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Master Your Bid Strategies In Google Search Ads 360



Master Your Bid Strategies In Google Search Ads 360

Many advertisers are moving to Google Search Ads 360 (SA 360) to more effectively automate and manage their paid advertising. SA 360 has a slew of features that either aren’t available in standard Google Ads accounts or are more sophisticated. One of the features that make SA 360 so powerful is its bid strategies.

Similar to Google Ads, SA 360 bid strategies automate bids based on a specific goal. These goals include:

  • Conversions
  • Revenue
  • Clicks
  • Impression Share

SA 360 bid strategies optimize based on user signals, both transparent and invisible. For example, a bid strategy will change bids based on users’ locations (transparent) and what browser they are using (invisible). Just like any bidding strategy, the more data the algorithm has the better. SA 360 also makes use of auction-time bidding, a Smart Bidding feature that further analyzes contextual signals to set bids.

There are 2 main differences that make SA 360 bid strategies stand out.

  1. Bid strategies can be used across SA 360 supported search engine accounts.
  2. The bid strategies can utilize Floodlight conversion tracking.

Using the same bid strategies across multiple engines is paramount. For example, if your target return on ad spend (ROAS) for a category of products is 5X, you can include the relevant campaigns in your bid strategy portfolio across Google, Microsoft, and Baidu. Though these engines are separate entities, the goal remains the same across the platforms. 

Floodlight conversion tracking is a supersized version of standard conversion tracking. With floodlights, you can report at a more granular level by tracking additional information. For example, you may track users who reach the shopping cart with specific high-value products. You can then create bid strategies based on this event. Subsequently, you can create custom formulas based on these floodlights to guide the bid strategies.

SA 360 provides a variety of metrics to assess the performance of your bid strategies. There are over 50 metrics, or columns, that you can review. As with all KPIs, certain metrics hold more weight than others when determining if a bid strategy change is necessary. Here are the top metrics that you should consider.

Bid Strategy Total (ROAS, CPA, or ERS) 

This metric compares how your target metric (ROAS, CPA, or ERS) is performing against your current target. For example, if your SA 360 ROAS target is 800% and your bid strategy ROAS total is 600%, you are 25% under the target. Make sure that when you are reviewing this figure, the data is from the last target change. If you made a target change 3 weeks ago but are only looking at the last week’s worth of data, then the comparison will not provide an accurate indication of how effective the bid strategy is.

Keep in mind that the bid strategy total is Google’s view of how the bid strategy is performing against the target. You should also compare how the SA 360 target is working against your internal goal. Though your SA 360 ROAS target may be set at 800%, the actual goal could be different. If the actual goal is 900% and your ROAS is 600%, then you are 33.33% under the target. Your SA 360 target will often change. If your ROAS is too efficient, you may decide to lower the target. Or, if it is under efficient, increasing the target is a good idea. 

Bid Strategy Conversion Delay

Most bid strategies have conversion delays. Google defines the delay as after today, how many days need to pass before the system expects that 80% of the bid strategy conversions and/or revenue will arrive. A delay of 5 days means that at least 80% of conversions and/or revenue will come 5 days after today. Here’s an example of a delay and the expected revenue.

Google recommends that you wait for at least 2 conversion cycles to complete before making a target change. In the example above, you should wait at least 16 days before considering a target change. You can make a change sooner, but the data will be incomplete. As with any test, you want to ensure that it has enough time to run and provide accurate results. 

Bid Strategy Percentage of Optimal Cost

This metric calculates a bid strategy’s actual cost compared to its optimal cost. The optimal cost for revenue is calculated as:
The amount of revenue / target ROAS (ie: $10,000 / 200% = $5,000 optimal cost)

For conversions, the formula is:
The target CPA x the number of conversions (ie: $50 x 2,000 = $100,000 optimal cost)

Once you have this figure you are able to calculate the bid strategy percentage of the optimal cost. The formula is:
Actual cost / optimal cost

If your actual cost over a 2 week time period is $2,000 and your optimal cost is $1,500, the bid strategy percentage of optimal cost is 133%. The closer this figure is to 100% the better as it shows the actual cost to be on target with the bid strategy. As shown in our example, anything over 100% means that the bid strategy is under-performing. A figure below 100% tells us that the bid strategy is over-performing.

Bid Strategy Health

Similar to the “Recommendations” tab in Google Ads, the bid strategy health column gives you insight into optimizations that can be made to improve the bid strategy.

The recommendations boil down to the traffic being left on the table due to the limitations of the bid strategies. If you employ a max CPC bid, it may be too low that you are missing out on traffic. You might also have a minimum ROAS that is too high and cutting off potential sales. If you can, allow the bid strategies to work with none or very few restraints.

Final Thoughts

The bid strategies are the core value of Search Ads 360. Choosing the right keywords, structuring your campaigns effectively, writing converting ad copy, and ensuring the correct settings will always be paramount, but the bid strategies drive the bus. By far, your bid strategies will have the greatest impact on the volume and quality of traffic that you receive. Ensure that you are always reviewing your data to create and update these bid strategies for better performance.


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



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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5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy



Student writing on computer

With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

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Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon



Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

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