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10 Biggest & Best PPC Features Of The Year

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10 Biggest & Best PPC Features Of The Year

Can you believe the end of the year is already upon us? With so many changes to the advertising ecosystem, it’s easy for time to fly by.

The year 2022 will be remembered for welcome (and unwelcome) changes to not only Google Ads and Microsoft Ads platforms but also to new features for up-and-coming channels.

With more PPC platforms available to advertisers, it’s hard to keep up with all the changes!

That’s why I’ve broken down my picks of the top 10 new PPC features and developments of 2022, encompassing as many PPC platforms and campaign types as possible.

1. Google Ads: No More Expanded Text Ads

While other platforms continue to add additional formats and options, Google continues to take away Search ad options slowly.

While it was announced back in 2021, Google officially sunset Expanded Text Ads on June 30, 2022. Search ads are now dominated by the Responsive Search Ads format.

Why is this a big deal?

For advertisers, the lack of control was a huge setback – especially for any regulated industry that needs legal approval on all copies. Additionally, many advertisers saw that their ETAs performed better than RSAs.

The bright side of ETAs being sunset is that marketers were forced to rethink their messaging strategy.

Because of the breadth of headline and description options, Google can mix and match to serve the right message, at the right time, for each user.

This meant removing the redundant copy from RSAs and shifting to an opportunity of creating more intentional messaging for each keyword theme.

Another benefit of moving to RSAs was the increased visibility of ads.

In a study done by Optmyzr in May 2022, it was found that RSAs showed 2.1x impressions compared to ETA-only ad groups.

Screenshot from Optmyzr, December 2022Impressions per ad group with ETAs vs. RSAs.

2. Microsoft Ads: Video Ads Debut

Microsoft continues to make headway into the advertising marketing share in 2022.

With the expansion of the Microsoft Audience Network, they officially debuted Video Ads just last month. While Video Ads were beta tested in 2021, they are now generally available in the following areas:

  • United States.
  • Canada.
  • United Kingdom.
  • France.
  • Germany.
  • Australia.
  • New Zealand.

From a marketer’s perspective, this allows you to reach your audience where you may not have been able to reach them before.

According to Microsoft’s recent stats:

  • 39% of users watch videos on MSN but not on YouTube.
  • 57% of users watch videos on MSN but not on Facebook.

Another benefit of expanding your video strategy to Microsoft Ads is that you don’t have to start from scratch.

Repurpose your current video ads on YouTube or other placements to save time and resources. Just be sure that the audience intent is similar if repurposing that content.

3. YouTube Ads: Audio Takes Center Stage

Officially out of beta testing, Google announced Audio ads available to all advertisers in October 2022.

This is a big win for advertisers trying to reach their target audience in a different way based on how they use YouTube.

Audio ads in Google are served to users who listen to music on YouTube specifically.

Marketers would want to utilize audio ads instead of video for music listeners because those users likely aren’t actually watching what’s on their YouTube screen.

Another big move for audio comes in the form of podcast placements.

Google rolled out this feature in October as well.

You may wonder, what does this have to do with YouTube ads?

The podcast placement on YouTube is available for audio and video ad formats.

4. Facebook Ads: New Tools For B2B And Small Businesses

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Facebook (now known officially as Meta) has been in the news a LOT this year.

While the news around Meta has mainly been around consumer-facing issues such as privacy and content standards, Facebook has introduced new features to advertisers this year.

In May 2022, Facebook announced new tools specifically for B2B and small businesses. These tools include:

  • Messaging and Conversation Features.
  • Lead Generation and Customer Acquisition Tools.

In the messaging and conversation features comes a new ad form.

Facebook is creating ads that can be run on both Facebook and Instagram, made directly from a business’s WhatsApp Business app.

This ad type helps expand a business and consumer relationship by encouraging interaction via message.

To support this feature, Facebook identified that over 70% of consumers want the option to communicate with businesses in a more conversational way.

The lead generation and customer acquisition new features include:

  • Quote Requests on Instagram.
  • Lead filtering with Instant Forms.
  • Creative flexibility.
  • Gated content.
  • Partner integrations.

From an ad perspective, the most relevant come within the quote requests and gated content, in my opinion.

With the ongoing need for first-party data, creating a gated content ad is a great way to capture essential user information, such as email, to be able to engage with them in the future.

5. Instagram Ads: Introducing AI-Powered Ads

Some of Instagram’s most notable PPC features come from new ad formats.

As this platform has become more shoppable, Instagram released a new AI-powered ad called “Multi-advertiser ads.”

