Apex is a Los Angeles, CA based digital agency heavily involved in adwords ppc management. For this reason we learn a lot in real time, as we execute campaigns daily for clients. This is why part 7 in our series is going to discuss Google shopping feeds and Product Listing Ads. If you’ve ever searched for something very specific in Google you’ve probably seen them, they look like this:
We recently had a client (who will for contractual reasons remain unnamed) who had an unsuccessful PPC campaign after 30 days. It wasn’t completely our fault… and to be honest, it was a lot more successful than most AdWords campaigns are in their first month – despite the issues. All that aside, we also learned 2 very valuable lessons from the experience.
Never done this before? You’re in luck. The next section will explain in 3 easy steps how to get your product feed up and running, and converting sales for you or your clients.
Before we dive into this – if you still need help you can go directly to Google’s help page for this topic, which is much more extensive than this post: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/3455481?hl=en
That is if you don’t have one yet. You will also need an AdWords account to associate this with – but we’re kind of assuming you already have that. For the merchant account go here: http://merchants.google.com Once you have this set up you will need to follow the instructions to associate it with your Google AdWords account.
The first thing to consider here is this – Google Shopping Policies. Make sure you read these policies and abide by them. If you’ve ever worked with Google you know that they value the user experience and seek to serve the most relevant search results to their users. So as you’re structuring your product feed – keep this in mind. DO NOT try to keyword spam or use shady tactics in your feed or you will be banned from Google Shopping altogether.
File Formats – The only file formats you’re going to be able to use are XML and .txt. If you’re a programmer who can code for an API you shouldn’t be reading this anyway! Google recommends using .txt if you have minimal technical expertise so keep that in mind.
Basic Product Information – There are tags for basic product information:
Availability & Price – This is to manage price and inventory information for your store. You can find advice on providing the most up-to-date or fresh data here.
Your feed will need to contain the REQUIRED attributes or it will not serve in Google. You can make sure you set up everything correctly using this reference here.
You’re in the home stretch. The toughest part of this is setting up and loading your product feed. Once you have that implemented and working correctly the rest is easy.
If you need additional help view the full Google walkthrough here.
To learn more about how Apex Digital Media can help your business with AdWords PPC Management Click Here.
In another sign that digital marketing has officially achieved mainstream status, advanced audience target is going to have a seat at 2015 TV Upfronts. Media vendors are promising advertisers cross-platform reach – mainly out of necessity as viewer attention is beginning to fragment across devices. Brands want to be sure that when they commit to an upfront buy there are going to be “multiple points of execution” as ad exchanger puts it.
According to AdAge & Forrester – Digital ad spending is going to overtake traditional television by the end of 2016 so this intermingling of digital and television in upfronts has been going on for a while now but is really starting to take hold as more and more people move from traditional television viewing to tablets and handheld mobile devices.
NBC is one network who has been ahead of the curve with this trend. Their launch of Hulu in 2004 has proven to be a very wise move in the wake of success stories like Netflix and Apple TV. They recently launched a tool called “Social Sync” that allows advertisers to integrate paid and organic social campaigns with TV distribution efforts. About 1/3 of client business NBC transacted at upfronts last year included TV & Digital Extensions. They expect an even bigger number of marketers to bring converged budgets to the table this year. A+E Networks is another major player leaning heavily into the digital space. One challenge it faces is justifying advertiser spend for newer formats like in-app video. On average the network says it has 50%-60% of traffic moving from traditional desktop into mobile and other non-desktop environments.
In addition to advertisers shifting more budget from television to digital media agencies are beginning to meld their digital video and TV buying groups. The dynamics between television networks and agencies during Upfront negotiations is also starting to produce some interesting dynamics.
One is the urgency factor, booking ad placements at upfronts is likened to booking a flight during the holidays. If you book ahead you’re guaranteed to get a lower price and the seat you want. Another is the differential in network ratings and the prices that advertisers are willing to pay for premium content. The advertiser will use a drop in TV ratings to argue for reduced CPM’s and sellers will counter with data and new channels, proprietary audience targeting, apps, and other new opportunities.
The push back from the agencies remains on the loss of audience. They feel justified in offering lower CPM’s to networks for a drop in ratings, while the networks will argue that the audiences have just moved over to mobile, video on demand and other methods of viewing their content. At the end of the day TV Networks have the premium video content that the biggest and highest spending brand advertisers want to be associated with. Brands are going to pay for the audience one way or another, regardless of what type of device they are viewing the content on.
The process of TV upfronts will continue to merge with digital in the coming years as technology, viewing habits and platforms continue to evolve.
So you’re probably asking yourself: “If this is the first post in your AdWords Management series; why I haven’t seen #’s 1 – 7?” The answer is not because I am a Tarantino-esque genius who created an intricate web of blog posts that starts at #8 and circles back to #1 for the climactic finish… It’s mainly because our first post in the series covers a topic that’s a little more of intermediate to advanced level practice for an effective AdWords campaign manager.
I could spend a lot of time gushing about how much I love Google, maybe even to the point that it would be considered virtual brown nosing – or “blog-nosing” to coin a term… (® Jan 26, 2015 – ie. “Please give me better rankings for “blog-nosing” Google!”), You have to respect the way that they strive to make a quality search engine that delivers the most relevant possible results to its users. This holds true not only from an organic SEO perspective but also from a paid advertising perspective.
