The Great Shopify Mistake

Guess what one of the biggest mistake Shopify owners make advertising their products using Google Shopping?

It is thinking that using Shopify’s free Google channel will have your products correctly running on Google Shopping and the orders will start to flow in. 

Shopify, instructs you to open the proper Google accounts: Google Merchant Center and then Google Ads account if you want to run paid traffic. Then, Shopify instructs to connect those accounts to your products in Shopify. Many Shopify store owners think by clicking a couple of buttons, like magic your products will start to list and orders will start to come pouring in.

However, I’m telling you today that magic rarely exists and clicking that Google channel checkbox or two is not going to grow your sales at least not efficiently and I’ll tell you why.

First, with the free traffic.

It is true you can generate some free traffic through Google Shopping just by opening a GMC and linking your products. But for most, the free traffic is going to be a mere trickle.

The free traffic you will receive will range from 1 to 2 clicks per day to 1 to 2 per month depending on what you are selling!

Furthermore, the Google channel in Shopify does not let you adjust the different fields that Google uses to filter, sort and list your products.

You could use a supplemental feed inside Google Shopping to enhance your listing, but if are using Shopify’s Google channel to submit your products there is a good chance you have no idea what a supplemental feed even is.

Second, with paid traffic.

If you go on and also open a Google ads account and add some advertising budget, what Shopify will have you using for simplicity’s sake is a Google Smart Shopping campaign. For “smart” shopping campaigns and yes, I’m doing air quotes around smart, you have no idea of where you are advertising, at what bid or for what keyword. In addition, if you are submitting all products you would need to do some deep discovery to find out even for what product.

The only thing actually smart about a Google Smart Shopping campaign is the way Google has configured it to easily accept money from more well-intentioned, yet novice advertisers.

It is a fact that Google Shopping has many moving parts, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. I recently released a course designed to explain the entire process called Understand, Conquer and Profit Using Google Shopping.

This course is a free course within Google Shopping University, and it will clarify the entire process of using Google Shopping.

Click on the link below to signup and in under an hour you will know more about advertising using Google Shopping than 90% of Shopify merchants including probably your competitors!

You don’t need to be an expert, you don’t even need to run the advertising yourself, but you should absolutely know how Google Shopping works and that is why I created this course.

Click on the link below to read all the details and get started today.

Understand, Conquer & Profit Using Google Shopping
https://www.makeeachclickcountuniversity.com/conquerandprofit

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Adding The ‘Who Done It’ List To Your Negative Keywords

Here is an expert tip on a fairly simple way to save some money on your Google Paid Ads.

How much ad spend you are going to reduce will depend on how much you are currently spending and how many negative keywords you currently are using, but I can tell you that it could be around 3-5% of your ads budget.

For you to save money on unnecessary ad spend what you should do is add what I call the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords to your campaigns.

What is the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords?

This is a list of negative keywords that block question searches from triggering your ads to show. Effectively blocking question searches in both shopping campaigns and search campaigns that utilize either phrase or broad match, this list will eliminate high level searches that rarely if ever directly lead to a sale.

What are these keywords and why do they never or at least very rarely lead to a sale?

Here are some of the words. Read through the list below and think what type of keyword searches these would generate for your campaigns then we will look at examples for one of my private clients:

  • ‘where’
  • ‘how to’
  • ‘how do’ / ‘how you’
  • ‘could I’ / ‘could you’
  • ‘can I’ / ‘can you’
  • ‘should I’ / ‘should you’
  • ‘does a’ / ‘is a’

Why does this list of ‘Who Done It’ keywords rarely if ever lead to a conversion?

Because these keywords are going to generate very high level / low buying intent traffic.

As you read through the list you probably filled in the rest of the question in your head as it comes to your campaigns so perhaps you already know what I mean, but let’s look at some examples:

A private client of mine sells shower drain covers and not the $5 variety from Home Depot, but rather super high-end drain covers starting at about $60.

For his company, he wants traffic from keywords from people searching to replace or install a new drain cover.

Here are some of the searches that contain ‘shower drain’ that adding the ‘Who Done It’ list will block.

  • Where are the screws to uninstall a shower drain?’
  • Hot to install a shower drain?’
  • How do I clean my shower drain?’
  • Could I make my own shower drain cover?’
  • Can I replace my shower drain cover myself?’
  • Should I cover the drain in my basement?’
  • Does a shower drain block water?’

You see the pattern, right?

The pattern is that none of these searches have a very high likelihood of leading to a sale.

Sure, you could serve visitors retargeting ads after they visit your website, but still, it is a longshot. Better to save the money on what it would cost to bring these looky-loos to your website and apply the ads budget you save to traffic with a higher likelihood of converting.

Creating Your Custom List of ‘Who Done It’ Negative Keywords

Besides taking the list of examples above, you may want to know how to customize the list for your account.

The most effective way to find your own ‘Who Done It’ list is by reviewing the terms that have historically driven traffic to your ad campaigns.

If you have been following my writings, you are aware that Google has partially hidden this data within your Google Ads account. However, it is still currently available using Google Analytics. Here is an article that goes into details – Google is Now Playing Hide and Seek with Your Search Terms

Fully detailed in the article mentioned above, here are the steps to access your full list of search terms using Google Analytics Search Queries Report.

  1. Login to Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com/)
  2. In the left-hand menu click on ‘Acquisition’
  3. Then, ‘Google Ads’
  4. Then, ‘Search Queries”
  5. Change the date in the upper right to dates you wish to view.
  6. Using the Secondary dimension drop down to add ‘Campaign’. Note, without this step you will be viewing keywords from the entire account.
  7. Change rows to a number that will display all data (default is only 25 rows).
  8. Export data.

