and effectively from a single dashboard, protecting accuracy and reducing negative customer experiences.

In addition to ensuring that your business information is accurate on formal listing platforms, it’s a good idea to see if other online mentions of your business (known as unstructured citations) contain inaccuracies. For example, if a local blogger wrote about your business two years ago and referenced your street address, and you have since moved, it’s important to search for such references and contact the publishers to request an update of their content whenever your business experiences a significant change.

Bad/rude customer service

65% of review writers have written negative reviews due to bad or rude customer service, making this scenario the dominant cause of negative online sentiment and low ratings. Unfortunately, if your worst reviews fall into this category, it may require structural rather than simple fixes. Every business scenario is different, but here are eight key questions to ask to help you determine the root causes of customers feeling poorly treated at a place of business:

  1. Has every member of my public-facing staff received adequate training in company products, services and policies?

  2. Are ongoing training sessions part of our program so that skills can be developed and improved?

  3. Has every member of my staff received training in complaint identification and resolution so that problems are resolved at the time of service, rather than ending up online?

  4. Is every member of my staff trusted and empowered to use their own initiative and creativity to relieve customer pain, and do they know the correct hierarchy of escalation for problems beyond their direct control?

  5. Does every member of my staff earn a living wage, enabling them to bring resources of inner stability and happiness to the workplace?

  6. Does every member of leadership role model company values to be emulated by employees?

  7. Is a formal DEI council or policy in place to ensure that all staff and customers receive equal consideration, treatment, and service?

  8. Has a policy of customer rights been created by the business, and is it adequately distributed to both the staff and the public?

If any of the answers you gave to the above questions is a “no”, then you have identified a possible cause of negative reviewers feeling that they have been treated poorly or rudely. By addressing the underlying causes of staff failing to convey professionalism, respect and happiness to customers, you will be fixing serious structural problems in your organization. When solutions are implemented, new higher ratings and better reviews should begin to outweigh negative ones over time. For a more in-depth look at the complete customer service ecosystem, return to chapter four of the Essential Local SEO Strategy Guide.

Bad products

Planned obsolescence (manufacturing products that are intended to break) is making headlines and being outlawed in different places around the world, and it’s clear that paying good money for bad products is a sting keenly felt by consumers. 63% of reviewers say its a cause of them writing negative reviews, and for consumers aged 18-29, it is the #1 cause of such sentiment. In America, youngest people are also poorest, and it makes perfect sense that they would be the most distressed by spending hard-earned money on shoddy merchandise.

Supply chain breakages over the past few years have doubtless exacerbated this scenario, with local businesses often having to stock whatever they can access rather than what they know to be top quality. Sustainability, too, plays a key part in this conversation, as the public is reevaluating the climate impacts and pollution that result from a throwaway culture.

If some of your negative reviews fall into the “bad products” category, it could help to know that the latest marketing thought leadership envisions business owners as guardians and stewards who are responsible for offering the highest quality, most sustainable products to their communities. For local businesses, this could mean replacing remotely-sourced goods with more local inventory when better resources are available nearby. It could mean adding new steps to quality control processes. This is not an easy fix, particularly due to the effects of the pandemic on manufacturing, but it’s a problem that takes on extra relevance if you discover that your worst ratings stem from an inventory of poor-quality products that are undermining your reputation.

Poor work on a job

Even if weeks or months have gone by since a customer wrote a review complaining of something like a botched home improvement, an unsuccessful repair, or an unmet deadline, your best course for reputation restoration will be to directly contact the unhappy client and see if there is anything you can do to make them feel better. You may have to redo the work. You may have to refund their money. Or, a simple, heartfelt apology and request for a second chance to “get it right” may be enough to transform the relationship.

While you cannot offer any type of incentive to prompt a formerly-unhappy customer to update their negative rating and review, what you should look out for is the point at which your follow-up has resulted in customer satisfaction to the degree that they might amend their online sentiment if asked. You’ll enjoy two victories if you succeed. First, the original customer will think well of you again and hopefully continue to do business with you. Second, when a negative review is updated to reflect a subsequent better experience, it is no longer a barrier to further leads from the general public.

These two statistics should give you tremendous confidence for the uphill work ahead: 67% of negative reviewers had an improved opinion of a brand when the owner responded well, and 62% of negative reviewers would give a local brand a second chance after an owner response solves their problem.

Spam from competitors, past employees, and personal adversaries

Of all of the major review platforms, it has been proposed that Google has the biggest problem with review spam, with an estimated 10.7% of its review content being fraudulent. Every review platform has its own guidelines, and many countries have rulings regarding what constitutes review fraud, but a general definition of it would include these factors:

  • Reviews written in exchange for money, gifts, discounts, or other incentives.

