The new EU Data Protection has crept very much under the radar having only recently entered the public domain. So you could be forgiven for not being aware of the full significance, once passed, this could have on the way you conduct your targeted marketing right now. The Regulation is not yet passed but we need to act quickly, so if you want to make your voice heard you need to act now. [Read more...]
How the new EU Data Protection Regulation could dramatically impact your Marketing Effectiveness – Act Now!!
In the ever changing world of Google, and in case the Google Panda update wasn’t enough for you to get your head around, Google has now changed it’s Adwords Ad Rotation settings. This change happened last month and didn’t get the thumbs up from many Adwords users.
Here’s a summary of the changes, what it means and how you need to manage your adtexts going forward.
What is Ad Rotation?
In order to make sure you have the best adtext for your campaign, we have always suggested running at least 2 adtexts at a time. This allows you to gain an idea of which adtexts work best for impressions, for click throughs and for conversions.
After a period of time you can then decide which adtext is best for reaching your goals. You may then choose to run just the best performing adtext, or leave the best running and create yet another option to gauge if you can improve performance further – therefore constantly optimising your campaign.
So what did Google change?
Up until last month Google allowed you to set the way you wish to display your adtexts. The 3 options were:
- Optimise for Clicks – the default setting (i.e. over time Google works out which ad is best for getting clicks and this ad gets more prominence)
- Optimise for Conversions (i.e. over time Google works out which ad is best for getting conversions and this ad gets more prominence)
- Run ads evenly (i.e. each adtext has the same amount of exposure)
You were able to select which setting best suited your campaign goals and these settings remained until a time that you decided to change them.
In May, Google announced they were changing the Ad Rotation tool so that any ad could only run evenly for 30 days. After this period, the ad which has the best click through rate will become the main adtext.
Essentially, Google are imposing the Optimise for Clicks setting.
Why are Google making this change?
According to Google’s official blog:
This change will enable us to provide users with the most relevant ad experience and should help advertisers improve the performance of their AdWords accounts.
Is this a good thing?
This is clearly a matter of opinion but the over whelming majority of Adwords users don’t think so.
Google will benefit from an increase in clicks (and therefore revenue) but for those people who are optimising their ads for conversions – i.e. ensuring their Adwords activity is actually profitable – the change means they will need to rethink their strategies.
If you have a long period from click to conversion, 30 days is a relatively short period for full adtext testing. If you have cyclical sales, again, this change restricts your testing abilities.
For anyone carrying out any kind of adtext testing and optimising – something we suggest everyone should do – this change means strategies will need rethinking.
As Google is one of the big boys, you would imagine there’s little that can be done about changes which really could affect the profitability and effectiveness of your account. It appears you would imagine wrong.
This change was announced in early May and last week, due to the huge outcry from Adwords users, Google announced 2 changes to the new Ad Rotation system:
- The test period will now be 90 days instead of 30
- You can opt out altogether if you wish to
In order to opt out, Google are currently asking you to complete an online form but they have said if the response is sufficient they will ad an opt out to the Adwords interface.
The question is therefore, will we eventually have the same system we had before?
For Google’s full reaction to the outcry – including more information on why they made the change in the first place visit their blog.
So what do I do next?
With the setting now changed to 90 days, it will be easier to build this into your strategies. Look at your current adtext testing process and ensure the 90 day window is built in. If you think you would prefer to opt out, fill in the opt out form.
We’ll keep you up to date on any future changes to the Ad Rotation tool but if you’ve any specific worries about your Adwords account or want to know how this change affects your strategy, do get in touch.
On the 31st May Google’s Commerce team announced the end of free listings in Google Shopping.
At the moment this only affects US businesses.
Yep, that’s right – the lovely Google Base feeds that mean eCommerce businesses can promote their products in Google Product results for free is not going to be available to US businesses by the Autumn.
It’s that time of the year when all good marketers are looking at what’s coming up that we can tie our marketing activity into. And 2012 is packed full of opportunities:
- Golden Jubilee
- Extra Bank Holidays
- London 2012
If you’ve logged into your Google Analytics account recently you’ll have seen it’s had a bit of a makeover. Well, it’s actually a bit more than that – so in this post I’m going to run through the best bits and how they can benefit you.
Before we delve into the new stuff though – they’ve also changed the navigation structure so if you can’t find something try switching tabs:
Within the “Home” tab you’ll find:
- The Dashboard – and you create new dashboards
- Intelligence Events – where you can set up alerts
- Real-Time (more on that below)
Within “Standard Reporting” you’ll find all the normal analytics stuff we all love:
- Conversions – which includes Ecommerce, Goals and Funnels.