Applying Your List of Negative Keywords

One you have your own list of ‘Who Done It’ negative keywords the next step is to add it to your account.

When adding negative keywords, you have 3 choices:

  1. Add them at the ad group level.
  2. Add them at the campaign level
  3. Add them at the account level.

Here we are only going to review adding them to the account level because in my opinion there is no reason to have ‘Who Done It’ traffic in any campaign or ad group.

To quickly add these negative keywords to multiple campaigns, I recommend using a negative keyword list. A negative keyword list will easily let you add or subtract keywords to the ‘Who Done It’ list and quickly apply the list to multiple campaigns.

Here is how to create an implement a negative keyword list.

Create a negative keyword list:

  1. In the top menu, under Shared Library, click ‘Negative Keyword List’
  2. Click the blue plus button.
  3. Name your list and add negative keywords.
  4. Click Save

Apply negative keyword lists to multiple campaigns from the negative keyword library

  1. Click the tools & settings icon Google Ads (in the upper right tool bar) of your account.
  2. Under “Shared library,” click Negative keyword lists.
  3. Check the box next to the negative keyword lists you want to apply to campaigns.
  4. Click Apply to campaigns.
  5. Select the campaigns you’d like to apply the negative keyword lists to.
  6. Click Apply.

FINAL WORD

Blocking searches using the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords only works when using manual shopping campaigns. With smart shopping campaigns, you can’t block unwanted keyword searches and you won’t even be able to tell how many ‘Who Done It’ searches you are receiving. Yet just another reason to avoid Smart Shopping campaigns.

Adding the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords is going to effectively block the higher purchase intent traffic or the traffic which is the furthest away from making a purchase.

In the image above, the ‘Who Done It’ list is going to block the awareness to interest group. Typically, those website visitors are a long way from purchasing and not profitable to serve Google paid ads.

Ideally when we are looking to drive traffic from Google at a minimum, we want traffic in the intent to evaluation stage or those looking to make a purchase.

Adding the ‘Who Done It’ list of negative keywords is one way to effectively ensure we are getting this qualified, purchase intent traffic to our Google Shopping and Search campaigns.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Google Campaign Optimization Scores – How You Should Manage Them

Last year Google introduced their Google Campaign Optimization Score.

This score measures how well each Google Ads campaign is rated based on Google’s preferred standards. Rated between 0% and 100%, this score looks like a cut and dry number to measure how well your account is optimized.

Optimization score is displayed on all active Search, Shopping, Display and Video Auction campaigns. A 100% score translates into your campaigns being fully optimized in accordance with Google’s best-practices with scores lower than a 100% meaning Google has other recommendations for your campaigns.

However, it is important to realize that your goals as an advertiser may not (and many times do not) align with Google. When it comes to preferred standards and your campaign’s score it is important to keep in mind that the Campaign Optimization Score is based solely on Google’s goals.

What do I mean?

You will see some examples below, but I like to think of it this way.

Google’s goal is to get as much money from its advertisers as possible while providing a viable marketing network for its advertisers and a good experience for its users.

Our goal as advertisers is or at least should be to optimize our advertising spend based on our own goals. Those goals could be sales and revenue, which is typical for eCommerce advertisers or traffic aka awareness (not as typical). Regardless of the goal, we should work to optimize our ad spend to maximize the value of our goals.

Now, if you are like me, you will find that nothing is more irritating in your account than seeing a low score. If you are an agency, it also can be disastrous if a client is in their account and sees their optimization score is low.

Fortunately, you do not need to accept all of Google’s recommendations to improve a campaign’s optimization score.

Ignoring specific recommendations will give your campaigns the full credit for that recommendation, but you first must login to each recommendation and manually review.

How Do You View Your Google Optimization Score?

  1. Login to your Google Ads Account.
  2. Click on Recommendations in the left side navigation menu.
  3. You can then filter your recommendations into specific categories by clicking on the category name.
  4. You can then Apply recommendations, View Recommendations or Dismiss recommendations. To dismiss you will need to first click on the 3 vertical dots.

You can also view your Optimization Score for individual campaigns. Click on the Campaigns button in the left navigation menu. The Optimization Score is shown by default. You can turn on/off the column. Therefore, if you don’t see it click on the columns button and turn it on. The field is listed under ‘Recommended columns’.

Reviewing Google’s Recommendations

Beyond improving your score there are obvious benefits to reviewing your Google Optimization Score.

First, consistently reviewing recommendations may alert you of new features within Google Ads, soon after they are released. This is how I was first alerted to Image Extensions, which have been fantastic on improving Search campaigns’ click through rates.

Here is an article on image extensions if you are not aware of what they are about or how to best use – Image Extensions – Making Google Search Ads Viable Again?

There is also a lot of what I consider non-sense recommendations, such as giving 24.6% improvement for changing to Smart Shopping (see image below) or high percentage increase for automated bidding within Search campaigns.

If you have read my Make Each Click Using Google Shopping book, you probably know how I feel about Smart Shopping, but here is a quick synopsis of why it may not be a good idea to trust Google with your Shopping campaigns.

New Google Smart Shopping Campaigns – What You Need to Realize

Another recommendation favorite is adding or improving responsive search ads. Which, I mostly agree with although like anything else in Google I highly recommend testing.

