Archive by Luke Godwin

PPC Tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

26Nov

 

black-friday-ppc-tips

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, it is crucial to make sure your PPC campaigns are up to scratch in time for the millions of bargain-seeking online shoppers. Last year we saw online shoppers spend $2.4 billion on Black Friday offers, according to Adobe. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this kind of potential revenue.

Here are a few PPC hacks to help you with some last minute optimisation:

Structured Snippets & New Holiday Headers

Google has recently released a new, non-clickable ad extension called Structured Snippets.  This version gives users more freedom as you can choose and edit the text in the extension as opposed to Dynamic Structured Snippets which were automatically added to your ad based on your site’s content. Structured snippets allow you to increase your ad space on the SERPs complimented by a bump up in Quality Score, by boosting your ad relevancy and click-through rate (CTR). Your ad would look something like this when featuring a structured snippet:

Search Snippet

But the big question is, how do you use this extension to boost your Black Friday campaigns?

Actually, Google has done the hard work for you! It has rolled out a Black Friday and Cyber Monday structured snippet to help merchants promote Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers in their AdWords campaigns. Headers for Black Friday will be eligible to appear in ads November 20 through November 27 whereas Cyber Monday headers can appear November 20 through November 30 (during the overlap period, Black Friday headers will dominate those set up for Cyber Monday).

Here are some examples of how these headers and snippets might look:

snippet-examples

Do you have any special offers? Simply enter one offer in the snippet to highlight your deals. These ad extensions can be set at the account, campaign or ad group level:

Structured Snippet

AdWords Ad Customisers

Increase your chances of capturing the most revenue from users searching for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and any other holiday related deals with AdWords ad customisers. These allow you to customise your ad text based on what someone is searching for, which device they are using, where they are located or even the date, time of day or day of the week! You can insert a price, the remaining time left before a sale ends, and any other pre-defined by you text.

This helps to create a sense of exclusivity and urgency, which has been shown to increase CTR and conversions:

ppc-ad-offers

How they work

Ad customisers are parameters that are placed within {curly brackets}. When a user performs a search it triggers your ad and the parameter is replaced with dynamically inserted text. Ad customisers can be included within any text on the Search and Display Network, except for the URL fields.

There are lots of ways you could make use of this to promote your Black Friday & Cyber Monday offers to deal seeking shoppers:

  • Countdown to the end of a sale, e.g. Hurry, sale ends in XX days
  • Keep pricing in ads updated, e.g. New Android tabled from only £XXX
  • Detail the range you are offering, e.g. XXX UK hotels available to book now.
  • Keep deals up to date, e.g. Save XX% on Samsung TV using code XXXX.

AdWords ad customisers encourage urgency, telling the searcher to act now and better promote your offers making them a great fit for your Black Friday PPC strategy.

Mobilised Adverts

With the recent growth in the volume of searches on mobile devices (not to mention the rise of second-screening), advertisers should consider mobile reach a priority this year. According to Adobe, mobile commerce accounted for over a fifth (21.9%) of online shopping on Cyber Monday 2014 – that was up by 15.9% year on year.

Ensure your users have a good mobile shopping experience by following a couple of simple steps.  Devote some of your PPC strategy to creating mobile targeted ads that will feature the following elements:

  • Black Friday & Cyber Monday optimised ad copy
  • Mobile optimised landing pages
  • Add mobile bid modifiers to target the top positions on mobile devices
  • Remove day parting bid optimisers as users shop at all times of day during the holiday weekend.

Updated Ad Extensions

Ad extensions pay a crucial role in determining your adverts’ ad rank but also encourage additional clicks to the site through the extra information displayed alongside your ad. The key strategy behind this feature is to grasp as much real estate on Google Search Network as possible in order to push competitors further down the results page and get additional clicks.

These extensions can be optimised for Black Friday and Cyber Monday through Sitelinks and Callout extensions:

  • Use sitelinks to direct users to the most relevant, special deals/offers sections of your site. Preferably you would get some separate landing pages in place that would be fully devoted to Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals to increase relevance/quality score/conversions.
  • Callout extensions could be used to help you ‘brag’ about your special offers.

Black Friday Relevant Ad Copy

Forgetting to change your ad copy during this key period in the retail calendar may cost you (or worse, your client) a good number of sales. Make sure your ad copy is up to date and reflects holiday search terms and promotional details that will help you lure in holiday shoppers looking for a great deal.