Example of new AI-powered Instagram shoppable ads.Screenshot from Business.Instagram.com, December 2022Example of new AI-powered Instagram shoppable ads.

This ad format will highlight different businesses’ ads based on a consumer’s behavior and engagement within the app.

While it’s not necessarily an ad format that marketers can set up, this AI-powered format takes your existing ads and uses its algorithm to get your brand in front of in-market shoppers.

6. TikTok Ads: New Ad Placements In Search

In March of 2022, users first identified a new “Sponsored” ad placement within the top 4 results of a user’s search:

10 Biggest & Best PPC Features Of The YearScreenshot from TikTok, December 202210 Biggest & Best PPC Features Of The Year

It’s important to note that this Sponsored listing is still within Beta, and TikTok has not identified a timeline for general rollout to all advertisers.

So, why is this PPC feature big news?

TikTok has been a haven for users to discover content on countless topics.

Now with the search feature, advertisers will (hopefully soon) be able to target their ads more precisely based on a user search.

TikTok is, in a sense, becoming its own type of search engine. This placement is another reason to test out this ad platform if you haven’t already.

7. Pinterest Ads: Shoppable Product Pins With WooCommerce Extension

While Shoppable Pins aren’t new to 2022, a new feature added in July 2022 made it much easier for merchants to create ads. Over 3 million merchants, to be exact.

The Pinterest for WooCommerce extension simply makes selling your products on Pinterest easier to set up.

So, how does it work?

This new extension turns your entire product catalog into the Pinterest Shoppable Product Pin format. The catalog listings are automatically uploaded to Pinterest, removing the need for manual uploads.

If you use WooCommerce to run your online shopping website, you don’t want to miss this feature.

8. LinkedIn Ads: Enhanced Campaign Manager Interface

Even though LinkedIn has introduced new ad formats and targeting options, I think the biggest feature is its new Campaign Manager interface.

LinkedIn heard the cries of fellow marketers on how inefficient it was previously to manage campaigns and performance reporting.

The new interface touts a left-side navigation, mimicking other platforms like Google and Microsoft Ads.

The left-side navigation includes easy-to-find sections, including:

  • Plan.
  • Advertise.
  • Test.
  • Analyze.
  • Assets.
  • Account Settings.
LinkedIn Campaign ManagerScreenshot from LinkedIn, December 2022LinkedIn Campaign Manager

The second biggest feature enhancement to the interface allows you to switch between multiple accounts a lot easier.

Agency marketers alike, rejoice!

9. Twitter Ads: Dynamic Product And Collection Ads

Another social platform that’s been in the news countlessly in 2022? Twitter.

Like Meta (Facebook), while most of the hype has been around the management change and its residual effects, let’s not discount the new PPC features it brought to advertisers in 2022.

If you’re in ecommerce, these are for you.

Twitter introduced Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) and Collection Ads earlier this year.

DPAs for Twitter Ads work similarly to Facebook or other programmatic platforms. Advertisers who use an existing product feed management platform can integrate it with Twitter easily.

With DPAs, you can either retarget users based on engagement or prospect new customers with relevant product ads.

Collection Ads are also a form of product ads to showcase scrollable product images in an ad, accompanying a main static image.

Twitter Ads: Dynamic Product And Collection AdsScreenshot from Twitter, December 2022Twitter Ads: Dynamic Product And Collection Ads

10. Apple Ads: Expanded Ad Placement Inventory

Last but not least, Apple Ads.

It’s no secret that Apple has honed in on user-privacy standards and requirements over the past few years.

The restrictions on marketing measurement have made it difficult for advertisers to accurately prove campaigns’ success.

While measurement and visibility were top of mind for marketers, Apple officially announced its expansion of available ad placements in the Apple App Store in November 2022.

The new placements include inventory for:

  • Today Tab ads.
  • Product Page ad placements.

The expanded inventory in Apple Ads is important because it allows businesses to be discovered by users instead of being so “search” focused.

Many brands have been limited by Apple ad inventory in the past because user searches could only capture demand.

With Apple doubling its available ad inventory placements, marketers can expand awareness efforts specifically to its pool of iOS users.

What’s Next?

2022 was quite a year, wasn’t it? What does all this mean for the future of PPC?

2023 will surely bring just as many updates to PPC platforms, some for better or worse. Keep tuned in throughout the year for all the latest announcements and developments.

Have you embraced any of these 2022 PPC updates? What are your predictions for the top PPC features in 2023?

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Featured Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

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Google Updates Search Console Video Indexing Report

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Google Updates Search Console Video Indexing Report

Google’s updated Search Console Video indexing report now includes daily video impressions and a sitemap filter feature.