Below is a list of categories and common recommendations that I see and the actions that I usually take with each:

Bidding & Budgets:

Raise your budgets (Usually Review and Accept)

Move unused budgets (Usually Dismiss)

Raise your budgets for upcoming traffic increases (Usually Dismiss)

Bid more efficiently with Maximize conversions using a target CPA (Always Dismiss)

Keywords & Targeting:

Upgrade your existing keywords to broad match (Usually Dismiss)

Remove conflicting negative keywords (Will review)

Create Dynamic Search Ads (Will typically dismiss)

Add audiences for reporting (Usually Review and Accept)

Use Display Expansion (Always Dismiss)

Add new keywords (Will review suggestions)

Remove redundant keywords (Usually Review and Accept)

Automated Campaigns:

Switch To Smart Shopping (Always Dismiss)

Ads & Extensions:

Add image extensions to your ads (Always Accept)

Add responsive search ads (Usually Review and Accept)

Improve your responsive search ads (Usually Review and Accept)

Add price extensions to your ads (Usually Review and Accept)

Repairs:

Make sure your automated bid strategy can optimize your bids by fixing your conversion tracking. (Deserves attention).

FINAL WORD

For the most part, I believe that the recommendations that Google provides are a helpful feature for advertisers.

Although seeing a low score may be irritating especially when it is driven by recommendations that would most likely hurt performance, it does work to drive action. In order to improve your Google Campaign Optimization score you need to review and either accept or more likely dismiss each recommendation.  

And even through, I personally ignore and dismiss the majority of Google’s best-practices for my private clients’ accounts that I manage this is because of the systems in place of how my agency generates the best results.

Those with less experience managing Google or who want to spend less time optimizing or become more ‘hands off’ may accept more of the recommendations than I do and may even activate the dreaded Smart Shopping campaigns:<.

However, like almost everything else in Google, it comes down to testing to see what will give you the best results in your Google advertising and the recommendations are a great way to alert you of what is available within Google Ads that you may not be using.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues.

He was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Image Extensions – Making Google Search Ads Viable Again?

Google Shopping ads over the last few years have outperformed Google Search Ads in terms of profitability for the majority of my private clients.

Like many of you may have done, most of my private clients have opted out of advertising using Google Search campaigns.

The only exception where Search campaigns are still widely used across verticals is with a branded Search campaign. Note, a branded campaign is where you bid on your company name and close variants.

However, this might all soon change.

Google has begun to roll out a new ad extension that has significantly increased CTR (click through rates) and conversion rates. With this new Google ad extension, I have been seeing the potential to again make Search ads more viable for many of my private clients.

What is the extension?

They are image extensions.

While still in BETA and not currently available in all accounts, within the accounts that I have activated I have seen a significant increase in click through rates and conversion rates worth getting excited about!

Why is this?

One of the reasons that Google Shopping ads work so well is because users know what to expect before clicking on the product ad. Being able to see the product image along with the product title and price gives an accurate picture of what a user can expect BEFORE they click on an ad.

With Google Search Ads, even with the most clearly written ad there could be room for confusion on what they expect in terms of the user.

This confusion leads to high bounce rates thus lowering quality score thus lowering your ad rank and yes increasing the cost per click that Google charges.

However, by being able to show a related image along within the Search ad, much of this possible confusion is now removed.

In addition, image extensions are eye catching and help ads stand out from competitors who have not yet implemented these extensions with their Search ads.

Who can run ads and what are the requirements?

In order to be eligible for image extensions, accounts need to have the following:

  1. Have a good history of policy compliance.
  2. Ads accounts need to be within an eligible vertical. Sensitive verticals such as sexual content, gambling and alcohol are not allowed.
  3. Accounts must be open at least 90 days.

Image extensions use two ratios:

  1. Square (1×1) minimum size 300 x 300 pixels; recommended size 1200 x 1200 pixels.
  2. Rectangle (1.91×1) minimum size 600 x 314 pixels; recommended size 1200 x 628 pixels.

Note, square images are required while rectangle are optional.

Google recommends as best-practices for advertisers to upload 3 of each size for every account they wish to have images used with the total images allowed being 20 images for each ad group.

Note, just like Shopping ads, watermarks, logos and other promotional overlays are prohibited within images.

Google performs quality and policy checks before approving image extension so you should make sure your images are compliant with the above policies.

Instructions to Create Image Extensions:

  1. Sign into your Google Ads Account.
  2. In the left menu, select Ads & Extensions, then Extensions.
  3. Click the blue plus button and select Image Extensions.
  1. Select a campaign or ad group where you would like to add the new extension.
  2. Select the blue plus next to images and select image source you wish to access to add your image.
  3. You have the option to add new images or add existing images to your campaign. For new images, you can upload images or have Google scan your website or social channels for existing images.
  1. If images don’t meet specifications, you will have the option to crop images.
  2. Upload at least 1 square image. Recommended to upload 3 images with maximum of 20.
  3. You can preview your image by clicking on the pencil icon. Once you are satisfied, click Save and images will be submitted for approval.

Image Extensions – How They Appear

Here is an example of a live image extension as it appears on this mobile device.

Notice how an image appears next to the ad description below the ad headline and above site extensions?

Note how prominent it makes the ad appear?

What do you think this is going to do for the click through rates?

FINAL WORD

Start using image extensions!

It is rare that I can recommend a new rollout from Google Ads to be used across all verticals, but with image extensions I am comfortable doing just that.

I have not found any examples where using image extensions underperforms not using them. Plus, image extensions do not cost anything more to include on your ads and in fact by increasing your quality score they likely will lower your CPC.

One strategy that has worked well for me is reviewing which keywords are currently converting in your Google Shopping campaigns and using this list to create a new Search campaign.

By using a list of keywords along with the image for items that are already converting and directing them to a category page where users can shop for the item, you will immediately have double coverage using both Shopping and Search ads.

