Most experts believe that the future of PPC will revolve around:
- An expanded use of automation.
- More advanced audience targeting.
With greater control of PPC accounts now being handed over to machines to manage, the need to incorporate valuable first-party data to feed machine learning has never been greater.
Here we outline how exactly first-party data can be used to power PPC campaigns and improve results.
What is First-Party Data?
First-party data is the data you’ve collected directly on your own audience. This data is typically collected through marketing activities such as:
- Email subscriptions.
- Resource downloads.
- Form submissions.
- Any data collected through web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics.
The issue with first-party data is that it’s often spread across disparate platforms and rarely connected and used as a single source of truth.
For example, a company may collect website user behavior data in a web analytics platform and customer data in a CRM system. Very rarely do companies connect these data sources effectively.
As a first step, integrating your key data sources is necessary if you want to use more of that valuable first-party data for PPC optimization.
Luckily, there are some tried and tested methods of linking up CRM data with Google Analytics before feeding this data back into Google Ads for optimization purposes.
1. Integrate Data Sources with Google Analytics
Google Analytics tracks standard online conversion data by default. However, it does not report on:
- The outcome of a conversation a prospect may have with your sales team, whether a phone call has resulted in a sale.
- The value of any leads your sales team may convert once an lead has been generated by your website or app.
The kind of data needed for more accurate PPC decision making includes measures such as:
- The total sale value of all leads generated.
- Lead to sale conversion rate.
- Lead scoring data.
The idea here is that this data can then be tracked back to a lead that originated from your website.
Most CRM systems will have the ability to add user ID labels, which is the key to feeding your customer data back into Google Analytics. You can read more about the different options to achieve this here.
By far, the easiest option (that is the option that requires the least manual development input) is leaning on one of the many data connector tools that have pre-built methods of feeding CRM data back into Google Analytics in just a few clicks.
As an example, GA connector works with most major CRM systems including Salesforce and Hubspot to link CRM in to Google Analytics relatively easily.
The result is a set of custom goals that you can use in your Google Ads account based on actions that occur away from your website after an initial conversion has been generated.
Of course, you’ll need to ensure that you link your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts to ensure these conversions are accessible in Google Ads before you’re able to use them to influence PPC performance.
2. Set Accurate Targets & Bids
First-party data can be used to set more accurate targets for Google’s machine learning-based bid strategies under their Smart Bidding umbrella.
With mixed results reported so far and paired back controls for PPC practitioners, Smart Bidding has certainly divided opinion across the industry since rolling out.
That said, Google is able to analyze 70 million signals in under 100 milliseconds. So if you feed Google the right data, technically their Smart Bidding software has the ability to outperform even the most advanced account setups and Google Ads script combinations.
As an agency that has invested in testing Smart Bidding heavily in the past year, we at Hallam have achieved the most success for our clients by feeding Smart Bidding with first-party data.
Google offers Smart Bidding strategies including:
To ensure these automated bidding strategies are set up based on accurate targets, you can use first-party data to carry out post-campaign analysis before refining your Smart Bidding targets.
For example, for a fuel card supplier, we can now track lifetime value of a customer based on the number of liters drawn on a fuel card (tracked through a CRM system and fed back into Google Analytics via user ID attribute).
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Instead of basing CPA / ROAS targets on data reported from standard website conversions, by linking CRM data with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to:
- Use a similar post-campaign analysis to review performance.
- Set smart bidding targets at a level that more accurately reflects the impact of PPC activity on a business’s bottom line.
3. Use Offline Conversion Data to Feed Smart Bidding
Aside from setting more accurate targets, automated bidding strategies implemented in Google Ads should be fed with post-conversion measures as signals to optimize against.
For example, if you’re optimizing based on conversion value, you’d naturally want to ensure that the values you’re feeding into Google Ads are as accurate as possible, right?
Let’s look at the common conversion action of phone calls. Phone calls can typically lead to some hugely valuable sales, value which will not be captured by default in Google Analytics or Google Ads.
By simply using a call tracking tool, your sales team will be able to:
- Log lead quality, any sales generated from a call, and the monetary value of those sales.
- Tie all of this data back to a keyword level and a source in Google Analytics.
With this in mind, rather than basing your goal values on averages you’ve arbitrarily calculated through conversations with your sales team, you should look to improve the accuracy of your data (and in doing so, the accuracy of Smart Bidding decisions) by feeding it into Google Analytics (and in turn Google Ads) using a tool such as Ruler Analytics.
The options to utilize machine learning technology, such as Smart Bidding for PPC automation, far outweigh the ability of humans to manage the same campaigns.
That said, if we’re feeding machines with incomplete data, then the decisions made will lead to suboptimal results.
By integrating your valuable first-party data with your Google Ads campaigns, you should expect to:
- See improved PPC results.
- Have the ability to deliver accurate reports to your peers that better reflect the business outcomes of your activity.
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- 8 Dos & Don’ts of Search Audiences
All screenshots taken by author, January 2020
How to Manage Your Online Brand?
You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to manage my online brand?” It’s a valid question, especially if you’re not sure what managing your online brand means precisely.
In short, managing your online brand is the process of taking control of how others see you and your business online. This can involve creating and maintaining a strong presence on social media, developing positive reviews and testimonials, and monitoring your web analytics to track progress.
By taking the time to manage your online brand, you can improve your chances of success in today’s digital age.
In this article, we’ll explore some key reasons why managing your online brand is essential.
What is an online brand, and why do you need one?
Your online brand is the way you are perceived by others online. This includes your website, social media profiles, online reviews, and all other digital real estate that represents you when someone searches for you or your business.
It’s important to have one because it helps your potential customers get to know, trust, and like you before they buy anything from you. A strong online brand can also help you attract new customers and grow your business.