  • Google has updated the Search Console Video indexing report to provide more comprehensive insights into video performance in search results.
  • The updated report includes daily video impressions, which are grouped by page, and a new sitemap filter feature to focus on the most important video pages.
  • These updates are part of Google’s ongoing efforts to help website owners and content creators understand and improve the visibility of their videos in search results.



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Bing Revamps Crawl System To Enhance Efficiency

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Bing Revamps Crawl System To Enhance Efficiency

According to a recent study by Bing, most websites have XML sitemaps, with the “lastmod” tag being the most critical component of these sitemaps.

The “lastmod” tag indicates the last time the webpages linked by the sitemap were modified and is used by search engines to determine how often to crawl a site and which pages to index.

However, the study also revealed that a significant number of “lastmod” values in XML sitemaps were set incorrectly, with the most prevalent issue being identical dates on all sitemaps.

Upon consulting with web admins, Microsoft discovered that the dates were set to the date of sitemap generation rather than content modification.

To address this issue, Bing is revamping its crawl scheduling stack to better utilize the information provided by the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps.

This will improve crawl efficiency by reducing unnecessary crawling of unchanged content and prioritizing recently updated content.

The improvements have already begun on a limited scale and are expected to roll out by June fully.

Additionally, Microsoft has updated sitemap.org for improved clarity by adding the following line:

“Note that the date must be set to the date the linked page was last modified, not when the sitemap is generated.”

How To Use The Lastmod Tag Correctly

To correctly set the “lastmod” tag in a sitemap, you should include it in the <url> tag for each page in the sitemap.

The date should be in W3C Datetime format, with the most commonly used formats being YYYY-MM-DD or YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssTZD.

The date should reflect the last time the page was modified and should be updated regularly to ensure that search engines understand the relevance and frequency of updates.

Here’s an example code snippet:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

   <url>

      <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc>

      <lastmod>2023-01-23</lastmod>      

   </url>

Google’s Advice: Use Lastmod Tag After Significant Changes Only

Google’s crawlers also utilize the “lastmod” tag, and the suggestions on using it by both major search engines are similar.

Google Search Advocate John Mueller recently discussed the lastmod tag in the January edition of Google’s office-hours Q&A sessions.

It’s worth noting that Google recommends only using the “lastmod” tag for substantial modifications, which was not mentioned in Microsoft’s blog post.

Changing the date in the lastmod tag after minor edits can be viewed as an attempt to manipulate search snippets.

In Summary

Microsoft’s recent study and efforts to improve the utilization of the “lastmod” tag in sitemaps will result in more efficient and effective webpage crawling.

Publishers are encouraged to regularly update their sitemaps and lastmod tags to ensure that their pages are correctly indexed and easily accessible by search engines.


Featured Image: mundissima/Shutterstock

Source: Microsoft



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Everything You Need To Know

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Everything You Need To Know

Now more than ever, marketing and sales leaders are taking a critical look at where to allocate their resources and how to staff their teams.

Attribution modeling is one of the best tools for providing clear guidance on what’s working, and what isn’t.

What Is Marketing Attribution?

Marketing attribution is the approach to understanding how various marketing and sales touchpoints influence the prospects’ move from visitor, to lead, to customer.

By implementing attribution in your organization, you’ll have a better idea of:

  • Which channels are most influential during different phases of the sales cycle.
  • Which content formats are more or less impactful in your marketing or sales enablement efforts.
  • Which campaigns drove the most revenue and return on investment (ROI).
  • The most common sequence of online or offline events that prospects interact with before becoming a customer.

Why Is Attribution Important In Marketing?

Analyzing attribution data provides you with an understanding of which marketing, sales, and customer success efforts are contributing most effectively and efficiently toward revenue generation.

Attribution modeling helps you identify opportunities for growth and improvement, while also informing budget allocation decisions.

With accurate attribution models, marketers are able to make more informed decisions about their campaigns, which has allowed them to increase ROI and reduce wasted budgets on ineffective strategies.

What Are The Challenges Of Marketing Attribution?

Developing a perfect attribution model that guides all of your decisions is a pipedream for most marketers.

Here are five challenges that result in inconclusive data models or total project abandonment:

Cross-Channel Management

This is a common challenge for enterprise marketers who have web assets across multiple websites, channels, and teams.

Without proper analytics tagging and system settings configuration, your web activities may not be tracked accurately as a visitor goes from one campaign micro-site to the main domain.

Or, the prospect may not be tracked as they go from your website to get directions to then go to your physical storefront to transact.