Regardless of the strategy you decide to apply, make sure you are using relevant images that add to the customer experience and begin to test results with your own account!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. In 2020, he was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Google’s Core Web Vitals – The New Website Experience Algorithm Change

A hot topic going around right now is ‘website experience ‘or specifically good individual page experiences.

But what is a good page experience and how can you measure how good of a page experience your website currently provides to its users?

A good page experience (at least defined by Google) revolves around page speed (how quickly pages load) and website responsiveness.

Now that we have defined the ‘experience’, you may be wondering if a ‘good page experience’ is just a fad or a buzz word from industry professionals or whether is it actually important to consider?

The answer is both. Providing a good ‘website experience’ is a trending subject discussed in length right now, but for good reason.

Some of the ‘good experiences elements have already been best-practices for some time. Having a mobile friendly website, that provides safe, secure browsing free of popup ads has been helping site become Google compliant.

What’s Changing?

Google recently announced a gradual rollout that is set to begin June 2021 that will take into account other page experience elements when determining how they organically rank pages.

The good news is Google is providing the tools you need to know to optimize for these changes before they happen.

In May 2021, the Google Chrome team announced a CORE WEB VITALS, a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability that help business owners determine the page experience they are providing their users.

There is a lot of technical jargon there, so let’s look to simplify it a bit.

Google’s CORE WEB VITALS is how Google will judge the level of experience that a website provides to its users. Although, these metrics are subject to change, for now they consist of the following three elements.

  1. Loading – How fast your website loads.
  2. Interactivity – How fast your users are able to interact with your website.
  3. Visual Stability – How elements shift during loading on your page.

In order for a website to achieve an overall good score, Google has added a benchmark of being within the top 75 percentile for all three metrics.

These three metrics are filled with developer jargon that can be perhaps difficult for most store owners to fully comprehend.

Therefore, to add clarification to the upcoming update, we will look at each in layman terms.

Page Loading

Probably the easiest of the three metrics to measure and to fully understand, this metric measures how fast does your website loads.

Measured in LCP (Largest Contentful Paint). This is a metric that identifies the time it takes to render the largest image or text block that is visible when a page first loads.

In order to be within the top 75%, websites should load their LCP in 2.5 seconds or less.

Google provides a number of tools to be able to measure both page speed and LCP.

Google Field Tools:

PageSpeed Insights
Chrome User Experience Report
Search Console (Core Web Vitals report)
Web-vitals JavaScript library

Google Lab Tools:

Chrome DevTools
Lighthouse
WebPageTest

Page Interactivity

Page interactivity is measured in a unit called FID (First Input Delay).

FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with your website page (click a button, click a link, etc) to the time your website is able to process the event.

We’ve all clicked a button on a website (especially a complete purchase button) and experienced a long delay.  This is Page Interactivity.

Although, not referring specifically to the order button, the delay can also take place within the website as users navigate and it is a slow to respond link or navigation element that does not provide a good customer experience.

In order to provide a good user experience, a website should have a FID of 100 milliseconds or less.

The tools to measure Page Interactivity are the same as measuring Page Load Speeds:

Google Field Tools:

PageSpeed Insights
Chrome User Experience Report
Search Console (Core Web Vitals report)
Web-vitals JavaScript library

Visual Stability

Visual Stability the third metric is measured with a unit called CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift).

To provide a good CLS, a page should maintain a CLS of 0.1 or less.

What exactly is a Cumulative Layout Shift?

 Have you ever started reading text on a page when it first loads and all of a sudden it shifts? Or even worse, you are clicking on a link or button and all of a sudden it moves?

These movements typically happen as page resources are loaded independently or asynchronously.

Whatever, it is called it is not a good experience for the user.

Measuring CLS allows a measurement of how often these ‘shifts’ are occurring for real users.

CLS measures how quickly elements move and how much they move on the page during loading.

The formula Google uses is:
layout shift score = impact fraction * distance fraction

Here are the principles that Google has provided to improve your CLS score:

Always include size attributes on your images and video elements, or otherwise reserve the required space with something like CSS aspect ratio boxes. This approach ensures that the browser can allocate the correct amount of space in the document while the image is loading. Note that you can also use the unsized-media feature policy to force this behavior in browsers that support feature policies.

Never insert content above existing content, except in response to a user interaction. This ensures any layout shifts that occur are expected.

Prefer transform animations to animations of properties that trigger layout changes. Animate transitions in a way that provides context and continuity from state to state.

FINAL WORD

Providing a ‘good page experience’ has just gotten more complicated. The good news is that unlike other algorithm updates, Google has given us advance warning on this update and the tools to test and change our website.

How much will this algorithm change affect organic rankings?

That has yet to be determined, but keep in mind that updating your website to be in the top 75 percentile of the new CORE WEB VITAL metrics will not only help your organic (SEO) rankings, but also help to improve your customer experience and most likely your conversion rates.

Do yourself a favor and take the time to take a closer look at your website’s user experience and use the tools to adjust your website sooner rather than later.

If you are looking for more help or direction in fixing your issues, click here and schedule a complimentary discovery call to discuss possible solutions to improve your website experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. In 2020, he was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Using ‘Special’ Holidays For Your Own Promotions

Yesterday was Cinco De Mayo. The day before that it was May 4th Star Wars Day. Last week was Arbor Day.

Wow so many holidays! And you know what? These are just the “big ones”.

There seems to be a ‘holiday’ for anything you may be able to think. So, do you know what your special day is?

I’m ashamed and embarrassed to say, I’ve missed my special day.