  • Reviews that stem from competitors, owners of the business being reviewed, staff, and former staff, or other non-customers of the business

  • Reviews that are left on behalf of anyone instead of directly by the customer

  • Reviews that are manipulated (gated) so that only positive sentiment is displayed

  • Review removal requests in exchange for money, discounts, or other incentives

In the United States, review fraud is illegal. It is considered an unfair competitive practice that impacts consumers and businesses under section 5(a) of the US Federal Trade Commission Act. Unfortunately, Moz’s recent survey found that 40% of consumers have been offered money, discounts, or gifts in exchange for writing reviews. This could include brands and agencies paying members of the public to both positively review them and negatively review their competitors. An additional 11% admit to leaving negative reviews of their former employers. All of these practices are prohibited.

It’s important to know that Google will only consider removal of spam reviews if they demonstrably violate their stated guidelines, and Google typically won’t remove textless ratings. If you strongly believe that the erosion of your overall Google star rating is due, in part, to the presence of review fraud, you have three possible avenues toward resolution:

  1. Log into your Google account and look up your business by name. Using the New Merchant Experience interface that should appear in the organic results, click on the “read reviews” tab. Find the fake review, and click the three dots to the right of it to report the review. Wait at least three days and then check to see if the review is gone. If not, you can try to report the problem via this live chat form. For more information on reporting review fraud, read this Google help doc.

  2. If review fraud is stemming from a personal adversary or other known bad actor, you may need to seek legal advice regarding how to proceed toward resolution.

  3. If Google fails to protect you from a large-scale review spam attack, a PR campaign may be your only hope of resolution. While Google will sometimes ignore individual reports of review spam, they have often acted once the scenario becomes a publicized scandal picked up by mainstream media. There have even been instances in which Google has shut off reviews during negative review attacks.

Spam from the business owner and their staff or marketers

50% of consumers lose trust if it looks like an owner or their employees are reviewing their own business. 44% are suspicious when an overall review profile consists of all-five-star reviews without any complaints. 39% are mistrustful when the profiles of those leaving reviews look suspect and 20% are wary when a local brand has too many reviews compared to its competitor.

A poor reputation doesn’t always equal a low star rating. It can, instead, stem from customers quietly walking away because they rightly suspect that the review profile is filled with fraud instigated by the business, itself. If the business you are marketing falls into this category, the above statistics paired with the illegality of these actions are all the persuasion that should be necessary to take immediate action to remove any reviews that violate platform guidelines and government regulations. Any review left by the business or its staff should be deleted. If fraudulent reviews stem from having hired a marketing firm that implemented this practice, your brand may need to seek legal advice in order to prompt the organization to delete this content. Only when you have removed as many spam reviews as possible will you be able to start building the legitimate reputation that supports customer satisfaction and brand longevity.

Task 3: Begin implementing the fixes for each category into which your negative reviews fall, prioritize acquiring new reviews, and then give it time for the expected rating improvements to materialize. If all goes well, you should start tracking a lift in engagements and revenue as the result of your higher overall rating.

Summing up

A low-star overall rating doesn’t feel good, and stands as a major obstacle to you running and marketing the local business of your dreams. However, because you can categorize the roots of negative consumer sentiment, you will typically have considerable powers of improvement on your side. It may take weeks, months, or even a year to implement better practices, services, and acquisition campaigns that culminate in a sterling rating, but such work has become primary to basic local business operations over the past twenty years.

For local businesses currently struggling with a reputation of 3-or-less stars, the main challenge will be to make improvements quickly and then actively acquire new sentiment at a steady rate so that future customers stop being turned away by the sight of a poor rating. It’s good to know that very few customers are looking for 5-star perfection and that, in fact, lots of people find flawlessness suspicious.

The ideal outlook is to utilize negative consumer sentiment as a valuable source of business intelligence which, at its best, tells you exactly what needs to be fixed so that customers are more satisfied. This is what makes review management an ongoing local search marketing task, and even a business with a good or great rating today can never stop working at reputational maintenance via stewardship of reviews.

Eager to learn more about local search and local business reputation? These resources are at your fingertips:

Get formal training via the Moz Academy Local SEO Certification

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How to optimize your online forms and checkouts



How to optimize your online forms and checkouts

Forms are probably the most important part of your customer journey. They are the final step where the user entrusts you with their precious personal information in exchange for the goods or services you’ve promised.

And yet, too many companies spend minimal time on making sure their form experience is a good one for their users. They don’t use data to establish where the UX problems are on their forms, and they don’t run form-specific experiments to determine how to improve their conversion rate. As a result, too many forms are unnecessarily driving potential customers away, burning potential revenue and leads that could have been converted if they had only spent a little time and effort on optimization. Two-thirds of people who start a form don’t go on to complete it, meaning that a lot of money is being left on the table.

This article contains some of our top tips to help optimize your forms + checkouts with the goal of improving their conversion rate and delivering more customers and leads.

Use data to identify your problem fields

While user testing and session replay tools are useful in identifying possible form issues, you should also be using a specialist form analytics tool, as this will allow you to quantify the scale of the problem – where are most people dropping out – and prioritize improvements accordingly. A good form analytics tool will have advanced insights that will help work out what the problem is as well, giving you a head start on creating hypotheses for testing.