Use key phrases such as the following in your ad copy:

  • ‘Cyber Monday’
  • ‘Black Friday’
  • ‘Discount Deals’
  • ‘Promotions’
  • ‘Savings’
  • ‘Deals’
  • ‘Offers’

Consequently, you will be able to attract users that are actively searching for ‘deal’ related search terms over the holiday weekend – a great way to increase your profit margins.

Budget & Bid Adjustments

Get prepared for the influx in traffic and competition by adjusting your bids and budgets accordingly. Plan ahead and allocate a separate budget for Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. If your promotional deals and offers are well prepared and attracting great amount of traffic that is converting and bringing great revenue the last thing you want to see is your ads stop appearing due to an exhausted budget.

Use day parting and bid scheduling to help you maximise profits on the top converting hours of the day and lower your bids during hours when you are expecting things to slow down a bit. See the below Black Friday Hourly Sales graph from last year put together by Adobe to help you  better plan your Black Friday and Cyber Monday day parting and bid scheduling.

black-Friday-sales-by-hour

Over the last few years, the Black Friday through to Cyber Monday retail period evolved into a great opportunity for retailers to maximise their profits on those deal seeking shoppers. This key period in the retail calendar is all about great deals and offers, so if you have anything to offer such as free shipping, %off, buy one get one free – offer it!

PPC Strategies for the Food & Beverage Industry

28Aug

harry-sally-PPC

Without a doubt the competition in the food business is fierce. If you’re selling food and/or drink from a specific location, you’ll need an efficient method of putting yourself in front of potential customers if you want to stay competitive; PPC is one such method if you adopt the right strategy. We’ve put together some PPC tips and strategies which have been useful for our clients that may help you gain more attention from those growling stomachs.

To learn more about all things PPC join our PPC training courses with Digital Kitchen

Geo-Targeted Ads

Local seems to be the name of the game for most restaurants these days. Local produce, local restaurants. Most users are looking for tasty eats close to their home, consequently you will get the most value from your online advertising by focusing primarily in geo-targeted ads. Through the application of geo-targeting ads you will not only able to ensure that your ads are shown only to users in certain cities, but you can even specific a particular radius within those cities. You will be able to save money by eliminating non-relevant clicks that could whack your advertising budget. Make sure that you take advantage of these handy features to get your ads in front of the best customers.

jules-food-and-bev

Use Mobile Ads

The latest report from Mary Meeker says: Consumer mobile usage out-paces mobile advertising spend by 3x. As such, brands operating within the food & bev industry need to ensure that they are visible for mobile searches. If you aren’t, the immediacy of mobile means people will turn to brand that is there, such as a competitor. 

Mobile ads are thus often the best candidates for restaurants as users are looking for nearby dining options while on the move. In addition, mobile ads tend to be cheaper than desktop ads, and generate higher conversion rates.

In order to maximise your ROI, you should increase you mobile bids around dinnertime, when users are actively searching for fast foods on their mobile phones. Consequently, you would be able to increase your visibility for a specific query, thus be the first one to show up for a certain keyword when hungry users are on the search.

It’s also important to set percentage mobile bids to ensure you rank within the top 2 adverts, people don’t tend to always scroll down to bottom of the page on mobile devices. We get impatient when we’re hungry!

Near Me Searches

According to Google, words like ‘near me’, ‘closest’ and ‘nearby’ are increasingly common across the billions of queries on Google every month. This means that people are more frequently using mobile devices to look for things in their vicinity. Google search interest in ‘near me’ has increased 34x since 20111 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority coming from mobile – 80% in Q4 2014.2

‘Near me ‘searches are more common when people are travelling, spiking mainly during Christmas and New Years with a 55% increase. Also, they are very popular during the weekends, when people step out of their usual working routines.

Taking a closer look at location-based searches it’s apparent that the most frequent searched are related to finding drinks and late-night pizza on Saturdays.

seasonal-PPC

The above demonstrates that users seeking location information could prove to be extremely valuable for location-based food and bev brands. It has been shown that 10-18% of clicks on search ad lead to a visit to the location. Businesses in this industry should also fine-tune their location bid adjustments to show ads to users who are within a specific distance from their stores or restaurants, to ensure clicks aren’t wasted on those too far away to convert.

It’s also important to remember that ‘conversational search’ is also on the rise, so you may want to target specific queries which users may speak directly into their phone. https://passion.digital/?p=7333&preview=true

 

Google Beacons

Another innovative way of getting customers to your restaurant or venue would be through the application of iBeacon technology. It is an open source version of software, recently released by Google, that enables Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon hardware technology to communicate with smart devices running either Android or iOS, called Eddystone.