No, not my birthday, I of course remembered and celebrated that. My anniversary?

No, I managed to remember that as well.

I’m talking about January 11th, National Marketing Day.

In case you need some ideas about picking and promoting your special day, here are some examples of “holidays” for a variety of verticals.

Examples of Promotional Holidays

March 6 – National Dress Day

March 19 – National Backyard Day

April 4 – National Vitamin C Day

June 21 – National T-Shirt Day

September 19 – National Volleyball Day

October 22 – National Nuts Day

October 24 – National Food Day

November 19 – World Toilet Day

And what if you can’t find a special day to celebrate for the purpose of promoting your business?

If all else fails, you can always make up your own. That is what Amazon did and now Amazon Prime Day is household term, well at least in my house.

Remember, the difference between Earth Day and Arbor Day comes down to simply better marketing!

Speaking of marketing. If you are currently using Google Ads, I invite you to checkout a new video I recently shared. 

The FASTEST way to GROW your business using Google Paid Ads is by INCREASING YOUR PROFITABILITY and this video details the best way to do just that!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE TRAINING VIDEO

Happy Celebrating & Happy Marketing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. In 2020, he was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Kissing Goodbye To The Broad Match Modifier

Let us start with the basics of how Google Search ads work and then we will discuss the recent change and its importance.

When advertising using paid Google Search Ads, advertisers must enter a list of keywords that they wish to trigger their Search ads.

These Search ads, when clicked, will redirect users to the advertiser’s website. Ideally a page on the website that is related to the product or service that the user was searching for on Google.

Plain and simple.

Now these keywords that are used to trigger ads from appearing start to get a bit more confusing, although not really when you understand how they work.

There are (or at least were) four ‘types’ of keywords allowed that determine when paid ads are eligible to appear.

These keyword types are Exact, Phrase, Broad and Broad Match Modifier. Note, there is also negative keywords, but negative keywords are their own complete subject.

For now, we will look at these 4 match types, what they are and the change to the Broad Match Modifier.

Broad Match Keywords – Allows user searches (or close variants) that match a keyword or keywords related to your broad match keyword to trigger an ad to appear. This keyword type is used to maximize reach.

How to implement this match type: This is the most basic search type is also Google’s default. No punctuation needed to distinguish Broad Match type within the Google Search Ads console. Just enter the keyword and it is automatically a Broad Match Keyword type.

Example: For a broad match type, ‘Lawn Mowing Services’ will trigger your ad for search Lawn Mowing Services; however, it will also allow your ads to be eligible to appear for the simple search query Mowing Services (without the word Lawn) or even a more broad, yet related search such as ‘Lawn Aeration Price’. When using broad match there are going to be many more advertisers and how often ads appear will be reliant on your bid as well as your quality score. Note, that just because you are eligible, doesn’t mean your ads will always appear.

Phrase Match Keywords – Allows user searches (or close variants) that match a keyword phrase in the order of the phrase to trigger an ad. This keyword type is used as a balance between reach and precision.

How to implement this match type: Phrase match is used by adding quotes “ “ around the keyword phrase an advertiser would like to advertise.

Example: For the phrase match ‘Lawn Mowing Services’, only searches containing ‘Lawn Mowing Services’ or a close variant will trigger an ad to appear. ‘‘Lawn Mowing Services’ will trigger an ad as well as ‘Lawn Mowing Services Near Me’ and ‘Hiring a Lawn Mowing Service. Previously, a search for ‘Lawn Mowing and Leaf Blowing Services’ would NOT trigger an add to appear since the words Mowing and Services are separated by the word Leaf Blowing in the search. This is what is changing.

Exact Match Keywords – Allows only user searches (or close variants) that exactly match the keyword to trigger an ad. This keyword type is used for precision.

How to implement this match type: Exact match is used by adding brackets [  ] around the keyword an advertiser would like to advertise.

Example: For the exact match [Lawn Mowing Services], only a search for ‘Lawn Mowing Services’ or a close variant such as ‘Lawn Mowing Service’ will trigger an ad to be eligible to appear.

Broad Match Modifier Keywords – This match type is a hybrid between phrase and broad match. It allows keyword to trigger ads regardless of the order they appear in the user search, however, all words must be used within the search query. In addition, Broad Match Modifier keywords will trigger ads to appear only when the keywords match the ‘meaning’ of the search’. This keyword type is also used as a balance between reach and precision.

How to implement this match type: Broad match modifier is used by add a plus symbol + before each word or words.

Example: For the Broad Match Modifier Keyword +Lawn +Mowing +Services, both the search for ‘Lawn Mowing Services’ as well as the search for ‘Lawn Mowing and Leaf Blowing Services’ would trigger an ad to appear. Having the words in the broad match modifier interrupted does not matter as it previously did with the Phrase Match keyword.

What Is Changing and How It Works

Starting in February 2021, Google announced that phrase match keywords will start to incorporate the behaviors of the broad match modifier keywords.

No longer will phrase match keywords not trigger ads to appear based on the word order as long as all keywords are present. In addition, Google will begin to incorporate meaning into the searches.

One point that sometimes confuses those is what is meant by Google matching the meaning of the search with an advertiser’s keyword specially the Broad Match Modifier keyword type and soon to be Phrase Match keyword type.

To best exemplify this event, I’m using an example provided by Google when they announced the recent change.

For the broad match modifier +Moving +Services +NYC +To +Boston

An ad would be eligible to appear for ‘affordable moving services NYC to Boson’, but it would also appear for ‘affordable moving services Boston to NYC’ since word order does not matter in with broad match modifier.