- Advertising (where they’ve moved Adwords)
And “Custom Reporting” is now being encouraged as it’s got its own tab too.
This is increasingly what we’re all going to get used to seeing in our Analytics Keyword Reports.
A set of data attributed to “(not provided)”.
Why are keyword sources going to be ‘(not provided)’?
On 18th October 2011 Google announced that they are rolling encrypted search out to all signed-in users.
This is part of Google’s activity to protect users privacy as they increasingly drive users to be signed in to their service. If you travel around Google signed in then you’ll be starting to see customised search results, including (if you’re on Google+) pictures of your ‘friends’.
Essentially they’re putting the search engine interface behind an SSL certificate – in layman’s terms ‘https’ not ‘http’.
From a personal privacy point of view it makes sense and is a good thing, but it’s going to make the lives of us marketers more difficult.
What does this mean?
It means that you won’t be able to see full data on what keywords people are using to search and find your website.
On our site, so far, we’re seeing 8.6% of keyword visits being (not provided). But there are sites seeing up to 33% of keyword traffic (not provided). (Great article at econsultancy, and another at Search Engine Watch). And there are several analyses of the impact that show that the %age of (not provided) is rising – not surprising as Google is rolling this out worldwide and it will take some time to get to everyone (my signed-in searching is as yet unencrypted).
So the big impact is going to be on your SEO decision-making, especially around keywords.
- You won’t be able to be as sure what your top keywords are, or how they’re performing
- The results may be skewed as the profile of people who do live signed-in to Google may be different from those that aren’t
- And, keep it mind when comparing performance over time
What about PPC Keyword performance data?
Won’t be affected – Google is not changing anything about PPC reporting in this area.
How can I get around it?
First of all, you’re still going to get some data on keywords – so you can assume it’s representative of all your keyword driven visits.
Secondly, Google is still showing “true” results for your top keywords in Webmaster Tools (although you won’t get all the details about their performance that you would in Analytics). So you can cross-check what you see in Analytics with your Webmaster Tools data.
You’ll also still get your full PPC keyword data, data from other search engines too.
Finally, if your website is totally SSL encrypted then you should get full keyword referral data. (so that would be the WHOLE of your site SSL’d)…
The new EU consumer rights directive has been formally adopted which will strengthen consumer rights throughout the EU – particularly online.
What are the changes?
We’ve taken a look and pulled out some of the main points for e-commerce sites and retailers.
- Banning of pre-ticked boxes
E-commerce sites will no longer be able to pre-tick “add-on” products at the checkout – for example, when signing up for a mobile phone contract, the retailer will not be able to pre-tick the “Please also give me insurance at £7.99 per month”.
This doesn’t affect data capture.
- 14-day return period
A customer will have the option of returning their goods up to 14 days after purchase for any reason – this is currently 7 days. Additionally, the 14 day period will not start until the goods have been delivered – currently it starts at the point of contract (i.e. when they buy).
So that’s actually a relaxing of the rules.
- Refund rights
Refunds must be carried out within 14 days – including delivery charges. If the retailer wishes for the customer to pay return costs, this must be clearly stated before purchase (along with a rough estimate of costs of doing so if they are bulky items).
- Total costs must be displayed
This is basically one aimed at low cost airlines!
When will retailers have to act?
Once published the UK government will then have 2 years to implement the new rules. So, you’ve got 2 years to find out how our government will implement AND do something about it. But, as all of these are sensible ways to keep the customer happy there’s not much reason not to start looking at it now.
For some search results Google has now moved the Ads that were on the right hand side to the bottom of the page:
As per the example above this is mainly happening for “local” search terms at the moment, terms such as “takeaway”, “barber” etc.
That’s because Google’s moved the results to be able to use the Right Hand column for a map.
What does this mean?
Well, if you rely on these local search results pages then you need to:
- make sure the rest of your search activity is working hard – reviews, Place pages, SEO etc
- consider bidding to get into the top 3 on the page (but keep an eye on how well this works for you)
- don’t get scared when your PPC click through rate falls – with ads “hiding” at the bottom of the page the rate of impressions will go up but people might not see the ads
If you don’t rely on these local search results pages then at the moment you don’t really need to do a lot – this still a new development (Google only announced it 2 weeks ago). But keep eye on what’s happening with your PPC results – because this may (and probably will) be rolled out further.