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How to best utilize the networks within Google AdWords

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30-second summary:

  • Google networks can be tricky when deciding which ones are best for your goals and budget
  • Three tips that will help you to utilize the networks strategically
  • You first need to understand the difference before selecting a network
  • Clean data is key when analyzing performance, so it is best to keep network targeting separately
  • Where a user is at in the conversion funnel will tell you if the network brings conversions
  • By having two different campaigns that are network specific, you will be able to properly target your audience with clear messaging while being able to access key data points quickly and accurately

There are two networks within Google AdWords – display and search. When you set up a campaign for the first time, you may notice an option to add either one of these within the settings.

The search network ads appear on Google’s search results page, and the display network ads appear on sites, videos, and apps. But what looks like a good idea to get more visibility, may not help you in the end when measuring performance.

Google AdWords - Search and display

To reap the benefits of both search and display, you need to be strategic about how you are targeting users on these platforms. Here are three tips for utilizing the networks within Google AdWords:

Tip #1: Know the difference

Display select versus display network are different even though the listing of display network in your settings can be a little misleading. The display select is a hybrid campaign model. While you can take your search network ads to the next level by adding them to display, it is not ideal for tight budgets.

By nature, the display network expands its reach to a broader audience. When you add this option, you are releasing control over to Google. By keeping everything in search, you are targeting an active user who wants to find something relative to the keywords within the campaign.

The display network will boost visibility, but it is not as targeted and should not be used by those with a smaller budget. When users are on even display select, they may not be ready to buy. In fact, these users are far out in the conversion funnel. Accomplishing clicks is not easy in this network with an ad-driven by copy.

For those who need to increase awareness, then display is for you. Ad space on the network is great, so you can reach and broaden your audience.

Tip #2: Make sure data is clean

If you are using a search network with display select, then your data may not be as clean. The search network has a higher click-through rate (CTR) than the display. So, if you are looking at the overall data of the campaign, you may not be able to get a quick and accurate look at performance.

The impressions and clicks generated by the display network are not applied to the keywords within your campaign. The reason for this is because those impressions and clicks are not actually “search”. Therefore, to truly evaluate performance, you need to take a deeper look.

Google AdWords - Search and display data

To measure, you need to go to each individual ad group in Google AdWords and look at how the display select and the search network are each performing. Users are in different places within the conversion funnel, so it is important to understand the industry benchmarks for each network when measuring data. Therefore, it is recommended to divide the campaigns when using both of Google AdWords’ networks.

Tip #3: Understand the conversion funnel

The conversion funnel is made up of different stages, such as awareness, consideration, and decision. When a user is on the display network, they are most likely in the awareness stage. When a user is in the search network, they are at the bottom of the funnel. These users know they want to buy a product or service, but they are evaluating where to buy it.

The reason you need to understand the funnel is not only from a data perspective, but it is also for creating quality ad copy. Your messages should be appropriate for where that user is in the conversion funnel. You would never ask someone to buy from you if you just met them at a networking event. It is important to meet the user where they are at by creating ad copy that is relevant.

A dual-network strategy is not for everyone. So, before diving into both, determine your goals and evaluate if both will help you to meet them. By having two different campaigns that are network-specific, you will be able to properly target your audience with clear messaging while being able to access key data points quickly and accurately.

Ashley G. Schweigert is Owner at Marcom Content by Ashley, LLC.

Search Engine Watch – PPC

GOOGLE

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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