PPC beacon

Why is it important to your local business? By utilizing beacons, business owners could target users who use their phone to search for example for ‘restaurants near me’. Here are a few ideas on how beacons could benefit a food & beverage venue:

  • Broadcasting the specials to all receptive smart devices in the area
  • Sharing your unique selling points, ex. how fresh the coffee is
  • Offer directions to people walking on the street
  • Letting you customers pay without waiting for the bill
  • Send updates about upcoming events
  • Broadcast special offers to those in the vicinity, or even in competitors venues!

Undoubtedly, it’s an exciting area of development with a broad range of marketing applications. Not only could it lead to an increase in the number of customer visits to your store or restaurant but also utilise a number of the above techniques to increase revenue through up-selling and repeat visits.

Seasonality

Business in the food and beverage industry can fluctuate wildy. This is due not only to economic fluctuations but also seasonal changes that have a great impact on business. It comes as no surprise that restaurants notice a decline in the number of guests during seasonal holidays or major events as compared to the rest of the year. This is due to the fact that families tend to spend more time together and prepare meals at home during the holidays. On the other hand, fast food and quick food restaurants can thrive while dine-in restaurants suffer.

So before you get cracking on your latest PPC campaign, you might be asking yourself ‘how do I combat these seasonal changes?’.

PPC seasonality - GIF

In order to increase the business during slow seasons you want choose to promote special offers in the ad copy. For instance, offering two-for-one meals, 25% off the check etc. You could also reduce your bids in order to ensure your ads are still visible online without overspending on top positions in the Google Search Network. While you may lose a small amount of revenue per drink/meal by offering special discounts and offers, it would help to ensure consistent business through slower periods and ultimately help increase the bottom line.

We hope that some of the above PPC strategies continue to drive footfall, regardless of the time of year! We have a bounty of experience working with restaurants in helping them drive orders and reservations, so if you think that your business could benefit from running a ROI-driven PPC strategy, get in touch.

Sources
1 Google Trends, Data pulled March 30, 2015.
2 Google Data, Q4 2014.

Travel Industry – Developing Your PPC Strategy

21Jul

PPC for the Travel Industry

As a keen traveller, the majority of my own leisure travelling is booked online, from start to finish. This includes researching where to go, what to do when I get there and booking tours, flights & accommodation.

In fact, the only exception to this has been a tour around Sri Lanka that was booked in store with a travel agent. Even so, the entire research process took place online, across multiple devices, over many months. And I’m not the only one.

Google reported in 2013 that 70% of the ‘affluent travellers’ they had surveyed began their holiday & travel plans online. I suspect the figure has only increased since this survey took place, which goes to highlight the importance of digital and where it can fit in within a user’s research, prior to booking their travel or holiday.

Of course, the travel market is extremely competitive and as one of Google’s biggest revenue drivers, your budgets will need to represent this, as will your strategy:

  • Understand who your audience are and what information they’re looking for
  • What are the best times of day to target these users?
  • Seasonality plays a huge role in the travel sector, make sure you’re planning ahead

You will also need to establish what it is you can offer; what is your USP? Why does this differentiate you from your competition and how can you convey this to potential customers, to generate sales and revenue?

Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the things you will need to consider whilst constructing a travel PPC strategy:

Audience

Understanding your audience is essential for engaging with users effectively.

Serving them relevant and compelling ad copy will encourage clicks and help drive the right users to your site. Ensuring you’re targeting the right audience with the right ads will reduce wasted clicks and improve your conversion rate.

A useful way of defining an audience is to create a Buyer Persona – let’s look at the ‘Student Traveller’ as an example. Often these users are searching for trips with a ‘quantity-over-quality’ approach, looking to visit as many countries as they can for as little money possible.

customer-persona

In the case of purchasing flights, generally they are searching for those that will get them from A to B and allow for as much remaining money to enhance their time in these countries, with experiences. If this is your target audience, you will want to cater to this within your copy, outlining offers and using an appropriate tone of voice, to encourage click-through rate.  Also remember in the ‘budget’ market you’ll be competing with travel aggregators and comparison sites!

The landing pages to which you send traffic also need to serve the audience that you’re targeting effectively. Taking the example of the ‘Student Traveller’ again; as with ad copy, the tone of the page needs to appeal and provide them with the services you offer and show how they suit the user, then guide them through the conversion process as simply as possible.