The updated phrase match will not include the reverse direction where the search has a different completely meaning but will not include searches regardless of word order.

Still confused?

Below is a chart that demonstrates the change.

As you can see from the chart, the new updated phrase match will cover almost all of the searches previously covered by broad match modifier with the exception of now it can interpret meaning!

When Is It Changing?

The change went into effect February 2021. Starting in July of 2021, you will no longer be able to even create BMM keyword types.

Fortunately, you won’t need to make any changes to your account. You can still leave all of your broad match modifier keywords if you have them and they will start to also work interpreting the meaning.

However, going forward (starting at least in July), you will need to enter keyword types as phrase that you would have before added as broad match modifier.

Note, this change will not impact negative keywords in how they work.

Final Word

As a disclaimer, for most of my private clients I exclusively used a combination of exact and broad match modifier keywords match types. I found this combination worked well to provide relevant keyword traffic.

Google changes frequently their algorithm and their interfaces. Mostly minor changes, sometimes major changes; however regardless of the change it always seems to make those using Google ads cringe at the thought.

This change although a bit complicated to grasps seems to make the keyword system more efficient and will be easier to manage moving forward.

No longer do you need to distinguish between exact, phrase and broad match modifier. Now you will just need to use exact and phrase and I guess broad if you don’t care about driving relevant traffic (see examples above)!

Only time will tell, but my thought is this will be a positive change in driving relevant traffic.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. In 2020, he was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Numbers Don’t Lie When It Comes To Marketing

As an eCommerce marketer you occasionally may find it a challenge keeping your focus where there is the highest opportunity for potential growth.

With all the various ways that customers can find your products – email, pay-per-click, organic and direct it can be difficult to know which marketing channel to focus your efforts.

More and more, it has become essentials for retailers to focus on driving potential customers to their website using paid traffic.

Options for paid traffic include Google Ads (shopping and search), Bing/Microsoft Ads, Pinterest, Facebook Ads, eBay, Walmart and Amazon just to name a few. And these are only just some of the available marketing channels!

Today, most retailers find it is necessary to use paid ads to drive traffic to their website if they want to scale sales and substantially grow as a business.

Afterall, nothing is more frustrating than having great products, but your ‘right’ customers don’t even know that you exist.

Regardless of how much demand there is for your products or how much your customers will love your products, without knowing you exists it will not matter.

The scenario of not effectively advertising typically means little to no sales or even worse, sales, but little to no profitability.

Given we know that we need to advertise where should we focus our online marketing efforts?

An undisputed truth when it comes to marketing is that numbers never lie.

Therefore, as marketers it is our job to track the numbers and specifically the right numbers in order to measure and improve the effectiveness of our marketing.

Here are the most common KPI’s (key performance indicators) and the different measurements that I use to guide successful marketing for my private clients. In addition, I’m going to show how I compile this information and use it to make strategic decisions.

I’m using these KPI’s in terms of Google Ads, but you can use these same key performance indicators to evaluate any of your paid marketing channels.

Account Health – KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators

‘Account Health KPI’s’ are used to monitor the health of your advertising channel. They give you a 30,000-foot view to measure your advertising efforts.

These KPI’s should be reviewed on a timeframe that allows enough data to become statistically relevant.

For my private clients, the following Key Performance Indicators are what I use to track on a monthly basis as indicators of the overall health of their accounts.

ROAS – Return on Advertising Spend

An easy formula to calculate, ROAS is calculated simply by dividing dollars generated by dollars spent.

Example, if you spend $1,000 advertising and generate $6,500 in sales, then your ROAS is 6.5. (6,500 / 1,000 = 6.5).

A ROAS below 1 means that you are spending more on ads then generating revenue (of course not good). The higher the ROAS the healthier and typically more profitable is your advertising campaign.

Not only do I track ROAS for the account, but I will use this indicator as a benchmark for individual advertising campaigns.

Note, that ROAS does not account for cost of goods, however, it is a simple calculation that can quickly measure the success of your advertising efforts and that is why I prefer this indicator.

Just like the amateur golfer, you are using this number to compete against yourself striving for better numbers and using ROAS to compare past results.

Rolling CAV – Customer Annual Value

Rolling CAV is calculated by calculating the total sales generated over the last 12 months and dividing by the number of total customers over the last 12 months.

Example, last 12 months your generated $150,000 online and had a total of 1,200 customers, then your CAV is 125. (150,000 / 1,200 = $125)

Note, it is important to use the number of customers and not the number of orders. Using the number of orders will give you the average order value, but not the customer annual value.

This KPI is important because it measures the importance of gaining a new customer. Many times, customers where it initially costs to attain them through paid advertising become exceedingly more valuable as return customers. By keeping track of the CAV, advertisers can determine just how valuable on average each customer is to their business.

True ROAS – True Return on Advertising Spend

This is a combination of your ROAS and your Rolling CAV. I calculate True ROAS to show the annual health of paid advertising and the dollars that I expect marketing to generate over a year.

Why is this metric important?

Unless you are selling one-off goods, typically you will have repeat buyers.

Once a customer purchases your product initiated through paid ads, then the customer is yours. You are free to market to them as you see fit whether that be through email, direct mail or any other variety of touch points.

In addition, generating a new sale from a past customer typically is going to be less expensive than generating that initial purchase and that is reason this metric is important.

Example, last month you spent $1,000 and generated $6,500 in sales for a ROAS of 6.5. This $6,500 was generated by orders from a total of 80 customers.

Over the course of the year, we can expect those 80 customers each to generate an average of $125 in sales based on our current rolling CAV.

Therefore, our True ROAS would be calculated by (80 * 125) / 1000 = 10

This calculation does two things.