Making Decisions Based On Small Sample Sizes

For smaller trafficked websites, marketers using attribution data may not have statistically significant data sets to draw accurate correlations for future campaigns.

This results in faulty assumptions and the inability to repeat prior success.

Lack Of Tracking Compliance

If your attribution models rely on offline activities, then you may require manual imports of data or proper logging of sales activities.

From my experience in overseeing hundreds of CRM implementations, there is always some level of non-compliance in logging activities (like calls, meetings, or emails). This leads to skewed attribution models.

Mo‘ models, mo’ problems: Each analytics platform has a set of five or more attribution models you can use to optimize your campaigns around.

Without a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each model, the person building the attribution reporting may not be structuring or configuring them to align with your organizational goals.

Data Privacy

Since GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy laws were enacted, analytics data continues to get murkier each year.

For organizations that rely on web visitors to opt-in to tracking, attribution modeling suffers due to the inability to pull in tracking for every touchpoint.

How Do You Measure Marketing Attribution?

Measuring attribution is all about giving credit where it is due. There are dozens of attribution tools out there to assign credit to the digital or offline touchpoint.

Attribution measurement starts with choosing the data model that aligns with your business goals.

Certain attribution models favor interactions earlier on in the customer journey whereas others give the most credit towards interactions closer to a transaction.

Here is a scenario of how to measure marketing attribution in a first-touch attribution model (we’ll get to the different models next):

A prospect comes to the website through a paid search ad and reads the blog.

Two days later, she comes back to the site and views a couple of product pages.

Three days later, she comes back through an organic listing from Google and then converts on the site by signing up for a discount coupon.

With a first-touch attribution model, the paid search ad will get 100% of the credit for that conversion.

As you can see, choosing the “right” model can be a contentious issue, as each model gives a percentage of credit to a specific interaction or placement along the path toward becoming a customer.

If your business relies on paid search, SEO, offline, and other channels, then likely one of the individuals working on one of those channels is going to look like the superhero, whereas the other marketers will look like they aren’t pulling their weight.

Ideally, when you are choosing an attribution tool, you’ll be able to build reports that allow you to compare various attribution models, so you have a better understanding of which channels and interactions are most influential during certain time periods leading up to conversion or purchase.

What Are Different Marketing Attribution Models?

Marketers can use various marketing attribution models to examine the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Each attribution tool has will have a handful of models you can optimize campaigns and build reports around. Here is a description of each model:

First-Click Attribution

This model gives credit to the first channel that the customer interacted with.

This model is popular to use when optimizing for brand awareness and top-of-funnel conversions/engagement.

Last-Click Attribution

This model gives all of the credit to the last channel that the customer interacts with.

This model is useful when looking to understand which channels/interactions were most influential immediately before converting/purchasing.

Last-click attribution is the default attribution model for Google Analytics.

Multi-Touch/Channel Attribution

This model gives credit to all of the channels or touchpoints that the customer interacted with throughout their journey.

This model is used when you are looking to give weight evenly or to specific interactions.

There are variations of the multi-touch model including time-decay, linear, U-shaped, W-shaped, and J-shaped.

Customized

This model allows you to manually set the weight for individual channels or placements within the customer journey.

This model is best for organizations that have experience in using attribution modeling, and have clear goals for what touchpoints are most impactful in the buyers’ journey.

Marketing Attribution Tools

There are several different tools available to help marketers measure and analyze marketing attribution. Some attribution tools are features within marketing automation platforms or CRM systems like Active Campaign or HubSpot.

Others are stand-alone attribution tools that rely on API or integrations to pull in and analyze data, like Triple Whale or Dreamdata.

As you are evaluating tools, consider how much offline or sales data needs to be included within your attribution models.

For systems like HubSpot, you can include sales activities (like phone calls and 1:1 sales emails) and offline list import data (from tradeshows).

Other tools, like Google Analytics, are not natively built to pull in that kind of data and would require advanced development work to include these activities as part of your model.

(Full disclosure: I work with HubSpot’s highest-rated partner agency, SmartBug Media.)

Additionally, if you need to be able to see the very specific touchpoints (like a specific email sent or an ad clicked), then you need a full-funnel attribution system that shows this level of granularity.

Attribution modeling is a powerful tool that marketers can use to measure the success of their campaigns, optimize online/offline channels, and improve customer interactions.

It is important, though, to understand attribution’s limitations, the pros and cons of each model, and the challenges with extracting conclusive data before investing large budgets towards attribution technology.

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Featured Image: Yuriy K/Shutterstock



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