It’s good to remember that your online brand is the first thing people will see when they search for you, so it’s important to make sure it represents you and your business well.
How to manage your online brand for success?
Your online brand is your reputation. It’s how people perceive you when they see your name, read your work, or interact with you online.
A strong online brand can help you attract new clients, collaborators, and opportunities. But how do you create and manage your brand for success?
1) Consider what you want your online brand to convey.
Are you an expert in a certain field? A thought leader? A creative visionary?
Once you know what you want your brand to communicate, be consistent in everything you do online.
Use the same name, photo, and bio across all of your social media platforms. Post regularly about topics related to your brand, and make sure the tone of your posts is consistent with the image you’re trying to convey.
2) Interact with other people online in a way that reinforces your brand.
When someone mentions you in a post, thank them publicly. If someone leaves a negative comment on one of your posts, don’t delete it – instead, respond politely and professionally.
By managing your online brand thoughtfully and proactively, you can set yourself up for success both online and offline.
3) Monitor your web analytics to track your progress.
Use Google Analytics or another web analytics tool to track how people are finding you online and what they’re doing on your website. This data can give you insights into what’s working well and what needs improvement.
For example, if you see that most of your website visitors are coming from Facebook, you might want to focus on creating more engaging content for that platform.
Or, if you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your blog but not your sales page, you might need to work on driving traffic to your products or services.
4) Make sure your website represents your brand well.
Your website is often the first thing people will see when they search for you online, so it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date and represents your brand well.
Update your website regularly with new blog posts, photos, and products. Use attractive visuals, easy-to-navigate menus, and clear calls to action.
If you’re not sure how to create a website that represents your brand well, consider working with a web designer or developer.
5) Pay attention to your social media presence.
Social media is a powerful tool for managing your online brand. Use it to connect with your audience, share your work, and promote your products or services.
Be sure to post regularly, interact with others, and use hashtags and keywords that will help people find you. You can also use social media ads to reach a wider audience or promote specific products or services.
6) Monitor your online reputation.
Use Google Alerts or another tool to monitor your online reputation. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about you online and take action if necessary.
For example, if you see a negative review of your business, you can reach out to the customer directly to try to resolve the issue. Or, if you see someone spreading misinformation about your work, you can correct it.
7) Manage your online brand proactively.
The best way to manage your online brand is to be proactive. Be thoughtful about everything you do online, from the content you post to the way you interact with others. By taking control of your online presence, you can set yourself up for success both professionally and personally.
By following these tips, you can create and manage an online brand that will help you achieve your goals.
The benefits of having a strong online brand
Let’s look at a few benefits of having a strong online brand:
1) Stand out from the competition.
With so much noise online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But if you create a well-defined brand, you’ll be better able to cut through the clutter and attract attention.
2) Build trust and credibility.
A strong online brand can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. If people know what to expect from you, they’re more likely to trust and respect you.
3) Connect with your audience.
By definition, a brand is a way of differentiating yourself from others. But it’s also a way of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. When done well, branding can create an emotional connection between you and your audience.
4) Drive traffic and sales.
A strong online brand can help you drive traffic and sales. If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. And if they trust and respect you, they’re more likely to tell others about you.
5) Increase your visibility.
A well-managed online brand will increase your visibility online. When people search for you or your business, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search results. And when people see you frequently in their feeds, you’ll be more likely to stay top of mind.
6) Attract media attention.
A strong online brand can help you attract media attention. If you’re known for something specific, journalists and bloggers will be more likely to write about you. This can help increase your visibility and reach even further.
7) Enhance your career prospects.
Your online brand can have a big impact on your career prospects. If you’re looking for a new job, employers will likely research you online. And if you’re an entrepreneur, investors will want to know more about your brand before they invest in your business.
8) Make a positive impact.
Finally, a strong online brand can help you make a positive impact in the world. If you’re passionate about something, you can use your platform to raise awareness and advocate for change.
The importance of staying consistent with your branding strategy
As you can see, there are many benefits to having a strong online brand. But it’s not enough to just create a brand—you also need to be consistent with your branding strategy.
When it comes to branding, consistency is essential. Your audience needs to know what to expect from you, and they need to see that you’re consistent in your messaging and your visuals.
Here are a few pointers if you’re not sure how to stay consistent with your branding:
1) Define your brand.
The first step to being consistent with your branding is to define your brand. What do you want people to think of when they see your name or your logo? What do you want your brand to represent?
2) Create guidelines.
Once you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to create guidelines. These guidelines should include everything from your mission statement to the colors and fonts you use in your branding. By having a set of guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure that all of your marketing materials are on-brand.
3) Train your team.
If you have a virtual assistant or team, it’s important to train them on your branding guidelines. Make sure everyone knows what your brand represents and how they can help you maintain a consistent brand identity.
4) Monitor your brand.
Once you’ve launched your brand, it’s important to monitor it. This means paying attention to how people are reacting to your brand and making sure that you’re still presenting yourself in the way you want to be seen.
5) Be prepared to adjust.
Finally, be prepared to adjust your branding strategy as needed. As your business grows and changes, your branding will need to change with it. By being flexible and willing to adjust, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand is always relevant.
A strong online brand is essential for any business or individual. By definition, your online brand is the way you’re perceived by others online. And while that may seem like a superficial thing, the reality is that your online brand can have a big impact on your business or career.
If you’re not sure how to create a strong online brand, start by defining your brand and creating guidelines. Then, train your team on your branding strategy and monitor your brand over time. And finally, be prepared to adjust as needed.
Oscar is a passionate full-time blogger and a part-time author. In his personal blog OssieRodriguez.com, he writes about software, online influence, and different business models.
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