This of course can be applied to all areas of the travel sector, from inexpensive flights to high-end, boutique hotels, the important point being that the tone (and even the specific wording) used in your ads should be consistent with the landing page.

Seasonality

Travel PPC Seasonality

Before you begin targeting the travel demographic with PPC, determining the periods that work best for you will help ensure that you use your budget when users are most willing to engage, therefore encouraging conversions and reducing the cost of each lead (cost per acquisition).

For terms such as ‘summer holidays’ there is a predictable increase in searches in the lead up to the summer period, however, determining seasonality trends within more niche areas of the travel sector is not that simple.

Many users will begin their search much earlier than this and in the case of terms such as ‘holiday ideas’, some even as early as October the year before.

In addition to this, destination specific holiday searches also tend to take place most frequently during January, although the peaks in volume are not as significant as the much broader search terms mentioned above, so you really need to take it on a case by case basis.

Interestingly, some terms have multiple peaks throughout the year, with searches for ‘Spain holiday’ generating increased search volume during January as expected, followed by a dramatic decrease in searches, only to see a gradual increase in the lead up to the summer months.

As a result of this, it’s extremely important to consider what users are looking for and when they start to search for it, whilst devising your PPC strategy to generate the right traffic at the right time.

Awareness & User Behaviour

People often turn to Google for speculative, informational searches. Looking for places to visit, for example, and this should be considered as part of your keyword strategy.

Although users may be less likely to convert at this stage of the buying cycle, it’s another touch-point through which you can contribute to brand awareness.  In fact studies show that up to 95% of visits are from users who are “just browsing”.

Therefore it’s important to target users at every stage of their buying cycle and determine their value at each of these stages. For example, when a user starts their journey, they may be looking at broader terms, such as ‘Holiday in Iceland’, with little-to-no intention of making a purchase (converting) that day.

Targeting these location-specific terms with lower value bids (offers increased visibility for your brand while not bidding so heavily that you commit all of your budget) can be a good way of generating visits from users who are taking their time to consider all of the options.

We consider this the ‘awareness’ stage of the buying cycle; this approach is an opportunity to introduce yourself to a user without exhausting budget.

Of course, the competition in this stage is also very stiff, so it may also be worth ensuring that you have longer-tail keywords that are less competitive to ensure that you gain visibility from keyword with lower search volume, as well.

Users will generally then go through the ‘consideration’ part of their journey, having now completed their initial research, you will need to be visible for more specific keywords. Taking the Iceland example mentioned above, using terms more related to specific elements of a holiday, or offers, such as ‘cheap hotels in Iceland’ can encourage additional visits and again reinforces your brand as relevant, even when showing in lower positions.

Targeting users through re-targeting is also a very useful strategy at this point to drive users who have not converted previously back to your site through display banners.

Ultimately, we all want conversions and following the two stages briefly mentioned above, users will often convert on a branded term. The visibility and traffic gained at each of these stages will help put you in a position to gain additional visits through branded terms that you otherwise may not have generated.

These users have already shown some degree of intent and have completed the consideration part of their journey and have now come directly to you. This is your opportunity to finally ‘wow’ them and get them to convert.

Competition

Travel PPC competition

Another thing to bear in mind is your competitors. Who are they and what are they doing that makes them different? This needs to be taken into consideration when determining your approach to PPC and the tone of voice you wish to use.

With the rise of sites such as Airbnb, users are also rapidly moving to peer-to-peer alternatives to hotels, so differentiating yourself from these may be an essential part of your strategy. Alternatively, you may want to go head-to-head with these types of sites and this will require you to look at these competitors and (again) see what they’re doing to set yourself apart from them to allow yourself the opportunity to compete within the results page.

Do you run offers at key periods in your year? Take advantage of these and use them within your PPC ad copy. Use these in your copy to get the user’s attention.

Final Thoughts

We hope that there is plenty for you to consider above and take with you for your own PPC strategy, however, if you feel like you need some additional guidance, please feel free to get in touch. We can help you get started, or if you’re already running PPC campaigns, we’re happy to help make sure you’re taking full advantage of the opportunities available and develop new strategies to maximise their return.

Maximising the Potential of Google Ad Grants

01Jul

charity tin

A number of our recent blog posts have been relating to Google Ad Grants for charities and non-profits, so we thought as a next step in the series it would be useful to explore how to take advantage of the Google Ad Grant and use it to engage with the right users.