A/B test your forms

We’ve already mentioned how important it is to nurture your forms like any other part of your website. This also applies to experimentation. Your A/B testing tool such as Optimizely should allow you to easily put together a test to see if your hypothesis will improve your conversion rate. If there is also an integration with your form analytics tool you should then be able to push the test variants into it for further analysis.

Your analytics data and user testing should guide your test hypothesis, but some aspects you may want to look at are:

  • Changing the error validation timing (to trigger upon input rather than submission)
  • Breaking the form into multiple steps rather than a single page
  • Removing or simplifying problem fields
  • Manage user expectations by adding a progress bar and telling them how long the form will take upfront
  • Removing links to external sites so they are not distracted
  • Re-wording your error messages to make them more helpful

Focus on user behavior after a failed submission

Potential customers who work their way through their form, inputting their personal information, before clicking on the final ‘Submit’ button are your most valuable. They’ve committed time and effort to your form; they want what you are offering. If they click that button but can’t successfully complete the form, something has gone wrong, and you will be losing conversions that you could have made.

Fortunately, there are ways to use your form data to determine what has gone wrong so you can improve the issue.

Firstly, you should look at your error message data for this particular audience. Which messages are shown when they click ‘Submit? What do they do then? Do they immediately abandon, or do they try to fix the issue?

If you don’t have error message tracking (or even if you do), it is worth looking at a Sankey behavior flow for your user’s path after a failed submission. This audience will click the button then generally jump back to the field they are having a problem with. They’ll try to fix it, unsuccessfully, then perhaps bounce back and forth between the problem field a couple of times before abandoning in frustration. By looking at the flow data, you can determine the most problematic fields and focus your attention there.

Microcopy can make the checkout experience less stressful

If a user is confused, it makes their form/checkout experience much less smooth than it otherwise could be. Using microcopy – small pieces of explanatory information – can help reduce anxiety and make it more likely that they will complete the form.

Some good uses of microcopy on your forms could be:

  • Managing user expectations. Explain what information they need to enter in the form so they can have it on hand. For example, if they are going to need their driver’s licence, then tell them so.
  • Explain fields. Checkouts often ask for multiple addresses. Think “Current Address”, “Home Address” and “Delivery Address”. It’s always useful to make it clear exactly what you mean by these so there is no confusion.
  • Field conditions. If you have strict stipulations on password creation, make sure you tell the user. Don’t wait until they have submitted to tell them you need special characters, capital letters, etc.
  • You can often nudge the user in a certain direction with a well-placed line of copy.
  • Users are reluctant to give you personal information, so explaining why you need it and what you are going to do with it is a good idea.

A good example of reassuring microcopy

Be careful with discount codes

What is the first thing a customer does if they are presented with a discount code box on an ecommerce checkout? That’s right, they open a new browser tab and go searching for vouchers. Some of them never come back. If you are using discount codes, you could be driving customers away instead of converting them. Some studies show that users without a code are put off purchasing when they see the discount code box.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can continue to offer discount codes while mitigating the FOMO that users without one feel:

  • Use pre-discounted links. If you are offering a user a specific discount, email a link rather than giving them a code, which will only end up on a discount aggregator site.
  • Hide the coupon field. Make the user actively open the coupon box rather than presenting them with it smack in the middle of the flow.
  • Host your own offers. Let every user see all the offers that are live so they can be sure that they are not missing out.
  • Change the language. Follow Amazon’s lead and combine the Gift Card & Promotional Codes together to make it less obvious.

An example from Amazon on how to make the discount code field less prominent

Get error messages right

Error messages don’t have to be bad UX. If done right, they can help guide users through your form and get them to commit.

How do you make your error messages useful?

  • Be clear that they are errors. Make the messages standout from the form – there is a reason they are always in red.
  • Be helpful. Explain exactly what the issue is and tell the user how to fix it. Don’t be ambiguous.

Don’t do this!

  • Display the error next to the offending field. Don’t make the user have to jump back to the top of the form to find out what is wrong.
  • Use microcopy. As noted before, if you explain what they need to do early, they users are less likely to make mistakes.

Segment your data by user groups

Once you’ve identified an issue, you’ll want to check whether it affects all your users or just a specific group. Use your analytics tools to break down the audience and analyze this. Some of the segmentations you might want to look at are:

  • Device type. Do desktop and mobile users behave differently?
  • Operating system. Is there a problem with how a particular OS renders your form?
  • New vs. returning. Are returning users more or less likely to convert than first timers?
  • Do different product buyers have contrasting expectations of the checkout?
  • Traffic source. Do organic sources deliver users with higher intent than paid ones?


About the author

Alun Lucas is the Managing Director of Zuko Analytics. Zuko is an Optimizely partner that provides form optimization software that can identify when, where and why users are abandoning webforms and help get more customers successfully completing your forms.

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads



3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.


If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?



Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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