First, it demonstrates the importance of gaining new customers by calculating their expected value through the next 12 months and not solely based on the initial sale.

Second, and maybe more importantly, it demonstrates the importance of concentrating on repeat business from your current and past customer base. Increase the CAV from $125 to $200 (just a sale more per customer on average per year) and guess what happens to your true ROAS.

(80 * 200) / 1000 = 16

It goes from 10 to 16!

Optimizing Indicators – KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators

Account Health KPIs are terrific for measuring longer term success. However, measuring success on a monthly basis alone is going to have you more reactive in your account changes instead of proactive.

Fortunately, there are five main optimizing indicators that can give us quick insights into the health of the account on a much more granular level.

When I look at a Google Account for a shorter time frame, such as weekly or even daily, these are the Optimizing Indicators that I review for any sudden spikes or declines.

Conversions – Number of total sales.

Conversion Value – Total dollars generated from your sales.

Cost – Dollars spent to generate all sales.

Avg CPC – Total ad spent divided by total clicks.

CTR – Total clicks divided by total impressions.

These Optimizing Indicators are all readily available within the Google Ads Console.

In order to remove or add or even rearrange columns, advertisers can use the column button.

An important realization is that knowing your KPIs are not enough to make successful changes. You must take decisive actions to successfully optimize your paid advertising once KPIs are calculated.

What action?

That is really going to be the million-dollar question or in the case of some eCommerce businesses the multi-million-dollar question.

Throughout my books as well as my podcast I offer different techniques and strategies to optimize on changes both positive and negative to your KPIs and hence to your marketing.

Final Word

What gets measured, get improved. A cliché for certain, but truth none the less.

If you don’t stay on top of your numbers, then your numbers will stay on top of you. I think that I just made that up, but it sounds a bit profound for me so who knows :>

What this article has given you are the key calculations you should be crunching on a monthly basis as well as the KPIs to review on a weekly/daily basis.

Knowing your numbers alone will not help you get better results. Once you have identified a positive or negative trend using Account Health Indicators or you identify a sudden spike or sudden decrease in your Optimizing Indicators it is important to take quick and decisive actions to either halt the negative or capitalize on the momentum.

These actions come in the form of increasing or decreasing bids, adding negative keywords, adjusting bids based on device and a host of other strategies to optimize your paid advertising results.

However, one thing cannot be denied, which is if you don’t keep track of your KPI’s, then you will never know that any action is needed along with the other undeniable fact, which is numbers never lie!

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. In 2020, he was named to Best of Los Angeles Awards’ Most Fascinating 100 List. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his website or his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Google is Now Playing Hide and Seek with Your Search Terms

Those that successfully advertise using Google paid search know that the most effective way of doing so is by limiting your spend on unrelated search terms. Effective marketers also know that the number one method to block unrelated and unwanted search terms is with the use of negative keywords.

Especially important for Google Shopping ads where there are no specific targeted keywords. Instead of targeted keywords, with Google Shopping your products are eligible to appear based on Google’s algorithm matching keywords in their product and descriptions with user searches.

This makes monitoring search and continuing to add negative keywords critical to the success of Google Shopping campaigns.

When you first launch a Shopping campaign you should have a list of initial negative keywords to block generic searches.

I have a generic list that I add to new accounts and campaigns which include negative keywords using a phrase match. Examples of these terms include terms such as cheap, knockoff, fake, etc.

However, once you begin running Google paid campaigns you will quickly discover other keywords specific related to your products where you would not have your ads appear.

Being able to identify these keywords has always been a rather straight forward process.

Although it has been moved in the placement through the years, all search terms that have triggered product ads to be displayed have always been available through the Google Search Terms Report.

What Has Changed?

A few months back, Google sent an announcement that they would no longer show irrelevant search terms within the Google search terms report.

Let me tell you for marketers (especially those on a tight marketing budget) there is no such thing as an irrelevant search term when those searches are actively costing you money.

The first month or so after Google’s announcement not much changed. About 95% of search terms were still included within the Google Search Terms report.

However, over the last few weeks only about 50 – 70% of search terms now appear within the Search Terms Report inside the Google Ads interface. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for advertisers to effectively weed out those unprofitable keyword terms that cost budget but produce few sales.

Limiting transparency might well be Google’s long-term plan as they continue to push their automated campaigns including the Smart Shopping.

However at least for now through the end of the year there remains an alternative place to gather your full list of keyword terms driving ad spend.

Google Analytics (Universal Code)

This is great news!

If you have properly installed Google Analytics and have properly linked your Google Analytics account with your Google Ads account, then your full list of search terms is still available within Google Analytics (so-called irrelevant terms and all!).

Note, that these terms are only available within Google Universal Analytics. Google is pushing a new G4 Analytics (Google Analytics 4), which for now WILL NOT include access to search terms.

Fortunately, Google is not requiring advertisers migrate to the new Analytics until the end of 2021.

Accessing Google Analytics Search Queries

Here are the steps:

  1. Login to Google Analytics (https://analytics.google.com/)
  2. In the left-hand menu click on ‘Acquisition’
  3. Then, ‘Google Ads’
  4. Then, ‘Search Queries”
  1. Change the date in the upper right to dates you wish to view.
  2. Using the Secondary dimension drop down to add ‘Campaign’. Note, without this step you will be viewing keywords from the entire account.
  1. Change rows to a number that will display all data (default is only 25 rows).
  2. Export data.

Final Word

The trend of Google becoming less transparent with their system is a bit unsettling to say the least.

Google continues to try to push their automated marketing including automated bidding and automated placements (Smart Shopping).