The first step is to look at your own business model (even as a non-profit) and ask yourself what you can offer your visitors and what are they hoping to gain from visiting your site?  They could be looking for support, for advice or are possibly just looking to make a donation.  In terms of PPC, this often means that target search terms can be loosely defined as either Transactional, or Informational.

Transactional Queries

These kinds of search terms are usually performed by a user looking to make a donation, either to a specific type of charity or a charitable donation in general.  As these terms are often income generators you may find it difficult to target these terms using an Ad Grants budget (there is a $2 max. click price), therefore many charities run additional Ad Words campaigns and commit some additional budget to transactional terms. Accurate targeting may help to keep click cost down, but it’s easy to justify the spend as accurate analytics can tell you exactly how much you raised from your PPC spend.

Informational Queries

This term covers a much broader range of queries and searcher intent. A user could be looking for information, for support, for volunteering opportunities and so on. As these terms aren’t necessarily income generators click prices are often lower, so using Ad Grants budget on these type of terms is great for building your brand online.  If you’re holding a specific event or volunteer drive then targeting relevant, informational queries with Ad Grants is also an effective strategy.

Charity PPC Strategy

 

Although the purpose of a website varies from charity to charity, your ‘goal’ should be ensuring you provide the right information, based on the intent of your visitor.  We’ve listed some suggestions below on how you can utilise Google Ad Grants to satisfy you’re own objectives:

Targeting Transactional Queries

Donations

  • Increase traffic to your donations pages through Google Ad Grant & GrantsPro accounts and provide users with a reason to help fund your charity.
  • As noted above, due to high CPCs it can be difficult to appear for high-volume terms, such as ‘cancer’, as there is a lot of competition there.
  • Targeting less broad, longer tail keywords (e.g. ‘donate to child cancer charity’) can generate volume for lower Cost Per Clicks and help drive more users to your site within the limitations of the Google Ad Grant.
  • Driving sign-ups for accounts where users can donate at regular intervals or collect donations themselves can also add long term value.

Fundraising Events

  • Promote the events that you are getting involved in and help drive sign-ups for these events on behalf of your charity. It’s difficult to prove the monetary value of Ad Grants in this respect, but it’s easy to attribute event sign-ups to your Ad grants campaign, proving it’s value that way.
  • If an event is being attended by / completed by a high profile individual such as a celebrity, you can often target their name along with a relevant search term for additional traffic.

Legacies

  • For many charities, legacy giving is a vital means of fundraising. Outside of the third sector it’s a little known mechanism for giving, so there is often the possibility of promoting Legacy giving to users looking to make a substantial or long term donation.

Targeting Informational Queries

Building Brand Awareness

  • Utilising the Ad Grant scheme to increase visibility is a great way to appear in search results pages (SERPs) for descriptive words that relate to your charity.
  • These terms may not generate conversions, but the additional brand awareness they provide can encourage additional searches and conversions later in a user’s journey.
  • It’s important to create engaging copy for ads like this, to remain in the user’s mind. Average positions for grant keywords can be lower in the list of PPC ads than paid and therefore generate fewer clicks.charity-wristbands

Volunteer Applications

  • Be visible when users are searching for volunteering opportunities, at no additional cost to your charity – in many cases, Google will be the first place people turn to when looking to donate their time.
  • Google is a never ending source of people who want to help, and being visible when they search could help them make that first step towards becoming a volunteer.

Actively Helping Users

  • Engaging with your users and providing simple ways for them to gain knowledge and understanding of your charity and/or the cause you support.
  • This could be anything from offering support through information, to showing them how to get the help they need.

Providing Information

  • For many charities information distribution and raising the profile of a disease/cause is a huge part of their mission statement, so ad Grants is a fantastic way to get this information out there with no financial resource required.
  • Where relevant, provide users with simple ‘how-to’ guides – help them gain the knowledge they’re looking for quickly and easily.
  • Users often search when they don’t know the answer to a question – targeting ‘what do I do….’ and ‘why…’ keywords and providing them with the answers on your page is a great way of engaging with users and offering support.

Job Applications

  • Like any other industry, in the third sector competition for the best people can be tough. Using Google Ad Grants is a great way to increase your visibility for job vacancy related terms.
  • Be sure to target keywords specific to the type of charity you are and your location to maintain a good quality score through relevance.

If you’re not taking advantage of the Google Ad Grant already, think about how it could help you and get in touch. We’ll work with you to get started and build a strategy that works for what matters to you.  Alternatively, if you’re already running an Ad Grants account Passion Digital can help make sure you are maximising its value. 

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