Even in paid advertising Google’s methods reward not just the advertiser with the most money, who bids the highest but also the advertiser who takes time to create a worthwhile user experience. “Quality Score” is a real example of this practice. Even the smallest e-commerce shoe sales website can compete with a giant like Zappo’s for customers in AdWords as long as they keep their landing pages clean and their keywords relevant. In fact, Google rewards them with lower cost clicks for taking time to do things right.
To get to the point, AdWords is always evolving, and so AdWords management as a procedure has to evolve as well. One of the most recent evolutions in the AdWords is the “callouts” extension. Much like the “site links” extension it gives you the ability to add additional customization to your ad and thereby get a larger chunk of real estate, which will in turn increase your click through rates.
If Sitelinks are like the different departments of your business, Callouts are like the signs you would place in the window of your business. Things like “20% off all purchases over $100” or “Free Shipping with All Orders!” are the types of phrases you can use in a call out. It gives you an opportunity to better showcase the nature of your business and your offers to prospective customers – at a glance. As I hinted at earlier it also gives you a larger piece of real estate which usually results in a higher click through rate.
Yet another way that Google helps the little guy compete online and keeps the market fair for all.
Today the Apex team was enjoying Pizza at an undisclosed location in Agoura Hills. As we were waiting for them to heat up our slices we all began to flip through our phones for some temporary amusement. One of our brighter team members decided to check how we are currently ranking in organic search for our business name… “Apex Digital Media.”
We were shocked and surprised to notice a small but new demarcation on Google’s Mobile SERP next to our listing that read “Mobile-Friendly.” It was something we’d never seen before and a quick search produced the recent announcement that indeed… Google has updated mobile SERP’s to let users know whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Fear not webmasters, they have clearly defined the criteria for what will earn you this tag. It is as follows:
GOOGLE: This change will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks. A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
This also fits with Google’s core mission which is providing relevant results and a great user experience. They even created a test site to help you with mobile optimization.
Chances are if you have been around marketing on any level, you’ve heard of the acronym “K-I-S-S” – “Keep It Simple Stupid.” It’s one of those cliche’d phrases that’s been around for a long time… because it holds a lot of truth.
People have always had short attention spans and even more so today where they have access to everything at the touch of a screen / push of a button. This is why it baffles us how many of our clients don’t understand the simple correlation between great advertising and a great landing page or website. Time and time again we will hear this line:
“I don’t want to spend too much on advertising because I get results, but it’s not the results we really want”
I could write a book of short stories around that theme. The guys with the software development business who were getting customer inquiries for languages they didn’t code in. The auto dealership getting inquiries for Toyota Corolla’s when they are a high end Lexus franchise. There’s the Karate instructor getting continual calls about Krav Maga / Gracie Jiu Jitsu and it goes on. All of these businesses have one thing in common – they are not properly qualifying their prospects with a great website / landing page.
If you are a Karate instructor who only teaches Karate, that should be clear on your website. If you run a development firm and only code in PHP, that’s important to let people know before they pick up the phone and call you! If you don’t let people know exactly what you do chances are good you’re going to have a lot of people contacting you about products or services you don’t provide.
There are some really simple things you can do to improve the quality of the leads you get for your line of business online, regardless of what it is. Coincidentally, these are things that also make the internet a better place for everyone.
We compiled a quick list of what we feel are the top 5 most important things to consider when developing your website or landing page. For the full list of 21, visit the kind folks at unbounce.com.
5) Be as Transparent as Possible: Have a physical address that isn’t a PO Box, have pictures and video of your employees, have your phone number, actually answer your phone, etc. In todays world it’s easy to hind behind email & text and forget that personal touch. Even something as simple as having pictures of your office, testimonials from customers, links to your socials and clear and easy ways to contact you can help separate you from competitors. This seems like basic common sense, but again… you’d be surprised how many people don’t even give it a single thought.
4) Simplify Ad Copy, Use Bullets: Even though I’m sure it’s aweosme, most people aren’t going to want to read your 10 page epic about how you created your latest product in your garage while living off cat food and donating your body to science. If what you sell or do is useful though, they want to buy it… so get to the point and let them know quickly why they need what you have to offer. If your brand is complex try to simplify your pitch by creating a bulleted list of the positives – “Keep It Simple Stupid.” (seeing a theme here?)
3) Have a Clear and Present Call to Action: When people get to your site or page, what do you want them to do? Tell them! Make it clear! If you’re collecting leads for real estate, for example, make sure there’s a quick and simple form someone can shoot you their contact info through. Very simple stuff, but also something not a lot of people take into consideration when creating an online presence for their business.
2) Use Online Video Content for Promotion: Thanks to the increased adoption of broadband and smartphones, everyone is watching video all over, all the time. Additionally, a video can more quickly familiarize a new customer with your brand and the nature of what you do than any other form of media. We always recommend that clients maintain a presence with online video however that might look. It doesn’t have to be a “salesy” infomercial type pitch video, it can be something as simple as a “video installation guide” or “video product manual.” You’d be surprised how putting out these useful little tidbits of information will bring new customers to you organically (in some cases incredibly well). In addition to the effect it has on prospects, placing useful and relevant content like this online will help you generate better organic search listings in Google, Bing and Yahoo.
1) Have a singular focus, purpose and message: One final “K-I-S-S” reference for you… The overarching point here is this: Don’t muddy the waters and complicate things for your prospects. If you have a great product or service let them know why as quickly and clearly as possible. Do your best to edit out any unnecessary details. Make sure that when that user gets to that page they know why they’re there and what they need to do. It’s shockingly simple how easy it is to improve the amount and quality of inbound leads that you are getting by keeping things as clear and simple as possible.