Without a doubt, automated or semi-automated campaigns are easy to create and require little to no management from retailers.

However, the problem is that these type of campaigns (when you hand the keys to Google) typically do not perform nearly as well. And when marketing budget is tight, not performing nearly as well can often be the difference between a struggling business and a thriving online business.

Fortunately for now, using the Search Queries report from Google Analytics allows for a workaround to the issue of Google hiding what they now consider to be irrelevant search terms!

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder and managing partner of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of Make Each Click Count University and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.

Frequency – Controlling How Often Your Google Retargeting Ads Are Shown

The term frequency refers to how often your retargeting ads appear or more accurately the maximum number of times ads are eligible to appear to users.

By now anyone who has spent considerable time on their screens are keenly aware of retargeting ads. Very few people anymore think that it is coincidence that the new toaster they were looking at last week is now being shown within an ad in our Gmail account purely by coincidence.

However, there is still a fine line between subtly nudging a user to return to your website by showing your ads occasionally and blasting them your ad 20 times per day so everywhere they look they see that proverbial toaster.

A question commonly asked is how does an advertiser determine how often (the frequency) to serve retargeting ads to their customers?

However, before we can ask how often we must ask if we as advertisers have the ability to control the frequency.

The answer to this is yes.

With a remarketing campaign, we have two choices:

  1. Let Google determine the frequency.
  2. Manually set the frequency.

Google Determine the Frequency

The easiest and most convenient way to control frequency is to let Google decide how often to serve your ads. Afterall, Google knows everything right?

If you have read through my books or listened to many of my Podcast episodes in the past, you probably already know what I’m going to say.

I believe that Google is perhaps the most perfect advertising channel ever built with the ability that they provide advertisers to reach shoppers while they are shopping. However, I don’t believe much in Google’s automated bidding strategies or even with their formulas on frequency.

My belief is that an advertiser, in tune with their own product line, will be much more effective determining their frequency based on their audiences, time of year and of course their own testing rather than relying on Google’s algorithm.

Manually Set The Frequency

What would be the reason to manually set the frequency you may be asking.

There are a couple of times that I recommend manually setting the frequency and we will look at a couple of examples before we look at directions for how to do it.

What would be the reason to manually set the frequency you may be asking.

There are a couple of times that I recommend manually setting the frequency and we will look at a couple of examples before we look at directions for how to do it.

Busy shopping times. For eCommerce companies this could be the holiday shopping season. As we approach the holidays, Black Friday week to be specific, shopping online becomes fast and furious and is great example of when you may consider increasing your frequency settings.

For these times when customers are likely to make a buying decision quickly, you don’t want to lose a sale for a shopper who be visiting many websites looking for gifts for brother, sister, parents and kids. Therefore, I typically will turn up frequency on high buyer intent audiences such as ‘Shopping Cart Abandoners’.

In contrast, slow periods of the year are a time when you may consider reducing your frequency. Example of this would be a private client I have that sells pond fountains. Typically, in the winter months particularly in states where outdoor ponds freeze over, not many people are thinking of installing a $3,000 fountain. Therefore, it makes sense to decrease the frequency of retargeting ads.

Hopefully, these examples have gotten the wheels in your head spinning on what may make sense for your business. However, like anything I always recommend testing to discover what is the most profitable for your company.

However, note that the frequency capping is available only at the Campaign level and not at specific ad groups levels. Therefore, if for some reason you wish to have different frequency capping for different ad groups, then they will need to be placed within different campaigns.

Note: Currently, advertisers can only modify the frequency of ads within an already existing campaign. Therefore, once you have created a campaign, here are the instructions on changing how often your ads are eligible to be shown to your selected audience.

Changing The Frequency Setting on an Existing Campaign

1. Login to your Google Ads Account

2. Select All campaigns in the navigation panel.

3. Click the campaign you wish to edit.

4. Select Settings in the left-hand menu.

5. Click Additional settings.

6. Select Frequency Management.

7. Set your preference. (You have the ability to manage your impressions by ad, ad group or whole campaign).

8. Click save.

Final Word

How many is the appropriate number of times that a retargeting ad should be served to a someone who previously visited your website and for how long should ads be served?

These are key questions that vary from website to website, but I believe that the answer typically will vary.

In order to be able to determine what is most effective for your website, you will need to test. However, fortunately given the steps in this chapter you have the ability to test how many times retargeting ads will be shown.

In order to address how long ads will be shown (the number of days between when a user visits your website and when they are no longer eligible to be shown your retargeting ads), you will need to adjust your audience.

Again, each website will vary, but here are my frequent recommendations when first starting to test different settings with my private clients:

– Change the length of duration on the audience from Google’s standard 30 days to 60 days.
– Manage impressions for each ad group to 6 per day.
– Increase this number to 12 per day during busy seasons.
– Decrease this number to 2 per day during slow seasons.

And once again, like most settings within Google’s Ad interface, you will want to test and track to discover where your highest profitability will be generated.

Looking for More Information on Google Advertising?

Check out The Academy of Internet Marketing (www.theacademyofinternetmarketing.com), the premier online marketing destination trusted by small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses serious about substantially growing their online sales.

Happy Marketing!
Andy Splichal

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Splichal is the founder of True Online Presence, author of the Make Each Click Count book series, host of the Make Each Click Count podcast, founder of The Academy of Internet Marketing and certified online marketing strategist with twenty plus years of experience helping companies increase their online presence and profitable revenues. To find more information on Andy Splichal, visit www.trueonlinepresence.com or read The Full Story on his blog, blog.trueonlinepresence.com.